Or at least it is if you accept the Islamist version of the Brezhnev Doctrine, namely that any territory once under the political and military control of Islam must be forever regarded as Islamic territory. So why not return Spain?
The children's website Al Fateh, property of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, demands in its most recent issue the return of the Spanish city of Seville to the "lost paradise" of Al Andalus, as the Muslim part of Spain was called during its existence between 711 and 1492. The web magazine, whose name means "conqueror," says it is for "the young builders of the future."
That is the argument for refusing to accept the existance of Israel -- why should the existance of Spain be any more acceptable to the Islamofascists?
Could you imagine the outrage if any GOP candidate did this to a photo of a Democrat opponent? Leftwing darling and media heroine Colleen Rowley put this on her official campaign website – and then took it down when she got caught defaming the Congressman John Kline, a 25-year Marine vet.
Powerline reproduces Congressman Kline’s response.
Dear Mrs. Rowley,
It has come to my attention that you have placed on your campaign website a doctored photo of me in which my military uniform has been replaced by a Nazi uniform. I demand that you immediately remove from your website that outrageous and disgusting insult to me, my family, and every man and woman who has ever worn a military uniform in defense of our country.
No one knows better than I the rough-and-tumble of a political campaign, but we owe it to the voters not to cross the line of civility, respect and common decency. With regard to each of these, you have clearly crossed the line by portraying me as a Nazi.
I demand a personal apology from you, as well as an apology to every veteran.
Your attempts to smear my good name and 25 years of honorable service in the United States Marine Corps by equating me to a Nazi shows a lack of perspective, a lack of seriousness, and a lack of good judgment. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Member of Congress - Minnesota's 2nd District.
As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches
Hugh Hewitt, who I disagreed with, raises this issue.
Where are the Democrats who should be denouncing this? The ones who, rightly, slammed the comments directed at Congressman John Murtha's service?
But at least the questions directed at Murtha were in regard to the accuracy of his statements and changes in his story over the years – no one accused him of being a Nazi or a Communist.
Heck, I get crap from the Left when I fairly and accurately point out the personal history of the senior hill-billy from West Virginia.
But then again, lying about Republicans is perfectly acceptable to the Left, while telling the truth about Democrats (or even questioning their veracity) is never acceptable to them.
Call him “Justice Alito” now.
Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. became the nation's 110th Supreme Court justice on Tuesday, confirmed with the most partisan victory in modern history after a fierce battle over the future direction of the high court.
The Senate voted 58-42 to confirm Alito _ a former federal appellate judge, U.S. attorney, and conservative lawyer for the Reagan administration from New Jersey _ as the replacement for retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been a moderate swing vote on the court.
All but one of the Senate's majority Republicans voted for his confirmation, while all but four of the Democrats voted against Alito.
That is the smallest number of senators in the president's opposing party to support a Supreme Court justice in modern history. Chief Justice John Roberts got 22 Democratic votes last year, and Justice Clarence Thomas _ who was confirmed in 1991 on a 52-48 vote _ got 11 Democratic votes.
Alito watched the final vote from the White House's Roosevelt Room with his family. He was to be sworn in by Roberts at the Supreme Court in a private ceremony later in the day, in plenty of time for him to appear with President Bush at the State of the Union speech Tuesday evening.
Alito will be ceremonially sworn in a second time at a White House East Room appearance on Wednesday.
That makes two superb justices confirmed in the last few months – let’s hope we get another couple before Dubya leaves office on January 20, 2009.
I’ve long rejected the notion of open primaries. After all, why should members of one party have a voice in the selection of another party’s candidates? That is rather like giving the Buddhists a voice in selecting the Pope.
In two states, the GOP has taken steps to tighten-up their nominating process. This could doom a McCain run for the presidency, as the two states, Michigan and Washingon, were both strong for John McCain in 2000 because of cross-over voters.
Republicans in states that gave Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) victories or near victories in the 2000 GOP presidential primaries are looking to bar non-Republicans from voting in their primaries in 2008, which would make it even more difficult for the Arizonan to win the nomination should he run in two years.
Michigan’s Republican Party Central Committee more than a week age approved a plan that calls for holding the Republican and Democratic primaries on the same day, forcing voters to cast ballots in either a Republican or Democratic primary but not both, GOP executive director Saul Anuzis said in an interview.
The expectation is that there will be fewer so-called crossover ballots if voters can only participate in one primary, Anuzis added.
The GOP head must now confer with his Democratic counterpart, Mark Brewer. Democrats are thought to support the change.
In Washington state, where Republicans chose the presidential nominee in 2000 through a combination of local caucuses and a statewide primary, the party is looking to shift more power to the caucuses.
Traditionally, conservative activists, from abortion opponents to gun-rights proponents, have dominated caucuses, in Washington and elsewhere.
“Pat Robertson won every caucus state in 1988 except Iowa,” said Chris Vance, who recently stepped down as Washington state’s GOP chairman and managed Sen. Bob Dole’s 1988 presidential campaign.
In both Michigan and Washington, the people deciding who should be the next president of the United States are almost certain to be, as a whole, more conservative than the people who did so in 2000.
And lest liberals raise a fuss, consider this – do you really want me and my fellow GOPers coming over to the Democrat primary to vote for Joe Lieberman?
Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has gone on to join her husband in the presence of the Lord.
Coretta Scott King, who turned a life shattered by her husband's assassination into one devoted to enshrining his legacy of human rights and equality, has died at the age of 78.
Flags at the King Center were lowered to half-staff Tuesday morning.
"We appreciate the prayers and condolences from people across the country," the King family said in a statement. The family said she died during the night. The widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. suffered a serious stroke and heart attack in 2005.
Though I did not always agree with the path she advocated to reach a just and equal society, I honor her commitment to a goal which we both agree upon – her husband’s dream of a society which judges people not upon the color of their skin but upon the content of their character.
May God richly reward her in his heavenly kingdom.
What led to this attack? Was it a robbery? A random attack? Gang-related? A hate crime?
A UPS driver was savagely beaten by middle school students while delivering packages in the western suburbs.
The attack happened in Bellwood along the 3200 block of St. Charles.
In a CBS 2 excusive, Joanie Lum talked to the man who was savagely beaten just trying to do his job.
UPS driver Thomas Murphy says he was beaten by a group of school kids on busy St. Charles Road in Bellwood, the route he has driven for 12 years.
He says a teenager walked out in front of his delivery truck Friday at about 3 p.m. When he stopped the truck, 15 to 20 youths surrounded him.
"Somebody clocked me with a pipe. I took kicks from my right. My eyes caked over. I tried to get up and defend myself as best I could," Murphy said.
He was beaten from his head to his ankles.
"I remember being down on one knee, falling to the ground with kids on top of me," Murphy said.
He thinks a passing motorist called for help.
The Bellwood police believe the attackers came from Roosevelt Middle School, located a couple of blocks away. They have stepped up patrols in the area.
“If other delivery drivers are going to face this, we want our patrols in the area," said Bellwood Police Chief Robert Collins.
“Somebody should be held accountable for these kids. They run wild like a pack of wolves, where's the parents?" Murphy said.
In spite of his trauma, Murphy says he wants to get back to work.
"I have every intention of getting back on my route. I'd like to do it with some sense of security," he said.
Police say an anonymous witness has come forward with the names of several people involved in the attack. Murphy identified a couple of people in a photo lineup Monday afternoon, but no one's been arrested yet.
Photos indicate the victim was white. The story gives no indication as to the race/ethnicity of the attackers. A quick check of the information on the school mentioned in the article shows that its test scores are abysmal and that it is 98% minority. I’ve not been able to locate crime statistics for the area. The article makes me wonder, though, what we are not being told about the attack.
CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is making demands of President Bush in advance of tonight’s State of the Union Address.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group, says President Bush should avoid using "loaded and imprecise terminology" when he refers to Islam in his State of the Union address.
In a letter to President Bush, CAIR Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed suggested that the president be careful to "avoid the use of hot-button terms such as 'Islamo-fascism,' 'militant jihadism,' 'Islamic radicalism,' or 'totalitarian Islamic empire'" in his Tuesday night speech.
Ahmed reminded the president that, as Bush repeatedly has said, the war on terror is not a war on Islam. But Ahmed said the use of "loaded" terminology promotes that negative perception.
"I believe the repeated rhetorical linkage of Islam to terms of violence and extremism is counterproductive and complicates our legitimate foreign policy initiatives," Ahmed told the president.
Never mind that those terms accurately reflect the underlying ideology behind the Islamist jihad being conducted by militant fundamentalist Muslims.
I've always loved a good parody -- especially when it is used to satirize the hypocrisy of a political opponent. John Cornyn certainly did a masterful job creating and delivering one last week, delivered against Jabba the Kennedy (D-Delerium Tremens).
“In the America of [Alito’s] opponents,” Cornyn said, “no plaintiff ever loses a case; no entrepreneur ever wins, no matter how frivolous the claim of employment discrimination; police departments never win a case, no matter how desperate the claim of a criminal defendant; government agencies, ... could never win a case, no matter how outlandish the request for government benefits.”
Shades of Kennedy's "Robert Bork's America" libel of 1987 -- with the added benefit of accurately reflecting the truth, something that could never have been said of Kennedy's scurrilous attack on one of America's preeminent legal minds.
This is the sort of stuff we Texans have long known and loved from Cornyn -- a former Texas Attorney General and Texas Supreme Court Justice. Wouldn't he be marvelous as a candidate for higher office?
Somehow I doubt we’ll be shrill screeches of condemnation from the Left regarding this case – after all, vote fraud is how they have controlled East St. Louis and St. Clair County for decades.
A former Democratic election worker in this battered city was sentenced Monday to a year and a half in federal prison and a City Hall volunteer got probation for scheming to buy votes in the November 2004 election.
Noting that the case reflected an American election process "under attack" by fraud, U.S. District Judge G. Patrick Murphy ordered former precinct committee member Sheila Thomas' prison sentence to be followed by two years of supervised release.
Murphy rejected a prosecutor's request that Yvette Johnson, 47, get 10 to 16 months in prison and he gave her two years' probation, including five months of home confinement.
"I'm just glad that it's over," Johnson told reporters afterward.
Thomas, 31 and her attorney, Paul Sims, declined comment.
Last June, Johnson and Thomas were convicted of conspiracy to commit vote fraud. In the same trial, local Democratic Party chairman Charles Powell Jr., former city director of regulatory affairs Kelvin Ellis, and Democratic precinct committee member Jesse Lewis also were convicted of conspiracy to commit vote fraud.
Thomas, Johnson, Ellis and Lewis also were convicted of election fraud for allegedly paying or offering to pay at least one person to vote.
Johnson and Thomas were the first to be sentenced of the nine people who either were convicted or pleaded guilty in the alleged scheme.
That is all well and good, but I am a bit outraged by this.
In sentencing Thomas, Murphy rejected her attorney's request that she get probation because she was merely a courier of some of that money.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Cutchin argued that Thomas abused the public's trust, pressing that "this kind of conduct can not be tolerated, especially when we're dealing with something so sacrosanct" as elections.
The judge said Thomas "was used by more powerful, experienced, conniving men," but still sentenced her to prison.
Murphy did grant Johnson's request for mercy, citing her rise from poverty and that, aside from the election fraud, she had no criminal background.
Sorry, but I think Judge Murphy got this one dead wrong. I don’t give a rat’s ass that Yvette Johnson once was poor, or that she has no other criminal background. Her crime was nothing less than an attack on the integrity of the American political system. As such, she should have been doing hard time along with Sheila Thomas and the rest of these folks who engaged in a full frontal assault on the voting rights of each and every one of us. Both knew what they were doing, and that it was fundamentally wrong.
Pope John Paul the Great may be one step closer to beatification (and eventual canonization).
The Vatican may have found the "miracle" they need to put the late Pope John Paul one step closer to sainthood -- the medically inexplicable healing of a French nun with the same Parkinson's disease that afflicted him.
Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the Catholic Church official in charge of promoting the cause to declare the late Pope a saint of the Church, told Reuters on Monday that an investigation into the healing had cleared an initial probe by doctors.
Oder said the "relatively young" nun, whom he said he could not identify for now, was inexplicably cured of Parkinson's after praying to John Paul after his death last April 2.
"I was moved," Oder said in a telephone interview. "To think that this was the same illness that destroyed the Holy Father and it also kept this poor nun from carrying out her work."
John Paul suffered from Parkinson's Disease during the last decade of his life. His body trembled violently and he could not pronounce his words or control his facial muscles.
"To me, this is another sign of God's creativity," he said, adding that the nun worked with children.
He said Church investigators would now start a more formal and detailed probe of the suspected miracle cure.
Let us prayerfully wait and see what conclusions are drawn.
Why, oh why, do we even allow this man to put an (R) after his name?
U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., Monday said he would vote against the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito, the first Republican to do so.
Chafee, in a statement on his Senate Web site, said he was 'concerned about (Alito`s) philosophy on some important constitutional issues. In particular I carefully examined his record on Executive Power, women`s reproductive freedoms and the commerce clause ...'
Chafee is the first Republican to come out against the Alito confirmation but three Senate Democrats -- Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Ben Nelson of Nebraska -- have said they would vote in favor of Alito`s joining the court.
A running tally by C-SPAN shows support for Alito by 55 senators while 35 have stated opposition. He needs 51 votes to win a seat on the court.
One more reason that I’m urging folks to send their money directly to Steven Laffey’s campaign.
Well, here is a Jesse Jackass campaign that I can support.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Sunday a coalition of black city and state leaders will mount a public initiative for housing and jobs aimed at bringing home every displaced New Orleanian who wants to return.
Jackson kicked off the drive in the pulpit of Central City's New Hope Baptist Church, where he called on church members suffering from Hurricane Katrina to demand rapid access to jobs and housing so they can rebuild their shattered neighborhoods.
"You have the right to return," Jackson told a standing-room-only crowd of 300 or so, including about 70 church members who were bused in from Houston.
He urged the congregation to join a mass public march across the Crescent City Connection on April 1. For many, the bridge has become a symbol of injustice after people trying to escape the growing chaos at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Aug. 31 were turned back by Gretna police on the West Bank. Gretna officials said that city had no facilities to accept any more fleeing families.
Jackson also announced that his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition has set up a local office and named state Sen. Cleo Fields, D-Baton Rouge, its statewide coordinator.
Jackson's latest effort to bring back displaced New Orleans residents will be his second since the Aug. 29 hurricane. In October, his coalition organized a caravan of five buses that were supposed to be filled with 200 displaced New Orleanians, but instead were filled with adventure seekers and homeless people from cities across the Midwest and South. Only 14 passengers in the group were New Orleans residents.
Regarding his latest attempt, neither Jackson nor Fields proposed policy specifics in an interview Sunday. But they made clear they felt emerging state and city plans to redevelop New Orleans do not do justice to people -- most of them African-American -- who remain in cities like Atlanta and Houston and are unable to return to New Orleans.
We here in Houston will be quite glad to shove most of the New Orleans evacuees back onto buses and get them out of our city as soon as possible. We would like that crowd of whiners, complainers, grifters, robbers, and killers to go back where they came from.
There is a move afoot to put a stop to discrimination on our college campuses. The perpetrator of the discrimination? The American Red Cross. The proposed solution? Ban blood drives!
And while one school has refused to give in, there are other schools considering taking precisely that course of action.
The University of Vermont won't ban American Red Cross blood drives on campus despite a complaint from the school's affirmative action office that the organization violates UVM's non-discrimination policy.
"Donating blood is an individual choice and action -- not rising to the definition of protected activity in the case of discrimination or equal protection," Michael Gower, UVM's vice president for administration, wrote in a Jan. 17 letter detailing the school's position.
The letter was addressed to Kathryn Friedman, the executive director of the affirmative action office. Friedman had recommended that UVM curtail Red Cross blood drives on campus, arguing the Red Cross policy violated UVM's non-discrimination policy.
According to the letter, Friedman's office decided to oppose Red Cross campus blood drives after a former UVM student filed a complaint accusing UVM of permitting discrimination against gay men by allowing the Red Cross on campus.
Officials for the Red Cross blood center in Burlington were unavailable for comment late last week. Nationally, the organization's position has been that the Food and Drug Administration won't allow it to accept blood from sexually active gay men.
Among the many questions a prospective Red Cross blood donor is asked is whether the person is "a male who has had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977."
The policy is meant to keep HIV-positive blood from contaminating the nation's blood supply. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. The FDA last considered whether to revise its policy in 2000, when a panel of FDA specialists voted 7-6 to maintain the ban.
Peter Jacobsen, executive director of Vermont CARES, said he understood the Red Cross was bound by the FDA policy but said the time had come for the FDA to revisit its stance.
"Personally, I think it's unfortunate," he said of the policy. "HIV-testing technology has made such incredible advances. It is able to sort out any HIV-infected blood."
The university president argues that the ban would not be in the best interest of the students or the community. But since when do left-wing ideologues give a damn about anything but their cause? So what if a few thousand people die, so long as nobody gets their feelings hurt by being excluded from donating?
Other regional universities, including the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire, are considering whether to allow the Red Cross to continue to stage blood drives on their campuses.
The University of Maine's student government has voted to ban Red Cross blood drives on its Orono campus. The University of New Hampshire's Student Senate last year passed a resolution calling on the Red Cross and the FDA to revise their policies.
Here is a proposal – anyone offended by the current blood donation guidelines should refuse all blood products until the ban is changed. No whole blood, not platelets, no plasma, or anything else. Have your refusal tattooed in a prominent location on your body. That way your conscience won’t be offended – and there will be blood for human beings who are less concerned about PC politics and more concerned about the health and safety of the nation’s blood supply.
Mike Adams is skewering feminists in a series of columns. In the process, he raises an interesting point about the disregard feminists have for human life.
11. When faced with uncertainty, feminists have less self-control than hunters.
Once when I was deer-hunting in Ivanhoe, North Carolina, I saw something moving in the brush about 100 yards away. It was foggy outside and I was looking through a 4 X 32 scope mounted on a Marlin 30-30. I never take a shot over 100 yards with that little brush gun. And I never shoot at anything unless I know exactly what is out there.
That day I got to thinking about the feminist approach to abortion. Feminists often justify abortion by saying that the procedure is no different than picking a scab. That’s when I start asking questions.
I often ask feminists about a film I saw of a fetus in the so-called “first trimester” of development. The baby (sorry, that is my opinion) was yawning, rubbing its eyes, and even rolling around and playing in the womb. I like to ask feminists whether they have ever seen a scab yawn.
When I press them on the issue, they seldom admit that the fetus is a person. But they seldom state unequivocally that it is not. They usually say they “don’t know for sure.” And they say that I “don’t know for sure” either.
That really epitomizes our differences. When I know it is a deer in the brush, I pull the trigger. When I know it is a human, I hold my fire. When I don’t know, I also hold my fire.
The feminist who “doesn’t know” whether it is a person, has the abortion anyway. She just pulls the trigger. That really says it all, doesn’t it?
Yeah, it really does say it all.
After all, if one is unwilling to err on the side of human life when uncertain, what regard does one really have for human life?
After all, Mexican officials are involved in aiding and abetting the border-jumping criminals – so how can we expect them to help end the problem?
The U.S. Border Patrol arrested a Mexican immigration official who was allegedly trying to help a group of undocumented migrants sneak into the United States, the Mexican government said Sunday.
Immigration agent Francisco Javier Gutierrez was arrested at a checkpoint near Alamogordo, N.M., about 100 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, the Mexican Interior Department said in a news release.
Gutierrez had been fired on corruption allegations last year but returned to his job after winning a court case in which he claimed he had been unfairly dismissed, according to the National Immigration Institute.
The Mexican government promised to cooperate with U.S. authorities in the case. A spokesman for the Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas, declined to comment Sunday.
Gutierrez's arrest comes just days after the Mexican and U.S. governments exchanged terse diplomatic notes about security on the border.
We must acknowledge that, in this, the Mexican government is our enemy, not our ally.
Let’s set aside the First Amendment issues here fore a moment – and they are significant – and just consider whether the punishment is appropriate for the offense in question.
PITTSBURGH - A high school senior who was transferred to an alternative school as punishment for parodying his principal on the Internet is suing the district, arguing it violated his freedom of speech.
Justin Layshock had used his grandmother's computer and the Web site MySpace.com to create a phony profile under the principal's name and photo.
The site asks questions, and Justin filled in answers peppered with vulgarities, fat jokes and, to the question "What did you do on your last birthday?" wrote "Too drunk to remember," according to the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
School officials questioned the teenager about the site on Dec. 21, and he apologized to the principal, the ACLU said.
On Jan. 6, the district suspended Justin for 10 days and transferred him to an alternative program typically reserved for students with behavior or attendance problems, according to the lawsuit. He also was banned from school events.
The lawsuit seeks Justin's immediate reinstatement to his regular school.
Alternative school? For a juvenile attempt at humor that happened off campus and outside of school hours? You must be kidding! The suspension is even an overreaction, but one could argue that it is appropriate if the site caused a major problem at the school or contained threats, but not for insults.
Looks like someone with the district, probably the principal, got his panties in a wad and decided to “make an example” of the student.
Bad move – because the taxpayers of the district will be paying for the bad judgment of the individual who made the decision.
Every week, Watcher of Weasels sponsors a contest among posts from around the blogosphere.
The Council has cast their ballots for last week's submitted posts.
Council Member Entries: In a tie vote in which The Watcher had to cast the deciding vote, Done With Mirrors, took first place with Chaos or Community. Dr. Sanity's Ronald Reagan -- A Personal Recollection was the runner-up.
Non-Council Entries: Winds of Change was the winner in the non-council category with their entry, Just A Second – It’s Not That Dark Yet (And We Have A Really Big Flashlight).
That is the message of today's Las Vegas Review Journal. It pointedly castigates Senator Harry Reid.
Taking his marching orders from the hyperliberal Ted Kennedy wing of his party, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid will apparently vote this week with Democrats who hope to filibuster the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel Alito.
At least three of the Senate's 44 Democrats have announced they'll vote to elevate Judge Alito. One or two others appear to be leaning that way. Meanwhile, 53 of the Senate's 55 Republicans have signalled their intention to confirm the judge.
In other words, Judge Alito has more than enough support in the Senate to become the newest justice on the nation's highest court -- if he's actually given an up-or-down vote.
But Sen. Kennedy and his Massachusetts partner, Sen. John Kerry, are trying to drum up support among fellow left-wingers to prevent that from happening. They would need at least 41 senators to join in the charade. "It's an uphill climb at the current time," Sen. Kennedy said Friday, "but it's achievable."
Is it? Even Sen. Reid conceded late last week that, "Everyone knows there are not enough votes to support a filibuster."
That's because months of dirt-digging and days of circuslike hearings have turned up no compelling reason why minority Senate Democrats should deny President Bush his choice to fill the seat of retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
So why doesn't Sen. Reid take the filibuster threat off the table? Why go forward with what is obviously a counterproductive political exercise? Is the whole charade simply an attempt to curry favor with the liberal interest groups that help the party mainline cash?
If Sen. Reid votes to support a filibuster against Judge Alito, he threatens to further alienate himself from Nevada's more moderate voters. Does the name Tom Daschle ring a bell, senator?
It's worth noting that Sen. Reid likely wouldn't lend his name to these tactics were he up for re-election this year, instead of 2010.
In other words, this is politics and not principle leading to the attempt to stop a highly-qualified mainstream jurist from serving on the Supreme Court.
Rhe paper has this to say to Senator Bill Frist.
Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has announced his intention to quash the filibuster move in a Monday vote. But if Teddy & Co. somehow conjure up the votes necessary to block a vote on Alito, Sen. Frist shouldn't hesitate to:
-- Force Democratic obstructionists to conduct an actual filibuster and hold up Senate business for weeks while they drone on reading from the Communist Manifesto.
-- Employ the so-called "nuclear option" that was in play when Democrats kept blocking votes on Bush appellate court nominees.
Anything less would be a complete capitulation.
Agreed -- and we must not capitulate to an obstructionist minority. Personally, I prefer forcing a real, honest-to-God filibuster. Let the people see exactly what the Democrats are up to with their baseless attacks on a good man. Show precisely the lengths to which they will go to get their own way, even when it clashes with the will and desires of the American people -- their own constituents.
Even Senator Barack Obama sees the filibuster as pointless and wrong.
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., predicted today that an effort to try to block a final vote on Alito would fail on Monday. That would clear the way for Senate approval Tuesday of the federal appeals court judge picked to succeed the retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Democrats fear he would shift the court rightward on abortion rights, affirmative action, the death penalty and other issues.
"We need to recognize, because Judge Alito will be confirmed, that, if we're going to oppose a nominee that we've got to persuade the American people that, in fact, their values are at stake," Obama said.
"There is an over-reliance on the part of Democrats for procedural maneuvers," he told ABC's "This Week."
* * *
Obama cast Alito as a judge "who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values."
* * *
"There's one way to guarantee that the judges who are appointed to the Supreme Court are judges that reflect our values. And that's to win elections," Obama said.
I agree with the sentiments, Senator, but would like to note that the problem is that your values do not reflect those of the American people. Those sentiments are best reflected in the values of the Bush administration, the GOP, and Judge Samuel Alito.
So Democrats, show some guts, and some integrity.
And accept the results.
If you respect the American people.
I've written on this topic before, having experienced the racist attitude that often prevents the adoption of non-white children by white families. In today's Houston Chronicle, there is discussion of the sound reasons for rejecting the racist attitude (promulgated primarily by the National Association of Black Social Workers and other liberal groups) that transracial adoption should be discouraged and prevented -- those who are more interested in racial identity than in human need.
In 2002, the last year for which there are national statistics, 300,000 women aged 18 to 44 were seeking to adopt a child and had taken specific measures to do so.
It's not surprising that about half of the women preferred a single nondisabled child under the age of two. What is significant are the racial preferences of these black and white women toward the race of any future adopted child.
Eighty-four percent of white women seeking to adopt would "prefer or accept" an African-American child as compared with 75 percent of African-American women who would "prefer or accept" a white child, a difference of only 9 percentage points.
Supporting these changing racial preferences, 93 percent of black women seeking to adopt would "prefer or accept" an adoptee other than black or white as compared to 95 percent of white women seeking to adopt who would "prefer or accept" an adoptee other than black or white.
These strikingly similar figures, a difference of only two percentage points, speaks to a fundamental shift in family creation and, indeed, reflects a shift in defining what it means to be a family member.
In other wods, most of those seeking to adopt are more inteested in the need of the child than the race of the child. Most of those seeking to adopt have the place in their hearts and homes for a child, regardles of race. And as we move towards a society that is more and more color-blind and multi-racial society (despite attempts by the racists of NABSW and other such groups to frustrate that goal), it is simply unacceptable to live by an ideology that is horrificly wrong and immoral, and which harms children.
For 30 years, scientific data has rejected the idea that children raised in cross-race adoptive families are any less African-American, Asian, etc., than their counterparts raised in racially similar environments. Sure, in a perfect world there would be no need for trans-racial adoption or adoption in general. But the world is very far from perfect and children need families, and families want children.
Morgan Freeman was castigated by some for saying in a 60 Minutes interview that one way to eliminate racism was to not talk about it. Why not try that when it comes to adoption? There is little to no risk.
What is the alternative for thousands of children available for adoption — to remain in foster care when we know the long-term detrimental effects of such long-term placement? How about not talking about race in relation to adoption?
If there's a goodness of fit between an available child in foster care of a race different from an eligible adoptive family, don't talk about race, as Freeman suggests. Just place the child.
Why reject what we know: Children of one race raised in families of another race develop into productive, emotionally healthy, assured, racially comfortable adults.
And let's be very clear -- we know that loving relationships can and do transcend racial boundaries. Over the years, I have had students in foster care and eligible for adoption who my wife and I would have considered bringing into our home, but for the barriers placed in the way of interracial adoption by allegedly well-meaning but thouroughly racist social workers. It didn't matter that their actions violated federal law -- the ideology prevented our moving forward. As a result, kids stayed in the system until they "aged-out" at 18.
In other words, the system is broken and will remain so until there is an actual change in attitude and behavior regarding interracial adoption.
I remember that day all too well. I had spent the morning at Illinois State University' Bone Student Center, in a giant room filled with teacher recruiters as I desperately sought employment.
I wanted to get rid of my resumes and other stuff before heading to the cafeteria, so my girlfriend and I went up to my dorm room in Watterson Towers to drop stuff off. She turned the television on to catch the news. After all, this was the "Teacher In Space" flight, and there had been much buzz about the impending launch at the teacher job fair.
That's when we saw the coverage.
They were looking for the shuttle.
And then they showed the replay as we watched -- horrified.
I remember shouting at the screen. I was later told that my words were "Where's the f#^%ing shuttle?" I was literally knocked to my knees by the force of what I was seeing as the tears began to roll down my face, brought on by a visceral understanding of images that my brain could not comprehend.
I knelt there and watched. And wept. We never did make it down to lunch, nor did I return to the job fair.
It must have been an hour or two later that the phone rang. It was Tony Zagotta, president of the ISU College Republicans (later the National Chairman) and one of my closest friends on campus. Could I meet him, Eric Nicoll, and the rest of the CR inner circle at the office to help organize a candlelight vigil in the quad.
Before I went to that meeting, I watched what is my favorite Reagan speech.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.
"Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But, we've never lost an astronaut in flight; we've never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we've forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle; but they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.
"For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we're thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, 'Give me a challenge and I'll meet it with joy.' They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.
"We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.
"And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them.
"I've always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don't hide our space program. We don't keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That's the way freedom is, and we wouldn't change it for a minute. We'll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue. I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA or who worked on this mission and tell them: 'Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it.'
"There's a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, 'He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it.' Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake's, complete.
"The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honoured us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'
Apprpriately enough, it was those closing words that floatd into my mind nearly two decades later when Ronald Reagan died.
Today I can drive to Johnson Space Center in 10 minutes, including the time it takes to back out of the garage. A local school and the town youth center are named for astronaut Ed White, killed on the launchpad with Grissom and Chaffee in that flash of fire in the first Apollo capsule. I shared a zip code with one of the Columbia astronauts, and remember seeing the others in local stores. All of those who have lost their lives in the pursuit of space exploration have a special place in the heart of this community.
I claim a number of honest-to-God rocket scientists among my friends and acquaintances. Several of them were intimately involved with Challenger, and more were a part of the Columbia team. A few, the old-timers, knew and worked with the Apollo 1 crew. Each of them tells me that they are dedicated to the continuation of manned spaceflight. Why? Because those who have given their lives to push back that frontier would want it to continue.
And so, today, we honor and remember those who died in spaceflight.
AND LEST WE FORGET OTHER SPACE HEROES
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A beautiful black granite statue of Queen Tiye, mother of the monotheistic king Akhnaten, was unearthed last Monday in Luxor, reports Nevine El-Aref. At Karnak's Mut Temple, a John Hopkins University archaeological mission stumbled upon the statue while brushing sand off the temple's second hall.
"The statue is mostly intact," said Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), who added that although the 160cm tall statue has a broken arm and a missing leg, it was still considered very well preserved. It features a standing Queen Tiye wearing a wig and a cobra-decorated crown.
Initial examinations revealed that the back of the statue is engraved with two columns of hieroglyphic text bearing different titles of king Amenhotep III, who ruled for 38 years during the 18th Dynasty. According to Sabri Abdel-Aziz, head of the SCA's Ancient Egypt Department, the inscriptions written on the statue also include a cartouche of a 21st Dynasty queen called Henutaw, which reveals that the same statue was used in a subsequent era.
In other archaeology-related news, the SCA and the Luxor Supreme Council agreed to enlarge the road around the two famous Memnon statues on Luxor's West Bank; they also discussed the possibility of constructing a visitors' centre -- similar to the one at the Abu Simbel Temple -- at the entrance of the Valley of the Kings.
And assuming that presumed family trees are correct, she was also King Tut's grandmother.
So, does the allegedly "unquestionable moral authority" of Cindy Sheehan extend beyond questions of war and peace in Iraq to include deciding who should or should not be on the Supreme Court? She thinks it does.
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan has threatened to run for Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) seat unless Feinstein filibusters Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.
Sheehan, who was in Caracas, Venezuela Friday attending the World Social Forum, heard that several Democrats planned to filibuster Alito but that Feinstein, who is up for re-election in November, announced that she will vote against Alito but would not filibuster the nomination.
"I'm appalled that Diane Feinstein wouldn't recognize how dangerous Alito's nomination is to upholding the values of our constitution and restricting the usurpation of presidential powers, for which I've already paid the ultimate price," Sheehan said in a statement.
Sheehan became a national figure representing the anti-war movement after her son Casey was killed in Iraq and she stood vigil outside President Bush's Crawford, Texas ranch last summer demanding to speak face-to-face with Bush about her son's death.
Sheehan claimed Alito has "an extensive paper trail documenting the right-wing political agenda that he has actively advanced, not only as a high-ranking official in the Reagan Administration, but also as a judge."
She accused Alito of trying to restrict Congress' power and supporting "efforts to curtail privacy rights, including not only privacy from government surveillance and arbitrary arrest, but also other constitutional rights based on privacy, such as reproductive liberty for women."
Sheehan is scheduled to return from Venezuela on Monday and will travel to the nation's capital to take part in an alternative State of the Union event.
This dishonest narcissist who has dishonored her son by her anti-American antics doesn't realize that her 15 minutes are up -- and she doesn't get another, any more than she got another meeting with the President.
Hey, Cindy -- it isn't all about you!
UPDATE: DiFi KowTows
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced that she will vote no on cloture regarding the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
“Based on a very long and thoughtful analysis of the record and transcript, which I tried to indicate in my floor statement yesterday, I’ve decided that I will vote no on cloture.”
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To honor deceased President Ronald Reagan, the Georgia Legislature is considering a resolution to declare Feb. 6 to be Ronald Reagan Day.
But some are complaining about the failure to honor another former president.
Georgia lawmakers are proposing a resolution making February 6th Ronald Reagan Day, in honor of the 40th U.S. President. But according to Plains residents, there's just one small problem with that.
Former President Jimmy Carter, the only President from Georgia, doesn't even have his own day.
We got some strange reactions we got when residents found out that the 39th President of the United States, and their hometown hero, doesn't have his own day in the State of Georgia.
Jimmy Carter was born and raised in Plains. From his old high school, to City Hall, everyone we spoke to had good things to say about the former President.
"The Pharjac Grille is a local landmark that President Carter himself frequents often. While we weren't lucky enough to catch him there when we visited, the owners say the former President deserves his own day in the state of Georgia."
"Jimmy Carter brought the world to Georgia," says Pharis Short, owner of the Pharjac Grill. She knows President Carter well.
"It is logical that if we're gonna honor a President, Jimmy Carter ought to be the first one we honor," she told us.
Let me point out that Jimmy Carter is still alive – which makes the situations somewhat different. Let me also point out that Reagan was a significantly better president than Carter was.
But perhaps Georgia should honor Carter. Might I suggest declaring April 1 to be Jimmy Carter Day?
Look at what the actual facts and figures tell us about the capital gains tax cut. It increased revenue, even as it allowed folks to keep more of their money.
On Thursday the Congressional Budget Office released its annual Budget and Economic Outlook, and buried in one of its nearly impenetrable tables of numbers is a remarkable story that has gone entirely unreported by the mainstream media: The 2003 tax cut on capital gains has entirely paid for itself. More than paid for itself. Way more.
To appreciate this story, we have to go back in time to January 2003, before the tax cut was enacted. Table 3-5 on page 60 in CBO’s Budget and Economic Outlook published in 2003 estimated that capital-gains tax liabilities would be $60 billion in 2004 and $65 billion in 2005, for a two-year total of $125 billion.
Now let’s move forward a year, to January 2004, after the capital-gains tax cut had been enacted. Table 4-4 on page 82 in CBO’s Budget and Economic Outlook of that year shows that the estimates for capital-gains tax liabilities had been lowered to $46 billion in 2004 and $52 billion in 2005, for a two-year total of $98 billion. Compare the original $125 billion total to the new $98 billion total, and we can infer that CBO was forecasting that the tax cut would cost the government $27 billion in revenues.
Those are the estimates. Now let’s see how things really turned out. Take a look at Table 4-4 on page 92 of the Budget and Economic Outlook released this week. You’ll see that actual liabilities from capital-gains taxes were $71 billion in 2004, and $80 billion in 2005, for a two-year total of $151 billion. So let’s do the math one more time: Subtract the originally estimated two-year liability of $125 billion from the actual liability of $151 billion, and you get a $26 billion upside surprise for the government. Yes, instead of costing the government $27 billion in revenues, the tax cuts actually earned the government $26 billion extra.
In other words, supply-side economics – AKA Reaganomics – works.
It's time to throw out the tired union rhetoric about equal pay and solidarity. Why? Because some union bosses in cities such as Baltimore and Atlanta are hiring homeless people to walk picket lines, but they're not paying them living wages or offering the golden benefits they so proudly promote. Apparently getting the cheapest labor possible isn't such a bad idea after all.
Sorry, Ann, but such comments are inappropriate. And I say that as someone who hopes Justice Stevens leaves the bench sooner rather than later.
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter, speaking at a traditionally black college, joked that Justice John Paul Stevens should be poisoned.
Coulter had told the Philander Smith College audience Thursday that more conservative justices were needed on the Supreme Court to change the current law on abortion. Stevens is one of the court's most liberal members.
"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee," Coulter said. "That's just a joke, for you in the media."
What you said is every bit as unacceptable as the comment by one liberal pundit that she hoped Clarence Thomas’ wife would feed him an unhealthy diet so he would have a stroke and die young like so many other black men.
I would like to pointedly suggest that you apologize – and really mean it.
After all, he is the only Klansman in the Senate, and he is 100% con-fed Democrat. Judge Alito deserves better than confirmation with Robert Byrd's vote.
Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, whose confirmation seems certain in the Republican-run Senate, padded his modest Democratic support Thursday with endorsements by Sens. Robert Byrd and Tim Johnson.
Alito already was assured the votes of at least 51 of the 55 Republicans in the 100-member chamber - enough to be put over the top - when West Virginia's Byrd and Johnson of South Dakota joined Nebraska's Ben Nelson in saying they'll vote yes.
I wish would issue a public statement requesting that Senator Byrd vote against him -- as a matter of principle, as a demonstration of his opposition to racism and bigotry in all its forms.
After all, Byrd used to head an organization that expressed contempt for Catholics, immigrants, and those of non-Anglo-Saxo heritage. Alito qualifies on two counts, and his father fit all three.
(h/t: Blogs for Bush)
Bill Frist is taking a preliminary step.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., (R-Tenn.) on Thursday filed a cloture petition to close the debate on Judge Samuel Alito’s nomination to be the next associate justice to the Supreme Court of the United States.
The cloture motion agreed to in the Senate sets forth a cloture vote for 4:30 p.m. EST, on Monday. If cloture is invoked, then the Senate will proceed to a final vote on Judge Alito’s nomination at 11:00 a.m. EST, Tuesday.
Sen. Frist made the following statement regarding the voting schedule in the Senate:
“Next Tuesday, a bipartisan majority of Senators will vote to confirm Judge Alito as Justice Alito.
“After a thorough, fair, and robust debate on the Senate floor it is now time for Senators to go on record and vote up or down on this outstanding nomination.”
Why file for cloture? Because of threats by certain dishonorable Democrats.
Massachusetts Sens. John Kerry and Edward Kennedy, along with a small number of other Senate Democrats, have threatened a filibuster to block the vote for Judge Samuel Alito's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, FOX News has learned.
"Judge Alito has consistently made it harder for Americans to have their day in court. He routinely defers to the power of the government, no matter how extreme. And he doesn’t believe women have a right to privacy that’s protected by the Constitution," Kerry said in a statement.
"The president has every right to nominate Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. It’s our right and our responsibility to oppose him vigorously and to fight against this radical upending of the Supreme Court," he added before announcing he would return to Washington early on Friday from Davos, Switzerland, where a Senate delegation was attending the World Economic Forum.
If they try it, crush them completely. The American people have had enough of their antics.
If this bank operated here in Texas, I would be moving my business to them.
BB&T Corp., the second-biggest bank in the Washington area, said yesterday that it will not lend money to developers who plan to build commercial projects on land taken from private citizens through the power of eminent domain.
"The idea that a citizen's property can be taken by the government solely for private use is extremely misguided; in fact, it's just plain wrong," said John Allison, the bank's chairman and chief executive officer.
BB&T Chief Credit Officer Ken Chalk said the North Carolina bank expects to lose only a tiny amount of business, but thinks it is obligated to take a stand on the issue.
"It's not even a fraction of a percent," he said. "The dollar amount is insignificant." But, he added, "We do business with a large number of consumers and small businesses in our footprint. We are hearing from clients that this is an important philosophical issue."
Mr. Chalk said he knows of no other large U.S. bank with a similar policy.
Still, if more banks adopt a similar principled policy, they will more than make up for it with the increased business they receive.
The New York State Conference of the American Association of University Professors is objecting to the Academic Bill of Rights proposed in the state legismature. Let’s take a look at the portions of the legislation that they find so objectionable in their correspondance with their members.
Academic bill of rights.
1. A student enrolled in an institution of higher education has the right to expect:
a. A learning environment in which the student has access to a broad range of serious scholarly opinion pertaining to the subjects the student studies in which, in the humanities, the social sciences and the arts, the fostering of a plurality of serious scholarly methodologies and perspectives has a significant institutional purpose;
In other words, they are objecting to a mandate to provide students with a well-rounded education.
b. To be graded solely on the basis of the student's reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge of the subjects the student studies and to not be discriminated against on the basis of the student's political or religious beliefs;
It seems that the students wish to permit grades to be based upon the student’s conformity to religious or political ideologies rather than their knowledge of the material and their demonstrated scholarship. This is at odds with the traditions of Western liberal education, which had as its goal the liberation of the individual mind rather than it’s shackling.
c. That the student's academic freedom and the quality of education will not be infringed upon by instructors who persistently introduce controversial matter into the classroom or coursework that has no relation to the subject of study and that serves no legitimate pedagogical purpose;
The professors seem to think that students have no right to expect that they will be taught the subject matter of the course and not the personal opinions and philosophy of the professor on matters unrelated to the subject matter of the class. They view students as a captive audience to be indoctrinated. The irony is that this clause is based upon a 1940 statement of the AAUP on academic freedom.
d. That the freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of conscience of students and student organizations are not infringed upon by administrators, student government organizations or institutional policies, rules or procedures; and
Contrary to the Bill of Rights and the repeated rulings of the Supreme Court, the AAUP believes that college students shed their civil liberties when they enter the campus.
e. That the student's academic institution distributes student fee funds on a viewpoint-neutral basis and maintains a posture of neutrality with respect to substantive political and religious disagreements, differences and opinions.
A fair and equitable distribution of mandatory student fees is somehow threatening to academic freedom?
2. A faculty member or instructor at an institution of higher education has the right to expect:
a. Academic freedom in the classroom in discussing subjects while making the students aware of serious scholarly viewpoints other than that of the faculty member or instructor and encouraging intellectual honesty, civil debate and the critical analysis of ideas in the pursuit of knowledge and truth;
I cannot understand what is objectionable here – unless the requirement that a professor provide students with a well-rounded education is a threat to current practices.
b. To be hired, fired, promoted, denied promotion, granted tenure or denied tenure on the basis of competence and appropriate knowledge in the field of expertise of the faculty member or instructor and not on the basis of political or religious beliefs; and b. To not be excluded from tenure, search and hiring committees on the basis of political or religious beliefs.
Non-discrimination is supposed to be a good thing, according to the Left. Could it be that they hypocritically apply such matters only to themselves and their favored groups, and not to those who do not share their worldview?
3. An institution of higher education shall fully inform students, faculty and instructors of the rights under this section and of the institution's grievance procedures for violations of academic freedom by notices prominently displayed in course catalogs or student handbooks and on the institutional publicly accessible site on the Internet
4. The governing board of an institution of higher education shall develop institutional guidelines and policies to protect the academic freedom and the rights of students and faculty under this section and shall adopt a grievance procedure by which a student or faculty member may seek redress of grievance for an alleged violation of a right specified in this section..
A governing board under this subdivision shall:
Publicize the grievance procedure developed pursuant to this subdivision
To the students and faculty on every campus that is under the control 27 and direction of the governing board. .
We can’t be telling students that they have rights, can we? That would threaten the ability of the unbalanced professor to indoctrinate his captive audience!
In light of the inoffensive and reasonable nature of these provisions that the AAUP is objecting to in NY State, it can only be assumed that the requirement of professional conduct is offensive to the groups and that the legitimate rights and expectations of students need protection.
Maybe the time has come for the New York taxpauyers to cut the public college and university system loose as irredeemable corrupt, and see if the one-sided and biased faculty can survive on their own in the marketplace.
Not only are the cabrones running the Mexican government denying the possibility that their troops are helping smuggle drugs into the US, but now they are accusing the US military of doing so.
Mexico's top diplomat suggested Thursday that American soldiers disguised as Mexican troops may have been in the military-style Humvee filmed earlier this week protecting a marijuana shipment on the border.
Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez also told a news conference that U.S. soldiers had helped drug smugglers before. However, he offered no evidence.
* * *
Derbez said Thursday that the men photographed by Texas law enforcement could have been Americans.
"Members of the U.S. Army have helped protect people who were processing and transporting drugs," Derbez said. "And just as that has happened ... it is very probable that something like that could have happened, that in reality they were members of some of their groups disguised as Mexican soldiers with Humvees."
Yes, there have been stray individuals who have done so -- and they are arrested, indicted, prosecute, and imprisoned. These things do not happen in Mexico to police and military.
And then there is this little outrage.
Derbez also said his country will send a diplomatic note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanding that U.S. officials tone down their comments on Mexico's security and immigration problems.
Why don't we send some troops over the border into Mojado Land to do something about its security and immigration problems instead.
The Palestinians have voted the terrorists in as their leaders.
It is only a matter of time until the “blown to pieces” process revs into high gear.
These folks are un-reconstructed terrorists out to destroy Israel. I have no problem with whatever Israel does to deal with them. Neither does Captain Ed.
Unless someone can show widespread voter fraud on behalf of Hamas, the Palestinians should be judged by the choices they have made this week. They have chosen war and the annihilation of Israel over the two-state solution favored publicly (if not fervently) by Fatah. Europe and the United States need to wake up from their delusional dreamland of a situation where both sides in this conflict want a peaceful conclusion and a world without hatred for their children and grandchildren. Clearly, the Palestinians want war, and they have made no secret of using their children and grandchildren as bomb fuses in order to perpetuate it.
The first item on our list should be an absolute end to all aid to the Palestinian territories and government. The US should not subsidize Hamas, nor should it give money to a people whose only aim appears to be genocide. Second, the US should allow Israel to respond militarily to any and all provocations -- no more pressure from Washington on Tel Aviv to moderate their responses to suicide bombings and missile attacks. And if Hamas and the Palestinians still want to wage war after that, then let the IDF roll across the West Bank and Gaza Strip and push the whole lot of them right into the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea. That's what total war means, and as soon as the world stops preventing the Palestinians from the risks of their own choices, the sooner they will conclude that war is the worst possible choice for them.
The stated goal of Hamas is the destruction of Israel. I therefore have no problem with Israel adopting the stated goal of destroying Hamas and the palestinia Authoity along with it.
UPDATE: President Bush also puts it well.
I don't see how you can be a partner in peace if you advocate the destruction of a country as part of your platform. And I know you can't be a partner in peace if your party has an armed wing...I will continue to remind people about what I just said...I've talked to Condi twice this morning. She called President Abbas...
The United States does not support political parties that want to destroy our ally, Israel...
Well said, Mr. President.
AN OBSERVATION FROM A FRIEND:
Got an email from a colleague this evening, making the observation.
Remember all those folks who could not accept the small discrepancies between the exit polls in 2004 and the results of the election, claiming that they were certain proof of fraud and election theft? They seem mighty silent, now that the discrepancy favors teh "kill the Jews" lterrorists in the Middle East.
Could it be that they have greater faith in the integrity of the terrorists than they do in their own country?
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That is what one Florida radio station has termed Dave F. Swafford, who walked into a classroom and punched out a teacher's aide who his daughter accuses of inappropriately touching her.
An angry father who marched into a classroom and punched a teacher's assistant in the face said Wednesday he was protecting his 15-year-old daughter, who had accused the man of inappropriately touching her.
Dave F. Swafford, 42, was charged with felony battery on a school employee after he hit the 35-year-old aide in front of a class full of students at Lakewood Ranch High School near Bradenton Tuesday morning, authorities said. He was also named ``Father of the Year'' by a local radio station for his actions.
``I'm not real proud of what I did,'' Swafford told The Associated Press Wednesday. ``You have to protect your children, and my daughter does not lie to me.''
It seems Mr. Swafford was unwilling to allow school procedures to be invoked and investigations to be made. He wanted action taken immediately because, after all, his daughter doesn't lie to him.
And that is why I think he is a sad and pathetic excuse for a parent (and for a man, for that matter). This is the situation that led to his assault.
Swafford, the part owner of an air conditioning company, said he came to the school to meet with officials about allegations made by his daughter and other female students about the assistant's inappropriate touching and conduct. When he saw that the man was not in the meeting, he asked his daughter to take him to the classroom.
``I wanted to know why the guy was in a classroom teaching after my daughter came forward,'' he said.
A verbal exchange became heated, and ``I lost control,'' he said. He spent about 10 hours in jail and got out later Tuesday after posting bond.
You see, he wanted the man to lose his job based solely on his daughter's say-so. No need to investigate, no need to find the facts -- take the word of a 15-year-old and a couple of her friends and just fire the guy. This guy is such a hot-head that he didn't even bother to wait for his meeting with the administration -- he had his daughter lead him down to the guy's room so he could assault him. After all, his daughter has spoken, and she doesn't lie to him.
You may ask why I am not taking a hard line against child abuse. Quite simply, it is because I am not sure that there is abuse here. What I am sure is that we have another case of a parent walking into a school and committing an act of violence against school personnel. That isn't acceptable.
And as for the accusation made, I'd rather wait for there to be some investigation before drawing a conclusion. After all, kids do lie to their parents, even about this sort of stuff
I watched a colleague suffer through such an accusation a few years ago. A decent, compassionate, dedicated man, he had a trio of girls who were doing poorly in his class accuse him of giving them lewd looks and groping them. It wasn't true -- they just wanted out of his class so they could get As instead of Bs. He was suspended from work, and had to go home and tell his pregnant wife about the accusation (it was a difficult pregnancy, and his wife lost the baby that week). Once cleared, he was still the subject of rumors -- even though one of the girls admitted that she had lied. Even today, four years later, there still lingers a hint of scandal around his name, and certain parents will insist that their children be assigned to other classes. It is certain that he will never be hired as an administrator in this or any other district, despite completing his certification requirements a few weeks after the accusation was made; I wonder if he could even get a teaching job outside of the district. After all, there will always be those who will remember the accusation and be certain that these girls didn't lie.
So I'll be honest here -- I hope Swafford ends up serving the maximum sentence for the felony he committed, regardless of the guilt of the guy accused by his daughter. No one should be able to walk into a school and assault an employee, no matter how righteous their cause is alleged to be.
UPDATE: O'Reilly says the school has tape of the accused in a different location at the time of the incident -- and daddy has a violent rap sheet.
This report makes it clear that the "Father of the Year" attacked a man who was falsely accused by his lying daughter.
It turns out the daughter made it all up, the Manatee School District says.
The parent of a Lakewood Ranch High School student punched a teaching assistant at the school Tuesday, and said he was justified because his daughter claimed the teacher had touched her inappropriately.
But the girl's entire story was made up, school officials said today, and now the father faces a felony battery charge that could bring prison time.
The girl, who had been in a school-suspension classroom at the high school, was apparently motivated by revenge, Superintendent Roger Dearing said.
The teacher assistant, Deon W. Mathis, had turned the girl in to the office after seeing her pour soda onto another student from the second floor of a school stairwell.
Dearing said the district has statements from several other students and footage from a school security camera that proves the teaching assistant did nothing wrong. Video tapes show Mathis wasn't even in the classroom at the time the girl claimed the sex harassment took place.
Dearing said the district would pursue criminal charges against the parent, Dave F. Swafford, who has been making national TV rounds justifying the violence. He was slated to appear on the O'Reilly Factor tonight.
Dearing called Mathis a respected and caring educator. He is expected to return to work Monday after being put on paid administrative leave.
Oh, and by the way -- daddy was still defending his daughter and accusing the teacher on national television (O'Reilly) after the evidence was released. here's hoping for a big-time libel award in addition to a long jail sentence.
MORE COMMENARY (including much that is misguided): Southchild, Unknown Professor, PC540, Attu, Opinion Bug, Just Iggy, Evil Overlord, Right Thinking from the Left Coast, Teacher Children Hell, It's All Greek To Me, The Political Teen
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I love it when a liberal becomes a complete hypocrite – insisting that his right to free speech and an audience trumps everyone else’s right to raise a voice in opposition.
There is such a thing as bad publicity after all.
Creators of "Jerry Springer - The Opera," the musical that sparked outrage among conservative Christians when shown on British television, say protests and lobbying have dented ticket sales for a tour in what they call a blow to freedom of speech.
The outcry, which culminated in more than 60,000 people complaining to the British Broadcasting Corporation when it aired the profanity-laden show last year, has also undermined plans to take the award-winning musical to Broadway.
"Despite having a show which has won all the best musical awards and critical praise, I would say that it looks to me like (lobby group) Christian Voice are winning the audience battle," said Jon Thoday, the show's producer.
So it seems that the threat to free speech here is the speech of Christians calling the show blasphemous and profane – a description that most would argue fits the show.
Sorry, Mr. Thoday, but the peaceful speech of your opponents is not a threat to free speech – it is the ultimate triumph of free speech.
I cannot believe that the Supreme Court is going to consider this case.
The Supreme Court agreed yesterday to decide when death row inmates may challenge lethal injection as a method of capital punishment, in a surprise decision issued after the justices dramatically stopped the execution of a Florida prisoner who was already strapped to a gurney preparing to die.
Clarence E. Hill, 48, convicted of murdering a Pensacola police officer in 1982, had refused a final meal and needles had punctured his arm when the Supreme Court stayed his execution. The court said it would hear his claim that he should have an opportunity to argue that his civil rights would be violated because the chemicals used to execute him would cause excessive pain.
Excuse me, but the entire process is about KILLING someone. I frankly don’t care if it hurts – their crimes are of such magnitude that they are being put down like the mouth-frothing rabid dogs that they are. If they suffer, so be it – it is merited pain and suffering.
No, this is just one more attempt to prevent the just punishment of the worst among us.
but heaven forbid that a citizen enroll is child on the “wrong” side of a school district border.
In San Jose, Calif., many parents want to get their kids in Fremont Union schools because they're so much better than neighboring schools. So parents sometimes cheat to get their kids in. At least cheating is what local officials call it. Steve Rowley, district superintendent, said, "We have maybe hundreds of kids who are here illegally, under false pretenses."
Illegally. False pretenses. Sounds like the kids are criminals. All they're doing is trying to get a good public-school education. Don't the public schools' defenders insist all children have a right to a good public-school education?
And that is exactly the argument used for education border-jumpers and their offspring – they need a good education to succeed. But we won’t allow America kids to jump the borders of school districts to get one.
Read John Stossel’s column and you will be truly and righteously outraged.
Bravo to these five teachers who refuse to place a pro-gay poster in their classrooms, despite a district mandate.
Five teachers at San Leandro High School have refused to comply with a school district order to display a rainbow-flag poster in their classrooms that reads, " This is a safe place to be who you are," because they say homosexuality violates their religious beliefs, Principal Amy Furtado said. The high school's Gay-Straight Alliance designed the poster, which includes pink triangles and other symbols of gay pride. In December the school board approved a policy requiring all district teachers to hang the posters in their classrooms.
District officials said the poster is an effort to comply with state laws requiring schools to ensure students' safety and curb discrimination and harassment. They say that too often teachers do not reprimand students who use derogatory slurs or refer to homosexuality in a negative way.
"This is not about religion, sex, or a belief system,'' said district Superintendent Christine Lim, who initiated the poster policy. "This is about educators making sure our schools are safe for our children, regardless of their sexual orientation."
“Not about religion, sex, or a belief system”? Really? So if a student expresses his firmly held religious belief that homosexual activity is immoral and that practitioners thereof are going to burn in Hell, they won’t be reprimanded? Heck, given the official endorsement of homosexuals as a protected class, will students who adhere to traditional moral and religious beliefs feel that “this is a safe place to be who you are”? I don’t think so.
Speaking as a teacher, I don’t accept anyone giving crap to anyone else over sexual orientation, race, or any of the other protected statuses. Not because these kids are “special”, but because all kids are special. My kids know that they will not get away with that sort of crap in my presence – and they learned that from their older siblings and cousins before they ever set foot in my room.
But I wouldn’t put the poster up. It gives an imprimatur to one side of the homosexual rights issue that I think should not be given in a classroom setting. It is implicitly a tool of indoctrination.
And if you disagree with me, consider this – how long would this poster be allowed to remain in any public school classroom anywhere in the United States?
You want to tell me again that this isn't about special treatment for one group based upon their sexual practices, or the disfavoring of a point of view -- especially if it is religious?
UPDATE: I found the poster online. Look close and see what is missing.
Yep, that is right -- straight kids are pointedly not included among those for who the classroom is declared to be a safe place to be themselves.
UPDATE – 1/27/06: Looks like the teachers have given in. That is too bad.
"We are a diverse staff. We have teachers here who are active in their churches, and we respect their beliefs," Furtado said Wednesday. "But none of those teachers have said they won't put up the posters because of that."
Teachers have a week to hang the 8 1/2-by-11 posters, which were designed by the 30 or so students in the school's Gay-Straight Alliance. Furtado will check all 200 classrooms next week to see if the posters are visible, and she said she'd have "a private conversation" with teachers who don't comply.
"The expectation is compliance," she said. "It's board policy. But what's great is that today we have some very conservative teachers who've already put it up."
Too bad than none had the guts to stand their ground. The poster’s contents are exclusive, divisive, and oppressive – not inclusive, uniting, and liberating.
TRACKBACKS: Stop the ACLU, Wizbang, Samantha Burns, Gribbit, Conservative Cat, MacStansbury, RightWingNation,, PointFive, Adam's Blog, third world country, Bacon Bits, Stuck on Stupid, Real Ugly American, Liberal Wrong Wing, Uncooperative Blogger, Publius Rendevous, Bullwinkle, Voteswagon
A conservative activist dropped his offer to pay students up to $100 per class for providing information on what he called "radical" professors at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The activist, Andrew Jones, said Monday he would continue his effort with unpaid volunteers.
Jones' Bruin Alumni Association had offered UCLA students up to $100 to supply tapes and notes from classes to expose professors he considered to be pushing liberal political views on their students.
After news reports about the plan, Jones was criticized by faculty members who complained of a "witch hunt." Several prominent members of his organization's advisory board, including a former congressman, resigned from the group after details of the payment plan became public.
Jones, 24, a 2003 graduate and former head of the campus Republicans, said he was concerned about the level of professionalism among teachers at the university. He said the payment offer had become "a distraction from the real problem, which has been all along the issue of classroom indoctrination by UCLA professors."
The University is still opposed – and implicitly threatening to punish any student who dares to speak out and supply proof of classroom bias.
Lawrence H. Lokman, a UCLA spokesman, said University of California rules bar the distribution of course materials unless permission is granted by the instructor and campus chancellor. As a result, he said, Jones' campaign violates UC policy even if no payments are involved.
I’m suspicious of this rule, because it prevents the public from finding out about the workplace conduct of public employees. Does that not constitute an unconstitutional restriction on the right to speak on a matter of public concern, and to petition for the redress of grievances?
And besides, wouldn’t the students in question be whistleblowers – who are, we are told, nothing less than patriots out to secure the public’s “right to know” and disclose the unsavory actions of government institutions and officials.
Asthma sufferers may not be able to buy nonprescription inhalers much longer because the devices contain propellants that some think harm the ozone layer.
An advisory panel voted 11-7 Tuesday to recommend that the Food and Drug Administration remove the "essential use" status that Primatene Mist and other similar nonprescription inhalers require to be sold, spokeswoman Laura Alvey said. Final revocation of that status would mean a de facto ban on their sale.
The FDA usually follows the advice of its outside panels of experts, though a decision can take months. If the agency opts to follow the recommendation, it would begin a rule-making process that would include public comment, Alvey said.
Wyeth Consumer Healthcare estimates that 3 million Americans use Primatene Mist for mild or intermittent cases of asthma. About two-thirds also use a prescription inhaler but rely on Primatene as a backup. About 700,000 use the inhalers because they don't have a prescription or lack health insurance.
The incredible arrogance of government is enough to take one’s breath away – literally.
He’s moved to the Middle East, and now he’s wearing a abaya – will this guy ever stop the move into Bizarro-World?
MANAMA, Bahrain — Pop star Michael Jackson was spotted shopping in a Bahrain mall today, hiding his face behind a veil and donning a black robe traditionally worn by women in the Gulf.
He was with three children, apparently his own, who also had their faces covered by dark scarves. An unidentified woman accompanied them.
The pop star, who seems to be settling in the Persian Gulf, was seen leaving Marina Mall in the Bahrain capital, holding a child by the hand. On the way out a back door, he shook hands with security guards.
The woman — also dressed in the black robe called an abaya, jeans and a scarf that partially covered her face — had the two other children. All three children were wrapped in black scarves and wore yellow shirts and sweatpants or khakis without robes.
Since his June acquittal on child molestation charges in California, Jackson has made several trips to Bahrain as a guest of Sheik Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the son of Bahrain's king. He reportedly was negotiating a position as a consultant with a Bahrain-based company that plans to set up theme parks and music academies in the Middle East.
On the mall outing, Jackson wore an abaya, pants, a white shirt and men's shoes. His head and face were wrapped in a black veil and he also wore black gloves.
The veil, abaya and gloves were of a style typically worn by conservative Bahraini women.
You know, just to make it clear that we are serious about cross-border incursions by the Mexican military? Especially if they are helping to smuggle drugs or illegal aliens.
Men dressed as Mexican Army soldiers, apparent drug suspects and Texas law enforcement officers faced off Monday on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande, an FBI spokeswoman said today.
Andrea Simmons, an agency spokeswoman in El Paso, told The Associated Press that Texas Department of Public Safety troopers chased three SUVs, believing they were carrying drugs, to the banks of the Rio Grande during Monday's incident.
Men dressed in Mexican military uniforms or camouflage were on the U.S. side of the border in Texas, she said.
Simmons said the FBI was not involved and referred requests for further details to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin of Ontario, Calif., reported today that the incident included an armed standoff involving the Mexican military, suspected drug smugglers and nearly 30 U.S. law enforcement officers. It said Mexican military Humvees were towing what appeared to be thousands of pounds of marijuana across the border into the United States.
The incident follows a story in the Bulletin on Jan. 15 that said the Mexican military had crossed into the United States more than 200 times since 1996.
Chief Deputy Mike Doyal of the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Department told the newspaper that Border Patrol agents called for backup and were joined by Hudspeth County deputies and DPS troopers. Mexican army personnel had several mounted machine guns on the ground more than 200 yards inside the U.S. border, the newspaper said.
Doyal said deputies captured a Cadillac Escalade that had been reported stolen from El Paso, and found 1,477 pounds of marijuana inside. He said Mexican soldiers set fire to one of the Humvees stuck in the river.
The site is near Neely's Crossing, about 50 miles east of El Paso, it said.
Why no shooting in this situation (or any of the other 200+ incidents)?
"It's been so bred into everyone not to start an international incident with Mexico that it's been going on for years," Doyal said. "When you're up against mounted machine guns, what can you do? Who wants to pull the trigger first? Certainly not us."
The border in this area is clearly marked – it is called the Rio Grande – and such crossings are frequent. They are denied by the Mexican government.
It is time for the US to make this a shooting war. It might be the only thing that will get the attention of the Mexican authorities and make them realize that the US is serious about border security.
If we really are serious about border security.
That says it all.
I’ll waste no more bandwidth on him.
Gov. Erlich is ahead in the polls as he seeks reelection in Maryland. Lt. Gov. Steele is in the lead in the race for Senate. The GOP is growing in once solidly Democrat Maryland.
What are the Democrats doing to counter this trend? Seeking out new voters – convicted felons.
Democratic lawmakers, who have long pushed to restore voting rights to Maryland felons, say racial politics and election-year considerations make this the year they open the polls to every ex-convict.
"This law seriously disenfranchises a large number of African-Americans," said Delegate Salima Siler Marriott, a black Baltimore Democrat who is gathering sponsors for a voting-rights restoration bill she plans to submit.
"Their disenfranchisement impacts the power of African-Americans in this state," said Mrs. Marriott, whose bill would give all felons the vote immediately upon release from prison.
If Mrs. Marriott's bill succeeds this time -- it has died in committee the past three years -- an estimated 150,000 felons would be able to cast ballots in Maryland. About 85,000 of them are black and likely Democrats, according to Justice Maryland, a penal reform group that supports felon voting rights.
These convicted murderers, rapists and armed robbers could vote as early as the Nov. 7 general election, if the law takes effect on the traditional Oct. 1 start date. And felons could sway the results.
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, won the 2002 governor's race by 66,170 votes, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections.
Mr. Ehrlich's re-election bid this year is expected to be an even closer contest against either of the Democratic candidates -- Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley or Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan.
"That might be the line used by Democrats as to why they should support the bill," said Tara Andrews, executive director of Justice Maryland.
And let’s make matters perfectly clear here – this measure primarily benefits violent felons and career criminals. First offenders who committed non-violent crimes generally have their rights restored three years after their release from prison.
That should make it obvious whose side the Democrats are on in Maryland – and it isn’t the side of the law-abiding.
MORE AT: Michelle Malkin
Mike Adams reports on this coalition of conservative and libertarian students to overturn a rule at University of North Carolina-Greensboro that infringes upon freedom of association.
“The Anti-Discrimination statement must include that student organizations may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability, military, veteran status, political affiliation or sexual orientation.”
After reading your report, members of the College Libertarians and College Republicans recognized that their rights as political organizations are being circumvented by this patently unconstitutional policy.
It is clearly unreasonable to request political organizations to admit members of opposing political parties. To require them to do so would sabotage the level of political discourse on campus. Therefore, these two groups have asked UNCG to change this policy. They have asked that the anti-discrimination statement be altered to except political groups from the political affiliation portion of the statement and religious groups from the religion portion of the statement.
Until the anti-discrimination statement is officially altered, the Republicans and Libertarians are refusing to include the full statement in their respective organizational constitutions. They are also refusing to otherwise comply with the unconstitutional policy. And, best of all, they have warned the UNCG administration that they are prepared to pursue legal action to remedy the situation.
The university is retaliating, recently billing them $238 for copying a few dozen pages of public records related to donors to UNCG. I’d like to encourage folks to help defray the cost of copying – and other related expenses – by donating a couple of bucks their way. You can do so at the following address: UNCG College Republicans, Elliot University Center, Box N3, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170. If you would rather have your money go to the UNCG College Libertarians, they can be reached here: UNCG College Libertarians, 110 Odell Place, Greensboro 27403 (make checks payable to Guilford County Libertarian Party). Give what you can to help advance reasoned political debate on one campus.
Ever since Watergate, a key media template has been that the Republican Party is the party of corruption. Thus every wrongdoing of any Republican tends to get page one treatment, while Democratic corruption is treated as routine and buried on the back pages, mentioned once and then forgotten.
Yet any objective study of comparative party corruption would have to conclude that Democrats are far more likely to be caught engaging in it than Republicans. For example, a review of misconduct cases in the House of Representatives since Watergate shows many more cases involving Democrats than Republicans.
Skeptics can go to the web site of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, popularly known as the House Ethics Committee. Click on “historical documents” and go to a publication called “Historical Summary of Conduct Cases in the House of Representatives.” The document was last updated on November 9, 2004 and lists every ethics case since 1798, when Rep. Roger Griswold of Connecticut attacked Rep. Matthew Lyon of Vermont with a “stout cane” and Lyon responded with a pair of fireplace tongs.
By my count, there have been 70 different members of the House who have been investigated for serious offenses over the last 30 years, including many involving actual criminality and jail time. Of these, only 15 involved Republicans, with the remaining 55 involving Democrats.
I’ve regularly pointed out that the Democats are the party of corruption in this country – so corrupt that the media doesn’t treat corrupt Democrat public officials as newsworthy. I’ve had folks minimize the importance of Democrat corruption in their comments here. But the numbers tell the story quite clearly.
They must have thought this guy was a union employee on the job.
It took more than six hours for anyone to realize that a 64-year-old Brooklyn man had died on a New York City subway train.
Eugene Reilly, who died of a heart attack, likely got onto a Brooklyn-bound Q train just before 1 a.m. Thursday. He wasn't found until 7:15 a.m. when a curious commuter touched his shoulder, trying to wake him, the New York Daily News reported.
Reilly, a mail handler, worked the 4 p.m.-to-12:30 a.m. shift and was headed home, his wife said. He was sitting up in his seat, which transit officials said was likely the reason their workers left him alone for so long, the newspaper said.
"The policy is that if someone is sitting up, employees are not allowed to touch them," said Deirdre Parker, a city transit spokeswoman.
A different transit official said employees probably saw Reilly, who was in the last car of the train, but thought he was sleeping.
"People sleep on the train all the time," an official said. "No one thought anything of it."
I know this happened in NYC, but I can’t help but think of an old song.
Did he ever return, No he never returned And his fate is still unlearn'd He may ride forever 'neath the streets of Boston He's the man who never returned.
Just days after the NYC transit workers’ union rejected the contract they were offered following their illegal strike, this picture appeared in the New York media.
Note the date and time – 1/22/06, 1:13 PM.
Needless to say, your average New Yorker, who was not supportive of the pre-Christmas strike, is outraged.
"I can't believe this. If they want more money, they should have to work for it," steamed commuter Carolyn Brand, 23, of New Jersey, told The Post after being shown the picture.
* * *
Jordan Saxe, 26, who spotted the sleeping clerk and snapped his photo, said he thought the man "might be sick or hurt or dead."
"I tapped on the glass to see if he was OK," Saxe said. "Then I realized he was snoring. He was out cold and didn't budge. To me, this is a moral issue. I work in corporate America. You just can't do that in broad daylight."
* * *
Jani Coupour, 29, said he doesn't understand why transit workers are entitled to special treatment.
"If I was caught sleeping on the job I would be fired," he said. "These people don't have to worry about that, because of their union."
Passengers said the clerk also wasn't helping make the union's case that the MTA is wrong to try to remove agents from the booths.
"That's typical of them," said William Bookin, 40, a doorman who lives on the Lower East Side. "They don't want to be bothered. If you ask them for help, and if they are awake, they're rude to you."
* * *
"I'm worried about a possible strike," said Bill Thompson, 38, who works for the Medical Examiner's Office.
"The transit workers are extremely well paid. I'm a union worker and I have to pay $30 a paycheck for health."
Most riders said transit workers must be dreaming if they thought they would fare better after rejecting the contract.
"They're screwing themselves," said Chris Kannick, 28, of Murray Hill. "They won't get a better offer. In fact, they're lucky they have what they have."
The union, of course, is fully prepared to defend Sleeping Beauty here, and to refuse arbitration.
I think it may be time for Mayor Bloomberg to go PATCO on the transit workers’ union. Sounds like the public would support him.
What possesses supposedly professional educators to do stuff like this?
BEAVER FALLS -- A 17-year-old high school student said he was humiliated when a teacher made him sit on the floor during a midterm exam in his ethnicity class -- for wearing a Denver Broncos jersey.
The teacher, John Kelly, forced Joshua Vannoy to sit on the floor to take the test on Friday -- two days before the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Broncos 34-17 in the AFC Championship game. Kelly also made other students throw crumpled up paper at Vannoy, whom he called a "stinking Denver fan," Vannoy told The Associated Press.
Kelly said Vannoy, a junior at Beaver Area Senior High School, just didn't get the joke.
"If he felt uncomfortable, then that's a lesson; that's what (the class) is designed to do," Kelly told The Denver Post. "It was silly fun. I can't believe he was upset."
Fire this idiot for unprofessional conduct.
Yeah, it might make him uncomfortable -- that will be a lesson, and what the his termination is designed to do.
And by this I do not mean the average, run-of-the-mill liberal (usually a decent, reasonable person who is merely wrong) -- I mean the chronically discontent activists who would not be content with the actions of the United States and the current Administration even if George W. Bush went on national television, announced his capitulation to their policy demands, beheaded Dick Cheney and Karl Rove and then lit a match after dousing himself in gasoline.
Feminism and Marxism and other similar movements "have the ambitions of a monotheistic faith, offering a feminist [or Marxist] answer to every moral and social question, a feminist [or Marxist] account of the human world, a theory of the universe....It drives the heretics and half-believers from its ranks with a zeal that is the other side of the inclusive warmth with which it welcomes the submissive and the orthodox."
I'm not so sure about that last part. I don't think the protesters have a coherent world view that answers all questions; rather, I think they are suffering from debilitating, free-floating resentment that paralyzes them and makes realization of their ideas -- or indeed having any ideas -- impossible. The best examination of the problem of resentment came in the 1914 book Ressentiment (the French spelling is in the original) by Max Scheler. Scheler, a forgotten genius, was a philosopher whose work influenced the future John Paul II. According to Scheler, resentment is "an incurable, persistent feeling of hating and despising" that happens in certain people due to certain "psychic, mental, social, or physical impotencies, disadvantages, weakness or deficiencies of various kinds." It's less about social problems than mental illness.
James Hitchcock, interpreting Scheler, broke it down further: Resentment, he wrote, is about moral values themselves. It was the role of certain people, whether through mental problems or some other disadvantage, to hate the idea of morality itself. This is why resentment is incurable, and different from hatred or jealousy. If you're jealous of your neighbors sports car, you get over it when you by your own. If you resent him because he's a Christian -- well, there's really nowhere to go with that, other than to this year's protest march. It's also why resenters can't forge a coherent philosophy. If you're problem is with the natural law and morality itself, you're not going to be happy in this life. Yes, yes, we all know Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman et al hate Bush, the war, etc. But what are they for? The world may never know.
This lack of vision distinguishes resenters from terrorists; indeed, it is the Left that likes to talk about the resentment of terrorists -- because of the evil USA, they are forced to murder innocent people, and so on. In fact, terrorists have an absolutely clear plan. The want to conquer the world and set up sharia law. They don't hate morality, they just have a demonic understanding of it. They are evil. Yet if they ever attained their (impossible) goals, they would no longer feel hatred. One gets the sense that unlike them, Maureen Dowd just cannot be made happy. This is why the remarks about her problem not being political but a resentment at her failure to attract a man -- remarks I for a long time considered out of bounds -- may have some validity. If this attractive woman has not been able to get and keep a mate, perhaps the fault lies not in the stars or the Republicans.
And that is what differentiates my wife or Dan (a regular commenter here and author of Gone Mild) from the ranters and ravers like Cindy Sheehan and Harry Belafonte -- the latter suffer from a pathological resentment of those whose disagree with them.
And yes -- I will concede that we on the right have a few of that ilk in our midst as well. Just not as many.
The Cut-&-Run-ocrats don't support the mission in Iraq or the troops that are are successfully carrying it out. But they are more than willing to use their deaths for political purposes in Buks County, PA.
A Republican group is calling for the removal of a death count of American servicemen in Iraq from the Doylestown headquarters of the Bucks County Democratic Committee.
Democrats have a sign in the front window of their Court Street office that includes the words "We honor our fallen heroes" and a running tally of U.S. military deaths in Iraq.
The count stood at 2,224 on Saturday.
Don Petrille, chairman of the Bucks County Federation of Young Republicans, said his group thinks Democrats are "using the numbers for political gain, and that's not something we think helps our mission or is an appropriate use for our soldiers."
Democrats defended the sign, though, saying it's a valid way of honoring fallen service members.
Your party has come out infavor of making their sacrifice meaningless -- it is therefore disingenuous to claim that you are honoring the dead.
Take down the sign -- or support them and their mission.
Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus won't be making any more legal appearances on the lawn of Polk County's administration building.
The County Commission on Jan. 11 voted unanimously to close the "free-speech zone'' that it created less than one year ago.
The free-speech zone was implemented last year after a church group in December 2004 built a Nativity scene on the lawn of the Neil Combee Administration Building without county permission. In the zone, individuals and groups were allowed to express themselves with displays or other forms of expression.
Care to guess why they decided to end a policy that facilitated the exercise of a fundamental civil liberty? Because of the objections of a so-called civli liberties group.
In late 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union and two co-defendants filed suit against the county over policies in the zone they think are unconstitutional.
After the suit was filed, county officials suspended some of the free-speech-zone regulations as part of a temporary agreement with the ACLU.
I guess the ACLU only supports freedom of for the speech they like.
Commies, Nazis, and Klansmen -- shout it out loud.
Christians -- Shut the f*&% up!
Every week, Watcher of Weasels sponsors a competition among posts from around the Blogosphere. The winning entries are determined by The Watchers Council.
Council Member Entries: The Glittering Eye with Options on Iran II
Non-Council Entries: The Anchoress with NY Times Tipped Terrorists? (UPDATED).
Though the Chronicle is doing all it can to minimize his front-runner status.
Radio talker and former sportscaster Dan Patrick's entry into the state Senate District 7 race made the outspoken, hard-right, born-again Christian communicator the candidate to beat.
He's well-known in the area from years on the air and has a committed base of conservative fans. The three other Republicans vying to succeed retiring Sen. Jon Lindsay — former Houston City Councilman Mark Ellis, and state Reps. Peggy Hamric and Joe Nixon — are scrambling for second place.
With four strong candidates and more than a million dollars streaming in, it's likely no one will claim a majority March 7 and the nomination will be determined in a runoff.
The district is solidly Republican, so the GOP nominee will be the favorite in November against Democrat F. Michael Kubosh.
The article then goes on to claim that all of the currently serving politicians are seeking to run a grassroots campaign! Like Dan, the only non-elected official in the race, is not the ultimate grassroots candidate?
So far, Ellis and Hamric have been focusing on grass-roots efforts, conceding the public campaign to the better-funded Nixon and better-known Patrick.
Dan Patrick is the ultimate outsider -- to hear that incumbent politicians are running grass-roots campaigns is ludicrous!
Want a great example of dhimmitude in a supposedly secular country with a Muslim majority? Take a look at this piece from a Malaysian blogger.
The latest greatest document on Islamic treatment of non-Muslim minorities is a document published in AD 717 known as the Pact of Umar. Not surprisingly many Muslims (including your neighbours and colleagues) will find the occurences in today's Malaysia acceptable since this is where they get their guidelines on acceptable behaviour from.
First of all the Muslims term all the people who are kaffir as "dhimmis". This means they have to pay a jizya or a poll tax for protection. The local samseng back at school used to call this protection money. In the more refined Malaysia we give Muslims back tax dollars for monies paid to their religion. I once published a post or two on how Muslims are freeloaders because of this. I got condemned by a heavy hitting blogger but so far there has been no response from anyone as to why Muslims get their tax dollars back in equal amount for monies paid to the mosque and I don't get money back in equal amount paid to the church. Call it jizya, call it protection money or call it a mob shakedown. It's the first pillar of Islam in dealling with dhimmis. You pay more so that they can take more. Where I come from, that's called freeloading.
Let's see what else is in the Pact of Umar.
You'll have to go to Maobi to find out more about the Pact of Umar, and its de facto application in modern-day Malaysia.
My wife lives with constant pain from a chronic medical condition. One of the hard parts of this illness is the difficulty in getting enough medication to give her relief -- not because it is not available, but because doctors are reluctant to prescribe it. One physician quite prescribing some of her medications to any patient, and anoyhter tried to limit her to only enough to last two weeks between appointments (which would have more than doubled our out-of-pocket cost through insurance). Why? Because of federal prosecution of pain management doctors under drug trafficking laws.
That may change now, due to the recent Supreme Court decision on Oregon's assisted suicide law.
Doctors who specialize in pain management and their advocates are hoping that last week's Supreme Court decision upholding Oregon's assisted-suicide law will boost their efforts to defend colleagues accused by the government of illegally prescribing narcotic painkillers to their patients.
With dozens of doctors, pharmacists and patients now in jail or awaiting imprisonment after being convicted of drug trafficking, the specialists and their attorneys say the Oregon ruling supports their contention that prosecutors have reached improperly into the state-regulated practice of medicine.
"The prosecutors have been making a policy argument in court against the treatment of chronic pain as it's being practiced, and this Supreme Court decision makes clear that is not their role," said Eli Stutsman, an Oregon attorney who represented a doctor and pharmacist in the assisted-suicide case. He is now arguing appeals for several convicted pain doctors.
"Before I was just a lawyer with a legal analysis before the courts, but now I have a decision of the highest court of the land," he said.
The question is, will that decision be followed, or will doctors continue to be prosecuted for following the best medical practices?
Radley Balko, a policy analyst with the Cato Institute, a conservative Washington think tank, believes the government is being overly aggressive in prosecuting doctors, but he said he does not see the Supreme Court decision as a threat to the government's initiative against what it considers illegal prescribing.
"The justices carved out this little sphere of individual rights with the Oregon ruling, and I would hope that would migrate into the pain medication sphere," he said. "But I'm not all that optimistic because of other decisions they've made."
In particular, he noted, the court allowed the federal government authority to overrule state laws permitting the use of medical marijuana.
But John Flannery, attorney for a South Carolina doctor convicted in 2004 of illegally writing a handful of pain medication prescriptions after working at a pain center for only three months, said the decision has encouraged him about the prospects of an upcoming Supreme Court appeal of the case.
"The U.S. Supreme Court sent the Justice Department a powerful message, told them to back off, and to stop meddling in medical care in the states -- as it was none of their business," he said. "We can only hope that the courts don't stop with yesterday's decision, as there's more that the department's doing wrong -- terribly wrong."
The regulation of the practice of medicine is a state matter, not a federal one. The current federal proactice of prosecuting doctors for prescribing therapeutic dosages of medication is fundamentally wrong -- and hurts patients like my wife. The time has come for that practice to stop.
And I hope this decuision in the Oregon case brings such abuse of power to a sudden and permanent end.
The Washington Post covers the dispute over when to start school -- an issue being faced in many parts of the country.
The pressures of federally mandated exams have pushed public schools here and in several other states to begin classes weeks earlier than usual to squeeze in more days of instruction before the critical tests, sometimes striking August entirely from vacation calendars and devoting the month, traditionally left open for childhood leisure, to class time.
But a widespread backlash, led by disgruntled parents organized into loosely affiliated Save Our Summers groups across the country, is underway.
Legislators in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Pennsylvania are weighing bills this year that would peg school start dates to Labor Day. North Carolina, Texas, Minnesota and Wisconsin passed similar measures in recent years.
The issue is one of the most controversial aspects in the debate over the exams used to comply with the No Child Left Behind law, leading to widening opposition and adding to the litany of complaints about the side effects of what critics call "high-stakes" testing.
Public schools here, for example, began classes at the beginning of August; essentially wiping out a month many had counted on for a spell of unhurried pleasure. Sherry Sturner, a mother of two in Miami-Dade County, had been looking forward to a family reunion up north and time at the swimming pool. But the new schedule did not accommodate them.
Now I won't waste my time teeing off on Mama Sherry, who seems to forget that there are two other entire months for her to spend at family reunions and lounging by poolside with the kids. Instead, I'll deal with the real issue -- the unreasonable expectations of parents and legislators on issues of school calendars and testing dates.
You see, the length of the school year has grown increasingly longer over the years. When I was a kid, the length of the school year was 170 days. Now it is 180 days here in Texas -- but parents and legislators still want us to fit everything into the same neat little "Labor Day to Memorial Day" package that existed when we were kids. The school year has lengthened as we have tried to increase standards in education, to reclaim the high rankings the US once had in academic performance.
And, of course, there is the issue of testing. If the state is going to tell us that we test in February (as we do here in Texas), then we want to get in the maximum number of days before testing, especially since promotion and placement decisions for students may be riding on test results which take weeks to be scored and returned by the state and its contractors.
But mostly it is a question of the number of available days for instruction, as well as certain cultural/traditional calendar issues, that give rise to early starts. This is especially true when districts wish to place semester exams before the Christmas holiday.
Let's look at this example of a school calendar, from what we will call "Generic Independent School District". It is typical of districts here in Texas.
This district already has a problem -- next year it needs to start in the week of August 21, given legislation passed in the last session of the Texas Legislature. I suppose that would not be too difficult to do. Eliminate the Staff Development Day on October 10, sending the kids to school on Veterans Day. Cut three days at Thanksgiving, giving kids only Thanksgiving and the day after -- I hope Grandma is only over the river and through the woods and not in another state or country. Push semester exams back a day, keeping the kids in school through December 16 -- teachers will just have to stay late to get their grades in before break, or perhaps finish on that January 2 Staff Development day. I guess that wasn't that hard.
But what about this idea that we should not start school until after Labor Day and be out by Memorial Day? How will we get the additional 10 instructional days? This is where it gets trickier -- for that involves taking 10 more days out of First Semester and finding days to replace them. That is impossible, as we have left only two non-instructional days after Labor Day and before Winter Break (which, for purposes of this discussion, cannot be touched -- imagine the parental uproar).
This new change already means that we are going to have to move some of First Semester into January. Kids will have one week of review followed by semester exams. To facilitate this, we need to eliminate the January 2 staff development day. That is one day out of the way, so we need nine more.
We have eleven possible days available. They are January 16 (MLK Day), February 13 (Presidents Day), March 6-10 (five days of Spring Break), April 14 (Good Friday), April 28 (Staff Development), May 25 & 26 (Thurdsay and Friday prior to Memorial Day).
Our first casualty has to be Spring Break. After all, it eliminates more than half of the deficit. Similarly, the two days in May are obvious choices, because they are just slack days before the Memorial Day deadline. We still need two days, so we must get rid of the Staff Development day in April (don't worry -- teachers will just do all of the eliminated days in August before the school year starts).
And so, we need just one more school day. Take your pick -- MLK Day, President's Day, or Good Friday (a likely high absentee day). Which do you get rid of? Do you offend blacks, Christians, or patriotic Americans? Personally, I'd get rid of MLK Day on the basis of its closeness to Christmas break, since it makes no sense to have a day off two weeks after a two-week break. But I doubt that any school board would have the testicular fortitude to stand by such a reasonable decision in the face of complaints from outraged black citizens. Similarly, I don't think that most Texas school boards would be willing to fight the battle over Good Friday -- especially given the financial hit that the district could take over the low attendance that day. So, we will eliminate Presidents Day.
What does that leave us? School starts on September 6, and students will attend every weekday until November 24. They will be back in session fro November 28-December 16, and then break for two weeks. School resumes on January 2, and the semester ends on January 13. Following MLK Day, school runs continuously until April 14, and from April 17 through May 26. Parents will, of course, complain that the lack of days off leaves their children tired and overworked, but what can be done? After all, they wanted that full three months off in the summer -- Memorial Day to Labor Day, just like when they were young. We cannot add days to the calendar.
So parents, legislators, tourism industry representatives and other interested individuals -- you have a choice. We must have kids in school at least 180 days (personally, I advocate more). The question is where to put those days. You can have a full three months of school vacation in the summer -- but if you get that, you will sacrifice those other days off you have come to expect during the year. If you take a count, the calendar I proposed had exactly fourteen weekdays off from Labor Day to Memorial Day -- and ten of them were during the Christmas season. Of the remaining four, two are customary vacation days at Thanksgiving, one is an ethnically sensitive national holiday and the other is part of a major religious celebration. That is not my choice -- it is yours. And it doesn't change my work schedule at all -- I will still have to report for Orientation and Staff Development during August, though perhaps a few days later.
But this calendar does something that those advocates do not realize -- it eliminates eight days of instruction before the TAKS test (February 21-23) and shifts them after TAKS. Does this help the students, or does it harm them? Does the elimination of a week-and-a-half of instructional time before the test make them more or less likely to pass? Given that students will be denied a diploma, retained a grade, or required to attend summer school or take remedial classes based upon their performance, I think it harms them. And like it or not, these tests -- and the consequences of low student performance -- are not going away any time soon.
You folks decide -- just tell me when and where I'll find a classroom full of kids with my name on their schedules and I will give them my all. I just hope you will give up the unrealistic dream of fitting a 180-day school year into a package designed for a 170-day (or shorter) school year.
UPDATE -- 1/24/06: Looks like the issue is rearing its head in Washington DC, where the School Board is debating an August 14 start date.
You have to love the hypocrisy of the Islamofascist theocrats in Teheran that exists in this complaint directed at Jacques Chirac.
'The French president has increased ambiguities and fears by the world public opinion towards all world states possessing nuclear weapons,' foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Assefi was quoted as saying by news agency ISNA.
The remarks made by Chirac on Thursday, in an outline of France's expanded nuclear strategy, were widely regarded as an indirect warning against Iran and its ambitions to expand its nuclear programmes.
'The bitter experience of use of nuclear weapons in the second World War has been so catastrophic that it could neither be acceptable nor justifiable to repeat even the probability of its use,' the spokesman said in a first reaction to Chirac's comments.
Assefi added that human beings' logic, religious beliefs and humanitarian values could in no way accept production and use of weapons of mass destruction.
So, Mr. Assefi, does that mean that your nation is prepared to dismantle it's nuclear weapon's program?
I didn't think so.
One would hope that a responsible author would reject a book plug from terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. Not William Blum.
Bin Laden said al Qaeda group was preparing more attacks in the United States but also told Americans, "It is useful for you to read the book 'The Rogue State.'"
"I was quite surprised and even shocked and amused when I found out what he'd said," Blum said on Friday in an interview with Reuters Television in his Washington apartment.
"I was glad. I knew it would help the book's sales and I was not bothered by who it was coming from.
"If he shares with me a deep dislike for the certain aspects of U.S. foreign policy, then I'm not going to spurn any endorsement of the book by him. I think it's good that he shares those views and I'm not turned off by that."
Not only that, but the hate-America crowd has rushed out to buy the book.
It has jumped to #30 from #209,000 on Amazon.com since the terroist leader endorsed the book during his latest threat to engage in terrorism in the United States.
Any question who the enemy is?
This bit broke yesterday on Drudge.
THE DRUDGE REPORT has learned Sen. Ted Kennedy's (D-MA) office is behind a last ditch effort to stop Judge Samuel A. AlitoÕs confirmation before next week's vote using a 2004 recusal request.
THE DRUDGE REPORT has obtained a complaint filed by H. Gerard Heimbecker of Upper Darby, PA accusing Alito of not properly listing the Heimbecker v. 555 Associates case in his Senate questionnaire.
Kennedy legal aide James Flug is behind the efforts to push this latest attack. The veteran aide has been criticized for Sen. Kennedy's misfires during the Alito hearing last week. Flug was reportedly behind the attacks Kennedy used against Alito related to the Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP) and Vanguard recusal case.
In the 2004 case, Heimbecker not only filed a request for Alito to recuse himself but also the entire Third Circuit as well.
One Capital Aide aware the situation challenged Heimbecker's credibility. "The individual who filed this complaint is clearly a serial litigant. It will be interesting to see how far the Democrats will push this and what the mainstream media will make of it."
Now I'm not surprised to see Senator Kennedy (D-Who's You're Daddy?)engaged in more desperate attempts to smear a judge he disagrees with.What i am surprised about is his possible willingness to use a bizarre case like this one to do so.
A Delaware County retiree has filed a judicial-misconduct complaint claiming that Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. failed to disclose the man's case in his responses to a U.S. Senate questionnaire.
H. Gerard Heimbecker, 70, of Upper Darby, said Alito should have noted his efforts to have all the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges, including Alito, recuse themselves from hearing Heimbecker's appeal.
"Judge Alito holds himself and fellow judges above the law and the complainant beneath the law," Heimbecker wrote in the complaint filed Monday. The 3rd Circuit clerk's office docketed the case and said in a letter to Heimbecker that Alito had been given a copy of the complaint on Tuesday.
Heimbecker, a former fireman and sandwich-maker, describes himself as a conservative Catholic and lifelong Republican. He said Alito's alleged omission violates a rule requiring judges to avoid "impropriety and appearance of impropriety."
"He failed to be honest and totally truthful with the committee, for the reasons that he was protecting himself by not having to answer for his actions in covering up the actions of [another] judge," Heimbecker said yestserday.
Heimbecker is acting as his own lawyer in pursuing the complaint against Alito.
Sounds oh-so-serious -- until you look at the facts alleged in the case. This guy didn't just want Judge Alito from hearing his case -- he argued that the entire Third Circuit Court of Appeals was biased against him, and that NONE OF THE JUDGES should be allowed to hear his case.
Heimbecker wanted Alito and the other appeals judges to recuse themselves from presiding over one of a series of legal actions triggered when the landlord of his Bala Cynwyd sandwich shop did not renew his lease.
He asked the 3rd Circuit to recuse itself because of what he described as a witness' relation to a judge and because he claimed the panel was biased and prejudiced against him in not forcing another judge to step aside.
The landlord, 555 Associates, sued Heimbecker for malicious prosecution after he attempted to bring a private criminal complaint against it, said 555 lawyer Gerald E. Arth. The company won a default judgment in Montgomery County against Heimbecker, and he subsequently lost a lawsuit against it, its employees and others that eventually landed in federal court, Arth said.
"He was angry about what had happened in state court, and the resolution of that, and decided to file a lawsuit in federal court which had no merit, was dismissed," Arth said. "He's tried his hardest, I think, to claim that there was a grand conspiracy against him of lawyers, judges, insurance companies and everything else."
Heimbecker described it as "a case of arrogance. They're going to do what they want. I had the facts and the law and they disregarded all of it."
so what it appears we really have is an angry loser in a previous case seeking revenge. There appears to be no substance to his claim -- but since when does lack of substance (or truth) matter to Senator Kennedy (D-What bridge? What car? What dead girl?), who paid a college classmate to take a final for him and who tried to get his cousin to lie about Chappaquidick.
I personally agree with the White house spokesman about the complaint filed against Alito in this case.
"What this proves is that it's very easy in the United States, both to file suit and to file complaints," Schmidt said. "Every American has that right, no matter how frivolous it is."
It seems that there are those in maryland who are hell-bent on making sure than no one as unimportant as the citizens of Maryland get to have a voice on the definition of a fundamental societal institution.
First, a Maryland judge has struck down the traditional definition of marriage, claiming it is irrationally discriminatory.
In the long-awaited 20-page Maryland court ruling, Murdock took the position that banning same-sex marriage was no less discriminatory than outlawing interracial marriage, saying that "although traditions and values are important, they cannot be given so much weight that they alone will justify a discriminatory statutory classification."
In other words, a couple of thousand years of Western culture have no bearing on the laws of the state of Maryland.
Democrats are scrambling like cockroaches to avoid allowing the people a say on the issue -- they know it will hurt their party.
Even before the ruling yesterday, House Democrats took steps to try to prevent a constitutional ban from reaching a vote on the floor. House leaders made a technical change in procedural rules Thursday, over the objections of Republicans. Residual resentment from that move spilled into yesterday's floor session.
Minority Whip Anthony J. O'Donnell (R-Calvert) admonished his Democratic colleagues for what he said was an attempt to shield them from casting a tough vote in an election year. "We should not fear having a debate," he said.
Yesterday, House and Senate leaders met to discuss how to deal with the issue. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) have cast votes supporting the 1973 law against same-sex marriage.
But both also took the position that a constitutional amendment would be premature, because yesterday's ruling came from a single Circuit Court judge, not from the state's precedent-setting high court.
Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery), who chairs the Senate committee that would have to approve an amendment for it to advance, said he saw no reason to act before the Court of Appeals has ruled. "One Circuit Court judge's opinion is not cause for amending the constitution," Frosh said.
Political strategists said Ehrlich and Democrats in the legislature probably have recognized the potential for a ballot initiative to provide the governor with a significant political edge as he seeks reelection. Republican political consultant Kevin Igoe said the ruling was like "waving a red flag at a bull" for Ehrlich's conservative base. If the issue appears on a ballot, he said, it would almost certainly drive up GOP turnout.
And since Maryland does not allow mere citizens to petition for an amendment to the state constitution, it is likely that the voice of the people will never be heard on this issue.
Personally, I think he and his fellow spies should be shot -- and I don't care that Israel is a putative ally of the United States.
A former Pentagon analyst was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison on Friday for passing U.S. defense information to two pro-Israel lobbyists and for sharing classified information with an Israeli diplomat.
Lawrence Franklin, 59, who previously worked as an analyst in the office of the secretary of defense, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis. Franklin had pleaded guilty in October to sharing the information and also to illegally possessing classified documents.
Franklin had faced up to 25 years in prison. His sentence could still be reduced further because of his cooperation with the government which is still prosecuting a case against the two remaining defendants in the case -- former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group.
Ellis said Franklin would not have to go to jail to start serving his sentence until he is finished cooperating.
Franklin is expected to testify against the two former AIPAC officials, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. They have both pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to communicate national defense information provided by Franklin. Their trail is scheduled to begin on April 25.
Franklin did not make any statement at the sentencing but he said previously that he had never intended to harm the United States.
Federal prosecutor Kevin DiGregory urged Ellis to give a tough sentence since Franklin had knowingly disclosed classified information to unauthorized people.
"The danger of such unauthorized disclosure, when you disclose national defense information ... is that the United States government loses control of such information," he said.
When he pleaded guilty in October, Franklin said he disclosed the national defense information to the two AIPAC officials from early in 2002 through June 2004.
Franklin said he met with the political officer from the Israeli embassy at least nine times from August 2002 through June of last year and admitted he gave the officer classified information that he was unauthorized to receive.
He was always a part of my life.
I was born in California in the early 1960s, and so it is no surprise that the first politician whose name I knew was Ronald Reagan. He became our Governor around the time I as three-years old, and since my father was stationed in California for most of the late 1960s, I heard that name often. He was a giant of a man in the eyes of the boy I was.
Jump forward to the mid-1970s. I was a kid living on Guam. I remember listening to radio commentaries by Ronald Reagan. Twelv-years-old, and I looked forward to hearing that voice, talking common sense about the issues that faced our country. I knew he was right when he spoke of the evils of Communism, for I had watched the refugees from Vietnam flood my island home in the spring of 1975. I cried the day he went off the air, saddened by the loss of a friend and teacher.
My family returned to the US in the heat of the 1976 primary campaign. My parents, of course, were supporters of Ronald Reagan. I hoped and prayed that my hero, my mentor, would snatch the nomination from Gerald Ford. It was not to be. But four years later it would, and I was ready to work on my first campaign -- the campaign of my hero, Ronald Reagan. Reagan's triumph in the primaries, his nomination in Detroit, and his victory in November excited me like nothing before.
Two days remain linked forever in my mind. The first, twenty-five years ago, was Ronald Reagan's inauguration, and the flight to freedom of the hostages in Iran. I think that day set a tone for the future of the Reagan Administration -- the next eight years would be about a strong America and freedom for captives. The second is that awful day in March -- the man I admired wounded by an assassin but spared by the hand of God. If any of us had doubted that Ronald Reagan was marked for greatness, that day seemed to dispel all doubts. And it was eight years of greatness.
I will leave others to recount the deeds of Reagan as president. What mattered to me was the vision he set forth of America as a shining city on a hill, a beacon of freedom. What inspired me was the call to live out the heritage of liberty imparted by the Founders, and to spread that freedom abroad. It was his ability to move us to seek to do great things, and to comfort us in moments of tragedy, such as the Challenger explosion. In all of this, Ronald Reagan inspired us to be something better than what we were, and pushed us to move beyond ourselves. It is this vision that led me to become an active Republican, and to remain one.
And then came the day when my hero died. I wept for Ronald Reagan that day, and in the days that followed -- tears of joy that his suffering was done, and tears of loss that this man I loved was gone.
But is he? Or does he yet live in the dreams of those who hold fast to his vision?
Let us be faithful to that vision.
It can be morning in America again.
This must not stand! If you thought the Kelo decision was obscene, wait until you read this.
And it is happening literally just down the road from me -- I pass the property on a daily basis during the last leg of my drive home from work.
Man awarded $1 for 105 acres Port condemned
For years, Seabrook residents have said building the Bayport container facility north of town would hurt property values.
They might be surprised at how much one man got for his tract of land - $1 for 105 acres.
Pasadena land owner Glenn Seureau, II, thinks he was robbed of his by the Port of Houston Authority. He plans to continue an uphill battle with the Port until he is paid fair market value for the land.
One civil court judge, on the other hand, seems to think $1 is compensation enough for Seureau's land, located just north of Seabrook.
Seureau fought for nearly three years to protect his property, in his family for more than 150 years, from the Port's power of eminent domain, only to lose his case in May of last year in the court of Harris County Civil Court Judge Lynn Bradshaw-Hull.
The judge ruled that having paid Seureau $1, the Port now owns the fee simple title to the property. Seureau was also ordered to give back the Port's previous payment of more than $1.9 million at 5.75 percent interest and pay the Port's court costs at the same interest rate.
Seureau has appealed the ruling, and he and his attorneys are currently in negotiations with the Port.
Port officials declined to comment on the case, but confirmed that they are working with Seureau to reach an agreement.
The conflict began in September 2002, when a special commission held a hearing regarding the Port's request to condemn Seureau's land. Seureau did not attend the hearing, and the commission ordered the Port to pay him approximately $1.9 million for the property.
The Port deposited the funds into the registry of the court, taking constructive possession of the land, but Seureau refused to take the money or relinquish the title to the property.
"I didn't think (the Port) had the right to take the property," he said, adding that the Port's need for the land seems to be based on private rather than public interests.
The Port plans to build a portion of the Houston Cruise Terminal on the property.
Seureau also believes $1.9 million is less than the market value for the land, which he had planned to develop with multi-family residences.
He was later advised by an attorney that he did not have the right to contest eminent domain and withdrew the $1.9 million to pay for further appeals regarding the market value of his land.
The Port brought Seureau to Bradshaw-Hull's court on May 16, 2005 to obtain the fee simple title that Seureau had withheld until that point.
On May 17, the judge excluded the testimony of both Seureau and his only expert witness, Louis Smith, saying that neither man could provide evidence that was relevant or reliable regarding the market value of Seureau's land.
According to court documents, the judge's final ruling was based on a lack of evidence to support Seureau's argument.
Seureau also made a motion to exclude the testimony of one of the Port's expert witnesses, Matthew Deal. The court denied that motion.
Seureau, who lives in his 180-year-old family home next door to the recently condemned property, said that although he is not familiar with the judge's intentions, he sees Bradshaw-Hull's ruling as a "punishment" for trying to challenge the Port.
"I was forced to settle for less than market value," he said.
Bradshaw-Hull declined to comment on the case since it is on appeal.
So let's get this straight -- the judge allowed no testimony on the value of the land -- and then awarded an absurdly low value because there was no evidence in support of the land's value. Never mind that we know that the land was considered to be worth at least $1.9 million by the special commission. And she added insult to injury by ordering the victim of her obscene ruling to pay back all money he received with interest, plus legal fees to the publicly-owned Port -- which means he is paying the Port for the privilege of having his land stolen.
Notice, please, that this story is covered only by the local "tossed on the lawn" paper, not any of the major media like the Chronicle or the local television stations, despite teh outrageous nature of this ruling. They all made money hand over fist during the bond election a few years ago, as the Port spent tax money selling this expansion to the voters -- and it still runs propaganda ads about how great it is for the community. I guess they don't want to see that cash cow dry up.
But Bradshaw-Hull has competition from Linda Storey in the race for judge of Harris County Court at Law 3. Assuming she is qualified, I will likely give my endorsement her way.
Let us hope that this decision does not stand -- and that this judge is off the bench..
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That this individual's terrorist son was permitted to live after being involved in treason against the United States and the murder of a CIA operative (not the disclosure of a name of a US-based non-covert employee, but the actual murder of an agent in the field) was an offense against America that will stink forever in the annals of history.
Now the terrorist is seeking clemency after cutting a plea deal, and his father is claiming that he has been abused.
The father of an American jailed for fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan said on Thursday his son had been tortured and unjustly punished amid public hysteria over the September 11 attacks.
"The maltreatment and imprisonment of John Lindh was -- and is -- a human rights violation," Frank Lindh told the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. "It was based purely on an emotional response to the 9/11 attacks, not on an objective assessment of the facts of John's case."
A 24-year-old Californian dubbed the "American Taliban," John Walker Lindh was captured in 2001 and jailed for 20 years under a plea deal. U.S. troops ousted the Taliban after they refused to hand over al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
At times fighting back tears, the father accused U.S. forces of torturing his son. He showed a photo of his son's body strapped to a stretcher at a military base in southern Afghanistan.
"I do not want to dwell today on the military's mistreatment of my son, but I will say categorically that he was treated in a way that is shameful to our nation and its ideals," said Lindh, an attorney at Pacific Gas & Electric.
"John Lindh did not need to be tortured to tell the American forces where he had been and what he had seen," the father said. "I cannot fathom why the military felt it necessary to humiliate him in this way."
Oh, dear, they had to restrain the little terrorist. Too damn bad.
And what is worse, this liberal lawyer wants to absolve his son from all guilt, despite the guilty plea.
After years of silence, the father of American-born Taliban soldier John Walker Lindh called on President Bush on Thursday to grant clemency to his son, who he says was wrongly maligned as a traitor and murderer.
"In simple terms, this is the story of a decent and honorable young man embarked on a spiritual quest," said Frank Lindh, swallowing back tears at times during a speech at the Commonwealth Club, a nonprofit organization.
Frank Lindh said that although his son had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks, they ended up adding dire consequences to his decision to join the Taliban, targeted by the U.S. after the 2001 attacks for harboring al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Your son may have started out as a decent and honorable young man -- screwed up, no doubt, because of your abandonment of him and his mother to take up in a sexual relationship with another man -- but he ended up as a hateful member of a murderous group of backwards thugs. The honorable kid is dead, replaced by a terrorist. Sorry you cannot see that because of a father's love, but it is the truth.
Fortunately, there is another father who has a thing or two to say about the release of your vile spawn. He carries more weight with decent Americans than you do, you pathetic excuse for a man.
As passionately as Frank Lindh is advocating for his son's clemency, there is another father fighting just as hard to extend John Walker Lindh's sentence by getting him convicted of murder or treason.
Johnny Spann is the father of CIA officer Johnny Micheal "Mike" Spann, who was killed in a prison riot after being videotaped speaking with John Walker Lindh.
Johnny Spann is conducting his own investigation into the origins of the riot at the Mazar-e-Sharif prison, where suspected Taliban supporters were held. Spann contends that the uprising began with a planned grenade attack inside the prison building rather than a spontaneous scuffle outside where his son was interviewing prisoners, including Lindh.
I wish Mr. Spann well in his endeavor, and look forward to the day that Lindh is executed for his crimes, like the diseased swine he is.
It seems that deviation from the party line will get you heaped with personal abuse and hate speech by the Left, even if you are a relaible liberal working for a thoroughly liberal part of the MSM like the Washington Post.
As a result, the Post has had to shut down comments on one of its blogs in the face of a seemingly coordinated assault upon its ombudsman based upon a technically erroneous statement in her Sunday column -- and a demonstably true and accurate correction today on the blog.
Jim Brady, the executive editor at washingtonpost.com, notified users of the post.blog that the public comment feature had been suspended "indefinitely" after "a significant number of folks" posted personal attacks, profanity, and hate speech.
Attempts by E&P to reach Brady have been unsuccessful so far. It seems likely the move is related to controversy in recent days over Sunday’s Post column by ombudsman Deobrah Howell. She has been heavily criticized by some political Web sites and bloggers for writing that indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave money to both political parties, when most research shows he only gave directly to Republicans.
In response to the Post shutoff, bloggers critical of Howell quickly directed users to another blog that allows comments at the Post site, and dozens of comments ripping the paper for its latest move soon appeared there. Another blog published the Howell-related comments that had been deleted by the Post. A typical one concerning Howell reads: "She doesn't get the benefit of the doubt regarding her honesty. The Post ought to be ashamed of the way she is doing her job."
Just two days ago, Hal Straus, opinions editor at the Post's site, revealed that it was experiencing technical problems because of the more than 700 comments received concerning Howell's column. He said the Post had tried to remove about a dozen comment "that failed to make a substantive pointand were simply personal attacks on Howell and others."
Then, this morning, Howell responded at the Post’s blog, explaining that she had heard from “lots of angry readers” and wished that she had written that Abramoff "directed" contributions to both parties, adding: “While Abramoff, a Republican, gave personal contributions only to Republicans, he directed his Indian tribal clients to make millions of dollars in campaign contributions to members of Congress from both parties.
“Records from the Federal Elections Commission and the Center for Public Integrity show that Abramoff’s Indian clients contributed between 1999 and 2004 to 195 Republicans and 88 Democrats. The Post has copies of lists sent to tribes by Abramoff with specific directions on what members of Congress were to receive specific amounts.”
This explanation, in turn, drew an immense and sometimes nasty response to the comments section today, with some critics pointing out flaws in her reasoning and comparisons. A few hours later, Brady announced the blog comment turnoff, without explaining exactly why.
Funny, isn't it, that the Left calls conservatives fascists and terrorists while acting the part themselves?
Could you imagine the outrage worldwide if a group of Christians did this to a group of Muslims trying to open a mosque?
At least 12 people were injured in clashes in Upper Egypt when a group of Muslims attempted to stop Christians converting a house into a church. Security officials said the Muslims set fire to building materials for the building in Odaysat, near Luxor.
Several members of both communities were reported injured in the subsequent clashes, as well as two policemen.
It is the latest in a series of violent sectarian incidents in Egypt in the past few months.
A security source quoted by Reuters said the Christians did not have official permission to build the church.
Police arrested 10 young men and the owners of the house, reports say.
Correspondents say curbs on building churches have been one of the main grievances among Copts, although these restrictions have been eased recently by presidential decree.
The Coptic Christian community is believed to make up 10% percent of Egypt's population of about 70 million.
It doesn’t say, but typical Egyptian practice would be to arrest only the Christians, whose right to assemble, worship, and open or repair churches remains sharply limited.
Maybe those of us in the civilized world should impose similar restrictions on Muslim freedom until the Muslim world grants basic human rights to Christians. After all, what would they do -- declare jihad and start a worldwide campaign of terrorism? Oh, that's right -- they already did that, despite having more freedom in our society than they have in their own.
MORE AT: Free Copts
Just when you think the media cannot get any weirder, AP hands us this one. Read that caption.
And you wonder why so many of us consider the MSM to be anti-American.
First, let me say that I would whole-heartedly support such a course of action (and think we should have nuked Tora Bora).
Second, let me say that I’m shocked to hear it coming from France, of all countries.
France said on Thursday it would be ready to use nuclear weapons against any state that carried out a terrorist attack against it, reaffirming the need for its nuclear deterrent.
Deflecting criticism of France’s costly nuclear arms programme, President Jacques Chirac said security came at a price and France must be able to hit back hard at a hostile state’s centres of power and its “capacity to act”.
He said there was no change in France’s overall policy, which rules out the use of nuclear weapons in a military conflict. But his speech pointed to a change of emphasis to underline the growing threat France perceives from terrorism.
“The leaders of states who would use terrorist means against us, as well as those who would consider using in one way or another weapons of mass destruction, must understand that they would lay themselves open to a firm and adapted response on our part,” Chirac said during a visit to a nuclear submarine base in northwestern France.
“This response could be a conventional one. It could also be of a different kind.” Chirac, who is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, said all of France’s nuclear forces had been configured with the new strategy in mind and the number of nuclear warheads on French nuclear submarines had been reduced to allow targeted strikes.
I’m just curious – wouldn’t the world community have a hissy-fit if President Bush announced the same policy?
Excuse me, folks -- do the children do the grocery shopping in your house? If not, then you chose to buy them this stuff.
Advocacy groups and parents are suing the Nickelodeon TV network and cereal maker Kellogg Co. in an effort to stop junk food marketing to kids.
The plaintiffs are citing a recent report documenting the influence of marketing on what children eat. Ads aimed at kids are mostly for high-calorie, low-nutrition food and drinks, according to the government-chartered Institute of Medicine.
Wakefield, Mass., mother Sherri Carlson said she tries her best to get her three kids to eat healthy foods.
"But then they turn on Nickelodeon and see all those enticing junk-food ads," Carlson said. "Adding insult to injury, we enter the grocery store and see our beloved Nick characters plastered on all those junky snacks and cereals."
Carlson and another plaintiff, Andrew Leong of Brookline, Mass., spoke at a news conference organized by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.
They intend to sue Kellogg and Nickelodeon parent Viacom Inc. in state court in Massachusetts and served the required 30 days' notice on Wednesday.
"For over 30 years, public health advocates have urged companies to stop marketing junk food to children," said Susan Linn of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. "Even as rates of childhood obesity have soared, neither Viacom nor Kellogg has listened."
And the companies are not required to listen. They are using legal methods to market legal products.
The problem is that the parents in this case either cannot or will not act in the role of parents. Instead, they buy what the kids demand and allow them to consume it in the quantities they want. Whatever happened to the days of parental authority? Whatever happened to kids being told “No”?
Dismiss the suit and fine the litigants and their lawyers for filing this frivolous suit.
Oh, and revoke their parental rights.
A belated post for the January 6th results:
Winner: Let Me Tell You Something, President Bush -- Gates of Vienna
Runner Up: How MSNBC's Craig Crawford Saved My Day -- Right Wing Nut House
To Speak or Not To Speak: Coming Out As a Neocon -- Neo-neocon
Looks like Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Chappaquidick) may have concealed a child for the last couple of decades.
The National Enquirer splashes this week with a shocking story about Sen. Ted Kennedy’s secret love child with a Cape Cod woman whom the mag says he dated during his days as a swinging single.
According to the tabloid’s source, the boy, named Christopher, just celebrated his 21st birthday and is “mature enough to make his own choices about his background and biological father.”
A Kennedy family confidante told the Enquirer, “This is one of the biggest secrets in the Kennedy family and known to only a few people including Ted’s ex-wife, Joan.”
As for the senator, his spokesgal Melissa Wagoner last night called the tabloid tale “irresponsible fiction.”
Here’s the story according to the Enquirer: Back in 1983, Kennedy, then 51, took up with Caroline Bilodeau, an attractive brunette, several months before divorcing Joan, the mother of his three kids — Kara, Ted Jr. and Patrick.
The relationship seems to have ended with the announcement of the pregnancy and Ms. Bilodeau decided to have the baby.
“Caroline announced to the family that she was two months pregnant around May 1984,” blabbed a Bilodeau confidante. “Ted was not happy about the news. He already had three kids with Joan and knew a baby out of wedlock could hurt him politically.”
According to the Enquirer, the scandal-scarred senator begged Bilodeau to have an abortion, but she refused.
“He told her he couldn’t undergo another scandal — not after Chappaquiddick, not so close to his divorce from Joan” said the source. “He was very angry when she defied him and had the child.”
Imagine that -- St. Teddy of the Sacred Precedent of Roe v. Wade dumped his pregnant girlfriend because she exercised her right to choose! heck, he tried to coerce an abortion for his own political advantage!
I guess the possibility of taking responsibility for his child, stepping up and being an active father never entered into the picture for the old horn-dog
But then again, maybe the young man is better off for not having been exposed to the corrupting influence that is Teddy Kennedy.
Not really, when you consider how many of the major liberal precedents of recent decades overturned long-standing precedents.
Part of the answer, of course, is that the left's commitment to stare decisis is selective. Many of the Supreme Court's iconic liberal decisions overruled prior case law. Brown v. Board of Education (1954), overturned Plessy v. Ferguson (1896); Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), which established the constitutional right to a free public defender in felony cases, overruled Betts v. Brady (1942); Mapp v. Ohio (1961), which applied the exclusionary rule to state court prosecutions, overruled Wolf v. Colorado (1949); and so on. Nor need we reach far back into history for such instances. Just two years ago, in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), the Court found a constitutional right to perform acts of homosexual sodomy, thereby overturning Bowers v. Hardwick, which itself was no historical relic, having been decided in 1986. Yet none of the liberals who now wax eloquent about stare decisis criticized Lawrence's violation of that principle.
It would be easy to ridicule liberalism's inconsistent attachment to stare decisis as opportunistic. Nor is it hard to find a straightforward political motive. In a narrow partisan sense, it makes sense for liberals to emphasize attachment to precedent when confirming conservative nominees, since the best they can expect from such nominees is a holding action. One day, when a Democratic president is appointing liberal justices, we'll no doubt see more emphasis on the "living Constitution."
Still, something deeper may be involved as well. When liberals talk about a "living Constitution," what they really mean is a leftward-marching Constitution. Liberals--especially those of an age to be senators--have spent most of their lives secure in the conviction that history was moving their way. History meant progress, and progress meant progressive politics. In judicial terms, that implied a one-way ratchet: "conservative" precedents can and should be overturned, while decisions that embody liberal principles are sacrosanct. To liberals, that probably seemed more like inevitability than inconsistency.
Over the last 25 years, however, the ground has shifted. History stopped moving inexorably to the left and began to reverse course. The conservative movement achieved electoral success under Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. It took a while longer for the conservative trend to reach the judiciary, but it's no coincidence that a number of conservative federal judges, including John Roberts and Sam Alito, got their start in Reagan's White House or Justice Department. Now, 20 later, they are eligible for elevation to the Supreme Court.
Now this may look like a call for activism on the part of judges. To the degree that it is, I condemn it. However, as I read Hinderaker’s commentary, it is more of an attack upon the theory that the Constitution is a living and evolving document. After all, such evolution provides for no stability whatsoever.
What we need is a steady course marked by a respect for the original principles which underlie the Constitution. As such, that may mean taking a liberal approach in one area, and a more conservative approach elsewhere. Indeed, a group of honest judges dedicated to the proposition that the Constitution means what it says as intended by its authors may require that some lofty liberal precedents be left undisturbed (such as Brown, which overruled the foul and false Plessy precedent) due to their unambiguous correctness, others (Roe and Lawrence chief among them) rightly deserve no less than a stake through the heart so that matters best left to legislative deliberation might be returned to their proper sphere.
What we ultimately need is not blind respect for precedent. We need respect for and fidelity to the Constitution itself.
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The New York Times created “TimeSelect" a few months back, cutting off access to its major columnists to all but those who will pay for the privilege of reading the shrill shriekings of Krugman and Dowd and the rest.
But now they’ve gone further – they have even cut off email access to all but those willing to pay for the privilege of communicating with their columnists.
The Times is refusing to allow email from non-subscribers to its star columnists. That’s right, you have to pay in order to be able to respond directly to the bloviators. Editor & Publisher reports:If you haven’t signed up for TimesSelect, The New York Times’ online subscription product, don’t bother e-mailing the paper’s star columnists.
Since the Times put the words of its eight Op-Ed columnists behind a paid wall last September, it has also decided that only TimesSelect subscribers should be allowed to e-mail Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, David Brooks, et al.
Back in September the Times asked the hundreds of papers who publish the Op-Ed contributors through The New York Times News Service (NYTNS) to stop printing the writers’ e-mail addresses with the columns (and to take the columns off their Web sites, too). Apparently not everyone got the message, because last week the Times’ syndication service sent out an advisory reminding its client papers to remove the e-mail addresses.
“If you are not a TimesSelect subscriber you won’t have access to that e-mail functionality,” Times spokesman Toby Usnik confirmed Tuesday. “It centralizes [the columnists’ e-mails] around the TimesSelect site.”
But instead of being able to put an address in a mail program and firing it off at your leisure, TimesSelect subscribers now have to fill out an online form similar to the generic feedback forms found on many Web sites.
The free exchange of ideas seems oddly frightening to the Old Grey Lady these days. Considering the ideas they are peddling, that’s actually quite understandable.
Why would anyone really want to write to Maureen Dowd, anyway?
Homegrown variety, hooked on left-wing enviro-hate rhetoric spewed by the Left for years. After all, when Al Gore writes a book that sounds like the Unabomber, why shouldn’t folks emulate that mad bomber?
A Monroe man suspected of being a member of a radical environmental group was charged Tuesday in a federal court in California with plotting to blow up a U.S. Forest Service facility where genetic research is conducted.
Zachary Jenson, 20, and co-defendants Eric McDavid, 28, of Foresthill, Calif., and Lauren Weiner, 20, of Philadelphia, made their first court appearances in U.S. District Court in Sacramento on Tuesday, said Patty Pontello, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California. The three, who are suspected members of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), are being held in the Sacramento County Jail pending detention hearings next week, Pontello said.
The three were charged with conspiracy to use fire or explosives to damage property, and also may have been planning to bomb a power plant, a cellphone tower and a fish hatchery, according to the FBI affidavit filed in the case. If convicted, they each face prison sentences of five to 20 years, Pontello said.
Lock 'em up and throw away the key.
Paul Hackett so unhinged that he can’t tell the difference between Christian conservatives and al-Qaeda terrorists.
Hackett said in a Sunday column in The Columbus Dispatch: "The Republican Party has been hijacked by the religious fanatics that, in my opinion, aren't a whole lot different than Osama bin Laden and a lot of the other religious nuts around the world."
Let me offer you a hint, you moron – Christian conservatives are not flying airplanes into buildings, strapping on suicide bombs, or killing your former comrades in the military (who it appears are lucky to be rid of you – you obviously got a Section 8 discharge).
Similarly, he declares most of his state’s voters to be un-American.
Hackett also said the practice of denying homosexuals equal rights is un-American. The newspaper asked Hackett if that meant the 62 percent of Ohioans who voted to ban gay marriage were un-American.
"If what they believe is that we're going to have a scale on judging which Americans have equal rights, yeah, that's un-American," Hackett said.
Well, Paul, it is clear that you are outside the mainstream of American values. But your goofy comments put you right in line with Howard Dean, Teddy Kennedy, and the rest of the moonbat wing of the Democrat Party. America rejects you – just as it has rejected your party.
This looks interesting – a big chunk of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s charitable distributions for Hurricane Katrina have gone to an organization with close ties to the head of the Foundation, Rep. William Jefferson (who is also under investigation for possible illegal campaign fundraising).
The Community of Faith for Economic Empowerment "is right on the front lines providing crisis assistance to supplement rental payments for dislocated families and emergency food and clothing assistance," the recent CBCF statement issued sometime after Jan. 4, explained.
However, COFFEE was established "to implement" the New Orleans "With Ownership Wealth Initiative" (WOW), according to the COFFEE website, and the WOW program was launched by Rep. Jefferson in 2002.
COFFEE's links to Jefferson are so close that the chairman of its board of directors, Rev. Zebadee Bridges, was at the center of a controversy involving Jefferson and the so-called separation of church and state in 1999. Bridges reportedly used his pulpit at the Asia Baptist Church in New Orleans to endorse Jefferson for Louisiana governor and to encourage congregants to contribute to Jefferson's campaign.
In heading both the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which claims to have distributed the $290,000 and the WOW program, which is closely connected with the group (COFFEE) that received the funds, Jefferson has opened himself up to accusations of conflict of interest.
And since one of his aides recently entered a guilty plea and implicated Jefferson in criminal activity in seeking bribes, I would not be surprised to find that the Democrat culture of corruption that exists in Louisiana isn’t at work here.
I see this as problematic – especially since the crime and the “punishment” are not closely related.
A man sentenced to church instead of jail attended services with a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation last weekend and says he'll be back for more.
Brett Haines told a judge Tuesday that he attended the service as part of his sentence for a disorderly conduct conviction. He was accused of using racial slurs and threatening a cab driver Nov. 26 in Newtown.
Hamilton County Municipal Judge William Mallory gave Haines a choice between 30 days in jail or attending services at a predominantly black church for six consecutive Sundays.
The judge said he hoped the experience would broaden Haines' cultural awareness and make him more tolerant of minorities.
I could see doing this if he had vandalized the church, but going to “black churches” in lieu of jail does not relate to the crime here.
Prosecutors say Haines, 36, was arrested after threatening cab driver David Wilson and Wilson's wife. They say the intoxicated Haines threatened to punch Wilson, used racial slurs and said he hated black people.
This does raise a First Amendment issue in my mind.
I’ve got to agree with Linda Chavez -- Ray Nagin’s apology/explanation doesn’t pass the laugh test.
The best thing Ray Nagin could do for New Orleans would be to announce he's withdrawing from the mayor's race. Instead, he makes racist appeals and then pretends he didn't mean what he said. When asked about his comments by a local reporter Nagin said, "Do you know anything about chocolate? How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That's the chocolate I'm talking about." Yes, and vanilla comes from a brown bean, but no one would believe that a mayor who talked about making sure his city stayed "vanilla" was promoting racial integration.
Sit down, Ray, shut up, and let someone competent be mayor.
This sort of situation is why guns are necessary. They are a tool, designed to allow individuals to defend themselves from those who would do them harm. They make practical the exercise of the natural right to protect one’s life.
Gene and his wife were inside a flea market on North Lewis Saturday when two people walked inside and began asking about prices. Gene turned away for a moment, and then was body-slammed to the ground. "I was on my side and rolled over to my back and this young man was in my face saying give me all the money, I'm going to kill you and on and on and all I could think was I’m about to die and so is my wife."
In that instant, instinct and military training took over and Gene pulled his gun from his waistband and started shooting. Several of his shots missed the robber and landed in the wall, but then, he noticed some blood drops. He thought he'd nicked the robber, it wasn't until later, he learned, the robber died. “It's a horrible thing that this young man lost his life. And, we say young man, but he was 6-feet-2 and was 200 pounds of young man muscle. He made a decision that ultimately cost him dearly. I'm sorry I had to hurt him, but I don't regret it."
I’m sorry, I find nothing horrible here – a rabid animal was put down to protect human life. As far as I’m concerned, Gene has nothing to regret – and should probably bill the robber’s estate for damages to the store and lost revenue for the time the store was closed.
And lest you think that Gene overreacted, consider this.
Gene says he didn't want to end up like the woman who was recently beaten to death after being robbed of her laundry money or the man who was shot and killed because he didn't have as much money as the robber wanted.
The flea market has been robbed before. The owner of the store had been robbed and beaten just a few months earlier. The previous owner had been robbed and pistol-whipped. Not even adding security cameras was a deterrent.
Gene doesn't believe this incident will deter other teenage robbers very long, and he's thankful for a law that allowed him to protect his own life and that of his wife.
If a few more citizens stand up and act like free individuals rather than sheep, I think teenage robbers will be deterred. Word will get around that there is a serious price to be paid for committing armed acts of violence against armed citizens.
I believe something needs to be done about biased teaching and the unprofessional politicization of classrooms. But I find the techniques used by this group to be disturbing.
A fledgling alumni group headed by a former campus Republican leader is offering students payments of up to $100 per class to provide information on instructors who are "abusive, one-sided or off-topic" in advocating political ideologies.
The year-old Bruin Alumni Assn. says its "Exposing UCLA's Radical Professors" initiative takes aim at faculty "actively proselytizing their extreme views in the classroom, whether or not the commentary is relevant to the class topic." Although the group says it is concerned about radical professors of any political stripe, it has named an initial "Dirty 30" of teachers it identifies with left-wing or liberal causes.
Some of the instructors mentioned accuse the association of conducting a witch hunt that threatens to harm the teaching atmosphere, and at least one of the group's advisory board members has resigned because he considers the bounty offers inappropriate. The university said it will warn the association that selling copies of professors' lectures would violate campus rules and raise copyright issues.
I don’t have a problem with documenting who is “abusive, one-sided, or off-topic”. I do have a problem with issuing a hit-list before beginning the process of documenting the problems. And I’ve got an even bigger problem with the payments being made to students for turning over notes and tapes. There is just something unsavory about it – and it undercuts the notion that the students making the reports are acting as whistleblowers rather than ideologically-motivated mercenaries.
I urge the Bruin Alumni Association to rethink their methods.
Expect serious protest as the State of California prepares to implement justice upon convicted killer Kevin Cooper later this year.
Kevin Cooper is an inmate on California's death row who escaped execution on Feb. 9, 2004, when the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a last-minute stay to retest evidence. This evidence withstood that retesting, and other defense arguments have been since shot down in federal district court. The appeals process on those findings is now working its way through the courts, and the earliest he may face execution again--if appeals go in favor of the state--may be late this year.
His case has slipped into the background lately as death-penalty foes stole the airways in hopes of clemency for Stanley "Tookie" Williams. Yet the two murderers share many of the same supporters. As the "Save Tookie" campaign gathered thousands of signatures petitioning for the quadruple killer's clemency, the "Save Kevin Cooper" Web site has been championing his cause and featuring his writings.
Cooper's case is one in which it's hard to imagine anyone jumping on his bandwagon. He was an inmate at the California Institution for Men in Chino, serving time for burglary, when he escaped on June 2, 1983. Two days later he broke into the Chino Hills home of the Ryen family as they were sleeping and killed the parents, Douglas and Peggy, along with 10-year-old Jessica Ryen and 11-year-old Christopher Hughes, a friend of Joshua Ryen, who was the only family member to survive. "The first time I met Kevin Cooper I was 8 years old and he slit my throat," Joshua Ryen testified at an April 22 hearing in U.S. District Court in San Diego. "He hit me with a hatchet and put a hole in my skull. . . . I laid there 11 hours looking at my mother who was right beside me."
But Cooper does not lack supporters: the likes of Jesse Jackson, Mike Farrell, Richard Dreyfuss, Sean Penn and Denzel Washington have come to his defense. One would think that appropriate monikers for Cooper would have career-sensitive celebrities running for the hills: Ax murderer. Child killer. Mass murderer.
I’ve highlighted the testimony of Joshua Ryen, who is now in his 30s, to show you the evil of this stone-cold killer. But that doesn’t keep the usual suspects from coming to the aid of Kevin Cooper.
But they skipped the execution that California held the other night. They had the Golden Globes and MLK celebrations to attend.
And besides – the state of California was only executing a white man, not a fine, upstanding example of black manhood like Tookie Williams or Kevin Cooper.
Did questions from Chief Justice John Roberts signal that he is more of a friend to political speech than his predecessor?
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. expressed doubts yesterday about legal restrictions on political ads by outside groups as the Supreme Court took up a new challenge to the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law.
Questioning Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, who was defending the law, Chief Justice Roberts raised a hypothetical case in which a group runs an issue ad every month. Does the ad, he asked, become illegal in the months before an election?
Mr. Clement responded that such a group could continue to run the ads if it used political action committee money to pay for them, or if it refrained from identifying a candidate by name.
But Justice Antonin Scalia said that would undercut the purpose of the ad, adding, "The point of an issue ad is to put pressure on an incumbent you want to vote your way."
At issue is a provision banning the use of corporate or union money for ads that identify federal candidates two months before a general election. The case involves a lawsuit by Wisconsin Right to Life, which was barred from broadcasting ads that mentioned Sen. Russell D. Feingold, Wisconsin Democrat, during his 2004 re-election campaign.
In the first challenge to how the law was working in practice, the group in 2004 sought an injunction barring the Federal Election Commission from enforcing the provision against it. But the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia denied the request. A month later, then-Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist declined the group's request to intervene.
Chief Justice Roberts suggested that the fact that the ad also mentioned the state's other senator -- Democrat Herb Kohl, who was not up for re-election that year -- buttressed the group's argument that the ad was meant to influence legislation, not the election.
Now, if the members of the High Court will only consider the meaning of the words "Congress shall make no law" at the beginning of the First Amendment, it may be that we will see some movement towards the sort of restrictions on political speech that the Founders would have accepted -- namely NONE.
Education is not a right.
That is what federal courts have held consistently.
They are right, and we should resist any altruistic impulse to place a “right to an education” in the Constitution, as proposed by Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. While his heart may be in the right place, he clearly hasn’t considered the implications of his proposal.
In an attempt to better achieve the ideal of genuine equal opportunity, I've proposed an education amendment to the Constitution. It says: (1) All persons shall enjoy the right to a public education of equal high quality; and (2) The Congress shall have the power to enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation.
Speaking as a teacher, I have to shout out my opposition.
First, it is vague. Up to what age are individuals entitled to a public education? Up to what level of educational attainment? Are we talking about education through grade 12 for those under the age of 21, as currently exists in most states? Or are we talking a right to education through a bachelor’s degree? Or does that right go on through a Ph.D. and beyond? There is absolutely nothing there that answers the question, or which constrains some judge somewhere from decreeing that the individual right to education extends throughout an individual’s entire lifespan.
Secondly, this proposal is a major expansion of federal power. It effectively destroys state and local control over education and federalizes it. Will federal funds accompany the federal mandates? Or will the state and local education authorities be expected to do the heavy lifting of funding the dictates of the federal government? It seems clear that there will be mandatory higher taxes on all Americans to fund this power grab, while the local schools will be less answerable to the local community.
Third, there is the question of the status of private and home schools. Will this amendment result in the end of such alternative educational programs? We do know that private schools and home schools generally adhere to higher standards than public schools, and that the students enrolled in such programs generally do better on standardized assessments than their publicly schooled peers. Why exclude the most effective educational programs from federal funding? That cannot be justified on any legitimate educational basis – and isn’t the goal here to ensure a high quality education for all children?
Lastly, there comes the question of school discipline. Once the right to an education is constitutionalized, it will be unconstitutional to remove a disruptive student from a school. After all, they have a right to that education, and a right to be at that school. Expulsion as a means of dealing with major disciplinary infractions will be gone. So, too, will be suspension, for that will also be a denial of the student’s right to an education. Will there be any disciplinary tools left to those of us on the frontlines of education around the country, or will the right of a particular student, no matter how disruptive or dangerous, to attend school trump the right of every other student in the school to be safe and to learn?
None of this is meant to say that education is unimportant. As a teacher, I would have to argue exactly the opposite. But expanding the sphere of federal power with an unlimited mandate for expenditures and no clear limits on the extent of this new right is not the solution.
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The five year suspension that the former (thanks be to God) agreed to in lieu of prosecution for his perjurious statements will end this week.
After five years of banishment from the legal profession, President Clinton will be eligible this week to reclaim the law license he gave up as a consequence of the inaccurate responses he gave under oath to questions about his relationship with a White House intern. Mr. Clinton's suspension from the Arkansas bar, which he formally agreed to a day before leaving office in 2001, expires on Thursday. It is unclear whether the former president will seek reinstatement to the bar, but officials in Arkansas have been preparing for such a request. "There are people who have had this date marked on their calendar," the executive director of the Arkansas Supreme Court's Committee on Professional Conduct, Stark Ligon, told The New York Sun. He said court rules prevent him from confirming or denying whether Mr. Clinton has filed an application to be reinstated until the committee takes some action in the case. However, Mr. Ligon said such applications are routinely approved. "The presumption fairly would be that reinstatement should be granted unless some good cause could be shown why it should not," he said. Mr. Ligon said any request from Mr. Clinton would be sent by fax or mail to a seven-member committee panel, which usually acts promptly. "We can generally get a turnaround within a week to 10 days," the bar official said.
But he might have a problem being admitted to the bar in other parts of the country.
While there appears to be little standing in the way of Mr. Clinton's reinstatement to the Arkansas bar, rules for admission in New York and Washington could pose a challenge to him quickly joining those bars. Admission by reciprocity to the New York bar requires that an applicant show that he or she has spent five of the last seven years working as a lawyer.
A former official with the New York Board of Law Examiners, James Fuller, said the rule is enforced strictly. "I don't know what they'd say about the presidency - if that qualified. I'd doubt it," Mr. Fuller said.
A similar rule would appear to dictate a five-year delay in Mr. Clinton's admission to the bar in the nation's capital, chiefly because he took the bar examination so long ago.
Mr. Clinton, who graduated from Yale Law School in 1973, has spent only a few years practicing law. He served as attorney general of Arkansas from 1977 to 1979. He also worked at a Little Rock law firm from 1980 to 1982, between stints as governor.
Mr. Gillers noted that at any point Mr. Clinton could try to gain admission to the New York or Washington bars by taking the bar examination. Like other bar applicants, he would also have to demonstrate good moral character.
Well, that should be sufficient to stop him from practicing in either of those places. After all, adultery and perjury both demonstrate a lack of good moral character.
Fortunately, the judges of the Supreme Court of Israel recognize the difference between those imprisoned or their faith and those caught spying.
Israel's Supreme Court on Monday rejected a petition by Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. citizen who spied for Israel, to be declared a Prisoner of Zion.
The status Pollard requested would have required the Israeli government to do all it can to get him released. Pollard, 51, is incarcerated at a federal prison in Butner, N.C.
Israel, which has pressed the issue of releasing Pollard with the U.S. administration, has refused in the past to assign him that status, originally created for Jewish activists imprisoned in the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 80s.
The Supreme Court rejected the petition on technical grounds, saying Pollard didn't qualify for that status under Israel's compensation law.
Pollard was a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy when he copied and gave to his Israeli handlers enough classified documents to fill a walk-in closet.
He was caught in November 1985 and arrested after unsuccessfully seeking refuge at the Israeli Embassy. He was sentenced to life in prison, and has spent the past 20 years in a series of U.S. correctional facilities.
Pollard and his backers should be ashamed.
And Pollard should never take another breath of air as a free man.
Unfortunately, he is due for release in 2015.
This is becoming more of a problem – what will the US do about it?
The U.S. Border Patrol has warned agents in Arizona of incursions into the United States by Mexican soldiers "trained to escape, evade and counterambush" if detected -- a scenario Mexico denied yesterday.
The warning to Border Patrol agents in Tucson, Ariz., comes after increased sightings of what authorities described as heavily armed Mexican military units on the U.S. side of the border. The warning asks the agents to report the size, activity, location, time and equipment of any units observed.
It also cautions agents to keep "a low profile," to use "cover and concealment" in approaching the Mexican units, to employ "shadows and camouflage" to conceal themselves and to "stay as quiet as possible."
Border Patrol spokesman Salvador Zamora confirmed that a "military incursion" warning was given to Tucson agents, but said it was designed to inform them how to react to any sightings of military and foreign police in this country and how to properly document any incursion.
Mr. Zamora added that although incursions by the Mexican military do occur, they usually have taken place in areas of the border "not marked by monuments or signs." He said U.S. military units also have crossed mistakenly into Mexico.
Is it time for US border agents – or perhaps military personnel – to shoot to kill when confronted with invading military forces? Will we defend our sovereignty as we did in the 1840s and 1010s, or will we simply let foreign troops cross our frontier with impunity?
You remember the fuss over the execution of murdering gang thug Tookie Williams, don't you? Huge crowds protested his receipt of justice for the unprovoked murders of four people. The celebrity Left -- especially the Hollywood types -- were out in force protesting.
Last night the state of California delivered justice to a white man. Only 200 protesters showed -- and not one of them a celebrity from Hollywood.
California executed its oldest death row inmate early Tuesday despite arguments from prisoner advocates that condemning a blind and wheelchair-bound inmate in his 70s violated the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Clarence Ray Allen, whose 76th birthday was Monday, was pronounced dead at 12:38 a.m. at San Quentin State Prison. He became the second-oldest inmate put to death nationally since the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976.
Allen, who was blind and mostly deaf, suffered from diabetes and had a nearly fatal heart attack in September only to be revived and returned to death row, was assisted into the death chamber by four large correctional officers and lifted out of his wheelchair.
His lawyers had raised two claims never before endorsed by the high court: that executing a frail old man would violate the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, and that the 23 years he spent on death row were unconstitutionally cruel as well.
The high court rejected his requests for a stay of execution about 10 hours before he was to be put to death. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denied Allen clemency Friday.
Allen went to prison for having his teenage son's 17-year-old girlfriend murdered for fear she would tell police about a grocery-store burglary. While behind bars, he tried to have witnesses in the case wiped out, prosecutors said. He was sentenced to death in 1982 for hiring a hit man who killed a witness and two bystanders.
"Allen deserves capital punishment because he was already serving a life sentence for murder when he masterminded the murders of three innocent young people and conspired to attack the heart of our criminal justice system," state prosecutor Ward Campbell said.
Agreed -- and his age is irrelevant, given his abuse of the judicial system to outlive extend his life longer than the lifespan of his 17-year-old victim.
And where wre the celebrities?
At the Golden Globes
I guess the execution of a white guy doesn't offend their PC sensibilities enough to stop the party.
Why do we continue to put up with Arlen Specter as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee? He's not much of a Republican, and he has all the backbone of an amoeba.
So when faced with the Democrats backing out of a deal on a vote on Judge Samuel Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court, what happens? Leahy lies and Specter folds like a house of cards.
The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee reached an agreement yesterday evening to wait until next Tuesday to vote on the nomination of Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court.
The agreement alters the schedule announced Friday, during the final moments of Alito's week-long confirmation hearings, by Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who said he would conduct the panel's vote today. His announcement sparked a quarrel with the panel's ranking Democrat, Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), who said he would seek a delay. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) vowed that a vote in the full Senate, which has final say over all judicial candidates chosen by the president, would take place by the end of the week.
In the end, Specter and Frist essentially acknowledged the prerogative Democrats have under Senate rules to postpone any committee decision for one week. GOP leaders grumbled that Democrats had reneged on an earlier agreement about when the Alito vote would take place -- an agreement that Democrats denied ever existed.
Why the delay? because the Democrats are seeking partisan advantage in advance of the State of the Union address.
Democrats, anticipating that Alito ultimately will be confirmed, are trying to deny the White House that victory as long as possible, particularly in the days before the State of the Union address President Bush is to deliver Jan. 31. Although Senate rules do not enable them to defer the confirmation vote until after the speech, Democratic senators would like to reduce the victory period immediately before the speech, one of the broadest public stages the president commands each year.
Add to that the need to kowtow to the liberal interest groups to which the Democrats are beholden.
Democrats said they wanted to give senators time to observe a three-day holiday weekend without coming back to face an immediate vote. At the same time, they came under pressure from outside interest groups that want as much time as possible to try to rally public opposition to the nomination.
Like I said the other day -- an agreement with Democrats is not worth a fart in a hurricane.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."²
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
Could you imagine the outrage if a white politician made this statement?
"Surely God is mad at America. He sent us hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, and it's destroyed and put stress on this country," Nagin said as he and other city leaders commemorated Martin Luther King Day. "Surely he doesn't approve of us being in Iraq under false pretenses. But surely he is upset at black America also. We're not taking care of ourselves."
Or what about this comment?
"We ask black people ... It's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild New Orleans — the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans," Nagin said Monday. "This city will be a majority African American city. It's the way God wants it to be. You can't have New Orleans no other way. It wouldn't be New Orleans."
God wants a "chocolate New Orleans"?
But those comments don't come from the right, religious or otherwise. They come from the incompetent Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans.
Where is the liberal outrage?
Naw -- I didn't really think we would hear any.
After all, Nagin is a black Democrat. That will earn him a pass.
UPDATE: Looks like Ray is channeling Dr. King as well.
Nagin described an imaginary conversation with King, the late civil rights leader.
"I said, 'What is it going to take for us to move on and live your dream and make it a reality?' He said, 'I don't think that we need to pay attention any more as much about other folks and racists on the other side.' He said, 'The thing we need to focus on as a community -- black folks I'm talking about -- is ourselves.' "
Nagin said he also asked: "Why is black-on-black crime such an issue? Why do our young men hate each other so much that they look their brother in the face and they will take a gun and kill him in cold blood?"
The reply, Nagin said, was "We as a people need to fix ourselves first."
Nagin also said King would have been dismayed with black leaders who are "most of the time tearing each other down publicly for the delight of many."
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You would think that a poll showing a black Republican running ahead of both a black Democrat and a white Democrat in solidly Democrat Maryland would merit some press coverage.
Nope -- only the Washington Times noticed.
But Michael Steele does lead both Kweisi Mfume and Ben Cardin in polling on the race to replace retiring Democrat fossil Paul Sarbanes in the US Senate.
Maryland is proving to be another state to watch in an election year many have predicted will see nationwide gains for Democrats.
In November, Rasmussen Reports observed that just two months after Hurricane Katrina and in the midst of welling controversy over Iraq, the GOP was at a political low point. We also duly noted the good news for the party: the election was still a year away. Now, in blue-state Maryland, the Republicans are making progress in the contests for both governor and senator.
The Senate race got interesting as soon as Democratic Senator Paul Sarbanes announced his retirement last March. It soon seemed Democrats had the edge. By July, Democratic Congressman Ben Cardin led Lt. Governor Michael Steele by five points in our poll. Steele, however, was seven points ahead of former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume.
By November, Steele was neck-and-neck with Mfume, but Cardin had widened his lead over Steele to 49% to 41%. Yet since that time, the number of voters with an unfavorable opinion of Steele has fallen from 33% to 25% and the Republican candidate has pulled ahead of both Democrats. He now leads Cardin 45% to 40% and Mfume 45% to 38%.
Steele has increased his support among black voters in a square-off with Mfume. While the latter still wins most of the African-American vote, Steele's share has jumped from 17% in November to 31%.
Thirty-six percent (36%) of all voters now view Mfume favorably, a five-point decline.
It is unusual for a Republican to be so competitive in such a solidly "Blue" state such as Maryland. Election 2004 confirmed that geography rules in contests for the U.S. Senate.
Eight Senate seats changed from one party to the other. Six of the eight were Republican victories in Red States. One was a Democratic victory in the very Blue State of Illinois. The exception that proves the rule was Colorado where Attorney General Ken Salazar narrowly defeated Republican businessman Pete Coors.
A Republican victory in Maryland would be even more of a surprise. Adding to the intensity of the race, the election of 46 year old Steele could have lasting impact on the balance of power in the Senate.
The poll has some good news for Maryland Democrats, though: the election is still almost ten months away.
Clear progress by Steele over his rivals is a major story, given the Democrat dirty tricks and racist rhetoric that has accompanied this race. But somehow the story seems to have slipped through the cracks here.
Why am I not surprised?
PAST COVERAGE OF MARYLAND SENATE RACE:
Washington Post Tries To Silence Discussion Of Racism
Dean Won’t Condemn Racism
Black Dems Call Racial Abuse of Blacks Acceptable – If They Are Republicans
Racists Alter Photos Of Prominent Black Republicans -- Race Hos Silent
Steele For Senate
Racist Congressman Slurs White Voters
Steele For Maryland!
Sarbanes Retiring -- Who Will Replace Him?
I was surprised to see this USA Today headline.
U.S. tally of wounded drops 26%
After all, that isn't the picture the press has spent the last year painting. It has, in fact, painted the opposite -- American troops under siege taking heavier casualties.
But what is the real story?
The number of U.S. troops wounded in Iraq fell by more than a quarter in 2005 from a year earlier, Pentagon records show. Military officials call that a sign that insurgent attacks have declined in the face of elections and stronger Iraqi security forces.
The wuestion is, will the press report thisinformation widely? And will the Cut-&-Run Party acknowledge this and quit calling the mission in Iraq a failure?
Of all the unmitigated gall! A Muslim group is attempting to make a Catholic school to operate according to Muslim principles.
AN ISLAMIC campaign group has called for a Catholic primary school to be based on the Muslim faith.
The Campaign for Muslim Schools said 90 per cent of pupils at St Albert's Primary, in the Pollokshields area of Glasgow, are Muslim, yet children are having to take part in Catholic rituals like saying the Lord's Prayer and attending mass.
Osama Saeed, co-ordinator of the alliance of Glasgow's main mosques and Muslim organisations, said he could see no reason why the main faith of the school should not change.
He said: "Clearly the parents of that area find a faith school, even if it is of another denomination, preferable to a secular one. But surely it should be possible for them to have one that is relevant to their own faith.
"To move towards this would be a fantastic example of good faith - in more ways than one - on the part of the Church."
The call came just days after Scotland's most senior Catholic, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, sparked controversy by stating that Scotland's core faith was Christianity and that other faiths should recognise they were "living in Scotland as a Christian country". A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland was not available for comment tonight.
Listen up, Osama -- it is a Catholic school. If you want a Muslim school, go out and start one of your own. Don't demand that some other religious body show you some "good faith" by apostasizing to your false religion. You are one arrogant bastard, and I suggest you remember that you ae in a predominantly Christian country where you have rights that no Christian would ever be allowed in a country dominated by Islam.
And to the bishops of Scotland, might I suggest that you get a herd of these and turn them loose in the school yard of every Catholic school in the country?
Then again, perhaps what Osama and the Campaign for Muslim Schools need are a visit from a few Scots like this one, voicing their opposition to dhimmitude of the type that Osama and the rest propose.
You know -- just to remind them that Christians, not Muslims, control Christian institutions.
Here's hoping that we get the whole truth about this Clinton Administration scandal, even with a quarter of the document redacted.
In Monday's edition of the NEW YORK SUN, reporter Brian McGuire and contributor R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., break the first look at the long-anticipated report from Independent Counsel David Barrett, whose investigation lasted 10 year and cost taxpayers $23 million.
The SUN outlines the report's details surrounding the alleged illicit activity and cover up that involving former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros before and during his time in the Clinton Administration.
The Sun reveals that the Barrett report connects the dots that allege that senior officials of the Clinton Administration hindered investigations by the IRS in both Texas and Washington, as well as the investigations of a grand jury examining the independent counsel's evidence.
The full report, more than 400 pages line, with more than 100 pages of redacted material, hits the street on Thursday morning at 9 am.
Democrats in the House and Senate have been fighting for months to block the release of the report and keep the 100 pages of highly damaging redacted material from ever seeing the light of day.
As I've said before, we paid for it, we should see it all. Surely the Democrats don't feel they have anything to lose if we find out what went on during the Clinton Administration, do they?
UPDATE: HERE'S THE ARTICLE.
The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Perspectives on Foreign Command of U.S. Forces by The Glittering Eye, and Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review 2005 by Patterico's Pontifications. Here is the link to the full results of the vote.
Historian Niall Ferguson offers this glimpse of the future -- a scenario of what may yet come to be if the United States fails to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program.
Prior to 2007, the Islamists had seen no alternative but to wage war against their enemies by means of terrorism. From the Gaza to Manhattan, the hero of 2001 was the suicide bomber. Yet Ahmadinejad, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War, craved a more serious weapon than strapped-on explosives. His decision to accelerate Iran's nuclear weapons programme was intended to give Iran the kind of power North Korea already wielded in East Asia: the power to defy the United States; the power to obliterate America's closest regional ally.
Under different circumstances, it would not have been difficult to thwart Ahmadinejad's ambitions. The Israelis had shown themselves capable of pre-emptive air strikes against Iraq's nuclear facilities in 1981. Similar strikes against Iran's were urged on President Bush by neo-conservative commentators throughout 2006. The United States, they argued, was perfectly placed to carry out such strikes. It had the bases in neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan. It had the intelligence proving Iran's contravention of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
But the President was advised by his Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, to opt instead for diplomacy. Not just European opinion but American opinion was strongly opposed to an attack on Iran. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 had been discredited by the failure to find the weapons of mass destruction Saddam Hussein had supposedly possessed and by the failure of the US-led coalition to quell a bloody insurgency.
Americans did not want to increase their military commitments overseas; they wanted to reduce them. Europeans did not want to hear that Iran was about to build its own WMD. Even if Ahmad-inejad had broadcast a nuclear test live on CNN, liberals would have said it was a CIA con-trick.
So history repeated itself. As in the 1930s, an anti-Semitic demagogue broke his country's treaty obligations and armed for war. Having first tried appeasement, offering the Iranians economic incentives to desist, the West appealed to international agencies - the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations Security Council. Thanks to China's veto, however, the UN produced nothing but empty resolutions and ineffectual sanctions, like the exclusion of Iran from the 2006 World Cup finals.
Only one man might have stiffened President Bush's resolve in the crisis: not Tony Blair, he had wrecked his domestic credibility over Iraq and was in any case on the point of retirement - Ariel Sharon. Yet he had been struck down by a stroke as the Iranian crisis came to a head. With Israel leaderless, Ahmadinejad had a free hand.
As in the 1930s, too, the West fell back on wishful thinking. Perhaps, some said, Ahmadinejad was only sabre-rattling because his domestic position was so weak. Perhaps his political rivals in the Iranian clergy were on the point of getting rid of him. In that case, the last thing the West should do was to take a tough line; that would only bolster Ahmadinejad by inflaming Iranian popular feeling. So in Washington and in London people crossed their fingers, hoping for the deus ex machina of a home-grown regime change in Teheran.
This gave the Iranians all the time they needed to produce weapons-grade enriched uranium at Natanz. The dream of nuclear non-proliferation, already interrupted by Israel, Pakistan and India, was definitively shattered. Now Teheran had a nuclear missile pointed at Tel-Aviv. And the new Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu had a missile pointed right back at Teheran.
The optimists argued that the Cuban Missile Crisis would replay itself in the Middle East. Both sides would threaten war - and then both sides would blink. That was Secretary Rice's hope - indeed, her prayer - as she shuttled between the capitals. But it was not to be.
The devastating nuclear exchange of August 2007 represented not only the failure of diplomacy, it marked the end of the oil age. Some even said it marked the twilight of the West. Certainly, that was one way of interpreting the subsequent spread of the conflict as Iraq's Shi'ite population overran the remaining American bases in their country and the Chinese threatened to intervene on the side of Teheran.
Yet the historian is bound to ask whether or not the true significance of the 2007-2011 war was to vindicate the Bush administration's original principle of pre-emption. For, if that principle had been adhered to in 2006, Iran's nuclear bid might have been thwarted at minimal cost. And the Great Gulf War might never have happened.
Do we want this to be the history learned by our children's children's children? Isn't the restrained use of conventional weapons against a rogue regime a better option than nuclear war?
Based upon my study of history, I see many of the same parallels that Ferguson does. We must not allow our desir for true peace to prompt us to accept a counterfeit one that leads to a bigger, more destructive war.
Looks like the Brits are learning a leson that we Americans know well -- gun bans are nothing but victim disamament laws. Criminals are safer, but the law-abiding are left less secure.
At least that is the lesson drawn by Rod Eastman, whose daughter's fiancee, Tom Ap Rhys Pryce, was murdered by violent thugs who stole all his valuables and then murdered him.
In a bitter denunciation of the lack of police officers on the beat and the lenience of the courts, Rod Eastman said it was better to risk arrest for carrying an offensive weapon than risk being murdered by muggers.
Mr Eastman launched his attack on 'this lawless society' as he comforted his daughter Adele, who was still struggling to come to terms with her fiance's brutal killing just yards from their North London home. "If you value your life and you want to protect yourself on the streets then the only way is to carry a weapon," said 58-year-old Mr Eastman, an electrical engineer who lives in Bishop's Nympton, Devon.
In an impassioned outburst sure to cause concern to police, Mr Eastman said: "The truth is that street crime is rampant. More and more people are becoming personally affected by violent assaults.
"If police catch you carrying a weapon you could be arrested and prosecuted. But isn't that better than being unable to protect yourself and losing your life? The police can't be everywhere and the sentences handed down by the courts are often far too lenient."
How many more lives must be lost before politicians recognize that laws banning weapons do nothing more than disarm victims, making the streets safer for malevolent thugs out to harm the innocent?
The death of Ronald Reagan was one of the major events taht led to the creation of my original blog, Precinct 333. He was a major force in shaping my view of America and her place in the world.
Honor the greatest president of the twentieth century on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his inauguration. It may seem like yesterday, but this Friday marks a quarter-century since that momentous event that changed the world.
I'm joining in -- will you?
We are bloggers with boatloads of opinions, and none of us come close to agreeing with any other one of us all of the time. But we do agree on this: The new leadership in the House of Representatives needs to be thoroughly and transparently free of the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandals, and beyond that, of undue influence of K Street.
We are not naive about lobbying, and we know it can and has in fact advanced crucial issues and has often served to inform rather than simply influence Members.
But we are certain that the public is disgusted with excess and with privilege. We hope the Hastert-Dreier effort leads to sweeping reforms including the end of subsidized travel and other obvious influence operations. Just as importantly, we call for major changes to increase openness, transparency and accountability in Congressional operations and in the appropriations process.
As for the Republican leadership elections, we hope to see more candidates who will support these goals, and we therefore welcome the entry of Congressman John Shadegg to the race for Majority Leader. We hope every Congressman who is committed to ethical and transparent conduct supports a reform agenda and a reform candidate. And we hope all would-be members of the leadership make themselves available to new media to answer questions now and on a regular basis in the future.
N.Z. Bear, The Truth Laid Bear
Hugh Hewitt, HughHewitt.com
Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit.com
Kevin Aylward, Wizbang!
La Shawn Barber, La Shawn Barber's Corner
Lorie Byrd / DJ Drummond , Polipundit
Beth Cleaver, MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Jeff Goldstein, Protein Wisdom
Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
John Hawkins, Right Wing News
John Hinderaker, Powerline
Jon Henke / McQ / Dale Franks, QandO
James Joyner, Outside The Beltway
Mike Krempasky, Redstate.org
Michelle Malkin, MichelleMalkin.com
Ed Morrissey, Captain's Quarters
Scott Ott, Scrappleface
The Anchoress, The Anchoress
John Donovan / Bill Tuttle, Castle Argghhh!!!
Greg, Rhymes With Right
The Democrats are going to try to delay the vote on Judge Samuel Alito for the most absurd of reasons.
The Washington Times is reporting that Leahy says the delay is needed because members are going places to participate in Martin Luther King Day events.
Senate Democrats yesterday moved to stall the increasingly inevitable confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr., despite a good-faith understanding not to do so.
Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said panel Democrats did not want to vote Tuesday, as per a November agreement with Republicans, citing Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday.
"I have been told that a number of our members are going to be home for Martin Luther King events this weekend, will not be back on time on Tuesday, and so they will exercise their rights," Mr. Leahy said yesterday.
Mr. Leahy did not mention any "extraordinary" circumstances that under the agreement he reached with Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, would have allowed a vote schedule change. The deal also calls for a full Senate vote on the nominee Friday.
Excuse me, but wasn't this holiday already on the calendar at the time the vote was scheduled? Didn't everyone know about it and plan accordingly?
The real reason for the delay can be found here.
Democrats say they won't be ready Tuesday to vote on his nomination, since Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has called on party members to hold off making a decision until after a Wednesday meeting.
Notice that, despite the agreement made months ago, the Democrat leadership scheduled this new meeting AFTER the scheduled vote, forcing a delay. The goal is clearly to prevent the president from noting that he has gotten two superlative legal minds confirmed to the Supreme Court.
I guess this is definitive proof that agreements with Democrats aren't worth a fart in a hurricane.
I guess that the ersatz "right to an abortion" along with the non-existant "right not to be offended" trump the Constitutional right to engage in speech on matters of public policy and concern.
Or at least that is the goal of San Francisco abortion advocates, who are seeking to limit supporters of the dignity of human life to nothing more than "the right to remain silent".
Bay Area abortion-rights activists say a Roman Catholic group's advertisements on hundreds of BART trains and in scores of stations -- attacking the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision and asking "Abortion: Have we gone too far?" -- have gone too far in a region known for its progressive politics.
Many of the ads have been torn down or defaced since the campaign began three weeks ago.
"I think every woman has noticed them,'' said Suzanne "Sam" Joi, a member of Code Pink, a social justice and anti-war group. "I couldn't believe BART would allow something like this. Why are they doing this?''
Well, you ignorant baby-killing leftist, it could be because the First Amendment applies to words and viewpoints that don't meet with your approval. If you have a right to run ads advocating your pro-terrorist, anti-American agenda, then the Respect Life Ministry of the Diocese of Oakland can run its ads questioning whether the current state of the law on abortion is outside of the mainstream.
Linton Johnson, a spokesperson for BART, puts it very well.
"We're not in the business of censorship and don't believe a government agency should be in the business of censorship,'' Johnson said. "It shouldn't be up to a government official to determine whose opinion is right and whose is wrong.''
What is so offensive about the ads? Are they offensive at all? You decide.
The campaign features two ads, each slickly produced and featuring a blurry photograph of a woman against a turquoise background. One ad, headlined "9 months" in large letters, features nine months of a calendar and reads: "Because of Roe vs. Wade, this is the amount of time the Supreme Court says it's legal to have an abortion."
The other contains the message: "The Supreme Court says you can choose: after the heart starts beating, after its arms and legs appear, after all organs are present, after the sex is apparent, after it sucks its thumb, after it responds to sounds, after it could survive outside the womb.''
Both ads conclude with the tagline "Abortion: Have we gone too far?'' and the name and Web site address (www.secondlookproject.org) for the Second Look Project, an effort sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which created the campaign and unveiled it on Washington's Metro subway system a year ago.
In other words, we are not talking about pictures of dismembered fetuses here. We are talking about very mild political speech.
The rhgetoric of opponents is shrill, heated, and hysterical.
Abortion-rights activists are responding differently, calling the ads misleading, manipulative and part of an effort to undermine the pro-choice movement in the Bay Area.
"They're calling for the overturn of Roe vs. Wade, which will lead to the slaughter of women,'' said Elizabeth Creely of the Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights, referring to fears of unsafe, back-alley abortions if the procedure were illegal. "The Catholic Church is very strong here and is working hard to erode reproductive rights.''
Actually, it will lead to states and Congress to pass laws regulating or restricting abortion, but likely not outlawing it in most places. And as far as the "slaughter of women" you are bleating about, Ms. Creely, the number will be quite small compared to the number of babies slaughtered annually in the name of "choice".
But thank you for clarifying matters for us, ladies -- you want a right explicitly protected by the Constitution to be sacrificed in the name of one that was alien to that document before a group of rogue judges created it in 1973.
MORE AT: Blogs for Bush, Phoblographer, Intergalactic Jester, GeMatt's Place, Paul's Word, W.C. Varones Blog, Cvstos Fidei, Vern Beachy's Raves, Say Anything, Right Side Redux, Beachhouse, Beetle Beat.
The latest Justice Sunday was sharply criticized by the advocates of a strict separation of church and state on the American Left. They have sued over Intelligent Design, have demanded that the Ten Commandments come down and insisted that "under God" be stripped from the Pledge of Allegiance. They have demonized Falwell and Dobson, and have a history of going after any religious leader who dares to speak on political issues.
So why the silence on this intrusion of religious leaders into public policy issues? Could it be that their alleged "principles" don't extend to include religious leaders who urge LIBERAL positions.
Declaring that the United States was at a crossroads in Iraq, the nation's Roman Catholic bishops said Thursday the time had come to withdraw U.S. troops as fast as responsibly possible and to hand control of the country to Iraqis.
"Our nation's military forces should remain in Iraq only as long as it takes for a responsible transition, leaving sooner than later," said Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., speaking for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Wenski, chairman of the bishops Committee on International Policy, said recent statements by the Bush administration that troop levels would be reduced were not enough. He said the U.S. must send an unmistakable signal that the goal was not to occupy Iraq "for an indeterminate period," but to help Iraqis assume full control of their government.
The eight-page statement, in the works for months and delivered to the White House and members of Congress on Thursday, was candid in its assessment of the war, which U.S. bishops and the late pope, John Paul II, had opposed from the start.
Now I've checked the homepage for Americans United For Separation of Church and State and found nary a mention of this statement on Iraq. American Atheists is also silent, though they have plenty to say on Abramoff. I cannot find a mention at the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The ACLU trashes Judge Alito but not the bishops. Dito the anti-religion activists at People For the American Way. I wonder why they are all "silent as a church mouse" on the issue.
I think we all know what would have happened if, for example, the Southern Baptist leadership had issued a statement supporting the war. And we remember what happened when some bishops acted to stop the sacrilege of John Kerry receiving communion.
But since this statement coincides with the opinions of the Leftist elite, they'll let this one slide.
Once again, the Left proves that what we on the Right say about it is true. Take this from Canada, which is usually tha harbinger of left-wing trends in this country.
A new study for the federal Justice Department says Canada should get rid of its law banning polygamy, and change other legislation to help women and children living in such multiple-spouse relationships.
“Criminalization does not address the harms associated with valid foreign polygamous marriages and plural unions, in particular the harms to women,” says the report, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
“The report therefore recommends that this provision be repealed.”
The research paper is part of a controversial $150,000 polygamy project, launched a year ago and paid for by the Justice Department and Status of Women Canada.
Expect this to become a mainstream Leftist cause in this country within about six months -- the logical extension of the demand for court-imposed homosexual marriage.
The Houston Chronicle today waxes eloquent about the decision to strike down a subpoena issued for materials from KPRC television here in Houston.
LAST year set dangerous precedents for investigative journalism in the United States. Reporters for print and electronic media were hauled into court in matters both civil and criminal. One of those cases involved an investigation into who outed covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, which led to grand jury appearances by a Who's Who of national journalists.
While some of the media's legal difficulties in Plamegate sprang from questionable decisions by reporters and their editors in handling confidential sources, prosecutors clearly have gone after news reporters in hopes of building their cases against suspects. That's why state District Judge Mark Kent Ellis' decision, which went against the trend, should be welcomed by those who believe a free press is essential to American democracy.
Harris County consumer fraud division chief Russell Turbeville had subpoenaed KPRC TV (Channel 2) to produce unaired video compiled during reporting on home loan fraud and a dog consignment business. Houston television stations have routinely provided police and prosecutors with crime-related video that aired in news reports but have declined to provide either outtakes or video compiled for stories that were never broadcast.
KPRC's lawyer argued that if a prosecutor was given sweeping access to unaired material, it would disrupt news-gathering and allow a district attorney to intrude any time he thought a reporter might have information he wanted. KPRC officials offered to allow prosecutors to view the unedited tape and take notes, but Turbeville insisted that tapes he hadn't seen were essential to building a fraud case.
A similar scenario also could haunt print and radio reporters. Law enforcement officials could seek to acquire notes or tapes reporters created while working on stories never aired or published. If reporters become reluctant to interview law enforcement officials for fear of disclosing stories in progress, the public will know less about police and prosecutors' actions and policies.
In a partial victory for the television station, Judge Ellis ruled last week that KPRC did not have to release video compiled for a story that was not aired. He did allow the prosecutor to get some unaired footage edited from two other reports that were broadcast.
Ellis indicated he is concerned about the erosion of media independence: "Ever since the Constitution was issued, it's been chipped away at. I'm sympathetic with the needs of a press to be free."
In order to cultivate and protect sources with information the public needs to know, reporters cannot be made to act as surrogate police investigators who can be hauled into court any time a district attorney gets the urge. Rather than trying to piggyback on KPRC's work, prosecutors should cut down on their TV watching and go back to building their cases the old fashioned way.
The only problem is that the entire editorial rests upon a flawed understanding of the First Amendment and the rights of a free press -- not to mention the rights and the obligations of citizens in general.
You see, the editorialist starts with the assumption that the media is some sort of sacred institution, with journalists being priests devoted to some higher calling than other mere citizens. But the MSM are nto endowed with special rights, and professional journalists are entitled to no more privileges under the First Amendment than any other citizen.
For example, I write this wonderful blog you read. I consider myself to be a citizen jurnalist/commentator. Suppose I uncover information about criminal conduct but do not use it -- will I be shielded under the "Free Press" provisions of the First Amendment? We all know the answer there -- refuse to testify or turn over evidence under subpoena and I will go to jail. But were I a "professional journalist", a member of the "working press", and there is suddenly a claim of immunity. Why the difference? Don't reporters have the same obligations to follow the law as otehr citizens?
What I am trying to point out is that the First Amendment belongs to the people, not the media. It confers no special privileges upon the press that are not conferred upon all Americans generally -- and certainly not the privilege to obstruct justice and withhold evidence. For the media to seek such a privilege and the courts to recognize it is not just wrong-- it is unAmerican.
Has John Murtha (D-Cut&Run) overstated his war wounds over the years? And did Murtha cut a deal to avoid prosecution and ethics charges in the Abscam case? These are questions being raised by Cybercast News Service, a respected internet media source.
With regard to Murtha's injuries, Marine Corps records indicate the following.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on May 12, 2002, reported that "Marine Corps casualty records show that Murtha was injured in 'hostile' actions near Danang, Vietnam, on March 22, 1967, and May 7, 1967.
"In the first incident, his right cheek was lacerated, and in the second, he was lacerated above his left eye. Neither injury required evacuation," the Post-Gazette reported.
On the other hand, Murtha has told the story a bit differently at different times.
But an Oct. 26, 1994, article in the Herald-Standard quoted Murtha as describing two different injuries.
"I was wounded in the arm with shrapnel from a bullet that hit the motor mount of a helicopter. In the other, my knee was banged up and my arm was banged up when a helicopter was shot down from a very few feet," Murtha told the Herald-Standard.
A June 1, 1967 report in the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat quoted a letter that the newspaper indicated was sent by Murtha to his wife that same year. The letter apparently detailed yet another version of how Murtha qualified for one of his Purple Hearts. According to the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, Murtha's injuries involved his being "struck in the ankle" by a "shot that ricocheted off the helicopter."
So which is it? Was Murtha actually wounded. or was he part of the John Kerry "Bactine and BandAid Brigade"? The actions of Murtha's own congressman in 1968 -- who Murtha replaced after his death in 1973 -- seem to indicate that the injuries were not severe.
However, another source, World War II Navy veteran Harry M. Fox, previously indicated that Murtha in 1968 personally asked Fox's boss, then-U.S. Rep. John Saylor (R-Pa.), for assistance in obtaining the Purple Hearts, but was turned down because Saylor's office determined that Murtha lacked sufficient evidence of wounds. Murtha later challenged Saylor for his House seat in 1968 and lost. Fox said he personally viewed Murtha's military records in 1968 as Saylor's aide.
Given that congressional offices are usuall more than willing to go to bat for constituents in such cases, it strikes me that the questions raised are certainly legitimate ones. And please notice that those who are questioning Murtha's veracity here are veterans themselves who also served with distinction.
Which leads us to the other question -- was Murtha dirty in the Abscam case, in which he was an unindicted coconspirator?
As for the Abscam case, consider this response to the offer of a $50,000 bribe.
But, a videotape of a Jan. 7, 1980 Abscam-related meeting involving Murtha shows that the congressman's rejection of the offered bribe was less than definite. "I'm not interested. I'm sorry," Murtha told the FBI agent, but added that he meant "at this point.
"You know, we do business for a while, maybe I'll be interested, maybe I won't," Murtha said on the FBI videotape.
In other wors, Murtha did not reject the bribe, he just deferred it.
So how did he avoid prosecution and censure? By cutting a deal.
Interestingly enough, it appears that the decision not to have Murth face ethics charges caused dissension within the committee staff, and resulted in at least one resignation.
A July 30, 1981, article in the Washington Post quoted a committee source as saying that several allegations of misconduct against Murtha were rejected on a "near party-line vote." Since the panel was made up of six Democrats and six Republicans, seven votes were needed to file any charges.
Just hours after the July 1981 House Ethic Committee vote sparing Murtha from charges, E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr., special counsel for the panel's Abscam investigation, abruptly resigned. At the time, Prettyman refused to discuss with the press his reasons for stepping down.
When contacted by Cybercast News Service regarding the investigation, Prettyman called the Murtha situation "very interesting," but declined further comment, citing the need to maintain attorney-client privilege.
Similarly, when Prettyman was interviewed by the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call in 1990, the former special counsel declined to comment on why he had resigned. But when pressed on whether the resignation was due to the Ethics Committee's vote on Murtha, Prettyman said that would be "a logical conclusion."
In other words, the lead investigator felt that charges were warranted, and that the evidence was such that he should resign in the face of the committee's decision not to hold Murtha accountable for his involvement in the Abscam corruption.
One member of the committee at the time even recognizes that he was wrong to support Murtha at the time.
So, why doesn't the media cover Murtha's dirty record? Could it be bias?
And why do they attack the messenger instead?
UPDATE -- 1/16/06: CNSNews editor-in-chief David Thibault responds to liberal whiners.
The amazing response from the Left to the two articles Cybercast News Service published on Friday, Jan. 13, regarding the military and political record of U.S. Rep. John Murtha leaves me wondering whether the Democratic Party and its liberal followers are paranoid or just plain mean.
First, let me say to the Lefties out there who will read this -- it's unfair that the authors of the articles, CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer Marc Morano and Staff Writer Randy Hall are being pounded so viciously on your liberal blogs. These two terrific journalists, who by the way can handle anything you can dish out, were assigned to the stories and did their jobs very well. But, don't blame them. Blame me. I assigned the stories. Nobody else suggested the idea. Nobody else twisted my arm.
If I read the blogs, and by now you know that I have, I'm amazed at the circle of friends and conspirators that I have suddenly developed over the last three days. Judging by the Left's paranoid rants, I'm about to get an invitation to a White House State Dinner, where I'll be able to regale my best bud Karl Rove about my latest journalistic efforts, before attending to my private chat with President Bush about who to target next for a "hit job."
But the problem -- well it's only a problem if you subscribe to this conspiratorial nonsense -- is that I've never met, spoken on the telephone or exchanged emails with Karl Rove. He doesn't know me from a hole in the wall. I haven't spoken with President Bush since he was the governor of Texas and I was a television reporter for the Republican National Committee following him around in Amarillo more than ten years ago. And I'm pretty sure the president doesn't remember me.
I am, however, impressed that our news organization has been recognized by the likes of U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority leader, who labeled our articles on Murtha "despicable." This raises a crucial question for Ms. Pelosi and the Left, regarding our news coverage. They can take their best shot because we can take the hit. But can they say the same thing?
You've got to love it when someone takes the position that the media should air an ad that is misleading. But following the release of a report by the Annendberg Center, two leftist groups are demanding that Houston television stations air the ad in question.
A nonpartisan organization that reviews political ads for accuracy said Friday that a controversial commercial rejected by Houston TV stations after being labeled false by Rep. Tom DeLay's campaign is vaguely worded but contains nothing definitively false.
"We find that DeLay's lawyer mischaracterized what the ad said, and that the ad contains nothing that is strictly false," said Factcheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. "The worst we can say of the ad is that its ambiguous wording" could mislead viewers about the details of DeLay's interactions with former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who has pleaded guilty to corruption charges and is cooperating with a federal investigation of lawmakers and their aides.
The review came after a lawyer for DeLay's re-election campaign, Don McGahn, this week contacted four Houston television stations that had sold airtime for the ad. McGahn called the spot "reckless, malicious and false" and hinted that the stations could face legal trouble if they ran it. They didn't.
so what do the involved groups say?
With Factcheck.org's analysis in hand, the sponsoring groups are now encouraging Houston residents to contact the stations — KTRK (Channel 13), KRIV (Channel 26), KHOU (Channel 11) and KPRC (Channel 2) — and demand that they air the ad, which has appeared on cable stations in Houston and on the Internet.
The spot "contains important information about what Tom DeLay does in Washington and we think people in Houston need to know," said David Donnelly, national campaigns director of the Public Campaign Action Fund. The stations either did not return calls seeking comment or, when reached, declined to speak about the ad on Friday.
Austin Bay points out that Ted Kennedy's performance during the Alito hearings was more harmful than the recent words of Pat Robertson.
However, hot rhetoric untethered by fact or untempered by reflection undermines debate.
Fortunately, these hot words often burn the unfettered and ill-tempered tongue that utters them.
Take the Rev. Pat Robertson as a recent example of "failure to reflect." When Robertson said that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's tragic stroke might be a divine rebuke for "dividing God's land," a wave of deserved scorn and ridicule swamped the silly man. The White House and The New York Times blasted Robertson, a right-left political condemnation of a right-wing ayatollah.
Idiocy isn't illegal, nor is lying — at least, not if one lies in U.S. Senate hearings. Ted Kennedy provides the recent example of hot, emotion-stoking rhetoric untethered by truth.
On the opening day of Judge Samuel Alito's Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Kennedy opened up with a faith-based fire Robertson might envy: "Judge Alito has not written one single opinion on the merits in favor of a person of color alleging racial discrimination on the job. In 15 years, not one."
Kennedy's statement is completely false. Alito found for plaintiffs alleging racial discrimination on the job in several cases (for example, Zubi v. AT&T Corp. and Goosby v. Johnson & Johnson Medical).
Kennedy has avoided Robertson's mass condemnation. His snake dance and sanctimony is as poisonous as the Rev. Robertson's, however, and perhaps more venomous, since his fib slanders Judge Alito.
Ultimately, Kennedy's words are much more harmful to America than Robertson's. Kennedy's lies are a malignant slander that undermines the health of the body-politic, not merely an ill-considered and wrong-headed theological reflection.
Yet while Robertson's buffoonish attempt to explain Ariel Sharon's illness was shouted down, Kennedy's intentional falsehood -- a rhetorical attempt to do to Alito what Oswald and Sirhan did to the senator's brothers -- have barely been noted by the media or his ideological allies. Kennedy certainly have not been condemned for his misdeeds. That indicates that Kennedy and his allies are more concerned about petty partisan advantage than about the well-being of America.
Why should we be surprised that a murderous terrorist like this would disappear into the woodwork rather than registering at a police station?
The Turkish gunman who shot Pope John Paul II failed to report to a police station Friday — the day after his release from prison — and authorities said the military could ask for his arrest for draft-dodging.
Mehmet Ali Agca was required to report daily to a police station to allow authorities to keep tabs on him until at least officials decide on whether he should serve his military service.
Istanbul Gov. Muammer Guler said Agca — whose whereabouts were unknown — had not reported to any police station by Friday evening. Guler said Agca was also required to report to a military hospital on Monday.
"If he doesn't show up, he will be listed as a draft-dodger" and his arrest could be sought, Guler said.
Let's see -- he murdered a journalist and tried to kill the pope. Do you really think he gives a rat's ass about being considered a draft-dodger?
This little tidbit is also interesting.
Agca, 48, received a hero's welcome by his ultranationalist admirers, who tossed flowers at the car whisking him through the gates of the high-security Kartal Prison outside Istanbul.
Does anyone know how strong this "ultranationailist" movement is, and what its platform consists of?
I've always believed that it should be easier, not harder, to get on the ballot. That even means that someone like this should be able to run for office.
One gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota is giving a whole new meaning to the "dark side" of politics. A man who calls himself a satanic priest plans to run for governor on a 13-point platform that includes the public impaling of terrorists at the state Capitol building.
Jonathon Sharkey, also known as "The Impaler", plans to launch his gubernatorial campaign on - when else? - Friday the 13th. He'll make the announcement in Princeton.
"I'm going to be totally open and honest," said the 41-year-old leader of the "Vampyres, Witches and Pagans Party."
"Unlike other candidates, I'm not going to hide my evil side," he said.
In Minnesota, anyone who pays the $300 filing fee can get on the gubernatorial ballot and it seems that every year a few eccentric candidates make the rounds.
Sharkey raises the bar. For one thing, he told the Star Tribune in an e-mail that he drinks blood.
Including the impaling of terrorists, rapists, drug dealers and other criminals, Sharkey's platform includes emphasis on education, tax breaks for farmers and better benefits for veterans.
You know, I think I could go for most of those "points" (I hesitate to use that word around a guy called "the Impaler"). After all, he's clearly tough on crime, pro-education, and pro-veteran. And I've always supported helping family farmers stay in the business -- they are the origingal small businessmen.
On the other hand, he is also the perfect candicate for your average Leftist -- especially the ACLU and separation of church and state crowd.
Sharkey said he worships Lucifer and, while he says he has nothing against Christians, he calls the "Christian God the Father" his "mortal enemy."
You know, maybe this explains Jesse Ventura.
(Bumped to top)
I've been thinking, friends -- there are lots of good carnivals out there.
But one seems missing to me.
A Carnival as big as Texas.
More to the point, a Carnival featuring bloggers from Texas.
So here is my idea -- a weekly round up of the best Lone Star Blogosphere.
What do you folks think? Any interest?
Answer me in the comments section -- and be so kind as to pass the word about the proposal.
Like matter which encounters a black hole, some news stories are simply sucked in to where no light escapes, quickly slipping ove the event horizon into nothingness.
A former aide to Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court and has agreed to cooperate with an investigation into an alleged conspiracy to funnel money to the eight-term congressman and members of his family.
Brett Pfeffer, 37, told U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III that a congressman, identified in court only as "Representative A," lobbied high-ranking officials in Nigeria and Ghana to use technology developed by a small U.S.-based telecommunication company and pressed the Export-Import Bank of the United States to approve loan guarantees. In exchange, Pfeffer said, the congressman demanded a share of the new company created to facilitate the deal.
Unless I've gone deaf, I've missed the uproar over this case. I mean, after all, we have a sitting lawmaker, indictments and guilty pleas, spectacular accusations of criminality. This should be a lead story and be producing claims about a culture of corruption within the lawmaker's party -- expecially given other actions taken by the guy to cover his tracks.
That is a "D" in the party slot.
He's a Democrat.
Nothing to see here.
It just isn't news to the MSM.
From The Plot to Shush Rush and O’Reilly by Brian C. Anderson
The Right—joined by free-speech defenders from across the political spectrum—needs to defeat the liberal regulatory threat before it does real damage to Americans’ rights to express their political views. President Bush should strongly back Hensarling’s Online Freedom of Speech Act, whose sponsors may reintroduce it soon in the House under regular rules, which require only a simple majority to pass it. Showing that he gets it, the president has just nominated three reportedly liberty-minded lawyers to fill FEC vacancies, including Robert Lenhard, part of the legal team that challenged McCain-Feingold’s constitutionality. One campaign-finance reform group described the Lenhard pick as “beyond disappointing”: excellent news for free-speech fans.
In deciding two campaign-finance reform cases in the months ahead, the Roberts Court, one hopes, will show greater enthusiasm for First Amendment protection of political speech than did its predecessor, which should have shot down McCain-Feingold. If neither Congress nor the Supreme Court repeals this unconstitutional, un-American travesty, we can expect election regulations, in the grim words of Justice Antonin Scalia’s McConnell dissent, “to grow more voluminous, more detailed, and more complex in the years to come—and always, always, with the objective of reducing the excessive amount of speech.” Thus will our most effective real protection against “the actuality and appearance of corruption”—the First Amendment itself—be nullified.
Lovers of liberty should expose calls to restore the Fairness Doctrine for the fraudulent power-grab that they plainly are. And the Right, in particular, needs to understand how much it has benefited from a deregulated media universe. It should be confident that it has the right ideas, and that when it gets the chance to present them directly to the American people—as the new media have allowed it to do—it will win the debate.
Probably the most important article I've read in months -- READ IT!
Kate Michelman, The Public Face Of a Woman's Right to Privacy
They even include a nicely posed picture.
But so concerned are they about the "right to privacy" that they forget the real face of "reproductive choice".
I guess the focus on privacy makes it possible to ignore the consequences of choice.
No jury will ever convict Michelman for her crimes against the lives of the innocent -- but there is a Judge waiting to give sentence. And there will be no appeal to the Supreme COurt or reliance on Roe v. Wade as precedent.
Good grief! Chris Elam has been contacted by the Lawyer for Dummies.
Say Goodbye to Safety For Dummies
Yes, its true. It looks like Safety For Dummies is going the way of the dodo bird.
The name, that is.
Earlier this afternoon, I received a “cease and desist” e-mail from some lawyer from Hoboken, NJ representing the company that publishes all those goofy “______ for Dummies” books, telling me that I have 10 days to change the name of this blog... or.... something. She didn't exactly say what the risk would be if I don't.
Of all the absurdities I've encountered of late, this takes the cake! I guess they've copyrighted the two-word "for Dummies" combination?
but down here in CD22, our reaction was "who is Tom Campbell?"
But then what do I know? I'm only a GOP precinct chair in the district.
U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, who lost his leadership post because of his ties to a disgraced lobbyist and faces felony charges in his home state, now has another worry: an unprecedented four-way primary for the seat he's held comfortably for 22 years.
While two of DeLay's challengers aren't considered to have much credibility _ one is making his fourth attempt to unseat DeLay and the other has lived overseas much of her adult life _ lawyer Tom Campbell of Sugar Land holds an impressive Republican resume.
Campbell worked on the presidential campaigns of Bob Dole and the elder George Bush, whose administration appointed him general counsel to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A former Harris County Republican Party official runs Campbell's campaign.
Well, that depends upon how you define "former Harris County Republican party Official" and how seriously you take that designation. Besides, that "former official" is better known for being the wife of former DeLay business partner who has been a thorn in Delay's side for years.
I think Fort Bend County GOP Chair puts it best.
"Tom Campbell at least has Republican credentials," Fort Bend County GOP chairman Eric Thode said. "Having said that, it doesn't translate into one iota of support or money. He is 100 percent absolutely unknown in this county."
And not well-known in Harris County circles, either.
What we have here, my friends, is nothing but a puff piece on a minor candidate with a slightly ,ore impressive than usual resume.
From Michelle Malkin.
An aside: If only these Dems were 1/100th as interested in digging into Sen. Bobby Byrd's proud membership and leadership position in the real KKK as they were into Alito's membership in CAP...
Or Ted Kennedy's driving record.
The Democrat campaign of slander and calumny against Judge Samuel Alito in confirmation hearings. Of particular note, though, was a discussion of the notion that certain cases constitute "settled law" and that their holdings should never be reexamined or overturn by future courts.
The drama of the hearings' third day nearly overshadowed the significance of the position Alito staked out on the landmark abortion case, Roe v. Wade . Senators also branched into new territory: Alito's record from 15 years on the Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit on cases involving religion, immigrants seeking to prevent deportation, and criminals' rights.
Alito edged closer to suggesting that he might be willing to reconsider Roe if he is confirmed to the high court, refusing, under persistent questioning by Democrats, to say that he regards the 1973 decision as "settled law" that "can't be reexamined." In this way, his answers departed notably from those that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. gave when asked similar questions during his confirmation hearings four months ago.
Yesterday, Alito said that Roe must be treated with respect because it has been reaffirmed by the high court several times in the past three decades.
But when Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) peppered Alito with questions about whether the ruling is "the settled law of the land," the nominee responded: "If 'settled' means that it can't be reexamined, then that's one thing. If 'settled' means that it is a precedent that is entitled to respect . . . then it is a precedent that is protected, entitled to respect under the doctrine of stare decisis." Stare decisis is a legal principle that, in Latin, means "to stand by that which is decided."
Alito's position is one which seems disingenuous to some, but is probably among the most intellectually honest and rational positions that one could stake out on the issue. It is that no decision is beyond reexamination, though precedent is entitled to respect.
It is, after all, the role of the courts to apply the law and the Constitution in the particular cases before them. That process involves, among other things, looking at prior precedents and holdings and engaging in analogy, either likening one case to another or disinguishing them from one another. Old decisions are looked at in a new light cast by new facts. And sometimes an older principle is seen as not being workable in light of other principles or developments in law and society. At such times, it is necessary and proper to overturn a prior precedent, even if it is a venerable one.
In 1954, for example, Brown v. Board of Education was handed down by a unanimous Supreme Court. It overruled the holding in Plessy v. Ferguson, which held that government-imposed regimes of "separate but equal" treatment of individuals based upon race were acceptable and constitutional. For six decades, courts had struggled with the application of the Plessy precedent, analogizing and distinguishing in cases decided afterwards. Doing so showed that the Plessy decision was essentially unworkable and ithat the results were inconsistent with the Constitution, and so the Supreme Court struck down the older decision in the seminal civil rights decision of the twentieth century. As we look back, it is clear that this was a wise and courageous decision on the part of the Warren Court.
Which brings me back to Roe. Spme thirty years ago, the Burger Court expanded the notion of privacy to include the right of a woman to take the life of her unborn child with no restrictions in the first trimester and with gradually increasing restrictions later on in pregnancy. The reasoning was so fractured that no one opinion could garner five votes. Indeed, later cases have both expanded that right to limit permissible restrictions and limited that right by upholding others. Subsequent decisions have relied on Roe, while others have shown its flaws and weaknesses. One decison even argues that the correctness of the decision is irrelevant simply because the precedent is precedent and has been relied upon in subsequent cases.
But that begs teh question. What if the facts of a case and an examination of outcomes lead a justice to conclude that Roe is, in whole or in part, unworkable or wrong? Must that justice ignore that conclusion because of precedent. Or should that justice attempt to forge a new consensus around the conclusion he has reached? I would argue the latter, just as was done in the Brown.
And I ould argue that is true in the case of any precedent, inot just Roe. Even teh grandaddy of them all -- Marbury v. Madison. Precedent should not be jettisoned lightly or for transient political reasons. But it is proper.
After all, the reexamination of principles and opinions is a healthy process for an individual. It is no less so for society as a whole. And sometimes such reexamination leads to bright shining moments in the lives of individuals and or nations.
I may be a conservative Republican, but I've yet to see a merit pay system that I think would work. That includes the one adopted in the big district that borders mine, HISD.
Houston is about to become the biggest school district in the nation to tie teachers' pay to their students' test scores.
School Superintendent Abe Saavedra wants to offer teachers as much as $3,000 more per school year if their students improve on state and national tests. The program could eventually grow to as much as $10,000 in merit pay.
The school board is set to vote on the plan Thursday. Five of the nine board members have said they support it.
"School systems traditionally have been paying the best teacher the same amount as we pay the worst teacher, based on the number of years they have been teaching," Saavedra said. "It doesn't make sense that we would pay the best what we're paying the worst. That's why it's going to change."
Opponents argue that the plan focuses too much on test scores and would be unfair to teachers outside core subjects.
Count me as one of the opponents. I've never seen a merit system that cannot be manipulated by administrators to play favorites or screw teachers out of favor. Basing the pay on test scores unintentionally encourages cheating, and does have the effect of leaving elective teachers (and even some teachers of required classes) ineligible.
The plan is divided into three sections, with as much as $1,000 in bonus pay each.
The first would award bonuses to all teachers in schools rated acceptable or higher, based on scores on the state's main standardized test. The second ties pay to student improvement on a standardized test that compares performance to nationwide norms.
In the third section, reading and math teachers whose students fare well compared with others in the district would be eligible for bonuses.
Bonuses for all sections will be given only if students show improvement in the top half of scores.
Fallon said the plan is unfair to teachers in such subjects as art and music.
Now there is a bonus for all teachers. I think that is good. But it is also the smallest part of the bonus program, and so really undervalues the work done by teachers outside of the core subjects.
The second component introduces an additional test into the school year. That's right, students will lose more instructional time so that the bonus test will be given. That is because the TAKS test mandated by state law is not given nationally, and so provides no basis for comparison between states.
The third element offers a special bonus to reading and math teachers, but ignores the other two TAKS components -- science and social studies. Which test has the best performance statewide? Social studies. And the worst? Science. Reading is has room to improve, but math scores have been bad statewide. It just seems somewhat illogical to me to reward one section of the test but not another.
I'm also curious if there will be a reward by individual teacher. If there is, there is a simp;e way to play favorites. A principal has complete discretion over what classes a teacher has. Give the favorite the AP classes, and the teacher who is a thorn in the side a bunch of rmedial classes. I've been there -- one year I had four sections of kids 11th graders who had failed 10th grade English. I had one class that was usually 50% empty because of skippers and discipline cases. Want to guess what my test scores looked like? They were good, all things considered -- but a 76% passing rate was pretty anemic when the district-wide passing rate for the 10th grade test was 93%. Never mind that my three classes of regular 11th grade English passed at a 95% rate. Overall I was at an 82%, making me -- by the numbers -- one of the worst teachers in the district.
Oh, and while we are at it, I want to point out something in this article, for those who go on about union ifluence on education.
Traditionally, Houston teachers' experience and education levels have determined their pay scale. Starting teachers make about $36,000 a year. Salaries can rise to about $45,000 with advanced degrees and more experience.
Texas has no collective bargaining, meaning the teachers union can lobby the district for raises but cannot strike.
Houston area districts also pay quite well -- in other parts of the state, the numbers can be about $10K lower on the salary front. Statewide, we average nearly $7K below the national average salary for teachers. And as far as lobbying goes, many districts don't even decide on the next year's pay scale until mid-summer -- months after contracts must be signed, and sometimes after the state deadline for resignation. While salaries rarely go down, you can never be sure if there will be a salary increase for the following year -- or how much of one. Also, there is no tenure in any school district I am aware of. So you will understand why I look askance at this plan that is being imposed without significant teacher input.
I'm hoping my district gets no ideas from HISD.
That's really the more important question here.
A western Colombian city councilman wants to require everyone in town 14 or older to carry a condom to prevent pregnancy and disease, outraging local priests.
William Pena, a councilman in Tulua, said Wednesday he will present a formal proposal to force all men and women — even those just visiting — to always carry at least one condom. Those caught empty-pocketed could pay a fine of $180 or take a safe sex course, he said.
"Sexual relations are going on constantly," Pena told The Associated Press by telephone. "If you carry a condom, chances are you'll use it during the day. It's not going to be there forever."
Tulua has one of the highest rates of AIDS in Colombia, he said. The proposal will be debated by other town leaders and could go into effect by March, he said.
There are a couple of problems, of course.
First, this is an incredibly unreasonable way to deal with the issue of AIDS and pregnancy. Talk about your expansions of government power.
Secondly, though, heat and friction degrade teh latex, so carrying the thing around in the pocket will result in pinholes and breakage over time. That means that folks who think they are "safe" won't be -- but might be more inclined to engage in sex because of their misperception.
There is no question that the Abramoff scandal is important. But is it as important as the press would make it? And what about other scandals that should be on the radar but are not?
This scandal is big -- no questions about that. But by what measure is this story so huge and historic? How does it compare to the House Bank scandal of 1992, which resulted in a number of congressional careers ended? How does Abramoff compare to the related mess at the House Post Office, which led to the eventual conviction of House Ways and Means chairman Dan Rostenkowski?
There was no glee in the newsrooms then, when it was Democrats.
When Speaker Jim Wright was forced out in 1989 for dozens upon dozens of ethical violations? "Mindless cannibalism," Wright called it, and they agreed. When Majority Whip Tony Coelho scooted away behind Wright, the media mourned America's loss.
How does Casino-gate, or whatever we're going to call this one, compare to the Asian fundraising scandal of 1996? No one mentioned that, either. Investor's Business Daily published a very informative graphic showing that 22 foreign figures and Democrat activists plugging away for Clinton-Gore and Democratic candidates were convicted by the federal probe of that scandal. (And that figure does not include the people that fled the country rather than testify.) How is the Abramoff plea already bigger than that?
As expected, Democrats and their gaggle of supportive bloggers are claiming it's outrageous for anyone to suggest that Jack Abramoff could be connected to Democrats. They argue that because Abramoff was Republican and the majority of his funding went to Republicans, the discussion should end there. After all, the GOP is the Party of Corruption, is it not?
But the coverage of another fundraising scandal has been much more subdued -- indeed, the press has been absolutely comatose. That is the Hillary Clinton fundraising scandal, which resulted in an FEC fine.
How was Hillary's Hollywood-party fine covered? On Jan. 6, The Washington Post just carried the 325-word AP dispatch inside the paper. The New York Times gave it little more than 100 words on page B-4 in a "Metro Briefs" section. It was buried even further still as story number six in that column. Nothing emerged on ABC. Or CBS. Or NBC. Or NPR. (CNN mentioned it briefly on "American Morning," right before its brief item on the "Bubble Gum Bandit.") USA Today, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News? Nothing.
Dave Pierre at Newsbusters.org had some fun exploring the bias by omission at the Los Angeles Times. This paper had no Hillary story, but on Jan. 6, it did carry 2,315 words in two articles on NBC's liberal "Book of Daniel" premiere, 1,431 words on liberal Jon Stewart hosting the Oscars, 182 words on Pat Robertson's bizarre Ariel Sharon remarks, and another 1,477 words (starting on Page One) on the decline in the popularity of tennis. Pierre was especially wincing over this factoid: The offending Hillary fundraiser was held in Hollywood, smack-dab on the paper's stomping grounds.
But let it not be said that the Los Angeles Times doesn't cover corruption. The day before, the front page carried a big, long Abramoff story with a tiny mention of Hillary Clinton's Abramoff connection.
So it seems that the MSM does not want to gve this important story any coverage -- even when it happens in their own backyard.
But then again, it is just one more corrupt Democrat. In other words, nothing out of the ordinary.
Sometimes there needs to be a little common sense exercised when it comes to free exercise of religion. After all, that right is guaranteed under the First Amendment -- and is a basic human right.
That's why I am glad to see that Wayne State University is going to change its policies to protect the religious rights of Sikhs.
Wayne State University is reviewing its public safety policies after a Detroit judge ruled a Sikh student shouldn't have been arrested on campus for carrying a 10-inch knife, known as a kirpan.
Sukhpreet Singh Garcha, a 23-year-old senior and a baptized Sikh, was arrested in August by campus police for carrying the knife on his hip and another 5-inch knife concealed in his waistband. Garcha was charged with violating the city's knife ordinance, which prohibits carrying knives with blades longer than 3 inches.
Garcha said carrying the knife was necessary under Sikhism, a monotheistic religion founded in India. The smaller knife was worn in case the other had to be removed.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the religious group United Sikhs protested Garcha's arrest, saying the kirpan isn't a weapon, but rather an ornamental article of faith that baptized Sikhs must wear at all times.
Bravo to the ACLU for taking this case, and to Judge Rudy Serra of the 36th District Court for making the ruling that the city ordinance cannot restrict the wearing of this item of great religious significance.
Well, a young Israeli Arab man has been denied entry into the IAF.
He has instead been offered something almost as prestigious.
he IDF's Personnel Directorate has decided to reject the request of an18-year-old Arab Muslim from northern Israel who sought to join the army's prestigious pilot training course, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday.
Instead of becoming a pilot, the army offered the teen to volunteer to the paratroopers.
The disappointed youth, who graduated from high school with honors and already holds a civilian pilot's license, is expected to undergo initial tests on Thursday for the IDF's paratroopers unit.
However, the teen's father said the youth plans to appeal the decision to IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, and if needed even take the matter to court, in order to open the pilot course for Arab Muslims as well.
Muslims are not obligated to join the army, and only a few dozens volunteer to the IDF every year. Hence, the Arab teen's unusual request managed to surprise the defense establishment.
He will fight the decision, even as he fulfills what he views as an important obligation as an Israeli citizen -- one that few Muslims in that country take up, despite the fact that service is mandatory for Jews.
The teen's father said Monday that "in the past few days I spoke with a senior official at the IDF's Personnel Directorate who explained to me that the course is closed to the Arab sector for the moment." "The official made it clear that if the course opens in the next year or two, my son would be able to try and join the course. In the meantime, he will get an opportunity somewhere else," the father added.
The reason for the rejection is shrouded in mystery.
The IDF's Personnel Directorate refused to issue an official statement to explain why the teen would not be summoned to the pilot course. However, IDF officials said that apart from the youth's matriculation exam results and his flight abilities, other criteria were also being examined, and it is not certain the teen met all of them.
I hope there is a Knesset inquiry into the matter. If Muslim and Jew are to live together in harmony, discrimination cannot happen.
I'm about to highlight something positive about Bill Clinton.
It seems that he found himself stuck at the airport in Bangor, Maine, as a pair of planes bringing soldiers home from Iraq arrived at the airport for refuelling.
Guess what happened next.
Former President Bill Clinton surprised U.S. troops arriving from Iraq when a refueling stop for his private plane at the Bangor International Airport coincided with the arrival of two flights carrying soldiers.
Clinton was returning Monday night from Paris where he had met with French President Jacques Chirac to discuss plans for his charitable organization, the Clinton Foundation.
Clinton's departure was delayed by a problem with his aircraft, allowing him to join a line of local troop greeters who meet each plane carrying soldiers returning from overseas or leaving for duty.
"Thank you for your service," Clinton said as he shook hands and hugged many of the soldiers. He autographed hats, cards and other items.
And the response of the returning heroes.
The soldiers, about 600 of them, were returning to bases in Oklahoma, Texas and Georgia. Their two chartered aircraft had landed for fuel.
"This is great," Staff Sgt. Anthony Thompson of New York City told the Bangor Daily News.
I agree. Clinton could have simply ignored what was going on, hidden out in a VIP lounge, and no one would have been the wiser. But he didn't do that.
Instead, he did stuff like this.
Clinton had some fun when Army Spc. Joshua Ruschenberg used a cell phone provided by troop greeters to call his sister-in-law, Shancy Garrison, in North Carolina. He handed over the phone to the former commander in chief.
"Hi, Shancy, it's Bill Clinton," the former president said into the phone.
Its something little, but it is sthe type of thing that has always left me with an ambiguous feeling for Bill Clinton, no doubt akin to what many liberals felt about Ronald Reagan.
I think Bill Clinton was a mediocre president, in large part due to his character flaws. But for all the things he did which I found repulsive -- including a certain relationship which needs no discussion here -- I believe there is a core of good in the man. And it is when he does things like this -- or gets involved in charity work, that I find myself developing a grudging respect for him.
Thank you, President Clinton, for having the kindness and decency to greet these soldiers on our behalf. I salute you for it.
As I point out on a regular basis, such an attack on the religious symbols or display of another religious faith would bring the harshest response from community activists and the mavens of tolerance. Why do I suspect that there will be no such outcry in this case -- and probably even smug satisfaction on the part of those individuals, who are usually worshippers at the altar of "choice".
About 600 crosses memorializing aborted fetuses were pulled from ground at the Catholic Life Center and thrown into bushes and onto a parking lot overnight Sunday, church officials said.
Twenty of the crosses were broken, said Sgt. Don Kelly, a spokesman for the Baton Rouge Police Department. Kelly said police are investigating the incident.
Volunteers with the Knights of Columbus and Louisiana Right to Life put up about 800 crosses Saturday at the Catholic Life Center at 1800 S. Acadian Thruway in preparation for the Bishop’s Life Rally scheduled Jan. 15.
Each year the church puts up the display of crosses, said Julie Orr, Respect for Life coordinator for the Marriage and Family Department of the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge.
“We generally leave the crosses up all month as a reminder of the day, Jan. 22, 1973, that Roe v. Wade was enacted,” Orr said.
The Bishop’s Life Rally will be from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. Jan. 15.
Shame on the vandals. And when they are caught, throw the book at them, including maximum enhancement for committing a hate crime.
is justice denied.
And the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has decided to delay justice for Congressman Tom DeLay, despite state and federal constitutional guarantees of a right to a speedy trial.
AUSTIN, Texas -- The state's highest criminal court on Monday denied Rep. Tom DeLay's request that the money laundering charges against him be dismissed or sent back to a lower court for an immediate trial.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied the requests with no written order two days after he announced he was stepping down as House majority leader. DeLay had been forced to temporarily relinquish the Republican leadership post after he was indicted on money laundering and conspiracy charges in September.
DeLay, who denies wrongdoing, had been trying to rush to trial in Texas in hopes of clearing his name and regaining the position.
One has to wonder, though, if DeLay's resignation from that leadership position on Saturday might have led the court to find the vindication of the congressman's rights to be less compelling.
DeLay's lead lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, said his client's announcement might have prompted the court's action.
"I'm sure the events of the weekend have something to do with it," DeGuerin said. "There's not the time crunch there was."
Now that DeLay is no longer trying to reclaim the leadership post before Congress convenes Jan. 31, his trial is likely to be postponed for weeks, if not months.
However, DeGuerin said that DeLay, facing re-election opponents in the March primary and, if he wins that, the November general election, would prefer to be tried before the primary.
"We'd like to have it resolved by then," he said.
Dut given the dilatory pace of the Ronnie Earle-led investigation, I doubt that there will be a trial by March. After all, he has been sending out subpoena's to groups that criticize him, as well as to anyone even tangentially connected to the Abramoff case, seeking additional charges against the former majority leader. A short trial date would necessarily force Earle to stop searching for a real crime and start focusing on the charges he grand jury-shopped for last fall.
So for now, no one knows when there will be a trial -- or if it will at all conform to constitutional notions of "speed".
Barring outright dismissal of the charges by that court, however, a trial could be postponed until later this year because of the lawyers' schedules and several outstanding pretrial fights, including whether the defendants would be tried in Travis County or some other Texas community.
Asked when he thought DeLay might actually be tried, DeGuerin said, "I've stopped guessing."
A DeLay spokesman blamed Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle for fighting DeLay's attempt to receive a quick trial.
"Ronnie Earle has gamed the justice system in Texas in a way that has kept Mr. DeLay's eventual exoneration in a holding pattern," Kevin Madden said. "He will eventually be cleared, but it's a terrible thing that Ronnie Earle has sought to deny that full exoneration for as long as possible."
Earle declined to comment.
In the appellate briefs, Earle said DeLay was asking for special treatment by demanding that his trial be in January.
I guess Earle doesn't find the constitutional rights of defendant's to be particularly compelling -- especially when he is granting access to movie crews to document the case, using his case as a partisan fundraising gambit, and restructuring the lcongressional leadership of the other party.
And then there is this.
The state is appealing the dismissal of a related indictment against DeLay accusing him of conspiracy to violate the state's election laws. Earle said the state has a right to have its appeal heard before prosecutors decide upon which charge to try DeLay.
What is this -- was the indictment merely a tactic to avoid the statute of limitations? Is Earle conceding that he does not really have a case against DeLay, merely charges that lack sufficient credibility to go to trial in a timely fashion? Especially since the remaining charges carry heavier sentences than the otiginal charge brought, which was dismissed for not being on the books at the time of the alleged offense. This is beginning to look like another case of Earle's -- the one against Kay Bailey Hutchison over a decade ago, which was dismissed with prejudice because the prosecution could not proceed when the trial was scheduled due to lack of substantive evidence.
DeLay Withdraws From Leadership Position
More Opportunistic Subpoenas From Ronnie Earle
Ronnie Earle's Strategy -- Delay DeLay! Delay DeLay!
Another Ronnie Earle Fishing Expedition
More Delay In DeLay Case
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
Former Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick turned himself into the Suffolk Magistrate's Office in Suffolk, Va., this afternoon after three warrants were issued for his arrest for waving a firearm at three men in the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant on Sunday night.
Vick, the younger brother of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, was charged with three misdemeanor counts of brandishing a firearm. He was jailed at Western Tidewater Regional Jail around 2 p.m. today and was released on $10,000 bond, according to Magistrate Lisa Noel.
Vick is scheduled to appear Jan. 12 in Suffolk General Court.
Vick, 21, was dismissed from Virginia Tech's football team last Friday "due to a cumulative effect of legal infractions and unsportsmanlike play," according to Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger. Vick had faced a two-game suspension at the beginning of the 2006 season as discipline for stomping the leg of Louisville defensive end Elvis Dumervil during the Hokies' 35-24 victory over the Cardinals in the Jan. 2 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla.
But Virginia Tech officials dismissed him from the team after they learned he had been cited Dec. 17 for driving with a suspended or revoked driver's license and speeding in Hampton, Va. -- the eighth and ninth traffic offenses since he enrolled at Virginia Tech in 2002.
Good grief -- it has been just a couple days since he was dumped by Virginia Tech for his thuggish criminality and his subsequent declaration of his intent to turn pro!
I don't see how any team could justify spending an early draft pick on this guy. He is a loose canon, just waiting to commit a crime of violence that puts him behind bars for an extended period.
You'll love the comments over at Every Day Should Be Saturday.
Looks like a college couple of faculty members from Florida International University are spies for Cuba.
A college professor and his wife, a college administrator, have been charged with being longtime illegal agents of Cuban President Fidel Castro, according to documents filed Monday.
Carlos Alvarez, a psychology professor at Florida International University, and his wife, Elsa Alvarez, were charged with acting as agents of Cuba without registering with the U.S. government as required, said the documents filed in U.S. District Court.
The two were scheduled to make an initial court appearance Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrea Simonton, according to the documents. An indictment further describing the charges was expected to be unsealed after that appearance, court officials said.
U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta and representatives of the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service scheduled a news conference about the case later Monday.
Alvarez is identified on the Florida International Web site as an associate professor in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Department. His wife is described as a coordinator in the social work training program.
Carlos Alvarez didn't return two phone messages left at his office. A university spokesman didn't return several calls seeking comment.
The indictment marks the latest turn in the underworld of espionage between the United States and Cuba, much of which takes place in South Florida where thousands of Cuban exiles live.
Why am I not surprised that these two Red rats were quite at home in higher education? After all, its not like they were Republicans or something else outside the mainstream of contemporary academic thought.
I wonder, after President Bush signed this stupid bit into law.
Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime. It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.
In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.
This ridiculous prohibition, which would likely imperil much of Usenet, is buried in the so-called Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act. Criminal penalties include stiff fines and two years in prison.
"The use of the word 'annoy' is particularly problematic," says Marv Johnson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "What's annoying to one person may not be annoying to someone else."
Buried deep in the new law is Sec. 113, an innocuously titled bit called "Preventing Cyberstalking." It rewrites existing telephone harassment law to prohibit anyone from using the Internet "without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy."
Who is responsible for this little atrocity? Arlen Specter, of course. It may well be that the provision has outlawed anonymous blogging, if taken at face value.
And I may be in danger of prosecution.
After all, I intend to annoy stupid politicians, arrogant journalists, and other buffoons. Never have I fully identified myself (though certain recent posts make discerning my identity quite easy).
Am I now a criminal?
What happened to the First Amendment?
I think this one speaks for itself.
An Egyptian cleric's controversial fatwa claiming that nudity during sexual intercourse invalidates a marriage has uncovered a rift among Islamic scholars.
According to the religious edict issued by Rashad Hassan Khalil, a former dean of Al-Azhar University's faculty of Sharia (or Islamic law), "being completely naked during the act of coitus annuls the marriage".
Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… yeah. One more reason not to join the Cult of Muhammad.
Not that everyone agrees on this one.
The religious decree sparked a hot debate on the private satellite network Dream's popular religious talk show and on the front page of today's Al-Masri Al-Yom, Egypt's leading independent daily newspaper.
Suad Saleh, who heads the women's department of Al-Azhar's Islamic studies faculty, pleaded for "anything that can bring spouses closer to each other" and rejected the claim that nudity during intercourse could invalidate a union.
During the live televised debate, Islamic scholar Abdel Muti dismissed the fatwa: "Nothing is prohibited during marital sex, except of course sodomy."
That is reserved for little boys, prisoners, goats, and camels.
Senator Teddy Kennedy (D-Oldsmobile) is about to corrupt the youth of America with an inaccurate book about American government. How do I know it is inaccurate? Teddy is the author.
Meet the latest children's author, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and his Portuguese Water Dog, Splash, his co-protagonist in "My Senator and Me: A Dogs-Eye View of Washington, D.C."
Scholastic Inc. will release the book in May.
"I am very excited about the opportunity to create a book for young readers and their families that will deepen their understanding of how our American government works," Kennedy said in a statement Monday issued by Scholastic.
According to Scholastic, Kennedy's book "not only takes readers through a full day in the Senator's life, but also explains how a bill becomes a law." Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, was inspired to write the book from his work with a Washington-based reading program, "Everybody Wins!"
Kennedy's net proceeds will be donated to charity.
No doubt to some charity caring for trust-fund babies with cirrhosis of the liver.
And we won’t even get into the horribly inappropriate name for the books canine hero. In light of his abandonment of Mary Jo after driving off the Chappaquidick Bridge, I would have hoped that he had more decency than to name his dog Splash.
But then again, he is a Kennedy, so why should we expect decency?
Billionaire investor George Soros said on Monday he thinks the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary tightening could tip the economy into recession in 2007 and he expects a sharp dollar decline.
Soros said he expects the federal funds rate, now at 4.25 percent, to peak at 4.75 percent and that the Fed would try to achieve a soft landing for the economy.
Nevertheless, the Fed could overshoot, he told a seminar in Singapore.
"If housing continues to cool while rates are slowing then it could turn into a hard landing," Soros said.
"That's why I expect a recession to happen in 2007, not 2006."
Given his history of market manipulation for personal gain, I would not be surprised to see George Soros try the same thing on a larger scale here.
After all, timing such a recession in the manner Soros suggests would likely aid the Democrats in 2008. And who is a major source of pro-Democrat funds?
Why George Soros, of course.
In a move that has set the sports world -- especially here in Houston -- buzzing, University of Texas quarterback Vince Young has announced that he is skipping his senior season and going pro.
Texas junior quarterback Vince Young will enter the NFL draft and forgo his final year of college.
Young made the announcement official this afternoon at a press conference in Austin. A close family friend told the Chronicle of the decision earlier today.
"I wanna thank God for being in the position I'm in today ... I was ready to move on to the next level ... Hard work has paid off a whole lot," Young said this afternoon while thanking his family, his pastor and Texas coach Mack Brown.
Young thanked Brown "for all the things you have done for me ... on and off the field." Young said Brown made him a better man.
"He has the blessing of God, the pastor and his family," said Yolanda Lezine, Young's godmother and the family media's spokeswoman told the Chronicle earlier today. "It's his decision. Everybody is going to support him a 110 percent."
In a statement, Brown said he met with Young and his family this morning and fully supports Young's decision.
``We love Vince and appreciate all the great things he's done for the University of Texas on and off the field,'' Brown said. ``We'll miss him, but want him to do as well in the NFL as he did in college.''
There are a lot of Longhorn fans bemoaning this move right now, because there are questions about who will take over for Young (30-2 during his time at UT) at quarterback.
But here in Houston, there is an even bigger question.
Young's hometown Houston Texans have the first pick. Young said it would be wonderful to play in Houston, but realizes he could wind up somewhere else.
One those possibilities is Tennessee, which has the third pick. Young counts Titans quarterback Steve McNair among his close friends. He said McNair told him "go with your heart" in making his decision.
Let me tell you -- this Houston Texans season ticketholder would love to see Young play here, but I wonder if this would be the best place for Young, who grew up in a tougher part of Houston. One of my former students was drafted in the third round a few years ago, and I was relieved that he went to a team up north. After all, I knew some of the guys he was friends with as a kid, and I didn't want them around him as hangers-on. I feel something similar about Vince, who beat my team school's team in an epic battle a few years ago.
Besides, what Houston really needs is D'Brickashaw Ferguson from UVa, the top offensive lineman in the draft, to shore up a weak offensive line. Vince young's decision makes it possible for us to trade down a little furhter and get a little more between now and draft day.
Still, it would be one hell of a fantasy to have Vince Young scrambling around the way he did at the Rose Bowl.
Too bad we can't just revoke their passports and let them stay in a country with a leader they clearly prefer.
The American singer and activist Harry Belafonte called President Bush "the greatest terrorist in the world" on Sunday and said millions of Americans support the socialist revolution of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.
Belafonte led a delegation of Americans including the actor Danny Glover and the Princeton University scholar Cornel West that met the Venezuelan president for more than six hours late Saturday and attended his television and radio broadcast on Sunday.
"No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we're here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people … support your revolution," Belafonte told Chavez during the broadcast.
Yeah, Harry, The US is such an oppressive state that you will be permitted to fly home, take a limo to your mansion, and appear on all the talk shows wearing your Rolex and Gucci clothes to tell us that we live in a dictatorship.
If a dissident from Venezuela (or Cuba, the other left-wing dictatorship you love so dearly) were to go abroad and make such statements, tehy would face arrest if allowed to return to their homeland .
Somight I suggest that you, Danny, and Cornel get your effin' heads out of your effin' @sses and realize that the fact that the government doesn't conform to your socialist policies does not make the President of the United States a terrorist or a dictator.
And by the way -- I hope one of you idiots (or a close loved one) is a victim of the NEXT attack by real terrorists. Maybe then you'll understand what a terrorist really is.
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That was the question asked by Ray Donovan, Reagan's Labor Secretary, after he was found not guilty of corruption charges. It is the question that many folks found not guilty ask. And I suspect that it was the question asked by Virginia teacher who was accused of sexual abuse of a student, found not guilty, but who was fired anyway.
But things have gone quite wrong for him in the process -- not only has he been denied his day in court, but he and his lawyer have been sanctioned by the judge!
After all the difficulties David Perino encountered as a teacher -- his arrest on charges of sexually abusing a student, his acquittal in court and his firing in spite of that -- he thought he had one last recourse: Sue. Sue them all.
And so he did. Last summer, Perino filed eight lawsuits against the Prince William County school system and several of its employees, including former superintendent Edward L. Kelly, who died Thursday night.
But last week, Perino's quest to win his job back and clear his name was smacked off course when Prince William Circuit Court Judge William D. Hamblen ordered sanctions against him and his attorney. Hamblen declared that the lawsuits constituted harassment, the school system's attorney said. The judge ordered the pair to pay more than $14,000 to cover the school system's legal fees.
Perino and lawyer Pamela Cave have less than 30 days to appeal the sanctions. They say they intend to.
Such sanctions are quite rare, which leaves some observers wndering why the judge took this course of action.
"I don't recall one of our attorneys ever being sanctioned," said Robert Chanin, who has been general counsel for the National Education Association since 1968. "They are ordered if a lawyer truly brings a frivolous case without good faith or a legal basis. Don't harass the other side and waste the court's time."
And let's be honest here -- the damage to this man's good name and the loss of his job are pretty substantial damages, especially when a group of public officials state that they don't care what a jury of his peers had to say on the matter.
The dispute between Perino and the school system began Dec. 12, 2003, when a 20-year-old student with Down syndrome accused the 16-year veteran of sexually abusing her inside his empty classroom during school hours. The woman alleged that Perino tried to sodomize her; Perino said they talked about photographs on his wall before he ordered her to return to her regular classroom.
His first trial, in May 2004, resulted in a hung jury. Months later, a second jury found him not guilty of aggravated sexual battery and attempted forcible sodomy.
Last spring, Perino faced a School Board grievance hearing to keep his job. But School Board members voted to fire him, saying they believed he was guilty of sexual abuse. They also discovered pornographic images on his classroom computer and accused him of downloading the items. Perino denied doing any of it and said other people had access to his computer.
No I will grant that there is a different burden of proof at a criminal trial and an employment hearing. But this just points out the problem of allowing additional hearings and sanctions against an individual found not guilty. It strikes me that the concept of "res judicata" should apply here -- the matter has been decided by a court, and is not to be reexamined in another setting.
And therein lies the problem, especially in this age when there are more and more accusations of sexual misconduct by teachers coming to light -- how do we deal with those falsely accused, and where do they go to get their reputations (not to mention their careers) back?
After sympathetically describing the plight of a battered woman who legally owned a gun but who was facing legal charges, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Joan Ryan proves that she just does not understand the real issue of government violation of the individual right to keep and bear arms.
Rebecca knows she made a big mistake in leaving her purse with a loaded gun at a public place. Her lapse was a potentially dangerous one; it should not be minimized. But how do we balance her mistake against the danger she faces every day from a violent man who left her crushed and fearful, whose beatings and threats drove her into hiding?
The law against carrying concealed guns makes good sense. But so many women every year are killed by their abusive boyfriends and husbands. Restraining orders, as we know, can't stop them. The police often can't stop them. I don't know what the solution is. But something's wrong when, in trying to keep herself alive, the terrorized woman becomes the criminal.
Actually, Joan, your entire piece prior to this point proves that laws banning the concealed carrying of firearms are wrong from any moral or ethical perspective -- unless one believes that victims have an obligation to place themselves at the complete mercy of those who seek to commit acts of violence against them.
The solution is obvious to those who are not blinded by anti-gun ideology -- free people should not be prohibitted from possessing the means to defend themselves from predators.
Or is atheism mental illness?
That is my question after reading a synopsis of a program being run by the taxpayer-funded BBC in England, hosted by "scientist" Richard Dawkins.
CONTROVERSIAL scientist Richard Dawkins will assert tomorrow evening that religion is a “virus” that amounts to child abuse.
The new two-part series, to be shown on Channel 4, will compare Moses to Hitler and claim that God is racist. It will also argue that religion is a “backward belief system” responsible for terrorism.
The controversial films, which were produced by IWC creative director Alan Clements and written by Dawkins, are a polemic against faith and a stout defence of science.
Entitled The Root Of All Evil, the series shows Dawkins visiting theological hot-spots in Lourdes, Colorado Springs, the al-Axa mosque and an English faith school. In each case the presenter, who is an atheist, attempts to show that religion is an “elephant in the room” trying to subvert reason.
In the first film, The God Delusion, Dawkins claims that Lourdes, a Catholic pilgrimage destination in France, symbolises a belief system based on “delusion”. “If you want to experience the mediaeval rituals of faith, the candle light, the incense, music, important-sounding dead languages, nobody does it better than the Catholics,” he says.
Dawkins then travels to the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, where he hits out at the influence of “Christian fascism” and “an American Taliban”.
This is followed by an interview with Yousef al-Khattab, an American-born Jew turned fundamentalist Muslim, who clashes with Dawkins after saying he hates atheists.
So what we get here are hate-filled rhetoric, generalization from a handful of examples, and caustic ridicule of people who dare disagree with this so-called scientist who excludes the positive data about religion from his study and conclusion.
And then there is the second half of this atheistic "Mein Kampf".
In the second film, The Virus of Faith, Dawkins turns his attention to the effect he believes religion has on young people. “Innocent children are being saddled with demonstrable falsehoods,” he says.
More controversially, he states “sectarian religious schools” have been “deeply damaging” to generations of children. “It’s time to question the abuse of childhood innocence with superstitious ideas of hellfire and damnation ,” he says. “Isn’t it weird the way we automatically label a tiny child with its parents’ religion?”
Dawkins also questions the fundamental tenets of Christianity. On the idea of a spiritual creator, he says: “The God of the Old Testament has got to be the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous, and proud of it, petty, vindictive, unjust, unforgiving, racist.”
The author of The Selfish Gene then criticises Abraham, compares Moses to Hitler and Saddam Hussein, before calling the New Testament “St Paul’s nasty, sado-masochistic doctrine of atonement for original sin”.
Yeah, that sure sounds like an objective look at religion.
And yet somehow this man is taken seriously in the intelligent design/blind evolution debate. If his work here is any indication, he is clearly incapable of engaging in neutral, objective study of anything -- and is motivated by a blind, unreasoning faith that his ideology is correct.
It seems to me that passing this ideology along to children would be every bit as abusive as raising them a Nazi, Kluxer, or an Islamist. And it seems that Dawkins has a worldview that is pathological -- indeed, that is so xenophobic as to constitute a mental illness.
I'm curious what the the feminists have to say about this one. I mean after all, it is a logical outcome of "a woman's right to choose".
About 10 million female foetuses may have been aborted in India over the past two decades because of ultrasound sex screening and a traditional preference for boys, according to a study published online in The Lancet on Monday.
Researchers based in Canada and India looked through data from a national survey, conducted among 1.1 million households in 1998, and at information about 133 738 births that took place in 1997.
They found that in cases where the preceding child was a girl, the gender ratio for a second birth was just 759 girls to 1 000 boys.
And when the two previous children were girls, this ratio fell even further, to 719 girls to 1 000 boys.
On the other hand, when the preceding child or children were male, the gender ratio among successive births was about the same.
Based on the natural sex ratio in other countries, about 13.6 - 13.8 million girls should have been born in India in 1997 - but the actual number was 13.1 million.
"We conservatively estimate that prenatal sex determination and selective abortion accounts for 0.5 million missing girls yearly," said one of the authors, Prabhat Jha of St Michael's Hospital at the University of Toronto, Canada.
"If this practice has been common for most of the past two decades since access to ultrasound became widespread, then a figure of 10 million missing female births would not be unreasonable."
The "girl deficit" is far more prominent in educated women, the investigators found.
The number of boys born as second children was twice as high among this group than among illiterate mothers.
However, the deficit did not vary by religion.
The study published by the London-based medical journal comes on the heels of a report last October by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), which warned that infanticide or abortion was driving India towards a gender imbalance with alarming social consequences.
Afghanistan, China, Nepal, Pakistan and South Korea face similar problems, the UNFPA said.
But hey -- what goes on between a woman and her doctor is nobody else's business, right ladies? And if that means that 25-30 of all girls are aborted, then that is just one more victory for women's rights -- at least for the rights of the one who manage to escape the uterine killing zone that the high priestesses of the sacrament of abortion have created around the world.
A court has approved the release from prison the man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981, saying he completed his sentence for crimes he committed in Turkey, the semiofficial Anatolia news agency reported today.
Mehmet Ali Agca was extradited to Turkey in 2000 after serving almost 20 years in Italy for shooting and wounding the pope in St. Peter's Square in Rome. His motive for the attack remains unclear.
Agca, 46, was expected to be released as early as Monday. Anatolia said he was expected to be immediately enlisted by the military for obligatory service, Anatolia said.
Upon his return to Turkey, Agca immediately was sent to prison to serve a 10-year sentence for murdering Turkish journalist Abdi Ipekci in 1979. He was separately sentenced to seven years and four months for two robberies in Turkey the same year.
An Istanbul court ruled in 2004 that Agca should only serve the longest sentence — his conviction for killing Ipekci. That 10-year sentence was changed twice because of new Turkish laws.
Agca served less than six months in Turkish prison in 1979 for killing Ipekci before he escaped, resurfacing in 1981 in Rome.
Given that earlier time served, the prison asked a court for permission to release Agca. The court ruled that Agca could now be freed this week, Anatolia said.
Agca reportedly identified with the Gray Wolves, a far right-wing militant group that fought street battles against leftists in the 1970s. He first confessed to killing Ipekci, one of the country's most prominent left-wing newspaper columnists, but later retracted his statements.
So what we have here is a murderous terrorist with a string of violent crimes being released from prison and immediately being inducted into the military and given a gun. Seems somewhat outrageous to me.
Look at what Stephen F. Hayes has written in the current Weekly Standard. There is credible proof of Iraq as terrorist training ground.
THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials.
The secret training took place primarily at three camps--in Samarra, Ramadi, and Salman Pak--and was directed by elite Iraqi military units. Interviews by U.S. government interrogators with Iraqi regime officials and military leaders corroborate the documentary evidence. Many of the fighters were drawn from terrorist groups in northern Africa with close ties to al Qaeda, chief among them Algeria's GSPC and the Sudanese Islamic Army. Some 2,000 terrorists were trained at these Iraqi camps each year from 1999 to 2002, putting the total number at or above 8,000. Intelligence officials believe that some of these terrorists returned to Iraq and are responsible for attacks against Americans and Iraqis. According to three officials with knowledge of the intelligence on Iraqi training camps, White House and National Security Council officials were briefed on these findings in May 2005; senior Defense Department officials subsequently received the same briefing.
The photographs and documents on Iraqi training camps come from a collection of some 2 million "exploitable items" captured in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan. They include handwritten notes, typed documents, audiotapes, videotapes, compact discs, floppy discs, and computer hard drives. Taken together, this collection could give U.S. intelligence officials and policymakers an inside look at the activities of the former Iraqi regime in the months and years before the Iraq war.
And what do the documents actually show?
Other officials familiar with the captured documents were less cautious. "As much as we overestimated WMD, it appears we underestimated [Saddam Hussein's] support for transregional terrorists," says one intelligence official.
Speaking of Ansar al Islam, the al Qaeda-linked terrorist group that operated in northern Iraq, the former high-ranking military intelligence officer says: "There is no question about the fact that AI had reach into Baghdad. There was an intelligence connection between that group and the regime, a financial connection between that group and the regime, and there was an equipment connection. It may have been the case that the IIS [Iraqi Intelligence Service] support for AI was meant to operate against the [anti-Saddam] Kurds. But there is no question IIS was supporting AI."
The official continued: "[Saddam] used these groups because he was interested in extending his influence and extending the influence of Iraq. There are definite and absolute ties to terrorism. The evidence is there, especially at the network level. How high up in the government was it sanctioned? I can't tell you. I don't know whether it was run by Qusay [Hussein] or [Izzat Ibrahim] al-Duri or someone else. I'm just not sure. But to say Iraq wasn't involved in terrorism is flat wrong."
Got that -- "to say Iraq wasn't involved in terrorism is flat wrong." So once again we can show that the case for war made by the President was both truthful and accurate, despite the partisan ramblings of members of the disloyal opposition.
Remember this from Teddy Kennedy (D-Chivas Regal)?
"Iraq was not a breeding ground for terrorism. Our invasion has made it one.”
And this from John Kerry (D-Wife's Money)?
"Iraq was not a terrorist haven before the invasion."
Or this from any number of KOSacks, DUmmies MoveOn morons and other sufferers of Bsh Deranngement Syndrome?
"Bush lied; soldiers died!"
It turns out that their statements were frighteningly wrong -- and gave aid, comfort, and support to our nation's enemies during time of war.. So it wis with no hesidtation that I say "Leftists lied; American soldiers died!"
In response to a growing discontent with the ongoing legal saga in Texas and his alleged connections to the Abramoff scandal, Congressman Tom DeLay has removed himself from the position of House Majority Leader.
Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) today abandoned his bid to remain House majority leader, bowing to pressure from a growing number of fellow House Republicans who wanted a permanent leadership change because of his indictment on campaign finance charges.
DeLay had stepped aside on a temporary basis after his indictment by a politically-motivated partisan hack prosecutor in Texas for breaking a law that was not on the books at the time of the alleged crime.
Congressman DeLay sent the following two letters to explain his decision.
The first went to House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
Dear Mr. Speaker:
I am writing to inform you of my decision to permanently step aside as majority leader, and of my belief that the best interests of the conference would be served by the election of a new leader as soon as possible.
The job of majority leader and the mandate of the Republican majority are too important to be hamstrung, even for a few months, by personal distractions.
I will continue to serve my constituents and seek re-election to a 12th term representing Texas' 22nd district while I work to clear my name of the baseless charges leveled against me. I will also be reclaiming my seat on the Appropriations Committee when the second session of the 109th Congress convenes later this month.
The second was to his fellow Republicans in the House.
Today, I have asked Speaker Hastert to convene our conference for the purpose of electing a new majority leader, the position I have been honored to fill these past three years through the trust and confidence of our colleagues.
During my time in Congress, I have always acted in an ethical manner within the rules of our body and the laws of our land. I am fully confident time will bear this out.
However, we live in serious times and the United States House of Representatives must be focused on the job of protecting our nation and meeting the daily challenges facing the American people. History has proven that when House Republicans are united and focused, success follows.
While we wage these important battles, I cannot allow our adversaries to divide and distract our attention. I will continue to stand up for the issues I care so deeply about and work with you all on these priorities. I am constantly thankful for the support of my constituents in recent days as well as over the years they have allowed me to serve them. I will continue to work every day to fulfill their trust, and yours.
Please note -- these are not the words of a quitter. Rather, they are the words of a man who is willing to place higher principles above his own ego and self-interest.
The President concurs in the decision -- though I think the cynical tone of the article does not accurately reflect the words of the White House.
After repeatedly maintaining that President Bush continued to support DeLay, the White House pivoted abruptly on Saturday, issuing a statement that endorsed DeLay's move. "We respect Congressman DeLay's decision to put the interests of the American people, the House of Representatives and the Republican Party first," said Erin Healy, a spokeswoman for Bush.
As you might imagine, the moonbats are appropriately batty of er this move.
Personally, I view this as the right move for the the GOP, for the House, and for the country. The leadership questions that existed while Tom DeLay was "on leave" from his leadership position while under indictment (something Democrats do require of their leaders, for all they protested a GOP attempt to change this internal causus rule) hrmed the ability of the president and the GOP majority to move forward on the business of the American people.
Thank you, Congressman DeLay.
More Opportunistic Subpoenas From Ronnie Earle
Ronnie Earle's Strategy -- Delay DeLay! Delay DeLay!
Another Ronnie Earle Fishing Expedition
More Delay In DeLay Case
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
To read the beginning of this article, we have a serious crime against kids committed by someone in a special position of trust with kids -- don't we?
FBI agents on Friday arrested a former Baldwin County principal on child pornography charges, accusing him of having graphic phone and electronic conversations with a convicted sex offender in which the men discussed abducting and killing two young girls.
Authorities said they have no evidence at this point that Steve Dennis Thomas, who served as an elementary school principal in Stapleton and Bay Minette and later worked in the system's central office, carried out any of those actions.
"The charge is limited at this time to the child pornography. The investigation is continuing," said Special Agent Craig Dahle, a spokesman for the FBI's Mobile field office.
Now I do have a very simple question about the charges -- does any of this involve actual pornographic images, or is it just text/spoken words? I would think that words alone -- absent any action -- might be hard to prosecute for First Amendment reasons. But regardless, we don't want this freak anywhere near kids, and parents should be concerned about his presence at any school.
Not that he is currently employed by the school district.
You see, it has been over three years since he worked for the school district -- possibly five years or more.
The Baldwin County school board voted in 1999 to remove Thomas from his principal position in Bay Minette. Although officials provided no explanation for the move at the time, longtime board member Bob Wills said Friday it was because of deficiencies in Thomas' work.
"He was moved from the position because he was not following board policy in a number of areas," Wills said.
Thomas was moved to the system's administrative office in Loxley, possibly overseeing the distribution of textbooks, Wills said he recalled.
It is unclear exactly when Thomas left the system. Other school officials contacted after 5 p.m. Friday said it has been years since Thomas has worked for the system.
Faron Hollinger said when he returned to the school system as superintendent in 2002, Thomas was no longer employed there.
Thomas is currently employed at a retail store in Spanish Fort, but he was not at work Friday, according to a manager who would not say how long Thomas worked there.
So my big question is this -- how long does someone have to be out of education for them to quit being identified as an educator, especially if their alleged misdeeds happened years later and not in the context of their teaching career?
Not one penny of mine will go for any movie featuring George Clooney. Not one george Clooney movie or television show will be watched in my home.
LET George Clooney explain why the suicide bombers in his "Syriana" are sympathetically depicted as pious heroes while all the Americans in the movie are greedy or homicidal cynics. "They [the terrorists] are, in a way, the most sympathetic, but I think that's important," Clooney said in a videotaped interview shown on Fox News Channel. "Because if you are going to fight a war on terror, which is not a state that you can go and bomb, then you need to understand what it is that creates the people who would do such horrible things, rather then just saying - labeling them as evildoers."
I wonder -- does he really believe that the Cindy Sheehan/MoveOn crowd and the Islamist community are big enough to sustain his career?