April 30, 2006

Teacher Attempts To Murder Teen

I'll bet this guy doesn't get off because he is "too pretty to go to jail".

A Freeburg High School driver's education instructor and professional wrestler, whose ring name is "The Teacher," has been charged with breaking the neck of 17-year-old Ashley Reeves of Millstadt and leaving her in dense woods to die.

She was found by police at 2 a.m. Saturday. First listed in critical condition, Reeves had improved somewhat as of late Saturday afternoon after being evacuated to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis.

On Saturday evening, hospital spokesman Bob Davidson listed Reeves' condition as serious.

The sheriff's department held a press conference at 11 a.m. Saturday to announce the charges against Samson "Sam" R. Shelton, 26, of Wildwood Lake Estates in Smithton. Shelton was charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of kidnapping. He is being held at the St. Clair County Jail with bail set at $1 million.

Shelton teaches both driver's and physical education and is a volunteer assistant baseball coach at Freeburg High School.

The formal charges state that Shelton "used his forearm with such force as to break the neck of Ashley Reeves," and also used his belt in an attempt to strangle her. The 6-foot, 1-inch, 200-pound Shelton is listed as a wrestler in the Ultimate Wrestling Alliance and has appeared in several metro-east prize rings, including in Fairview Heights and Cahokia.

After spending more than 30 hours over a rainy night in thick brush and trees behind a baseball diamond at Citizens Park in Belleville, Reeves, a student at Columbia High School, was discovered about 2 a.m. Saturday by sheriff's investigators.

She was reported missing by her family about 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

Now I will say that this guy clearly was not Ashley's teacher -- she attended school in a different district. Knowing what I do of the geography of the area, I suspect he may have been a neighbor or a member of the same church.

But regardless, this is a horrifying crime. It sounds like there is much more to come out -- but hopefully not in a manner that resembles the circus unfolding in North Carolina.

May this young lady recover and be restored to health to whatever degree is possible.

UPDATE: Just read the article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch -- this guy was a real freak!

A profile of Shelton on the Web site for his fast-pitch softball team says: "Sammy is single and currently looking for a female companion. This may include long term or short term relationship. Age does not matter, must be cute or hot."

The profile also said his hobbies include "touching hookers" and pornography, and described his occupation as a "teacher, pimp, pimp teacher, pro-wrestler."

Why do I get the impression that there may be some guys in the Illinois prison system who are hoping to have Shelton as a cellmate?

|| Greg, 05:25 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (70) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

What They Won't Boycott

UPDATE: I seem to have used a certain term in this post, a term that I have always understood as referring to immigration status, but which i am now informed is racially/ethnically insensitive. I apologize. I won't change the word on my site, though, because I do not go back and hide my mistakes or bury evidence of my own errors.

Those participating in tomorrow's boycott may congest our streets, and may provide a certain disruption of the economy Certainly that is their goal.

Now that immigrants have grabbed the nation's attention, what next?

Monday has been set aside for immigrants to boycott work, school and shopping to show how much they matter to their communities. But with some growing tired of street protests, and others afraid they'll be deported or fired for walking out, people are planning to support the effort in myriad ways.

Some will work but buy nothing on Monday. Others will protest at lunch breaks or at rallies after work. There will be church services, candlelight vigils, picnics and human chains.

The range of activities shows both how powerful the immigrants' rights movement has become in a matter of weeks, and that organizers don't yet have a clear focus on its next step.

But this boycott won't be absolute.

No, they aren't boycotting everything American.

They are not boycotting American liberties, the likes of which they are not guaranteed in their own homelands and which are specifically prohibitted to foreigners in Mexico and a number of other Latin American countries.

They aren't boycotting American social services -- they will still use the free health care and cash the welfare checks provided by the American taxpayer.

They will still use our roads and mass transit, again heavily subsidized by American citizens and legal immigrants.

Personally, I urge those participating in tomorrow's events to boycott one -- and only one -- American thing.

Boycott American air.

Hold your breaths until you turn blue -- for the entire 24 hours.

And meditate upon this paraphrase of a MeCHA slogan.

“Para los ciudadanos, todo. Para los mojados, nada.” -- For the citizens, everything. For the wetbacks, nothing.

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

Panthers To Harrass, Intimidate Duke Lacrosse Players

Could you imagine what would happen if a white supremacist group with a history of armed violence announced its intention to come to a private university and march to protest the alleged rape of a white woman by a black athlete? There would be utter chaos, as multiple law enforcement agencies vied to arrest the thugs and protect the accused from the racists.

Why, then, is Duke welcoming this group and permitting them to be active on campus? And why is the prosecutor apparently going to meet with these thugs?

The national chairman of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense says his group intends to march at Duke University on Monday to "deal directly" with lacrosse players about charges of rape of an escort service dancer at a team party.

Duke's campus police are coordinating with the Durham Police Department to prepare for the black-separatist group, which has a reputation for coming to its protests armed.

Malik Zulu Shabazz, a Washington lawyer who is the leader of the New Panthers, said he will be in Durham to rally with local black leaders and monitor progress of the criminal case against Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, the two students charged with raping and kidnapping the dancer.

"We are conducting an independent investigation, and we intend to enter the campus and interview lacrosse players," Shabazz said Thursday. "We seek to ensure an adequate, strong and vigorous prosecution."

Duke is a private institution, and its campus is private property. Shabazz said he has not sought permission to enter but that his group has "received no word that we are not welcome."

John Burness, Duke's vice president for public affairs and community relations, said Thursday that the university will allow a controlled march on campus, as long as the New Black Panthers follow specific rules.

"As an institution we support free speech, and we will treat them like any other group," Burness said. "But we do not permit weapons. We will take necessary steps to keep the campus safe."

One of the key tenets of the New Black Panthers is owning firearms and knowing how to use them, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a national Jewish group that has monitored Shabazz and his followers for years.

In other words, the violent racists are allowed on campus to harrass students not charged with any crime, provided they leave tehir guns at home. What a double standard -- though one that has operated throughout the development of this case. Could you imagine the smae courseof action being followed by the university or the prosecutor if this case involved the alleged rape of a white stripper by the Duke basketball team?

Could you imagine the Klan being allowed to march on the Duke campus and freely "conduct an independent investigation" and "interview players" at that private school? Certainly not! But the Panthers are welcome, out of a typical academic desire to be "sensitive" and "politically correct".

I don't know if any of these boys are guilty. If they are, I hope they get the maximum available penalty --I've had too many girls and women in my life face the trauma of sexual assault (heck, "one" is "too many" -- and ther have been more than that) to want to see anything less than every ounce of justice received. But in this circus-like kangaroo court atmosphere, the introduction of a violent racist group to the mix is prejudicial to both the safety of the students at Duke and the right of the accused to a fair trial under the laws and constitutions of both the United States and the State of North Carolina.

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|| Greg, 04:50 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (9) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

A Heritage Destroyed

Shame on Spain!

To intentionally destroy archaeological treasures without giving scholars time to fully examine and study them is an act of barbarism! To do so TO BUILD A PARKING LOT is a move that shocks the conscience.

THE archeologists could barely hide their excitement. Beneath the main square of Ecija, a small town in southern Spain, they had unearthed an astounding treasure trove of Roman history.

They discovered a well-preserved Roman forum, bath house, gymnasium and temple as well as dozens of private homes and hundreds of mosaics and statues — one of them considered to be among the finest found.

But now the bulldozers have moved in. The last vestiges of the lost city known as Colonia Augusta Firma Astigi — one of the great cities of the Roman world — have been destroyed to build an underground municipal car park.

Now i'll grant you that Europe is full of Roman ruins, but this city is one o some importance.

The Roman city has proved to be one of the biggest in the ancient world. Its estimated 30,000 citizens dominated the olive oil industry. Terracotta urns from Ecija have been discovered as far away as Britain and Rome.

The region produced three Roman emperors — Trajan, Theodosius and Hadrian — and the research has shown that Ecija was almost as important in the Roman world as Cordoba and Seville.

The socialist governmetn of the town offers this appalling justification for their actions.

The socialist council says that had it not dug up the main square, Plaza de Espana, to build the car park in 1998, the remains would never have been found. But it insists the town must press ahead with the new car park.

In other words, since it was not discovered until the preparations to build began, it obviously couldn't be as important as 299 parking spaces.

“Nonsense,” says the town’s chief archeologist, Antonio Fernandez Ugalde, director of the municipal museum. “For some reason, the politicians here think it is more important to park their own cars. It simply does not make sense.”

But despite opposition from numerous other archeological groups and the Spanish Royal Academy of Art, there is now no possibility of restoring the 2,000-year-old Roman town.

The most exquisite discovery was a statue, known as the Wounded Amazon, modelled on an ancient Greek goddess of war. Only three other such statues are known to exist. The one in Ecija is in by far the best condition with some of its original decorative paint intact.

So much history -- destroyed in the name of commercial development. What the Islamists do not destroy of Western Culture, we will destroy ourselves.

|| Greg, 04:31 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Red Chinese Defy Pope

Red China forcibly severed the relationship between Chinese Catholics and the Vatican in 1951. Those who have remained loyal to the Pope have suffered persecution, imprisonment, and martyrdom at the hands of the atheistic Communist regime in Beijing. In recent years, there has been movement on the part of the Chinese government (which rigidly controls the "official" Catholic Church in China) to permitting Chinese Catholics to end the government-imposed schism. Hope has been rising that there might be, at last, freedom of worship and autonomy under the aegis of Vatican approved bishops.

Unfortunately, this hope seems to have been dashed today.

China's state-sanctioned Roman Catholic Church ordained a new bishop Sunday, rejecting the Vatican's request to delay the appointment and threatening efforts to restore official ties between the sides after five decades.

China's Foreign Ministry defended the official church's right to ordain bishops without Vatican input and called the Holy See's criticism of such appointments "groundless."

The ordination could damage recent efforts to restore Sino-Vatican ties, cut in 1951 after the Communist Party took control in China. One of the stumbling blocks in improving relations has long been a dispute over who has the authority to appoint bishops.

"The recent ordination of bishops at some diocese have been unanimously well-received by church members and priests," the Foreign Ministry said in a faxed statement. "The criticism toward the Chinese side by the Vatican is groundless."

China's church - the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association - held a ceremony for the new bishop, Ma Yinglin, in the city of Kunming in southwestern Yunnan province.

Hong Kong Cable TV showed Ma wearing his new bishop's hat and carrying an ornate gold staff as he waved to the faithful.

Lett me make one thing clear -- there is no "state-sanctioned Roman Catholic Church". There is a counterfeit Catholic Church used as a propaganda piece by the Red Chinese. Roman Catholics are persecuted for their faith, for they refuse to join the state-controlled body.

Will the UN, or the nations of the world, stand up and condemn this fundamental violation of religious freedom and intereference in the internal affairs of the Catholic Church by a govenrment which officially denies the that God exists?

|| Greg, 04:19 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Brokeback Moron

What else can you call Jake Gyllenhaal, the star of a homoerotic western who insults the US military as a part of the promotional work for his upcoming anti-American/anti-military flick, Jarhead.

"The US soldiers were sent to the desert for 122 days and they sat in the same tent and did nothing, except a little too much masturbating."

I'd love to say I'm astounded -- but I'm not given that stars in Hollywood are required to prove their contempt fo the nation before they can succeed.

This America-hating dolt forgets that the reason there was so little combat was the fact that the Iraqis folded like a house of cards -- they were trying to surrender to news crews, unmanned drones, and particularly attractive camels. Not to mention the fact that the US irrationally listened to the demands of the UN to leave the Iraqi dictator in power after liberating Kuwait from its invaders -- resulting in a dozen years of continued oppression of the Iraqis and the need to clean up the mess today.

My wife's cousins was one of those wounded when a SCUD hit his barracks. One of my co-workers had a nephew who was MIA after his unit met up with an Iraqi patrol -- and who thankfully turned up alive in an allied medical unit with wounds that were not life-threatening. I wonder if Jake would be willing to face either of them and make such a comment -- and if he would walk away under his own power if he did.

Americans -- time to do our duty. Let's make sure this Saddamite pretty-boy no longer has a career in film or television, and that he ends his days doing dinner theater outside Hoboken for the rest of his life.

|| Greg, 10:41 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

There Was No Confusion

Cops in California destroyed a newspaper box because they thought it contained a bomb.

They weren't far off.

A newspaper promotion for Tom Cruise's upcoming "Mission: Impossible III" got off to an explosive start when a county arson squad blew up a news rack, thinking it contained a bomb.

The confusion: the Los Angeles Times rack was fitted with a digital musical device designed to play the "Mission: Impossible" theme song when the door was opened. But in some cases, the red plastic boxes with protruding wires were jarred loose and dropped onto the stack of newspapers inside, alarming customers.

Sheriff's officials said they rendered the news rack in this suburb 35 miles north of downtown Los Angeles "safe" after being called to the scene Friday by a concerned individual who thought he'd seen a bomb.

Times officials said the devices were placed in 4,500 randomly selected news boxes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties in a venture with Paramount Pictures designed to turn the "everyday news rack experience" into an "extraordinary mission."

It was just that, at least for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department arson squad, which destroyed the box.

"This was the least intended outcome. We weren't expecting anything like this," said John O'Loughlin, the Times' senior vice president for planning.

The devices are to remain in the boxes until May 7, two days after the film is scheduled to open.

The Tom Cruise flick should have proved itself a bomb by that date.

With luck, it will self-destruct and save the bomb squads of major American cities the trouble of blowing it up.

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

Just Call Me Mr. Nielsen

Well, my Darling Democrat responded to a survey from AC Nielsen -- and for some reason, they want the three of us (me, her, and the Apolitical Pooch) to be a pat of their HomeScan program. For the foreseeable future, we'll be scanning all our our purchases and transmitting the data to the company. Could be fun -- could be a pain. I'll let you know.

But I do have one question.

Why do I feel like I have been assimilated?

|| Greg, 09:58 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 29, 2006

CD22 Update

Looks like the quite race to replace Tom DeLay on the ballot is getting rather interesting.

But whose interests are really bing looked out for by the major players mentioned by Chris Elam in his outstanding political blog, "Texas Safety Forum"?

What to do about empty precinct chair positions? Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace wants them filled -- and he just happens to have a list of candidates who support David Wallace for the nomination. Opposition to the move by Wallace is fierce in Harris County, strong in Brazoria County, and even exists in Fort Bend County as well.

David Wallace may have pressed too hard for the election of new precinct chairs in Harris County. Resistance to his efforts to find sympathetic, NEW chairs in that part of the world has been named as one of the main reasons that Bill Borden stepped forward and advised the party leaders to withhold new nominees to the Exec. Comm. until after the CD 22 nomination is complete. His campaign to find new precinct chairs is in full force in the counties of Brazoria and Fort Bend, and I understand from sources in Brazoria that he is being met with resistance there by leaders who are concerned about appointing single-issue precinct chairs who will not remain involved in the party past the nomination process. Also, its rumored that in Fort Bend, should a slate of new nominees to the Exec. Comm. be offered, opponents to the process of their nomination will not attend the meeting at which they are to be voted upon, thereby preventing a quorum from being reached (which according to Bill Borden, will also prevent the appointments). We'll see what happens in this strateg-ory as the weeks go by.

Sounds like a strategy that is self-serving and destructive to the long-term health of the GOP in CD22. Wallace deserves to fail in this move -- and has probably cooked his goose among the precinct chairs who are responsible for selecting the new candidate.

Chris has more at his site -- but I don't want to steal his thunder.

|| Greg, 02:19 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

"I Would Rather Have A Clean Government Than One Where 'First Amendment Rights' Are Being Respected..."

This is all the reason anyone needs to oppose John McCain for any public office. He does not believe in fundamental American values.

Via Tapscott and Captain's Quarters -- as heard on Don Imus.

"He [Michael Graham] also mentioned my abridgement of First Amendment rights, i.e. talking about campaign finance reform....I know that money corrupts....I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government."

And how, precisely, would we know that it was clean if freedom of speech and freedom of speech have already been eliminated? Sounds like a recipe for Fascist Italy or Communist Russia to me.

I'll stand with Jefferson, the genius behind the Declaration of Independence and passionate advocate for a Bill of Rights.

The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to.

Those who would suppress freedom of speech in the name of "clean government" are, in fact, those who would impose the most vilest forms of government known to human history. Such men and women are dictators-in-waiting, seeking only the proper moment to impose their foul will upon an unconsenting populace, rendering free men and women into slaves in the blink of an eye.

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|| Greg, 02:01 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Helen Thomas Outraged We Aren't Outraged

Maybe it is because we know the alternative was worse, Helen. You know -- Saddam, continued genocide, etc.

Legendary White House correspondent Helen Thomas has sharply questioned U.S. presidents for 46 years, but when she spoke at Centre College Thursday, she had a question for the American people.

“Where is the outrage?”

The subject of that outrage, Thomas said, should be the war in Iraq and President George W. Bush.

We've always known of your preference for foreign dictators over Republican presidents.

|| Greg, 01:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Well, Shows What I Know

I said the "smart money" was on Bush. The "smart money" was wrong.

Let's hope that the money put out by Bob McNair and the Houston Texans to sign Mario Williams was even smarter than the "smart money".

Mario Williams, Reggie Bush and Vince Young all went in the top five of the NFL draft Saturday as expected. Not Matt Leinart.

The 2004 Heisman Trophy winner took a slide to No. 10, finally picked by Arizona after several teams in desperate need of a signal caller passed on the Southern California quarterback.

* * *

Williams went No. 1 overall to Houston, one day after the North Carolina State standout defensive end signed a six-year, $54 million contract. Bush, who teamed with Leinart at USC and was projected to be the top pick overall, next went to New Orleans.

The Titans went for a younger, faster version of the aging Steve McNair, taking Young of national champion Texas at No. 3. And the Jets, who have Chad Pennington recovering from his second rotator cuff injury, pleased their large, loud contingency by choosing Virginia left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson fourth.

Let's be honest -- the Texans were awful last year, and their defense ranked 31 our of 32. Williams isn't a bad pick, when considered in that light. Heck, nobody would have been a bad pick, given how bad the Texans were last year.

And I still think they should have taken D'Brickashaw Ferguson.

|| Greg, 01:12 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dude -- You Are 62 Years Old!

Keith Richards.

No other comemnt necessary.

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was hospitalized for a mild concussion he suffered while vacationing in Fiji, reportedly after falling out of a palm tree.

I guess a Rolling Stone gathers no moss -- but might try to harvest a few coconuts.

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

A Houston-Area Horror

An old commenter, Ridor, dropped me a note about my failure to comment on this story. To be honest, I initially didn't know enough to comment, and have wached as info came out in dribs and drabs about it. Besides -- the Madison High School sex-tape/dance-video has gotten more play in the local media. And there has been a personal issue the last few days that has limited my blogging time.

But now I do have a few minutes -- and can only say that this case horrifies and disgusts me.

The brutalized teen was a popular student and high school football player in Spring once featured in a fashion layout in the school's yearbook.

Two older teens accused of attacking him were described by other youths as troublemakers and "skinheads."

In a case that's garnering national attention, the 17-year-old victim clings to life at Memorial Hermann Hospital while the other two are in the Harris County Jail — charged with aggravated sexual assault after prosecutors accused them of sodomizing him with a pipe because they think he tried to kiss a 12-year-old girl.

"How do you muster up that much hatred?" asked Carolyn Cook, the mother of one of the victim's friends.

The brutal night began about 11:30 p.m. Saturday when the teen went to a party at a home in the 21300 block of Glenbranch. Investigators don't know how many people were there but said the group included David Henry Tuck, 18, of the 3400 block of Nutwood, and Keith Robert Turner, 17, of the 21000 block of Star Grass.

Incensed at the teen because of the girl, Tuck and Turner dragged him in the back yard and began beating him, detectives said.

"They stomped his head with their boots," said Harris County Sheriff's Lt. John Denholm. "They stripped him naked and sodomized him with the PVC pipe used to hold up a patio umbrella."

Tuck then kicked the pipe, causing even further damage, prosecutors said at a Thursday morning hearing.

"I don't mean just a little bit," Harris County prosecutor Mike Trent told District Judge Michael McSpadden. "He kicked it in and shoved it so far in that he has caused major internal injuries and organ damage." Tuck wore steel-toed boots when he attacked the teen and kicked him in the head, Trent said.

The attackers slashed his chest with a knife and hurled ethnic slurs at the teen, who is Hispanic. Then they apparently tried to cover up the crime, authorities said. "They poured bleach on his body to destroy any evidence," Denholm said.

The victim was left for dead in the yard for 10 hours before help was called.

I don't have words to express my level of outrage. Those who would do this are sick, and need a long period of jail time for their inhumanity to their fellow man.

But from what the media is reporting, this isn't necessarily about race -- at least not if the decision not to file hate crime charges is an indication. It isn't about sexual orientation. It seems like it is simply about folks who are twisted and violent -- and who took the opportunity to do serious damage to another human being based upon a trumped-up motive.

Unfortunately, deatils keep changing from day to day -- now it appears there was an adult in the house the whole time, the assult may have happened later than originally suggested, and other changes in the story.

But it doens't change one thing -- there are at least two young men who deserve to spend a lot of time in jail.

UPDATE: The Houston Chronicle has a typically inane editorial about the case.

|| Greg, 12:58 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Skipping A Day's Work -- Getting Three Day's Pay

At least the illegal immigrants they are supporting only demand a fair day's wage for a fair day's work. These California Democrats are taking Monday off -- but engaging in a scam to get three day's pay despite doing so.

[T]he Democrat leaders of the California State Assembly have decided to call their own boycott for May 1, canceling legislative session that day in deference to the protests. But, showing that their commitment only goes so far, they declared Monday a “check-in” day so as not to forfeit their $459 tax-free per diem for the weekend and Monday. A true legislative walkout would have led to lawmakers losing per diem pay for Saturday and Sunday, as well as Monday since spending more than three consecutive days away from the Capitol triggers a halt in the highly-prized extra pay.

The audacity of the move is simply stunning -- I'm absolutely speechless.

But I do love the response of one California Republican legislator.

The legislative protest by the Democrats caught Republican Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy’s attention. Mountjoy remarked at the close of Thursday’s session that he had spoken to former members of the legislature who where willing to come to work on Monday for half price. The only issue was that they were, “undocumented by the Secretary of State.” Does that mean that “undocumented” lawmakers are willing to do the work that American lawmakers aren’t willing to do?

I wonder -- any chance of actually using the "undocmumented legislators" to pass some good legislation for a change? After all, we keep being told that "no person is illegal." Shouldn't that logic apply here, too?

Or will teh Democrats suddenly become supporters of law and order?

|| Greg, 12:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

More Mexican Hypocrisy

It looks like members of Mexico’s Congress have no scruples against interfering with the internal affairs of the United States of America. They are sending a delegation to “El Norte” to support and participate in Monday’s “Day Without Immigrants”.

Mexican lawmakers issued a declaration of support for immigrant protests planned in the United States on Monday and said they will send a delegation to Los Angeles to show their solidarity.

The declaration, issued late Thursday by all the political parties in the lower house of Congress, contrasts with the position of Mexico's Foreign Department, which has said it will discipline any consular officials who take part in the protests.

The delegation of lawmakers will meet with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, it said in a news release from Congress.

"The only thing we are looking for is to end this dehumanizing situation and get the recognition of the migrant labor force," Federal Deputy Maria Garcia said. "People who go looking for work should not be treated like criminals with the risk of being tried in federal courts."

Activists are urging immigrants across the United States to skip work, avoid spending money and march in the streets to demonstrate their importance to the U.S. economy.

The protest, dubbed "A Day Without Immigrants," comes as the U.S. Congress debates immigration bills proposing everything from toughened border security to the legalization of all 11 million undocumented migrants in America.

Interestingly enough, such participation would be illegal if it were reversed – say, a group of American politicians traveling to Mexico to participate in a rally against the corruption endemic in the Mexican political system or the official collusion with drug trafficking. You see, this little provision is a part of the Mexican Constitution.

"Foreigners may not in any way participate in the political affairs of the country."

So you see, these individuals are coming here to participate in a rally that US government officials would be forbidden to participate in if it were held in Mexico. Heck, if the situation were reversed, many of those protesting would be forbidden to participate in the protest, and would be subject to summary deportation without due process!

Once again, we see Mexico's leaders demanding the US act in a manner that Mexico itself would not -- and could not -- act under its own Constitution.

|| Greg, 12:32 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 28, 2006

Limbaugh Plea Agreement

Rush Limbaugh entered a plea agreement with prosecutors in the doctor shopping case. Interestingly enough, no guilty plea is required, and charges will be dismissed in 18 months with no conviction recorded.

Rush Limbaugh was arrested Friday on prescription drug charges, with his attorney saying he has reached a deal with prosecutors that will eventually see the charges dismissed if he continues treatment for drug addiction.

Limbaugh turned himself in to authorities on a warrant issued by the State Attorney's Office, said Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the State Attorney's Office.

The conservative radio commentator came into the jail at about 4 p.m. with his attorney Roy Black and left an hour later after posting $3,000 bail, Barbera said. The warrant was for fraud to conceal information to obtain prescriptions, Barbera said.

Black said his client and prosecutors reached a settlement on a charge of doctor shopping filed Friday by the State Attorney, which Black said will be dismissed in 18 months if Limbaugh complies with court guidelines.

As a primary condition of the dismissal, Limbaugh must continue to seek treatment from the doctor he has seen for the past 2 1/2 years, Black said.

Limbaugh entered a plea of not guilty in court Friday on the charge and Black maintained his client's innocence.

"Mr. Limbaugh and I have maintained from the start that there was no doctor shopping, and we continue to hold this position," Black said in an e-mailed statement.

I'm not in a position to speak to the exact details of the case, but I read that the concern was about 2000 pain pills over a 6 month period. That number may seem shocking to most of you -- but then again you do not live with an individual that suffers from a chronic condition that causes high level of pain. I do -- and calculating how many pills my dear wife takes for pain in the same period, I'm shocked by the small number of pills he was on for what everyone acknowledges was a seriously painful condition.

Personally, I think this agreement was about making the case just go away -- and I cannot blame him for doing so. I also note that it is similar to most drug-related diversion programs that I've read about. That means, for all that the liberals will claim otherwise, that Rush Limbaugh was treated just like everyone else.

|| Greg, 06:07 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||


Well, Saturday is the big day -- my beloved (if pathetic) Houston Texans have the first pick in the 2006 NFL draft. They've told local boy Vince Young not to wait on a call from them. They have dissed my preferred choice, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, by not even talking to his people -- despite the desperate need for help on the offensive line. That leaves twon names that they have mentioned -- DE Mario Williams and RB Reggie Bush. Smart money is on Bush.

But I wonder if this story changes things.

Reggie Bush's parents failed to pay $54,000 in rent for the year they lived in a house owned by an investor in a sports marketing agency that sought to represent Bush, the owner of the house said late last night in an interview at The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Yeah, that's right -- Reggie the Golden Boy is now the subject of an NCAA investigation, hours before the name of the top pick is going to be called out. Does this concern the Texans, especially given that owner Bob McNair has gone out of his way to cultivate a squeaky clean image for his team? Will McNair, Kubiak, Casserly and Reeves not merely break the hearts of Texans fans by drafting someone other than the Young man who grew up here, but do so with a player who appears to be dirty and whose team was out-classed by Vince and the Longhorns in the Rose Bowl? Does the appearance of impropriety change the equation?

We'll wait and see.

* * *

And while we are at it, let's take this opportunity to begin our all-weekend Linkfest and Open Trackback celebration.

Link back here with your posts that you believe should go high hin the draft -- your blogs "franchise players" if you will. I won't limit the number of posts you link back with, but do ask you to exercise prudent judgement.

But remember the Rhymes With Right Rules.

No Porn. No Ads. No Problem.

OTHER OPEN TRACKBACKERS -- Voteswagon, TMH Bacon Bits, Stuck on Stupid, Adam's Blog, Third World Country, Liberal Wrong Wing, Blue Star Chronicles, Conservative Cat, Tor's Rants, Uncooperative Blogger, 123Beta, Church and State, Cigar Intelligence Agency

» Cigar Intelligence Agency links with: Weekend Linkfest Party!
» The Uncooperative Blogger links with: Minuteman Volunteers Build Fence in CA

|| Greg, 12:46 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

April 27, 2006

Charges In NKU Civil Rights Violation By Professor And Hate Mob

Looks like here may be a little justice in the vandalism of a pro-life display at Northern Kentucky University. Not enough, but some.

A professor and six students at Northern Kentucky University have been charged with vandalizing an anti-abortion display on campus, a prosecutor said.

Professor Sally Jacobsen and six students face misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief and theft by unlawful taking, Campbell County Attorney Justin Verst said. Jacobsen, who teaches in the literature and language department, also faces a charge of criminal solicitation because she allegedly encouraged students to participate in the destruction, Verst said.

Four hundred crosses representing aborted fetuses were pulled from the ground and thrown in trash cans around campus on April 12. A sign explaining the temporary display, which had been approved by university officials as an expression of free speech, was also removed.

Jacobsen told The Kentucky Enquirer that she had "invited" students in her graduate-level British literature course to exercise free-speech by destroying the display. She said she was offended by the simulated cemetery, which she considered intimidating to women who might be considering abortions.

* * *

Jacobsen would plead not guilty, Grubbs said, adding that the dismantling of the display didn't amount to a criminal act.

"The intent was just an expression of freedom of speech," Grubbs said. "She saw harm coming from it, and she was just expressing her attitude toward the harm."

The six students charged were Michelle Cruey, Katie Nelson, Heather Nelson, Stephanie Horton, Sara Keebler and Laura Caster. A court date was set for May 11.

That Jacobsen is still unrepentant is a sign that her only sorrow is related to being caught and punished. She is not at all sorry for violating the civil rights of the student group which had requested and received permission to erect the display, as is permitted in a number of public areas on the campus
Students do have a right to free speech on a college campus. That includes setting up displays on controversial political matters and not having them destroyed by individuals with fascist mindsets.

The real shame here is not that Jacobsen and her brainwashed acolytes will face criminal charges -- it is that there is not a felony charge included, and that Jacobsen will be allowed to retire and receive a pension after violating the Constitutional rights of students at the university. Moreover, it is my hope that the students involved receive severe disciplinary action from the University for the same reason --preferably expulsion, but a suspension of at least one year should be sufficient.

And before you ask, I would feel just as strongly if the display were one on behalf of a cause or issue I reject. The First Amendment knows no ideological limits. I wish that the Left would learn that lesson.

MORE AT The Moderate Voice and The American Moderate

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

Racist, Sexist Insults And Threats Against Minority Student At Georgia Tech

Oops, never mind – she’s a Republican, so she loses all human rights protection on campus.

The threats began after the College Republicans sued the school over discriminatory distribution of student funds and violations of the First Amendment by the University. I’m not familiar with the merits of the suit, and will not address them here. What is undeniable is the campaign of racial and sexual harassment that began against the head of the campus chapter of the College Republican. Mike Adams sums the situation up well, in his usual colorful style.

Currently, the Pride Alliance at Tech receives funding from the SGA. The College Republicans do not. Now that Tech has been sued by a Republican over the funding issue the tension is palpable. Gays and their allies are calling the suit “intolerant” because, among other things, it seeks to allow the Republican group to be funded on an equal footing with Tech’s homosexual group.

But the gays and their allies don’t want that. They want two things: 1) For the school to keep funding the Pride Alliance and 2) For the school to keep denying the Republicans equal funding.

The fact that the gays and their allies a) see themselves as open-minded for supporting a one-sided presentation of gay issues and b) see the Republicans as narrow-minded for supporting a more diverse presentation of viewpoints speaks volumes about both their intellectual prowess and emotional stability.

But pointing out the lack of intelligence and emotional grounding of the Georgia Tech Gay Gestapo isn’t enough to make them angry. The way to really make them mad is to point out their intolerance. Lately, that’s been easy to do.

Gay Yellow Jackets and their allies have started a campus group condemning a plaintiff in the lawsuit. They have sent emails to that plaintiff (from Georgia Tech addresses) saying things like “bitch I want to choke you.” Some have expressed a desire to throw acid in her face. They have posted pictures of her adorned with swastikas on the internet. They have also passed out posters in dorms calling her a “Twinkie bitch” – this to suggest that she is Asian on the outside and Caucasian on the inside.

In other words, these people are more than just dumb and emotionally unstable. They are also intolerant, not to mention violent

Now let me make a couple of observations here. I have serious qualms about using student fees about student fees funding ANY political groups – but if political groups are to get funds, they must receive them on an equitable basis. I have serious issues with “status” groups receiving funds – whether we are talking gay groups, ethnic groups or gender groups, though I believe that they should also receive funding on an equitable basis. Heck, I’ve never believed in the notion of student fees being used to fund student groups, feeling that they should be self-funded and self-sustaining.

But whatever issues I might take on the question of funding, I can see no legitimate basis for threats of violence, gender-based insults, or the distribution of racist materials. I realize that such basic moral principles are not generally shared by the Left (see the treatment of Michael Steele by Maryland Democrats or the racist insults directed against Condi Rice).

Unless, of course, “tolerance” policies are simply an “Endangered Species Act” to protect liberal interest groups – and intended to turn convert conservatives into road-kill.

|| Greg, 06:47 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Sick Game

I find this repulsive, because it does clearly advocate violence. As such, I condemn it.

A controversial video game attached to an e-mail making the rounds of in-boxes around the country is highlighting just how some people feel about the immigration issue.

Many local residents have been forwarded an e-mail with the words "Border Patrol Game." However many are saying it is less a game and more an invitation to violence. In the game, players try to shoot and kill Mexican border crossers.

Inside the game there are three targets: a Mexican nationalist, a drug smuggler, and a pregnant woman running with two children which the game labels a "breeder."

Border Patrol spokesman Doug Nosier tells ABC-7, "They only perpetuate hate, not to mention show Border Patrol in a false's horrendous and really unfortunate that these kind of games exist."

The perpetrator of this sick “game” is Tom Metzger, the Klansman.

Figures that this would come out of a sick mother f*cker like him.

|| Greg, 06:27 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

ADL Engages In McCarthyism

What else can you their report entitled “Extremists Declare 'Open Season' on Immigrants: Hispanics Target of Incitement and Violence”? It goes on about Nazi and Klan violence and racist rhetoric – and having set the bait, pull a big switch and tar non-racist, non-violent opponents of illegal immigration as “extremists” and “vigilantes”.

The vigilante border patrol groups have operated for several years but have expanded greatly in the past twelve months, spurred on by the media attention given to the so-called "Minuteman Project." In April 2005, Chris Simcox, who founded the Arizona-based Civil Homeland Defense, a border vigilante group, and Jim Gilchrist, based in California, joined forces to create the Minuteman Project, whose purpose was to gather thousands of volunteers for a month-long watch for illegal border crossers in Arizona. The project, which was highly publicized among right-wing extremists and white supremacists, attracted far fewer volunteers, many of them armed, during its first week. However, the publicity generated by the event resulted in numerous Minuteman chapters and spin-offs forming across America, even in states such as New York, Virginia, Vermont, and Illinois. These groups use the same radical rhetoric: that the United States is being "invaded" by Mexicans who must be stopped.

That message was clear at a three-day summit, "Unite to Fight Against Illegal Immigration," held in Las Vegas, Nevada, in May 2005. More than 400 anti-immigration activists gathered at the event to hear speakers describe illegal immigrants as "the enemy within" and "illegal barbarians," while suggesting that America was "at war" with illegal immigrants and urging people to "take America back."

Many of these anti-immigrant extremists have switched their focus from the border to day laborer centers, where they photograph Hispanics whom they assume are illegal aliens. This racial profiling has also occurred at fast food restaurants and other businesses where Hispanics are employed across the United States. White supremacist and anti-government groups continue to express interest and take part in these activities, and their rhetoric has become more and more confrontational.

Such tactics are repulsive and despicable.

And I don’t mean those of the patriots who seek to secure our borders against the stream of border-jumpers breaking our nation’s laws – efforts that are brutally misrepresented in the report.

I mean those of the ADL, which attempts to paint any opposition to its open-borders agenda as racist. In fact, it is anti-American hate-mongering, and unworthy of an organization that at one time merited a reputation as a fair-minded and responsible advocate of human rights.

|| Greg, 06:26 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Hey Leftists – This Is Suppression Of Dissent

Interestingly enough, we are unlikely to hear any words of condemnation from Neil Young or others who accuse President Bush of being a dictator, a Nazi, or of suppressing dissent in this country.

But then again, why should we be surprised. They like real dictators like the tyrant in Havana. And so they don’t mind the use of tactics like beating up old women.

A leading Cuban dissident has said she was badly beaten up by government supporters as she headed for a meeting organised by United States officials.

Martha Beatriz Roque said about a dozen people pushed her to the ground in front of her Havana home and one of them punched her in the face.

The 60-year-old economist was jailed in 2003 with 74 other dissidents but was freed a year later on health grounds.

Fidel Castro's government says its opponents are paid agents of the US.
Ms Roque said that a group of people gathered outside her home on Tuesday.

As she left to go to a meeting at the residence of the head of the US interests section, Michael Parmly, they pushed and shoved her to the ground.

A man then entered the building and hit her in the face after she shouted "Down with Fidel".

"They have been bothering Martha for months, but this is the first time she has been treated so brutally," Elizardo Sanchez, head of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights, told Reuters.

What a pity that JFK lacked the manhood to support the heroes of the Bay of Pigs – nearly half a century of brutal oppression by this molester of grandmothers would have been prevented.

Death to Castro!

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

Clinton Disrupts Child’s Birthday Party

Will someone inform the former First Satyr that he is just a private citizen – and will someone inform the Secret Service that the ex-Horndog-in-Chief’s presence is not sufficient basis to stop people from engaging in legal activities.

Or to bust in on a five-year-old’s birthday party and stop the entertainment.

Clinton was preparing to hit his second shot on the fifth hole at Las Vegas Country Club on Saturday when Secret Service agents halted a birthday party fireworks event.

It's a birthday that Savanna Muirhead, the 5-year-old daughter of 28-year-old porn star Sophia Rossi, won't forget.

Savanna was preparing to launch a remote control 18-inch rocket when Clinton's bodyguards "came out of nowhere" and had the launch scrubbed.

Bobby McKelvey, who had just set up the rocket on the edge of the fairway in the backyard of Rossi's home on Bel Air Drive, recalls hearing the stern words, "Sir, do not fire that rocket."

He looked up and saw two badge-flashing Secret Service agents running toward him, while three more agents came out from behind trees.

"We cannot have you shooting rockets at President Clinton," said one of the agents as he approached the party of 80, said McKelvey.

Clinton, in a party of more than a dozen, was about 50-75 yards away, said McKelvey, 41, who described himself as Rossi's manager.

The rocket, fired later, includes a parachute that explodes when the missile reaches a height of 300-350 feet, McKelvey said.

I’d have fired the damn thing anyway, and dared them to take me in. After all, the fireworks were legal, their use was legal, and there was clearly no threat to Billzebubba. I would have also not-so-politely suggested that they get the hell off my property until they had obtained a warrant

On the on the hand, I might have been amenable to a request that I let Clinton play through – a matter of golf etiquette. But such an overreaction by the Secret Service merits no respect.

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

Skynyrd 3:16

Neil Young, at some time in his drug-hazed life, came to believe that American’s give a damn about his political beliefs. And while I will concede a passing interest in some of his earlier works, I can guarantee that I won’t be adding his current rant to my music collection – regardless of the fawning reviews from some critics.

Just reading the lyrics makes me realize that this CD is gonna suck.

Let’s impeach the president for lying And leading our country into war Abusing all the power that we gave him And shipping all our money out the door

He’s the man who hired all the criminals
The White House shadows who hide behind closed doors
And bend the facts to fit with their new stories
Of why we have to send our men to war

Let’s impeach the president for spying
On citizens inside their own homes
Breaking every law in the country
By tapping our computers and telephones

What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees
Would New Orleans have been safer that way
Sheltered by our government’s protection
Or was someone just not home that day?

Let’s impeach the president
For hijacking our religion and using it to get elected
Dividing our country into colors
And still leaving black people neglected

Thank god he’s racking down on steroids
Since he sold his old baseball team
There’s lot of people looking at big trouble
But of course the president is clean

Thank God

False, inaccurate, and just plain ignorant. And it doesn’t have a beat you can dance to.

I still think the best response to the political ravings of Neil Young was made over three decades ago -- and I'll just update it slightly.

Well I heard mister Young sing about him Well, I heard ole Neil put him down Well, I hope Neil Young will remember A Red State man don't need him around anyhow.

Sweet home America
Where we're red, white and blue
And the president's true
Sweet Home America
Lord, we still are true to you.

|| Greg, 06:19 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

"Unconstitutional Religious Test" -- What It Is And What It Ain't


I've once again been struck by the ignorance that abounds in the media regarding the Constitution and what it means when it uses certain terms. It is as if there is an intentional rejection of the history of certain words and phrases, in the interest of getting a story.

Take this comment from none other than Bob Novak, who should know better (after all, he covered the Constitutional Convention along with Helen Thomas)

The U.S. Constitution prohibits a religious test for public office, but that is precisely what is being posed now. Prominent, respectable Evangelical Christians have told me, not for quotation, that millions of their co-religionists cannot and will not vote for Romney for president solely because he is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If Romney is nominated and their abstention results in the election of Hillary Rodham Clinton, that's just too bad. The evangelicals are adamant, saying there is no way Romney can win them over.

Romney is well aware that an unconstitutional religious test is being applied to him, but he may be seriously minimizing the problem's scope as limited to relatively few fanatics. He feels the vast majority of conservative voters worried about his faith will flinch at the prospect of another Clinton in the White House. But such a rational approach is not likely to head off a highly emotional collision of religious faith and religious bias with American politics.

No, Bob, there is no "unconstitutional religious test" being applied to Romney, based upon what you have written in this column.

As used in the COnstitution, the term "religious test" refers to oaths or actions that are required of a citizen BY GOVERNMENT before they might hold office or receive some government benefit. Such tests existed to one degree or another in most of the colonies prior to the Revolution, and were common in England into the 1800s. Many of them were directed at Catholics, and required that the officeholder take an oath that they rejected the authority of the pope and certain "false and pernicious doctrines" which were part of the Catholic faith. Quakers and Baptists were also often targetted by such oaths. The prohibition, therefore, is one on GOVERNMENT ACTION, not private action.

Unless I missed something in the Novak piece, no such religious test is being required by government.

What is happening, for better or for worse, is that questions are being raised in some minds about voting for a Mormon, given that faith's divergence from certain historical doctrines of the Christian faith. Now I've never heard such questions raised in the Republican or religious circles in which I run, but the media keeps telling me that they are. But assuming that they are, that does not constitute a violation of the prohibition on religious tests -- for the Constitution cannot and does not dictate what factors may be considered by individual citizens when they enter the voting booth, as the individual vote of a citizen is most decidedly NOT a government action.

Which is not to say that I approve of those who would let Romney's religion enter into their calculations. If it goes on, I find it offensive -- just as I did when Ted Kennedy raised the religious issue against Romney when he was the GOP nominee for Senate.

» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval

|| Greg, 04:46 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (1) ||

Broken Hearts In Houston

Once our new coach committed to David Carr, I had no illusions abotu Vince Young becoming a Houston Texan. Others still nursed that hope. Those hopes were dashed yesterday by GM Charley Casserly came out and said that the UT quarterback, a product of HISD's Madison High School, was not even a consideration in the Texans draft plans.

And one of those who was stung was the local hero himself.

Former University of Texas quarterback Vince Young had been aware of media reports that the Houston Texans had no intention of selecting him with Saturday's first pick in the NFL draft, but he was still surprised when general manager Charley Casserly admitted it publicly on Wednesday.

On the day the Texans made their first breakthrough in contract negotiations with Southern California running back Reggie Bush, Casserly explained at the team's annual pre-draft news conference why the team believes it's necessary to draft a player at another position, either Bush or North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams.

"Yeah, I was still surprised when I heard about it," said Young, who came to New York this week to participate in events leading up to this weekend's draft. "I know what the media's been saying about them not taking me, but I wanted to play for my hometown team.

"If they don't want me, well, I know it's a business. I'm kind of disappointed, but I have to get ready for the draft and be prepared to play for the team that wants me."

I'm disappointed by the announcement, but only because it confirms that D'Brickashaw Ferguson will go elsewhere, even though he best fits the team's needs.

As for Young, the local boy will likely match up against the Texans twice a year -- division rival Tenessee will likely take him.

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

April 26, 2006

Foreigners Pay For Medical Care Up Front In Mexico

On the other hand, Mexicans get free medical care in the US, courtesy of citizen-taxpayers who receive no such free care.

Take this case of a Canadian man who still, after a week, has received no medical care from Mexican doctors despite serious, possibly life-threatening, injuries.

A Cape Breton woman whose son survived a fall from a sixth-floor balcony in Mexico says doctors there won’t set his broken bones without cash up front.

Carol Campbell says her son, Jason Campbell, broke both legs and his pelvis in the fall last Wednesday at a Mexican tourist resort in Puerto Vallarta, where he remains in hospital.

His mother says since then, the 25-year-old has been given only pain medication and antibiotics.

"My son is still laying there with broken legs, broken pelvis, bones coming out of his legs," the woman told Global News on Monday in Sydney.

"His legs are swelling worse than balloons, his eye, I don’t know what state his eye is in, his teeth, he’s bruised everywhere."

Jason Campbell was in Mexico with friends. His family admits he had been drinking before he fell.

His father, Wallace Campbell, says "all I know is, from the doctors down there, is he is going to be paralyzed for the rest of his life and as far as internal bleeding, they won’t let me know anything."

The family says doctors are demanding up to $40,000 to treat Campbell’s broken bones.

His mother says he didn’t have a health plan in Alberta, where he now works in the oil industry.

Now the family is trying to raise money to get him home.

"We have some fundraising going on in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Alberta," says Theresa Petrie, the young man’s sister-in-law.

Carol Campbell says she has turned everwhere to get help for her son — the Canadian Consulate in Mexico, the Canadian Foreign Affairs Department in Ottawa, friends, family and politicians.

Gordie Gosse, an NDP member of the Nova Scotia legislature, says it’s a sad situation.

"We have a Canadian citizen that’s stuck in a foreign country in very severely, bad shape at this time and needs medical attention right away — and has been injured now for almost a week, and has no medical attention."

As i have asked in the past -- can't we treat those who have broken our nation's laws with as much disdain as Mexico shows foreigners in their country -- legal or otherwise? That would solve the illegal immigration problem in short order.

» links with: Mexico Denies Emergency Medical Care to Canadian Tourist
» links with: Mexico Denies Emergency Medical Care to Canadian Tourist

|| Greg, 07:56 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

"So Sweeping And Loosely Reasoned That It Virtually Begs The Supreme Court To Overrule It."

I'm not the author of those words describing the anti-First Amendment decision handed down by a pair of Ninth Circuit judges in Harper v. Poway Unified School District.

No, they are the assesment of the decision by the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times -- a group which is generallly knee-jerk in its support of gay rights and not too friendly towards conservatives Christians.

But in this case, I think ithe paper has put together an editorial that says what i've been trying to say, only better.

Free-speech fashion

IF STUDENTS AT A PUBLIC SCHOOL have a 1st Amendment right to wear black armbands as an antiwar protest — and they do, according to the U.S. Supreme Court — does a Christian student have a similar right to wear a T-shirt proclaiming "Homosexuality Is Shameful"? He should, despite a recent federal appeals court ruling so sweeping and loosely reasoned that it virtually begs the Supreme Court to overrule it.

Offended by the fact that Poway High School near San Diego had declared a "Day of Silence" designed to teach tolerance of gay and lesbian students, sophomore Tyler Harper wore a T-shirt with the "Homosexuality Is Shameful" message on the back and this message on the front: "Be Ashamed, Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned." A teacher told him that the shirt violated the school dress code and was inflammatory. When he refused to remove it, he was kept in a school office for the rest of the day.

Harper and his parents asked a U.S. District Court to issue an injunction preventing the school from interfering with his constitutional rights. The court declined, and its ruling was affirmed last week by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Unfortunately, in explaining why the school was within its rights, Judge Stephen Reinhardt misapplied the Supreme Court's 1969 armband decision and created a "right" that doesn't exist: the right not to be offended.

The armband case gave schools the constitutional authority to suppress student speech only when it poses a "substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities." A federal district judge had cited that exception in ruling for the school district in the current T-shirt case.

But Reinhardt, joined by another circuit judge, tacked on a spongier rationale: that the T-shirt was "injurious to gay and lesbian students and interfered with their right to learn." He maintained students should be protected not only from face-to-face harassment but also from "derogatory and injurious remarks directed at students' minority status such as race, religion and sexual orientation."

There are several problems with this broad formulation. Harper's T-shirt did not feature lewd or "fighting" words. It did not attack individual gay students. Reinhardt's expansive definition could cover all sorts of utterances that gay students might find offensive — like a classmate's praise for the pope's opposition to gay priests or a civics class comment that states shouldn't legalize same-sex marriage.

Students certainly have a right to learn, free of bullying and harassment. But they also have the right to express opinions that their classmates might find offensive — as long as doing so doesn't pose a substantial threat of disruption.

Thirty-seven years after the armband decision, some may wish the high court had never let the genie of student free speech out of the constitutional bottle. It is also true that gay students have been victims of bullying that no one believes is protected by the 1st Amendment. But Reinhardt's opinion does gay students no service by endowing them with a "right" to be shielded from the offensive opinions of others.

Precisely right -- and if I may extend the principle beyond the scope of this editorial, I'd like to say that no student, regardless of race, sex, orientation, ethnicity, or religious faith is well-served by giving them the right to be shielded from views which offend them if it involves permitting them to invoke the censorship of their fellow students.

|| Greg, 07:28 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Misplaced Sympathy

Oh those poor law-breaking border jumpers!

Stepped-up immigration enforcement in South Texas has made a long-standing predicament even worse: Increasing numbers of undocumented residents find themselves trapped, unable to get past beefed-up highway checkpoints.

Many are teenagers who rarely stray from their towns and neighborhoods for fear of getting deported.

''These kids go to school here, they've grown up here, and are as American as anyone, except they have no documents," said Kyle Brown, a McAllen immigration lawyer. "They can't go back to Mexico and can't go out of the Valley. It's a problem we see over and over."

Such immigrants are thought to number in the tens of thousands, Brown and other immigration lawyers say, and their ranks are growing as the illegal immigrant population swells.

Typical is the Carrizales family. Irma Alvarado de Carrizales is a legal U.S. resident. But two of her four children have no documents.

Travel is risky, said Carrizales, who lives in the McAllen area. And family getaways — jaunts to Sea World, the Alamo or Six Flags Over Texas — are out of the question.

"South Padre Island is the only place we can go," she said. ''We are prisoners of the Valley."

No, you are foreign invaders who refuse to return to your proper side of the border. You are lawbreakers who think your crimes should be without consequences. The fact that you have to hide out from the authorities is no more a violation of your rights or dignity than the need of an escaped convict to avoid attracting the attention of the police while on the lam.

|| Greg, 07:04 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Mike Adams’ Greatest Hits

One of my favorite columnists is Mike Adams, a professor from University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

In today’s columns, he recaps some of his “most offensive” (to liberals) lines from his columns. I’ve taken the liberty of excerpting a few.

“When I talk to liberals, I don’t expect them to understand my positions on various issues. I spend most of my time trying to help them understand their own.”

* * *

“When I am hunting and I know I see a deer in the brush, I pull the trigger. When I know it is a human, I hold my fire. When I don’t know, I also hold my fire. The feminist who doesn’t know whether it a fetus is a person, has the abortion anyway. In other words, she just pulls the trigger. Nonetheless, feminists still feel they are morally superior to hunters.”

* * *

“Over the last couple of years, I’ve been tying to see things from a liberal perspective. Unfortunately, I can’t get my head that far up my ass. I guess it takes a lot of flexibility to be a liberal. It also takes a considerable lack of backbone.”

* * *

“Men are fully capable of masturbating without taking a seminar. For men, it’s a natural talent. For campus feminists, it’s another excuse to seek funding from the university administration.”

* * *

“Bringing American professors to laughter is nearly as tough as bringing American feminists to orgasm. It’s a theoretical possibility that is seldom achieved without a workshop.”

* * *

“I do not believe that surgically applying a breast to a man’s chest can make him a woman any more than surgically applying a horn to a man’s forehead can make him a unicorn.”

* * *

“If you are easily offended by free speech on campus, I have just the solution: Get the hell out of college.”

Well done, Dr. Adams! Academia is in need of many more men and women with your clarity of vision.

|| Greg, 07:02 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Churches Call For Reparations – A Proposal For Making It Happen

A number of mainline Protestant churches are calling for reparations to African-Americans for slavery, an institution eliminated in this country 140 years ago.

The Episcopal Church, at its upcoming General Convention in June, will consider whether to endorse reparations for 250 years of American slavery. The two-million member Episcopal Church is the embodiment of the declining and aging Protestant denominations whose elites prioritize left-wing politics. And, like the other "mainline" denominations, it is largely white and upper-middle class. To compensate for their failure to attract racial minorities, Religious Left prelates often adopt radical race-related causes. It is the perfect issue for anti-American religious elites. Obsess over a social sin of past centuries that will portray the United States and Western Civilization in the most sinister light. Meanwhile, ignore or minimize the personal sins and spiritual needs of leftists. Mainline prelates feel "prophetic" and "relevant" when they adopt causes such as reparations for slavery. Proposed Episcopal Church Resolution A124 would admit to the “the complicity of the Episcopal Church” in slavery and the church’s “economic benefits” from it. It asks for a study as to how, “as a matter of justice,” the church can “share those benefits with African American Episcopalians.”

* * *

A policy statement of the 8 million member United Methodist Church specifically endorses U.S. House of Representatives bill 40 from Congressman by Michigan Democratic Congressman John Conyers, which advocates slavery reparations.

* * *

The 3 million member Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in a more organized fashion, maintains a website dedicated to supporting slavery reparations. Officially, the denomination supports the Conyers’ bill and cites the need for recompense for other victims groups, including Native Americans, Alaskan Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans and Puerto Ricans. But the website admits that a 2003 poll of Presbyterians revealed that 85 percent of church members and 68 percent of pastors oppose federal government reparations for the descendants of slaves. Seven percent supported reparations for descendants of African slaves, while 4 percent supported reparations for the other victim groups.

Reparations for slavery is an absurd notion, rooted in the idea that those who were never slaves should be compensated by those who never owned slaves. It is a notion that I uncategorically reject.

However, if those churches believe in reparations, there is nothing stopping them from acting on the matter. If they believe that their institutions are tainted by the slavery, then they must act.

Liquidate your assets. Give them to those you feel are deserving of them.

And leave the rest of us alone.

After all, wouldn’t forcing the rest of us to pay for crimes we did not commit involve imposing the religious values of the Religious Left on Americans with common sense?

|| Greg, 06:58 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Champions Of A Different Sort

The Centralia Orphans (I’m not making up the team name) went 1-8 last year during the high school football season. But earlier this week, several members of the team proved themselves to be winners of a different sort.

Eleven members of the Centralia High School varsity football team are being credited with saving a mechanic's life by lifting a pickup that had crushed him after it slid off a hydraulic lift.

The injured mechanic, Ed Marsh, 33, was in serious condition Tuesday at St. Louis University Hospital, where doctors had placed him in a coma to treat his injuries.

* * *

Marsh, a married father of three, had been working Saturday morning at ExpertTire in Centralia when the Ford F-150 pickup slipped off the lift.

At the time, 11 Centralia football players were collecting used tires on ExpertTire's rear parking lot as part of a community cleanup.

Travis Patten, 16, one of the players, said: "We were throwing tires into the back of a semi when some guy came running over from the Sonic (restaurant) next door. He said, 'We need all you guys to help us. There's a guy trapped underneath a truck.'"

Without hesitation, the boys sprinted around to the front of the garage. In one of the bays, they saw several tire company employees straining to keep as much of the truck's weight as possible off of Marsh. The back half of the truck was still resting on the hydraulic lift.

All that could be seen of Marsh were his legs.

"I grabbed under the driver's tire," said Patten, who stands 5 feet 9 and weighs 135 pounds. "The rest of the players grabbed all around the front.

"We got it up, and they were able to scoot him out."

The other team members involved in the rescue were Jarren Baker, Tyler McAbee, Kyle Pender, Darren Whitelow, Travis Arnold, Lucas Waters, Marquise Shackleford, Nathan Berry, Marcus Currie and T.J. Erlinger.

Well done, men – this is the sort of victory that transcends any you might win on the playing field.

|| Greg, 06:53 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Disingenuous Democrat

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is against mandatory photo identification of voters.

That is to be expected – anything that might prevent the voter fraud that empowers Democrats in the St. Louis area would be anathema to the paper’s editors. The basis for their objection to the Missouri Voter Protection Act now before the state legislature is therefore understandable – and they make it quite clear when they rename it the Republican Incumbent Protection Act. Their further claim that it is intended to rig elections is laughable, given the record of certain areas of Missouri in conducting dirty elections to elect Democrats.

But there was a shocking quote that appeared in the editorial – one that is laughable in its falsehood.

Most voter fraud in Missouri is linked to inactive voters, those on lists who haven't voted for years and suddenly show up at the polls. The new statewide voter database was designed to address that problem.

"There's no evidence that terrorists or dead people are voting in Missouri," Ms. Carnahan said.

Well, Robin, it is certainly well-documented that the dead turned out in St. Louis in 2000. One even filed suit to make sure he could vote for a fellow necro-American after the statutory poll closing time. And if you will check, the dead candidate’s name was Carnahan. Any relation?

|| Greg, 06:51 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Rites Of Succession

Back when I was still teaching English, I would sometimes teach Chaim Herzog's wonderful book, The Chosen. For those of you not familiar with the book, it deals with the friendship between two young Talmud scholars in New York City -- one the son of a liberal professor, the other the annointed heir of the head of a Hasidic community. It is a short, easy read, but also a fantastic teaching tool on many levels. I'd encourage folks to read it.

I cannot help but flash back to that novel as I read about the death of Satmar Grand Rebbe Moses Teitelbaum,, who led the largest Hasidic sect for many years. The body was not yet cold when a serious power struggle erupted between two of the rebbe's ons over the control of the group -- which has assets of over a billion dollars.

A Hasidic king was buried Monday night, even as two of his sons fought in secular and religious courts to claim his throne.

Satmar Grand Rebbe Moses Teitelbaum, the 91-year-old leader of the world's largest and most powerful ultra-orthodox Hasidic sect, had been dead only three hours when thousands of Hasidim -- bearded and wearing black felt hats -- jammed into the main synagogue in Brooklyn for his funeral.

The scene was from another age -- 17th-century Eastern Europe, to be precise. Teitelbaum's sons loosened high-pitched wails and bowed again and again in prayer toward his wooden coffin. Male mourners, pressed so tightly together that breathing was difficult, surged across the floor, pushing, shoving, elbowing to get closer to the casket.

Upstairs, Satmar women watched, unseen, from behind wooden screens.

Outside the synagogue, loudspeakers pumped out the sons' eulogies and prayers into the night air, their cries echoing off the tenement walls of the Williamsburg neighborhood. More than 20,000 Satmar followers packed the streets, sat shoulder-to-shoulder on brownstone stoops, climbed trees or watched from rooftops and balconies.

* * *

But no one has devised a clear process for picking a new grand rebbe -- succession wars and angry splits are common among Hasidic sects. In theory, the grand rebbe anoints a successor, a rabbinical court agrees, and the choice meets with approval.

In the case of the Satmar, Teitelbaum's eldest son, Aaron -- who is chief rabbi in Kiryas Joel -- expected to succeed his father. But in his later years, Moses Teitelbaum came to see Aaron as headstrong and, perhaps, not capable of leading the entire sect.

So the father appointed a younger son, Zalmen, to run the Williamsburg congregation, splitting his empire.

Aaron never fully accepted the decision. Save for a few brief words of commiseration Monday evening, the middle-aged brothers have not spoken to each other in more than seven years, say advisers to the two men. Most Satmar Hasidim have lined up behind one brother or the other -- the sides are known as the "Zalis" and "Aaronis" -- and the past decade has been punctuated by fistfights, broken legs and arms, torched cars and homes.

May God grant these men the grace and wisdom to settle their differences amicably, for the sake of their followers and their father's memory.

And may I suggest to them that they consider which woman Solomon decreed to be the rightful mother of the babe -- the one who indicated her willingness to give up her on child, not the one willing to see it cut asunder.

|| Greg, 04:30 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||


It looks like today could be the day that Fox News Anchor and radio host Tony Snow will be announced as the new White House press secretary.

Fox News commentator Tony Snow agreed last night to become White House press secretary after top officials assured him that he would be not just a spokesman but an active participant in administration policy debates, people familiar with the discussions said.

A former director of speechwriting for President Bush's father, Snow views himself as well positioned to ease the tensions between this White House and the press corps because he understands both politics and journalism, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the appointment had not been officially confirmed, although an announcement is expected today.

Snow will become the first Washington pundit -- and an outspoken ideological voice at that -- to take over the pressroom lectern at a time when tensions between journalists and the administration have been running high, over issues ranging from the Iraq war to investigations involving leaks of classified information.

This could be really fun. Given his experience in the press and the Executive branch, I wonder if Snow will have much toleance for the divas, prima donnas, and buffoons of the White House press corps who think that they are the story -- folks like David Gregory and Helen Thomas. My money is on Tony.

* * *

In honor of the good news, I hereby declare this my Wednesday LinkFest and Open Trackback post.

Post a link to your noteworthy writings and most interesting rants -- not to mention your well-reasoned and intellectually challenging essays -- for all of us to see.

As usual, I will not limit the number of items you can link, provided you stay reasonable.

And also as usual, remember the rule.

No Porn. No Spam. No Problem.

OTHER OPEN TRACKBACKS AT: Adam's Blog. Conservative Cat, Third World Country, TMH Bacon Bits

» TMH's Bacon Bits links with: Bacon break — Those Bastards!
» The John Galt Line links with: The Snow Job
» Stuck On Stupid links with: The Crazy Mc-K "Don't Quote Me" Open Post & Trackback Party

|| Greg, 02:13 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (3) ||

April 25, 2006

And They Said It Couldn't Happen Here

Certain commenters have, in the past, argued that I shouldn't talk about Canadian policies that infringe upon the religious liberties of Christians in their business practices and public speech. I've been told that since such abuses are not occurring here in the United States, that such abuses are irrelevant -- especially when they have to do with the freedom of Americans to speak out against homosexual marriage or special rights for homosexuals, or to conduct their business in a manner which does not give aid and comfort to what they view as the homosexual political agenda.

One such case in Canada had to do with a Christian printer who refused to print material for a homosexual rights group. Canadian governmetn authorities forced the printer to do the printing job, and also imposed monetary damages upon the business owner. But of course, I'm told, such an abuse of human rights by govenrment officials could never happen here.

Until it did, in Arlington Virginia -- literally a stone's throw from our nation's capital, and the charters of freedom that ennunciate the principles of liberty upon which this nation is founded. Unfortunately, they have been rendered null and void in Arlington. That is the message of the so-called Arlington Human Rights Commission to Tim Bono of Bono Film and Video.

In a case similar to a Canadian Christian printer’s punishment for declining a job for a homosexual activist group, an Arlington, Virginia, video duplicator has been ordered by the Arlington County Human Rights Commission to do a job for a lesbian activist.

The April 18 order follows a March 9 hearing in which Tim Bono of Bono Film and Video cited constitutional freedom of religion protection in refusing to duplicate two pro-homosexual films for lesbian activist Lillian Vincenz, according to the Family Policy Network (FPN), which is seeking clients for a class-action suit against the county.

Bono, a Christian, said he did not want to violate his Biblical values by assisting the promotion of homosexual behavior. Bono Film & Video informs potential customers that the firm does not duplicate material that the firm deems obscene, could embarrass employees, hurt the company’s reputation, or that runs counter to the company's Christian and ethical values, Bono told FPN.

After Bono rebuffed her request, Vincenz asked Arlington County officials to force Bono to duplicate her videos. The Arlington Human Rights Commission began an investigation and held a public hearing on March 9 to discuss the alleged discrimination.

As of April 25, neither Bono nor Vincenz had responded to the commission’s order, Raul Torres, executive director of the Human Rights Commission, told Concerned Women for America’s Culture & Family Institute (CFI).

If Bono refuses to do the job, “after a reasonable amount of time, the commission can reassemble and discuss why the remedy was not done,” Raul said. The commission could then forward the case to the full county Board of Commissioners and ask them for permission to file a discrimination complaint in Arlington Circuit Court, he said.

In other words, what has happened here is that a Christian business owner has been directed to produce material that runs directly contrary to his religious beliefs. A right guaranteed by the US Constitution has been overthrown in the name of promoting "tolerance" for homosexuality. But where is the tolerance for Christianity?

And by the way -- whatever happened to what we were all once told was a guiding principle of the homosexual rights movement, that all that was being asked was for homosexuals to be left alone. It was supposed to be a matter of "live and let live." But instead of tolerance, what is now demanded is acceptance by all and subservience by those who disagree.

Whatever happened to the First Amendment and freedom of religion? What about Tim Bono's right to be left alone? What of his freedom to practice his religion in his professional life?

And whatever happened to "it can't happen here"?

» Church and State links with: Business Owner's Religious Rights Threatened

|| Greg, 07:54 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Grand Jury Probe Of McKinney Assault On Cop

Looks like Crazy Cindy McKinney is being given the legal equivalent of a rectal exam, with aides from multiple Congressional officies being subpoenaed to testify before the Grand jury investigating her attack on a Capitol Hill Police Officer.

Staffers from four congressional offices, in statements read on the House floor Tuesday, announced they would comply with subpoenas issued by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

The offices of Reps. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., and Barbara Lee, D-Calif., confirmed that the subpoenas were related to the March 29 incident where McKinney, a Georgia Democrat, entered a Capitol building unrecognized by the officer on duty and then hit him when he tried to stop her.

Those receiving the subpoenas are thought to have been witnesses to the altercation.

The other two subpoenas went to aides to Reps. Lois Capps, D-Calif., and Donald Payne, D-N.J. Capps' office would not comment on the purpose of the subpoena and there was no immediate response from Payne's office.

Subpoenas were previously issued for aides to Reps. Sam Farr, D- Calif., and Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich. Troy Phillips, senior legislative assistant to Farr, witnessed the incident and testified about it before the grand jury on April 18, Farr's press secretary, Jessica Schafer, said Tuesday.

The officer involved in the incident, Paul McKenna, testified before the grand jury within the past week, the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call said Tuesday. McKenna has said he asked McKinney three times to stop. After she refused, the officer reportedly placed a hand on her and she hit him.

I look forward to the perp walk when she is charged -- and the scene of her turning herself in at a federal prison immediately after her resignation takes effect.

|| Greg, 07:00 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||


I’ll gladly denounce the perpetrator of these threats.

The lieutenant governor and the mayor of Los Angeles, both Hispanic Democrats, have received threats amid a national debate over immigration policy, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Monday.

Schwarzenegger told reporters about the threats against Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante during a news conference in his office Monday.

Other elected officials of Mexican heritage have also received threats, Schwarzenegger said, but he did not name them.

Bustamante spokesman Steve Green said the lieutenant governor appeared at some immigration rallies with Villaraigosa in March and received "nasty e-mails" afterward. The death threat _ "The only good Mexican is a dead Mexican" _ came about three weeks ago on a postcard, he said.

Americans of Mexican descent and legal aliens are welcome in my book, even when I disagree with them. Even my opposition to illegal aliens does not extend to cold-blooded murder.

|| Greg, 05:46 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Good Decision

I’m glad the Supreme Court stayed out of this one. The conviction here is appropriate, and highlights a bright line that exists in free speech cases.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused yesterday to hear an appeal from a Utah man convicted of violating the civil rights of an interracial couple by burning a cross in their yard.

Michael Brad Magleby, 33, is serving a dozen years at a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

The justices, without comment, turned away Magleby's arguments that his conduct was protected by the First Amendment and wasn't threatening.

In September 1998, Magleby and a juvenile companion made a wooden cross, doused it with gasoline and then set it afire on the lawn of a Salt Lake City couple.

An all-white jury found Magleby guilty in 1999 of conspiring to violate the civil rights of Ronald Henry, who is black, and then-wife Robyn Henry, who is white. Magleby was also convicted of interfering with the right to occupy a dwelling free of intimidation because of race; witness tampering; and creating a fake alibi.

It is really very simple – burn your cross on your property and you are fine. Burn one on someone else’s property without their permission, and you rightly go to jail.

|| Greg, 05:42 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

One would do well not to publicly badmouth clients or their families during working hours.

A spinning instructor at Washington, DC's Sports Club/LA mocked President Bush without realizing (believe it or not) that a first daughter was in his class!

ROLL CALL reports: The instructor, Glenn Makl, is said to be horrified to learn after class that the president's daughter Jenna was there to hear his making fun of President Bush and handing out of a video clip compilation of some of the president's more memorable gaffes and malapropisms.

Jenna Bush was working out at the club with her boyfriend, who later complained about the politcal ranting of the trainer, a source tells the DRUDGE REPORT.

Glenn, you putz, your job is to run a workout class, not to hold forth on your political opinions during class time. Stick to business, and save the politicking and joking until you are off the clock and using your own time, not that of your employers and clients.

Oh, and by the way – were you horrified to learn that Jenna was there because you realized you were out of line for making the comments? Or just because you were caught?

|| Greg, 05:41 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Reprimand? On What Basis?

Those silly Islamists! Not only do they want to kill folks for daring to show cartoons of their false prophet, but now they want to punish anyone who dares criticize them or their religion on the basis of the terrorism regularly carried out in its name.

An Islamic student group at Michigan State University demanded Monday that university officials publicly reprimand a professor whose Feb. 28 e-mail called on Muslims who don't "like the values of the West" to leave the United States.

But MSU officials said there's little that can be done to punish Indrek Wichman, 55, a tenured professor of mechanical engineering, because his comments essentially constitute free speech. Wichman sent the message to the Muslim Students' Association of Michigan State University while it handed out free cocoa during a public awareness event about controversial cartoons that depicted Islam's founder as a terrorist.

The cartoons, one of which depicted Muhammad wearing a turban shaped like a bomb, sparked violent protests and riots around the world in February.

Now let’s be clear on the context here – these comments were written at a time when Muslims were rioting in the streets over the fact that non-Muslims dared exercise freedom of speech. It was at a time when hostages were being beheaded in the name of Islam. It was at a time when homicide bombers were committing many murders in the name of Islam.

What did Wichman write?

Dear Moslem Association: As a professor of Mechanical Engineering here at MSU I intened to protest your protest.

I am offended not by cartoons, but by more mundane things like beheadings of civilians, cowardly attacks on public buildings, suicide murders, murders of Catholic priests (the latest in Turkey!), burnings of Christian chirches, the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims, the rapes of Scandinavain girls and women (called "whores" in your culture), the murder of film directors in Holland, and the rioting and looting in Paris France.

This is what offends me, a soft-spoken person and academic, and many, many, many of my colleagues. I counsul you dissatisfied, agressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Moslems to be very aware of this as you proceed with your infantile "protests."

If you do not like the values of the West -- see the 1st Ammendment -- you are free to leave. I hope for God's sake that most of you choose that option. Please return to your ancestral homelands and build them up yourselves instead of troubling Americans.

Cordially, I. S. Wichman
Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Strong words? Yes, they are. Reasonable words? I would say yes, but that is subject to debate? Offensive words? Probably, but then again the First Amendment does not require that we refrain from uttering words that offend others, even in an educational setting (contrary to the belief of some commenters around here). The University was actually rather timid in its refusal to discipline Wichman – his message was not “essentially” free speech – it was essential free speech, plain and simple. My only real objection here is to the fact that he didn't use the spell-check.

Notice, please what sort of things Wichman objects to – murder, violence, rape, violations of human rights. How can anyone be offended by someone objecting to such things? He indicated that these issues were more important than mere drawings that are an affront to religious belief. Only someone who supports them – or who is so weak intellectually, morally, spiritually and physically that they cannot handle having their own beliefs and actions challenged.

Well, it appears that the president of the Muslim Students Association is such an individual.

To Farhan Abdul Azeez, an MSU senior studying human biology and the president of the student association, the e-mail was startling.

"Naturally, I was very upset. I was disgusted. All of those emotions went through my body," said Azeez, 20, of Canton.

In other words, son, you are a pathetic weakling. Rather than respond with ideas, you responded with a call for censure and censorship – with a healthy dose of thought control thrown in.

Unfortunately, the University is buying into some of your demands – both silencing the professor and “discussing” (read “capitulating on” ) the demand for a reeducation and thought control

Terry Denbow, spokesman for MSU, said Wichman's views in no way represent the university's views. But, he said, they do not violate the university's antidiscrimination policy.

"He was cautioned that any additional commentary ... could constitute the creation of a hostile environment, and that could ... form the basis of a complaint" under the policy, Denbow said.

* * *

Denbow said discussions with students about sensitivity training are ongoing.
"We're not only willing to, but eager to listen to the students. Their commentary to date has been thoughtful," Denbow said.

So you see – Michigan State really doesn’t believe that Wichman’s words are covered by the First Amendment. After all, if they did support the First Amendment, there would have been no need to caution him or dialogue implementing the demanded brainwashing program.

Which leads me to echo Wichman’s comments about those who are troubled by First Amendmen freedoms – any member of the MSA who is so offended by the exercise of free speech here in America is welcome to leave.

|| Greg, 05:38 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Which Is More Important – Getting The Story Or Reporting Child Abuse?

If you are Diane Sawyer and ABC News, the answer is clear – getting the story.

How else can you explain the failure to report this stuff to the police?

The shocking beating of a teenage girl by her father that aired during a Diane Sawyer report about dysfunctional stepfamilies has set off a firestorm.

State police officials in upstate Lake Placid say they are going over the tape of last Friday's "Primetime" news magazine to determine if charges can be brought against the natural father, a Iraq War military reservist, and the teen's stepmother.

The investigation -- which includes the local Franklin County DAs office, police said -- was only part of the fallout from the broadcast.

Outraged viewers have filled up the ABC News Web site's message board with more that 1,400 messages in the first 36 hours after the broadcast -- many calling for Sawyer and the program's producers to be fired for not going to the authorities immediately.

The beating was caught on videotape recorders that the family -- identified as Lynn and Joe Nelson -- had allowed ABC News to install in their home for a program on the difficulties stepfamilies have getting along.

The family had control of the cameras and could turn them off at any time.
ABC News officials said in a statement that by the time they had reviewed the tapes, the father "had been sent to the National Guard training camp and then onto Iraq. Kyle [the daughter] had moved in with her grandparents -- where she remains to date."

In other words, reporting a crime takes backseat to the news judgment of the network.

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

A Culture Of Corruption?

Oh, never mind – the congressman with a serious conflict of interest is a Democrat. Nothing to see here – move along. Look over there -- Bigfoot!

An Englewood community center founded by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), a key player on telecommunications legislation, received a $1 million grant from the charitable arm of SBC/AT&T, one of the nation's largest phone companies.

The chief of a congressional watchdog group says Rush's ongoing association with the Rebirth of Englewood Community Development Corporation and his role in shaping telecommunications law as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee is a conflict of interest. Using charitable giving as a backdoor way to curry favor with lawmakers is coming under increasing scrutiny, figuring in controversies associated with former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), who was forced to temporarily step aside as the ranking Democrat on the Ethics panel.

On Wednesday, the energy and commerce panel on which Rush sits is set to vote on a controversial rewrite of telecommunications law co-sponsored by Rush and backed by major phone companies eager to compete with cable television companies.

Anyone wanna place odds on his going against the interests of SBC/AT&T?

Rush, of course, sees matters very differently.

Rush, asked to explain whether he had a conflict in sponsoring telecommunications legislation in the wake of the grant, replied in a statement that the "real conflict" stems from inequities in the telecommunications marketplace that hurt the poor.

"It is a systemic institutional disinvestment in [the] poor by corporate America in communities such as Englewood," Rush said. "We deserve an even playing field."

In other words, he won’t seriously address the appearance of impropriety – not even to deny it. He won’t consider whether a large donation to a charity for which he and his wife serve as board members and where his son is employed stinks to high heaven.

I’ll stand with Common Cause on this one – I am not in a position to comment on the relative merits of the bill in question, but the receipt of the grant by the center at this time is “troubling.”

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

Why Wouldn’t They Desert Him?

Let’s see – he was incompetent in his response to the oncoming hurricane, made racially-divisive comments, and is generally seen as a buffoon. Why wouldn’t voters who turned out to support Ray Nagin four years ago turn their backs on him this time?

Mr Nagin, who won office in 2002 largely thanks to a wave of support from white voters, failed to repeat his success on Saturday. He won barely 10 per cent of the vote in districts of the city that are predominantly white and African-Americans failed to support him in sufficiently large numbers. With 38 per cent of the vote, Mr Nagin fell short of the majority needed to avoid a run-off, to be held on 20 May, against Mitch Landrieu, Louisiana's lieutenant-governor. Although Mr Landrieu garnered only 29 per cent, he is well placed to secure the votes cast for others now eliminated from the race.

Nagin never had the support of the African-American community – his support base came primarily from among the middle and upper-class white community who found the prospect of electing a businessman without strong ties to the corruption that plagued the city for decades to be an attractive option.

But then came Katrina, and his failure to properly order evacuations and assistance to those in need. It was followed by rants at those who questioned his leadership, racist comments about making New Orleans a “chocolate city”, and a campaign that was marked by calls for blacks to vote for him because other candidates “don’t look like us.” Could you give me a single reason why a white voter (or any voter) would want to vote for this man? The fact that 38% of voters selected him makes me question the preparedness of the voters of New Orleans for self-government!

In short, the results of the race for mayor of new Orleans will show less about the relative power of different ethnic blocs than it will about the willingness of the city to give failed leadership one more chance.

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

Watcher's Council Results

Well, I find myself posting another set of Watcher's Council results with a combination of pride and humility.

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Arrogant District Refuses To Protect White Students by Rhymes With Right, and Do We Need Religion? Part 1 by Wolfgang Bruno

I have included links to both winning entries and to the full results of the vote.

And may I express my most humble thanks to my fellow members of the Council for again giving me this great honor.

|| Greg, 05:04 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I Wish Houston Would Draft Him

After all, the Texans have had no offensive line during the first four seasons -- that is clearly the team's most important need. D'Brickshaw Ferguson should be my team's first draft choice.

He was named for a priest in "The Thorn Birds" and is a youth minister with a degree in religious studies, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that D'Brickashaw Ferguson is considered more of refined, polished pass-blocker than a bulldozing, menacing run-blocker among the offensive line prospects in the NFL draft.

But because of his extraordinary seven-foot wingspan and exceptionally quick feet, the University of Virginia all-American is projected to be among the first five selections in Saturday's NFL draft, possibly as high as No. 2 by the New Orleans Saints.

* * *

Ferguson, 6 feet 6 inches and 308 pounds, added about 10 pounds after playing in his last college game, a 34-31 victory over Minnesota in the Music City Bowl in Nashville. He then further cemented his place among the top 10 NFL prospects with outstanding workouts at the Senior Bowl in Mobile and the NFL combine in Indianapolis. Those performances also alleviated any concerns NFL teams might have had about a knee injury that caused him to miss two games last season, the first time in his college career he was sidelined.

Looks like we will get Reggie bush instead -- hope there are some good linemen in the later rounds, otherwise he will spend much of next season on his ass behind the line of scrimmage.

|| Greg, 04:58 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Murder -- Age 12

What produces children who commit such crimes?

The 12-year-old Prince George's County boy charged yesterday with killing his mother and brother over the weekend would often wear masks to hide his face, get into fistfights and tell people, "I'm crazy. Don't mess with me," neighbors said.

He would walk around his Forestville neighborhood with his face cloaked by a bandanna and a book cover on his head to look as if he had horns, according to neighbors.

In Prince George's juvenile court yesterday, he was charged as a juvenile with two counts of first-degree murder in the bludgeoning deaths of his mother, Katrina Denise Powe, 31, and brother, Mystery Toma Hillian, 9.

Detectives found a metal bar that they said is the weapon used in the slayings. They were trying yesterday to determine a motive for the crime. "I haven't heard any word as to why this kid did this," said Cpl. Clinton Copeland, a police spokesman.

The case is puzzling to detectives, especially because the suspect did not have an arrest record or documented history of abuse, according to law enforcement sources who did not want to be identified because the case is open and because juvenile records are sealed.

The county's Department of Social Services has no record of alleged abuse in the home, according to one of the sources. The source said that police found bruises on the 12-year-old but that it was "unclear whether they were from the struggle or prior abuse."

Law enforcement sources originally said that the crime was carried out with a knife. Yesterday, they said the weapon was a metal bar, the type usually used to secure a car's steering wheel to prevent theft.

The boy's name is being withheld because he is a juvenile. He was represented at the hearing by a public defender.

Horrifying -- utterly horrifying.

|| Greg, 04:30 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Come And Get Me, Jihadi Swine!

Osama has come out and issued a death sentence against some of us.

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has called for people who ridiculed the Prophet Mohammad to be killed, weighing into the furor that erupted after a Danish newspaper ran cartoons lampooning Islam's holy messenger.

"Heretics and atheists, who denigrate religion and transgress against God and His Prophet, will not stop their enmity toward Islam except by being killed," the Saudi-born militant said.

Bin Laden's remarks were part of an audio tape which Al Jazeera television aired excerpts from on Sunday. The television station later published a full transcript on its Web site.

Well, I’ve done it before and I do it again now, out of a sense of obligation to exercise the precious right of free expression when it is under siege by those who would impose their backwards faith upon the rest of the world.













Come and get me, jihadi swine.

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

Who Does She Think She Is?

Crazy Cindy McKinney is back at it again. Now she thinks her commands supersede the First Amendment.

Rep. Cynthia McKinney still does not know whether she will face criminal charges for allegedly punching a U.S. Capitol Police officer who stopped her at a security checkpoint. But the Georgia Democrat is pulling no punches with the media, ordering an Atlanta television station not to broadcast derogatory comments she made about a member of her staff on Saturday.

McKinney was meeting with constituents and agreed to an exclusive interview with WGCL-TV, CBS 46, of Atlanta. During that interview, CBS 46 reporter Renee Starzyk asked McKinney what she is telling her constituents about the altercation.

"Actually you, media people are the only ones who are asking about that," McKinney claimed.

But a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., also is asking about the incident, trying to determine whether or not to refer criminal charges against the congresswoman. The panel has not yet made its decision, and Starzyk asked if that is a distraction from McKinney's work.

"Well, you're a distraction because that seems to be all you want to talk about," McKinney responded. "But people here understand that my representation is much larger than any discrete incident."

Well let’s see – a member of Congress assaults a cop at the Capitol and the press is interested. I wonder why? Could it be that an ordinary citizen would already be in jail?

Of course, Cindy continued her tantrum.

McKinney then walked out on the interview. But she did not tell Starzyk that their conversation was over, nor did McKinney allow an audio technician to remove the wireless microphone attached to her for the interview.

While she was off camera, McKinney criticized a member of her staff, Coz Carson.

"Oh, crap! Now, you know what?" McKinney asked an unidentified aide. "They lied to Coz and Coz is a fool!"

Realizing that her microphone was still on, McKinney returned to the room where the interview was being conducted and, knowing that she was on camera, told Starzyk: "Anything that is captured by your audio, that is captured while I'm not seated in this chair, is off the record and is not permissible to be used. Is that understood?" McKinney said.

Sorry, Cindy, but Congressional perks do not include controlling the content of the media – especially when you are the subject. Fortunately, Ms. Starzyk refused to be dictated to.

In her report about the interview, Starzyk reiterated the station's policy never to make deals with newsmakers limiting the station's ability to cover their comments or actions.

In fact, Starzyk reported, she specifically told McKinney's staff that she would ask about the March 29 incident. McKinney maintains her claim that the reporter lied to her staff.

So, who do you believe – Her Majesty the Congresswoman or the reporter?

|| Greg, 03:54 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

And I Should Care Because?

They had no compassion for their victims – what’s wrong with a modicum of suffering for them as they pay their final debt to society?

Execution by lethal injection may cause excruciating pain, contradicting its reputation as a humane and thus publicly acceptable way to impose the death penalty, Human Rights Watch said.

Executioners fail to take the steps needed to ensure a painless death and use a drug that veterinarians have deemed too cruel for putting down dogs and cats, the group said in a report released on Monday.

However, a leading death penalty proponent dismissed the report as "blind speculation," saying there was no evidence of someone being conscious and in agony during lethal injection.

Human Rights Watch, which opposes the death penalty in all cases, issued the report amid increased scrutiny of lethal injections across America.

In other words, these are folks who are willing to do whatever it takes to get the death penalty abolished, and they are willing to make claims that are unsubstantiated to get their desired result. They also ignore the bigger question – is suffering as a part of punishment inappropriate?

UPDATE: The Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments on a lethal injection challenge on Wednesday, April 26. Let's hope that the justices find this argument as absurd as I do.

"The point of this is not to prevent the death penalty," said Paul Enzinna, a lawyer who represents James Roane, one of three federal prisoners who were to be executed in May until Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted them stays of execution March 2. "I have a client who is going to be put to death and the federal government owes him, under the Constitution, an execution without pain."

No, the government does not owe this shyster's client a painless death. Constitutionally, it owes him a humane death -- and I question whether he is morally owed even that much. After all, as noted above, most of these monsters showed no such consideration for their victims.

If lethal injection is ended, I urge states to bring back the firing squad and hanging as civilized methods that have stood the test of time.

Oh, and by the way, I love this inane argument from the New York Times.

Over the years, several justices have concluded that the death penalty is in all cases unconstitutional, including Justice Harry Blackmun, who famously declared, "From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death." We agree with Justice Blackmun and hope that the tinkering will someday stop and that the law of the land will recognize that the Eighth Amendment bars capital punishment completely. But even justices who think the Constitution permits capital punishment should find that lethal injections that torture prisoners in the process of killing them are unconstitutional.

Only one problem with that Eighth Amendment argument, other than the fact that it has been repeatedly rejected by virtually every court that has considered the issue. It is that the Fift Amendment, adopted at the same time as teh Eighth, makes specific reference to capital crimes and individuals being put in jeopardy of their lives for their crimes. Obviously the Eighth Amendment, read in context, cannot be seen as banning the death penalty. The Fourteenth Amendment includes similar language which again upholds the notion that the death penalty is constitutionally acceptable.

In other words, the clear language of the Constitution must be ignored to argue that there is a Constitutional prohibition on the death penalty -- so the proper place to seek its elimination is the legislatures of the fifty states and the US Congress.

|| Greg, 03:50 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

“Gayby Boom” Raises Lifestyle Issues In SF

And here we have been told that there is nothing untoward about the explicit “out” culture of much of the gay community, and that it certainly was not harmful for children. However, it looks like the more “flaming” aspects of that culture in San Francisco are bringing objections from gay parents, who find it inappropriate for their children.

America's most famous homosexual community is grappling with a new dilemma - how to become family-friendly yet retain its legendary spirit of sexual freedom.

The Castro district of San Francisco has been a magnet for homosexuals since the 1967 "Summer of Love", drawing people from across the world with its gay pride parades and celebration of overt sexuality.

But the complexion of the community is changing thanks, in part, to the so-called "gayby boom", the increasing number of same-sex couples becoming parents.
In California nearly 60,000 children are being raised by same-sex couples. In addition, heterosexual families with children are choosing to live in the area.

The shift has resulted in tension between parents who want the more explicit window displays and posters toned down and those determined to guard free sexual expression from any censorship.

Clashes between parents and shopkeepers include complaints from a lesbian mother-of-two about a shop with a sado-masochistic window display. Others have also complained about explicit shop displays and posters that feature naked, sexually aroused men.

"I am happy that people can enjoy a lifestyle that is denied to them back home in Kansas but there are appropriate standards of behaviour, regardless of your sexual orientation," Jeremy Paul, a father of two boys, told the Los Angeles Times.

Gee – when straight Christians object to explicit displays of the gay lifestyle at places like Disney World, we are called homophobes. What can you say when it is homosexuals themselves object to such displays as inappropriate for children and corrosive of family values?

|| Greg, 03:49 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 24, 2006

Leak Double Standard?

Of course there is a double standard, one established by the law and hte COnstitution.

On the one hand, the President and certain other executive branch officials have the authority to classify and declassify certain information based upon its sensitivity. Information may, from time to time, be declassified and let out to the press in a variety of ways to give the American people a fuller picture of what is going on -- and to counter falsehoods put forth by those who would misrepresent the actions and policies of the government.

Then there are unauthorized, illegal leaks. Those almost invariably harm national security -- especially when done in a manner designed to harm the ability of the president to conduct legal policy initiatives or to undermine his legitimate authority.

So I found this piece in today's Washington Post, which published the seditious stories of Dana Priest based upon the illegal leaks of Mary McCarthy, to be particularly interesting.

Key Democratic legislators yesterday joined Republicans in saying they do not condone the alleged leaking of classified information that led to last week's firing of a veteran CIA officer. But they questioned whether a double standard exists that lets the White House give reporters secretly declassified information for political purposes.

"I don't know this woman, and I do not condone leaks of classified information," said Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, referring to the firing of Mary McCarthy.

Harman added that "while leaks are wrong, I think it is totally wrong for our president in secret to selectively declassify certain information and empower people in his White House to leak it to favored reporters so that they can discredit political enemies," she said on Fox News Sunday.

Harman was referring to White House staff members disclosing the classified identity of CIA case officer Valerie Plame in 2003.

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) echoed Harman, saying, "A CIA agent has an obligation to uphold the law, and clearly leaking is against the law. And nobody should leak." But he added: "If you're leaking to tell the truth, Americans are going to look at that, at least mitigate or think about what are the consequences that you . . . put on that person."

Well, Rep. Harman, let's spell this one out. The President authorized the release of truthful information in order to counter false claims made by those political opponents. In the case of Joe Wilson, for example, the release of information proved him to be a liar many times over -- a position confirmed by multiple investigations. is it your contention that the President should allow false claims made for partisan political purposes to remain unchallenged and that he should thereby allow the American people to remain misinformed? If so, does this not do harm to the very fabric of the American system?

And Sen. Kerry, thank you for once again proving your unfitness for the office you sought in 2004 and plan to seek in 2008. You would clearly allow unauthorized leaking to run rampant if unelected governemnt employees differ with the policies of the elected leaders of the United States. In short, America would not be secure under a Kerry presidency.

And all this ignores the fact that recent investigations have shown Dana Priest's story on "secret prisons" to be false -- so there cannot even be a claim made that this was a case of "leaking to tell the truth."

I guess, when it comes down to it, we have a different double standard at work on the Democrat side of the aisle, one that really ignores questions of truth and legality -- anti-Bush leaks good, pro-Bush leaks bad.

|| Greg, 04:46 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (10) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 23, 2006

Responding To A Critic

I usually respond to comments in the comment section. Sometimes, though, a comment is of such length or its content is so notable that an entire separate post is warranted.

I got one of those last night, in response to my (widely read, thanks to the Houston Chronicle) post entitled "First Amendment (Revised Edition)". The commenter, Jan L Perkins, rather vehemently disagrees with me, and clearly put a lot of time and thought into her words. In doing so, she fell into what I see as some common errors -- errors that I want to correct publicly. I don't do this to ridicule her (in fact, I praise her efforts), but to attempt to lay to rest certain incorrect notions regarding the First Amendment and schools.

So let us begin with the fisking of Jan's comment.

WOW – a court makes a ruling that a school has the right to enforce rules, which are designed to prevent disturbance between different factions within the school, and the court is now violating the US Constitution – how about that – and I thought it was just attempting to head off the conflict before it became nasty – but, of course, perhaps the objection is because the T-shirt read “homosexuality is shameful” rather than “homosexuality was created by God, too”

Several points here.

First, as a government entity, public schools must conform their rules with the rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

Second, schools cannot, as a rule, permit speech on one side of a controversial issue and not ont he other. The school had been more than willing to permit and sponsor a so-called "Day of Silence" (complete with literature distributions and students disrupting the academic mission of the school by opting out of verbal participation in class as a form of political/religious/social expression). It could not then turn around and argue that a single student expressing the opposite perspective in a passive manner (via a t-shirt) constituted a material disruption or a threat to good order and discipline. In fact, the situation that existed appears very close to that set forth in Tinker v. Des Moines, which is the major precedent dealing with the First Amendment rights of students.

The problem posed by the present case does not relate to regulation of the length of skirts or the type of clothing, [508] to hair style, or deportment. Cf. Ferrell v. Dallas Independent School District, 392 F.2d 697 (1968); Pugsley v. Sellmeyer, 158 Ark. 247, 250 S. W. 538 (1923). It does not concern aggressive, disruptive action or even group demonstrations. Our problem involves direct, primary First Amendment rights akin to "pure speech."

The school officials banned and sought to punish petitioners for a silent, passive expression of opinion, unaccompanied by any disorder or disturbance on the part of petitioners. There is here no evidence whatever of petitioners' interference, actual or nascent, with the schools' work or of collision with the rights of other students to be secure and to be let alone. Accordingly, this case does not concern speech or action that intrudes upon the work of the schools or the rights of other students.

Only a few of the 18,000 students in the school system wore the black armbands. Only five students were suspended for wearing them. There is no indication that the work of the schools or any class was disrupted. Outside the classrooms, a few students made hostile remarks to the children wearing armbands, but there were no threats or acts of violence on school premises.

* * *

In order for the State in the person of school officials to justify prohibition of a particular expression of opinion, it must be able to show that its action was caused by something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint. Certainly where there is no finding and no showing that engaging in the forbidden conduct would "materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school," the prohibition cannot be sustained. Burnside v. Byars, supra, at 749.

* * *

It is also relevant that the school authorities did not purport to prohibit the wearing of all symbols of political or controversial significance. The record shows that students in some of the schools wore buttons relating to national political campaigns, and some even wore the Iron Cross, traditionally a symbol of Nazism. The order prohibiting the wearing of armbands did not extend to these. Instead, a particular symbol--black armbands worn to exhibit opposition to this Nation's involvement [511] in Vietnam--was singled out for prohibition. Clearly, the prohibition of expression of one particular opinion, at least without evidence that it is necessary to avoid material and substantial interference with schoolwork or discipline, is not constitutionally permissible.

In our system, state-operated schools may not be enclaves of totalitarianism. School officials do not possess absolute authority over their students. Students in school as well as out of school are "persons" under our Constitution. They are possessed of fundamental rights which the State must respect, just as they themselves must respect their obligations to the State. In our system, students may not be regarded as closed-circuit recipients of only that which the State chooses to communicate. They may not be confined to the expression of those sentiments that are officially approved. In the absence of a specific showing of constitutionally valid reasons to regulate their speech, students are entitled to freedom of expression of their views. As Judge Gewin, speaking for the Fifth Circuit, said, school officials cannot suppress "expressions of feelings with which they do not wish to contend." Burnside v. Byars, supra, at 749.

How very like the events which happened that day at Poway High School! Tyler Chase Harper was passive, did not disrupt or confront, and while he was subject to a few hostile remarks, there was no substantive disruption. For his trouble he was removed from class, questioned by law enforcement, and told by assistant principal Ed Giles that he must "leave his faith in the car" if it was deemed offensive by school officials. This is in blatant contradiction of the major holding of Tinker.

First Amendment rights, applied in light of the special characteristics of the school environment, are available to teachers and students. It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.

It seems that Mr. Giles, along with the rest of the administration of this school and district, slept through that portion of their school law classes while working towards tehir administrator certification.

Similarly, they ignored an even older precedent, that of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943).

The Fourteenth Amendment, as now applied to the States, protects the citizen against the State itself and all of its creatures-Boards of Education not excepted. These have, of course, important, delicate, and highly discretionary functions, but none that they may not perform within the limits of the Bill of Rights. That they are educating the young for citizenship is reason for scrupulous protection of Constitutional freedoms of the individual, if we are not to strangle the free mind at its source and teach youth to discount important principles of our government as mere platitudes.

Such Boards are numerous and their territorial jurisdiction often small. But small and local authority may feel less sense of responsibility to the Constitution, and agencies of publicity may be less vigilent in calling it to account. . . . [N]one who acts under color of law is beyond reach of the Constitution.

Oh, and Jan, nice attempt on your part to tar me with the taint of homophobia. You ignore that I did note some anti-homosexuality messages might be legitimately banned as disruptive. You also are unaware of my past writings on incidents of school censorship and punishment of student speech -- posts in which I stand up for students taking decidedly liberal views as well as conservative ones.

As a teacher you know that children do not have all of the constitutional protections afforded to adults.

You are right -- but I never said they did. There are limits placed in the school setting, but as i noted above, they are tightly drawn.

For example, their lockers may be searched without their permission, even over their objections,

True -- but then again, the school owns the locker and makes those search provisions a part of the student code of conduct. A kid does not have to use thelocker, either.

and they may be compelled to submit to drug tests even when there is no probable cause, indeed no cause whatsoever, to believe they have used drugs,

Half true -- the courts have upheld those policies only with regard to participation in extra-curricular activities, not school attendance.

and the case law is replete with decisions upholding limitations on student speech.

And replete with decisions the other way, which make it clear that the ability of schools to limit student speech is, dare I say it, limited to narrow circumstances.

Those are just three of the ways in which they do not have the same rights as you may have as an adult.

They are three ways in which you misrepresented the holdings of the courts regarding the rights of students under the Constitution.

Even as an adult it is well established in courts all over the country that one may not yell “fire” in a crowded theater when there is no fire.

Nice try -- the only problem is that hte quote you are reaching for refers to FALSELY crying "fire" in a crowded theater, because it needlessly and recklessly puts individuals in danger. One could, for example, shout "fire" in a crowded theater if there were a fire. But the expression of a political, social, or religious oipinion could never fall under that rubric, for the expression of a dissenting opinion is not the sort of thing likely to cause a crowd to stampede and trample the vulnerable under foot.

This school may well have had good reason to believe that the T-shirt in question was crying “fire” in a theatre.

The school could never have legitimately taken such a view.

I should not need to have to point out that a “Day of Silence” is not the same as a T-shirt with a message.

Actually, it is functionally the same, and is even less disruptive than the Day of Silence, for reasons I pointed to above. And given the "leave your faith in the car" policy dictated by one school official, the competing event (the Day of Truth) would have been prevented under the same standard -- and the opinion of the judges in this case would mandate the school prohibitting the event.

In fact, if those opposed to homosexuality had sought to have their own day to express their viewpoint silently and peacefully, then you would be closer to having a valid position, assuming they had been denied that right.

Jan, dear, free speech is free speech is free speech.

The problem with Justice Alex Kozinski’s position as reported by you (I have not read the decision) is that he viewed the school as having taken a position on a controversial topic, when, based solely on your version of the facts, it appears to me that the majority concluded the school correctly saw the difference between a Day of Silence and a T-shirt as the difference between the proverbial apples and oranges, and had the power to act to prevent potential violence.

How was the shirt creating a potential act of violence? Would not the Day of Truth be considered equally impermissible, due to the fact that instead of one student expressing the offending opinion we would have many doing so?

By the way, who is Theriot?

Don't be lazy -- click the link and find out for yourself.

I would note that the phrase “under God” was not in the Pledge of Allegiance until I was nearly out of high school. I was raised in a country Methodist church in the Midwest. My mother ensured that I went to church every Sunday, for which I avow I am eternally grateful, although I was not always so grateful at the time I was being required to get out of bed and go. I do not recall anyone in my community at that time, who spoke either for or against the insertion of “under God” into the Pledge, yet they were all good god fearing country folk. I have no strong personal opinion about the phrase, but I have to wonder why one might believe the sky would fall if it were removed?

I'm not going to engage on that issue -- if you notice, the quote you are referring to is bringing out the fact that the Ninth Circuit -- and one of the judges in this case in particular -- has a perceived hostility towards religious speech that offends minorities, to the point that he has repeatedly sought to ban such speech even when it is clearly protected by the Constitution. It is part of why the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has been the most overturned circuit for the last several years -- it is out of step with the Supreme Court precedents and the US Constitution.

|| Greg, 07:14 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 22, 2006

Victim ID Inadmissible In Duke Case?

If the cops used the procedure described in this article there will be a major shit-storm, because the identification of the alleged perpetrators is hopelessly tainted. I don't see how a judge could let the results of this photo lineup in at trial.

A 15-page document shown to Darla Miles of WTVD, an ABC-owned station in Durham, N.C., described how the alleged rape victim, a 27-year-old exotic dancer and mother of two, identified three lacrosse players as those who she said attacked her the night of March 13.

According to the police report, the alleged victim was shown a police lineup of 46 photos individually depicting all the Duke lacrosse team members except for freshman goalie Devon Sherwood, the only black member of the team. He was excluded because the alleged victim told police her attackers were white.

After being shown the pictures in a sequence of PowerPoint slides, the document adds, the woman said she could identify the two players indicted April 17 with 100 percent certainty. She picked out Reade Seligmann as the attacker who forced her to perform oral sex and Collin Finnerty as the second man to rape and sodomize her.

She said she also could identify with 90 percent certainty the first man who raped and sodomized her. This attacker has not been arrested as of today, though District Attorney Mike Nifong said at the beginning of the week that he was looking to make a third arrest.

Think about it -- this is the equivalent of giving someone a bucket full of red golf balls and then claiming vindication when three red golf balls in a row are drawn. What else could have happened? In this case, the woman was given only members of the team to identify, and so she identified members of the team. It was a set-up!

However, an eyewitness identification expert believes the police lineup procedure was flawed because no non-lacrosse players were included.

Gary Wells, president of the American Psychology-Law Society, described it as "a multiple-choice test without any wrong answers."

By including "fillers," or non-suspects, in a police lineup, an accuser has to pick past the filler to choose people who actually might have committed the crime.

"Without fillers as a control, the process has no internal credibility check," Wells said.

David Rudolf, a North Carolina defense lawyer who has been an adjunct professor at Duke and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, believes the procedures may be problematic to the point of being inadmissible in court.

"I have significant doubt that this will be admitted in court," he said, "and no doubt defense will challenge it vigorously."

The issue, Rudolf explains, is that due process prohibits evidence from lineups that are unnecessarily suggestive and conducive to mistaken identity.

"When you take the only suspect group and put it in front of the victim," Rudolf says, "by definition you're suggesting it was one of the 46 people in that group."

Some have suggested that there should have been 46 different photo lineups. Others suggest that the sequential lineup was fine, but that additional individuals should have been included as a control on the process, to give the victim a chance to identify someone not at the party. You know -- sed a few white golf balls in amongst the red ones. That would have made the selections much more convincing.

If the identification is thrown out, there then arises the question of the validity of the alleged victim as a witness. And if she is excluded from testifying -- or at least from making an identification in front of the jury -- then the entire case will disintegrate due to the previously disclosed lack of DNA evidence.

This doesn't look good for anyone.

|| Greg, 09:12 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Number Of The Beast?

No, not what you are thinking.

This is a proposal to register and tag farm animals as a way of tracking and controlling disease outbreaks.

|| Greg, 08:43 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Interesting Issue

I've long had mixed emotions about punishing students for online speech.

As a rule, I don't believe schools have any business regulating out-of-school activity.

On the other hand, I do believe that schools need to monitor -- and perhaps punish -- certain behaviors that bear a direct nexus to school and cause a major disruption.

And that raises some questions.

When high school teacher Lee Waters logged onto a popular Web site and read the demeaning sexual comments a student had posted alongside her picture, the Sarasota woman felt completely degraded.

The school district suspended the North Port High School student, but attorney Geoffrey Morris said Waters doesn't think the boy understands the humiliation she feels.

The teacher filed a lawsuit against the student in March, but she isn't looking for money. She just wants other students to understand how harmful Internet pranks can be, Morris said.

"This teacher was maligned by this kid," Morris said. "She was so upset about it and she filed this lawsuit because she says teaching is a profession and that the administration turned their back on her complaint."

The Sarasota County School District said it did what it could to help Waters, by suspending the student and taking other disciplinary action, but it's not alone as it struggles to deal with cyber-bullying. Similar lawsuits and complaints are popping up in Florida and elsewhere nationwide as bullies move from punching someone on the playground to writing nasty and sometime libelous postings about classmates, teachers and school officials on the Internet, where everyone can read them.

There is a serious question here. The First Amendment is high on my list of non-religious sacred things, but i recognize that there are limits to the First Amendment, especially for kids, when it disrupts school. At the same time, schools regularly exceed authority, and sometimes even attempt to suppress legitimate speech that teachers/administrators find inconvenient.

Ultimately, I guess it comes down to a question of whether the speech/behavior would be within the reach of school officials if it happened someplace other than MySpace or other internet venues.

Threats of violence and assualt at school would clearly be covered.

So, too, might incidents of racial/sexual/other harassment by students against students, if it can be tied to the school setting -- i.e. was part of a pattern of behavior which exists both at the school and away from it.

And at the risk of sounding quite self-serving, retaliatory attacks on teachers and other staff members might qualify, provided the goal is not an attempt to suppress true statements about matters of legitimate public concern.

And remember, sometimes a bit of school discipline might be preferable to the alternative.

Which is preferable -- a three deay suspensio from school for cyber-bullying or criminal charges 9even juvenile charges) for harassment or communicating a threat? A ten day assignment to an alternative school setting or a lawsuit for defamation? And in Texas, there is specific language in state law which protects teachers from acts of harassment (or violence) by students if it is related to the teacher's performance of his or her job, and it even applies to events that occur off school ground and outside school hours -- and the offense can rise to the level of a felony.

And then ther eis the other issue -- can the contents of websites be used for disciplinary purposes by schools.

And it's not only cyber-bullying that's a problem — it's the photos students post. Young girls in barely there clothing, cigarettes dangling from their lips. The basketball team chugging beer at a party. Blogs that threaten a Columbine repeat. All have public and private school officials debating possible disciplinary actions.

What happens when some kid posts a picture on their website of the star quarterback holding a can of beer? Can the school use that picture to punish the student under a no-drinking policy that the athlete and his parents signed as a condition of his participation in extra-curricular activities? Can the coach use it to bench the kid without involving the school?

The internet raises all sorts of questions and issues for educators. What is the solution? I don't know the answer.

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

And You Wonder Why I Don't Blog About School

I've been asked about that more than once, given that I rarely have blogged about events at school, and never in a manner that identifies students or explcitly identifies where I teach (a couple of posts have made it possible to identify the school, but you would have to click a link or do some research). And I have steadfastly refused to explcitly state my last name on the blog, precisely so I never have to deal with outraged students, parents, and peers -- though a little bit of ingenuity would allow an interested reader to ferret out my identity.

Why do I approach blogging this way? Well, it might have something to do with avoiding a situation like this one in Chicago.

Typing rambling screeds in an anonymous blog he called "Fast Times at Regnef High," a Fenger High School teacher unleashed his frustration over the chaos he saw around him.

He labeled his students "criminals," saying they stole from teachers, dealt drugs in the hallways, had sex in the stairwells, flaunted their pregnant bellies and tossed books out windows. He dismissed their parents as unemployed "project" dwellers who subsist on food stamps, refuse to support their "baby mommas" and bad-mouth teachers because their no-show teens are flunking.

He took swipes at his colleagues, too--"union-minimum" teachers, literacy specialists who "decorate their office door with pro-black propaganda," and security officers whose "loyalty is to the hood, not the school."

In his blog, the teacher did not identify himself or his students, the exact name of his school or the city where he taught. But like most bloggers, he wanted an audience, so he wrote in his blog that he had leaked news of his site to a few co-workers. Soon enough, the 30-year-old teacher's name was the talk of the school.

This week, after returning from spring break, the students read how they were depicted and flamed the blog with profane threats and righteous indignation toward the teacher.

By Thursday, the reaction grew so vitriolic that the blogger took down his site from Also that day, a Fenger High teacher e-mailed his principal that he wasn't coming to school because he "feared for his safety." The teacher was the same one widely believed to have authored the blog because he told two colleagues that it was his, Fenger Principal William Johnson said.

Johnson said he doesn't know whether the teacher has resigned. The teacher hasn't returned Johnson's phone calls or replied to an e-mail asking to meet with him. The teacher did not acknowledge to the principal that it was his blog, but Johnson said he has no doubt, based on the writing style and his disappearance after the students named him in their postings. When he started the blog in February, he wrote as if he were the "brick and mortar" building named "Regnef,"--Fenger spelled backward--but then switched his voice and revealed he was a teacher.

In his final posting Thursday, the teacher said he intentionally leaked his blog site to people he knew would "tell the world" because he wanted it to be read, but he didn't explain how he expected to remain anonymous.

Now let's be honest -- this course of action was stupid. Once he started publicizing the blog at school, he was screwed. I have a couple of peers that know this is my blog, but they are folks who know to keep the matter extremely confidential because I've told them flat out that I don't want it to be known as my blog.

After posting stuff like he has, how can this guy possibly go back to Fenger High School.

Heck, how can he possibly remain in Chicago Public Schools?

He has enraged kids, parents, and colleagues -- he is toast.

I don't want to be him -- and so I keep my blogging separate from my place of employment.

And thank God I cannot access my site from school, so the temptation to post during school hours is not even there.

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

Did He Love His Mummy?

More accurately, did Thutmose III have better relations with his step-mother, Queen Hatshepsut, than has been traditionally believed by students of Egyptian history?

This find certainly raises the possibility that everything we have been taught about the issue of their relationship has been incorrect.

A team of French and Egyptian archeologists have discovered two sets of nine solid gold cartouches bearing the name of Thotmusis III (who ruled from 1479-1425 BC) near the pharaoh's stepmother Queen Hatshepsut's temple in Luxor, 700 kilometres south of Cairo.

"These cartouches... which have the names of Hatshepsut and Thotmusis III have been found near Hatshepsut's obelisk which proves that the obelisk was erected by both rulers," said Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Thotmusis III, who was Hatshepsut's stepson and co-ruler after the death of his father Thotmusis II in 1479 BC, was widely regarded as having had strained relations with the queen. Thotmusis III was a child when his father died and the rule of the kindgom was initially put in the hands of Hatsheput.

Until the latest discovery, Egyptologists believed that Thotmusis III destroyed Hatshepsut's statues out of jealousy upon her death in 1458 BC, particularly the ones in Hatshepsut's temple in el Deir el Bahary in the southern city of Luxor.

"This goes against earlier views that Thotmusis III tried to hide Hatshepsut's obelisk when he took over as ruler and that he worked to erase any traces left by the queen," Hawass said.

The new discoveries will be taken to the Luxor Museum to be put on display.

That is one of the things about a field like Egyptology -- beneath the next grain of sand might be the piece of evidence that overthrows all that we thought we knew!

|| Greg, 06:16 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 21, 2006

The Return Of Heroes

Via Jawa Report.

America's Sons Come Home After 62 Years

From a Department of Defense press release:

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO)
announced today that the remains of eleven U.S. airmen, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

They are Capt. Thomas C. Paschal, El Monte, Calif.; 1st Lt. Frank P. Giugliano, New York, N.Y.; 1st Lt. James P. Gullion, Paris, Texas; 2nd Lt. Leland A. Rehmet, San Antonio, Texas; 2nd Lt. John A. Widsteen, Palo Alto, Calif., Staff Sgt. Richard F. King, Moultrie, Ga.; Staff Sgt. William Lowery, Republic, Pa..; Staff Sgt. Elgin J. Luckenbach, Luckenbach, Texas.; Staff Sgt. Marion B. May, Amarillo, Texas.; Sgt. Marshall P. Borofsky, Chicago, Ill.; Sgt. Walter G. Harm, Philadelphia, Penn.; all U.S. Army Air Forces.

On April 16, 1944, Paschal and Widsteen were piloting a B-24J Liberator with the other nine men aboard. The aircraft was returning to Nadzab, New Guinea after bombing enemy targets near Hollandia. The plane was last seen off the coast of the island flying into poor weather.

Most of the men will be buried today in Arlington National Cemetery. The families of three of the men have decided to bury them in their hometowns.

Cross-posted at The Dread Pundit Bluto, Stop the ACLU, and Vince Aut Morire.

May God bless these heroes and their families for the sacrifices they made for the sake of human freedom.

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

Hurrah! More Star Trek!

A new Star Trek feature film is coming – and it is a prequel!

More than three years after the last "Star Trek" movie crashed at the box office, the venerable sci-fi franchise is being revived by the director of the upcoming "Mission: Impossible" sequel, Daily Variety reported in its Friday edition.

The as-yet-untitled "Star Trek" feature, the 11th since 1979, is aiming for a fall 2008 release through Paramount Pictures, the Viacom Inc. unit looking to restore its box-office luster under new management, the trade paper said.

The project will be directed by J.J. Abrams, whose Tom Cruise vehicle "Mission: Impossible III" will be released by Paramount on May 5. Abrams, famed for producing the TV shows "Alias" and "Lost," will also help write and produce.

Daily Variety said the action would center on the early days of "Star Trek" characters James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, including their first meeting at Starfleet Academy and first outer-space mission.

The projected release date is 2008 – and I’ll consider breaking my own Viacom boycott to get my USS Enterprise fix.

This does mean, though, that there will be no Chekov or Sulu – and maybe no Uhura.

Shall we start speculating on possible actors to fill the roles of Kirk, Spock, and other beloved characters?

|| Greg, 07:54 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

GOP Must Condemn Chafee

Lincoln Chafee is no Republican – that is why his wife is seeking to get Democrats to come over to the GOP to secure a Senate nomination he cannot get if only Republicans vote.

(H/T Steve Muscatello's C-Log)

From the Steve Laffey for U.S. Senate campaign:
Dear All,

Please read the following--it is truly outrageous. Below you will find a letter Stephanie Chafee (Lincoln Chafee's wife) emailed to registered Democrats URGING them to disaffiliate and register as Independents or Republicans so that they can vote for Senator Chafee in the Republican primary on September 12th. Included are the attachments Mrs. Chafee sent along with her email instructing voters HOW and WHERE to disaffiliate. This is a blatant attempt by the Chafee campaign to HIJACK the Republican primary, and further proof that Senator Chafee does not represent even moderate Republicans in Rhode Island. It is clear Lincoln Chafee cannot win the Republican primary in Rhode Island without the help of liberal Democrats. It is also clear that the Chafee campaign is beginning to panic in light of Mayor Laffey's continued success. Please spread the news to all who might be interested. We cannot let Senator Chafee get away with this. This letter can also be seen here.

Just in case Rhode Island voters were too stupid to figure out to disaffiliate on their own, Ms. Chafee provided them with a nice how-to-guide.

Five Easy Steps To Disaffiliate (Become a Unaffiliated Voter)

1.) Fill out the Rhode Island Voter Registration form (page 3 and 4 of your packet). Be sure to check unafilliated in section 8 of your registration form for your political party, which will enable you to vote in either the Democrat or Republican primary.

2.) Mail the completed form to your local board of canvassers. For a complete list of addresses see the bottom of your Rhode Island Voter Registration form.

3.) You will receive a confirmation letter detailing your new party affiliation from the Secretary of State’s office shortly after you mail in your completed Voter Registration form.

4.) On Primary Day, September 12th, at your local polling station you will be given a choice of which primary you would like to enter.

5.) Immediately after voting, you can get a disaffiliation form from the clerk at the polling station and change your registration back to your initial party affiliation.

Somebody tell the RNC to wake up and start funding Laffey's campaign. Chafee makes Arlen Specter look like Barry Goldwater. He's a fraud and should be run out of the party. Period.

Keep the GOP Primary Republican – MAKE A LITTLE LAFFEY LOVE!

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

I Am Teddy, Hear Me Roar!

Somebody had to say it, given the Reuters headline.

At 74, U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy still roars

When will he be bold enough to tell us all about Mary Jo?

|| Greg, 07:48 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Unacceptable Demands From Islamists In America

Just say no to Muslim demands for unreasonable accommodations.

About 200 Muslim women who have memberships to the Fitness USA chain of athletic clubs have signed a petition asking the gyms to honor what they say was a promise to provide separate exercise times for women and men.

Arrwa Mogalli, 28, of Dearborn, said she bought a $1,465 lifetime membership after being promised that a Lincoln Park facility would be open only to women on certain days.

The gym in this Detroit suburb opened a new part of the center this month to both sexes every day.

"I felt like all the money I just spent ... has gone to waste," Mogalli said.
The women are asking the chain to restore single-sex exercise days for the entire gym or to put up a divider so men and women cannot see each other while exercising.

"In Islam, there are codes of modesty for both genders," said Ammerah Saidi, 23, of Dearborn. "When you're working out, you're not dressed modestly, and you're bending in provocative ways, so you can't be working out with the opposite gender."

The company is reviewing the women's concerns, said Jodi Berry, administrative director for Fitness USA. But the company said that the women's written contracts say nothing about gender.

What next – a day that exclude non-Muslims because the Koran forbids friendship between Muslims and infidels?

|| Greg, 07:42 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Apple Arguments Have Frightening Implications For First Amendment

Seriously – is the reach of the First Amendment guarantee of press freedom really so narrow?

"Unlike the whistleblower who discloses a health, safety or welfare hazard affecting all, or the government employee who reveals mismanagement or worse by our public officials, (the Macintosh news sites) are doing nothing more than feeding the public's insatiable desire for information," Kleinberg wrote at the time.

This is a position which is completely alien to American notions of liberty to speak and write.

Using this argument, gossip columns, tabloids, and human interest stories are not covered under the First Amendment, given that they are merely “feeding the public’s insatiable desire for information.” The same would be true of magazines like “Popular Mechanics”, “Field and Stream”, and “Sports Illustrated”. Heck, we’d have to divide newspapers into two sections – those sections which have First Amendment coverage and those that do not.

That is not to say that there are not legitimate questions of trade secrets and industrial espionage. But what Apple is attempting to do is nothing short of building a fence around the guarantees of the Bill of Rights and posting a giant “KEEP OUT” sign directed at citizen-journalists using the very technologies Apple’s products are designed to use.

The judges need to slap the computer giant down – with extreme prejudice.

|| Greg, 07:38 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

No Toilets Towards Mecca?

You must be kidding!

Facilities in a prison are being built so Muslim inmates do not have to face Mecca while sitting on the toilet.

The Home Office said two new toilet blocks are being installed as part of a refurbishment at Brixton jail in south London.

Faith leaders had told prison bosses it was unacceptable for Muslim inmates to face Mecca while using the toilet.

"The refurbishment has been carried out with due consideration for all faiths", a Home Office spokeswoman said.

"Following consultation with faith leaders within the prison, various small adjustments were made to ensure the faith issues of all prisoners are taken into account."

She added: "The money spent did not affect the overall cost of the refurbishment programme."

What next – building codes that contain the same “sensitivity” towards Islam?

I have a business proposition for any interested parties. I want to start manufacturing institutional toilets. The name of the company will be….

|| Greg, 07:29 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Hamas Attacks YMCA, Religious Freedom

What else can you call this?

Islamic religious leaders in this city have signed a petition calling on the new Hamas cabinet to shut down the local YMCA under the pretext that it is involved in "missionary activities." The Hamas-controlled municipality has expressed its support for the call.

The campaign against the YMCA began earlier this week when arsonists set fire to some of its offices.

The right to proselytize is a human right. So is the right to convert. It seems clear that the terrorcratic regime that rules the Palestinian Authority does not recognize such basic principles spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the governing documents of every civilized nation. It is time for the farce that is the “peace process” to end, and for Israel to step in as guarantor of the rights of Palestinians in the Gaza and the West Bank.

|| Greg, 07:25 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Chicago Public Schools – Every Child Left Behind

What else can be said about this statistic?

Chicago public high school freshmen are battling daunting odds: Only 6.5 percent of their predecessors have been earning four-year college degrees by their mid-20s.

For black and Latino male ninth-graders, the numbers are even more alarming. Only about 3 percent wind up graduating from four-year colleges within six years.

So says new research from the University of Chicago's Consortium on Chicago School Research, which looked at the high school graduating classes of 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2003.

One of the study’s authors calls the statistics “appalling.” I agree – and also call it evidence of educational malpractice. It is time for CPS to be taken out of the hands of the corrupt Democrats of the Chicago and their union cronies. Vouchers, anyone?

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

Union Thugs Seek Vehicle For Intimidation

Some contract employees at the University of Miami are hunger striking. It isn’t over wages and benefits – it is over the right of workers to vote by secret ballot on the question of union representation.

And guess what – it is the company, not the union, that wants to preserve the right of workers to express their opinion in a confidential manner.

At the University of Miami, maintenance workers for a private company just received a 25 percent pay raise and new health benefits, yet they continue an over-the-top hunger strike to pressure university President Donna Shalala to help them unionize.

Shalala did her part for workers' benefits by modifying the service contract with their employer, but the Service Employees International Union wants even more. It wants Shalala to force the company to yield on what type of union election the employees can hold.

While workers could vote to unionize by secret ballot, the union wants an easier route, called a "card check," that allows union recognition as soon as a majority of employees sign cards saying they favor a union.

The union argues that the company has intimidated workers leading up to an election. If that were true, it would seem workers would prefer a secret ballot rather than signing cards for all to see.

Card checks are a vehicle for union thuggery. Workers who refuse to publicly declare their willingness to submit to union tyranny are subject to unwelcome home visits and workplace intimidation by those who insist upon the right to represent their interests – for a hefty fee. Those who refuse to join are often threatened or worse, as the history of unions in this country has repeatedly shown.

Shalala should refuse to intervene in this dispute – and as for the hunger strike, when we should not take it seriously see senior SEIU officials placed on life-support in a Miami area ICU unit due to the effects of starvation and dehydration.

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

Revenge of the Bride of the Son of TAKS (OPEN TRACKBACK AND LINKFEST)

Today is the Social Studies TAKS -- we finally get to my subject area.

And TAKS will be over for another year.

Let's celebrate with my regular weekend Linkfest!

* * *

Post a link to your noteworthy writings and most interesting rants -- not to mention your well-reasoned and intellectually challenging essays -- for all of us to see.

As usual, I will not limit the number of items you can link, provided you stay reasonable.

And also as usual, remember the rule.

No Porn. No Spam. No Problem.

OPEN TRACKBACKED TO: Stop The ACLU, Uncooperative Blogger, Third World Country, Cigar Intelligence Agency, Camelot Destra Ideale, Adam's Blog, Conservative Cat, Blue Star Chronicles, Stuck on Stupid, TMH Bacon Bits, Voteswagon, Liberal Wrong Wing, Publius Rendezvous

|| Greg, 04:28 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

First Amendment (Revised Edition)

I spent a chunnk of yesterday afternoon reviewing the Constitution and Bill of Rights with some students yesterday in preparation for today's TAKS Social Studies test.

Unfortunately, my material was out of date.

My copy of the Bill of Rights included a First Amendment that read "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

I didn't realize that there had been a revision to tack on the phrase "but the courts and the school boards of the nation can do whatever they want."

That includes viewpoint discrimination that endores one view of a controversial social issue and bans the opposing view. At least according to the Ninth Circuit.

A suburban San Diego teenager who was barred from wearing a T-shirt with anti-gay rhetoric to class lost a bid to have his high school's dress code suspended Thursday after a federal appeals court ruled the school could restrict what students wear to prevent disruptions.

The ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals addressed only the narrow issue of whether the dress code should be unenforced pending the outcome of the student's lawsuit.

A majority of judges said, however, that Tyler Chase Harper was unlikely to prevail on claims that the Poway Unified School District violated his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and religion for keeping him out of class when he wore a shirt with the message "homosexuality is shameful."

Tyler Chase Harper sued the Poway Unified School District in San Diego federal court after the principal at Poway High School refused to let the student attend class wearing a T-shirt scrawled with the message "homosexuality is shameful."

Harper was a sophomore at Poway High in 2004 when he wore the T-shirt the day after a group called the Gay-Straight Alliance held a "Day of Silence" to protest intolerance of gays and lesbians. The year before, the campus was disrupted by protests and conflicts between students over the Day of Silence.

After Harper refused to take off the T-shirt, Poway High School's principal kept Harper out of class and assigned him to do homework in a conference room for the rest of the day. He was not suspended from school.

The problem is, from my point of view, that the school had permitted (and even endorsed) the "Day of Silence". So what you had was a situation in which the marketplace of ideas was shut down, to be replaced with a Soviet-style command economy of ideas.

And what did the judges base their actions upon? Why, such important legal texts as Brokeback Mountain and The Matthew Shepard Story..

The third judge, Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski, vigorously dissented: “I have considerable difficulty with giving school authorities the power to decide that only one side of a controversial topic may be discussed in the school environment because the opposing point of view is too extreme or demeaning.... The fundamental problem with the majority’s approach is that it has no anchor anywhere in the record or in the law. It is entirely a judicial creation, hatched to deal with the situation before us, but likely to cause innumerable problems in the future.�

The two-judge majority criticized Kozinski, suggesting that the majority could rely upon the motion pictures Brokeback Mountain or The Matthew Shepard Story “as evidence of the harmful effects of anti-gay harassment....�

“The majority implied that Brokeback Mountain is in, and the Bible is out. What’s really broken here is the majority’s approach to the First Amendment,� Theriot observed.

“The court has manufactured new law in the area of student speech in saying students cannot say anything that school officials deem ‘demeaning’ to another,� Theriot explained. “This is the same court that ruled that parental rights stop at the schoolhouse gate and that ‘God’ should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. This case is not over.�

Ultimately it comes down to this -- does speech that does no more than raise a moral objection to homosexuality constitute harassment which can (and, implicitly, should) be banned? After all, this shirt did not say "Homosexuals Are Perverts" or "God Hates Fags" -- and certainly no threat of violence. It said "Homosexuality Is Shameful" -- a moral judgement on the lifestyle. Would the school have been equally opposed to a shirt which claimed that "Racism Is Shameful" or "War Is Shameful" or "Voting Republican Is Shameful"? I think the question answers itself.

This decision must be overturned -- either permitting non-disruptive speech by students (no claim of disruption has ever been made by the school) or imposing a gag on all student speech. And given that the latter is antithetical to the First Amendment and contrary to over six decades of precedent on the matter, the answer is clearly my first suggestion -- a reiteration of the Tinker principle that students do not shed their liberties at the schoolhouse gate, and the barnett pinciple that school officials shall not prescribe what positions shall be orthodox in matters of personal belief and may not compel assent to those positions or forbid viewsexpression to the contrary.


|| Greg, 04:24 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 20, 2006

Hazardous Duty

I certainly wouldn’t volunteer for this – and I’ve worked Christmas weekend in a toy store.

Some of the toughest fighters in the British Army have been drafted in to control one of the most frightening situations on civvy street: hordes of bank holiday shoppers at Ikea.

The four former Gurkhas have kept the peace in the Falklands, Belize and on the border between Hong Kong and China.

But they had never seen anything quite like the notoriously temperamental crowds found at a flatpack furniture store. Two weeks into their assignment, the team of highly disciplined Nepalese soldiers is rising to the challenge and has already eradicated car park crime at the store where they are working.

Lal Bahadur Gurung, 44, a retired colour sergeant with 2nd Bn the Royal Gurkha Rifles, said: "I have never seen anything like it anywhere and I have been on operational tours all over the world, mainly peacekeeping.

Where fools and angels fear to tread, there go the Gurkhas.

|| Greg, 06:58 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

This Is Embarrassing!

I really do not know how you explain something like this.

Nobody expects to get a letter from a member of Congress that ends with an expletive.

But that's what happened when Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., recently corresponded with a resident of her southeast Missouri district.

The letter ended with a profane, seven-letter insult beginning with the letter a — "i think you're an. ..."

Emerson says she can't explain how the offensive language made it into the letter, which otherwise reads like a typical response to a citizen's question about last year's testimony of oil executives before the Senate Commerce Committee.

"There is no excuse for this inappropriate letter having been sent, and every apology has been made to the individual who received it," Emerson said in a statement to The Associated Press.

"We cannot determine whether the addition to the letter was made by someone within the office or by someone with access to the office, but it is on my letterhead and the responsibility for it lies with me. A valuable lesson has been learned and new procedures will be adopted as a result."

Particularly embarrassing is the fact that Emerson signed the letter personally – and even included a personal postscript apologizing for the delay in answering the constituent’s letter.

|| Greg, 06:58 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (9) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Perry Leads Comfortably In Texas

Usually, an incumbent with 40% of voters backing him for reelection is in serious trouble. Not in Texas – at least not this year.

Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) is enjoying a growing lead in a four-way campaign to keep his job.

For the third straight election poll by Rasmussen Reports, Perry earns support from 40% of Texas voters. Normally, this level of support would be devastating for an incumbent, but nothing is normal in Texas this year. Two Independent candidates join Democrat Chris Bell in there desire to replace Perry. All three earn between 15% and 19% of the vote.

The biggest change from our previous survey is the receding threat to Perry from Carole Keeton Strayhorn. Strayhorn, who is currently the state Comptroller, initially intended to challenge Perry in the Republican Primary.

When that route looked unappealing, she left the GOP to run as an independent. In February, before the Democrats had settled on their candidate, Strayhorn attracted 31% of the vote and had pulled within nine points of the incumbent. Now, with 19% support, Strayhorn is at her lowest level of support since entering the race.

Strayhorn's presence in the race has added an element of drama in what was expected to be an easy walk to re-election for Perry. However, it has also created difficulties for Democrat Chris Bell to draw attention to his campaign. Bell, now at 17% in the poll, has less than half the support of Governor Perry.

Kinky Friedman, unfortunately, is at the bottom of the poll with 15%. He would at least make the race fun.

The key thing to consider is this – as of today, Perry beats any of his opponents by a 2-to-1 margin. It would take one of these three dropping out of the race and every last one of their supporters migrating to one of the other candidates for Perry’s margin to drop to less than 5%. And if he and the Legislature produce a credible school finance reform package, expect him to see a big increase in support.

|| Greg, 06:56 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I Don’t See The Problem

UPDATE: I seem to have used a certain term in this post, a term that I have always understood as referring to immigration status, but which i am now informed is racially/ethnically insensitive. I apologize. I won't change the word on my site, though, because I do not go back and hide my mistakes or bury evidence of my own errors.

Mom and Dad are here illegally – they need to be deported. None of the extraneous details about the kids are relevant.

It was about 6:30 in the evening and the woman had dinner on the stove.

Her husband came though the door after a dusty day of work with Cornejo & Sons Construction. He was cheery as always, she said. But the U.S. Marshals that came to the porch of their Wichita home minutes later changed that.

The marshals arrested Jaime Villagrana following his indictment on four counts of using a fake Social Security number to land his job. He is in the U.S. illegally and after being deported once before, had returned.

For some Americans and a majority of Kansans, the question of how the U.S. should deal with illegal immigration is cut and dried: Find those who shouldn't be here and deport them.

But the reality of deportation is complicated, those who deport illegal immigrants for a living say.

Villagrana and his wife, Manuela, for example, have two young children who were born in Wichita and are by law American citizens.

Villagrana's take-home pay -- after taxes and Social Security deductions -- supported his family, but his 7-month-old son, Guillermo, has an undiagnosed illness that requires a respirator and 20-hour-a-day professional attention He has received thousands of dollars in Medicaid services for his care.

If Villagrana is prison, and Manuela is forced to leave, what will happen to the children?

In the debate over whether the U.S. should more aggressively deport those who are here illegally, cases like the Villagranas show that easy answers are hard to find.

There are three options available here – let the parents decide.

The first one is for the parents to take the children with them. The kids can return when they are adults, and start the process of bringing the parents over after the turn 18. That is the legal method of immigration.

The second is for them to find a nice American family to raise the children for them – or a family member who is here legally (notice that the status of the husband’s brother is pointedly not addressed). The kids can then sponsor the parents back when the turn 18. Again, that is the proper legal process for getting the parents into the country.

The third option is terminating the parental rights of the parents, for it sounds like it is not in the best interests of the children to be sent to Mexico. We might even consider writing such a provision into American law, automatically severing the parental rights of any illegal whose child is born an American citizen. These children would be legally free for adoption by American families, and would be raised in America as American citizens. And the beauty of this approach is that the illegal immigrant birth-parents would have no claim to being family members. This would certainly eliminate the incentive to have anchor babies, for they could then never sponsor the deported parents into the US – and it certainly is easier than amending the Constitution to deny citizenship to the children of illegals.

Do I sound heartless, given the health problems of little Guillermo? Probably – but my personal choice would be option number two or three, which would ensure that this child has all the benefits that come with American citizenship.

But I have not one ounce of sympathy for the parents – they have broken our laws and invaded our country. They need to be removed immediately.

To paraphrase a slogan popular among supporters of illegal immigration, “Para los ciudadanos, todo. Para los mojados, nada.”

For the citizens, everything. For the wetbacks, nothing.

OPEN TRACKBACKED TO: Stop The ACLU, Uncooperative Blogger, Third World Country, Cigar Intelligence Agency, Camelot Destra Ideale, Adam's Blog, Conservative Cat, Blue Star Chronicles, Stuck on Stupid, TMH Bacon Bits, Voteswagon, Liberal Wrong Wing, Publius Rendezvous

» Watcher of Weasels links with: Submitted for Your Approval
» The Glittering Eye links with: Eye on the Watcher’s Council
» Watcher of Weasels links with: The Council Has Spoken!

|| Greg, 06:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (3) ||

More Democrat Lies

The new claim by some Democrats is “I’m suing George Bush!" The only problem with the claim is that it is not true.

Kelly Hayes-Raitt says she is suing President George W. Bush. Christine Chavez is touting her "legal challenge" against the president's education policies. Joe Baca says he joined the suit because the president has "lost sight of education." Rudy Bermúdez rails against the "burdensome" provisions of Bush's signature No Child Left Behind Act.

All four are candidates in contested Democratic primaries this June. And all four are clients of Democratic political consultant Richie Ross.

In fact, a group of thirteen Ross clients, and one non-Ross candidate, have banded together to file an amicus brief in a federal-court case against the Bush administration's education policies. At least two of the candidates, Hayes-Raitt and Chavez, have been publicizing the amicus brief in their campaigns.

But some are calling the move a Ross-engineered election-year stunt to win support for his candidates in left-leaning Democratic primaries. All 14 signatories of the brief are running for office this year, and all but one face a contested primary election.

Assemblyman Joe Baca, D-Rialto, who is running for the state Senate against fellow Assemblywoman Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Chino, said that Ross approached him with the idea of a group legal action.

"He had brought the idea to us and I thought it was a great idea," said Baca. Ross did not return calls for comment.

"It is almost like they are running as some kind of team across the state," said Parke Skelton, a Los Angeles-based Democratic political consultant who is running campaigns against four signers of the amicus brief.

The lone signatory of the brief that is not a Ross client is Los Angeles City Council member Alex Padilla, who is running for the Senate against Assemblywoman Cindy Montañez, D-San Fernando. Padilla said he heard about the brief, which was filed on March 31, on a trip to Sacramento and wanted to join in. Asked if it was odd that he was the only non-Ross client to sign onto the amicus brief, Padilla replied, "It wouldn't be the first time I stood out in a crowd."

Unfortunately for these clowns, their claim is easily refuted. Filing an amicus brief in the case is not the same as suing someone. It is in some ways the legal equivalent of writing a letter to one’s congressman – to quote the late Chief Justice Rehnquist, it is a brief filed by “someone who is not a party to the litigation, but who believes that the court's decision may affect its interest.” In other words they are not suing anyone, just expressing their opinion on what should happen.

Doesn’t it suck to have the truth collide with one’s campaign publicity stunts?

|| Greg, 06:53 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Chafee Faces Money Crunch

Well, when you are a liberal Republican running against a grassroots conservative, I would suspect that funds would dry up.

Rhode Island Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee is the only senator running for re-election who is raising less money than his primary opponent and both Democrats running to replace him, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

"This is an ominous sign. If Chafee can't get the financial support in his party's primary, he's not going to get the voter support," said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Phil Singer.

I agree with Singer – and therefore wonder why the GOP establishment remains behind the uber-RINO when there is a strong candidate in Steve Laffey.

Keep sending the message folks – HOW ABOUT SOME LAFFEY LOVE!

|| Greg, 06:51 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Doesn’t He See The Contradiction

I wonder – does Hawaii legislator Marcus Oshiro understand anything about economics. While supporting the repeal of a cap on gasoline prices, he made this statement.

The House said that plan is too complicated. House members want the cap repealed for good, but threaten gasoline executive with up to five years in prison if they unfairly manipulate the free market.

"Those instances would probably prompt a criminal or civil investigation and possibly prosecution," Rep. Marcus Oshiro said.

If it is truly a free market, then there would be no government investigation or prosecution – because the market would take care of “gouging” (a nonsensical term) via the choices made by the consumers.

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

In Poor Taste

Using a concentration camp as a venue for a rock opera about Jesus just seems wrong.

The Anti-Defamation League said on Thursday that it was "appalled" by plans to present the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" at the Majdanek Concentration Camp outside Lublin, Poland.

"We are appalled at the poor taste behind the decision to present this musical at the site where Jews were enslaved and killed. A site such as Majdanek, the second largest Nazi concentration camp in Europe, cannot be treated as if it were a public park or an entertainment venue. It is a sacred place dedicated to the memory those who suffered and to the more than 230,000 Jews and others killed within its gates," ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman - himself a Holocaust survivor - said in a statement.

Foxman called on the organizers of this event to move it to another venue.

I usually find myself in disagreement with Foxman, who has shown an increasingly rabid hostility towards Christianity in recent years. However, it may well be that Abe Foxman, like a boken clock, is right twice a day.

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


Well, after a day off for . . . well, I don't know why they scheduled a day off from testing yesterday, TAKS testing resumes today with the 10th grade Science test. So I'll be trapped in a room all day with the same kids as Tuesday (including one of my most obnoxious students from my history classses), silently praying for the coming of the bell that signals the end of the school day.

* * *

In honor of the day of torture (for them) and boredom (for me), I hereby declare this special edition linkfest and trackback carnival to be OPEN!

Post a link to your noteworthy writings and most interesting rants -- not to mention your well-reasoned and intellectually challenging essays -- for all of us to see.

As usual, I will not limit the number of items you can link, provided you stay reasonable.

And also as usual, remember the rule.

No Porn. No Spam. No Problem.

|| Greg, 04:20 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Mormon Books Recovered

One need not be a member of the LDS Church to be pleased that these historical treasures have been recovered.

Four early editions of the Book of Mormon stolen in two separate thefts have been recovered, police said.

Thirteen historical religious books, including two first editions of the Book of Mormon that were published in 1830, were taken last week from the Daughters of Utah Pioneers museum. Two others have been missing since last November when a small safe was reported stolen from the LDS Institute of Religion at the University of Utah.

Early Tuesday, Utah Highway Patrol dispatchers heard from an anonymous caller who said police should check in a mailbox near a high school, said patrol Lt. Tony Garcia.

Inside the box was an envelope with no postage and "attention President Hinckley" _ Gordon B. Hinckley is president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints _ written on the front. Two copies of the Book of Mormon stolen from the museum were inside, Garcia said.

The two copies of the Book of Mormon stolen from the LDS institute last fall were recovered at a home Tuesday where a SWAT raid was conducted, said Midvale police Sgt. Steve Shreeve.

"It was wonderful news," said Allan Gunnerson, the institute's director.

The value of the books is thought to be between $800,000 and $1 million.

Eleven of the stolen books were recovered last week when a book store owner told investigators he paid $11,000 for two first editions of the Book of Mormon. He also gave police the seller's name. Officers traced the man's driver's license number and then staked out a Magna home, where they made an arrest and recovered nine more books.

On Friday, police booked Robert M. Lindsay, 48, for investigation of felony theft and possession of stolen property.

While not exactly the Dead Sea Scrolls, these rare editions of the Mormon holy book are important for scholars and those of the Mormon faith. I am pleased that they have been returned, safe and unharmed, to Mormon authorities so that htey may be conserved and preserved for furture generations of the scholars and the faithful.

|| Greg, 04:07 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Constitutionalizing The Insanity Defense?

This case has the potential to tell us if the Supreme Court has been turned byt the two newest justices. After all, it presents the opportunity for the justices to define an entirely new Constitutional right -- the right to an insanity defense.. Will they take the bait, or will the addition of Roberts and Alito lead to a more restrained decision?

The Supreme Court embarked on a potentially far-reaching review of the insanity defense yesterday, as the justices heard oral arguments in the case of an Arizona man, Eric Michael Clark, who was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time he shot a police officer to death.

At issue in the case is whether Arizona's version of the insanity defense, which requires defendants to prove with "clear and convincing" evidence that they were too mentally ill to understand that their conduct was wrong, is so narrow that it violates the constitutional right to due process of law.

The problem is that such pleas, even to the degree they are rooted in common law, are ultimately shaped and defined by the statutes passed by the legislatures of the 50 states and by Congress. A decision going against the state of Arizona has the potential of pre-empting the right of the states to determine the operation of their own courts. If there is a federal constitutional right to "not guilty by reason of insanity" rather than "guilty but insane", then the principles of federalism and states' rights will have been severely undermined.

|| Greg, 03:59 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 19, 2006

DeLay Charges Still Invalid

Even though he has been driven out of the CD22 congressional race, Tom DeLay is likely to overcome the trumped-up political charges against him. He achieved another victory today in a Texas appellate court.

An appeals court Wednesday upheld a judge's ruling throwing out a felony conspiracy charge against former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

DeLay, who announced this month that he is resigning his congressional seat, still faces a money-laundering charge and another conspiracy charge stemming from the financing of state legislative races in 2002.

A lower court judge dismissed a conspiracy charge against DeLay in December, agreeing with defense arguments that the conspiracy law did not cover election code violations in 2002; the Legislature amended the law in 2003.

Prosecutors had argued before a three-judge panel of the 3rd Court of Appeals that conspiracy to violate the election code had always been a crime and that the 2003 change merely clarified the law.

Once again, the courts uphold the basic constitutional principle that ex post facto laws are not permitted – even when it interferes with the intrigues of a political hack like Ronnie Earle. I’ve no doubt that the rest of the charges will be easily refuted in court – and that the misconduct that has plagued this prosecution will lead to professional sanctions against the rogue prosecutor.

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

But They Are Not Barbarians, Are They?

I mean, any criticism of this is certainly based upon rank Islamophobia.

Separate groups of gunmen entered two primary schools in Baghdad and beheaded two teachers in front of their students, the Ministry of State for National Security said.

"Two terrorist groups beheaded two teachers in front of their students in the Amna and Shaheed Hamdi primary schools in Shaab district in Baghdad," a ministry statement said.

A ministry official said he believed the attacks were aimed at: "intimidating pupils and disrupting learning".

As a teacher, I have three words for those who perpetrate acts such as this.




|| Greg, 06:09 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dem Leaders Celebrate Convicted Election Cheat

The Democrat leaders of St. Clair County turned out to wish Charlie Powell a happy birthday on April 7, even though his birthday doesn’t roll around until April 28. But then again, Powell will not be available on April 28 – he reported to federal prison on April 17 to begin his 21 month sentence for election fraud.

St. Clair County Circuit Judges John Baricevic and Milton Wharton attended on the evening of April 7 at Club Illusion in East St. Louis as did Associate Judge Laninya Cason and an estimated 250 other party-goers.

They had come to wish a happy birthday to a politician who, even after being convicted of vote fraud, was able to influence county politics. St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern and his wife, Erin, also were at the party as was Assessor Gordon Bush and prominent Belleville attorney Bruce Cook, who defended Powell during his June trial for conspiracy to commit vote fraud.

* * *

Partygoers said Powell circulated through the club's crowded rooms, stopping at tables to talk with friends he has known during more than 30 years of political life.

"He's been a great leader... With his absence you can see all the confusion that's going on at city hall," said Frank Smith, a Democratic precinct committeeman in the city who said he has been a friend of Powell's for three decades.

Smith, a caseworker for East St. Louis Township, said he spoke with Baricevic at the party.

"I talked to Judge Baricevic. He praised Charlie," Smith said.

Bush, the assessor, said, "Charlie Powell is a very good friend of mine who made a mistake. However, I feel that because of all the good that he's done through the years he is worthy of my being present at his birthday party. And I was honored to be there."

Bush has said it was Powell's recommendation last year, after Powell's vote fraud guilty verdict, that led to his appointment as assessor to replace Percy McKinney, who resigned.

Could you imagine the outrage if the shoe were on the other foot, and these were Republican judges and other elected officials turning out to honor a convicted official days before he began his sentence – for example, Duke Cunningham? Could you imagine the outrage from Democrats and the press if he were still being publicly praised by senior elected officials despite his conviction?

So, want to tell me which party has a culture of corruption?

(Please note – I took no pleasure in writing this piece. Judge Baricevic’s sister is an old co-worker of mine, an excellent educator and a faithful member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame whose service to God and the children of southern Illinois is inspirational.)

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

Bureaucratic Bumbling And Peculiar Priorities

Which is more important, medically speaking – aggressive cancer treatment, or tattoo removal? If you are Great Britain’s National Heath Service, the answer is obvious – the tattoo work.

A former sailor who has had a sex-change is to have her tattoos removed on the NHS because she feels "unladylike", it has been revealed. NHS bosses who agreed the procedure have been criticised for wasting taxpayers' money, as thousands of nurses and doctors lose their jobs in cuts.

Tanya Bainbridge, 57, who was born Brian, wants the tattoos removed so she can wear sleeveless dresses and tops in summer. The procedure reportedly costs £2,500.

Miss Bainbridge, who has nine children - from whom she is now estranged - by three different women, had a £20,000 sex-change operation on the NHS in 2001 at Charing Cross Hospital in London.

Her local primary health care trust will pay for her to visit the hospital again for laser treatment to remove the tattoos.

Miss Bainbridge lives with her boyfriend, Mark, in Middleton, Greater Manchester. They are both unemployed.

Now a faded blue, the tattoos show a ship and a swallow which includes the names of some of her children. She had them done when she served in the Merchant Navy from 1964 to 1976.

Yes, we must help sexually confused ex-sailors with amputated genitalia get themselves into sun dresses. What could possibly be more important?

Certainly not this lady.

Mother-of-three Claire McDonnell, 33, has been refused "wonder drug" Herceptin by Wokingham Primary Care Trust to treat her aggressive form of breast cancer because of its cost.

Mrs McDonnell, from Reading in Berkshire, said the cost of removing Miss Bainbridge's tattoos, £2,500, was the same amount as the initial treatment of Herceptin. She added: "That money could pay for my breast cancer treatment."

Well, come on, how can this woman be so insensitive? It’s not like she is going to die and leave her children motherless without that medication.

Oh, wait – she will die without that treatment.

I guess NHS just feels there are some sacrifices that must be made in the name of fashion -- and it doesn’t matter how many lives it costs.

Anyone need more reason to object to nationalizing healtcare in the manner advocated by Senator Clinton?

|| Greg, 06:03 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Big Meat Eater Discovered

Bigger and more ravenous than T-Rex.

And it isn't called MichaelMooreasaurous.

A new dinosaur species, one of the largest known carnivorous dinosaurs, has emerged from the red sandstone of Patagonia, in Argentina, where reptilian giants seem to have thrived 100 million years ago.

Paleontologists reported yesterday that they had found the fossils of seven to nine individuals of a species they are naming Mapusaurus roseae.

An analysis of the bones showed that an adult exceeded 40 feet in length, which the discoverers said was slightly larger than specimens of both its close relative, Giganotosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus rex. Some scientists think that a Spinosaurus species from North Africa is the largest meat-eating dinosaur, but that is still debated.

The discovery was made in sediments of a 100-million-year-old water channel at a site 15 miles south of Plaza Huincul, Argentina. It was reported at a news conference in Plaza Huincul and described in the French journal Geodiversitas.

Rodolfo A. Coria of the Carmen Funes Museum in Plaza Huincul and Philip J. Currie of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, co-leaders of the excavations, said they found hundreds of Mapusaurus bones in the sediments. Nearly all of the bones were scattered, and not in their original skeletal arrangements.

The description sounds pretty fierce -- but would it be able to compete with the film-maker in a buffet line?

|| Greg, 04:34 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Overcoming Obstacles To Generic Medications

My Darling Democrat takes a lot of medications, due to some serious health issues. We are fortunate to have reasonably decent insurance, but there are still some medications that end up costing us as much as $30, or even $50, each every month because they are brand name drugs -- and other medications that are not a consideration for the same reason. If moreedications were generics, we would be talking about a cost of under $75. Now I understand that the higher-priced drugs are under patent, and the need to recoup development costs. Still, I expect a quick release of a generic after the patent goes off.
That isn't always happening.

The brand-name drug industry is aggressively working to keep blockbuster drugs widely used by the elderly from being sold in cheaper generic versions when their patents expire, the organization that represents pharmacy benefit managers said yesterday.

With an unprecedented number of top-selling drugs scheduled to go off patent within five years, the organization said, branded drug companies are constructing roadblocks to potential savings of $23 billion to seniors and the Medicare system.

"There's an agenda to prevent generics from getting to the market as soon as they could," said Mark Merritt, president of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, which conducted the study. The association represents companies that administer prescription drug plans for employers and government programs.

"If they succeed," Merritt said, brand-name drug companies "could reduce the savings significantly."

Ken Johnson, senior vice president for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, disputed the charge and pointed to the high rate of generic drug usage in the United States as proof that branded companies are not keeping generics off the market. More than 53percent of prescriptions are filled with generic drugs.

"It would be more useful for the Pharmaceutical Care Association to collaborate with physicians and others in the health-care system to help achieve the highest quality of care for patients, and this includes use of new medicines which play a critical role in saving lives and reducing overall health costs," Johnson said.

What would be the cost differential for government if 14 commonly prescribed drugs within 4 years of patent expiration were to go generic immediately upon the expiration? Well, $13 billion just for Medicate -- and that doesn't include Medicaid, VA, and military expenditures. Nor does that take into account the savings to insurance companies (and, by extension, patients) if that happened. As i indicated, we are talking about a cost reduction in my household of some 60-70%. And i won't raise the issue of better outcomes for patients if the medications become more accessible financially.

|| Greg, 04:21 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 18, 2006

Celebrity Baby Births -- What An Irony (OPEN TRACKBACK AND LINKFEST)

We all remember the Tom Cruise/Brooke Shields dust-up over post-partum depression and psychology vs. Scientology. And we all have been flooded (to the point of nausea with the news of the Tom/Kat love-child. {*gag, choke, wretch*}

I was, on the other hand, blissfully unaware that "Pretty Baby" Shields was going to have another baby herself.

What were the chances of the two little girls sharing a birthdate?

God! I wish I had put 20 bucks on this in Vegas -- I could retire on the winnings.

* * *

Well, this is going nowhere fast. Why not make it into a linkfest thread?

Feel free to trackback with your good stuff. I won't limit the number of links, but do request that you practice reasonable restraint.

And don't forget this major rule.

No spam. No porn. No problem.

|| Greg, 10:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dating System Controversy In Kentucky

They have decided to add BCE and CE to the textpbooks in Kentucky. It is a move that caused controversy.

State board of education members approved curriculum recommendations that would change the designation of time from only the traditionally used terms B.C., or Before Christ and A.D., Anno Domini, for in the year of our Lord. Now, time designations will also include B.C.E., for Before Common Era, and C.E., for Common Era.

Board member David Webb attempted to pass an amendment that would prevent the inclusion of the new terms, but the majority of board members voted against it.

"Dates throughout history have been referred to as B.C. and A.D.," said Webb, who abstained from the curriculum vote. "It's also some degree of a faith-based issue. Especially this Easter season, I thought it was inappropriate for us to reference this."

The changes are recommendations to curriculum standards for students from preschool through 12th grade. The proposal would use both kinds of dating. For example, a date could read 500 A.D./C.E.

"I would want my child to have familiarity with both terms," said board member Hilma Prather. "I could not vote for the deletion of one or the other; I would like the inclusion of both."

The changes will now have to be voted on by a legislative committee and go through a public hearing, board spokeswoman Lisa Gross said. The recommendations could be in effect as early as the 2006-07 school year.

Looks to me like the supporters of the change are doing this for the right reason, and the opponents are supporting the specious argument that it is somehow an attack on religion. The point is that both will be used and taught, so that students will be aware of the commonly used terms that they WILL encounter in college.

I wrote on this issue about a year ago, and feel like it might be useful to repost that earlier commentary on the issue for those who find the issue one of interest.


B.C./A.D. Or B.C.E./C.E

We got new textbooks at school last year. As I began to flip through them, I noticed that they used the traditional B.C./A.D. dating convention rather than the newer B.C.E./C.E. convention that has become more popular in recent years. Personally, I don’t have a problem with using either system, but it seems that folks on both sides of the debate are somewhat more worked up over it.

In certain precincts of a world encouraged to embrace differences, Christ is out.

The terms "B.C." and "A.D." increasingly are shunned by certain scholars.

Educators and historians say schools from North America to Australia have been changing the terms "Before Christ," or B.C., to "Before Common Era," or B.C.E., and "anno Domini" (Latin for "in the year of the Lord") to "Common Era." In short, they're referred to as B.C.E. and C.E.

The life of Christ still divides the epochs, but the change has stoked the ire of Christians and religious leaders who see it as an attack on a social and political order that has been in place for centuries.

For more than a century, Hebrew lessons have used B.C.E. and C.E., with C.E. sometimes referring to Christian Era.

This raises the question: Can old and new coexist in harmony, or must one give way to the other to reflect changing times and attitudes?

Now I don’t see why both sides cannot exist in harmony. The breaking point is still the same, and that is the life of Christ. But while I am generally accepting of the B.C.E./C.E., I was initially taught it as Before Christian Era and Christian Era. In my classes, I present both dating systems, and discuss the underlying reasons for using each. I also tell my students that they ultimately have to make a choice in what system to use, and that either one is acceptable – and then proceed to use B.C. and A.D myself for the rest of the year.

Now I am particularly shocked at this criticism that shows up in the article, indicating extreme ignorance or extreme bias.

Although most calendars are based on an epoch or person, B.C. and A.D. have always presented a particular problem for historians: There is no year zero; there's a 33-year gap, reflecting the life of Christ, dividing the epochs. Critics say that's additional reason to replace the Christian-based terms.

Hold on just one moment. There is no 33-year gap between the eras. The year 1 B.C. is followed by 1 A.D., marking the traditional year of the birth of Christ (who probably was born between 7 B.C. and 4 B.C.) – there are no years floating around in limbo, falling into neither category. And the lack of a Year 0 is a rather absurd idea as well. After all, when we start counting something, we do not begin by labeling the first one as zero. No, we count them out sequentially, beginning with the number one. The arguments the article makes are just plain stupid, and I cannot imagine any serious scholar offering them.

Now there is a legitimate argument to be made against using B.C. and A.D., and that is the fact that it makes every date into a statement about a religious figure who is rejected by about 75% of the people of the world – more, if one recognizes there are a lot of folks out there who call themselves Christian who have no particular faith in Christ. I certainly understand where making a religious profession every time one uses a calendar might trouble them.

"When Jews or Muslims have to put Christ in the middle of our calendar ... that's difficult for us," said Steven M. Brown, dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.

I accept that argument, which is why I’m not troubled by the usage of B.C.E. and C.E. as meaning Before Christian Era and Christian Era. It accurately acknowledges the reason for the reason for making a change in dating in the traditional Western calendar system, but avoids requiring anything that resembles a profession of faith. At the same time, it does not engage in religious cleansing, in that it acknowledges the historical centrality of Christianity in the Western world.

Not everyone agrees with me, though.

Candace de Russy, a national writer on education and Catholic issues and a trustee for the State University of New York, doesn't accept the notion of fence-straddling.

"The use of B.C.E. and C.E. is not mere verbal tweaking; rather it is integral to the leftist language police -- a concerted attack on the religious foundation of our social and political order," she said.

For centuries, B.C. and A.D. were used in public schools and universities, and in historical and most theological research. Some historians and college instructors started using the new forms as a less Christ-centric alternative.

"I think it's pretty common now," said Gary B. Nash, director of the National Center for History in the Schools. "Once you take a global approach, it makes sense not to make a dating system applicable only to a relative few."

Now I think de Russy overstates the case. The original use of the term in Hebrew schools was designed to be sensitive to both Christians and Jews, and I think that principle certainly extends beyond those two groups and into the world as a whole. But I think Nash carries the argument too far, given that the logical implication of his position is that we should develop a whole new calendar that begins with the year 1 B.W.S.S. (Because We Say So). And that ignores the fact that for some 15 centuries, dates in the West have been calculated according to the system set up by Dionysius Exiguus. It has become the de facto dating system of the world.

In the end, I find myself coming down on the same side as the Professional Association of Georgia Educators’ Tim Callahan.

"Is that some sort of the political correctness?" said Tim Callahan, of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, an independent group with 60,000 educator members. "It sounds pretty silly to me."

The entire debate is rather silly. There are much greater issues for us to look at. In the end, any of the usages should be considered acceptable. This is a battle that does not need to be fought by either side, and from which all should disengage with an understanding that all three dating conventions will be tolerated. Anyone who cannot do that does not deserve to be taken seriously.

|| Greg, 09:26 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Unwelcome Technological Development

If this comes into production, we will have to boycott any company which markets a set or player with this feature – and any network that uses the technology.

If a new idea from Philips catches on, the company may not be very popular with TV viewers. The company's labs in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, has been cooking up a way to stop people changing channels to avoid adverts or fast forwarding through ads they have recorded along with their target programme.

The secret, according to a new patent filing, is to take advantage of Multimedia Home Platform - the technology behind interactive television in many countries around the world. MHP software now comes built into most modern digital TV receivers and recorders. It looks for digital flags buried in a broadcast, and displays messages on screen that let the viewer call up extra features, such as additional footage or information about a programme.

Philips suggests adding flags to commercial breaks to stop a viewer from changing channels until the adverts are over. The flags could also be recognised by digital video recorders, which would then disable the fast forward control while the ads are playing.

Philips' patent acknowledges that this may be "greatly resented by viewers" who could initially think their equipment has gone wrong. So it suggests the new system could throw up a warning on screen when it is enforcing advert viewing. The patent also suggests that the system could offer viewers the chance to pay a fee interactively to go back to skipping adverts.

If companies wish to run advertising on their shows, that is fine. But if they want to hijack my equipment to force me to watch, they will be boycotted. What next – televisions and video players that don’t allow me to change the channel or stop watching once a feature has started?

|| Greg, 04:09 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Babylon – A Theme Park?

That is one option noted by the NY Times in an article today on the ancient city. It makes for interesting reading for the archaeologically inclined – even though it includes the all-important anti-American slant for which the formerly great paper is now known.

In this ancient city, it is hard to tell what are ruins and what's just ruined.

Crumbling brick buildings, some 2,500 years old, look like smashed sand castles at the beach.

Famous sites, like the Tower of Babel and the Hanging Gardens, are swallowed up by river reeds.

Signs of military occupation are everywhere, including trenches, bullet casings, shiny coils of razor wire and blast walls stamped, "This side Scud protection."
Babylon, the mud-brick city with the million-dollar name, has paid the price of war. It has been ransacked, looted, torn up, paved over, neglected and roughly occupied. Archaeologists said American soldiers even used soil thick with priceless artifacts to stuff sandbags.

But Iraqi leaders and United Nations officials are not giving up on it. They are working assiduously to restore Babylon, home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and turn it into a cultural center and possibly even an Iraqi theme park.

Funny, though, how the article glosses over the extent of Saddam’s rape of the site during his years in power. I guess they wouldn’t want to offend their lefty-readers by suggesting that their hero was a bad guy.

|| Greg, 04:07 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Sheehan Slander

Maybe the Ditch Bitch can be hauled into court and shown to be a liar – not only on this, but on her anti-war/anti-American activism.

A Vacaville funeral home owner took exception to "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan's allegation that his mortuary did not fulfill its duties after her son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004.

In her blog last week, Sheehan wrote that the mortuary had refused to pay the cemetery as it was supposed to. Steve Nadeau, the mortuary's owner, said Monday that not only did he properly pay the cemetery, but that he subsidized the process with his own money.

Nadeau read Sheehan's comments on Sunday, in a story about Sheehan's defense of her decision not to put a headstone on Casey's grave. Sheehan had described her choice at length in the same blog entry that mentioned Nadeau's Funeral Home.

Nadeau was called on Friday and a message was left at his office seeking his comments. Nadeau returned the call and left a message saying he would be unavailable until Monday.

In an e-mail on Sunday, Nadeau expressed hurt and disbelief at Sheehan's comments. He said that the amount of money the military gave the mortuary for Casey's funeral service and cemetery arrangements didn't even come close to covering the costs.

"Several kind citizens made donations," said Nadeau. "I absorbed the rest."
This was not the only way in which he went above and beyond his responsibilities following Casey's death, said Nadeau. He also provided a stretch limousine and a driver at his expense, he said, and invited the family to go to the airport with him so that he could accompany them. None of this was required, said Nadeau.

"Having known the Sheehan family for many years through St. Mary's Catholic Church where Ms. Sheehan had previously been the youth director, it was my desire to provide care and dignity to Casey and the family. I did this in every respect."

Nadeau also refuted Sheehan's statement that the mortuary finally paid the cemetery only after the family threatened to bring the story to the media.

"This never happened," said Nadeau. "I would stop by the family home as I do most families' homes and check with them on necessary needs, etc."

Nadeau said the military provided his mortuary $5,736 in funding to pay for the funeral service and cemetery arrangements. The funding came in May 2004, said Nadeau, and he paid the cemetery as soon as the costs had been totaled and the donations received.

In a phone call Monday, Sheehan stood by her allegations. Sheehan also said that Casey's grave site was now being handled by her soon-to-be ex-husband Patrick.

Patrick Sheehan said Monday that the small plaque currently marking Casey's grave is something all graves receive before a headstone is constructed. Casey's headstone is in the works, he said, and is being built by a local monument company.

Now let me check – the funeral was in the spring of 2004, and the federal money came available in May of that year. It is now April of 2006. Why no marker until now, Cindy? Could it be that you blew your son’s insurance money on your political activism? We know your entire crusade is based upon lies, as you had your meeting with the President and praised him at the time.

I’m hoping that Steve Nadeau sues this woman for libel – and that his lawyers dismantle her on the stand, leaving no illusion that she is other than a self-promoting, America-hating compulsive liar.

|| Greg, 04:06 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Jesse Spews Race Poison

I’ve not commented on the Duke lacrosse team case. I want to wait and hear a bit more evidence before I make up my mind, because too much ambiguity is out there.

But I will take issue with this tripe from Jesse Jackass Jackson.

''Divorced mother of two, working way through college, allegedly raped, abused by gang.'' Had the headline read that way, the fury would have been great. The facts that the police didn't arrest anyone, that the gang was not talking, that it took two days for the police to search the scene of the crime would have added to the anger.

But that's not how it was reported. Rather it was reported that a black stripper was accusing members of the Duke lacrosse team of rape after she and another woman were hired to dance for them at a party. That method of reportage put race and class in the center of the story. Predictably, the right-wing media machine has kicked in. Rush Limbaugh called the two women strippers ''ho's,'' though he later apologized. And Michael Savage referred to the alleged victim as a ''Durham dirt-bag'' and ''dirty, venomous black stripper.''

Why was the story not reported the way Jesse suggests in the first paragraph? Well, it could be because the words he uses do not accurately convey what happened. I won't defend any of the examples of "conservatives" that he cites (one so incindiary that I reject him as representative of conservatism), because they rushed to judgement.

This was not a gang – it was an athletic team.

Why were they not talking? Because of the legitimate advice of their lawyers – based upon the Firth Amendment and the liberal precedents of the Warren Court that are usually trumpeted when the accused are members of the liberal-favored victim class instead of upper-class white kids.

And sorry, Jesse, but the bit about her being a stripper is relevant – it explains why she was at the house. Her “working her way through college” job is somewhat relevant to the story, given that strippers are also, at times, prostitutes – could this be an extortion case or a dispute over failure to pay for “services rendered”? Notice, please, that I am not calling this alleged victim a prostitute, but I won't discount that possibility given other legal issues in her past. I'm agnostic on the matter.

And for once in his life, Jesse seems to want arrests without a complete investigation, in the face of convoluted and uncertain evidence. He also apparently wants to do away with the requirement that there be a warrant obtained to do a search. In other words, white men accuse by black women should not get the same benefit of the doubt or due process as his favored members of the victim class.

Jesse wants “searching discussions of race and gender issues” – sounds good to me.

Let’s start with Tawana Brawley – and the tendency of so-called civil rights leaders to assume that minority accusers are always victims and whites accused are always guilty.

|| Greg, 04:03 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||


I'll be giving the Math TAKS all day today, so I'll be wrung out like a wash cloth by the end of the day (monitoring these tests requires a heightened awareness that is really draining -- and a mis-step can get your credentials sanctioned). I then have a meeting tonight regarding the Tom DeLay vacancy (as a CD22 precinct chair, I'm part of the process to select his replacement on the ballot). I just don't know how much time and energy I will have for additional blogging.

So here's an open thread for folks to link and trackback. That's right, I'm trying to do a linkfest since too keep folks coming back on a day when I might not blog a bunch. I won't limit the number of links, but do request that you practice reasonable restraint.

No spam. No porn. No problem.

» Cigar Intelligence Agency links with: Nothing Mexican on Cinco de Mayo

|| Greg, 04:36 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Good News On Breast Cancer?

Ever since Grandma battled breast cancer some thirty years ago, I have had an interest in this disease. It now appears there is another breakthrough in the prevention of breat cancer -- and it is from a drug that many women take to treat another common medical condition.

A drug used to prevent bones from thinning also offers millions of older women a powerful way to protect themselves against breast cancer, a large government-sponsored study has found.

The study of nearly 20,000 postmenopausal women found that raloxifene reduces their chance of developing breast cancer as effectively as tamoxifen, the only drug previously shown to reduce the risk, but is less likely to cause serious side effects such as uterine cancer and blood clots.

The findings indicate that raloxifene, sold under the brand name Evista, is a safer alternative for the estimated 9 million postmenopausal U.S. women at increased risk for breast cancer, experts said.

"This is good news for women," said Leslie Ford of the National Cancer Institute, which sponsored the $88 million study and released the preliminary findings early because of their public health implications. "Women now have a new option."

Because an estimated 500,000 women use raloxifene to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, many will be more comfortable using it for breast cancer protection, several experts predicted.

I hope that this treatment becomes common very quickly. Too many women I know have had to deal with this form of cancer in their lifetimes, and I would be happy to never hear them used in the present tense again.

|| Greg, 04:08 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watchers Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are No Relation to Reality, Indeed by Dr. Sanity, and April 2006 Message from Dan (copied here) by Dan Simmons.

Here is the link to the full results of the vote.

|| Greg, 03:59 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 17, 2006

It Could be A Long, Hot Summer

It his 92 degrees here today -- and topped 100 elsewhere int he state of Texas.

And for the first time in years, the state ordered rolling blackouts.

Hundreds of thousands of homes throughout Texas went without power for brief periods this afternoon as unseasonably warm weather and both planned and unplanned power plant outages led officials to call for rolling blackouts.

Shortly after 4 p.m. officials with the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas, the organization that monitors the grid for about 85 percent of the state, declared an emergency and asked power distributors to turn off about 1,000 megawatts of power.

The cuts were spread throughout the state, with Houston-based CenterPoint Energy cutting power for fifteen-minute intervals to about 78,000 customers using about 260,000 megawatts, according to a spokeswoman.

In Dallas about 80,000 TXU Electric Delivery customers using 380,000 megawatts saw their power go out for 15 minute intervals, according to a spokeswoman.

By 6 p.m. ERCOT declared the emergency over and rolling blackouts could stop.

My Darling Democrat, the Apolitical Pooch and I got hit with one of the blackouts in the first or second wave, right around 4:15. Our power was out no more than 20 minutes -- and I was fortunate that Gmail autosaved a very long email to a friend.

And it might not be over. It will be another hot one tomorrow -- and possibly through the week.

Here's hoping that power doesn't go out tomorrow during the school day, when the students are taking the TAKS test.

|| Greg, 09:37 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

One More Reason To Reject The UN

I mean, how can we possibly take this organization seriously?

Under threat of United Nations Security Council sanctions for its own nuclear program, Iran has been elected to a vice-chair position on the U.N. Disarmament Commission, whose mission includes preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

The commission's deliberations began last Monday and are scheduled to continue until April 28. On the first day of the commission meeting, Iran along with Uruguay and Chile was elected as one of three vice-chairs.

It happened on the same day that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised his people "good news" about the country's nuclear program.

The following day, Iran announced that it had managed to enrich uranium, a key ingredient in the production of a nuclear bomb.

Remember, this is the same Iran that secretly engaged in a nuclear development program while denying its existence.

Of all the claims that Iran made last week about its nuclear program, a one-sentence assertion by its president has provoked such surprise and concern among international nuclear inspectors they are planning to confront Tehran about it this week.

The assertion involves Iran's claim that even while it begins to enrich small amounts of uranium, it is pursuing a far more sophisticated way of making atomic fuel that American officials and inspectors say could speed Iran's path to developing a nuclear weapon.

Iran has consistently maintained that it abandoned work on this advanced technology, called the P-2 centrifuge, three years ago. Western analysts long suspected that Iran had a second, secret program — based on the black market offerings of the renegade Pakistani nuclear engineer Abdul Qadeer Khan — separate from the activity at its main nuclear facility at Natanz. But they had no proof.

Then on Thursday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Tehran was "presently conducting research" on the P-2 centrifuge, boasting that it would quadruple Iran's enrichment powers. The centrifuges are tall, thin machines that spin very fast to enrich, or concentrate, uranium's rare component, uranium 235, which can fuel nuclear reactors or atom bombs.

What next – selecting Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt to run the UN program to encourage sexual abstinence?

» Flopping Aces links with: Iran Heading UN Disarmament Commission

|| Greg, 05:57 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Hamas Still Supports Murder

This is the eyewitness testimony of one of those present when a homicide bomber murdered innocents outside a restaurant in Tel Aviv.

Witness Israel Yaakov said the blast killed a woman standing near her husband and children.

"The father was traumatized. He went into shock. He ran to the children to gather them up and the children were screaming, 'Mom! Mom!' and she wasn't answering, she was dead already ... it's a shocking scene," Yaakov said.

The response of the Palestinian “government” run by terrorist group Hamas? It was one of support for the misdeeds of Islamic Jihad, the Iranian backed group that sent a teenage boy to slaughter innocents.

A Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri called the attack "a natural result of the continued Israeli crimes against our people," adding that Palestinians were "in a state of self-defense and they have every right to use all means to defend themselves," according to Reuters.

Murdering civilians in the street is self-defense? You cannot even make the case that the dead were collateral damage -- they were the targets of this terror attack.

Has the time come to crush the Palestinians, rather than demanding that the Israelis make one yet another concession in the name of an ever-elusive peace?

(H/T Jawa Report)

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

A True Hero And Patriot

Let me introduce you to Sgt. 1st Class Juanita Wilson, who refused to allow a serious injury in Iraq to end her service to her country.

In August of 2004, Wilson was wounded by an IED.

"I started to feel this tingling in my hand … I looked down and that was when I realized OK, I don't have a hand here,'" Wilson said. A combat medic rushed over and began patching her up but the attack wasn't over. The U.S. convoy then got hit with small-arms fire. Other soldiers with Wilson began returning fire and radioed for helicopter gunship support.

Wilson and her driver were severely wounded and could only wait for the medical evacuation team to arrive. To Wilson, listening to the battle and waiting for the MEDEVAC seemed like "the longest amount of time."

Over the next four days, Wilson made her way to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where she spent the next year in intensive therapy and making many decisions about her medical care and the type of life she wanted to live.

Wilson was a unit supply specialist with the 411th Engineer Battalion, an Army Reserve unit from Hilo, Hawaii. The unit had been building roads and infrastructure such as schools around Iraq since its deployment.

While recuperating at Walter Reed, one option Wilson would not consider was leaving the Army, despite the long road to recovery that lay ahead of her.

"From Day One, my decision was, 'I'm not getting out,'" Wilson said, adding that she still has things she wants to accomplish in the military. "My support channel has been there for me and I'd like to give that back to the soldiers of the future."

It took a year, but Wilson was cleared to return to duty. And on April 6, Wilson was one of 38 members of the US armed forces to reenlist in a ceremony on the steps of the US Capitol. She was not the only Iraq vet, nor was she only one wounded in combat. All, though, shared a devotion to their country and support for the mission in Iraq.

May God bless you, Juanita Wilson, and all your comrades in arms.

UPDATE -- 4/18/2006 -- The Washington Post has a fine article about women soldiers who have faced amputation due to war wounds. I encourage you to read the article about these American heroes.

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

Pity The Poor Druggies!

They can’t get federal financial aid because of their crimes.

One in every 400 students applying for federal financial aid for college is rejected because of a drug conviction, an analysis of Department of Education numbers by a drug policy overhaul group found.

A study to be released today by Students for Sensible Drug Policy says 189,065 people have been turned down for financial aid since the federal government added a drug conviction question to the financial aid form in the 2000-01 school year.

A September report from the Government Accountability Office shows that in the 2003-04 academic year, about 41,000 applicants for federal student aid were disqualified because of drug convictions.

A student can regain eligibility, however, by completing a rehabilitation program that includes random drug tests.

“In the majority of cases, students retain their eligibility,” Education Department spokeswoman Valerie Smith says.

The aid analysis, compiled by the student group from data released last week by the Department of Education, notes that Indiana has the highest percentage of rejections, with one in 200 students denied financial aid because of drug convictions.

Indiana Rep. Mark Souder, a Republican and the author of the legislation, says it makes no difference how the states rank.

“The principle remains the same: the American taxpayer should not be subsidizing the educations of those students who are convicted of dealing or using illegal drugs,” Souder said in a statement provided Sunday.

The ACLU, of course, has filed suit to overturn the law on the basis that it is the only offense for which such a restriction exists (not true – failure to register for the draft is also a disqualifier). If this challenge succeeds, I hope Congress does the right thing and expands the law to deny government aid to ALL convicted felons.

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

But They Said They Never Confiscated These Firearms

It seems to me that some lawyers and city officials in New Orleans ought to be in serious trouble with a federal court over this situation.

More than seven months after New Orleans residents were forcibly and illegally disarmed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the City of New Orleans will begin returning seized firearms to their rightful owners on Monday, according to a gun rights group that took legal action against the city.

"We've learned from the police that starting Monday at 8 a.m., New Orleans gun owners can get their firearms back," said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), which has been working with the National Rifle Association (NRA) in court to force officials to return guns confiscated after Katrina struck the city on Aug. 29, 2005.

Gun owners must provide proof of ownership, such as a bill of sale, and a description of the firearm, including brand and model and the serial number or a notarized affidavit that describes the firearm.

Citizens claiming their firearms will also need proper identification, such as a driver's license. Before firearms are returned, New Orleans police will conduct a background check on the gun owner.

Now hold on – the police are going to do a background check on owners of firearms they illegally confiscated. That certainly troubles me.

But more to the point, I’m troubled by this little detail.

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, few people objected when police last fall began gathering firearms they found in abandoned New Orleans homes to prevent them from falling into the hands of criminals.

However, the SAF and the NRA sought a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop authorities in and around the city from seizing firearms from private citizens. The SAF said arbitrary gun seizures, without warrants or probable cause, had been reported. In some cases, police refused to give citizens receipts for their seized firearms, according to the SAF.

A federal judge quickly issued the TRO, but New Orleans officials denied that any guns had been seized and ignored the court order.

The impasse between the city and the pro-gun groups continued until March 1, when the SAF and NRA went back to court.

"The city had been denying for more than five months that these guns were in possession," Gottleib said. "Only when the SAF and the NRA filed a motion to have Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley held in contempt of court did city officials miraculously discover that more than a thousand seized firearms were being stored.

The city denied seizing the guns in court filings, but now claims to have them to return to citizens. It appears to me that there were false statements made to the court. Somebody needs to face perjury charges, and some lawyers need to face disciplinary action over this. It seems that the Nagin Regime not only doesn’t believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, it also does not believe in the truth.

|| Greg, 05:48 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Just A Reminder -- Wilson Lied

The standard Leftist meme is that "Bush lied" regarding Iraqi efforts to get uranium from Niger. The only problem is that every examination of the evidence shows that the liar was Joe Wilson, whose word is taken as Gospel-truth by the Left.

In a surprising editorial, The Washington Post deviated from the conventional anti-Bush media position on two counts. It said President Bush was right to declassify parts of a National Intelligence Estimate to make clear why he thought Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons. And the editorial said ex-ambassador Joseph Wilson was wrong to think he had debunked Bush on the nuclear charge because Wilson's statements after visiting Niger actually "supported the conclusion that Iraq had sought uranium."

In the orthodox narrative line, Wilson is the truth-teller and the Bush the liar. But Wilson was not speaking truthfully when he said his wife, Victoria Plame, had nothing to do with the CIA sending him to Niger. And it obviously wasn't true, as Wilson claimed, that he had found nothing to support Bush's charge about Niger when he (Wilson) had been told that the Iraqis were poking around in that uranium-rich nation.

Testifying before the Senate intelligence committee, Wilson said that the former prime minister of Niger told him he had been asked to meet with Iraqis to talk about "expanding commercial relations" between the two countries. Everybody knew what that meant; Niger has nothing much to trade other than uranium.

Yeah, that's right -- Niger doesn't have much else to export, and Wilson confirmed that Iraq was seeking to do business with Niger. What else would Iraq have been after -- goats, camels, and slaves?

More to the point, every subsequent investigation into the Niger story shows that there was plenty of other evidence to back the contention thqat Iraq was seeking uranium.

The forged documents claiming an Iraq-Niger connection were so crude that they could never have fooled the CIA or British intelligence for very long. Who would do this, and do it so badly? Nobody knows. But if the forgeries were meant to distract from other evidence that Bush was right, then they certainly worked. Look around in American journalism, and you will find great certitude that the forgeries destroyed Bush's claim.

That certitude can only be founded on the belief that Tony Blair, the U.S. Senate intelligence committee and the special investigative team of Parliament were all liars when they said there was substantial non-forged evidence backing Bush's claim. The investigative team was headed by the highly regarded Lord Butler, who served as a Cabinet minister under five prime ministers. It concluded that Bush's 16 words about Iraq's uranium shopping were "well-founded."

Actually, there is one other way to discount the Butler report: Either muffle or don't mention it in your news columns. The New York Times opted for muffling. A database search finds no mention of "well-founded" in the Times reporting, and only one barely scrutable paragraph about uranium in the Butler report, way down in the 11th paragraph of a story buried well inside the paper.

In other words, the reason that the "Bush lied" meme survives is because most of the press simply refuses to give substantive discussion to the evidence of Iraqi attempts to purchase uranium. Instead, Joe Wilson and his wife are painted as martyrs, and his claims are validated based upon that status -- despite the fact that every investigation of his claims have led to the opposite conclusion.

|| Greg, 04:35 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 16, 2006

The Tomb Stands Empty, For The Lord Is Risen! -- John 20:1-23

1 Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb.

4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first.

5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in.

6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there,

7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.

8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.

9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.

10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.

11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb.

12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”

14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.

15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord,
and that He had spoken these things to her.

19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

|| Greg, 11:59 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Easter Proclamation


Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,
that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
When Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night,
when first you saved our fathers:

you freed the people of Israel from their slav'ry,
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night,
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin.

This is night,
when Christians ev'rywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night,
when Jesus broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?

Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!

To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
"The night will be as clear as day:

it will become my light, my joy."

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed,
when heaven is wedded to earth

and we are reconciled to God!

Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church's solemn offering.

Accept this Easter candle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,

your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "The Easter Proclamation" »

|| Greg, 11:58 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Arrogant District Refuses To Protect White Students

Imagine this situation. Two black children, a brother and a sister, enrol at a school which is predominatly white. they are subject to racial slurs and other harrassment. They are threatened and assaulted. In one instance, after the girl is threatened, her white nemesis is forced to apologize -- only to return to school three days later with a weapon, threatening to kill the girl.

What do you think would happen?

We know the answer. There would be marches, protests, outaged community members appearing at emergency meetings to demand that action be taken. State and federal officials would intervene. There would certainly be changes inthe school and district administration, designed to change the "festering culture of racism" that had been permitted to arise in the school.

Well, that isn't what happened at one school in Peoria, Illinois. But then again, the victims were white, and the perpetrators were. . . well, the columnist is too PC to actually tell us what race the perpetrators are. Doing so might be construed as racist, I suppose.

Up to the point a fourth-grader brought a box cutter to school and threatened to kill their daughter, Joe and Jessica Sweeney wanted to give Glen Oak Primary School a chance.

"'This is our neighborhood. This is where we live. Let's give the public schools a shot,'" is the way Joe describes their reasoning. "We've lived here six years. Let's give it a shot."

* * *

From the beginning, it was uncomfortable. Both children were taunted with racial slurs, particularly Alexis. The Sweeneys tried to make this a life lesson, coaching their kids to respond appropriately. They advised the children to report any threats or poor treatment to teachers, assuming the adults were addressing the problems. And they prayed their kids were simply learning the uncomfortable truth that life can be tough. But the incidents didn't stop, despite a lot of back-and-forth with the school. The kids kept their grades up, but they got pretty quiet.

In mid-March, matters came to a head during an after-school program. Alexis was alone in a bathroom when she was threatened by three other girls. Jessica went to the principal, who brought the ringleader in and made her apologize. Days later, the same girl was back - with a box cutter - threatening to kill Alexis. On the ride home after that incident, Jacob displayed a large bruise on his arm from being shoved to the ground and called a "stupid white boy."

Jessica pulled both kids out of the school immediately.

"I'm done," she says. "I'm done putting her life at risk because you won't do anything."

"This is beyond standard fourth-grade stuff," agrees Joe. "This is becoming racial now. They're not going back."

Frankly, I think these parents should have pulled the kids much earlier. The failure of the school to adequately address the situation should have been a signal that the situation would only get worse. After all, consider how the school and the district responded.

He feels this is a two-part problem. First and most importantly, they feel the school has failed to ensure the children's safety. But, second, they don't think Peoria School District 150 offered much in the way of alternatives or support. The Sweeneys were given the option to switch to Kingman Primary School. They refused. Alexis and Jacob would still be a small part of the handful of white children there.

"It's racial harassment. It's just the other way," says Joe. "There needs to be a zero-tolerance policy of any type of harassment."

One suggestion was that the family move. Again, they refused. Four houses along their street near Midtown Plaza belong to members of Jessica's family. The kids have plenty of friends - and cousins - in the neighborhood. Their grandmother runs a small business up the block.

"This is our home," Joe says. "It may not be in the best area, but this is our home."

THEY TOLD THE FAMILY TO SELL THEIR HOME AND MOVE! Could you imagine the outrage if they had been a black family in a mostly white school and had been told that the solution was for them to move somewhere where there were more of their own kind? That district would be under court supervision until two or three years after the Second Coming. Individuals would have lost their teaching and administrative credentials. But since the kids are only white, it really is not a big deal, I suppose.

And lest you think this is a family of whiners, consider the situation of the older brother who is a few years ahead of the threatened students.

Unlike other families who have pulled children from Peoria schools in favor of Catholic education or more upscale neighboring districts, the Sweeneys are in a unique position to publicly explain why. They are not fleeing the inner city. This is not a knee-jerk reaction against District 150. And it's tough to brand them as closet racists.

They actually have three children. Their oldest son, Caleb, is bi-racial. He has attended District 150 schools and thrived.

"My son is in Von Steuben," Jessica says. "He's mixed. He doesn't have one problem."

The mixed-race child is fine. He isn't subject to the harrassment faced by his younger siblings. So the problem clearly comes down to one of race, and the failure of a school and district to address racist actions by minority children.

Most galling, in my opinion, is the reaction of Assistant Superintendent Cindy Fischer. She claims that all procedures have ben followed correctly.

The bottom of the official line is that the district has policies that were followed in each of these instances. Every one was addressed, in large part through a nationally-recognized program that teaches and reinforces appropriate behavior. District-wide, 150 has four committees exploring various aspects of discipline problems. And for this family, offering Kingman is a respectable option: It is late in the year, so the district is reluctant to make any transfers. But Kingman has fewer discipline problems and several openings. Hines Primary School, which is the Sweeneys' choice because Caleb did well there, has none.

"It certainly is our regret that we were not able to bring satisfaction to this parent," Fischer says. "As consumers, when we're not satisfied with one product, we go to another. I think that is what this parent has done."

In other words, the family should be thankful that the district even offered the kids refuge in another school -- they could have been required to stay in their old school, under regular threat of violence with no effective response from the administration. And that last line about consumers making choices is positively obscene, for the parents are taxpaying citizens who will still have a portion of their assets extorted from them in the form of taxes to support a school system which so ineffectively dealt with the racial abuse of their children. Yeah, they made a choice to move the kids to a school where they would be safe -- but they are still paying for the school they wish to have their children attend but cannot due to safety concerns.

It is situations like these that make the best case for vouchers -- if not the outright shuttering of the public school system. After all, if the funding of the district actually depended on dealing effectively with racial harrassment of all children -- and not just those of vocal minority communities -- maybe there would be an adequate response.

|| Greg, 06:34 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (9) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Drop The Fine

Treason charges would be much better -- she rendered aid and comfort to Saddam Hussein.

Before the bombs fell on Baghdad, Judith Karpova went there to put herself in harm's way.

The veteran activist was among dozens of "human shields" who poured into Iraq as the U.S.-led offensive loomed in early 2003, although she ended up leaving before the war.

Three years later, Karpova is again playing defense, this time against a $6,700 civil fine from the government.

The Treasury Department fined the 61-year-old Hudson Valley woman and three other peace activists who visited Iraq for violating economic sanctions against the country. None of them are paying up quietly, and Karpova is before a federal appeals court disputing charges that she illegally exported services to Iraq as a shield.

"They say it's an export _ Export! _ of services to Iraq, as if a human being is a commodity that can be shipped like light bulbs," Karpova said.

The human shields stationed themselves at potential airstrike targets in Iraq such as food storage warehouses and refineries. U.S. officials warned them that there was no way to guarantee their safety and critics accused them of being pawns of Saddam Hussein. But they said they hoped to prevent attacks on a population that was already suffering.

'Nuf said.

|| Greg, 06:24 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 15, 2006

Jesus In The Tomb -- Luke 23:50-54

50 Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man.

51 He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God.

52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before.

54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.

55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid.

56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.

|| Greg, 11:59 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Darrell Green -- Republican

Looks like the GOP is about to get another prominent black Republican candidate for office holder. Redskins great Darrell Green is being actively courted by the party for a run for the Virginia state Senate.

Former Washington Redskins cornerback Darrell R. Green is being urged to run for the state Senate from Loudoun County next year by leading Northern Virginia Republicans who hope he can use his fame on the football field to oust newly elected Democrat Mark R. Herring.

Green, one of the most well-known Redskins from the team's recent golden era, lives in Loudoun and has been running a nonprofit foundation since he left the team three years ago.

As a rookie in 1983, he captured the nation's attention with a stunning come-from-behind tackle of Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett during a Monday Night Football game. Now, some Republicans hope he can help their party recover from a string of bruising losses to Democrats in the past several elections.

"That name is on many lips," said former senator William C. Mims (R), whose Loudoun seat Herring won after Mims left to work in the attorney general's office. "[Green] is a longtime Loudoun resident who has been active in the community. He is highly respected and has an outlook that's consistent with Republican principles."

Green is a good man, and would be a strong candidate. I don't doubt that the name ID would be sufficient to help him win.

And I bet Oliver Willis, a big-time Redskins fan, will have an aneurism if this comes to pass.

MORE AT: Welcome to the Now, Delusional Duck

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

Terror Prof To Be Deported

It took way to long to get here, but Sami al-Arian is pleading guilty to terrorism charges and being deported.

apping an ordeal that spanned more than a decade, former University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian has reached a deal with prosecutors, agreeing to be deported after admitting involvement with a terrorist organization, an attorney involved in the negotiations said.

"My understanding was that he was to plead guilty" to conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization, said William Moffitt, who represented Al-Arian until a judge allowed him to withdraw from the case last month. The deal calls for Al-Arian to receive a sentence roughly equal to the time he has served behind bars since he was arrested in February 2003, Moffitt said.

The remaining charges are to be dismissed. Moffitt said he and attorney Linda Moreno wrote the bulk of the agreement. "The vast majority of that deal was written on my desk," he said.

But not so fast, say the terrorist sympathizers from CAIR.

Ahmed Bedier, Tampa spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations, said Moffitt was wrong about the Al-Arian plea. Al-Arian did not agree to admit to any charges associated with terrorism, Bedier said.

"He stayed true to his convictions - he stayed true he wasn't going to plead to those issues," Bedier said. "There is no conspiracy to support terrorism."

Bedier said he could not reveal what charge Al-Arian agreed to, and he refused to reveal the source of his information.

Bedier convened a 7 p.m. news conference, saying he hoped to have Al-Arian's family there. They did not appear.

"Their lawyer would not allow them," Bedier said. He later said Al-Arian's family learned of the plea agreement Friday from a news report.

The evidence of al-Arian's guilt is compelling, though.

It remains clear that what country will receive this terrorist fundraiser.

Personally, I vote for Cuba -- Guantanamo Bay, to be exact.

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

The Psychopathological Left

I mean, what else can you say about the folks featured in this article? They are pretty frightening, and sound like they need to be heavily medicated -- especially Maryscott O'Connor.

In the angry life of Maryscott O'Connor, the rage begins as soon as she opens her eyes and realizes that her president is still George W. Bush. The sun has yet to rise and her family is asleep, but no matter; as soon as the realization kicks in, O'Connor, 37, is out of bed and heading toward her computer.

Out there, awaiting her building fury: the Angry Left, where O'Connor's reputation is as one of the angriest of all. "One long, sustained scream" is how she describes the writing she does for various Web logs, as she wonders what she should scream about this day.

She smokes a cigarette. Should it be about Bush, whom she considers "malevolent," a "sociopath" and "the Antichrist"? She smokes another cigarette. Should it be about Vice President Cheney, whom she thinks of as "Satan," or about Karl Rove, "the devil"? Should it be about the "evil" Republican Party, or the "weaselly, capitulating, self-aggrandizing, self-serving" Democrats, or the Catholic Church, for which she says "I have a special place in my heart . . . a burning, sizzling, putrescent place where the guilty suffer the tortures of the damned"?

Psychologically healthy people do not act that way. Clearly, this is a woman in need of some serious psychotropic medication -- no sane person burns with that sort of seething, corrosive hatred for those with whom they disagree. It isn't called Bush Derangement Syndrome for nothing.

In the end, I don't know what to feel. Should I be frightened of someone so rage-filled? Thankful that she has found some outlet other than violence through which to vent her rage? Or saddened that someone so in need of help is not getting it the thorazine and haldol she clearly needs.

Maybe I'll just settled for being sorry that the Washington Post didn't do a better job of picking a responsible, reasonable Lefty (like John Aravosis or Oliver Willis, for example) to feature. I think liberals in the blogosphere have been done a grave disservice with this piece.

MORE AT: Malcontent, FBIHOP, Jawa Report, Bluto, Iowa Voice, MahaBlog, Mudville Gazette, Political Pit Bull, Latino Issues, No Kool Aid Zone, Tennessee Guerilla Women, Beautiful Attrocities, Club for Growth, NewsHog, Six Meat Buffet, Gun Toting Liberal, Blogger's Blog, Leather Penguin, Seeing the Forest, Alternate Brain, Dr. Sanity, Cheat Seeking Missle

» The Gun Toting Liberal links with: Hey there WaPo, what about the rest of us?

|| Greg, 12:00 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (10) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

April 14, 2006

The Passion And Death Of Jesus -- Mark 15:16-39

16 Then the soldiers led Him away into the hall called Praetorium, and they called together the whole garrison.

17 And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head,

18 and began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

19 Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him; and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him.

20 And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.

21 Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross.

22 And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull.

23 Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it.

24 And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take.

25 Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him. 26 And the inscription of His accusation was written above:


27 With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left.

28 So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with the transgressors.”

29 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days,

30 save Yourself, and come down from the cross!”

31 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save.

32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.”
Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him.

33 Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

35 Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, “Look, He is calling for Elijah!”

36 Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down.”

37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.

38 Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

39 So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!”

|| Greg, 11:59 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Kentucky Prof Crosses A Bright Line

We've heard a lot about freedom of speech and academic freedom from professors over the last couple of years as our nation has wrestled with the issue of political indoctrination in the classroom and hostility to Christian and conservative viewpoints at various schools around the country. Interestingly enough, the academics always are defending the Left to be heard, despite the fact that such views are teh dominant ones in the groves of academe. Conservative views, on the other hand, are almost always dismissed as irrelevant at best and intolerant at worst, and those expressing them usually find themselves fighting for the right to be heard (when there are not active attempt to suppress such views as intolerantbigottedracistsexistandhomophobic).

Which takes us now to Northern Kentucky University. (H/T Michelle Malkin)

A professor at Northern Kentucky University said she invited students in one of her classes to destroy an anti-abortion display on campus Wednesday evening.

NKU police are investigating the incident, in which 400 crosses were removed from the ground near University Center and thrown in trash cans. The crosses, meant to represent a cemetery for aborted fetuses, had been temporarily erected last weekend by a student Right to Life group with permission from NKU officials.

Public universities cannot ban such displays because they are a type of symbolic speech that has been protected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Witnesses reported "a group of females of various ages" committing the vandalism about 5:30 p.m., said Dave Tobertge, administrative sergeant with the campus police.

Sally Jacobsen, a longtime professor in NKU's literature and language department, said the display was dismantled by about nine students in one of her graduate-level classes.

"I did, outside of class during the break, invite students to express their freedom-of-speech rights to destroy the display if they wished to," Jacobsen said.

Asked whether she participated in pulling up the crosses, the professor said, "I have no comment."

Such courage on the part of this so-called educator -- inciting criminal activity (not free speech) by her students and then refusing to answer a simple question about the extent of her own involvement. And I would like to remind the professor that property destruction is not free speech -- and she would not consider it to be so if someone ransacked her office, broke her car windows, or torched her house in protest of her vile act of speech suppression.

Why encourage/participate in this anti-freedom activity? Jacobsen explains it this way.

She said she was infuriated by the display, which she saw as intimidating and a "slap in the face" to women who might be making "the agonizing and very private decision to have an abortion.'"

Jacobsen said it originally wasn't clear who had placed the crosses on campus.

She said that could make it appear that NKU endorsed the message.

Pulling up the crosses was similar to citizens taking down Nazi displays on Fountain Square, she said.

"Any violence perpetrated against that silly display was minor compared to how I felt when I saw it. Some of my students felt the same way, just outraged," Jacobsen said.

Let's break that down.

1) The display made her mad -- and her unstable emotional state trumps the rights of every other American.

2) Women are so emotionally delicate that they could be upset by the display's message and so the display needed togo -- but women have the strength of mind and will to be permitted to decide whether or not to take an inconvenient human life.

3) Right to life folks are Nazis and Nazis are entitled to no free speech rights (funny, that isn't what the First Amendment, the courts, and even the ACLU have to say on the matter).

4) The display's sponsorship was unclear, and someone might infer that private speech by students represented an official university position (this is false -- more on that in a moment).

Notice -- not a single legitimate justification for her violation of the rights of others. So much for freedom of speech and academic freedom!

And then there is that sponsorship issue.

In an e-mail sent to campus officials earlier this week and obtained by The Kentucky Post, Jacobsen demanded the display be removed immediately. She wrote that the crosses violated the separation of church and state because NKU is a state institution.

Jacobsen knew who had put up the display, and that the university had determined that the pro-life group had every right to do so under the laws and the Constitution of the United States. She further knew that the university could not legally censor the speech that offended her. So she took it upon herself to gather a group of vigilantes and engage in conduct which differed from that of a KKK lynch mob in degree but not in nature -- the violation of the civil rights of American citizens designed to intimidate others who might exercise those same rights.

Fortunately, NKU has a president and a dean who will not stand for such unAmerican conduct by a faculty member, tenured or not. Police are investigating, charges against those involved are promised, and support for the victims is being offered. Let's hope the result is the removal of this uncivil anti-libertarian from the faculty.

Oh, and to those who want to argue that the actions of Jacobsen and her band of anti-free-speech terrorists constitutes civil disobedience, I have one question -- would you consider it to be an act of free speech and civil disobedience if a group of men, hurt by their inability to stop the feticide of children they wanted, were to attack Sally Jacobsen with clubs in order to express their outrage at her activities and then justify it by claiming that "any violence perpetrated against that silly woman was minor compared to how we felt when we read of her actions"?

MORE AT: Texas Rainmaker, Flynn Files, Stop the ACLU, ATTOTWT, Where I Stand, Pollywog Creek, Darleen's Place, Bizzy Blog, Urban Grounds, Zero Point, Shock and Blog, Right Wing Nation, Freedom Folks, Expose the Left, Verum Serum, Pro-Life Blogs, Black Republican, Wizbang (twice), Mean Mr. Mustard, Jawa Report, Last Round, Right Minded, Yippee-Ki-Yay, Colossus of Rhodey

» Center for Sanity links with: Professor Equates Crosses to Nazi Displays
» Sister Toldjah links with: Intolerant liberal professors news
» Hyscience links with: Pro-Life Display Vandalized at Northern Kentucky University

|| Greg, 05:31 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments || TrackBacks (3) ||

Rhymes With Right -- News In India! (LINKFEST AND OPEN TRACKBACK POST)

It is nice to be noticed.

Comments are always a treat (even from trolls and obsessives) -- especially from my regulars.

Trackbacks are great -- when trackbacks are functioning right.

But making the news -- anywhere -- is a treat.

So my serendipitous discovery of this story excited me even more than it surprised me.

How blogs helped keep the faith in Afghanistan

By - Sruthijith K K

The trial of Abdur Rahman, a 41-year-old Afghan facing execution under the Shariah law for converting into Christianity, was yet another incident involving the conflicts that have defined the polarised world after the events of September 11, 2001.

Since the issue violates the fundamental principles of liberal democracy, sharp reactions from the western world and bloggers do not come as a surprise. For the record, charges against Rahman have been dropped for now and the case has been returned to the prosecution for further investigation.

There is little disagreement that this move is a result of the enormous international outcry and appeals from Pope Benedict XVI, US President George W Bush, and many other heads of state. However, clerics have called for the death of Rahman and his safety remains a concern.

'Rhymes with Right' puts the news of his release in perspective. "Rahman is to be freed based not upon a human rights violation, not upon the principle that every person has the right to choose his or her own religion free of state coercion, but based upon technical questions about the evidence and insinuations about his sanity. This is, therefore, NOT a victory for human rights or religious freedom - it is a strategic retreat on the part of the Afghan government."

Many blogs are examining the verses in Koran and the hadiths that deal with apostates. "Though the only verses in the Koran which deal with apostasy do not outright condemn apostates to death, there are plenty of hadiths that do," Giraldus Cambrensis, writing in 'Western Resistance' concludes.

'Riehl World View' says: "I find this incredibly infuriating as so many American, as well as Christian men and women who fought to liberate Afghanistan. This is not what America fought for."

John Hinderacker, taking this line of argument from the American perspective further, thinks this is a "watershed moment". "The American people will bear a great deal of sacrifice, but only on behalf of principle. If, after our liberation of Afghanistan, a man may still be executed for being a Christian - or a Jew, there is no logical basis on which our government can continue to request the ultimate sacrifice from its most devoted supporters."

'Rhymes with Right' balances out the optimism the release has been received with. "There is still every chance of Abdul Rahman being prosecuted. Or what we might see is forbearance in this case, but the eventual execution of some other convert."

Either which way, blogosphere will closely follow developments in Afghanistan.

Wow -- major quotes, including the first and last word on the subject. Not only that, but I'm given precedence over John Hinderacker, whose keyboard I am not worthy to polish

Now when will Bill Bennett, Sean Hannity, and Hugh Hewitt be contacting me to appear on their shows?

Well, I can dream.

* * *

And here is where you can give me a little thrill by linking with your best work and trackbacking to this site. That's right, I'm trying to do a linkfest since it looks like the trackbacks may be working again. I won't limit the number of links, but do request that you practice reasonable restraint.

No spam. No porn. No problem.

Have a blessed Easter weekend.

» The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns links with: Moron Revealed #28
» Publius Rendezvous links with: Good Friday Open Post
» third world county links with: Crici-fix
» Jon Swift links with: Night of the Generals
» Mark My Words links with: Call for submissions to Carnival of the Moonbat Cartoonists! Issue #2 - update
» CatHouse Chat links with: Good Friday
» The Baloney Press Satirical Newspaper links with: The Mystery of the Iraqi Trailers
» The Right Track links with: Head ‘em Up, Move ‘em Out!
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Paying for Procrastination Weekend Chat
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Comedy Central Disses Muhammad
» Blue Star Chronicles links with: Final Salute
» The Atlantic Review links with: *Why is Abu Ghraib a cover story again, but not Darfur?*
» Atlantic Review links with: Is the U.S. strategy of pre-emptive war accepted internationally?
» links with: Unhinged Teachers & Professors Of The Week. Let's Get Ready To Hate Bush!
» Atlantic Review links with: Is the U.S. strategy of pre-emptive war more accepted now?
» Starboard!!! links with: 41 Taliban Get Their 72 Virgins
» Mark My Words links with: Easter

|| Greg, 12:21 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (17) ||

April 13, 2006

The Last Supper -- Matthew 26:17-30

17 Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”

18 And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”’”

19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover.

20 When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve. 21 Now as they were eating, He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”

22 And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, “Lord, is it I?”

23 He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me.

24 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

25 Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?”
He said to him, “You have said it.”

26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”

27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.

28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

|| Greg, 11:59 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Left-Wing Bigots Seek Censorship Of Conservative Ideas

This little blurb from the Alliance Defense Fund appeared in my email today. I'll be interested in watching the story develop -- and hope that some press accounts appear that will flesh out the story.

Officials at the Ohio State University are investigating an OSU Mansfield librarian for “sexual harassment” after he recommended four conservative books for a freshman reading program. ADF has demanded that OSU cease its frivolous investigation, yet the university is pressing forward, claiming that it takes the charges “seriously.”

“Universities are one of the most hostile places for Christians and conservatives in America,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David French, who heads ADF’s Center for Academic Freedom. “It is shameful that OSU would investigate a Christian librarian for simply recommending books that are at odds with the prevailing politics of the university.”

Scott Savage, who serves as a reference librarian for the university, suggested four best-selling conservative books for freshman reading in his role as a member of OSU Mansfield’s First Year Reading Experience Committee. The four books he suggested were The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian, The Professors by David Horowitz, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Bat Ye’or, and It Takes a Family by Senator Rick Santorum. Savage made the recommendations after other committee members had suggested a series of books with a left-wing perspective, by authors such as Jimmy Carter and Maria Shriver.

Savage was put under “investigation” by OSU’s Office of Human Resources after three professors filed a complaint of discrimination and harassment against him, saying that the book suggestions made them feel “unsafe.” The complaint came after the OSU Mansfield faculty voted without dissent to file charges against Savage. The faculty later voted to allow the individual professors to file charges.

If the facts as presented are, in fact, accurate, then this complaint is a serious breach of academic freedom. Furthermore, if the professors in question are threatened or made to feel "unsafe" by the mere suggestion that students be exposed to ideas other than their own, then it strikes me that they need to be terminated forthwith as unfit for membership in the University community.

MORE AT Instapundit, Volokh, Ed Driscoll, Ace of Spades

|| Greg, 10:27 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

School Sponsors Hate Speaker During School Hours

And what's more, provided no option for students who did not wish to attend or who were offended by the speaker -- making them a captive audience.

A Tucson High Magnet School student will tell state lawmakers next week that she was forced by school officials to listen to a pro-immigrant speech.

Senior Mon-yee Fung,17, voluntarily attended an assembly where co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union Dolores Huerta spoke, but could not leave after Huerta began saying "Republicans hate Latinos."

"I wanted to listen to what they had to say, but all they had to say was hate speak," said Fung, head of the school's Teenage Republicans Club. "They're saying that I don't like Mexicans or that I don't try to understand what they're doing, but I am trying to understand."

State Rep. Jonathan Paton, R-Tucson, wants Fung to tell her story to Fox News today at 5 p.m.

"She was forced to listen to a political speech for over 40 minutes," Paton said. "To me that's a real problem because we shouldn't have the schools as a forum for political speech. They should be a forum for education."

Now her attendance clearly was not voluntary, based upon this admission by the principal of the school.

Tucson High Principal Abel Morado said he was unaware of the incident involving Fung.

"I will take the young lady's word for it," he said. "It may have been a supervision issue. We ask teachers to properly supervise their students during an assembly and sit with their class."

Students were told they could go to the assembly or the library, but the library locked because of miscommunication.

"I did learn after the fact that the library was closed," Morado said. "It may have been that the librarian chose to go to the assembly. That's my responsibility."

In other words, you could choose to attend the assembly -- or attend the assembly. So you see, there really was no free choice on Fung's part. Besides, if attendance was voluntary at this political event, doesn't that include the right to leave in protest of the hateful and malicious falsehoods being spewed by the speaker?

Now I have no problem with the choise of speaker -- Dolores Huerta is a figure of historical importance in contemprary Hispanic history -- but I do believe she crossed a line in this setting. That Huerta did not see this is troubling -- and that she remains unapologetic for her defamatory comments is more disturbing still.

Huerta said she was invited to speak at Tucson High as part of the effort to keep students in school and disagreed with Paton's assertion that political speech has no place in school.

"This is a terrific opportunity for young people to learn what the democratic process is about, the way that bills are passed," Huerta said. "I explained this whole procedure to the students."

Huerta said her "Republicans hate Latinos" comment was based on the number of anti-immigration bills sponsored by Republicans.

"Large numbers of the Republican Party are anti-immigrant or anti-Latino," she said. "I can justify that."

Wrong, Ms. Huerta -- there are large segments of the GOP that are anti-wetback, just like Cesar Chavez was. You know, the guy who you worked with all those years in founding and runing the UFW. Chavez recognized that those who come to this country illegally depress the wages of citizens and legal immigrants, and that illegals are exploited by unethical employers. So unless it is your contention that Cesar Chavez was anti-immigrant or anti-Latino, your statement is way out of line.

I'm also cuious -- precisely who invited Huerta to speak? the article does not say, and it would appear that the school administration was not involved. After all, if they were, they surely would have brought in another speaker to provide the other side, in the interest of intellectual honesty.

Or maybe not.

Morado said the school is a "wonderful venue" to see the opposing sides of an issue, but acknowledged that no effort has been made on his part to bring in somebody who supports the controversial immigration bill, HR 4437.

"I don't see that it is my role to turn around and say that "OK, we've had this speaker, now let's turn around and get this speaker," he said. "If there was somebody in favor of that and they wanted to speak at Tucson High, I wouldn't oppose that if my students invited them or if my teachers invited them."

Excuse me? You don't see it as your role to provide a balanced look at a hot-button issue when you have brought in a speaker from one side of the issue? Are you running a school, or an indoctrination center. Never mind, sir, you don't need to answer -- the above makes it quite clear what the honest answer would be. Not that you would give us an honest answer.

Oh, and while we are at it, maybe you could address this little issue of censorship.

Flung also said she was asked to remove a poster recruiting young Republicans because it was "too inflammatory."

The poster read "Be an American, join the Teenage Republican Club."

I get it -- "GOP=PATRIOTIC" is inflamatory, but ""GOP=RACIST" is just fine. Sounds to me like there needs to be a housecleaning at this school -- starting with the principal.

|| Greg, 10:15 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

MTV Mocks Jesus – Will Christians Riot?

Muslims went on a rampage because of some relatively innocuous cartoons of the false prophet Muhammad. Claims were made that no one would ever accept such insults directed at Jesus.

Well, guess what – MTV has engaged in blasphemy against Jesus during the holiest of Christian seasons. Will there be violence?

We already know the answer.

As Christians around the world prepare for Easter, magazine readers in Germany were confronted this week by full-page advertisements depicting Jesus, wearing a crown of thorns but descended from the cross, enjoying a television program.

"Laughing rather than hanging around," (Lachen statt rumhaengen) reads the tagline of the ad, which has drawn strong protests in Germany, where two-thirds of the population identifies as Christian.

The ad promotes MTV's plan to broadcast a cartoon lampooning the pope and Vatican hierarchy. The series, Popetown, was considered too controversial to be aired in Britain, and it caused an uproar in the one country where it has appeared, New Zealand.

Coming at a time when the dust has yet to settle from the furor over newspaper cartoons caricaturing Mohammed, the row has prompted some Germans to ask why their faith should be an easy target.

The Deutsche Welle broadcaster quoted Joachim Herrmann of the Christian Social Union party as saying that MTV would have thought twice before poking fun in a similar way at Muslims.

No, they would not have thought twice. MTV would not have dared engage in similar conduct regarding Muhammad – or Allah.

German Christians are outraged.

A German Christian magazine, Verse One, has instituted an online protest and boycott campaign.

"After the events surrounding the Mohammed cartoons we had thought there was agreement that media should show consideration for the religious feelings of believers, whether Muslims, Jews, Buddhists or Christians," said Verse One publisher Birgit Kelle.

"Obviously we were mistaken."

Kelle, a Protestant, said the issue did not concern "our Catholic brothers and sisters" alone. If Christians did not defend themselves - with arguments, not force - "this will never stop."

Ms. Kelle, there was no agreement to show consideration for the believers of any religion except Islam. Christian feelings were never even a consideration, only Muslim feelings? Why? Because we Christians do not engage in murderous behavior towards those who dare dissent from our religious beliefs. Offending Muslims, on the other hand, can be fatal.

Does MTV have the right to show this insulting series, and to run this blasphemous ad? Yes, it does.

But we have the right to retaliate economically. Let’s bring down MTV and its corporate parent, Viacom.

UPDATE: We really do need to go after Viacom, which is the parent company of both MTV and Comedy Central. The company's hypocrisy regarding treatment of Jesus and Muhammad is outrageous!

Banned by Comedy Central from showing an image of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, the creators of "South Park" skewered their own network for hypocrisy in the cartoon's most recent episode.

The comedy _ in an episode aired during Holy Week for Christians _ instead featured an image of Jesus Christ defecating on President Bush and the American flag.

In an elaborately constructed two-part episode of their Peabody Award-winning cartoon, "South Park" creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker intended to comment on the controversy created by a Danish newspaper's publishing of caricatures of Muhammad. Muslims consider any physical representation of their prophet to be blasphemous.

When the cartoons were reprinted in newspapers worldwide in January and February, it sparked a wave of protests primarily in Islamic countries.

Parker and Stone were angered when told by Comedy Central several weeks ago that they could not run an image of Muhammad, according to a person close to the show who didn't want to be identified because of the issue's sensitivity.

The network's decision was made over concerns for public safety, the person said.

Comedy Central said in a statement issued Thursday: "In light of recent world events, we feel we made the right decision." Its executives would not comment further.

In other words, Vacom/Comedy Central is unwilling to risk offending Muslims by showing their false prophet Muhammad, but are more than willing to offend Christians by allowing Jesus to be depicted in a patently offensive manner in the midst of Holy Week, only a few hours before the beginning of the Easter Triduum! This only serves to underscore the utter moral bankruptcy of the company, coming as it does at the same time as Viacon/MTV is running the above ad in Germany.

Viacom Delenda Est!

A CLARIFICATION: I was contacted via email by someone asking why I am not angry with Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who chose to create and include the blasphemous depiction of Jesus (which also insulted the flag and the president) in the episode. I'll be honest, I'm not real happy about what they did, but I understand their purpose. They gave Comedy Central the opportunity to treat the religion of most Americans with the same sensitivity they show the religion of America's enemies. Comedy Central proved their point beautifully with its willingness to broadcast the much-more-offensive image of Jesus immediately after censoring the tame Muhammad image. There was, I must say, no other way to make the point plain to all but the most dhimmified individuals. I'm therefore willing to give Stone and Parker a pass on this one.

On the other hand, the decisions of the Viacom dhimmis to run the Jesus segment after censoring the Muhammad segment cannot be justified or excused -- especially when taken in context with the German Jesus ad (and the series it advertised) run by Viacom/MTV.

Viacom Delenda Est!

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|| Greg, 05:13 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (21) || Comments || TrackBacks (3) ||

Ain’t Islam Civilized?

You have to love the wonderful treatment of women under Islam. Consider this case from Germany.

A 19-year-old Turkish man has been jailed for nine years and three months by a German court for shooting his sister in a so-called "honour killing". Ayhan Surucu had confessed to shooting his sister Hatun Surucu, 23, at a bus stop in a Berlin suburb last year.

Two other brothers were cleared of charges of conspiring to murder her.
Prosecutors said the brothers felt dishonoured by their sister, who lived on her own with her son after leaving a cousin she had been forced to marry.

The death of the 23-year-old shocked Germany and led to street protests by Turkish women.

Her own brother – in order to protect the “honor” of his family from the “disgrace” of his sister choosing to live in a manner not condoned by the family’s religion.

The Berlin court's presiding judge Michael Degreif said Hatun Surucu was killed "because she lived her life as she saw fit" and had adopted Western ideas of sexual equality, the AFP news agency reports.

Her killer, Ayhan Surucu, had told the court he shot his sister because he disapproved of her lifestyle and her morals, but added that he regretted his actions.
He said she infuriated him by saying that she had the right to live as she pleased and to sleep with whom she wanted.

"It was too much for me. I grabbed the pistol and pulled the trigger," he told the court in September. "I don't even understand what I did anymore."

We understand – because thousands of women are murdered every year by members of your faith for precisely the same reason.

* * *

Here we have another example of Islamic frustration with basic human rights norms.

Indonesian police asked Playboy magazine on Thursday to stop publishing its local edition in the capital out of fears it could inflame Muslim anger, police and the magazine said.

Ponti Carolus, the director of Playboy's publishing company, said the magazine would think about the request.

"Give us 24 hours and we will let you know our decision," he told reporters at city police headquarters after meeting the police chief. "We are very glad to have input from the Jakarta police. It was quite wise."

Previously, police and government officials said that there were no laws to ban the magazine, which does not feature any nudity and is no more risque than scores of other local and foreign publications already for sale in the world's most populous Muslim country.

Can you imagine the police in Indonesia – or any country on earth – ordering a publication to shut down because Christians are offended?

We all know the answer there.

Because Christians do not regularly murder those who violate Christian religious beliefs.

So I have to ask, based upon these two stories -- is Islam compatible with the civilized world? If not, will the civilized world be required to force Islam to change -- or to treat it like a cancer?

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

Abuse Of Office

Looks like we have another Democrat member of Congress who believes that the rules that apply to everyone else do not apply to him. And, of course, it is another Democrat, running his office like his own personal plantation.

Two former staff members of U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Michigan, say the longtime Detroit congressman made them baby-sit his children, run errands and work on political campaigns while they were on his congressional payroll.

Sydney Rooks, whom Conyers hired as a legal adviser in his Detroit office, recalls the lawmaker brought his two young sons into her office several times, saying, "Rooks, they're your responsibility for right now. I'll be back later."
She said later could be a few minutes or an hour. "Later could be frantically calling around trying to find him because it was now 8 or 9 p.m. or later in the evening and not knowing what to do with the children," she said.

Conyers has even used his staff to house sit and care for his children for weeks on end while he and his wife were out of town. And there are also reports of these government employees being set to work on his campaign and the city council campaign of his wife.

Which party is the party of privilege?


|| Greg, 05:07 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

DeLay’s New Job?

This is interesting. Does the position require Senate confirmation?

The White House is looking at a list of cost-cutting candidates to head the Office of Management and Budget, and Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, may be on it.

The former House majority leader, who announced he will resign from Congress and is under a state indictment on political money laundering charges, is listed as a possible replacement for Josh Bolten, the U.S. News and World Report said.

Bolten has been named incoming White House chief of staff.

Other candidates are familiar with the Bush administration, including Deputy OMB Director Joel Kaplan, the head of the National Economic Council, and Rob Portman, current trade czar.

Wouldn’t it be fun to watch all the apoplectic Democrats?

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

Internet Privacy For Terrorists, V. 2.0

I suppose all the left-wing horror at spying on terrorists has got the terrorists spooked.

Terrorist groups, which for years have used the Internet and its various tools to organize and communicate, are paying more attention to addressing security and privacy concerns similar to those of other Web users, counterterrorism experts say.

The Internet has long been a convenient gathering place for radical Islamists advocating violence against Western influences, known as jihadists. Through online chat, e-mail and Web postings, communities of people have relied on one another for advice, political debate, even movie reviews and biographical information on suicide bombers and religious leaders.

Recently, postings on jihadist Web sites have expressed increasing concern about spyware, password protection, and surveillance on chat rooms and instant-messaging systems.

One forum recently posted a guide for Internet safety and anonymity on the Internet, advising readers of ways to circumvent hackers or government officials.

"The Shortened Way of How to be Cautious; To the User of the Jihadi Forums, In the Name of Allah, the most Gracious and Merciful" was posted last month by an al-Qaeda-affiliated group calling itself the Global Islamic Media Front and was translated by the SITE Institute, a group that tracks international terrorist groups.

Good job, liberals -- you've helped make it harder for Americna intelligence agencies to save American lives. And thanks, media folks, for tipping the terrorists off that they need to increase their security!

|| Greg, 04:53 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Will An Admission Charge Change the Smithsonian?

One of my great joys as a kid in the Washington DC area was visiting the Smithsonian. I loved wandering between the different museums during the course of a long day. Will that experience change if they begin charging admission to the various buildings?

The Smithsonian leaks free richness, the kind of palatial, spatial dripping wealth probably enjoyed by emperors who walked barefoot on such cool marble floors. Fattened by life, they no doubt listened to the same delicate trickle of waterfalls in indoor gardens and admired paintings by the masters.

But this kind of opulence is, in these museums, open to the common person. So you wander about the various Smithsonian facilities because you can. Because the museums are free. Open to anybody in the world. You wonder as you wander what kind of people come here in the middle of the day and what do they seek? Would they still come if it cost them a buck, as a member of Congress recently proposed? Simple math: With 25 million visitors a year, if you charged a dollar each for admission, you could raise $25 million for a great institution in need of cash. There are, after all, renovation projects to pay for, like the one at the National Museum of American History, which this fall is closing its doors for almost two years for major makeover.

But how would the experience of dropping in on one of the museums of the Smithsonian in the middle of a workday change if there were a cost attached?

An excellent discussion continues in the rest of the article.

|| Greg, 04:49 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 12, 2006

Dems Distace Party From Teacher/Candidate

It took a while, but the Alabama Democrat Party has called upon West Limestone High School science teacher Steve White to withdraw from the race for the party's nomination for the state legislature, due to his unprofessional conduct in the classroom.

Under siege by Republicans, a Limestone County teacher has been asked by Democratic leaders to withdraw his Democratic candidacy for a state House seat amid allegations that he showed students a vulgar video of President Bush.

The Alabama Democratic Party, in a statement Wednesday, said the withdrawal was discussed with Steve White, a candidate for the House District 4 seat, "days ago, prior to Republican protests."

It also said White had resigned his position as a local party official. But there was no immediate word from White on whether he will drop out of the race.

"The safety and welfare of Limestone County's children and their families is our number one concern right now, not politics," Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Joe Turnham said in the statement.

Turnham said that if the allegations against White are proven true, he will face "appropriate consequences" by the party committee.

The statement came amid GOP calls for Democrats to rebuke the teacher and for school officials to fire him.

The Alabama Republican Party in a statement released Wednesday asked Turnham to rebuke White. Accused of showing the vulgar video about Bush and other conservatives, White first was issued a reprimand; he was put on leave after another complaint, the details of which have not been disclosed by school officials.

Before Turnham released his statement, state GOP Chairman Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh issued one denouncing Democratic inaction. "By remaining silent, Joe Turnham is, in essence, condoning what Steve White did, and that says a lot about the Alabama Democrat Party," she said.

I wonder what "appropriate consequences" would be. After all, the party would have no way of forcing him off the ballot prior to the primary, nor if he were to officially win the nomination. Could it be that they are just blowing smoke as a matter of "saving face"?

And is it a matter of concern for the children in White's classes, or that he is alleged to have shown a video to his students which mocked Bill Clinton?

Now let's hope that the school board has the guts to fire Steve White.

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|| Greg, 09:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Religious Freedom -- Islamic Style

We've just gotten done with the Rahman case. We were repeatedly assured that there is no religious compulsion allowed by Islam. Let's see how much respect for religious freedom REALLY exists in other parts of the Islamic world.

Let's consider this case from Malaysia, wher ethe Becket Fund is trying to defend the right of a Malay woman to adopt the religion of her choice, legally marry, and have children.

On Thursday, April 13, 2006, Malaysia’s Federal Court will hear the case of Azlina binti Jailani, an ethnic Malay who formally converted from Islam to Christianity in 1998. That same year, she took the sacrament of marriage with a Catholic man. Her joyful demeanor prompted her to change her name, and today she is known as Lina Joy.

The Civil Marriage provision of the 1976 Law Reform Act prohibits Muslims from solemnising or registering marriage under civil law. Because Lina Joy bore a Muslim name, the Civil Registry of Marriages would not accept her application for marriage. Lina eventually managed to have her legal name changed. However, her identity card stated that she was a Muslim pursuant to a new regulation, despite her affirmative declaration that she was a Christian. The designation could not be removed until Lina Joy obtain an order from the Syariah Court stating that she had become an apostate.

Lina Joy took the matter to the civil courts. The court of first instance dismissed Lina Joy’s application on two main grounds. First, Malays could not renounce Islam at all because they were defined by the Federal Constituion to be persons of the Islamic faith. According to the High Court, a Malay’s religion and beliefs are determined by birth, not by choice.

The second ground was jurisdictional. The High Court ruled a conversion out of Islam is a religious matter that could only be dealt with by the Syariah Court. The High Court based its finding on Article 121, which states that the civil courts “shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the Syariah courts.”

Lina Joy appealed to the Court of Appeal, which dismissed her case. On April 13, the Federal Court will hold a hearing, where The Becket Fund's Director of International Advocacy, Angela C. Wu, will join her team of Malaysian lawyers and advocates, to decide whether or not to accept Lina’s last chance of appeal. If the Federal Court does not accept the case, Lina will officially and forever be considered Muslim—at least, until the Syariah Court sees fit to recognize her conversion, and designate her an apostate—legally labeling her as someone who defies God.

Significantly, Lina Joy never applied to the Syariah Court to recognize her conversion, and instead has applied to the civil courts for marital recognition without a Syariah determination of her faith. She argues that it is not the place of any court to tell her what she believes.

Lina Joy, 42, is fearful to start a family, because any children would be designated Muslim. They could then be taken away from her because they are not raised in the Muslim faith. Further, they would potentially be evidence of adultery.

With Lina Joy’s hearing next week, Malaysia is once again at a critical point in deciding whether constitutional or Syariah will prevail, and whether it is indeed up to the state, de jure and de facto, to tell Malaysians what they believe.

Constitutionally designated as a member of Islam, with no legal ability to convert without a ruling from a Muslim court -- sounds like compulsion tome. In addition, such a ruling would still arguably leave her cildren designated as Muslims, which would mean she and her husband could not legally raise them or pass on their religion to them. Such a system certainly sounds like one which compels one to remain a Muslim -- even though we are told that there is no compuslion permitted under Islamic law.

And then there is this story from Saudi Arabia, in which the human right to practice one's religion and pass it on to one's children is denied by law.

A Catholic Indian priest was yesterday forced to leave Saudi Arabia. He was discovered by the religious police as he organized a prayer meeting in the lead-up to Easter. Arrested on 5 April, he remained in police custody for four days and on Saturday 8th April he left for India. The practice of any religion other than Islam is forbidden in Saudi Arabia. Meetings held privately in people’s homes, among friends, are also banned.

The priest, Fr George Joshua, belongs to the Malankara rite of Kerala (India). His visit to Catholic Indians in the Saudi Kingdom was planned with his bishop’s permission.

On 5 April, Fr George had just celebrated mass in a private house when seven religious policemen (muttawa) broke into the house together with two ordinary policemen. The police arrested the priest and another person.

The Saudi religious police are well known for their ruthlessness; they often torture believers of other religions who are arrested.

AsiaNews sources said there were around 400,000 Indian Catholics in Saudi Arabia who were denied pastoral care. Catholic foreigners in the country number at least one million: none of them can participate in mass while they are in Saudi Arabia. Catechism for their children – nearly 100,000 – is banned.

Often, for feasts like Easter and Christmas, Catholics plan holidays in the Emirates, Bahrain or Abu Dhabi, where at least for once, they are free to attend mass.

No right to worship. No right to teach their faith to their children. And for Muslims, no right to convert. The mere act of holding a religious service -- in private in the privacy of one's home -- is denied. At least if one is not a Muslim. Sounds like a set of regulations designed to coerce folks to accept Islam. In the land where the Koran was allegedly divinely given to Muhammad.

It's very hard, of course, for Christians to preach among the Muslims of the world. Look at the lengths that these missionaries are going to keep from offending the Muslims where they are working.

Carlos and Viviana were among five people from the Baptist University of the Americas to go on a mission trip three years ago to a West African country. The majority of the population is Muslim and includes people of Arab and African descent.

A missionary couple from Mexico who used to live in San Antonio are there permanently. The BUA declined to give their names for concern that the government would crack down on them. They also asked that the country not be identified.

The couple sends emails to friends in the U.S. in secret code. They took Muslim names. In fact, they gave all the visiting members on the mission trip Muslim names. The cross-cultural techniques have reportedly worked with about 20 converts from Islam to Christianity.

The couple entered the country, where poverty is pervasive and slavery still exists, by offering agricultural help.

Who knows what would happen to them if they dared be open about their missionary activity. Muslims kill Christian missionaries around the world every year. It is a mission field in which martyrdom remains a real possibility.

And, of course, guess who objects to Christian missionaries trying to spread their faith among the Muslims of the world? Why, the friendly folks from CAIR, who claim that Islam is compatible with religious freedom!

This approach, even if led by Latinos, still draws skepticism from some Muslims who have seen a variety of methods by Christians seeking the same objective of conversion, said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group in Washington.

Men growing beards. Women wearing head coverings. Bibles placed on wooden stands like Korans. Churches built to resemble mosques.

"It's a new twist on an old approach," Hooper said. "They want to appear as Muslim as possible to kind of blur the lines."

Hooper said he doesn't believe humanitarian help from evangelical mission groups is unconditional.

"If the Bible is handed out with a sack of rice, they're going to take the sack of rice and the Bible if their kids are starving," he said. "We have no problem with someone coming to a Muslim and saying, 'I think Christianity is better.' But we object to going into a vulnerable population with a disproportionate power relationship."

Hooper should remember that Islam has historically been spread not by preaching and good works, but by the sword.

I begin to wonder if, given the actions of religious and civil authorities in majority Muslim countries and Islam's demand that it be given primacy over all other religious faiths, Islam itself should be treated like Fascism, Nazism and Communism -- as a totalitarian ideology that must be suppressed in the name of defending human rights and dignity.

|| Greg, 06:04 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dances With Fissionable Material

That the Mad Mullahs and their minions are celebrating their illegal acquisition of nuclear material reinforces my belief that they plan on using nuclear weapons at the first available opportunity.


Dancers perform as they hold capsules of uranium hexaflouride, or UF6 gas during a ceremony in Mashhad, Iran's holiest city, Tuesday, April 11, 2006. Iran has successfully enriched uranium for the first time, a landmark in its quest to develop nuclear fuel, hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday, although he insisted his country does not aim to develop atomic weapons. In a nationally televised speech, Ahmadinejad called on the West "not to cause an everlasting hatred in the hearts of Iranians" by trying to force Iran to abandon uranium enrichment. (AP Photo/Mehr News Agency)

Will the world do what must be done? Will the US be forced to act in isolation? Or will we stand by while another rogue regime gains Weapons of Mass Destruction?

» Alexander Atomic Watch Silver Dial links with: Alexander Atomic Watch Silver Dial

|| Greg, 04:26 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||


I just don’t know what to say about this story, other than that this is some really weird stuff.

In Waynesville, a small county seat in the mountains of western North Carolina, people whispered about the three older men who lived together south of town.

They were lovers, and there were rumors that the trio had turned a room in their house into a dungeon where they filmed sadomasochistic sex scenes — and then posted them on the Internet.

Someone asked the local sheriff to investigate the men, but his officers determined their activities, although unorthodox, were perfectly legal.
Last month, however, the men were arrested on charges that shocked the community.

Authorities say they performed castrations and other types of genital surgeries on at least six people. Detectives searching the home found bloody scalpels, syringes, and prosthetic testicles in a room the men referred to as "the dungeon."

Officers confiscated a video camera apparently used to record the procedures, as well as scores of CDs and computer files. They also seized a Tupperware container from the kitchen freezer holding what appeared to be human testicles.
The suspects acknowledged performing surgeries, but they told investigators that the procedures were completely consensual and that the men who requested the operations traveled long distances for the procedures.

Like I said – I really don’t know what to say. I bet CourtTV has fun with this trial.

|| Greg, 04:19 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Whose Idea Was It?

Guess what – it wasn’t the GOP that backed the proposal in the House immigration bill that makes illegal aliens felons. It was the Democrats.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) issued a joint statement on Tuesday making it clear that it was Democrats who insisted on making unlawful presence in the United States a felony rather than a misdemeanor.

"In December, the House of Representatives passed a strong border security bill aimed at securing our borders and preventing illegal immigration," the statement said.

"However, on December 16, 2005, there were 191 House Democrats who voted to oppose House Republican efforts to reduce the crime of unlawful presence in the United States from a felony to a misdemeanor. Instead, they voted to make felons out of all of those who remain in our country illegally. (Some conservative Republicans also favored making unlawful presence a felony.)

"While we are disappointed with the House Democrat's lack of compassion and the continued efforts by Senator Reid to block action on immigration legislation so that Congress can proceed to conference, it remains our intent to produce a strong border security bill that will not make unlawful presence in the United States a felony."

But which party is now portrayed as the friend of the illegal immigrant? The one that overwhelmingly opposed making unlawful presence in the US a misdemeanor.

Who says the MSM isn’t biased? Who says that immigrant groups are not in the pocket of the Democrat party? Who says that the Democrats aren’t hypocrites?

No one I know, that’s for sure.

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

This Takes Real Gall!

They marched for the rights of lawbreakers, and were fired as a result. Now they want their jobs back.

A manager at a Detroit meatpacking plant said Monday that 15 immigrant women were fired last month after attending a protest for immigrant rights. He said they had been told that they would be terminated if they missed work on the day of the protest.

But the workers and an activist working on their behalf said the women were given no such assurances. If the workers knew they would have been fired for attending the March 27 rally in Detroit, they never would have skipped the morning shift, said Elena Herrada, a Detroit activist who is trying to help the women get their jobs back.

Herrada and about 20 union officials went Monday to Wolverine Packing Co. offices on Rivard to inquire about what happened. They were given a letter signed by general manager Jay Bonahoom, explaining why the workers were terminated.

* * *

Bonahoom said that as far as Wolverine knows, the workers were documented, but an employment agency does the actual hiring. He said the workers had been told, "written and verbally," on the Friday before the protests that their attendance was mandatory on the day of the protest.

They were fired "for standing up for their rights," Herrada said.

The fired workers were natives of Mexico and many had worked at the plant for several years. Most have children and are worried about supporting their families, Herrada said.

They should have thought of that when they skipped work. But then again, it is questionable whether any of them had the right to be in this country at all, much less working here. Take this woman who was fired as an example.

"It was not fair,'" said Mercedes, a 31-year-old Detroit woman who attended the rally and was fired. "We went to fight for our rights." Mercedes is undocumented and asked that her last name not be used.

Want to bet that her friends fall in the same category?

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

Man Arrested For Busting Out His Best Friend

I love the Apolitical Pooch, who is the best (and most spoiled) child-substitute a couple could possibly have. That said, I don’t know that I would ever go to these lengths to get her back if she ended up in the pound.

A Glen Carbon man didn't have money to bail his dog out of the county pound, so he busted him out instead, police said.

Things got messy, though. Police said they suspect he first mistook the Humane Society for the pound and broke in there, then released three other canines with his dog to cover his tracks.

Madison County prosecutors filed burglary charges Tuesday against Thomas P. Carroll, 20, who is accused of breaking into the county's Animal Control Department building in rural Edwardsville to get back his dog, a Weimaraner named Titus.

Sheriff's deputies were called Monday to the Animal Control building in rural Edwardsville and the neighboring Metro East Humane Society building. Both buildings had been burglarized. Nothing was missing from the Humane Society building, but four dogs were missing from the Animal Control building.

Carroll was identified as the owner of one of the missing dogs. He had been notified a few days earlier that the Animal Control Department had his dog, but he said he wasn't able to pay a $125 fine required to get Titus back.

Detectives think Carroll broke into the Humane Society building first, thinking his dog was there. They also suspect he released the three other dogs at the Animal Control building as a diversion. The three other dogs were found nearby.

Carroll remained Tuesday in the county jail with bail set at $50,000 by Circuit Judge Charles Romani Jr.

Titus, located at the home of Carroll’s parents in another county, is awaiting extradition.

|| Greg, 04:13 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Preserving The Right To Keep And Bear Arms

In the mid 1990s, I worked for a county mental health agency in a sheltered workshop/developmental education program for developmentally disabled adults. As a part of my job, I was assigned a slot on the mental health crisis team, and regularly took calls from local hospitals and law enforcement agencies to evaluate individuals for 72-hour emergency commitment to the state mental hospital is Alton. All together, I made the call to send about a dozen folks from our small rural county, based upon my assessment of whether or not these folks were a danger to themselves or others. They got no hearing, no lawyer or due process – that would be dealt with at the state hospital when and if the mental health professionals determined that a longer commitment was necessary.

That’s why this story caught my attention. It never crossed my mind that my decisions – made with no formal training in the mental health field – could have serious repercussions on the civil liberties of those who I believed needed mental health assistance.

As a Missouri corrections officer for more than 10 years, David Nelson is authorized to carry a gun on the job. But a year ago, he was denied a state permit to buy one.

The contradiction became a court dispute that reached all the way to the seven judges of the Missouri Supreme Court, who ruled unanimously Tuesday in Nelson's favor.

The issue dates to Sept. 11, 2003, when a judge in Callaway County ordered that Nelson be detained, evaluated and treated at a mental institution for 96 hours, against his will, because a Fulton police officer alleged that Nelson had talked about suicide.

In that period, the Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center determined that Nelson did not suffer from mental illness and needed neither medication nor psychiatric care. He never got a court hearing to protest the police officer's claim.

On April 27, 2005, Nelson applied for a permit to acquire a concealable weapon, which is different from a concealed-carry permit but is bound by similar rules. The Callaway County Sheriff's Department said no. Sheriff Dennis Crane, and later Prosecuting Attorney Robert Sterner, cited a state law that denies permits to felons or people having been committed to mental institutions.

Nelson sued, losing before Associate Circuit Judge Joe Holt, who had issued the detention order, and then before Circuit Judge Ellen Roper.

Nelson's attorney, Geoffrey Preckshot, took the case to the Supreme Court, arguing that the ruling was unfair to his client and others in a similar situation. "Each of these persons is caught in an almost classic 'Catch 22'; never again to be trusted by society to be allowed to acquire a concealable firearm, but not crazy enough to justify a (commitment) proceeding," he said.

Writing for the unanimous court, Judge Richard B. Teitelman said Nelson had been put under "detention," which he said is different from "committed."

I think this is a good ruling. The mere fact that someone has accessed mental health services is not a basis for denying that person a fundamental right guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. A higher standard must be met – and if a person cannot rebut the presumption of unfitness to exercise their rights because mental health professionals have determined that the initial assessment of non-mental health professionals was incorrect, then the very presumption is both absurd and unjust.

|| Greg, 04:11 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Fitzgerald Busted

Looks like Patrick Fitzgerald has had to back down on certain explosive claims he made in a recent court filing.

The federal prosecutor overseeing the indictment of Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, yesterday corrected an assertion in an earlier court filing that Libby had misrepresented the significance placed by the CIA on allegations that Iraq attempted to buy uranium from Niger.

Last week, Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald wrote that, in conversation with former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, Libby described the uranium story as a "key judgment" of the CIA's 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, a term of art indicating there was consensus within the intelligence community on that issue. In fact, the alleged effort to buy uranium was not among the estimate's key judgments and was listed further back in the 96-page, classified document.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, Fitzgerald wrote yesterday that he wanted to "correct" the sentence that dealt with the issue in a filing he submitted last Wednesday. That sentence said Libby "was to tell Miller, among other things, that a key judgment of the NIE held that Iraq was 'vigorously trying to procure' uranium."

Instead, the sentence should have conveyed that Libby was to tell Miller some of the key judgments of the NIE "and that the NIE stated that Iraq was 'vigorously trying to procure' uranium."

Simply one more bit of evidence that Fitzgerals os out of control -- making false claims in filings to inflate the importance and significance of his work. He has exceeded his mandates as a special prosecutor, and needs to be closed down, and his charges against Scooter Libby dismissed.

By the way -- anyone else struck by the fact that the "correction" by Fitzgerald is buried by the same media sources that highlighted the original claims?

|| Greg, 04:48 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Problem Of The "Gospel Of Judas"

We knew it would happen.

The discovery and publication of an ancient text, authored by members of a heretical sext and rejected by Christianity some 17 or 18 centuries ago, would lead to calls by those outside of Christianity to reinterpret Christian teaching.

Thus the publication of the so-called Gospel of Judas, while interesting, presents a challenge and a threat to Christianity.

Over the past two millenniums, the figure of Judas in art and religious literature increasingly became a thinly disguised caricature for the Jewish people and a tool for generating anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe, where Passion plays re-enacting the crucifixion often provoked murderous riots called pogroms directed at Jewish neighborhoods. The hatred culminated in the Nazi-directed Holocaust during World War II.

It's fitting that National Geographic chose to broadcast a documentary at the start of this Holy Week detailing the discovery of an 1,700-year-old Christian text depicting Judas in an entirely different light. Found bound in leather in an Egyptian cave more than 30 years ago, the painstakingly restored papyrus sheets written in Coptic portray Judas as the disciple entrusted by Christ to carry out the steps necessary for his sacrifice and resurrection, a notion echoed in several passages of the four Gospels of the Bible.

The documentary bluntly confronts the shameful history of Christian anti-Semitism and details how the image of Judas has been employed to stir up hatred and intolerance over the centuries. By contrast, instead of a plot with a despised villain, the Gospel of Judas focuses entirely on Christ's love and willing sacrifice.

Houston Rabbi Amy Weiss describes the document as "an opportunity that has presented itself, and the question is, what will be done with it next?" If major Christian evangelical ministers were to confront the issue of the anti-Semitic characterization of Judas in public sermons, she believes it would have a very positive effect.

So here we have it -- the MSM and Jewish leaders demanding that Chrisstians reinterpret the teachings of Christianity in the light of an ancient heresy to create a more PC version of their faith.

And in the process ignoring decades of theological development on the vry issu that they want reconsidered -- the role of the Jews in the arrest, trial and execution of Jesus of Nazareth.

Because you see, the twentieth century saw a major reevaluation of that very issue by Christians of all stripes. It saw the retranslation of Scripture in a manner that made it clear that it was certain religious and political factions, not the Jewish people as a whole, who played a culpable role in the judicial murder of the Lamb of God. Anti-Semitism was formally repudiated by the Second Vatican Council over four decades ago. Today, it is evangelical Christians who are the leading supporters of Israel and friends of the Jews among Christians. Indeed, it is the liberals in the mainline denominations who flirt with anti-Semitism -- but not based upon the Gspel, but upon their politically correct support for Palestinian terrorists and consequent attacks on Israel.

So the work that some claim needs to be done is a fait accompli -- without resort to the heretical writings of a Gnostic sect.

|| Greg, 04:33 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 11, 2006

New Investigation At West Limestone High School

Remember Steve White, the moonbat schience teacher and Democrat candidate for the Alabama Legislature who showed a profane anti-Bush video to his eighth grade science students? Well, it appears that he is under further investigation for unprofessional behavior in showing inappropriate and non-subject related material to his students. This one also provides presidential insults, and could result in more serious discipline.

But then again, this (allegedly) obscene video mocks and insults Bill Clinton. No wonder they are taking action.

School officials were talking with some students Monday at West Limestone High School after receiving additional complaints from parents about offensive material shown to students by teacher Steve White.

“We’re investigating that now,” said Superintendent Dr. Barry Carroll.

White, who is a Democratic candidate for the District 4 seat on the state House of Representatives, was previously accused of showing an offensive Internet video against the Bush administration to his eighth grade science class at West Limestone High School.

“We’ve had some calls from parents about other allegations and we are talking to students,” Carroll said. “We hope by (Tuesday) we will be able to determine something and move in whatever direction we need to.”

Carroll did not describe the new complaints but one parent said an obscene video showing an animated Bill Clinton was shown to students.

Sorry, but this double standard is pretty offensive. The first offense was so egregious that White should have been fired, or at least suspended, due to his unprofessional conduct, not merely reprimanded. That there is a pattern makes termination of the now-suspended teacher mandatory.

And interestingly enough, the superintendent that defended the initial reprimand of White had a much harsher standard when it came to recommending the termination of a bus driver a few months ago. I didn't know the details when I first wrote on this issue, but it seems that the language used in that case was significantly less offensive than that which White brought into the classroom and for which he was merely reprimanded.

However, in a public school board meeting in December, Carroll recommended the board fire a bus driver who allegedly said the phrase “p—-ed off” and the d-word to students on the bus. The board voted not to terminate the driver.

Compare that to over twenty uses of the word "asshole" in the video, along with one use of "shit" and the flipping of a profane gesture. Seems to me that Dr. Carroll has some serious explaining to do about his sense of proportionality.

Hopefully this incident will be sufficient to result in Steve White's permanent removal from the classroom -- and that certain other folks in both campus and district administration are ushered out the door in Limestone County.


MORE AT: Michelle Malkin, SpunkyHomeSchool, Right Wing Nation, AListReview, J Rob's House of Opinion, Church and State, HoodaThunk?, Freedom for Some, Freedom Folks, Once More Into The Breach, Daily Musings, Moonbattery, Brutally Honest, Aldaynet, Right Voices, Independent Conservative, Expose the Left, Michelle Malkin (again), Media Crunch, Church and State (again), Skilletfan, Mike's America, Strata-Sphere

» AListReview links with: Science Teacher Does Go Too Far

|| Greg, 06:42 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

What About The Federalist Papers?

Last spring, former Justice Department lawyer Hans von Spakovsky wrote an article – published anonymously under the name of Publius – regarding Voter ID laws for the Texas Review of Law & Politics. The article, published while von Spakosky was counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights, came as the department was considering Georgia’s Voter ID law, cited data that showed that such laws do not disenfranchise voters, despite anecdotal claims to the contrary.

Now the ACLU is up in arms over the article, demanding that von Spakosky’s views not even be considered as a new Georgia law, which was passed to meet concerns expressed by liberal groups and a federal court, is evaluated by the Justice Department.

ACLU lawyer [Neil] Bradley believes von Spakovsky's involvement in clearing the previous law could taint consideration of the current law. Bradley has asked Wan J. Kim, assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, to take steps to ensure von Spakovsky's views are not considered as part of the review of Georgia's new law.

In other words, the views of someone with expertise in election laws and who has reviewed the evidence rather than repeated the scare-stories should be excluded from consideration when laws are evaluated for discriminatory effect. Rather than attack the argument made by von Spakovsky, the ACLU lawyer attacks the man who holds them.

But more shocking is this inane quote from the ACLU’s Bradley.

Neil Bradley, a lawyer for the ACLU Voting Rights Project, said the anonymous nature of von Spakovsky's writing is particularly alarming.

"Here's a man who had strong enough views that he published it, but then wanted to hide the fact he had the views," Bradley said. "Either he should have the views and stand up straight and admit them or he shouldn't be involved in the process."

Let's ignore the fact that such a statement is contrary to the official position of the ACLU on anonymous political speech -- a position taken repeatedly over the years.

It also ignores the history of political speech in America, in which pseudonymous and allonymous writings date back to before the American Revolution. That tradition includes the Federalist Papers, written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to justify the aadoption of the US Constitution. Would Bradley like to argue that these men should not have been involved in the ratification process?

Oh, and by the way -- like von Spakovsky's article, the Federalist Papers were originally published under the name "Publius".

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

Gratuitous Slur?

The murderers of Broderick Hehman will not be charged with a hate crime, despite the cries to “Get the white boy!”

You see, the cops and prosecutors have determined that the actions of the animals in question were based upon greed, not race.

Although eyewitnesses allegedly heard shouts of "Get whitey!" from one of the suspects, the commanding officer of the Hate Crimes Task Force, deputy inspector Michael Osgood, said the incident was not racially motivated.

Mr. Osgood described the teenagers as an "organized robbery team" who first targeted a Hispanic man, but were intimidated by a passing police car. Then Hehman came along.

The crime, Mr. Osgood said, was motivated by "economic reasons." For a hate crime to occur, Mr. Osgood said, "the main reason for the crime must be the identity of the victim. You can see how their purpose of meeting him, engaging him, was to rob him," Mr. Osgood said.

The racially charged remark of "Get the white boy!" was a "gratuitous slur," Mr. Osgood said.

A “gratuitous slur”?

Is there such a thing as a “gratuitous slur” when some white punk yells “get the nigger” or some other hate-filled phrase? Or does the “gratuitous slur” rule apply only to minority criminals in cases where the authorities are too cowardly to take on the racism that exists in minority communities?

Fortunately, civil rights leaders and blacks in law enforcement are taking a stand against this frightening failure to deal with racism.

The ruling drew a swift and sharp reaction from civil rights activists and black police officers. "At least in part it's a hate crime," the former director of the New York Civil Liberties union, Norman Siegel, said. "All racial violence is equally deplorable.' Charging the teens with a bias crime, he said, would be an "acknowledgement of racial tension."

One of the founders of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, a fraternal organization for African American police officers, Eric Adams, agreed. "When you look at the logic they are using to come to that conclusion, it's really troubling."
If the Police Department is saying identifying the race of the victim is merely a description, Mr. Adams said, then "we have to rewrite the current law for bias crimes. The mere fact his race was interjected, the courts have to decide why that was. Our position is it should be out of the hands of the Police Department and in the hands of the courts.

"All people should be protected under hate crimes legislation," Mr. Adams said. "A white guy can be as much a victim as a black guy." Mr. Adams is a retired police captain.

Both Mr. Siegel and Mr. Adams said they would meet with the Manhattan district attorney, Robert Morgenthau, to encourage him to include hate-crime charges against the suspects.

I salute those in the black community who acknowledge that racism is racism is racism.

MORE AT Michelle Malkin

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

Does Mexico Break Its own Emigration Laws?

That is certainly what it looks like, since it refuses to stop (and even encourages) the massive violation of American sovereignty by its citizens.

Fox, according to Casey Wian on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight (March 31), "is still refusing to do anything to stop the millions of illegal aliens ... saying he won't restrict the freedom of movement of Mexican citizens."

The Associated Press reports, "Mexico has long cited a freedom-of-movement clause in its Constitution as prohibiting any attempt to stop would-be Mexican migrants from massing at border towns. Former Mexican Interior Secretary Santiago Creel actually said his country would never help to secure the southern border. 'We are not going to do that,' Creel told Jerry Kammer of the Copley News Service. Creel claimed Mexico's Constitution provides for 'complete freedom of movement' for Mexicans inside Mexico. 'We can't put up a checkpoint or a customs station inside our territory,' Creel said."

Yet these statements seem contrary to the Constitution and law when the whole picture is viewed. Starting with the fact that there is more to the applicable constitutional article than just its first sentence.

Article 11 states: "Everyone has the right to enter and leave the Republic, to travel through its territory and to change their residence without need of a letter of security, passport, safe-conduct or other similar requisites. The exercise of this right will be subordinate to the powers of the judiciary in cases of criminal or civil liability, and to those of administrative authority with regard to limitations that laws on emigration, immigration and general health of the Republic, or on pernicious foreign residents in the country, may impose."

And the key of course is in the second sentence, namely "will be subordinate to" — with the General Population Law being the primary directive.

Mexico, you see, can act to secure its border with the US -- but chooses not to do so.

More to the point, laws already exist to do exactly that. Besides -- stopping the border-jumpoing would lead to social and economic pressures to reform the corrupt Mexican political system.

But Mexico instead finds it profitible to let its exces workers head to El Norte and send back billions -- and so ignores its own laws while encouraging the violation of ours.

Mr. Fox -- if you have no respect for US law, at least show some respect for the laws of Mexico.

|| Greg, 04:27 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Aint Texas Politics Fun?

Aftr all -- we have three serious candidates plus a Democrat running for governor.

And now the Democrats are going after one of the independents.

A University of Houston student on Monday accused supporters of independent gubernatorial hopeful Carole Keeton Strayhorn of misleading his classmates about the candidate's past stance on tuition deregulation.

Isaiah Warner, president of the school's Young Democrats chapter, said three people who were gathering signatures on campus last week to get Strayhorn on the November ballot told him she had never supported legislation that gave university leaders the authority to set a portion of tuition rates.

As comptroller, Strayhorn issued a report in 2003 urging state leaders to transfer that power from the Legislature to the universities.

"Given her clear record as one of the original supporters of tuition deregulation, this is a deliberate attempt to fabricate her record and mislead Texas college students," Warner said in a prepared statement.

Strayhorn spokesman Mark Sanders said no campaign employee has ever misrepresented her position. But an unknown number of volunteers are also collecting signatures, with or without the campaign's knowledge, and one of them may have misspoke, he said.

"The point is the campaign has been at all times upfront and truthful about the comptroller's positions on a myriad of issues," he said.

Tempest in a teapot.

|| Greg, 04:19 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 10, 2006

No Tax Caps In Texas?

Property tax cuts and appraisal caps have been big issues in Texas. They were, in fact, a major issue in Dan Patrick’s stunning SD7 victory in the 4-way race for the GOP nomination. But will they be part of Governor Rick Perry’s proposal for the special session on education that begins in a week?

For the fifth time in two years, Gov. Rick Perry is asking legislators to cut school property taxes, but something is missing, so far, in his election-year effort to keep a 2002 campaign pledge.

Facing a Texas Supreme Court order and a June 1 deadline to fix the school funding system, Perry isn't proposing lower limits on how homes are appraised, or valued, for tax purposes, a key factor in escalating property taxes.

In recent years, the governor repeatedly had called for lower appraisal caps or revenue limits on local governments, arguing that without them reductions in property tax rates soon would be eroded by rising property values.

He says he still supports the caps but doesn't want legislators, when they convene April 17, to be distracted by other controversies until they address the court order, which doesn't require action on property appraisals.

Appraisal limits may be debated anyway, with the possibility that Perry eventually will add them to the session's agenda,