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December 31, 2005

Not A Paid Political Announcement

One of my favorite Houston radio personalities, Dan Patrick of KSEV-AM, (no, not Dan Patrick of ESPN, though Houston's Dan Patrick is also a former sportscaster) has filed to run for the Texas Senate in SD7.

Radio talk-show host Dan Patrick signed off the air Thursday when he officially filed in the Republican primary for state Senate District 7.

Patrick's filing makes him the last of previously announced candidates to formally enter the four-way GOP race that also includes state Reps. Peggy Hamric and Joe Nixon and Houston City Councilman Mark Ellis. State Sen. Jon Lindsay is not seeking re-election in the heavily Republican district.

F. Michael Kubosh, a Harris County bail bondsman, has filed for the seat in the Democratic primary.

With the large field, the race is likely to be decided in a runoff between the top two vote getters. Several of Patrick's opponents have conducted polls, and each poll shows its candidate coming in second.

I think it likely that Dan Patrick will not need a runoff to win, given his high name recognition and grassroots support. One poll shows him with 54% of likely GOP primary voters supporting him. In addition, there are other signs of support.

* Of the 125 serving precinct chairs in Senate District 7, over 85 (or 68%) have endorsed Dan Patrick for Senate and have pledged to help get out the vote for Dan. More precinct chairs are expected to endorse after the filing deadline (January 2, 2006).

* More than 700 have signed on to volunteer for the Dan Patrick Campaign.

* The Dan Patrick for Senate Campaign has received contributions from over 800 individuals who support Dan’s message for change in Austin.

Here are the six points Dan has been emphasizing for years as a broadcaster, and on which he is running for the legislature.

1. Reduce the appraisal cap to 3% per year on all residential property

Texans are being taxed out of their homes. We must end the stealth 8–10% annual tax increase on homeowners. If local governments feel a need to raise revenue, they should do so by raising the tax rate; not by hiding behind an automatic appraisal increase. Voters can then determine if the increase was necessary and if those elected officials are worthy of re-election.

2. Illegal immigration – secure our borders now

The Federal Government has failed to protect our borders as they are constitutionally required. It is time we use Texas taxpayers’ resources to protect our borders instead of providing services to those that entered this state illegally. It is time for Texans to protect the Texas border.

3. Reduce government spending now

We elected Republican majorities in the Texas House and Senate and expected them to be fiscally conservative. Our legislature has let us down. The most recent state budget includes a 20% increase in spending. We should focus on needs-based-budgeting, rather than revenue-based-budgeting.

4. Responsible education funding

School budgets and administrative positions have increased faster than student enrollment and classroom teacher positions. The legislature should require that 65% of school spending be dedicated to the classroom. We must focus education resources on the classroom instruction of our children.

5. Legislators should put tax cuts before their own pension increases

Legislators found the votes to increase their own pensions in the last legislative session, but after two special sessions could not find the votes to reduce your property taxes or lower the appraisal cap. We should focus first on cutting taxes before we increase legislator’s benefits.

6. We are the majority party and we should govern as such

I have called for an end to the so called “blocker bill” in the Senate. For years, this Senate tradition helped ensure civility in the upper house, but recently Democrats have used the practice to block meaningful legislation from being approved. We should end the practice of requiring 2/3 of the Senate to agree before a measure can be considered in the Senate.

I live on the opposite end of Harris County, in a different senatorial district -- but as the GOP Precinct Chair for Precinct 333, I would also like to offer my endorsement of Dan Patrick for Texas Senate District 7.

And speaking of my position as precinct chair, I'll be filing for reelection to that position on Monday afternoon.





|| Greg, 12:31 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Texas Politics -- Two More Odd Developments

Recent days have seen a couple of new twists in Texas politics. One involves the plans of a state officeholder and her lust for higher office at any cost, while the other relates to the DonQuixote campaign of a good conservative in the 22nd Congresional District.

Let's start with Carole Keeton McClellan Rylander Strayhorn [YOUR LAST NAME HERE], our comptroller and mother of former White House spokesman Scott McClellan. This long-time Austin Dem turned RINO announced for governor months ago -- but rumor has it that when she files on Monday it won't be as a Republican. Instead, it is possible that she will be filing as an independent. Strayhorn and her staff are pointedly NOT denying rumors to this effect.

Strayhorn spokesman Mark Sanders would not answer direct questions about whether Strayhorn will file Monday in the Republican primary or as an independent.

"Carole Keeton Strayhorn is a candidate for governor. She is a Republican. She will be filing for that office on Monday," Sanders said.

If that happens, next fall we will see a race for governor that includes Gov. Rick Perry as the GOP nominee, Kinky Friedman and Strayhorn running as independents, a Democrat nominee (former Congressman Chris Bell?) and the Libertarian candidate. It would not be surprising to see the winner take office with under 40% of the vote -- and the Democrat candidate finish behind at least one of the independent candidates.

And then there is the announcement of another candidate to run against Tom Delay for Congress. This one sounds like someone I could support if the seat were open or held by a Democrat, but not when he is challenging one of the top leaders of the GOP.

A 50-year-old attorney from Sugar Land has filed to run against U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay for the 22nd District in the Republican primary in March.

Thomas A. Campbell, who specializes in environmental law, is the third Republican challenger to take on DeLay, who has held the post since 1985.

Campbell paid the filing fee of $3,125 to the Texas Republican Party in Austin on Wednesday and entered his name in the race.

"We need to return some decency and civility to the way we conduct the public's business," Campbell said.

Campbell said he found it has become increasingly difficult for him to vote for DeLay, who was indicted in September and October on charges related to campaign finances. DeLay has since stepped down as House majority leader.

"I wish I had a choice," Campbell said. "And what I am trying to do is provide Republicans who are conservative a choice, an alternative."

Campbell served as general counsel for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration during the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

***

Campbell, who has never held elected office, said he knows taking on an entrenched incumbent in a race with two other challengers will be difficult.

"It is going to be a hard fight, but it is a good fight and it is one we can win," he said.

He is a partner in the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and said he will take a leave of absence from his job while he's campaigning.

Campbell said he would work toward reducing government bureaucracy as well as regulatory burdens on small businesses.

Campbell, who received his law degree from Baylor University, has been married for 28 years. He and his wife, Shauri, have five children and are adopting another.

The problem with this challenge is that it comes way too late, and at a time when the party needs to rally around a leader who is under partisan attack by an unethical prosecutor and is targetted by the national Democrats, who are bringing in lots of out of state money to influence the results in our congressional district. I'll concede casting a protest vote against DeLay in 2004 out of concern over the ethics charges. However, I have to stand with Fort bend County GOP Chairman Eric Thode on this one.

Fort Bend County Republican Party Chairman Eric Thode described Campbell as a credible candidate but one with low name recognition taking on a popular incumbent.

"He (DeLay) has represented us well, and I am confident he will be re-elected in the primary," Thode said Wednesday.

Thode said Campbell is not well-known among people active in the local GOP parties.

"He has no viable group of supporters," Thode said.

It's sad that Campbell has gotten into this race in a way that makes it impossible to take his candidacy seriously. But then again, if the seat does open up between now and 2008, perhaps Tom Campbell will have gained the name-recognition and respect needed to mount a real campaign. And, as Chris Elam over at Safety For Dummies points out, he could be the ideal"safety net" candidate in the event that Ton Delay is convicted or withdraws from the race.





|| Greg, 10:03 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 30, 2005

What Plamegate Hath Wrought

The Left and the media (two ways of saying the same thing) demanded an investigation when someone legally leaked the name of Joe Wilson's non-covert CIA spouse. The result was a witch hunt which resulted in only a single indictment -- and that raising the issue of perjury rather than wrongdoing in making public Valerie Plame's role in selecting her husband for a trip to Nigeria.

So should it be any surprise that the leaking of truly sensitive national security information would be investigated?

The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into recent disclosures about a controversial domestic eavesdropping program that was secretly authorized by President Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, officials said yesterday.

Justice prosecutors will focus their examination on who may have unlawfully disclosed classified information about the program to the New York Times, which reported two weeks ago that Bush had authorized the National Security Agency to monitor the international telephone calls and e-mails of U.S. citizens and residents without court-approved warrants, officials said.

The Justice Department's decision to reveal the opening of a criminal investigation is rare, particularly given the highly classified nature of the probe. Deputy White House press secretary Trent Duffy told reporters in Crawford, Tex., yesterday that Justice "undertook this action on its own" and that Bush had only learned about it from senior staff earlier in the day.

But Duffy reiterated earlier statements by Bush, who had sharply condemned the disclosure of the NSA program and argued that it seriously damaged national security.

"The fact is that al Qaeda's playbook is not printed on Page One, and when America's is, it has serious ramifications," Duffy said, reading from prepared remarks. "You don't need to be Sun Tzu to understand that," he added, referring to the ancient Chinese general who wrote "The Art of War."

Leak investigations generally begin with a referral to the Justice Department by the agency in question -- in this case the NSA -- which prompts a preliminary inquiry by prosecutors to determine whether a crime has been committed. The opening of a criminal investigation signals that prosecutors believe that laws barring disclosure of classified information by government officials were broken. It is likely to be a full-blown probe involving FBI agents and Justice investigators.

Now that seems perfectly reasonable -- especially given the impact of the leak on national security. Who could possibly object?

The American Civil Liberties Union Friday criticized a new Justice Department leak probe.

The Justice Department announced earlier Friday that it was launching an investigation into the disclosure of a secret National Security Agency domestic eavesdropping operation approved by President George W. Bush without specific legal or congressional authorization.

In a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the ACLU has called for the appointment of a special counsel to determine whether Bush violated federal wiretapping laws by authorizing illegal surveillance of domestic targets.

ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said, "President Bush broke the law and lied to the American people when he unilaterally authorized secret wiretaps of U.S. citizens. But rather than focus on this constitutional crisis, Attorney General Gonzales is cracking down on critics of his friend and boss. Our nation is strengthened, not weakened, by those whistle-blowers who are courageous enough to speak out on violations of the law.

"To avoid further charges of cronyism, Attorney General Gonzales should call off the investigation," Romero said. "Better yet, Mr. Gonzales ought to fulfill his own oath of office and appoint a special counsel to determine whether federal laws were violated."

Mr. Romero, please quit giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States and start giving a damn about the safety and seurity of American citizens during time of war. Attorney General Gonzales is fulfilling his oath of office by conducucting an investigation of the breaking of federal laws -- specifically those which forbid the disclosure of classified information related to national security to unauthorized individuals. The actions of the administration are legal and differ not one bit from activities conducted by every administration since at least Jimmy Carter, based upon the president's constitutional role as commander in chief.

UPDATE: One of the many fine pieces on the net defending the NSA program.

MORE AT Stop the ACLU, California Conservative, Crazy Politicos, Is It Just Me?, Conservative Dialysis, The Museum of Left-Wing Lunacy, ReidBlog





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

Barney Frank To Massachusetts Citizens -- "Shut Up On Gay Marriage!"

Massachusets Congressman Barney Frank (D - East Sodom & Gomorrah) has two words for those who want to let the people speak on the issue of redefining marriage as anything other than one man and one woman -- shut up.

That is the only conclusion that can be drawn from his comments regarding those seeking to place a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot to overturn the dictatorial misinterpretation of the Massachusetts Constitution (written by, among others, John Adams) by the state's highest court.

Massachusetss could face an "angry, divisive" fight if a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage reaches the 2008 state ballot, Rep. Barney Frank says.

The congressman blamed backers of the initiative petition for trying to provoke a new fight despite a lack of controversy over same-sex marriage.

"Basically, they're the disturbers of the civic peace," the Democrat said in a wide-ranging Associated Press interview Thursday. "We now have social peace in Massachusetts. They're the ones who want to stir it up ... This is a non-issue in Massachusetts."

***

"I think by 2008, people will say, 'Do we really need to have an angry, divisive debate over a non-issue,'" Frank said. "The question for the 50 legislators is: Do they want to make this a front-page issue again, leading the TV news?"

But Barney, don't you realize that everywhere in the United States wehre the voters have been given a say on the matter they have supported the traditional definition over the liberal social engineering of renegade judges and homosexual activists? If there is division being sown on this issue, it is by those of you who are seeking to bring about change of a fundamental social institution -- especially when you engage in name-calling against those who are seeking to peacefully use the democratic process to make their voices heard.

And though you claim this to be a non-issue, consider the results of the petition drive seeking to put the amendment on the ballot.

The Massachusetts Family Institute said the 124,000 certified signatures it gathered for the petition, nearly double the number required, was a sign of strong public support for outlawing same-sex marriage.

"All they want is an opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage," said the group's president, Kris Mineau. "Now that the people have spoken, the good congressman has decided this is a divisive issue."

But then again, Barney Frank is one of those whose party has gone from being the voice of the common man to one that seeks to frustrate the will of the people by using the courts to implement policies that are rejected by the American people at large.





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An Interesting Proposition

I'm curious what you guys think of this bit of political theorizing from Newsday columnist James Pinkerton.

We like to think that we have made progress in the four centuries since, especially here in the United States. But we're up against a basic reality: As populations grow denser, and as technology improves, there's a natural need for more regulation to keep people's elbows, and machines, from banging into each other.

That's the reason why, for example, Wyoming is a more libertarian place than New York City. Out in the West, where miles might separate people, you can pretty much do what you want. But, if millions are going to live in close proximity to one another, then lots of red tape is going to thread itself around each resident, governing not only the obvious concerns, such as weapons and pollution, but matters such as noise abatement and cigarette smoking.

Do you people agree? I don't think it has to be that way. Does society necessarily become less free the larger it grows?





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

Child Sex Trade In Mexico

It seems that American pedophiles are traveling to Mexico in search of victims.

On a sweltering afternoon in this glitzy tourist resort, Alex Fernandez laughed and joked with a group of his fellow homeless teenagers until the subject of prostitution came up. Then his smile disappeared, and the face of the skinny 14-year-old turned to a cold, unblinking stare as he described how grown men, sometimes Mexicans and sometimes foreign tourists, regularly take him to hotels and pay to have sex with him.

"Yes, they buy me. The business gets me food. It gets me clothes," said Fernandez, sitting in the shade of a basketball stand to escape the blazing sun. "No one else helps me. What do you want me to do?"

Despite a concerted effort to crack down on pedophiles in both Mexico and the United States, child prostitution continues unabated in Mexican tourist resorts such as Acapulco and Cancun as well as border cities such as Ciudad Juarez. Investigators estimate the number of Mexican children who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation — including prostitution, pornography and human trafficking — has increased to 20,000 from 16,000 in the past five years. Many of those who pay for sex with the boys and girls are American, Canadian and European tourists.

What's more, this child sex trade is also being brought north. We've had several arrests here in Texas in recent weeks related to children being smuggled from Mexico to become prostitutes.





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

December 29, 2005

Dem Ex-Congressman Going To Jail -- Ignored By MSM

After all, it isn't like his name is Tom DeLay or anything like that. He is just one more corrupt cog in the on-going series of criminal activities by Democratic pols.

Former U.S. Rep. Frank Ballance walked into a spartan community center Wednesday night a felon who admitted diverting public money to his law firm, family and church.

But the more than 100 people who greeted him there saw him as nothing less than a civil rights hero who has been unjustly sentenced to four years in federal prison.

The event was a fund-raiser to help Ballance pay his legal bills. The former congressman said he had paid all fines and restitution with his own money. A rally held two weeks ago in Murfreesboro drew about 300 people.

The sponsors of Wednesday's tribute called it a "People's Freedom Rally," and it took on the feel of a church service with gospel songs and Bible quotations such as, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Could you imagine the outrage if such a rally/fundraiser were held on behalf of Tom DeLay BEFORE his conviction, much less after it?

Oh, and what was ithe crime of which he was found guilty? Stealing from a charity to enrich himself and his family.

Ballance, 63, is scheduled to begin his sentence Friday at a federal prison in Butner for steering roughly $100,000 in public money from an anti-drug program he founded to his law firm, church and relatives.

The money was among $2.3 million Ballance had directed to the John A. Hyman Memorial Youth Foundation from 1994 to 2003 while he served as a state lawmaker. But the nonprofit foundation failed to file federal tax returns and the required state financial reports. When that became public nearly three years ago, it triggered a state audit that turned up more than $325,000 in questionable spending.

On Nov. 9, 2004, Ballance pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy related to funneling $15,500 to his law firm, $20,000 to his son, Garey Ballance, to buy a Lincoln Navigator, and $5,000 to his daughter for computer services that she did not perform.

Garey Ballance, a state District Court judge, admitted evading taxes on the $20,000, and he received nine months in prison. He also is to report to Butner; the conviction cost him his judicial post.

But we shouldn't be surprised that Ballance would participate in such a fundraiser. After all, he has this to say about his upcoming sentencing.

"I've not done anything that deserves four years in prison," Ballance said.

If that is the case, then why did you plead guilty? Why didn't you stand up and argue that your actions were justified and trust a jury of your peers to bring back a not guilty verdict?





|| Greg, 12:22 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Malaysian Muslims Steal Hindu Hero's Body From Family

Imagine losing your spouse, only to be told that you will have no say in the final disposal of the remains because of an alleged religious conversion.

Imagine legal action being taken by a religious court to force teh burial of you spous's body according to the rites of that other religion -- and not being permitted to testify because you are not of that faith.

Imagine the civil courts declaring themselves powerless to intervene and provide you with the opportunity to present evidence that there was no conversion.

The widow of Malaysian mountaineer M. Moorthy lived exactly that horrific scenario this week.

A Malaysian mountaineering hero will be buried as a Muslim, against the wishes of his Hindu wife, who denied he had converted to Islam before his death.

The decision follows a High Court ruling that it cannot override the country's Islamic courts in matters of religious conversion.

An Islamic court had said the man, M Moorthy, had become a Muslim last year.

Lawyers say the case highlights problems faced by non-Muslims dealing with Malaysia's Islamic justice system.

"So much for good interracial relations," Haris Mohamad Ibrahim, a lawyer representing Malaysia's Bar Council, told The Associated Press.

"The judge has just told the widow and her family to go back and leave the body of their beloved to be buried by strangers."

Moorthy's brother and some of his former army colleagues claimed that he had convertedlast year. But only two months ago, he gave an interview about his preparations for the Hindu religious festival of Diwali. The family was forbidden from providing testimony or evidence before the Sharia court, rendering the proceeding nothing more than a barbaric farce (not that Sharia courts are capable of being other than a barbaric farce). And the civil courts provided no due process or source of redress for the Hindu family.

In dismissing the application by Moorthy’s widow, S. Kaliammal, Raus noted that the main issue brought before him was whether Moorthy had converted to Islam or was still a Hindu.

"The civil court has no jurisdiction to review the Syariah High Court decision," he told a packed courtroom.

Raus also said although there were affidavits filed by Kaliammal, her brother and a friend stating that Moorthy participated in Hindu rituals, the question of jurisdiction to decide the matter still lay with the Syariah court and not the civil court.

For this reason, he said, he could only grant one relief sought by the widow — that she was the deceased’s lawful wife until the time of his death on Dec 20.

Kaliammal, in her originating summons filed on Wednesday, sought a declaration that Moorthy was a Hindu and followed Hindu rituals, a declaration Moorthy was not a Muslim, and a declaration that documents proving Moorthy’s conversion were null and void.

After the judge handed down his decision, M. Manoharan, lawyer for the widow, applied unsuccessfully for a stay of execution for them to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

In other words, the Sharia court had full and unreviewable authority to steal the body over the objections of the family based upon claims of a conversion that not even his Muslim brother claims to have been aware of until after Moorthy's death.

The body was then seized and buried according to Muslim rights, with the Hindu family not attending the funeral which was an affront to their faith and basic decency.

MORE AT: Maobi, Reduced and Recycled, Rajan Rishyakaran, KTemoc Konsiders, Retake Constantinople, Politics 101 Malaysia, Mental Block, Daniel Pipes, The Enemy Is You.





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The 10 Worst Americans

The latest meme sweeping the blogosphere is the 10 Worst American list, courtesy of All Things Beautiful. I find this an intriguing exercise, and hope my contribution to the discussion provides some enlightenment. I've intentionally excluded living individuals, and military and political leaders from the Civil War. Also excluded was Benedict Arnold, the inclusion of whom is simply too trite.

1) Margaret Sanger -- A eugenist who admired Hitler's racial cleansing laws, she started out to make sure blacks, Jews, Slavs, and other "inferior races" didn't outbreed the superior WASP and Germanic stock that she felt merited a privileged place in American society. her legacy continues in the form of the genocidal organization she started, Planned Parenthood.

2) Aaron Burr -- Certainly a murderer, arguably a traitor, Burr was the prototype for the power-hungry politician out for his own interests above those of the US. Had he managed to beat Jefferson in 1800, it might have been the end of the American constitutional system.

3) Julius & Ethel Rosenberg -- One could argue that the Soviets would have gotten the A-bomb in a few years without these spies, but together with Alger Hiss they made the anti-Communist hysteria of the late 1940s and 1950s seem perfectly reasonable. While their supporters claim that they were framed, the Verona documents make it clear that they were guilty as homemade sin.

4) Alger Hiss -- Betrayed his country to the Soviets for years as he climbed his way through the State Department.

5) Hugo Black -- The only Klansman to serve on the Supreme Court, he is the person responsible for incorporating Jefferson's "wall of separation" analogy into legal dogma. He built his career on the anti-black, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic platform of the KKK, and never really renounced the religious bigotry that went with that affiliation.

6) Thaddeus Stevens -- This Radical Republican was among the most malignant of his breed in Washington during and after the War Between The States. He was instrumental in implementing harsh Reconstruction policies that ultimately harmed the freed slaves he sought to help, and he was key to the efforts to hamstring Andrew Johnson, leading eventually to the impeachment of Johnson on charges of violating a law that did not apply to his actions.

7) Alfred Kinsey -- Pervert extrordinaire who paid pedophiles to molest kids as a part of his research. His work provided the scholarly justification for the Sexual Revolution, one of the more harmful social developments of the 1960s.

8) Richard J. Daley -- His corrupt power in Chicago was such that he could provide graft galore and steal a presidential election with impunity. Not even Boss Tweed could manage the latter.

9) Elbridge Gerry -- Ever wonder why they call it gerrymandering? This is the guy who created the practice of drawing political district lines for partisan advantage.

10) J. Edgar Hoover -- For all the good he did, his rogue operation of the FBI gave that agency inordinate power with little supervision. He is the very exemplar of what we should fear in the way of government run amok.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS: Elijah Muhammad, John F. Kennedy, Joseph Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Roger Taney, Andrew Jackson, Tim McVeigh, Gus Hall, Al Capone.

Living figures who will be eligible for inclusion five years after their deaths: Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, George Soros, Ibrahim Hooper, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakahn, John Walker, Jr. Johathan Pollard, Bill Clinton, Teddy Kennedy, Ward Churchill, Jane Fonda, John Kerry, Maxine Watters, Cynthia McKinney.





|| Greg, 12:29 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 28, 2005

Chicago Tribune: Bush Told The Truth

You have to love it when those in the mainstream media stop running liberal talking points long enough to look at the facts. The Chicago Tribune did a serious piece on the multiple justifications for going to war in Iraq, examining what was said, what we now know, and the veracity of the original claims. The results must be disheartening if one lemmings chanting the mantra "Bush lied, thousands died!"

Biological and chemical weapons

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE SAID

The Bush administration said Iraq had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction. Officials trumpeted reports from U.S. and foreign spy agencies, including an October 2002 CIA assessment: "Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons, as well as missiles with ranges in excess of UN restrictions."

WHAT WE KNOW TODAY

Many, although not all, of the Bush administration's assertions about weapons of mass destruction have proven flat-out wrong. What illicit weaponry searchers uncovered didn't begin to square with the magnitude of the toxic armory U.S. officials had described before the war.

THE VERDICT

There was no need for the administration to rely on risky intelligence to chronicle many of Iraq's other sins. In putting so much emphasis on illicit weaponry, the White House advanced its most provocative, least verifiable case for war when others would have sufficed.

In other words, the President was wrong in magnitude but did not lie.

Iraq rebuffs the world

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE SAID

In a speech that left many diplomats visibly squirming in their chairs, President Bush detailed tandem patterns of failure: Saddam Hussein had refused to obey UN Security Council orders that he disclose his weapons programs--and the UN had refused to enforce its demands of Hussein.

WHAT WE KNOW TODAY

Reasonable minds disagree on whether Iraq's flouting of UN resolutions justified the war. But there can be no credible assertion that either Iraq or the UN met its responsibility to the world. If anything, the administration gravely understated the chicanery, both in Baghdad and at the UN.

THE VERDICT

Hussein had shunted enough lucre to enough profiteers to keep the UN from challenging him. In a dozen years the organization mass-produced 17 resolutions on Iraq, all of them toothless. That in turn enabled Hussein to continue his brutal reign and cost untold thousands of Iraqis their lives.

The President spoke the truth, though one can question the necessity of war based on this point..

The quest for nukes

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE SAID

Intelligence agencies warned the Clinton and Bush administrations that Hussein was reconstituting his once-impressive program to create nuclear weapons. In part that intel reflected embarrassment over U.S. failure before the Persian Gulf war to grasp how close Iraq was to building nukes.

WHAT WE KNOW TODAY

Four intel studies from 1997-2000 concurred that "If Iraq acquired a significant quantity of fissile material through foreign assistance, it could have a crude nuclear weapon within a year." Claims that Iraq sought uranium and special tubes for processing nuclear material appear discredited.

THE VERDICT

If the White House manipulated or exaggerated the nuclear intelligence before the war in order to paint a more menacing portrait of Hussein, it's difficult to imagine why. For five years, the official and oft-delivered alarms from the U.S. intelligence community had been menacing enough.

That is what had been concluded by the intelligence community for years. Relying on that conclusion was proper, though some of the details may have been incorrect.

Hussein's rope-a-dope

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE SAID

The longer Hussein refuses to obey UN directives to disclose his weapons programs, the greater the risk that he will acquire, or share with terrorists, the weaponry he has used in the past or the even deadlier capabilities his scientists have tried to develop. Thus we need to wage a pre-emptive war.

WHAT WE KNOW TODAY

Hussein didn't have illicit weapons stockpiles to wield or hand to terrorists. Subsequent investigations have concluded he had the means and intent to rekindle those programs as soon as he escaped UN sanctions.

THE VERDICT

Had Hussein not been deposed, would he have reconstituted deadly weaponry or shared it with terror groups? Of the White House's nine arguments for war, the implications of this warning about Iraq's intentions are treacherous to imagine--yet also the least possible to declare true or false.

A judgement call that ultimately comes down to how much faith and trust one wishes to place in Saddam Hussein. Based upon his past behavior, the President made a legitimate call -- but those of you who hate Bush can side with the deposed Iraqi leader who had used such weapons against his own people if you think he has greater credibility.

Waging war on terror

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE SAID

Iraq was Afghanistan's likely successor as a haven for terror groups. "Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror ... " the president said. "And he cannot be trusted. The risk is simply too great that he will use them, or provide them to a terror network."

WHAT WE KNOW TODAY

The White House echoed four years of intel that said Hussein contemplated the use of terror against the U.S. or its allies. But he evidently had not done so on a broad scale. The assertion that Hussein was "harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror" overstated what we know today.

THE VERDICT

The drumbeat of White House warnings before the war made Iraq's terror activities sound more ambitious than subsequent evidence has proven. Based on what we know today, the argument that Hussein was able to foment global terror against this country and its interests was exaggerated.

In other words, the intel pointed to this, but there remains serious doubt about how serious Hussein was about sponsoring terrorism. But again, there was no lie.

Reform in the Middle East

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE SAID

Supplanting Hussein's reign with self-rule would transform governance in a region dominated by dictators, zealots and kings. The administration wanted to convert populations of subjects into citizens. Mideast democracy would channel energy away from resentments that breed terrorism.

WHAT WE KNOW TODAY

U.S. pressure has stirred reforms in Lebanon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and imperiled Syria's regime. "I was cynical about Iraq," said Druze Muslim patriarch Walid Jumblatt. "But when I saw the Iraqi people voting . . . it was the start of a new Arab world... The Berlin Wall has fallen."

THE VERDICT

The notion that invading Iraq would provoke political tremors in a region long ruled by despots is the Bush administration's most successful prewar prediction to date. A more muscular U.S. diplomacy has advanced democracy and assisted freedom movements in the sclerotic Middle East.

Spot on correct judgement of the situation.

Iraq and Al Qaeda

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE SAID

President Bush: "... Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy--the United States of America. We know that Iraq and Al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade.... Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bombmaking and poisons and deadly gases."

WHAT WE KNOW TODAY

Two government investigative reports indicate that Al Qaeda and Iraq had long-running if sporadic contacts. Several of the prewar intel conclusions likely are true. But the high-ranking Al Qaeda detainee who said Iraq trained Al Qaeda in bombmaking, poisons and gases later recanted.

THE VERDICT

No compelling evidence ties Iraq to Sept. 11, 2001, as the White House implied. Nor is there proof linking Al Qaeda in a significant way to the final years of Hussein's regime. By stripping its rhetoric of the ambiguity present in the intel data, the White House exaggerated this argument for war.

The case was not nearly as clear-cut as the President stated it. What he said was true -- but was it accurate?

The Butcher of Baghdad

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE SAID

Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell: "For more than 20 years, by word and by deed, Saddam Hussein has pursued his ambition to dominate Iraq and the broader Middle East using the only means he knows--intimidation, coercion and annihilation of all those who might stand in his way."

WHAT WE KNOW TODAY

Human Rights Watch estimates that Hussein exterminated 300,000 people. Chemical weapons killed Iraqi Kurds and Iranians; Iraqi Shiites also were slaughtered. Tortures included amputation, rape, piercing hands with drills, burning some victims alive and lowering others into acid baths.

THE VERDICT

In detailing how Hussein tormented his people--and thus mocked the UN Security Council order that he stop--the White House assessments were accurate. Few if any war opponents have challenged this argument, or suggested that an unmolested Hussein would have eased his repression.

The world stood by too long in the face of massive human rights violations in Iraq. The President called a spade a spade and acted to bring an end to the manifest evil of the murderous Iraqi regime.

Iraqis liberated

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE SAID

President Bush and his surrogates broached a peculiar notion: that the Arab world was ready to embrace representative government. History said otherwise--and it wasn't as if the Arab street was clamoring for Iraq to show the way.

WHAT WE KNOW TODAY

The most succinct evaluation comes from Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.): "Every time the 27 million Iraqis have been given the chance since Saddam Hussein was overthrown, they have voted for self-government and hope over the violence and hatred the 10,000 terrorists offer them."

THE VERDICT

The White House was correct in predicting that long subjugated Iraqis would embrace democracy. And while Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites have major differences to reconcile, a year's worth of predictions that Sunni disaffection could doom self-rule have, so far, proven wrong.

Once again, the call seems to have been correct.

In other words, a fair view of the resons for the war shows that Bush spoke the truth as he knew it -- even if he overstated some of the evidence -- when the war began. Those who accuse him of lying are engaged in the "Big Lie" themselves, presumably for their own political advantage.

(Hat Tip --, Right Wing Nut House, Blogs for Bush, Sister Toldjah)



» The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY links with: Bush and the truth



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More Delay In DeLay Case

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will take up the DeLay case in an expedited fashion. It has given Travis County prosecutor prostitutor Ronnie Earle a week to file briefs supporting a continued denial of the constitutional right to a speedy trial in the prosecution persecution of Congressman Tom DeLay.

The state's highest criminal court has agreed to hear Tom DeLay's latest request for a quick resolution to money laundering charges that forced him to give up his leadership post in the U.S. House, his spokesman said Tuesday.

The all-Republican Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that both sides have a week to submit arguments, DeLay spokesman Kevin Madden said in an e-mail. DeLay's attorneys asked the court either to dismiss money laundering charges or to order a lower court to try him immediately.

DeLay attorney Dick DeGuerin took the case to the criminal appeals court Friday, one day after the 3rd Court of Appeals denied his request that the case be sent back to the trial court or expedited through the appeals process.

DeGuerin and a spokesman for Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday night.

DeLay, a Republican from Sugar Land, was forced to step aside as House majority leader after he was indicted on money laundering and conspiracy charges in September.

He denies wrongdoing and has been pressing for a quick resolution to his case so he can regain his post before his colleagues call for new leadership elections. His case was put on hold, however, when prosecutors appealed a judge's partial dismissal of the criminal charges.

Even if the case is handled in an expedited fashion by the Court of Criminal Appeals, that does not guarantee a quick trial. Judge pat Priest has refused to rule on other pending motions until this appeal is complete, meaning that there will be at least one more round of appeals before a trial can start. Among the pending motions is a DeLay request for dismissal of all remaining counts based upon Ronnie Earle's prosecutorial misconduct in disclosing confidential grand jury information, tampering with the deliberations of a grand jury and grand jury shopping.

If the proceedings are allowed to drag on in this manner, it is likely that Earle will accomplish his goal of permanently removing DeLay from his leadership position, even if he is unable to get a conviction.

PREVIOUS POSTS:
Latest DeLay Bid For Immediate Trial
No Due Process For DeLay
DeLay Screwed By Judge Priest
Ronnie Earle's Assault On Free Speech

DeLay Team Targets Ronnie Earle's Unethical Prosecutorial Conduct
Ronnie Earle Goes Fishing
So Much For A Right To A Speedy Trial
A Victory For DeLay
DeLay Wants No Delay
Plea Possibility Considered
I Love It!
Earle Offered Plea Bargain
Evidence? Ronnie Doesn't Need No Stinking Evidence!
Unethical Prosecutorial Conduct
Grand Jury Shopping
Liberal Austin Paper Criticizes Earle
A Note On The New DeLay Indictments
"The Law And The Truth On My Side"
Ronnie Earle Whitewash In Washington Post
Prosecutorial Misconduct?





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Asian Rep Wants Special Treatment For Asian Frat

Hazing by fraternities and other groups on college campuses is ILLEGAL.

When caught, those involved are subject to criminal penalties, and the organizations involved are ordinarily suspended for some period of time, often until all current members have graduated.

That is why the decision to ban the Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity at the University of Texas came as no surprise when it was determined that an 18-year-old pledge died as a result of alcohol poisoning as a result of hazing activities.

In fact, any other penalty would have been a surprise.

But Lambda Phi Epsilon is special, don't you know. After all, it is a fraternity that is ovewhelmingly Asian, and therefore deserves special treatment -- at least acording to the only Asian in the Texas legislature.

Rep. Hubert Vo wrote UT President Larry Faulkner last week that the university should consider alternative punishments such as probation, community service or alcohol abuse training for the members of Lambda Phi Epsilon, rather than canceling the registration of the entire group.

Group punishment, Vo said, is unfair and could send the wrong message to the Asian community by destroying an important social and support network for Asian students, many of whom are children of immigrants and first-generation college students.

Vo said Tuesday his concern has nothing to do with race and that he doesn't expect Asians to get special treatment at UT.

"This is not about Asians or black or brown or white," he said. "This is about education and cutting off these resources from all the students. It's a big blow for all the students who might have to look for some alternative ways to complete their college degrees."

"The University has stopped short of saying that hazing caused young Mr. Phoummarath's sad death," Vo wrote in the Dec. 22 letter. "Surely there is a solution to this tragic circumstance that also stops short of canceling the fraternity's status while paying tribute to Phanta Jack Phoummarath's yearning for a better future."

So, it has nothing to do with race or ethnicity -- but normal procedures shouldn't be followed because applying standard policy sends the wrong message? Which isit, Hubert? Is it about race or isn't it? You have said it is and it isn't. Would you be taking this position if the fraternity were predominantly white?

And let's not overlook the others who support giving special treatment to a group which is morally culpable in the death of a young man.

But Vo, a Democrat who emigrated from Vietnam about 30 years ago, said UT's decision may discourage Asian students who need all the resources they can get while pursuing their education. "Cutting off a fraternity like this means cutting off the support network for the students," Vo said.

For many Asian students, Vo said, fraternities provide moral support, educational guidance and career advice that parents may not be able to give. He said they also offer vital networking opportunities for minority groups who need a leg up in today's competitive job market.

Lily Truong, board director of the Asian Alumni Association at the University of Houston, agreed that UT should try to find a way to keep the Asian fraternity intact. "They look forward to these fraternities. I know the fraternities are helping them," Truong said of students. "If they don't have the fraternity, they could get lost and I don't think they would know what they're going to do next."

So, Asian students have special needs that should exempt them and their organizations from the same rules and laws that apply to other students. If required to follow the same rules, they will not have the support they need to succeed -- despite the fact that Asian students are among the most successful on any college campus.

Shame on you, Representative Vo. A young man is dead -- one of those very Asian students you claim to support -- and you want those who created teh contditions that led to his death held to a lower standard because they are Asian. Shame!





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December 27, 2005

Arabic-Language Christian Book Banned -- And Not Just In Muslim States

Muslims demand the right to preach their faith and convert Christians to it. On the other hand, they consider efforts by Christians to convert Muslims -- and the conversion of Muslims to other faiths -- a crime worthy of death. That's why one of the most important books of the last decade has been banned in Muslim countries -- and in some countries with substantial Muslim minorities.

Can you name the book which has the Islamic world in an uproar, and caused the United States government to deny any involvement with it? The book banned in the world’s most populous democracy? No, not Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, a cause celebre among the literati. The book in question is published by evangelical Christian Arabs, and the American media couldn’t care less about it.

Islam considers apostasy a crime punishable by death. It is very easy indeed to convert to Islam, but once the requisite phrases have been uttered, exit is not permitted. While Muslims are free to proselytize in most of the world, most Islamic countries refuse to allow Christian evangelists, or evangelists for any other faith for that matter, to operate freely. Severe criminal penalties exist in some states like Saudi Arabia, for inducing a Muslim to leave the faith.

There has never been an adequate translation of the Bible into classical Arabic. Such translations as exist are subject to ridicule by those trained in the poetry of the Quran, which is the standard used to define classical Arabic.

Nevertheless, there are Christian evangelists who wish to bring their religion and the teachings of Christ to Muslims. In 1999, two pseudonymous Arab Christian authors produced a book, The True Furqan (Furqan is another word for Quran), written in classical Arabic, intended as a tool to evangelize Arabs in particular, and Muslims in general. It is written in the style of the Quran, as a series of poetic verses, and contains Arabic verses and an English translation, side by side. But it brings the message of Christianity’s Good News.

To appease its resident Islamists, India banned The True Furqan in September.

Custom Non-Tariff Notification

No: 78/ NT (07-Sep-05) Govt prohibits import of book titled ‘The True Furqan’, subtitled ‘The 21st Century Quran’ published by USA-based publisher

The Central Government, for the maintenance of security of India, absolutely prohibits import of the book entitled “The True Furqan”, subtitled “The 21st Century Quran” published in the United States of America by Omega, 2000 and Wine Press, including any extract there from, any reprint or translation thereof or any document reproducing any matter contained therein.

Interestingly enough, this decree could be seen as banning the Bible, as much of The True Furqan is quotes from Scripture.

I encourage readers to look at the text of the book at the link above, and to pass it on to Muslim friends.





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How History Texts Cover Clinton's Impeachment

I've wondered how they would cover the failure to remove the perjuring, justice-obstructing adulterer.

The topic is covered briefly in middle school texts. McGraw Hill's "The American Journey" offers a description that is representative of other accounts — balanced and methodical.

"Although there was general agreement that the president had lied, Congress was divided over whether his actions justified impeachment," the book says.

In McDougal Littell's "The Americans," a high school text, the topic merits two paragraphs. The same book gave more space to the impeachment of Andrew Johnson in 1868.

"The American Vision," a McGraw Hill high school book written by Brinkley and others, spends five paragraphs on Clinton's impeachment and one more on his uncertain legacy.

"Compression is a tremendous challenge," Brinkley said. "Five paragraphs on a topic is a lot for all but the most important issues."

Sometimes, the language gets blunt.

"A History of the United States," a Pearson Prentice Hall high school text, refers to the impeachment scandal as "a sorry mess" that diminished Clinton and his rivals.

Polls showed most Americans did not believe Clinton's "tortured explanations of his behavior," the book says, but also did not think his offenses warranted his removal.

By the time students get to college, the textbooks, as expected, offer more sophisticated detail of the impeachment and the way it all changed American public life.

Yet at all levels, the salacious details of the Lewinsky affair are nowhere to be found.

Middle school texts describe it as "a personal relationship between the president and a White House intern." In high school books, it is Clinton's "improper relationship with a young White House intern," or Clinton "denied having sexual relations" with an intern.

As a practical matter, I wonder how many US History classes will even reach the 1990s -- and how many teachers will choose to skip the only impeachement of an elected president in US history, out of concern for discussing the pronographic details.

And will the approach change if the Hildebeast is elected in 2008?





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No Special Rights For MSM Journalists

Washington State is preparing to consider legislation that will give special protection to professional information providers, but not to citizen-journalists who provide news content as a hobby or side-activity.

The fact that New York Times reporter Judith Miller's badge of courage has been tarnished does not diminish the need for shield laws to protect journalists' use of anonymous sources in the legitimate pursuit of information.

Congress would do well to pass a national shield law that allows states to adopt broader protections. In the meantime, Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna has proposed a bold but reasoned shield law for professionals in this state.

The legislation already has an impressive list of sponsors going into the legislative session that begins Jan. 16., including Sens. Adam Kline, D-Seattle; Stephen Johnson, R-Kent; Karen Keiser, D-Kent; and Dave Schmidt, R-Mill Creek.

McKenna proposes absolute protection against court-ordered disclosure of an anonymous source and qualified protection for a journalist's work product -- unpublished notes, photos and tape recordings. The measure would set conditions for disclosure in criminal or civil cases.

The proposal also is valuable in that it would define members of the "news media" as those in the regular business of disseminating news or information to the public and who earn "a substantial portion of his or her livelihood" that way. Included in that definition are researchers and scholars.

The reason journalists need such a shield is because information is an essential check when governments go too far.

Unfortunately, the definition leaves out those of us in the blogosphere who engage in citizen-journalism with no salary. It would provide less protction to student-jpurnalists on college newspaper than to their professional colleagues. And it would permit a journalist to withhold a source in a criminal case even when doing so could result in a miscarriage of justice.

Ultimately, journalists are no different than any other citizen of the United States. Laws regarding subpoenas and the production of information in criminal and civil cases must apply to them in the same fashion as they do to every other American.





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

December 26, 2005

Egyptian Muslims Deny US Visas To Christians

Looks to me like we need to can a bunch of local employees in Egypt -- they are the bureaucratic cousins of al-Qaeda. It seems that these Muslim employees have been denying visas to Coptic Christians when they appear at the embassy for processing.

State Department officials are closely examining 15 to 20 Egyptian employees of the embassy's consular section after top officials received complaints from lawyers and human-rights groups about discriminatory behavior toward the Copts seeking visas to the United States, sources said.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, may have been wrongly denied visas, sources said.

In a recent meeting organized by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), top State Department officials were told that these employees, who conduct prescreening interviews and translations, appear to have unusual influence over a process that is supposed to be controlled by Americans.

"This is a widespread problem that we have been aware of for some time. Now, however, there are people stepping forward and are making formal complaints," said Father Keith Roderick, head of the Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights, who attended the meeting.

Among those making complaints to the State Department is a Christian man who was seeking to donate a kidney to an uncle in New Jersey.

He says he was twice told to remove the cross he was wearing if he wanted a visa. He refused and was denied a visa.

Another is a woman who was scheduled to speak at a recent human-rights conference in Washington about what it is like to live in a Muslim-dominated country.

She claimed embassy officials demanded to see her speech.

She and two other Egyptian Copts were denied a visa while Egyptian Muslims were granted visas.

They have asked that their names not be made public for fear of retaliation in Egypt.

There have also been complaints that these employees keep posters in the embassy promoting supporters of the Hamas terror group.

Fire these terrorist-loving Islamist pigs. Heck -- fire every last Egyptian Muslim employee of the Embassy and replace them with Copts as a sign of our displeasure at the official abuse of Copts by the Egyptian government that has been copied by these swine.

And consider this frm one of the individuals who has helped document this abuse of members of a religious community that dates back to the first century of the Christian era.

"This should be a concern because if they can influence who they can keep out of the United States, they could also influence who can get in," said Caroline Doss, a Jersey City immigration lawyer who presented State Department officials with affidavits from Coptic Christian clients.

How many terrorists have they given visas? Do we have any way of finding out?

UPDATE: Great commentary on the issue at All Things Beautiful. More at DhimmiWatch, and Gates of Vienna. Also, a great older post on this issue from The Free Copts.





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This Weeks Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are The Idiot's Guide To Victimhood -- Getting It and Keeping It by Dr. Sanity, and Legal Analysis of the NSA Domestic Surveillance Program by The Volokh Conspiracy.  You can find the full results of the vote here.





|| Greg, 09:20 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 25, 2005

From The Holy Gospel According To Saint Luke, Second Chapter

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

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

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

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!

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





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Google Hates Christmas

Yesterday we found that the Google has a sex toy as the top search item for the words "baby jesus".

Today we find that the internet giant, which usually acknowledges holidays with seasonal graphics, ignores "the reason for the season" entirely.

winter_holiday05_5.gif

I guess the only folks it is safe to offend and ignore in the name of "tolerance and diversity" are Christians.

MORE AT: Wizbang, Verum Serum



» phin's blog links with: Google Delenda est



|| Greg, 07:15 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

The Proclamation Of The Birth Of Christ From The Roman Martyrology

In the 5199th year of the creation of the world, from the time when in the beginning God created heaven and earth;
from the flood, the 2957th year;
from the birth of Abraham, the 2015th year;
from Moses and the going-out of the people of Israel from Egypt, the 1510th;
from the anointing of David as king, the 1032nd year;
in the 65th week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
in the 194th Olympiad;
from the founding of the city of Rome, the 752nd year;
in the 42nd year of the rule of Octavian Augustus,
when the whole world was at peace,
in the sixth age of the world:
Jesus Christ, the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming,
having been conceived by the Holy Ghost,
and nine months having passed since His conception
was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary,
having become man.

The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.





|| Greg, 12:00 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 24, 2005

You Have The Right To Be Silenced -- Chapter 2

It's only been a couple of weeks since British cops tried to silence children's author Lynette Burrows. Now the same thing has happened to a British couple because they asked to place literature on an equal footing with a homosexual group.

POLICE questioned a retired couple for 80 minutes about their “homophobic� views after they asked their local council if they could display their Christian literature next to gay rights leaflets, it was reported last night.

Joe and Helen Roberts said that police officers warned them that their actions “were close to a hate crime� after they complained to Wyre Borough Council about its gay rights policies.

The couple claimed that the police told them they were “walking on eggshells�.

Mr Roberts, from Fleetwood, Lancashire, said he had been offended because of the council’s distribution of the gay rights leaflets and its promotion of its theatre as a venue for civil partnership ceremonies.

He said he complained to Paul Deacon, the council officer responsible for Wyre’s part in the Navajo Charter Mark campaign being run by several local authorities to offer assistance to gay and lesbian people.

Mr Roberts, 73, told the Daily Mail: “I told him I was offended. I asked him if I could put Christian literature on display alongside the gay material. He said I couldn’t because it would offend gay people.

“I said we had no objection to gay people, but we thought that homosexual practice was wrong and we were offended by the gay culture which the council is promoting.

In other words, what Mr. and Mrs. Roberts did was an act of pure speech, petitioning their government to allow them equal footing to that of others placing literature. They sought to have their views placed on par with those of others. None of that is unreasonable.

They got the following response from the council.

Mr Roberts had asked if the council would display Christian leaflets, and was told all applications would be considered, but nothing that would offend minority groups would be approved.

In other words, the council won't offend minorities -- but is more than willing to offend the beliefs of Christians.

What the request also got them was a visit from the local police and the threat of possible criminal charges. Mr. Roberts, in fact, asked a question that the police refused to anwer -- and that silence is, in and of itself, quite telling.

“They warned me that being discriminatory and homophobic is in line with hate crime. The phrase they used was that we were ‘walking on eggshells’. I asked the officer, if I phoned the police with a complaint that the council were discriminating against Christians would he go to interview them?�

Got that -- holding and expressing the wrong beliefs places one in jeopardy of being arrested, tried, and potentially imprisoned. That's a far cry from the the vaunted rights of Englishmen, the violation of which inspired our own Founding Fathers to revolt against English tyranny.

Lancashire police said its visit to the Robertses’ family home was a matter of routine after a complaint from the council. A spokesman added: “Words of suitable advice were given and we will not be taking any further action.�

What this really means is that the police told them that if they dare to speak their mind again on the subject of homosexuality, they will go to jail -- and maybe even a reeducation program modelled on those of Mao's Cultural Revolution. If you think I am overstating the matter, consider the response of the council spokesperson to questions from the Times.

A council spokesman said the couple had “displayed potentially homophobic attitudes�.

He added: “The council referred this matter to the police for further investigation with the intention of challenging attitudes and educating and raising awareness of the implications of homophobic behaviour.�

Or, put differently, they had attitudes and beliefs which are seen as criminal -- welcome to the world of real thought crimes!

One more proof that those who demand tolerance of diverse views will tolerate any view except diverse ones.

(LINK TO: Pirates! Man Your Women!)





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

Some Christmas Present

You have to love stories like this one -- love, generousity, and patriotism all rolled together.

A Marine who's planning to marry a Texan got an early Christmas present: A fellow shopper picked up the tab for a $3,000 diamond engagement ring after the two struck up a conversation in a jewelry store.

The 54-year-old Dallas woman who paid for the 1-carat, princess cut diamond ring wants to remain anonymous, Helzberg Diamonds spokeswoman Stacey McBride told The Associated Press on Friday.

The woman's father was in the military, her brother was a Marine who died in Vietnam and her nephew just got back from Iraq, McBride said.

Marine James Lynaugh, 28, of Patuxent River, Md., was shopping Thursday at the Helzberg Diamonds store at a mall in Tyler.

Lynaugh and the anonymous shopper discussed their mutual military connections. Lynaugh opened a store credit account to buy the ring, then left with it.

After the other shopper paid for her items, she inquired whether Lynaugh's credit charge could be reversed. She didn't even ask about the cost of the ring, McBride said.

"So we were able to reverse that charge, and she paid in full with a check," McBride said.

A representative of the North Kansas City., Mo, company later contacted Lynaugh with the good news.

"He did say that he broke the news to his fiancee" that someone else paid for the ring, McBride said.

Lynaugh's fiancee is from Athens, about 40 miles southwest of Tyler in East Texas. The Marine also has family in Huntsville.

He did not immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press on Friday afternoon.

And the greatest of these is love.





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Lying Leftists And The Seditious Anti-American Lies They Lie. -- Part 3,517,849

I'm sure you've heard the one about the student questioned by the student in Massachusetts who was questioned by the FBI regarding a request for Chairman Mao's Little Red Book. And you may have even read the piece by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Chivas Regal) commenting on it.

Guess what -- the alleged victim of this intrusive government spying on innocent Americans admits that it is a lie.

Or so one of the professors involved tells us -- because he won't identify the student. Neither will the Boston Globe, which interviewed the student this week.

It rocketed across the Internet a week ago, a startling newspaper report that agents from the US Department of Homeland Security had visited a student at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth at his New Bedford home simply because he had tried to borrow Mao Tse-Tung's ''Little Red Book" for a history seminar on totalitarian goverments.

The story, first reported in last Saturday's New Bedford Standard-Times, was picked up by other news organizations, prompted diatribes on left-wing and right-wing blogs, and even turned up in an op-ed piece written by Senator Edward M. Kennedy in the Globe.

But yesterday, the student confessed that he had made it up after being confronted by the professor who had repeated the story to a Standard-Times reporter.

The professor, Brian Glyn Williams, said he went to his former student's house and asked about inconsistencies in his story. The 22-year-old student admitted it was a hoax, Williams said.

''I made it up," the professor recalled him saying. ''I'm sorry. . . . I'm so relieved that it's over."

The student was not identified in any reports. The Globe interviewed him Thursday but decided not to write a story about his assertion, because of doubts about its veracity. The student could not be reached yesterday.

Williams said the student gave no explanation. But Williams, who praised the student as hard-working and likeable, said he was shaken by the deception.

''I feel as if I was lied to, and I have no idea why," said Williams, an associate professor of Islamic history. He said the possibility the government was scrutinizing books borrowed by his students ''disturbed me tremendously."

I have several reactions to this.

First, I never doubted that the story was a hoax. That particular book wouldn't get you watched when the Cold War was at its height -- why would it today?

Second, why won't those who know identify the hoaxer? They were more than willing to report the story -- why not "the rest of the story"?

Third, will UN-Dartmouth take disciplinary action against the student?

Fourth, are criminal charges an option given the seditious nature of the lie that was told?

A certain segment of the American public hates this country and identifies with its enemies. They are willing to lie, steal, and commit acts of violence to undermine the US in the Crusade Against Islamist Terrorism. There needs to be a cost to such misdeeds -- and a high one.

(H/T -- Blogs for Bush, GOPBloggers,, Politburo Diktat)

UPDATE: Looks like Senator Kennedy (DUI-Chappaquidick) is not backing down from his column -- and is saying that the truth doesn't matter.

But Kennedy isn’t apologizing. Far from it, his spokesman is adopting a variant of the Dan Rather fake-but-accurate line:
Laura Capps, a Kennedy spokeswoman, said last night that the senator cited ‘’public reports” in his opinion piece. Even if the assertion was a hoax, she said, it did not detract from Kennedy’s broader point that the Bush administration has gone too far in engaging in surveillance.

So the Senator’s negative opinion, based on fiction, somehow is still real. Because feelings matter more than facts, I suppose.

If Kennedy were a man, he would publicly apologize to President Bush for repeating a vicious lie about him and giving it credence. But of course, if Kennedy were a man, Mary Joe Kopechne would be alive.

Indeed.

MORE FROM: Michelle Malkin, Right Wing Nut House, In The Bullpen, Pirates!, Verum Serum, Slant Truth, Paladin Blog.





|| Greg, 03:27 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (15) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

City Agency's Sweetheart Sale Of Land For Al-Qaeda Mosque

Last time I checked, al-Qaeda is our major adversary in the Crusade Against Islamist Terrorism. Why, then, is a Boston government agency selling land to a group associated with al-Qaeda to build a mosque in the heart of Boston's Roxbury neighborhood? And why did the group get the land at a below-market price? Those questions are being asked by one Boston city councilman.

Boston City Councilor Jerry McDermott imminently intends to call for a public hearing on the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s sale of land in Roxbury for the construction of a large mosque to the Islamic Society of Boston, which has been dogged by charges of links to Islamic extremists.

The hearing comes at the urging of the lawyer for the David Project, the pro-Israel group currently being sued by the ISB for defamation, who sent a letter to McDermott and local media earlier this month alleging that the ISB trustees’ current president had signed a petition in support of the pre-trial release of Abdulrahman Alamoudi. The founder of the ISB in 1982, Alamoudi is now in prison in Saudi Arabia on terrorism funding-related charges.

Lawyers for the BRA and the ISB had rebuffed McDermott’s request to participate in hearings in April, citing pending litigation in a lawsuit brought by a Mission Hill resident over charges that the BRA violated the separation of church and state in selling the land for the mosque at a below-market price in exchange for several services, including a lecture series on Islam, to be provided by the ISB.

“I understand if folks at the BRA can only answer limited questions, but I also think it’s fair to provide the opportunity to come in and ask questions,” said McDermott, who chairs the Post-Audit and Oversight committee. “I think the public, as well as any elected official, has the right to ask questions concerning whether the sale of this public parcel was handled properly and whether the sale price was in the taxpayers’ best interest,” McDermott said, adding that he intends to file the request for a hearing after the first of the year.

ISB lawyer Albert Farrah said that the ISB will not participate in hearings. “Any legitimate issues that have been raised about the transactions between the BRA and the ISB will be resolved before a court of law, not before Councilor McDermott’s subcommittee,” he said.

This deal stinks, and needs to be stopped. No other group -- and certainly not one with documented ties to the enemies of the United States -- would get such preferential treatment. Let them pay market rates for the land, and then only if they can prove that they have completely eliminated their ties to the enemies of the United States.

(H/T: Hub Politics)





|| Greg, 02:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

It's Not Like Americans Traditionally Celebrate Christmas

More from the education front of the War on Christmas, courtesy of Hub Politics and Blogs for Bush. Seems that one Massachusetts school(couldn't you have guessed that) removed all mention of Christmas from its holiday program -- and even ordered that red trim on elf hats be replaced with white so as to not use traditional Christmas colors!

Even those who are supporteers of the false "sensitivity" of political correctness can recognize the absurdity of the decision.

A Grinch-like Medway middle school has ordered children to ditch religious songs in tonight’s holiday concert, refer to Christmas trees as “magical trees” and even purge the red from their elf hats.

“I can see a religious holiday being offensive to those who don’t celebrate it,” said Dale Fingar, whose sixth-grade son brought home 10 red and green elf hats and requested she replace the red fabric with white. “But red and green hats? Come on.”

Frankly, I don't see how a religious holiday can be offensive to those who don't celibrate it. After all, I'm not offended by Chaunakah or Diwali, despite not being Jewish or Hindu -- and I'm not even offended by Ramadan, except for the fact that some schools go to incredible lengths to acommodate muslim students whild suppressing Christian expression. Frankly, one would have to be a hete-filled bigot (and usually a Leftist) to take offense at someone markign a day that is of significance to them.

The flap has made Medway the new battleground for the Florida-based Liberty

Counsel, a group backed by evangelical Christian minister Jerry Falwell that has waged a nationwide war to protect Christmas.

“What is going through the school administrator’s mind?” said Liberty Counsel president Matthew Staver. “It’s ridiculous and an act of stupidity to call something green and prickly a magical tree when all of the children know that it’s a Christmas tree.

“These actions by the school administrator are not mere ignorance of the law. No one in their right mind thinks the law requires this kind of censorship or hostility,” said Staver, whose group forced Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino to acknowledge that the city’s holiday tree is a Christmas tree.

I'll take it a step further -- such actions are indicative of a blatant hostility toward religion, and particularly towards Christianity, whichis the dominant faith in this country and the one usually marked for such suppression.

Medway parent Tracy Goldrick and her 11-year-old daughter Tess were both disturbed by the school’s decision, which came after two parents complained about references to Christmas in the program.

“Aren’t we supposed to embrace each others differences?” said Goldrick, who said she has spoken to at least 20 other parents who are annoyed at “the watering down of Christmas.”

“The solution isn’t to take Christmas out of the (school events). The solution is telling people to lighten up,” she said.

No, Tracy, you haven't got the latest Leftist talking points. You are supposed to embrace the differences of minorities, and cower like a whipped cur in the face of the mavens of political correctness who have decreed that traditional American culture can never be acceptable -- especially when it has Christian roots.

And now comes the idiot educarat -- the sort that this teacher despises and does his best to ignore when one is encountered.

But Medway Superintendent Richard Grandmont said the decisions to pull “Jesus Christ Superstar” songs from the sixth-grade holiday pageant and have the kids switch the red in their elf hats to white is, in fact, the district’s way of embracing diversity.

“In general, it is expected that the staff be sensitive to the culturally diverse environment in which they work and cognizant of their responsibility to avoid activites that could be perceived as a school endorsement of religion,” he said.

Someone was doing "Jesus Christ Superstar" at a Christmas concert? I don't know why, since that is a musical all about holy Week and the death of Jesus the Christ, not his birth. I rather suspect that his reference to "Jesus Christ Superstar" songs is a dismissal of the importance of Christianity and Christian beliefs. His idea of "embracing diversity" and being "sensitive to the culturally diverse environment" is to denigrate the beliefs of the majority as no more relevant than those of the minority -- a demand that we all be diverse in the same way.

One parent, Paul Dehaney, was angry yesterday after leaving a third-grade holiday concert at Memorial School when he heard the tots sing “We wish you a swinging Holiday,” in place of “We wish you a Merry Christmas.”

“I’m not adovocating for a Christian-based celebration,” he said. “But don’t ignore the white elephant in the corner called Christmas.”

And I don't know of anyone who wants schools having religiously-based celebrations. But when the sensitivity police of the political correctness movement insist that we can celebrate a "swinging holiday" without ever mentioning any of the holiday's in question -- not even the one celebrated by all but a pathetically small handful of Americans -- the we have really turned the notion of inclusion on its head and created a system of exclusion.

(LINK TO: Pirates! Man Your Women!)





|| Greg, 02:23 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Google Outrage!

Confederate Yankee discovered this Christmas outrage while seeking an image for a Christmas post using Google. Guess what came up when he entered the words "baby jesus".

googlebabyjesus.jpg

Notice that the top search result is for a sex toy that mocks Jesus.

Other results on this search results page have more link traffic. A quick review of page's code shows no HTML meta information that should give it a favorable ranking. The page itself has a raw relevance ranking (search word divided by total words) of less than five percent. The only conclusion I can draw is that this page position ranking was done manually by a Google staffer.

And who says there is not a war on Christmas and Christianity?

MORE AT: Wizbang, Verum Serum





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Winning Sunni Candidates Disqualified AFTER Election?

This situation raises some real concerns for me regarding the Iraqi elections.

An Iraqi court has ruled that some of the most prominent Sunni Muslims who were elected to parliament last week won't be allowed to serve because officials suspect that they were high-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party.

Knight Ridder has obtained a copy of the court ruling, issued Thursday, which has yet to be circulated to the public.

The ruling is likely to dampen Bush administration hopes that the election would bring more of the disaffected Sunni minority into Iraq's political process and undermine Sunni support for the insurgency. Instead, the decision is likely to stoke fears of widening sectarian divisions in a nation already in danger of descending into civil war.

Adil al-Lami, the head of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, said he would honor the court's decision and that none of the accused Sunnis would appear on the final list of parliament members.

And thoe disqualified are not just minor individuals -- they include a number of leading Sunni candidates.

But preliminary results showed that some of the prominent Sunni politicians on the list had likely won seats. Among them: Adnan al-Janabi, the second-highest-ranking member of the constitutional committee and a top candidate on U.S.-backed former prime minister Ayad Allawi's slate, and Rasem al-Awadi, a National Assembly member and also on Allawi's slate. Five members of the Iraqi Accord Front, the principal Sunni electoral slate, also were on the list.

Saleh Mutlaq, a prominent Sunni politician, said that the ruling would agitate already frustrated Sunnis who are questioning the validity of the elections.

The commission said it would have the final list of winners sometime next month.

So what we have here is the post-election disqualification of candidates who have won seats in the new parliament. Such a move is, in my view, corrosive of the ethos of democracy that we have been attempting to instill in Iraq. The candidate lists have been out there for some tome -- and several of those disqualified were even involved in writing the new iraqi constitution -- why wait until the election is over?

Given that Sunnis are already protesting the results of the election and questioning their legitimacy, I can't help but think that this ruling will simply magnify the problem.





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

They Have Forgotten

It is a sad commentary on some of the most undeservedly over-privileged individuals in America when they can't be bothered to show support for the men and women serving our country in the Crusade Against Islamist Terrorists.

During world war two American troops away from home for Christmas were entertained by Marlene Dietrich, Bing Crosby and the Marx Brothers. Even in Vietnam Bob Hope was guaranteed to put in an appearance. But soldiers in Iraq are more likely to get a show from a Christian hip-hop group, a country singer you have probably never heard of and two cheerleaders for the Dallas Cowboys.

Just as the seemingly intractable nature of the war has led to a growing recruitment crisis, so the United Services Organisation, which has been putting on shows for the troops since the second world war, is struggling to get celebrities to sign up for even a short tour of duty

t is a far cry from the days following the September 11 2001 attacks, when some of the biggest names in show business, from Jennifer Lopez to Brad Pitt, rallied to the cause. "After 9/11 we couldn't have had enough airplanes for the people who were volunteering to go," Wayne Newton, the Las Vegas crooner who succeeded Bob Hope as head of USO's talent recruiting effort, told USA Today. "Now with 9/11 being as far removed as it is, the war being up one day and down the next, it becomes increasingly difficult to get people to go."

Newton said many celebrities have been wary of going because they think it might be seen that they are endorsing the war. "And I say it's not. I tell them these men and women are over there because our country sent them, and we have the absolute necessity to try to bring them as much happiness as we can."

Fear is also a factor. "They're scared," country singer Craig Morton, who is in Iraq on the USO's Hope and Freedom Tour 2005, told USA Today. "It's understandable. It's not a safe and fun place and a lot of people don't want to take the chance."

O course, there are some -- on all sides of the political spectrum -- who are willing to travel to bring some cheer to the troops.

Some of the entertainers still willing to travel are die-hard true believers - rock musician Ted Nugent carried a Glock handgun to shows in Iraq last year and said in a radio interview that he manned a machine gun on a Humvee. But many of the USO's regular performers are fierce critics of the war, among them the comic and star of Good Morning Vietnam, Robin Williams, who told USA Today he would like to return to the Middle East in the spring for what would be his fourth tour since 2002. "I'm there for the [troops], not for W," he said in a reference to the president. "Go, man. You won't forget it. You'll meet amazing people," is his message to stars that ask him about the tours. But the comedian said he mostly tries to keep politics out of the show after he did a few jokes about Bush's brainpower at a base in 2003 and got a chilly reception.

Other critics of the war who regularly perform include the leftwing comedian Al Franken (who is headlining the current tour along with Christian hip-hop group Souljahz) and the punk legend and actor Henry Rollins, one of the Bush administrations most vocal critics.

The tradition of beautiful women thrilling the troops has continued - although while Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell showed up in Korea and Vietnam could boast Raquel Welch, in Iraq they have had to make do with sometime pop singer and reality TV star Jessica Simpson.

Others who have travelled to Iraq include 50 Cent, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

But it appears that a lot of these folks have now retreated to a September 10 mentality.





|| Greg, 08:02 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Fake Firms Show Flaw Of Set-Asides

They look like minority businesses and qualify for the plum jobs available only to minority firms under affirmative action programs -- but they aren't. In a case highlighting just the sort of fraud that such unconscionable government-sponsored discrimination programs inevitably spawn, a major highway contractor has been penalized for setting up several puppet firms to qualify for work that it could not otherwise get.

Williams Brothers and its owner and chief executive, James D. "Doug" Pitcock Jr., are Texas construction legends. Formed 50 years ago to take advantage of the new Interstate Highway Act, the company has built and rebuilt virtually every freeway in Houston and had more than $400 million in revenues in 2004, virtually all from the Texas Department of Transportation.

The state transportation department started its program for "historically underutilized businesses" in 1983.

Anyone receiving federal highway dollars would have to make sure a percentage was subcontracted to women and minorities, later changed by court cases to anyone who could prove a disadvantaged background.

According to FHWA case files and depositions, Pitcock asked two of his Hispanic workers if they would like to become a company.

Williams Brothers sold the men equipment it had been using to mix concrete, loaned them part of the money for the purchase and co-signed on loans for the rest. The men did business exclusively with Williams Brothers.

The FHWA and state transportation department both argued the subcontractor wasn't independent enough, and the state eventually decided to "graduate" it from the affirmative action program for exceeding the program's cap of annual business.

The company folded soon thereafter.

The federal penalty concerns a second and third subcontractor.

Williams Brothers sold the equipment from the defunct subcontractor to a man who in turn leased it to his wife. She sold concrete back to Williams Brothers.

Such programs invite this sort of fraud. By awarding contracts based upon critereia other than quality and price, there is always an incentive to find a way to "buck the system." There is no telling how much money such programs have cost the taxpayer over the years -- and cases like this show that a fair chunk of it was spent enriching those engaged in fraud.





|| Greg, 07:44 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

No Party Listed -- I Wonder Why

Looks like there was massive vote fraud down in McAllen, Texas during a recent mayoral election -- with over 90% of the mail-in ballots cast having been done so fraudulently.

They charm their way into the homes of elderly Hispanics and other vulnerable souls along the Texas-Mexico border. They help them with ordinary tasks, picking up their groceries or taking them to the doctor.

Then suddenly, these intruders steal a cherished thing from their victims: Their vote.

The indictment Wednesday of nine people in an alleged voter fraud scheme in McAllen opened a window into the hidden world of politiqueras, the paid political activists whose controversial ways are under scrutiny in South Texas.

Hidalgo County authorities allege that politiqueras bought and sold votes before the May 7 mayoral race in McAllen. The indictment charges nine people with electoral violations. They include Elvira Rios and her sister, Alicia Liscano Molina, two politiqueras known for their activism in the Rio Grande Valley.

"Our investigation revealed these politiqueras were preying on elderly voters," said Texas Ranger Israel Pacheco, who headed the inquiry.

After befriending their victims, the political activists allegedly took their mail-in ballots and made sure that the names of the activists' favorite candidates were checked off before sending them in, authorities say.

"They would go to them under the pretext of assisting them in voting. But the investigation showed none of them (the victims) knew who they voted for; the politiqueras took off with the ballots," Pacheco said.

"Unfortunately, the politiqueras crossed over the line," said Nedra Kinerk, president of Futuro McAllen, a citizens group that examined 902 of the 961 mail-in ballots in the May 7 election. "From what I saw of the mail-in ballots, they were full of illegal assistance."

About 40 percent of the applications for mail-in ballots were received at City Hall on the same day, indicating they likely were mailed in batches, Kinerk said.

"We even had three dead people apply for ballots, and sign their names. And we had applications for one voter from three different politiqueras," she said.

Almost all the political workers who allegedly took part in the scheme were Hispanic women who gained the trust of their victims by helping them with such tasks as making doctor's appointments or applying for government benefits, officials said.

Now the interesting thing is that nopolitical parties are mentioned anywhere in the article on this massive vote fraud. Now I realize that most municipal elections in Texas are non-partisan, but those invlved are usually closely affiliated with one of the major parties and are generally identified as auch in news stories. That the Chronicle fails to do so here leads me to draw a conclusion as to the party of those involved. -- and given voting patterns in the Valley, they would not be Republicans.





|| Greg, 07:28 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 23, 2005

Latest DeLay Bid For Immediate Trial

Lawyers for Congressman Tom DeLay have filed a motion with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (the state's highest criminal appelate court) seeking either an immediate trial on the charges brought against him or the dismissal of all charges.

In a last-ditch effort to secure a speedy trial, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's attorneys today asked the state's highest criminal court to dismiss charges against him or order a lower court to try him immediately.

The money laundering and conspiracy case against the Republican congressman has been on hold while prosecutors appeal a judge's dismissal of some of the charges.

DeLay attorney Dick DeGuerin took the case to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals a day after a lower appeals court denied his request that the case be sent back to the trial court or expedited through the appeals process.

DeLay has been pressing for a quick resolution to his case so he can regain his post as majority leader before his colleagues call for new leadership elections next month.

The congressman is accused of illegally funneling corporate campaign contributions to GOP candidates for the state Legislature. Under Republican House rules, he was forced to step down when he was indicted in September.

DeGuerin said he asked the criminal appeals court for an expedited ruling, which he speculated could come as early as Tuesday.

Good luck, Congressman. Here's hoping you get a belated Christmas present from teh court -- your rights under the Constitutions of the United States and the state of Texas.





|| Greg, 07:00 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 22, 2005

Everything is Black-And-White When You Are A Racist

And you would have to be a racist to read anything other than economics into a decision to change radio station formats.

A Denver radio station's switch from R&B to country is drawing criticism from a Denver city councilwoman.

KDJM's "Jammin" made the switch this week. The station fired its 7-member on-air staff and management.

On Tuesday afternoon, city councilwoman Elbra Wedgeworth went to CBS Radio of Denver to voice concerns.

"I'm not really comfortable (with the situation), but I think that the bigger picture is how we move forward and how we work with this station in the future," said Wedgeworth, who said she's concerned about the "constituencies that have lost their station."

Don Howe of CBS Radio of Denver told Wedgeworth was ratings and not race that prompted the move away from the urban format.

"In the last few reports, (when consulting) Arbitron rating reports, it became even more clear that the format was really never gonna crack ... the barriers that we needed it too," Howe said. "The audience simply wasn't there."

Hey, Elbra you whack-job, they gave the R&B format SIX YEARS to work. folks were not listening at a level needed to make a profit. You know -- profit -- that reason people invest their money in companies to begin with. I know that goes against all of your leftist beliefs, but it is simple Econ 101 stuff. "The Man" is not out to "oppress" your "People" by taking away their favorite radio station. in fact, if it were their favorite radio station there would be no reason to make the change of formats.

Now don't you have some work to do on behalf of the people of Denver -- like working to lower crime and ridding the city of law-breaking border-jumpers?

(Hat Tip: Right Wing News)





|| Greg, 11:52 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Lefties Seek Censorship

The First Amendment is very important to liberals -- unless it allows someone to speak truths that the Left finds inconvenient -- like the fact that John Kerry is a traitorous fraud.

In that case, the government needs to strip media outlets of their broadcast licenses and award them to those who are more politically correct.

Local media activists in Iowa are preparing to file a petition with the FCC to deny a license renewal for Sinclair Broadcast Group’s ABC affiliate KGAN Cedar Rapids. The group, Iowans for Better Local Television, says the station violates FCC’s ownership rules by failing to provide sufficient local news, supplying inadequate broadcast signals and failing to meet standards for children’s programming.

The group has been working for more than a year to gather evidence and support for its petition. Former FCC commissioner Nick Johnson, a well known critic of big-media ownership, has been advising the efforts.

KGAN’s license came up for renewal in October, and, under FCC guidelines, the public has until Dec. 30, 2005, to file its petition. The Local Iowans group is calling on the FCC to hold a public hearing to determine if KGAN has met its “statutory public interest” standards before renewing the license.

Iowans for Better Local TV originated last fall, outraged by Sinclair's airing of the documentary Stolen Honor, which called into question presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) Vietnam service and subsequent anti-war activities. In advance of its broadcast, local activists called on advertisers to boycott the station.

After the election, the group joined up with former University of Iowa professor Ted Remington, who had started a blog to counter on-air editorials by Sinclair PR chief Mark Hyman. The segments, called “The Point,” air on most Sinclair stations as part of its centralized news operation, News Central. Critics say Hyman's editorials are a way for the company to push a right-wing agenda over public airwaves.

The Iowans say they’ve reached out to local KGAN managers asking for meetings but they have been rebuffed.

So what we have here is a group that admits that it wants censorship -- after all, they are concerned about the "right-wing agenda" of the broadcaster. But refusing to renew a broadcast license over the"pushing' of such an agenda would be content-based censorship -- a clear violation of the First Amendment.

However, part of me hopes that the effort succeesd and is upheld by the courts. Could you imagine the fun we could have shutting down every NPR and PBS station, all of Pacifica Broadcasting , the affiliates of Air America, and the entire CBS network!

Be careful what you ask for, folks -- you might just get it in spades.





|| Greg, 11:24 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Three Days Later Was Too Late, But Three Months Later Is Too Soon

You have to love the hypocrisy of the Democrat Party's House Negroes from the Congressional Black Caucus. They bitched and moaned about the allegedly unconscionable length of time it took FEMA to respond to Hurricane Katrina (local resources are to respond for the first 72 hours), but they won't be spending any of the money they raised to help with the recovery for at least another month or two.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which slammed the Bush administration for its allegedly slow and racially insensitive response to Hurricane Katrina, has yet to spend any of the estimated $400,000 that it raised for the victims of the Aug. 29 storm.

"We are collecting all the way up through the very end of the year and then our board has set aside a committee who is going to administer the funds," Patty Rice, spokeswoman for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), told Cybercast News Service on Wednesday. The Foundation is an offshoot of the Congressional Black Caucus and was founded in 1976.

In other words, no money is going out until sometime in January or February -- a shocking FIVE MONTHS after Hurrican Katrina hit the city.

But one interesting detail that might be overlooked is the early claims oabout the amount raised by the CBC.

The CBCF then launched its own relief fund on Sept. 21, with a stated goal of raising $1 million to help Gulf Coast residents rebuild their lives. As Cybercast News Service previously reported, the CBCF claimed immediate success, telling reporters on Sept. 21 that it had already received $700,000 in corporate pledges.

But on Wednesday, exactly three months after the news conference launching the CBCF relief fund, Rice told Cybercast News Service that the Foundation has actually raised "somewhere in the neighborhood of $350 to $400,000." She added that the distribution of the money would not begin until January or February of 2006 at the earliest.

So what happened to the rest of the money, folks? Was it misappropriated by the CBC for political chicanery? Or are we simply looking at a situation where The CBC Lied And People Died? Neither would surprise me -- they did the bidding of their DNC white masters by shucking and jiving for the television cameras, spinning the disaster as an example of Bush Administration racism.

I think we all know what is going on here. They will eventually get around to giving the money to a few politically connected black firms, which will then donate it all back to Black Caucus members. Call it the typical graft engaged in by the Democrats -- the kind that rarely gets prosecuted and gets overlooked by the MSM.

MORE AT: Michelle Malkin, LaShawn Barber, Old Controller, Kokonut Pundits, Say What Now?, Independent Conservative, Preaching Politics, Lifelike Pundits, Blogs for Bush, Psycmeistr's Ice Palace, Common Sense and Wonder, Clear and Present, Mis-Informed Comment, The Loft





|| Greg, 10:55 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

No Due Process For DeLay

I guess that the guarantees of the US and Texas Constitutions regarding the right to a speedy trial are null and void if you are a Republican politician being prosecuted persecuted by Travis County prosecutor prostitutor Ronnie Earle.

A state appeals court has rejected motions filed by U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay to help him get a speedy trial, an essential step in the Sugar Land Republican's efforts to regain his congressional leadership post.

In an order made public today, the intermediate appeals court rejected DeLay's bid to be tried on a money laundering charge while prosecutors appeal the dismissal of a related charge accusing DeLay of violating the election code.

DeLay's attorneys said they would take the matter to the state's highest criminal appeals court.

The panel of two Democrats and one Republican also overruled a motion to expedite the appeal by shortening the time for filing briefs from the customary 20 days per side to five days.

DeLay's lead lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, said DeLay will seek emergency relief from the Court of Criminal Appeals.

``We're not through. We're going to the top,'' said DeGuerin.

The reality is that the dismissed charge is fatally flawed in that the statute allegedly violated did not go ino effect until after the alleged firnancial transaction -- thereby making the charge a violation of the constitutional prohibition on ex post facto application of the law. In addition, the effects of delaying the trial impact not just Tom DeLay, but also the voters of his district (this delay means the trial will not be complete until after the March primary, and possibly not until after the November election) and the House GOP caucus (GOP caucus rules -- but not Democrat rules -- require that an indicted member relinquish leadership roles until after acquittal). As a matter of justice, the trial needs to begin immediately.





|| Greg, 09:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Tragedy Strikes A Respected Opponent

I am a Houston Texans fan -- a hard statement to make this season, I know, but a true one.

Over the last four seasons, I have watched my team play the Indianapolis Colts eight times, and I have come to have a great respect for their coach, Tony Dungy. By all accounts, he is a decent man.

Tragedy has struck the Dungy family.

The 18-year-old son of Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony Dungy was found dead in his Tampa-area apartment early yesterday. Police said there was no sign of foul play and that an autopsy to determine the official cause of death will be conducted this morning. Results were expected to be announced later today.

James Dungy, the second oldest of five children of Dungy and his wife Lauren, was a student at Hillsborough Community College and had graduated last spring from North Central High School in Indianapolis. Over his father's 10-year tenure as an NFL head coach, he had been a frequent presence at practice and on the sideline on game days when Dungy coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996 to 2001 and, over the last four seasons, the Colts.

My deepest condolences to the Dungy family.





|| Greg, 09:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Katrina Refugees Bring Death To Houston

I guess that the best and brightest of New Orleans went somewhere else, leaving Houston with the dregs of New Orleans society. How else do you explain the great leap in murder and other crimes in the city since the start of September?

An upward swing in the city's homicide rate — up by nearly a quarter from last year — isn't the only thing concerning Houston police. Officers say they are seeing more stranger-on-stranger crime, a resurgence of gang activity and more violence around apartment complexes, especially those swelled with an influx of Katrina evacuees.

Not, of course, that the police are willing to come out and say that there is a relationship between the influx of huricane refugees and the increase in crime.

Though officials acknowledged that at least eight of the homicides involved hurricane evacuees, Houston Police Department Chief Harold Hurtt said Wednesday that it was incorrect to assume that "the reason that crime is up in the last quarter of this year is evacuees from Louisiana. A lot of this is (attributed) to homegrown citizens."

To date, 324 homicides have been reported this year, unofficially, compared with 263 in the same period in 2004, he said. That's up more than 23 percent.

Most of the spike has come since mid-November, when 14 homicides were reported during the four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Police and city officials, who said they already had been aware of an increase in crime since earlier this year, then launched a series of initiatives intended to increase police presence in high-crime areas.

That high death toll hits close to home for me -- one of the victims was a former student, the brother of a girl I currently teach. And while that killing was likely not related to the Katrina evacuees, it is part of a general increase that we have seen in violence in Houston. I know everyone saw the mini-riot a few weeks ago at one Houston high school -- that was related to the influx of gang members from New Orleans. Not even the ever-so-PC HPD can deny that there is an increase of gang activity related to Katrian evacuees.

Eight slayings have involved hurricane evacuees as suspects, victims or both, officials said.

"You're bringing people with different cultures, different backgrounds; they have different lifestyles there in New Orleans than we have in Houston," said Capt. Dale Brown of the homicide division. "The equilibrium was thrown out of whack, with people competing for jobs, competing for turf, or whatever it is."

* * *

Hurtt said that after talking with state and regional officials, he is "pretty certain that (Louisiana) gang members did relocate here to Houston."

Capt. Brown said the department is still gathering intelligence on what role, if any, Louisiana gangs may have played in recent homicides.

"Is it possible and probable that there were gang members involved in some of those, I think the answer's yes," he said. "We're just not prepared to say it's a Louisiana problem at this time."

Hurtt said the department is "making headway" in gathering intelligence about Louisiana gang members in the city, despite difficulties obtaining information from a database of known gang members from Louisiana authorities, whose records were damaged by the hurricane.

Now i will concede that there is a connection to local gangs as well.

Capt. Brown said a number of recent homicides have been pinned on the increased activity of one local gang, and a gang murder squad within the division will more closely target gang crimes.

"The face of murder in Houston over the last year or so has changed somewhat and we're seeing more groups of individuals involved in violent crimes," Brown said.

Seven members of the Houston based La Tercera Crips gang were arrested and charged Friday in connection with various violent crimes committed during the last year, including 10 slayings — four of them in the last two months.

"They're rapidly getting more and more dangerous ... and more and more bold," said Sgt. Brian Harris of the homicide division.

I would not be terribly surprised to find that the increase is due to a conflict between the new arrivals and the local gangs.





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December 21, 2005

Intelligent Design Defeat Points To Failure Of American Education

A column in today's Washigton Post points out how the decision in the Dover case tries to differentiate between science and religion.

The opinion written by Judge John E. Jones III in the Dover evolution trial is a two-in-one document that offers both philosophical and practical arguments against "intelligent design" likely to be useful to far more than a school board in a small Pennsylvania town.

Jones gives a clear definition of science, and recounts how this vaunted mode of inquiry has evolved over the centuries. He describes how scientists go about the task of supporting or challenging ideas about the world of the senses -- all that can be observed and measured. And he reaches the unwavering conclusion that intelligent design is a religious idea, not a scientific one.

This case is of great interest to me, because the issue it grapples with is an issue I have to deal with as a history teacher. After all, my course involves the origins of homo sapiens sapiens. How do you deal with that issue in a class in which a percentage of students accept the first couple of chapters of Genesis as history rather than allegory? What does one say when a student takes a stance which claims that the entire first week of your class is an assault upon their religion? Those are serious questions -- especially as a teacher whose understanding of human origins are best classified as theistic evolution.

To begin with, I take the bull by the horns. On the first day of class I state that we will be dealing with the origins of mankind from an evolutionary perspective. I acknowledge that there are other belief systems out there, but that evolution is the dominant view within the fields of history and science. I further explain that regardless of whether or not they accept the evolutionary model, they will need to be familiar with it for my class and on the college level. Understanding a point of view is not the same as accepting it. And ineveitably, some kid raises, usually without realizing it, an issue of metaphysics (which includes both the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of science as a part of its overarching mandate).

The same sorts of issue get raised again and againin my world history class. The syllabus does not give me the time to look at the philosophies of Socrates. Plato, or Aristotle in any great depth. Ditto the Renaissance humanists, or the great minds of the Enlightenment. We spend a disproportionate amount of time on Marx, but pnly because students are tested on sociaism and communism as a part of the TAKS test.. Jean-Paul Sartre? No way.

It should be obvious by now what ithink is missing in American education today -- the study of philosophy. Philosophy is a field that teaches the individual not what to think but how to engage in thought. It is a starting point for questioning, not an ending point. It helps to provide a framework for asking the questions that mankind has asked over the ages. And yes, that includes the questions of being that underlie Intelligent Design -- for such question have been asked by philosophers since at least Socrates.

So what say you, my friends -- is there a place for philosophy in the school curriculum today? I, for one, hope so.

(AN INTERESTING POST on whether this decision constitutes an establishment of atheism is found at Blogs for Bush -- and I disagree with Matt on the isue)





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The Problem Of Anonymous Sources

I've long struggled with the problem of anonymous sources being cited in news stories. Such sources create a serious problem when it comes to assessing the validity of information passed on. How can I, as a reader, evaluate the significance and veracity of information from such a source, especially the more cloaked in secrecy the identity of such a source is.

Take this story from today's Washington Post.

We'll start with the headline.

Spy Court Judge Quits In Protest Jurist Concerned Bush Order Tainted Work of Secret Panel

All right. On the face of it, this seems like there may be some real meat in the story. But then you read the first few paragraphs. I'll highlight what I consider to be the significant bits of information.

A federal judge has resigned from the court that oversees government surveillance in intelligence cases in protest of President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program, according to two sources.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, sent a letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. late Monday notifying him of his resignation without providing an explanation.

Two associates familiar with his decision said yesterday that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court's work.

Robertson, who was appointed to the federal bench in Washington by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and was later selected by then-Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist to serve on the FISA court, declined to comment when reached at his office late yesterday.

So let's recap here. Judge Robertson submitted his resignation without any explanation, and refuses to elaborate upon it. Two other people ascribe a motive for his resignation, but Robertson himself pointedly does not do so. It really seems hard to call it a protest if the man utters not one word of protest, isn't it?

But we go much further on in the artcle, and find this bit of information.

Robertson indicated privately to colleagues in recent conversations that he was concerned that information gained from warrantless NSA surveillance could have then been used to obtain FISA warrants. FISA court Presiding Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who had been briefed on the spying program by the administration, raised the same concern in 2004 and insisted that the Justice Department certify in writing that it was not occurring.

"They just don't know if the product of wiretaps were used for FISA warrants -- to kind of cleanse the information," said one source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the FISA warrants. "What I've heard some of the judges say is they feel they've participated in a Potemkin court."

Ah -- the word of an anonymous source who is repeating information about private conversations. Was this source a party to the conversations in question, or is the information second or third hand? We don't know. Information to assess the credibility of the source is utterly absent -- and the Post (consumate violator of national security related restrictions on classified information) boldly asserts a national security basis for not identifying the source! Never mind that identifying the judge or judges (the membership of the FISA court is public information) raising such questions in no way discloses anything about the cases, and therefore violates no restrictions on classified information.

So what we have here is a story that says "A FISA court judge resigned without further information -- but the gossip we hear is that it is over the domestic spying information made public despite the harm to national security. You'll have to trust us though -- disclosing the sources would be a violation of national security."

Incredible!





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December 20, 2005

Prayer Requests

I'm not one for offering parayer requests on my site, but I have two that i would like to put out today. One is a source of concern, the other a source of joy.

The first strikes too close to home. As I've said many times, my darling wife has several health problems. Late this afternoon we got a call from our family doctor, who discussed hospitalizing her immediately because of some test results. The decision was to keep her home for a couple of days on absolute bed rest, with the tests to be run again on Thursday. Pray for a quick recovery and good results.

The second involves a friend. At the start of last year, I got a new colleague in the room across the hall, fresh out of college. I've watched her grow personally and professionally since then. I also heard a lot about a certain young man. They married this afternoon in Utah, surounded by loved ones. May God bless them today and in all their days and years together.

UPDATE -- 12/24/05: My darling wife was not hospitalized, but the test results do indicate some additional problems. Some of them may have to do with how medications interact with each other, but one may require some longer term lifestyle adjustments. More tests next week.





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December 19, 2005

A Charity Auction

Hey, libertarian buddies (and anyone else, for that matter).

Vin Suprynowicz has this in his column today -- an opportunity to help someone outand get a good book in the process. It involves a gift he gave to author Claire Wolfe, and how it ended up on E-Bay.

Like a small stone starting a landslide, you never know where some small act of generosity may lead.

A couple of weeks back, I sent an autographed copy of the leatherbound collector's edition of "The Black Arrow" to Claire Wolfe, a fellow author whose contributions to the freedom movement include "Don't Shoot the Bastards (Yet)" and most recently (with Aaron Zelman of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership) the young people's novel "Rebelfire: Out of the Gray Zone."
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It's Christmas time. I wanted to acknowledge Claire's help and support. As an act of generosity, sending off a book that retails at $48.95 was not exactly something to write home about.

As it turns out, Walter Bark, the founding webmaster and guiding spirit of The Claire Files discussion forums has cancer, and is not expected to be with us much longer. Claire reports that, up Montana way, his friends Elias Alias, Basil Fishbone, and Iloilo Jones have been bearing the entire cost of the herbal (and other) medicines that are making Bark's final days tolerable.

Claire e-mailed to ask if I would object to her putting her autographed book up for auction on e-Bay, with the proceeds going to cover some of the costs of Walter's care.

I said fine -- it's her book now, after all. Hers, as well, is all the credit for this generous gesture. I did joke that I'd try to resist the Philistine urge to someday declare that a copy of one of my books had "sold for hundreds of dollars on e-Bay."

We both laughed at that "hundreds of dollars" part. The book went up for bids Wednesday, with an account of the charitable use to which the proceeds would be put, at a starting bid of $19.95, and a reserve of $39.95.

Claire was very pleased when the reserve was reached within hours. She offered to take back her expression of amusement about my "hundreds of dollars" comment when, by suppertime, it hit $305. She proceeded to declare herself "speechless" at around $400, I believe. As I sit down to write this at lunchtime Thursday, bidding has reached $615.

Make no mistake: no one thinks a single copy of this book is worth $615. What's happening is a spontaneous outpouring of generosity, without compulsion, without publicity (well, till now), without any firm guiding hand of government telling anyone how much it's his or her "duty to share."

It's tempting to say we don't know the ending, since the auction doesn't wrap up till Monday.

But in fact, we already know this story has a happy ending. Don't we?

Merry Christmas.

You stil have time to get the book and make a dying man's last days comfortable, so bid NOW.

God bless you Vin. God bless you, Clair. And most especially, God bless you Walter, whose writings i've never read -- may your days, be they many or few, be filled with comfort, joy, and love.





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December 18, 2005

So, You Want Scholarly Debate?

Can you believe that only six decades after the liberation of Auschwitz and the other National SOCIALIST death camps, a major international leader wants to argue that it didn't happen -- and condemns those who object to his abrogation of documented historical fact as emotional and illogical?

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust is a matter for academic discussion and the West should be more tolerant of his views, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said on Sunday.

Ahmadinejad last week called the Holocaust a myth and suggested Israel be moved to Germany or Alaska, remarks that sparked international uproar and threaten diplomatic talks with Europe over Iran's nuclear programme.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi defended the president's remarks, which also drew a rebuke from the U.N. Security Council.

"What the president said is an academic issue. The West's reaction shows their continued support for Zionists," Asefi told a weekly news conference.

"Westerners are used to leading a monologue but they should learn to listen to different views," he added.

Some 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis and their allies between 1933 and 1945.

Ahmadinejad, a former Revolutionary Guardsman who was elected president, also said in October Israel was a "tumour" that must be "wiped off the map".

A statement drafted by European Union leaders described last week's Holocaust comment as "wholly unacceptable". The White House termed the remarks "outrageous".

Asefi denounced international condemnation as emotional and illogical.

"The EU statement is not based on international diplomatic norms. They should avoid illogical methods," he said.

"Westerners are used to leading a monologue, but they should learn to listen to different views."

Fine -- you want scholarly debate and discussion? I'll give you a proposition to debate in a scholarly fashion, and demand that you not engage in emotional and illogical responses.

Muhammad (may pigs shit upon him) was a deranged pedophile whose demented ravings, as recorded in the unholy Koran, have been the leading source of untold misery and evil over the last 14 centuries.

Now stick that in your hookah and smoke it, Mahmoud.





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One More Reason I Don't Do Movies

I don't go to movie theaters. In fact, I think the last time I went to a movie theater to see a first run film was a couple of years ago when my wife and I received some free movie passes as a gift from a friend, and so went to see (loathe as I am to admit it) Scooby-Doo. We check out movies from the public library (Harris County does a good job of getting relatively current DVDs) or, once in a great while (perhaps three times in the last five years) renting them from Blockbuster. Otherwise we wait for thm to show up on commercial television.

Even more than cost, the main reason we don't go to movie theaters is the fact that medical issues cause my wifeto have a difficult time sitting that long in an uncomfortable theater seat with folks crawling over her in the dark.

But if we did go, I have totell you that the following story would be reason enough for me to quit going.

The National Association of Theater Owners wants the Federal Communications Commission to allow the blocking of cell phone signals in theaters.

John Fithian, the president of the trade organization, told the Los Angeles Times theater owners "have to block rude behavior" as the industry tries to come up with ways to bring people back to the cinemas.

Fithian said his group would petition the FCC for permission to block cell phone signals within movie theaters.

Some theaters already have no cell phone policies and ask moviegoers to check their phones at the door, Fithian said.

I don't think so. I'll put my phone on vibrate, but I won't check my phone at the door. And I sure as hell won't go someplace that would have the audacity to block me from receiving or making an emergency call unless using the phone endangers the lives of others (like at a hospital). For theaters to demand a special exemption from laws prohibitting the blocking of cell phone signals is obscene.





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DeLay Screwed By Judge Priest

In an unwarranted move to delay consideration on an important legal issue, Judge Pat Priest yesterday cancelled a December 27 hearing at which he was to have considered prosecutorial misconduct charges against Travis County prosecutor Ronnie Earle in seeking a second indictment agaisnt Congressman Tom DeLay.

A state judge said Saturday he will not immediately consider separating two criminal charges against Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) to allow an early trial, another blow to the former House majority leader's hopes of regaining his post.

Earlier this month, Judge Pat Priest dismissed a conspiracy charge against DeLay but refused to throw out more serious allegations of money laundering. Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle served notice Monday that he intends to ask an appeals court to reinstate the conspiracy charge.

DeLay's attorneys had hoped Priest would separate the charges in an effort to move forward on the money-laundering charge while waiting for the appeals court decision.

DeLay, who denies wrongdoing, has been pressing for a quick resolution to his case so he can regain the majority leader's position before his GOP colleagues reconvene in late January and call for new leadership elections.

Priest rejected the defense bid on Saturday, saying he would not act until after the state's 3rd Court of Appeals rules. Priest also canceled a Dec. 27 hearing at which he was expected to consider the defense team's allegations of misconduct against prosecutors who brought the charges.

Now I don't find Priest's decision not to sever the charges to be unreasonable, despite the potential for violating DeLay's right to a speedy trial. As he notes in his ruling, appeals courts are supposed to expedite decisions in cases regarding dismissals of indictments. However, his failure to consider the misconduct allegations raises the specter of a second dismissal of charges and a second appeal by Earle -- which would further slow the process in a manner that makes a mockery of DeLay's right to a speedy trial.

DeLay's two co-defendants in the alleged scheme to violate a ban on corporate contributions to Texas candidates are not seeking a speedy trial. Priest said that although DeLay may be entitled to sever the charges, he thinks that "to go to trial on his case alone would require at least two trials where otherwise one would suffice for all three defendants."

"Out of considerations of judicial economy, I have determined to let my decision concerning a severance of counts wait until after the Third Court of Appeals of Texas, sitting at Austin, has made its ruling," Priest wrote.

Priest noted that state law directs the appeals court to give precedence to this sort of appeal, and he said he is "confident the court will act with all reasonable dispatch."

DeLay, in Washington on Saturday, said the judge's ruling does not mean the case will drag on for months. But even an expedited appeal could take six weeks, said his attorney Dick DeGuerin, of Houston, dimming the congressman's prospects for a January trial.

DeGuerin said he plans to file a motion Monday morning asking the appeals court to dismiss the appeal.

The desire of DeLay's co-defendents not to seek a speedy trial has, from what I can see, no bearing upon the right of DeLay to a speedy trial. Furthermore, the timing of the indictment brought by the partisan hack from Austin was intended to get the trial heard right during the heart of election seaso here in Texas, in an obvious attempt to influence the outcome of DeLay's race and those of other Republican cnadidates/

DeLay said Earle is being driven by a "living hate" and "makes so many mistakes he's actually helping us expedite this process." The congressman commented on the latest legal twist in his case after attending a closed-door meeting in the U.S. Capitol with fellow House Republicans, who were discussing the completion of legislative business.

DeGuerin also said Saturday that he thinks Earle is bringing the appeal solely to postpone the trial.

"I disagree with the judge's ruling, but what I'm most upset about is that the state is being so unscrupulous about how they're doing everything they can to drag this out, make it last as long as possible," he said.

What we have here is a political prosecution brought by the lowest form of vermin infesting the judicial system -- a corrupt prosecutor. Judge Priset should reconsider his cancellation of the December 27 hearing and issue a ruling on the prosecutorial misconduct charge at the earliest opportunity, so that the appeal of that ruling and the earlier dismissal of a charge of violating a non-existant stute can be heard at the same time, vindicting the right of Tom DeLay to a speedy trial.





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December 16, 2005

Remember Which Party Instituted Jim Crow And Benefits From It To This Day

Confederate Yankee points to this article from the News-Observer about the Wilmington Riot of 1898.

The 1898 riot that killed an unknown number of blacks in Wilmington was part of an organized, statewide effort to put white supremacist Democrats in office and stem the political advances of black citizens.

And in the wake of the riot, white supremacists in state office passed North Carolina's Jim Crow laws.

Those laws disenfranchised African Americans until the civil rights movement and Voting Rights Act of the 1960s.

In a 460-page document released today, the Wilmington Race Riot Commission describes the riot and accompanying coup d'etat as a watershed moment in North Carolina history.

"Because Wilmington rioters were able to murder blacks in daylight and overthrow Republican government without penalty or federal intervention, everyone in the state, regardless of race, knew that the white supremacy campaign was victorious on all fronts," the report says.

Democratic leaders, including News & Observer editor Josephus Daniels, developed a strategic campaign to put white supremacist leaders in the General Assembly and U.S. Congress during the 1898 elections. The Democrats were working to drive out a coalition government of Republicans and Populists, which had the support of black voters.

WilmingtonDemocratRioters1898.jpg

In Wilmington, Democrats fueled a push against a Republican-controlled city council. The day after the 1898 election, a mob of several hundred white men burned the building of a black-owned newspaper. African Americans in the city fled as the building burned, with families hiding in swamps and cemeteries for days with little more than the clothing on their backs, said LeRae Umfleet, a researcher with the state Office of Archives and History who authored the report.

The white mob overthrew the democratically elected city council and had all black city workers fired. Leading black figures were forced out of town.

No one was arrested for this act of rebellion against lawful authority during time of war (treaty negotiations to end the Spanish-American War were still underway in Paris), and Josephus Daniels, whose active support for white supremacy in the pages of his newspaper led to him being referred to by one historian as the "precipitator of the riot", eventually became Secretary of the Navy for the entire two terms of the Wilson administration.

So the next time you hear Democrats and their allies start talking about the "Bush regime" and "taking back our country", remember that this is their heritage -- they have done it before and will do it again given the chance.

Is it any wonder that they fear the Second Amendment -- for a well-armed citizenry is the bulwark against such nefarious deeds.





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Ronnie Earle's Assault On Free Speech

If this stands, I suspect I will need to be available on December 27, since the partisan vermin hack running the Travis County Prostitutor's Prosecutor's are seeking to intimidate those who dare to engage in free speech in support of Tom DeLay.

Could the Travis County D.A. possibly be using his office to persecute his political opponents? Perish the thought!
Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle has subpoenaed two officials at the Free Enterprise Fund in connection with ads the conservative group has run criticizing him for his indictment of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.). The ads attacked Earle, who has a history of indicting his political enemies in both parties, comparing him to an attack dog.

The draft subpoena served to the organization demands that FEF communications director Todd Schorle and executive director O’Brien Murray testify in Texas at DeLay’s change of venue hearing on Dec. 27 — the Tuesday after Christmas.

In the subpoena, Earle also demands "any and all documentation regarding the advertisements that have been produced or paid for by the Free Enterprise Fund.

Excuse me, but doesn't this smack of an egregious violation of the constitutional rights of Americans ? After all, if criticism of a public official will bring a court order to appear on pain of imprisonment, won't that discourage such speech?

Ronnie Earle needs to be removed, disbarred, and imprisoned for his abuse of office.

UPDATE: The Washington Times reports that there is a particular item that Ronnie Earle wants to get his hands on.

What Mr. Earle wants, a source with special knowledge of the request tells this column, is a copy of the organization's donor list, so he can find out who paid for the ads.

The better to go after political opponents with, my dear -- a move clearly reminiscent of past Democrat prosecutors, who tried to shut down the NAACP by demanding lists of members and donors during the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.





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Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are America's Kids and Two Days of Infamy by The Education Wonks, and An Open Letter by Silent Running

Here are the full results of the vote.





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Diversity Has Limits In San Diego

After all, we can’t allow a city festival to be hijacked by Christians mentioning Jesus Christ, can we? Folks might be offended.

At the city's annual holiday celebration, a rabbi lighted a menorah. A dance troupe performed a traditional prayer to the gods.

But six young girls were told they they couldn't perform because they were wearing shirts emblazoned with a silver cross and the words "Jesus Christ" on the front.

The "Jesus Christ Dancers," a group of 8-to-12-year-olds who describe themselves as Christian hip-hop dancers, were scheduled to make their citywide debut at the Dec. 3 holiday festival.

Moments before taking the stage, employees from the city's Parks and Recreation Department barred them from performing, saying they did not want to convey a religious message in the show.

According to the group's dance instructor, Lita Ramirez, the dancers was asked to turn their shirts inside out. The group was also asked if its music had a religious message.

"I told him our music says 'You are my God' and 'We will worship You,'" Ramirez said. "I also said I think it mentions Jesus."

So let’s make it clear what the rules are in this country where most folks are (at least nominally) Christian.

Rabbis lighting menorahs – OK.

Prayer to pagan gods – Acceptable.

Hip-hop music with Christian themes and shirts that mention Jesus – Absolutely not.

After all, it isn’t like Christmas is His birthday.





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Environmental Hypocrisy

From the Kennedy Klan.

AS an environmentalist, I support wind power, including wind power on the high seas. I am also involved in siting wind farms in appropriate landscapes, of which there are many. But I do believe that some places should be off limits to any sort of industrial development.

Yeah, like anyplace where you and your fellow wealthy/liberal friends might have to ever see it or think about it.





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December 15, 2005

DeLay Team Targets Ronnie Earle's Unethical Prosecutorial Conduct

I can't wait to see this Democrat cockroach exterminated by the DeLay's team.

Rep. Tom DeLay's attorneys filed a subpoena Thursday seeking the testimony of grand jurors, including those who indicted the former House majority leader and those who rejected charges.

DeLay's legal team wants to prove prosecutorial misconduct by District Attorney Ronnie Earle, who they say "shopped around" the campaign finance case against DeLay to three different grand juries before finding one that would indict DeLay on money laundering and conspiracy charges.

State law prohibits prosecutors from attending grand jury deliberations, but the defense alleges that Earle unlawfully participated in the second grand jury's deliberations and tried to force those grand jurors to indict DeLay. Earle denies the allegations.

Grand jury testimony is secret and Earle does not have to release transcripts unless he's ordered to by a court, so the defense has asked Senior Judge Pat Priest to allow the grand jurors to testify.

DeLay's legal team points to a flurry of grand jury activity beginning with his initial indictment Sept. 28 on a charge of conspiring to violate state campaign finance laws in 2002.

A second grand jury considered the case after questions were raised about whether the appropriate law was used to indict DeLay. That panel did not indict.

Days later, a third grand jury indicted DeLay on more serious money laundering and conspiracy charges. That grand jury is still seated and is under oath not to discuss their proceedings.

Earle has said he went to the third grand jury after finding new evidence, which he didn't specify. In court documents, Earle maintains that the prosecutorial misconduct allegation is not a sufficient reason to violate grand jury secrecy.

Delay lawyer Dick DeGuerin said he would be prepared to argue the misconduct case at a Dec. 27 pretrial hearing with or without grand jury testimony.

"I don't think it's make or break, but it's very, very important," DeGuerin said. "We have other outside evidence to present."

My personal opinion is that Ronnie Earle will be very lucky if he manages to stay out of jail, much less retain his law license, after the amount of unethical and potentially illegal conduct he has engaged in as part of this politically-motivated vendetta.





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Hypocrite Harry

Can you believe Harry Reid's audacity in making this statement?

Democratic leaders sternly criticized President Bush yesterday for saying former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) is innocent of felonious campaign finance abuses, suggesting his comments virtually amounted to jury tampering before DeLay stands trial.

"The president of the United States said a jury does not need to assemble, that Tom DeLay is innocent," said Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). "To have someone of his stature, the president of the United States, prejudge a case is something I've never seen before."

Now hold on just a minute. Democrats have universally been painting DeLay as guilty ever since the original indictment (trying to engage in an ex post facto application of the law) was handed down. They see no need for a jury to assemble to determine Tom DeLay's guilt. Yet when the president expresses his confidence in the innocence of a long-time friend and supporter, they go ballistic!

Consider this quote from Screamin' Howeird Dean:

Tom DeLay is neither the beginning nor the end of the Washington Republicans' ethical problems. America can do better than leaders who use their power to promote their own personal interests instead of the interests of the American people who elected them.

Clearly this is a statement that DeLay is guilty.

Similarly, what about this one -- predating he indictment by several months -- in which Dean explicitly convicts DeLay without there even being a charge levelled.

“Tom DeLay is corrupt. No question about it,” Dean said Friday. “This is a guy who shouldn’t be in Congress and maybe ought to be serving in jail.”

The House ethics committee is investigating whether DeLay violated congressional rules by taking foreign trips paid for by lobbyists. The Texas Republican has not been charged with a crime, but Dean said he would not apologize for saying earlier this month that DeLay “ought to go back to Houston where he can serve his jail sentence.”

Remember, please, that the jail sentence comment came in the same interview in which Dean expressed doubt about the guilt of Osama bin Laden in the 9/11 attacks.

You know, Hyppocritical harry Reid was silent about those statements. Could it be that he believes in the standard of "guilty until proven innocent"? Or even "guilty, and we don't give a damn if he's innocent"? Certainly he sees noting in such statements that might harm the man's right to a fair trial.

But heaven forbid that anyone express an opinion that Tom Delay is innocent -- that's jury tampering!





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Pro-Discrimination Mob Defies Court To Keep The People From Being Heard

Terrorists supporting racial discrimination by government agencies disrupted a meeting intended to bring a government agency into compliance with a court order and Michigan law.

Following a raucous, table-tumbling protest involving a couple of hundred impassioned Detroit area students, a state elections panel bucked an appellate court order Wednesday and failed again to place an affirmative action ban proposal on next year's ballot.

The Board of State Canvassers voted 2-1, with one member not voting, to certify the so-called Michigan Civil Rights Initiative for the November 2006 ballot. It takes three votes to certify.

The meeting was disrupted by an opposition group, By Any Means Necessary, which recruited students from Cody, Cass Tech, Crockett and Mumford high schools in Detroit and Oak Park High School to swarm the meeting and keep the board from voting.

I want to hear no more comments from so-called civil rights activists about disenfranchisement. This bunch is pursuing an agenda to disenfranchise the entire state of Michigan by preventing the people from ever getting a chance to vote on an amendment that meets all legal requirements to appear on the ballot.

It is time for the governor to call out the National Guard and for the appellate court to hold in contempt the members of the Board of State Canvassers thwarting the will of the people and violating the order to certify the MCRI.

UPDATE: Much greater detail from Discriminations and Chetley Zarko.

OTHER VOICES: GOPBloggers, What If?, Politics [Michigan] and Discriminations. The last quotes Thomas Bray of the Detroit News.

A string of recent debates on the issue also suggests the difficulty that supporters of affirmative action are having in trying to mount a reasoned defense of such policies. In a recent debate with Ward Connerly, who led the successful California fight to end preferences, the dean of Wayne State University’s law school asserted that race-based admissions is a “civil right.” That left even the veteran Connerly slack-jawed with wonder, ignoring as it did the language of the Constitution and a century of efforts to define civil rights as equality – not inequality -- before the law.

Had a mob of student conservatives invaded a meeting of state officials, it would have been denounced as fascist. The fascism of the left tends to be excused, even by those who know better, as a case of overwrought idealism. But voters may not be so easily fooled.

Indeed. But let's remembr that Mussolini was primarily a man of the Left, and that his German ally was the head of the National SOCIALIST Party -- so it is most appropriate to call the BAMN rioters "fascists".





|| Greg, 07:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

How About Simple Explanation That Has The Virtue Of Being True

We don’t hear much about the federal marriage amendment these days. Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jay Brookman wants to ascribe that to insincerity and political opportunism.

Think back a little more than a year ago, to the political campaigns of 2004. One of the hottest issues in presidential debates and congressional campaigns was the threat to traditional marriage posed by gay people seeking the right to wed.

At the time, President Bush and others were warning that the threat could be averted only by the most serious step available under our political system, amending the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage outright.

You may also remember how heated and emotional some of the rhetoric became. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and probably the most influential of conservative religious leaders, reflected the tone quite well in his April 2004 newsletter.

"Barring a miracle, the family as it has been known for more than five millennia will crumble, presaging the fall of Western civilization itself" unless the U.S.

Constitution is amended, Dobson wrote, charging that for more than 40 years, gay Americans have pursued a master plan "that has had as its centerpiece the utter destruction of the family."

That kind of rhetoric had its desired effect, driving conservative voters to the polls in large numbers, helping to re-elect President Bush and increasing Republican representation in Congress and state legislatures.

But a year later, it seems pertinent to ask: Have you heard or read a single word about a federal gay-marriage amendment since the election?

No, you have not, because this supposedly all-important issue has vanished from the political landscape. Judging from the available evidence, this dire threat to marriage and family, this looming peril to the very core of American society, has simply disappeared as a concern. Certainly, nobody's talking about it or trying to do anything about it any longer.

Now this is partially true. There just is not a lot being done about the federal amendment. The reason is simple – the votes in Congress simply are not there to get the thing sent on to the states.

That does not mean nothing is happening.

Just last month, Texas passed an amendment banning gay marriage. Several states have placed marriage amendments on their ballots for different dates over the next year. In addition, petition drives and legislative action to place them on the ballot in other states are also underway. In other words, the action is currently being found at the state level, since there is little likelihood of one passing at the federal level now.

So while it is possible to claim that the issue of gay marriage was simply a wedge issue in 2004, it is more accurate to see it as having been moved from one battlefield to another for the time being. But he is right on one matter – the issue will be raised in the 2006 elections.

Not as a wedge issue insincerely used to garner votes, but because more and more states are placing traditional marriage in their state constitutions because the will of the people is being ignored on the federal level.





|| Greg, 07:37 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Frivolous Claims

How on earth can you sue the police dog simply for being – well – a dog?

One of the defendants has more than a leg to stand on in a lawsuit filed by a convicted drug dealer.

Andi has four legs. He's a dog used by the Athens County Sheriff's Department.
County Prosecutor C. David Warren said to his knowledge, it's the first time the county's dog has ever been singled out as a defendant. Warren has volunteered to handle Andi's defense personally.

"That dog could've done something to me or one of my attendants," said Wayne Francis Green, 46, of Albany, who filed the suit Nov. 18 in Athens County Common Pleas Court.

And the nature of the claim against Andi?

Green said Wednesday that he felt endangered by Andi's presence.

"They've got a mean ol' dog, you know what I'm saying? I take that pretty serious," Green said, adding, "I'm a dog lover, but that's the limit."

So the dog did nothing at all – he was just present.

But you have to love this part. Someone wih the county has a sense of humor about the situation.

Last week, Andi the German shepherd was informed that he's being sued, sort of. With a paw print, the dog "signed" the paper indicating he had been formally served with the complaint.

Still, Green is very serious about his idiotic complaint, proving that he has been using his own “merchandise”.

Green said he wants prosecutors to look into the dog's actions. "I want him charged with several different felony counts."

Felony counts? You can’t charge him with a felony, you moron. He’s a DOG!





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

No More Mugs, PLEASE!

Once kids reach high school, they tend to slack off in the “teacher gift” department. I’m glad, given the number of cheesy Christmas mugs and ugly Dollar Tree ornaments I’ve received, not to mention one pair of truly strange Christmas socks one I received my first year of teaching. After all, my student count usually exceeds 150 each year, and I would rapidly be drowned in mountains of “stuff” that serves no purpose but it would be rude to dispose of via the circular file. It was with this thought in mind that I read the following in today’s Houston Chronicle.

Now, before parents of school-age children indignantly huff and cross me off their holiday shopping list, or worse, send me a lump of coal, hear me out. I am one of you.

I am a parent. For years before I entered the classroom full time as a teacher, I sent my own elementary children to school toting beautifully wrapped packages containing that cute useless junk. In exchange, a thank you note dutifully penned by exhausted teachers returned home, and I patted myself on the back for my well-meaning gestures.

Until my second full year of teaching, I didn't understand the magnitude of holiday junk that visits elementary teachers each year, the variety of stuff that pours in! And the candy — we mustn't forget the candy! Towers of Chocolate (delicious, expensive, but obscene), candy that can't go to the attic, candy I'm no longer permitted to share with my students per the "Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value" policies. And try as I may to make my family eat it all, it beckons me until it is purged from my home. And then more candy and sweets magically appear, abandoned in the teacher's lounge. Even my big jeans won't fit until March. Trust me, your kids don't need an overweight, sugar-tripping, chocolate-high teacher.

So the non-edible holiday haul accumulates in my dining room. Eventually, it makes its way up to the attic with the rest of the holiday "stuff," and then it reappears the next holiday season as we pull Christmas down for decorating. It gets sent to my kids' school for their class holiday auction, to the nursing home, to Goodwill — or dare I say it, it gets regifted!

But wait — not all of it. That Starbucks card really came to the rescue the morning after that late-night grading marathon, and the movie gift card sure was a treat. The mall or department store gift certificate was an indulgence; I could pick what I wanted. How nice to have La Madeleine, Chili's, Panera, Pizza Hut and even a couple of those McDonald's "dollars" that gave me a night off from cooking dinner for my kids when I had a ton of papers to grade. The manicure gift certificate was prized, as were the gift cards for the bookstore, even the grocery store. One dollar, five dollars, 10 dollars — none of those gifts went to the attic, or to someone else.

I am a reformed Christmas junk-giver. I have taken the oath. My kids' teachers, scout leaders, Sunday school teachers, piano teacher and others get gift cards now, as generous as I can be (and believe me, I do understand the multiplication, with three children times five to seven school teachers each).

Let me say that I don’t feel that students have to give me gifts at all, especially given the socio-economic situation of some of their families. But if they do, I would much rather have it be something useful than something cute. Let it be something I can use in the classroom.

And no more mugs.

(Actually, I got a great gift last night. I ran into a former student last night at Walmart, having not seen her in four or five years. I got to catch up on old times and laugh with her as she was getting of work. It did my heart a world of good to be able to see that she had grown up into the very dear young woman I knew she would be – and to share some of her joys and pains. God bless you, Stephanie – and good luck as you start back to college in a few weeks.)





|| Greg, 07:34 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

And What Was Your Position On Campaign Speech Prohibition Finance Reform?

I can’t help but be amused by Richard Cohen’s criticism of Hillary! for supporting a ban on flag-burning.

The First Amendment is where you simply do not go. It is sacred. It protects our most cherished rights -- religion, speech, press and assembly -- and while I sometimes turn viscerally angry when I see the flag despoiled, my emotions are akin to what I feel when neo-Nazis march. Repugnant or not, popular or not, it is all political speech. Her sponsorship of the flag measure calls for reconsideration all around -- either by Hillary Clinton and her support of the flag bill or by liberals and their support of her.

Does anyone know if Cohen is so absolutist on freedom of political speech with regard to McCain-Feingold? Or does he privilege flag-burning and Nazi marches over citizen participation in the democratic process?





|| Greg, 07:32 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Lawsuit Challenges Treating Lawbreaking Border Jumpers Better Than Citizens

Here’s a suit I hope succeeds. After all, why should immigration criminals get btter tuition than American citizens?

About three dozen students sued the University of California on Wednesday, charging that it had violated federal law by allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates while maintaining higher rates for out-of-state students.

The students, all from out of state, are represented by a legal team that includes Kris Kobach, a former Justice Department official who shaped national immigration policy under former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Kobach said the policy discriminates against out-of-state students who are U.S. citizens and pay higher tuition than students who are in this country illegally.

The move plunges California into the midst of a national debate over how to handle the millions of students living in this country illegally.

Federal law requires state universities that offer in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants to do the same for students from other states, imposing a steep financial barrier to the policy. But since 2001, nine states, including California, have passed laws to circumvent that requirement.

Sadly, Texas is one of those states that passed such a law. Hopefully this lawsuit will lead to the overturning of this travesty.





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

A Hero Finds Rest

Some stories (scroll down) stand without further comment.

The remains of a U.S. sailor missing for 63 years since his aircraft crashed on a northern Pacific island in World War II have been identified and returned home for burial, the Pentagon said.

Seaman 2nd Class Dee Hall of Syra, Okla., will be buried today with military honors at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.

Hall was one of seven crewmen aboard a U.S. Navy PBY-5 Catalina that took off from Kodiak Island, Alaska, on June 14, 1942, to attack targets on Japanese-held Kiska Island. The aircraft encountered bad weather and heavy anti-aircraft fire near the target and crashed with all crewmen on board.

In August 1943, U.S. forces recaptured Kiska. Both the crash and burial sites were found and excavated in 2003. Military forensic experts identified Hall and the other missing crewmen, the Pentagon said.

A grateful nation humbly thanks you for your service and your sacrifice.

Rest in peace.





|| Greg, 07:28 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Ashamed Of The Gospel

What else are observers to make of the statements of Jim Wallis and his supporters, given the conflicting statements of organizers of yesterdays protest rally in Washington.

Jim Wallis makes it clear that the rally is based upon their religious faith, to protest a budget that their understanding of Christianity views as immoral.

The group's founder, Jim Wallis, called the event "a revival," adding that, "We're here because of Jesus, because of our faith." The group complained that the federal budget is "immoral" because it cuts spending on social programs.

Not, of course, that they are willing to come out and honestly admit that they want the budget to reflect their religious values.

But when asked by Cybercast News Service whether he was urging the government to promote Judeo-Christian values, Rivera said he was not. "What we're saying is that ... whether you have a religious tradition like many people here do, or just come out of a human tradition, we don't think the country should balance its budget on the back of its most vulnerable citizens."

Rivera said his group believes that "budgets reflect your priorities and church people from all over the country ... are here with their leadership asking that this budget not be passed."

He said tax cuts should be rolled back and that spending billions of dollars on the war in Iraq "while cutting food stamps ... doesn't really reflect moral priorities."

So when it comes down to it, they are not willing to admit that what they want is THEIR interpretation of Scripture codified in the budget. After all, that would be (in the current parlance of the Left) the establishment of a theocracy – so they have to deny their religious motivations.

I think that is called “bearing false witness”.

UPDATE: Bob Ellis of Dakota Voice has a great piece on this issue.

UPDATE 2: I hadn’t seen this article about the different issues taken up by the religious right and religious left. It makes me question the Christian witness of Jim Wallis even more.

"It's not a question of the poor not being important or that meeting their needs is not important," said Paul Hetrick, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, Dobson's influential, Colorado-based Christian organization. "But whether or not a baby is killed in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy, that is less important than help for the poor? We would respectfully disagree with that."

Jim Wallis, editor of the liberal Christian journal Sojourners and an organizer of today's protest, was not buying it. Such conservative religious leaders "have agreed to support cutting food stamps for poor people if Republicans support them on judicial nominees," he said. "They are trading the lives of poor people for their agenda. They're being, and this is the worst insult, unbiblical."

What Wallis misses, though, is that it is the very conservative Christians he is bashing who do a great deal of the “leg-work” to help the poor through private programs. One can legitimately question the balance of public vs. private involvement in helping the poor without being unbiblical. Indeed, I would argue that it is more biblical to support charitable private action on behalf of the poor than it is to call for mandated involuntary giving through increased taxes, spending, and transfer payments. Indeed, Wallis and his ilk are calling upon government to replace and assume the role of the Church – on the very theocratic model of Old Testament Israel that the Left in this country claims to reject.

Indeed, Wallis has to come up with his own personal translation of Isaiah 10:1-2 in order to even find a biblical leg to stand on.

"Woe to you legislators of infamous laws . . . who refuse justice to the unfortunate, who cheat the poor among my people of their rights, who make widows their prey and rob the orphan."

The verses are more commonly translated differently – and the closest thing I could find is the following from the New American Bible.

1 Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and who write oppressive decrees,

2 Depriving the needy of judgment and robbing my people's poor of their rights, Making widows their plunder, and orphans their prey!

But even if you accept the Wallis translation, you would first have to determine that the statutes are “unjust” (does one have, as a matter of justice, a right to the fruits of the labor of others?). Furthermore, you would have to get around the niggling little detail that the second verse is, based upon the original source, dealing with issues of failing to protect the rights of the poor, widows, and orphans in courts, not in terms of legislation. Wallis, I daresay, is clearly reading in to the text what he wants there rather than reading out of it what is there – a clear failure for one who wants to be taken seriously as a judge of what views are “unbiblical”.





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

December 14, 2005

Mirecki Resigned – And I Don’t Care If It Was Voluntary Or Not

There are two different versions of the resignation of Professor Paul Mirecki from his position as department chair of the Religious Studies Department at the Kansas University.

One paints the resignation as voluntary.

KU spokeswoman Lynn Bretz, in an e-mail to the Journal-World, said Mirecki met with Romzek on Dec. 6 to discuss the department’s recommendation that he resign from the chairman’s post. After the talk, Mirecki concluded he should submit a resignation, she said.

“At a computer in Strong Hall, away from his departmental office in Smith Hall, Professor Mirecki composed and typed the letter himself, with no one else in the room,” Bretz wrote. “He pushed the print command button, sending the letter to a printer in another room, next to a secretary’s desk. The letter was printed on the letterhead at hand. Professor Mirecki retrieved the printed letter from the secretary, signed it in front of the secretary and left it there. … In addition, Professor Mirecki had told at least one KU administrator on Dec. 5, following the departmental faculty meeting that day, that he felt the need to step down as chair.”

The other, put forth by Mirecki and his lawyer, is a bit different.

In a fiery statement to the Journal-World on Friday, Mirecki said he had “no choice about signing the resignation” and he pointed out the resignation letter was typed on stationery from the office of Barbara Romzek, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Mirecki’s attorney, David J. Brown, said the issue was a frequent matter of dispute in labor situations.

“If you’re forced to sign a resignation letter, have you voluntarily resigned or have you been fired?” Brown said. “If he’d typed his own resignation letter, it would probably have been on his stationery.”

* * *

“It’s not how he described things to me,” Brown said. “The point he made was very clear that the dean and another administrator made it clear to him that he had to resign.”

In the end, I do not see the differences as significant. The important thin is that Mirecki is out of a position in which he could no longer be effective. His colleagues in the department told him that they wanted him out, presumably because the controversy rendered him tainted goods that would harm the department.

I’ve offered an analogy other places in the blogosphere in comment sections. Imagine that a professor was chairman of the Department of Ethnic Studies at a major university and had a major gripe with the direction that the civil rights establishment was headed. Imagine that he submitted a letter to a semi-public internet forum in which he said he was going to offer a course demolishing the mythology of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement as a “slap in the face” to the “darkies” (or some other slur), and that the letter made it into the press. How long could this professor effectively continue to serve as department chair? How long, in fact, would he be likely to last as a member of the department at all, given his apparent hostility towards a major segment of those about whom he was teaching?

That is precisely the situation in which Mirecki finds himself – caught out in the open as hostile to a major segment of Christianity, using his position to push a hostile agenda, and using bigoted slurs to lash out at those he clearly despises. Personally, I have no problem with dealing with creation stories as mythology in a class – my Old Testament professors did as much when I was in the seminary.

What I see as problematic is the unprofessional agenda-driven nature of the proposal, which he intended to use to discredit the beliefs in a one-sided manner so as to denigrate those who hold them. That is simply unacceptable – and is ample reason for Mirecki’s departure, whether it was voluntary or not. Indeed, I would hope that such unprofessional behavior would be grounds for dismissal.





|| Greg, 08:14 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

One Republican I Won’t Back Again

Sorry, Mr. Khan, but you are simply too soft on illegal immigration for my taste.

About 40 protesters, including Republican City Councilman M.J. Khan, appeared in front of City Hall on Tuesday to oppose a resolution that would require Houston police to enforce immigration law.

City Councilman Mark Ellis has introduced the resolution, which is not expected to get support from a council majority. Critics led by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now gathered for a protest before the second public hearing on the proposal.

Khan made it clear he strongly opposes illegal immigration. But he said it is the responsibility of specially trained federal officials to check for valid visas and passports.

Asking Houston Police Department officers to enforce immigration law would invite racial profiling, Khan said.

"Chances are, someone with broken English who looks like me is going to get detained," said Khan, a native of Pakistan and a naturalized U.S. citizen.

City offices are officially nonpartisan, but Khan is widely known to be one of the council's eight Republicans. Ellis has said Khan and Shelley Sekula-Gibbs are the only Republicans who haven't supported his proposal.

Yeah, you are right – it is likely that folks who look like you with poor language skills are going to be detained. Unfortunately, such individuals are more likely to be in this country illegally. But the measure in question is not going to require HPD to go around conducting immigration raids – it will simply be a citizenship check in conjunction with other law enforcement contacts, doing away with the de facto sanctuary policy that has been in effect for years in Houston. It is much more probable that someone who looks like you – broken English or not – will not ever be asked about their citizenship at all.

Oh, and Shelley – don’t expect me to be offering you any support when you seek higher office after the end of your term-limited service on City Council unless you get behind this proposal NOW.





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

A Planned Parenthood Outrage

What is more important – getting rapists and child abusers off the street or making sure that parents don’t know about significant events in the lives of their children? Normal people with even a scintilla of decency would pick the first option. Planned Parenthood picks the second – and boasts of it on their website.

The Web site for Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, the San Francisco chapter of Margaret Sanger's organization, features a section of "Shared Stories,", which it describes as "real stories" from its customers. Here is the top story listed in the section, exactly as it appears on the site [if that link doesn't work, the page is in the Internet Archive Wayback Machine]
It Keeps Us SafeI was raped at 11, by my 17 year old boyfriend. I chose not to tell my parents because I didn't think their involvement would help, that was the right choice for me. Planned Parethood helped me deal with the aftermath of the rape allowing me to deal and cope as best as I could in my own way. I was 14 when I decided to start having sex, the day I made that choice I made an appointment to get birth control pills. I'm 17 now, I've been with my current boyfriend for about two years. During that time i've been HIV and STD tested four times. Right now I'm
sitting in the waiting room while my boyfriend gets the results for his HIV test. We love each other so we're responsible and Planned Parenthood helps us to do that.

- name withheld -

"It Keeps Us Safe"? Safe from what? Safe from parents finding out their little girls were raped? It certainly doesn't keep children safe from rapists.

To recap: An 11-year-old girl walked into Planned Parenthood, saying she had been raped. Not just statutory rape, either; forcible rape.

Planned Parenthood assured the girl that it would not contact her parents, and it was true to its word. Likewise, it must not have contacted the authorities either, otherwise the parents would certainly have been notified.

Thanks to Planned Parenthood, the rapist remained at large, still free to attack other little girls.

Teachers, social service personnel, and medical professionals are required to report sexual abuse of minors. Either Planned Parenthood is operating in violation of California law or they go to great lengths to insulate their mandated reporters from coming in contact with or becoming aware of abuse details – a situation which certainly raises questions about the quality of their treatment and their concern for the young women. After all, just among the medical professionals the mandated reporters include the following.

Health care personnel who are mandated reporters include:

a physician and surgeon, psychiatrist, psychologist, dentist, resident, intern, podiatrist, chiropractor, licensed nurse, dental hygienist, optometrist, marriage,
family, and child counselor, licensed clinical social worker or any other person who is currently licensed under Division 2 (commencing with Section 500) of
the Business and Professions Code; any emergency medical technician I or II, paramedic, a person certified pursuant to Division 2.5 (commencing with Section 1797) of the Health and Safety Code; a psychological assistant registered pursuant to Section 2913 of the Business and Professions Code; a marriage,
family and child counselor trainee, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 4980.03 of the Business and Professions Code; and unlicensed marriage, family and child counselor intern registered under Section 4980.44 of the Business and Professions Code, a state or county public health employee who treats a minor for venereal disease or any other condition, a coroner, or a medical examiner, or any other person who performs autopsies (P.C. 11165.7).

Regardless, it is clear that PP is so concerned with the privacy of minors that they would prefer that rapists and abuser run free, despite at a minimum having a moral obligation to take action. Do you want such folks operating in your city or town?





|| Greg, 08:11 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Invoke The Logan Act

The Logan Act prohibits American citizens from disrupting American foreign policy via direct contact with foreign government or officials.

"Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects."

In light of this long-standing statutory prohibition, will there be an indctment of this seditious loon?

The Irish Government must stop the US military using Shannon Airport to transport troops to the Middle East, American anti-war campaigner Cindy Sheehan demanded ahead of a meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern today.

The ‘Peace Mom’ spent the summer camped outside President George Bush’s Texan ranch waiting for him to speak to her about the death of her 24-year-old son in Iraq in April 2004.

Her actions galvanised the anti-war movement in the US and today she called on Irish people to stand up against their country’s involvement in the Iraq conflict.

Ms Sheehan said she wanted an end to the occupation of Iraq and to Ireland’s involvement in allowing troop flights to stop over in the airport.

And she wanted to show Mr Ahern the face of a grieving mother.

Ms Sheehan, who was wearing a badge with her son’s face on it, said: “I want him to see Casey, and to see the face of a mother and to say that it’s not just about right and left, not about politics, it’s about flesh and blood.”

The violation of federal law is clear here. Three steps need to be taken immediately regarding Ms. Sheehan.

Investigate.

Indict.

Imprison.

She has become a potential national security threat -- even if no one takes her seriously.





|| Greg, 05:40 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Iran Attempts Vote Fraud In Iraq

As Iraqis prepare to vote for a new Parliament, this disturbing development has taken place near the border with Iran.

Less than two days before nationwide elections, Iraqi border police seized a tanker truck on Tuesday that had just crossed from Iran filled with thousands of forged ballots, an official at Iraq's Interior Ministry said.

The tanker was seized by agents with the U.S.-trained border protection force at the Iraqi town of Badra, after crossing at Munthirya on the Iraqi border, the official said. According to the Iraqi official, the border police found several thousand partially completed ballots inside.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Iranian truck driver told the police under interrogation that at least three other trucks filled with ballots had crossed from Iran at different spots along the border.

The official, who did not attend the interrogation, said he did not know where the driver was headed, or what he intended to do with the ballots.

So not only are teh Iranians talking about destroying Israel, they are also seeking to undermine the government of Iraq at this crucial early stage. It becomes increasigly clear that the current regime is a danger to regional stability and must be contained.

UPDATE: Iraqi authorities deny the story. Confederate Yankee argues the original story is wrong. Captain Ed explains why the denial is quite plausible. Michelle Malkin questions the original report, too.





|| Greg, 05:24 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 13, 2005

Ronnie Earle Goes Fishing

As if charging Tom DeLay with a crime that didn't exist and seeking to prevent a speedy trial were not prosecutorial misconduct enough, now Ronnie Earle is on a fishing expedition based upon reimbursed plane flights and a soured business partnership.

A Texas prosecutor has issued subpoenas for bank records and other information of a defense contractor involved in the bribery case of a California congressman as part of the investigation of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

District Attorney Ronnie Earle issued subpoenas late Monday afternoon for California businessmen Brent Wilkes and Max Gelwix, records of Perfect Wave Technologies LLC, Wilkes Corp. and ADCS Inc. in connection with a contribution to a fundraising committee at the center of the investigation that led to DeLay's indictment on money laundering charges.

Perfect Wave contributed $15,000 in September 20, 2002 to Texans for a Republican Majority, a fundraising committee founded by DeLay, R-Texas.

Former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham resigned in late November after pleading guilty to taking $2.4 million in bribes to steer defense contracts to companies.

On Tuesday, Earle subpoenaed written testimony DeLay and two others gave in a 1994 lawsuit brought by DeLay's former pest control business partner. Ex-partner Robert Blankenship alleged in the suit that he was unjustly cut out of the business by DeLay and another man. The lawsuit ended in a confidential settlement in 1995.

DeLay gave differing stories about whether he was an officer of Albo Pest Control Co. during his deposition and when he filed a financial disclosure document with the House.

"He can subpoena all he wants, there's nothing there," said DeLay attorney Dick DeGuerin. "I think he's trying to dig himself out of a hole. We're not concerned about it."

The subpoenas also seek correspondence and internal accounting records.

Wilkes, head of Wilkes Corp., is one of four unnamed coconspirators listed in Cunningham's plea agreement, Wilkes' attorney, Michael Lipman of San Diego, has said. Lipman did not immediately return calls for comment.

Defense contractor ADCS and Perfect Wave Technologies are subsidiaries of Wilkes Corp.

Gelwix was listed in federal campaign records last year as president and CEO of Perfect Wave Technologies. A message left at his office was not immediately returned.

Wilkes' company also hired Alexander Strategies, a consulting firm that employed DeLay's wife Christine. His private jet company, Group W Transportation, provided flights to DeLay three times. DeLay reimbursed Group W as required, records show.

The abuse of the office of prosecutor to destroy a political opponent is a serious act of misconduct -- and Ronnie Earle has a long history of doing so. When will this creep be disbarred for his unethical conduct.


MUCH BETTER ANALYSIS from Chris Elam, author of Fort Bend County's top poli-blog, Safety for Dummies. He also takes a look at Tom DeLay's GOP primary "competition". {snort! giggle! guffaw!}





|| Greg, 07:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

ACLU Gets School Case Right

I'm not a big ACLU fan, but I will acknowledge that they do get things right sometimes.

This is one of those cases.

A Pennsylvania student is off the hook after the American Civil Liberties Union defended his right to wear a political T-shirt to school.

Chris Schiano's T-shirt said "International Terrorist" and had a picture of President Bush.

A security guard at his high school north of Philadelphia told him to take it off. He refused.

Schiano says he's well versed in the First Amendment. He says he "knew right off they had no legal footing to stand on."

The principal says after hearing from the ACLU, school officials realized that the shirt, while potentially offensive, didn't violate the school's dress code. It had no references to sex, drugs, ethnic intimidation or explicit language.

Schiano says he's now wearing the shirt to school and no one's given him a hard time.

In this case, the ACLU is absolutely right -- Treason Boy has the right to wear his shiirt at school.

And every other student has the right to call him an America-hating moron.





|| Greg, 07:19 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Could It Be There Isn’t Much Real Discrimination?

You just have to ask that question when you read this article from Seattle.

It seems that people are questioning the effectiveness and procedures of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights because so few claims are resulting in the issuance of findings of discrimination.

The city agency charged with enforcing civil rights takes months to investigate a case. And when the inquiry by the office is over, chances are that not much will come of it.

Last year, the office discovered discrimination in about 1 percent of more than 200 complaints it handled. Some critics say that isn't impressive for an office that has a $1.8 million budget and 22 full-time employees, including six investigators.
The lack of actions has led to nothing but frustration for people like Don Ross, a psychoanalyst, who filed a complaint with the office two years ago. His son, Eli, then 14, was in an Albertsons store in Magnolia when an employee ordered him out.

The employee and co-workers confused the teenager, who is Latino, with another young man, also Latino, who had stolen wine from the supermarket. The employees weren't Hispanic. Don Ross says it was clearly discrimination. The store said it was a simple case of mistaken identity.

He complained to the civil rights office. Two years and two appeals later, Don Ross and his son have yet to get a ruling that the store discriminated.

But wait – I thought that is how it is supposed to work. There is supposed to be an investigation to determine IF there was discrimination, not an investigation UNTIL there is a finding of discrimination. Many times an incident involves no discrimination, and so there should be no finding of discrimination. There should not be an endless round of investigation and appeals until the “right” result is reached.

But that isn’t how the minds of the Left work. Instead, they want a process that tilts towards the accuser. They want the Seattle human Rights Commission to be able to reverse a decision of the Office of Civil Rights, not simply send a case back for further investigation.

It's rare that the commission referred cases back to the civil rights office. Last year, 25 appeals were filed. Only one or two were sent back to the civil rights office.

John Denooyer served on the Human Rights Commission for four years. His term ended in July.

"It does seem that most of the cases that made it to the appeals process were pretty weak," Denooyer said. "Indeed, of the half-dozen or so cases I sat in on, I recall only one we sent back to (the civil rights office) for review."

But commission member Ahoua Kone said the group plans to meet with the City Council about expanding its powers.

"Some of us wonder if we should be able to reverse a decision if it feels like justice wasn't done in the decision that was reached by the investigators," Kone said.

So rather than allow those most familiar with the case to make a final determination, they want a political body to decide instead. That is a recipe for corruption and favoritism.

But they have to do something – after all, the agency spends $1.8 million in taxpayer funds and employs 22 people. If there aren’t more findings of discrimination, people might start questioning the necessity of the agency. What's more, they might start questioning the rhetoric of victimhood that liberals have foisted on the American people for decades.

And we can't have that, can we?





|| Greg, 06:17 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Does This Indicate A Possible Direction For The Future?

The Houston Texans have brought in Dan Reeves as a consultant.

Frustrated and disappointed with a team that has the worst record in the National Football League, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair has hired four-time Super Bowl coach Dan Reeves as a consultant in a move that ultimately may determine the fates of embattled general manager Charley Casserly and head coach Dom Capers.

After a 13-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday — the Texans' third consecutive defeat in the final seconds of regulation or in overtime — McNair called on Reeves, a fellow University of South Carolina alumnus, to help evaluate the personnel on his team, which has just one win in 13 games this season.

"None of us are happy with the performance of our team," McNair said Monday while introducing Reeves at a news conference. "We all want to do everything we can to improve our team. That's what this effort is all about."

McNair said he has hired Reeves for "a couple of months" but added that the relationship could last longer.

"It could be that it develops into some sort of longer-term relationship," McNair said. "A lot of that depends on Dan and how he wants to use his time, how productive it's been, how much he enjoys it, and how much value he can bring on a continual basis."

This Texans fan wonders if this foreshadows the eventual successor to Dom Capers or Charley Casserly – or both. Given that we are only three games from the end of the season, there is not much that Reeves can do to substantially help the 1-12 franchise turn the season around, but he could point the team in a new direction following the end of the season. Reeves is a proven winner, and these first four seasons have shown us that the current leadership is not what is needed to create a winning tradition.


UPDATE: The Chronicle's John McClain proposes a scenario in which Reeves will get the job of coach. Sounds rther like how Dick Cheney got the VP nod in 2000.





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

So Much For A Right To A Speedy Trial

Ronnie Earle seems intent on dragging this thing out as long as possible, appealing the dismissal of an indictment that his subsequent actions show that even he knew was defective.

Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle asked a judge Monday to stay all proceedings in the money-laundering case against U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay while he appeals the dismissal of a related conspiracy charge.

If granted, a stay could hamper DeLay's efforts to get a January trial. An early trial is key to the Sugar Land Republican's hopes to regain his position as House majority leader.

Kevin Madden, a spokesman for DeLay, said the "decision to appeal shows that Ronnie Earle is only interested in persecution by prosecution."

"The judge's decision to swiftly dismiss Ronnie Earle's baseless and manufactured indictment last week was the correct decision then, and it will be the correct decision when this hopeless attempt to appeal is ultimately rejected," said Madden.

DeLay's lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, said he will oppose the motion to stay. DeGuerin last week asked Senior District Judge Pat Priest to separate the money-laundering charge and schedule a trial in January.

Priest said in an e-mail to reporters Monday night that he will hear the state's motion to stay and DeLay's motion to sever the money-laundering charge on Dec. 27.

Priest on Dec. 5 threw out charges accusing DeLay and two associates of conspiring to violate the state election code, but upheld charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Here’s hoping that Pat Priest directs Earle to be prepared to proceed with trial at the earliest possible date. Tom DeLay is legally entitled to a speedy trial, not one stalled by a prosecutor who is more interested in headlines and political vendettas than in seeking justice.





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

Hope It Was Worth It

One British couple is paying a high price for initiation into the Mile-High Club.

THEY were jetting off for a holiday in Kingston, Jamaica, and the drinks flowed freely during the ten-hour flight.

Intoxicated, the couple, who were seated in business class, decided to submit their membership for the 'mile-high club' in one of the toilets.

But the British Airways flight staff became suspicious after hearing cries of passion from the loo, and the randy couple was ordered to stop and return to their seats

Randy quickly turned into angry.

Stunned passengers watched in horror as the couple fought with flight staff.
A passenger told The Sun: 'They were asked politely to return to their seats but went ballistic. They were shouting vile abuse and spitting at staff.'

Another said: 'The captain tried to calm them down but they were just as abusive to him.'

And despite being restrained with plastic handcuffs, the pilot decided he had no choice but to divert the 777 jet to Bermuda.

The couple, who were booked on a two-week holiday, were held by police in Bermuda and put on a flight back to Gatwick yesterday.

Now the duo, from Luton, Beds, have been arrested and face being charged with air rage. They may also have to bear the 20,000 ($58,950) cost of diverting the plane.

You know, I can’t imagine any sexual experience worth $60,000.





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

A Step Towards Commercial Space Travel

Looks like the spaceport will be located in New Mexico.

Virgin Galactic, the British company created by entrepreneur Richard Branson to send tourists into space, and New Mexico announced an agreement Tuesday for the state to build a $225 million spaceport. Virgin Galactic also revealed that up to 38,000 people from 126 countries have paid a deposit for a seat on one of its manned commercial flights, including a core group of 100 "founders" who have paid the initial $200,000 cost of a flight upfront. Virgin Galactic is planning to begin flights in late 2008 or early 2009.

New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Rick Homans said construction of the spaceport, to be built largely underground in the south of the state near the White Sands Missile Range, could begin in early 2007, depending on approval from environmental and aviation authorities.

Virgin will have a 20-year lease on the facility, with annual payments of $1 million for the first five years and rising to cover the cost of the project by the end of the lease.

"Experts predict that thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment will be created in the next 20 years as the private sector develops new commercial markets in the space industry in New Mexico," Homans said in London. "Virgin is the beginning and many other space companies will follow."

Virgin Galactic said it had chosen New Mexico as the site for its headquarters because of its steady climate, free airspace, low population density and high altitude. All those factors can significantly reduce the cost of the space flight program.

Already, there are 100 people ready to front them money as a down payment on spaceflight. Officials with Virgin Galactic indicate they expect others to follow.

Stephen Attenborough, the Virgin Galactic executive in charge of marketing the space flights, said the 100 founder members were committed to "stepping up to the plate" and boarding a flight early in the operations. "Many of the others will need to wait until the price comes down and will want to wait for proven reliability and safety," he said.

Got that right – I can’t see being able to afford the current price on a teacher’s salary. And as far as waiting for “proven reliability and safety”, I think the technical term is “prudence.”

But I wish Branson and his colleagues well in getting this venture off the ground (pun not intended). It is how space flight ought to be.





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

Class President Not A Candidate For Honor Student

Look at this situation at Lehigh College in Pennsylvania.

As Lehigh University students prepared for final exams this week, they found themselves grappling with the news that the sophomore class president had been arrested for allegedly robbing a bank. "I didn't believe it when I first heard it," Kathryn Susman, an 18-year-old freshman engineering student from Hereford, Md., said Monday. The robbery occurred Friday afternoon. Authorities said Greg Hogan, 19, handed a note to a teller at a Wachovia Bank branch, saying he had a gun and wanted money. Hogan, the son of a Baptist minister, was picked up at his fraternity house later that evening and charged with robbery, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property. Police said he got away with $2,871.

Hogan admits to the robbery.

I do, however, find this little tidbit somewhat chilling.

When a student is charged with a crime, the university's Office of Student Conduct, a disciplinary committee of teachers, staff and students, decides what action to take regarding the student's status at the school, said Dina Silver, a school spokeswoman. Sanctions can range from a warning to expulsion.

Notice – when a student IS CHARGED, not when they are convicted. Seems like they are putting the cart before the horse.





|| Greg, 06:08 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Tookie Dies As He Lived -- A Punk @ss B!tch

Tookie Williams, the murdering scum who founded the Crips, was executed this morning for four 1979 murders. A coward to the end, he refused to address the families of his victims and failed to admit his guilt or express remorse. Indeed, he fought the execution like a fearful child, filing false and frivilous appeals and clemency requests for decades, right up to the very end.

SAN QUENTIN, Calif., Dec. 13 -- Stanley "Tookie" Williams, a gang leader-turned-peace advocate whose cause drew worldwide attention, was executed in San Quentin's death chamber Tuesday morning after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denied his last-ditch plea for clemency and the Supreme Court refused to block the execution.

Having exhausted his appeals, Williams, 51, who co-founded the notorious Crips gang, was killed via injection at 12:35 p.m. Pacific time (3:35 EST) for four murders committed during two separate robberies in Southern California in 1979.

Lest we forget why this act of justice was carried out, let me remind you.

On Feb. 27, 1979, he and three cohorts smoked cigarettes laced with PCP and, armed with a 12-gauge shotgun and a .22-caliber handgun, set out on a late-night search for a place to rob, according to court documents.

They wound up at the 7-Eleven where Owens, a father of two and Army veteran, was working the overnight shift. Owens was shot twice in the back.

Less than two weeks later, Williams broke down the door at the Brookhaven Motel and killed the motel’s owners, Taiwanese immigrants Yen-I Yang, his wife, Tsai-Shai Chen Yang, and their daughter, Yu Chin Yang Lin, who was visiting.

The two robberies netted $220.

Tookie saw life as cheap -- worth less than $55 a head.

The same is true of his celebrity supporters, several of whom were unable to name even one of the victims of their pathetic "hero".

Reader Doug from Upland e-mails that the crusading Rev. Jackson did not know the names of Williams' victims when asked by KFI-AM radio talk show hosts John and Ken.

[Update: Reader Denise R. writes, "I was listening to [KFI host] John Zi[e]gler, he actually asked Jesse Jackson the names of the victims on a couple of occasions and his microphone was taken from him by Judge Mathis (the TV judge) and broken. He also was pushed by Jackson supporters, after that happened he was forced away from Jackson by Sheriff's Deputies.]

On MSNBC this evening, host Tucker Carlson told his "friend" Al Sharpton that he would spare him embarassment by not asking him the names of the victims.

Why would he do that? Guess he didn't want to ruin the freak show vibe.

The execution left this world a cleaner, better place.

MORE AT: Michelle Malkin, Captains Quarters, The Anchoress, Baldilocks, Oblogatory Anecdotes, Ordinary Everyday Christian, Mad Canuck, Independent Sources, FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog, Y-2-DRAY 4-EVER!, Impacted Wisdom Truth, Detour, The Pink Flamingo Bar Grill, Small Town Veteran, The Noonz Wire, Digger's Realm, Stuck On Stupid





|| Greg, 05:32 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 12, 2005

A "WTF?" Moment from Salon

Captain Ed and Instapundit point out this bit of absurdity from Salon's Cary Tennis.

At a certain point in the near future, if the current oligarchy cannot be removed via the ballot, direct political action may become an urgent and compelling mission. It may then be necessary for many people in many walks of life to put their bodies on the line. For the moment, however, although pressing and profound questions have arisen about whether the current government is even legitimate, i.e., properly elected, there still remains a chance to remove this government peacefully in the 2008 election. (Or am I living in a dream world?)

I do think this regime's removal is the most urgent matter before the country today. And I do think that at a certain point the achievement of that goal might take precedence over our personal predilections for writing, teaching and the like. We might be called upon to go on general strike, for instance. We might be called upon to set up camp in the streets for weeks or months, to gather and remain in large public squares as the students in Tiananmen Square did, and dare government forces to remove us or to slaughter us in the streets.

This is all terrible and rather fantastic to contemplate. But what assurances have we that it is not all quite plausible? Having discarded the principles that Jefferson & Co. espoused, the current regime seems capable of anything. I know that my imagination is a feverish instrument. But are we not living in feverish times, in times of the unthinkable?

Looks like a serious case of Bush-Hatred Derangement Syndrome.





|| Greg, 08:03 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Let's Settle The Matter

Frankly, this Texas Republican is glad to see the Supreme Court take up the Texas redistricting case.

The Supreme Court today agreed to consider arguments by Democrats and minorities against a controversial Republican redistricting plan, spearheaded by Rep. Tom DeLay, that redrew congressional boundaries in Texas and helped the GOP gain House seats in last year's elections.

The high court consolidated four separate appeals in the matter, noted "probable jurisdiction" and allotted two hours for oral arguments in the case. The arguments are likely to be heard in April, and a decision could be rendered by the end of June.

n agreeing to hear arguments in the case, the Supreme Court will review a ruling by a three-judge panel that allowed the 2003 redrawing of the Texas congressional districts. The panel rejected challenges to the constitutionality of the new boundaries by plaintiffs who contended they illegally diminished minority voting rights and constituted unlawful partisan gerrymandering.

The redistricting was approved by the Justice Department over the objections of the department's own staff lawyers, The Washington Post reported earlier this month.

The time has come for the Supreme Court to take up, once and for all, the issue of political gerrymandering and the Voting Rights Act mandated racial gerrymandering that have plagued the country for many years. It is time to mandate that districts be compact and take into account the geographical and political boundaries that exist in a state to most effectively allow for representation of the people of the state. I believe that such a result will benefit the country as a whole.

But let's consider the issues at hand in Texas. The Washington post presents them in a rather one-sided manner.

Before the redistricting, Texas's 32 House seats were evenly split at 16-16 between Republicans and Democrats. As a result of the new boundaries, Republicans picked up five seats in the November 2004 elections.

Democrats charged that the new districts broke up minority communities and merged them into largely conservative, white districts. Among the big losers was veteran Democratic congressman Martin Frost, whose district was eliminated.

Frost and other Texas Democrats charged that the redistricting disenfranchised as many as 3.6 million black and Hispanic voters in the state.

As a result of the 2000 census, Texas, the nation's second most populous state, was entitled to two additional House seats, bringing its total to 32. But the state legislature failed to agree on a new plan in 2001, triggering lawsuits in state and federal court. A three-judge federal panel ended up drawing what it called politically neutral district boundaries to govern the 2002 congressional elections. Those elections produced a delegation made up of 17 Democrats and 15 Republicans, but one of the Democrats later switched parties.

After gaining control over both houses of the Texas state legislature in 2002 elections, Republicans decided to revisit the redistricting issue in 2003 and eventually succeeded in drawing new boundaries.

In January 2004, a special panel of three federal judges rejected a Democratic challenge to the new map. The Democrats had argued that Texas could not "redistrict in mid-decade" after boundaries had already been drawn, that the GOP plan unconstitutionally discriminated on the basis of race, that it was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander and that it violated the Voting Rights Act.

The panel stressed that it was deciding "only the legality" of the redistricting plan, "not its wisdom."

Notice, the article does not mention that the 17-15 split in favor of the Democrats happened despite the fact that the GOP received nearly 60% of the votes. Nor does it mention that the court-drawn plan was based upon the 1990 political gerrymander by a shrinking Democrat majority in the Texas Legislature that disenfranchised Texas Republicans by packing them into districts in a manner illegal if done to racial groups. Lastly, there is no mention of the recommendation by the panel that drew the 2001 plan that the Texas legislature revisit and redraw the map at the earliest possible opportunity.

The plan in question produces results that closely reflect the voting patterns of Texans. Nobody has been disenfranchised by the plan -- in fact, there was a largerturnout of voters in the 2004 election than had been seen in years, in large part becausevoters suddenly had a reason to go to the polls, since their votes mattered for a change.

The Supreme Court should uphold the redistricting plan and strike down the "no retrogression" provision of the Voting Rights Act while setting a standard for redistricting that does away with the more strangelyy drawn districts that exist in texas and other states.





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

No Religious Coercion By Courts

While I am unapologetically Christian -- in fact, because I am unapologetically Christian -- I think that the Detroit News gets this one exactly right.

A Catholic man convicted of a minor drug charge says he faced a choice that the U.S. Constitution simply does not allow: Convert to another faith or go to jail. The disturbing allegations about a Pentecostal-based drug rehabilitation program in Flint should serve as a reminder to judges not to force offenders to attend programs run by faith-based groups that proselytize their captive audience.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Joseph Hanas, 23, who was punished for not completing a residential program at the Inner City Christian Outreach Center. A Genesee County Circuit judge had sentenced Hanas to a year in the center for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. The charges could have been dismissed if he completed the program. Instead, after seven weeks, Hanas asked the court for placement in a secular program, but was denied. Judge Robert Ransom sentenced him to jail for three months and then to boot camp.

Hanas said Inner City staff called Catholicism witchcraft, took away his rosary and prayer book and required seven hours of daily Bible study. In an interview with a Free Press reporter, Dwight Richard Rottiers, the pastor at Inner City, acknowledged that Hanas was told he had to attend Inner City services and was not allowed to attend Catholic services.

No judge should force anyone to choose between exercising a constitutional right and jail.

This seems like a rather clear miscarriage of justice -- a sentence to forced religious indoctrination. I've read elsewhere that the judge knew nothing of the program at the time of the sentence, though he now says he would not sentence someone to the program if he were still hearing cases (he has retired).

The ACLU is exactly right on this one -- dismiss the conviction. It is the only right thing to do.





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

Ignoring Illegal Immigration’s Impact

Yes, most are here to work and get ahead – fulfilling the American Dream. But the failure of government to effectively deal with border security issues allows for an influx of criminals who are neither tracked nor traced – and who are allowed to prey on citizens again and again.

Take this case.

The average North Carolina resident probably assumes that local, state and federal governments are better coordinated to fight terrorism today than they were before the Sept. 11 attacks four years ago.

But the case of Gilberto Cruz Hernandez -- illegal Mexican immigrant accused in a series of rapes -- suggests otherwise.

On his third try at illegal immigration, the 24-year-old Hernandez hit the jackpot in the Piedmont Triad, settling with unnerving ease into the mundane fabric of everyday life.

He landed a job at a Greensboro printing company and earned $44,000 a year.

Last year, the same federal government that twice deported him put its financial might behind a $123,000 Federal Housing Administration loan that allowed him to buy a brand-new house in Winston-Salem.

Although he was ticketed 11 times for speeding and other driving infractions by the Highway Patrol and police in High Point and Winston-Salem, none of the traffic stops resulted in his detention as an illegal immigrant, a prior deportee or a potential threat to public safety.

That's true even though at least one of his stops in High Point occurred after police officers suspected they'd interrupted a crime in progress when Hernandez pulled out of a closed car sales lot one night in December 2000.

Neighbors in two cities say he didn't arouse their suspicions. Officials at the company that sold him a home in Winston-Salem say it wasn't their job to check his immigration status.

His employer says Hernandez's documentation checked out "absolutely fine," although -- in hindsight -- some might have been forged.

Oh, yeah – the cops missed one other thing.

Police now contend that Hernandez's seemingly nondescript facade hid a night burglar, a masked man with a Spanish accent who terrorized women in Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem in a series of eight sexual assaults between May 2004 and Feb. 22, 2005.

Today, Hernandez is in the Forsyth County jail awaiting trial in Forsyth and Guilford counties. Federal immigration authorities also have issued a detainer on him, meaning they want to deport him again once he is either acquitted of the state charges or is convicted and serves prison time.

So only now, after ignoring his immigration crimes and aiding him in setting up a new life, the government wants to deport this sex predator.

The only thing is, what will keep him from returning to the country for a fourth time?





|| Greg, 06:32 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Christian Disgrace

Can’t the dispute between rival groups be resolved so that this Christian treasure can be restored and safe-guarded for the ages?

If pilgrims worshipping in the Church of the Nativity look up at the roof, they will see a battlefield threatening the future of one of Christendom's most holy sites.

Squabbling over crucial roof repairs between the three Christian communities who share custodianship of Jesus's birthplace is endangering the 1,500-year-old basilica.

Large holes in the 500-year-old lead roof have let rainwater flood inside for years. It streams down the walls and threatens to wash away Crusader-era murals and destroy Byzantine mosaics.

A botched repair by the Greeks, in which the roof was given a waterproof lining, has created new problems as condensation now eats into the plaster and rots wooden beams.

The most authoritative survey for decades found that the wood was so badly damaged that a large truss was only being prevented from crashing to the floor by friction.

But while the three communities accept that repairs are needed, mutual suspicion means they cannot agree on how to carry them out.

The impasse means that each year the winter rains destroy more of the church's once magnificent interior.

The situation is a true scandal, in my opinion, an abrogation of the notion of Christian brotherhood, with monks and priests of different Christian sects playing politics over one of Christianity’s holiest spots – the church marking the traditional spot of the birth of Jesus Christ. If anything, the words of one priest and scholar understate the disgracefulness of the neglect of the church.

Fr Michele Piccirillo, a Catholic priest and archaeological expert, said: "The Church of The Nativity should be a symbol of what we are as Christians, not a symbol of disunity and disagreement. The condition of the roof is unbelievably bad and it must be settled not just for the benefit of the church but for all Christianity.'' The church is venerated as one of the oldest continuously used Christian places of worship, surviving earthquakes, floods and military occupations.

Not only does the roof need to be repaired for the benefit of all Christians, it needs to be repaired for the benefit of all humanity. Like the Buddhas destroyed by the Taliban, the Church of the Nativity belongs to the heritage of all people, regardless of their religion. That those charged with caring for it have allowed the structure to fall into monumental disrepair boggles the mind.

From this blogger’s standpoint, the best thing that could happen would be for the care of the structure to be removed from the control of all the groups involved – and to have the Israeli government effect the repair of this cultural treasure which holds an important spot in its tourism industry.





|| Greg, 06:31 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Another Religion Of Barbarism Update

I guess they thought that the family that slays together stays together.

A FATHER who ordered his two teenage sons to murder a British university student in a so-called "honour killing" because the victim had made the man's daughter pregnant, was jailed for 20 years today.

The sons of Chomir Ali, aged 15 and 19 at the time of the murder were sentenced to minimum terms of 14 and 16 years respectively for killing Oxford Brookes University student Arash Ghorbani-Zarin.

The 19-year old Ghorbani-Zarin was found dead with 46 stab wounds in the front seat a car in Rosehill, Oxford on November 20, 2004.

All four were Muslims. Ali and his sons were of Bangladeshi origin while Ghorbani-Zarin was a British Iranian.

Judge Mr Justice Gross, sitting at London's High Court, sentenced Ali, 44, and his sons to life prison terms for what he described as a "cold blooded intentional killing".

Setting the individual minimum tariffs for all three, he said: "Far from vindicating your family's honour, you have permanently dishonoured your family with the stain of murder."

I can understand wanting to kill the guy who knocked up your daughter, but carrying it out is a bit extreme. Claiming that it restored your family honor is even worse.

And then, it appears, the daughter was coerced into aborting the pregnancy. No doubt the threat of her death was used by her father to get her to kill the unwanted grandchild.

I guess that is just Islamist family values at work.





|| Greg, 06:27 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Well, They Would Know

Gotta love this from Iraq's friendly neighborhood terrorist groups.

Al-Qaida in Iraq and four other Islamic extremist groups denounced this week's parliamentary elections as a "satanic project" that violated God's law, but they stopped short of an explicit threat Monday to attack polling stations.

Given that their actions show these rabid pigs to be the minions of Satan, I guess they have a certain expertise in the matter.

On the other hand, the freedom-loving people of Iraq have a different view.

Despite the sound of detonations rumbling across the capital and at least 15 deaths in ongoing violence, early voting went ahead in hospitals, prisons and military bases, and President Bush offered encouraging words from Washington to Iraqi voters.

In other words, the Iraqi people are giving a purple index finger to freedom – and a middle finger to the swine who would take them back to the seventh century.





|| Greg, 06:24 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Tookie Stay Rejected

My students raised the issue of Tookie Williams during one of my classes today. Several expressed the view that he should spend the rest of his life in prison. I agree – with the proviso that the rest of his life ends on December 12 at 12:01 AM.

Looks like the California courts have determined that a delay of two-and-a-half decades is sufficient.

The state's high court ruled 6-0 against staying the execution, saying Williams' last-minute appeal lacked merit and was untimely. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Brault had implored the justices early Sunday to dismiss his petition, writing that it "is without merit and is manifestly designed for delay." The justices earlier denied a defense request to reopen the case over allegations that shoddy forensics linked a weapon used in three of the 1979 murders to a shotgun registered to Williams.

I also agreed with the kids that strapping him to a table and doing a lethal injection is wrong – but the courts won’t allow him to be buried next to an anthill and doused with honey.

After all, let’s remember what he did. He killed four people who were complying with his directions during another felony. Regardless of his “reformed life”, there is a price to be paid by this criminal wh has never taken responsibility for his crimes. The bill will be stamped “PAID” in the early morning hours in California.

UPDATE: Looks like even the judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals are turning down this stone cold killer in his bid to receive the mercy he failed to show his victims. Hopefully Williams will be stone cold 12 hours from now.

UPDATE 2: The Terminator refuses to stop Tookie’s termination.

"Clemency cases are always difficult and this one is no exception," Schwarzenegger said in a prepared statement.

"After studying the evidence, searching the history, listening to the arguments and wrestling with the profound consequences, I could find no justification for granting clemency. The facts do not justify overturning the jury's verdict or the decisions of the courts in this case."

Hasta la vista, baby.

UPDATE 3: Law enforcement personnel are on alert, ready for violence when Tookie meets his maker.

The possible execution Tuesday of Crips gang co-founder Stanley "Tookie" Williams, convicted of murdering four people, has North County law enforcement agencies alert for retaliation.

Issue lot's of ammo and meet any violence with maximum force. Send Tookie with a dishonor guard of his fellow thugs.

UPDATE 4: Supreme Court rejects Tookie stay -- the execution remains on.





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

You Have The Right To Be Silenced

Are civil liberties attrocities like this something we will see here in the USA in the near future if the radical homosexualists (the gay equivalent of al-Qaeda) have their way? After all, if merely stating an opinion on homosexuality that contradicts the orthodoxy of the Left is going to bring a police response, is it really fair to say that freedom of expression exists in a country?

Lynette Burrows, an author on children's rights and a family campaigner, took part in a discussion on the Victoria Derbyshire show on Radio Five Live about the new civil partnerships act.

During the programme, she said she did not believe that homosexuals should be allowed to adopt. She added that placing boys with two homosexuals for adoption was as obvious a risk as placing a girl with two heterosexual men who offered themselves as parents. "It is a risk," she said. "You would not give a small girl to two men."

A member of the public complained to the police and an officer contacted Mrs Burrows the following day to say a "homophobic incident" had been reported against her.

"I was astounded," she said. "I told her this was a free country and we are allowed to express opinions on matters of public interest. She told me it was not a crime but that she had to record these incidents.

"They were leaning on me, letting me know that the police had an interest in my views. I think it is sinister and completely unacceptable."

Scotland Yard confirmed last night that Fulham police had investigated a complaint over the radio programme.

A spokesman said it was policy for community safety units to investigate homophobic, racist and domestic incidents because these were "priority crimes".

So expressing an unacceptable opinion is now a "priority crime" in the UK. I guess that the "rights of Englishmen" aren't waht they used to be.

Telegraph commentator Philip Johnston seems to think that they are not, and lays the blame at the feet of the Blair government, which has been steadily criminalizing the public expression of opinions it finds unfashionable.

Then, an author taking part in a broadcast discussion about gay adoptions was telephoned by a policewoman and informed that her name had been noted following a complaint that she had made a "homophobic" remark on air. Lynette Burrows had offered her opinion that two homosexual men should not be allowed to adopt a boy, which is a view with which you may agree or disagree, but does not warrant a call from the local constabulary.

She was told that, although a crime had not been committed, it was policy to record details of such complaints, so Mrs Burrows is now, presumably, on some sinister register of people who express views that are not considered acceptable. Needless to say, she was flabbergasted to receive such a call. "This is a free country and we are entitled to express opinions on matters of public interest," she said.

But this is no longer true, though it is not the fault of the police. It is the fault of the Government for promoting laws that criminalise opinions judged unfashionable or objectionable, and of Parliament for passing them.

When will the people of Great Britain return to their heritage of liberty that stretches back to the days of the Magna Carta and before, and demand that their fundamental human rights be respected by their government? Or will the toxin of PC censorship be allowed to continue spreading through the free world -- eventually killing the liberties of Americans as well?





|| Greg, 06:20 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 11, 2005

Watcher's Council Post

This week's results of the Council's vote are up at Watcher of Weasels. Here's the results:

Council Post:The Sundries Shack - "...Have a Great Time Dieing in the War. From, Miguel."

Non-Council Post: Seraphic Secret - Murderous Peaceniks

You can always go to see the full results for some excellent reads.





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Missing, Captured

Two years ago, Matt Maupin was a typical American young man.

He worked at Sam's Club.

He was attending college, majoring in nutritional science.

He worked out at Powerhouse Gym.

He had a dog named Fibi.

He drove a Mustang.

And in February, 2004, he was deployed to Iraq with the 724th Transportation Company.

maulpin_matt.jpg

Six weeks later, on April 9, 2004, he was guarding a civilian convoy that was ambushed by so-called insurgents -- terrorists, to call them by their proper name -- and was captured. He is the only American to have been captured in Iraq.

The Pittsburgh Times-Review has a great piece about the Maupin family and their experiences over the last year-and-a-half. I encourage you to read it.

I also encourage you to copy my little PhotoShop project above and put it on your site.

For we must never forget Matt Maupin, a typical American young man, who fell into the hands of the enemy while fighting for this country and the freedom of the Iraqi people.

And we must make sure that Sgt. Matt Maupin returns home with honor -- an American hero.



» The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY links with: Tribute



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What Would Jefferson Think?

Debbie Gamblin of the Clarion-Ledger offers her suggestion of what the author of the Declaration of Independence would think of the current state of America and the Crusade Against Islamist Terror.

As to the liberal columnist wondering what forefathers like Thomas Jefferson would think of America today, they would be horrified to think that nine unelected men and women have savaged our Constitution and distressed that the rhetoric being used by the terrorists and the Democrats in this country are virtually the same.

Finally, they would be proud that America has a strong leader in President George W. Bush who does not govern by polls, but by principles and conviction much like those on which America was founded.





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December 10, 2005

America's Sins Come Nowhere Close To Those Of The Communists

Let me begin by saying I have long been a fan of historian Niall Ferguson. Here is the sort of analysis that leads me to view him as such a gem, pulled from his critique of Nobel Literature Laureate Harold Pinter's recent anti-American screed.

Nobody pretends that the United States came through the Cold War with clean hands. But to pretend that its crimes were equivalent to those of its Communist opponents - and that they have been wilfully hushed up - is fatally to blur the distinction between truth and falsehood. That may be permissible on stage. I am afraid it is quite routine in diplomacy. But is unacceptable in serious historical discussion.

So stick to plays, Harold, and stop torturing history. Even if there was a Nobel Prize for it, you wouldn't stand a chance. Because in my profession, unlike yours - and unlike Condi's, too - there really are "hard distinctions… between what is true and what is false".

Bravo, sir. Bravo.





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

Murderous Repression In China

Liberty points out the price of protesting against the government in Red China.

During the demonstration Tuesday in Dongzhou, a village in southern Guangdong province, thousands of people gathered to protest the amount of money offered by the government as compensation for land to be used to construct a wind power plant.

Police started firing into the crowd and killed several people, mostly men, villagers reached by telephone said Friday. The death toll ranged from two to 10, they said, and many remained missing.

For some reason the world is silent. I guess that being a repressive communist dictatorship means never having to say you're sorry.





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

Prosecute Excise Tax Scofflaws -- And The Companies That Aid And Abet Them

Would you be permitted to leave the store without paying sales tax on your purchases? No -- and the store would be prosecuted if it failed to collect the tax.

Will the gas station deduct all the taxes from your gasoline purchase and permit you to leave without paying the full price on the pump, just because you object> Again, no -- and you would be stopped if you tried to leave the station without paying.

And we won't even get into what would happen if your employer stopped taking out taxes from your paycheck and you refused to pay income taxes.

Why, then, is this allowed to continue?

For Seattle peace activist Bert Sacks, the monthly act of resistance adds up to only 59 cents. Symbolically, however, refusing to pay the "war tax" on his Qwest phone bill represents a pocketbook protest against what he sees as misuse of U.S. military power.

"I object to the U.S. government policy of using famine and epidemic as tools against civilian populations. That's wrong," says the retired engineer, who has fought for a decade to get economic sanctions against Iraq lifted.

Sacks is one of thousands of Americans believed to be refusing to pay the federal taxes attached to their monthly phone bills -- money that helps fund military operations overseas.

Many are taking the step as a protest against the war in Iraq. And in many cases, the phone companies are helping them do it.

"We oppose the policies of 'pre-emptive war' and an 'endless' war on terrorism, which led to the Iraq war, which violate human rights and international law, and which have cost us hundreds of billions of dollars while our states and cities face unprecedented deficits, and cutbacks of vital services and programs," reads the statement on a Web site called hanguponwar.org.

And yes, phone companies are actively participating by waiving the tax and dropping it from the bills of those who ask.

Qwest Communications International Inc., which provides local phone service to most of the Seattle area, thinks the excise tax is "a silly tax that should go away," company spokeswoman Shasha Richardson said.

The Denver-based company said it adjusts customers' bills to remove the excise tax. It then complies with IRS Publication No. 510, Richardson said.

That publication requires providers of local, toll or private communications services to impose and collect a 3 percent tax on services rendered. If customers fail to pay it, the companies must give the IRS a list of those customers' names and addresses, the services provided, the dates and the amounts the customers owed.

Some phone companies may repeatedly insist that the money is due. Others, such as Qwest, make it easy for the protester.

"We believe this is an illegal tax, and we would support any legislation that repeals it," said John Britton, a spokesman for AT&T.

He said AT&T will routinely eliminate federal excise taxes from customers' monthly bills if asked to do so in writing.

"We'll go into our system and make an adjustment," Britton said. "But we will have to report you to the government."

For its part, Cingular Wireless sends a letter to tax-resisting customers agreeing that the federal excise tax is "antiquated and discriminatory" and that it has "has far outlived its purpose."

"Please be aware, however," Cingular's letter warns, "that as required by law, Cingular Wireless will report your non-payment, and provide your name, address, amount of tax written off to the IRS."

Cingular, MCI and Verizon Wireless all say they adjust customers' monthly bills to write off the federal excise tax on a regular basis.

The companies above are clearly complicit in the criminal activity. Why are they not being prosecuted -- and in the case of the wireless companies, why are their frequencies not being taken back?

And what is this "illegal tax" garbage that is being put out by AT&T?

Well, it might have something to do with the fact that the government is also failing to go after those who refuse to pay. One woman reportedly has not paid since the Reagan Administration.

Tax evasion and conspiracy to evade taxes. Should be grounds for a nice long prison sentence -- and a fine that will more than cover back taxes and the cost of prosecution.





|| Greg, 09:45 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Putting Party Above Country

Sait appears that too many of those in positions of influence within the Democrat Party are more concerned about electoral success than the good of the nation.

Sen. Joe Lieberman's staunch stay-the-course defense of President Bush's Iraq policies isn't winning him any friends among fellow Democrats.

Lieberman's pro-war views may be winning him praise from a grateful White House, but some Democratic colleagues see him as undercutting their party's efforts to wrest control of Congress from the GOP next fall.

"He's doing damage to the ability of Democrats to wage a national campaign," said Ken Dautrich, a University of Connecticut public policy professor. "It's Lieberman being Lieberman. And it's frustrating for people trying to put a Democratic strategy together."

Gee -- one politician's support for victory on the Iraqi front of the Crusade Against Islamist Terror hurts the party's chance of success? I take it, then, that the leadership is really seeking to cast the Democrats as the party of retreat and surrender





|| Greg, 09:29 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 09, 2005

Zero-Tolerance Policy Lands Cheerleaders Off Squad, In Alternative School

I'm not a big fan of zero-tolerance policies, but I see this one as spot-on. What these girls did not only broke school rules, but endangered themselves and others.

Six of the 10 varsity cheerleaders at Clear Lake High School have been removed from the squad for drinking alcohol and sent to an alternative education center.

The names of the cheerleaders were not released because of privacy laws, said Karen Permetti, spokeswoman for the Clear Creek school district.

Nancy Parker, who has served as an officer for the cheer squad's booster club, declined to comment.

While declining to discuss the specific incident, Kelly Worley, whose daughter Nicole remains on the cheerleading team, stressed, "Those removed from the squad were all really good girls. I know them personally. They are honor students from good families and did a lot for school leadership."

In addition, she said, the Clear Lake cheerleading team as a whole is a group of talented athletes whose dedication to hard work has earned them a national title.

Last year, the squad won the national championship in the Big Apple Classic in New York City and later was featured on CBS' The Early Morning Show, Permetti said.

I live in CCISD, and the local kids go to Clear Lake High School. The school board adopted a policy for those who represent the school, and I support it. If you want to be on the team or squad or other extracurricular, you have to conduct yourself properly at all times.

In support of its "zero tolerance" policy, the school board this year passed a code of conduct for extracurricular activities that expanded penalties for the use, sale or distribution of drugs or alcohol during school functions to even non-school related events off campus.

"There was a feeling that student leaders ought to be held to a standard or we ought not make them leaders. They need to accountable," said Joanna Baleson, an at-large district trustee.

The regulation requires that first offenders, such as the cheerleaders, be suspended from the squad and all other extracurricular activities for the remainder of the school year or calendar year, which ever is longer.

A second offense would result in a permanent ban from such activities.

The regulation stipulates the offenders must be moved from the regular classroom to an alternative education center for 30 days. Such centers provide instruction and counseling outside of regular classes in a more strict, structured setting.

Now I might quibble about the alternative school placement. That is't appropriate for out-of-school conduct. Nut inthis case, the alcohol use isn't in a party setting.

The two cheerleading sponsors, Kathy Thiessen and Amy Lardie, were unaware that alcohol was consumed on a school bus before the Nov. 4 football game against Bellaire High School, authorities said.

An unidentified tipster alerted a high school administrator that some of the cheerleaders may have been "under the influence" during the Bellaire game.

The district wants to enforce an alcohol-free environment for cheerleaders who are performing potentially dangerous flips and lifts, authorities said.

They were drinking on a school bus on the way to a school event, and were consuming a substance that increased the risk of injury to themselves or their fellow cheerleaders. That is thoroughly unacceptable, and justifies a harsh action being taken.

I am curouos, though, how it was that the sponsors didn't know that the girls had been drinking. How well supervised were the girls? How closely were they observed before being permitted to perform?

In the end, I applaud those involved in this case for taking the right steps to carry out a an appropriate policy to maintain discipline and student safety.





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More From The Religion Of Barbarism

And yet we continue to welcome such folks in the Western world.

THE eldest of four Pakistani gang rapist brothers has admitted lying at trial and apologised to his victims but said he thought he had a right to rape the "promiscuous" teenage girls.

MSK, 27, told the NSW Supreme Court yesterday that this was because the girls did not wear headscarves, were drinking alcohol and were unaccompanied when they went to his Ashfield home. MSK also blamed his intoxication, "cultural beliefs" and an undiagnosed mental disorder.

Lock him away for as long as you can -- he is clearly too dangerous to ever return to society.





|| Greg, 11:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Seriously Over-Estimating Her Importance

These clueless Spaniards think that Cindy Sheehan is going to "shake" the US Embassy? Who do they think they are kiding?

US pacifist Cindy Sheehan, "Mother Courage," will participate, along with the Couso family, in a demonstration in front of the US embassy in Madrid, rally organizers said on Thursday.

The organization Colectivo de Hermanos, Amigos y Compañeros de José Couso in Madrid said in a communiqué sent to Prensa Latina that on December 16 and 20, Sheehan, Juan Torres, Beatriz Zaldívar and Pilar Manjón will participate in the protest held every week in front of the embassy.

Cindy Sheehan and other mothers of US soldiers killed in the war are the founders of the organization Gold Star Families for Peace. Sheehan lost her son Casey in Iraq in April 2004.

During her visit to Spain, adds the press release, Sheehan will take part in several public events, in some of which she will be accompanied by María Isabel Permuy, the mother of the Spanish TV cameraman José Couso, who was assassinated by a US tank in Baghdad in April 2003.

Also present at the events will be Juan Torres, the father of a US soldier killed in Afghanistan in July 2004, and Beatriz Zaldívar, the aunt of Daniel Torres, another US soldier killed in Iraq in February 2005.

Maribel Permuy, Cindy Sheehan, Juan Torres or Pilar Manjón, who lost a son in the terrorist attacks on Madrid on March 11, are united by the pain of losing their beloved ones and their determination to fight for Peace and Justice, says the communiqué.

The woman has nearly fallen off the radar in this country, and represented an extreme view even among the Left. Why on Earth will the Embassy even care if the woman shows up in Spain -- unless she needs to have her passport replace?





|| Greg, 11:36 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 08, 2005

Leftists Against Free Speech

They did it again, shutting down freedom of speech on a college campus. The current victim (other than the US Constitution and the rights of every American citizen) was Ann Coulter, best-selling author, syndicated columnist, and mainstream political commentator.

Conservative columnist Ann Coulter cut short a speech at the University of Connecticut amid boos and jeers, and decided to hold a question-and-answer session instead.

"I love to engage in repartee with people who are stupider than I am," Coulter told the crowd of 2,600 Wednesday.

Before cutting off her speech after about 15 minutes, Coulter called Bill Clinton an "executive buffoon" who won the presidency only because Ross Perot took 19 percent of the vote.

Coulter's appearance prompted protests from several student groups. About 100 people rallied outside the auditorium where she spoke, saying she spread a message of intolerance.

"We encourage diverse opinion at UConn, but this is blatant hate speech," said Eric Knudsen, a 19-year-old sophomore journalism and social welfare major who heads campus group Students Against Hate.

No, Eric you moron, you clearly do not encourage diverse opinion at UConn -- other wise you and your anti-civil -liberties goon-squad would have graciously permitted Ms. Coulter to say her piece. Instead, you carve out an exception to the notion that people have a right to speak on political and social issues by calling ideas you don't like "hate speech." What, exactly, was hateful? I doubt you could point to anything.

And what about the rights of Ms. Coulter and your fellow students to explore ideas with wich you disagree. You know, people like this classmate.

UConn junior Kareem Mohni, 20, said he was disgusted by his peers' reaction to Coulter.

"It really appalled me that we're not able to come together as a group and listen to a different view in a respectful environment," Mohni said.

That's right, they don't count -- they are part of the problem of "hate speech" that you have to wipe out, even if it kills freedom of speech in the process.





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

A Victory For Marriage And Separation Of Powers

A New York appelate court has overturned a lower court ruling that permitted homosexual marriage and ordered that gender specific terms in the state's marriage law be redefined in a manner contrary to legislative intent and their common meaning.

The appeals court judges said state laws regarding marriage "do not violate the due process and equal protection provisions of the New York State Constitution."

"The role of the courts is `to recognize rights that are supported by the constitution and history, but the power to create novel rights is reserved for the people through the democratic and legislative processes,"' the appeals court wrote, quoting a 2003 decision handed down by a Massachusetts state court.

Now such an argument is sure to upset liberals, who believe that law is whaqt the sours say it is and that a right is a right because liberals say it is.

Furthermore, the panel rejected the trial judge's fundamental re-writing of the state's marriage statute.

The court also criticized the way Ling-Cohan proceeded, saying, "we find it even more troubling that the court, upon determining the statute to be unconstitutional, proceeded to rewrite it and purportedly create a new constitutional right."

Judges don't make constitutional law -- the people do.

Not only that, but the court laid out a legitimate state purpose in recognizing only heterosexual marriage.

"Society and government have a strong interest in fostering heterosexual marriage as the social institution that best forges a linkage between sex, procreation and child rearing,'' the 55- page majority opinion says. "It systematically regulates heterosexual behavior, brings order to the resulting procreation and ensures a stable family structure for the rearing, education and socialization of children.''

This is precisely what those of us who support traditional marriage have argued all along -- the recognition of heterosexual marriages only is based upon the experience of society over millenia and the biological connection to parenthood.





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Say Bye-Bye, Sami!

He may not be going to jail, but terrorist supporting prof Sami al-Arian may be going somewhere. More to the point, he is likely to be leaving the US on order of the American government.

Al-Arian, 47, remains in jail, where he's been since his February 2003 indictment, while the federal government decides whether to retry him on the deadlocked charges, which include three key counts accusing him of conspiracy to support the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Officials say there is no timetable for a decision.

If the government decides to abandon the remaining charges, it's doubtful Al-Arian will be permitted to return to his previous life in Tampa. He had been a computer engineering professor at the University of South Florida, but was fired after his indictment.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is holding him on an immigration detainer and likely will try to deport him if he's released from jail. The agency can deport any foreign national it deems a terrorism risk and is held to a lower burden of proof than the criminal courts.

Al-Arian was born in Kuwait to Palestinian refugee parents and holds permanent residency status in the United States, where he has lived for three decades. He was raised mostly in Egypt. If he is deported it's not clear where he would be sent.

This guy is definitely an undesirable alien -- and as such, has no claim to stay in the US. Frankly, I don't care where he goes, as long as he never spends another free day in this country which he so clearly despises.





|| Greg, 03:38 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 07, 2005

Telling The Story You Haven't Been Hearing

The Washington Times has decided to start printing some of the positive things that are going on in Iraq -- things that regularly get ignored or under-reported in this country.

If Washington seems increasingly pessimistic about Iraq these days, Iraqis themselves aren't. In fact, 47 percent of Iraqis surveyed by the International Republican Institute in October said that the country is headed in the right direction (37 percent said it wasn't). That's a higher percentage than last year, when 42 percent of Iraqis thought so (45 percent did not) -- despite the problematic ongoing security problems. Here are some of the underreported reasons why.

• Education. Primary-school enrollment has jumped 20 percent over the Saddam years, according to the Brookings Institution's Iraq Index. In a country where 22 percent of adults never attended school, according to the International Monetary Fund, this is a momentous change. It's also a change going almost entirely unreported by U.S. news organizations. A Lexis-Nexis search for the terms "Iraq" and "school" or "schools" in the last month in the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle turns up 331 articles. None is about schools in Iraq. The terms "Iraq" and "Ministry of Education" show up only four times in the last year. Only one story covered the Iraqi education ministry.

• Gross Domestic Product. Iraq's GDP rebounded by an estimated 50 percent in 2004, according to the IMF, mostly due to increased oil revenues. About one-third of Iraqis are unemployed -- an alarming rate -- but this is sigificantly better than two years ago, when half or more of Iraqis were unemployed. A Lexis-Nexis search shows that the terms "Iraq" and "GDP" or "Gross Domestic Product" appeared together in the above papers in just 10 articles in the last month. Only two actually discussed Iraq's GDP.

None of which readers of major American newspapers would know unless they consult other sources.

Bravo for pointing out that the many of the biggest failures of the war in Iraq have very little to do with the policy of the Bush Administration or its implementation by the heroes in Iraq -- they are the repeated failures of the American media to fully and accurately report what is going on in that country and that the current policy is, essentially, a success.





|| Greg, 10:49 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

One More Reason To Oppose Socialized Medicine

When you put the government in charge, you are sure to get less than optimal results.

Take this as an example of what the British health system is like.

One of the most decorated British fighter pilots of the Second World War has sold his medals, diaries and other memorabilia partly to pay for a hip replacement operation for his wife who faced at least a six-month wait on the National Health Service.

Sqn Ldr Neville Duke, 83, the Royal Air Force's top-scoring ace in the Mediterranean theatre who set a world air speed record of 728 mph in 1953, put the collection up for auction rather than subject his wife Gwen to months of pain and discomfort while she waited for an operation.

The standard waiting time for hip replacements in the orthopaedic department at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, one of the nearest facilities to the Dukes' home, is six months.

The couple was told that the wait might be up to 15 months -- an eternity for those in serious pain.

So much for the thanks of a grateful nation.





|| Greg, 10:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Secularists In Government Seek To Obliterate Christmas

The secularist war against Christmas continues.

Our first report is from the Tennessee front.

According to a statement from ADF, the controversy arose when Brandi Chambless, a member of the music ministry at Broadmoor Memphis Church, submitted an announcement for display on the library's community shelves regarding the church's upcoming Christmas show. Library officials accepted the announcement but told Chambless that she would have to remove the "inappropriate" figures of the baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and the wise men from an accompanying nativity scene and limit it to farm animals alone.

"Now we've got a bunch of barnyard animals in our display. We've got a sheep, a goat, a cow," Chambless said last night on the Fox News Channel's "O'Reilly Factor." "We just think it's the most ridiculous thing."

Secularist forces scored two victories against pro-Christmas forces in Washington State public schools.

Two suburban school districts have had to do some backtracking over holiday religious issues, one for lunch menus with the words "Merry Christmas" and the other for a "giving tree."

In Federal Way, between Seattle and Tacoma, December lunch menus for all 23 elementary schools were recalled and reprinted with the words "Happy Holidays" at a cost of $494 after a new nutrition services employee mistakenly prepared them with the greeting "Merry Christmas," spokeswoman Diane Turner said.

The 11,500 misworded calendar-style menus were never distributed and were recycled, Turner added.

Using "Merry Christmas" on the menus violated school system policies because "it has a religious connotation for some people," Turner said.

"Our objective is to provide information to the diversity of the people that we have in our district," she said. "We try to respect each individuals point of view."

In tony Medina, east of Lake Washington, a Christmas-style tree bearing mittens labeled with gift ideas was up for about a week at Medina Elementary School before it was removed, office manager Chris Metzger said.

The idea was for pupils to take a mitten, get the listed gift, wrap it and bring it to school to be given to someone at Lake Hills Elementary School in a less well-off section of neighboring Bellevue.

Some parents had put up the spiral, lighted tree with a star at the top, but it was removed Monday after another parent complained that it had religious connotations, Metzger said. The mittens were transferred to a counter in the office so the gift program could continue.

"We covered the star and called it a giving tree. We hoped it would suffice, but it didn't," Metzger said. "Now we just have a giving counter."

Young children were saved from the the mention of the C-word on a school menu and the presence of a seasonal symbol that has been rled secular by the courts.

I'm curious -- how much more of this insanity will the 90% of Americans who mark Christmas take before fighting back against the forces of anti-Christian secularism?





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December 06, 2005

Anti-Christian Prof Attacked?

Am I the only one who thinks this sounds more like a case of fraud than a case of assault?

A college professor whose planned course on creationism and intelligent design was canceled after he derided Christian conservatives said he was beaten by two men along a rural road early Monday.

University of Kansas religious studies professor Paul Mirecki said the men referred to the class when they beat him on the head, shoulders and back with their fists, and possibly a metal object, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

"I didn't know them," Mirecki said of his assailants, "but I'm sure they knew me."
Messages left by the Associated Press on Mirecki's cell phone were not immediately returned.

Sheriff's Lt. Kari Wempe said Mirecki reported the attack just before 7 a.m.

The professor said he confronted the men after they were tailgating his vehicle along a road south of Lawrence. "I'm mostly shaken up, and I got some bruises and sore spots," he said.

Now tell me, how many folks stop their vehicles and get out in order to confront a tailgater? Very few – and none with even a modicum of common sense. You make way for them to pass – and call the police if their behavior is particularly outrageous.

No, this sounds like an ersatz “hate crime” designed to discredit Mirecki’s critics and bolster his own standing at a time when he is under fire from all sides.

UPDATE: Looks like I may not be alone inhaving some doubts about this case. Michelle Malkin has some documents related to the case and a few observations. Also commenting are Brainster's Blog, Sean Gleeson, The Moderate Voice, Classical Values, Telic Thoughts, Doc Rampage, Total Drek, Tony's Kansas City

UPDATE -- 12/10/05: More at Hennessy's View (four, in fact) and Michelle Malkin.





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Will Harry Die?

One British paper is reporting that Harry Potter may die at the end of Book 7.

HARRY Potter may die in the next book in the series because author JK Rowling wants to kill him off, it was claimed last night.

Actor Jim Dale - the voice of the teenage wizard in the US audio books - believes the seventh and final instalment will spell the end for Harry.

He made the astonishing claim after meeting with the writer to discuss his characterisation of the parts.

The revelation will shock millions of die-hard Potter fans.

He said: "She's lived with Harry Potter so long she really wants to kill him off." Predictions about the fate of Harry in the seventh book have enthralled millions worldwide.

No name or publication date have yet been released, although it is expected by early 2007 at the latest.

I would hope that Rowling has the sense not to kill off her hero. Conan Doyle tried that, throwing Sherlock Holmes into the falls with Moriarty, only to contrive his return in the face of popular outrage. The boy wizard has captured the public imagination like no other fictional character in my lifetime – I would hope that Rowling would leave open the possibility of some sequel by letting Harry survive. Even if there is no sequel, the very act of allowing a “happily ever after” ending will keep alive the series’ underlying theme of home in the face of adversity.

On a ligheter (?) note, Captain Ed offers some insights into how the book might end in the hands of an author other than JK Rowling.

On the other hand, we could also explore what others might do to justify Harry's death. Suppose, for example, that Rowling let Howard Dean write the last volume. We could then get treated to Voldemort as a misunderstood victim, or perhaps a bad guy but no worse than the arrogant and arbitrary Albus Dumbledore, who tried to control the wizarding world just as surely as Tom Riddle. Why, Dumbledore taught Voldemort almost everything he knew! And the Ministry of Magic spent years denying Voldemort's danger, so obviously they are to blame for all that has happened, not the evil wizard (as if there is any such thing as evil). Harry, therefore, is little more than a fool that chose the wrong horse and got himself killed for it. Good thing, too, because if he survived, he would get blamed for all the deaths that occurred just because he found it necessary to oppose Voldemort.

Now that would make one creepy ending for a delightful series.

Yes, it would be creepy, Ed – But surely no one could be so lacking in moral fiber as to believe that the war between good and evil is lost simply because a modest but rising death toll accompanies each victory over the evildoers.





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December 05, 2005

A Victory For DeLay

I love how the Washington Post spun this one on its homepage.

Tex. Judge Upholds Key Charges Against DeLay

Interestingly enough, that isn't really true. The conspiracy charge, the easiest to prove under Texas law, has been thrown out. Not to mention that the excluded charge was the only charge that the grand jury which investigated the case brought. Those that remain are more difficult to prove and were part of Ronnie Earle's "do-over" strategy that involved grand jury shopping and tampering to shore up a case that has been collapsing since the original indictment was brought.

So what happened today?

A judge dismissed a conspiracy charge Monday against Rep. Tom DeLay but refused to throw out the far more serious allegations of money-laundering, dashing the congressman's hopes for now of reclaiming his post as House majority leader.

Texas Judge Pat Priest, who is presiding over the case against the Republican, issued the ruling after a hearing late last month in which DeLay's attorney argued that the indictment was fatally flawed.

***

The ruling means the case will move toward a trial next year, though other defense objections to the indictments remain to be heard by the judge.

Yes, the other motions could result in the dismissal of the remaining charges.

The judge has yet to rule on a defense bid to move DeLay's trial out of liberal, Democratic-leaning Austin and allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. DeGuerin accused the district attorney of shopping the DeLay case around to different grand juries until he found one that would indict the congressman.

As I pointed out earlier, there is substantial basis for href="http://rhymeswithright.mu.nu/archives/124724.php">finding prosecutorial misconduct on the part of Ronnie Earle.

MORE AT: Michelle Malkin, Lone Star Times,Martin's Musings, Conservative Outpost, Blogs for Bush, Super Fun Power Hour, Oblogatory Anecdotes, GOPBloggers, bRight and Early, Iowa Voice



» Oblogatory Anecdotes links with: Judge Tosses Conspiracy Charges Against DeLay!



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Save This Aging Lady

I pass near to her each day, travelling to and from work.

I've seen her declining over the years.

Now there may be a way to save her.

She is the Bstate's last surviving veteran of both world wars

She is a welcome friend and a formidible foe.

She is a battleship.

She is USS Texas.

The Battleship Texas may soon win a battle that few warships survive.

The nearly century-old dreadnought could be raised from the water and displayed permanently in a dry berth to stop rust from eating its hull.

"Rust is the ship's enemy," said Barry Ward, director and curator of the Battleship Texas State Historic Site. "The drier it is, the better it is."

Commissioned in 1914 and a combat veteran of both world wars, the oft-decorated battlewagon rests at the confluence of Buffalo Bayou and the San Jacinto River near the Houston Ship Channel. It was moored there in 1948 after the U.S. Navy decommissioned it and gave it to the state.

It serves as a floating museum at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historical Park and is operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Help save this piece of American maritime history.





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Alas, The Plight of the Illegal Immigrant

I live in Harris County, Texas, just outside of Houston. I work for a local school district, and pay property and sales taxes. I also pay a fair amount of cash each month for my district's healt insurance.

Imagine my anger when I came across this bit of information in a Houston Chronicle article on the difficulties faced by illegal immigrants who are in this country in violation of our laws. Look at the medical benefits they get!

For herself, Francisco, Ivonne and Gabriela, the family relies on the Harris County Hospital District's Gold Card for medical needs.

For every office visit they pay $5 and every emergency room visit $25.

It takes them awhile to get an appointment, but they are nevertheless grateful to at least have that.

It costs my wife and I $25 to see our general practitioner, and $45 to see a specialist. It costs us 30% of the ER charges if there is an emergency. And I have to wait for appointments, too. I'm willing to suspect that they pay less for prescriptions than we do, too.

Now tell me, is there somethign wrong with me for being outraged by the fact that a family of border-jumping immigration criminals has better and cheaper health care than I do -- especially since I pay for both mine and theirs?





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Religious Liberty Versus Gay Rights

I’d love to find out more about this case, which seems to recognize that the religious freedom guaranteed in the Constitution is at least as important as statutory non-discrimination provisions protecting homosexuals.

A United States appeal court has backed two fertility doctors who refused to treat a lesbian patient because it would have violated their religious beliefs.

The woman, Guadalupe Benitez, sued the doctors after she was turned down for artificial insemination in 1999. She claimed that on her first visit to the women's clinic in a suburb of San Diego, California, one of the doctors, Christine Brody, told her that she would not perform the procedure on a lesbian because of her faith.

She was initially told that another doctor at the clinic would perform the procedure but after nearly a year of being put off, Ms Benitez alleges that Dr Brody told her nobody in the four-person clinic would treat her. The other doctor named in the suit is Douglas Fenton.

The appeal court ruling allows the doctors to use religious liberty as a defence in the anti-discrimination lawsuit. The decision overturned a lower court ruling.
The case has been closely watched across the US - testing as it does the overlapping rights of the increasingly political religious community and the gay community. The California Medical Association and the Christian Medical and Dental Association joined in the doctors' defence.

Now I do have some qualms here.

First, I do not like the way in which the Ms. Benitez was seemingly strung along. The practice should have been up-front about their position on the issue.

Second, I assume that the decision limits the right to refuse treatment to only elective procedures or non-critical treatments. There is a moral duty to protect life that would certainly override any religiously based preference to avoid treating individuals whose lifestyle contradicts one's beliefs.

But the broader point – that professionals do not surrender their rights under the First Amendment by accepting a license to engage in their profession – is an important one.


HERE'S MORE: From How Appealing.





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ABC News To Join The Web-Based Media

This sounds intriguing. Not only will Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff be anchoring the news for the network, but they are changing how news is delivered.

Westin also announced that beginning Jan. 3, the 6:30 p.m. ET, 8:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. PT) and 9:30 p.m. ET (6:30 p.m. PT) feeds would all be anchored live each night by Vargas and Woodruff. In addition to the anchored portions, reporter packages will be updated with the latest news for each feed. The change means that for the first time viewers in major markets like Los Angeles and San Francisco will always see a live evening newscast.

Also beginning Jan. 3, "World News Tonight" will produce a live daily Webcast anchored by Vargas and Woodruff. The Webcast will include a brief update of the day's top stories with a preview of that evening's "World News Tonight" broadcast and will air live on ABC News Now, ABCNEWS.com and will be distributed wirelessly. This marks the first time an evening newscast has produced a unique program for the Internet audience.

"World News Tonight" will also significantly increase its presence on ABCNEWS.com with distinct content programmed specifically for the Internet audience. The redesigned World News Tonight section at wnt.abcnews.com will provide:

In a first, "World News Tonight" correspondents and anchors' reporting will be available throughout the day, even before the broadcast.

Interactive presentations, additional video and in-depth information relating to stories aired or airing on "World News Tonight," in the "Broadcast Plus" portion of the site.

Extended-play versions of select high-impact anchor packages and special reports.

Unaired portions of interviews with newsmakers and ABC News contributors.

Round-the-clock updates on the latest news.

The Blue Sheet — the broadcast's daily blog, with contributions from Vargas, Woodruff and WNT producers and writers, stimulating conversation, provoking thought, and demystifying the process of putting the broadcast together.

"Now 'World News Tonight' will always be on," said Jon Banner, executive producer of "World News Tonight." "We are revolutionizing the way the evening news is delivered — the broadcast will no longer be confined to the evening, no longer limited to television and now will be live to the West Coast."

Welcome to the neighborhood, folks.





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Dean Vietnamizes Iraq

Howard Dean, whose medical deferment confined him to the ski slopes during Vietnam, has announced that the Democrats are coalescing around a “Cut-And-Run NOW!” policy in Iraq, because, after all, Iraq is just like Vietnam.

"I've seen this before in my life. This is the same situation we had in Vietnam. Everybody then kept saying, 'just another year, just stay the course, we'll have a victory.' Well, we didn't have a victory, and this policy cost the lives of an additional 25,000 troops because we were too stubborn to recognize what was happening."

Or was it because Congressional Democrats didn’t have the will to allow the President at the time to implement the strategies necessary to win the war?



» Blogs for Bush: The White House Of The Blogosphere links with: Dean: US Won't Win in Iraq



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December 04, 2005

The Agony Of Defeat

Surely the Houston Texans couldn't blow a lead in the final seconds of a game two weeks in a row.

Could they?

A game filled with blunders, fumbles and penalties ended in familiar fashion for the Houston Texans.

Matt Stover kicked a 38-yard field goal with 6 seconds left, giving the Baltimore Ravens a 16-15 victory over the bumbling Texans today.

Kris Brown's fifth field goal with 1:08 to go to put Houston in position for its second win of the season. But for the second straight week, the Texans (1-11) let a seemingly certain victory get away.

Speaking as a guy with season tickets (Section 541, Row M), I hope Dom Capers is packing and that Casserly and McNair are already looking at how to use that #1 draft pick.





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Some Advice For Cops

Columnist Vin Sprynowicz offers the following suggestion on how to end the all too common problem of cops shooting off duty cops -- especially black off-duty cops.

Instead of disarming off-duty cops so the police can continue to feel free to shoot anyone out of uniform who they see with a gun (especially if he's black), why not alter police training as follows?

"This is an armed nation. Twenty-five percent of your fellow 'civilians' own firearms, and have a God-given right to carry them around. Except for writing traffic tickets for revenue, they have just as much right to chase and apprehend a fleeing felon -- or to present a weapon in defense of themselves or others -- as you do. This includes black folks. Get used to it.

"So, even though it may initially seem to make our jobs harder, let's stop hassling people when we perceive they have guns. If a call comes in reporting a 'man with a gun,' let's ask whether the man is brandishing or threatening anyone, and otherwise advise the caller that being armed is not a crime.

"And, particularly, let's stop shooting people who draw their guns when they're being assaulted. Yes, pausing those extra few seconds may sometimes put your own life in danger. This is still a less-dangerous job than hard-rock mining or fishing in Alaska, and you volunteered for it."

The right to keep and bear arms has been present in the US Constitution for over two centuries. It is time for the police to quit treating those who exercise it like criminals.





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Country Fans Still Love Garth

They cost $25 a pop and are available only at Walmart -- and have been flying off the shelves.

What are they?

The Garth Brooks boxed set.

The country's biggest- selling album is available at only one retailer, and it's being considered No. 1 only because the retailer says so.

Wal-Mart, which inked an exclusive deal with Garth Brooks this summer, says it sold half a million copies of the six-disc "Limited Series Boxed Set" through pre-orders and one day of store sales (Nov. 25), outpacing the disc that Nielsen SoundScan reported as the chart-topper, System of a Down's "Hypnotize."

Wal-Mart chose to bypass the SoundScan system entirely by not putting a scan code on the $25 boxed set.

SoundScan, the music industry's official sales tallying company since 1991, creates two charts weekly -- one that goes to Billboard magazine and does not include exclusives such as the Brooks box, and a "comprehensive" chart that includes all sales. An Alanis Morissette disc released this year at Starbucks first, for example, was not included in the Top 200 until it was available at multiple retailers.

Wal-Mart was rather dodgy with sales info about the Brooks "Limited Series Boxed Set," which comprises the albums "Sevens," "Scarecrow," "Double Live" and "The Lost Sessions" plus the DVD "All Access."

The retailer would not disclose the exact number sold nor the number of boxes available for sale, noting they don't give out sales figures for any merchandise. A company spokeswoman says the Brooks set became Wal-Mart's all-time top-selling music item after only three days of sales. Due to its limited run, it is quite possible the set will be sold out by the new year if not Christmas.

While the rest of music industry is aching for results that resemble those of Brooks and Wal-Mart, there's another degree of exclusivity that's helping keep sales limited to the stores: Brooks' tunes are not available for download.

I was there on the morning after Thanksgiving at 0300 hours -- and saw hardly a cart without one .

Garth, I know you promised the girls that you aren't going backout on the road -- but we really want you back, even if only in the form of recorded music and television specials. Country music needs you.





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Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Guns, Germs, and Moonbats by Right Wing Nut House, and The New York Times on Iraq, 1993-2005 by American FutureHere are the full results of the vote.



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"Go Back Home, Bill!"

At least that was my thought when I first read this headline.

Arkansas Man Scales White House Fence

And may it never be his residence again.





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Would They Have Cut And Run From Hitler And Tojo?

You have to ask the question, given the position taken by Murtha, Pelosi, and other opponents of the war in Iraq.

The war against terrorism, especially in Iraq, has caused many Americans to ask if the cost is worth it. They watch television and read the papers about the casualties and terrorist suicide attacks. The media report daily the number of soldiers killed in Iraq but rarely report the positive events.

What if these same Americans had been around in 1944 and 1945? In 1944, the Marines stormed Iwo Jima in the Pacific. In about five weeks, they had more than 6,000 Marines killed and more than 19,000 wounded. Shortly following that battle, U.S. forces attacked the island of Okinawa, where more than 12,000 military personnel died.

It was at Okinawa that the Japanese unleashed the kamikaze -- suicide attackers who sank or damaged numerous ships. More than 6,000 sailors died in those aerial attacks. I am sure the nation was concerned then, too, about how to deal with people who were intent on dying as long as they took many of their enemy with them.

Scenes of the D-Day landings and the Battle of the Bulge in "Saving Private Ryan" depict the gruesome aspects of combat in 1944-45 probably better than any other film. Our troops soldiered on because they accepted the overwhelming necessity for victory in a just cause.

After all, if 2100 deaths in nearly three years provokes such an outcry from our "Peace At Any Price" friends on the Left, how would they have reacted to Iwo Jima, Okniawa, or Normandy? And would they have demanded an exit strategy and a set withdrawal date had it been necessary to invade the Japanese home islands?





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Washington Post Tries To Silence Discussion Of Racism

The Washington Post doesn't want any more discussion of focus on Democrat racism in the Maryland Senatorial campaign.

Maybe that was inevitable, given the candidacy of Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, an appealing, relatively conservative black Republican. Mr. Steele, the presumptive GOP nominee, has delighted Republicans and unnerved many Democrats for precisely the same reason -- the chance that he may shave off slices of the Democrats' traditionally solid base of African Americans, who make up more than a quarter of Maryland's electorate. Like black Republican candidates elsewhere, Mr. Steele has been attacked by some black Democrats who suggest -- outrageously -- that the fact of his party membership constitutes a betrayal and an affront to African Americans. As former NAACP chief and congressman Kweise Mfume, himself a candidate for the Democratic Senate nomination, pointed out in the Washington Times, "Black bigotry can be just as cruel and evil as white bigotry."

It would be naive to think race and racism would not be a factor in the campaign. Last month a liberal black blogger in New York posted a doctored image of Mr. Steele as a minstrel, demonstrating that nauseating racial taunts are alive and well in the blogosphere. In Maryland's 2002 gubernatorial campaign, Mr. Steele attended a debate at which Oreo cookies were distributed or tossed (accounts differ) as a slur directed at him. No one has forgotten that in 2001, when Mr. Steele chaired the state Republican Party, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) referred to him as an "Uncle Tom," thereby disgracing only himself; he later apologized for the remark. Moreover, a number of current Democratic candidates -- including Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin in the Senate race and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan in the gubernatorial race -- have, by refusing explicitly to condemn black Democrats for their poisonous comments about Mr. Steele, given the impression that racially tinged political rhetoric is within the bounds of civil debate. It is not.

Which is why, of course, the GOP is so concerned about exposing racism and eradicating it in American political life -- as has been the Party's policy, mandate, and mission since its founding inthe 1850s as a vehicle for stopping the spread of slavery and promoting the emancipation of slaves. It has been the mission of GOP to promote civil rights for African-Americans and promote their election to office, pushing through every major civil rights initiative in the nation's history and breaking ground as the only party to nominate and elect black candidates to national office for decades, until the days of FDR and beyond. It continues to be the mission of the GOP, as it cultivates and nominates highly qualified African-Americans as candidates and appointees to high office based upon their qualifications. And as they have done since the days of Jim Crow and the original nightriders of the KKK, Democrats seek to destroy any uppity Negro who dares align himself with the Republican Party and its platform of full inclusion for all Americans. Why wouldn't we expose real, tangible acts of racim and the racists who promote the ideology of hate?

Still, it would be equally naive to overlook the Republicans' evident satisfaction in keeping the debate focused on race rather than, say, party affiliation or ideological affinity, which can only hurt the GOP in a state where Democrats enjoy a 2-to-1 advantage. The Republicans have not manufactured the current furor, but they are exploiting and perpetuating it. After all, it's not the candidates vying for statewide public office in Maryland who have played the race card.

Haven't they? Or rather, haven't their supporters? And given that some candidates for the Democrat nomination refuse to denounce the racist activities and rhetoric of their own supporters, is it not right and proper for that to be made an issue in the campaign? If that is exploitation and perpetuation of the race issue, then I am all for it!

The wisest way out of the racial morass is for all the talking heads to give it a rest. Let cool heads prevail and force the candidates to talk about the most pressing issues facing Maryland and the nation. The debate about Mr. Steele, as about his rivals for the Senate, should be about his record, his beliefs, his abilities and his vision. It should not be about his race. And politicians who insist or consent in making the election about race run the risk of punishment at the polls.

So what i hear you saying, then is that issues of race and racism are not pressing ones, and therefore should not be discussed. You are trying to tell me that the use of racist rhetoric and the hurling of terms like "race traitor" and "Uncle Tom" at a candidate are not a concern to the Washington Post. That is rather striking to me.

But none of this is particularly surprising to me. The Washington Post has been little more than an in-house unit -- let's call it an outhouse unit -- of the DNC for years.

And since a continued focus on Democrat racism would be bad for the Party of Slavery and Jim Crow, discussion of racism has got to go.

UPDATE: Interestingly enough, those who are not wholly owned subsidiaries of the DNC disagree with the Post.

"I would say to Michael Steele that he should continue to use the race issue to his advantage but not to simply use it the way it has been rolled out there, but to use it in creative ways that might help him to pick up that small group of African-Americans in the state that he's going to need to win," said Ronald Walters, a professor of at the University of Maryland and director of the African-American Leadership Institute.




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December 03, 2005

Voting Rights Don't Expire In 2007 -- Or Ever

My latest troll, howard, seems to have fallen into the same trap that too many folks have fallen victim to over the years regarding the Voting Rights Act.

And by the way, have you explained to your students why part of their voting rights( the black ones off course) is going to expire in 2007( we are still talking about this TODAY!)

He is not the first I have met who has fallen under the spell of the seemingly-true urban legend, nor will he be the last. I've had a student in my college-level class wave a flyer distributed at her church in my face while wailing about "Bush wants to keep black people from voting...." I've had high school students engage in a rowdy oration about the issue during a discussion of the importance of voting. I've even received a copy of an email, forwarded to the entire school, from an otherwise level-headed colleague in another department. So I really do not think howard is mentally defective for mentioning this in one of his disjointed, race-baiting, Republican-hating rants. He is just misguided, misled, and misinformed.

Let's look at the claim in the form I've most often seen it, as archived at Snopes.com, that great site for debunking or confirming urban legends.

As everyone should be aware, in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voters Rights Act. This was created to allow Blacks the right to vote.

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan signed an amendment to extend this right for an additional twenty-five years. You guessed it . . . In 2007 (ten years from now), Congress will decide whether or not Blacks should retain the right to vote. In order for this to be passed, thirty-eight states will have to approve an extension. For me, as well as many others, this was the first time that we had heard this -- thus, bringing concern to all of us! What many Blacks before us fought and even died for as well as the milestones that we, as Blacks have achieved, this can be taken away from us . . . AGAIN!

If this issue has taken you by surprise as well, I encourage YOU to contact your Congressperson, alderperson, senator — anyone in government, that you put your vote behind and ask them what are they doing to — firstly, to get the extension and furthermore, make our right to vote a LAW. This has to become a law in order for our right to vote to no longer be up for discussion, review and/or evaluation. (Remember: Blacks are the only group of people who require permission under the United States Constitution to vote!)

As Black people, we cannot "drop the ball" on this one! We have come too far to be forced to take such a large step back. So, please let's push on and forward to continue to build the momentum towards gaining equality. Please pass this on to others, as I am sure that many more individuals are not aware of this.

Now this email carries in it a number of fundamental errors, mixed with just enough fact to make it plausible.

To begin with, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 does not grant any race or ethnicity the right to vote. That right is guaranteed in the Fifteenth Amendment.

AMENDMENT XV

1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

So you see, the right to vote is a CONSTITUTIONAL right, not a STATUTORY one. Clause 1 of the Fifteenth Amendment is the relevant section that guarantees that right.

Clause 2 of the Fifteenth Amendment authorizes Congress to enforce the right guaranteed by the preceeding clause. That is where the Voting Rights act of 1965 enters into the picture -- just not in the way the email would have folks believe.

We all know the sad history of race relaitions and oppression in the southern states where, under the rule of the racist Democrat Party, virtually all civil rights were denied to African-Americans for decades. Federal legislation protecting the voting rights of blacks was repealed by the Democrat-controlled Congress and signed into law by Democrat President Grover Cleveland. In 1964, the Twenty-Fourth Amendment barred poll taxes, but left in place many of the other tactics used to deny the right to vote. As a result, legislation was passed in 1965 to allow for federal action to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment right to vote.

The measures contained in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 fell into two categories. Portions of the legislation -- with no expiration date -- were intended to ensure that blacks (as well as other minority groups) could fully participate in the electoral system free from discrimination.

Other provisions were set to expire in five years. These were a set of truly heroic measures designed to force the registration of minority voters and their access to the polls, including authorizing the deputizing of federal voter registrars, the placement of federal election observers, and the requirement that jurisdictions with a history of racial discriminationin voting receive federal preclearance of any changes in voting districs or procedures. They were renewed in 1970, and permitted to expire by the Democrat-controlled Congress and Democrat President Jimmy Carter in 1980. In 1982, Republican President Ronald Reagan signed a statute passed by a Congress with control divided between the two parties, extending the "temporary" provisions for another quarter century, until 2007, which leads us to the present situation and the falsehood circulating among many people of good-will, including my commenter.

Now I've already spoken to the issue of whether or not the provisions should be renewed in an earlier post.

Let them expire, or fix them to meet the realities of the present day.

I believe they should be allowed to expire as the authors of the statute intended -- or, barring that, extended to cover every jurisdiction in the United States and not just a few which denied the franchise a generation ago. The current two-tiered system of voting rights enforcement needs to be eliminated. We have, as a society, moved beyond the need for such special measures, despite the attempts of partisan activists to manufacture controversies to justify their own existance. And as the Justice Department points out, any one of the provisions of the VRA could be reinstituted in any area where there is proven contemporary discrimination. But what is clear is that this will in no way constitute the expiration of anyone's voting rights!

So howard, don't worry -- you'll still be able to vote in 2008 for a candidate of the party that enslaved your people and prevented your ancestors from voting or exercising their civil rights for a couple generations afterward, while heaping abuse upon the party that freed your ancestors and overwhelmingly supported every single major piece of civil rights legislation in American history.

LINKED TO: LaShawn Barber, Everyday Thoughts





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Let There Be No Place Of Refuge

For the terrorist is the enemy of all humanity.

A little bit of good news on the terrorism front. Al-Qaeda's #3 leader has been killed by a laser-guided missle launched from a Predator drone in Pakistan.

The operational commander of al-Qaida and possibly the No. 3 official in the terrorist organization, Hamza Rabia, was killed early Thursday morning by a CIA missile attack on a safehouse in Pakistan, officials told NBC News.

Pakistan's president later confirmed the militant leader's death.

“Yes indeed, 200 percent. I think he was killed the day before yesterday if I’m not wrong,” President Pervez Musharraf told reporters as he arrived in Kuwait on an official visit on Saturday.

Whatever criticism I have of Pakistan and its regresive attitude towards the rights of Christians, the Musharraf government is working closely with the US to destroy the terrorist apparatus known as al-Qaeda.

This is not the first such attack seeking to take out Rabia -- several weeks ago an attack missed him but killed ight others, including Rabia's wife and children.

MORE AT: Captain's Quarters, Stop The ACLU, The Jawa Report, Random Numbers, Martin's Musings, OpiniPundit, Ace of Spades, Blogs for Bush



» Stop The ACLU links with: CIA missile strike kills al-Qaida No. 3
» All Things Beautiful links with: The Jihad Apocalypse



|| Greg, 11:07 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

December 02, 2005

The True Meaning Of The First Amendment

Thomas E. Dennely hits a homerun with his piece in today’s Newsday about the ACLU and Christmas.

As the holiday season gets into full swing - and as sure as the sun rises in the east - the American Civil Liberties Union will soon appear on the scene to remind Americans that there should be no display of religious symbols on public property, for to do so is a violation of the separation of church and state.

Presumably believing that the ACLU is the self-appointed guardian of religious freedom within our nation, it sees no inconsistency when the same ACLU legally supports the members of the American Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan in using public property to spew their venom. This graphic inconsistency should blow one's mind. It is thoroughly repugnant when the ACLU legally supports such hate mongers in their use of public property, while legally opposing both Christians and Jews doing likewise with Christmas and the Festival of Lights, for example.

Dennely then goes on to point to the many ways in which the very Founders that the ACLU claims would approve their actions took a strikingly different position on the issue of “separation of church and state”. I strongly encourage you to read his column.





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

Where’s The Party?

I can’t help but notice a certain omission from this article about an FBI investigation into political corruption in West Virginia.

The three men were sitting in a car outside a rural elementary school in West Virginia when the candidate handed over $2,000 in cash and said, "Buy all the votes you can."

In the hamlets and hollows of Logan County, where political shenanigans are legendary and it's said that a vote can be bought for a pint of whiskey or a $10 bill, some say there was nothing extraordinary about the transaction.

Here's what made it unusual: Although Thomas E. Esposito was on the ballot as a candidate for the state House of Delegates, he wasn't really running for office.
The small-town lawyer and former mayor was just bait. And when the FBI lowered him into the murky waters of southern West Virginia politics last year, it dangled him like a shiny lure.

The whole affair landed yesterday in a Charleston courtroom, where a defense attorney cried foul, accusing the government of "outrageous" conduct and of violating the sanctity of the election process. He said the charade robbed 2,175 citizens who voted for Esposito -- unaware he wasn't for real -- of a constitutional right.

But a federal judge sided with the government, ruling after a 30-minute hearing that corruption in Logan County had been endemic "for longer than living memory" and that the bogus election campaign might have been the only way to root it out.

Which is not to say that there was never a mention of which political party is rancid with corruption. The article finally got around to providing that detail about 1/3 of the way through the second page. That should be a big clue right there as to why the party is obscured in the article.

Yeah, you got it – the criminals corrupting the system are Democrats.

Now we can argue about whether or not the FBI tactic here was appropriate -- but we can't argue that the party affiliation was pretty throughly hidden.





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

More From The Religion Of Barbarism

Even the passing on of the Christian faith to children is an offense to the Islamists.

Approximately 30 Christian children fled in panic after a mob of Islamic militants raided and vandalized their Sunday school class, which was being held in a private home last weekend in Curug, Indonesia, according to a Christian group called Voice of the Martyrs (VOM).

The violence came less than a month after three teenaged Christian schoolgirls were attacked and beheaded as they walked through a cocoa plantation on their way to school. One girl's severed head was reportedly placed in front of a church, eight miles from where the bodies were found, in what locals viewed as a stark warning to Christians.

VOM reported that in the most recent incident, the mob "terrorized" the children at the Curug Sunday school class and destroyed several desks and chairs, guitars, a keyboard, organ and fan in the classroom. Voice of the Martyrs is a Christian organization that documents persecution of believers.

The children began to flee in panic, according to VOM, after which the mob then allegedly evicted the remaining adults and children from the home "by force" and "sealed" it by plastering posters denouncing the school over the doors of the building.

When will the government of Indonesia act to protect the human rights of its Christian citizens?





|| Greg, 07:12 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Bad Ruling For School Administrators, Teachers And Other Personnel

What other bits of information are school personnel not permitted to disclose to parents, and how are we to know?

A federal judge ruled that a lesbian student can sue her school district and her principal for revealing her homosexuality to her mother. Charlene Nguon, 17, may go forward with her suit claiming violation of privacy rights, U.S. District Judge James V. Selna ruled in a decision dated Nov. 28 and announced Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

Orange County's Garden Grove district had argued that Nguon openly kissed and hugged her girlfriend on campus and thus had no expectation of privacy.

However, the judge ruled that Nguon had "sufficiently alleged a legally protected privacy interest in information about her sexual orientation."

No trial date was set. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

"This is the first court ruling we're aware of where a judge has recognized that a student has a right not to have her sexual orientation disclosed to her parents, even if she is out of the closet at school," said Christine Sun, an ACLU attorney who brought the case.

Now this creates quite a quandary, in my opinion? How are we, as teachers, supposed to know what students have and have not disclosed to parents – especially when information is public in the school setting? After all, this girl was very public about her sexuality at school. And does this same measure of privacy also include other details of a sexual nature, such as a teacher becoming aware that a child is sexually active (but not being abused)? Where are the lines? This ruling leaves me very unsure.

MORE (AND DIVERSE) DISCUSSION AT: American Madness
, My Amusement Park, Boots and Sabers, Althouse, Right on the Left Coast, Pliwood Munkee, Education Wonks, Eyes of Faith, Digital Brownshirt, Left Turn On Rights, Just to the Left, New World Man, Right Side of the Rainbow, The Colossus of Rhodey.





|| Greg, 07:12 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Investigate The CIA

When an agency of the US government is acting to undermine the elected representatives of the American people, it is time for Congress to investigate, and perhaps abolish, that agency.

Especially when those within the agency -- which is charged with protecting national security and aiding the war effort -- are leaking national security information in a desperate attempt to undermine the war effort.

The Dec. 1 edition of The New York Times carried a story about the damage done to U.S. interests by the revelation that the CIA maintains a number of secret interrogation prisons for terrorists in Europe and elsewhere. ("Reports of Secret U.S. Prisons in Europe Draw Ire and Otherwise Red Faces.") Governments throughout the continent are now demanding explanations from the U.S. Department of State and otherwise strutting their outrage that the U.S. might be kidnapping suspected terrorists from European soil and transferring them to other nations.

How did this bit of classified information become public? It was a leak from within the CIA (to The Washington Post in that case) -- and a breathtaking one at that. Though the agency has been steadily leaking damaging stories about the Bush administration since 9/11, it has now crossed a new threshold with a leak that severely damages CIA activities and arguably harms national security -- all for the sake of crippling George W. Bush.

If the leaking of the name of a stateside non-covert CIA employee’s name merited investigation, how much more does this violation of national security coming from within the CIA itself?





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

Paid – But True

I guess I have a little bit different take on the current flap over the military planting pro-American news stories in Iraqi papers. Some want this to be seen as proof that the war is going badly, and that “good news” must be bought.

Richard Edelman, CEO of the Edelman public relations firm, rips the practice as "utterly unacceptable behavior" and told the Poynter Institute that it is "a perversion of our business, an intentional blurring of a clear demarcation between paid and earned media."

Here's a journalism lesson: If they're buying fake news, the real news must be really bad.

Others want to call it undermining journalistic ethics.

But I see it as a simple use of propaganda to help bring victory. If it were possible to slip some truthful coverage about the war into German newspapers in 1943, would it have been unethical to do so? Or would it have been one more means of undermining the enemy? Heck, what are Voice of America and Radio Marti?

Every bit of good news that brings support to the new Iraqi government also serves to undermine the terrorists. Every word is a bullet, every story a bomb, directed right at al-Zarqawi and his minions. Getting the good news out is key to winning the war. We should not refuse to use the truth as a weapon.


UPDATE: Captain Ed offers a different -- and much more extensive -- take on the story and how the military should have proceeded in this case. I don't necessarily agree with him, but he does have a good point.

This still comes back to building credibility with the Iraqi people. The free press in Iraq is a vitally important part of building the democratic structures necessary to make Iraq into a strong and free ally in the Middle East -- an example of how Arabs can lead themselves, without the traditional strong-man rule of dictator or emir. While exploiting newspapers to surreptitiously get out our point of view might seem like a smart tactical move to counter al-Qaeda propaganda, it's probably a huge mistake strategically in the long run. We're already teaching the Iraqis that their press is nothing more than paid mouthpieces for hidden Powers That Be, feeding into the common Arab predilection for grand conspiracies.

UPDATE 2: More interseting views from Dafydd at Big Lizards.

In other words, the huge "scandal" is that Coalition forces commissioned American soldiers to write "factual" accounts (nobody disputes that they were factual) of military engagements and rebuilding efforts, to counter the malicious lying by the terrorists and the American and international MSM. These accounts were handed to a third party in order to protect the Iraqi newspapers from reprisals by Zarqawi. The stories written by the soldiers were run as ads and paid commentary, which is a normal way to get your message out in Iraq; and they were supposed to have been identified as having been written by American soldiers.

But somehow, attribution didn't always get attached. Who could be responsible for that? Was it deliberate "propaganda," as the Associated Press has taken to calling it?

In fact, the Times even admitted that typically, the stories were identified as adverts, and were sometimes run in special fonts, typographies, and colors. But evidently, not every Iraqi stringer working for the Lincoln Group identified the purchaser as the Coalition when he sold the stories.

In other words, the LA Times even admits that the US military did nothing wrong.





|| Greg, 06:56 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Murth And Lincoln And Schmidt

Was John Murtha, once long ago, a hero? Perhaps, but I don’t care

Really, I don’t.

I don’t care if he has this medal or that award – or even if he single-handedly thwarted an alien invasion from the Planet Zarg. None of it matters – and all of it is irrelevant.

It isn't relevant to the debate.

Not after he has denigrated the service of our men and women fighting today, and indicated that they have been beaten by a rag-tag band of terrorists.

Rep. John P. Murtha is continuing his assault on the Bush administration's Iraq war policy, asserting this week that the U.S. Army is "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth."

The Pentagon and a senior Republican senator sharply disagreed with his assessment.

Speaking to civic leaders Wednesday in Latrobe, Pa., in his home district, Mr. Murtha also said the Pennsylvania National Guard is stretched so thin that it will take a year before it can send fully equipped units overseas again.

"You cannot win this thing militarily," Mr. Murtha said later at a press conference. "Most of [U.S. troops] will be out of there in a year if I have my way."

The Murtha plan is now perfectly clear – “We’ve lost – cut-and-run, boys!”

Might I offer a few words from a leader from our past -- one Abraham Lincoln?

"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs who should be arrested, exiled or hanged."

I’ll reserve judgment as to which is the best way of dealing with Congressman Murtha, or whether such a course of action is advisable. But I will say this much – his statements certainly render void any political coverage to which his past service may have entitled him.

ANd let me add that I've read and heard the words of Jean Schmidt.

She did not call the man a coward.

But she should have.

And I do.





|| Greg, 06:53 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Winner Of The “Best Headline” Contest

Jonah Goldberg of National Review.

“Eat Yuletide, You Atheistic Bastard!”

Now there’s a winner for you – be sure to read the column.





|| Greg, 06:48 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

December 01, 2005

The Trouble With Polls

This just goes to show that poll results are only as good as the questions asked.

Some 56 percent of U.S. consumers think Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is bad for America, according to a Zogby International poll released on Thursday by one of the retailer's most vocal critics.

The national poll -- commissioned by WakeUpWalMart.com, a union-funded group that has been pressuring Wal-Mart to raise employee wages and benefits -- surveyed 1,012 randomly chosen adults on their attitudes toward the world biggest retailer.

Respondents were asked to choose which of two statements more closely fit their personal opinions.

The majority, or 56 percent, picked: "I believe that Wal-Mart is bad for America. It may provide low prices, but these prices come with a high moral and economic cost for consumers." Thirty-nine percent agreed that "Wal-Mart is good for America. It provides low prices and saves consumers money every day."

The problem is, in my opinion, that the poll unreasonably restricts the choices available to those polled. Where is the middle ground choice? You know, something like "Wal-Mart is both good and bad for America. It provides low prices for consumers and good entry-level jobs, but it also negatively impacts some local businesses and communities." I'd bet that such a choice would have attracted a majority of those polled -- folks like me who see that Wal-Mart, like any other corporation, is primarily about the bottom-line and will adopt policies and practices based primarily upon profit-margins.

Even more troubling is this question -- which proves that those who conducted the poll were incompetent.

Thirty-three percent strongly agreed that Wal-Mart was a retail monopoly that threatened the future health of the U.S. economy, but 35 percent did not agree at all.

Uh -- Wal-Mart is not a monopoly, and no poll results can make it one. Other businesses can and do make a go of it in the retail industry, though Wal-Mart is the bibbest of the bunch. As such, the only thing that is proved by the results is that 33% of the polled group (and, I would presume, Americans as a whole) are ignorant boobs when it comes to economics.

Love Wal-Mart or hate Wal-Mart -- that is your choice. But be honest in your attempts to bersuade others of your beliefs, and don't use junk polling data to tryy to bolster your point.

(DISCLAIMER: As I wrote this point, I realized that the only items I am wearing that are not Wal-Mart/Sam's Club purchases are my wedding ring and my cross.)





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

Meeting The Familiy Of A Hero

Bresident Bush has made it his practice to meet with family members of sevice personnel killed in Iraq when possible. He has even met with Cindy Sheehan -- though she seems tohave forgotten her words of praise for the President at the time.

Here is an account of one such meeting.

For about 20 minutes Tuesday, the MacKenzie family met privately with President Bush as he offered sympathy and listened to stories about Pfc. Tyler MacKenzie, a 20-year-old solider killed in Iraq earlier this month by a roadside bomb.

"We cried, and I had to pull out some Kleenex and give it to everyone else," Tyler's grandmother Mary MacKenzie said.

"I had to give some to the president, too, because he didn't have any."

The meeting was arranged through the office of U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave. Tyler MacKenzie, who graduated from Greeley West High, was the first Weld County resident killed in the war.

Both David and Julie MacKenzie, along with grandparents Emmett and Mary MacKenzie, saw Bush speak at the Brown Palace Hotel before the Secret Service moved them to a quiet room to meet with the president.

Emmett MacKenzie, a 75-year-old Korean War veteran, said Bush reassured them that there would be no pullout of troops until Iraqis could provide their own security.

"He said we wouldn't quit, and we told him we didn't want to quit until the job was done," Emmett MacKenzie said.

"We want to continue, and we're behind him 100 percent."

Another family for pursuit of the only valid exit strategy -- VICTORY.

Why is it that such families do not get the sort of coverage and respect that one America-hating mama gets?





|| Greg, 09:44 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Misrepresentation

How on earth do you mess this up?

Here's the headline on an article in today's Houston Chrnicle.

A first look at Roberts in action on abortion
He appears to favor the power of the state in a case involving parental consent

Every link to the article also talked about "parental consent".

The opening sentence of the story tells a different story.

New Chief Justice John Roberts appeared to side with New Hampshire as the U.S. Supreme Court debated Wednesday whether to salvage the state's law requiring girls to notify a parent before getting an abortion.

In other words, the first sentence of the article directly contadicts the headline.

Is it incompetence, or is it bias?





|| Greg, 05:29 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||
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