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February 28, 2006

Academic Freedom Non-Existant In UAE

This is really bizarre -- until we realize the level of Jew-hatred that exists through-out the anti-Semitic Muslim world.

ABU DHABI — Close on the heels of the cartoon controversy raging across the Muslim world, it is the turn of an upscale American school in Abu Dhabi to ruffle Muslim sentiments by teaching lessons that allegedly ''smell of racism.''

Over 100 copies of the social studies text book, 'World Cultures' taught to the sixth grade children were confiscated by the Ministry of Education yesterday, for allegedly presenting Islam and the Muslim countries including Gulf states in a negative light while glorifying Israel on the other hand, Khaleej Times has learnt.

And what shocking propaganda appears in this hate-filled book?

It has been accused that chapter 25 of the book running from page 599 to 614 contains a deluge of derogatory remarks against Islam and the Muslim world, for example, dubbing Middle East as one of the most dangerously explosive areas in the world and the Muslim conquest of India as the most bloodiest in the world history, to mention a few.

The sub chapters clubbed under the title 'North Africa and the Middle East' also elaborate on the religion and life-style of Israel with pictures. "Israel is one of a few democracies in North Africa and the Middle East today. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Morocco are all kingdoms; the country of Syria has sponsored terrorism by giving aid to radicals in the Palestine Liberation Organisation, known as the PLO," read excerpts from page 610 of the book, copies of which Khaleej Times possess.

I don't see a single falsehood in the "objectionable" chapter -- though the comment about Syria is a bit heavy-handed (though 100% accurate).

The comments on the nature of education are enough to send a chill down the spine of this social studies teacher.

OPEN TRACKBACKS: Adam's Blog, Outside The Beltway, Conservative Cat, Stuck On Stupid, TMH's Bacon Bits





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February 27, 2006

A Grandad’s Love

We don’t always get much of an insight into the lives of those whose writngs we read every day.

This Leonard Pitts column is an exception – and shows just how important family is to the man. You see, his 10-year-old grandson, Eric, was hit by an SUV last week.

And a miracle happened.

So Tuesday afternoon, the phone rings. I pick it up and hear my daughter's voice. Her tone seems normal and I breathe easy. I figure she's going to hit me up for money, tell me we're out of milk. Then I hear her say, "Eric got hit by a car."

And suddenly, I am hurtling. Out of the office. To the parking lot. Down the highway. Eric is my grandson. He is 10.

I hate Eric.

This occurs to me as I am driving. I hate Eric and all my children and my wife and everyone else I love for how much I love them and for how love inevitably brings pain. They get hurt, they get sick, but it might as well be me for all the fear that stabs my heart. To love somebody is to make yourself hostage to the fortunes of others. It is to give a hundred people veto power over your happiness. Sometimes I think the smartest way to live is without affiliation — no family, no friends, no children, no spouse, no pet, no nobody who can hurt you.

You might say it's a pathetic man who goes through life neither loving nor loved. Most days I would agree. But there are days it doesn't sound like a bad deal. Days like this.

So here's what happened: Eric was trying to cross the street. Going to a friend's house to play video games. He looked both ways — twice, just like we taught him. When he was halfway across, he saw a car, an SUV, coming around the bend. Instead of continuing safely across, he tried to make it back to the curb.

The car hit him. He smacked the hood hard enough to leave a dent. A shoe flew one way, a video game another. My wife saw it happen. She ran to him. He was writhing in the street, crying. He kept saying, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

I am sitting beside his gurney in the emergency room as these words are written. The doctor has been in. His diagnosis: two lumps on the head and two skinned knees.

Let's repeat that to make sure you got it. The boy gets hit. By an SUV. He bounces off the hood. And he winds up with lumps and skinned knees. I am reminded of the refrain from a gospel song I've always loved. It says, "There must be a G-d somewhere."

There must be. And obviously, He was in a forgiving mood this day.

Eric is more voluble than usual. He says Spider-Man would have dodged the car. He says that like Wolverine, his "healing factor" kept him from serious injury. He says he is glad to be alive.

I keep thinking how all the uncertainty of life can be summed up in the ringing of a telephone. But it comes with the territory, doesn't it? Uncertainty, I mean. You just never know. Life is a dance on the highwire above mortality. It unfolds in the shadow of tragedies past and tragedies yet to come. There's nothing you can do about it except use the time in between to laugh, sing, hug, read comic books with your grandkid as often as you can.

And try to forget that you are a wisp in a wind. I hate that, too, but what are you going to do?

Eric is still chattering away, all nervous energy. He complains that I forgot to pay his allowance. He wants to go to Ruby Tuesday for dinner. And he says, he keeps saying, that he is glad to be alive.

I know just how he feels.

Thank you for sharing, sir. And my God keep you and you family safe and sound – especially this incredible young man whose incredible good fortune you shared with us.





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

Dare We Call It Treason?

The blogosphere is ablaze with talk of a coup threat by raving leftists.

Storm the White House

Multi-Day Event, Beginning March 15, come when you can and stay as long as you can - we are taking over the White House until they leave. Torture, Occupation, Genocide - Must End Now.

Wednesday, March 15th 2006 12:00 AM

Washington, DC USA

TAKE THE WHITE HOUSE BY STORM - Stop Genocide, Torture and Occupation
U.N. SOS - We need your help to end the reign of international criminals.
It is our duty and the duty of the United Nations to rescue the people of the world from the U.S. dictators. Murder for occupation and theft of land is illegal. Murder of journalists is criminal. Remove the traitors who have stolen the U.S. budget and used it to commit international crimes against humanity.

If we were being bombed and our journalists were being murdered here in the U.S. by a foreign country's military, we would hope that the people of that country would stop what they are doing and go to their president's office and demand that it was stopped. If we were the ones burying thousands and thousands of our family members and watching the destruction of the homes, schools, churches and offices that we had worked for decades to build, we would hope that someone, somewhere would care enough to do something for us. We must stop the criminals in our government NOW. There is no meeting with Congress that is going to change what they are doing. We must put the power of the people into action and stay there until they leave!

Inviting everyone to the White House for a protest rally to show that we do not accept the criminal government, illegal wars and the permanent occupation planned for Iraq and Afghanistan. For Nat Turner, For Martin and Coretta, For all the Torture and Assassination in Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti and many others - We will not allow the Slave Holders that Still Prevail in this Country to Rule us any longer. Imprisonment and torture based on race, religion, resources or region is no different than the slavery we sought to abolish years ago. The Administration is Criminal and if they will not step down, we must storm in, show them how many of us do not accept a criminal government. How can we stand by and watch them kill our brothers, sisters, journalists and friends for their dollars?

...Location:
White House, Washington DC Starting March 15th, come for as long as you can and bring signs that say U.N. SOS and "Leave Now" or whatever you would like to say. Ride Share and Room Share Plans can be made here: http://www.citysites.com/travel/tiki-view_tracker.php?trackerId=3
1600 Pennsylvania Ave Washington DC 20500

Contact:
Darrow Boggiano
admin@politicalcooperative.org
415.409.2611

Sponsored By:
We are requesting participation from all members of the United Nations, PFAW, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Code Pink, police, soldiers, ACLU, CIA, NSA and International Courts of Justice/World Court. http://www.PoliticalCooperative.Org

I decided to look at the “Political Cooperative” website that Mr. Boggiano is associated with, and found more of the same – equally incoherent – over there.

Including this gem.

Dear Senator Boxer, I would like to schedule a visit to the White House for approximately one million citizens on March 17th, 2006 at 12 noon. Please confirm. You can view details on our group at http://www.PoliticalCooperative.Org Sincerely, Darrow Boggiano Founder/Organizer CitySites.com PoliticalCooperative.Org

Gotta admire the guy for dreaming big – a million people showing up to overthrow the government.

In true Texas Hold’em fashion, let’s call and raise Mr. Boggiano. Can we get 1,000,000 Americans to exercise their First and Second Amendment rights as a counter-protest against this mutt’s threatened coup?

More at Michelle Malkin, Jawa Report, Captain's Quarters, Pirate's Cove, Right Wing Nut House, All Things Beautiful, Junk Yard Blog, Political Pit Bull, Super Fun Power Hour, Strata-Sphere, North Canton Airline and Storm Door Company, Theodore's World, The Anchoress, Dread Pundit Bluto, Bodie Specter, Junkyard Blog



» All Things Beautiful links with: Storm The White House



|| Greg, 09:40 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Good News From Saudi Arabia

More dead terrorist scum.

Security forces in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh have killed five suspected militants believed to be linked to an attack on an oil plant.

Security sources say a siege took place at a villa in a Riyadh suburb in which shots were fired and grenades thrown.

The Saudi interior ministry said one other suspect had been arrested elsewhere in the capital.

An Islamic website has claimed al-Qaeda was behind the foiled attack on Friday on an oil processing plant in Abqaiq.

Interior ministry spokesman Maj Gen Mansour al-Turki said two simultaneous raids had taken place on Monday morning, leading to the deaths of five suspects in a shoot-out and the arrest of a sixth.

That sure brightens up my day.





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

Muslim Scholar -- Free Speech = Holocaust

If you want proof that even so-called "moderate" and "educated" Muslims haven't internalized the concept of freedom of speech, one need look no further than this column by Dr Abdelwahab El-Affendi, a Senior Research Fellow and Coordinator of the Islam and Democracy Programme at the Centre for the Study for Democracy, University of Westminster. The column, appearing on al-Jazeera's website, starts off with a rather jarring analogy.

When the controversial Indian-born British author Salman Rushdie was awarded the European Union Literary Award in 1996, of all places, Denmark Muslims were immensely infuriated by this added insult.

The very idea of giving Rushdie a literary prize after his book Satanic Verses was like offering Hitler the Nobel Peace Prize after Auschwitz. And the very inability of Western intellectuals and leaders to understand this simple fact lies at the heart of the threatened "clash of civilisations".

Writing and publishing a book that offends Muslims, then, must be the equivalent of the industrialized mass slaughter of millions. Failure to "properly" defer to Islam is the eqivalent of the gas chambers and crematoria of the twentieth century's worst attempt at genocide.

Is this guy serious?

And given that he presumably is serious, does that starting-point allow us to take anything else he has to say seriously? And if this represents the view of moderate, educated, Westernized Islam, is that form of the faith ultimately any more compatible with Western civilization than the fundamentalist Islamofascism of Osama bin Laden?

Hat Tip -- Jawa Report, Dread Pundit Bluto, Vince Aut Morire





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February 26, 2006

Sun-God Temple Found

Another one of those fascinating articles that excites this history geek teacher.

Archaeologists discovered a pharaonic sun temple with large statues believed to be of King Ramses II under an outdoor marketplace in Cairo, Egypt's antiquities chief said Sunday.

The partially uncovered site is the largest sun temple ever found in the capital's Aim Shams and Matariya districts, where the ancient city of Heliopolis _ the center of pharaonic sun worship _ was located, Zahi Hawass told The Associated Press.

Among the artifacts was a pink granite statue weighing 4 to 5 tons whose features "resemble those of Ramses II," said Hawass, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Also found was a 5-foot-high statue of a seated figure with hieroglyphics that include three cartouches with the name of Ramses II, and a 3-ton head of royal statue, the council said in a statement.

The green pavement stones of the temple's floor were also uncovered.

An Egyptian team working in cooperation with the German Archaeological Mission in Egypt discovered the site under the Souq al-Khamis, a popular market in eastern Cairo, Hawass said.

"The market has to be removed" as archeologists excavate the entire site, Hawass said. "Other significant discoveries might be waiting to be excavated now, and compensation will be paid to the shop owners."

"We are planning to make the whole area as a tourists and archaeological site, maybe after two years," he said.

King Ramses II, who ruled Egypt for 66 years from 1270 to 1213 B.C., had erected monuments up and down the Nile with records of his achievements, as well as building temples _ including Abu Simbel, erected near what is now Egypt's southern border.

Numerous temples to Egypt's sun gods _ particularly the chief god Ra _ were built in ancient Heliopolis. But little remains of what was once the ancient Egyptians' most sacred cities, since much of the stone used in the temples was later plundered.

The area is now covered with residential neighborhoods, close to a modern district called Heliopolis, in Egypt's packed capital.

Remember -- history is all around you, lying beneath your feet in the ground you walk upon. Some places, though, just have a lot more of it, and it is much more interesting.





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

Does This Course Belong In High School -- *UPDATED*

UPDATE -- Two students from the school offer extensive comments about the class.


Does a course that explicitly advocates for a particular point of view on issues belong in a high school ?

My initial reaction is negative, but I wonder if allowing such a course as an elective is a bad thing.

For months, 17-year-old Andrew Saraf had been troubled by stories he was hearing about a Peace Studies course offered at his Bethesda high school. He wasn't enrolled in the class but had several friends and classmates who were.

Last Saturday, he decided to act. He sat down at his computer and typed out his thoughts on why the course -- offered for almost two decades as an elective to seniors at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School -- should be banned from the school.

"I know I'm not the first to bring this up but why has there been no concerted effort to remove Peace Studies from among the B-CC courses?" he wrote in his post to the school's group e-mail list. "The 'class' is headed by an individual with a political agenda, who wants to teach students the 'right' way of thinking by giving them facts that are skewed in one direction."

He hit send.

Within a few hours, the normally staid e-mail list BCCnet -- a site for announcements, job postings and other housekeeping details in the life of a school -- was ablaze with chatter. By the time Principal Sean Bulson checked his BlackBerry on Sunday evening, there were more than 150 postings from parents and students -- some ardently in support, some ardently against the course.

Sounds interesting -- but what of the charges the kid makes about the class?

Since its launch at the school in 1988, Peace Studies has provoked lively debate, but the attempt to have the course removed from the curriculum is a first, Bulson said. The challenge by two students comes as universities and even some high schools across the country are under close scrutiny by a growing number of critics who believe that the U.S. education system is being hijacked by liberal activists.

At Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Peace Studies is taught by Colman McCarthy, a former Washington Post reporter and founder and president of the Center for Teaching Peace. Though the course is taught at seven other Montgomery County high schools, some say B-CC's is perhaps the most personal and ideological of the offerings because McCarthy makes no effort to disguise his opposition to war, violence and animal testing.

So the course is, to use a phrase, biased and unbalanced, sort of like McCarthy himself during his days in journalism. I don't necessarily have a problem with a teacher being open about points of view and beliefs, but doing so brings with it a responsibility to present the other side as well. And that is what concerns me about this class. It sounds like advocacy.

What sort of things go on in the class?

The course is also offered at Montgomery Blair, James Hubert Blake, Albert Einstein, Walter Johnson, Northwest, Northwood and Rockville high schools, but the Peace Studies course at Bethesda-Chevy Chase is unique for a number of reasons. Although a staff teacher takes roll and issues grades, it is McCarthy as a volunteer, unpaid guest lecturer who does the bulk of the teaching. He does not work from lesson plans, although he does use a school system-approved textbook -- a collection of essays on peace that he edited.

For McCarthy, it seems Peace Studies is not just a cause; it is a crusade.

"Unless we teach them peace, someone else will teach them violence," he said.

Students might spend one class period listening to a guest speaker who opposes the death penalty and another, if they choose, standing along East West Highway protesting the war.

But that, students said, is part of the course's appeal.

"We're all mature enough to take it all in with a hint of skepticism," said Megan Andrews, 17. "We respect Mr. McCarthy's views, but we don't absorb them like sponges."

When they walk through the door of their fourth-floor classroom, students said, they never know what they might find. Once McCarthy brought in a live turkey to illustrate a point about animal rights. Everything went well until the turkey escaped and urinated in the hallway.

And Friday, when students opened the door, they saw Mahatma Gandhi -- or, rather, Bernard Meyer, a peace activist from Olympia, Wash., dressed as Gandhi. Meyer spent most of the class time taking questions from students about "life" as Gandhi. McCarthy, too, jumped in, quizzing Gandhi about his views on arranged marriage. At the end of the period, he jumped from his chair.

"Let's take a photo of us with Gandhi," he said, gathering the students.

I'll be honest -- i'd like to do some of this stuff in my classroom. In particular, I'd love to do the Gandhi thing with my kids, because I think it might really spark some of them to do some thinking and to reconsider the gang influence in their lives. I also think that such activities spark good learning due to their hands-on nature.

But taking the kids out for a protest or a rally? That disturbs me. Would I be permitted to take kids out of school to hold up pro-life signs? What about taking kids to stand across the street with signs supporting the war?

And does McCarthy present opposing views on capital punishment or the war? It does not sound like he does. Is such an approach intellectually honest, especially with high school kids?

I'm also curious -- does this school have an ROTC program? Does it allow military recruiters through the front door? Or is the ideology of the Peace Studies class a reflection of a wider anti-military sentiment, even though there is a large military presence in Bethesda?

Without such answers, I'm conflicted on the issue of keeping the class, although I am sceptical of it

I'm curious -- what do others think about this?

Other Voices: Michelle Malkin, Thunder Run, Dread Pundit Bluto, Pillage Idiot, Cranky Professor, Elephants in Academia, Hello, MoCo


OPEN TRACKBACKING -- Conservative Cat, Don Surber, Outside The Beltway, Blue Star Chronicles, Adam's Blog





|| Greg, 05:12 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (8) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I Love This Guy

Let's be honest -- Justice Antonin Scalia is never boring and never one to hold back on his opinion.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia fondly remembers carrying a rifle around New York City as a boy and says outdoorsmen should attack the idea that guns are only used for crimes.

An avid outdoorsmen who's hunted with Vice President Dick Cheney, Scalia spoke Saturday at the National Wild Turkey Federation's annual convention.

"The attitude of people associating guns with nothing but crime, that is what has to be changed," Scalia told the audience of about 2,000.

"I grew up at a time when people were not afraid of people with firearms," said Scalia, noting that as a youth in New York City he was part of a rifle team at the military school he attended.

"I used to travel on the subway from Queens to Manhattan with a rifle," he said. "Could you imagine doing that today in New York City?"

Scalia was criticized in 2004 for hunting ducks with Cheney while the Supreme Court was considering a case involving Cheney's energy task force. This month, a lawyer hunting with Cheney in Texas was wounded when he stepped in the way as Cheney fired at a bird.

The nonprofit turkey federation is dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and preserving hunting traditions.

Shoot one for me, Nino!





|| Greg, 04:54 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

This Week's Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are The "Happy Warrior" Is Weeping In His Grave by Right Wing Nut House, and How Does the Modern World Look When You Have Done Nothing To Help Create It, and Innovation Is a Threat To Cherished Beliefs? by Dinocrat.  And, of course, here are the full results of the vote.





|| Greg, 04:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Proper Compromise On The Ports

The agreement to give an additional 45 day review to Dubai Ports World's acquisition of Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co.'s U.S. terminal operations is a good one. One final look at the deal, with special scrutiny of the national security implications, should be sufficient to either scuttle the deal or quell the fears of all but the most close-minded opponents.

An Arab maritime company at the center of a political imbroglio over port security asked the Bush administration Sunday to conduct a 45-day review of the national security implications of its plans to take control of significant operations at six U.S. ports.

The announcement by Dubai Ports World, brokered by the White House and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), appears to satisfy the demands of many members of Congress, who had threatened to force a security review if the administration would not conduct one. The administration had approved DP World's $6.85 billion purchase of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., or P&O, earlier this month without conducting a national security review, after a broad, interagency panel that looked at the transaction concluded the takeover of port operations in the United States would not impact the nation's safety.

* * *

"We recognize that there are concerns regarding DP World's acquisition of P&O's U.S. terminal operations. Despite having already obtained approval by the federal government, we continue to take voluntary steps to assure people that the security of the U.S. will not be harmed as a result of this acquisition," said Ted Bilkey, DP World's chief operating officer.

Personally, I am persuaded that the deal is in the best interests of the United States, and that the security concerns voiced by opponents are not grounded in reality. The claimed degradation of national security does not make sense, given that the day-to-day operations will remain in the hands of the same folks who currently work for P&O and the security responsibilities will remain with the US government.

The deal will allow the purchase to proceed, but will keep the US operations independent.

Under the terms of the deal announced by DP World, the company would proceed with its acquisition. That deal is to be completed Thursday.

But DP World said it would "guarantee" the independence of operations at the ports of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami and New Orleans by establishing North American operations as a "completely separate" business unit. Management of the North American operations would be left in the hands of P&O's chief executive officer in London, who is British. The chief security officer of the North American unit will remain a U.S. citizen, unless the Coast Guard approves a change.

The rest of the current management of P&O in the United States would also remain in place, and DP World pledged not to interfere with operations, policies, procedures or security that were in place when P&O ran the U.S. terminals.

The statement concluded that all these pledges would remain in place until May 1 or the completion of the CFIUS review.

"We are confident the further review by CFIUS will confirm that DP World's acquisition of P&O's U.S. operations does not pose any threat to American's safety and security. We hope that voluntarily agreeing to further scrutiny demonstrates our commitment to our long-standing relationship with the United States," Bilkey said.

Perhaps some similar management structure can remain in place following the review. After all, I suspect there are more negotiations to come.

MORE AT Blogs for Bush, Middle Earth Journal, The Moderate Voice, Big Lizards, Strata-Sphere





|| Greg, 04:25 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why The Reaction?

The Leader, out of Corning, NY, attempts to explain why the violence has taken place over the Danish cartoons. In running this article, the paper (unintentionally) demonstrates that many Muslims just don't get it -- and that their world-view is antithetical to that of those who live in a free society.

What if a Muslim made a satirical comment about the Holocaust?

Uh, anti-Semitism is rampant in the Muslim world, and anti-Semitic material runs in the state-run media of most Arab countries. I've yet to see Jews rioting in the streets.

Or made a joke at the expense of Jesus Christ?

I'm not sure about jokes, but Islam itself is one giant blasphemy against Jesus Christ, labeling him as a prophet inferior to Mohammad (pubh*) rather than the Son of God. I'm offended, but have never reacted violently, and i am unaware of anyone who has.

There's a chance a Jew or a Christian would be deeply offended. That, according to Najeeb Rehman, is exactly how Muslims across the globe felt when caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad were first published in a Danish newspaper last September and then reappeared in other Western media, mostly in Europe.

Fine. You are offended. So what? Get over it, just like the Christians and Jews do in the examples above. Don't act like uncivilized sub-humans.

“I believe in freedom of expression, but that right has limits,” said Rehman, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of the Finger Lakes in Big Flats. “That right ends where someone else's right begins.”

And what is the putative right that you and your fellow Islamocensors claim here? After all, there is nothing in the cartoons that limits your freedom of speech or your free exercise of religion. Do you really believe there is a right not to be offended, or a right to force others to conform to the dictates of your religion?


Muslims have decried the images - one of which shows a prophet with a turban shaped like a bomb with a lit fuse - as blasphemous because Islam prohibits images of Muhammad and other prophets.

The images have sparked worldwide protests, some of which have been deadly, throughout the Muslim world. While there have been few demonstrations in the United States, it doesn't mean Muslims here feel any different about the cartoons.

“It may be free expression, but you can't go into a crowd and scream ‘fire,'” said Yama Osmanzai of Horseheads. “You have to have judgment.”

Fine, you believe the images to be blasphemous. So what of it? Like I said, I consider portions of the Koran to be blasphemous -- indeed, I see the entire faith as a melange of the heretical forms of Christianity that were still extant on the fringes of the Christian world in the 6th century. Does that mean that that I have a right to have to have Islam suppressed on the basis of my offense at its false and blasphemous teachings?

And Yama, before you take the "fire in a crowded theater" analogy too far, please understand that the term refers to false utterances that are likely to cause an immediate mindless panic which endangers lives -- not truthful depictions of religious figures whose followers might get upset. After all, later case law upholds the right of folks to utter obscenities and racial slurs in public places -- even if people are offended -- and to display hateful signs and symbols (such as swastikas) in the midst of communities that reject them and wish to exclude them. Thus the actual status of free speech in this country is such that I and a group of like-minded individuals would be legally within our rights to stand outside your mosque on Friday, eating bacon sandwiches and displaying the Danish cartoons and carrying signs condemning Mohammad (pubh*) as pedophile for raping the 9-year-old Ayisha.

Osmanzai said the ban on images depicting Muhammad was handed down by the prophet himself so followers of Islam would not worship him.

“We follow his teachings very closely. Islam has certain lines you can't cross,” Osmanzai said. “We don't say anything bad about the prophets, not just Muhammad, but others such as Moses and Jesus.”

And since I'm not a follower of Islam, I don't give a rat's ass wht your religion says about images of your false prophet. Don't worry -- I certainly won't be worshipping them. But since I am not a Muslim, I'm allowed to cross whatever Muslim religious lines I want. And by the way -- you just blasphemed against Christ our Lord by calling Jesus a prophet. Can I place a bounty on your severed head now, like certain Muslim leaders have upon the heads of the cartoonists?

Rehman said the Danish government's refusal to meet with local Islamic leaders there and the cartoonist's unwillingness to apologize for the images is a major reason “why this has gotten out of hand.”

“(Muslims) wanted a retraction,” Rehman said. “To come out with a cartoon this degrading is insensitive to the community.”

And Muslims were rightly told to go pound sand. After all, the Danish government had nothing to apologize for or retract. What got out of hand was a bunch of folks who still think that they live in sixth-century Arabia decided to act in a barbaric fashion.

At the same time, many local Muslims have condemned the violence of some of the protests over the cartoon controversy.

“It's sad,” said Mushtaq A. Sheikh, another spokesman for the Islamic Center. “Peaceful demonstrations should take place, but some of this has gone way overboard.”

Sheikh, however, noted that if some sort of apology were offered after the images appeared, “the matter might have gone away.”

At last, someone with a modicum of sense, someone who is not out-and-out justifying the violence, even though he still excuses it with a comment about an apology.

But why should anyone apologize if they have done nothing wrong? Did you want them to lie to you? Are you that childish?

But if that is all you want, here goes -- "I'm sorry that you are so arrogant as to think there is anything wrong with non-Muslims not following Islamic law, and that you believ that you have the right to impose your religion upon the rest of the world. I'm also sorry that your co-religionists cannot conduct themselves in a manner that even remotely approaches the bounds of civilized behavior. Lastly, I'm sorry that the concept of jihad, as practiced over the last 14 centuries (and especially over the last few decades), has resulted in the rest of the world rightly seeing Islam as the religion of terrorism, even if most Muslims do not engage in violence."

Does that make everything better now?

Osmanzai said the violent protests creates a negative image for Islam because “Muslims are a very peaceful people.”

“We want things to happen in a peaceful manner,” he said. “It's only a small number of people who are reacting violently, but the media is not doing us justice by the images they portray.”

But, Osmanzai said the reactions are indicative of how Muslims felt after seeing the images.

See my apology above.

“I don't agree with the violence, but we all feel the same outrage,” he said. “Many people's frustrations have reached a boiling point.

“Some religions teach that if someone strikes you in the cheek, you turn the other one toward him,” Osmanzai said. “But our religion allows us to be outspoken. We will defend Islam.”

Fine. Be outspoken in defending Islam.

Tell us you are offended.

Tell us why.

Ask us to refrain from offending you.

But don't demand that we conform to your point of view -- and certainly don't threaten us with death if we refuse.

And most importantly, learn a little impulse control, because there are a great many of us who refuse to curb our tongue just because you don't like our words or pictures. After all, just as you have the right to practice your faith, we also have the identical right to practice ours -- or none at all.

And if that means that I feel called (hypothetically only) to say that Mohammad (pubh*) was visited by Beelzebub and not the Angel Gabriel, that Allah is Satan (not the God of the Jews and the Christians) and that the Koran is therefore the word of the Devil himself, then you had better suck it up and deal with it. That is my right, just as it is your right to falsely call Jesus a prophet and not the Son of God and Saviour of the World.

Local Muslim Naeem Parvez noted that most of the violent protests have taken place in the eastern part of the Islamic world, where there are more people with little or no education and where violent demonstrations are a part of everyday life. In Western nations, particularly throughout Europe, the protests have been more peaceful.

“The out-of-control anger is unfortunate. No one should be starting fires or destroying another person's property,” he said. “They should express their anger in a positive way.”

Unfortunately, this guy is only half right. Yes, his analysis of the situation in countries with a majority Muslim population is accurate -- but the only reason that violence did not break out in the West was the fact that there was a heavy police presence in the streets to prevent such violence. Look at the signs from London if you do not believe that.

Rehman hopes the controversy will encourage people to be more sensitive of the community around them.

“There has to be some restraint,” he said. “We don't joke about sensitive issues.”

Hopefully this incident will teach the Muslims restraint, and make them more sensitive to the rights of Christians and Jews and others around the world -- including in their own countries, where non-Muslims face persecution and discrimination on a daily basis with the full approval of the government.

Maybe this incident will cause the Muslim world to finally catch up with the rest of the world in terms of respect for fundamental human rights. And I'm not joking about that sensitive issue, for those rights are God-given, and their denial is blasphemy.

* "Place Bacon Upon Him"

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|| Greg, 03:39 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (3) ||

Arrests Made In Shrine Bombing

But will the arrests calm the fighting?

Authorities have arrested 10 people, including four security guards, over last week's bombing of a revered Shi'ite shrine, Iraq's national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, told US televison on Sunday.

"We have arrested 10 people - four from the guards of the Golden Tomb shrine," he told CNN television's Late Edition programme.

The other six suspects, al-Rubaie said "were in the city of Samarra, (and had) just moved in and rented a place ... So we are investigating them", he said.

"These leads are very, very good in our investigations," al-Rubaie said, adding that additional details about the probe would be made public "in the very near future".

The destruction Wednesday of the shrine's famed golden dome - one of Shi'ite Islam's holiest shrines in the town of Samarra - has become a flashpoint, sparking the worst sectarian violence in years and triggering reprisals against Iraq's Sunnis and their holy sites.

Iraqi officials said at least 120 people have been killed in the unrest.

So it looks like an inside job. Will the answers satisfy anyone at this point?





|| Greg, 02:30 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Children Of Minutemen Threatened By Tax-Funded Pro-Border-Jumper Group

Imagine -- you form a neighborhood watch group to keep track of suspicious -- and possibly criminal -- activities in the area. You take photos of individuals in public places to turn over to the cops.

In response, you are subject to a threat like this.

“We are going to be in front of their houses, and the schools of their kids and go to their work. If they are going to do this to us, we are going to respond in the same way, to let people know their neighbors are haters and snitches, that they are anti-criminal. They are going to hear from us.”

Such a threat ought to provoke outrage, and a strong governmental response to crack down on those who are supporting the enforcement of laws against those who break them.

But not in this case in Maryland.

Casa de Maryland, a taxpayer funded group that assists illegal immigrants, has made a public threat to the children of the grassroots Minuteman Civil Defense Corps that have made headlines since last fall monitoring day labor centers in the Washington DC area.

An article published yesterday by the Sean Sands of Maryland Community Newspapers Online quoted Casa de Maryland’s Executive Director Gustavo Torres saying “We are going to picket their houses, and the schools of their kids and go to their work. If they are going to do this to us, we are going to respond in the same way, to let people know their neighbors are extremists, that they are anti-immigrant. They are going to hear from us.”

The Minutemen have been photographing contractors picking up illegal aliens for work at the Wheaton day laborer center in Maryland spurring conflict with the illegal immigrant supporters.

Casa de Maryland, according to their own website, was “designed to address the multiple conditions of poverty and disenfranchisement that control the lives of many Latino immigrants and refugees“ and “achieves its goals through programs in areas such as leadership, organizing, women's empowerment, tenant support, employment, legal services, health, education, social services, and immigration assistance.”

Casa de Maryland offers an email and phone number where someone can coordinate potential employers with “experts in construction, carpentry, landscaping, babysitting, housekeeping, painting tiling, moving, odd jobs and more.” Casa de Maryland claims to have placed approximately 5,760 men and women in different daily, temporary and permanent job settings in 2004.

Not only is this group open about breaking the law, but in Maryland, those who make threats against the children of those engaged in legal political activity are subsidized by the government -- because the laws they are breaking are those against immigration crimes and the criminals they are assisting are border-jumpers. Not only that, but they proudly trumpet their efforts to help illegal aliens find work with the assistance of local government, business, and labor groups.

How much government help do they get each year? Take a look.

From Casa de Maryland’s 2004-2005 annual statement the Minuteman Civil Defense Press Corps found 51% of the groups $2.7 million came directly from grants issued on behalf of Montgomery County.

That's right -- over half of this group's money comes from the government. They are openly conspiring to break the laws of the united States, and tye are receiving government money to do it! I'd suggest that you contact Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan and the Montgomery County Council to voice your displeasure over the county's use of taxpayer money to fund the breaking of immigration laws, violations of the civil rights and liberties of the Minutemen by grant recipients, and the stalking of innocent children. In addition, you might consider contacting those that violate federal law by participating in the job's program -- Clark Construction, Allentuck Landscaping Company and the AFL-CIO (how do members feel about their dues funding cheap illegal labor over American workers). And for all the good it will do, contact Gustavo Torres and tell him that he needs to reconsider engaging in pedophile-like child-stalking to intimidate American patriots whose only offense is supporting the laws of the United States.

The founder of the Minutemen puts it well.

In response to the threats, Minuteman Civil Defense Corps President Chris Simcox said, “Threatening children like this is outrageous. Casa de Maryland’s funding should be pulled and its contracts cancelled. It is beyond belief that taxpayer dollars are funding this thuggish behavior."

And lest you think it is all hot air, we've already seen the first assault on a Minuteman monitoring CASA de Maryland's illegal immigrant jobs program.

Hat Tip -- Jo's Cafe

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» Ogre's Politics & Views links with: Immigrants Join Terrorists
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|| Greg, 01:59 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

February 25, 2006

Shocking Discovery -- Law-Breakers Break Laws

All sorts of compassionate idiots have supported providing driver's licenses and other official documents to border-jumping immigration criminals. The idea was that, since they are here anyway (in violation of the law), they should be helped to live their lives in a legal fashion.

What these fools overlooked is that such criminals have very little respect for the law, and would gladly engage in fraud to obtain the legal documents that make continuing their law-breaking easier.

Tennessee has ended its policy of issuing "certificates for driving" to illegal immigrants, citing federal investigations that uncovered applicants using fraudulent documents — and even bribing state workers — to obtain driving privileges, officials said Friday.

The state began giving immigrants the certificates in July 2004, with the hope of balancing homeland security and traffic concerns. The cards give holders the legal right to drive but, unlike driver's licenses, they are not to be used for identification purposes. For instance, they cannot be used to board an airplane.

The Tennessee model was criticized early on from diverse quarters. Anti-immigration forces worried that it gave legitimacy to illegal immigrants. Immigration rights groups feared that police and others would be confused, and therefore inconsistent, in dealing with the cardholders.

Officials in the capital of Nashville grew concerned in recent months as federal investigations uncovered instances of fraud by illegal immigrants. Bob Corney, a spokesman for Tennessee's Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, said the governor's office was informed that immigrants were coming from other states to get the IDs, using forged residency documents.

Last month, a former worker at a driver's license office was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison for issuing more than 40 certificates to unqualified immigrants, taking a $400 bribe for each fraudulent card.

So as you can see, trying to make life easier for criminals results in more crime. The proper solution to the problem of border-jumping immigration criminals is tough enforcement, including arrest, imprisonment, and deportation with a lifetime bar on reentry.

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|| Greg, 09:51 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 24, 2006

Mandatory High Prices

Since when is it the business of government to set prices?

The Minnesota Commerce Department on Thursday announced plans to fine a gas station chain $140,000 for repeatedly selling gas below the state's legal minimum price.

The fine against Midwest Oil of Minnesota is twice as large as any imposed on a company since 2001, when the state established a formula based on wholesale prices, fees and taxes to determine a daily floor for gas prices.

The price law was intended to prevent large oil companies from driving smaller competitors out of business, but some critics argue it fails to protect consumers.

According to the Commerce Department, the Midwest-owned stations in Anoka, Oakdale and Albert Lea sold gas below the minimum price on 293 days in 2005.

Kevin Murphy, deputy commissioner of the department, called the violations "willful, continuing, and egregious and warrant a substantial penalty."

This measure costs consumers money every time they buy gas – and that money goes for private profit so that uncompetitive businesses can remain afloat. Such laws are un-American, and must be repealed.



» The Bethie Bee links with: Weren’t We Complaining That Gas Prices Were Too High?



|| Greg, 08:28 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Not What It Sounds Like

What would you think if you saw this headline?

Clinton pleases NZ woman

Certainly not what the article is about.





|| Greg, 08:26 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

CSI – Stratford-on-Avon

What killed the Bard? Tradition says his death was brought on by a night of heavy drinking. Scientific study now raises a different possibility.

Almost 400 years after he died, a final act has been added to the story of William Shakespeare.

Scientists now believe that the Bard died not of binge drinking, but cancer.

Ancient tittle-tattle in Stratford-upon-Avon had suggested that he fell into a fever after a heavy night on the town with old friend and fellow writer Ben Jonson.

But forensic tests normally used to convict criminals have discovered that he had a life-threatening tumour over his left eye.

The breakthrough came after researchers studied four images supposedly of Shakespeare, including his death mask, and a bust displayed at London's Garrick Club.

Each shows a growth on the left eyelid, which increases in size in the later pictures.

Doctors who have studied the images say that this is evidence of a slowly-growing cancerous tumour which could have caused Shakespeare's death in April, 1616, aged 52.

The death mask shows that it had grown so large that it was hanging over his eye.

The discovery came after an investigation by a German literature expert into whether the four images are actually of Shakespeare.

Amazing, isn’t it, how we can now learn all sorts of things about the lives of those who lived in centuries past?





|| Greg, 08:25 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Kennewick Man – Re-Writing The History Of Early Man In The Americas

There was a concerted effort by Northwest tribes and their PC Leftist allies to prevent the study of Kennewick Man following his discovery a decade ago. The claim was that the tribes had a legal claim to the fossilized remains because he must be an ancestor. Now studies have concluded that he is not related to any of the groups that tried to claim him – and the conclusions drawn from study of the 9,000 year old skeleton are going to revolutionize our understanding of the peopling of the Americas.

Kennewick Man was laid to rest alongside a river more than 9,000 years ago, buried by other people, a leading forensic scientist said Thursday. The skeleton, one of the oldest and most complete ever found in North America, has been under close analysis since courts sided with researchers in a legal battle with Indian tribes in the Northwest who wanted the remains found near the Columbia River reburied without study.

Douglas Owsley, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, discussed his findings in remarks prepared for delivery Thursday evening at a meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Seattle.
"We know very little about this time period," Owsley said in a telephone interview. "This is a rare opportunity to try and reconstruct the life story of this man. ... This is his opportunity to tell us what life was like during that time."

Researchers have disagreed over whether Kennewick Man was buried by other people or swept up in a flood and encased in sediment.

Owsley concluded the man was deliberately buried, between two and three feet deep, his body placed in the grave, head slightly higher than feet, hands placed at his sides.

The location was riverside, with the body parallel to the river and head pointing upstream.

Using an industrial CT scanner, Owsley was able to study the skeleton in fine sections and also get a better look at a spear or dart point imbedded in Kennewick Man's hip.

The point has previously been described as a Cascade point, typical of the region, but Owsley said that is not the case. Cascade points tend to have two pointed ends and are sometimes serrated, he said, while the point in Kennewick Man has a pointed end and a stem.

The spear or dart entered the man from the front, moving downward at a 77-degree angle, Owsley said. Previous analysis had indicated it might have hit from the back, he noted.

The point was not the cause of death, he said, saying, "This is a healed injury."
"There was no clear indication in the skeleton of cause of death," Owsley said. Kennewick Man had undergone "a lot of injuries, this guy was tough as nails."

There are three types of fractures in the bones, Owsley said, ones the man suffered in his lifetime and which had healed; fractures that occurred after burial from aging of the bones and the ground settling, and breaks that occurred when the skeleton was unearthed.

A team of 20 forensic scientists has been studying the skeleton, he said, and have concluded that the skull doesn't match those of Indian tribes living in the area.

"We know very little about this time period. Who the people were that were the earliest people that came to America," Owsley said. "We are finding out they were coming thousands of years earlier than we had thought," arriving not just over the Bering Strait but by boats and other means.

"This is a very rare discovery. You could count on your fingers the number of relatively complete skeletons from this time period," Owsley said.

Following discovery of the bones in 1996, the Umatilla, Yakama, Nez Perce and Colville tribes urged that the skeleton be reburied without scientific study. They argued that the bones were covered under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Scientists sued for a chance to study the remains and a federal court ruled there was no link between the skeleton and the tribes.

The law cited above is a well-meaning but fatally-flawed attempt to show respect to tribal cultures and beliefs – but as this case shows, the presumptions in the law stand in the way of good science and good history. Human remains that date back to prehistoric periods are part of the heritage of all humanity, and should be studied to help us understand the development of human civilization and culture. To allow particular ethnic groups to veto research in the field is a travesty. The Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act therefore needs to be significantly modified – if not repealed completely – in the interest of allowing the advancement of human knowledge.

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|| Greg, 08:24 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Death Of A Terrorist

I’m always pleased to come across such good news.

Al Qaeda in Iraq's leader in northern Baghdad was killed in a raid Friday, the U.S. military said.

The military identified Abu Asma, also known as Abu Anas and Akram Mahmud al-Mushhadani, as an explosives expert with close ties to important car bomb manufacturers in Baghdad.

He died in a northern Baghdad raid conducted by coalition forces with the help of Iraqi police, a military statement said.

"Intelligence reports indicated Abu Asma was in possession of and expected to use suicide vests against the Iraqi people and security forces," the statement said. "He was directly responsible for many deaths and injuries of coalition and Iraqi security forces."

No virgins for Abu Asma, who now knows that he served Satan not God. His new place of residence is significantly warmer than summer in Iraq.





|| Greg, 08:22 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Oh Dear, Another Birthday -- Open Trackback And Link Celebration

Oh, no! Not 43! That number just sounds depressing, and it is coming up fast for me on Saturday!

Maybe some music would help. Could we get an appropriate chorus?

The Birthday Dirge. Grunt and pound your fist on the table at each (grunt).

Happy birthday. (grunt)
Happy birthday. (grunt)

Gloom and doom and dark despair
people dying everywhere
on your birthday. (grunt)
Happy birthday. (grunt)

When you reach the age you are
your demise cannot be far
from your birthday. (grunt)
Happy birthday. (grunt)

May the cities in your wake
burn like candles on your cake
on your birthday. (grunt)
Happy birthday. (grunt)

Perform strange sexual acts
with goats, camels, sheep, and yaks
on your birthday. (grunt)
Happy birthday. (grunt)

Yeah, that sure helped with the depression.

* * *

Maybe a few juicy links to help bring up my Ecosystem rating would help -- Playful Primate would be nice, dont you think? Your participation in this linkfest could help.

You know how it works -- you link to this post and send a trackback, and your post will display here. So link away -- I won't set a maximum number of items you can link with here, but I would hope that you would consider exercising prudent judgement on the matter. No porn, please, and no advertising -- just interesting stuff.

So get with the program, folks -- link away before the Grim Reaper comes a-knockin'!!



» The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns links with: Moron Revealed #21
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|| Greg, 05:35 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (14) ||

February 23, 2006

Minnesota Democrats – “Iraq Vets & Families UnAmerican”

I’ve been following this story for the last several days, and am surprised that no one really wants to take this up on a national level. That is really too bad, since it shows the degree to which certain segments of the Democrat Party despise the military but are willing to use a few vets and family members for their own purposes. They tell us we cannot question the ever-changing stories of John Kerry about his military service in Vietnam (while constantly questioning the military service of President Bush), the courage or patriotism of corrupt Congressman John “Cut-n-Run” Murtha or the moral authority of an America-hater like Cindy Sheehan – but if an Iraq vet or Gold Star parent speaks out in favor of the war, they are “un-American” and the Democrats will seek to silence and censor them.

A conservative group recently started an advertising campaign in Minnesota showing veterans and families of slain troops expressing their support for the Iraq war, only to have the head of the state Democratic Party condemn the ads as "un-American, untruthful and a lie." He furthermore demands that Minnesota television stations pull the ads "and send a message that we will not tolerate this kind of 'swiftboating' anymore." At least one station so far has complied with the request, which is reason enough for outrage.

But there's been precious little of that. Aside from a handful of bloggers covering the issue and an appearance of one of the veterans on Fox News' "Hannity and Colmes," the media has ignored the issue completely, essentially proving one of the ad campaign's main points. The current media meme, at least as it concerns the homefront, is that most returning veterans have turned against the war and those still in field are demoralized and jaded. Meanwhile, parents of slain troops like Cindy Sheehan continue to rack up air time and column inches. The ad campaign seeks to correct this blatant misrepresentation.

Which is exactly why Democrats are trying to stop it with accusations that the ads are somehow "untruthful." The claim is absurd on its face, but their list of so-called lies is so slim that a brief analysis is warranted. The veterans in the first ad say that "our enemy in Iraq is al Qaeda -- the same terrorists who killed three thousand Americans on 9/11." To liberal ears, this is apparently the equivalent of claiming Iraq was behind September 11. But that's not what the veterans said. In any case, last we checked Abu Musab Zarqawi, who has publicly sworn loyalty to Osama bin Laden, is the leader of "Al Qaeda in Iraq."

Democrats have also taken issue with the ad's statement that U.S. troops "overwhelmingly" support the mission -- a fact clearly upheld by record-setting retention rates in the military branches. The retention rate in the Army, for instance, is the highest it's been in five years, especially in combat units currently serving in Iraq. And that about covers the "lies."

The more disturbing issue here is that Democrats are trying to silence a contrary point of view, and are doing so by calling soldiers and military families "un-American." Whenever Republicans attempt to counter antiwar sentiment, be it from the Cindy Sheehans or Paul Hacketts, Democrats shed crocodile tears over the "crushing of dissent." But this is what crushing dissenters actually looks like -- a smear campaign designed explicitly to keep the public from hearing the other side.

Fortunately, readers can see the ads for themselves at www.midwestheroes.com and decide what's so "un-American" about soldiers and families supporting the war.

What are the Democrats crying foul about? Besides the truthful assertion that American troops fight in Iraq are fighting al-Qaeda terrorists, there is the horrific scandal (if you are a liberal) that one of the Gold Star parents is the – GASP! – step-mother of a dead soldier and not his biological mother.

Powerline owns this issue and this story completely, so I am linking to their many excellent posts.





|| Greg, 05:43 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Islamofascists Threaten Bible Group In So-Called “Palestinian Authority”

I say so-called because the “authorities” seem unable to exert any authority to protect the tiny Christian community among them. As a result, the Palestinian Bible Society may have to close by the middle of next week, if threats made by Islamofascists are carried out.

There are only about 1,500 Christians living among an estimated 1.2 million Palestinian Muslims in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Bible society has been in operation there since 1999.

Eleven local Palestinians staff the center, which includes a Christian bookstore that sells Bibles. Scriptures are displayed on large billboards, and at the front of the store is a sign that says: "God's Word is Life for All." Above the shop are computer rooms, multi-purpose halls and a library that is open to the entire community.

The trouble started three weeks ago, the source said, when a pipe bomb exploded around 11:00 one night outside the Bible Society, which is located in Gaza's city center. There were no injuries.

Two weeks later, an unknown group left threatening pamphlets at the front door of the Bible Society warning that the building would be blown up if the premises were not vacated by February 28.

The pamphlets threatened the landlord for dealing with "infidels."

According to the request of Palestinian Authority security officials, when the situation worsened several days ago, forcing the Bible Society staff locked the doors while they continued working inside.

But then came a threatening phone call, warning them that locking the doors wasn't enough - that they should take the threat seriously or risk harm to themselves and their children.

"We are waiting for a miracle," said the Palestinian Bible Society information officer. "The Bible Society is committed to the continuation of its ministry and service to the Palestinian people, and God will see us through this crisis."

Islam talks a good game about respecting the rights of Christians in majority Muslim areas. Seems to me that this is an excellent time for them to put up or shut up. And if the new Hamas-led government of the PA cannot protect this tiny group, then there is no reason for anyone to take it seriously.





|| Greg, 05:28 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

No “Allah” Mail

This story is absurd.

FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. (AP) - A man says his attempts to sign up for an e-mail account with Yahoo failed when he used his name, which includes the letters a-l-l-a-h - as in Allah, the Arabic word for God.

Ed Callahan said he started trying to establish the e-mail account after his mother, with the same last name, couldn't get one.

As he tried using various words, he determined that e-mail addresses with other religious words seemed OK, but not if they included the spelling of Allah.
"The war on terror is becoming a war on Muslims," Callahan said.

Yahoo Inc. said Wednesday it has changed policy to allow usage of the word. In a written statement, the company defended the previous policy as an attempt to protect users from hateful speech.

"A small number of people registered for IDs using specific terms with the sole purpose of promoting hate and then used those IDs to post content that was harmful or threatening to others, thus violating Yahoo's terms of service," the statement said.

After the policy change, Callahan said he promptly registered a new e-mail account, which includes his last name.

Callahan, who is clearly a liberal with his head up his as, doesn’t see that the restriction was not a persecution of Muslims, but a granting of special consideration to the Religion of Barbarism, who PC-types have decreed must never be offended. After all, as his own research showed that no other religious group received such protection or consideration. After all, he would have had no problem at all if his name was “Godwin”.





|| Greg, 05:25 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Port Deal – Is The Controversy Unreasonable?

Columnist Stuart Rothenberg seems to think that there is a lot of political smoke but no real national security fire in the dispute over a UAE-owned company operating American ports.

Talking of “turning over” American ports to a foreign company that apparently is controlled by a foreign (Middle Eastern) government raises the specter of terrorists flowing through the ports of New York, Baltimore and Miami. But with the Department of Homeland Security, the Bureau of Customs and the Department of Immigration and Naturalization still firmly in U.S. control, it’s far from clear how that sale threatens U.S. security or enables terrorists to gain access to the U.S.

What we have here is a small dose of real concern and a huge amount of grandstanding by legislators, Republican and Democratic alike.

Democrats smell an opportunity to appear tougher than the President on national defense and homeland security, enhancing their generally weaker credentials on fighting the war against terror.

Republican legislators realize that they cannot allow Democrats to seize the one issue that the GOP has had an advantage on since September 11, 2001. And GOP members of the House and Senate even get an issue on which they can “stand up to” Bush, a hard-to-pass-up opportunity since the President’s job ratings remain weak.

The more I read about this arrangement, the less concern I have with the decision to let the deal proceed. Many American ports are under foreign control. Only one American company (a Halliburton subsidiary) is in the port operations business on a scale that they could take on the job. The employees doing the work will not change, and the security work will still be done by the government. And as was pointed out by a guest on Bill Bennett’s show this morning, the real security issues come at the ports where these shipments originate, where they security is not as tight.

Do I think that this deal should – and will – go through? Yes, probably. But do I still think it needs to be held up for a short interval for additional consideration? One again, I have to say “Yes, probably,” if only to provide reassurance to the American people
.





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

More Heartland Terrorism?

Hmmmmmmm.

The FBI has joined the investigation into a multi-vehicle crash on the Stevenson Expressway after police found a $2 million check, credit cards and other "financial instruments" in the car of one of two people killed, authorities said today.

The items were discovered in the car of a 45-year-old man involved in the crash, which occurred about 11:20 a.m. Wednesday on the outbound Stevenson (Interstate Highway 55) near Stickney, Illinois State Police said.

The man, identified as Lafi Nofal, was flown by helicopter to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he died from his injuries hours after the accident, the Cook County medical examiner's office said.

A 76-year-old woman, Dorothy Walsh, who was riding in a separate car, was also killed, according to the medical examiner.

Members of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force were working with Illinois State Police to "determine the authenticity and origin" of the financial items, the FBI Chicago office said in a statement this morning.

There is no indication that terrorism is involved, according to the statement.

Let’s see. Millions in negotiable financial instruments in the car, and a name which appears to be Middle Eastern. Are you folks sure that there is no connection to terrorism?





|| Greg, 05:23 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Accept Core Values Or Leave – Aussie Pol

I think that Australia’s Treasurer, Peter Costello, pegs it exactly in a speech he recently gave.

No one is going to respect a citizenship that is so undemanding that it asks nothing. In fact our citizenship is quite a demanding obligation. It demands loyalty, tolerance and respect for fellow citizens and support for a rare form of government - democracy.

We have a robust tolerance of difference in our society. But to maintain this tolerance we have to have an agreed framework which will protect the rights and liberties of all. And we are asking our citizens to subscribe to that framework.

I do not like putrid representations like Piss Christ. I do not think galleries should show them. But I do recognise they should be able to practise their offensive taste without fear of violence or a riot. Muslims do not like representation of the prophet. They do not think newspapers should print them. But so too they must recognise this does not justify violence against newspapers, or countries that allow newspapers to publish them.

We are asking all our citizens to subscribe to a framework that can protect the rights and liberties of all. These are Australian values. We must be very clear on this point. They are not optional. We expect all those who call themselves Australians to subscribe to them. Loyalty, democracy, tolerance, the rule of law - values worth promoting, values worth defending. The values of Australia and its citizens.

Change the words “Australia” and Australian” to “America” and “American” and this entire speech clearly defines what the view of every American patriot should be.





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Tiananmen Dissident Freed

Perhaps some of the red-diaper doper babies from the ACLU and other groups that are defending terrorists would consider taking up real cases of human rights abuses instead. You know, ones like this example of abuse of an individual by government for daring to engage in non-violent expressive conduct.

A protester jailed after the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations in Beijing was finally released yesterday having gone mad in solitary confinement.

Yu Dongyue, then 22, and two other men each threw an eggshell filled with red ink at a Chairman Mao portrait.

He was jailed for 20 years for "counter-revolutionary activity" and "sabotage" two months after the tanks moved in, killing hundreds of people.

He has been freed three years early and his mother, Wu Pinghua, was told last night he was on his way home.

"My last prison visit was in December 2004, and he couldn't tell who we were," she said. "The official said he now couldn't look after himself and needed spoonfeeding."

Yu was a country boy who made it to college, moving to the city of Liuyang in central Hunan province. After teaching, he became an arts writer for the local newspaper.

With his best friend, Yu Zhijian (no relation), he joined the protesters in Beijing three days before martial law was declared. With another man from Hunan, they decided on an eye-catching protest. Yu Zhijian, his friend, who originally received a life sentence, last year described how prison guards ordered other inmates to beat him because he refused to admit his guilt.

His release comes in the middle of a new wave of dissident protest in China. The government is trying to rein in outspoken journalists and the internet, sacking editors and jailing writers.

So come on, Leftists – quit defending those who want to kill you and start defending real victims of human rights abuse.





|| Greg, 05:20 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Alvarado Staff Ran Amok

Not only did they rip-off Houston taxpayers for $130,000 in bonuses to which they were not entitled, but four members of Councilwoman Carol Alvarado's Mayor Pro Tem staff also authorized salary increases for each other.

Four employees in Houston's Office of Mayor Pro Tem got raises ranging from 11 percent to 64 percent during the same period in which they split $135,000 in what city officials say were unauthorized bonuses, personnel documents show.

The records, released to the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday under the Texas Public Information Act, show that the raises increased the employees' combined annual pay rates by $60,000 during Councilwoman Carol Alvarado's two-year tenure as Mayor Pro Tem.

Alvarado said she did not approve the raises.

The two highest-paid employees — who also got most of the bonus money now under investigation — signed forms authorizing each others' raises, the records show.

All four still are drawing the salaries, since they have been suspended with pay during a probe of the bonuses.

Perhaps we need to start to refer to the councilwoman as "Carol Alvarado Schultz" -- as in "I know nothing-- NOTHING!"

But then again, it may not be a wuestion of stupidity on her part -- it may just be laziness. She authorized staff members to sign documents on her behalf so that she didn't need to be bothered personally, and they took advantage of the authority.

What sort of pay raises are we talking about? Substantial ones.

But the councilwoman said Wednesday that she never authorized anything higher than a 2 percent salary increase approved in 2004.

That is more in line with typical city pay increases. Mayor Bill White recently announced a raise of 1.5 percent for full-time civilian city employees.

According to personnel records, Hernandez received two raises in 2005, increasing her base annual salary 37 percent to $78,000. Watkins' salary rose 55 percent during Alvarado's tenure, from $33,000 to $52,000.

Two other employees in the office, Christopher Mays and Theresa Orta, received raises of 64 percent and 10 percent respectively, records show.

I'm not accusing Carol Alvarado of being dishonest -- after all, that woud require her to be an active manager who took the time to oversee the actions of her staff. Instead, I would have to say the was incompetent and negligent in the running of the Mayor Pro Tem's office. But then again, that wouldn't be the first time that she let little details slip right past her.





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February 22, 2006

A Blasphemous Response To Murderous Islamofascism

Nothing can justify these evil and unChristian actions in response to the murderous rampage of Nigerian Muslims. While the article presents this as a religious conflict, part of me wonders the degree to which tribal affiliations and enmities were at work in this

AN enraged mob of Nigerian Christian youths has slaughtered dozens of Muslims in two days of rioting in the southern city of Onitsha.

Rioting broke out in the lawless trading town on the banks of the Niger River yesterday when members of the Igbo tribe launched revenge attacks in response to an earlier massacre of Christians in the north of the country.

Nineteen corpses were seen scattered by the side of the main road into the city across the Niger River bridge, where a contingent of soldiers had set up a roadblock to hold back hundreds of rioters armed with clubs and machetes.

The bodies had been beaten, slashed and in some cases burnt. Around the bloodied corpses lay scattered the caps and Islamic prayer beads associated with the northern Hausa tribe.

A police official had earlier said five more Hausas had been killed in the neighbouring city of Asaba, across the bridge, to where thousands of Muslims fled to escape the mayhem in Onitsha.

Frank Nweke, a magazine editor who ran the gauntlet of the mob to escape Onitsha and made it to the bridge, said he had seen 15 more corpses lying in the streets of the city.

"Some of them had been beheaded, others had had their genitals removed. I saw one boy holding a severed head with blood dripping from it," he said.

Army officers at the scene could not confirm a total death toll in the city, where control has not yet been restored, but said thousands of Muslims had taken shelter in barracks and police stations.

May God aid the Nigerian authorities in bringing these so-called Christians to justice for their crimes. Their deeds blaspheme against the teachings of Jesus Christ, who taught turning the other cheek -- for in the end, the source of the conflict matters less than the evil deed committed.


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Dems Shift Left

In an increasingly conservative America, Democrats are seeking to compete electorally by shifting left and abandoning officeholders who appeal to middle-of-the-road independents and even conservatives.

Democrats aren't just hoping to take back Congress this year; they also are trying to rid the party of so-called "right-wing Democrats."

Rep. Henry Cuellar represents the solidly Democratic 28th district in Texas. Yet activists from his party are backing his primary challenger, former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez.

"People have been able to get a good picture of Henry Cuellar's record," Mr. Rodriguez told The Washington Times. "He doesn't stand with working families. On issues like tax cuts, the estate tax and immigration, he has voted with Republicans down the line."

Mr. Cuellar has been endorsed by the conservative Club for Growth, a group that typically endorses Republicans and has supported primary challengers to centrist Republicans such as Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. The Club for Growth estimates it has raised $150,000 for Mr. Cuellar's campaign.

After a contentious Democratic primary battle in 2004, Mr. Cuellar defeated Mr. Rodriguez, a three-term incumbent, by a mere 58 votes. Since then, Mr. Cuellar has angered many liberals with his support for the war in Iraq and other Republican-backed policies.

Mr. Rodriguez acknowledges that centrists have a place in the Democratic Party, just not in his district. "This is not a swing district. Voters here deserve someone who will represent their values," he said.

The 28th District, stretching from the Rio Grande to San Antonio, is 70 percent Hispanic. In the 2004 general election, Mr. Cuellar received 59 percent of the vote against Republican opponent James Hopson.

Mr. Rodriguez said Democratic activists have pumped more than $250,000 into his campaign in the weeks since his primary challenge gained national attention. "Thank God for it," he said.

Liberal groups such as MoveOn.org and Democracy for America (DFA), as well as leading liberal bloggers and unions such as the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union, are backing Mr. Rodriguez.

Mr. Rodriguez "is a real Democrat," said DFA Chairman Jim Dean. "He is not a shill for the White House. We've raised about $40,000 for Ciro so far. It's been a pretty good response, especially considering a lot of people didn't even know about this race until a few weeks ago."

A significant part of Mr. Rodriguez's opposition to Mr. Cuellar stems from their differences on trade. Mr. Cuellar was a vocal proponent of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which Mr. Rodriguez opposes.

Cuellar campaign spokesman Colin Strother said free trade and conservative values are popular in the 28th district.

"Ten of the 11 counties in our district have experienced growth since [the North American Free Trade Agreement] was passed," Mr. Strother said. "Ciro's most vocal supporters are not in the district. Our district is Catholic, Hispanic and conservative. Ciro doesn't represent those values."

Charles Mahtesian, editor of Almanac of American Politics, said the March 7 Democratic primary contest will be as bitter as it was two years ago.

"It's the stated policy of the party to support incumbents," Mr. Mahtesian said. "But at least in Washington and in Congress there are a lot of people secretly hoping it turns out differently."

Speaking as a Republican, I wholeheartedly support this strategy, which seems to me to be the political equivalent of treating a shaving cut by slitting your throat. The 28th District will never vote for a Republican – unless the Democrats abandon the base of conservative Hispanic Catholics. That is where this strategy is headed.





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

Execution Delayed

Doctors are refusing to participate in the execution of a prisoner following a federal judge’s absurd ruling that we have to show more consideration and compassion for a convicted murderer than he did for the teenager he raped and killed.

California indefinitely postponed the execution of a convicted murderer Tuesday in a dispute over lethal injection and the role of doctors in assisting it.

The execution of Michael Morales, 46, was delayed when two anesthesiologists who were scheduled to assist backed out at the last minute, citing ethical concerns after a court ordered them to intervene if Morales awoke during the procedure.

The doctors were asked to participate after a federal judge ruled last week that California's usual method of lethal injection "creates an undue risk" of "excessive pain." In a ruling that applies only to the current case, U.S. District Judge Jeremy D. Fogel required that either a doctor sedate Morales immediately before he is executed, or that the state substitute one drug for the three typically used.

Fogel's order on the single-drug option "specifically required that the lethal injection be completed by someone licensed by the state of California to inject medication intravenously," San Quentin Prison Warden Steven Ornoski said in a statement. ". . . The state cannot proceed with the execution under the conditions set by the court."

A corrections spokesman said: "The big kicker was 'inside,' and what doctor is going to want to go inside the death chamber?"

And so I repeat my suggestion for a better execution protocol – a lethal injection of lead, 9mm at a time, to the base of the brain. And lest there be any question of finding someone willing to carry out the procedure, I’ll gladly volunteer if California will supply a round-trip airline ticket – and I’m even willing to fly coach.


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Che Guevara– War Criminal

Just a quick reminder for all the Cadillac Communists and silk-sheet Socialists who idolize Castro’s cold-blooded killer.

Guevara-worship may be naive or opportunistic, but there is something downright obscene in his promotion by capitalist commerce. Guevara simply was not a nice fellow.

There is nothing benign about the real Guevara, pistol in hand, giving a cold-blooded coup de grace to the Castro regime's enemies at La Cabaña fortress. Or his bloody repression of anti-Castro peasants in the Escambray mountains of central Cuba when the Castroite regime was 2 years old.

Guevara's hands had much blood on them besides his own. In real life, he was a war criminal.

So to all the Rolex radicals and Mercedes Maoists who have adopted Che as an iconic hero, consider this – he personally committed misdeeds that dwarf any abuses committed by American soldiers against the Saddamites imprisoned at Abu Ghraib.





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New Orleans To Lazy Poor – “Don’t Come Back!”

That is the message from three members of the flooded city’s City Council.

New Orleans doesn't want its poorest residents back — unless they agree to work.

That was the message from three New Orleans City Council members who said government programs have "pampered" the city's residents for too long.

The news that some New Orleans City Council members weren't keen on the city's poorest returning home added another layer of discomfort in Houston, where local residents and elected officials alike have stretched to meet the needs of thousands of Louisiana residents in the months after Hurricane Katrina.

Chief among the complaints: Houston didn't discriminate when New Orleanians — from the poorest to the richest — filled this city's homes, hotels, motels and shelters. And Houston didn't flinch when nearly 100,000 evacuees needed subsidized housing for up to a year. So why, asked one Houston city councilman, are only the educated, healthy and employable welcome back in New Orleans?

"A city is a combination of all kinds of people," said Councilman M.J. Khan, whose district has absorbed most of the city's evacuees. "We definitely want everybody to be productive, wealthy and educated. But in any society it's not always possible. We cannot pick and choose who will live in a city."

Khan was among those who responded negatively to the comments of New Orleans elected officials Monday, which were published by the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

I react negatively, too. As a resident of the Houston area, I was glad to help pick up the slack when the relocation was temporary. But for the city of New Orleans to try to permanently dump its problems on us is intolerable. I think I speak for many area residents when I say that the day is coming when we may need to simply put these people back onto the buses they came in and ship them home – whether their hometown wants them or not. We are sick of their whining and demands for more.





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Does He Still Get His Virgins?

This certainly cheered me up when I read it. I love happy news

A SUSPECTED suicide bomber blew himself up prematurely near a main road routinely used by government officials and foreign troops in eastern Afghanistan, police said today.

The man was blown to bits and only his leg and hat were found at the scene after the blast in eastern Nangarhar province yesterday, provincial police spokesman Ghafor Khan said.

"Our investigations show that a suicide bomber wanted to get to the main road and, just before that, explosives strapped to his body went off due to some malfunction ahead of time and tore him into pieces," Mr Khan said.

In a separate attack on the same day in the province, a civilian was killed and five were wounded in a bomb blast.

It was not clear who was behind the bombing.

Police, however, blamed both incidents on "enemies of Afghanistan who want to create tension to undermine security".

I wonder – does he still qualify as a martyr if he suffers from premature detonation? Or does this useless mutt become one of the 72 virgins, since he got his manhood (small as it was) blown off?


MORE AT Jawa Report





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

When The Left Shows Its True Colors

Could you imagine the uproar if this incident involved a columnist for a conservative paper at a major university?

Turn Left, Cornell’s left-wing newspaper, has a bit of a public relations problem: recently, one of its writers allegedly shouted racial slurs at a group of blacks and then proceeded to stab one of them, puncturing his lung. Nathan Poffenbarger, the alleged stabber, then fled the scene, later turning himself into police. (Rumor has it that he will be contending for the Democratic nomination in the upcoming West Virginia senatorial race.) On February 20, The Sun reported:
According to sources familiar with the incident, Poffenbarger and an unidentified female were walking in the vicinity of Baker Tower, on the corner of University and West, after Poffenbarger was reportedly kicked out of a West Campus fraternity party for belligerent behavior and use of racial slurs.

University officials said Poffenbarger continued using the epithets after leaving the fraternity and was overheard by a nearby group of three black Union College students, who then confronted Poffenbarger. A verbal altercation escalated, and Poffenbarger allegedly stabbed one of the students. Poffenbarger fled after an Ithaca Police vehicle arrived on the scene. He turned himself in to authorities Saturday night.

But hey, Poffenbarger is a strong opponent of racism and a noted pacifist, so an unprovoked assault upon minority students who object to his use of racial slurs gets a pass from the Left -- where are the major news stories and the condemnations? Where are the demands that the paper that employed this racist cretin be closed? Conservative minds want to know!





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

Atrocity In Samarra

As followers of this blog will note, I have become less and less of a fan of Islam over the years. That said, I can find nothing in this action to support or praise. The destruction of the holy sites and places of a religion can only rarely be justified – and doing so via terrorism rather than the rule of law is NEVER acceptable.

One of the most revered shrines in Shiite Islam was bombed early this morning, causing the collapse of its dome, police and eyewitnesses said. There was no immediate estimate of casualties in the latest in a series of sectarian attacks in the country.

The shrine in Samarra, a predominantly Sunni Arab city 60 miles north of Baghdad, contains the remains of two of Shiite Islam's most prominent Imams. The bomb is believed to have been planted a day earlier, said Capt. Basheer Qadoori, of the city's police force.

"Last night, five armed men wearing ski masks broke into the shrine, kidnapped 5 guards of the shrine and planted two bombs inside," Qadoori said.

Iraq's most notable Shiite religious authority, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, announced a week long mourning and urged people to go to the streets in "peaceful demonstrations to denounce this criminal act." Sistani's office said a detailed statement would be released later today.

Shiite Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari announced a three-day mourning in a televised appearance. "I call on my people to express their condemnation," Jaafari said. He asked Iraqis to "close the door to all those who are fishing in the troubled water."

The attack, which sparked immediate and widespread protests among Shiites across Iraq, appeared designed to further inflame sectarian tension between Iraq's Shiite majority and the Sunni Arab population from whose ranks the bulk of the country's insurgency is drawn.

I gladly join with Prime Minister Jaafari in expressing my condemnation of the bombing.


SHRINE1.JPG-SHRINE2.JPG

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|| Greg, 07:31 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Our "Loyal" Muslim Populace

Folks like CAIR, who complain that Americans look at Arabs and Muslims and think "terrorist" might want to deal with issues like this in their own community before lecturing us about bigotry.

The Justice Department accused three Ohio men yesterday of plotting to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq, allegedly by seeking to set up a Middle Eastern terrorism camp where insurgents would be trained and equipped.

One of the men was also charged with threatening to kill or hurt President Bush. It is not clear, however, how close the trio came to carrying out any of their alleged plans or whether they intended to fight in Iraq themselves.

Even so, the case appears to be the first time that suspects on U.S. soil, rather than in Europe or the Middle East, have been charged with attempting to directly aid the insurgency in Iraq.

The men are accused of spending more than a year downloading militant videos, taking weapons training, and trying to acquire or build explosives. They could face life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge, conspiracy to kill Americans abroad. They are also charged with providing material support to terrorists.

The defendants are Mohammad Zaki Amawi, 26, a citizen of the United States and Jordan; Marwan Othman el-Hindi, 42, of Toledo, a U.S. citizen; and Wassim I. Mazloum, 24, of Toledo, a permanent legal resident who co-owns a Toledo auto dealership with his brother. In addition to the terrorism counts, Amawi is also charged with twice making verbal threats against Bush, court documents show.

The three were indicted last week, but the document was not unsealed until yesterday. They were arrested over the weekend and pleaded not guilty yesterday in federal courts in Cleveland and Toledo, according to the Associated Press. Attempts to reach their attorneys were unsuccessful.

But this isn't REALLY the first such case -- not when you consider the blind sheik, the Holy Land Foundation, the Buffalo case, the ongoing trial in California, etc.

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

A Bad Move By Bush

I don't understand why the President would take this stand. The port deal is not a hill worth dying for.

"After careful review by our government, I believe the transaction ought to go forward," Bush told reporters who had traveled with him on Air Force One to Washington. "I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company. I am trying to conduct foreign policy now by saying to the people of the world, `We'll treat you fairly.'"

Mr. President -- why hold a Middle Eastern company to a different standard than one from the UK? Surely you jest, sir! You REALLY don't get it -- especially when one of the ports is the Port of New York? The answer is really simple -- a bunch of Arabs flew planes into buildings in that city, sir, and killed damned near 3000 Americans. there were at least some connections to the UAE. We want to be sure that this company has been thoroughly vetted.

A ldelay while the matter is more thoroughly warranted -- whether or not one supports Sen. Clinton's proposal to prevent firms controlled by foreign governments from managing our ports.

More at Michelle Malkin,





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"Place Bacon Upon Him" Open Trackback And Linkfest

Gee -- I made one snide comment in response to Death Threat Dude and folks were terrible amused -- so amused that I feel i need a graphic to go along with the mean-spirited rip at someone who indicated i should be killed for rudeness.

I wonder what his reaction will be to this.

PBUH

baconface.jpg

Place Bacon Upon Him

I wonder -- could I get and NEA grant for that?

And will I be praised for obscuring Mohammad's face, or damned for my method of doing so?

* * *

This is, of course, my regular Wednesday Open Trackback/Linkfest post. here's your chance to participate.

You know how it works -- you link to this post and send a trackback, and your post will display here. So link away -- I won't set a maximum number of items you can link with here, but I would hope that you would consider exercising prudent judgement on the matter. No porn, please, and no advertising -- just interesting stuff.

So get with the program, folks -- link away before the fatwas fly!

OPEN TRACKBACKS: Adam's Blog, Freedom Watch, Blue Star, Conservative Cat, third world country, Bacon Bits, Don Surber, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog, Stuck On Stupid, Everyman's Chronicles, Is It Just Me?

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February 21, 2006

Why I Love The Houston Livestock Show And Rodeo

It isn't the contests between cowboys and livestock.

It isn't the concerts.

It isn't the fair food (mmmm... deep fried Twinkies!)

It is what the show does for kids.

And not just for the scholarship winners.

Bart Pennington's Angus-Hereford crossbreed in 1985 gave him the confidence to start his own business. The Maine-Anjou and Angus hybrid Theresa Pritchard showed in 1974 paid her way through college and put her in choice seats at an Elvis concert. And along with the rush of TV interviews, Angie Elam's Limousin got her some extra, unexpected attention in 1980.

"I had probably a couple guys say, 'Hey, would you marry me? You're rich,' " Elam said.

Although decades have passed and much of the cash has been spent since Pennington, Pritchard and Elam presented the grand champion steers at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, all say the victories they earned as teenagers still influence their lives.

"It was a big deal for a small girl from a small town," Elam, now 41, said from her farm in Seminole, where she raises cattle with her husband. "That Sunday afternoon, we went to the Galleria and everyone knew who I was. ... It was a day I will never forget."

More than 2,600 youngsters from 4-H Clubs across Texas are fattening their steers and shining their coats in the hopes of leaving the country's largest and richest stage for steers, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, with the "Grand Champion" ribbon and a wad of cash. The biggest show of their steer-showing lives starts next Tuesday.

The steers will moo, chew and strut their stuff in 16 breed categories through Reliant Center, but only one will become the grand champion and earn its exhausted young exhibitor both a moment of big-city fame and a place in the record books among past victors.

Not to mention some big bucks.

My dear wife and I go to the rodeo every year -- multiple nights. And we always make sure we are there the night that the selection of the grand champion steer is made. It is a beautiful moment, watching the culmination of a lot of hard work for one boy or girl. I taught one recent winner during summer school, and got to see what great kids are involved in this program.

And i can't wait -- Rodeo is one week away!



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My First Death Threat! -- Open Trackbacks And Linkfest

Looks like I've attracted some attention.

A new comment has been posted on your blog Rhymes With Right, on entry #158774 (Toronto Cartoon Flap). http://rhymeswithright.mu.nu/archives/158774.php

IP Address: 164.100.214.80
Name: aamir malik
Email Address: aamir834@yahoo.com
URL:

Comments:

ASALAM_U_ALIKUM
what the hell have you people made this?
how could you be so much rude ?
what do you think of yourself?
if you vl be here we will jst kill you>?

I'm contacting Yahoo and his ISP regarding this. Feel free to use the email address if you see fit.

And yet there are still those calling Islam a religion of peace. Instead we see that Muslims continue following the bloody example set by their murderous false prophet Muhammad (pbuh*).

*pbuh=PLACE BACON UPON HIM

And while I'm at it, may as well use this as an excuse for an unscheduled linkfest! Feel free to post links to your best stuff, tracking back to this post. I won't set an arbitrary limit on the number of links, but will ask you to be reasonable.

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February 20, 2006

Toronto Cartoon Flap

The student paper at University of Toronto, The Strand, wouldn't print the Danish cartoons, on the grounds that they were inflammatory.

So instead, they printed this one.

jesuskissmo.jpg

What do you think?

The paper refused to back down under pressure from student groups but the support of the university. On one level, I find it admirable. On another, I do not.

As I have said in the past, I have doubts about the original decision to publish the Mohammad cartoons in Denmark. I don't know that I would have published all of them, but the paper's editor offers a good explanation of his motivations. But once they became the source of such an uproar, the cartoons became newsworthy and needed to be printed to provide context. The failure of media outlets to do so was wrong.

The Strand took a different tack -- they published this entirely different cartoon, one that does not show Mohammad's face but which is, clearly, Mohammad. And for good measure, they showed him making out with Jesus on a carnival ride -- with Jesus clearly the sexual aggressor. And that is where I am left somewhat puzzled -- what exactly was the point of portraying the Son of God in such a gratuitously offensive manner? I don't deny their right to do so (though I wonder if Canadian hate-speech laws could be invoked), I just don't see their reason for doing so if they won't publish the newsworthy cartoons.

Their explanation for publishing this cartoon?

To some degree, we felt like it was our duty to do so. We would be making a statement: that freedom of expression triumphs over all, that tactics like the administration emptying newsstands over publication of controversial subjects are Draconian and detrimental to an environment like a university, which claims to nurture new ideas and inspire independent thinking. After all, freedom of speech and freedom of the press are basic values in Canadian society. But where does freedom of images fit in?

Our own editorial staff was completely conflicted on the issue. Many of them had had their fill of cartoon-related debate with the prophets-making-out-cartoon and didn't even reply to the e-mails that were sent out. By Monday night, not everyone's opinion had been aired, and the notorious cartoons were screaming for a decision to be made.

We won't be like other institutions. We will value the freedom to choose just as highly as that to express. And above all, we will try to the best of our abilities to reach out to the greatest possible audience we can, hopefully inspiring some discussion and critical thinking along the way.

You can see the cartoon we almost didn't publish below. In light of everything else, it seems pretty damn tame. Hell, those could be any two guys kissing! And who doesn't play tonsil hockey in the Tunnel of Love? As for the other ones, you can view them online, but only if you want to.

Frankly, it is a pretty weak explanation, don't you think? And I won't get into the question of their blasphemy in the editorial, in which they relegate Jesus to the status of mere prophet (the Muslim designation for Jesus) rather than Christian designations like Lord, Son of God, and Saviour of the World. But it is their right to publish, just as it is my right to say they are wrong -- but being wrong and offensive and blasphemous is not a basis for censorship.

Still, I find it interesting to note that not one riot has been provoked by the much more offensive explicit and intentional insult to Jesus. And that may be the real point -- offended Christians don't kill; offended Muslims do.

UPDATE: It seems that the ever-so-tolerant folks at University of Toronto are not so tolerant of free speech in instances when it upholds traditional Christian teachings on homosexuality or abortion.

HAT TIP: Exposed Agenda via Crittermusings.

MORE AT Jawa Report, Dread Pundit Bluto, Hyscience, Live Free Or Die, I'll Get That Chicken, Adam Daifallah, Elder of Ziyon, Nav Purewal, Reason/Hit & Run, Kokonut Pundits, NFOrce



» The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY links with: A close blog buddy gets a Muslim death threat
» Salt Lake Community College links with: Salt Lake Community College



|| Greg, 05:30 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (20) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

“Teaching To The Test” Is “Teaching To The Standards”

At last! Someone writing about the current testing regime prevalent in American schools who realizes that the evil notion of “teaching to the test” is, in reality, teaching to the standards set by the state.

Those who complain are not really talking about teaching to the state test. Unless teachers sneak into the counseling office and steal a copy, which can get them fired, they don't know what's on the test. They are teaching not to the test but to the state standards -- a long list of things students are supposed to learn in each subject area, as approved by the state school board.

Hardly anybody complains about teaching to a standard. Teacher-turned-author Susan Ohanian is trying to change this, and she refers to all advocates of learning standards as "Standardistos." But she has not made much headway, mostly because standards make sense to parents like me. We are not usually included in discussions of testing policy, but we tend to vote in large numbers, and everybody knows that any governor or president who came out against standards for schools and learning would soon be looking for work in the private sector.

Those who object to such standards (including the wrong-headed Ohanian) are really objecting to good education. After all, look the standards for my 10th Grade World History classes. Do you really find anything objectionable there? Anything that should not, reasonably speaking, be a part of a World History class? If anything, these TEKS (Texas Essential knowledge and Skills) provide a pretty good overview of the subject. When looked at in the context of the overall standards for grades 1-12, you find that they provide a great scope and sequence for learning. The TAKS test (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) tests to those standards – so if my colleagues and I teach to those standards, our students should pass the Exit Level test in 11th grade. That is not to say that I don’t have issues with the TAKS, but the fact that it is standards driven is not one of them.





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Irish Illegals – Going Home

I guess that since these illegals don't have a huge bloc of supporters urging that their staus be ignored, it is no surprise that they are departing for their homeland.

By now the shipping container carrying Jonathan Langan's material life in the United States has arrived in Ireland. The plush green furniture, his American flag and the construction tools of his trade are all gone from his Queens apartment.

Langan, a lanky, red-haired Irishman, was bidding a final farewell to his adopted country. He didn't leave for want of work -- his fledgling construction company was booming. Success was his problem. The more prosperous his company became, the more Langan feared he would get snared by immigration agents.
"You don't want to give off red flags because you're not supposed to be working," said Langan, 24, who lived illegally in the United States for three years. "It's too dangerous, what happens if you get caught."

The green is draining out of the Irish immigration boom that revitalized neighborhoods across New York over the past two decades. Fear of getting caught in a post-Sept. 11 net coupled with the booming economy in Ireland is drawing thousands of Irish back to the Emerald Isle. Numbers vary on how many have left: The Irish government estimates that about 14,000 Irish returned from the United States since 2001, with more than half of them coming from New York. The Census Bureau reported that between 2000 and 2004, the Irish population throughout the United States shrank by 28,500 people, to 128,000.

Now, if we could only get a certain larger group of illegal aliens to depart in similar proportions. But they won’t – their government does not want them back, and there is a segment of American society who choose ethnic solidarity over respect for the laws of the United States.

So instead, it's "Erin Go Home" and not "Hasta La Vista, Baby!"





|| Greg, 05:01 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Candidate’s Son Busted – Dad Calls For “Privacy”

Gee, I wonder if this clown demanded the same thing for Dick Cheney or the Bush girls?

The son of a U.S. Senate candidate in Arizona was arrested and booked on drug charges, accused of selling narcotics to college students, officials said.

The 24-year-old son of former state Democratic Party chairman Jim Pederson was taken into custody Friday after a search of his home, deputies said.

James Robert Pederson was charged with possession of narcotics, marijuana and paraphernalia, and misconduct with weapons, among other charges, Lt. Paul Chagolla said. He was released on his own recognizance Saturday morning.

The elder Pederson, who is challenging Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, asked for the public to respect his family's privacy.

"This is a personal matter that is obviously very troubling and being dealt with within our family right now," Pederson said in a statement.

This is a much more serious matter than the VP’s hunting accident or the underage boozing of a couple of college girls – so I’m sure that the media will give proportionally more coverage to this incident.

Not.





|| Greg, 04:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Condi! Condi! Condi!

Looks like the American people are becoming more and more enthusiastic about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a candidate for President. At the same time, opposition is growing to another female candidate.

Growing numbers of Americans oppose a presidential bid by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., in 2008 — and favor a run by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — amid broad public willingness to elect a woman as president, according to a nationwide poll released Sunday.

The Presidents Day survey conducted for Hearst Newspapers by the Siena Research Institute of Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., covered 1,120 registered voters and was completed Feb. 10.

Some 48 percent of survey participants said Rice "should run" for president at the conclusion of President Bush's second term, an increase of 6 percentage points over a similar survey a year ago.

Clinton saw opposition to a presidential bid grow over the same period. About 44 percent of respondents now say Clinton "should not run" for president in 2008 — up from 37 percent who felt that way last year.

The percentage of registered voters who say Clinton "should run" slipped from 53 percent to 51 percent in the past year, as support for a Rice candidacy increased, from 42 percent to 48 percent.

But the most important part of the survey is that Americans feel ready to vote for a woman.

The survey found that 79 percent of participants were willing to vote for a woman as president, and 64 percent said the nation was "ready" for one.

The survey did not test a head-to-head race between Clinton and Rice.
The margin of error for the survey in both years was 2.9 percentage points. That could mean that Clinton's 2 percentage point drop in the "should run" category may not represent an actual change.

The survey found that a majority of registered voters thought a female president would handle national security-related issues as well as a male president, including serving as commander-in-chief of the armed services.

In other words, 2008 may be just the time for a strong, national security-oriented female candidate like Dr. Rice to seek the presidency. We in the GOP need to persuade her that her time is NOW.





|| Greg, 04:56 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Guilty Plea To A Crime That Should Not Be

Let me say it clearly -- the Holocaust happened.

Let me be forthright about my belief -- those who deny the Holocaust are intellectually dishonest scum.

But all of that is irrelevant to my next point -- Holocaust-deniers are not criminals.

And that is why I am sorry to see David Irving, one of the more malignant figures in the Holocaust-denial movement, plead guilty to criminal charges related to his expression of that postion in Austria.

A right-wing British historian said Monday he would plead guilty to criminal charges of denying the Holocaust as his trial opened in Vienna.

David Irving, 67, told reporters he now acknowledges that the Nazis systematically slaughtered Jews during World War II. "History is like a constantly changing tree," he said as an eight-member jury and a panel of three judges prepared to hear charges that could put him behind bars for up to 10 years.

Irving has been in custody since his arrest in November on charges stemming from two speeches he gave in Austria in 1989 in which he was accused of denying the Nazis' extermination of 6 million Jews.

A verdict could come later Monday.

Holocaust-denial is a hateful, dishonest intellectual position -- but it is one easily refuted by recourse to the facts. The verdict should come in classrooms, scholarly papers, and books, not in courtrooms.

And as we face demands for censorship of films, books and newspapers that are found to be subjectively wrong and offensive (not objectively wrong and offensive, like Irving's words) by Muslims, we in the West need to be clear on a simple point -- the proper response to evil or offensive words is not censorship or violence, but rather more speech to uplift and instruct in what is right.





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How Far Shall We Go With Sensitivity?

Lorenzo Vidin of the Boston Herald asks a couple of pertinent questions, based upon the Danish Cartoon controversy.

The key question is: where do we place that limit? How far must we compromise to respect other peoples’ feelings? Last year, for example, two Scottish Muslim organizations tried to prevent a Glasgow restaurant from obtaining the authorization required to sell alcohol to patrons sitting outdoors, claiming it was offensive to Muslim passers-by.

Are we going to reach a point where no alcohol will be served in public places, as that could offend Muslims? By the same token, some Muslims are offended by mini-skirts and other revealing clothes. Are we going to implement a culturally-sensitive dress code for Western women on our own turf? The question is not so preposterous, given the acts of kowtowing that abound in the West.

If not, then why not? After all, if we are going to limit rights long seen as inalienable -- rights with which we were endowed by our Creator, to crib a phrase from jefferson -- why shouldn't we accept these more limited restrictions based upon the need to be sensitive to those who utterly reject Western notions of freedom?





|| Greg, 05:27 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

When Compassion Is Unjust

There are certain crimes I view as beyond the bounds of forgiveness by mortal man. Some include crimes of violence that shock the conscience -- murder, rape, sexual abuse. Others involve crimes of betrayal -- including those which involve betrayal of one's country. In such cases, I oppose leniency as a matter of principle, for such leniency undermines any sense of justice towards those against whom the crimes were committed.

And so I today stand up and demand that Judge Larry Alan Burns throw the book at Duke Cunningham.

Randy "Duke" Cunningham has recurring prostate cancer and will likely die in prison if sentenced to the 10 years behind bars prosecutors are seeking, his defense lawyers said in court papers filed late Friday.

The documents also reveal that Cunningham and his wife, Nancy, are estranged and that the former 50th District congressman, who pleaded guilty to bribery and tax evasion in November, now lives on a ranch performing manual labor in exchange for room and board.

The U.S. attorney's office in San Diego is arguing that the four years Cunningham accepted bribes and cheated on his taxes ---- as well as tampering with witnesses after he came under federal scrutiny ---- warrant the maximum possible sentence.

Cunningham has admitted demanding bribes starting as early as 2000 and continuing until 2004 in exchange for steering Pentagon contracts to defense contractors MZM Inc. of Washington and ADCS of Poway.

But Cunningham's lead attorney, K. Lee Blalack, argued his client's military service during the Vietnam War and other civic and charitable contributions before the bribery took place, as well as his health status, should cause the court to hand down a lesser sentence of six years.

Reached at his Washington home Saturday, Blalack said he is asking the court for mercy.

"Mr. Cunningham admits doing something very wrong," he said. "The question is what constitutes harsh punishment for a 64-year-old man with health concerns which make a 10-year sentence likely to be unsurvivable.

"When you combine that with his lifelong contributions unusually found in one man to his country in war and in peace, that should warrant some mercy and a sentence appropriate for paying his debt to society."

What a load of bullshit! Cunningham betrayed his country by taking bribes every bit as much as if he had passed defense secrets to our nation's enemies. To argue that he deserves anything less than the maximum sentence based uponhis prior good works (which didn't stop him from taking bribes) or his health situation (which is irrelevant to his crime) is to argue that those somehow diminish the harm that he did. But those factors do not do anything to mitigate the harm -- and indeed, like the bribes themselves, are indicative of a flawed character that puts himself and his needs/desires above society's need to exact retributive justice in official corruption cases.

Besides, the punisments meted out in cases of official corruption need to be severe -- that is the best way to dissuade those who would betray America through their own avarice. The message should be loud nad clear -- take a bribe and this country will sek to have you serve every day of your sentence, even if that means you die in prison instead of surrounded by your loved ones.even





|| Greg, 05:20 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 19, 2006

How Do Muslims View The Failure To Print The Danish Cartoons?

Here's what one expert on Islam has to say.

For the past two weeks, Patrick Sookhdeo has been canvassing the opinions of Muslim clerics in Britain on the row over the cartoons featuring images of Mohammed that were first published in Denmark and then reprinted in several other European countries.

"They think they have won the debate," he says with a sigh. "They believe that the British Government has capitulated to them, because it feared the consequences if it did not.

"The cartoons, you see, have not been published in this country, and the Government has been very critical of those countries in which they were published. To many of the Islamic clerics, that's a clear victory.

"It's confirmation of what they believe to be a familiar pattern: if spokesmen for British Muslims threaten what they call 'adverse consequences' - violence to the rest of us - then the British Government will cave in. I think it is a very dangerous precedent."

So that should make it clear -- "senistivity" to Islamist values is seen as weakness.

Read the article, too, for an inspiring biography of one was born a Muslim but converted to Christianity -- and what he sees as the direction that Islam is headed in the UK if there is not firm action taken to force a change of course.





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Hypocrisy Watch On Offensive Material In Media

Jeff Jacoby discloses this little tidbit in today's column.

The vast majority of US media outlets have shied away from reproducing the drawings, but to my knowledge only the Phoenix has been honest enough to admit that it is capitulating to fear. Many of the others have published high-minded editorials and columns about the importance of ''restraint" and ''sensitivity" and not giving ''offense" to Muslims. Several have claimed they wouldn't print the Danish cartoons for the same reason they wouldn't print overtly racist or anti-Semitic material. The managing editor for news of The Oregonian, for example, told her paper's ombudsman that not running the images is like avoiding the N-word -- readers don't need to see a racial slur spelled out to understand its impact. Yet a Nexis search turns up at least 14 occasions since 1999 when The Oregonian has published the N-word unfiltered. So there are times when it is appropriate to run material that some may find offensive.

Want to bet we could find similar examples in other print media? I ran a quick search on the Houston Chronicle and found AT LEAST 500 uses of the so-called "N-word" since 1988 -- but Houstonians have still not found the Muhammad cartoons in the pages of the Houston Chronicle.

Jacoby's take -- we are dealing with cowards who have succumbed to fear in the face of intimidation by the Islamocensors. And as he points out, their cowardice betrays every dissident, reformer, and moderate who seeks freedom in the face of the islaist fanatics -- for if those in the free West cannot or will not speak out, how can they?



» The Median Sib links with: Sunday Evening Potpourri
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: American Newspapers are Afraid



|| Greg, 10:09 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

No Time For Imams

Certainly not if they are talking out of both sides of their turbans.

Political criticism of local imams in recent days has led the integration minister to exclude the clerics from discussions of the integration of Muslims into Danish society.

Some imams have reportedly offered statements to media in Muslim countries that harmed Danish interests in the on-going row over the Mohammed cartoons, the integration minister, Rikke Hvilshøj, said on Monday.

‘I think we have a clear picture today that imams are not the ones we should look to if we want integration in Denmark to work,’ Hvilshøj told daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende. ‘I’ve become aware that there are other groups we should draw upon.’

One incident involved imam Abu Laban telling television station al-Jazeera that he was happy about the Muslim boycott. Later the same day, he said to Danish television station TV2 that he would urge Muslims to stop the boycott immediately.

Hvilshøj had otherwise made efforts to draw upon imams’ significant influence in local Muslim communities. During a conference held with seven local imams last April, she called upon them to encourage young Muslims to complete an education.

PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen had also invited a group of imams for an anti-terror conference at his Marienborg residence in September. The conference sought to find ways of preventing Islam from being used in the name of terror attacks.

Such efforts to involve the Muslim clerics were now a thing of the past, said Hvilshøj.

‘The imams have revealed that they aren’t the ones who benefit integration in Denmark,’ she said. ‘Some of the quotes we have seen show that they aren’t interested in integeration.’

Seems pretty clear that these folks are tailoring their message to their audience while serving their own interests. Given that their own words have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted, why should the Danish government speak with Muslim religious leaders?



» Oblogatory Anecdotes links with: No Moral Equivalence Between Christianity - Islam



|| Greg, 09:31 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

When Eminent Domain Is Proper

I've criticized the abuse of eminent domain for economic purposes a number of times on this site. But here is the sort of case where eminent domain is appropriate. The only question is what constitutes adequate notice of meetings and decision-making.

A Tacoma couple lost their court fight Thursday to keep Sound Transit from seizing their property to build a commuter rail station.

The ruling could have broader implications for the power of government in Washington state to seize private property by eminent domain. The state Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, said it generally does not referee disputes when a government agency needs to seize property. The court also said a Web site posting was enough notice of a meeting on taking the couple’s land.

The majority ruling of the court said it is a “legislative judgment” that determines when it is necessary to seize someone’s property for a public use. It said the courts will overturn that decision only if there is proof of fraud or when the government clearly ignores the law.

Justice James Johnson, in a written dissent, objected that the state Constitution clearly makes government taking of property a matter for the courts.

“The constitutionally limited eminent domain power is improperly expanded by the majority at the expense of the peoples’ individual rights to own and use property,” he said.

Sound Transit is taking the South Tacoma property as part of its effort to extend Sounder commuter train service south from Tacoma to Lakewood.

The property owners, Ken and Barbara Miller, said Sound Transit arbitrarily chose their property over other alternatives. They also argued that no one told them beforehand about the meeting where Sound Transit’s board of directors decided to take their land and that it wasn’t enough for the agency to announce the meeting on its Web site.

At first this looks bad -- not a matter for the courts? Only notice on a website? But let's flesh out a few details.

First, it is clear even from this that it is not up to the courts to decide the best properties to be seized for a project. The majority is right on that point -- that decision belongs to the political branches responsible for carrying out the project, not the judges. They have no role in determining the best way to implement a policy -- only its legality and constitutionality.

The second point -- relating to notice-- is a red herring. After all, the couple had known for years that this was probably coming.

Fairhurst’s ruling said Miller couldn’t have been surprised by the decision to seize his property. Sound Transit started looking in 1998 for a good spot in South Tacoma or Lakewood to build a park-and-ride rail station as part of the planned commuter rail expansion. Three years later, after a series of workshops and public meetings, the agency identified three potential sites.

The ruling said that for those first three years, Miller cooperated with Sound Transit in the possible condemnation. It said he allowed Sound Transit to enter the property and take soil samples in 2001.

“There is considerable evidence that Miller was involved in the site selection process for many years,” Fairhurst said in the ruling.

Miller said he had only a few contacts over the years with anyone related to Sound Transit and wasn’t given a choice about allowing the soil testing.

He said he knew the agency was considering taking his property, as well as others, for the rail station. But he said he wasn’t informed about the 2003 meeting when the agency’s board of directors selected his land for the project.

So you see, for five years this guy was aware that his property was being considered for the project, and he did nothing substantive to head it off. He was not personally notified of the final meeting (which is, in my opinion, bad form), but by that point the selection appears to have been a mere formality. There's an old saying that applies -- "You snooze, you lose."

And unlike the case I wrote about recently, it seems that adequate compensation is a given here.





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February 18, 2006

Grassroots Freedom Movement In UK

Gates of Vienna reports on a budding movement for freedom of expression in Great Britain.

Statement of Principle

The strength and survival of free society and the advance of human knowledge depend on the free exchange of ideas. All ideas give offense to someone, and some of the most powerful ideas in human history, such as those of Galileo and Darwin, have given profound religious offense in their time.

The free exchange of ideas depends on freedom of expression and this includes the right to criticize and mock.

We assert and uphold the right of freedom of expression and call on our elected representatives to do the same.

We abhor the fact that people throughout the world live under mortal threat simply for expressing ideas and we call on our elected representatives to protect them from attack and not to give comfort to the forces of intolerance that besiege them.

The Baron also supplies contact information for the group and a link to their website.

They will be rallying in Trafalgar Square on March 25. 2006. Spread the word!





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

Fatwa Greenlights Iranian Use Of Nukes

It is therefore obvious that the United States, Israel, and any other sane Western nation must act NOW to keep such weapons out of the hands of the mad mullahs of Iran.

Iran's hardline spiritual leaders have issued an unprecedented new fatwa, or holy order, sanctioning the use of atomic weapons against its enemies.

In yet another sign of Teheran's stiffening resolve on the nuclear issue, influential Muslim clerics have for the first time questioned the theocracy's traditional stance that Sharia law forbade the use of nuclear weapons.

One senior mullah has now said it is "only natural" to have nuclear bombs as a "countermeasure" against other nuclear powers, thought to be a reference to America and Israel.

The pronouncement is particularly worrying because it has come from Mohsen Gharavian, a disciple of the ultra-conservative Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, who is widely regarded as the cleric closest to Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

* * *

Rooz reported that Mohsen Gharavian, a lecturer based in a religious school in the holy city of Qom, had declared "for the first time that the use of nuclear weapons may not constitute a problem, according to Sharia."

He also said: "When the entire world is armed with nuclear weapons, it is permissible to use these weapons as a counter-measure. According to Sharia too, only the goal is important."

Mohsen Gharavian did not specify what kinds of "goals" would justify a nuclear strike, but it is thought that any military intervention by the United States would be considered sufficient grounds. Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi has previously justified use of suicide bombers against "enemies of Islam" and believes that America is bent on destroying the Islamic republic and its values. The latest insight into the theocracy's thinking comes as the US signals a change in strategy on Iran, after the decision earlier this month to report it to the United Nations Security Council for its resumption of banned nuclear research.

Iran has just announced their intent to use nukes if they get them. Iran has restarted the research necessary to create them. It is therefore time to stop Iran from obtaining those weapons.





|| Greg, 10:34 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Labor Unions -- Representing Workers Not Top Priority

This from Robert Novak's column today.

The first documents received from unions in the Labor Department's demand for detailed financial disclosures, for the first time strictly enforcing the 1959 Landrum-Griffin labor reform act, suggest embarrassment by organized labor when the information is made public next month.

Early reports show the AFL-CIO spent $49 million (27 percent of its total annual budget) on political and lobbying activities but only $30 million (or 16.5 percent) to represent its members. That gap contributed to the breakaway from the AFL-CIO of the Teamsters, the Service Employees and other unions.

Another document reveals that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers spent $791 million, constituting 85 percent of its 2005 budget, purchasing fixed assets and investments.

Now tell me, why would anyone willingly join any of these organizations? Why should anyone be required to join such organizations as a condition of employment?

Seems to me that the time has come for a national Right-To-Work law -- let the unions survive in the free market.





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

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are A Dialogue by Gates of Vienna, and The 10 Commandments by The Big Pharoah.

And here is where you find a link to the full results of the vote.





|| Greg, 09:05 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Some Random Questions

1) If Muslims are allowed to rampage over alleged "blasphemy" via cartoon, are we Christians allowed to do so over the blasphemy of Islam claiming Jesus is only a prophet?

2) If the murder of 3000 in the name of Islam was insufficient reason for Americans to torch mosques and shoot Muslims in the streets, why is the publication of 12 cartoons adequate basis for Muslims to destroy churches and murder Christians?

3) If "respect for religious freedom" is an adequate basis for censorship, why isn't "respect for freedom of speech and press" an adequate basis to ban Islam?





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Italy Now Officially "al-Dhimmitalia"

At least the Spanish submitted to the yoke of the Islamofascists in the face of a terrorist attack on Spanish soil. The Berlusconi government caved in because Libyan police overreacted and killed 11 Libyans in Libya after they attacked the Italian Embassy.

This all goes back to the decision of Reforms Minister Roberto Calderoli to print -- and wear -- t-shirts with one of the Danish cartoons of Muhammad on them. He then wore one on television during an interview.

calderolimohammadtshirt.jpg

Calderoli, whose party is known for its anti-Islam stance, showed off a T-shirt with the controversial cartoons on Italian television on Wednesday. He said the T-shirt was not meant to be a provocation but said there was no point in promoting dialogue with Muslim extremists.

'It is time to put an end to this tale that we need dialogue with these people,' Calderoli said at the time.

As if to prove the point, a mindless Muslim mob in Libya rioted and damaged teh Italian embassy. In attempting to disperse the, Libyan police were ordered to open fire with live ammunition on the rioters, resulting in at least 11 deaths and scores of injuries.

Which, of course, has all been laid at the feet of Calderoli for printing and wearing a t-shirt.

"The entire government is asking the resignation of Calderoli," Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini said on Saturday.

A charity foundation chaired by the influential son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al Islam, said in a statement it deemed Calderoli "responsible for what had occurred and for the innocent victims and the regrettable incidents."

"The Italian government has to take the action required by such situation against this racist minister who is full of hatred," the statement by the Gaddafi Foundation said.

"If the Italian government fails to do so, Italian relations with Libya will go through a serious and crucial stage during which these ties will be reassessed and reviewed," it added.

Calderoli, showing that he is a man of infinitely more compassion for dead Islamocensors than I am, has this to say.

"I can even be sorry for the victims. But what happened in Libya has nothing to do with my T-shirt. The problem is different ... What is at stake is Western civilization," Calderoli told La Repubblica daily in an interview.

(I fail to see why any civilized person should feel the least bit of compassion for those out to destroy fundamental human rights over a cartoon, but maybe that just means Calderoli is a better man than I am.)

Sadly, though, Calderoli chose not to stand his ground, and offered his resignation today.

And in Libya, the government has taken action in response to the deaths.

In Tripoli, the General People's Congress fired Interior Minister Nasser al-Mabrouk Abdallah and police chiefs in Benghazi saying "disproportionate force" had been used to disperse protesters who tried to storm the Italian consulate.

The Congress hailed the dead as "martyrs" and declared Sunday a day of mourning across Libya.

This, of course, must be seen as the official imprimatur on destructive rioting by the Gaddafi, making Libya again a state sponsor of terrorism against the civilized Western world.

The submission to dhimmitude by Italy (or, as I now call it, al-Dhimmitalia) is a stunning victory for the Islamist horde, and is a step away from freedom in Europe.

For my part, I'll reprint my favorite Danish cartoon -- and ask you the question it inspires in me.

islm_cartoon_12.jpg
Saint or Devil?

UPDATE: The Washington Post has additional details in a new article.

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February 17, 2006

Absurd Charges From Playground Game

Here’s another case where a judge ought to dismiss the charges and sanction the prosecutor.

What started as a version of the schoolyard game of dodge ball has apparently become a legal ordeal for a 12-year-old girl and her family.

Complaints by the parents of a student injured during a game at Hermosa Elementary School prompted authorities to charge Brittney Schneiders with battery.

Five other students also accused of battery stemming from the May 8 playground game opted to take probation, but Brittney Schneiders and her parents refused.

"I don't think I did (commit a crime)," Brittney told NBC4's Mary Parks. "I thought I was just playing a dodge ball game. I never thought it would come up to this level."

For seven years, Schneiders made the honor roll and received good citizenship awards, but the teen soccer star is in a legal mess over a game of "Wall Ball."

"Wall Ball" is a game where a team throws or kicks a ball in an attempt to hit other players.

Schneiders kicked a ball that hit a boy who wore braces, giving him a fat lip.

The district attorney, probation and sheriff's departments agreed with the school that the boy was repeatedly and unnecessarily hit with the ball and they filed charges against the students.

But Brittney's father, Ray Schneiders, believes the law has gone overboard.

"We are not parents who see our princess can do no wrong," Ray Schneiders said. "It is all about power and the manic egos of those who possess and abuse it."

David Hidalgo, supervising deputy district attorney for San Bernardino County, told NBC4 that although it is illegal for his office to discuss specific cases, he notes that there is always the option of community service or a letter of apology to resolve a case.

"When parents refuse to cooperate under those circumstances and they refuse to hold a minor accountable for their criminal conduct and insist they go to court to refute the allegations, then we have no choice," Hidalgo said.

The district attorney's office also is frustrated by not being able to legally and publicly divulge all the facts in the case, Parks reported.

The case is set for trial in March.

Unless there is significantly more to this case than is being reported, it seems to me that you have a well-connected parent and an over-zealous prosecutor out to punish what appears to be a trivial injury.





|| Greg, 06:46 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Double Standards At Illinois

The Catholic League For Religious and Civil Rights has weighed ln on the controversy over the Mohammad cartoons being republished in the Daily Illini.

February 17, 2006


CARTOON UPSETS UNIV. OF ILLINOIS OFFICIALS


The February 9 edition of the Daily Illini, the student newspaper at the University of Illinois, republished cartoons that made fun of Muhammad. Those responsible for doing so, the editor in chief and the opinions page editor, have now been suspended.


The response of school officials to this incident is the subject of Catholic League president Bill Donohue’s news release:


“Richard Herman, the chancellor of the University of Illinois, is critical of the decision to reprint the anti-Muhammad cartoons. He maintains that a discussion about the controversial Danish cartoons could have taken place without republishing them. He’s right, but that is not the way the university treats anti-Catholic fare on campus.


“In March 1997, the same Urbana-Champaign campus displayed drawings by Michele Blondel that showed red glass vaginas hanging inside European Roman Catholic cathedrals; two of them had red glass holy water cruets with crosses on them. I wrote a letter to the president registering my objections, and received a reply from the chancellor, Michael Aiken.


“Aiken said he regretted that the art ‘disappointed’ me (flat beers disappoint me, not lousy art). He instructed, ‘Most viewers find Blondel’s art to be quite subtle as it invites the viewer to contemplate and reflect on topics as diverse as the body, the church, and architectural and religious symbolism.’ Stupid me—I thought it was Catholic-bashing porn. His closer was precious: ‘The University believes that true intellectual discourse extends not only to written communication but also to the visual.’ Except when Muslims get angry.


“So what’s changed? Do Catholics have to call for beheadings to get respect? How else to explain the condescending response I got, and the sympathetic response afforded Muslims? Similarly, nobody was disciplined for offending Catholics, but two kids have been suspended for offending Muslims!”

Indeed.

And the New York Times has an interesting overview about the case – including the relatively calm response at other Midwestern universities where some or all of the cartoons were published, including my alma mater, Illinois State University.



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|| Greg, 06:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Shocking College Behavior!

My Aggie buddies will be pleased this story doesn't come from College Station -- it is from Kentucky. Gives a whole new meaning to the term "animal husbandry".

Some Bowling Green, Ky., police officers found more than they bargained for after stopping by a Western Kentucky University fraternity party early Thursday.

The officers discovered a live goat stuffed into a storage room of the Alpha Gamma Rho house with no food or water, standing in its own urine and feces, according to WBKO-TV in Bowling Green.

The authorities cited 19-year-old Trenton Dakota Jackson with a second-degree count of cruelty to animals.

Officials aren't sure why the goat was in the storage room and don't know how long the goat had been held captive. Some of the students told police the goat was going to be used in a hazing ritual.

Brian Peyton, the president of Western's Alpha Gamma Rho chapter, said the goat was brought in as a prank, to make some pledges think they would have to have sex with it, WBKO reported. But Peyton told the TV station that the incident wasn’t related to hazing. He said that nobody actually was going to have sex with the goat, the TV station reported.

The goat was sent to the Warren County Humane Society so it could be examined by a veterinarian.

The fraternity has been ordered to stop all activities during an investigation. Alpha Gamma Rho has been cited for hazing three times since 1996.

The executive director of Alpha Gamma Rho's national organization in Kansas City, Mo., said he's also suspended the fraternity chapter. The organization will send someone to the university to investigate the allegations and cooperate with university officials, director Philip Josephson said.

Insert your fraternity joke here.





|| Greg, 06:40 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

No Foreign Control Of US Ports

For me, this is not about Arab or Muslim connections. It is about a much simpler principle – our ports should not be under the control of foreign entities.

The management of major U.S. ports taken over by an Arab-owned company? What was the Bush administration thinking when it allowed such a thing?

That is the question being asked by members of Congress from both parties. Their indignation is aimed at the $6.8 billion purchase by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned company in the United Arab Emirates, of a firm that handles most operations at ports in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

At a news conference yesterday, a bipartisan group of seven House and Senate members demanded that an interagency task force on foreign investments, which approved the transaction, examine it more closely. The group contended that although the UAE may have a strongly pro-U.S. government, the country was traversed by some of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers and its banking system has been used by groups affiliated with al Qaeda.

"Our ports are major potential terrorist targets," said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.). "I strongly urge the administration to thoroughly investigate this acquisition."

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said, "Handing the keys to U.S. strategic ports to a regime that recognized the Taliban is not a sound next step in our war against terror."

It really does not matter who is in charge, if they are not Americans. The reality is that these ports are vital national security centers for the United States. It does not matter if the company in charge is the UAE or the UK – there is no guarantee that they will have the interests of the USA at heart.





|| Greg, 06:36 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Shall We Change the Name Of Persian Cats & Carpets?

Of all the stupid tit-for-tat games, now Iran has changed the name of that favorite breakfast pastry, the Danish, in protest of the Mohammad cartoons.

Iranians love Danish pastries, but when they look for the flaky dessert at the bakery they now have to ask for "Roses of the Prophet Muhammad."

Bakeries across the capital were covering up their ads for Danish pastries Thursday after the confectioners' union ordered the name change in retaliation for caricatures of the Muslim prophet published in a Danish newspaper.

"Given the insults by Danish newspapers against the prophet, as of now the name of Danish pastries will give way to 'Rose of Muhammad' pastries," the union said in its order.

"This is a punishment for those who started misusing freedom of expression to insult the sanctities of Islam," said Ahmad Mahmoudi, a cake shop owner in northern Tehran.

Yeah – that will show them.

So let’s go out and buy some newly re-christened Danish cats and Danish carpets.





|| Greg, 06:31 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Alvarado's Excuse: Supervising Employees Too Much Work For Me

Houston's Mayor Pro Tem, City Councilman Carol Alvarado, has expalnation for of why she isn't responsible for her staff's looting of the city treasury -- supervising her employees is just too much work.

Houston City Councilwoman Carol Alvarado deflected responsibility Thursday for the $130,000 in improper bonuses some of her employees received, saying she trusted subordinates to oversee payroll administration.

"There is no way that an elected official can police every single iota, every single detail, that goes on in their office," Alvarado said. "My job is to delegate, to hire people, to trust people that will bring forward any types of irregularities."

The four employees, who work in the mayor pro tem office that Alvarado oversees, have been placed on administrative leave pending a police investigation into how they received the extra pay since late 2004. They either declined or couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

Top city officials, including Mayor Bill White, Controller Annise Parker, Finance and Administration Director Judy Gray Johnson and her deputy over payroll, Barbara Glick, also refused to discuss the matter.

If performing basic supervisory duties like ensuring that your employees are not robbing the taxpayers blind is too much work, maybe it is time for you to give up your job as Mayor Pro Tem, Carol -- and to consider resigning from office completely.

And frankly, given your past inattention to detail, I don't see why the people of Houston should continue to place any trust in you at all.





|| Greg, 05:48 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Prior Related Experience?

You have to wonder if the prior work history of a Dallas candidate for the Texas legislature doesn't give him necessary experience for the job.

A Dallas Democrat seeking election to the Texas House of Representatives has acknowledged that he once worked as a prostitute.

Tom Malin, a salesman and actor, said he no longer works as a prostitute but conceded that his previous life could cost him the nomination in the March 7 Democratic primary.

Besides -- couldn't we just call him an "independent businessman in a personal service industry"?





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

"Stay Out Of Downtown -- The NBA All-Stars Are Here In Houston" Linkfest And Open Trackbacks

I drove downtown to teach my night class tonight. Wll, trafic was a mess. Why? The festivities have already begun for this year's NBA All-Star Game, taking place over the weekend. This means that I'll get some good blogging in this weekend, as I don't want to go anywhere that is being touched by that madness.

So I'm opening the floodgates and telling you, faithful readers and linkers, to join into my second attempt at a weekend linkfest.



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|| Greg, 12:07 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (11) ||

February 16, 2006

Clash Of Science And Faith – And A Stunning Contrast

Of the many Mormons I have known in my life, I can think of none who would not qualify for inclusion of the rubric of “he/she is among the finest people I know.” Whether I think of Tammy, my childhood neighbor and friend who lost her battle to cancer over three decades ago; Betty, who volunteered time to run the base youth group when I was a kid; Beth, one of my high school/college sweethearts; friendly neighborhood commenter and blog-buddy T. F. Sterns; or my Mormon colleagues at school, I cannot ever think of a time that I have questioned the character or integrity of any of these individuals.

That said, I must respectfully say that I do not accept the distinctive tenets of their faith, which I did explore during my college years. Much of my skepticism comes from my own love of history, and my inability to reconcile the contents of LDS scriptures with the historical record as I understand it. I therefore found this article to be striking, especially insofar as it addresses the conflict between revealed knowledge, faith, and the scientific/historical record.

From the time he was a child in Peru, the Mormon Church instilled in Jose A. Loayza the conviction that he and millions of other Native Americans were descended from a lost tribe of Israel that reached the New World more than 2,000 years ago.

"We were taught all the blessings of that Hebrew lineage belonged to us and that we were special people," said Loayza, now a Salt Lake City attorney. "It not only made me feel special, but it gave me a sense of transcendental identity, an identity with God."

A few years ago, Loayza said, his faith was shaken and his identity stripped away by DNA evidence showing that the ancestors of American natives came from Asia, not the Middle East.

"I've gone through stages," he said. "Absolutely denial. Utter amazement and surprise. Anger and bitterness."

For Mormons, the lack of discernible Hebrew blood in Native Americans is no minor collision between faith and science. It burrows into the historical foundations of the Book of Mormon, a 175-year-old transcription that the church regards as literal and without error.

For those outside the faith, the depth of the church's dilemma can be explained this way: Imagine if DNA evidence revealed that the Pilgrims didn't sail from Europe to escape religious persecution but rather were part of a migration from Iceland — and that U.S. history books were wrong.

Critics want the church to admit its mistake and apologize to millions of Native Americans it converted. Church leaders have shown no inclination to do so. Indeed, they have dismissed as heresy any suggestion that Native American genetics undermine the Mormon creed.

Yet at the same time, the church has subtly promoted a fresh interpretation of the Book of Mormon intended to reconcile the DNA findings with the scriptures. This analysis is radically at odds with long-standing Mormon teachings.

Now let me say that the rest of the article continues on in a similar vein, and I found it fascinating. At the same time, I found it somewhat one-sided, and were I a member of the LDS church I suspect I might be seriously offended by the stance it takes. The article certainly raises a serious issue, but at the same time, it strikes at sacred things. I don’t doubt that there will be letters to the editor and commentary of LDS blogs (and others) regarding the article, regarding the accuracy of what appeared in the LA Times. I know the LDS Church has already responded.

And that is where I see a critical contrast. We have, over the last few weeks, seen violent convulsions over a dozen editorial cartoons of questionable artistic and journalistic merit, based upon the complaint that they misrepresent the Islamic faith. There have been boycotts, demands for government (or international) censorship, threats, property damage, violence, and killings in response to the alleged blasphemy of depicting Islam’s so-called prophet. I have not, as of this posting, heard news of marauding Mormon mobs in the streets of Salt Lake City protesting the publication of the article.

And therein lies the difference. When one compares the cartoons and the article, it is clear that the LA Times article on the challenge of science to the beliefs of Mormonism touches on the essentials of that faith every bit as seriously as the cartoons do on the essentials of Islam, if not more so. Furthermore, the publication of the LA Times article (which is not necessarily compellingly newsworthy) was a much serious attack on the Mormon faith (if not more so) than the republication of the Danish Mohammad cartoons, which could be seen as essential to understanding the current violence and controversy. Yet the Times chose to run the article on the challenge of science to LDS doctrine, while it refrained from publishing the cartoons. More importantly, the article is likely to offend more people in this country than the Danish cartoons. One has to ask, then, why such decisions were made.

Could it be that the editors of the LA Times know that Mormons, no matter how offended, are unlikely to respond with violence to an unpleasant presentation of their faith? Might it be that a conservative religious group like the LDS church is not subject to the same sort of PC protexction as Islam, with its anti-American radical cachet? I think we all know the answer to those questions.

UPDATE: Interesting interview with the article's author on Hugh Hewitt's show tonight.

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|| Greg, 07:50 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

February 15, 2006

Mayor Pro-Tem's Staff Loots City Treasury

Remember Carol Alvarado, the Houston City Councilwoman who claimed a college degree that had never been awarded? Well, now it seems that some of her staff have claimed bonuses that they have not earned -- to the tune of at least $130,000.

HOUSTON -- Four employees in the office of Houston Mayor Pro Tem Carol Alvarado were removed from their jobs Wednesday in connection with improper bonuses totaling $130,000, KPRC Local 2 reported.

Officials said the investigation began after the city's finance director received reports of payroll irregularities.

Office of Inspector General agents and Houston police raided the offices shortly after lunchtime.

The employees were immediately placed on paid administrative leave. Computers were confiscated from the office, and door locks and card keys were changed.

"The matter concerns improper bonuses that were brought to my attention by the director of finance administration (Tuesday) night," Mayor Bill White said. "These were all four employees of the mayor pro tem's office, which is a permanent office within city council, which supports activities of the city council staff."

White said the four city workers apparently shared $130,000 in bonuses, which was far beyond any bonus allowed in city government. He said two workers each took $50,000 by circumventing the entire payroll approval process.

"That's improper. Period," White said. "It's a betrayal of public trust. This isn't our money. It's the public's money. We will follow it through to the full extent of the law."

The employees were making between $40,000 and $75,000.

Criminal charges are expected. More people could be implicated as well.

The mayor said that there was no sign that Alvarado had anything to do with the irregularities.

"I was disturbed to learn of this irregularity that has been reported. I am cooperating completely. I want a very thorough and complete investigation," Alvarado said. "No members of my council district staff are involved with this investigation."

So, Carol, how will you explain this one? Why have you not exercised proper control over your staff?

UPDATE: The Houston Chronicle provides some additional details.





|| Greg, 10:31 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Premature, Yet Utterly Tasteless

Do we really need this news story? I mean come on, folks -- the victim is improving.

If the man wounded by Dick Cheney dies, the vice president could — in theory at least — face criminal charges.

Dallas defense attorney David Finn, who has been a state and a federal prosecutor, said Wednesday that a Texas grand jury could bring a charge of criminally negligent homicide if there is evidence the vice president knew or should have known "there was a substantial or unjustifiable risk that his actions would result in him shooting a fellow hunter."

To indict Cheney, the grand jury would have to conclude that a reasonable person in the vice president's place would say to himself, "I am not pulling the trigger because this other guy might be in front of me," Finn said.

Frankly, this sounds like someone in the media is rooting for Mr. Whittington to kick the bucket.





|| Greg, 10:22 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dead Dictator’s Wife Demands Censorship

Jahan Sadat, the wife of assassinated Egyptian dictator Anwar Sadat, calls for press and speech censorship by government in today’s New York Daily News.

Let me be perfectly clear: I am a Muslim, and I am offended by the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed. I also am offended and deeply disturbed by the reaction these cartoons have evoked. Being offended by cartoons should never give rise to the destruction of property and the taking of another's life. There is enough violence and killing in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Congo, Sudan and in hundreds of American and European cities where crimes occur every day. I have had enough of violence and hate.

Fine so far – though you know there is a “but” coming. Here it is.

The fact is, these cartoons came at the request of a culture editor for a Danish newspaper after he discovered that a writer could not find an illustrator for his book about the Prophet. From this little bit of knowledge, the editor decided, according to his explanation in Time magazine, that the author's problem constituted a violation of free speech and expression. Instead of trying to find out why the writer was having such a difficult time and taking the time to learn why physical renderings of the Prophet are rarely, if ever, found anywhere in the history of Islam (in mosques, in the Koran, or other books about Islam and the Prophet), he decided to launch a war against censorship by staging a contest of sorts among some of Denmark's cartoonists. The result was not open debate; the result was chaos.

Yes – chaos caused not by those who published the cartoons, but instead by the mob that demanded that their beliefs and customs be respected over the beliefs and customs of those who published the cartoons.

Is the publication of sacrilegious cartoons the foolish exercise of a poorly informed editor or a harsh, unwarranted attack against one of the world's three great monotheistic religions? Is the reproduction of these cartoons nearly six months after their original publication a stand for democracy or just another assault on Islam? Is this freedom of expression or expression without responsibility?

You left one out, Mrs. Sadat – is the uproar and violence one more attempt by a barbaric religion and backwards culture to fend of Western modernity and impose itself upon others?

I am not American, but I have been spending half of my time in the U.S. since 1985. I have a home and a career here. Like Americans, I believe in freedom and democracy. I also know that freedom does not come without responsibility. I know that one should not, and cannot, yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater just because one is free to do so. Even freedom has its parameters.

And those parameters relate to actual, substantive harm, not hurt feelings or offended sensibilities. The proper response to speech we hate is more speech, not violence or the heavy hand of government censorship, as practiced by your husband’s government upon the state-controlled Egyptian press.

There is no law that says cartoonists cannot draw caricatures. There is no law that says television commentators cannot equate terrorism with Islam. There is no law that says we should not defame the religions of others. But there should be! There should be a law that says reasonable, responsible people of any faith, or no faith for that matter, cannot attack others simply because of their beliefs. There should be a law that requires us to appreciate the cultures and beliefs of our fellow human beings. In fact, there is a law: Do unto others, as you would have them do unto to you. In Islam, we say, "Do for your brother what you want for yourself."

And you and your co-religionists have been doing unto Christians and Jews and the members of other religions in a violent, oppressive manner for centuries. There is no freedom of press, no freedom of speech, and no freedom of religion in most of the Muslim world. Such a system should be attacked, mocked, and ridiculed, as should the associated religion, upon which that system of slavery and oppression is built. For that matter, even your more secular husband kept Islam well enough to oppress the Copts, whose presence in Egypt predates the founding of Islam.

Whether we are in a war of civilization or a clash of culture is a question that cannot be answered, much less discussed, as long as emotions are high and reason is blind. But it is a question we cannot afford to ignore.

Actually, Mrs. Sadat, the answer became clear on 9/11, as Muslims danced in the streets and celebrated Osama bin Ladin and his minions as heroes of the Islamic faith. Furthermore, I would remind you that for there to be a war of civilizations, it takes two. What we have instead is civilization fending off the barbarian hordes as they approach the gates of the city, a cultured people seeking to fend off the coming darkness that civilization’s failure to defeat the barbarians has always brought. The laws you propose do nothing to help fight that battle. Rather, they are an appeasement of the barbarians, and a surrender to them.

I cannot help but note two otehr things that are important here. If the Islamohorde with whom Mrs. Sadat allies herself succeeds, she will soon find herself restricted in speech, dress, and action by the verysort of folks who murdered her husband.

Also, if insults to religious figures are to be banned, one of the first items to be prohibitted will be the Quran, for it is blasphemous in the eyes of Christians due to its rejection of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus Christ. As a result, one could argue that the very practice of Islam would becomeillegal in this country -- unless you are demanding special consideration to Muslim sensitivities alone.

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|| Greg, 06:04 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Public Health Or Invasion of Privacy?

This really disturbs me. After all, we are not talking about preventing the spread of a communicable disease. Where is the compelling public interest in giving mere government employees access to the medical records of citizens without their consent, absent a threat of passing the disease on to other citizens?

On Jan. 15, New York City began requiring local clinical laboratories to report to the city health department the results of blood sugar tests performed on citizens. The department plans to use the information to improve surveillance for diabetes, which afflicts an estimated one out of eight New Yorkers and to "target interventions." Specifically, if you live in New York and have trouble resisting sweets, your doctor may soon receive a call from the health department suggesting that he or she needs to persuade you to change your lifestyle.

What makes this development so extraordinary in the annals of American public health is that diabetes is not a disease you can catch from, or give to, anyone else. U.S. governments have a long history of imposing quarantines and otherwise restricting the liberties of people suspected of carrying contagious disease. Early in the last century, for example, the very same New York City health department famously exiled Mary Mallon (aka "Typhoid Mary"), along with many other infectious patients, to a tiny island "colony" in the East River
Policies that require the reporting of sexually transmitted diseases to public health authorities similarly derive justification from the threat of contagion. Even recently enacted smoking bans in New York and elsewhere were passed only after the public accepted findings that secondhand smoke poses a serious health threat to others.

But diabetes, though now a fearsome epidemic, is not communicable; nor do the behaviors that lead to the disease (primarily lack of exercise and improper diet) put others at risk of illness. It cannot even be said of diabetics, as is often said of illegal drug users, that their habits foster a life of crime or fund crime syndicates and terrorist networks. So how does it become a matter of public interest that governments monitor the medical records of individual citizens for telltale signs of high blood sugar -- much less that they "target interventions"? Isn't this the ultimate example of the nanny state run amok?

Yes, it is – and all the attempts to justify this intrusion into the medical privacy of individual citizens based upon the need for research data, coordination of medical care, and cost effectiveness fall flat when faced with the simple fact that this goes against the fundamental right to be secure in one’s person and one’s papers and effects. Absent a serious threat to the health of others, there is no legitimate basis for this power grab.





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

The Wave Of Anti-Christian Hate

Jeff Jacoby sums up well the point I was trying to make last week.

SUPPOSE THAT in 2005 unknown hoodlums had firebombed 10 gay bookstores and bars in San Francisco, reducing several of them to smoking rubble. It takes no effort to imagine the alarm that would have spread through the Bay Area's gay community or the manhunt that would have been launched to find the attackers. The blasts would have been described everywhere as ''hate crimes," editorial pages would have thundered with condemnation, and public officials would have vowed to crack down on crimes against gays with unprecedented severity.

Suppose that vandals last month had attacked 10 Detroit-area mosques and halal restaurants, leaving behind shattered windows, wrecked furniture, and walls defaced with graffiti. The violence would be national front-page news. On blogs and talk radio, the horrifying outbreak of anti-Muslim bigotry would be Topic No. 1. Bills would be introduced in Congress to increase the penalties for violent ''hate crimes" -- no one would hesitate to call them by that term -- and millions of Americans would rally in solidarity with Detroit's Islamic community.

Fortunately, those sickening scenarios are only hypothetical. Here is one that is not:

In the past two weeks, 10 Baptist churches have been burned in rural Alabama. Five churches in Bibb County -- Ashby Baptist, Rehobeth Baptist, Antioch Baptist, Old Union Baptist, and Pleasant Sabine -- were torched between midnight and 3 a.m. on Feb. 3. Four days later, arsonists destroyed or badly damaged Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Greene County, Dancy First Baptist Church in Pickens County, and two churches in Sumter County, Galilee Baptist and Spring Valley Baptist. On Saturday, Beaverton Freewill Baptist Church in northwest Alabama became the 10th house of worship to go up in flames.

Ten arson attacks against 10 churches -- all of them Baptist, all in small Alabama towns, all in the space of eight days: If anything is a hate crime, obviously this is.
Or is it? ''We're looking to make sure this is not a hate crime and that we do everything that we need to do," FBI Special Agent Charles Regan told reporters in Birmingham. Make sure this is not a hate crime? If 10 Brooklyn synagogues went up in flames in a little over a week, wouldn't investigators start from the assumption that the arson was motivated by hatred of Jews? If 10 Cuban-American shops and restaurants in Miami were deliberately burned to the ground, wouldn't the obvious presumption be that anti-Cuban animus was involved?

Apparently Baptist churches are different.

''I don't see any evidence that these fires are hate crimes," Mark Potok, a director of the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center, told the Los Angeles Times. ''Anti-Christian crimes are exceedingly rare in the South."

But are anti-Christian crimes really that rare? Or are they simply less interesting to the left, which prefers to cast Christians as victimizers, not victims?

A search of the SPLC's website, for example, turns up no references to Jay Scott Ballinger, a self-described Satan worshiper deeply hostile to Christianity, who was sentenced to life in prison for burning 26 churches between 1994 and 1999. Yet if those weren't ''hate crimes," what were they?

Running through the coverage of the latest church burnings is an almost palpable yearning to cast the story in racial terms. ''Federal investigators are looking for two white men for questioning in connection with a string of church fires in central Alabama," began a National Public Radio story on Friday. ''Race may be a factor." In fact, race seems not to be a factor at all -- five of the churches had mostly white congregations, five were largely black. To a media ever ready to expose racism in American culture, the arsonists' lack of regard for skin color must be maddening.

In 1996, a spate of fires in the South was wildly and falsely trumpeted in the media as an eruption of racism. ''We are facing an epidemic of terror," said Deval Patrick, the Clinton administration's assistant attorney general for civil rights. But as it turned out, there was no racist conspiracy. More than a third of the arsonists arrested were black, and more than half the churches burned were white. So perhaps it is progress of a sort that, this time around, the media are keeping in check the urge to cry ''Racism!"

But real progress will come only when we abandon the whole misguided notion of ''hate crimes," which deems certain crimes more deserving of outrage and punishment not because of what the criminal did, but because of the group to which the victim belonged. The burning of a church is a hateful act regardless of the congregants' skin color. That some people bend over backward not to say so is a disgrace.

Thank you, Mr. Jacoby, for saying in much clearer terms the very things I wanted to communicate earlier.





|| Greg, 05:55 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Tom Who?

Tom DeLay has pretty solid support among Republicans in the 22nd District. His most serious challenger, Tom Campbell runs well-behind the Congressman. Not only that, he is not really known by party activists, for he has not been involved in local Republican affairs.

U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, forced onto the political defensive by ethical and legal charges, went on the offensive Tuesday, claiming one of his Republican primary opponents has overstated his GOP credentials.

DeLay's campaign said challenger Tom Campbell, a lawyer, has not been active in local party politics and has not voted regularly in Republican primaries.

"Every day he proves he's nothing more than an outsider who isn't concerned with conservative issues or fighting for the priorities of Texas taxpayers," DeLay campaign manager Chris Homan said of Campbell.

Campbell's campaign countered that no pure GOP insider would dare challenge the powerful DeLay, even if he has been weakened by a Travis County indictment relating to campaign finance and a federal investigation into his relationship with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

"The fact is that Tom Campbell is like you and me. He is not a career politician like Tom DeLay. He is a citizen politician," said Michael Stanley, Campbell's campaign chairman. "Tom Campbell calls on Tom DeLay to get beyond the negative, immaterial distractions and get back to the real issues that are important to the people of the district."

And that, my friends, is really the problem. Folks in CD22 don’t know who Tom Campbell is, and really do not have a reason to support him. We are being asked to buy a pig-in-a-poke when he appeals to us for support. Whatever good qualities he may have are overshadowed by the disturbing vacuum in his Republican record. It is, ultimately, why I endorsed Tom Delay in my capacity as precinct chair – we know who and what we are getting with him, and we have a sound Republican record on which to judge him.

Now you may notice that I am not attacking Tom Campbell. He appears to be a good and honorable man. It is my hope that this race leads him to greater involvement in local GOP affairs, so that he is in a position to run in the future, should Tom DeLay either retire or be forced to resign as a result of the Ronnie Earle witch hunt. Campbell certainly stands out as a better alternative than Democrat Nick Lampson, and is likely superior to independent challenger Steve Stockman. Now is not his time – but the future may be.





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

A Sad Loss

A member of law enforcement died of injuries sustained in the line of duty here in Houston.

An explosives sniffing dog died this morning after falling from a ramp at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.

The dog, Mikey, was part of a U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives unit involved in a security sweep of the convention center in preparation for the NBA All-Star game, said Franceska Perot, spokeswoman for ATF.

Perot said about 1:30 a.m. the unit was taking a break and the dog, a Labrador, was being put into the back of a truck when he suddenly bolted and went over the edge of a ramp.

The dog fell about 55 feet to the ground and was taken to a local veterinary clinic where he died. Perot said the dog, used for detecting explosives, may have seen a pigeon and instinct took over and he jumped at the bird.

"This is a highly trained animal but sometimes you can't train the instinct out of them,'' she said.

Dogs like Mikey are a vital part of law enforcement and military operations. It is sad to see him die in this accident.

And let me say that I therefore feel a much greater degree of sorrow over his death than I do over the death of any of the Islamocensors killed in rioting over the Danish cartoons.





|| Greg, 05:49 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Presented For Your Approval, A Wednesday Linkfest

Well, the trackback system here at Rhymes With Right was down most of the weekend, so my first try at open trackbacks didn't have any links appear until Sunday night around 7:00 PM, Houston time. But they did show up -- and so I'm giving the linkfest thing a try again today.

You know how it works -- you link to this post and send a trackback, and your post will display here. I think I've worked out the issues of displaying trackbacks -- if the Munuvian gods will allow the trackbacks through (I had a problem there for a bit).

So link away -- I won't set a maximum number of items you can link with here, but I would hope that you would consider exercising prudent judgement on the matter. No porn, please, and no advertising -- just interesting stuff.

So get with the program, folks -- link away!



» Everyman Chronicles links with: A Clash of Civilizations
» The Real Ugly American.com links with: Larry O’donnell Scumbag / Midweek Open Trackback Post 2.15.06
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Dhimmitude



|| Greg, 12:22 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (3) ||

Judge Orders: Kill Killer Kindly

Of all the asinine rulings!

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that California must change its lethal injection method for an execution next week, saying the current mix of drugs may constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel said he was concerned inmates are conscious and undergoing extreme pain during execution.

The usual lethal injection method involves giving a sedative, a paralyzing agent and then a heart-stopping drug. Fogel ordered the state to either have an expert present to ensure Michael Morales is unconscious from the sedative, or replace a three-drug mix with a lethal dose of barbiturate.

Morales is scheduled to be executed Feb. 21 for the rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl in San Joaquin County 25 years ago.

His attorneys alleged a mistake in the sedation process might mean he would appear unconscious, but internally would succumb to excruciating pain.

This savage beat, stabbed, and raped a 17-year-old girl, Terri Winchell, 25 years ago. That he is still breathing is unconscionable, and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment to his victims family and friends, as well as to the taxpayers of the state of California. I frankly don't give a rat's ass if he suffers a little bit as the state of California sends him to Hell.

But judge, you really want a better procedure? Fine -- I've got a suggestion.

Inject lead, 9mm at a time, to the base of the skull until the rabid mutt stops breathing.





|| Greg, 12:15 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Press Freedom Under Siege At Illinois

The editors of the Daily Illini who stood up for press freedom abroad have found out that it may not exist on their own campus

The editor in chief of a student-led newspaper serving the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been suspended for printing cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that, when published in Europe, enraged Muslims and led to violent protests in the Middle East and Asia.

Editor Acton Gorton and his opinions editor, Chuck Prochaska, were relieved of their duties at The Daily Illini on Tuesday while a task force investigates "the internal decision-making and communication" that led to the publishing of the cartoons, according to a statement by the newspaper's publisher and general manager, Mary Cory.

Gorton said he expects to be fired at the conclusion of the investigation, which is expected to take two weeks.

"I pretty much have an idea how this is going to run, and this is a thinly veiled attempt to remove me from my position," said Gorton, a U. of I. senior who took the newspaper's helm Jan. 1. "I am feeling very betrayed, and I feel like the people who I thought were my friends and supporters didn't back me up."

Looks to me like the Islamocensors may win this one, and the rights of Americans will be diminished.

More at Michelle Malkin, including DI contact information and this cache of the original page.

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February 14, 2006

Ohio Board Of Education Eliminates Critical Thinking Standard In Science Classes

No more will students in Ohio science classes be taught to think critically or use the scientific method to examine evidence for and against scientific theories. instead, they are to be presented only evidence in support of scientific theories, but not any evidence that may call such theories into doubt.

Why the change from good science education to indoctrination? because some fear that teaching kids to think might lead them to draw conclusions that contradict scientific orthodoxy.

The Ohio school board voted Tuesday to eliminate a passage in the state’s science standards that critics said opened the door to the teaching of intelligent design.

The Ohio Board of Education decided 11-4 to delete material encouraging students to seek evidence for and against evolution.

The 2002 science standards said students should be able to “describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.” The standards included a disclaimer that they do not require the teaching of intelligent design.

So the message of the real close-minded fundamentalists to Ohio students is clear -- don't think; accept Darwinist dogma on faith.



» Radaractive links with: Darwin is Dead-The Carnival!!!



|| Greg, 11:58 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

"Pro-Choice" Really No Choice

Conscience and corporate ethics get trumped by the pro-abortion/contracetion mentality in Massachusetts.

The state pharmacy board ordered Wal-Mart on Tuesday to stock emergency contraception pills at its stores in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts becomes second state to require the world's largest retailer to carry the morning-after pill.

A Wal-Mart spokesman said the company would comply with the directive by the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy and is reviewing its nationwide policy on the drug.

"Clearly women's health is a high priority for Wal-Mart," spokesman Dan Fogleman said. "We are actively thinking through the issue."

Wal-Mart now carries the pill only in Illinois, where it is required to do so under state law. The company has said it "chooses not to carry many products for business reasons," but has refused to elaborate.

The unanimous decision by the pharmacy board comes two weeks after three women, backed by abortion rights groups, sued Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart for failing to carry the drug in its 44 Wal-Marts and four Sam's Club stores in Massachusetts.

The women had argued that state policy requires pharmacies to provide all "commonly prescribed medicines."

The morning-after pill provides a high dose of hormones that women can take up to five days after sex to prevent pregnancy. Some abortion opponents believe emergency contraception is a form of abortion because it blocks the fertilized egg from being implanted on the uterine wall.

It is not a case of "believes". That is what the drug does.

So I guess that means that in Massachusetts, a woman is the ONLY one with freedom of choice. Others cannot refuse to participate in the distribution of what is nothing less than a human pesticide.

Here's hoping that Wal-mart has the corporate will and financial muscle to fprce the phamacy board to back down -- or, barring that, to shut down every phamacy in Massachusetts and Illinois.





|| Greg, 11:46 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Scalia Pegs Opponents

It may seem to be a truism, but the Constitution means what it says -- as understood at the time of its adoption. That is an argument that, sadly, has not been in vogue for some time among American liberals, who have come to believe that American courts constitute an ongoing Constitutional Convention that can simply change the Constitution without regard to precedent or the method of amendment outlined in the document itself.

Justice Antonin Scalia had a few choice words for those who hold to the latter view.

People who believe the Constitution would break if it didn't change with society are "idiots," U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says.

In a speech Monday sponsored by the conservative Federalist Society, Scalia defended his long-held belief in sticking to the plain text of the Constitution "as it was originally written and intended."

"Scalia does have a philosophy, it's called originalism," he said. "That's what prevents him from doing the things he would like to do," he told more than 100 politicians and lawyers from this U.S. island territory.

According to his judicial philosophy, he said, there can be no room for personal, political or religious beliefs.

Scalia criticized those who believe in what he called the "living Constitution."

"That's the argument of flexibility and it goes something like this: The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break."

"But you would have to be an idiot to believe that," Scalia said. "The Constitution is not a living organism, it is a legal document. It says something and doesn't say other things."

Proponents of the living constitution want matters to be decided "not by the people, but by the justices of the Supreme Court."

"They are not looking for legal flexibility, they are looking for rigidity, whether it's the right to abortion or the right to homosexual activity, they want that right to be embedded from coast to coast and to be unchangeable," he said.

Boy, is the man ever right on this one. You have to be an idiot to believe that the institutions created by the Constitution have the power to redefine the meaning of the document itself. The notion of evolving standards means that the words of the Constitution mean nothing whatsoever -- or perhaps that the same words mean different things at different times. That notion is absurd.

And for anyone who disagrees, answer this simple question -- how many of you would be willing to take out a mortgage if the bank retained the right to change the terms and conditions at will and with no recourse on your part?

OPEN TRACKBACKING TO Adam's Blog, Conservative Cat, Stuck On Stupid, third world country, Don Surber, Bacon Bits, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog



» Alabama Watch links with: The original contract with America



|| Greg, 11:31 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Good Wishes For Whittington

This is an unfortunate development.

The 78-year-old Texas lawyer who was shot by Vice President Cheney in a hunting accident suffered a "minor heart attack" this morning after a piece of birdshot moved and lodged in his heart, hospital officials said.

Doctors treating Harry Whittington said the Republican lawyer was moved back into the intensive care unit and will need to remain hospitalized for at least a week

A statement issued later by Cheney's office said the vice president spoke to Whittington around 1:30 p.m., wishing him well and asking if he needed anything.

"The vice president said that he stood ready to assist," the statement said. "Mr. Whittington's spirits were good, but obviously his situation deserves the careful monitoring that his doctors are providing."

"Some of the birdshot appears to have moved and lodged into part of his heart," Peter Banko, an administrator and spokesman for Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital, told reporters outside the Corpus Christi hospital. Banko said the birdshot "caused him to have a minor heart attack."

Asked if the birdshot could move more and endanger Whittington's life, David Blanchard, emergency room chief at the hospital, said: "When birdshot is in your body, there's always the risk they can move. We'll watch very closely for any migration."

He said later, however, that the single BB-like piece of birdshot is "in a fixed position" and is not expected to travel. Blanchard said he and other doctors treating Whittington feel "very strongly that all the other birdshot in him is not problematic." The number of other pieces of birdshot in Whittington's body is not known, he said, but could range anywhere from "more than five" to "less than 150 to 200."

I wish Mr. Whittington a speedy recovery to the best of health.





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

And Her Opinion Matters Because...?

To paraphrase Homer Simpson, "Celebrities -- what don't they think they know?"

Pamela Anderson is boycotting the Kentucky Derby. The 38-year-old actress, who is an animal rights activist, says her opposition to animal cruelty in all its forms means she can never go back to the famed horse race.

"It makes me want to avoid Kentucky altogether, which is sad because there are so many great people there," Anderson said in a statement released Tuesday by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Anderson, a PETA member who attended the Derby in 2001 and 2003, has been involved in anti-fur ads and a campaign to raise awareness of what she calls abuse of chickens in processing plants that supply poultry to Louisville-based KFC.

"Like most people, I don't want to support cruelty to animals, whether it's forcing horses to race for our amusement or scalding chickens alive for our plate," Anderson said. "We have to be more evolved than this."

Last month, Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher refused Anderson's request to have a bust of KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders removed from the state Capitol. Fletcher cited Sanders as a state icon and KFC called Anderson's attack a misguided publicity stunt.

You know, Pamela Anderson is simply a bubble-headed, buble-breasted celebrity with an opinion. It isn't based upon anything substantial, but she somehow thinks that the fact she looks marginally good in a swimsuit makes her an expert about things.

But remember -- this is one of those folks who thinks it is a good idea to videotape sex acts with her spouse and leave them lying around where others can get their hands on them. That should tell you all that you need to know about her judgement.

So this may, pass me some white meat and a mint julep on Derby Day.





|| Greg, 05:52 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Send Me One, Please!

I know nothing of the man's politics beyond what is in the story, but I do like this move by one Italian politician.

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's Reform Minister Roberto Calderoli has had T-shirts made emblazoned with cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a move that could embarrass Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government.

Calderoli, a member of the anti-immigrant Northern League party, told Ansa news agency on Tuesday that the West had to stand up against Islamist extremists and offered to hand out T-shirts to anyone who wanted them.

"I have had T-shirts made with the cartoons that have upset Islam and I will start wearing them today," Ansa quoted Calderoli as saying.

He said the T-shirts were not meant to be a provocation but added that he saw no point trying to appease extremists.

"We have to put an end to this story that we can talk to these people. They only want to humiliate people. Full stop. And what are we becoming? The civilization of melted butter?" Calderoli said.

I've said this all along -- while there is an argument to be made that the original decision to print the cartoons was wrong, the violence and threats of violence emanating from the barbaric segment of islam made it incumbant upon me and others to reprint them as a sign of support for free speech. That is the same mesage i hear Calderoli sending with the decision to print and distribute these shirts.

I wonder if they would send one to me in Texas?





|| Greg, 11:58 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Games People Play

There are lots of ways to have fun on the internet, especially when you ar blogging. Some time back, a fellow who goes by the handle of Madfish Willie started a little game on his site -- it involves seeking the world's longest comment thread, composed of people taking movie titles and substituting the word "penis" for one of the words -- resulting in some hillarious (if juvenile) titles.

Well, inspired by that, Beth from My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has decided to do something similar -- only inserting the word "Mohhamad" instead. Call it an act of solidarity with the Danish cartoonists, and a little bit of nose-thumbing at the followers of the Religion of Barbarism who are running amok in response.

My entries have been all the possible variations on the Raders of the Lost Ark/Indiana Jones series -- my personal favorite being "Indiana Jones and the Last Mohammad".

And then there is this little gem over at Jawa Report, taking a popular quote from a Michelle Malkin reader and turning it into the stem for a humorous contest -- I'd rather go hunting with Dick Cheney than. . . " (the original was "go driving with Ted Kennedy."). My best entry is "watch Helen Thomas pole-dancing."

Drop by all of these, and add to the humor/insanity.





|| Greg, 11:41 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 13, 2006

How Long Until Dems Call For Impeachment?

After all, this is serious disregard for the law -- not something private like a supervisor having sexual relations with a subordinate in the workplace and then providing that subordinate with special treatment and encouraging perjured testimony.

Vice President Dick Cheney was hunting illegally – without the required $7 stamp on his license for quail – when he accidentally shot one of his hunting partners, Texas Parks and Wildlife officials said Monday.

And so was Harry Whittington, 78, who was recovering Monday from a shotgun blast to the face, neck and chest.

In its report, the state agency that oversees hunting and fishing said it found that neither Mr. Cheney nor Mr. Whittington had purchased the game bird stamp required to hunt quail in Texas, although both had valid hunting licenses. Both will get warning citations, and there will be no fine or other penalty.

Mr. Cheney's office said Monday he hadn't realized he was lacking the proper stamp and has since sent a $7 check to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

"I don't know how they missed it," said Cheney spokeswoman Jennifer Mayfield. A statement from Mr. Cheney's office said his staff had asked for applicable permits and would "take whatever steps are needed to comply with applicable rules."

Given the response of the MSM, Kossaks and DUers to this story, it is only a matter of time before Congressional Democrats take up the impeachment call.





|| Greg, 11:00 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 12, 2006

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are 2006 Democrat Contract With Al Qaeda by The Strata-Sphere, and Wellstoning the King Funeral by The Anchoress.  ANd this link is where you can find the full results of the vote.





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

Cheney Hunting Accident

Seems to me that there is less to this story than meets the eye.

Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded a companion during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas, spraying the fellow hunter in the face and chest with shotgun pellets.

Harry Whittington, a millionaire attorney from Austin, was "alert and doing fine" in a Corpus Christi hospital Sunday after he was shot by Cheney on a ranch in south Texas, said Katharine Armstrong, the property's owner.

He was in stable condition Sunday, said Yvonne Wheeler, spokeswoman for the Christus Spohn Health System in Corpus Christi.

Armstrong in an interview with The Associated Press said Whittington, 78, was mostly injured on his right side, with the pellets hitting his cheek, neck and chest during the incident which occurred late afternoon on Saturday.

She said emergency personnel traveling with Cheney tended to Whittington until the ambulance arrived.

Cheney's spokeswoman, Lea Anne McBride, said the vice president met with Whittington and his wife at the hospital on Sunday. Cheney "was pleased to see that he's doing fine and in good spirits," she said.

* * *

"It broke the skin," [Armstrong] said of the shotgun pellets. "It knocked him silly. But he was fine. He was talking. His eyes were open. It didn't get in his eyes or anything like that."

"Fortunately, the vice president has got a lot of medical people around him and so they were right there and probably more cautious than we would have been," she said. "The vice president has got an ambulance on call, so the ambulance came."

So we are dealing with really minor injuries here -- though this could have been a much more serious situation had the range been closer.

But what exactly happened?

Armstrong said she was watching from a car while Cheney, Whittington and another hunter got out of the vehicle to shoot at a covey of quail.

Whittington shot a bird and went to look for it in the tall grass, while Cheney and the third hunter walked to another spot and discovered a second covey.

Whittington "came up from behind the vice president and the other hunter and didn't signal them or indicate to them or announce himself," Armstrong said.

"The vice president didn't see him," she continued. "The covey flushed and the vice president picked out a bird and was following it and shot. And by god, Harry was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty good."

In other words, this was not the result of Cheney being unsafe in his conduct -- rather it involved his companion failing to follow standard safety practices in this sort of hunting.

So why the major coverage? Well, I think this indicates why the press has a burr up its ass.

McBride did not comment about why the vice president's office did not tell reporters about the accident until the next day. She referred the question to Armstrong, who could not be reached again Sunday evening.

Why wasn't the press notified? Because this sort of accident is really not a big deal. But when you consider that the MSM wants a press release every time a public figure has a bowel movement, you had to get the obligatory "why weren't we notified" bitching from the press.

Personally, my favorite line has to be this one.

Armstrong, owner of the Armstrong Ranch where the accident occurred, said Whittington was bleeding and Cheney was very apologetic.

One would certainly hope so.

Michelle Malkin quotes this little gem from a reader.

Reader C.T. writes: "I'd rather hunt with Dick Cheney than ride with Ted Kennedy ."

Quite true.
UPFATE Great article at the Washington Post, with more details.

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» RightWinged.com links with: PHOTOS: Cheney Hunting Accident Photos Released. That's Odd...



|| Greg, 10:04 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (8) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Wrong -- And Worthy Of Utter Condemnation

This is most unfortunate, and I condemn it unambiguously and without reservation.

Copenhagen - Unknown assailants defiled the Muslim section of a cemetery near the Danish town of Esbjerg over the weekend, Radio DR reported on Sunday.

Some 25 grave sites were completely destroyed as the attackers smashed or overturned gravestones and trashed plants, DR reported.

Graves in the Christian part of the cemetery remained untouched.

Police said that there was no indication of the attackers' motives or where they came from.

Public life in Denmark has been dominated in recent weeks by the worldwide protests by Muslims over caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed that were originally published in the country's Jyllands Posten newspaper last September.

Whoever did this defiles the cause of freedom as practiced in the West -- by behaving in a barbaric manner no different than a member of the Religion of Barbarism.

UPDATEL Quotes from Danish PM at the Washington Post





|| Greg, 09:26 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Rights? They Have the Right To Leave

I do not believe that any reasonable person would believe that those illegally in the United States have any rights other than to go back where they came from.

About 400 Latinos concerned about the rights of immigrants who enter the country illegally to work met Saturday in Riverside to fight plans for increased enforcement from Washington and Costa Mesa.

The Mexicano/Latino Leadership Immigration Summit focused mostly on legislation approved in the House of Representatives that would build a fence along parts of the Mexican border.

"We're not terrorists, just hardworking people trying to make a living," said speaker Hector Preciado of the Greenlining Institute, a Northern California public policy and advocacy group.

Participants also mentioned Costa Mesa's decision to allow police to enforce some federal immigration laws and seek deportation of felony suspects. The Orange County Sheriff's Department is working on a similar proposal.

You may be hardworking people, Hector, but you are also lawbreakers. Go back where you came from, and then apply to come here the right way.





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

Have they Nothing Better To Worry About?

I've always loved the song, and never even considered teh race issue.

DURHAM, N.H. - A ’70s rock song used to rally fans at University of New Hampshire hockey games for perhaps a decade, “Black Betty,” is no more.

Athletic Director Marty Scarano told the campus newspaper The New Hampshire that the rollicking 1977 song by Ram Jam was banned because it is “theoretically racist.”

The NAACP deemed the Ram Jam version of the old song offensive to black women three decades ago, and UNH has received intermittent complaints about it for years, the Concord Monitor reported yesterday.

Two years ago, a student group that studied diversity at the school said it should be banned. Scarano said a more recent complaint pushed him to outlaw it, but he did not say who complained.

Dominated by repetitive “na-na-na-na-nas,” “bam-ba-lams” and the exclamation “Black Betty!” the song has been played at the starts of the second and third periods of UNH hockey games for more than a decade, according to a school Web site.

I'm offended by the ban -- I guess that means they will have to ban the ban on "Black Betty".

Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam) Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam) Black Betty had a child (Bam-ba-Lam) The damn thing gone wild (Bam-ba-Lam) She said, "I'm worryin' outta mind" (Bam-ba-Lam) The damn thing gone blind (Bam-ba-Lam) I said Oh, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam) Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)

Oh, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)
She really gets me high (Bam-ba-Lam)
You know that's no lie (Bam-ba-Lam)
She's so rock steady (Bam-ba-Lam)
And she's always ready (Bam-ba-Lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)

Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)
She's from Birmingham (Bam-ba-Lam)
Way down in Alabam' (Bam-ba-Lam)
Well, she's shakin' that thing (Bam-ba-Lam)
Boy, she makes me sing (Bam-ba-Lam)
Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)
Whoa, Black Betty BAM-BA-LAM

By the way, if anyone bothered to check, the song is the product of that great ofl bluesman, Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter.





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

Take this Job & Shove It -- Aussie Style

I love my job. I really do. But I've had jobs I did not love. I've just quit and moved on.

I guess Australians are known to take a different approach.

NASTY boss? Planning to quit? Your fellow Australians expect you to exit with flair.

Like Sean, who was handed a $10 Christmas bonus after achieving the second-highest year-end sales figures at a golf retailer. "I walked up to my boss, tucked the $10 into his shirt pocket and said: 'Look, I know how difficult it was for you for part with this so here, put it towards some petrol or something.' Then I walked out."

Olivia's boss lodged a client's tax return late, incurring a $30 fee from the Tax Office. Her boss wrote to another partner: "Peter, we can recoup this from [the client's] fees." When she resigned she sent a copy of the letter to the auditor.

Anthony swears he knows someone who resigned from his bank job by submitting his resignation written on a banana peel. "I imagine it's still in their files."

Megan worked in a barber shop where the boss kept hitting on her. "One day he asked for a free haircut. He was making suggestive remarks so I put a bald strip down the middle of his head."

Personally, I like the one dealing with reorganizations.





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

February 11, 2006

Jimmy Carter -- Hypocritical SOB

Jimmy Carter falsely linked Democrat-authorized, politically-motivated, warrantless domestic spying on Dr. & Mrs. King with national-security-imperative listening to terrorist-connected telephone calls that originate outside the US during Mrs. King's funeral this week. It was shameful and wrong of him to do so.

But now we find out that warrantless surveilance for national security purposes was conducted by President Jimmy Carter -- with his personal authorization -- in 1977.

But in 1977, Mr. Carter and his attorney general, Griffin B. Bell, authorized warrantless electronic surveillance used in the conviction of two men for spying on behalf of Vietnam.

The men, Truong Dinh Hung and Ronald Louis Humphrey, challenged their espionage convictions to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which unanimously ruled that the warrantless searches did not violate the men's rights.

In its opinion, the court said the executive branch has the "inherent authority" to wiretap enemies such as terror plotters and is excused from obtaining warrants when surveillance is "conducted 'primarily' for foreign intelligence reasons."

Notice -- that is "inherent authority". Authority which exists as a part of the authority granted each and every president by Article II of the US Constitution, independent of any statute or law. It is power that Congress cannot restrict or eliminate, and that the courts must recognize.

That is why all of the discussion of the FISA law is irrelevant, and the position of the Bush administration is correct.

That description, some Republicans say, perfectly fits the Bush administration's program to monitor calls from terror-linked people to the U.S.

The Truong case, however, involved surveillance that began in 1977, before the enactment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which established a secret court for granting foreign intelligence warrants.

Democrats and some Republicans in Congress say FISA guidelines, approved in 1978 when Mr. Carter was president, are the only way the president may conduct surveillance on U.S. soil.

Administration officials say the president has constitutional authority to conduct surveillance without warrants in the name of national security. The only way Congress could legitimately curtail that authority, they argue, is through an amendment to the Constitution.

The administration's view has been shared by previous Democrat administrations, including Mr. Carter's.

I realize that must stick in the craw of a lot of liberals, but the Constitution trumps any statute. Congress cannot limit the constitutional powers delegated to the other two branches by statute, any more than the president can issue an executive order ending a filibuster or preventing the courts from hearing a case. Congress cannot prevent the exercise of such inherent powers of the Executive branch, any more than the Judicial Branch could issue an order prohibiting ta declaration of war or preventing the president from vetoing a bill.

Let's look at what the Carter Administration had to say about FISA.

When Mr. Bell testified in favor of FISA, he told Congress that while the measure doesn't explicitly acknowledge the "inherent power of the president to conduct electronic surveillance," it "does not take away the power of the president under the Constitution."

Did you get that -- the position of the Carter administration was that the FISA law permitted exactly the sort of activity Carter so inapproriately criticized at Mrs. King's funeral. He climbed on to her corpse to deliver a political attack that he knew was false. He condemned activity that he himself engaged in and defended -- and he knew it. That makes him a hypocritical SOB of the first order. Too bad we cannot impeach him retroactively.

MORE AT Captain's Quarters & Powerline.

OPEN TRACKBACKING: Stuck On Stupid, Adam's Blog, Conservative Cat, Bacon Bits, Jo's Cafe, third world country, Everyman Chronicles, Liberal Wrong Wing, Bullwinkle Blog, Stop the ACLU



» Stop The ACLU links with: Dhimmi Carter Hypocrit On Spying
» All Things Beautiful links with: America's Useful Idiots
» UrbanGrounds links with: President Carter Used Warrantless Electronic Surveillance
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Jimmy Carter Allowed Surveillance in 1977
» Random Thoughts Of Yet Another Military Member links with: Jimmah Carter, Hypocrite Extraordinaire!
» The Paladin Blog links with: Quote Of The Day: Greg Rhymes
» The Median Sib links with: The War, Protesting, Political Shenanigans - what I think
» The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY links with: Carter was referring to himself
» Maggie's Farm links with: http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom.com/archives/2385-.html
» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval



|| Greg, 10:07 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (13) || Comments || TrackBacks (10) ||

War On Drugs Overkill

Do we really need to turn childhood pranks into criminal activity when there is no harm and no intent to do harm?

A 12-year-old Aurora boy who said he brought powdered sugar to school for a science project this week has been charged with a felony for possessing a look-alike drug, Aurora police have confirmed.

The sixth-grade student at Waldo Middle School was also suspended for two weeks from school after showing the bag of powdered sugar to his friends.

The boy, who is not being identified because he is a juvenile, said he brought the bag to school to ask his science teacher if he could run an experiment using sugar.

Two other boys asked if the bag contained cocaine after he showed it to them in the bathroom Wednesday morning, the boy's mother said.

He joked that it was cocaine, before telling them, "just kidding," she said.

Aurora police arrested the boy after a custodian at the school reported the boy's comments. The youngster was taken to the police station and detained, before being released to his parents that afternoon.

So we have a 12-year-old suspended from school and facing criminal charges for. . . behaving like a 12-year-old.

Here's hoping that the prosecutors have more sense than the cops and the school.





|| Greg, 09:11 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Conservatives Listen To Dissenters

Former Congressman Bob Barr spoke at the annual CPAC convention this week. He was, by all accounts, accorded a cool welcome, based in large part on his principled opposition to many of the Bush Administration's tactics in the War On Terror.

"Are we losing our lodestar, which is the Bill of Rights?" Barr beseeched the several hundred conservatives at the Omni Shoreham in Woodley Park. "Are we in danger of putting allegiance to party ahead of allegiance to principle?"

Barr answered in the affirmative. "Do we truly remain a society that believes that . . . every president must abide by the law of this country?" he posed. "I, as a conservative, say yes. I hope you as conservatives say yes."

But nobody said anything in the deathly quiet audience. Barr merited only polite applause when he finished, and one man, Richard Sorcinelli, booed him loudly. "I can't believe I'm in a conservative hall listening to him say [Bush] is off course trying to defend the United States," Sorcinelli fumed.

But that is precisely the strength of the conservative movement, Mr. Scorcinelli -- we allow for dissent and disagreement and are willing to listen to them. The Left takes a different approach, shouting down and silencing those who disagree. Would supporters of the Patriot Act or the war in Iraq be welcome to speak at major liberal events? And we all remember the refusal of the Democrats to allow even a single token pro-lifer, Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey, to speak at their convention ON ANY SUBJECT WHATSOEVER (which makes his son's continued affiliation with the Party Of Sucking Dismembered Babies Into A Sink while claiming to be a pro-lifer utterly incomprehensible).

Would Vice President Cheney or Secretary of State Rice get a polite but chilly reception at Yearly Kos or an event sponsored by MoveOn.org? Heck -- would card-carrying liberal Democrat Joe Lieberman get such a reception? I think we all know the answer. And the willingness to tolerate dissent and engage in discussion is part of what makes conservatism a much stronger, attractive (and dare I say it) American ideology than liberalism ever will be.





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

I {HEART} Those Wacky, Intolerant Muslims!

I'm offended, and my religious and cultural sensitivities are hurt by this act of intolerance. I think I'll go stone a mosque or burn down a diplomatic building!

Nearly two dozen black-veiled Muslim women stormed gift and stationery shops Friday in Kashmir, burning Valentine's Day cards and posters to protest a holiday they say imposes Western values on Muslim youth

No one was hurt in the half-dozen or so incidents, and police cordoned off the area to prevent the women from marching through Srinagar's main shopping district to continue their ransacking.

The women were from the Kashmiri Islamic group Dukhtaran-e-Millat, or Daughters of the Community, Kashmir's only women's separatist group, whose members are also known for their fiercely conservative social views.

"We will not let anyone sell these cards or celebrate Valentine's Day," said Asiya Andrabi, the group's leader, as she held a burning poster in her hand. "These Western gimmicks are corrupting our kids and taking them away from their roots."

She said that the raids were carried out "not to harm anyone but to make them realize that this is against Islam's teachings."

So what you are trying to say, you daughter of a pig, is that everyone must conform to your stilted narrow view of your religion. Failure to comply with your faith will result in acts of violence and vandalism.

Would you care to explain to me why I should have a single ounce of respect for you and your Religion of Violence?

MORE AT Michelle Malkin, Clark Mountain Musings, Kim Priestap, Queen of all Evil, ZardozZ, Noisy Room, OKIE on the LAM, This isn't writing, Alpine Summit, LeatherPenguin, California Conservative, Sweet Spirits of Ammonia, Maggie's Farm



» Mark in Mexico links with: Shocking Images: Muslim & Hindu anger over Valenti



|| Greg, 12:56 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

And They Are Welcome To Do So

Maybe these boys will get to heaven and find out that they really get a 72-year-old virgin, not 72 virgins.

Indonesian Muslim hard-liners signed a pact saying they were ready to die in defence of the Prophet Muhammad, while others burned tyres in streets amid fresh protests in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

A weekly news magazine issued an apology after reprinting several of the 12 cartoons of the prophet that have triggered sometime violent protests across Indonesia and the rest of the Islamic world.

The cartoons were first published in a Danish paper in September, but have since appeared in papers around the world.

About 175 students at an Islamic boarding school in Surabaya city have signed a pledge saying they are "ready to die" to defend the honour of the prophet, said headmaster Yusuf Muhajir.

Such pledges are traditional in Indonesia, and are considered to be symbolic.

He said the students would demand an apology from any Danish citizens they met in Surabaya, the capital of east Java province, and jokingly said they would be "slapped" if they refused to do so.

Guys -- be offended all you want. Boycott whoever you feel you need to boycott. But violence against someone because of their nationality is unreasonable. Heck, if it were, then Americans would have been justified in acts of violence against random Muslims in the streed in the wake of 9/11. Instead, most of us went out of our way to show courtesy and respect to inocent Muslims. Were we wrong?

What is clear is that you and your co-religionists are certainly making the whole "Religion of Peace" thing look like an untruth.





|| Greg, 12:45 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Experiment In Open Trackbacking -- February 11-12, 2006

I've been linking to Open Trackback posts a lot lately, in the hope that folks will come here and read more than just the linked post. But as I have thought about it, I have come to the conclusion that I need to reciprocate. I am therefore introducing my very own Open Trackback thread.

You know how it works -- you link to this post and send a trackback, and your post will display here. I think I've worked out the issues of displaying trackbacks -- if the Munuvian gods will allow the trackbacks through (I had a problem there for a bit).

So link away -- I won't set a maximum number of items you can link with here, but I would hope that you would consider exercising prudent judgement on the matter. No porn, please, and no advertising -- just interesting stuff.

So let the games begin!

OTHER LINKFESTS: Stuck On Stupid, Adam's Blog, Conservative Cat, Bacon Bits, Jo's Cafe, third world country, Everyman Chronicles, Liberal Wrong Wing, Bullwinkle Blog, Stop the ACLU



» Adam's Blog links with: The Benefits of Homosexual Non-Marriage
» Mark in Mexico links with: Shocking Images: Muslim & Hindu anger over Valenti
» The Business of America is Business links with: My Muslim Students Speak about the Danish Boycott
» TMH's Bacon Bits links with: Hillary and Kerry Poll for 2008…
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: I am Willing to go to War for One Danish Cartoonist



|| Greg, 12:00 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (5) ||

February 10, 2006

This Is An Honor!

p1-sotd-150x50.gif

I got the following in my email tonight.

Congratulations! Just a brief note to let you know we named Rhymes with Right as our "Site of the Day" on Politics1.com.

In the course of publishing Politics1, we regularly visit LOTS of campaign and politically-related websites. Some candidates, campaigns and groups truly get the concept of using the Internet as a tool to effectively convey messages, promote increased citizen involvement, enhance voter education, and effectively and innovatively use technology to advance their causes. We created this award to recognize deserving sites from all states, and at all levels of campaigns, ranging across the ideological spectrum. The criteria is certainly subjective ("I'll know it when I see it," to quote the late Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart), as we look for any one or a combination of the following: good content, sharp design, clever humor, creativity, innovation in organizing, use of new online tools, etc. The award is not about endorsing candidates or causes -- but rather about simply recognizing those campaigns and entities that effectively use the Internet as a political tool. This is why we selected your site for recognition.

In addition to being featured today on our homepage -- and we currently draw approximately 250,000 page views per week -- you'll also be permanently enshrined on our Site of the Day page at http://www.politics1.com/sotd.htm (and in our blog archives).

Warmest regards,
Ron Gunzburger
Publisher, Politics1.com

I'm speechless -- or at least as close as this short, fat, balding, middle-aged, white guy ever gets.

I really didn't expect this honor, and I appreciate the compliment. I guess this means I must be doing SOMETHING right.

p1-sotd-150x141.gif





|| Greg, 11:59 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

You Mean There Is Proper Documentation For This?

Based upon the charge in this case, you have to ask.

Airport baggage screeners found a human head with teeth, hair and skin in the luggage of a woman who said she intended to ward off evil spirits with it, authorities said Friday.

Myrlene Severe, 30, a Haitian-born permanent U.S. resident, was charged Friday with smuggling a human head into the U.S. without proper documentation.

Customs and Border Protection officials found the head Thursday, after Severe arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on a Lynx International Airlines flight from Cap Haitien, Haiti, said Barbara Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Miami.

"It still had teeth, hair and bits of skin and lots of dirt," Gonzalez said.

Severe told authorities she had obtained the package in Haiti for "use as a part of her voodoo beliefs," ICE Special Agent Erick Hernandez wrote in an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint.

"Severe also stated that the purpose of the package was to ward off evil spirits," Hernandez wrote.

Severe, who also was charged with failing to declare the head and transporting hazardous material in air commerce, faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted of all charges, prosecutors said.

Severe remained held Friday in lieu of a $100,000 bond. She is due back in federal court March 2.

The "failure to declare" charge is also amusing -- I have this vision of the guy at the Customs checkpoint when he sees the "severed human head" on the Customs form.





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

I’d Buy A Case

But instead, German authorities have brought a case against this German who engaged in a bit of speech against Islam.

BERLIN - A German businessman who printed the name of the Koran on toilet paper and offered the rolls for sale to mosques and media will face trial for disturbing the peace.

The man, identified only as Manfred van H., is scheduled to go on trial Feb. 23 at a court in Luedinghausen in western Germany, Jochen Dyhr, a spokesman for judicial authorities in nearby Muenster, said Thursday.

The businessman last summer printed sheets of toilet paper with the sentence "Koran, the Holy Qur'aen" and sent them to about 15 mosques, television stations and magazines.

In an accompanying letter, authorities say, he asserted that Islam's holy book is a "cookbook for terrorists" that calls for acts of violence.

He proposed that a "memorial to all victims of Islamic terror" be set up, financed by sales of the toilet paper - an offer that prosecutors say he also posted on the Internet.

The businessman's offer led to criminal complaints and telephone death threats against him.

Prosecutors argue that the man's actions overstepped the legally guaranteed freedom to criticize other religions. They say he has cited his right to freedom of opinion and artistic expression, and said his aim was to provoke rather than actually sell the toilet paper.

Offensive? Yeah, I suppose, but not to a degree that the full force of government’s jackboots should be brought down on this guy. And the mere fact that he may not have been serious about selling the toilet paper strikes me as irrelevant – in fact, it seems to me that the lack of commercial motivation makes what he did more worthy of protection. Should he have sent it to mosques? No -- but absent a threat, we are talking about an offense based upon expression of an idea.





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

Stop The Force-Feeding

Better to let these terrorist pigs starve themselves to death.

The U.S. military authorities have taken tougher measures to force-feed detainees engaged in hunger strikes at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, after concluding that some of them were determined to commit suicide to protest their indefinite confinement, military officials have said.

In recent weeks, the officials said, guards have begun strapping recalcitrant detainees into "restraint chairs," sometimes for hours a day, to feed them through tubes and prevent them from deliberately vomiting afterward.

Detainees who refuse to eat have also been placed in isolation for extended periods to keep them from being pressured by other hunger strikers, the officials said.

The measures appear to have had significant effects. The chief military spokesman at Guantánamo, Lieutenant Colonel Jeremy Martin, said Wednesday that the number of detainees on hunger strike had dropped, from 84 at the end of December to only 4.

Some officials said the new actions reflected concern at Guantánamo and the Pentagon that the protests were becoming difficult to control and that the death of one or more prisoners could intensify international criticism of the center.

Martin said the forced feeding was carried out "in a humane and compassionate manner," and only when necessary to keep the prisoners alive. He said in a statement that "a restraint system to aid detainee feeding" was being used. He declined to answer detailed questions about the restraint chairs.

Sounds inhumane to me – better to let them carry out their suicides. Not only is that more humane, but it will also cleanse the world in the process.





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

Daily Illini Prints Cartoons

Bravo to the official student publication of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana for standing up for press freedom around the world.

The University of Illinois student newspaper Thursday published six caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that have sparked violent protests in the Middle East and Asia.

Nearly every major U.S. newspaper, including the Chicago Tribune, has not published the cartoons. They were first published in late September by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, and they were reprinted in other European publications in recent weeks.

While UN Secretary General Kofi Annan chastised newspapers Thursday that continue to publish the cartoons, Daily Illini editor-in-chief Acton Gorton said he decided to print them so students could better understand the Muslim response.

"All across this nation, editors are gripped in fear of printing ... for fear of the reaction. As a journalist, this flies in the face of everything I hold dear. By refusing to print these editorial cartoons, we are preventing an important issue from being debated by the public," Gorton wrote in a column next to the drawings.

It is a shame that a once-great newspaper like the Tribune is now reduced to cowering in fear while student publications and the internet do its job instead. And it is also a shame that the University administration for this expression of disapproval.

In a letter to the Daily Illini to be published Friday, U. of I. Chancellor Richard Herman wrote that he is "saddened" that the newspaper decided to publish the cartoons. He suggested that the editors could have informed the public by giving readers a Web link to the cartoons instead.

"I believe that the DI could have engaged its readers in legitimate debate about the issues surrounding the cartoons' publication in Denmark without publishing them," he wrote. "It is possible, for instance, to editorialize about pornography without publishing pornographic pictures."

And here I thought the University was all about widening the horizons of students, exposing them to diverse ideas on a variety of topics, opening their eyes to multiple perspectives, as well as training adults to function in an open and democratic society. I guess that U of I no longer performs those functions, and instead is a therapeutic resource for mental, emotional, and intellectual cripples who need to be shielded from influences that might upset or offend them, rather than provoking thought and discussion. And that Chancellor Herman doesn’t know the difference between pornography and social commentary is indicative of his lack of qualification for his position.

And then there is this gratuitous quote at the end.

U. of I. senior Ehav Yasin, a Muslim student from Carpentersville, said he was upset by the Daily Illini's decision.

So what? Who cares? Yasin’s emotional weakness is irrelevant to the decision of the Daily Illini to fully inform its readers about a major international story. It is clear that despite years of higher education, he really has learned nothing about the values that undergird the American republic. Hopefully he will mature during his senior year and become a functioning member of society – or, barring that, perhaps he will exercise his right to relocate to another country with values more in line with his own.

Here's a cache of the page.

UPFATE: Bravo to the Daily Tarheel at UNC for publishing its own cartoon.

UNCCARTOON.jpg

Muslims opposed to the First Amendment are outraged.

The Muslim Students Association at the University of North Carolina on Friday asked the campus' student newspaper to apologize for publishing an original cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

"The intention of bigotry was clear," the association wrote in a letter to The Daily Tar Heel. "One must question the DTH's ethics in advancing a widely protested issue to cause a riot of their own. The MSA not only found this cartoon derogatory but is also shocked at the editor's allowance of its publication _ one that incites hate in the current political and social context."

Caricatures of Muhammad, including one that shows the prophet with a bomb-shaped turban, were published first in a Danish paper in September, then reprinted in European papers in recent weeks in the name of press freedom. Their publication has sparked violent protests in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Islam is interpreted to forbid any illustrations of Muhammad for fear they could lead to idolatry.

The paper's editor strikes exactly the right position between sensitivity and journalistic integrity.

The cartoon published in The Daily Tar Heel Thursday was drawn by a cartoonist at the paper, Philip McFee. It shows Muhammad appearing to decry both Denmark's role in the controversy and the violence that has erupted since.

Daily Tar Heel editor Ryan Tuck said the newspaper wanted to challenge fellow students to think about the issue. He said while he has apologized personally to individuals who told him the cartoon offended, the newspaper will not apologize.

"The point of any cartoon in any newspaper is to challenge belief systems," Tuck said. "We knew it would offend, but that doesn't make it the explicit goal of the cartoon."

And as usual, a sensitivity fascist from the university administration has to criticize.

The Daily Tar Heel has a long history of journalistic independence, but university officials would hope that it would use restraint around a topic such as this one, which is hurtful and offensive to members of the campus community, said Margaret Jablonski, vice chancellor for student affairs at UNC-Chapel Hill.

"Many of our national media outlets chose not to publish the original pictures or cartoons and we believe our student paper should have used the same editorial judgement," Jablonski said.

I guess that the administration has forgotten that a university is a place to learn, to grow, and to have one's beliefs challenged. Isn't that what we conservaitives are always told?

OPEN TRACKBACKING: bRight & Early, Don Surber, Adam's Blog, Basil's Blog, Stuck on Stupid, Bacon Bits, Jo's Cafe, third world country, The Real Ugly American, Everyman's Chronicles, Liberal Wrong Wing, Uncooperative Blogger, Blue Star Chronicles, Conservative Cat, Stop The ACLU.



» The Jawa Report links with: University of Illinois Editors in Hot Water.



|| Greg, 08:06 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Sense And Decency From Maryland Democrats – A First

Maryland Democrats are recognizing Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele – the presumptive GOP Senate nominee – in their celebration of Black History Month.

The Maryland Democratic Party has been relentless in criticizing Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in his run for U.S. Senate, but party officials say that won't stop them from paying homage to the conservative Republican during Black History Month.

"Michael Steele is an important figure in African-American history in Maryland. There is no question about it," said Derek Walker, executive director of the state Democratic Party.

"We should be proud of the achievements of African-Americans, regardless of what party they are from or what their background is," he said.

Now if they could just communicate that message to the Tan Klan members of their party who throw Oreos at Steele and refer to him with racist epithets, simply because Steele has the independence to think for himself.





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

Car Gets Bonus, Extension.

I would have to speculate that the team won't be drafting hometown hero Vince Young with that #1 pick. This kind of contract really means that Carr will remain quarterback for the forseeable future here in Houston.

The Texans exercised the three-year, $8 million option bonus on quarterback David Carr's contract this week and expect to hire Mike Sherman as assistant head coach/offensive line next week.

Although Carr's extension has been widely reported since November, when owner Bob McNair first said he would give the quarterback the $8 million before the last game of the season — Sunday's Pro Bowl — it wasn't official until this week.

An announcement is expected today.

Not only does the extension give Carr the $8 million bonus, but he receives base salaries of $5.25 million in 2006, $5.5 million in 2007 and $6 million in 2008.

The first pick in the 2002 draft, Carr earned $22 million in his first four years with the Texans, not including incentive bonuses. Barring a career-ending injury or restructuring of his contract for salary-cap purposes, he'll earn $46.75 million over the first seven years of his career.

I'm still thinking that we need D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the offensive lineman from Virginia, but we would have to trade down in the draft a few spots -- he is a great player, but not great enough to be the first overall pick. I'm unable to think of an offensive lineman in years who would have been.





|| Greg, 05:21 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 09, 2006

Reading Between The Lines

Did anyone catch the comments of UN Secretary General Goofy Anus Kofi Annan regarding the Cartoon Jihad?

"Honestly, I do not understand why any newspaper will publish the cartoons today," Annan said. "It is insensitive. It is offensive. It is provocative and you see what has happened around the world."

Annan said this did not mean he opposed freedom of the press, but he said it did entail "exercising responsibility and judgment" and media should not "pour oil on the fire".

He again condemned violence as unacceptable and said: "They should not attack innocent civilians. They should not attack those who are not responsible for the publication of the cartoons."

Let's unpack some of that, doing a little reading between the lines.

"Honestly, I do not understand why any newspaper will publish the cartoons today," Annan said. "It is insensitive. It is offensive. It is provocative and you see what has happened around the world."

"I don't understand why Westerners are so hung up on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Don't they understand that feelings trump rights?" Besides, most of the people of the world live in dictatorships that routinely deny such rights -- why should Westerners get to exercise them freely?

Annan said this did not mean he opposed freedom of the press, but he said it did entail "exercising responsibility and judgment" and media should not "pour oil on the fire".

"I'm merely opposed to meaningful exercise of the right to freedom of the press. It should all be happy news that offends no one but the Americans and the Israelis."

He again condemned violence as unacceptable and said: "They should not attack innocent civilians. They should not attack those who are not responsible for the publication of the cartoons."

"On the other hand, I don't have a problem with attacking and killing those guilty kaffirs who dare to express sentiments I disagree with. Like the signs in London said, those who blaspheme the Prophet should be killed."

Of course, there is the little issue of the Secretary General's endorsement of a "human rights" document that would effectively place religious "tolerance" on a higher plane than freedom of speech and press.

The text proposed by 57 Islamic countries, obtained by Reuters, would promote universal respect for all religious and cultural values.

It would "prevent instances of intolerance, discrimination, incitement of hatred and violence arising from any actions against religions, prophets and beliefs which threaten the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms."

It also notes that "defamation of religions and prophets is inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression" and emphasized that states, organizations and the media have a "responsibility in promoting tolerance and respect for religious and cultural values."

In other words, the provisions of this document would override the guarantees of freedom of speech and the press contained in, among other documents, the Bill of Rights. Muslims would then be able to place any speech critical of Islam into an international forum such as the International Criminal Court, stripping from Americans even teh most basic of protections of civil liberties. In giving hurt feelings primacy over human rights, the UN wuld effectivly be trashing the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, one of the organization's founding documents, and replacing it with a Universal Denial of Human Rights.





|| Greg, 09:34 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Victory For Equality

Racial discrimination in official programs has been eliminated at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale under terms of a consent decree entered into with the Department of Justice. The decree requires that the University end all race-based graduate fellowships.

Southern Illinois University has a tradition of being the first and the best Illinois institute of higher learning outside Chicago to give opportunity to minorities, and president Glenn Poshard swears the tradition won't change - even as the university ends minority exclusivity in fellowships under orders from the federal government.

SIU filed a consent decree in the federal court in Benton Wednesday, the same day the U.S. Department of Justice filed its official complaint about three graduate fellowship programs it claims violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from hiring people exclusively based on race, nationality or gender. The combined effect of the two actions stops further legal proceedings, as long as the university adheres to a list of requirements set down by the agency for the next two years (see sidebar for details). SIU escaped the settlement with no fines, penalties or expenses other than its own legal costs.

During a press conference after the special board meeting Wednesday in which trustees unanimously moved to accept the consent decree, Poshard said for whatever reason the government zeroed in on SIU's practices in minority recruitment, officials were going to make the change an opportunity to commit to opening up all its graduate aid programs for all students in the system.

Excuse me, but that is an admission that the graduate aid programs were not open to all, and that you had been discriminating. There is no other way to parse that statement. For you to then cast aspersions upon the Justice Department for investigating SIU or upon the motives of those who reported your violations of federal law and the constitutional rights of every student at the school is obscene. But Poshard did exactly that – while at the same time denying that was his intent.

"I don't know the motivation of the people who maybe contacted the people of the justice department on this," Poshard said. "I don't judge their motivation, but whatever it is, we're going to do this because it is the right thing to do."

That very statement indicates that you do judge their motivations and find them wanting. You imply that there was some malignant intent, and that you folks are just the innocent victims. But that isn’t the case at all – those who reported you were clearly seeking the end to illegal racial discrimination, and you folks fought it until it was clear you were going to lose. The folks who made the report were clearly on the side of the angels, sir, and you were not. Get off your high horse, break out the sack-cloth and ashes, and start doing some serious penance.

Can and should SIU-C reach out and recruit women and minorities? You bet, and it is something that I know the school has done in a significant manner for decades (my family has over a half century of association with the University as both students and faculty). That is something that Salukis should take pride in. Racial and gender exclusion, though, betray that heritage, and must be eliminated as a matter of principle, not just as a matter of abiding by the law.

More At Discriminations.

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Archaeology Geek News

An interesting find in the Valley of the Kings – an unspoiled non-royal tomb from the 18th Dynasty.

An American team has found what appears to be an intact tomb in the Valley of the Kings, the first found in the valley since that of Tutankhamun in 1922, one of the archaeologists said on Thursday.

The tomb contains five or six mummies in intact sarcophagi from the late 18th dynasty, about the same period as Tutankhamun, but the archaeologists have not yet had the time or the access to identify them, the archaeologist added.

The 18th dynasty ruled Egypt from 1567 BC to 1320 BC, a period during which the country's power reached a peak.

The Valley of the Kings in southern Egypt contains the tombs of most of the pharaohs of the time but the archaeologist said the mummies in the newly found tomb need not be royal.

"There are lots of non-royal tombs in the valley. It wouldn't be the only one by any means," said the archaeologist, who asked not to be named because the Egyptian authorities are planning a media event at the site on Friday.

"The archaeologists haven't been inside properly yet. It's very small and cramped but it is late 18th dynasty," she added.

A statement from the government's Supreme Council of Antiquities said the tomb was found by a team from the University of Memphis in the United States.

The five sarcophagi, which are carved to human form, have coloured funerary masks and the tomb contains a large number of big storage jars, the statement said.

"For an unknown reason they were buried rapidly in the small tomb," it added.

The tomb, 5 km (three miles) from that of Tutankhamun, was covered with the rubble of workmen's huts dating from the latter part of the 19th dynasty, more than 100 years after the tomb was sealed, it said.

This tomb likely dates from around the time of King Tut. I can’t wait to hear more.





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Sentenced To Death – For Self-Defense

Let no one tell me that Iran has any claim to being part of the civilized world. This story is sufficient to dispel any and all illusions on that matter.

Tehran, Iran, Jan. 07 – An Iranian court has sentenced a teenage rape victim to death by hanging after she weepingly confessed that she had unintentionally killed a man who had tried to rape both her and her niece.

The state-run daily Etemaad reported on Saturday that 18-year-old Nazanin confessed to stabbing one of three men who had attacked the pair along with their boyfriends while they were spending some time in a park west of the Iranian capital in March 2005.

Nazanin, who was 17 years old at the time of the incident, said that after the three men started to throw stones at them, the two girls’ boyfriends quickly escaped on their motorbikes leaving the pair helpless.

She described how the three men pushed her and her 16-year-old niece Somayeh onto the ground and tried to rape them, and said that she took out a knife from her pocket and stabbed one of the men in the hand.

As the girls tried to escape, the men once again attacked them, and at this point, Nazanin said, she stabbed one of the men in the chest. The teenage girl, however, broke down in tears in court as she explained that she had no intention of killing the man but was merely defending herself and her younger niece from rape, the report said.

The court, however, issued on Tuesday a sentence for Nazanin to be hanged to death.

The facts were never really in dispute – they were simply irrelevant. After all, Islam teaches that sexual assault victims deserve it. Resistance can therefore never count as self-defense, and any injury done to the attacker is therefore seen as having been committed upon an innocent victim.

The strange thing to me, though, is that I don’t hear any of the feminists raising an outcry about the status of women in the Islamic world – especially in cases like this one. Could it be that these brutalized souls just don’t matter to them as much as the sacrament of abortion or Bush-bashing?





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Can You Say “DUH!!!”

Are these folks completely clueless about the church fires in Alabama?

Four churches in Pickens, Greene and Sumter counties burned early Tuesday, two of which were destroyed. Five churches burned in Bibb County, about 60 miles from Tuesday's fires; three of them were destroyed. Austin Banks of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the federal agency that investigates arson, said there were “a lot of common things involved in all the fires” that point to the suspects targeting religion, although he declined to go into detail about the evidence.

Residents and law enforcement officials confirmed that fires at some of the churches started at the pulpit. They also said church doors had been kicked in.
Banks did not say the suspects were targeting the Baptist faith, the predominant denomination in the region.

He said it does not look like there's a racial motivation in the burnings. The four churches that burned Tuesday have black congregations, but only one of the five Bibb County churches was predominantly black.

You don’t suppose it could be hatred of Christians, do you? After all, all the targets are Christian churches, and appear centered on the pulpit.

But drawing such a conclusion might require a conclusion that we have hate crimes here. Selwyn Duke has this to say on the matter.

Nine Baptist churches, with both black and white congregations, have been burned in a relatively small geographical area within a very narrow time-frame. Okay, the fact that they are all Baptist may not necessarily be significant since it’s the dominant denomination in that area. In other words, it would not require too great a statistical fluke to target nine churches in these counties and happen upon only Baptist ones. Although it should give one pause for thought.

However, to the best of my knowledge, even in the Bible Belt, churches constitute only a very small percentage of the buildings. I suspect that Alabamans have also built schools, stores of various kinds, municipal buildings, residences, offices, barns, warehouses, restaurants and lots of other types of structures. Thus, while I’m no mathematician, I think there are pretty long odds against randomly targeting nine buildings and happening upon only churches. If Morris Dees and company can’t grasp this, they surely didn’t amass their organization’s $120 million fortune through wagering. Save incense and decorative candles, you don’t burn things you like. This was a hateful act. So, SPLC, don’t pour gasoline down my back and tell me it’s rainin’.

Next, could you imagine the reaction if nine synagogues or mosques had been thus burned? The monolithic mainstream media would elevate the story to prominence and exhaust themselves pontificating about how dreadful these hate-crimes were. And the posturing by public officials, oh, the posturing, it would be intense enough to induce backache.

As for this story, there’s nothing for the media to glom on to. If only black churches were in the crosshairs, there would be the white bigotry angle. The media can’t get enough of that. But the fact that they’re all Christian? Please! Such concerns aren’t in their programming… in either sense of the word.

So forgive me for saying it, but the lack of interest in the bias-crime angle seems based upon the bias of law-enforcement and the media, who cannot fathom that Christians might be targeted by those who hate them – Muslims, Satanists, secularists, or socialists – and that those crimes are every bit as deserving of serious condemnation as those committed by cross-burning, sheet-wearing, mouth-breathing racists. And all that is needed for this to be recognized is a paradigm-shift on the part of our nation’s opinion leaders.





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February 08, 2006

I Will Publish This As Well (UPDATED & BUMPED)

I think this French cartoon, scheduled to appear tomorrow, may best sum up the current behavior of Muslims in relation to the Danish cartoon controversy. Fortunately, the French courts are allowing it to run.

A French court refused to order the confiscation of a magazine on Tuesday which local Muslim organisations tried to prevent from publishing controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

The satirical weekly Charlie-Hebdo was due to publish on Wednesday 12 cartoons originally printed by the Danish paper Jyllens-Posten which have caused outrage in the Muslim world.

"This is good news to us all," Charlie-Hebdo editor Philippe Val told reporters after the ruling.

"We are defending the principle of the right for caricature and satire."

The judges rejected demands by French Muslim organisations, including the French Council of Muslim Faith (CFCM) and the Grand Mosques of Paris and Lyon, which had argued the paper was undermining the principle of the respect of faiths.

The court did not rule on the contents of the claim, but rejected it on a technicality, saying the plaintiffs had failed to follow several points of procedure in filing their suit.

Sources at Charlie-Hebdo said the weekly's offices and some staff had been placed under police protection ahead of Wednesday's publication, which will also feature a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad burying his face in his hands and saying: "It's hard to be loved by fools".

That really does say it all.


UPDATE -- 2/8/2006 -- Here it is!

fenchmagnohammed.jpg

The satirical French weekly Charlie-Hebdo also printed a new drawing under the headline "Muhammad Overwhelmed by the Fundamentalists" that showed the prophet with his head in his hands, remarking, "It's hard to be loved by idiots."


» The Jawa Report links with: Meanwhile, Somewher in Dal al Islam....
» The Jawa Report links with: Meanwhile, Somewhere in Dar al Islam....



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Somebody Screwed The Pooch On This One

Errors happen, especially when you are dealing with a bureaucracy. That is understood. Some errors, though, should be very easy to correct when they happen. This one, unfortunately, should have been but was not. That is inexcusable.

West Virginia’s two U.S. senators asked top military leaders Tuesday to explain why 1st Lt. William “Eddie” Rebrook IV had to reimburse the U.S. Army $700 last week for body armor and other gear damaged after he was seriously wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

More than 200 people —from West Virginia and across the country — donated more than $5,700 to Rebrook after reading about his body armor payment to the Army.

Rebrook, 25, who was medically discharged from an army base in Fort Hood, Texas, last week, said he wouldn’t keep the donations. He’s passing along the money to charity and a Louisiana woman who lost her home in Hurricane Katrina. He said the woman’s son helped save his life in Iraq.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., sent a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Tuesday, demanding that the Army refund Rebrook’s money immediately.

“I was outraged this morning when I read the story about what happened to Eddie,” said Rockefeller, who nominated Rebrook for admission to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., when Rebrook attended George Washington High School in Charleston. “I’m heartbroken that he can’t continue his career, and I’m shocked that he has been treated this way by our military.”

At a U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday, Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., asked why Rebrook was forced to pay for body armor damaged when he was wounded in Iraq.

“How can it be that the Army is charging wounded soldiers for replacing damaged body armor? Is this standard practice?” Byrd asked during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Department of Defense’s 2007 budget.

It now appears that the high-level attention will get the matter resolved – but not before there was money raised by an on-line acquaintance of mine, Americablog’s John Aravosis. I may disagree with him on a great many things, but I salute him in this.

The bulk of money for Rebrook was raised Tuesday after the soldier’s story was posted on americablog.com, a popular liberal political blog. Donations ranged from $1 to $400, said John Aravosis, who runs the Internet blog. More than 187 people gave money. About 200 people posted to the blog. “Everybody thinks liberals hate soldiers,” Aravosis said. “But the majority of people get that it’s not right to abuse our troops.”

Well done, sir.

What I find particularly galling about this is that this is not the first time something like this has happened. It was big news over a year ago – and the problem was supposed to be fixed.

Spc. Robert Loria of Middletown, N.Y., lost his arm in Iraq, but instead of a farewell paycheck from the Army he got a bill for nearly $1,800. Yesterday, New York legislators came to his rescue.

Loria, 27, found himself stuck in Fort Hood in Texas this week when Army officials said he owed money for travel expenses and for lost equipment.

Rep. Maurice Hinchey and Sens. Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton interceded on behalf of Loria after his wife, Christine Loria, told the Times-Herald Record of Middletown about the problem.

Loria was wounded in February. As he was about to leave the Army this month, officials told him he had been overpaid for his time as a patient at a military hospital in the Washington area, and said he still owed money for travel between the hospital and Fort Hood, as well as $310 for items not found in his returned equipment. Instead of a check for nearly $4,500, Loria was told he had to pay nearly $1,800.

Clinton, Schumer and Hinchey said the Army had dropped the billing demands and would allow Loria to return home on leave before he is discharged.

For God sake, folks – get this accounting system fixed so that soldiers don’t get a bill for equipment genuinely lost in combat.

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Aaron McGruder: Left-Wing Fraud

I don’t see how the Boondocks creator, whose career began as a protégé of Jayson Blair, is even entitled to call himself a cartoonist any more.

“The Boondocks” now runs in 300 papers but Aaron McGruder no longer draws it. He outsourced that duty to Jennifer Seng, a Boston artist, explaining that he thinks he's a better writer than artist. * * * In similar style to the strip, the cartoon series is outsourced. McGruder flew to Seoul, Korea to oversee the initial animation.

Seems to me that Aaron McGruder, a left-wing radical who has become a corporate sell-out and does not even do his own artwork for his cartoon, is probably best described by the words he placed in the mouth of Rev. Martin Luther King in a recent episode of his creation’s Cartoon Network show – a “trifling, shiftless, good for nothing nigger”.





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The Right Decision On Freedom Of Association

The Minutemen lost their battle to march in the Laguna Beach Patriot’s Day Parade. It was the right decision by the judge in the case.

A judge ruled Tuesday that organizers of Laguna Beach's annual Patriots' Day Parade have the right to exclude members of the volunteer border patrol group Minuteman Project.

The group's co-founder, illegal immigration opponent Jim Gilchrist, sought to be included in the parade lineup but the parade committee voted to ban the Minuteman Project on political grounds.
Parade organizers "have a right, within certain limits, to put on the parade they want to put on," Orange County Superior Court Judge Michael Brenner said.

It was not clear whether Gilchrist would seek an appeal. A message left for his attorney, Richard Ackerman, was not immediately returned.

The Minuteman Project uses volunteer civilians to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border for illegal immigrants. Two members of the group who live in Laguna Beach, a bohemian town of 24,000 tucked into coastal hills, filled out an application to enter a float in the March 4 parade.

The parade committee turned down the application because it found the group's participation would violate its bylaws, which ban organizations with a religious or political affiliation or message.

The committee also argued it could reject or accept whomever it wants because it is privately funded and receives no taxpayer money.


Duh. This is a simple issue – as a private group, the organizers have the right to include or exclude on whatever basis they choose. This is no different than the Catholic group in New York that refuses to include gay-rights groups because it offends their religious sensibilities – and is even more defensible, on the basis that it excludes ALL political groups. We can debate whether or not such prohibitions are appropriate, but we cannot deny that such exclusions are legitimate, even when that means that groups we support are excluded.





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Rock On, Father!

It is easy to put the pastor on the pedestal, and to forget that he (or she) is a human being with interests beyond the church. Take a look at one young man who has melded that interest with ministry in an unexpected and delightful way.

WEST FRANKFORT - Students of St. John's School, their parents and other members of the parish rocked the night away last weekend at the Knights of Columbus Hall as a part of the celebration of Catholic Schools Week.

The occasion was the last in an annual national weeklong series of events kicked off locally with a children's Mass followed by a parish brunch on the last Sunday in January. Throughout the week, students broke up the ordinary school day routine with crazy hat and crazy hair day, and gathered with parents and siblings on Wednesday night for Family Reading Night.

Friday ended the school week with visits from motivational speakers and Friday night's party provided by the Parents Group, where the parish was entertained by their very own Father Trevor Murry and his band.

The band, Father Trevor and the Little Flowers, was a huge treat for the students who got the opportunity to see their parish priest in a different light and reacted as they might toward a celebrated rock star.

Most of the band members had traveled to the performance from Belleville, where Murry, a native of Pinckneyville, served as assistant before being named pastor at St. John's. His current duties also include serving as priest at Sacred Heart in Zeigler and St. Aloysius in Royalton.

"All the members of the band are parishioners at St. Teresa's Parish in Belleville, which is named for St. Teresa of the Little Flower," Murry said, explaining the unusual name for a band made up of adult men and women. "We started almost accidentally. We used to get together and practice music to be performed at church, and after practice, we'd stay around and start playing a lot of classic rock. We began playing at parish events like the parish picnic, and eventually we started playing at a jazz club once a month."

During my last year as a seminarian I met Trevor, a young man who was at the beginning of his path towards priesthood. We were different ages and at different stages of our lives as well as different seminaries, so I never really got to know him, though he seemed like he was a good guy.

It was therefore a pleasant surprise this morning when, doing a quick glance at the website for one of my old hometown newspapers, I ran into this article. It is sort of cute, and I just feel like indulging myself by putting it out for your consideration. Enjoy!



» Living Catholicism links with: Catholic Carnival LXVI: St. Valentine’s Favorites



|| Greg, 06:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

NY Times: You Don’t Need To See Cartoons That Offend Muslims

Here – look at this picture of the Virgin Mary made from porno shots and surrounded by elephant shit instead.

Is this really the same newspaper that made this statement only one day ago?

The New York Times and much of the rest of the nation's news media have reported on the cartoons but refrained from showing them. That seems a reasonable choice for news organizations that usually refrain from gratuitous assaults on religious symbols, especially since the cartoons are so easy to describe in words.

The stench of such rank hypocrisy certainly transcends that of the materials used to create the “artwork” pictured – especially since the picture is also “so easy to describe in words.”

But then again, the editors of this once great newspaper feel reasonably certain that they are unlikely to face violence from offended Catholics or other Christians, so a different standard applies.

HAT TIP -- NRO's TKS

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Did Anyone Else Notice This?

From the Washington Post.

Bush all but ignored many black civil rights and political leaders during his first four years in office. Instead, he focused on building inroads to African American leaders through the pastors of black evangelical churches and business leaders who were not identified with the traditional civil rights agenda. Bush became the first president since Herbert Hoover to serve a full term without addressing the NAACP, which many acknowledge as the nation's leading civil rights organization. At the same time, Bush's relations with the Congressional Black Caucus were frosty, contributing to a growing gulf between the administration and black voters.

Given the way the NAACP trashed George W. Bush during the 2000 campaign, why would he want to meet with its leaders or address the group? Given the complicity of many black leaders with Al Gore’s attempt to steal the Florida election with demonstrably false claims of black disenfranchisement, why wouldn’t he choose to ignore the entire dishonorable lot of them? Given the implacable opposition of the CBC to the Bush agenda, what good could have come of reaching out to the group? In the case of each of the jilted parties, it was their own actions which resulted in the marginalization. Plus there have been other, more pressing matters to be dealt with during the Bush presidency, matters of greater import than reaching out to the self-important group of foes who would have never responded to his efforts with a spirit of openness. So instead he bypassed the establishment an went to the grassroots for support of policies that were aimed at dealing with real problems rather than historical grievances.





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February 07, 2006

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Our Liberties Are Our Liberties, Even if, and Especially if, That Pisses Mohammed Off by New Sisyphus, and A Mind Is a Difficult Thing To Change -- Part 6 B (After 9/11: War Is Interested In You) by Neo-neocon.  Here is a link to the full results of the vote.





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It Looks Like Swann in Pennsylvania

Steelers’ great Lynn Swann certainly got a great reception from the crowd at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ victory celebration in the Steel City.

Lynn Swann was just speaking at the Steelers victory celebration in Pittsburgh (Rendell is in attendance). He was interrupted by the crowd chanting GOVERNOR, GOVERNOR, GOVERNOR! He actually had to stop the crowd and remind them that today is just about the glorious Steeler Super bowl victory !

It is a GREAT day in the 'burgh!

And he should get the GOP endorsement this Saturday – making him pretty near unstoppable in the GOP primary as he heads towards a showdown with Gov. Ed Rendell in November.





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NY Times – We Won’t Offend Muslims With Newsworthy Cartoons, But Will Run An Anti-Semitic One For Cash

Ed Lasky points out this little bit of NY Times hypocrisy surrounding the Danish cartoons of Muhammad.

The New York Times runs an editorial today objecting to newspapers publishing the cartoons that caricatured Mohammed. The Times feels that the cartoons were needlessly insensitive and pats itself on the back for refraining from running them.

Given the self-righteous moral preening of today’s editoral, it is strange that the Times did not have a problem accepting money from an anti-Israel group, running this anti-Semitic cartoon (scroll down to the bottom of the page) regarding Israel supporters in America.

The cartoon acceptable to the Times depicts a hairy gorilla holding an Israeli flag while sitting atop the US Capitol.

Double standards at work? Apparently, the Times will not run a caricature to inform its readers about the nature of the issue inflaming Muslims, but will gladly take money to run a cartoon that is laden with anti-Semitic motifs and imagery. Protect Muslim sensitivities, but propagate anti-Semitism.

The New York Times has a lot of questions to answer about its editorial “standards.”

Will it take a rioting mob of angry Jews – or a bombing run by the IAF – to get the NY Times to drop its double standard? Or will it finally come “clean” and admit that, despite its Jewish ownership, its editorial policy is fundamentally anti-Semitic, and that it is staffed with Islamophiles who don’t mind taking dirty money to run cartoons as reprehensible as those of Nazi Germany or the modern-day Arab press?





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Strange Priorities

If you are a former member of the House of Representatives who is engaged in the legal business of lobbying, you cannot use the House gym, come on the House floor, or exercise any of the other privileges accorded to former House members.

But if you are convicted of a felony related to official misconduct, you still can.

Former Rep. Tom Bliley (R-Va.), a powerful gavel-swinger at the Commerce Committee in the late 1990s, is no fan of new House rules that prevent lobbyists who were lawmakers from stalking the floor during votes or using the chamber’s gym.

The new rule looks more favorably on former members who are convicted felons, such as Jim Traficant (D-Ohio), than former members who are registered lobbyists, Bliley complained in a hallway outside the House chamber last week.

Bliley, who often visits the House floor, said he used to use the gym frequently and attends events of the Chowder and Marching Club — the House Republican “secret society� — near the Speaker’s suite of offices.

“To show you how stupid it is, when he gets out of prison Traficant ... will be able to use the gym as a former member because he’s not a lobbyist,� Bliley said.

Indeed, said one House source familiar with the situation, Traficant’s privileges remain intact, as do those of former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.), who just resigned amid a graft scandal. “I don’t believe it was really raised as an issue,� given the lengthy prison terms both men face, said the source.

Many of Bliley’s old colleagues agree. Several lamented the new rules in a Cannon House Office Building washroom just a few feet from where Republicans were voting on a new majority leader last week. One suggested dumping the rule as soon as possible — perhaps this session.

Dumping the rules would be a great idea – both because of the failure to sanction criminal former members of the body, and because the changed rules do nothing substantive to avoid corruption. Feel-good "reforms" that provide no real reform are not hte answer to official corruption -- prosecution is.





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Forget The Weapons Program – Bomb Iran’s Leaders?

Such is the proposal of former Reagan Administration official Herbert E. Meyer. He suggests that rather than talking to the Iranian leaders or supporting the opposition, we need to act against those who are directing the illicit nuclear program.

Simply put, Iran’s nuclear weapons program, combined with the murderous comments of that country’s president, is the political equivalent of a man running toward your children’s school holding a hand grenade and shouting “I hate kids. I welcome death.” The risk of taking time—to think, to talk, to analyze, to co-ordinate with other countries – is just too high. We know where Amadinejad and the mullahs work, and we ought to know where they live. (And if we don’t know, the Israelis do and would be more than happy to lend a hand.) We have cruise missiles, Stealth fighters, and B-1 bombers that can fly from the US to Teheran, drop their lethal loads, then return to the US without ever landing en route. We have skilled, courageous Special Forces teams that can get themselves on the ground in Teheran quietly and fast.

The question is whether we still have within us the instinct for survival. If we do, then our only course is to act – now, this minute, however we can – and to take out the mullahs. Tonight.

Now there is a certain wisdom to that proposal, for the threat posed by the program is not found in the nature of the weapons themselves, but in the propensity of the Iranian leadership to use those weapons. The United States has very little leverage with the radical government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the present convulsions in the Middle East over the Danish cartoons makes the likelihood of Iranian compliance very small. So it may be that this is the best solution, given that the current situation is unlikely to become less stable.

Unless, of course, it does. Which leads me to wonder if Meyer’s proposal is really the wisest course of action. But then again, what solution would be better?





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Who Does This Woman Think She Is?

Kathleen Blanco, the incompetent Governor of Louisiana, is now giving ultimatums top the President and the rest of the Federal Government – “Do it my way or face my wrath!”

Gov. Kathleen Blanco kicked off a history-making special session of the Legislature Monday evening at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center with a forceful message to the federal government and state lawmakers to support her levee board and housing programs for hurricane recovery.

In what was widely seen as the sharpest speech of her beleaugured political career since Hurricane Katrina, Blanco admonished President Bush for dodging Louisiana’s requests for aid while announcing an ultimatum to the federal government to give Louisiana a larger share of oil and gas royalites from offshore drilling or face a roadblock to future exploration in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

“If no effort is made to guarantee our fair share of royalties, I have warned the federal government that we will be forced to block the August sale of offshore oil and gas leases,” Blanco said. “It’s time to play hardball, as I believe that’s the only game Washington understands.”

The governor has limited administrative ability to stop the leases, but since such an action has never been taken it is unclear how authoritative her blockage might be. The state receives only a fraction of the annual $5 billion in federal royalties.

Go ahead and try, Kathleen – we would love the opportunity to paint the resulting energy crisis as the work of corrupt and greedy Democrats more interested in lining their own pockets (a Louisiana tradition, we all know) rather than the good of the nation. It might, in fact, be sufficient to get the American people to take you and your state off the dole entirely. You can then fix up your trashy state and tacky city with your own dough. And by the way – those of us here in Houston would be more than happy to put your criminals back onto buses and return them to you.





|| Greg, 07:38 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bush Budget Short-Changes Border Security

President Bush is so hell-bent on getting his guest-worker program up and running that he is willing to undermine national security to do so. The proposed new budget fails to include full funding for Border Patrol agents.

President Bush's new budget again fails to fund the entire number of Border Patrol agents mandated by Congress but for the first time includes funds for his proposed guest-worker program.

The budget calls for 1,500 new U.S. Border Patrol agents and 6,700 new detention beds for illegal aliens awaiting deportation -- far more than last year's budget, but still short of the 2,000 new agents and 8,000 new beds per year that he and Congress agreed to in the December 2004 intelligence-overhaul bill.

I have to disagree with the spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security who was sent out to try to blow smoke up our buts.

"It's a very strong budget, and the request clearly reflects the priority that is placed on securing our borders," said Department of Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke, who said it reflects a comprehensive strategy that includes personnel, beds, technology such as sensors and drone aircraft, and fences like the one being built near San Diego.

The budget includes money for 560 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention officers and agents, and 257 immigration lawyers as part of the administration's effort to return home more non-Mexican illegal aliens. The administration hopes that this will help end the "catch-and-release" policy, under which most non-Mexicans who are caught never are deported.

The 1,500 Border Patrol agents bring the total authorized to 13,819 -- a 42 percent increase since September 11, 2001, but still at least 1,000 short of the number for which the December 2004 bill called.

Short by 1000 agents – that is hardly a strong budget by any reasonable definition. It is a pathetic attempt to get around the clear demands of the American people to take border security seriously.

And rather than stop illegal immigration and get rid of the law-breakers, the budget sets the stage for legalization by fully funding the guest-worker program. Here’s hoping that Congress diverts that $247 million to fully funding the needed personnel and detention beds instead of the President’s scheme to open the borders to temporary workers who will not leave when their time is up.





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

Pastor Arrested During Sermon

Surely there was a better way to deal with this.

The Rev. Jimmy McCants was delivering a sermon titled "Can We Mend a Broken Heart?" on Sunday morning when Chicago Police arrested the 54-year-old pastor on a misdemeanor trespassing charge, outraging some members of his congregation.

McCants, pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church at 356 E. 109th, was freed in lieu of $1,000 bail at about 4:30 p.m., after spending about five hours in the Calumet District police station being processed for his arrest, which was captured by a church member's video camera.

"My church is the house of the Lord, and I had not committed a criminal act," McCants said. "We were in service. . . . We're going to see what the lawyers say. I intend to go back next Sunday."

The arrest stems from an internal dispute among members of the church, said Monique Bond, spokeswoman for the Chicago Police Department.

The church's board of directors told police that McCants was fired Dec. 24, Bond said. On Jan. 6, a woman affiliated with the church signed a police complaint saying McCants had been trespassing on church grounds, Bond said.

"There were other witnesses [Sunday] who said he should not be there," Bond said.

The woman who filed the complaint against McCants could not be reached for comment.

"It happened because he was not supposed to be on the premises," said a board member, Willie Miller, who refused further comment.

The arrest was questioned by the head of a governing authority for Lutheran churches in the Chicago area.

Police apparently took the board's word that McCants was fired, said the Rev. William H. Ameiss, president of the Northern Illinois District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod based in west suburban Hillside.

But Ameiss said he thinks the board removed McCants in violation of the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church's constitution, which requires the board to go to the synod to resolve a dispute over a pastor.

Now I will grant that there are questions of church polity that I am not versed in – but under the circumstances, I would think it would have behooved the police to wait until the service was over to make any arrest. And I won't even get into the issue of of the unedifying, unChristian actions of those involved in having their pastor/ex-pastor hauled out of the church in cuffs during the service.





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

Prehistoric Art Discovery

The oldest cave paintings ever found.

A French caver has discovered prehistoric cave art believed to date back 27,000 years - older than the famous Lascaux paintings.

Gerard Jourdy, 63, said he found human and animal remains in the chamber in the Vilhonneur forest, in caves once used to dispose of animal carcasses.

The paintings included a hand in cobalt blue, he told AFP news agency.

The discovery was made in November, but kept secret while initial examinations were carried out.

Mr Jourdy also said he saw a sculpture of a face made from a stalactite - which would be a scientific first for the era, but experts were dubious about this claim, AFP says.

Neat stuff!





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

Just A Reminder

For those who insist that the GOP is the party of racism and the Democrats are the party of equal rights, let’s go over this little primer on US political history, from the Civil War era to the present.

Slavery is the greatest evil ever to beset black people in this country. In the decades leading up to the Civil War, there was intense political debate on what to do about it. The Republican Party was founded in 1854 for the express purpose of ending slavery. The Democratic Party, by contrast, defended it to the bitter end.

Just to show how far Democrats would go to defend slavery, it's worth remembering what happened to Sen. Charles Sumner, Republican of Massachusetts. After giving a speech denouncing slavery in 1856, he was viciously beaten by Rep. Preston Brooks, Democrat of South Carolina, for daring to question the right to own slaves. Being a coward, Brooks waited until the elderly Sumner was seated alone at his desk in the Senate and, without warning, struck him repeatedly with a cane. It took months for Sumner to recover.

In 1858, Sen. Stephen A. Douglas, Democrat of Illinois, debated Republican Abraham Lincoln on the question of slavery. Said Douglas during one of those debates: "For one, I am opposed to negro citizenship in any and every form. I believe this government was made on the white basis. I believe it was made by white men for the benefit of white men and their posterity forever, and I am in favor of confining citizenship to white men, men of European birth and descent, instead of conferring it upon negroes, Indians and other inferior races."

So prevalent were these views in the Democratic Party that Douglas was named its presidential candidate in 1860. Amazingly, Southerners actually viewed Douglas as being too moderate on the slavery issue and instead voted for Vice President John C. Breckinridge, a slave-owner who also ran as a Democrat, thus splitting the pro-slavery vote and allowing Lincoln to win.

After the war, the Democratic Party held a lock on the South for more than 100 years. All of the "Jim Crow" laws that prevented blacks from voting and kept them down were enacted by Democratic governors and Democratic legislatures. The Ku Klux Klan was virtually an auxiliary arm of the Democratic Party, and any black (or white) who threatened the party's domination was liable to be beaten or lynched. Democrats enacted the first gun-control laws in order to prevent blacks from defending themselves against Ku Klux Klan violence. Chain gangs were developed by Democrats to bring back de facto slave labor.

President Woodrow Wilson, the second Democrat to serve since the Civil War, reintroduced segregation throughout the federal government immediately upon taking office in 1913. Avowed racists such as Josephus Daniels and Albert Burleson were named Cabinet secretaries. Black leaders like W.E.B. DuBois, who had strongly supported Wilson, were bitterly disappointed, but shouldn't have been surprised. As president of Princeton University, Wilson refused to admit blacks and as governor of New Jersey ignored blacks' requests for state jobs, even though their votes had provided his margin of victory.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt had his first opportunity to name a member of the Supreme Court, he appointed a life member of the Ku Klux Klan, Sen. Hugo Black, Democrat of Alabama. In 1944, FDR chose as his vice president Harry Truman, who had joined the Ku Klux Klan in Kansas City in 1922. Throughout his presidency, Roosevelt resisted Republican efforts to pass a federal law against lynching, and he opposed integration of the armed forces.

Another Ku Klux Klan member, Sen. Robert C. Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia, personally filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for 14 straight hours to keep it from passage. He is still a member of the U.S. Senate today. As recently as the 1980s, Sen. Ernest Hollings, Democrat of South Carolina, publicly referred to blacks as "darkies" and Hispanics as "wetbacks" without suffering any punishment from his party.

Case closed.





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

A Story I’m Happy To See

I’m not a fan of Bill and Hillary Clinton. I believe the man to have been a pox upon the Presidency. I believe that Hillary is a hypocrite who betrayed her own feminist principles by achieving power the old-fashioned way – by sleeping with a powerful man rather than earning it on her own merits.

That said, I must also say that my objection to the pair is strictly political, not personal. I bear them no personal ill will, for all that I object to them politically.

And so I am pleased to see this gossipy article, and hope that the analysis is accurate.

The state of Bill and Hillary Clinton's union is apparently strong - at least judging by the mongo diamond that Hillary was sporting on her ring finger yesterday. Sources say the former President quietly gave the iceberg-sized bling - thought to exceed 3 carats - to his wife months ago, in advance of their 30th wedding anniversary on Oct. 11 last year. But the sparkling stunner is so big that the former First Lady has been nervous about wearing it and hasn't broken it out of her jewelry box on a regular basis until recently. The big bauble was on full display yesterday, when the junior senator visited University Settlement, an outreach center on the lower East Side, to talk about cuts to early childhood education proposed by President Bush. "It was a gift from her husband," was all Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Hanley would say. Of course, it hasn't always been a bed of roses for the Clintons. After the former President confessed in 1998 to having an affair with Monica Lewinsky, Hillary Clinton wrote in her 2003 book, "Living History," "I felt nothing but profound sadness, disappointment and unresolved anger." "I could barely speak to Bill," she wrote of the family's summer vacation on Martha's Vineyard in 1998. "And when I did, it was a tirade. I read. I walked on the beach. He slept upstairs and I slept downstairs." But those days are apparently over - just in time for Valentine's Day next week.

The personal and the political are two separate things for me. I felt a lot of compassion for Hillary Clinton during Monica-gate, because no one should have to go through such a terrible betrayal, much less in the glare of the lights of news cameras. I felt genuine concern for Bill Clinton during his illness a couple of years ago. And so I am pleased by the apparent reconciliation between these two powerful Democrats – because everyone, regardless of politics, deserves to love and be loved. Call me a romantic.

And so it is my hope that they may have many more years together – happy years filled with love for one another.





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

A Different Affront To Press Freedom

If we are going to criticize the Islamocensors, should we not also cpndemn the murderous practices of the government of Red China?

A newspaper editor who was severely beaten by police about three months ago has died from multiple injuries, his wife and former colleagues said on Monday.

"He died on February 2," said a former colleague of Wu Xianghu, who was deputy editor at the Taizhou Wanbao newspaper in east China's Zhejiang province.

"It must be related to the beating... our newspaper might take action," the journalist, who declined to give his name, said.

"We're all really angry about it."

Mr Wu's wife, who did not want to give her first name but is also surnamed Wu, confirmed his death, although she declined to elaborate exactly what he had died of.

"I am not able to say," she said. "It is not convenient for me to say over the phone... in the end, it was due to his liver problems."

The official Xinhua news agency had earlier reported on the incident in which Wu was beaten.

Up to 50 police raided the newspaper's office on October 20, a day after it published an article criticising traffic police over charging arbitrary fees for electrical bicycle licences.

Up to eight police beat and kicked Mr Wu, before hurling him out of his office and bundling him into a police car, Xinhua reported the next day.

The Xinhua report said Mr Wu had a liver transplant two years earlier and the beating caused severe damage to his liver, as well as other injuries.

Another journalist at Taizhou Wanbao, who also declined to be named, said Mr Wu had remained in hospital following the beatings on October 20.

He added that newspaper staff had been warned against discussing the incident with outsiders.

Officers at the Taizhou city Communist Party office and Jiaojiang district traffic police branch both refused to comment on Monday.

In other words, the price of exposing official corruption in China might be ones own life -- exactly the same punishment that the Islamofascist mobs seek to impose on those who daret o depict the Muhammad.

But this is not the only act of violence committed against those who speak against oppressive tactics by Red Chinese officials.

In another incident of police-related brutality reported on Monday, a leading Chinese rights activist was allegedly beaten outside a police station in the southern province of Guangdong as police officers looked on.

Unidentified men beat Yang Maodong, also known by his pen name of Guo Feixiong, after he lodged a complaint at a police station in Guangzhou city on Saturday about plain-clothed police officers following him, China Rights Defenders said in a statement.

Yes, we must oppose the evils of the Islamofascists, but we must not forget the 1/5 of the world's population that lives under this brutal Communist dictatorship.

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|| Greg, 05:29 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 06, 2006

Muslim Malpractice

I guess it is back to the dark ages in the Islamic world (if they ever left).

The Pakistan Medical Association has vowed not to prescribe medicines from firms based in some European countries where controversial cartoons portraying the Prophet Mohammed were published, said Shahid Rao, the body's general secretary for Punjab province.

The association will boycott drugs from Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Germany and France to protest the 'blasphemous' drawings, Rao said.
'We have taken a unanimous decision and it will be immediately implemented in Pakistan,' Rao told AFP.

'Doctors in the country are very motivated on this issue,' he said. 'We would use alternate medicines in future till a public apology comes from these countries.'

Pharmacists have also vowed not to sell such medicines, Rao said.

The association is advising patients against using medicines from the offending countries if they are mistakenly prescribed by doctors, he added.

Because after all, better that many should die than a couple of cartoons appear in the press.

(Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin)



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More Deranged Hate-America Rhetoric – Ignored By The Media

I guess that such rhetoric has become so common among Leftists that it does not even get covered by the major media.

When the US didn’t capture Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, it wasn’t by mistake, Congressman Maurice Hinchey of Hurley theorized.

Instead, Hinchey said the Administration had a motive for not capturing him. “Why did we do that? The only logical answer that comes to mind is they didn’t want to capture Bin Laden because if they captured Bin Laden and wiped out the Taliban, which they could have done at that moment, there would have been no justification for going to war in Iraq, and they wanted to use that as a justification for attacking Iraq,” he said.

Hinchey is a critic of the war in Iraq and the Bush administration, who he says lied about the reasons for going into Iraq.

In a different time – during WWII, for example, under Democrat President Franklin Delano Roosevelt – such rhetoric would have earned one a jail cell for undermining the war effort. Maybe we have not become the dictatorship that the Left claims we have.





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

Former Conservative Newspaper Loses Its Way.

The Manchester Union-Leader used to be the standard-bearer for conservatism. Not any more, based upon this editorial.

And yet, while this episode has further exposed pockets of intense intolerance and misunderstanding in the Muslim world, it also has exposed the arrogance and insensitivity of many in the West, who have forgotten simple manners. This is not just a matter of press freedom; it is a matter of common decency.

Christians and Jews know all too well what it is like to be on the receiving end of vicious, spiteful satire. Decent people protest when someone callously mocks Christianity by sinking a crucifix in urine. They protest when people spread anti-Semitism by drawing Jews as cash-obsessed misers with hooked noses. Why no protest when someone attacks Islam by drawing Mohammad with a bomb for a turban? Surely Muslims are equally deserving of consideration.

If this were September, I would agree with this editorial – there was no need to reprint the editorial cartoons then. They were merely poorly done and provocative then.

But today there is, because of the reaction to those cartoons. The threat of the Islamocensors to free speech and open discussion (and yes, that includes derision) of Islam and other religions is too great to remain silent. Five months ago, I didn’t put the cartoons on this website. I did this weekend, because the issue is now precisely one of the limits of freedom of speech. That is recognized by the European newspapers that have reprinted the cartoons.

Sadly, the importance of standing up for press freedom is being ignored by the sensitive multi-culti press in this country. And the once proud conservative newspaper now shows itself to be the Manchester Liberal-Follower.



» Blue Star Chronicles links with: The End of Reason



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

Laffey, Not Chafee

National Review has come down on the same side of the issue that I have in the race between ersatz Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee and Cranston Mayor Steven Laffey.

Even if Laffey were to win the primary but lose the general election, beating Chafee would send a helpful message to the kind of Republican who thinks Chafee's "independence" is something to admire and emulate. (Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine come to mind.) That message: that Republican voters will not be taken for granted just because they are in the minority in their state. Then there's the tantalizing possibility that Laffey might actually win both the primary and the general election. It's a chance worth taking. What do conservatives have to lose? The worst possible outcome is only that Rhode Islanders will trade a virtual Democrat for a real one.

So show Laffey some love, and send some cash his way.





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

Why Waste The Time?

Zacarias Moussaoui made a scene in court today, and had to be escorted from the courtroom as jury selection began for his sentencing hearing.

Proclaiming "I am al-Qaida," Zacarias Moussaoui was escorted from a federal courtroom in Alexandria on Monday at the outset of jury selection in his terrorist conspiracy trial. As he was removed by federal marshals, he shouted, "This trial is a circus."

The acknowledged al-Qaida conspirator, often a volatile figure in the courtroom, got almost immediately into an argument with U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, demanding "I want to be heard" and saying of his lawyers, "These people do not represent me."

He left with his hands on his head, offering no resistance.

Prospective jurors filed into a heavily guarded federal courtroom Monday as U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema began calling the first prospective jurors from a pool of 500 to fill out questionnaires about their attitudes on the death penalty and knowledge of the case. Jury selection is expected to take a month, a painstaking process that sets the stage for deciding whether the 37-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan descent is imprisoned for life or put to death.

We don’t need a jury here, simply a judge to impose a culturally sensitive sentence for his crimes.

Public beheading, as is done by al-Qaeda affiliates around the world.

Seems quite appropriate to me.





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

February 05, 2006

How Far Will The Boycotts Extend?

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In light of the threats of boycotts by Muslims, I wonder if these terrorist-sympathizing Islamists will take matters to their logical extreme, as suggested by Scottish columnist Muriel Gray.

The other European papers which published the cartoons were, with a couple of exceptions, not trying to further provoke Muslims, but were engaging in an “I am Spartacus” moment, showing solidarity for Denmark and trying to gain enough similar support throughout Europe that it would make it harder for the extremists. What if everyone publishes? Going to kill everyone? Going to boycott goods from every European country? If only the Czech Republic would publish the cartoons then Hamas would have to boycott Semtex.

So can we get one courageous Czech editor to publish the Mohammad cartoons? After all, it could end terrorism in our time!

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|| Greg, 04:09 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Muslims Respond With Cartoons

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Maybe there are a few Muslims with a lick of common sense out there. Rather than respond with violence, they decided to go after a European icon -- Holocaust victim Anne Frank

A Belgian-Dutch Islamic political organization posted anti-Jewish cartoons on its Web site in response to the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed that appeared in Danish papers last year and offended many Muslims.

The cartoons were posted on the Arab European League's site on Saturday. It was not working Sunday morning because of exceeded bandwidth.

The cartoons depicting Mohammed wearing a turban-shaped bomb were first published in Denmark, and then in newspapers elsewhere in Europe in a show of solidarity with press freedoms.

The Islamic site carried a disclaimer saying the images were being shown as part of an exercise in free speech rather than to endorse their content - just as European newspapers have reprinted the Danish cartoons.

One of the AEL cartoons displayed an image of Dutch Holocaust victim Anne Frank in bed with Adolf Hitler, and another questioned whether the Holocaust actually occurred.

Dyab Abou Jahjah, the party's founder and best-known figure, defended the action on the Dutch television program Nova Saturday.

"Europe has its sacred cows, even if they're not religious sacred cows," he told the program.

I won't reproduce this vile cartoon on this site in all its glory, though I make it available for those who choose to click the thumbnail below.

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Hey, at least these folks are behaving in something resembling a civilized fashion, even if it involves perpetuating the anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial common in the Arab press. Having Europe's best known Holocaust victim raped by Hitler just isn't that shocking, when considered in that context.

Besides -- the Hadith tells us that Muhammad raped a 9-year-old in addition to murdering Jews, so he makes Hitler look like an amateur.

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MORE COMMENTARY AT: Western Resistance, Clarity & Resolve, Michelle Malkin, Noisy Room,



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|| Greg, 03:59 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (3) ||

Can We Say They Are "Against Us" Yet?

When you consider that this sign provoked no particular response at yesterday's anti-war/anti-Bush/support the terrorists rally in Washington, DC, I think it is clear that we can do so with little fear of contadiction.

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But hey --it is only an image of the President of the United States murdered by our nation's enemies. It's not like they are depicting something offensive, like a cartoon of Muhammad.

Here's hoping the Secret Service is interested in the bitch mentally-defective creature holding the sign.

H/T -- Michelle Malkin. OTHER VOICES -- The Anchoress, Brainster,



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|| Greg, 10:51 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (1) ||

Solidarity For Freedom

Jeff Jacoby gets right to the heart of the matter in his latest column.

HINDUS CONSIDER it sacrilegious to eat meat from cows, so when a Danish supermarket ran a sale on beef and veal last fall, Hindus everywhere reacted with outrage. India recalled its ambassador to Copenhagen, and Danish flags were burned in Calcutta, Bombay, and Delhi. A Hindu mob in Sri Lanka severely beat two employees of a Danish-owned firm, and demonstrators in Nepal chanted: ''War on Denmark! Death to Denmark!"In many places, shops selling Dansk china or Lego toys were attacked by rioters, and two Danish embassies were firebombed.

We know, of course, that this did not happen.

But we also know that the mere act of publiching editorial cartoons has produced another Islamorgasm of violence around the world. We've seen brave European newspaper editors run the cartoons in their own pages as a show of solidarity.

We have seen no such courage in America, either in the print media or the broadcast media. Folks who don't mind offending Christians and jews in the most gratuitous manner argue that "sensitivity" and "taste" dictate that they not run the "provocative" cartoons. In other words, they won't offend anyone who will do more than write a nasty letter

Across the continent, nearly two dozen other newspapers have joined in defending that principle. While Islamist clerics proclaim an ''international day of anger" or declare that ''the war has begun," leading publications in Norway, France, Italy, Spain, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have reprinted the Danish cartoons. But there has been no comparable show of backbone in America, where (as of Friday) only the New York Sun has had the fortitude to the run some of the drawings.

Make no mistake: This story is not going away, and neither is the Islamofascist threat. The freedom of speech we take for granted is under attack, and it will vanish if it is not bravely defended. Today the censors may be coming for some unfunny Mohammed cartoons, but tomorrow it is your words and ideas they will silence. Like it or not, we are all Danes now.

Muslim author and critic Ibn Warraq argues the matter this way.

A democracy cannot survive long without freedom of expression, the freedom to argue, to dissent, even to insult and offend. It is a freedom sorely lacking in the Islamic world, and without it Islam will remain unassailed in its dogmatic, fanatical, medieval fortress; ossified, totalitarian and intolerant. Without this fundamental freedom, Islam will continue to stifle thought, human rights, individuality; originality and truth.

Unless, we show some solidarity, unashamed, noisy, public solidarity with the Danish cartoonists, then the forces that are trying to impose on the Free West a totalitarian ideology will have won; the Islamization of Europe will have begun in earnest. Do not apologize.

And so let me make my act of solidarity.

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The fundamental principles of freedom matter more than the religious sensitivities of extremists.

Any Muslim who is offended by these cartoons and wishes to write or shout angry words at me has my deepest apologies -- you are not my target and I regret any offense given.

Any Muslim who is offended by these cartoons and wishes to do me violence can copulate with a pig.





|| Greg, 10:22 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Some Folks Don't Recognize That We Are At War

"Could the President legally and legitimately order the targetted killing of a terrorist on US soil?" That is the essence of a question raised recently by Senator Diane Feinstein.

In the latest twist in the debate over presidential powers, a Justice Department official suggested that in certain circumstances, the president might have the power to order the killing of terrorist suspects inside the United States. Steven Bradbury, acting head of the department's Office of Legal Counsel, went to a closed-door Senate intelligence committee meeting last week to defend President George W. Bush's surveillance program. During the briefing, said administration and Capitol Hill officials (who declined to be identified because the session was private), California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Bradbury questions about the extent of presidential powers to fight Al Qaeda; could Bush, for instance, order the killing of a Qaeda suspect known to be on U.S. soil? Bradbury replied that he believed Bush could indeed do this, at least in certain circumstances.

I would take it a step further -- he can do it in any circumstance. Anyone who disagrees with that analysis is still sleeping soundly in a 9/10/01 world, refusing to deal with the the realities that were brought home on 9/11.

First, we are at war with the terrorists. In war, you kill the enemy. Taking some prisoners is something that happens, but the reality is that you try to kill them before they kill you. While we are dealing with smaller concentrations of enemies in this war (cells rather than armies), the principle remains the same -- killing the enemy may be preferable to capturing them.

Second, there are no civil liberties, no due process, in battle. There are no warrants, and there are generally no trials (other than war crimes) for prisoners. Too many folks don't recognize that, as the constant belly-aching over Gitmo demonstrates. Prisoners are held for the duration of the conflict. You don't get a warrant to conduct intelligence operations agains the enemy. And you don't need a judge, jury, and executive to sign off on a death warrant before you march into battle.

But for those who still don't get it, let me ask the question differently. If al-Qaeda were an invading army that got a foothold in the United States, would the President have the authority to order the targetted killing of the commanding general? Of particular officers? Or an attack on the enemy that resulted in the deaths of common soldiers?

If you answer in the affirmative, then there can be no objection to the targetted killing of terrorists in the US.

If you answer in the negative, you are really too stupid to bother with.

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