October 31, 2005

Schumer Pimps Rosa Parks' Corpse

In one of the more disgusting displays of political opportunity, Senator Charles Schumer desecrated the dead body of Rosa Parks for political purposes as she lay in state in the US Capitol today.

This morning I went and visited Rosa Parks in the Capitol Rotunda to pay my respects.

Being in the presence of Ms. Parks was awe-inspiring. This was a woman who changed history with one thin dime. She paid her fare and took her rightful seat on the bus and America was never the same again.

Like Rosa Parks, Judge Alito will be able to change history by virtue of where he sits. The real question today is whether Judge Alito would use his seat on the bench, just as Rosa Parks used her seat on the bus, to change history for the better or whether he would use that seat to reverse much of what Rosa Parks and so many others fought so hard and for so long to put in place.

Judge Alito's visit to Rosa Parks this morning was appropriate. His record, as I'm sure Rosa Parks would agree, is much more important.

A preliminary review of his record raises real questions about Judge Alito's judicial philosophy and his commitment to civil rights, workers' rights, women's rights, the rights of average Americans which the courts have always looked out for.

All right, Senator -- let's have the specifics. What rights is he out to roll back? What is your evidence for this accusation? And if he is, as you seem to indicate, acting in a manner contrary to his oath to follow the Constitution, why have you not introduced articles of impeachemnt due to his failure to exercise "good behavior" on the circuit court?

Could it be that you know that Judge Alito is not ruling contrary to the Constitution, merely contary to the Democrat platform which has been rejected by the American people in the last two elections?

And why, Senator, when you talked about the need for uniting Americans instead of dividing them, did you pimp the corpse of a great American like Rosa Parks to cast doubts upon the character of a highly respected judge and sow division between Americans based upon race sex, class, and ideology?

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

Flip-Flop Frank Lautenberg

Fifteen years ago, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg called Samuel Alito “impartial, thoughtful and fair” and offered whole-hearted support for his confirmation.

Today, though, Flip-Flop Frank is singing a different song.

“Fifteen years ago, I supported Samuel Alito to be a judge based on his record as the United States Attorney for New Jersey, but his tenure on the appeals court has been marked by troubling decisions. Judge Alito has demonstrated a hostility to fundamental civil rights, and his record on the bench must be closely scrutinized by the Senate. “New Jersey has a proud tradition of producing great judges, most notably former Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan. Justice Brennan was chosen for the Supreme Court based on his legal knowledge and wisdom, unlike what we see today, in which nominees are chosen based on litmus tests that cater to narrow ideological groups.”

OK, Senator -- which "fundamental civil rights" has Judge Alito demonstrated a hostility towards? Given your statement, it should not be hard for you to produce a detailed list with copious documentation.

Or could it be that the litmus test in question comes from "narrow ideological groups" on the Left, those that want abortion on demand and perpetual racial preferences -- in other words, the Democrat base?

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

Wouldn't This Violate The Child's Rights?

I guess I am taken aback by attempts to limit contact between students and the United States Armed Forces.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. A civil-liberties activist says school officials should better inform parents of their right to keep their children's information from military recruiters.

Beth Wilson says some schools are putting notices in handbooks or newsletters rather than providing separate forms to students. Wilson is director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. She recently sent a letter to 176 school superintendents.

The 2002 No Child Left Behind Act requires schools to provide names, addresses and phone numbers to recruiters or risk losing federal funding -- unless parents "opt out." The law didn't specify how schools should notify parents of that right, and procedures vary among schools.

Kentucky education officials let districts decide how to notify parents.

This fall, about 24 percent of Louisville public high school students opted to keep their information private, up from about 20 percent last year.

Military recruiters say information from schools helps them to make home visits and calls and to send promotional material.

Now i see a real problem here. Assuming these kids are American citizens, do they not have the right to receive communication from their own government? Is it not a violation of the rights of the child to permit a parent to interfere with their right to communicate freely with agents of their government?

And what I find particularly amusing is that folks who don't believe parents have the right to be notified of, much less consent to, their child undergoing an invasive surgical procedure (abortion) now want to let parents control their child's access to career and educational opportunities. Groups that object strenuously to parents being permitted to pull their child from programs discussing what they view as immoral lifestyles are willing to permit them to opt their child out of contact with a government agency. Do I detect a bit of hypocrisy here?

UPDATE: The Washington Post has a longer article on the issue.

Now many parents -- aided by such anti-recruiting groups as the San Francisco-based Leave My Child Alone -- are demanding that school boards make it easier for families to prevent military recruiters from contacting their sons and daughters. They are mounting e-mail and letter-writing campaigns telling families they can block school systems from releasing student information to military recruiters. Even such national educational groups as the PTA are getting involved in the effort to get the word out.

But the military is spreading its own word -- about the benefits of a career in the armed services. This month, the Pentagon launched a $10 million marketing campaign aimed at encouraging parents to be more open to allowing their children to enlist. Although officials say the effort is not tied to growing antiwar sentiment, the commercials feature kids broaching the topic of enlistment with apprehensive parents and urge mothers and fathers to make it a "two-way conversation."

Many states have long allowed military recruiters access to student phone numbers and addresses, but the practice received a boost from the federal No Child Left Behind act. School systems that decline to release the information now risk losing federal dollars.

The advocacy is putting school officials in a quandary, particularly principals who say they want to be responsive to parents but also want to be fair to military recruiters, who by law are allowed the same access to student information as college recruiters. And, principals point out, although some parents wish to prevent military recruiters from reaching their children, others view military service as a good option.

"I'm just trying to follow the rules -- and the rules are the same for everyone,'' said James Fernandez, principal at Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, where recruiters have visited four or five times this year. Last year, five students from the school enlisted in the armed forces.

As i said, I'm a bit taken aback by those on the Left who don't care about the views of parents on any other isue DEMANDING that parents be able to prevent the federal government from talking to their children.

And, of course, they seem to have no problem with that same government funding the school those children attend. In fact, they usually want more.

Wouldn't it be refreshing to hear the proto-Sheehans tell the truth? "We loath the military and would prefer to leave the US vulnerable to attack."

|| Greg, 08:53 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Syria and the Hariri Conspiracy by Right Wing Nut House, and Race and the Unconscious by ShrinkWrapped.

The full results of the vote may be found at the Watcher's site.

|| Greg, 05:11 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

No-Class Correspondent

CBS White House Correspondent set a new low in journalism today – he even outdid his Dan Rather, one of his predecessors.

CBSNEWS Chief White House correspondent John Roberts described the President’s selection of Judge Samuel Alito as “sloppy seconds” during today’s press gaggle with White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

John Roberts: “So, Scott, you said that -- or the President said, repeatedly, that Harriet Miers was the best person for the job. So does that mean that Alito is sloppy seconds, or what?”

Scott McClellan: “Not at all, John.”

The all-knowing, all-seeing Matt Drudge provides this tidbit of information for us.

”Sloppy seconds” is described in the United Kingdom’s A Dictionary of Slang as:

Noun: “A subsequent indulgence in an activity by a second person involving an exchange of bodily fluids. This may involve the sharing of drink, or more often it applies to a sexual nature. E.g. ‘I’m not having sloppy seconds, I want to shag her first.’”

Talk about an inappropriate no-class comment.

UPDATE: As pointed out in the comments on this thread, Roberts has apologized.

“At the morning White House gaggle, I used an unfortunate choice of words in a question to Scott McClellan. Please be assured that there was no perjorative intent to my question. I was merely attempting to reconcile past statements about Harriet Miers with the President's new nominee for the Supreme Court.

The early morning White House gaggle is an informal, free-wheeling and often irreverent forum, which is not broadcast and generally not publicly available.

Obviously, my tone this morning was a little too casual.

As we all experience from time to time, it was one of those 'oops' moments which we wish we could rewind and re-record.

I apologize to anyone who took offense to my poor choice of words. I can assure you I meant none."

Not only did he do so in the statement released by CBS, but heoffered his apologies to Scott McCllena at a press briefing as well.

"Scott, on the subject of rude, my apologies for my unfortunate choice of words this morning to you."

Not only that, but he has even posted a response to some of the comments that appeared on the CBS PublicEye blog.

After reading some of the posted comments in response to my apology, I remain deeply troubled and wanted to take a moment to try to clear this situation up.

I can assure you that in no way did I intend to use the phrase 'sloppy seconds' in either a sexual connotation or a perjorative way. Rather, I was thinking 'second choice' - or 'second best'. If Harriet Miers was the "best person for the job" - then - where did that leave Alito? It was a poor choice of words, for which I am deeply sorry.

Many posters seem to think that it is indicative of an 'agenda' or 'reveals my true thinking' about the White House. That is simply not the case. I goofed. And I freely admit it. The words had barely escaped my lips when I cringed and thought 'oops - that was a stupid thing to say'.

Again, the forum was informal and is never broadcast, so I my linguistic guard was down. I uttered a phrase that is used colloquially these days to describe a number of situations. At no time did the sexual connotation ever enter my mind, but I agree, it has no place at the White House.

I have offered my apologies to Scott McClellan, and he has graciously accepted. Scott and I have a good working relationship and he is confident that I meant nothing untoward.

And I offer a humble apology to anyone who took offense upon reading the text of my question. Journalists must be held to high standards, and in this case, I fell short.

You can be confident that it will not happen again.

With highest regards,

John Roberts
Chief White House Correspondent
CBS News

Fine, he sounds contrite and the explanation is plausible. We've all put our foot in our mouths from time to time. We'll have to give him a break on this one.

|| Greg, 04:53 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Good Pick For The High Court

Following the Miers debacle, the President has nominated Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the US Supreme Court. While not my preferred candidate, he certainly fell on what I would call my “top five” list of possible successors.

Samuel A. Alito Jr., 55, is a jurist in the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia. Nicknamed "Scalito," or "little Scalia," by some lawyers, the federal appeals court judge is a frequent dissenter with a reputation for having one of the sharpest conservative minds in the country.

Educated at Princeton University and Yale Law School, Alito was nominated by President George H.W. Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in 1990. He had worked for the Justice Department in the Reagan administration and served as U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey.

Alito is generally seen as a solid conservative jurist whose work as a judge is respected by his peers and the lawyers who appear before him. It should be very difficult for the Democrats to stop this nomination if they play the game honestly and fairly. There is nothing about him that should present a “special circumstance” for the Gang of Fourteen. This is a nomination that will test the agreement made this spring. We will see.

The linked Washington Post piece offers further links to some of Alito’s more significant opinions while on the bench – including his dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. He writes well, logically, and bases his opinions on solid constitutional and statutory grounds. I therefore concur with my brother and sisters on the right in supporting this selection.

I think Mark Levin puts it best.

I have known Judge Alito for two decades. We served together in the Meese Justice Department, where he worked in the Solicitor General's Office and was considered the sharpest of Charles Fried's assistants. He is every bit as smart and personable as Chief Justice John Roberts. He is an expert on constitutional law. And he obviously has a longer judicial record, so his judicial philosophy is well-known. Judge Alito is soft-spoken. He is his own man (efforts in the media this morning to paint him as "Scalia-lite" or "Scalito" are intended to fire-up the leftwing base). If he is not qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, then no conservative is qualified.

So let’s get the hearings scheduled and the votes taken. Sandy wants to get back to the ranch and her ill husband, and an ideal candidate is ready to take her place.

|| Greg, 04:50 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 30, 2005

Texans Win -- We'll Take It

Well, they finally did it. The Houston Texans eked out a win over the Cleveland Browns.

The Houston Texans are winless no more.

They didn't find the end zone after their first possession today, but managed to eke out an ugly 19-16 win over the struggling Cleveland Browns and break a seven-game losing streak.

Kris Brown kicked a 40-yard field goal, his fourth of the day, with 2:45 remaining, to give Houston (1-6) the come-from-behind win. The winning kick was set up by a 63-yard kickoff return by rookie Jerome Mathis.

Houston's losing streak spanned back to a 22-14 loss to Cleveland in last season's finale. The loss is the third straight for Cleveland (2-5).

I'll telly you what -- the "Back Row Crew" in section 541 was pleased -- even if it was not the prettiest ballgame we have ever seen. While the hopes of a perfect 0-16 seqason were dashed, we have to console ourselves with the knowledge that a 10-6 season is still a methematical possibility.

Oh, and the consensus in our car was that Jerome Mathis is on his way to becoming the fan favorite. He is the "little engine that could" sort of player who made a couple of big plays that set up the success the rest of the team had.

By the way -- about those jerseys. Since you missed us today, we'll look for them on November 20 when you play the Chiefs.

|| Greg, 05:37 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 29, 2005

Christian Schoolgirls Martyred By "Religion Of Peace"

Will someone remind me again why Islam is entitled to the smallest amount of respect by civilized people? How do we respect those who do stuff like this?

Three Christian teenage girls were beheaded on Saturday in the latest attack against non-Muslims in the troubled Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi, police said.

The three high school students were found with their heads severed early on Saturday in the sectarian-divided town of Poso, said provincial police spokesperson Rais Adam.

The girls were believed to have been murdered while they were walking to school, Adam said.

He said two of the victims' heads were found near a police post while the third was discovered outside a local Christian church in Poso.

"We are still waiting for results from investigation in the field. We are still trying to determine whether this case is religiously-motivated or not," he told AFP.

A policewoman on duty in Poso confirmed to AFP that the triple murder had taken place and that the killings were being investigated.

A fourth girl was seriously wounded in the attack.

Still investigating? Fine -- but it seems clear that the murder of girls headed to school using the method common among Islamist terrorists tells us who is responsible -- especially given that Indonesia is a hotbed of Islamist terror. And that one of the heads was placed outside a church -- a warning to Christians who dare to step out of dhimmitude and demand to be treated as full citizens and human beings -- would serve as further confirmation that the "Religion of Peace" is behind the murder of these young martyrs for Christ.

|| Greg, 05:55 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 28, 2005

0-6 -- When Desperation Calls

I got an interesting phone message at home today.

It was from Dunta Robinson of the Houston Texans.

He was just calling to remind my wife and I how important we are to the team and that we really need to make it to the game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Dunta tells us it helps give the winless Texans a "home field advantage".

Our seats in the back of section 541 have been filled every game this year. We've cheered, even as we have watched some pretty weak football. We plan on making it to Reliant Stadium for the rest of the games -- even if the ultimate outcome is an 0-16 season. We will probably even renew our season tickets for next year, finances permitting.

A couple of wins would be nice at this point -- or at least a couple of games in which the Texans at least appear to be an NFL franchise. An offensive line to protect our quarterback would be a good move. If you want to really wow me personally, you could have Toro deliver a couple of jerseys to my wife and I -- sizes 3XL and 4XL, please, since we both like to wear them a bit big. But the key thing for me is that you improve the quality of the product on the field over the long term, starting in the short term.

But please understand one thing. I am a fan, and i will support this team. I may not be one of the maniacs in the Bullpen, and I may not be one of the folks with the dough for a luxury box, but I am there because I love the game and am willing to be loyal to a team that has gone the extra mile to make the experience of an NFL game a positive one. I have yet to deal with a member of your organization that has not done that -- and I can only point to positive experiences with stadium staff since some of the first-season glitches were resolved.

Still, the best thing you can do for me is improve.

Oh, yeah -- and those jerseys.

|| Greg, 10:02 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Appropriate Honor

Few men or women become an icon during their own lives.

Rosa Parks did.

It is therefore fitting that she lie in state in the Rotunda of the US Capitol .

Rosa Parks, the African American seamstress who refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Ala., 50 years ago and lent a spark to the beginnings of the modern civil rights movement, will make history again as the first woman ever to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, after the House today passed a resolution permitting the tribute.

The Senate approved a resolution last night. U.S. Capitol Police and the staff in the office of the Architect of the Capitol already had begun working on logistics for the event, which the resolution said would take place Sunday and Monday. Details are still being worked out and will be released later today.

Her former boss, Congressman John Conyers, strongly supported the idea.

After looking at the list of tributes he envisioned since her death -- " a statue, a stamp, a resolution, a memorial service" -- Conyers said it occurred to him that only the vigil reserved for statesmen or warriors would be right. He authored the resolution to permit Parks to lie in honor inside the Capitol.

"We think having her body lie in honor in the Rotunda is probably the most expressive way that we in government can let everyone know that the legacy of Rosa Parks is embraced by the federal legislature," Conyers said yesterday. "I must say that the bipartisan support has been excellent."

I cannot help but agree with Conyers -- the historical significance of Rosa Parksis such that she merits this rare honor. I can imagine no person, of either party, finding this objectionable.

It is approrpaite that Rosa Parks will break another barrier in death.

It would be the first time a woman has been so honored and one of the few occasions for a citizen who did not hold an elected office. Americans have quietly shuffled past the coffins of presidents Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, among others. They have mourned the unknown soldiers of both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam. In 1998, a Rotunda vigil was held for U.S. Capitol Police Officer Jacob Chestnut and Detective Mike Gibson, who were shot to death in an ambush inside the Capitol. Chestnut was the first African American to be honored; Parks would be the second.

Rosa Parks served her nation well in life. Now we will honor her in death with a special tribute.

|| Greg, 07:59 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Less Than Meets The Eye

Well, Patrick Fitzgerald indicted Scooter Libby today.

Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was indicted today by a federal grand jury after a nearly two-year investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's identity.

Capping a week of political turmoil in Washington, Libby promptly resigned and left the White House. He expressed confidence that eventually he would be "totally exonerated," and both Cheney and President Bush praised his talent and dedication. "Obviously, today is a sad day for me and my family," Libby said in a statement.


Libby, 55, was indicted on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements. The five-count indictment charges that he lied to FBI agents and to the federal grand jury about how and when he learned classified information about the employment of a CIA agent, Valerie Plame, and disclosed that information to three journalists. If convicted on all counts, Libby faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1.25 million fine.

What today's indictment of Scooter Libby seems to establish is the following.

1) The so-called "outing" of Valerie Plame broke no law -- most likely because the individuals involved did not know that she was operating under cover.

2) The problem with special prosecutors is that they are like a knight-errant roaming to countryside looking for a worng to right. The result is that they find it necessary to bring some sort of charge to justify their investigation. There has to be a better way.

3) Laws on perjury and false statements need to be made much more clear, so that a mere error does not become the basis of criminal charges.

4) When summoned to testify before a grand jury, take the Fifth. When invited to talk to investigators, refuse. The exercise of one's constitutional right to avoid making incriminating statements is perfectly legitimate when your words are going to be combed over looking for the slightest inconsistency, no matter how unintended.

But let me state this for the record -- if it can be shown that Libby or anyone else intentionally lied to or misled investigators, the full sanction of the law should fall on them. Too bad that the Democrats don't support this principle when the liar is one of their own.

» The Colossus of Rhodey links with: Indictment

|| Greg, 07:49 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

October 27, 2005

A Possible Nominee?

I found this piece from back in July, talking about a candidate for the Supreme Court who I could support – and who would be hard for the Democrats to oppose. She is Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan.

Corrigan, a justice on one of the country's most conservative state courts, may have just what some Republicans are looking for: practical experience away from the bench and a firm commitment to judicial restraint.

As First Lady Laura Bush and other court watchers urge the president to replace Sandra Day O'Connor with a woman, Corrigan could be an attractive choice—perhaps without the nasty confirmation battle that is almost certain with some of the more outspoken candidates on the list.

"On the Michigan scene, as far as I can see, I've never heard or read that people think that she's an extremist," said Robert Griffin, a former U.S. senator from Michigan who also served with Corrigan on the Michigan Court of Appeals. "She's very competent, does a very good job."

A mainstream conservative. A woman. Oh, yeah – she’s Hispanic, too.

Her pre-judicial resume is impressive, though not elitist. Her career as a judge has included repeated reelection by the people of Michigan, which should make it clear difficult for Democrats to tar her as an extremist.

Corrigan graduated from Marygrove College, a Catholic liberal arts college in Detroit, and received her law degree from the University of Detroit in 1973. She served as a law clerk at the Michigan Court of Appeals for one year before becoming an assistant prosecuting attorney for the state. In 1979, she became the chief of appeals in the U.S. attorney's office in Detroit, where she worked for a decade, eventually becoming the chief assistant U.S. attorney. In 1989, Corrigan moved to a private law firm in Detroit, Plunkett & Cooney, where she specialized in defending local governments in criminal and civil rights cases, said Mary Massaron Ross, a lawyer at the firm.

Ross said few lawyers in the firm were surprised when Michigan Gov. John Engler appointed Corrigan to the state Court of Appeals in 1992. Corrigan was twice elected by Michigan voters to that court and then was nominated by the Republican Party in 1998 for an open seat on the Michigan Supreme Court—a seat that she won. From 2001 to 2004, she served as the court's Chief Justice and has presided over what some describe as one of the most conservative state courts in the country.

Corrigan has been at the center of a court that is clearly grounded in the textualist approach favored by Justice Scalia.

Since 1999, four of the seven justices on the court, including Corrigan, have strongly emphasized their commitment to following legislative intent through "textual analysis," a philosophy of judicial restraint championed by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group. In a 2004 article, Corrigan criticized activist judges for relying on an "antidemocratic premise that judges just know better . . . . The constant temptation in judging is to be expedient, to reach out and fix what appears to be wrong. I know that I was not elected as chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court to be a philosopher-king."

The court's four conservative justices make up the core of the court's 5-2 Republican majority that almost always prevails. The split on the court has led to many heated dissents from the court's two liberal justices. Some criminal-defense lawyers say the court's philosophy has made it difficult for them to win appellate cases, yet other observers say the court's rulings have become much more predictable and consistent since 1999.

"The court is a court that sees its role as having a more limited perspective than the courts in the 1970s and 1980s because it gives great deference to legislative intent," said Patricia Boyle, a former justice on the Michigan Supreme Court.

That takes care of the judicial philosophy issue. Sounds like exactly what was promise during the 2004 election. In Justice Corrigan we would get a justice who recognizes the limitations of the judiciary envisioned by the Founders.

There is one additional bonus. Maura Corrigan is a state judge, not a federal judge. She will bring with her a different perspective from the current crop of justices, all of whom have been federal judges at the time of their appointment to the High Court. In that she will bring on a perspective that will disappear with the retirement of Justice O’Connor. That is a benefit, as I see it.

So, my conservative brothers and sisters – what do you think?

|| Greg, 06:11 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Hugh Hewitt Continues To Get It Wrong

Consider this post.

Ms. Miers Withdraws

I think Ms. Miers has been unfairly treated by many who have for years urged fair treatment of judicial nominees.

She deserves great thanks for her significant service to the country. She and the president deserved much better from his allies.

No, Hugh, Miers was not ill-treated by most of us who criticized her. She was weighed in the balance and found wanting as a nominee for the Supreme Court by many people, and they exercised their right as Americans to speak out.. If anyone treated her unfairly, it was President Bush. Miers was the wrong person at the wrong time for the wrong job. I would have supported her nomination to the District Court or the Circuit Court – but I do not believe she was ripe for the Supreme Court.

I will agree with one point – Miers does deserve our thanks for her service to the country. She has made significant contributions to the success of the Bush aadministration – but accepting the nomination is not one of them. Her decision to withdraw is.

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

National Review Gets It Right

Today’s editorial on the Miers withdrawal strikes exactly the right note.

No conservative should be in a celebratory mood now that Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination. For one thing, reasonable conservatives who considered her unqualified for the Supreme Court conceded that she has had an accomplished career and that she has served the president loyally and, for the most part, well. Gloating would be unseemly. For another thing, the object of conservative agitation against Miers was to get a solid justice confirmed. So the conservative opponents of her nomination have not yet won a victory.

I am pleased that the nomination has been withdrawn. I hope to see a good nomination made – but will be content to see the confirmation of a justice whose writings and career show him or her to be a competent, thoughtful expert in the law who has demonstrated a devotion to constitutional principles. That is the sort of nomination I expect of the George W. Bush – and I expect it to be one that conservatives on both sides of the tracks can support.

» The Right Nation links with: Supreme Court: Miers Withdraws

|| Greg, 06:08 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

A Step Too Far

At Duquesne University, an allegedly Catholic institution of higher learning, you can openly oppose and violate Catholic teaching without fear of sanction. On the other hand, speaking in a manner consistent with the Catholic faith – even in a non-university forum – can get you punished, and even potentially expelled.

A Duquesne University sophomore will risk being kicked out of school rather than write an essay as punishment for expressing his view that homosexuality is "subhuman."

Ryan Miner, 19, of Hagerstown, Md., was sanctioned by Duquesne after posting his view in The Facebook, an online directory that is not related to the university.

Miner opposed an effort by other students to form a Gay-Straight Alliance group, an issue that is still being debated by the university.

"I believe as a student that my First Amendment rights in the Constitution were subverted and attacked," said Miner.

After Miner's comments appeared online, some students complained to the school.

After a hearing, the Office of Judicial Affairs found Miner guilty of violating the University Code, which prohibits harassment or discrimination based on sexual orientation, among other groups.

A 10-page paper was assigned as punishment. Miner said he refuses to write it and will file an appeal.

On what basis, I wonder, is this punishment being dished out? The Facebook is not a university publication. The university does not own or control the internet. Where is the nexus between this speech and the university that would subject Miner to university disciplinary action? I don’t see one.

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

Stop Domestic Terrorists

Mark Bibi is familiar of the tactics of those Leftists who will brook no opposition to their anti-human agenda.

Animal-rights fanatics have figured out that you beat medical research that uses animals not by going after the researchers, but by going after those who do business with the researchers. They cow Wall Street, not by flying into buildings, but by trashing members' clubs.

Bibi knows what it is like to be a target. Anonymous thugs vandalized his house, smashed his car's windshield and made nasty phone calls to his home in the middle of the night.

Skip Boruchin, the only trader who refused to be scared out of business with Life Sciences Research, testified about the relentless intimidation he and his family endured. Activists painted his yard red with slogans such as "Skip is a murderer." On line, they called him a "child pornographer." One Web site instructed people to send sex toys to his ninetysomething mother at an assisted-living home. Another Web site listed the names, phone and Social Security numbers of 19 neighbors, and threatened to publicize information about their credit cards or medical history.

Violence? Well, there were the two bombs set at Chiron's Emeryville offices in 2003. Agents believe the second bomb was timed to go off as first-responders arrived. The FBI also believes the violence is escalating.

And their actions are violent – not limited to harassment or property crimes. And what’s more, they are willing to publicly state – under oath before a Congressional committee – that they endorse homicidal violence as justified against their opponents.

Jerry Vlasak, a Southern California physician who is spokesman for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, also testified Wednesday. Vlasak dismissed the intimidation of Boruchin and others as "getting a little spray paint on the wall."

Committee Chairman James Inhofe, R-Okla., questioned Vlasak about a statement Vlasak had made defending the assassination of medical researchers. Once again, Vlasak justified violence. For "people who are hurting animals and who will not stop when told to stop," he answered, one option would be murder, a "morally justifiable solution."

Imagine, if you can, the outrage that would exist if mainstream pro-life groups took such a position (they condemn violence) – or if opponents of homosexuality endorsed the killing of homosexuals “who will not stop when told to stop.” There would be loud outrage from the Left – but there is not a word of condemnation when it is their ideological allies engaged in such threats of violence against those involved in legal activities – medical and scientific research designed to improve human lives.

And it isn’t just medical researchers and their associates who get it. Consider this incident from Chicago.

A day after speaking out against the city's proposed ban on foie gras, chef Didier Durand arrived at his River North bistro Wednesday to an unwelcome sight: a shattered window splattered with a liquid resembling blood and busted-up flower boxes strewn on the sidewalk.

Police say Cyrano's Bistrot and Wine Bar at 546 N. Wells was vandalized between 11 p.m. Tuesday and 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Durand, who had spoken at a City Council committee meeting Tuesday about the proposed ban, suspects animal rights activists are behind the damage. The Health Committee voted in favor of the ban.

That’s right – not only do they want control of your diet, but they will do their best to punish those who dare to speak against their radical agenda.

The time has come to shut down the “animal rights” terrorists. The freedom of Americans -- and our lives and health – demand it.

|| Greg, 06:05 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 26, 2005

Racists Alter Photos Of Prominent Black Republicans -- Race Hos Silent

Why is it that a liberal blogger and a liberal newspaper both published altered photos of prominent black Republicans designed to play upon the lowest of racist stereotypes? Could it be a bit of racist intolerance for those who dared to stray off the plantation?

I found out about the first while making my daily pass through GOPBloggers.

Liberal Racists...

If you haven't seen it already, click here to see what kind of disgusting tactics liberal will go to when they are running scared...

The link will take you to a post full of racial slurs directed at Lt. Gov. Michael Steele of Maryland -- and a photo doctored by the racist who owns the site, Steve Gilliard, to make Lt. Gov. Steele appear to be a character from a minstrel show or an episode of Amos 'n' Andy. Gilliard offers the old "I'm black -- you can't criticize me for my racism" defense. Sorry, Steve, but I will follow the teachings of Dr. King and judge you not by the color of your skin but by the content of your character. -- and I find that character to be lacking indeed. That you find it necessary to engage in race-based insults against a man for daring to disagree with your ideology shows just how low you will go to fellate the folks who run the Slavocrat Party that has kept you and your people down for a couple of centuries.

Captain Ed also offers analysis.

And then there is the USA Today incident. Michelle Malkin goes into great detail in a couple of posts, as does Lone Star Times. Suffice it to say that the altered photo gave Dr. Rice glowing eyes that could be described as those of a wild animal or a demon. Malkin posts these analyses of the doctored photo.

The doctored photo of Condi Rice has been removed from USA Today's website with this editor's note:
Editor's note: The photo of Condoleezza Rice that originally accompanied this story was altered in a manner that did not meet USA TODAY's editorial standards. The photo has been replaced by a properly adjusted copy. Photos published online are routinely cropped for size and adjusted for brightness and sharpness to optimize their appearance. In this case, after sharpening the photo for clarity, the editor brightened a portion of Rice's face, giving her eyes an unnatural appearance. This resulted in a distortion of the original not in keeping with our editorial standards.

More photog feedback from Brad:

I am a professional photographer and have used Photoshop on a daily basis for many years. This malicious retouch of Condi's image is not only intentional, but must have cleared the photo director as well. In other words as a collaborative effort or a wink and a nod.

I don't believe the eye treatment could be the result of over-sharpening alone, but probably involved some heavy handed levels or curve adjustment as well, and the eyes had been isolated from the rest of the image by selection or masking.

And Jason R...

USA Today's explanation is bull. I've been working with Photoshop professionally for years and I don't buy it. If I was editing the image and simply sharpened and lightened her face a bit as they explain, I would hit Command-Z just as fast as I could if my result looked anything like theirs. Trust me, it's both amateurish and deliberate.

And reader KC...

Very interesting explanation from USA Today - what's also semi-comical is that they're in a tight spot as I would most of us would think brightening and sharpening a picture of Condi's ethnic background could also be construed as being racist.

Frankly, the newspaper's explanation just does not make any sense. It would take specific intent to make the eyes appear that way -- and if, by some outlandish chance, the result was unintentional, the decision to run the doctored photo was not. After all, it isn't like the effect is subtle or only in the eye of the beholder. Editor and Publisher has an interesting article that hews to the USA Today party line.

Interestingly enough, the professional Negros are silent. I've not been able to locate a word of outrage from Jesse, Al, or Louis, nor from any of the other swarm of folks who appear any time they can imagine a racial slight or slur. I wonder what the possible reason could be.

» The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns links with: USA Doctored Condi Photo: Answer Here
» The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns links with: USA Today Doctored Condi Photo: Answer Here

|| Greg, 10:55 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

Stewart Terrorism Conviction Upheld

May she rot forever in a dank dungeon cell for her facilitation of terrorist actions.

The First Amendment provides no refuge for a civil rights lawyer who said she was unfairly convicted of providing material support to terrorists for publicly releasing the message of a notorious jailed terrorist, a federal judge said yesterday.

In a 54-page ruling that recounted key trial evidence, U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl rejected all of attorney Lynne Stewart's arguments that the Feb. 10 verdict should be tossed out.

Stewart, 65, had argued that her client, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, was engaging in protected speech when he expressed his opinion about a cease fire by Islamic militants in Egypt that Stewart passed along in a 2000 press release.

Koeltl said the fact that the sheik participated in a conspiracy to kill people in a foreign country by communicating words from the prison where he is serving a life sentence did not make his participation constitutionally protected.

"The First Amendment lends no protection to participation in a conspiracy, even if such participation is through speech," he said.

Koeltl cited an earlier ruling Chief Judge Michael Mukasey made on the same issue in 1994 when Mukasey wrote that speech "is not protected by the First Amendment when it is the very vehicle of the crime itself."

In short, you cannot be the messenger for terrorists and then wrap yourself in the First Amendment.

|| Greg, 07:56 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Steele For Senate

Lt. Governor Michael Steele struck just the right note as he announced his bid for the GOP nomination for US Senator from Maryland.

"Too many in Washington today are not working toward that common goal of growth and freedom and an equal opportunity for every individual," Steele noted. "Instead, too many on the left have their feet set in the concrete of old fears, old divisions and the old ways of government.

"And no people can prosper when its leaders believe the route to empowerment lies not in the advancement of the individual, but in the promotion of an opportunistic government," he added. "We can do better."

Imagine that – focusing on individual ability and merit rather than tribalistic groupings based upon group membership. Why, that could tear down the traditional ties that bind minorities to the Democrat Party.

Who is Michael Steele? What sort of man is he? I’d argue he is in the mold of Condoleeza Rice. The Washington Post includes this bit of biographical information.

The grandson of sharecroppers whose father died an alcoholic and whose stepfather drove a taxi, Steele directed the first portion of his speech to his mother, Maebell Turner, who watched from the front row.

"My mom worked 45 years in a laundromat making minimum wage and still managed to put her kids through parochial school," he said. "She never took a penny of public assistance because, as she put it, she didn't want government raising her kids."

Steele graduated from Archbishop Carroll High School, a D.C. Catholic school, determined to enter the priesthood. After college, he wore the white robe of an Augustinian monk for about a year.

During that time, "I discerned and I believe God revealed to me" that the priesthood was not his calling, Steele said in a 2002 interview. He earned a law degree at Georgetown University in 1991.

In short, Michael Steele started at the bottom and worked his way to the top, relying on faith and his own ability. That is a message that is needed in our country today – one which I hope resonates with Marylanders of all races, ethnicities, and religions.

|| Greg, 07:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Historical Note

Just a reminder by those who think emote that 2000 lives lost in Iraq are too many.

U.S. military deaths, from combat and other causes during World War II, numbered 407,316. But even World War II did not produce the heaviest death toll.

That distinction belongs to the U.S. Civil War -- 558,052 dead.

Given that Cindy Sheehan is a raving anti-Semite, we know that she would have been horrified at the loss of 400,000 Americans in a war that would help save Jewish lived. But I’m curious – how many dead Americans were too many in a war that had the aim of freeing black slaves and preserving the Union?

Oh, that’s right – Sheehan doesn’t think America has ever been worth dying for.

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

Wilson Does Not Get It

Joe Wilson does not understand his own actions and the White House response to them.

As more of an observer than an actor in the Beltway drama, Wilson said, he has no sense of the case's lingering effect on the Bush presidency or its historical significance. But, he said, the people he has met around the country understand why it's important — that it's not right for the White House to go after individuals who disagree with the government.

Uh, that is not quite what happened here, Mr. Ambassador. You did not merely disagree with the government – you called the President of the United States and his closest associates liars. You made specific representations regarding how you came to have this knowledge. What happened then is what is called a “response” – and included both evidence that your representations wee incorrect and questions as to the accuracy of your statements and your reliability as a source. That is a pretty standard part of the political process – heck, it is a pretty standard part of life.

One of the issues broached was how you came to be sent to Africa in the first place. The evidence shows that you were selected because of your family ties to one of those involved in making the selection – namely your wife. That goes to your qualifications – especially since you claimed to have gotten the mission in another fashion. You made factual claims that have been demonstrated to be false. Is it your contention, sir, that no government official had the right to “go after” you on these matters? Are you so arrogant as to claim a right to have the last word on the issue of the Nigerian uranium?

Now you are calling this matter a “civil rights issue”. I’d like to point out, sir, that no one prevented you from speaking or writing on your alleged findings. But you have no civil right to remain uncontradicted by those you attacked, and any claim to the contrary is indicative of your desire to see the rights of others to speak – whether they are government officials or journalists -- sharply curtailed.

|| Greg, 07:50 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Swoopes Gay

I'm told this did not come as a surprise to anyone who has followed this woman’s career and personal life over the last several years.

Calling life in the closet "miserable," three-time Olympic gold medalist and reigning WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes announced she is gay in an exclusive interview in the current issue of ESPN The Magazine.

"My reason for coming out isn't to be some sort of hero," Swoopes, a forward with the Houston Comets, says in the article. "I'm just at a point in my life where I'm tired of having to pretend to be somebody I'm not. I'm tired of having to hide my feelings about the person I care about. About the person I love.

And, of course, about the big endorsement deal you just signed.

Houston Comets forward Sheryl Swoopes, the WNBA's 2005 most valuable player, will announce today that she will become a spokeswoman for Olivia, a cruise line dedicated to lesbian travelers, and that she is a lesbian, according to a person close to the three-time Olympian.
But I do find this statement from the ESPN piece to be a bit interesting.
"The talk about the WNBA being full of lesbians is not true," Swoopes says. "There are as many straight women in the league as there are gay.”

Uh – if there are, then there is a serious overrepresentation in the league, and the concerns the WNBA has had to deal with about being a league for lesbians are very real. After all, don’t the studies show that lesbians account for no more than 5% of the American population, not 50%? Is there perhaps a need for an affirmative action program for straight women in the WNBA?

Personally, I’m not interested in Swoopes’ personal life. I’m really not even a fan of her sport (in the male or female leagues), though I hear about her from my colleagues who coach and watch basketball. But I do hope that her career is not harmed – or helped – by her sexual orientation.

UPDATE: What do you make of this?

"Do I think I was born this way? No," Swoopes said. "And that's probably confusing to some, because I know a lot of people believe that you are."

Does that mean that she made a choice to be a lesbian -- exactly the opposite of what the professional homosexuals tell us is the case?

(Hat Tip -- Safety for Dummies and Brothers Judd)

|| Greg, 07:48 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Some Neighbors Too Nosey

Yes, this is an overindulgence of a child – but I’m not nearly as offended by that as I am by the neighbor’s complaints and the government’s intervention. After all, it’s only a treehouse.

When Les Firestein, a television producer, and his wife, Gwyn Lurie, a screenwriter, wanted to do something really special for their daughter, Sydney, they enlisted their friend Roderick Wolgamott Romero.

Romero is a renowned builder of elaborate treehouses for such celebrities as Sting and Donna Karan. His work can be found in the "fantasy gift" section of this year's Neiman Marcus holiday catalog. Beginning price: $50,000.

In the backyard of the Firestein-Lurie home, which sits on a tree-studded half-acre north of Sunset Boulevard, Romero and his buddies built a roughly 10-foot-by-10-foot structure of reclaimed wood, salvaged windows and vintage stained glass from Buenos Aires that would quicken the heart of any fun-loving child or parent. The treehouse includes a viewing deck bordered by a railing crafted from tree branches from the backyard.

In return, Romero asked for a week's worth of lodging and all the Baja Fresh meals he could eat. With his tattooed arms and braided, knee-length hair swept up under a tweed cap, Romero and his pals worked for days, even in the rain.

Richard Fleming, the couple's next-door neighbor and a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, was not amused.

He feared that children could perch in this aerie and look in on him and his wife in their backyard pool and hot tub. He suspected, also, that city codes had been violated.

Enter the city of Los Angeles. As the treehouse neared completion last Thursday, city inspector Thomas Sze arrived on the Firestein-Lurie doorstep, responding, he told them, to an anonymous complaint.

"Oh, that's big," Lurie said he told them after looking at the treehouse and the much larger platform on which it rested. Sze also expressed concern about the structure's safety. On Friday, he delivered a written order that all work be halted.

"We're requiring plans and permits if [they] want to continue," Dave Keim, the city's chief of code enforcement, said in an interview Tuesday. "We'll work with them to try to legalize this…. It's not going to be easy."

The morals in this story?

1) There is too much government when even treehouses are regulated structures.

2) Some folks need to learn that their property rights end at their property line.

3) Kids are not allowed to be kids today – we either coddle them so much that they never experience the simple joys of childhood, or we overindulge them so much that they never experience them as simple pleasures.

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

Is Miers Going Down?

What are GOP Senators saying about the Miers nomination? It does not sound supportive to me.

"I am uneasy about where we are," said Senator Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican on the Judiciary Committee who had so far expressed only support for the president's choice. "Some conservative people are concerned. That is pretty obvious."

Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, called Republican sentiment toward Ms. Miers's nomination "a question mark."

"There is an awful lot of Republican senators who are saying we are going to wait and see," he said.

Senator Norm Coleman, a Minnesota Republican in the political middle of his party, said he needed "to get a better feel for her intellectual capacity and judicial philosophy, core competence issues."

"I certainly go into this with concerns," Mr. Coleman said.

And these are the ones who are commenting publicly.

|| Greg, 07:43 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Huntress!

Every little girl has a stuffed teddy bear – but eight-year-old Sierra Stiles will have one that is a little bit different than most. She just shot and killed hers – a 211-pound black bear – with a .234 rifle in this year’s Maryland bear hunt, becoming the first hunter to score a kill in the state.

After winning one of 200 bear-hunting permits granted by lottery this year -- and acing the required safety test with a score of 98 -- Sierra recalled being rousted out of bed by her mother at 4:58 a.m., wolfing down a bowl of cereal and heading outside, to a field on her granduncle's farm. They waited two hours in the bush under a steady, cold rain.

"I was dragging," Sierra said.

It got a bit brighter as the sun glowed sullenly through a thick blanket of clouds, she said. Sierra's granduncle, Robert Harvey, saw a dark shadow in the distance, but he didn't know what it was. Her father thought it was a bear.

"I froze up," she recalled. Regaining her composure, Sierra stood behind a tree, waiting until the bear was about 50 yards away, she said. Then she took careful aim and squeezed the trigger. The bullet struck the bear behind the shoulder.

Unfazed by the rifle's light recoil, she said, she ejected the casing, reloaded and fired another round.

It hit. The bear ran about 150 feet before collapsing.

"I was really, really, really happy," Sierra exclaimed. "They won't eat now. They won't eat a thing."

Well done, little girl! That will be a heck of a story to tell your kids and grandkids – and one heck of a family heirloom, too, when you bring it back from the taxidermist!

|| Greg, 07:41 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 25, 2005

Free-Range Goldfish

Of all the incredibly dumb ideas!

The city of Rome has banned goldfish bowls, which animal rights activists say are cruel, and has made regular dog-walks mandatory in the Italian capital, the town's council said on Tuesday.

The classic spherical fish bowls are banned under a new by-law which also stops fish or other animals being given away as fairground prizes. It comes after a national law was passed to allow jail sentences for people who abandon cats or dogs.

"It's good to do whatever we can for our animals who in exchange for a little love fill our existence with their attention," said Monica Cirinna, the councilor behind the by-law.

Good grief! we're talking about goldfish.

The newspaper reported that round bowls caused fish to go blind. No one at Rome council was available to confirm this was why they were banned. Many fish experts say round bowls provide insufficient oxygen for fish.

And we know this because...?

Clearly some folks have too much time on their hands -- and Italian lawmakers are among them.

|| Greg, 08:02 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Just Who We Don't Need

As a supporter of Proposition 2 here in Texas, I have to say that I am NOT happy to have these clowns holding a rally to support my side of the issue.

The city has given permission of the Ku Klux Klan to hold a rally on Saturday, November 5. The group says they want to have a pro-family values rally in front of City Hall that afternoon to get voters to vote against gay marriage.

The city has reserved the Austin City Hall's south plaza on Lavaca and Cesar Chavez from 1-3 pm on Saturday, November 5.

Well, this just goes to show that even the most evil and immoral of groups can get things right from time to time. And as much as I would prefer that they not rally, I will defend their right to do so under the First Amendment.

I guess my biggest concern comes from this communique from the knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers.

In an e-mail to the city for permission, a representative for the American White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan wrote: "Our speech will not be inflammatory, but we all know the reputation of the name of the KKK, so we expect anti-Klan demonstrators to be there who may become violent. We certainly don't want any of our people hurt nor any city officials. We just want to come and encourage people to vote for Christian Family Values and against legalized homosexual marriage in the state of Texas."

Given recent events in Toledo, and given the nature of some of the folks on the other side of the issue, I fear violence.

And to the members of the Klan, let me say that I do not believe you know a thing about Christ or Christian values -- if you did, you would not be cross-burning degenerates.

|| Greg, 07:56 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Rosa Parks Dies

I saw the news as i returned home from teaching my night class. Interestingly enough, I had talked about Rosa parks a couple of classes back, using her story as an example of how interest groups (such as the NAACP) can influence public policy.

The Washington post pulled its long-written obituary out of the files and ran it. It is every bit the hagiographic piece that one would expect. I was particularly struck by this analysis.

Parks said that she didn't fully realize what she was starting when she decided not to move on that Dec. 1, 1955, evening in Montgomery, Ala. It was a simple refusal, but her arrest and the resulting protests began the complex cultural struggle to legally guarantee equal rights to Americans of all races.

Within days, her arrest sparked a 380-day bus boycott, which led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that desegregated her city's public transportation. Her arrest also triggered mass demonstrations, made the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. famous, and transformed schools, workplaces and housing.

Hers was "an individual expression of a timeless longing for human dignity and freedom," King said in his book "Stride Toward Freedom."

"She was planted there by her personal sense of dignity and self-respect. She was anchored to that seat by the accumulated indignities of days gone and the boundless aspirations of generations yet unborn."

She was the perfect test-case plaintiff, a fact that activists realized only after she had been arrested. Hardworking, polite and morally upright, Parks had long seethed over the everyday indignities of segregation, from the menial rules of bus seating and store entrances to the mortal societal endorsement of lynching and imprisonment.

She was an activist already, secretary of the local chapter of the NAACP. A member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church all her life, Parks admired the self-help philosophy of Booker T. Washington -- to a point. But even as a child, she thought accommodating segregation was the wrong philosophy. She knew that in the previous year, two other women had been arrested for the same offense, but neither was deemed right to handle the role that was sure to become one of the most controversial of the century.

I wish that the article got more at the truth -- Rosa Parks wasn't some tire woman caught up in events -- given her history of activism, she was intended to be a test case. Her arrest was not a random event, but rather a calculated one. That does not make her any less heroic, and I would argue that it actually makes her more heroic. She intentionally put herself on the line, and was not simply a pawn who let events swirl out of control around her..

Farewell, dear Rosa, rest well, and may choirs of angels sing you to your heavenly reward.

|| Greg, 05:32 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Patty Biggio Assaulted By White Sox Fan

If you find pictures of me from the early 1980s, odds are you will dee me wearing a White Sox cap. I had a sentimental attachment to the team ever since I had the opportunity to meet that wonderful old man and baseball legend, Bill Veeck, when I was in high school.

While time and distance have weaned me from that loyalty, I have never been ashamed of the team or its fans . Until now.

Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen issued a public apology on behalf of his organization to Astros second baseman Craig Biggio, whose wife was slapped by a fan in the stands at U.S. Cellular Field.

"I feel like it's our fault, and I talked to (Biggio) about it, and he knows we're sorry," Guillen said. "He knows it was something we couldn't control. It wasn't like a fight. (The fan) hit the lady and left."

The incident occurred on Sunday night during Game 2 of the 101st World Series at Chicago's ballpark, where several members of the Astros' traveling party were harassed.

"He slapped her and ran," Biggio said of the fan who struck his wife, Patty. "She ran after him. My brother-in-law ended up putting him against the wall. That's pretty sorry."

Asked if Patty had been hurt, Biggio said his New Jersey-raised wife held her own.

"You don't slap a New Jersey girl and get away with it," he said. "That happens sometimes. It's terrible. It's over."

Added Guillen: "I wish she would have grabbed something and broken his head. If that happened to my family, it would have been a big problem. ... People should just go to the game and not bother people next to you, or you're not a White Sox fan or a baseball fan. Just enjoy the game. Drink if you want to drink; just respect the people next to you."

No criminal complaint was made against the fan, according to Chicago police.

I hope that charges are, eventually pressed. There is no need for stuff like this. I'm pleased that the White Sox are responding as they have -- and particularly respect Ozzie Guillen's comments.

Hopefully this will stirr up the Astros and their fans as the World Sseries moves to Houston

|| Greg, 05:12 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 24, 2005

Why The Academic Bill Of Rights Is Necessary

This little puke from the University of Cincinnatti opposes the Academic Bill of Rights -- a measure designed to ensure that students are graded on their knowledge and competence rather than their politics, religion, and ideology. He thinks that his words are a refutation of the ABOR, ">but he is instead an illustration of why it is necessary.

Rather than tell him (and his sponsor in the Ohio House) to go take a hike, the IUC passed a resolution on Oct. 11 confirming the following truisms: "Ohio's four-year public universities are committed to valuing and respecting diversity of ideas, including respect for diverse political viewpoints. Neither students nor faculty should be evaluated on the basis of their political opinions."

Except that not all "political opinions" are made equal, especially since modern conservatism has become synonymous with intolerance: it is anti-intellectual, counter-scientific, socially inept, recklessly interventionist and fiscally extravagant - even as it still defends discrimination against blacks, women and homosexuals.

College helps folks un-learn these toxic beliefs. It doesn't teach that they're of equal value to tolerance itself.

The liberal viewpoint is something to be defended, not compromised, which is probably why today's conservatives feel so out of place on America's college campuses.

How tolerant! The purpose of college -- and a state-funded one, no less, which exists on tax dollars extorted at the point of a gun -- is to instill the values of one side of the political spectrum and eliminate those of the other.

Is it any wonder that we far-right-wing extremists (read that "Republicans") feel there is a need for protection from those who would turn institutions of learning into centers of extreme-left-wing anti-American propaganda?

(Hat Tip -- FIRE's "The Torch")

|| Greg, 06:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dogs Stay Free -- No Kids Allowed

As most of you realize, Paula and I had to trave 400 miles to Oklahoma when we were threatened by Hurricane Rita. Why so far? It was the closest place that we could get a hotel room that welcomed our four-legged family member, Carmie.

I wish that this place had been on our way -- our canine companion was much better behaved than the screaming, stomping kids who lived above us and who ran up-and-down the halls at irregular but frequent intervals. The Winnipeg Star's columnist, Lydia Lovric, talks about the place.

An Austrian hotel owner fed up with rowdy young patrons has made headlines for deciding to ban kids. Dogs, on the other hand, are still welcome.

This may sound odd coming from someone who currently has the proverbial "bun in the oven," but I think kid-free hotels are a fabulous idea. Hopefully, an enterprising Canadian chain will soon follow suit.

Roland Ballner, 38, says he is tired of dealing with badly behaved children and will no longer allow kids under the age of 12 to stay at his hotel.

"My guests have a right to quiet and relaxation without the noise of children," insists Ballner.

Dogs will still be permitted because Ballner claims the four-legged guests are far better trained than most children. The furry guests also don't vandalize the hotel rooms, unlike certain pint-sized patrons.

He blames bad parenting, explaining that many moms and dads turn a blind eye to their child's transgressions. The parents "seem to feel they are here to relax and wash their hands of their children's bad behaviour."

Carmie is all we have in the way of family down here. We can't have kids and love them, but really could have used a quiet spot to bug-out during the evacuation. This would have been nice.

Oh, and by the way, I love the observation at the end of the column on why a hotel that bans kids could never open in Canada.

This is, after all, Canada -- where the only things we're allowed to ban are common sense, conservative professors and politically incorrect jokes.


|| Greg, 06:35 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Pig Blogging

Looks like more Brits have been terrorized into "sensitivity" to Muslims. The latest move to dhimmitude involves the announced plans of several banks to discontinue giving away piggy banks

Halifax and NatWest banks have led the move to scrap the time-honoured symbol of saving from being given to children or used in their advertising, the Daily Express/Daily Star group reports here.

Muslims do not eat pork, as Islamic culture deems the pig to be an impure animal.

Salim Mulla, secretary of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, backed the bank move.

"This is a sensitive issue and I think the banks are simply being courteous to their customers," he said.

However, the move brought accusations of political correctness gone mad from critics.

"The next thing we will be banning Christmas trees and cribs and the logical result of that process is a bland uniformity," the Dean of Blackburn, Reverend Christopher Armstrong, said.

"We should learn to celebrate our difference, not be fearful of them."

Khalid Mahmoud, the Labour MP for a Birmingham seat and one of four Muslim MPs in Britain, also criticised the piggy-bank ban.

"We live in a multicultural society and the traditions and symbols of one community should not be obliterated just to accommodate another," Mr Mahmoud said.

"I doubt many Muslims would be seriously offended by piggy banks."

The only problem is that the extremists you folks have fostered and sheltered in your midst DO object to being confronted by the image of a pif -- and they have a tendency to repond explosively.

|| Greg, 06:25 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Slay The Gerrymander

As a Texas Republican living in Tom Delay's district, I know that sounds funny. I am, however, tired of seeing district lines drawn to minimize competitive elections. Gerrymandering of districts to favor one party or another may be legal, but it is not right -- no matter which party is guilty.

Modern redistricting is a travesty. Politicians, using powerful computers, design districts that all but guarantee victory to one side or another. Sure, voters can go through the motions on Election Day, but few races are more than fictions. Sometimes the process is rigged to protect incumbents, sometimes to oust them, but maximizing competition and voter choice is never the goal when politicians get to draw the districts in which they or their friends will run. The result contributes to political polarization, since heavily Democratic districts tend to elect people far more liberal than average while heavily Republican districts tend to elect people far more conservative.

Really, I want to see elections in which the issues are being discussed and a choice is offered. I want to see an end to 96% reelection rates in Congress.I'm tired of one member of my household -- be it me or my wife, a partisan Democrat -- going into every election cycle knowing that there is no hope of electing a candidate to office becasue the lines were drawn to prevent it. Frankly, I want democracy to have a chance of working.

Both sides play the gerrymandering game -- and have since nearly the founding of our nation. But two centuries is enough. Slay the gerrymander.

|| Greg, 05:34 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Left's Math Problem

I always love it when the Left plays games with numbers. Take this example regarding polling data on affirmative action found in today's Detroit News.

But a January poll suggests a slim majority of Michigan voters support a ban on affirmative action in admissions and state hiring. A Detroit News poll conducted Jan. 7-12 of 400 registered voters found 64 percent of respondents favored a ban on affirmative action; 23 percent were opposed.

Now let's see here -- nearly two out of every three Michigan voters want to end affirmative action, and fewer than one in four want to keep it. Where I come from, that is not a "slim majority". In any election, those numbers would be considered a landslide.

Could we be seeing an example of "agenda driven math"?

|| Greg, 05:23 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 23, 2005

I Oppose The Miers Nomination

Many of us on the right side of the blogosphere have been speaking out against the Miers nomination. For a variety of reasons, we feel she does not merit elevation to the Suprem Court. Now N.Z. Bear of The Truth Laid Bear has made if possible for supporters and opponents to speak clearly on the issue, and to link together to be counted.

Why do I oppose this nomination? Let me offer you a series of links which explain.
The Miers Nomination
Miers And Gay Rights
Shouldn’t She Already Have This?
George W. Bush Is Clearly Delusional
EJ Dionne And Religious Tests
Is Miers Really The Best?
One More Voice Against Miers
I Am Unalterably Opposed
Mr. President -- Withdraw Miers Nomination
I Take Exception To Your taking Exception, Senator

If you read closely, you will see that my objections are not based upon her gender, her religion, or her failure to graduate from an Ivy league school. I do not question her skill as a lawyer. What I do have concerns about is Ms. Miers' lack of writings and speeches that indicate she is intimately familiar with the Constitutional issues of the day. She may be a first-rate intellect, but she does not have the right sort of experience for this particular position -- one that has a lifetime tenure. Given the lack of clarity as to what sort of judge she will be, I feel there is insufficient reason to support this nomination.

For that reason, I oppose the Miers nomination and hope for her withdrawal, or eventual rejection by the Senate.

(A great post from Confederate Yankee)

|| Greg, 05:38 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I Guess You Missed the Clinton Administration, Howard

Howard Dean has supplied us with more proof that he is delusional -- he seems to be completely unaware of the Clinton-era cesspool of corruption.

The Bush White House is the most corrupt administration in U.S. history since President Warren G. Harding's, said Howard Dean during his first visit to Maine as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Dean's comments Saturday came as top White House advisers are being investigated for their roles in the outing of a CIA operative and Tom DeLay, the former second-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, faces conspiracy and money-laundering charges.

"The first thing we're going to do is we're going to have ethics come back to Washington again," said Dean, the keynote speaker at Saturday night's annual fundraising dinner for the Maine Democratic Party at the Lewiston Armory.

To deal with the "culture of corruption," Dean said, there needs to be an ethics code in Congress and stronger campaign finance laws.

Would that code of ethics include no leaking of classified information that got someone killed? If so, then goodbye Senator Leahy.

Would it include the elimination of those who leave innocent women to drown while they go to sleep off the evening of drinking and plot a cover-up? Hasta la vista, Teddy.

How about those who allow their home to be used to run a prostitution service? Tho-long, Barney.

Perjury? Buh-bye, Mrs. Clinton.

I could go on, but you see the point.

More at Blogs for Bush, robwestcott, and In The Bullpen.

|| Greg, 05:15 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Rice Attends Memorial For Slain Friend

For those on the Left -- especially those in the black community who discount her blackness because she dares to espuse conservative principles -- this should serve as a reminder that Condoleezza Rice knows well just how far the nation has come as part of the struggle for civil rights, and exactly which people were and are the real enemies of African-Americans.

Forty-two years after the church bombing that killed four little girls and inflamed the civil rights movement, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice helped honor them Saturday by recalling one of the victims as a friend with whom she played with dolls and sang in musicals.

On the second day of a trip to highlight the civil rights era as an example for countries struggling to achieve democracy, Ms. Rice and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw of Britain visited the 16th Street Baptist Church, where the bombings occurred, and watched as plaques honoring the girls were unveiled.

"As God would have it, they were at Sunday school when America experienced homegrown terrorists of the worst sort," Ms. Rice said in an emotional ceremony at a park across the street from the church, which was bombed in 1963. In her speech, she sought to connect her childhood in the segregated South to her work as the first African-American woman to be the nation's top diplomat.

"It was meant to shatter our spirit," she said of the bombing. "It was meant to say that we shouldn't rise up. Just a few weeks after Dr. Martin Luther King said, 'I have a dream,' it was meant to tell us that, no, we didn't have a dream, and that dream was going to be denied."

For listeners, particularly Mr. Straw and visiting Britons, the ceremony was a reminder of how much had changed since the city of Ms. Rice's birth was known as "Bombingham," when it was inconceivable that someone from her tight-knit, middle-class, churchgoing community could rise to such prominence.

Four little girls were murdered that day, by those who would stand in the way of the dream of freedom and equality that was and is at the heart of what it means to be an American. They were Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair.

"Denise was my friend," Ms. Rice said. "We played together, we sang together in little musicals. We were children together, and we played with dolls. And that picture of Denise with the dolls will always be near and dear to my heart."

And I would argue that contributions made to this country by Dr. Condoleezza Rice stands as one of the great memorials to her friend -- and to all who sacrificed and died so that she could rise to the place she is today. Those who dishonor her dishonor them and that cause.

And would someone please get the editors at the New York Times a copy of their own stylebook -- given that the Secretary of State has an earned doctorate, it is inappropriate to refer to her as "Ms. Rice".

(UPDATE: Gene Robinson of the Washington Post writes a different sort of view about Rice's visit to Alabama.)

|| Greg, 12:16 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 22, 2005

Democrat -- A Synonym For Corruption

Look what Quinnipac found in New Jersey. People think that the Democrats are corrupt.

Most of you think corruption in government is a serious problem in New Jersey. According to the latest poll from Quinnipiac University, 92 percent of you think it’s a serious problem in this state.

But more people think Democrats are the most corrupt according to the findings of the Quinnipiac poll. Half of the people responding to the poll said they associate government corruption to the Democratic Party. Is it no wonder?

Democrats like Bob Torricelli, Jim McGreevey, Charles Kushner, Gary Taffet, Paul Levinsohn, Roger Chugh, David D’Amiano, Golan Cipel, William Watley, Lesly Devereaux, Robert Janiszewski and Anthony Impreveduto head up the long list of recent Democrats caught in a long run of scandals tied to corruption in recent years.

Oh don’t think Republicans are immune, but only 22 percent of respondents in the polls said they associate corruption to the GOP.

That is interesting data, days away from a gubernatorial election.

Oh there’s no doubt about it. Corruption is a serious problem in the Garden State and its growing like a weed.

There is a very telling aspect to the Quinnipiac poll - Forrester wins in the eyes of voters as a person who is part of the solution in ridding the state of corruption.

Bad news for Corzine. More people - 43 percent - think Corzine is part of the problem when it comes to corruption, while 42 percent think he can solve the problem.

The old teeter totter is in play.

More people are convinced Forrester can solve the state’s problems. Forrester continues to win the confidence of voters in the poll as the man who can tackle out-of-control property taxes. Forrester continues to win the confidence of voters in the poll as the man who can tackle corruption.

The upshot of this? Expect a Forrester win on November 8.

|| Greg, 08:13 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

What About This Illegal Leak?

The Donks are all up in arm over the leak in the Plame/Wilson Affair and want prosecution of anyone they fantasize was involved -- even invoke the word "treason" despite the fact that no actions defined as treason under Article III of the Constitution are alleged.

But what about the OTHER leak in that happened -- the one the anti-American Bush-hating Let revels in and does not want investigated. The one that FItzgeralsd seems to have ignored.

You know. This one.

But there was another big leak that no one seems to care about: the leak of the CIA's referral to the Justice Department concerning the Plame matter. That second disclosure, perhaps even more than the initial leak, set off the chain of events that resulted in the naming of a special prosecutor and finds us now anticipating indictments of senior White House officials.

Some additional relevant details: The CIA referral to the Justice Department was classified, an intelligence source tells The Weekly Standard. Anyone who disclosed the existence of the referral and described its contents broke the law. The agency, however, has thus far refused to send a referral to the Justice Department that could result in an investigation into the source and effects of that leak. Why? An intelligence source tells The Weekly Standard that there are limits--of time and manpower--to how many such referrals the CIA can make. Perhaps. But there's another possible explanation: The second leak came from the CIA itself, and lawyers there are reluctant to call for an investigation for fear of what such an investigation might reveal.

On Friday, September 26, 2003, NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell and MSNBC's Alex Johnson broke a big story on the MSNBC website. "The CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations that the White House broke federal laws by revealing the identity of one of its undercover employees in retaliation against the woman's husband, a former ambassador who publicly criticized President Bush's since-discredited claim that Iraq had sought weapons-grade uranium from Africa, NBC News has learned."

So if we are going to investigate leaks of classified material related to the CIA, let's investigate. Call Mitchell and Johnson before teh grand jury and jail them if they refuse to divulge their sources. Call every CIA employee who has ever been within 50 feet of the referral. Let's find out who the leakers are and prosecute them -- and anyone who withholds information or makes a false statement -- and (to use Joe Wilson's colorful phrase) "frog-march them " out of Langley before the waiting media.

Or, as I suspect, out of the Wilson residence.

And since the Left seems to think that leaks in this case constitute treason, let's make that the charge. After all, the Left really is out to help America's enemies.

|| Greg, 08:09 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are A Sketch History of U.S. Military Bases in the Middle East: The Overthrow of Mossadegh by The Glittering Eye, and Iraqis Preparing to Decide... by Iraq the Model. A The Watcher of Weasels has the full results of the vote.

|| Greg, 01:33 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Lying Democrat Completes Degree -- Over A Decade Late

Carol Alvarado was elected to Houston City Council in 2001. Since Houston elections are officially non-partisan, I won't tag her with a party label -- but I will note she is a former staffer for Congressman Gene Green (D-Houston).

She claimed to have a bachelor's degree in political science, awarded in 1992.

Guess what -- she didn't. In fact, the degree appears to have awarded much more recently. Like since her opponent exposed the fact that she had not graduated -- as of Thursday, October 20, 2005.

Houston City Councilwoman Carol Alvarado on Friday received a college degree she has claimed for years, after clearing up what she called a "technical oversight" that had kept her a step from the sheepskin.

The councilwoman said she believed she had a degree until her November election opponent released University of Houston documents showing she did not graduate.

Late Friday afternoon, however, in response to a Houston Chronicle request under the Texas Open Records Act, the university released "directory information" showing that Carol Ann Alvarado was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.

It did not give a date for the degree, and a university spokesman and one of its lawyers said the school was prohibited from providing additional information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

"We are limited by FERPA as to what information we can provide the public, the media, anyone," said UH spokesman Eric Gerber.

Alvarado said she would provide the university a release allowing it to hand out additional information, but that was not possible by close of business Friday.

"I acknowledged earlier today that there had been a technical oversight, and after talking to them this afternoon, it's been resolved," Alvarado said.

In voter's guide information submitted to the Chronicle when she first ran for City Council in 2001, 2003 and this year, Alvarado says she attended UH from 1987 to 1992 and received her degree. Her City Council Web site and campaign literature also list the degree.

Alvarado's District I opponent, lawyer John Parras, said Friday he began looking into Alvarado's educational credentials after an anonymous tipster left a message on his campaign office phone that she had not graduated.

"As a lawyer, I decided to investigate and share the information with my campaign supporters. I personally went to UH to get written verification," said Parras. "I was shocked when I learned that it was true."

The UH verification documents, dated Thursday, say that Alvarado attended the college of social sciences from 1987 through 1992. "The student intends to pursue a degree, however has not yet formally declared a major and degree objective," the document states, adding it reflected Alvarado's academic record as of Thursday.

In other words, Alvarado has falsely claimed to be a college graduate for years.

But I have an additional question. How is it that Alvarado was awarded a degree at this late date? Most colleges and universities require that degrees be earned within a specific timeframe. Students are also required to meet the requirements of the program that existed when they started their academic work (or at some other point during their academic career). Course credits are generally held to be "stale" after a certain point, and no longer count towards graduation. Were rules bent or broken on behalf of a local political figure?

Let's look at the rules as they are written now at UH.

Some of the current rules at UH are as follows:

1. A catalog more than seven years old shall not be used.

So tell me -- was Alvarado's degree awarded under the old catalog or the new catalog? Does she have the appropriate credits to meet the current graduation requirements? Or was she allowed to graduate using the old degree requirements -- in violation of this published policy?

2. The programs of students who interrupt their enrollment at the University of Houston for more than 13 months shall be governed by the catalog in effect at the time of the students' reentrance to the university. For these purposes, enrollment is defined as registration for and successful completion of at least one three-semester-hour course during a semester or summer session. Students forced to withdraw for adequate cause before completion of a course may petition the dean of the college of their major for a waiver of this provision at the time of withdrawal.

It is clear that Alvarado could not have met this requirement in less than 24 hours, as it would have been impossible for her to enroll in and complete a 3-hour semester course in that time. Furthermore, there can be no waiver because she did not make the request when she ceased attending UH in 1992 -- and there would have been no adequate cause for granting one.

It would therefore appear that Alvarado's degree -- obviously awarded on October 21, 2005 -- was awarded fraudulently and in violation of University regulations published in the school's catalog and on its own website. Furthermore, it is likely that the awarding of the degree violates state law, given the fact that UH is a state university and the awarding of degrees by post-secondary institutions (both public and private) are highly regulated by the state of Texas.

It sounds to me like there is a need for an investigation of the falsification of records that underlies the irregular awarding of this fake degree by the University of Houston to Carol Alvarado.

And Houston voters, please take note -- she has been lying to you for years. Don't let her get away with it any longer.

UPDATE: At least two local Democrats have tried to spin this one in a way that minimizes the importance of this case of academic fraud and resume padding. Greg of Greg's Opinion (good name for a blogger and a blog, if I may say) tries to argue that following the rules and completing the degree requirements to graduate was not that important at the time he and Alvarado attended UH, so claiming a degree one did not earn is no big deal. Dos Centavos implies that bringing up the failure of Alvarado to complete all requirements for her degree and then deceiving the public for over a decade is really nothing more than a racist move to discredit the accomplisment of Latinos. I wonder if they would feel the way if this were Tom DeLay's degree that were in question?

UPDATE -- 10/25/05: Alvarado's opponent, John Parras, still wants her resignation, UH Regent Morgan Dunn O'Connor wants the political influence question investigated, but Mayor Bill White still backs her.)

(10/22/05 -- I'm linking this to several "Open Trackback" posts around the web. Welcome to visitors from Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, MacStansbury, Cafe Oregano, Basil's Blog, Adam's Blog, Mudville Gazette, Publius Rendevous, Obligatory Anecdotes, Indepundit, The Political Teen, TMH's Bacon Bits, Vince Aut Morire, Two Babes and a Brain, Point Five, and My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.)

|| Greg, 10:11 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

"Letters To The Editor" To Note

The Washington Post has a pair of great letters today about the potential for FEC destruction of blogs like this one.

The first is from Jerry Berman, President of the Center for Democracy and Technology.

The Post is right to be concerned about a proposed campaign finance bill that exempts Internet communications from the spending limits and other rules that apply in the "offline" world ["Cyber Loophole," editorial, Oct. 11]. The scenario of a deep-pocketed donor making an end run around federal spending limits by funding a candidate's Internet advertising operation is certainly possible.

But the solution the editorial offered -- leaving it to the Federal Election Commission to apply campaign finance laws to the Internet -- is a blunderbuss that will squelch political speech by individuals spending little or no money. The FEC lacks the authority to adequately protect small online speakers while regulating big money


The Internet is the most powerful tool for political discourse since the printing press. If the FEC is forced to apply existing law, ordinary individuals will be subjected to reporting requirements and other burdens suited to organized (and usually well-heeled) political operations. How many will abandon their valuable discourse to avoid running afoul of federal law?

Congress has no choice but to get involved. New federal rules should be crafted to address abuses by big money while protecting the rights of individuals to use the Internet to its fullest potential.

Center for Democracy and Technology

Now my only problem with Berman's letter is that it seems to accept the notion that political speech is exempt from First Amendment protection -- you know, that "Congress shall make no law" thing that comes right at the beginning of the Bill of Rights. Frankly, who cares if some wealthy individual uses his money to buy ads for the candidate of his choice. That is, after all, how it is supposed to work -- the unfettered marketplace of ideas.

The other comes from Adam C. Bonin, who is the attorney for Atrios and Kos -- two voices I believe to be wrong much of the time but which I would still prefer not to see squelched (heck -- the Daily Kos and its commenters are one of the most powerful arguments in favor of conservatism out htere).

It would be wonderful if the Federal Election Commission could, as The Post hopes, rewrite its regulations to protect the free-speech rights of bloggers and to subject Internet advertising to the rules that govern other media.

Unfortunately, since my clients (prominent liberal bloggers) testified before the FEC in June, the commission has dropped to five members and now seems incapable of forming a consensus on these issues. Moreover, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has recommended that the president replace as many as four commissioners whose terms are expiring with pro-regulation allies.

As the 2006 primaries approach, it is questionable whether a newly constituted FEC will have the time or expertise to enact the regulations The Post seeks.

A blanket exemption of the Internet from the definition of public communications, on the other hand, would preserve the flourishing status quo. In 2004 a vibrant blogosphere empowered millions of citizens to influence national politics, leveling the effect of wealth on the electoral process. The low costs of entry, ease of use and infinite bandwidth of the Internet stand as a counterweight to political action committees and other entrenched interests. This citizen participation, however, would be chilled by poorly drafted or complex regulations designed to thwart a threat that remains theoretical.

A temporary exemption would allow Congress and the FEC to determine what problems may require intervention as the medium grows. In the meantime, why rush to regulate for 2006 that which caused no problem in 2004?


I'm in much closer agreement here, though I am again disturbed by the fact that Bonin still accepts the notion that Congress can and should be regulating political speech at all.

Like I said -- I agree with the position taken by these guys tha thte FEC should keep its hands of the Internet as we approach the 2006 elections. However, what part of "CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW" do these men fail to understand?

I'll say it right now -- I'm blogging in 2006, and right on through 2008 and beyond. The First Amendment is my authority to do so. I'll stop only if jailed -- or if the federal government so thoroughly exceeds its delegated powers that it finds a way to keep me off the a government-censored Internet.

At which point the Second Amendment comes into play, as intended by the Founders.

|| Greg, 09:28 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I Take Exception To Your taking Exception, Senator

Senator John Cornyn is upset about comments made by Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter regarding Harriet Miers, her lack of qualifications for the Supreme Court, and her incomplete and inadequate response to the questions sent to her by the committee.

Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican on the Judiciary Committee and a former judge, took exception on Friday to comments by Senator Arlen Specter, the committee chairman, that Harriet E. Miers, the Supreme Court nominee, needed a "crash course on constitutional law."

Mr. Cornyn, on Capitol Hill with a group of lawyers from Texas who support her confirmation, said, "I personally find that not only false but condescending and really inappropriate."

He did not name Mr. Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, but referred to "this myth that some have propagated about this nominee that somehow she needs to take time off to cram, to get prepared or to essentially take Constitutional Law 101."

In an interview, Mr. Specter said Mr. Cornyn was "entitled to his opinion."

If you had told me a year ago that I would side with Specter against my own senator on the issue of a Bush Supreme Court nominee, I would have busted a gut laughing. But now I find myself in precisely such a situation -- watching Specter defending the integrity of the SUpreme Court and the Constitution while my own senator -- a many who I respect and eagerly campaigned for in 2002 because of his judicial experience and support for proper constitutional principles -- is backing the president's appointment of an underqualified crony to the highest court in the land.

John -- this long-time GOP activist takes exception to your taking exception to the criticism of Harriet Miers. The time has long passed for you (and the president) to quit standing up for Ms. Miers simply because she is your friend. I had expected better of you.

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

A Step Too Far

I see the arguments for both sides of the "secret detention" policy that has been adopted with regard to captured terrorists. I understand the need for secrecy, but am troubled by the potential for abuse of the power.

But in the case of this Australian law, I see a government going a step too far.

Proposed legislation in Australia would make it a crime for one parent to tell the other that their child had been detained under anti-terror laws, a report says.

If a youth aged between 16 and 18 was detained, one parent would be informed and allowed to visit for two hours daily during the detention, which could last for two weeks without charge, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

But if the chosen parent was the father, for example, and he told the mother where the child was, he could be jailed for up to five years.

The opposition Labor Party's spokesman for homeland security, Arch Bevis, scorned the proposal.

"The idea that one parent could see their child and then somehow be fined or imprisoned for telling the other parent is absurd."

Yeah, I'd have to agree with that assessment. Not only that, it is fundamentally immoral to drive that sort of wedge between a husband and wife. And besides, i a parent is such a security risk, then he or she probably ought to be in jail on terrorism charges as well -- especially if they have permitted their kid to be a part of such a group.

I think that the absurdity of the policy was pointed out nicely by the spokesman for the opposition Labour Party.

Using Prime Minister John Howard and his wife Janette as an example, Bevis said: "I suspect Janette would be pretty demanding of John to find out where the kids were. And I'd hazard a guess that John might even buckle under the pressure."

I'd have to agree -- and I'm pretty sure that george would tell Laura.

|| Greg, 08:41 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 21, 2005

Disturbing Words – Disturbing Reality

Am I the only one disturbed by the opening paragraph of this story in the Washington Post?

A 10th-grade student in southern Prince George's County who allegedly attacked a biology teacher with a baseball bat during a class this week faces expulsion and possible criminal prosecution, a school system spokesman said yesterday.

Did you see that – “possible criminal prosecution”? What the hell is this “possible” crap? A teacher was physically assaulted with a deadly weapon in his classroom by a student. If this creep were to have done this to a random person on the street there would be no question of prosecution and he would already be some career criminal’s new girlfriend. Instead, we get this report.

According to [Prince George's schools spokesman John] White, the male student entered a biology classroom about 1 p.m. Wednesday and allegedly attacked the teacher in front of other students shortly before the class was to be dismissed. A witness said the assailant wore a ski mask, according to the Associated Press.

The suspect had been enrolled in a biology class with the teacher, but not during that period.

White said campus security officers caught the student as he was fleeing the classroom. He was questioned and released to his parents.

White said the teacher was treated at Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton for bumps and bruises, including injuries to the face, head, shoulders and hands. The teacher was released late Wednesday and was recuperating at home, White said.

White declined to identify the student or the teacher. He said the teacher was a 28-year veteran of the school system who had been at Gwynn Park for more than a decade.

"It's unfortunate and unexpected," White said. "It's not a routine occurrence. That's why it's shocking."

WJLA television identified the teacher as Dario Valcarcel, who was listed on a school Web site as a science faculty member.

The school principal did not return a telephone call for comment. Messages left at a residential phone number for Valcarcel were not immediately returned.

Look at the stuff I put in bold there. “Injuries to the face, head, shoulders and hands” – in other words, an assault designed to incapacitate and/or kill Mr. Valcarcel and injuries sustained as he attempted to defend himself from what could reasonably be classified as ATTEMPTED MURDER. But all that happened to the perpetrator was being sent home with mommy and daddy! Why were the police not called in immediately so that an investigation could begin immediately and would-be killer arrested on the spot?

And you will notice the little bit at the end of the article about neither the principal nor the teacher responding o telephone calls seeking comment. My guess is that there will be none, at least if things operate as they do in my district. Only the district spokesperson and superintendent are permitted to speak to the media – we are even required to wear a little card along with our IDs that tell us that in the event of media contact we are required to report the matter to our supervisor, who will then contact our district spokesperson. The card also gives us the sum total of what we are allowed to say to the media under such circumstances – “You need to speak to the director of communications, Olga Obfuscation. Her cell phone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX.” Any further comment is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

How long will it be until teacher safety is taken seriously in this country? Why are reports to the police not automatic and immediate? Why the secrecy surrounding incidents in the schools – like the one several years ago in my district in which an assistant principal was knifed breaking up a fight (fortunately with no serious harm)? Will it be necessary for another teacher to be driven from the classroom from Post-Traumatic Stress, to be permanently disabled, or to be killed?

Do we as educators need to speak out to raise the issue more clearly? Or will it take a nationwide walkout for teacher safety – and I ask that as a teacher in a state where such actions are illegal and grounds for both termination and sanctions against our certification.

Or are we just expected to continue be low-paid functionaries whose safety is irrelevant to our employers?

(10/22/05 -- I'm linking this to several "Open Trackback" posts around the web. Welcome to visitors from Cao's Blog, Jo's Cafe, MacStansbury, Cafe Oregano, Basil's Blog, Adam's Blog, Mudville Gazette, Publius Rendevous, Obligatory Anecdotes, Indepundit, The Political Teen, TMH's Bacon Bits, Vince Aut Morire, Two Babes and a Brain, Point Five, and My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.)

» Watcher of Weasels links with: The Council Has Spoken!

|| Greg, 04:39 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (11) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

God Protects His Own

They tried to kill John Leonard for preaching the Gospel in Brazil.

They failed.

And even though he is still paralyzed, he is still on fire for Christ.

Back in June, WHO-TV 13 told you about John Leonard. The local missionary was clinging to life at Methodist Medical Center after assassins tried to kill him in Brazil. Leonard is still virtually paralyzed from the neck down, but Wednesday night he was able to attend his church's missions conference.

"I was supposed to be in the hospital for six months. I got out in less than three," said Leonard. It was a shorter than expected hospital stay, which is just one of hundreds of miracles John Leonard has witnessed in the past few months. He wasn't supposed to be here with his family and his church family Wednesday night. If the assassins who shot him had accomplished what they set out to do, John wouldn't be alive.

"God closed one door. He opens another," said Leonard. Leonard built five churches in Brazil and carried the message of salvation to the masses. He took two bullets and is too humble to retire. "I didn't wanna just lay around the rest of my life. I wanted somethin' to do," Leonard says.

John inspires people and he has some advice for anyone who's ever risked their life for a career they felt called to do. "Put it on the scale and weigh it, but if your heart is into it, follow your heart," he says.

Remember -- men and women have died for the Gospel of 2000 years -- and are still facing martyrdom for the faith today. Pray for those sent by Christ into the Father's vinyard.

Hat Tip -- PersecutionBlog

|| Greg, 05:29 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 20, 2005

I Love It!

Democrats and the Media have been waiting for the "perp walk" of Congressman Tom Delay.

And he scammed them all.

Instead of goint to be booked in Austin or in his hometown of Sugarland, DeLay went instead to the Harris County Jail and had himself booked at that facility -- which was perfedtly legal under the law.

That left the reporters with nothing to cover, since they were in Fort Bend County while the deed was done in the heart of Houston!

U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay's booking photograph on conspiracy and money-laundering charges Thursday looked more like a campaign glossy than the mug shot of someone accused of felonies preparing to make his first court appearance.

DeLay wears a suit and a winning smile. There are no height hash marks in the background, no numbers across the chest of the Sugar Land Republican.

It is a picture that looks as if it could have been taken in any driver's license or passport office in Texas, rather than the Harris County Sheriff's Office. For one thing, the sheriff's office no longer uses number slates. Fingerprints are inkless, too. And DeLay brought a politician's charm to a serious situation.

"We've had people smile even though it's a booking photo, but we certainly don't tell people to smile," said spokesman Lt. John Martin. "That's entirely up to them."

Maneuvering over DeLay's booking and the public images it would produce was the latest rumble in three weeks of hardball legal activity mixed with public relations.

DeLay's lawyers have tried to make Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle look like an inept and unethical partisan prosecutor while Earle demanded that DeLay be treated like a common criminal before coming to court today.

And Tom, that is a fantastic picture. I agree with political scientist larry Sabato, who says you could use this on campaign material. I've met you a number of times over the years, and have never seen you look so good or smile so wide. If the Democrats want to use that shot for political puroses, they will really have to doctor it up.

|| Greg, 11:37 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Mr. President -- Withdraw Miers Nomination

Coming back from teaching my night class this evening, my father and I had a discussion of the Harriet Miers nomination. We've not talked about this nominee up until now, but I was not at all surprised to find that neither of us is enthused about the pick.

During the course of the conversation, I realized that there are a lot more reasons for rejecting Miers that have come to light in just the last few days.

At one key juncture after another, Miers has faltered where Roberts glided. Her courtesy calls on the Judiciary Committee's top two senators prompted conflicting tales of curious comments that she may or may not have made. Her answers to the committee's questionnaire included a misinterpretation of constitutional law and were deemed so inadequate that the panel asked her to redo it. She revealed one day that her D.C. law license had been temporarily suspended -- and said the next day that the same thing had happened in Texas -- because of unpaid dues.

Now I'm told that ther edues issue is not a big deal -- especially since they are often handled by the lawyer's firm rathat than the lawyer, and that most government lawyers in DC are not members of the DC Bar. But it is the cummulative effect of these missteps that is troubling. Harriet Miers has, quite bluntly, failed to look competent.

Mr. President -- Harriet Miers is no doubt a wonderful human being and a great friend. She is also, in my estimation, a fine lawyer. But she has been a bad pick from Day One. Now she appears to be in a free-fall. Withdraw the nomination, please, and find another individual to fill this vacancy.

Not just for the sake of the country.

But also for the sake of your friend.

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

October 19, 2005

A World Series For Houston!

At last, the Houston Astros make the World Series.

And after a season that began 15-30, no less!

Finally. After 44 years of waiting.

The Astros reached the team's first World Series with a 4-2 NLCS series victory after dominating the St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 in Game 6 tonight.

Houston leads 5-1 tonight after Morgan Ensberg singled in Craig Biggio for a seventh inning score of 5-1. Adam Everett's suicide squeeze scored Chris Burke in the sixth inning for a 4-1 lead for the Astros.

St. Louis' only score came on pinch-hitter John Rodriguez's sacrifice fly to center, scoring Mark Grudzielanek in the fifth inning to cut Houston's lead to 3-1.

Earlier, Jason Lane's solo home run in the fourth inning gave Houston a 3-0.

Tonight's scoring opened when St. Louis starter Mark Mulder's wild pitch allowed Brad Ausmus a run in the top of the third. Next up was Craig Biggio who singled in Adam Everett for a 2-0 lead.

Houston sent Roy Oswalt to the mound against lefthander Mulder.

Houston fans have watched the Astros get close many times, moving within one victory of the World Series in 1980 and again last year. The 1986 Astros also came close, although that club didn't have the NLCS lead the 1980 and 2004 Astros lost.

In the franchise's 44th season, Oswalt and Co. provided the ending nobody could have expected in June. They gave the city of Houston the celebration it expected Monday night, last year and in 1980.

Hurrah, boys -- I wish you the best.

And on a sadder note, farewell to Busch Stadium from this former St. Louisan.

|| Greg, 10:28 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Few Words On The Origin Of Life From The Dalai Lama

We keep hearing about how Christians are trying to impose "their view" on everyone else in the current discussion/controversey over including discussion of Intelligent Design in the classroom.

Interestingly enough, the Dalai Lama -- no right-wing Christian -- has some words on the subject that the open-minded might find enlightening.

In his new book, The Universe in a Single Atom, the Dalai Lama warns readers about the consequences of seeing people as “the products of pure chance in the random combination of genes.” This materialistic account is “an invitation to nihilism and spiritual poverty.” Correct.

He writes that “the view that all aspects of reality can be reduced to matter and its various particles is . . . as much a metaphysical position as the view that an organizing intelligence created and controls reality.” What’s more, he insists that both “are legitimate interpretations of science.”

So, my dear evolutionist friends, look whose words clearly support the presentation of Intelligent Design -- the most respected Buddhist leader and champion of human rights alive today.

|| Greg, 10:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Give These Folks Their Visas

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I have no patience for illegal immigrants, especially those who demand the right to stay here.

But here is a group that has followed the rules, cooperated with the authorities, and has a reasonable expectation under the law for being granted visas.

But the delay is now somewhere around five years, because immigration authorities have not yet complete the Byzantine process of writing regulations and creating paperwork.

A group of illegal immigrants who were victims of violent crimes sued the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday, demanding that immigration authorities issue them visas for cooperating with law enforcement.

Under a law passed in 2000, illegal immigrants are eligible for visas if they help law enforcement agencies in the investigation or prosecution of some crimes, including rape, domestic violence, murder and human trafficking. The visas would enable them to work and live in the United States without fear of deportation — and to apply for permanent residency after three years.

"It is outrageous and unconscionable that five years after the Crime Victims Act was passed by Congress, the government has not even issued an application form for crime victims to apply for visas," Peter Schey, the lead attorney for the nine immigrants in the suit, said at a news conference. "As a result, thousands of violent crimes continue to go unreported because immigrants are reluctant to cooperate with police, fearing they will be deported."

The suit was filed in federal court in Los Angeles, and the plaintiffs are from California, Texas and Arizona. Their attorneys are from three Southern California organizations that provide services to immigrants.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acknowledged Tuesday that none of the special "U visas" for crime victims have been issued anywhere in the country because the department was hammering out the procedures. Spokesman Bill Strassberger said he did not know when the agency would finish writing the regulations but stressed that it was "not on the back burner" and that they needed to be "thorough, concise and clear."

"It's unfortunate that it's been a long time," Strassberger said. The potential visa "is a good law enforcement tool. But before we get the regulations out, they need to be properly written."

No. You know what the intent of Congress. Act upon it. Now.

And in the mean time, normalize the status of those cooperating aliens who have documented their assistance to law enforcement and who have no crimes outside of their immigration related violations.

It’s the right thing to do.

|| Greg, 09:33 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Liberal Hypocrisy

Don't you love it when some member of the Left displays multiple hypocrisies in one piece of writing? Here's a new entry in the "how hypocritical can I be" sweepstakes. It also qualifies as one of the most hateful pieces I've read of late, outside of comments at DU, Kos or AmericaBlog.

Who are you to judge? Who are you to say that the more than slightly creepy 39-year-old woman from Arkansas who just gave birth to her 16th child yes that's right 16 kids and try not to cringe in phantom vaginal pain when you say it, who are you to say Michelle Duggar is not more than a little unhinged and sad and lost?

And furthermore, who are you to suggest that her equally troubling husband -- whose name is, of course, Jim Bob and he's hankerin' to be a Republican senator and try not to wince in sociopolitical pain when you say that -- isn't more than a little numb to the real world, and that bringing 16 hungry mewling attention-deprived kids (and she wants more! Yay!) into this exhausted world zips right by "touching" and races right past "disturbing" and lurches its way, heaving and gasping and sweating from the karmic armpits, straight into "Oh my God, what the hell is wrong with you people?"

But that would be, you know, mean. Mean and callous to suggest that this might be the most disquieting photo you see all year, this bizarre Duggar family of 18 spotless white hyperreligious interchangeable people with alarmingly bad hair, the kids ranging in ages from 1 to 17, worse than those nuked Smurfs in that UNICEF commercial and worse than all the horrific rubble in Pakistan and worse than the cluster-bomb nightmare that is Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise having a child as they suck the skin from each other's Scientological faces and even worse than that huge 13-foot python which ate that six-foot alligator and then exploded.

It's wrong to be this judgmental. Wrong to suggest that it is exactly this kind of weird pathological protofamily breeding-happy gluttony that's making the world groan and cry and recoil, contributing to vicious overpopulation rates and unrepentant economic strain and a bitter moral warpage resulting from a massive viral outbreak of homophobic neo-Christians across our troubled and Bush-ravaged land. Or is it?

Is it wrong to notice how all the Duggar kids' names start with the letter J (Jeremiah and Josiah and Jedediah and Jesus, someone please stop them), and that if you study the above photo (or the even more disturbing family Web site) too closely you will become rashy and depressed and you will crave large quantities of alcohol and loud aggressive music to deflect the creeping feeling that this planet is devolving faster than you can suck the contents from a large bong? But I'm not judging.

I have a friend who used to co-babysit (yes, it required two sitters) for a family of 10 kids, and she reports that they were, almost without fail, manic and hyper and bewildered and attention deprived in the worst way, half of them addicted to prescription meds to calm their neglected nerves and the other half bound for years of therapy due to complete loss of having the slightest clue as to who they actually were, lost in the family crowd, just another blank, needy face at the table. Is this the guaranteed affliction for every child of very large families? Of course not. But I'm guessing it's more common than you imagine.

What's more, after the 10th kid popped out, the family doctor essentially prohibited the baby-addicted mother from having any more offspring, considering the pummeling endured by her various matronly systems, and it's actually painful to imagine the logistics, the toll on Michelle Duggar's body, the ravages it has endured to give birth to roughly one child per year for nearly two decades, and you cannot help but wonder about her body and its various biological and sexual ... no, no, it is not for this space to visualize frighteningly capacious vaginal dimensions. It is not for this space to imagine this couple's soggy sexual mutations. We do not have enough wine on hand for that.
Perhaps the point is this: Why does this sort of bizarre hyperbreeding only seem to afflict antiseptic megareligious families from the Midwest? In other words -- assuming Michelle and Jim Bob and their massive brood of cookie-cutter Christian kidbots will all be, as the charming photo suggests, never allowed near a decent pair of designer jeans or a tolerable haircut from a recent decade, and assuming that they will all be tragically encoded with the values of the homophobic asexual Christian right -- where are the forces that shall help neutralize their effect on the culture? Where is the counterbalance, to offset the damage?

Where is, in other words, the funky tattooed intellectual poetess who, along with her genius anarchist husband, is popping out 16 funky progressive intellectually curious fashion-forward pagan offspring to answer the Duggar's squad of über-white future Wal-Mart shoppers? Where is the liberal, spiritualized, pro-sex flip side? Verily I say unto thee, it ain't lookin' good.

Perhaps this the scariest aspect of our squishy birthin' tale: Maybe the scales are tipping to the neoconservative, homogenous right in our culture simply because they tend not to give much of a damn for the ramifications of wanton breeding and environmental destruction and pious sanctimony, whereas those on the left actually seem to give a whit for the health of the planet and the dire effects of overpopulation. Is that an oversimplification?

Why does this sort of thoughtfulness seem so far from the norm? Why is having a stadiumful of offspring still seen as some sort of happy joyous thing?
You already know why. It is the Biggest Reason of All. Children are, after all, God's little gifts. Kids are little blessings from the Lord, the Almighty's own screaming spitballs of joy. Hell, Jim Bob said so himself, when asked if the couple would soon be going for a 17th rug rat: "We both just love children and we consider each a blessing from the Lord. I have asked Michelle if she wants more and she said yes, if the Lord wants to give us some she will accept them." This is what he actually said. And God did not strike him dead on the spot.

Let us be clear: I don't care what sort of God you believe in, it's a safe bet that hysterical breeding does not top her list of desirables. God does not want more children per acre than there are ants or mice or garter snakes or repressed pedophilic priests. We already have three billion humans on the planet who subsist on less than two dollars a day. Every other child in the world (one billion of them) lives in abject poverty. We are burning through the planet's resources faster than a Republican can eat an endangered caribou stew. Note to Michelle Duggar: If God wanted you to have a massive pile of children, she'd have given your uterus a hydraulic pump and a revolving door. Stop it now.

Ah, but this is America, yes? People should be allowed to do whatever the hell they want with their families if they can afford it and if it's within the law and so long as they aren't gay or deviant or happily flouting Good Christian Values, right? Shouldn't they? Hell, gay couples still can't openly adopt a baby in most states (they either lie, or one adopts and the other must apply as "co-parent"), but Michelle Duggar can pop out 16 kids and no one says, oh my freaking God, stop it, stop it now, you thoughtless, selfish, baby-drunk people.

No, no one says that. That would be mean.

So let's consider this.

We have a supposedly "pro-choice" individual daring to object to the reproductive choices made by a woman and praising a doctor in another case who "essentially prohibited the baby-addicted mother from having any more offspring". Tell me, where are your pro-choice ethics, Mark -- especially since you are a man,, which makes you ineligible to even comment on a woman's reproductive choices according to the feminists?

We have religious bigotry shining through. After all, you repeatedly hit at the religious beliefs of the "homophobic neo-Christians" who have large families. What, you object to people living out their religious beliefs, and seek to enforce your own? Your intolerance is shining through, you hypocritical liberal! Especially when you have the audacity to inform them of what the God they believe in wants of them -- I thought that telling others what God wants was a no-no in the non-judgmental Leftist handbook.

And, of course, there are the gratuitous comments about the race of the family, as well as the politics, the insults about the parenting skills and even the gratuitous comments about the children having names that start with the letter J.

But I know you cannot help yourself -- because far from being open-minded and non-judgmental, liberals are usually among the most judgmental people in the world, judging those who dare to disagree with them as evil, selfish, hateful and mean-spirited. Unfortunately, such terms tend to be much more reflective of the liberal mindset, as you have demonstrated today.

And certainly the columnist who wrote the above is among the most judgmental SOBs in the Liberal fold.

|| Greg, 09:32 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Indian Official Assassinated

Ghulam Nabi Lone, education minister of India's Jammu and Kashmir state, was murdered yesterday. I wonder who could be responsible for the killing What does the Washington Post have to say about the matter?

Islamic militants shot and killed a local government minister in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Tuesday, part of a surge of recent violence that has dampened hopes for a new era of peace and cooperation in the disputed province following the massive earthquake that devastated the area on Oct. 8.

Ghulam Nabi Lone, education minister of India's Jammu and Kashmir state, was shot inside his home in the highly protected Tulsi Bagh neighborhood in the state's summer capital of Srinagar. His killing came just days after 10 members of two Hindu families were slain by militants in another part of the state.

I guess there is no rest for the "Religion of Peace" in the earthquake-stricken region -- and that it does not matter if you are a governemtn official or a family in your home.

But the excerpt above does leave me asking a question -- why can't the Washington Post bring itself to label these so-called "militants" as the terrorists thye really are?

|| Greg, 05:26 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 18, 2005

Gangs Planned Violence, Civil Rights Suppression

One ignorant Leftie commenter has accused me of racist stereotyping for daring to suggest that the riot in Toledo over the weekend was the work of black gangs.

Well guess what – the police in Toledo think so, too!

In the days leading up to the scheduled neo-Nazi rally in North Toledo, police gathered intelligence that gang members would be present and do something if they had the opportunity.

No specifics were mentioned, but police prepared for retaliation by gang members and their associates. They didn't plan for people to turn on the police.
"The intelligence indicated they were calling a peace among themselves and [would] show a unified front. They felt the Nazis were challenging them," police Deputy Chief Derrick Diggs said. "Why they looted, I can't answer that."
Police are still sorting through who was involved in the riot that followed a planned National Socialist Movement rally, which was canceled before it even started. Authorities have arrested 119 people since the riot, including some for violating the citywide curfew that was in effect until yesterday.

More arrests could follow as police view video taken by the department and from some businesses. They will review video from police vehicles and are asking the public and the media for any video footage they have.

While not everyone involved in the riot was a gang member, those who were gang members came from all over the city, authorities said. Various gang colors were seen on the streets.

So, does anyone want to speculate on the likelihood that said moonbat will offer me an apology? I’m willing to bet that the odds are about ZERO – and that he will accuse the police of racism for suggesting that these gangs, composed mostly of black males, even exist.

And notice, please, that the gangs cooperated for the specific purpose of violating the civil rights of a group that wanted to engage in constitutionally protected speech in a public place. Will any of the rioters face charges for these violations of the civil rights of the Nazis, as a gang of whites would if they tried to prevent a rally and march by black groups? Again, the odds are probably somewhere around ZERO.

And lest anyone complain that I am taking the side of the Nazis here, let me be very explicit. Nazis are scum – they are among the lowest of the low and I denounce them and their message. But in the end, they still have the rights guaranteed under the Constitution. Those who conspired to violate those rights are even lower than the Nazis, and deserve harsh punishment for their un-American activities.

|| Greg, 05:50 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Do Not Renew Voting Rights Act Provisions

I have to disagree with the call by Jack Kemp, one of the heroes of my youth, to renew certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act in 2007.

It is important that Congress renew all three provisions that are set to expire: Section 5, which requires federal approval for proposed changes in voting or election procedures in areas with a history of discrimination; Section 203, which requires some jurisdictions to provide assistance in other languages to voters who are not literate or fluent in English; and the portions of Sections 6-9 of the Act that authorize the federal government to send federal election examiners and observers to certain jurisdictions covered by Section 5, where there is evidence of attempts to intimidate minority voters at the polls.

Now some of you may ask how I could possibly object to these provisions. The answer is a simple and commonsense one. These provisions do not apply equally across the United States, but rather are applicable to only some parts of the country. In addition, some of the provisions interfere with state and local powers in a manner which is constitutionally suspect.

Take, for example, Section 5 of the Act, which requires federal approval for changes in voting and election procedures. This extra step takes away decisions on what voting machines to use or how to draw local election lines from those on the local level and ultimately vests those decisions with the Department of Justice. These are, however, ultimately state matters, not federal issues.

This even creates situations in which there is federal involvement in local annexation decisions. Some thirty years ago, the city of Houston was required to fundamentally alter its form of government because it annexed an area slated for increased commercial and residential development -- on the basis that this economic decision increased the white population and was therefore detrimental to black political participation. Less than a decade ago, another annexation required the creation of a 50-mile long district connected by bayous and drainage ditches so as to not overwhelm a contiguous minority district with white voters who might (only might) elect a white instead of a black or Hispanic city council member. Neither of the annexations was about race -- both were about increased property taxes. Had the same sort of annexation taken place in another part of the country -- say in Seattle -- the federal government would have had no role in directing what was fundamentally a local decision. Four decades after the passage of this temporary solution to a critical problem, it is time to let the remedy expire as the authors of the legislation intended -- or to expand the provision to subject the entire country to federal oversight. The latter would, of course, be one more nail in the coffin of federalism and states' rights, and so is not particularly appealing to those of us who still believe in the US Constitution.

Similarly, the provisions of Section 6-9 that authorize federal examiners and observers need to either be dropped or expanded to cover the entire nation. Significant acts of minority voter intimidation are rare -- and they are just as likely to exist in areas not covered by Sections 6-9. Either provide protection nationwide, or cease imposing the burden on areas where discrimination was common four decades ago but where it is no more likely today than in other parts of the country. And might I also suggest that federal authority be expanded to include intimidation of citizens by ideologically motivated liberals, as was frequently documented during the 2004 election campaign? After all, civil rights violations are just as severe if they are based upon ideology as they are when based upon race.

As far as the question of interpreters goes, I have no problem with the requirement as it is written -- but believe it should be modified to allow for mechanical/technological solutions to the problem of non-English speaking and illiterate voters. I'm the election judge in my precinct, and our voting machines include both written and spoken (via headphones) versions of the ballot in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Is a live interpreter really necessary in such a situation? I do not believe so -- but the VRA as currently written requires a warm body be present.

Besides, even if the entire Voting Rights Act were to be repealed, there are still powerful tools available to those who would seek to protect the voting rights of every citizen. They are the very provisions of the US Constitution that expand and guarantee the franchise, and they need no special legislation that discriminates against certain parts of the country.

So I am sorry, but I have to disagree with my college hero -- the man who I supported and campaigned for with all my heart in the 1988 race for the GOP nomination -- on the issue of rubber stamping the renewal of these few provisions of the Voting Rights Act that were designed as temporary measures that expired with the passage of time. Let them expire, or fix them to meet the realities of the present day.

» Searchlight Crusade links with: Links and Minifeatures 10 19 Wednesday

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

Terrorist Recruitment In American Prisons.

Chuck Colson offers an interesting overview of the threat to national security in our nation’s prisons.

What makes prisons a “prime target” for al-Qaeda are two other things that, unfortunately, are in plentiful supply: a resentful population and people who will preach hate and violence to them.

After three decades of prison ministry, I can tell you that resentment and bitterness are the rule, not the exception, among prisoners. Radical Islam offers them a chance for vengeance against their perceived oppressors.

The incitement to hate and violence is provided by groups like the Al Haramain Islamic Foundation, a Wahhabist group. Its literature, which urges war against Jews and Christians, was primarily sent to prisoners and Islamic prison chaplains.

The Koran they distributed in American prisons included an appendix by the former Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia entitled “The Call to Jihad (Holy Fighting in Allah’s Cause) in the Qur’an.” This appendix urged Jihad against all who refuse to convert to Islam.

While Al Haramain was shut down by federal authorities, there is, according to the Weekly Standard, “reason to believe that the literature [it] distributed . . . is only the tip of the iceberg of what has reached and may still be reaching U.S. prisons.”

I had to highlight that one part – one group has included material by a senior Saudi jurist justifying violent jihad against those of us who have the audacity to reject Islam.

Our prisons are a seedbed of potential Islamic extremism. What are authorities doing to put a stop to the problem?

|| Greg, 05:37 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Chertoff Gets It Right

Sounds like someone at the Department of Homeland Security is interested in seeing the nation’s immigration laws enforced. And even better, it is a guy with a bit of authority!

The head of the federal Homeland Security department says he wants to end the "catch and release" policy that has let tens of thousands of non-Mexican illegal immigrants stay in the U-S.

Michael Chertoff says every single illegal alien caught should be returned to their home country - no exceptions.

Chertoff made the statement this morning at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting called to discuss immigration reform measures now before Congress.

Chertoff said nearly 900-thousand Mexicans caught entering U-S every year are returned immediately to Mexico, but only 20-thousand of 160-thousand aliens from other countries were sent home last year. The rest were let go because there's no jail space.

If we take care of the “catch-and-release” policy, maybe we will start to get a handle on the immigration problems that exist. Who knows – maybe we will even stat to get rid of some of the illegal aliens already here.

|| Greg, 05:36 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Insubordinate Teacher Fired Over Flag

A Catholic school has fired a teacher who refuses to comply with a new diocesan policy to display an American flag in all classrooms – arguing that doing so contradicts his Catholic faith!

A Bridgeport teacher says he was fired because he refused to display the American flag in his classroom.

Stephen Kobasa taught English at Kolbe-Cathedral High School. He didn't want a flag in his classroom. He says it conflicts with his Catholic faith and teaching beliefs.

Stephen Kobasa says,"In the room there was a crucifix, a depiction of the executed Christ, which cancels all flags. It would simply be a contradiction for me to maintain them both."

Kobasa says he offered a compromise in which he agreed to display the flag at the start of the school day so students could say the Pledge of Allegiance if they wanted, then he would remove the flag. He says the diocesan superintendent rejected that compromise.

Having the American flag in class is part of a new Bridgeport diocese policy.

School administrators wouldn't comment on Kobasa, except to say they will not discuss personnel matters.

First, this is a simple case of termination for insubordination. The diocese made a reasonable rule regarding the display of the flag. The teacher refused to comply, preferring to substitute his own preference for the policy of his employers. The decision to terminate him is appropriate.

And I’m curious – how can one work for a Catholic school that requires the display of a flag yet try to claim that such a practice contradicts the teachings of the Catholic faith? I know that in four years of Catholic seminary education, I never encountered any such prohibition, nor any such convoluted theological reasoning against the display of a flag.

|| Greg, 05:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Space Geeking

What can I say – I live just a few miles from Johnson Space Center. How could I not be interested in space stuff like this?

Venus Express, the European Space Agency's first mission to explore Earth's closest neighbour, will be launched next Wednesday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The ESA gave the prospective launch time as 0443 GMT.

The 1.27-tonne unmanned spacecraft, which will be taken aloft by a Russian-made Soyuz-Fregat rocket, is expected to arrive at Venus on April 6.
Venus Express, equipped with seven instruments, is intended to map the Venusian surface and weather system, looking at temperature variation, cloud formations, wind speeds and gas composition.

Its main goal is to help understand why Venus fell prey to runaway global warming.

Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is similar in size, mass and age to Earth, but the two planets are otherwise quite different.

The so-called Morning Star has clouds of suffocating gas driven by hurricane-force winds, as well as a surface pressure and temperature high enough to crush and melt steel.

Venus Express is a sister to Mars Express, an orbiter that is now circling the Red Planet

More info at

|| Greg, 05:33 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 17, 2005

Insulting An American Hero

Asia, in the form that we know it, exists because of the efforts of Douglas MacArthur. Japan is a capitalist parliamentary democracy. The Phillipines are an independent country. And South Korea? It was freed from the clutches of Imperial Japan and saved from the aggression of Communist North Korea through his efforts -- and it is now one of the most prosperous nations in the world.

But what sort of respect does MacArthur get from today's South Koreans?

For the last six months, activists have gathered around MacArthur's statue above Inchon harbor for anti-American/anti-alliance hate-fests, including violent attempts to topple the monument. The latest rally was on Sept. 11, a date plainly chosen to sting Americans.

Just four days before the 55th anniversary of the Sept. 15, 1950 landing, 4,000 anti-U.S. activists, armed with bamboo poles and metal pipes, led assaults on the statue in Inchon's Freedom Park, calling MacArthur "a war criminal who massacred numerous [Korean] civilians."

Outrageous! Actually, he was a war hero whose exertions on behalf of your people ensured your liberty to support the northern neghbors who would take that liberty from you.

Fortunately, there are some who still remember the greatness of the man.

Pro-American Koreans have spoken up, too. Indeed, 10,000 of them, including South Korean Marine vets, headed to Inchon on the 15th to guard the statue on the anniversary — at which point the protestors wimped out, pulling a no-show.

I salute those who remember the wrks of Douglas MacArthur with gratitude.

I have to agree with Peter Brookes of the Heritage Foundation when he writes

[L]last month's assault on MacArthur's statue won't be the last. At some point, the radicals may actually be able to pull down the monument, offending Korean vets and millions of Americans who have selflessly served — or serve — in South Korea to protect freedom a long way from home and family.

Tha is, indeed, the truth. That grand coalition, perhaps the only time the United Nations ever stood for freedom in the face of Communism, was made up of many brave men and women. And we in the United Sates must prevent that insult. And so I join with Brookes in supporting the removal of the statue to the Korean War Veteran's Memorial in Washington, DC.

And while we are at it, let's bring home all the young soldiers at the same time that the Old Soldier finds a place of honor in our country. After all, it is time that South Korea shoulder the full burden of the freedom that MacArthur was so instrumental in winning for them.

|| Greg, 07:52 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Earle Offered Plea Bargain

Ronnie Earle's case was so weak that he tried to coerce a misdemeanor plea deal from Tom DeLay, according to DeLay's attorney in documents filed today in advance of DeLay's first court appearance.

"Before the first indictment you tried to coerce a guilty plea from Tom DeLay for a misdemeanor, stating the alternative was indictment for a felony which would require his stepping down as majority leader of the United States House of Representatives," DeGuerin wrote.

"He turned you down flat so you had him indicted, in spite of advice from others in your office that Tom DeLay had not committed any crime," the lawyer contended.

This sure makes it seem like Earle's filing was less about the evidence thanit was about his anger over being rebuffed by DeLay.

THe filings also include requests for the following:

- A speedy trial, because the indictments "have already had adverse collateral consequences including the temporary loss of Tom DeLay's leadership position in the United States Congress and an unknown effect on the upcoming (March 2006) primary election."

- Dismissal of the indictments because, he contended, they failed to allege any act or omission by DeLay and improperly joined two offenses.

- Separation of DeLay's case from that of two political associates, because DeLay wants a speedy trial while the associates are pursuing appeals that would delay their cases.

Good Luck, Tom -- we here in District 22 are backing you on this one.

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

October 16, 2005

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Controversy, Christians, and Condemnation by Wallo World, and Legion by Waiter Rant. Here is the link to the full results of the vote.

|| Greg, 08:51 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why I Don't Blog From School

Setting aside the fact that I theoretically can't get past the district's fire wall and filtering software (I suspect I know how, but choose not to make the effort because I like my job), there is a simple reason I don't blog from school. I don't want to have to justify or defend what I write to the powers that be in the district office if I ever give offense to a parent or district employee.

I don't write about students with any degree of specificity for the same reason -- posting my candid views about some of them would be difficult to defend. I love them all, but cannot say that I like every last one of them. And I won't get into my opinion of some parents I've had to deal with over the years.

That is why I think this former teacher was stupid to be accessing her blog from school -- ESPECIALLY considering the content.

A Mansfield elementary school teacher resigned after school officials found she used her class computer to access a personal Web log chronicling sexual exploits and containing disparaging remarks about her students.

Becky Pelfrey, 38, had worked for the Mansfield district for three years and had spent seven years working for Arlington schools.

Her log featured links to sexually-oriented Web sites and comments about her students, including a reference to them as "stinky kids."

School district spokesman Terry Morawski said the district has not sought to file criminal charges and he is not certain that Pelfrey committed a crime.

Pelfrey and her husband think his ex-wife (Becky Pelfrey's former best friend -- we won't get into the issues that raises) may have alerted the school to bolster her side of a child custody case. That really isn't relevant in my book. If you are a teacher, you should not have a sexually explicit blog that you are accessing from home (actually, I don't think you should have one at all). And if you do discuss your sex life on a blog, you really should not be talking about your students in that forum.

|| Greg, 08:43 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Astros Lead 3-1 -- Could It Finally Happen?

I've watched them blow it every which way the last several years -- now they lead the NLCS 3-1. Could it be that pitching beats hitting?

Willy Taveras wasn't in the game from the start, but he was the difference-maker in the end.

Houston and St. Louis were locked in a tight 1-1 battle in today's NLCS Game 4 until pinch-runner Taveras broke the deadlock, scoring in the seventh on Morgan Ensberg's sacrifice fly to give the Astros a 2-1 victory. Houston now leads the series, 3-1. Game 5 is here on Monday.

Good luck, Astros. You just need one more.

And as an ex-Chicagoan, I'd love to see the World Series played here and Chicago.

|| Greg, 08:31 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

PETA Workers Indicted For Animal Deaths

Now you all remember my post about the fact that PETA kills most of the animals brought to its shelter. One would have to assume that there are some truly sick and twisted souls working there to kill animals at the rate shown by the statistics -- which outstrip most American shelters.

You may also recall that some of the employees of PETA's Virginia shelter were arrested dumping dead animals in a dumpster at a shopping mall. Well guess what -- those disgusting human beings were just indicted on 25 fellony counts related to the incident!

The cats and dogs two PETA employees have been charged with euthanizing and dumping in an Ahoskie garbage bin were killed by injections of pentobarbital, a barbiturate commonly used to put down animals, according to new warrants issued and served on Friday.

Additionally, the two employees were charged with three felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses. The charges allege that they euthanized three cats from an Ahoskie veterinarian after promising to find the animals new homes, according to the new warrants.

PETA employees Andrew B. Cook, 24, of Virginia Beach, and Adria J. Hinkle, 27, of Norfolk, were served with warrants on 22 felony charges of animal cruelty and the three felony charges of obtaining property by false pretense in court on Friday.

A grand jury is expected to consider formal indictments Oct. 31, Assistant District Attorney Donnie Taylor said.

The new animal cruelty charges replaced 31 previous animal cruelty charges, which were dismissed.

The new warrants now include more information, such as descriptions of animals investigators found, the causes of death and – in some warrants – photographs of the dead dogs.

The new information was added to clarify the charges, which previously did not have such information as the cause of death, Taylor said.

The two employees are still charged with eight misdemeanor counts of illegal disposal of dead animals and one count of trespassing.

Both have been released on $35,000 bail, and PETA is paying their legal fees. PETA suspended Hinkle for 90 days and did not discipline Cook.

Yeah, you read that right -- PETA still employs these creeps, and is paying their legal bills. Yeah, one got a 90 day suspension (which is a slap on the wrist), but the other was not punished at all.

So the next time teh folks from PETA start going on about the "ethical treatment of animals", point out that their own organization fails to engage in ethical activity when confronted with animal cruelty in their own midst.

|| Greg, 07:26 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

PC Stupidity

It started with a satirical letter to the local paper. It has ended with one of country music's most-loved classic songs censored by a band director who lacked the testicular fortitude to defend his music selection.

After the devil went down to Georgia, it seems, he got censored in Prince William County.

In preparation for a guest appearance at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, the marching band at C.D. Hylton High School had a logical and seemingly innocuous idea: play a Georgia-themed song. They decided on "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," by the Charlie Daniels Band.

But early this month, a local newspaper, the Potomac News, published a letter by a Woodbridge resident who, after having seen the C.D. Hylton Bulldawg Marching Band perform the country-western hit at a football game, wondered how a song about the devil could be played at school events, because of the separation of church and state.

Fearing bad public reaction, Hylton's longtime band director, Dennis Brown, pulled the song from the playlist. "I was just being protective of my students. I didn't want any negative publicity for C.D. Hylton High School," he said.

The result has been a loud outcry in Prince William COunty and the surrounding area.

"God have mercy. How did we become a country full of weenies who give into the cranky nonsense of 1 voice?" one person tapped out on a computer. "I guess I need to go back to school. I thought the idea behind our country was that the majority ruled? You know, like the majority of people voted for the President's re-election and now the ruling party is knuckling under to every left wing nut out there? I give up!"

A person identified as Ticked Off Parent chimed in: "What's next? School Book Burnings because someone finds To Kill a Mockingbird offensive? Whoever started this should be banned from the school, NOT THE SONG!"

Another wrote in: "So what if the song does actually 'revolve' around Satan? Satan has its rightful place in history as does Women's suffrage, slavery, and every other subject bad or good!"

We know, of course, how we reached such a point. The ACLU and their fellow-travelers in the judicial branch have twisted the First Amendment into something other than what was envisioned by those who wrote it and thaose who ratified it. Constant lawsuits by militant atheists like Michael Newdow have rendered school boards and too many teachers afraid to permit even the most innocuous religious references stand (a friend in another state tells me that the faculty was told not to say "God bless you" in response to sneezes after one parent complained). So the religious and cultural practices of the majority are ruthlessly suppressed in many schools in the name of "sensitivity" to a relative handful of whiners.

Even Charlie Daniels himself has weighed in on the matter.

"I am a Christian, and I don't write pro-devil songs. Most people seem to get it. It's a fun little song," Daniels said Friday in a telephone interview from Mokena, Ill., where he was scheduled to perform a concert. "I think it's a shame that the [marching band director] would yield to one piece of mail. If people find out that he can be manipulated that easily, he's going to have a hard way to go."

And what of the author of the original letter that appeared in the local paper? What does he think?

As for that nettlesome letter writer, Robert McLean? The defense contractor, whose children are home-schooled, said he went to Hylton's football game just because he enjoys the sport. His letter, he said, was meant to start a philosophical debate, not to wreck any student's marching band experience. Besides, he said, he loves "Devil."

"It was one of the first 45s I had as a kid," he said.

So it appear that NO ONE had a real objection to the song. Someone just wanted to point to the absurdity of stripping Christian rligious references from the public square and public school. And one spineless band director, unable to comprehend the satire, backed down.

I have three suggestions.

First, restore the song to the band's repertoire.

Second, find a new band director, one who has the courage of his convictions.

Three, transfer the current band director, Dennis Brown, to someplace where he is likely to do no harm -- like the the district bus barn, where he can sweep and wash the buses twice a day.

There is a particularly fine post on this controversey at Bacon's Rebellion, which includes a comment with links to a number of relevant stories and letters from the community in the paper where this all started.

More at Sierra Faith, Ignorant Hussy, Sasha Undercover, ACSBlog, Life on the Wicked Stage, Patrick Cooper, and Daily Pundit.

|| Greg, 02:53 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Rice Says "No" Again -- And It STILL Does Not Matter

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has again said she is not interested in running for President of the United States.

Asked on NBC and on "Fox News Sunday" whether she would run for president in 2008, Rice said she is flattered but would decline.

"I'm not somebody who wants to run for office. I haven't ever run for anything," Rice told NBC. "I think I'm doing what I need to do, which is to try and promote American foreign policy, American interests, the president's democracy agenda at an extraordinary time."

Pressed by host Tim Russert, Rice said, "I don't know how may ways to say no."

"So," asked Russert, "no ...?"

A few seconds of silence followed. "Tim," Rice said, "I don't know how many ways to tell people that I have no interest in being a candidate for anything. ... No."

She told Fox host Chris Wallace, "I'm quite certain that there are going to be really fine candidates for president from our party, and I'm looking forward to seeing them and perhaps supporting them."

Dr. Rice, what you fail to understand is that it is your reluctance that many of us find most attractive. You are not one of those folks who has spent decades creating a public persona and engaging in issue-triangulation to position yourself for a presidential run. You have instead become a cool, competent professional with the sort of expertise and experience that will make you a superb President. That is why we back you, not someone (like John McCain, for example) who long ago divested himself of his immortal soul in pursuit of higher office. That is why your support is strongest down here in the grassroots, not in the halls of power.

Frankly, Madam Secretary, I don't want you to come out and declare yourself a candidate. I want you to stay in your current office, doing what you do so well on behalf of this country. Because ultimately, I believe you when you say that you do not WANT to run for anything.

But what you must realize is that the movement we have here is a Draft Condi movement -- and we will settle for nothing less than a spot for you on the 2008 GOP ticket, preferrably at the top. And I have no doubt that, when you hear the call of your nation to high elected office, you will respond to that call and fulfill your duty to the American people.

It is a call to greatness, Dr. Rice -- and a call that I believe you must, in the end, heed for the sake of America.

|| Greg, 02:02 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Another Leftist Attempt To Stifle Free Speech

When a group affiliated with the Minutemen tried to meet in a Chicago suburb yesterday, a protest against them was organized. I've got no problem with that, even though the organizers of the protest spew lies about the Minutemen and their goals.

The problem arose when one group of protesters tried to prevent American citizens from assembling to engage in political speech designed to encourage the government to act against the scourge of border-jumping immigration criminals.

About 500 people marched in Arlington Heights Saturday to protest a group fighting illegal immigration, in what led to five arrests and the shutdown of several streets for hours as 150 riot gear-clad police officers stood by to keep the peace.

Picketers said the Chicago Minuteman Project, a local branch of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps — a private group that patrols the United States-Mexico border — is anti-immigrant and racist because it specifically focuses on Mexican immigrants.

Five protesters were arrested on misdemeanor charges and later released on bond.

Those attending what was billed as the “America First Summit” Saturday at Christian Liberty Academy, 502 W. Euclid Ave., said they’re not racist but that they’re worried about lax border security and the economic impact of illegal immigration.

“We need secure borders; we’re a country at war,” said Rosanna Pulido of Chicago, a co-founder of the Chicago Minuteman Project. “We have a big problem here in Chicago and in Illinois.”

I'm not going to dispute Ms. Pulido at all -- I teach at a school where about 1 in 5 students are either here illegally or the children of illegals. Hospital emergency rooms are overcrowded with illegals, and the cost is absorbed by those of us with insurance -- and by taxpayers who pick up the tab for the unpaid bills. And I will not get into the crime problems that come with the illegals.

But objecting to such problems makes one a hater, according to those who came out to protest.

Khem Nuth, organizing director for the immigrants coalition, which brought about 200 people to the protest, said she is concerned that her group’s message got lost in the scuffles.

“We were there to protest the racist Minutemen” and ask U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk whether he supports the Minutemen because of his votes in favor of the Patriot Act, Real ID Act, and a law requiring local police departments to fight illegal immigration, Nuth said.

“I don’t know how much of that was lost because of what happened today,” she said. “We wanted to let the community know that we protested the Minutemen being there, and I think that message was sent.”

Yeah, Khem, imagine that -- requiring that the police actually enforce the law. What are these horrible people thinking! I hope your message didn't get lost in the acts of violence that occurred -- I want peole to see how outrageously stupid your folks are and how absurd your position is.

And after all, it is your rhetoric that leads to violent action by some in your coalition -- calling folks racist for daring to hold the opinion that the US shoudl control its borders provokes the extremists on your side. After all, the Left believes that racists should be silenced. That is why you get this sort of activity.

Most of the protesters were peaceful, if loud, shouting slogans through bullhorns and banging on drums. But a small group of “anarchists” came looking for trouble, Arlington Heights Police Sgt. Richard Marcinkowski said.

That trouble began when protesters tried to block people from entering a school door on Walnut Avenue. As officers tried to move them out of the way, protesters linked arms and a scuffle ensued.

Officers retreated and called for reinforcements from the Northern Illinois Police Alarm System, which sent more than 100 officers from Deerfield, Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Glencoe, Lake Bluff, Lincolnshire, Palatine, Schaumburg, Skokie and Wheeling.

Police also closed several blocks of Euclid, Ridge and Walnut avenues to traffic and posted camouflage-clothed spotters on the academy’s roof.

Marcinkowski said police planned to arrest the people who were trying to block the school entrance. But when five busloads of people arrived at 11 a.m. for their own protest, “some people learned they were targeted for arrest and tried to leave the area” by blending in with more peaceful marchers, he said.

When police did move in at 11:45 a.m., while the crowd marched west along Euclid Avenue, a riot almost broke out as officers pulled two women out of the crowd while other marchers screamed, “Let them go!” and stepped into the street.

Now I do have one problem with the attitude of the police and their spokesman.

Marcinkowski said some of the Minutemen baited protesters by demanding to use the Walnut Avenue entrance even though several other doors were available. “In my opinion, we had two unreasonable factions here, and we were caught in the middle,” he said.

No, Sgt. Marcinkowski, it is not unreasonable for a peaceful group to demand to be allowed to use the main door to a facility they have rented. It is not unreasonable for them to expect the police to keep order and to arrest those who are attempting to suppress their civil rights. Tell me, sir, would you have told the NAACP they couldn't use the front door if teh Klan had shown up and engaged in the behavior the pro-criminal Left was engaged in yesterday? I didn't think so. You would have engaged in proper police procedure, thrown up a heavy security cordon around the area, arrested anyone who dared to try to block the door, and made sure that the the rights of the NAACP were respected -- as you clearly failed to do yesterday for the Minutemen until the situation got out of control.

|| Greg, 01:48 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 15, 2005

Free Speech -- It's A Black (Only) Thing

I can't help but be struck by the contrast that exists between two events today. They show how some groups are a little more free, a little more equal, and endowed with a few more rights than others.

Our examination begins in Toledo, Ohio. It seems that black gangs have been terrorizing the community -- especially (according to some) the white residents of the community. An outside group decided to protest the seeming impotence of government in handling the problems of the perceived racist activity and went through all the legal hurdles to receive permission to engage in First Amendment protected speech. Unfortunately, the group was the "National Socialist Movement" (AKA the American Nazi Party), a disgusting group of racists and white supremacists who are rejected by all decent people, and which I condemn wholeheartedly.

So what happened when the march and rally were about to happen? Black gang members crawled out of the woodwork, engaged in acts of violence against the police and damage to the property of local business owners. The city's response was to trample the free speech rights of the Nazis, and cancel their event.

One member of the black community made this very frightening argument, one that I'm sure the Nazis will be able to use to make the argument that the rights of white people are in danger from lawless blacks.

Keith White, a black resident, criticized city officials for initially allowing the march.

"They let them come here and expect this not to happen?" said White, 29.

Mr. White (I won't get into the irony of that name) seems to believe that only the rights of those he agrees with are entitled to respect.

Let's move a bit east, to Washington, DC. Another group of racists rejected by anyone with a hint of moral values, Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, sponsored a rally on the Mall to commemorate the not -nearly "Million Man March" held in 1995. The rhetoric heard from the platform of the Millions More Movement included the usual overblown crap about racism in America, and one speaker even referred to those with white skin as the enemy of his people. It was. in short, a racist rally designed to incite hatred and division -- every bit as much as the Nazi rally in Ohio.

Dozens of speakers -- academics, activists and media pundits -- took the microphone at the National Mall for a few minutes each. A speaker from a black gay group, added to the roster at the last minute, also spoke.

Organizers did not speculate on the size of the crowd, and police would not offer an estimate. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said subway ridership by noon was 152,000. On the day of the march 10 years ago, ridership reached just over 804,000.

Participants said they were inspired by the gathering. Rapper Ryk-A-Shay, 24, joined relatives from North Carolina for the drive to Washington. "Any time we as a people can come together it's a beautiful thing," she said.

Yet there is one notable difference. No mob of whites stepped forward to engage in violence to stop the rally. No one that I am aware of suggests that this black supremacist rally should have been banned or that whites would have been justified in making sure it was shut down by any means necessary. It was, in fact, covered live by white-owned networks, so Farrakhan's message of racial hate would be heard from coast to coast.

Now tell me, friends and family of all races, ethnicities, and religions -- has free speech become a "black thing" reserved for them and denied to whites? Or will some responsible black leader step forward and condemn the suppression of the free speech rights of the Nazis in Toledo by a group of African-unAmerican criminals and the authorities who aided and abetted them?

» UrbanGrounds links with: Racists Riots in Toledo

|| Greg, 07:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (21) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Evidence? Ronnie Doesn't Need No Stinking Evidence!

One would assume that a prosecutor would need to actually have the document that proves his case before he gets an indictment. Not Ronnie Earle -- who is lacking a key document in his case against Tom DeLay and therefore plans on using a similar document that apparently is not connected to the activities for which DeLlay was indicted in an attempt to prove his guilt.

Travis County prosecutors admitted Friday they lack physical proof of a list of Republican candidates that is at the heart of money-laundering indictments against U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay and two of his associates.

The list is key to prosecutors being able to prove that corporate money that could not be legally spent on Texas candidates was specifically exchanged at the national level for donations that legally could be spent on Republican candidates for the Texas House.

So the only thing that they are lacking in the case is -- proof.

But not to worry, there is this OTHER document that htey will substitute for the one that would actually prove that Delay and his associates committed a crime.

Indictments against DeLay, Jim Ellis and John Colyandro state that Ellis gave "a document that contained the names of several candidates for the Texas House" to a Republican National Committee official in 2002 in a scheme to swap $190,000 in restricted corporate money for the same amount of money from individuals that could be legally used by Texas candidates.

But prosecutors said Friday in court that they only had a "similar" list and not the one allegedly received by then-RNC Deputy Director Terry Nelson. Late in the day, they released a list of 17 Republican candidates, but only seven are alleged to have received money in the scheme.

A lawyer for Ellis said prosecutors' inability to produce the list mentioned in the indictments is on par with the tactics used by U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the communist witch hunts of the 1950s.

I would argue that what we have going on is less like the McCarthy hearings and closer to Stalin's show trials of the 1930s. After all, McCarthy's central premise about Communist infiltration of the government has since been proven essentially correct by records released after the fall of the Soviet Union. Stalin, on the other hand, simply wanted to bring down his political enemies and rivals.

Dick DeGuerin, who is defnding DeLay, makes this observation.

DeLay's lawyer, Dick DeGuerin of Houston, was not present in court Friday. But he later said the lack of a list "destroys" District Attorney Ronnie Earle's case against the three men.

"That's astonishing, astonishing that they would get a grand jury to indict and allege there is a list and then they have to admit in open court the first time they appear in open court that there is no list," DeGuerin said.

Thes indictments need to be dismissed, and Ronnie Earle and any lawyer from the Travis County DA's office involved in the case or investigation need to be disbarred or face other serious sanctions. You cannot indict someone based upon evidence you do not have.

» UrbanGrounds links with: Ronnie Earle Lied to the Grand Jury

|| Greg, 09:26 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

DC Changes DUI Policy

Before I was married, turning on the light in the kitchen of my seedy old apartment (in a 125-year-old building that had once served as a saloon and bordello) sent the roaches scurrying.

Well, an article in yesterday's Washington Post (which has the ethics of a saloon and bordello) sent the roaches scurrying over at the DC City Council (which some would argue is the moral equivalent of a saloon and bordello).

D.C. Council members, swamped with irate calls and threats to boycott D.C. bars and restaurants, introduced emergency legislation yesterday that would override the police department's controversial and little-known zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving.

"We need to remedy this immediately," said council Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D), who is running for mayor.

Council member Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4), another mayoral candidate, called the current situation "absurd."

D.C. police have said that District law gives them the authority to arrest drivers with blood alcohol levels above .01.

Carol Schwartz (R-At Large), a sponsor of the emergency legislation, said the measure no longer would allow that unless there was evidence of significant impairment.

"I just want to make sure that we clarify what our intent is. And our intent is certainly to get people who are intoxicated off our roads," she said. "But our intent is not to intimidate people who may have a glass of wine."

So what has been proposed in this legislation?

According to the D.C. Code, a driver with a blood alcohol level of .08 or above is presumed intoxicated and may be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated. Every state has in recent years set the same level -- acting quickly once Congress threatened to withhold highway dollars if they didn't.

In most states, including Maryland and Virginia, a driver with a blood alcohol level of less than .05 is generally presumed not intoxicated. The D.C. Code states, however, that drivers with "less than .03" percent blood alcohol are not presumed not intoxicated -- a provision that makes it easier to prove low blood alcohol cases in court.

The emergency legislation proposed by Schwartz, Cropp and council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) would strike that language from the code. Instead, they propose bringing the District in line with the states and adding language to make clear that drivers with less than .05 blood alcohol are presumed not intoxicated.

Between .05 and .08, is a "neutral zone," Schwartz said, where no presumption about intoxication is made. And blood alcohol content may be considered with other factors to prove a driver's impairment.

Sounds like common sense to me.

» Cutting Edge Of Ecstasy links with: D. C. Council Moves To End The MADDness

|| Greg, 09:01 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

October 14, 2005

Racist Congressman Slurs White Voters

Congressman Melvin Watt wants the Voting Rights Act renewed and strengthened because, he claims, white voters are racist. The North Carolina Democrat bases his position on old data and the new racism espoused by the African-American establishment.

"Race has to be taken into account to factor out the people on the other side" who would refuse to vote for a minority candidate because of their race," Watt said. He added that he thinks much voting is based on race, not partisanship.

Watt told Cybercast News Service that his views are based on a 1980s blind poll of North Carolinians, which he said revealed that 30 percent of whites would not vote for a black candidate under any circumstances.

Watt told the commission that if another poll were conducted today, "there would be a substantial majority of white voters who would say that under no circumstances would they vote for an African American candidate." He later amended his comments, allowing that "some of them would."

So based upon one really old study that showed a minority would not vote for a black candidate, Watt concludes that today a majority would refuse to do so – and points to “the other side” as those who would refuse to vote for minority candidates. This flies in the face of what experience has shown, as the GOP has elected folks like JC Watts in a predominantly white district in Oklahoma and Michael Steele as Lt. Governor of Maryland. Steele is the preferred candidate of the Maryland GOP for Senate in 2006, and many Republicans are excited about the possibility of having Condoleezza Rice on the GOP ticket in 2008. I can only conclude that Watt is incorrect with regard to the Republican Party.

Is Watt perhaps thinking that it is white DEMOCRATS who will refuse to give their vote to an African-American? Does he believe that his own party is made up of unreconstructed white racists? And if he does, why won’t he come out and say it clearly? Has Watt sold out his own race, becoming an Uncle Tom who whores the votes of his people in return for a crumb of political power?

Or is Watt simply a liar?

|| Greg, 06:07 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Kerry’s No-Choice Position

John Kerry may be pro-choice on abortion and Catholic theology, but he certainly opposes giving public employees a choice on whether or not their union dues can be used for political purposes.

Kerry was the second leading national politician this week to weigh in on California's Prop. 75 ballot initiative, which would require unions to get approval from members before using dues for political causes. "This represents part of an ongoing effort by the Republican Party to create an unfair playing field, to change the balance of democracy in America," Kerry said. "They are willing to try to take away the democratic rights of working Americans," said the Massachusetts senator, who was speaking to reporters at a fire station with Democratic Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Kerry, however, lied in that statement. Proposition 75 would simply require that a worker give his permission before his dues were used for politicking rather than negotiation and representation. Unions would still be permitted to give make endorsements and devote resources to campaign for candidates – but the members would have the right to opt out of supporting the political activities of the union while still retaining the right to vote on their contracts. Currently, the only for a public employee to avoid forced contributions to candidates they oppose is for the employee to opt to pay the union an agency fee of about 80% of regular dues and forfeit their right to vote on the union-negotiated contract while still being bound by its terms.

(Move Coverage on the issue of Prop 75 and the California Teachers Assosiation over at Right on the Left Coast -- specific posts are here, here, here and here -- as well as all these others.)

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

Laws Are For Little People

That seems to be the Kennedy family motto – whether they are laws regarding vehicular homicide, security checkpoints at airports, sexual assault, or environmental regulations.

Professed environmentalist Max Kennedy is due in court on the Cape today to answer chargeshe violated town conservation rules by clear-cutting a coastal bank on his Hyannisport property.

Kennedy, son of Ethel and the late Bobby Kennedy, was found responsible for cutting the vegetation in violation of restrictions the town Conservation Commission had set. He was assessed a $150 fine, which he did not pay, and he has to appear today for an arraignment.

``He is supposed to show up,'' said town conservation agent Darcy Karle. ``As a courtesy I contacted his attorney and told him that Mr. Kennedy needed to show up and pay the fine or a warrant for his arrest would be issued.''

Do we need to tell you this is not Kennedy's first run-in with the town conservation types? Kennedy, an avowed tree-hugger who formerly ran the Watershed Institute at Boston College and briefly flirted with a congressional run in 2001, was fined twice in 1998 for clearing brush and trees on his Cape property.

To build a touch-football field. Of course.

Kennedy is also currently in violation of wetlands protection laws for a pier he built off the back of his Maywood Avenue home. Karle said Kennedy constructed the pier without first submitting the proper paperwork, and that lights on the end of the dock are in violation.

Kennedy had asked for a hearing on Sept. 27 to answer to all the charges, then didn't show up.

Kennedy is currently under orders to replant shrubs on the bank and to remove the too-bright lights at the end of his pier. His attorney did not return our call. But do stay tuned . . . .

I guess such rules are only for the common people – but America’s royal family can get away with murder – and raping the land.

|| Greg, 06:02 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Diversity Segregation

Dr. Mike Adams offers this pointed comparison between his cousin, arch-racist politician Theodore Gilmore Bilbo, and liberals who support segregated programs and facilities for ethnic minorities.

My cousin Bilbo would be proud of your third email to me this morning, which defended separate campus facilities for blacks including, but not limited to, African American centers. In that email, you explained that you really aren’t a segregationist. That was before you said that black people just feel more comfortable when surrounded exclusively by blacks.

My cousin Bilbo felt more comfortable when surrounded by his kind, too. At least he was honest enough to call it segregation.

You and my cousin Bilbo have a lot in common. You both support segregation and you both have what you personally “feel” are good reasons for it. But I am against both you and Bilbo. I will fight segregation, despite the fact that your daughter is “black” and “upset” and that you think I have tongues growing out of the side of my face. I will fight segregation because I believe that it is wrong. And I will not capitulate to identity politics.

It is a strange day in America when segregationists are called “anti-racists” and anti-segregationists are called “racists.” It makes me very sad. But my cousin Bilbo would be proud.

As little as four decades ago, the end of segregation was seen as “progress” by liberals. Today, the resegregation of America is progress. I guess it is true – if you wait long enough, what’s old is new again.

|| Greg, 05:58 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Another Pro-Felon Editorial From The New York Times

Fresh off their series of sob stories about teens and young adults sentenced to life without parole for heinous murders, the New York Times laments the harshness of laws that disenfranchise convicted felons – including those still in jail.

The United States has the worst record in the democratic world when it comes to stripping convicted felons of the right to vote. Of the nearly five million people who were barred from participating in the last presidential election, for example, most, if not all, would have been free to vote if they had been citizens of any one of dozens of other nations. Many of those nations cherish the franchise so deeply that they let inmates vote from their prison cells.

The basis for the position taken by the Times? International standards and a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. American constitutional law and history simply are not good enough for them. No doubt the editors of the Times are longing for the day when, as in this last term’s Simmons case, a bare majority of Supreme Court justices remove another policy decision from the hands of the people on the basis of laws which are alien to our tradition but popular among the wwine-and-brie set in the tonier parts of NYC.

|| Greg, 05:56 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Zero Tolerance For DUI

I don’t have much sympathy for those who drive while intoxicated. But at the same time, I do have a problem with a policy that throws common sense and statutory law out the window. Take the practice of the Washington, DC police and prosecutor regarding DUI cases

Elizabeth Wingo, chief of the criminal section in the D.C. Attorney General's Office, said her office prosecutes cases regardless of blood alcohol level, as long as there is sufficient evidence of impairment.

"We have zero tolerance for drunk driving. It doesn't matter what your blood alcohol level is," Wingo said. "If you blow .02 and officers can tell you're impaired, you'll be arrested for DUI."

The law says people can be found guilty if they drink enough alcohol "to appreciably disturb or interfere with their normal mental or physical faculties."

Now that sounds perfectly reasonable – .07 and .08 are mighty close, and the impairment level is insignificantly different. But DC police and prosecutors are bringing charges against folks with a BAC of .03, .01, and even .00, based upon breathalyzer results, on the basis that their alcohol consumption had impaired them. In one case, the basis for a determination of impairment was the driver’s failure to turn on her headlights soon enough in the twilight to suit the police officer. Another case involved a woman who answered her cell phone while driving.

Drunk and drugged driving is a serious offense. Let’s not trivialize it by making every driver who has had a single glass of wine guilty of a criminal offense.

|| Greg, 05:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 13, 2005

I Am Unalterably Opposed

I was starting to warm to the idea of Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court. I now have to reject that possibility, given that she has indicated that she sees the Federalist Society as too political, but does not see the NAACP as being political at all!

Q. Ms. Miers, are you a member of any predominantly minority organizations, such as the NAACP, Black Chamber of Commerce, Urban League or any other predominantly minority organizations?

A. Women minorities?

Q. Well, maybe predominantly racial and ethnic minorities?

A. No.

Q. . . . . In your capacity as an at-large member do you think being involved in such organizations might assist you in having a perspective that – bring a perspective to your job that you don’t have?

A. I attend meetings designed to give me that input. However, I have tried to avoid memberships in organization s that were politically charged with one viewpoint or the other. For example, I wouldn’t belong to the Federalist Society any more than – I just feel like it’s better to not be involved in organizations that seem to color your view one way or the other for people who are examining you. I did join the Progressive Voters League here in Dallas during the campaign as part of the campaign.

Q. Are you active in the PVL now, do you intend to be?

A. No, I am not.

Q. Do you think the NAACP and Black Chamber of Commerce are in the category of organizations you were talking about?

A. No, I don’t. . . . .

Transcript of Trial, Roy Williams et al. v. City of Dallas, No. CA-3-88-152-R, pages V-46 to V-47 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Tex. Sept. 11, 1989).

Anyone who could have ever argued that the NAACP is not an organization with a “politically charged” viewpoint lacks the discernment to be a good judge .
Absolutely incredible!

|| Greg, 06:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Interesting Tidbit

The LA Times provides a lot of details in its breakdown of information about priests accused of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

been alleged at roughly 100 parishes. But because the accused priests moved around the archdiocese on average every 4.5 years, the total number of parishes in which alleged abusers served is far larger — more than three-fourths of the 288 parishes, according to the study, which examined records back to 1950.

The affected parishes were in neighborhoods of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties both rich and poor, suburban and urban, some predominantly white and others with African American or Latino majorities. The study does not support the contention made by some critics of the church that problem priests were dumped into poor, Latino and African American communities.

Based on the allegations, the number of abusive priests peaked in 1983. More than 11% of the diocesan priests — those who worked directly for the archdiocese, rather than for religious orders — who were in ministry that year eventually were accused of abuse.

Now one issue I have with this survey is that it appears to presume that every accusation was a valid accusation. Some weren’t – and one of my mentors during my seminary years was the victim of a false accusation, so I am quite sensitive to that reality. Another is the implicit assumption that those who relied on the advice of psychologists giving the best current clinical advice decades ago were somehow insensitive and immoral in their actions of sending accused abusers to counseling and then reassigning them after treatment. They were following the best practices of the day – practices we know are wrong.

But one thing we did not get from the times is this little tidbit of information that was noted by the Catholic League’s William Donahue – information that strikes me as rather significant in discussing the abuse scandal.

“We know from the files that have been released that in 79 percent of the cases, the alleged victim was male; this comports with the figure of 81 percent cited by the John Jay study of priests nationwide. And we know from the latter study that almost 8 in 10 of the alleged male victims were postpubescent, meaning that the problem is homosexual priests. Yet many in the media continue to lie—they say the problem is pedophilia when the data directly say otherwise. No, homosexuality does not cause molestation, and there are many good gay priests, but the fact remains that most of the problem priests are gay.

Yeah, you read that right – the problem was not pedophilia. It was homosexuality. Pedophilia, properly defined by the psychological sciences, is sexual desire and contact with prepubescent males. A man having sex with 15-18 year olds is not a pedophile, but is instead likely a homosexual acting out a homosexual orientation. The behavior is still wrong and still unacceptable, but let’s at least name it as what it is. So let’s tell the truth and state that about 60% of all priest sexual misconduct was homosexual activity with teenagers – that would go a long way towards making it clear what happened and why.

That is not to blame all homosexual priests for the abuse, or to label them as abusers. They are not. But it does explain why there might be a desire on the part of senior members of the Catholic hierarchy to discourage the ordination of homosexuals to the priesthood.

» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval

|| Greg, 06:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

More Voter Fraud In Seattle

Washington State GOP leasers are concerned about the failure of public officials to address documented voter fraud and double registrations brought to light by the fraud and incompetence laden gubernatorial election.

Just one month before voters decide the future of King County's Democratic executive, Ron Sims, Republican Party leaders yesterday accused his administration of failing to remove thousands of duplicate registrations from the voter rolls.

GOP officials and Republican members of the Metropolitan King County Council said they officially will challenge the registrations of about 2,050 voters Monday.

In all, they said they found nearly 3,400 voters they suspect are registered twice with the county's Elections Office. They say they are challenging only those they can fully document.

As I recall, following the 2000 election debacle, the GOP went to great lengths to correct problems uncovered in Florida. Washington Democrats, on the other hand, are less interested in fair elections than in hanging on to power in an illegitimate fashion.

|| Greg, 06:37 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

No Need To Apologize

Larry Elder makes this observation of George W. Bush and his policies regarding the poor and minorities.

Bottom line, under President Bush, the nation has seen the largest overall increase in inflation-adjusted spending since President Lyndon B. Johnson. Indeed, much to the chagrin of fiscal conservatives, President Bush's budgets -- even excluding defense and homeland security spending -- make him the biggest spending president in 30 years.

But, Bush doesn't care about the poor.

There's a saying: We don't care how much you know, until we know how much you care. If one measures compassion by "outreach," the president placed more minorities and women in his government and with power positions than any president before him. If one measures compassion by spending, the president owes no one an apology.

None of this matters, of course, as long as you're a Republican. If "love means never having to say you're sorry," being a Republican means always having to say it.

But facts, of course, are irrelevant when it comes to liberal charges of racism, sexism, and hard-heartedness.

|| Greg, 06:36 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 12, 2005

It's A Matter Of What's Important

You just have to love some headlines. Take this one.

400-500 gallons of Halliburton acid spills on Colorado highway

Not just acid – it is Halliburton acid. Is that really the most important point to the story? Couldn’t you have instead informed your readers of what sort of acid it was – a matter of no little import – so that they could take appropriate precautions?

No, it is much more important to inform us that the acid belongs to a major defense contractor with ties to the Vice President.

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

A Good Move

Let’s split the Ninth Circuit. No, not because it is the goofiest of liberal courts in the land, but because it is too large and to slow to really be effective.

The Ninth Circuit, which covers nine states, is considered the largest of all U.S. Circuit Courts. It is larger than the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th , 5th , 6th , 7th , and 11th Circuits combined. The Ninth Circuit contains the fastest growing states in the U.S.

According to the Census Bureau, by 2010, the population of the states the Ninth Circuit covers will grow to over 63 million.

The court's increasing caseload negatively impacts the judges' ability to stay on top of legal developments, Murkowski said. It handles more cases than any other Circuit. Last year alone, 14,272 cases were filed.

The Ninth Circuit is the only circuit in which all judges do not review panel decisions, and it allows the court to be comprised of 11 members compared to the full 28 members. Every other Circuit requires a review by its full panel, thus resulting in the need for only six members of the 28 to have a majority opinion, Murkowski added.

As it stands now, the average time to get a final disposition of an appellate case in the Ninth Circuit is about five months longer than the national average.

Anything would be an improvement over the current system.

|| Greg, 08:09 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Nature Or Nurture?

This will certainly raise the hackles of the professional homosexuals in this country.

A debonair New York socialite filed a $5 million legal notice against the Catholic Church yesterday — claiming his molestation at age 7 at the hands of a young priest led him to become gay.

J. David Enright IV — a scion of Albany's renowned Van Rensselaer and de la Grange families — told The Post he was repeatedly sexually abused by the Rev. Joseph Romano, a seminarian counselor at upstate Camp Tekawitha on Lake Luzerne, in 1961 and 1962.

"I believe that my life would be very different now," said Enright, 51, dressed in a custom-made English suit and French cuffed shirt. "I'd probably be married, living in Greenwich, with four children in boarding school.
"Romano bent my life."

The story, of course, is a tragedy. But for Enright to win, he has to establish that homosexuality if not a genetic trait. Instead, homosexuality has to be a trauma-induced defect – call it post-traumatic sexual disorientation. If the latter is the case, then homosexuality is a disorder to be treated and overcome, not a condition to be accepted and normalized.

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

One More Voice Against Miers

Former Congressman Bob Barr offers this observation, which in many ways mirrors mine. We don’t think that Harriet Miers is anything other than a smart lady and a fine lawyer – but we just don’t see her as having a clearly defined judicial philosophy or a deep concern for the constitutional law issues that are the bread-and-butter of Supreme Court cases.

I know there have been lawyers who have served with distinction on the Supreme Court — men like Lewis Powell, Abe Fortas and even the outstanding Louis Brandeis — whose first judicial job was on the U.S. high court.

The parallels really don't hold up well, Mr. President, because all of those justices actually had well-known records of serving in professional and academic venues in which they were called on repeatedly to issue opinions on complex matters involving constitutional and judicial issues.

Miers, despite have blazed a pioneering trail as the first woman head of the Texas Bar Association, is not possessed of such a record. Indeed, even though her defenders in your administration have noted that her duties as White House counsel necessarily include dealing with matters involving constitutional issues, you have already made it clear you will refuse to allow public or even Senate access to White House documents relating to her official duties.

Thus, even if there existed a paper trail irrefutably establishing that Miers' legal reasoning were every bit as profound as Justice Brandeis', we'll never know, because you refuse to show us the proof.

Moreover, the issues on which your counsel's constitutional bona fides might be established necessarily would relate to a fairly narrow range of matters, and all would necessarily involve justifications for your exercise of certain powers (torture, suspension of habeas corpus, defense of executive privilege). After all, that's what White House counsels are paid to do — find ways to justify whatever power a president wants to claim.

I’ll say it quite clearly – if this were a District Court nomination, I would be strongly supportive of a Miers nomination. I’d fight hard for a Circuit Court confirmation, too. But elevation to the Supreme Court requires an almost intangible something more – and I just don’t see this nominee as possessing it.

May God bless Harriet Miers – and may he keep her off this honorable court.

|| Greg, 08:06 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

My Body Is Not Government Property

As much as I believe in organ donation, and as much as I lament the lack of transplantable organs, I have to oppose this proposal.

Look, I'm not saying we need more body-snatching, obviously. What we need is a policy - already law in 20 countries - called "presumed consent."

Presumed consent simply presumes that once you die, you consent to have your body parts given to the living, unless you have specifically indicated otherwise.
From Singapore to Spain to Sweden and Italy, it's a done deal. Anyone who does not want to donate simply joins a national registry of those "opting out." They get "opt out" cards to carry.

Here in America, however, our posthumous policy is exactly the opposite: The government presumes you don't want to donate. If, however, you do, you have to "opt in" by signing a space on your driver's license and/or talking about it with your next of kin. Since most people don't bother to sign anything and are disinclined to discuss the disposal of their bodies in any event, we don't have the 98% participation rate that presumed-consent countries like Spain have.

The short answer is that my body belongs to me. It is not government property, to be disposed of by government dictate after I die. If I choose to donate my organs (and I do – I signed up for organ donation when I got my first driver’s license, and have signed every renewal since then), that is my decision – but if I choose to take them to my grave I should be permitted to do so without having to overcome some government hurdle.

And in this case, unlike in the case of abortion, the mantra of “my body, my choice” is actually accurate.

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

Kerry Kamaign Kash Konundrum

Under state law, citizens may contribute up to $4950 to mayoral candidates. But under federal law, congresscritters are limited to raising only $2100 for such candidates. Looks like John Kerry may have crossed the line.

A Sept. 15 E-mail from Kerry to potential Ferrer donors failed to note that the former presidential candidate is barred from hitting up Ferrer supporters for more than $2,100. That could violate the federal McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

"Under a reasonable reading of the regulations and the advisory opinion, the lack of a disclaimer violated the rule about soliciting soft money," said Larry Noble, of the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.

Kerry's missive had links to a page on Ferrer's Web site that allows donors to select amounts up to $250 - or write in a figure.

In New York, donors to a mayoral candidate may contribute up to $4,950. But as a senator, Kerry's solicitations are limited by federal rules, and according to a Federal Election Commission opinion, he must "expressly qualify or limit" his request with a disclaimer to make it clear he's only soliciting funds that comply with federal law.

This is just one more example of the stupidity of campaign finance laws. He is forbidden from soliciting LEGAL donations. Time to repeal all of the campaign participation restriction laws.

» It Should Be Noted links with: Campaign Finance Watch

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

The Lust Barge

Maybe those helmets were a sign that the Minnesota Vikings are a horny bunch. Consider this story about a recent charter cruise involving a number of players from the team.

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Department is investigating allegations of criminal sexual conduct by Minnesota Vikings players after a boat cruise on Lake Minnetonka turned into an out-of-control party that included lap dances and sexual acts, an attorney for the charter boat company said Tuesday.

Stephen Doyle, a lawyer representing the owners of Al and Alma's, a company that charters cruises on the lake, said cornerback Fred Smoot and another Vikings player, whom he declined to name, reserved a charter for a night-time excursion Thursday.

"From our end, I don't know the name of the other primary person, but we turned over to the police today documents that show signatures or credit cards or whatever was associated with closing this deal," Doyle said.

A woman called Mound police Thursday night to report "possible prostitution, drugs and live sex acts" on the two boats. According to the police report, the woman said she and her brother's girlfriend served as hostesses on the boats.

Doyle said he didn't learn details of what allegedly happened until he met with six of the eight crewmembers Tuesday.

Doyle said about 90 people were on the two boats. According to a Vikings player who spoke on the condition of anonymity, about 15 Vikings players were on a charter as part of what he described as a "team event." The player said he was unaware of any sexual acts and that the cruise lasted less than 90 minutes.

Doyle said he believed it to be a tradition for Vikings rookies and first-year players to take their teammates out.

Upon returning to the dock, the player said, there were no police officers present and he did not know of any problems on the boats.

It could be really interesting to see how this situation all plays out. After all, isn’t this just about sex, and isn’t there a need for us to all just move on. After all, who hasn’t had drunken public sex with a prostitute on a boat? Everyone does it – sort of like getting oral sex from a subordinate in the office and lying to your spouse and the American people.

|| Greg, 08:02 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 11, 2005

Target #1 For Texas Republicans

It must suck to be this guy -- everyone will be gunning for him in 2006.

The son of Travis County district attorney Ronnie Earle plans to run for the Texas House.

Jason Earle will campaign for House District 47 in Southwest Travis County.

The district's current representative Terry Keel said he won't run for reelection. Instead, he is seeking a seat on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Earle will formally announce his candidacy at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Pease Elementary School in Central Austin.

Gee -- thanks dad!

|| Greg, 06:08 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 10, 2005

Another Tragedy Beyond Comprehension

Again, words fail me in the face of such a disaster.

Up to 40,000 people have been killed, at least 60,000 injured and two-and-a-half million left homeless by the devastating south Asia earthquake, according to latest figures.

Behind the raw and rising statistics, the dreadful human cost of the tragedy was emerging in ruined towns across Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.

The mountainous province of Kashmir was the worst hit, but the effects of the quake were felt in a 300-mile belt from Jalabad in Afghanistan to Srinagar in northern India. The earthquake struck at 0450BST on Saturday and is the worst to hit South Asia in a century.

"It is a whole generation that has been lost, the maximum number affected was schoolchildren," Major General Shaukat Sultan, Pakistan's military spokesman said.

"Rescuers are pulling out dead children in Muzaffarabad [the capital of Pakistani Kashmir, and the epicentre of the 7.6 quake] but there is no-one to claim the bodies. The parents, too, are dead."

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) said today that between 30,000 and 40,000 people had died. The figure is likely to rise further as rescue teams reach isolated towns and villages whose water supplies, power and road links have been wiped out.

The numbers are mind-boggling.

Please offer prayers, and help, to the survivors.

|| Greg, 06:22 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Rathergate -- An Insider's Account

Mary Mapes claims in her new book that there was a "vast right wing conspiracy" to get her, Dan Rather, and CBS News in the wake of the use of fake documents to accuse President Bush of failing to complete his Texas Air National Guard service.

But the revised edition of David Blum's book on 60 Minutes provides a different take on the scandal.

Dan Rather’s future on CBS News certainly looks less than assured, just as the updated paperback edition of David Blum’s 60 Minutes tell-all, Tick . . . Tick . . . Tick . . . , hits stores this week. Among Blum’s new revelations: The night before last fall’s controversial National Guard piece aired, Rather called 60 Minutes Wednesday executive producer Josh Howard from the anchor desk to find out why he wasn’t running promos for the story. When Howard told him he couldn’t promote it—CBS News president Andrew Heyward hadn’t seen it yet, nor had the lawyers, and they hadn’t even contacted the White House for comment—Rather threatened to take the story to the Times that night. (Rather later backed down.) The anchor was feeling a good deal less of a cowboy after the story blew up in his face. According to the book, on the night before his on-air apology, Rather confessed to Howard that he’d had doubts about the veracity of the memos all along. “I knew when I did the [document consultant Marcel] Matley interview that something wasn’t right with all this,” Rather confessed to Howard, belying his stalwart public position. A CBS News spokesperson, Sandy Genelius, said, “I have no way of verifying this, these were private conversations,” before noting that they weren’t in the 224-page report of the CBS investigation. Rather was overseas and unavailable to comment.

Rather, it seems, was much more interested in getting it out fast than in getting it right -- and was even willing to hand the story to the New York Times to do so.

So, Mary, are we talking about a vast right wing conspiracy to smear you, or simply shoddy journailsm by folks more interested in bringing down another Republican President?

|| Greg, 06:18 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (9) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Is This Sort Of Money Corrupting, Democrats?

It seems that producer Stephen Bing has made a small contribution to a group opposing the non-partisan redistricting of California legislative and congressional seats. The measure is designed to stop Democrat gerrymandering of districts that keeps Republicans from coming close to winning the number of seats their voting strength suggests they should hold.

Hollywood producer Stephen L. Bing has donated $4 million to oppose Proposition 77, which would strip legislators of the power to draw the boundaries of their districts.

The donation - the largest, single contribution from an individual in the special election campaign - was given to a committee headed by University of California, Los Angeles, law professor Daniel Lowenstein, a former chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

The committee's backers include Democratic members of California's congressional delegation. Some members' jobs could be in jeopardy if voters approve Proposition 77 on the Nov. 8 ballot. The initiative would authorize a panel of retired judges to determine legislative and congressional boundaries, rather than legislators.

The group had previously raised only $1.4 million -- meaning that Bing's donation is equivalent to nearly triple the amount previously raised by the group.

I'm curious -- if corporate donations, no matter how small, are corrupting of politics, and if unlimited donations to individual candidates are corrupting of politics, what can one say about this sort of contribution to a Democrat front organization?

And what's in it for Bing? What favors will he get in return from the group's supporters among the Democrat legislators?

It seems to me that the money should be returned, in the spirit preserving good government and clean campaigns -- at least if liberals really believe that campaign donations are corrupting of the political process.

|| Greg, 06:07 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 09, 2005

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are LGF Spots the Gilded Cage by Gates of Vienna, and Lessons From a Decent Man by Sigmund, Carl, and Alfred.  Full results may be found in this week's results post.

|| Greg, 07:12 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Chronicle Lambastes School Districts Over Not Feeding Kids Year Round

Public schools were etablished to educate students. The idea was that they would prepare students to be productive citizens in a democratic society. Somewhere along the way, though, this notion got corrupted. Schools came to be seen as the one-stop social service center for students. Thus we saw the establishment of free and reduced lunch programs, school breakfast programs, and health clinics, as well as special programs for young women who are unable to keep their knees together and get knocked-up -- as well as free day care for their babies.

So why should it be surprising that the liberals of this world expect schools to keep on feeding kids at taxpayer expense during the summer? The Houston Chronicle is upset that some local school districts have not caved into its demands that they arrange meals for students during the months of July and August, after summer school ends.

Let me restate what I said back in July on this very subject.

Who Is Responsible For Feeding The Children?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now let me begin by saying that additional reflection has led me to recognize that my comment about children getting a kiss on the forehead and a bowl of ice cream at bedtime is a bit insensitive. After all, I left out both the mint on the pillow and the turn-down service that is given at any decent five-star hotel. My sincerest apologies for not including them in the expected services that schools should be expected to provide for their students!

Quite simply, folks, the time has come to get schools to refocus on their primary mission, which is providing an education. Lunch and breakfast programs are fine during the school year, but parents must take responsibility for providing basic necessities for their children. Schools need to get out of the business of providing medical care and social services to children. Speaking as a teacher , I can tell you that those of us on the frontlines of education in a classroom are simply being overwhelmed by the additional demands placed upon us that go beynd the scope of providing an education to our kids. We cannot be all things to all people, nor can we provide all services to all children, if we are to effectively fulfill our primary role of teaching our students. Please, for the sake of our children, let us get back to teaching!

Unfortunately, it looks like one of the districts (or at least the district spokesperson) has fallen into the Chronicle's trap of conceding district responsibility for feeding children year-round.

But Galena Park has not made any effort to transfer its meal service. The Parks and Recreation Department contacted the school district to discuss the matter, but the district did not follow up on that conversation, spokeswoman Staci Stanfield said.

"It's a priority to make sure that our students are fed," she said. Nevertheless, she added, the district has taken no action "at this point in time" to fulfill that priority.

I wish you had given a better answer, Staci. The correct answer to the question was "It's a priority to make sure that our students are educated, and the district plans on taking no action at this time or any other to operate or facilitate any program that detracts or distracts from our focus on that mission. As such, it is up to the private sector to see to the feeding of children when we are not in session."

Of course, giving that answer would require a level of courage and honesty that those who rise to the rarified heights of district spokesperson or other district administrative positions have long-since lost in their quest to make more money and have less day-to-day contact with children in that messy setting that is a classroom. It also would have required remembering that the primary task of a school district is education.

And sadly, too many of those who set educational policy have lost focus on that task.

» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval

|| Greg, 06:50 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Bill White Is Clearly Confused

Bill White has said the following regarding Proposition 2 (as set forth in Texas HJR 6), which would insert the traditional definition of marriage overwhelmingly supported by Texans int he state Constitution.

Houston Mayor Bill White took no official stance but suggested the amendment is divisive.

"As mayor, I avoid commenting on state and federal laws and policies I do not influence," White said. "I intend to vote 'no' on the proposed state constitutional amendment to protest its use as a wedge issue."

Gee -- how is it divisive to pass a law that is overwhelmingly supported by virtually every demographic group in the state of Texas? Isn't the division actually being cause by those who would impose their values on the state of Texas through the courts, against the will of the people of Texas? You know, those who seek to force the overwhelming majority of Texans to act contrary to their religious beliefs for the benefit of no more than 5%?

Despite the Chronicle's attempt to paint the issue as divisive, by this time next mont it will be clear that Texans are united in opposition to homosexual marriage. -- and it will be clear who is sowing division.

Oh, and by the way, don't forget that there are nine proposed amendments on the November ballot. You can find them here.

|| Greg, 06:17 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 08, 2005

Animal Rights Terrorists Strike Again

This time they were in Paris, and their weapon of choice was a cream pie.

French anti-fur activists said they struck Anna Wintour, editor of the U.S. edition of Vogue, in the face with a cream pie on Saturday to protest against her support for the use of animal fur by the fashion industry.

Wintour, dressed in a fur-trimmed black jacket, was hit in the face with a tofu cream pie as she left the Chloe fashion ready-to-wear show at the Tuileries Gardens in central Paris, members of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said.

It was the second such attack this year on Wintour, an unapologetic fur supporter decried by animal rights groups as a "pelt pusher."

"Wintour is fur-bearing animals' worst enemy because her magazine continues to feature dozens of pages of pro-fur editorials and advertising each year," PETA campaigner Yvonne Taylor told Reuters by phone in Paris.

"She takes big glossy advertisements for fur and she refuses to run any anti-fur ads, even paid ones, so she's a big fur supporter," Taylor said.

Wintour was unavailable for comment on the incident.

I'd like to encourage Ms. Wintour to purchase a firearm, and to make use of it the next time she is so approached. It is time to meet their acts of violence with a response that will catch their attention -- and the attention of their survivors.

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

Is Miers Really The Best?

Not if you consider the implications of this statement from Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter.

Senator Arlen Specter, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who presides over confirmation hearings, offered a blunt assessment that was yet another sign that the nominee faced an uphill battle on Capitol Hill. Though Mr. Specter called Ms. Miers "intellectually able," he said she had a "fair-sized job to do" to become fluent in the language of constitutional law, which will be essential for senators who want to examine her judicial philosophy in deciding whether to confirm her.

"She needs more than murder boards," Mr. Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, said in an interview, referring to the mock question-and-answer sessions most nominees use to prepare for their confirmation hearings. "She needs a crash course in constitutional law."

Excuse me, but shouldn't a candidate for the highest court in the United States already be "fluent in the language of constitutional law"? Shouldn't she (or he) be sufficiently well-versed in the field that there is no need for a "crash course in constitutional law"? Can any candidate described in this manner be said to be ready for the Supreme Court?

Sounds like Specter has supplied us with another "Hruska moment".

Please, Mr. President, withdraw this nomination.

(Hat Tip -- Southern Appeal)

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

EJ Dionne And Religious Tests

Columnist EJ Dionne attempts to argue that many on the right are being hypocritical in their use of Harriet Miers' religious affiliation as a tool to discern her judicial philosophy.

Shortly after Bush named John Roberts to the Supreme Court, a few Democrats, including Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., suggested that the nominee might reasonably be questioned about the impact of his religious faith on his decisions as a justice.

Durbin had his head taken off. "We have no religious tests for public office in this country," thundered Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, insisting that any inquiry about a potential judge's religious views was "offensive." Fidelis, a conservative Catholic group, declared that "Roberts' religious faith and how he lives that faith as an individual has no bearing and no place in the confirmation process."

But now that Harriet Miers, Bush's latest Supreme Court nominee, is in trouble with conservatives, her religious faith and how she lives that faith are becoming central to the case being made for her by the administration and its supporters. Miers has almost no public record. Don't worry, the administration's allies are telling their friends on the right, she's an evangelical Christian.

Dionne, of course, may have a minor point in noting the hypocrisy of objecting to Durbin's questions while offering assurances based upon Miers' evangelical Christianity. But he is is wrong on the much more substantial question of religious tests -- for neither the Durbin question nor the evangelical assurance constitutes a religious test of any sort -- and certainly not as understood by the Framers of the Constitution.

I pointed this out some months back, responding to an editorial in the New York Sun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'll say about Miers what I said about Roberts -- to the degree that inquiries and assertions regarding her religious beliefs are the basis for discerning a judicial philosophy and/or her basic competence to do the job of a Supreme Court Justice, there is no religious test being imposed.

(Another commentary on Dionne at Captain's Quarters)

|| Greg, 11:30 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Vatican And Homosexual Ordination

It looks like a pragmatic realism is going to be the basis of the Vatican's policy on the ordination of homosexual candidates to the priesthood. This was my hope and my expectation. A quick examination of the policy shows why it makes sense.

A forthcoming Vatican document on homosexuals in seminaries will not demand an absolute ban, a senior Vatican official told NCR Oct. 7, but will insist that seminary officials exercise "prudential judgment" that gay candidates should not be admitted in three cases.

Those three cases are:

* If candidates have not demonstrated a capacity to live celibate lives for at least three years;
* If they are part of a "gay culture," for example, attending gay pride rallies (a point, the official said, which applies both to professors at seminaries as well as students);
* If their homosexual orientation is sufficiently "strong, permanent and univocal" as to make an all-male environment a risk.

In any case, the Vatican official said, whether or not these criteria exclude a particular candidate is a judgment that must be made in the context of individual spiritual direction, rather than by applying a rigid litmus test.

I spent four years in the Catholic seminary before leaving and, little more than a year latter, marrying.

Now let's look at those three points very closely. What are the conditions unde which someone should not be admitted to the seminary as a candidate for the priesthood?

* If candidates have not demonstrated a capacity to live celibate lives for at least three years;

May I say "DUH!" These men are entering a process of formation for lifelong celibacy. Is it an unreasonable expectation that they should show the capacity for celibacy by having lived it for a period of time? Speaking from experience, I believe that a three year period of celibacy prior to entering the major seminary should be a minimum requirement for everybody. Being celibate for such a period is not an easy thing to do in today's society if you do not have such a calling. To live a life of celibacy with integrity is hard work -- and I've known many deeply spiritual men who would have made great priests who have recognized that they could not continue with their studies because of their inability to live a celibate life with integrity. The issue played no small part in my decision not to complete my preparation for priesthood.

* If they are part of a "gay culture," for example, attending gay pride rallies (a point, the official said, which applies both to professors at seminaries as well as students);

The teachings of the Church on homosexuality are unequivocal. If a man is taking a public stand against the teachings of the Church on the matter, is the priesthood really an appropriate place for him? It is all well and good to seek to be an agent of change in a democratic society, but the unchanging truths of the Christian faith are not open to debate.

* If their homosexual orientation is sufficiently "strong, permanent and univocal" as to make an all-male environment a risk.

Some folks, both heterosexual and homosexual, are led around by their sex drives. We all know such folks. In the case of a homosexual male who is very sexualized, being thrust into the all-male world of seminary life and priesthood could be an occassion of sin. I recall one young man who quit the seminary when his older partner broke off their relationship a few weeks prior to diaconate ordination -- while the older man was willing to be celibate (though not until the 11th hour), the younger thought of the priesthood as a much more exclusive gay bar. At least one of them (and probably both) should never have been permitted to enter the seminary to begin with -- for the same reason a heterosexual man who expressed a desire to remain sexually active should not be admitted to the seminary.

I encourage people to notice something about the position taken in this document. Homosexuals are not deemed to be more sinful than other people. They are not deemed "unworthy" of ordination. Rather, special guidance is being offered on which individuals should and should not be admitted to the seminary based upon their ability to live out the priesthood as models of Christ's love and as teachers of the truths found in Scripture and Tradition. Far from being based upon hatred and bigotry, they are based upon love and pastoral concern.

|| Greg, 11:11 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Unethical Prosecutorial Conduct

The DeLay camp is alleging unethical and illegal conduct by Ronnie Earle in securing the second indictment against the Majority Leader after initially securing an indictment for a crime that did not exist.

"During the five-day period of Sept. 29, 2005, to Oct. 3, 2005, Ronnie Earle and his staff engaged in an extraordinarily irregular, and desperate attempt to contrive a viable charge and get a substitute indictment of Tom DeLay before the expiration of the statute of limitations on Oct. 3, 2005," the motion states.

The motion claims that Earle and his staff "attempted to browbeat and coerce" a grand jury to change its decision to no-bill DeLay on a separate money-laundering charge. In addition, the motion says that the prosecutors "unlawfully attempted to cover up and delay public disclosure" of that no-bill.

Richard Bernal of Austin, foreman of the grand jury that didn't indict DeLay, said he had no comment on the allegations in DeLay's motion. He said he had not spoken with DeGuerin or anyone on DeLay's legal team.

On Oct. 3, a newly sworn-in grand jury indicted DeLay on money-laundering and conspiracy charges. Earle said then those indictments were based on "additional information" that had come to his attention.

The motion also accuses the district attorney's office of inciting the foreman of the first grand jury to talk "publicly, and on the record, to the media, in an effort to bias the public and sitting grand jurors."

That foreman, William M. Gibson Jr. of Austin, has given interviews to reporters. He has not discussed the evidence against DeLay but has said that Earle did not pressure the jurors to vote to indict.

On Thursday, Gibson, 76, told Austin radio station KLBJ that Earle's staff said "that we were free to talk to the media if we wanted to, that the media was a very good source of information for everybody."

On Friday, the retired state insurance investigator told the Houston Chronicle that Earle did not incite him to talk.

He said he answered questions when reporters called but didn't divulge any secret information.

"I don't think I did anything wrong," said Gibson.

Now let's look at this very closely. After three years and (if I remember correctly) six grand juries, Ronnie Earle finally got DeLay indicted on charges of conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws in 2002. The problem was that the statute did not go into effect for nearly a year after DeLay's actions -- and DeLay's participation in the conspiracy was his failure to attempt to stop a financial transaction that the PAC's lawyers said was legal and commonplace. By the time the flaw was discovered, the grand jury had been dismissed because its term had expired. That grand jury was told it was free to talk to the press about the case, according to its foreman, a partisan Democrat who admits that his decision to indict was based upon press reports and other information that was not (and could not have been) presented to the grand jury.

By the next day, the indictment had been torn to shreds by a great number of commentators and analysts, including many who oppose Tom DeLay. The Travis County DA therefore sought an additional indictment to backstop the first, and presented the same evidence to another grand jury that was about to expire, hoping to get an indictment that the pliant first grand jury refused to give him. Earle expected the second indictment to be forthcoming, because they would not have heard all of the contradictory evidence given to the first grand jury during its term, just the evidence that Earle cherry-picked to make his case. But an indictment wasn't forthcoming, and the grand jurors no-billed the case. Ronnie Earle was visibly angry and attempted to pressure the grand jurors into doing his biddingdespite their conviction that ther ewas no basis for charges. He then instructed them that grand jury secrecy rules applied to them even after their term was up and that they could not speak to the media.

Over the weekend, Earle and his employees called the members of the expired grand jury to discuss the "additional evidence" that was presented to the second grand jury -- which appears to be a violation of grand jury secrecy, since it involved the discussion of the activities decisions and deliberations of that grand jury with individuals who were not a part of that or any other sitting grand jury -- and polled them on whether they would have issued an indictment on specific charges. This action certainly crosses ethical boundaries,and probably legal ones as well.

On October 3, Ronnie Earle presented the same evidence to the a brand new grand jury -- supplemented by the opinions of the members of the defunct grand jury which had indicted on a charge that didn't exist. These opinions were the "new evidence" which constituted the basis for presenting the evidence to the third grand jury in less than a week. The third grand jury was persuaded in a matter of hours to return an indictment on charges that could bring life in prison for one of Ronnie Earle's biggest political targets to date, despite the fact that one grand jury had found no evidence of a crime and the other had only been willing to return an indictment on a much less substantial charge. Why? Because Earle presented material that was not evidence, but rather a statement of opinion of the former grand jurors. Thus the Travis County DA secured an indictment by saying that he and the other grand jury had made a mistake, and here's how we want you to fix it

In short, what we have here is an example of the old saying that a prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich if he wants it to -- but only if he has access to a sufficient number of grand juries to do so.

(More at Blogs for Bush)

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

October 07, 2005

Must be An Immaculate Conception

How else can we explain the pregnancy of a young woman who publicly vowed not to wait for her wedding night to have sex?

APPARENTLY Tom Cruise had it in him after all.

The Hollywood superstar and Scientologist has announced he is expecting a child with Katie Holmes, the 26-year-old actor who swore she would remain a virgin until the pair married.

I won't speculate on what role Scientology played in getting Katie pregnant now.

But I will ask one question -- did anyone think about the implications of the first sentence of this story? I mean seriously, I don't think it is an issue of whether Tom "had it in him", at least not as I understand the biological process involved.

(And yes, before anyone objects to my use of the term "Immaculate Conception", I do know the difference between the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the virgin birth. The joke just worked better this way. If you are offended, you are cordially invited to get over it.)

|| Greg, 05:30 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Ronnie Earle Took Corporate Cash

The man who claims that corporate cash is corrupting to politics seems to have taken a fair amount of it himself.

Rep. Tom DeLay said District Attorney Ronnie Earle, who is prosecuting him for trying to involve corporate money in Texas politics, has taken such contributions himself.

"It's real interesting he has this crusade against corporate funds. He took corporate funds, and he's taken union funds, for his own re-election. That's against the law," Mr. DeLay told The Washington Times yesterday.

A review of Mr. Earle's campaign-finance filings in Texas shows that he has received contributions from the AFL-CIO, including a $250 donation on Aug. 29, 2000. He also has received contributions listed on the disclosure forms only as coming from the name of an incorporated entity, often a law firm.

Mr. Earle has said repeatedly that state law bars corporate and union contributions. Attempts to reach Mr. Earle yesterday for comment, including a phone message left on his assistant's voice mail detailing Mr. DeLay's charge, were unsuccessful.

So not only is he a politically motivated, partisan grand jury shopper, but he is also one of the very sort of corrupt politicians who he regularly rails against as being corrupted by corporate money.

|| Greg, 05:19 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 06, 2005

A Wrong Decision

When the County Commissioners in Hillsborough voted down an ordinance to ban discrimination against homosexuals in public and private employment, they did something much worse -- they made it more difficult for the people to speak directly on the issue.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Kathy Castor said she was only trying to repair Hillsborough's reputation as unfriendly to gay rights when she asked commissioners Wednesday to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation for private and public employees.

But the request backfired when commissioners, led by Ronda Storms, not only refused Castor, but voted 5-2 to make it harder for voters to decide the issue.

They required that the workplace protection of gays can't be put on a referendum ballot unless at least five commissioners approve it. Before Castor's request, only four votes were needed. Castor and Tom Scott dissented.

The decision by the commissioners was wrong, at least in part.

The non-discrimiantion provision in public employment should have been adopted, but the private employment provision was properly rejected as intruding upon the civil rights of employers (for the record, I oppose all non-discrimination laws that target private individuals and entities, as opposed to government). And under no circumstances should the commissioners have made it more difficult to get a measure on the ballot, The voice of the people should always be heard, not stifled!

I've condemned those legislators in Massachusetts who have refused to put homosexual marriage on the ballot. I've spoken against legislators in Massachusetts who have ignored the state constitution and the vote of the people on the definition of marriage. I've objected when courts have tossed-out the vote of the people on gay marriage and gay rights flimsy constitutional grounds that do not stand up under scrutiny. Honesty and principle require me to condemn Hillsborough County for this action as well -- for it isn't the result that is important nearly so much as it is the process.

|| Greg, 06:11 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Religious Bigot Sues Air Force Academy

I guess this pathetic excuse for a warrior and his weak-kneed sons want there to be freedom from religion -- at least freedom from Christianity -- rather than freedom of religion as guaranteed by the US Constitution. His ultimate goal is clearly to striip believers in the military of their rights under the US Constitution.

A Jewish father of two Air Force Academy cadets sued the Air Force on Thursday, claiming senior officers and cadets illegally imposed Christianity on others at the school.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court by Mikey Weinstein, an academy graduate and outspoken critic of the school's handling of religion.

Over the past decade or more, the lawsuit claims, academy leaders have fostered an environment of religious intolerance at the Colorado school, in violation of the First Amendment.

Weinstein has one son who graduated from the academy last year and another who is a junior there. Both were subjected to anti-Semitic slurs from evangelical Christian cadets, he said.

While I'll concede there are some things that needed to be addressed at the Academy, let's look at what Weinstein REALLY wants.

The lawsuit, which names the Air Force and its acting secretary, Pete Geren, as defendants, asks the Air Force to prohibit its members — including chaplains — from evangelizing and proselytizing or in any related way attempting "to involuntarily convert, pressure, exhort or persuade a fellow member of the USAF to accept their own religious beliefs while on duty."

In other words, what this man wants is complete censorship of all religious speech -- including the religious speech of chaplains.

Time to slap down this anti-religious bigot, and to remind him that the Air Force is committed to protecting the Constitution, not gutting it. It is "freeddom of", not "freedom from" religion.

|| Greg, 05:55 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (11) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Not A Free Speech Issue

I do wish folks would realize that private companies have the right to set certain standards on their property, and to refuse to serve those who engage in unacceptable behavior and speech.

Take this case.

A Portland woman's flight home was stopped short in Reno, all because the message on the T-shirt she was wearing.

Lorrie Heasley claims it's a freedom of speech privilege, but airline officials say the message brings safety concerns.

Heasley, "There are bigger problems in the country, I can't believe people can be so petty."

Heasley boarded her flight Tuesday morning in Los Angeles, headed for Portland, Oregon with a stopover in Reno. But when Southwest Airlines employees asked her to cover her shirt, her stop over became a stop off her flight.

"I was told that basically that I had to cover my shirt, or I was told if I cover the shirt I can basically stay on the plane."

So she covered the shirt, but during a nap while passengers were boarding in Reno the cover came off. And Southwest employees insisted, change the shirt, or change flights. "I didn't feel that I should have to change my shirt, because we live in the United States, and it's freedom of speech and it was based on the move "The Fockers", and I didn't think it should have offended anyone."
But it did.

The shirt had pictures of members of the Bush Administration, and a phrase based on the movie "Meet the Fockers," but with one crucial vowel changed.

Oh. You seem to think that you have the right to subject a captive audience to an obscenity. Wrong. The airline was well within its rights to tell you to change the shirt or go elsewhere. After all – it was protecting the rights of all the other passengers. I might have more sympathy with you if the objection wee based upon your infantile politics rather than your infantile form of self-expression, but the airline made the correct call here. For that matter, it would have even been acceptable, legally, to have required that you to remove the political speech, since it was by private directive rather than government mandate.

Let me give an example. Many years ago, I worked for an amusement park that used the Looney Toons characters as part of its theme. It had a policy of asking patrons who wore Disney character clothing to the park to change the clothing or turning the shirt inside out. One could argue that it was a bad idea, but it certainly was not a violation of any constitutional right – that would have required public action.

The moonbats are, of course, out in full force on the usual liberal sites. They have, of course, no leg to stand on – especially since liberals are usually the first to call for censorship of offensive speech.

|| Greg, 05:09 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (8) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Lower Gas Prices Coming?

It sure looks that way, over the next few months.

High-quality crude oil fell below the psychologically significant $60 per barrel mark Thursday in London trading.

So-called Brent crude on the International Petroleum Exchange fell 67 cents to $59.45, the Financial Times reported.

In New York, a barrel of similar crude oil fell 1.4 percent to $61.90 per barrel.

Gasoline on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped about 2 percent to $1.87 per gallon, and heating oil drifted down slightly to $1.9833 per gallon.

Natural gas, however, rose 1.6 cents.

The generally downward movement in energy prices reflects the slow resumption of production and refining operations from storm-battered sites in the Gulf of Mexico, analysts said. Chevron Corp., for example, said Thursday it had begun restarting its 325,000 barrel-per-day Pascagoula, Miss., refinery.

Now if we could just do something about the nearly $1.00 a gallon in gas taxes that push the pump price so high.

|| Greg, 05:07 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (37) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Village Idiot

Well, here is another “animal rights” “activist” who does not have a clue.

Peter Daniel Young, 28, told The Associated Press during a jailhouse interview that serving time will be nothing compared to what caged animals suffer.

"As bad as it could get, it will never be as bad as it was for those mink," Young said. "I would do it all over again."

Now I’ll grant you that your jail sentence is not likely to end with you being skinned and turned into an article of clothing, but I think your time will be mighty unpleasant none the less. I’m curious – do you prefer the name “Susie” or “Michelle”?

Actually, I apologize for that question – I shouldn’t be joking about your place on the food chain in the Wisconsin state penal system (heh-heh-heh – I typed “penal”).

I guess what is particularly amusing is your self righteous belief that there was something noble and courageous about your actions.

Prosecutors believe Young and an accomplice were acting on behalf of the Animal Liberation Front when they broke onto mink farms in Iowa, South Dakota and Wisconsin in 1997 and freed about 7,000 mink. The FBI considers groups like ALF among the nation's top domestic terrorist threats.

Young, 28, scoffed at the comparison.

"If saving thousands of lives makes a terrorist, then I certainly embrace the label," Young said. "I would have been just as fast to act if those cages had been filled with human beings."

Yeah, that’s the ticket – those nasty little rodents are identical to human beings. No doubt you find the industrial-scale murder that went on at Auschwitz to be no more evil that what goes on at that farm. That, Peter, is why your ideology is utterly bankrupt, and why you can only succeed in imposing your ideological preferences by campaigns of violence and property destruction, not by persuasion. After all, sane people recognize the difference between human beings and animals, and recognize that human life does have an innately higher value that that of other creatures. If you cannot recognize that human beings are different, then you clearly have a problem. Quick – a boy and a puppy are in the middle of a road with a truck rushing at them at 70 MPH. Which should you save, or does it make a difference?

"Most people are just appalled I'd be put in prison for freeing the animals," he said. "I wish nothing short of the end of the entire (fur) industry ... they kill for what they do."

Actually, you moron, most folks are not troubled at all that you are going to be put in prison for engaging in breaking and entering, malicious vandalism of private property, and the attempted destruction of a business. Personally, I am appalled that you are not facing two years in prison for each mink that was turned loose.

Oh, and by the way, you do realize that those 7000 farm-bred mink could not survive in the wild, and would therefore died an equally horrible death – and that you are responsible for that. Did you wan all the local predators of the immorality of eating these confused and defenseless creatures?

|| Greg, 05:06 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Grand Jury Shopping

A little more on the activities of Ronnie Earle, Partisan Witch Hunter.

A Texas prosecutor tried to convince a grand jury that Representative Tom DeLay gave tacit approval to a series of laundered campaign contributions, and when jurors declined to indict, he became angry, according to two people directly familiar with the proceeding.

The grand jury was one of three that considered whether there was probable cause to indict DeLay. Two other grand juries did indict the former House majority leader, who had to step aside temporarily under Republican rules.

Both indictments focused on an alleged scheme to provide corporate political donations to Texas legislative candidates in violation of state law.

The two people interviewed, who commented anonymously because of grand jury secrecy, said Travis County prosecutor Ronnie Earle became visibly angry when the grand jurors last week signed a document declining to indict, known as a ''no bill."

One person said the sole evidence Earle presented was a DeLay interview with the prosecutor, in which DeLay said he was generally aware of activities of his associates. He is charged in an alleged money- laundering scheme to funnel corporate donations to Texas legislative candidates in violation of state law.

The person said that Earle tried to convince the jurors that if DeLay ''didn't say 'Stop it,' he gave his tacit approval."

After the grand jurors declined to go forward, the mood ''was unpleasant," the other person said, describing Earle's reaction.

In other words, the grand jury that heard all the evidence determined there was no crime in DeLay’s activities, but that was not good enough for Ronnie Earle. He therefore went to a grand jury that heard only cherry-picked elements of the case to secure the indictment that the better-informed grand jury refused to issue.

|| Greg, 05:05 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (11) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Mexico – Love It Or Leave The USA

As a teacher, I am on shaky legal ground requiring a student to stand for the ledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem. Court cases have made that clear since at least World War II. How, then, did the teachers at this school think they could get away with this politically correct idiocy?

A recent Mexican Independence Day assembly at Larkin High may have taken cultural sensitivity one step too far, a Larkin parent said this week.

Robert Bedard said his son was reprimanded when he declined to stand for the Mexican National Anthem during a ceremony at the west Elgin school last month.

His 17-year-old son, a senior in the process of enlisting, feared honoring another nation’s anthem might jeopardize his military status. Sitting down cost him a trip to the office.

Bedard questioned this week whether the scales of cultural diversity may have tilted out of balance.

I have no problem with cultural celebrations. I have no problem with students learning about other countries. Good Lord – I am a world history teacher who has to spend a lot of time dealing with the cultures of many different societies over the span of at least five millennia. I’m therefore not too bothered by the existence of programs to teach awareness of Mexican (or, more broadly, Latin American) culture and history.

On the other hand, this seems to have crossed the line from being a learning experience into an indoctrination program. It was a celebration of the patriotic holiday of another country, when most schools do not even mark all of the American patriotic celebrations, such as Columbus Day, Veterans Day, of President’s Day (interestingly enough, schools around here only mark four national holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, the socialist-inspired Labor Day, and the politically correct Martin Luther King Day). None falls into the category of “patriotic holiday”. Why mark the independence of a foreign country with a patriotic program – and punish the failure of students to demonstrate sufficient patriotic fervor for that country?

In this case, the father has a clear issue about patriotism.

“If they have an assembly, I would be happy if they will not try to force students to honor patriotic elements of another culture unless they also honor our flag, our anthem as well,” Bedard said. “It’s just respect for both cultures.”

I think the point needs to be made even more forcefully. This is America – our public institutions do not mark the patriotic celebrations of other countries, only our own.

|| Greg, 05:03 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Yeah, This Is A Problem.

Every year, several of my students get knocked up. Most are 15 or 16, dating guys who are 18-20. I recently had to report a case to CPS regarding a girl who is 15 sleeping with a 23 year old male. So yeah, I agree with this.

A new analysis of the sex lives of high schoolers has this advice: Teach the older teens to keep their hands off the younger ones.

One in four girls under 18 who have had sex say their first lover was with a male 3 or more years older, according to a new analysis of federal data.

One in 10 boys who have had sex say they lost their virginity to a female 3 or more years older.

Some of these cases involve teens with older adults. But, said the lead author of the report, "most of these sexual experiences occur between young teens and older teens.''

The analysis, by the think tank Child Trends, described the typical scenario as a 14-year-old girl having sex with a 17- or 18-year-old male.

So parents –know who your daughter is dating, and equip her to make good decisions. And do not be afraid to cut the guy out of her life if it seems that sexual activity is possible/probable. That is the first line of defense to protect these young women from sexual exploitation.

|| Greg, 04:59 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Idiocy Of Polling

I love this interpretation of polling data regarding the Hurricane Rita evacuation.

About 70 percent of those who left were afraid of the storm — fearing for their safety from wind and flooding — as Rita seemed poised for a near-direct hit. Only one in five listed evacuation orders as the primary motivation for taking flight, according to the poll of residents in Harris and seven adjacent counties.

Now I live in one of the mandatory evacuation zones, but if asked I would have said I left because I was afraid of the storm. Hell, I live four blocks from Galveston Bay, halfway between Houston and Galveston. All the models showed that my entire house was going to be under water. Damn straight I was afraid – that’s why I got ou I didn’t need someone to tell me “Greg, there is an evacuation set – you’ve got to leave” before I decided it might just be a good thing to get out of Dodge. I had already made the decision to go because I didn’t want to be one of those people trapped in an attic drowning. The fact that the government was telling me to go was simply an additional spur that determined when I left, not if I was going to go. I suspect the same mindset was at work for many others in the mandatory evacuation area.

What shocks me is that there were actually 20% that wouldn’t sufficiently concerned to leave if we were getting a storm like was predicted in the days before the evacuation.

|| Greg, 04:58 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 05, 2005

Rangel's Unmitigated Gall!

Earlier this week, Rep. Charlie Rangel made the following statement regarding Vice President Dick Cheney.

On Friday evening, Rangel was asked in a follow-up talk on the station if he thought Cheney should step down.

"He should never have stepped up in the first place," Rangel said. "He's too old for the job and doesn't have the experience."

Cheney, responding, offered the following observation about Rangel, who is some 11 years older than the Vice President.

Months of verbal attacks from Rangel turned into a back and forth on Monday when the 64-year-old vice president said Rangel is "losing it," later adding that "Charlie is a lot older than I am, and it shows."

Now Rangel is waxing indignant over Cheney's comment -- arguing that Cheney ought to be ashamed of himself for attacking him for being a senior citizen!

"I think it ends when he apologizes for attacking me as a senior citizen. It's true that I'm much older than he is, but that has nothing to do with mental alertness," Rangel said.

I guess its true -- there are much more permissive standards for Democrats than Republicans, especially if the Democrat is black.

(Hat Tip -- Blogs for Bush)

|| Greg, 07:37 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Global Warming In 5000 BC

Gee -- the human population of the palnet would have been inconsequential in 5000 BC. What caused the advent of global warming then?

Archaeologists have unearthed the prehistoric equivalent of the M1, apparently built in a hurry across flooding peat bogs during global warming around 5000BC.

The track of parallel pine logs on Hatfield Moors, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, is one of the earliest of its type to be found in Europe and was described by English Heritage as "internationally significant". More than 50 metres of track has been excavated in the past year.

Findings suggest that the roadway, discovered accidentally by a Doncaster man, Mick Oliver, was laid out hurriedly as rising seas spilled on to the moor.

Would any of you care to rethink the notion that humanity is reponsible for current climate changes -- which are much more likely cyclical in nature.

|| Greg, 07:27 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Good Intentions Make For Bad Law

One would think that a citizen of the United States would be able to engage in the intended use of a bench in a city park without finding him or herself in trouble with the law.

Not in New York City, apparantly, where good intentions combined with lack of common sense on the part of law enforcement recently.

It's an only in New York story. A woman was given a ticket for sitting on a park bench because she doesn't have children. The Rivington Playground on Manhattan's East Side has a small sign at the entrance that says adults are prohibited unless they are accompanied by a child.

Forty-seven-year-old Sandra Catena says she didn't see the sign when she sat down to wait for an arts festival to start. Two New York City police officers asked her if she was with a child. When she said no, they gave her a ticket that could bring a one thousand dollar fine and 90 days in jail.

As one might imagine, the laudable goal of the law was to keep pedophiles away from the playground. Unfortunately, these good intentions were supplemented with an utter disregard of common sense by cops who couldn't see that the better option was to ask Ms. Catena to move along.

If we have at last reached the day when sitting by a playground is a criminal offense, then we to recognize that government has gone too far in micromanaging our daily lives "for the public good".

|| Greg, 07:22 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Hutchison Talks Sense On Illegal Immigration

Kay Bailey Hutchison wants local police to be able to arrest border jumpers on immigration charges.

Hutchison, R-Texas, planned to propose legislation Wednesday that would allow local officials to arrest and detain illegal immigrants for immigration violations. She also planned to propose a Border Patrol marshals program that allows states to license police officers, marshals and FBI agents who want to volunteer to patrol the border.

Using local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws has been a divisive issue among police and other law enforcement officers. Some want the authority to enforce immigration laws, but others say they don't have the resources to do so and that doing so hurts their ability to investigate other crimes involving the immigrant community or that may have been witnessed by immigrants.

It is about time someone has taken action to try to get immigration criminals arrested, deorted and securely place on the right side of the border.

|| Greg, 07:12 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Liberal Austin Paper Criticizes Earle

When a media source like the Austin American-Statesman makes such criticisms of a liberal, you know that the person in question has really engaged in extreme actions.

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle has added several more acts to the already circus-like investigation of alleged Republican campaign funding illegalities.

The latest act unfolded on Tuesday afternoon when Earle disclosed that he had gone grand jury shopping on Friday after an indictment against former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, which was returned last Wednesday, was questioned for its legality.

Working on its last day, a second grand jury declined to indict DeLay on Friday.

Earle's office said it received new information over the weekend, so it went to yet a third grand jury empaneled on Monday, the last possible day under the statute of limitations. That grand jury returned the new indictments.

Earle's panicked rush lends credence to those who complain that he is a partisan playing politics with the grand jury, and it gives ammunition to critics who argue that he has been hapless in his three-year probe.

Earle has been shopping for a friendly grand jury for years, and finally got one that could be led by the nose to indict his political foe with just a couple of hours worth of cajoling after the earlier one refused to give him what he wanted. It is time for a judge to dismiss the whole thing – and for Ronnie to be dismissed by the people of Travis County.

|| Greg, 07:11 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Show Us The Conspiracy

Mary Mapes got caught doing shoddy journalism. Now she claims to be the victim of a “vast right wing conspiracy”.

She is convinced she was the victim of a group of loosely associated Internet bloggers "with a harsh political bent" who pounced on CBS News minutes after the airing of the now-infamous Texas Air National Guard story on "60 Minutes 2" in September 2004.

The story purported to have proof that George W. Bush received preferential treatment while serving with the Guard during the Vietnam era. The story was based in part on alleged "newly discovered" memos about his attendance record that were later discredited.

"Within a few minutes, I was online visiting Websites I had never heard of before: Free Republic, Little Green Footballs, Power Line," writes Mapes in the first chapter of her new book about the reaction to the story.

"They were hard-core, politically angry, hyperconservative sites loaded with vitriol about Dan Rather and CBS."

Uh, they were loaded with vitriol about the airing of disproven claims using documents of questionable provenance. They were upset that such accusations were broadcast so close to election day. That does not make it a conspiracy – and the fact that the CBS story fell apart within hours is proof enough that this was not a conspiracy. Instead, what you saw was a confluence of expertise and knowledge used to debunk false claims made by a discredited media sources and unethical journalists with an ideological agenda.

Or do you have some actual evidence – not obtained from a secret source and photocopied o prevent examination – that demonstrates you were set up?

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

A Dog Friendly Car!

I bet my pooch wishes I could have gotten one of these.

Honda Motor Co. has designed a car that's friendly for dogs — part of the Japanese automaker's ongoing effort to create vehicles that are easy to use and comfortable to ride in.

The W.O.W. Concept, which stands for "wonderful openhearted wagon," shown to reporters recently, is an exhibition model with no plans for commercial sale that will be exhibited at the Tokyo auto show later this month.

A special crate for dogs in the glove apartment allows owners to interact with their pets while driving. A bigger crate pops up from the floor in the back seat area and can be folded back into the floor when it's not needed. For even bigger dogs, just buckle them up with a special seat belt to the floor.

I wonder when and if they plan on marketing this car in the United States. I suspect that they would be quite popular with people like me, with no children but a spoiled pet. It certainly would have come in handy during the evacuation.

|| Greg, 07:08 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Historic Fort Burned

Whenever I visit family in the area, I always stop in to visit the replica of Lewis and Clark’s Fort Clatsop, where they spent the winter after crossing the continent. Much of the fort has burned in a suspicious fire earlier this week.

A 50-year-old replica of the fort where the Lewis and Clark expedition spent the soggy winter of 1805-1806 was destroyed by a suspicious fire, authorities said Tuesday.

Volunteer firefighters worked for hours to try to save Fort Clatsop at the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park after the fire broke out Monday night, park superintendent Chip Jenkins said. But "half of the fort was burned up, and the other half is essentially a loss," he said.

The site was being treated as a crime scene, and investigators said they were looking for a truck seen leaving the area as the firefighters arrived.

State police and agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were sending in dogs trained to sniff out the presence of any flammable liquids.

Jenkins said the fort had no electricity or gas source.

The fire happened less than six weeks before a Lewis and Clark Bicentennial event was scheduled to be held at the fort, the culmination of a two-year, national celebration of the explorers' journey West. The expedition had wintered at Fort Clatsop after reaching the Pacific Ocean in November 1805.

"We will rebuild," Jenkins said. "The Lewis and Clark Bicentennial events will go on through the winter."

The current structure was built 50 years ago to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the expedition in 1955. The fort has been the location of interpretive programs that do a superg job of recreating life at the fort during that winter, and has among the best historical programs I have seen at a national park. I hope they catch the perps.

|| Greg, 07:06 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Sub Takes Insulin Pump

Talk about your cases of bad judgement.

A substitute teacher in Lake County, Fla., was terminated and banned from teaching in the county after he ripped out a student's insulin pump during class apparently thinking it was a ringing cell phone, according to a Local 6 News report.

Officials said a ninth-grade student at East Ridge High School, who is a Type I diabetic, was in class Monday when his insulin pump began to beep, indicating he was low on insulin.

Witnesses said the class teacher, Richard Maline, 51, asked the student what the beeping was.

School officials said Maline then grabbed the device, thinking it was a cell phone beeping and detached the tube that connects the insulin pump to the student's leg.

The student went to the school's clinic and had the tube reinserted.

It generally isn’t a good idea to try to snatch something away from a kid unless it presents a clear and present danger, regardless of how insubordinate a student is being. This substitute’s actions, probably taken without even asking for an explanation, are truly beyond the pale.

|| Greg, 07:04 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 04, 2005

More Dhimmitude In The UK

Now they want to ban the historic symbol of England – the Cross of St. George.

British prison officers who wore a St. George's Cross tie-pin have been ticked off by the jails watchdog over concerns about the symbol's racist connotations.

The pins showing the English flag -- which has often raised hackles due to its connection with the Crusades of the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries -- could be "misconstrued," Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers said in a section on race in a report on a jail in the northern English city of Wakefield.

The banner of St. George, the red cross of a martyr on a white background, was adopted for the uniform of English soldiers during the military expeditions by European powers to recapture the Holy Land from Muslims, and later became the national flag of England.

Oops – might offend the Muslims, so it has to go. After all, we can’t have (nominally) Christian Englishmen and women celebrating their heritage in their own country when it might alienate the immigrant Muslim horde.

What is most amazing is this extreme statement of the demand for dhimmitude by representatives of the Muslim community.

Chris Doyle, director of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding, said Tuesday the red cross was an insensitive reminder of the Crusades.

"A lot of Muslims and Arabs view the Crusades as a bloody episode in our history," he told CNN. "They see those campaigns as Christendom launching a brutal holy war against Islam.

"Muslim or Arab prisoners could take umbrage if staff wore a red cross badge. It's also got associations with the far-right. Prison officers should be seen to be neutral."

Doyle added that it was now time for England to find a new flag and a patron saint who is "not associated with our bloody past and one we can all identify with."

I’ve got a better idea – perhaps it is time to tell the Muslims to shut up or get out. The British people are entitled to celebrate their Christian heritage, and not be made to apologize for their heritage in their own country.

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

George W. Bush Is Clearly Delusional

What else can one conclude based upon this statement from today’s news conference?

Asked by a reporter if she was "the most qualified" person he could find in the country, he said, "Yes, otherwise I would not have" named her.

Dare I suggest a list of other candidates better qualified for the Supreme Court than Harriet Miers?

1. Janice Rogers Brown
2. Priscilla Owen
3. Michael Luttig
4. John Cornyn
5. Edith Jones
6. Consuel Callahan
7. Maura Corrigan
8. Alberto Gonzales
9. Manuel Miranda
10. Miguel Estrada
11. Robert Bork
12. Ted Olson
13. Edith Clement
14. Emilio Garza
15. J. Harvie Wilkinson
16. Bill Pryor
17. Samuel A. Alito
18. Michael W. McConnell
19. Larry D. Thompson
20. Karen Williams

And those are just the Republicans who spring to mind – I won’t get into the liberals who, while repulsive to me in terms of judicial philosophy, are much better qualified, folks like Alan Dershowitz and Larry Tribe.

|| Greg, 09:24 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Shouldn’t She Already Have This?

Arlen Specter inadvertently summed up a part of my problem with Harriet Miers.

When asked about a timetable for hearings, Mr. Specter suggested that it would in part be up to Ms. Miers, who will have to study "so that she would have the grasp of these very complex decisions."

The Supreme Court is not a place for someone to learn on the job. If she lacks a grasp of Supreme Court jurisprudence, I would have to argue that she is not particularly qualified for the job of Supreme Court justice.

After all, would you want your doctor to have to study up on anatomy before your surgery?

UPDATE: This story popped into my head yesterday as I considered the Miers nomination.

It is reminiscent of the 1970 nomination hearings for Nixon's nominee Judge G. Harold Carswell. Sen. Roman Hruska (R-Nebraska), defended Carswell against the charge that he was "mediocre," declaring "Even if [Judge Carswell] is mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they -- a little chance? We can't have all Brandeises, Cardozos, and Frankfurters, and stuff like that there."

Has Arlen Specter supplied us with the “Hruska Moment” of this nomination battle?

|| Greg, 09:23 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Note On The New DeLay Indictments

Ronnie Earle certainly raised the stakes with this charge, and in the process made it even more clear how partisan this indictment is.

While DeLay kept up his drumbeat on television and radio about partisan prosecution, the biggest effect of the new indictment on the criminal case was to make the case harder for prosecutors to prove. Most of the underlying allegations remain the same, but prosecutors now must prove DeLay conspired to launder money, a first-degree felony that carries a maximum life term. The previous conspiracy charge was a state-jail felony with a two-year maximum.

"They've upped the stakes," DeGuerin said.

The reindictment also consolidated DeLay's case with that of two associates, John Colyandro of Austin and Jim Ellis of Washington, on the same charges, according to a statement from Earle's office.

First, the goal now is to destroy Tom Delay personally, not just politically, for daring to stand up to Earle’s political thuggery. Second, by consolidating the cases Earle is seeking to make sure that the jury gets confused as to who did what, making it more likely that the jury will convict DeLay of something because “he must have done something if he is on trial with these other two guys.”

The other interesting detail is that Earle ran the new indictments past members of the expired grand jury over the weekend, after their term was over.

Prosecutors ran the idea of a money-laundering indictment against DeLay by the previous grand jury by phone over the weekend, sources close to the investigation said.

I’m curious – doesn’t that violate ethical and legal restrictions on disclosing material from an investigation and of grand jury proceedings to those outside the process, since the folks consulted were no longer part of a live grand jury? Isn’t that simply one more indication of how far this unethical little weasel from Travis County will go to overthrow the will of the majority of Texans – and the voters of the 22nd Congressional District?

UPDATE: National Review’s Media Blog has an interesting analysis of the new charges and why it may be that Ronnie Earle is again overreaching in an attempt to get a conviction where no actual criminal activity took place. It is also noted that the transaction that took place is substantially similar to other transactions that took place involving groups on both sides of the political fence – with the Democrats converting twice the dollar amount as the Republicans did.

|| Greg, 09:22 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Sex In Suburbia

Well, sex toys have moved out of the porn shops and into the chain stores.

Sex toys are moving out of the novelty shops and into your local drug store and big-box retailer.

Minnesota-based Target is one of the national chains that will be carrying a new line of women's products that includes a vibrator.

Elexa by Trojan spokeswoman Cassandra Johnson says the products will be discreetly packaged and sold in the feminine care aisle.

Formerly the domain of sex shops, such products have been brought out of the shadows by popular television shows like "Sex and the City."

Johnson says the Elexa by Trojan line should be in stores everywhere by the end of the month.

Is this a healthy development, or is it a sign of our society’s further obsession with sex?

|| Greg, 08:01 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Miers And Gay Rights

This piece caught my eye while researching Harriet Miers. It involves her position on the issue of gay rights, as indicated on a survey submitted to a homosexual group when she ran for city council in Dallas in the late 1980s.

Miers answered "Yes" to the survey question, "Do you believe that gay men and lesbians should have the same civil rights as non-gay men and women?"

She was noncommittal on several other questions, saying, for example, that she would be willing to discuss the need for a law prohibiting discrimination in housing or public accommodations against people who had AIDS or were HIV-positive.

Asked whether qualified candidates should be denied city employment because they are gay or lesbian, she said, "I believe that employers should be able to pick the best qualified person for any position to be filled considering all relevant factors."

She answered "No" without elaboration when asked whether she believed, both as a citizen and a legislator, that criminalization of the private sexual behavior of consenting adult lesbians and gays should be taken out of the Texas criminal code.

She said Dallas had a responsibility in AIDS education and treatment and that she favored more money being spent in that area "assuming need and resources. I do consider the AIDS illness as a serious total community problem." She underlined "total."

Now I don’t know how her views have changed over the last 15-20 years. I’m told she underwent a religious conversion experience sometime during that period. But it does raise a red flag for me. Does she believe that these issues should be taken out of the political arena via judicial decree, or does she recognize that her policy preferences are not constitutional law? Will she be an activist on these issues, or will she, like Justice Felix Frankfurter, hew to the Constitution despite her liberal policy preferences while still in the political arena? After all, one can support non-discrimination laws as politically desirable while not seeing that policy as mandated by the Constitution.

But I guess that is where my problem comes from. There is no record of rulings, no history of scholarly articles, that give us any clue as to the restraint of activism of a hypothetical Justice Miers. She is a cipher on such matters. And for that reason I continue to oppose her nomination for the court.

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

Less Than Two Years

Well, Breanna Zipf will at least have to do a bit more time in jail. Judge Brock Thomas used his authority to tack six months of real jail time on to the 10 years of probation the jury gave her for murdering Gwendolen Davey -- and refused to count the 14 months served while awaiting trial towards the jail time.

State District Judge Brock Thomas told Zipf that, though he is required to follow a jury's recommendation of 10 years' probation, he is going to hold her accountable for Davey's death. "It should have never happened," the judge said. "And you're responsible for it."

Investigators said Zipf, then 17, passed out at the wheel of her mother's rental car July 23, 2004, before it struck and killed Davey as the 38-year-old teacher was walking her dog.

In addition to assessing the 180-day sentence, Thomas imposed other conditions.

Zipf must complete a nine-month drug-rehabilitation program; perform 500 hours of community service; obey a curfew allowing her to attend only school or work; and pay restitution to the teacher's family. The amount will be determined later.

Thomas also ordered Zipf to submit to drug and alcohol testing and forbade her to drive while on probation.

Still, the arrogant, spoiled girl is paying a a pretty cheap price for willfully engaging in self-indulgent conduct that resulted in the death of a productive member of society.

Good job, Judge Thomas.

Now we just need to get the legislature to close down the option of probation for murder.

|| Greg, 05:11 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 03, 2005

New DeLay Indictment

Essentially the same accusation -- except that this time Ronnie Earle got a newly empanelled grand jury to ifix the flawed indictment issued last week, using a new grand jury that had not heard most of the evidence provided to the old grand jury.

Why do this?

The new indictment comes hours after DeLay's attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the first case. That motion was based on the argument that the conspiracy charge against DeLay was based on a law that wasn't effective until 2003, the year after the alleged money transfers.

“Since the indictment charges no offense, and since you have professed not to be politically motivated in bringing this indictment, I request that you immediately agree to dismiss the indictment so that the political consequences can be reversed,” attorney Dick DeGuerin wrote in a letter to Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle.

The judge who will preside in DeLay's case is out of the country on vacation and couldn't rule on the motion. Other state district judges declined to rule on the motion in his place, said Colleen Davis, a law clerk to Austin attorney Bill White, also represents DeLay.

Ronnie Earle is such an incompetent partisan hack that he could not even get the law or the facts correct the first time he managed to get an indictment (out of six grand juries that heard evidence). Now he rushed a new grand jury into an indictment that is not any more substantial, but does at least cite the correct statutes.

When the judge gets back in the country, it is time for these charges to be dismissed with extreme prejudice.

|| Greg, 06:10 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Miers Nomination

Well, the president made his second nomination to replace Sandra Day O’Connor.

President Bush named White House Counsel Harriet Miers, 60, to be associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court today.

Miers, who was Bush's personal attorney in Texas, was the first woman elected president of the Texas Bar Association and was a partner at the Texas law firm of Locke Liddell & Sapp before coming to Washington to work in the Bush administration.

The announcement came just two hours before Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. formally took his seat as chief justice of the United States on the high court's opening day of the 2005 term.

Miers would replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, generally considered the decisive swing vote on many close issues before the court.

If confirmed by the Senate, Miers would be a rare appointee with no experience as a judge at any level. Initial searches of news archives also suggested that Miers has not been an outspoken advocate for or against any particular issue.

The response of the Democrats in this instance bothers me a great deal. They are too accepting and too gracious.

Reaction from Democrats was noncommittal but not negative, mostly because of who she isn't (a prominent conservative judge similar to some of those on the White House short list) than who she is.

Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Miers has been a Bush loyalist and that "it is important to know whether she would enter this key post with the judicial independence necessary when the Supreme Court considers issues of interest to this administration."

But White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters that both Republican and Democratic senators suggested Miers by name to the president.

One Democrat who appeared pleased by the choice was Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.).

"I like Harriet Miers," said Reid, who had voted against John Roberts as chief justice in Roberts' confirmation vote last week, in a statement. "In my view, the Supreme Court would benefit from the addition of a justice who has real experience as a practicing lawyer."

Later when meeting with Miers at the Capitol, Reid noted that 39 other people have been appointed to the Supreme Court without having experience as a judge. He praised her experience as a trial lawyer, an occupation he shares with her.

"So anyone with that background makes me feel good -- someone who has been a courtroom, tried cases, answered interrogatories, done all those things that lawyers need to do," Reid said.

I don’t like it when the opposition is so tepid – we needed a candidate who pissed-off the Left, not one who provoked such a low-key response. That leads me to wonder what they know that we don’t, or what dirt they have on her.

I am, to say the least, disheartened. Not because of the failure of the president to nominate a Hispanic or a sitting judge, though those things trouble me. Rather, I am upset by the lack of credentials on the part of this nominee after the excellent choice of John Roberts for the Court

This is not an individual with the necessary credentials to serve on the Supreme Court. While she may be a superior lawyer, that does not necessarily lead to the belief that she will be a superior judge. She lacks a significant scholarly record. She is a bit older than I would prefer to see. Quite simply, this is a case of “insider-ism” run wild.

National Review puts it well in today’s editorial on the selection.

Harriet Miers could turn out to be a solid conservative justice, with an intellect and commitment to constitutional rectitude to match Antonin Scalia. The president may believe that she is, and is likely to remain, a solid legal conservative. In accepting the nomination, she said, “It is the responsibility of every generation to be true to the Founders’ vision of the proper role of the courts in our society.” That is something of a platitude; but it is, at least, the right platitude.

When the American Bar Association came out for legal, and subsidized, abortion, Miers argued that members of the organization should be allowed to vote on it first. Perhaps she would have similarly democratic inclinations — and a similar willingness to buck elites on moral issues — on the Supreme Court.

But none of this adds up to persuasive evidence that Miers would pull the Court, and its constitutional law, back toward its proper source. John Roberts was a “stealth nominee” in that he did not have declared positions on such questions as the constitutionality of affirmative action and anti-abortion laws. But Roberts possessed stellar professional qualifications, had impressed everyone who came in contact with him, had written well-reasoned judicial opinions, and had conservative legal heavyweights willing to vouch for his soundness.

These things are either not present, or are present to a smaller degree, in Miers’s case. Being a Bush loyalist and friend is not a qualification for the Supreme Court. She may have been the best pick from within Bush’s inner circle. It seems impossible to maintain that she was the best pick from any larger field. It seems highly unlikely that she will be the kind of justice who, in combination with Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas, will attract additional votes by the sheer force of her arguments. This nomination was a missed opportunity.

Harriet Miers is not the sort of nominee that we were promised by the president. She lacks the experience and record that a Supreme Court nominee needs to inspire the confidence of the American people. It is my profound hope that this nomination is withdrawn or defeated so that a more acceptable candidate may be put forward.

Michelle Malkin (Twice)
Captain's Quarters
Q and O
The Moderate Voice
All Things Beautiful
Southern Appeal (multiple times by different contributers to that outstanding blog)
Blogs for Bush (several times)

» HARD-TALK links with: Disappointment all around.
» Publius Rendezvous links with: Piranhas in a Teapot

|| Greg, 04:58 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

I Guess I Don’t See The Problem

Would someone explain to me why Hillary Clinton feels a need to cut her ties with this marketing person?

A marketing adviser was dropped by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign Monday after a newspaper reported she made disparaging remarks about her fellow New Yorkers who were killed on Sept. 11.

Gia Medeiros, an expert on corporate teen-marketing, "worked on a project that has been concluded; she will not be doing any additional work for us," said Clinton campaign spokeswoman Ann Lewis.

Medeiros was paid $73,462 by the Clinton campaign.

The New York Post reported Monday that Medeiros told a Boulder, Colo. group some weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks that not all of those killed were good people.

"All of those people who died that day, those folks who we've heard toasted as angels and heroes and martyrs, well, they weren't all good people. I used to live in New York. I know it," she said.

"One friend of a friend had a husband who died. When I asked about their relationship, my friend said, `Terrible. He worked too much, drank too much, was never home with her or the kids.' They don't say that in the obituaries," Medeiros said.

Yeah, it is a bit tacky to have said it, but it is also true. Not every martyred victim of the 9/11 attacks was a great person. Some were drunks, others were adulterers, and some were criminals of one sort or another. While the vast majority of those killed that day were good and decent folks, we cannot deny that there were also some truly unpleasant folks who died when the Towers fell. Acknowledging that fact takes nothing away from the atrocity committed that day. Rather, it reminds us that those who died were a cross-section of American humanity, warts and all.

|| Greg, 04:33 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

"The Law And The Truth On My Side"

Columnist Donald Lambro offers this analysis of the charges against Tom DeLay, and notes that the "conspiracy" was to engage in a common, apparantly legal practice.

Close examination is needed of what, if any, laws were broken. The fund-raising PAC formed by Mr. DeLay (and run by his two associates) raised money to help elect Republican candidates to the Texas legislature in 2002. These funds came from many sources, including donors who gave as individuals within the contribution limits set by law.

This money was apparently mingled in the PAC account with corporate contributions, allowable under Texas law for party administrative expenses. The PAC sent a check from that fund to the RNC in Washington for party-building activities. The RNC, as it does among many states, contributed funds to help Texas Republicans win elections.

The indictment sees all this as an illegal money-laundering. But Mr. Baran and other attorneys I have talked to say that charge is weak at best, because no one can prove corporate money mingled in an account flush with individual contributions was ever used to help elect the Texas candidates.

"The defense is going to be that the corporate money contributed to the Republican Party was not used for the contributions to the candidates. And that's true," Mr. Baran said. "Then the question becomes would the Texas contributions be made at all, but for the corporate money. And that's where the tie-in and alleged laundering comes in."

It is illegal under Texas law to use corporate money to defeat or elect candidates for public office. But campaign finance law experts note that until the McCain/Feingold finance reform took effect in 2002, it was common in both parties to exchange corporate money for "hard money" from individual donors.

Mr. DeLay says his PAC cleared the transactions with its lawyers and the RNC did likewise. And even The Washington Post, no fan of Mr. DeLay, editorialized that while this looked like an end run around the corporate contribution law, the "more difficult question is whether it was an illegal end run."

I can't wait to see Ronnie Earle get his head handed to him again. After all -- given the fingibility of dollars, it is impossible to prove that the money used for these contributions was anything other than donations from individuals -- or that what this PAC did was substantially different than what every other PAC, Republican or Democrat, did to make their influence go further.

|| Greg, 05:13 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 02, 2005

Rangel Must Step Down!

Charlie Rangel has been an embarrassment to the United States for decades. His recent statements have shown him to be in the throes of senile dementia.

For the second time in a three months, he has questioned if Dick Cheney is up to the office of Vice President based upon his age and health.

In an interview in August on NY1, the New York City-based all-news channel, Rep. Charles Rangel suggested that Cheney might be too sick to perform his job.

On Friday evening, Rangel was asked in a follow-up talk on the station if he thought Cheney should step down.

"He should never have stepped up in the first place," Rangel said. "He's too old for the job and doesn't have the experience."

Later in Friday's interview, Rangel finished off a list of problems he had with Bush administration policies by adding: "I would like to believe he's sick rather than just mean and evil."

Fine, Charlie, we'll give up Dick Cheney -- but given that he is over a decade younger than you are (64, as opposed to your 75) it seems that you need to lead by example.

And if Rangel will not resign, when will the Democrats (supposedly the party of the old folks and every other special interest group) condemn him as a bigot?

» Gop and the City links with: Rangel Unhinged: Part 87

|| Greg, 08:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Why The Media Silence?

Could it be that actual (as opposed to alleged) corruption isn't all that impotant if the perps are Dems?

Two political action committees linked to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have been charged with attempting to circumvent to legal limits on campaign giving, the Federal Election Commission has ruled.

According to the March 2004 FEC finding, Pelosi appears to have violated the same kind of arcane campaign finance regulation that spurred the indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay this week.

The San Francisco Chronicle explained at the time:

"The FEC ruled that two Pelosi political action committees created to help Democrats in the 2002 elections were related instead of being independent and therefore violated a rule against giving more than the maximum $5,000 annual contribution."

Pelosi, of course, continues to hold her leadership position, while Tom DeLay has had to relinquish his based upon an accusation.

And to think that the Democrats howled when the GOP attempted to change its internal rules on leadership positions to match those of the Democrats. They insist that the GOP meet a higher standard than they do -- because the GOP is the party of ethics and the Democrats are the party of corruption.

(Hat Tip -- GOPBloggers and Blogs for Bush)

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

From The Pages of Ibn-Ali al-Post

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has been declared "rude" for calling upon Hamas to disarm.

The political leader of the radical Palestinian Hamas militant group said Sunday that calls by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for his group to disarm were "rude" interference in internal Palestinian affairs.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Khaled Mashaal also accused the United States of conspiring with Israel against the interests and rights of the Palestinian people.

Rice said last week that Hamas cannot participate in Palestinian politics if it remains armed.

"You cannot simultaneously keep an option on politics and an option on violence," she said in a speech at Princeton University.

So I guess that Hamas is made up of polite terrorists who fire make sure their pinkie is extended as tehy engage in the worst slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust.

Tell me -- is there a polite way to deliver a smart-bomb to Khaled Mashaal's house? Or should we be rude and have the Israelis drop it by unannounced?

|| Greg, 08:27 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Pets And Evacuation

When Paula and I evacuated for Huricane Rita, we headed to Ardmore, Oklahoma. People have asked why, given that there may have been spots closer for us to stay.

The answer is simple -- we were not going anyplace that we could not be certain that we could take Carmie, our beloved Beagle/Chow/Lab mix who serves as our surrogate child.

That is why I completely understand the point of this article.

All along the Gulf Coast, many people who didn't evacuate for Hurricane Katrina say they stayed because of their pets.

"You couldn't take the dog to the shelter, and I wasn't leaving my dogs," Wendy Morgan said two days after Katrina's Aug. 29 landfall. Morgan's husband, Clint, stayed in their Slidell, La., home with two dogs, braving chest-high storm surge.

Similar stories can be heard from New Orleans all the way to Mobile -- people who remained with animals that they view as family members, instead of abandoning them.

While it's unclear how many of the storm's 1,000-plus casualties died because they stayed behind with their pets, the question of how animals influence potentially life-or-death evacuation decisions is among the troubling issues Katrina spotlighted.

"People are literally dying because they won't leave their pets," said Anne Culver, director of disaster services for the Humane Society of the United States, based in Washington, D.C.

No, we were not going to stay behind and die. Hurricane Rita was going to put our house under at least 15 feet of water if she didn't turn (I thank God she die). But we had to find the closest hotel room which would take a pet -- and that was 400 miles away in Ardmore. We simply could not be sure that any of the designated shelters would take Carmie, and we were not going to leave her in a kennel or the local ASPCA shelter. At a stressful time, we needed her with us. She is our family.

What can be done to make sure people do not die saving their animals? Here are some options.

For those who stay in public shelters, emergency managers and animal groups have begun creating a parallel network of pet shelters.

That solves the problem of people who arrive looking for a refuge with their animals, only to get turned away. For example, a four-person family from Metairie, La., camped in a tent outside the Bayou La Batre Community Center shelter for a while after Katrina because their rat terrier Spot wasn't allowed.

"He's not just a dog; he is family," Larry Harris said.

One option is for owners to stay with their animals, Culver said, maybe separating cats in one room and dogs in another. More common, though, is an arrangement where a pet shelter is set up in a building a short distance from where the people are staying. Owners check their pets in and come back to tend to them during their stay.

Culver teaches a course on how to set up a shelter, encouraging emergency managers and animal groups to make plans well in advance.

Like a shelter for humans, a pet shelter starts with a safe building. It needs plenty of clean water and parking for people to drop off and visit their pets. Also key is a floor that can be cleaned easily, and for areas that could lose power, a generator is suggested.

Beyond that, Culver urges volunteers to gather a cache of pet supplies, including cages, food, bowls and leashes. Owners are urged to bring that equipment, but many don't.

"Inevitably, someone will evacuate and they will have a cat in a pillowcase, because that's all they can handle," Culver said.

Volunteers man the shelter, checking in pets. But owners are supposed to come and feed their animals and walk their dogs, meaning that large numbers of people aren't needed to care for the animals.

In many places, plans are already in place for pet shelters. A Web site tracking pet-friendly shelters found at least 20 counties in Florida have designated them.

In Charlottesville, Va., the local SPCA opened a pet-friendly shelter during Hurricane Isabel in 2001, said Nancy Hartman, an SPCA volunteer. Hartman said the group has a storage unit with cages, food and other supplies ready to go if the shelter is needed again.

Paula and I will evacuate when we have to -- but Carmie has to come with us. There are many like us. Disaster planning officials need to acknowledge that reality.

|| Greg, 07:56 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

We Need More Of This -- In Real Life, Not In Ads

Why are two defense contractors apologizing for an ad depicting a mosque -- remember, they are being used by Islamists to attack Americans -- being assaulted by US troops in a helicopter?

Bell Helicopter and Boeing Co. have issued apologies after an advertisement for their V-22 Osprey aircraft infuriated a major Islamic group.

The ad in the Sept. 24 issue of National Journal, a political affairs publication, depicts U.S. special operations troops rappelling out of a Bell/Boeing-built CV-22 Osprey in an assault on a mosque.

"It descends from the heavens. Ironically it unleashes hell," reads the ad headline.

Bell, Boeing and the National Journal made their apologies after the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) fired off a protest to Bell and Boeing.

Bell spokesman Mike Cox said the ad, developed by the company's agency, TM Advertising in Irving, Texas, was supposed to have been pulled by all publications after it ran one other time nearly a month ago.

The ad content had not been approved by all the people who were supposed to approve it, Cox told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "The first time the ad ran, we pulled it immediately."

"We took immediate action to cancel any insertions that had been placed and provided explicit instructions for its removal. Despite our directive to the National Journal to replace the ad, it was not replaced as requested, which resulted in its publication this week," Cox said in the company's official statement.

"We recognize that some organizations and individuals may have been offended by its content and regret any concerns this advertisement may have raised. Bell and our partners are evaluating creative processes to prevent this from happening again."

Oh, that's right -- the terrorist apologists from CAIR have complained -- and we don't want them getting their turbans in a knot (actually, I do want them getting their turbans in a knot -- around their necks). After all, they might protest and make the companies appear "insensitive" And we cannot have insensitive defense contractors, can we?

My question is very simple -- when will people quit apologizing for depicting the enemy as the enemy?

» PBS Watch links with: I Don't CAIR

|| Greg, 07:45 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Suicide Bomber In Oklahoma -- What Is The Story?

Would someone care to explain what happened yesterday at">the University of Oklahoma?

Here's the press report.

One person was killed in an explosion near a packed football stadium at the University of Oklahoma on Saturday night in what authorities said appeared to be a suicide.

The blast, in a traffic circle about 100 yards from Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, could be heard by some in the crowd of 84,000, but university President David Boren said no one inside the stadium was ever in danger.

"We are apparently dealing with an individual suicide, which is under full investigation," Boren said in a statement. There was no information about the person who was killed, and no reports of any other injuries.

A police bomb squad detonated explosives found at the site of the blast. The area near the stadium was searched by bomb-sniffing dogs.

Hold on -- more than one bomb, and the one detonating in the parking lot of a packed stadium. Doesn't this raise red flags for anyone else. The police expalantion sounds totally bogus!

And then there is this from Free Republic -- not my favorite source, but potentially intersting.

To: bahblahbah

I just got home from the game. They are calling it a suicide bomber and they found another bomb unexploded. One of my son's fraternity brothers was within about 30 yards of the blast and felt the heat on his face outside the science hall which is also near the stadium.

The police were interviewing him and one of the girls that was over at the fraternity (I park there) because she saw two men run in the stadium after the explosion and separate.

It was so loud. I told my son and daughter along with my son's friend that it sounded like a bomb. We didn't have any confirmation until the girl behind us got a call as it had scrolled across the screen.

Last I heard, they were looking for two more suspects, they blew up the second bomb, have bomb dogs all over campus going through the buildings that were open, and they couldn't tell if the person blown up was a man or woman.

Our news has very few details other than FBI is on the scene. Think every Norman cop from the looks of it is on the campus. We had to exit through the east and north sides and walk around as they had the south oval closed off from Lindsey to the Library.

What a scarey situation -- it was so freaky to hear that loud explosion and then absolutely zero news but we could see police cars all around from where we sit in the stadium. Didn't hear a word until the 4th quarter when the lady behind us received a call!

Uh -- this sounds really suspicious IF ACCURATE.

What I want to know is who the bomber was. Is he a foreign Muslim student? Is that why there is no name released yet?

And by the way, what about this report from last week, pointed out by Liberty?

On September 26, 2005 an Oklahoma University student pleaded guilty to bringing an explosive device to the airport. In August he was arrested after police found an improvised pipe bomb in his backpack. He told officials he had forgotten the device was in his bag. He faces up to a year in prison and up to $100,000 for the charge

Are these two incidents somehow connected?

UPDATE: Then again, maybe there is less to this than meets the eye -- except for the fact that suicide by explosive is unusual outside of the context of a terrorist attack. Why did John Henry Hinrichs III kill himself, and why did he choose this method and this location?

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

Ronnie Earle Whitewash In Washington Post

I've refrained from writing about the charges against my congressman, Tom DeLay. I think that too many others have done an excellent job analyzing why the charges are flawed and why Delay will likely be acquitted if he ever goes to trial.

Today, though, the Washington Post began an offensive to bolster political hack Ronnie Earle's public image.

Earle has an eccentric streak, clearly, sometimes in the service of projecting a squeaky-clean image. He once filed charges against himself for submitting a campaign finance report a day late. He asked a judge to fine him, His Honor obliged, and Earle was out $212.

Still, Earle can defy pigeonholing. Buck Wood, an Austin lawyer and friend of Earle's, says the prosecutor is "definitely a moderate," and that he's "not involved in the Democratic Party."

Raised on a cattle ranch in the tiny north Texas town of Birdville, Earle served briefly in the Texas House before being elected district attorney. A self-described "radical moderate," he has faced little serious opposition in his reelection campaigns. This comports with commonly heard descriptions of him -- adjectives such as "maverick," "idealist" and "crusader."

Indeed, Earle is a former Eagle Scout more interested in social policy than in collecting death-penalty convictions. He has taught a course at the University of Texas at Austin on "reweaving the fabric of community." Starting in the mid-1980s, he insisted that some of his prosecutors work in the same building as social workers and police officers in an effort to curb child abuse before it occurred.

And he has never hesitated to use his job as a bully pulpit. In a speech two weeks ago before a state lobbying group, Earle said, "corporate money in politics" has become "the fight of our generation of Americans. . . . It is our job -- our fight -- to rescue democracy from the money that has captured it."

Such pronouncements are typical Earle, says Texas Rep. Terry Keel (R), who served under Earle for nearly nine years before seeking public office himself.

"Ronnie has a very deep philosophical belief about good and evil," Keel said. "He sees corporate involvement in politics as an evil to be attacked at any costs."

And the profile even has an extended anecdote that is designed to show how Ronnie Earle is a fearless prosector who won't back down when he is right -- even if he ultimately cannot get at the corrupt officials he is seeking to bring down.

Ronnie Earle, the Texas prosecutor vilified by Rep. Tom DeLay as a "rogue district attorney" and an "unabashed partisan zealot," has heard worse.

There was the time, for instance, that a prominent Texas Democrat vowed to murder him.

"He would hold all these press conferences and say terrible things about me," Earle said, referring to Bob Bullock, the future lieutenant governor whom Earle investigated for allegedly misusing government resources in the 1970s.

"I know at least twice people took guns away from him when he said he was going to kill me."

Earle, a Democrat, was laughing as he recounted the story in the Travis County district attorney's office last week. And like many sagas in Earle's career, the Bullock episode comes with a footnote.

Earle couldn't persuade the grand jury to indict Bullock, who was then the state's comptroller and struggling with a drinking problem. But years later, once Bullock had sobered up, the two men were recounting old times at Bullock's kitchen table.

"You know years ago when you investigated me?" Earle recalled Bullock telling him. "I was guilty as hell."

Now two things struck me with this story. First is the fact that Bullock "just happened" to go on to serve as lieutenant governor -- under George W. Bush (the two offices are elected separately in Texas). Second is that Bullock has been dead for six years, and so cannot defend himself against Earle's claims of murderous designs and confession of criminal wrong-doing.

But that, of course, is how Ronnie Earle works -- he'll attack a political opponent with all sorts of extreme accusations and let them stick to the target like brambles in a briar patch.

It has taken several years and six grand juries to get this nothngburger of an indictment. But we can expect more stories of this "courageous maverick prosecutor" in the weks and months to come.

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

"Planet Xena" Has A Moon

Remember my July report about the discovery of the solar system's tenth planet? You know, the one the discoverers wanted to name Xena after the Lucy Lawless character from the TV show?

Well, the tenth planet has a moon. And in keeping with the theme, the discoverers have informally named the newly discovered sattelite.

While observing the new, so-called planet from Hawaii last month, a team of astronomers led by Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology spotted a faint object trailing next to it. Because it was moving, astronomers ruled it was a moon and not a background star, which is stationary.

The moon discovery is important because it can help scientists determine the new planet's mass. In July, Brown announced the discovery of an icy, rocky object larger than Pluto in the Kuiper Belt, a disc of icy bodies beyond Neptune. Brown labeled the object a planet and nicknamed it Xena after the lead character in the former TV series "Xena: Warrior Princess." The moon was nicknamed Gabrielle, after Xena's faithful traveling sidekick.

By determining the moon's distance and orbit around Xena, scientists can calculate how heavy Xena is. For example, the faster a moon goes around a planet, the more massive a planet is.

You know, the naming thing has gotten a bit silly. As I said in July, I think that there remail a number of gods from Greco-Roman mythology that could be so honored without breaking the naming pattern that is in place.

And just think -- if they name it "Vulcan", we could call the moon "Spock".

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

October 01, 2005

A Sad, Sad Story

I'm a supporter of the war in Iraq. And while anti-American moonbats like Cindy Sheehan may think I don't care about the lives of soldiers who die in this war, I'd argue that my upbringing in a military family is the key reason that I do care about those deaths.

Each death is a tragedy, no matter how right or noble the cause.

Cpl. David Kreuter had a new baby boy he'd seen only in photos. Lance Cpl. Michael Cifuentes was counting the days to his wedding. Lance Cpl. Nicholas Bloem had just celebrated his 20th birthday.

Travis Williams remembers them all all 11 men in his Marine squad all now dead. Two months ago they shared a cramped room stacked with bunk beds at this base in northwest Iraq, where the Euphrates River rushes by. Now the room has been stripped of several beds, brutal testament that Lance Cpl. Williams' closest friends are gone.

For the 12 young Marines who landed in Iraq early this year, the war was a series of hectic, constant raids into more than a dozen lawless towns in Iraq's most hostile province, Anbar. The pace and the danger bound them together into what they called a second family, even as some began to question whether their raids were making any progress.

Now, all of the Marines assigned to the 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment, based in Columbus, Ohio, are gone except Williams. They died in a roadside-bomb set by insurgents on Aug. 3 that killed a total of 14 Marines. Most of the squad were in their early 20s; the youngest was 19.

"They were like a family. They were the tightest squad I've ever seen," said Capt. Christopher Toland of Austin, Texas, the squad's platoon commander. Even though many did not know each other before they got to Iraq, "They truly loved each other."

All that is left are photos and snippets of video, saved on dusty laptops, that run for a few dozen seconds. As they pack up to return home by early October, the Marines from Lima Company including the squad's replacements sometimes huddle around Williams' laptop in a room at the dam, straining to watch the few remaining moments of their young friends' lives. Some photos and videos carry the squad's adopted motto, "Family is Forever."

The sacrifices of these young men must not be in vain.

I urge you to read about the lives of 11 American soldiers, ended too soon by Islamist terrorist swine, and of their comrade left behind.

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

Living Constitution -- R.I.P

Curt Levey has a great piece in National Review explaining that the "living Constitution" theory so beloved of liberals may have died.

May the living Constitution rest in peace. The concept is utterly without meaning as a legal standard and, instead, is a recipe for unrestrained judicial power. Because the Constitution is a contract between the people and their government, its modification should require the consent of the parties to the agreement. Thus, a living Constitution can be analogized to an automobile lease agreement that the car dealer feels free to modify as his notions of a fair deal evolve.

I've used a similar analogy -- how many folks would sign a "living mortgage" that allowed the bank to change the terms over time without the consent of the borrower?

|| Greg, 06:27 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Do We Have School Monday?

It isn't a hypothetical question -- Texas is under a court order to spend no more money on schools as of today, pending a fix of our school financing system.

State district Judge John Dietz last autumn ruled the Texas school funding system unconstitutional and issued an Oct. 1 deadline for the Legislature to fix the system or stop funding it.

Lawmakers have since failed three times — once during the regular legislative session and in two failed special sessions called for the issue — to overhaul the way Texas pays for public schools.

The state, represented by the office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, has appealed Dietz's ruling to the Texas Supreme Court. The state's high court is expected to issue a decision in the case within the coming weeks, but it wasn't in the court's Friday package of decisions

Now the appeal to the state Supreme Court should have resulted in an automatic stay, but no actual order has been issued. Some districts, especially those which filed suit, are not sure what they should do. The state attorney general says that the filing of the appeal made the stay automatic, but no court has spoken on the issue.

Not, of course, that the schools do not have the money to open.

Even so, schools receive their funding from the state on the 25th of each month, meaning schools are funded at least until Oct. 25, said Debbie Graves Ratcliffe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency.

"They've just gotten their payments," she said. "Schools will be open in most parts of Texas — the guys that didn't have hurricane damage will be open."

Yeah, that is true -- but do they have the authority to spend it?

So who knows -- the schools here in Texas may be shutting down sometinme in the next three weeks. Let's wait and see.

|| Greg, 06:19 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

EnviroTerrorists Intimidate Model

I like fur, and have no problem with it being worn.

At the same time, i have no problem with those whose moral/philosophical beliefs lead them to refuse to wear fur and to oppose others wearing it. I think they are misguided, but I respect their right to voice such belieft.

What I do not respect is their right to terrorize and threaten those of us who do not buy in to their belief system.

Sadly, that is precisely what has happened to Elle Macpherson, who is trying to get out of a contract to be a contract to promote fur.

Elle Macpherson is trying to get out of a $2.3 million contract to promote fur after receiving a threat from animal rights activists.

The 42-year-old model, who signed on as the new "face" of Blackglama mink in July, believes she will be terrorised by anti-fur extremists.

She has asked her lawyers to negotiate the cancellation of her contract with the US fur manufacturer, despite the fact the new autumn campaign has already been shot and is set to run in the world's leading fashion magazines.

Her decision comes in the wake of increasingly fierce campaigns by anti-fur crusaders, whose latest target was yesterday's Roberto Cavalli show in Milan. As the Italian designer sent models down the runway, a protester from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals briefly claimed front of stage, waving an anti-fur placard.

Macpherson, a mother of two, recently received a letter from PETA vice-president Dan Matthews, warning that she would become a "target" for agreeing to promote Blackglama.

"By making yourself the new face of fur for Blackglama you are also making yourself a top target for PETA and animal activists around the world," Mr Matthews wrote. "When you take money from such a violent industry you also must carry their baggage."

Ms. Macpherson says she fears for the safety of herself and her children, based upon threats of violence made against htem.

I think it is high time that we start rounding up the so-called "animal rights" activists who make such threats of violence and house them along side the al-Qaeda terrorists with whom they morally share so much in common.

|| Greg, 06:11 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Omnibus Watcher's Post

Well, the last couple of weeks have been rather goofy, and so I've missed making my Watcher's Council posts.

Without further ado, here are the posts for the last three sets of results.

September 16

Council Winners
1) Memorial to Millions of Dead Jews Offensive to Muslims -- The Sundries Shack
2a) Regression -- Dr. Sanity
2b) Sheepdogs Driving the Bus -- Gates of Vienna

Non-Council Winner
1) Tribes -- Eject! Eject!! Eject!!

September 23

Council Winner
1) The Wild, Wild, Wild, Wild, and Wacky World of Cindy Sheehan -- Right Wing Nut House

Non-Council Winner
1) A Knife In The Back -- Junk Yard Blog

September 30

Council Winner
1) Witches’ Brew at the UN -- Gates of Vienna

Non-Council Winner
1) You Say You Want a Revolution? -- Villainous Company

Congratulations to all, and here's hoping that future hurricanes or other natural disasters do not interfere with giving Watcher's Council honorees their just due in the future.

|| Greg, 05:58 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Outrageous! Murderer Gets Probation In Houston

Gwendolen Davey was a bright, motivated kindergarten teacher in at Chambers Elementary School Houston's Alief ISD. She was engaged to be married. One afternoon, she went out to walk her dog and never made it home.

Breanna Zipf was a 17-year-old drug user with a history of blackouts and seizures. She had no driver's license because of her medical condition, which could cause her to lose consciousness behind the wheel and wreck any vehicle that she was driving. Breanna stole her mother's rental car so that she could make a run to a local fast food restaurant.

Their paths crossed when Breanna blacked out after running a stop sign while speeding and ran Ms. Davey down on the sidewalk near her home. Breanna then got out of her car and walked home without making any attempt to render aid to her victim.

On Thursday, Breanna Zipf was convicted of murder. This is a good thing.

On Friday, though, the same jury gave a sentence that constituted a manifest injustice.

One day after convicting Breanna Zipf of murder for a traffic accident that killed a kindergarten teacher, a jury decided Friday that she should serve 10 years' probation.

Zipf, 18, wept after state District Judge Brock Thomas announced the sentence.

Her father said he was glad she would avoid prison.

The father of her victim, however, said he had expected the teen to serve prison time.

"I don't like it very much," said Robert Davey, whose daughter, Gwendolen Davey, was run down July 23, 2004, by a car Zipf was driving.

Thomas will announce the conditions of Zipf's probation in a hearing Monday.

That this irresponsible, self-indulgent little murderer will be permitted to walk the streest where she ran down an innocent woman and left her to dies is an outrage. It is my hope that Judge Thomas will impose the toughest possible conditions upon Breanna Zipf -- conditions that will make it likely that this killer will eventually screw up and do at least part of the 10 years behind bars.

And I urge the Texas legislature to fix this law. No more probation for murderers.

|| Greg, 09:46 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

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NAME: Greg
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