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May 31, 2006

Blogging Tips

I got into a discussion tonight with some folks on a mailing list. It began about drops in traffic over Memorial Day -- which most of us had.

The one paarticipant posted the following somewhat discouraged comment.

OK, if next week isn't 100 views per day, I'm quitting.

(Please go visit Indian Cowboy -- he's a libertarian blogger who comments on politics, society, and science, based upon what I've seen.)

I then decided to post some blogging tips -- for what they are worth, since I am hardly one of the folks who reaches stratospheric numbers, though I have built up a small following over the last two years (the blogiversary is rapidly approaching!)

Here's what came up with, after being prodded to take my initial list of six and expand it to seven. One blogger even inspired me to make my little email into a post, which she has linked. (She also has her own, as does her friend Maureen.)

Seven Tips For Building Blog Traffic

1) Blog daily, and at a consistent time. That gets folks into the habit of looking at your site every day.

2) Become an expert. Make yourself a "go-to-guy" on certain issues. I did on the Abdul Rahman case earlier this year, and have written a lot on William Jefferson. School censorship cases are also a topic that I often write on.

3) Find out what is hot and blog on it. I try to blog on at least one article from RealClearPolitics' Buzztracker section each day. I also like the Washington Post as a source for articles, because they have a link to Technorati with their articles.

4) Be interesting; be yourself. Duh!

5) Don't be afraid or ashamed to be provocative.

6) Trackback to other bloggers writing on the same article. Trackback to bloggers you admire. Trackback to open trackback posts/linkfests.

7) Join blogging alliances/groups that you find compatible.

I've discovered that they can all use a little elaboration, so here are my notes on my seven tips.

1) I tend to post at two times during the day. The first is in the early morning, before I go to school.start my day. The second is within an hour or two of my returning home. My traffic spikes when folks get to work (be honest -- how many of you check blogs while at work) and when they come home -- or at least after dinner.

2) Go with what you know, or what interests you. I didn't choose the Rahman story, it sort of chose me. I wrote because it mattered to me, and people responded -- including one newspaper in India, where a columnist spent half his space on blogs about the Rahman story writing about my blog and my take on the story.

3) Is it being a bit of a traffic whore? Maybe -- but then again, I don't blog on a story unless it appeals to me. If the same wire service story appears on 100 different newspaper websites, why shouldn't I link to washingtonpost.com instead of the Podunk Farm News? And those Buzztracker stories are the major ones that I would be inclined to write about anyway -- it is just a question of where my link goes to, the New York Times or the Pine Gulch Gazette? Use what you can to attract those hits -- your content is what will ultimately keep them.

4) Keep it real -- let yourself, your insignts, and your beliefs come through. And even be willing to admit your mistakes. By the way, remember that these folks you debate with can become your online friends, even if you disagree with them.

5) Go out on a limb. State a far out opinion. Make an outlandish statement or two. Such things make people think, or shout, or laugh -- and can make them come back.

6) But always make sure that you reference them somehow -- whether via a quote, a hat tip, or an acknowledgement that they are writing too. It is the polite thing to do, and may get them new readers from your site at the same time you get new readers from theirs.

7) Hey -- you need friends and allies out there in the cold, hard blogospheric world. Find a blogroll or three to join that shares your interests or outlook.

Well, I hope that helps.

Also -- for more on this topic, visit these two posts at Pro Blogger -- he has just written on the topic and has beau-coup links to different folks writing about building blogs.

Happy Blogging!





|| Greg, 10:08 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (8) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Freedom Endangered in Canada -- Once Again

It seems that a Canadian university is conducting a Star Chamber proceeding against one of its professors -- because of what he has posted on his personal website hosted on a non-university server. Why? Because a homosexual activist does not like it.

A Cape Breton University (CBU) professor is the target of a human rights complaint by a homosexual student. Comments posted by the professor at his private web site critical of the Anglican Church of Canada for its permissive and condoning stand in relation to same-sex "marriage" are the cause of the complaint.

History Professor David Mullan wrote to his local Anglican bishop in 2004, criticizing the trend: "When Anglicanism in some manner recognizes homosexuality as a legitimate 'lifestyle' for Christians, it will become a church in schism," he charged.

On February 20, homosexual CBU student Shane Wallis, who also co-ordinates the campus' Sexual Diversity Office, lodged a formal human rights complaint with the University. In an e-mail response to Wallis' charge of a human rights offence, Wallis stated in his complaint that Mullan responded that "homosexuality is a repudiation of nature and the apotheosis of unbridled desire."

Please note that in this instance, "sexual diversity" means "anything except monogamous heterosexuality" -- and that while Shane Wallis may believe in "sexual diversity", he does not believe in intellectual diversity. After all, his complaint is based upon the expression of views and beliefs that contradict his own.

What is more, the university has adopted a procedure that repudiates basic human and civil rights.

From Professor Mullan's web site it can be seen that, because the University has acknowledged that the proceedings of a CBU human rights tribunal may be used against him in a court of law, he has declined to participate in complaint hearings. He has, however, challenged both Wallis and the University to acknowledge his free speech rights as a Canadian.

"I have a Human Rights complaint against me, as a result of two letters to my former Anglican bishop placed on my private website and a reply I sent Shane Wallis in response to an unsolicited email," Professor Mullan explains on his web site.

"I met yesterday morning (in April) with the Human Rights Officer. At that time I asked her whether anything I said in the process might be used against me in court. Today, after legal consultation, she replied that yes, it could be. I immediately told her that I would not participate in the process. I told her also in our meeting that I find that the requirement that I give evidence, effectively incriminating myself (rather like the Tudor Court of Star Chamber and the ex officio oath) when asked for it is in my judgement a violation of the common law, and of my rights as a free-born Englishman. The procedure is a farce, and if pushed I will sue the institution for violating my civil rights."

"The process can never be fair until these conditions are altered, and until the complainant stands under potential judgement for entering a frivolous complaint," he adds. "No one in his right mind would participate in this without incurring the fees of a solicitor, and when found innocent, someone needs to re-imburse the defendant."

What is more, Wallis filed a second complaint because Mullan had the integrity to go public with this attempt to suppress his fundamental human rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. It would appear that the recently discovered right to not be offended, right to not be challenged in one's beliefs, and right to screw anything you want are being used to trump those rights. The complaint about breaking confidentiality is apparantly based upon the newly discovered "right to do secretly what no one would stand for publicly" -- for the proceeding has no right to remain silent, and any and all involuntarily coerced statements made in the proceedings may be used against the speaker in a court of law. Again, basic human rights are not a consideration at Cape Breton University.

When i was young, Canada was a free country -- or so it appeared when I visited there. When did that change?

Oh, and by the way, I wrote Shane Wallis the following email. I hope he is man enough to respond.

Shane--

How is it that you have come to the conclusion that your own personal weaknesses and inadequacies are a legitimate basis for suppressing the human rights of individuals to hold religious beliefs and to express them publicly?

Did your university teach you the fascist view that only government-approved thoughts, beliefs, and opinions may be expressed in public, or was did you learn that elsewhere?

Why do you fear views which differ from your own? Is it a fear of diversity, or a recognition of the weakness and inadequacies of your own beliefs?

By the way, my questions have nothing to do with your sexual practices or personal relationships -- they have to do with fundamental questions of human rights enshrined in the founding charters of free societies. I hope you'll take a moment and respond.

Regards
Greg
AKA Rhymes With Right
www.rhymeswithright.mu.nu

To Dr. Mullan, I offer my prayers and best wishes as he fights the good fight for freedom in Canada. And I remind him that America is still free -- though the sodomy lobby is would certainly like to make it less so.



» FaceRight links with: On the Weinie-ism of the Left - Part 2



|| Greg, 07:22 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Who Is The Bigot, Howard?

Howard Dean has intimated that Christians and Jews who believe actually believe what Scripture says about homosexuality are bigots.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean claims to be reaching out to red-state voters, but yesterday, he suggested that opponents of homosexual "marriage" are bigots.

Mr. Dean was responding to news that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, plans to bring to a vote a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban homosexual "marriage."

"At a time when the Republican Party is in trouble with their conservative base, Bill Frist is taking a page straight out of the Karl Rove playbook to distract from the Republican Party's failed leadership and misplaced priorities by scapegoating LGBT families for political gain, using marriage as a wedge issue," said Mr. Dean, using the abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

"It is not only morally wrong, it is shameful and reprehensible," Mr. Dean said.

Excuse me, sir, but who is the bigot here -- those who sincerely hold to moral and religious beliefs that date back thousands of years, or those seek to cow those believers into silence? Who is the hatemonger -- a majority that believes that marriage is and should be limited to one man and one woman and seeks to enact those beliefs democratically, or members of the minority who seek to impose alternate beliefs through the courts?

The answer should be obvious.





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

Terrorstinian Press Insults Lady Liberty

Even as the Terrorstinians demand money from the United States to fund their Hamas government, their media insults our nation and our most important symbols.

liberty Risala 25 May 2006.jpg

This American has a response -- a firm rejection of the Terrorstinian assault upon my nation's symbol and the insult to our people. I've worked up a little response for you, camel-boy -- and it does not involve censoring you, rioting, or threatening your life.

statueofdhimmitude.jpg

Let the fatwas fly, my friend, for I fear you not -- nor do I respect you and your malignant beliefs.

We will not give into terrorist demands for submission. We will not give into jihadi demands for dhimmitude. America will pursue them until the last jihadi terrorist lies dead in a pool of his own blood and awakes in the bowels of Hell.

(H/T Tel-Chai Nation)


OPEN TRACKBACKS: Third World County, Conservative Cat, Bacon Bits, Blue Star Chronicles, Adam's Blog, Sed Vitae, Cigar intelligence Agency





|| Greg, 04:58 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

William Jefferson Update

More on the raid on William Jefferson's Congressional office.

First, it appears that Jefferson was not merely refusing to cooperate, but was actively covering up evidence of criminal conduct.

The Justice Department yesterday vigorously defended the recent weekend raid of Rep. William J. Jefferson's Capitol Hill office as part of a bribery investigation, asserting that the Democratic lawmaker attempted to hide documents from FBI agents while they were searching his New Orleans home last August.

The government questioned in a 34-page motion filed in U.S. District Court here whether it could have obtained all the materials it had sought in a subpoena if it had not launched the surprise raid on Jefferson's congressional office May 20. According to the government filing, an FBI agent caught Jefferson slipping documents into a blue bag in the living room of his New Orleans home during a search.

"It is my belief that when Congressman Jefferson placed documents into the blue bag, he was attempting to conceal documents that were relevant to the investigation," FBI agent Stacey E. Kent of New Orleans stated in an affidavit that was part of the government's court submission. The document was filed in response to Jefferson's lawsuit demanding that the government return to him documents seized during the raid on his Capitol Hill office 11 days ago.

* * *

Last Aug. 3, FBI agents searched Jefferson's New Orleans home while the congressman and family members were present. Kent said she was assigned to watch Jefferson and his family during the search, according to her affidavit accompanying the government motion yesterday.

She said she observed him looking at several pieces of paper on a table. At one point, she said, he asked to see a copy of the subpoena.

"After a copy had been brought to him and he reviewed it, I observed Congressman Jefferson then take the subpoena and the documents he had been reading earlier and place them together under his elbow on the kitchen table."

At one point, she said, he moved to the living room, which had just been searched, and sat on a recliner. While sitting, he slipped the subpoena and the documents into a blue bag that he knew had already been searched, Kent's affidavit said.

"After several minutes, I approached Congressman Jefferson and told him that I needed to look at the documents that he had placed into the bag," the agent stated. "Congressman Jefferson told me the documents were subpoenas."

He finally pulled out the documents that were from a B.K. Son. The search warrant had asked for all communications between Jefferson and Son, the affidavit said. Son is the chief technology officer of iGate.

is it any wonder that Jefferson was not notified, and that those who might help with his obstruction of the investigation were not allowed in the office during the search?

And another group has weighed in on the legality of the search. And once again, the smart money is with the Justice Department in holding that the Speech and Debate Clause is not an absolute shield for criminal congresscritters.

A legal watchdog group insists that the FBI's recent raid of Louisiana Democratic Congressman William Jefferson's office was perfectly legal, despite the subsequent complaints about the raid by both Republican and Democratic leaders of the House.

"Nowhere in the Constitution is there immunity from investigation for members of Congress. It just isn't there," said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center. "There is nothing there that says that they can't be subject to the same type of investigatory processes as every other American. They're American citizens."

* * *

... Boehm accused Hastert and Pelosi of "making an argument that they know does not exist."

"They can't point to a single court case. They can't point to any section or clause of the Constitution. And so when I say they're making the argument in bad faith, it's in bad faith because it's not there," Boehm told Cybercast News Service.

* * *

... Boehm argued that members of Congress deserve to be treated in the same manner as anyone else who might have broken the law.

"I think the American public is entitled to know that members of Congress who break the law are going to be investigated and then prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," he said. "And when Republican and Democratic leaders try to stop that they're sending a message and the message is: we're above the law. And that's the wrong message."

Well said!





|| Greg, 03:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Good Move For Evacuation Routes

You may remember my story of evacuating during Hurricane Rita last fall. It looks like the state has made arrangements to deal with a major issue during that stressful time -- the lack of fuel along the highway.

Some gas stations will let motorists pump for free if their fuel tanks run low during a hurricane evacuation, state officials said Tuesday.

The free fueling plan comes after thousands of cars were left abandoned on the side of highways during Hurricane Rita last year, when more than 3 million people evacuated the Houston area and jammed roads for hours.

Most stations along evacuation routes ran out of gas, making fuel availability a priority in the state's revamped evacuation plan.

Motorists won't be allowed to fill their tanks completely and only vehicles with little fuel remaining will be given access to the free pumps, said Jenniffier Hawes, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Drivers looking to top off will be sent to pay at other stations, she said.

"It's going to be expeditious," Hawes said. "We don't want a lack of financial resources to leave someone stranded."

The free gas will be available at stations located at 50-mile intervals on evacuation routes, she said. Valero, Shell, Exxon Mobil and Marathon are the stations providing the free fuel.

Now, will they have provisions to get the needed fuel to the stations along the route?

And will they contra-flow the traffic early enough to get everyone out of Houston if the big one heads our way again?



» Unite Later links with: The Bryan-College Station Eagle > Texas & Region
» Unite Later links with: Dumb idea of the day- Free Gas



|| Greg, 03:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

Just Plain Nuts

I'm the last one to think that a kicking a teacher is appropriate behavior -- but this strikes me as a bit of an over-reaction.

A 6-year-old special education student who kicked a Naples teacher's aide and spent several hous in juvenile jail is facing felony battery charges.

Her mother, however, wants to know why the case has gone so far.

Takovia Allen suffers from behavioral problems and attends a special class at Lely Elementary in Naples.

According to an arrest report, on May 2, a teacher was trying to line up students to go to music class. Takovia refused to go and kicked the teacher's aide in the ankle.

After a discussion among school officials and two law enforcement officials called to the school, the girl was arrested.

Takovia was taken to juvenile jail and held there for several hours before being released to her mother.

She is being charged with battery on a public education employee.

It's possible she will enter a program that includes counseling. If she completes the program successfully the charges could be dropped.

Is a six-year-old really able to formulate the level of intent necessary to commit a FELONY?????

I know the goal is to get the kid counseling (which may or may not really be necessary), but i think the method used here is heavey-handed.



» The Florida Masochist links with: Setting a fine example NOT!



|| Greg, 03:22 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Step Away From The Tin Foil An Nobody Will Read Your Mind!

I guess the loons had it all wrong!

Conspiracy theorists, beware: That aluminum foil beanie—headwear believed, since at least the 1950s, to stop brain-control rays—may make it easier for The Man to read your mind, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology grad students. Inspired by fringe beliefs that invasive radio signals can probe citizens’ thoughts and that wearing foil on your head may fend them off, an experiment by four Ph.D. candidates found that certain key frequencies—owned by the Feds, naturally—are actually enhanced by such “protection.”

(H/T Dr. Sanity)





|| Greg, 02:46 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Wednesday Open Trackback Carnival And Linkfest

And now time for our Wednesday linkfest and open trackback carnival!

You know the rules -- link back to this post with your best/favorite current posts. I won't limit your number of posts, but instead ask you to exercise prudent judgement about how many you send.

Some folks have told me they have problems trackbacking to this site. If this is the case, please use the Wizbang Standalone Trackback Pinger to establish the link.

And, of course, don't forget the big three rules.

No Spam. No Porn. No Problem.

OTHER OPEN TRACKBACKS: Third World County, Conservative Cat, Bacon Bits, Blue Star Chronicles, Adam's Blog, Sed Vitae, Cigar intelligence Agency



» Planck's Constant links with: In China we eat America for lunch - hahaha
» The Florida Masochist links with: You'll just crack up



|| Greg, 10:27 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (2) ||

Armstrong Exonerated

Does this finally settle matter for the Euro-trash who have maligned one of the greatest athletes of our era?

Dutch investigators cleared Lance Armstrong of doping in the 1999 Tour de France on Wednesday, and blamed anti-doping authorities for misconduct in dealing with the American cyclist.

A 132-page report recommended convening a tribunal to discuss possible legal and ethical violations by the World Anti-Doping Agency and to consider ''appropriate sanctions to remedy the violations.''

The French sports daily L'Equipe reported in August that six of Armstrong's urine samples from 1999, when he won the first of his record seven-straight Tour titles, came back positive for the endurance-boosting hormone EPO when they were retested in 2004.

Armstrong has repeatedly denied using banned substances.

The International Cycling Union appointed Dutch lawyer Emile Vrijman last October to investigate the handling of urine tests from the 1999 Tour by the French national anti-doping laboratory, known by its French acronym LNDD.

Vrijman said Wednesday his report ''exonerates Lance Armstrong completely with respect to alleged use of doping in the 1999 Tour de France.''

Now we know that Armstrong accomplished his feats without artificial enhancement.

We also know that a bunch of flaccid Frenchies have again shown their national character -- No Courage, No Class.

And we confirm this simple truth -- we grow 'em bigger and better in Texas.





|| Greg, 10:16 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Houston Chronicle Editorials -- Untimely When It Counts

Well here we are, a weak-and-a-half after the search of Rep. William Jefferson's Capitol Hill office -- and the Houston Chronicle has finally deigned to weigh in on the issue. Most major media outlets have long since spoken on the matter, as have most of us political bloggers -- but the Chronicle acted with all deliberate speed and waited to say a word until now.

But to their credit, they do get it right.

The law, in its majestic equality,"Anatole France wrote, "forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets and to steal bread." Under the same principle, however, when an influential member of Congress is suspected of taking bribes, the law grants no immunity from court-approved investigation and, if warranted, prosecution.

The Constitution does grant members of Congress protection from arbitrary arrest while they are at or on their way to and from the Capitol. In the same passage, however, it withdraws such protection in cases of treason or other felonies.

The FBI's recent raid on the congressional office of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson was the first of its kind, but the blame for its necessity rests solely with Jefferson. The congressman from New Orleans refused to comply with a lawful subpoena for certain of his papers, saying he should not be forced to incriminate himself. Agreed, but he has no grounds to object if law enforcement officers, equipped with a court-approved warrant, do the job for him.

Haven't I been saying the same thing since the search?

I wonder what took them so long -- other than figuring out how to gratuitously slam Bush on an unrelated issue in the editorial even as they praise the work of his administration.





|| Greg, 09:59 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bricks

Ever wonder how many bricks were delivered to Congress (the Senate in particular) during the recent debate over immigration? Or about what happened to them once they arrived?

Well, here are your answers.

If the impact was notable, so were the logistical difficulties, particularly given the mail screening and other protective measures put into effect at the Capitol after the anthrax attacks of 2001.

Initially, organizers of the Send-a-Brick Project encouraged people to send bricks on their own, and Ms. Heffron said things had gone relatively smoothly.

But many people, she said, preferred that the organization itself send the bricks and an accompanying letter to selected lawmakers.

The project will do it for an $11.95 fee. So when 2,000 individually boxed bricks showed up at once, Senate officials balked, threatening to force the group to pay postage to have each delivered to its intended recipient. The dispute left the bricks stacked up until an agreement to distribute them was worked out.

"We received them and we delivered them to all the addressees," said a spokeswoman for the office of the Senate sergeant-at-arms.

As the bricks landed in Congressional mailrooms and cramped offices, the effort was applauded in some offices but drew a bemused response elsewhere.

"Given the approval ratings of Congress these days, I guess we should all be grateful the bricks are coming through the mail, not the window," said Dan Pfeiffer, a spokesman for Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana.

The senders of the bricks were encouraged to add a letter telling lawmakers that the brick represented a start on building a border wall.

Many could not resist putting their own message on the bricks. "No Amnesty," said a typical one, referring to a contested Senate plan to allow some illegal immigrants to qualify eventually for citizenship. "Stop the Invasion, Build a Wall," said another brick painted like a flag and shown on the group's Web site at www.send-a-brick.com.

Besides the border fence, the group supports technology improvements for border security, added money and personnel for the Border Patrol and an enhanced security presence in general on the southern border.

The brick effort was scheduled to wind down this week, though the organization encouraged people to continue if they desired.

On Tuesday, representatives of the architect of the Capitol collected bricks from lawmakers' offices and stacked them on loading docks with plans to donate them to a nonprofit group.

This is actually a pretty fun article -- though it shows just how out of contact some of our legislators really are.





|| Greg, 09:21 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Rocket Returns

And about time!

Roger Clemens and the Astros have officially reached an agreement, according to a person in the negotiations who told the Chronicle. A press conference will be announced shortly.

Clemens, whose 341 career victories are more than any person alive, went 18-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 2004 while winning the National League Cy Young Award, extending his record Cy Young collection to seven.

After helping the Astros to the National League Championship Series in 2004, he was 13-8 with a major-league best 1.87 ERA last season while helping the Astros reach the franchise’s first World Series. Although Clemens flirted with Boston and the Rangers, his former Astros teammates laughed and cautioned that he’d return to Houston.

Clemens’ signing should bolster the club.

“It will add a boost to the team,” ace Roy Oswalt said. “Any time you get a guy like that in the rotation, it would be great.

"We have to have a spark, and hopefully he will give it to us.”

Catcher Brad Ausmus was pleased.

“I think it’s a huge boost to our pitching staff,” Ausmus said. “Why? That’s a stupid question. He’s a horse. He’s probably the best pitcher in the history of the game. He’s the type of guy that for a full season you can count on for 200 innings.

Astros owner Drayton McLane negotiated deep into Tuesday night with Roger Clemens’ agents, and he headed to Houston early Wednesday morning.

“We worked on it last night, so that’s why I’m going to Houston right now,” McLane said as he boarded his private airplane in Temple. “We’ve worked to try to get this thing done.”

McLane has been optimistic for weeks, and he has made definite progress with Clemens’ agents, Randy and Alan Hendricks.

And while we are bringing back the old guys -- what shape is Nolan Ryan's arm in?

After all, the Astros are already 6.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

UPDATE: If you do the math, Clemens will get $14 million for four months in the majors.

Roger Clemens and the Astros have officially reached an agreement, according to a person in the negotiations who told the Chronicle. A press conference is set for 11 a.m. to announce the signing.

The deal is a pro-rated $22 million agreement, a major league record for a pitcher. Clemens will start at Class A Lexington, then go to Class AA Corpus Christi, followed by a trip to Class AAA Round Round before landing in Houston on June 22, Clemens' agent Randy Hendricks said today.

UPDATE 2: My earlier source on the prorated contract seems to have been wrong. These are the correct figures.

When he is added to the major league roster, he gets a one-year contract worth $22,000,022 -- his uniform number is 22. Because he won't be playing the full season, he gets only a prorated percentage of that, which would come to about $12.25 million if he rejoins Houston in late June. The tentative goal is to have him start against the Minnesota Twins on June 22 -- if he's put on the big league roster on that day, he would earn $12,632,307.




|| Greg, 09:11 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I Guess Pro-Choice Only Goes So Far

In oh-so-liberal San Francisco, the right to choose to have an abortion is sacred.

So is the right to choose to commit sodomy with a person of your same sex.

But taking a JROTC class in high school -- such a choice must NOT be allowed!

Or at least that is the direction things are headed.

Let's hope that the School Board listens to the wise opinion of the Argus.

THE San Francisco Board of Education is going too far in its latest plan to consider giving the boot to Junior ROTC at city high schools.

The board of education says it's taking the action in response to the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, which requires gay service members to conceal their sexuality.

This is just the latest in a long history of actions that have given the city an anti-military reputation, and we think it's time for city officials to cool it on the rhetoric. It's getting old and the sons and daughters of California and San Francisco who serve their nation in times of need deserve better.

Sentiment against the Iraq war is high and it can be tempting to make headlines by taking out frustrations on the military. City officials need to keep in mind — both with regard to the ROTC program and to other issues — that the war is a policy issue; it's not the fault of the ROTC program, military recruiters or the brave men and women who serve.

But there's a more important issue than whether the board is being unfair to the military. It's the some 1,600 students enrolled in the program who could end up being hurt the most.

They now earn physical education credits and learn discipline through the JROTC and each of them is in the program because they want to be. When board members vote in June, they should keep those students in mind.

My guess, though, is that this opinion will be ignored.

After all, this is San Francisco we are talking about, where something as trivial as the good of students can never be allowed to trump a far-left political statement.

OPEN TRACKBACKS: Third World County, Conservative Cat, Bacon Bits, Blue Star Chronicles, Adam's Blog, Sed Vitae, Cigar intelligence Agency





|| Greg, 08:57 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 30, 2006

I'm Shocked & Disappointed!

WELCOME HOUSTON CHRONICLE READERS -- I WONDER WHY THEY DIDN'T LINK THIS POST INSTEAD

Back in 2000, we were told that Repulicans had "rioted" when they banged on doors in a successful attempt to make sure that all valid presidential ballots were accurately and publicly counted, as required by Florida law. Liberals said this was a bad thing.

Now we have liberals attempting to interfere with the transport of military equipment to a combat zone during time of war. I find this situation and the response quite disturbing.

Police fired pepper spray as about 150 anti-war protesters tried to enter the Port of Olympia as part of ongoing demonstrations against the shipment of Army equipment to Iraq.

Protesters chanted "Out of Olympia, Out of Iraq" as they rocked a chain-link gate to the port late Monday, and at least three tried to use wooden boards to pry the gate open, The Olympian newspaper reported. A 50-ton piece of equipment was moved to reinforce the gate on the other side.

Police and sheriff's deputies clad in riot gear fired at least four rounds of pepper spray in an hour after asking the demonstrators several times to stop, authorities said. No one was arrested, but paramedics were dispatched to treat some activists.

By the definition promulgated by liberals, this was not a non-violent demonstration -- it was a riot. Furthermore, it was an act of sedition, if not outright treason.

But I would like to express my disappointment with the use of pepper spray against these "activists". It was an inappropriate choice.

The better choice would have been M-16s -- as befits any enemy of America.

OPEN TRACKBACKS: Third World County, Conservative Cat, Bacon Bits, Blue Star Chronicles, Adam's Blog, Sed Vitae, Cigar intelligence Agency





|| Greg, 08:05 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (10) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Liz Taylor On Larry King Live

My Darling Democrat paused while flipping channels during a commercial.

How sad!

liztaylor.jpg

Am I the only one who thinks she looks like Brando in drag?





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

College Students Without High School Diplomas

And no, we are not talking about folks with a GED -- we are talking about folks who have not met any sort of graduation requirement at all.

It is a kind of Alice-in-Wonderland idea. If you do not finish high school, head straight for college.

But many colleges — public and private, two-year and four-year — will accept students who have not graduated from high school or earned equivalency degrees.

And in an era of stubbornly elevated high school dropout rates, the chance to enter college through the back door is attracting growing interest among students without high school diplomas.

That growth is fueling a debate over whether the students should be in college at all and whether state financial aid should pay their way. In New York, the issue flared in a budget battle this spring.

They are students like April Pointer, 23, of New City, N.Y., a part-time telemarketer who majors in psychology at Rockland Community College, whose main campus is in Suffern, N.Y. Ms. Pointer failed science her senior year of high school and did not finish summer school.

But to her father's amazement, last year she was accepted at Rockland, part of the State University of New York.

"He asked, 'Don't you have to have a high school diploma to go to college?' " she said. "I was like, 'No, not anymore.' "

As a high school teacher, this worries me. No, not because of job security issues, but because it seems to devalue even further the worth of a high school diploma I realize that there is no stopping private schools from doing what they want to do regarding admission to college, but it seems to me that there should at least be a minimum standard for admission to public colleges and universities. I'm sure that many of these students are part of the group that need significant amounts of remediation when they arrive on campus.

And then there is the question of giving these students financial aid. Should we be offering financial assistance to those who di not even make full use of the "free" (not really, given the taxpayer burden, but free to them) educational opportunities thaty had on the high school level?





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Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Let Us Make Them All Welcome by Gates of Vienna, and The Essential President Bush by The Anchoress

Here is where you can find the full results of the vote.





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May 29, 2006

Memorial Day 2006

Lest we forget the many men and women who have given their lives in the service of our country.

arlington.jpg

May God bless each and every man and woman who faithfully serves beneath the flag of the United States of America.




» Flopping Aces links with: Memorial Day 2006



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A Touch of No-Class From The KOSsacks

Look at their Memorial Day Tribute. Make sure you have a barfbag ready.

Shame!





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I'll Side With General Pace, Not Cut-&-Run Murtha

Now I have made my views clear on what should happen to those responsible for the incident at Haditha, if media reports are accurate. But I agree very much with the approach advocated by General Peter Pace, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the need for the investigation so be completed and truials to be conducted.

The chairman of the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday "it would be premature for me to judge" the outcome of a Pentagon investigation into the killing of as many as a dozen Iraqi civilians by Marines.

But at the same time, Marine Gen. Peter Pace said he believes its critically important to make the point that if certain service members are responsible for an atrocity there, they "have not performed their duty the way that 99.9 percent of their fellow Marines have."

Interviewed on CBS's "The Early Show" as the nation observed Memorial Day honoring men and women lost in war, Pace pledged that "we'll get to the bottom of the investigation and take the appropriate action."

On the other hand, John Murtha is crying crocodile tears about the incident undermining the war effort.

Murtha, a former Marine and a prominent critic of Bush administration policies in Iraq, repeated his view that the war in Iraq cannot be won militarily and needs political solutions, which he said were damaged by such incidents involving the U.S.

"This is the kind of war you have to win the hearts and minds of the people," he said. "And we're set back every time something like this happens. This is worse than Abu Ghraib."

Good grief! He sounds like an old whore decrying the loose sexual morality of today's women. He has been undermining the war effort for months, and did so again yesterday -- but he expresses concern that the incident could hurt our nation's work in Iraq!

And, of course, he indicts the very folks who are investigating the incident for covering it up -- I guess he wanted summary court martials without investigations or the opportunity for the accused to defend themselves. In other words, he favors less due process for our troops than he does for those who fight against them. Just standard political talking-points for the anti-American Left.

Let the process work, Congressman -- we can have any necessary firing squads after a thorough investigation and full and fair trials for those accused. In the mean time, shut up -- because right now you are doing as much to undermine our troops and their mission this Memorial Day as anything that happened in Haditha.

UPDATE: How about if we let a Marine who has served on the front lines in Iraq and faced false charges speak to this issue.

A year ago I was charged with two counts of premeditated murder and with other war crimes related to my service in Iraq. My wife and mother sat in a Camp Lejeune courtroom for five days while prosecutors painted me as a monster; then autopsy evidence blew their case out of the water, and the Marine Corps dropped all charges against me ["Marine Officer Cleared in Killing of Two Iraqis," news story, May 27, 2005].

So I know something about rushing to judgment, which is why I am so disturbed by the remarks of Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) regarding the Haditha incident ["Death Toll Rises in Haditha Attack, GOP Leader Says," news story, May 20]. Mr. Murtha said, "Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

In the United States, we have a civil and military court system that relies on an investigatory and judicial process to make determinations based on evidence. The system is not served by such grand pronouncements of horror and guilt without the accuser even having read the investigative report.

Mr. Murtha's position is particularly suspect when he is quoted by news services as saying that the strain of deployment "has caused them [the Marines] to crack in situations like this." Not only is he certain of the Marines' guilt but he claims to know the cause, which he conveniently attributes to a policy he opposes.

Members of the U.S. military serving in Iraq need more than Mr. Murtha's pseudo-sympathy. They need leaders to stand with them even in the hardest of times. Let the courts decide if these Marines are guilty. They haven't even been charged with a crime yet, so it is premature to presume their guilt -- unless that presumption is tied to a political motive.

ILARIO PANTANO

Jacksonville, N.C.

The writer served as a Marine enlisted man in the Persian Gulf War and most recently as a platoon commander in Iraq.

But then again, when has the Left ever let little matters like guilt, innocence, or trials get in the way of their propaganda points?

OPEN TRACKBACKING TO: Conservative Cat, Sed Vitae, Mark My Words, Stop the ACLU, Stuck on Stupid, Basil's Blog, Committe of Correspondence, NIF, Right Wing Nation





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British Academics Pass Anti-Semitic Hate Resolution

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education has been considering a boycott of Israeli academics who refuse to denounce Israel and support the Terrorstinian entity controlled by Hamas, Hizbollah, and Fatah.

Sadly, decency failed, and the resolution passed.

The 69,000-member National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) voted to boycott Israeli academic professionals and institutions of higher learning unless they “dissociate themselves” from Israel’s “apartheid policy” in Judea and Samaria.

The reactions to the decision were swift.

The British government at once released a statement condemning the move In an effort to contain the damage. A statement by Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Lord Triesman, the UK expressed its regrets and called the decision “counterproductive and retrograde”. Triesman was careful, however, to add, “We also recognize the independence of the NATFHE”.

Triesman served as deputy general secretary of the union in 1984. He also served as general secretary for the Association of University Teachers (AUT) trade union from 1993 to 2001.

Israel Education Minister Yuli Tamir slammed the NATFHE on the vote. She had already spoken last week with the British minister for higher education and asked him to step in to prevent the boycott. “The decision to boycott academic institutions is a move worthy of condemnation and revulsion,” she said. “Those who are implementing this boycott are harming academia’s freedom and turning it into a tool for political forces.”

In an appeal to the international community, NRP Knesset member Zevulun Orlev wrote to parliament members in Britain, France and Germany to demand they join with Israel in condemning the action. Orlev, chairman of the Knesset Science Committee, told his European counterparts, “This is a test of the free world. We expect you to condemn this anti-Semitic and racist decision and to help institutions of higher education in your countries tighten their cooperation with science, technology and higher education institutes in Israel.”

Professor Yehezkiel Teler, Vice Chairman of the Higher Education Council called the decision an echo of the Nazi boycott prior to World War II. “Now Britain is politicizing academia, in opposition to every academic value accepted in the world,” he said. “This will come back on them like a boomerang,” he predicted.

Haifa University, represented by its president, Aharon Ben Ze’ev also slammed the decision as a political move unbefitting an academic organization. “Any attempt to create ties between politics and academic research is simply McCarthyism,” he said.

Professor Yosef Yeshurun, the rector at Bar Ilan University, called the decision “negative”. He added that it “destroys bridges instead of building them”.

* * *

There were actually two motions which were voted on, both making reference to political issues involving relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The first called upon the NATFHE membership to help aid, protect and support PA institutions and universities, and to maintain ties with the PA. The first vote also accused Britain of “scandalous incitement” against Hamas, according to the Ynet news service report.

The second motion called for the boycott against “Israel’s persistent apartheid policy”. The new security fence was cited as part of the “apartheid policy”. In addition, the union leveled accusations of discriminatory practices in the education system.

Both motions were approved in a vote of 106 to 71 with 21 abstentions. In addition to boycotting Israeli institutions and academic professionals, union members will also no longer submit articles to Israeli research journals.

The group confirmed its anti-Semitism by failing to offer even a single word of condemnation directed at the campaign of murder conducted by Terrorstinian groups against innocent Israeli citizens. Perhaps at the next convention they will adopt a national student dress code requiring that members wear brown shirts and greet each other with a click of the heels and a straight-arm salute. It would be consistent with their resolution this year.

This boycott is reeks to high heaven.

I therefore renew my earlier statement about the proper response to this action by the NATFHE.

In the event this resolution passes, the United States needs to implement a policy of denying visas to all members of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education "who do not publicly dissociate themselves from" the group's anti-Semitic, pro-terrorist policies.

This is material support of terrorism, and it must not be permitted to stand.

MORE AT: Arkopolo, PaleoJudaica, Dutchblog Israel, Western Resistance, Solomonia, Adloyada, Freunde der offenen Gesellschaft, Step-by-Step, Engage, EclectEcon, Zionism on the Web, Gates of Vienna





|| Greg, 11:48 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Steele Making Inroads On Maryland Black Vote?

Could scenes like this one make the difference in this fall's Maryland senatorial race?

Richmond Myrick, the principal of Largo High School, is a registered Democrat in overwhelmingly Democratic Prince George's County next to Washington, D.C. He has not been active politically and is not recorded as having made any contributions to candidates for federal office. Yet recently, he stood in the parking lot of Prince George's Community College adjoining his school to introduce Republican Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, whom he has endorsed for the U.S. Senate.

Myrick is African American, as are most students at Largo High. So is Steele. If enough non-political blacks follow Myrick's course, Steele will become the first black Republican elected to the Senate in 32 years. That is the Democrats' worst nightmare. Democratic dominance in Maryland has been based on maintaining a hammerlock over the state's substantial African- American vote. Steele threatens that domination.

* * *

I asked Myrick why he had endorsed Steele. ''He came to school, not just for a brief visit, but spent the whole day,'' the principal told me. ''He showed he cared about the students and teachers.'' What about Cardin? ''He hasn't been here,'' said Myrick. When I asked if he even knew who the veteran congressman was, he said he did not.

And like many Republicans, Steele is more than willing to cricize President Bush on policy issues, and to disagree with his handling of situations. The Republican Party thereby shows itself to be a big tent that does not demand nearly the ideological conformity of the Democrat Party, which has been driven for years by liberal special interst groups and is now being hounded to become even more ideologically liberal by groups like MoveOn. That makes Michael Steele, Ken Blackwell, and Lynn Swann potential bright spots for Republicans this fall, if African-American voters turn out for a new generation of leaders who have an (r) after their names.





|| Greg, 11:25 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Return Of The Scoop Jackson Democrats?

Whatever will the folks from MoveOn and other hard-Left groups have to say about this development?

DON'T LOOK now, but neoconservatism is making a comeback — and not among the Republicans who have made it famous but in the Democratic Party.

A host of pundits and young national security experts associated with the party are calling for a return to the Cold War precepts of President Truman to wage a war against terror that New Republic Editor Peter Beinart, in the title of his provocative new book, calls "The Good Fight."

The fledgling neocons of the left are based at places such as the Progressive Policy Institute, whose president, Will Marshall, has just released a volume of doctrine called "With All Our Might: A Progressive Strategy for Defeating Jihadism and Defending Liberty." Beinart's book is subtitled "Why Liberals — and Only Liberals — Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again." Their political champions include Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman and such likely presidential candidates as former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who is chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council.

This new crop of liberal hawks calls for expanding the existing war against terrorism, beefing up the military and promoting democracy around the globe while avoiding the anti-civil liberties excesses of the Bush administration. They support a U.S. government that would seek multilateral consensus before acting abroad, but one that is not scared to use force when necessary.

Perhaps such developments explain the left-wing attacks on folks like Joe Lieberman -- if they can remove leading Democrats with a sane view of foreign policy in favor of those supported by KOSsacks and DUmmies, this movement can be stopped.

But if the neo-con movement in the Democrat party succeeds, it could be the beginning of the next great party reallignement in American politics.





|| Greg, 11:21 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Now If They Were Paid Golf Outings...

You've got to love it when Democrats excuse behavior in themselves that they wouldn't accept in their political opponents.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid accepted free ringside tickets from the Nevada Athletic Commission to three professional boxing matches while that state agency was trying to influence him on federal regulation of boxing.

Reid, D-Nev., took the free seats for Las Vegas fights between 2003 and 2005 as he was pressing legislation to increase government oversight of the sport, including the creation of a federal boxing commission that Nevada's agency feared might usurp its authority.

He defended the gifts, saying they would never influence his position on the bill and was simply trying to learn how his legislation might affect an important home state industry. "Anyone from Nevada would say I'm glad he is there taking care of the state's No. 1 businesses," he told The Associated Press.

"I love the fights anyways, so it wasn't like being punished," added the senator, a former boxer and boxing judge.

So tell me, Senator, how these tickets differ from the golf trips that the Democrats have called part of a "culture of corruption" when Republicans accepted them.

And we cannot, of course, overlook the different courses of action taken by teh two Republicans who accepted tickets.

Two senators who joined Reid for fights with the complimentary tickets took markedly differently steps.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., insisted on paying $1,400 for the tickets he shared with Reid for a 2004 championship fight. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., accepted free tickets to another fight with Reid but already had recused himself from Reid's federal boxing legislation because his father was an executive for a Las Vegas hotel that hosts fights.

In other words, you took the tickets, McCain paid for them, and Ensign had already taken himself out of the debate becasue of family connections. Whose behavior was most ethical, Senator ?

And whose clients were you meeting with and doing favors for?

In an interview Thursday in his Capitol office, Reid broadly defended his decisions to accept the tickets and to take several actions benefiting disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's clients and partners as they donated to him.

"I'm not Goodie two shoes. I just feel these events are nothing I did wrong," Reid said.

Reid had separate meetings in June 2003 in his Senate offices with two Abramoff tribal clients and Edward Ayoob, a former staffer who went to work lobbying with Abramoff.

The meetings occurred over a five-day span in which Ayoob also threw a fundraiser for Reid at the firm where Ayoob and Abramoff worked that netted numerous donations from Abramoff's partners, firm and clients.

Reid said he viewed the two official meetings and the fundraiser as a single event. "I think it all was one, the way I look at it," he said.

One of the tribes, the Saginaw Chippewa of Michigan, donated $9,000 to Reid at the fundraiser and the next morning met briefly with Reid and Ayoob at Reid's office to discuss federal programs. Reid and the tribal chairman posed for a picture.

Five days earlier, Reid met with Ayoob and the Sac & Fox tribe of Iowa for about 15 minutes to discuss at least two legislative requests. Reid's office said the senator never acted on those requests.

And strikingly enough, what did they get in return?

A few months after the fundraiser, Reid did sponsor a spending bill that targeted $100,000 to another Abramoff tribe, the Chitimacha of Louisiana, to pay for a soil erosion study Ayoob was lobbying for. Reid said he sponsored the provision because Louisiana lawmakers sent him a letter requesting it.

Abramoff, a Republican lobbyist, has pleaded guilty in a widespread corruption probe of Capitol Hill. Reid used that conviction earlier this year to accuse Republicans of fostering a culture of corruption inside Congress.

AP recently reported that Reid also wrote at least four letters favorable to Abramoff's tribal clients around the time Reid collected donations from those clients and Abramoff's partners. Reid has declined to return the donations, unlike other lawmakers, saying his letters were consistent with his beliefs.

Certainly looks like a quid pro quo to me -- and what do Senate rules say about appearances?

Senate ethics rules require senators to avoid even the appearance that any official meetings or actions they took were in any way connected with political donations.

In other words, under Senate rules you are DIRTY! After all, it sure looks like there was a connection between your official actions and the fundraising event and donations. What would you be saying -- indeed, what have you said -- about Republicans in precisely that situation? I think we all know the answer.





|| Greg, 11:05 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Jefferson's History Of Sleaze

I never realized what a sleazy character William Jefferson is -- I've been so busy focussing on the current dust-up over bribe-taking that I never looked into his background. Interestingly enough, no less than the New York Times has trotted out a litany of dirt stretching back a couple of decades. And the sad thing is that Jefferson, had he stuck to an ethical path, would be a superb role model to hold up to my students coming out of a poor background.

Representative William J. Jefferson has always liked to talk about growing up in an impoverished farm community, picking cotton for $3 a day and hitting the books hard enough to win his ticket out — a scholarship to Harvard Law School.

* * *

Mr. Jefferson was raised, along with eight brothers and sisters, on a small farm in northeast Louisiana, where, he said earlier this year, "our whole life revolved around that cotton field." His father left school after second grade, and his mother attended only through eighth grade.

As a child, Mr. Jefferson was such a good shot, his father once said, that when it came time to bag dinner, "if I wanted one rabbit, I'd give him one shell; and if I needed two rabbits, I'd give him two."

After he graduated from Southern University in Baton Rouge in 1969, Mr. Jefferson has said, he won his mother's blessing to go to Harvard Law School — she had never heard of it — only by explaining that it had been John F. Kennedy's college.

I've got kids who come from families like that -- kids whose families do migrant farm work during the summer, kids who work after school to make sure there is food on the table for the rest of the family. William Jefferson ought to be an example to them of how to succeed -- except he fell into stuff like this.

His rental business — which leased television sets and other appliances to people who could not afford to buy them — appeared on the delinquent list in a city sales-tax scandal in the 1980's. And a day after he was elected to Congress in 1990, the Resolution Trust Corporation, which was trying to clean up the mess from the collapse of savings institutions, sued him for $160,000 over an apartment-building loan on which he had quit making payments. He later settled the suit, with friends saying his investments had been hurt by a faltering economy.

Tax-cheat, gouger of the poor, slum-lord, deadbeat -- I suppose even some of that could be forgiven, overlooked, or explained. He was trying to serve his community, and he got in over his head. Not that anyone would buy such an argument if he were a Republican -- look at how the Democrats have gone after Michael Steele over personal financial issues not nearly so severe.

And then we get this, after he became the go-to guy for doing business in Africa during the Clinton administration. From that point forward, his dealings with companies seeking business opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa became more convoluted -- and much more shady.

Mr. Jefferson also became known as a strong advocate of freer trade and made at least nine trips to Africa to promote it, including one with President Clinton. He championed a 2000 law that extended trade benefits to sub-Saharan Africa. "Africa is a reservoir of opportunities for American businesses," he said then.

Over the years, Mr. Jefferson has received campaign contributions and free travel from individuals and companies seeking business in Africa, including iGate.

Campaign finance records show he received a $1,000 contribution as early as 2001 from Vernon L. Jackson, the chief executive of iGate, which makes technology to transmit high-speed Internet service across the wires used in some African nations. Mr. Jackson pleaded guilty this month to bribing Mr. Jefferson with more than $400,000 in cash and millions of shares of iGate stock.

Government documents show that Mr. Jackson told the F.B.I. that when he met Mr. Jefferson in late 2000, the congressman voluntarily helped promote iGate's products — a normal and legitimate action for a government official involved in trade issues. But according to the F.B.I. documents, in early 2001, the congressman's actions became improper when he said he would continue to use his influence on iGate's behalf only if Mr. Jackson made payments to a company, the ANJ Group, run by the Jefferson family. The iGate payments were disguised as consulting fees, the F.B.I. said.

Mr. Jefferson says these were private business dealings that had nothing to do with his work on the House committee.

But as part of a 2003 deal to distribute iGate's products, a Nigerian company, Netlink Digital Television, agreed to pay the congressman $5 per subscriber, the F.B.I. affidavit said, "in return for Jefferson's official assistance if the deal was successful."

House records show that in February 2004, Mr. Jefferson led a business delegation to Nigeria and Cameroon as a co-chairman of the Congressional Nigeria Caucus and the Africa Trade and Investment Caucus. The trip, which cost $16,313, according to the records, was paid for in part by iGate.

In 2005, the F.B.I. said, Mr. Jefferson wrote to the vice presidents of Nigeria and Ghana, and traveled to Ghana, seeking approval for iGate projects. Within a week after returning, the F.B.I. said, Mr. Jefferson used his influence to help a Virginia woman, Lori Modi, who had invested $3.5 million in the Nigeria project. He introduced her to officials at the Export-Import Bank of the United States and urged them to provide financing for the project.

But by then, Ms. Modi had asked the F.B.I. to investigate the deal.

Investigators said that in negotiating the deals, Mr. Jefferson had often cited his desire to provide for his five daughters, three of whom also have degrees from Harvard Law School.

From December 2004 through June 2005, the F.B.I. said in its affidavit, Mr. Jefferson increased his demands for equity in one Nigerian company, to 30 percent, to be split among his daughters. He also told an investor that one of his daughters had to be retained to do legal work, according to documents in the case.

Then, on July 30, 2005, when Mr. Jefferson met Ms. Modi at a Ritz-Carlton hotel, the F.B.I. said it supplied her with a briefcase with $100,000 in marked bills. Mr. Jefferson had told her the money would be needed to bribe Nigerian officials, the affidavit said.

As the F.B.I.'s video cameras zoomed in on him, the bureau said, Mr. Jefferson drove off with the briefcase on the seat of his Lincoln Town Car. And when agents raided his home four days later, $90,000 of the money turned up again, in the kitchen freezer.

Which leads us, of course, to the current crisis, sparked by Jefferson's refusal to cooperate with investigators or to turn over subpoenaed documents. From a position of great promise, Jefferson has fallen prey to his own baser instincts. I cannot help but see similarities to Duke Cunningham in Jefferson's fall.

Ed Lasky of American Thinker sees this article very differently.

* * *

I would also like to point to the interesting work of two bloggers -- A.J. Strata and Mac Ranger. Both have looked at this case and found another interesting angle -- the Clinton Administration connection to Jefferson. Who seems to be the prominent individual who may have played a major role in the development of Jefferson's African connections and portfolio? Joe Wilson -- Bush-basher and proven liar. Maybe his dishonesty goes even further.

OPEN TRACKBACKING TO: Conservative Cat, Sed Vitae, Mark My Words, Stop the ACLU, Stuck on Stupid, Basil's Blog, Committe of Correspondence, NIF, Right Wing Nation





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May 28, 2006

A Liturgical Travesty In The Diocese Of Orange

As most folks who read here know, I studied for the priesthood when I was younger. While problems with certain aspects of Catholic theology have led me to leave the Church, I still hold a great love and respect for Catholicism and find great spiritual inspiration and comfort in the teachings of the Catholic Church. That is why I find pastoral failures like this one to be so shocking and saddening.

The situation also calls to mind the observation of one of my seminary professors made the observation (pre-9/11 by nearly a decade) that the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist is that you can negotiate with the terrorist.

At a small Catholic church in Huntington Beach, the pressing moral question comes to this: Does kneeling at the wrong time during worship make you a sinner?

Kneeling "is clearly rebellion, grave disobedience and mortal sin," Father Martin Tran, pastor at St. Mary's by the Sea, told his flock in a recent church bulletin. The Diocese of Orange backs Tran's anti-kneeling edict.

Though told by the pastor and the archdiocese to stand during certain parts of the liturgy, a third of the congregation still gets on its knees every Sunday.

"Kneeling is an act of adoration," said Judith M. Clark, 68, one of at least 55 parishioners who have received letters from church leaders urging them to get off their knees or quit St. Mary's and the Diocese of Orange. "You almost automatically kneel because you're so used to it. Now the priest says we should stand, but we all just ignore him."

The debate is being played out in at least a dozen parishes nationwide.

Since at least the 7th century, Catholics have been kneeling after the Agnus Dei, the point during Mass when the priest holds up the chalice and consecrated bread and says, "Behold the lamb of God." But four years ago, the Vatican revised its instructions, allowing bishops to decide at some points in the Mass whether their flocks should get on their knees. "The faithful kneel … unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise," says Rome's book of instructions. Since then, some churches have been built without kneelers.

In other words, either kneeling or standing is an appropriate posture during worship according to no less than the Vatican. Unfortunately, liberal liturgists insist otherwise, and have been tinkering away with this and other parts of the liturgy. Looks like they got to Bishop Tod D. Brown. And unfortunately, there is no negoiation.

Angered by the anti-kneeling edict, a group calling itself Save Saint Mary's began distributing leaflets calling for its return outside church each Sunday.

Tran responded in the church bulletin with a series of strident weekly statements condemning what he called "despising the authority of the local bishop" by refusing his orders to stand, and calling the disobedience a mortal sin, considered the worst kind of offense, usually reserved for acts such as murder.

Tran sent letters to 55 kneeling parishioners "inviting" them to leave the parish and the diocese for, among other things, "creating misleading confusion, division and chaos in the parish by intentional disobedience and opposition to the current liturgical norms."

Father Joe Fenton, spokesman for the Diocese of Orange, said the diocese supports Tran's view that disobeying the anti-kneeling edict is a mortal sin. "That's Father Tran's interpretation, and he's the pastor," he said. "We stand behind Father Tran."

Now when I was in the seminary, I was often told that there was a need to be "pastoral". That meant letting the local politician who was adamantly pro-abortion receive communion despite his support for exterminating unborn life, because we couldn't really judge what was in his heart. It meant accepting the active homosexuals at the altar and permitting them to receive communion, because we could not judge their relationship with God. In short, it meant accepting all manner of buffet-line Christianity. It even meant reassigning Fr. Bob to a new parish after he got caught buggering the altar boys, and not supervising him or telling his new parishioners about his proclivities.

But somehow, following 14 centuries of liturgical tradition has been decreed "mortal sin" by a pastor and is supported by a bishop. Those who wish to follow that tradition are just one step shy of excommunication, and have already been told they are bound for hell for daring to cross the pastor and bishop. Where, exactly, is the "pastoral" practice in that?

I have to tell you -- there is nothing pastoral about it. And I must state that Father Tran and Bishop Brown are nothing short of little Phariseess (Luke 11:39-54) and anti-Christs (though neither is THE Anti-Christ -- note the capitalization) driving the faithful away from the Church with petty legalisms (note the word "petty") that have nothing to do with the essentials of the Christian faith.

Shame! Shame! Shame!

Let them be anathema.

OPEN TRACKBACKING TO: Sed Vitae, Conservative Cat, Liberal Wrong Wing, Bacon Bits, Adam's Blog, Stop The ACLU, Stuck on Stupid





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Newaspaper Editorial On Student Blogging -- Free Speech For Me, Not For Thee

I do not believe the position taken by this editorial on the attempts to expel a high school student for his off-campus blogging.

In effect, it argues against freedom of speech and press for students -- and does not consider the implications of its position.

Here is the scary part of the editorial.

On the other hand, should the school — which cannot comment on individual disciplinary cases — sit idle while one of its students humiliates it online? Certainly in the post-Columbine era, school officials have to be quick to react to any perceived threat. But does criticism, whether warranted or not, necessarily convey a threat?

We think the school was right in suspending the student over the posts. Disciplinary action should be considered for anyone crossing the line with inappropriate language verbally or in print, at school or in the workplace. Standards have to be maintained.

Hold on -- is it the position of the Herald News that government entities may act to punish speakers or writers that "humiliate" it? Does this mean that a critical editorial in the Herald News or an article that casts government in an unflattering light could be grounds for official action against the newspaper -- perhaps an arrest and criminal charges? Do such words, which "humiliate" government, render them outside the protection of the First Amendment?

And then there is the other issue -- one that shows that the editorialist does not understand the situation at all. This is not a case of inappropiate language being used in the workplace or school. The blog was written and posted outside of school from a private computer in the student's home. There is no "at school" nexus -- except for the fact that the kid was writing about school. Is it the position of the Herald News that speech about governement entities has no First Amendment protection, regardless of wher it occurs? Sounds to me like the sort of stuff that saw John Peter Zenger tried by colonial authorities in the 1730s -- he libeled the government and its officials by printing unflattering information about them, and the fact that the information was true constituted an aggravating factor, not a mitigating one. Such attrocities were part of the reason for the adoption of the First Amendment.

Now I'm curious about something -- would the editorialist be taking the same position on the punishment of this student if the basis were a letter to the editor or guest column that appeared in its own pages? How about if it were comments quoted by one of its reporters in an article? How about an appearance on tlevision or radio? In short, does the Herald news feel that the medium of communication is what confers protection, not the words?





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Is Memorial Art Dead?

It is according to Paul Richard, who opines that modern artistic style has failed to in its effort to adequately memorialize American heroes -- and that with it, we have lost some sense of truly memorializing those we claim to honor.

Remember, tomorrow's Memorial Day. That's what it's for, remembering.

The holiday's gone blurry. Now it's mostly fun (ballgames, setting up the barbecue, another day off work), but it used to be for focused recollections of the dead.

Not the dead in general, the dead in sharp particular. Half a million soldiers had died in the Civil War. When the rites were first observed in 1866, there were plenty to recall.

Each spring at the end of May, their graves were strewn with flowers, their faces brought to mind. This was deeply serious business. The fallen mustn't be forgotten. We used words like "the fallen" then. That seriousness bred art. That art would shape the country's look, and Washington's especially. Vast amounts of money, artistry and effort would be expended on its making. The beauty of the art would illumine its high purpose -- to immortalize remembrance. Strewn flowers weren't enough. The fallen would be given stone-and-metal monuments impervious to time.

Washington is filled with them. If you want to get Memorial Day, look around at the memorials. They're victors' monuments. They put generals on pedestals, and dead presidents above them. Washington's memorials share a certain style. Their statues aren't just portraits, though they're often that, as well; they're personified ideals. Their bronze laurel wreaths and eagles, and Greco-Roman lions, say: The past approves of us. They're insistently high-minded, august.

They represent an art movement, now dead. For a long time their architects and artists, their stone-carvers and bronze-founders got better and better. For a long time their elevated style got nobler and nobler. Then, suddenly, it died.

It died a poignant death -- at the peak of its accomplishment, just when it got great. We know the date exactly. Memorial sculpture's greatness left Washington forever on the 30th of May, Memorial Day, 1922.

I would tend to agree. While the stark black walls of the meorial to those who died in Vietnam are moving, the statuary additions are not. Other, more recent monuments and memorials are somehow lacking. And with that loss of purpose and definition, has come a loss of memory.

Jefferson standing, purposeless -- he should be seated, writing the mrvelous words that surround him in the Jefferson Memorial. Roosevelt -- ill-defined. Will we fail with the national commemoration of Dr. King?

Or put differently, can we, as a people, recover our capacity for historical memory?





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Even McGovern Gets It On Wal-Mart

George McGovern has always appeared to be one of the dying breed of socialist dinosaurs. But even he understands enough about politics to get what the problem is with the current attacks on Wal-Mart.

It can be galling to hear companies argue that they have to cut wages and benefits for hourly workers — even as they reward top executives with millions of dollars in stock options. The chief executive of Wal-Mart earns $27 million a year, while the company's average worker takes home about $10 an hour. But let's assume that the chief executive got 27 cents instead of $27 million, and that Wal-Mart distributed the savings to its hourly workers. They would each receive a bonus of less than $20. It's not executive pay that has created this new world.

I understand the attraction of asking business — the perceived "deep pockets" — to shoulder more of the responsibility for social welfare. But there are plenty of businesses that don't have deep pockets. Many large corporations operate with razor-thin profit margins as competitors, both foreign and domestic, attract consumers by offering lower prices.

The current frenzy over Wal-Mart is instructive. Its size is unprecedented. Yet for all its billions in profit, it still amounts to less than four cents on the dollar. Raise the cost of employing people, and the company will eliminate jobs. Its business model only works on low prices, which require low labor costs. Whether that is fair or not is a debate for another time. It is instructive, however, that consumers continue to enjoy these low prices and that thousands of applicants continue to apply for those jobs.

Now notice that statistic -- Wal-Mart has only a 4% profit margin. Raise costs, and either prices will go up or jobs will go down -- or both.

Now McGovern uses that to support socialized medicine, an increasingly progressive tax rate, and more transfer payments. He is, of course, wrong on those issues, not recognizing that such policies ultimately fail wherever tehy are tried. But the essentially capitalistic notion he supports regarding Wal-Mart is correct, and i praise him for that.





|| Greg, 03:52 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Frist Stands For Justice & Constitution

At last -- a GOP leader willing to come out and state the obvious (updated) about the search of William Jefferson's office!

In a break with his counterparts in the House, the Senate's leader said today the FBI was within its right to search the office of a congressman under investigation in a bribery case.

"No House member, no senator, nobody in government should be above the law of the land, period," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said.

* * *

"I don't think it abused separation of powers," Frist said on "Fox News Sunday.

"I think there's allegations of criminal activity, and the American people need to have the law enforced."

Even Dick Durbin came close to stating a similar conclusion.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said there needs to be "hard look" at whether the FBI violated the Constitution. But he said the FBI has raided judge's chambers before, so there is precedent for crossing branches of government for searches.

He also said he wasn't sure the "speech and debate" protections in Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution were violated, as some of have argued.

That section states that members of Congress "shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either house, they shall not be questioned in any other place."

"I'm not sure that you can stretch it to apply to this situation," Durbin said. "In the next several weeks, we ought to take a hard look at it. I'm not going to rule it in or out at this moment."

Yeah, he wants to keep it around as a possible election year issue if the focus groups indicate that it might make a difference in November -- but since he notes that law enforcement has historically used search warrants to search the offices of judges, he can't really make the case for a violation of separation of powers. -- and his words effectively concede that.

So it is time for the leadership of the House of Representatives to quit demagoguing this issue -- and for the Presidnet to rescind his sequestration of the evidence against Jefferson and end the obstruction of the investigation of this crooked congressman.

UPDATE: Looks like Wyoming Congresswoman Barbara Cubin has broken with House leadership on this matter.

“Nobody in this country is above the law, especially those elected to create our laws,” she said. “They should, if anything, be held to a higher standard. They should not expect their congressional offices to be treated as a safe haven to store incriminating documents or illegal products such as drugs or stolen goods."

"With all due respect to my colleagues, criticizing the executive and judicial branches of our government for fully investigating a member of Congress suspected of criminal wrongdoing sends the wrong message and reflects poorly upon all of Congress,” she added. “Alleged corruption and crimes in both the private and public sector must be fully investigated, and those found guilty must face a fitting punishment. Members of Congress are no exception.”

In an interview, Cubin also disagreed with the calls for the government to immediately return all documents.

"As long as the constituents’ privacy is protected, I think that they ought to be able to look at whatever evidence there is in his office that he may have broken the law,” she said.

She explained that the leadership’s protests could further erode the public’s already skeptical view of Congress.

“What isn’t acceptable is that there’s a perception out in the country that members of Congress think that they are above the law, because they’re not above the law,” she said. “I think for the most part they don’t believe they are either. But just the perception that that is so, is not acceptable.”

She added that lawmakers do need to protect constituents’ private communications with their offices.

“They ought to be assured their private information will be kept private, but to think that the authorities shouldn’t be able to go into our offices in the pursuit of an investigation of criminal wrongdoing, I think it just sets us apart, and we ought not to be set apart,” she added.

Cubin acknowledged the significance of the fact that such a raid has never happened in U.S. history.

“I think we have to guard overzealous prosecution,” she said. “But members of Congress have to know that they have to abide by the laws of this land just like anyone else.”

And furthermore, the Wyoming Republican notes that the particular facts of this case make it clear that the warrant and search were appropriate.

Also, I came across this article by Robert F. Turner, co-founder of the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia School of Law.

But as the Supreme Court observed in the 1972 case of U.S. v. Brewster, the clause was never intended to immunize corrupt legislators who violate felony bribery statutes--laws that have expressly applied to members of Congress for more than 150 years. In Brewster, the court noted the clause was not written "to make Members of Congress super-citizens, immune from criminal responsibility," adding: "Taking a bribe is, obviously, no part of the legislative process or function; it is not a legislative act. It is not, by any conceivable interpretation, an act performed as a part of or even incidental to the role of a legislator."

Such behavior is therefore not protected by the Constitution. The purpose of the Speech or Debate Clause was to protect the integrity of the legislative process, and the court noted that bribery, "perhaps even more than Executive power," would "gravely undermine legislative integrity and defeat the right of the public to honest representation."

A dozen years ago, I testified before the House Committee on Administration on this same basic issue. Newt Gingrich and other reformers were trying to bring Congress under the same ethics laws it had imposed upon the rest of the country, and some indignant legislators seemed confident that the laws were not supposed to apply to them. The hearing was held in a small room in a part of the Capitol Building off-limits to the public, with exactly enough chairs for members, staff and the three witnesses.

Two members of the public who managed to make their way to the room were turned away on the grounds that there was "no room" for public observers.

Critics of the Gingrich proposal did not hear what they wanted. Some seemed genuinely shocked when I informed them that, in Federalist No. 57, James Madison noted one of the constraints in the Constitution to prevent legislators from enacting "oppressive measures" was that "they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society."

Indeed. Let's get away from the notion of Congressional Aristocracy.





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May 27, 2006

"Guest Workers" To Get Higher Wages, More Protections Than American Workers?

That is what I'm getting from this post over at Euphoric Reality. Here are some of the elements the new "immigration bill" includes, according to Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Robert Rector.

*The bill supposedly would protect American workers by ensuring that new immigrants would not take away jobs. However, the bill's definition of ''United States worker'' includes temporary foreign guest workers, so the protection is meaningless.

*It extends the Davis-Bacon Act's requirement for the payment of ''prevailing wage'' to all temporary guest workers. That puts them ahead of Americans, who have this protection only on federal job sites.

*Foreign guest farm workers, admitted under the bill, cannot be ''terminated from employment by any employer ... except for just cause.'' In contrast, American ag workers can be fired for any reason.

Now what that means is that foreign workers admitted under the guest-worker provisions won't just get "jobs that Americans won't do" -- they potentially can get jobs that Americans want to do, if the employer prefers to hire foreign workers. It guarantees them the "prevailing wage" -- usually the union scale, while not guaranteein American workers that wage. Furthermore, it eliminates the "at will" employment provisions of most state laws in relation to these foreign workers -- meaning that they have a level of job security denied American citizens. So let's see here -- equal rights to American jobs, higher wages guaranteed, and more job security than American workers have. Remind me whose county this is again, and who the members of the US Senate represent?

Kate O'Beirne and Mickey Kaus have more.





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Haditha Horror

If this is accurate, I believe that firing squads are in order.

A four-man team of United States Marines led the killing rampage in the Iraqi town of Haditha which resulted in the deaths of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians, military investigators believe.

The troops went from house to house shooting their occupants after a roadside bomb killed one of their comrades, an internal US military report, which may be completed as early as this week, is expected to conclude. Some of the victims were killed, execution style, by shots to the head.

Shock at the full extent of the killing, reported by The Sunday Telegraph last weekend, has been compounded by photographs taken by a marine intelligence team which show bullet wounds to the upper bodies of the victims, who included several women and six children, some shot in the head and some in the back.

One US government official said the pictures showed that marines from Camp Pendleton "suffered a total breakdown in morality and leadership, with tragic results", according to yesterday's Los Angeles Times.

As horrific as these charges are, let one thing be clear -- even if true, such misconduct in no way reflects upon the justification of the war or the propriety of continuing to fight the Jihadi terrorists wherever they may be found.

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

Gonzales, Mueller Show Backbone In Jefferson Case

It looks like Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller, along with a number of their senior aides, made the president back down from a criminally stupid decision this week -- even though he still made the wrong one.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, and senior officials and career prosecutors at the Justice Department told associates this week that they were prepared to quit if the White House directed them to relinquish evidence seized in a bitterly disputed search of a House member's office, government officials said Friday.

Mr. Gonzales was joined in raising the possibility of resignation by the deputy attorney general, Paul J. McNulty, the officials said. Mr. Gonzales and Mr. McNulty told associates that they had an obligation to protect evidence in a criminal case and would be unwilling to carry out any White House order to return the material to Congress.

The potential showdown was averted Thursday when President Bush ordered the evidence to be sealed for 45 days to give Congress and the Justice Department a chance to work out a deal.

Unfortunately, even the decision to seal the evidence pending "negotiations" was the wrong one, and indicates the fundamental weakness of George W. Bush at this time.Bush surrendered the authority of two branches of government at the invocation of a non-existant privilege of the third. And unfiortunately, this has only emboldened Congressional leaders in both houses to be more defiant.

On Friday, Senator Trent Lott, Republican of Mississippi and chairman of the Rules Committee, said he had been meeting with Senate counsel to explore potential procedures and had given Mr. Frist a memorandum on a possible approach.

"The Justice Department is going to have to look at what we put in place and agree to it," Mr. Lott said. "I hope we can work it out."

But he said, "I am perfectly willing to get it on with the administration and take it right to the Supreme Court if they want to argue over it."

So much for cooling down the situation so that sides did not become entrenched. Lott is implicitly denying the clear constitutional mandates of the the Executive Brabch to see that the laws are faithfully executed and the Judicial Branch to issue warrants for searches under the Fourth Amendment. In effect, the Congressional position is that, unlike the rest of America and contrary to the clear language of the Constitution, it will decide when and if valid subpoenas and warrants may be executed. Seems to me that these clowns are looking at them selves as the Imperial Legislative Branch.

It seems, though, that the obscene obstruction of justice ordered by the President was motivated by politics.

"If you tell the House to stick it where the sun don't shine, you're talking about a fundamentally corrosive relationship between two branches of government," the senior administration official said. "They could zero out funding; they could say, 'Okay, you can do subpoenas, so can we.' "

However, Lott's position makes it clear that the corrosive situation still exists. And having rewarded Hastert, who now concedes that the warrant was lawfully issued and that the FBI therefore had the authority to conduct the search of Jefferson's office.

House leaders conceded Friday that FBI agents with a court-issued warrant can legally search a congressman's office, but they said they want procedures established after agents with a court warrant took over a lawmaker's office last week.

* * *

In an editorial in USA Today on Friday, Hastert said he and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have directed House lawyers "to develop reasonable protocols and procedures that will make it possible for the FBI to go into congressional offices to constitutionally execute a search warrant."

So even though there is consensus on the fact that the Jefferson search was legal, the FBI and Justice Department are to be shackled for totally speciousreasons -- just to save the working relationship between Congress and the White House.





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May 26, 2006

This Takes Me Back Years!

Something like this happened at my university about 20 years ago.

A student advertising campaign that "just went bad" left an indelible -- and apparently unintended -- mark on downtown Portland and the Pearl District.

Three Art Institute of Portland students said they thought they were using spray chalk when they laid down a couple dozen markings on sidewalks aimed at drawing attention to a fundraising concert for the Oregon Food Bank.

Turns out the spray cans contained indelible paint, not chalk.

"We thought it would wash away," said Jody Desimone, one of the students. The students had completed much of their project Wednesday night before they learned that the spray cans contained paint.

Desimone, Jessie Grav and Carina Close also learned that the unauthorized markings on public property amounted to graffiti, which can be prosecuted as criminal mischief.

The paint was applied on sidewalks in the South Park Blocks, Waterfront Park, Old Town and the Pearl. The markings included stencils of Oregon landmarks, such as Mount Hood, and a large phone number and Web address.

"We didn't think putting it on sidewalks was illegal," Grav said.

OOPS!

The College Democrats, left-wing losers that they were (they couldn't muster a dozen members, while the College Republicns had well over 100 active members) did something like this at Illinois State when I was there.

They decided to do the "Shadows of Nuclear War" deal, painting outlines of human bodies on sidewalks and buildings around campus to simulate the shadows left at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They even set up a booth in the Student Center with a flier explaining their deeds.

Imagine their shock when they discovered that a water-based exterior house paint doesn't wash off with a garden hose. They never considered the possibility that a good old acrylic latex paint might be sort of permanent.

I understand that it cost them every cent in their treasury, their recognition as a student organization, and some serious disciplinary action against the individuals involved.

Part of me hopes that these students are shown a little more mercy.





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Senate Surrenders Border Sovereignty To Mexico

Michelle Malkin has details on this shocking provision of the Senate immigration bill, as well as the granting of amnesty to everyone who can walk, run, crawl, jump, fly or swim into the USA.

Does the Senate immigration bill essentially give Mexico veto power over our border fences? Hearing this from several readers and sources. Reader Greg writes:

Senator Cornyn gave Lou Dobbs a statement saying the last-minute Amendment SA 41[8]8 says Mexico must be consulted before any fence is constructed.

From F/R thread:

I heard this on Sean Hannity's Fox Radio broadcast a short while ago and just now on "Lou Dobbs Tonight" on CNN:

Arlen Specter, according to Congressman John Kyl of Arizona, slipped a provision into the Immigration Bill the Senate passed today requiring the U.S. to consult with Mexico BEFORE building a wall in any area along the border.

I'm checking into it. If anyone has more specific info, please send along. Update: It's Dem Sen. Chris Dodd's amendment included in Specter's manager's package that passed.

The Senate by Cboldt blog reports:

UPDATE @ 17:16 - Senator Specter notes that the managers package is ready for a vote, he says that it (the package) makes making sausage look good. Senator Kyl asks to speak for one minute on the managers amendment. He says it has been in busy negotiations, right up until now. Federal, state and local entities in the US would be required to consult with Mexican government before building a wall. I predict this amendment, S.Amdt.4188, will pass. Off to find the language that Senator Kyl referred to.

UPDATE @ 17:23 - Found it. Senator Dodd talked against a fence on May 18, and his S.Amdt.4089 contains the following language:

(b) CONSULTATION REQUIREMENT.--Consultations between United States and Mexican authorities at the federal, state, and local levels concerning the construction of additional fencing and related border security structures along the United States-Mexico border shall be undertaken prior to commencing any new construction, in order to solicit the views of affected communities, lessen tensions and foster greater understanding and stronger cooperation on this and other important issues of mutual concern.

UPDATE @ 17:40 - Bonus prediction (the managers' amendment), now four for four. Senator Frist voted against the managers' amendment, for what it's worth.

S.Amdt.4188 - Specter: Managers' amendment, a collection of amendments, including Dodd's S.Amdt.4089 that requires local, state and federal governments to consult with Mexican counterpart authorities before commencing new construction, was PASSED on a 56 - 41 vote.

Republicans who voted for the Mexican consultation requirement:

Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Chafee, Coleman, Collins, Craig, Graham, Hagel, Lugar, Feingold, Collins, McCain, Specter, Stevens, Warner, Martinez, Murkowski, Snowe and Voinovich

Dems who voted against:

Lincoln

Let's hope the House of Representatives stands tough -- but based upon recent actions related to the Jefferson case, I'm not hopeful.





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School's Out For Summer! -- (OPEN TRACKBACK PARTY AND LINKFEST)

Or at least for 10 days, until I start teaching Summer School.

* * *

And now time for our linkfest and open trackback carnival!

You know the rules -- link back to this post with your best/favorite current posts. I won't limit your number of posts, but instead ask you to exercise prudent judgement about how many you send.

Some folks have tols me they have problems trackbacking to this site. If this is the case, please use the Wizbang Standalone Trackback Pinger to establish the link.

And, of course, don't forget the big three rules.

No Spam. No Porn. No Problem.

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|| Greg, 08:31 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

British MP -- Assassination Of Blair Morally Acceptable

Simply saying what much of the Left thinks -- about not only Tony Blair, but George W. Bush as well.

The Respect MP George Galloway has said it would be morally justified for a suicide bomber to murder Tony Blair.

In an interview with GQ magazine, the reporter asked him: "Would the assassination of, say, Tony Blair by a suicide bomber - if there were no other casualties - be justified as revenge for the war on Iraq?"

Mr Galloway replied: "Yes, it would be morally justified. I am not calling for it - but if it happened it would be of a wholly different moral order to the events of 7/7. It would be entirely logical and explicable. And morally equivalent to ordering the deaths of thousands of innocent people in Iraq - as Blair did."

I'll agree with the characterization of Galloway by one of his fellow MPs.

The Labour MP Stephen Pound, a persistent critic of Mr Galloway during previous controversies, told The Sun that the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in east London was "disgraceful and truly twisted".

He said: "These comments take my breath away. Every time you think he can't sink any lower he goes and stuns you again. It's reprehensible to say it would be justified for a suicide bomber to assassinate anyone."

I guess we shouldn't be surprised -- Galloway was on Saddam's payroll. And given how the Left in both the US and UK have tried to justify "understand" 9/11 and 7/7 as the "entirely logical and explicable" response of Muslims to US policy on israel and British involvement in the War on Jihadi Terrorists, there is absolutely nothing to be surprised about here.

(H/T: Captain's Quarters)



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May 25, 2006

I've Had It

Unless we start seeing a sharp reversal in conduct, I'm done with George W. Bush. This isn't about politics -- it is about the proper stewardship of the laws and the Constitution. I'm disgusted by his intervention in the Jefferson case.

President Bush personally ordered the Justice Department today to seal records seized from the Capitol Hill office of a Democratic congressman, marking a remarkable intervention by the nation's chief executive into an ongoing criminal probe of alleged corruption.

The order culminates an escalating constitutional confrontation between the Justice Department and the House of Representatives, where lawmakers have demanded that the FBI return items seized during a Saturday night raid of the office of Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.).

In a six-paragraph statement, Bush said he issued the order to give the Justice Department and angry lawmakers more time to work out an agreement on how to resolve the conflict. The materials, which have been described in court filings as two boxes of documents and copies of computer files, will be held by Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, who is not involved in the Jefferson probe, Bush's statement said.

"Our government has not faced such a dilemma in more than two centuries," Bush said. "Yet after days of discussions, it is clear these differences will require more time to be worked out."

I'm willing to forgive policy differences --but this is a case of allowing a spurious claim of Congressional privilege to trump the enforcement of a duly issued search warrant in a felony case. There is nothing here to negotiate and mediate, and this decision indicates that we have a Chief Executive too weak-kneed to allow the Executive and Judicial branches to carry out their Constitutional perogatives lest it imperil his chances of legislative success --even at the cost of permitting public corruption to continue unabated. This is not to say that I will not side with George W. Bush when I believe him to be right, but rather that I will no longer extend to him the presumption that he is right, nor the level of support that I would ordinarily extend to a president of my party. I think this is that big a deal.

Is our existance as a Constitutional Republic firmly rooted in the rule of law at an end?

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What Does The Speech And Debate Clause Cover

Well, the Courts have spoken on this matter a number of times, and the Washington Post does an excellent job of summing the matter up for us.

The Speech and Debate Clause, contained in Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution, says that members of the House and Senate "shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place."

It was meant to safeguard the independence of Congress against executive branch intimidation, of the kind the Founders had witnessed under King George III's colonial governors, and harassment from private lawsuits.

Over the years, however, some lawmakers invoked the clause to shield corrupt activities. Given the clause's exception for serious crimes, the Supreme Court has had to define the scope of its protections.

In a series of cases during the 1960s and '70s, the court drew a protective line around papers, speeches and activities that are "essential" to legislative acts or the motives behind them, such as floor statements or committee reports. But it declined to protect anything not closely connected to legislative work, such as remarks to the press or constituent newsletters.

In 1972, for example, the court ruled that the Speech and Debate Clause could not shield Sen. Daniel B. Brewster (D-Md.) from prosecution for accepting a bribe in exchange for his promise to vote a certain way on postage rate legislation. (Brewster pleaded no contest to the charge.)

That same year, the court ruled that a Senate aide, though covered by the Speech and Debate Clause, had to respond to a grand jury subpoena to answer questions about whether Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) had violated federal law by arranging for a private book publisher to print the Pentagon Papers. (The Justice Department later dropped the case.)

In 1979, the court ruled that Sen. William Proxmire (D-Wis.) could be sued for defamation by a scientist whose work he had mocked in a news release and newsletter.

But it also ruled in a separate case that the government could not use a House member's past votes or speeches as evidence of his motive for committing an alleged offense.

And a federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled that the Justice Department was not entitled to look through the telephone records of a member of Congress.

So generally speaking, the protections afforded Congress by the Speech and Debate clause are pretty narrow -- and do not extend to shielding corruption from investigation and prosecution.

A ccouple of law professors also weigh in on the matter.

"An official legislative act is immune, but interference with anything beyond that" is not covered by the constitutional provision that shields Congress from executive and judicial branch interference, said Michael J. Glennon, a former legal counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who teaches at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

The precise materials sought in the raid were blacked out in a publicly released copy of the search warrant, but Jefferson (D-La.) said in a court filing yesterday that FBI agents took two boxes of documents and copied computer hard drives.

Both the search warrant for Jefferson's office and the raid to execute it were unprecedented in the 219-year history of the Constitution. In that sense, they violated an interbranch understanding rooted in the separation of powers -- and, indeed, in the events of 1642, when King Charles I burst into Parliament and attempted to arrest five members of the House of Commons, triggering the English Civil War.

But the taboo against searching congressional offices was a matter of tradition, not black-letter constitutional law.

"It's really a matter of etiquette," said Akhil Reed Amar, a professor of constitutional law at Yale University. "I don't see any constitutional principle here."

But that is precisely teh issue here -- there is no violation of the Constitution. Custom has decreed that the Executive branch take a less confrontational appoach to such investigations -- but in this case, there has been teh violation of another custom, namely that a member cooperate with the investigation, which Jeferson and his lawyers have refused to do. Thus the Judicial Branch has weighed in and found probable cause for a warrant to be issued -- and left open room for Jefferson to challenge the search of the office and the seizure of any and all materials, exactly as is the right of any other citizen.

And I'd like to comment upon the responses of Denny Hastert and Nancy Pelosi.

"The Justice Department was wrong to seize records from Congressman Jefferson's office in violation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers, the speech or debate clause of the Constitution, and the practice of the last 219 years," Mr. Hastert and Ms. Pelosi said in a rare joint statement.

As noted above, they are clearly wrong in their characterization of the actions of the Justice Department. There is clearly no basis for demanding the return of these materials to Jefferson on the basis of any Constitutional provision, nor does "custom" constitute a basis for the laws not being enforced.

Furthermore, I am appalled by the weakness of this portion of their statement.

Once the papers are returned, "Congressman Jefferson can and should fully cooperate with the Justice Department's efforts, consistent with his constitutional rights," the statement said.

Unfortunately, that assertion ignores the history of this case. Sure, he "can and should" cooperate. But the reality is that he has not cooperated, and is unlikely to do so in the future if the past is truly prologue in this case. And Hastert and Pelosi have no means to enforce Jefferson's cooperation with the investigation -- that power only lies in the hands of the Executive and Judicial branches working together in the request for and issuance of a search warrant and its execution, which we saw over the weekend.

I applaud the position of the justice Department on this matter.

A Justice Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of negotiations, said after the Hastert-Pelosi joint statement was released that "the department will not agree to any arrangement or demand that would harm or hurt an ongoing law enforcement investigation."

"We are in discussions with them on something that would preserve law enforcement interests while also allaying their institutional concerns," the official said. "But our position is that we did it legally and we did it lawfully, and we're not going to back away from that."

In other words, compliance with the mandates of the Constitution are sufficient safeguard, and claims of some sort of Congressional immunity from the Constitution are rejected.

By the way, the Congresscrook in question, Louisiana Representative William Jefferson (D-$90,000 in the freezer) is making use of the one legitimate remedy available to him -- he is challenging the warrant in court.

Jefferson challenged the weekend raid in a motion filed yesterday in federal court. The motion sought the return of the documents and "immediate relief," including that the FBI and Justice Department stop reviewing seized items; that the materials be sequestered in a locked, secure place; and that the FBI raid team file a report with the court detailing which documents were reviewed and what was done to sequester the documents.

The motion was filed with Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan, who signed the Saturday-night search warrant.

This is the appropriate venue for resolving the issue at hand, not the political arena or a congressional hearing room.

I paricularly like the summary of the case history contained in the Washington Post article. Be sure to read it.

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|| Greg, 05:51 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 24, 2006

Blog About School, Get Expelled

Did I miss the announcement that Tinker v. DesMoines had been overturned? This school district certainly acts as if it had -- to the point that even the exercise of student speech off campus is forbidden and punished if it relates to school.

A 17-year-old high school student who posted comments online about Plainfield School District 202 is facing expulsion because of his blog, his attorney said.

After serving a 10-day suspension over his posting on Xanga.com, the teen is scheduled for a hearing Thursday on the matter, attorney Carl Buck said. The student is back in school but could be expelled and sent to an alternative school, Buck said.

"They are trying to terminate his educational rights," he said. "Neither the parents, student or I believe this warrants expulsion. This seems pretty aggressive for the kind of [posting] we are talking about here."

Now I'm the first to accept that certain sorts of off-campus speech can be grounds for discipline, but what are we talking about in this case? Fortunately, we can judge for ourselves.

On May 1, the student posted a letter to Plainfield School District on his blog site on www.xanga.com , telling off the district, using vulgar words and saying he could put whatever he wanted on his site.

On a second post on May 2, without mentioning the school the student wrote:

"I feel threatened by you, I cant even have a public Web page with out you bullying me and telling me what has to be removed. Where is this freedom of speech that this government is sworn to uphold? ... did you stop to think that maybe this will make parents angry that you are bullying their children around? did you ever stop to think that maybe now you really are going to have a threat on your hands now that you have just pissed off kids for voicing their opinions? Did you ever stop to think this will start a community backlash? The kids at Columbine did what the did because they were bullied.

In my opinion you are the real threat here. None of us ever put in our xanga's that they were going to kill or bring harm to any one. We voiced our opinions. You are the real threat here. you are depriving us of our right to learn. now stick that in your pipe and smoke it."

Now I don't see a threat there. Do you? I don't see anything that merits a suspension, much less expulsion. What is the theory upon which this district is taking disciplinary action against this young man, since it is off campus speech on his own time from his own home, on a website that cannot be accesed from the school?

In a written statement, officials said they don't monitor student Web sites or look up postings unless they create a disturbance at school.

"When a posting creates a disturbance to the educational environment or threatens the safety and security of students or staff members, it is the responsibility of the school district to look into the matter," the statement said.

"The district respects the 1st Amendment rights of our students, but not all words can be categorized as protected speech."

Now that is a mighty broad criteria for monitoring and exerting control upon off-campus activity outside of school hours. I don't know what was in his friend's blog that led to his being disciplined and censored, but it is irrelevant to the action being taken against him. He voiced a pretty clear First Amendment argument from a libertarian perspective in the initial post on May 1 (LANGUAGE ALERT).

dear plainfield school district 202:

i know you read this. and you suck. suspend me or what ever you would like to do. but this is my fuckin web site and i can put what ever i want on it. kinda goes with the first amendment. by suspending kyle again for his xanga you guys are pathetic and totally irrational. first amendment you fucks. freedom of speech. and who the fuck are you to say what some one can do from there own personal computer. one more thing kiss my ass.

edit: this one is for you, and yes i have drank it and yes it was delicious!(come get me)

Miller Lite Logo2.JPG

His argument, while less articulate than I would like to see and too profanity-laced, is really quite straight-forward. Outside of school, students have First Amendment rights which must be respected by government officials -- and since they do not "surrender those rights at the schoolhouse gate" it is beyond the scope of school authorities to punish or prohibit that speech except in the most dire of circumstances. I don't see where this even begins to qualify as such a circumstance.

And the second post, which does refer to sanctions being imposed against students for posting about drug and alcohol use at student parties (the paper above editted that out) is probably wrong in asserting that the school has no authority to punish descriptions of illegal activity by students -- but they have that authority only to the degree that students are partcipating in extracurricular activities, and the punuishments can only extend to removal from those activities. But his reflection on bullying is dead on, as is his observation about the possibility of public backlash cause by the extension of school authority beyond the school building and school day and into student homes. His comment on Columbine is hardly sufficient to qualify as a threat, and without a threat there can be no reasonable basis for action.

Now the administration does claim the authority to punish a wide area of speech -- and I am frankly frightened by the scope of their claimed authority.

[Superintendent John] Harper said school districts across the state are having to deal with policy issues regarding Web sites like www.xanga.com . Many area schools, like Plainfield School District, are creating new guidelines for their student handbooks for next school year.

"Kids don't realize that if there is a connection with the school or has a potential of creating a disturbance to the school, they can be disciplined for it and they don't appreciate the personal threat to them for posting information on the Internet," Harper said. "It is our responsibility to educate kids and help them work through some of these issues."

Harper said students need to understand that the First Amendment does not give them "absolute authority to say whatever they want to say in any situation.

"The First Amendment doesn't give an individual the right to scream 'Fire' in a crowded theater and say that is protected by First Amendment rights," Harper said.

"Certainly things that are insulting to a school administrator or to a teacher are protected by the First Amendment rights," Harper continued. "We are looking at safety issues, potential disturbances to the school environment. Those are parameters, those are criteria we will look at when it comes to the issue.

"If we do have a student using inappropriate language on a Web site it is not our business. If they write obscenities in regards to one of our staff members that is grossly obscene, we feel that we would have the right to take action in that kind of case," Harper said.

I'm flabbergasted. First, he trots out the "fire in a crowded theater" analogy -- but then seems to extend it to any speech that the school dislikes on the basis that it could cause a disruption. Does this include a letter to the editor about the school? Would it include an interview by a television station? How about a call to a local talk radio station about events at school. It seem that the definition of "disruption" is "anything that paints the school in a bad light." And while there may be some extreme instances in which a school could act against a student who was grossly disrespectful to a teacher or administrator, it would probably have to be so extreme as to violate provisions of criminal or civil law before the school could act on such speech if it was engaged in off campus. So while Harper claims that he isn't out to control all off campus speech (ore even all off campus internet speech), I think the clear implication of his statement is that the school claims jurisdiction ofver all student speech which comes to its attention, whether it is speech at school or speech away from school.

Schools are supposed to prepare our students for life in a free and democratic society, one in which government is limited and citizens have broad rights to speak and write as they see fit, even if it criticizes or offends public officials. I therefore urge the Plainfield district to rethink its gross abrogation of the constitutional liberties of its students.

And I urge the student, who goes by the handle Heckler3672bro, to write a thank you note to Superintendent Harper and his building administrators for the college scholarship money that he will be receiving from the district following the conclusion of his lawsuit against the district.

OPEN TRACKBACKING TO: Free Constitution, Blue Star Chronicles, Bacon Bits, Conservative Cat, Freedom Watch, Stop The ACLU, Stuck on Stupid



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|| Greg, 08:05 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (8) || Comments || TrackBacks (3) ||

Jeb For NFL Commissioner?

This could be interesting.

Could Gov. Jeb Bush's future be in football instead of politics?

While U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has publicly flirted with the idea of becoming the next commissioner of the National Football League, Bush has been privately approached to gauge his interest in the job.
Bush, who spends his Sundays each fall watching pro football, acknowledged Tuesday that the NFL job was broached during a recent meeting with Patrick Rooney Sr., owner of the Palm Beach Kennel Club.

Rooney is the brother of Dan Rooney, who owns the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and co-chairs the NFL's search committee looking for a replacement for Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.


This could be interesting – if the league is willing to hold the job for an extra six months so that Bush could finish his time as Florida governor.

And let's be honest -- it gives him a rather public position from which to build popularity for a run for president in 2012 or 2016.





|| Greg, 06:56 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Fire This Cop

This is a clear abuse of his authority.

A Chicago Police officer is accused of arresting a traffic control aide for jaywalking last week in retaliation for ticketing his vehicle for being illegally parked, authorities said Tuesday.

The female traffic aide slapped a parking ticket on the officer's personal vehicle last Thursday afternoon in the 700 block of North Michigan, said Monique Bond, a police spokeswoman.

The uniformed foot patrol officer was on duty and responding to a call for service, Bond said. "On his return at about 12:15 p.m., he noticed a ticket on his vehicle," she said. "He asked the traffic control aide to 'non-suit' the ticket."
The woman, a supervising traffic control aide, says she told the officer she could not void it, according to Bond.

The officer allegedly handcuffed the woman, arrested her for jaywalking and brought her to the Near North District at 1160 N. Larrabee. The district commander intervened, and the woman was released without being charged, Bond said.

The Chicago Police Department has opened an internal investigation into the officer's behavior after the aide complained that she was the victim of "injury and retaliation," Bond said.

It is obvious that this is a case of retaliation. The ticket was issued by the traffic control aide because the private vehicle was parked illegally. Once the ticket was issued, she could not void it out. The cop didn’t want to follow the departmental procedure for dealing with a ticket issued in such a situation, and so he decided to flex his muscle and make life difficult for this woman who was doing exactly what her job required – ticketing illegally parked cars.

Such actions are unprofessional and smack of a perverse lawlessness on the part of the Chicago Police Department – because this cop is still on the street, despite being under investigation.





|| Greg, 06:54 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Oh, That’s Why They Needed A Warrant And A Raid

I was sure there was an explanation for it – and the Washington Post supplies that explanation.

Justice Department and FBI officials yesterday vigorously defended a weekend raid on the Capitol Hill office of Democratic Rep. William J. Jefferson (La.), arguing that the unprecedented tactic was necessary because Jefferson and his attorneys had refused to comply with a subpoena for documents issued more nine months ago in a bribery investigation.

So after months of stonewalling by Jefferson and his lawyers, law enforcement availed itself of the legal and constitutional processes that it is permitted to use to root investigate criminal activities. Rather than follow the historical customs regarding investigations of corrupt lawmakers by cooperating with law enforcement, it was Jefferson who violated those practices by claiming a level of privilege that does not exist – congressional immunity from investigation in public corruption cases. Duke Cunningham didn’t claim that, nor has Congressman Ney. Tom DeLay has turned over whole file-cabinets of information to prosecutors down here in Texas – even voluntarily waiving the statute of limitations so that the political hack in Austin could have sufficient time to trump up charges – but William Jefferson won’t even comply with a lawful subpoena. Somebody please explain to me how it is the FBI and Justice Department that are acting in an unreasonable fashion.

Unless, of course, we are dealing with the overweening arrogance of powerful public figures who do not believe that the law applies to them. In that case, I long for the resulting decision of the Supreme Court – one which will either reaffirm that the rule of law applies to elected officials, or which will announce the demise of the American Republic and the necessity of replacing the current system which conforms with our nation’s founding principles.





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

Last Day Of Finals (OPEN TRACKBACK AND LINKFEST)

Well, I give my final finals of the school year today, and will shove the last student out the door by 11:00. Except for the exams for these two classes, my grades are done and will be submitted by noon.

This has been a rough year -- our 10th graders have been a difficult bunch this year, not just in my eyes but in the eyes of teachers with even more experience than I have. Katrina kids, Rita, my wife's hospitalization, the murder of one student's brother (a former student), the trial of another stuident's brother for a different murder, some unpleasant personalities... it hasn't been an easy year.

I'll miss some of the kids, but will be glad to see others go. I hear that this year's ninth graders are a more pleasant, more serious group of kids than we have sen in several years. I think I need them.

* * *

And now time for our linkfest and open trackback carnival!

You know the rules -- link back to this post with your best/favorite current posts. I won't limit your number of posts, but instead ask you to exercise prudent judgement about how many you send.

Some folks have tols me they have problems trackbacking to this site. If this is the case, please use the Wizbang Standalone Trackback Pinger to establish the link.

And, of course, don't forget the big three rules.

No Spam. No Porn. No Problem.



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|| Greg, 04:45 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (3) ||

May 23, 2006

Are Congressmen And Senators Above the Law?

To read this article, that is precisely the claim that is being put forward by members of both bodies from both sides of the aisle.

An unusual FBI raid of a Democratic congressman's office over the weekend prompted complaints yesterday from leaders in both parties, who said the tactic was unduly aggressive and may have breached the constitutional separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government.

Rep. William J. Jefferson (La.), who is at the center of a 14-month investigation for allegedly accepting bribes for promoting business ventures in Africa, also held a news conference in which he denied any wrongdoing and denounced the raid on his office as an "outrageous intrusion." Jefferson, who has not been charged, vowed to seek reelection in November.

"There are two sides to every story; there are certainly two sides to this story," he said at a Capitol Hill news conference. "There will be an appropriate time and forum when that can be explained."

The Saturday raid of Jefferson's quarters in the Rayburn House Office Building posed a new political dilemma for the leaders of both parties, who felt compelled to protest his treatment while condemning any wrongdoing by the lawmaker.

The dilemma was complicated by new details contained in an 83-page affidavit unsealed on Sunday, including allegations that the FBI had videotaped Jefferson taking $100,000 in bribe money and then found $90,000 of that cash stuffed inside his apartment freezer.

So what is the problem that some folks are pointing to here? Is there one at all? I’ll let some of them tell you. Some are elected officials, some are former staffers, and some are legal scholars.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) expressed alarm at the raid. "The actions of the Justice Department in seeking and executing this warrant raise important Constitutional issues that go well beyond the specifics of this case," he said in a lengthy statement released last night.

"Insofar as I am aware, since the founding of our Republic 219 years ago, the Justice Department has never found it necessary to do what it did Saturday night, crossing this Separation of Powers line, in order to successfully prosecute corruption by Members of Congress," he said. "Nothing I have learned in the last 48 hours leads me to believe that there was any necessity to change the precedent established over those 219 years."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement that "members of Congress must obey the law and cooperate fully with any criminal investigation" but that "Justice Department investigations must be conducted in accordance with Constitutional protections and historical precedent."

* * *

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), in an e-mail to colleagues with the subject line "on the edge of a constitutional confrontation," called the Saturday night raid "the most blatant violation of the Constitutional Separation of Powers in my lifetime." He urged President Bush to discipline or fire "whoever exhibited this extraordinary violation."

Well, if we were going to deal with issues of historical precedent, then Jefferson would be cooperating with the investigation. He isn't, prompting the more adversarial approach.

Legal experts are divided on the issue.

Many legal experts and defense lawyers agreed with Gingrich. Charles Tiefer, a University of Baltimore law professor who served as solicitor and deputy general counsel of the House for 11 years, called the raid "an intimidating tactic that has never before been used against the legislative branch."

"The Framers, who were familiar with King George III's disdain for their colonial legislatures, would turn over in their graves," Tiefer said.

Washington defense lawyer Stanley M. Brand, a former general counsel for the House who has represented numerous lawmakers accused of wrongdoing, also questioned the government's strategy.

"This is really an over-the-top move, and it could create some real blow-back problems for them in the courts," he said.

But Viet D. Dinh, a former assistant attorney general in the Bush administration who is now a Georgetown University law professor, said that "the raid on his offices itself does not define a constitutional issue."

The constitutional privilege for lawmakers does not "expand to insulate everything that goes on in a congressional office, especially if there's allegations of abuse of process or bribery," Dinh said. ". . . The fine line is whether or not it relates to a legislative process or not, not whether they've raided his office."

So what constitutional provision are they referring to that they believe gives Jefferson immunity from the same laws that apply to every other American? It is found in Article I, Section 6, Clause i.

Article I, Section 6, Clause i The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place. (italics added)

Now let’s break this down.

The FBI had a valid warrant issued by a federal judge or magistrate, authorizing the search under the provisions of the Fourth Amendment. The limits placed upon the agents conducting the search were meticulously designed to keep from interfering with any privileged materials. So far, we are seeing actions in conformity with the Constitution, and special deference being given based upon the respect due a co-equal branch of government.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, asked about the search, said he understands the concerns raised about FBI agents raiding a congressional office. "I will admit that these were unusual steps that were taken in response to an unusual set of circumstances," Gonzales said.

The search warrant affidavit spells out special procedures put in place to ensure the search did not infringe on privileged material. The procedures include use of a "filter team" of prosecutors and FBI agents unconnected to the investigation. They would review any seized items or documents and determine whether the documents are privileged and therefore immune from the search warrant.

If the status of a document is in doubt, the filter team will give the documents to a judge for a definitive ruling before giving them to case prosecutors, according to the affidavit.

There is the question of whether these charges can be brought while Congress is in session. In light of the fact that the matter at hand (accepting bribes) is a felony, Representative Jefferson is subject to indictment, arrest, and trial while Congress is in session. Such charges and arrest are therefore clearly contemplated and permitted by the Founders – and therefore an investigation is equally permissible. And in light of historical precedent, the investigation and bringing of charges are accepted practice.

What is more, the search is for materials related to an alleged felony, not words in a speech or a debate on the floor of the House of Representatives. It is not Jefferson’s words, but his actions, that led to this search, and a search of his offices is a legitimate exercise of police powers to the degree that his action (accepting a bribe) may have impacted the operations of his Congressional office. Again, given the meticulous procedures put in place when the warrant was issued, there can be no legitimate question regarding the respect shown for the co-equal legislative branch. Not only is this not a case of the Executive and legislative branches operating outside of their proper spheres, it is a case of them operating within those spheres to serve as a check and balance upon Congress.

Nothing in Article I, Section 6, Clause i can be legitimately interpreted to apply to the current situation – nor can this provision of the Constitution be held to exempt the criminal conduct of a lawmaker from the ordinary operation of the law in this situation. I therefore find the outrage expressed at this search to be specious in nature, premised not upon the text of the Constitution itself but rather upon the belief that the separation of powers confers a degree of immunity beyond that which the blueprint of American government provides.





|| Greg, 05:46 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Unusual Find In Rome

Who were these noble Romans, and why are they buried together, not cremated?

Archaeologists exploring one of Rome's oldest catacombs are baffled by neat piles of more than 1,000 skeletons dressed in elegant togas.

The macabre find emerged as teams of historians slowly picked their way through the complex network of underground burial chambers, which stretch for miles under the city.

They say the tomb, which has been dated to the first century AD, is the first known example of a "mass burial".

The archaeologists are unable to explain why so many apparently upper-class Romans - who would normally have been cremated - were buried in the same spot, apparently at the same time.

Forensic tests are being carried out to try to establish whether the Romans suffered violent deaths, or were victims of an undocumented epidemic or natural disaster.

There are dozens of catacombs beneath the ancient city, some dating back 2,000 years and many used as burial places by early Christians. Others were used as secret places of worship to avoid persecution.

The Vatican's Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology is overseeing the dig. Its chief inspector of catacombs, Raffaella Giuliani, said: "This is the earliest example of such a mass burial. Usually two or three bodies at the most were put into holes dug out of the rock in the catacombs, but in these case we have several rooms filled with skeletons.

"They are placed one on top of the other and not in a disorderly fashion. They have been carefully buried, with dignity, but the puzzle is why so many at a time?"

The skeletons were dressed in fine robes, many containing gold thread, and wrapped in sheets covered with lime, as was common in early Christian burials.
The discovery was made at the Catacomb of SS Peter and Marcellinus on the ancient Via Labicana in south-east Rome.

Miss Giuliani said there was no obvious sign that violence was the cause. "We are trying to establish whether the skeletons were buried there following some form of epidemic or natural disaster.

It is possible they could have been persecuted and killed by the Romans and then buried there by fellow Christians - we just don't know."

The Vatican will officially present the discovery next month, along with officials from the University of Bordeaux who had been involved in the excavations.

The mysteries of history continue to be exposed and deciphered. I look forward to learning more in the months and years ahead.





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

Flip-Flop In Keller

After defending the deletion of the national moto, “In God We Trust”, from a photo of a nickel on the cover of an elementary school year, district officials in Keller ISD have reversed course and admitted that there would have been no violation of the law or district policy had the censorship not happened.

Keller school district officials are hoping to clear up a flap over a school yearbook cover by issuing an apology to parents.

A letter from Superintendent James Veitenheimer was sent Monday to parents of students at Liberty Elementary School in Colleyville. The same letter was e-mailed over the weekend, officials said.

The superintendent said "we would like to express our regrets for any distress" resulting from the cover photo of the newly minted Liberty Nickel without the words "In God We Trust."

* * *
District officials said the photo could have been used in its entirety without violating district policy.

"While it is always easy to look back on campus decisions in hindsight and agree that a different decision could have been made, our principals often find themselves on the front lines of issues regarding the separation of church and state," Dr. Veitenheimer's letter said. "In most of these cases, school administrators find themselves making decisions that are not going to please all parties involved.

"Unfortunately, the decision at Liberty Elementary School fell into this category," the letter said.

This was the sort of decision that any competent administrator could have made without too much trouble – the censorship of incidental references to religion is not necessary, especially when it comes to reproducing works of art or US currency and there is no intent to engage in religious proselytism. And if he was not sure, a quick call to the district’s lawyer could have settled the matter.

But he principal decided to knuckle under to the PC urgings of a couple of parents, and the district decided to be “sensitive” by shielding kids from exposure to the same coinage they bring to school to buy their lunches. What cowardice!





|| Greg, 05:21 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

University Of St. Thomas Apologizes For Too Catholic Graduation Address

I guess we can’t have folks at a Catholic speaker express Catholic teachings at a Catholic university – it might be offensive.

A spring term that began with controversy at the University of St. Thomas ended the same way Saturday when a student used part of his commencement address to admonish people he considered "selfish," including women who use birth control.

The remarks by Ben Kessler, a well-known student recently honored by peers and faculty as Tommie of the Year, led to catcalls and boos during commencement at the Catholic university in St. Paul. Others booed those who were booing. Some students walked out on their own graduation ceremony.

Buzz about the incident dominated post-graduation parties, spread throughout the community and sparked a flurry of e-mails. By Monday, there were scattered requests to strip Kessler of his Tommie of the Year award and questions about why St. Thomas officials didn't try to pull the plug on Kessler's speech as the crowd's unhappiness intensified.

"He definitely ruined the day for pretty much everyone in the audience," said Darin Aus, who was awarded his bachelor's degree Saturday and stayed for the entire ceremony. "He made people mad enough to leave their own graduation."

Kessler, a celebrated football player with a deep Catholic faith, apologized Monday in a written statement distributed by the university.

"Instead of providing hope to all, I offended some by my words and by my decision to speak those words at commencement," he wrote.

He was unavailable for comment beyond the statement.

The university's president, the Rev. Dennis Dease, also expressed regret "that graduates and their families and guests were offended by Mr. Kessler's remarks." Dease said he told Kessler it was inappropriate for him to use commencement to express his opinions.

The problem is, what he said didn’t just express his opinions – they also expressed the teachings of Catholic Church.

I guess Father Dennis Dease is one of those priests who doesn’t think the last four popes should have expressed their opinions on the issue of birth control, either.

I guess this is jus one more example of folks thinking that the expression of conservative or traditional or Christian viewpoints on a college campus is wrong, while the expression of secular liberalism is to be celebrated.

Even if the venue is a school allegedly founded and operating on Christian values.

I, for one, applaud Ben Kessler for standing up for Catholic teachings at a Catholic school – even if the administrators are too lukewarm in their faith to do so.





|| Greg, 05:20 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Disturbing Policy

As a teacher, I find this case of “mission creep” by one Illinois school board to be a bit disturbing.

Illegal or inappropriate blogging or social behavior over the Internet is now a violation of District 128's student code of conduct at both Libertyville and Vernon Hills High Schools and can lead to denial of extracurricular student privileges.

The board of education of Community High School District 128 approved the revision Monday night without dissent before a packed house of media, parents and students at Vernon Hills High School. It is one of the first such school board policies in Illinois to address some of the risque social mores students frequently encounter when surfing Internet blogs and various Web sites designed to attract children.

Like many other schools, the district requires a certain standard of conduct from students in order to participate in athletics, fine arts or extracurricular activities. Signatures from both a student and parent bind them to honor the Student Code of Conduct. Nearly 80 percent of the district's 3,200 students are involved in one or more of these extracurricular activities.

The newly amended policy approved Monday night consists of a simple sentence. It reads: "Maintaining or being identified on a blog site which depicts illegal or inappropriate behavior will be considered a violation of this code."

Now let’s look at some potential problems here.

“Being identified on” someone’s website is now an offense, based entirely on what the other content is found on the site. Now this is entirely beyond one’s control – and this policy does not make an exception for “being identified on” a site when one is in no way connected with the illegal or inappropriate behavior depicted elsewhere on the site.

The definition of “inappropriate” is frighteningly vague. Does this mean the expression of opinions and positions not endorsed by the school administration is now the basis for disciplinary action if those officials consider such dissent to be “inappropriate”? What about discussions of and reflections upon experiences at school – comments on the personalities of teachers and classmates, or criticism of the quality of the education being received? Are such comments “inappropriate” blogging? Since I went to high school just a couple of miles down the road from Libertyville High School and also spent my seminary years in the area, I know that many folks might consider the legal possession and use of firearms by a minor to be “inappropriate” – would pictures of a student with his legal firearms be considered “inappropriate”? I won’t even get into the question of profane language or the sort of provocative photos some photos some ditzy teens post on MySpace or Facebook. Are these really school issues – even as regards extracurricular activities? After all, these restrictions clearly have the potential to implicate the First Amendment.

So I’ll throw this one out to you folks – what do you think on this issue? Is the board up in Libertyville making good policy, or is it crossing a line into a place where school boards ought not go?





|| Greg, 05:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Good Man Passes

The Houston area was shocked yesterday by the loss of one of its more colorful characters. County Treasurer Jack Cato passed away during heart surgery at the age of 70.

Harris County Treasurer Jack Cato, a former award-winning newsman and Houston police spokesman, died Monday of heart failure while undergoing tests at St. Luke's Hospital for a heart condition. He was 70.

Cato had served as county treasurer since 1999 and had defeated former city councilman and mayoral candidate Orlando Sanchez in the Republican primary in March.

He was expected to breeze into a third term as county treasurer in the November general election.

As he had in every venture he had sought, his friends said, Cato endeared himself to those around him.

Jack Cato is survived by his wife, Shirley; his sons, Chris and John; and seven grandchildren. They have my prayers and deepest sympathies at this time.

His is an obituary filled with colorful stories of his days as a reporter and editor here in Houston. Let me offer some samples.

As famous for his news scoops as his idiosyncrasies, Cato reigned in the world populated by cops and cop reporters — the once dark and dirty underbelly of Houston.

He was stabbed in the back while covering the 1978 Moody Park riot and then gave an interview while being examined in a hospital shortly afterward.

Cato was as famous for showing the scar from his stab wound — he once auctioned off a look at a fundraiser — as he was for the actual stabbing.

Mass murderer Elmer Wayne Henley confessed in a call to his mother on Cato's car phone.

He once stopped a fleeing drug suspect with a gun-shaped hand and a firm shout to halt.

When he was refused the name of a heart-transplant patient, he donned surgical scrubs and took a look at the man's medical chart. In 1976, he tried to get one of his employees at Houston News Service to sneak into a Harris County morgue and get a picture of Howard Hughes.

"He was more concerned with getting the story than anything else — that was Cato," said Phil Archer, a KPRC reporter who got his start in the news business from Cato. "Cato was the last of that era, the two-fisted, cigar-smoking cop beat reporter."

He got into politics in the late 1990s, and was elected to two terms as county treasurer. He faced a strong challenger in this year's primary, and beat him handily. I'll concede I endorsed that challenger, but only because I had been hearing rumors of health probmems for some time and had become concerned about whether or not Jack was still up to the job. Sadly, it appears that he was not, though his death yesterday did come as a bolt out of the blue to many of us involved in Harris County politics.

Cato's death leaves a vacant office to be filled and a new candidate to be named for the November election.

The Harris County Commissioners Court will meet to appoint Cato's successor through the November general election. The Harris County Republican executive committee will then name a replacement for the November ballot.

I'm sure I'll start hearing about potential replacements soon, since my job as precinct chair makes me part of the executive committee. I hope that the potential candidates at least wait until after the funeral before they start seeking to take Jack's place.

But I knw that whoever follows him in office and on the ballot will be no where near the stuff of legends that Jack Cato was.





|| Greg, 04:40 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Public Virtue by Done With Mirrors, and You Dissin' My God! by Vox Poplar Is Right About Everything & Don't You Forget It!

Here is where you can find the full results of the vote.





|| Greg, 04:12 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 22, 2006

Arrogant Child Threatens False Accusation

UPDATE -- 5/25/2006: KIM CONTACTED ME A COUPLE OF TIMES IN THE LAST COUPLE DAYS TO OFFER AN EXPLANATION AND AN APOLOGY FOR HER SEEMING THREATS IN THE EMAILS. I'LL TAKE THEM AT FACE VALUE, AND PRESUME THAT SHE IS SINCERE IN HER STATEMENT THAT SHE JUST WANTED MY cc: REPLIES TO STOP AND DIDN'T REALIZE HOW SERIOUSLY I WOULD TAKE HER WORDS. IN THE COURSE OF THIS MOST RECENT EXCHANGE, SHE SHOWED A LEVEL OF CLASS, DISCERNMENT, AND HUMILITY THAT SPEAKS WELL OF HER, AND LEADS ME TO BELIEVE I MAY HAVE MISJUDGED HER. IN RETURN, I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT I MAY NOT HAVE DEALT WITH HER IN THE BEST FASHION AT ANY TIME SINCE SHE ARRIVED HERE. I'VE UNBANNED HER, AND HOPE THAT THIS WILL BE THE BEGINNING OF A HEALTHEIR AND MORE RESPECTFUL CONVERSATION.

Remember Kim, the arrogant spoiled child who irritated most everyone on the Ashley Reeves comment thread. Well, she decided to email me tonight, despite my specific request that she make no more contact with me.

I'll share the email thread with you.

From: Lycansshadow@aol.com Mailed-By: aol.com To: rhymeswithright@gmail.com Date: May 22, 2006 4:50 PM Subject: Hey!

Please disable all of my contact links on the Ashley Reeves blog.
Thanks,
-Kim

From: Greg Mailed-By: gmail.com
To: "Lycansshadow@aol.com"
Date: May 22, 2006 11:11 PM
Subject: Re: Hey!

You are in no position to make such a demand -- and I don't have the time to do so. You put them there, you will have to live with them.

From: Lycansshadow@aol.com Mailed-By: aol.com
To: rhymeswithright@gmail.com
Date: May 22, 2006 11:19 PM
Subject: Re: Hey!

Dude, what's your problem? I didn't do anything to you. I don't know if you're embarrassed that you were bested by someone so young, or just jealous that someone so young has that ability, and I don't particularly care. Bottom line is I made a polite request that you disable links so that complete strangers would quit telling me how great, or not great, I am. I know it wouldn't take long, so quit with the"I don't have time" thing.
Do it, don't do it, whatever. It's just e-mails, either way. But I suggest you learn the difference between a request and a demand, and quit taking your dissatisfaction with life out on me.

From: Greg Mailed-By: gmail.com
To: "Lycansshadow@aol.com"
Date: May 22, 2006 11:43 PM
Subject: Re: Hey!

GET LOST.

And by the way -- you were requested to make no more contact with me. You violated that. I will be forwarding your emails to AOL and Yahoo, requesting that they terminate your accounts.

Regards,
Greg


From: Lycansshadow@aol.com Mailed-By: aol.com
To: rhymeswithright@gmail.com
Date: May 22, 2006 11:46 PM
Subject: Re: Hey!

Could you be more of an Idiot? Like AOL is really going to lose 30 bucks a month because some balding, middle-aged nobody can't handle a kid hitting a little too close to the mark. R-ight...

From: Greg Mailed-By: gmail.com
To: abuse@yahoo.com, abuse@aol.com
Cc: barelymuggle2@yahoo.com, lycansshadow@aol.com
Date: May 22, 2006 11:55 PM
Subject: Fwd: Hey!

On May 14, at 3:37 PM, this individual was requested to cease all contact with me. She has not. Please take appropriate action to terminate her account for violation of terms of service.

From: Greg Mailed-By: gmail.com
To: abuse@aol.com, abuse@yahoo.com
Cc: barelymuggle2@yahoo.com, lycansshadow@aol.com
Date: May 22, 2006 11:57 PM
Subject: Fwd: Hey!

On May 14, at 3:37 PM, this individual was requested to cease all contact with me. She has not. Please take appropriate action to terminate her account for violation of terms of service.

From: Lycansshadow@aol.com Mailed-By: aol.com
To: rhymeswithright@gmail.com
Date: May 23, 2006 12:00 AM
Subject: Re: Hey!

Like I said Could you be more of an idiot? What does that prove other than you enjoy wasting time typing things noone will probably ever read and if they do, won't care about. Geez, man, get a life, and quit e-mailing me, you perv.


From: Greg Mailed-By: gmail.com
To: abuse@aol.com, abuse@yahoo.com
Cc: barelymuggle2@yahoo.com, lycansshadow@aol.com
Date: May 23, 2006 12:05 AM
Subject: Fwd: Hey!

On May 14, at 3:37 PM, this individual was requested to cease all contact with me. She has not. Please take appropriate action to terminate her account for violation of terms of service.


From: Lycansshadow@aol.com Mailed-By: aol.com
To: rhymeswithright@gmail.com
Date: May 23, 2006 12:08 AM
Subject: Re: Hey!

I would quit e-mailing me if I were you. I'm about to tag you as a sexual predator. (who else e-mails teens girls in the middle of the night? Sicko).

From: Greg Mailed-By: gmail.com
To: abuse@aol.com, abuse@yahoo.com
Date: May 23, 2006 12:09 AM
Subject: Fwd: Hey!

On May 14, at 3:37 PM, this individual was requested to cease all contact with me. She has not. Please take appropriate action to terminate her account for violation of terms of service.

So you see, the little bitch is a stone-cold liar. She spread lies about the victim of a horrific assault, and now she wants to spread lies about me for daring to report her for being an abusive annoyance. For all her talk of having high morals, she is more than willing to make shit up if it suits her purpose. She is even willing to make a particular accusation that would cost me my career, my home, my marriage and my reputation -- because I dare to write to AOL and Yahoo about her and forward courtesy copies to her. These emails have no sexual content, and merely state a fact documented elsewhere on this website.

Why am I posting this? Self defense, so that the whole world knows that this child, who was more than willing to leave her email address here when she commented, is now threatening to make a false accusation about me because she isn't getting her way. I'm heading that off by documenting the threat for the whole world to see, because I won't stand by and allow such an accusation to be made falsely.

Oh, and by the way, Kim -- you still are not welcome to post comments on my site -- and any attempt to do so will generate further reports to AOL and Yahoo.





|| Greg, 11:33 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Rice Well-Received At BC

We’ve been hearing for some time now about the howls of protest at Boston College over the graduation speech by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Well guess what – the protests were small and Condi received a standing ovation from most of those in attendance.

A few students turned their backs but more stood to applaud as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice received an honorary degree and addressed graduates at Boston College on Monday.

After weeks of turmoil and anti-war protests over Rice's invitation to address the Catholic school, Rice told graduates that their education comes with responsibilities.

She drew scattered applause when she discussed what she called a "commitment to reason," or an obligation to test and challenge their own views.

"There is nothing wrong with holding an opinion and holding it passionately," Rice said, "but at those times when you are absolutely sure you're right, go find someone who disagrees."

About 50 students stood with their backs toward the stage as Rice was introduced to give her commencement speech, but they were quickly drowned out by a standing ovation.

A half-dozen signs that said "Not in my name" were held in the air by students, who sat down by the time Rice started to speak. One banner that said "BC honors lies and torture" was held on the side of the stadium, away from where the students were sitting.

Other students cheered Rice, and an Internet broadcast of the ceremony included a shot of a student, talking on his cell phone, with an "I Like Condi" button pinned to his graduation cap.

I think the Secretary of State put it well when she commented on the potential for protest before the graduation itself.

"People have the right to protest, but I hope when they protest they realize also that people now have a right to protest in Baghdad and Kabul, and that's a very big breakthrough for the international community," Rice said Monday before the BC commencement.

"I think it's just fine for people to protest as long as they do so in a way that doesn't try to have a monopoly on the conversation," Rice told WBZ-AM in an interview. "Others have right to say what they think as well."

I think those who attended today’s graduation showed they understand the values of America in their response to her speech. We can listen to those with whom we disagree with respect, and honor their right to express their thoughts and views. There is a time and a place for speak dissenting words, and a manner for appropriately expressing opposition to the views of another. It seems that the students of Boston College understand that, even as the graduates of New York’s New School proved that they missed that part of their education with their uncouth reception of Senator John McCain – and their own school’s president, former Senator Bob Kerrey.





|| Greg, 10:23 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Unacceptable Mandate

Let’s be clear about this – I support the marketing of Merck’s new vaccine, Gardasil. If I had a daughter, I would have her vaccinated as a precaution against cervical cancer. But I draw the line at the notion of making a vaccination against a disease that is 100% sexually transmitted mandatory for admission to public schools.

The drugmaker's efforts to educate Christian groups while touting the vaccine's top selling point -- prevention of cervical cancer -- helped win them over.

But Merck may ultimately find itself at loggerheads with those same groups as it seeks to make the vaccine mandatory for school admission, a step considered key for widespread acceptance and one that many of the groups oppose.

The vaccine, known as Gardasil, with an estimated $2 billion U.S. market potential, targets four types of sexually transmitted human papilloma virus, or HPV, which is believed to cause more than 70 percent of cervical cancer cases and 90 percent of genital warts.

"We don't think it should be made mandatory for school attendance," said Peter Sprigg, vice president of policy at the Family Research Council, who attended the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel meeting on Thursday.

That view is shared by evangelical Christian group Focus on the Family.
"We support the widespread availability of the vaccine, but we do oppose the mandatory vaccination for entry to public school," said Linda Klepacki, an analyst for sexual health for the group.

For Gardasil to be widely adopted, Merck must first win FDA approval. Then, it must garner widespread backing from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices -- a group that advises the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on immunization standards. Both Merck and analysts deem widespread backing likely.

States would then consider whether it should be included in the list of vaccinations required for school admission.

And I do draw the line there. Cervical cancer and genital warts are not transmitted via casual contact. No child is going to catch the human papilloma virus just by sitting in the same classroom with and breathing the same air as a child who has the virus – or even either of the resulting conditions. There is simply no way to make the sort of public health argument that exists for requiring other childhood vaccines as a condition for being allowed into school – unless you want to argue that there is rampant sex taking place in the hallways and classrooms of America, and that this vaccination is the means of preventing the uncontrolled spread of the conditions in question. But if that argument is to be made, then there is a much bigger issue surrounding public education that needs be addressed much more quickly.

Frankly, requiring Gardasil would be no different than requiring Norplant of all female students. After all, the means of transmission for the condition to be prevented is identical, and the “exposure” to the risk of transmission is identically likely to happen outside of school as the means of transmission of genital warts and cervical cancer. Pregnancy, like the human papilloma virus, isn’t being transmitted through the air, in the drinking water, or via toilet seats. The very concept of state-mandated birth control shocks the conscience – why doesn’t state-mandated STD-preventatives cause the same outrage?

I teach high school. I know there are many health needs that go unaddressed among my students. We try to take care of some of them through school breakfast and lunch programs, through school-based health clinics (which are not, contrary to some claims, all about birth control and abortion), and through various health screenings. But we don’t mandate a good breakfast, force-feed kids a healthy lunch, or require anything but the most minimal medical care or diagnostic testing. We don’t even require a flu shot, despite the fact that a classroom is a swirling, seething culture of viruses and bacteria during certain times of the yearThat isn’t our mission. Neither is this, and the advocates of mandatory Gardasil are just setting up one more big-government nanny-state intrusion into family decision-making on child-rearing issues.

And by the way, don’t forget that making the vaccine mandatory will also give Merck $2 billion in mandatory profits every year for the foreseeable future. So is this really about public health – or private profits?





|| Greg, 10:20 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I’ve Got No Problem With This

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.

I've have no desire to ignore employers -- and neither do any of the other conservative bloggers I know.

Just once, I'd like to see a corporate executive whose company has knowingly hired illegal immigrants doing the perp walk for his offenses --- handcuffed, disgraced, chaperoned by law enforcement officials as cameras record his every tentative step. For just a few days, I'd like to see the conservative blogosphere roasting the textile mill managers and onion field owners who routinely make a mockery of immigration law with a wink and a nod at forged documents.

I don’t disagree up to this point – and have seen many of my fellow bloggers make exactly that point. We would like to see much greater enforcement of employer sanctions. In fact, one reason we don’t like the amnesty proposals set out by the hug-a-wetback crowd is because we recall that the last time there was an amnesty (back in 1986), the feds quickly dropped all pretense of employer sanctions once the amnesty was in place. Indeed, that simply opened the floodgates, as more and more illegals came with the certainty (confirmed by current rhetoric) that another amnesty would come once critical mass was reached. We don’t blame these folks for wanting to come to America – we blame their governments for pushing them north and or government for doing so little to stem their tidal flow.

That is why I am outraged by the next part of this column.

Business executives remain a core Republican constituency, so it's unlikely they'll end up facing criminal charges for illegal hiring. Besides, darker-hued Mexicans and Guatemalans seem to make more inviting targets than middle-aged white men.

From time to time, I've suggested that the most inflammatory rhetoric swirling at the fringes of the illegal immigration debate is born not of legitimate concern about overwhelmed social services but rather out of an old-fashioned xenophobia that cannot accept "the other." That suggestion is usually greeted with denunciations from critics who claim they merely want the nation to enforce its laws.

So why is there so little criticism of business executives who routinely flout the law? Why has the legislation endorsed by law-and-order Republicans emphasized border security but slighted workplace enforcement?

Are there some xenophobes out there? Yeah – but most are much more concerned about law and order than the Latin Peril. While many of us are concerned about the displacement of America’s culture, history, and language, we are more concerned about the economic impact of illegal immigration. And the Sensenbrenner bill (supported by most conservative bloggers) did include harsh sanctions against employers – it is the Senate bill and the President’s proposal, both trashed as harsh by the liberals, that fails to substantially address the demand side of the illegal immigration equation.

So while Cynthia Tucker wants to make it about race, for most conservatives it is not. I guess it is just her reflexive liberalism requiring that anything involving conservatives ultimately come back to our presumed racistsexisthomophobicfascist tendencies. Too bad she cannot move past that crap and stay on point, for she has a good one.

She is, after all, right when she notes the failure of government to act to stop employers from hiring illegals.

The more promising solution lies in cutting off the flow of jobs. If a few business executives were imprisoned for illegal hiring, the practice would experience a sudden drop in popularity. And if our southern neighbors come to understand that there is no work available for undocumented workers, fewer --- far fewer --- will try to sneak into this country.

The technology required to implement a nationwide system for instant verification of Social Security numbers would be much cheaper and more reliable than the motion detectors, dirigibles, unmanned predator drones and other high-dollar gizmos that Homeland Security wants to buy for the southern border. It would work as easily and quickly as an instant credit check. With such a system, business owners could be required to verify employment status; they'd lose the ruse of forged documents. But Congress has not appropriated funds to develop a nationwide verification tool.

Nor has it made any effort to remove the myopic regulations that hinder workplace enforcement. For example, the Social Security Administration is able to identify companies that routinely employ lots of workers using fake numbers. But by law, Social Security is forbidden from forwarding the names of those companies to Homeland Security.

Don't think this useless system results from mere oversight or incompetence. The dysfunctional hodgepodge of regulations is preferred by the GOP, its business constituency and more than a few middle-class Americans, who benefit from cheap labor. Sure, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has started to do a few high-profile raids of factories and fields certain to yield undocumented laborers. But those raids will wither away after November.

I cannot disagree with a word she says on the matter. We have the technology, but not the will to use it. Let’s send Congress and this administration the message that it is time to take real steps against employers of illegals.





|| Greg, 10:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Can We Have A Little Separation Of School & Hysteria To Go With Separation Of Church & State?

I didn’t think that the separationist absurdity could go any further, we get this bizarre action from a Texas principal.

A Keller school district parent said political correctness has run amok at her daughter's elementary school, where the principal chose to omit the words "In God We Trust" from an oversize coin depicted on the yearbook cover.

Janet Travis, principal of Liberty Elementary School in Colleyville, wanted to avoid offending students of different religions, a district spokesman said. Students were given stickers with the words that could be affixed to the book if they so chose.

What exactly was it about this image that was so offensive – after all, each and every student probably has at least one of these in a pocket or piggy bank – and the school probably gives tehm as change.

Officials chose an image of an enlarged nickel for the yearbook cover because this is Liberty Elementary's first year and because the nickel has a new design this year.

The nickel design features President Jefferson and the word Liberty in cursive, with the words "In God We Trust" along the right edge.

Keller administrators agreed with the decision, which Travis made in conjunction with a school parents group, district spokesman Jason Meyer said. District policy states, in part: "The District shall take no action respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech."

Principals must strive to remain neutral regarding religion, Meyer said.

Oh, please! An accurate depiction of United States coinage has now been deemed to be offensive by school officials in Keller, Texas. That is nuts!
The ACLU, of course, thinks this is just great.

Michael Linz, a Dallas attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the district's move was appropriate, sensitive and constitutional.

"Sometimes administrators and schools are really caught trying to make appropriate decisions with respect to people's views. Someone is always going to complain," he said. "I think that the school administrators were drawing the appropriate line by trying not to offend others."

Presumably this clown would find it appropriate to forbid carrying US currency on campus, for fear that some little kid might spy the dreaded “G word� on a coin or bill.

Common sense will not, of course, ever be permitted to prevail – after all, that isn’t “sensitive�.





|| Greg, 10:16 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Courage To Persevere

You have to admire this valedictorian.

When graduating senior Jed Michal told his classmates Sunday to treat each day as though it were their last, he spoke from experience.

The leukemia patient gave his valedictorian's speech via teleconference from his hospital room at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he is recovering from a bone-marrow transplant.

"Everything we are and become is not what happens to us — it's what we do with the hand life deals us," said Michal, 19, as he faced a televised image of his classmates back home in Colorado. "Live each day as if it is your last. After all, it may very well be."

Fighting leukemia for more than two years, Michal underwent the transplant a week ago, using marrow from his 25-year-old brother. He became valedictorian of his class of 19 students at Flagler High School in east Colorado despite missing nearly his entire junior year due to his illness.

He hopes to leave the hospital next month, move back to Colorado this fall and begin studying agricultural business at Colorado State University in January.

I’m already willing to bet that this young man will fulfill his wildest dreams.

Congratulations, Jed.





|| Greg, 10:15 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

What Next -- Health Is Crux Of Physicians' Strategy?

Now here's a shocker for you!

Elections Are Crux Of GOP's Strategy

Elections are always the first consideration for a political party -- they are the very reason they exist. Even more than governmance, political parties are concerned with achieving and maintaing power so that they can hold and exercise teh power of governance.

Confronting the worst poll numbers seen in the West Wing since his father went down to defeat, President Bush and his team are focusing on the fall midterm elections as the best chance to salvage his presidency and are building a campaign strategy around tax cuts, immigration and national security.

Modern history offers no precedent of a president climbing from a hole as deep as the one Bush finds himself in, and White House strategists have concluded that no staff shake-up or other quick fix will alter their trajectory. In the sixth year of his tenure, they said, Bush cannot easily change the minds of voters whose impressions are fully formed.

And so short of some event outside their direct control -- such as a dramatic turnaround in Iraq or the capture of Osama bin Laden -- Bush advisers have turned to the election as the most important chance to rewrite the troubled narrative of his presidency and allow him to recover enough to govern his last two years, Republican strategists said. With that in mind, Bush last week called on the National Guard to help stop illegal immigrants, signed tax-cut legislation and headlined three party fundraisers.

In other words, the President and other political leaders int he GOP are doing what politicians do -- keeping an eye firmly on the elections so that they can continue to wield the powers of elective office.

Duh.





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

May 21, 2006

Madonna's Blasphemy

I'd love to say this is beyond belief -- but give Madonna's penchant for the outrageous (including sex with a saint's statue come to life in her "Like a Prayer" video two decades ago), I'm not surprised.

madonnablasphemy.jpg

MADONNA kicked off her new Confessions world tour in Los Angeles on Saturday – and showed it will be her most controversial routine ever.

As my snap shows, at one point Madge appears hanging from a cross, which is sure to stoke up a backlash from Christians.

Maybe I'll have some respect for her blasphemous tendencies when she insults the Islamic beliefs, teachings, and symbols.

Oh, that's right -- that won't happen.

Muslims would kill her -- Christians will only criticize her and create lots of publicity for the tour and album.





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

Terrorism Funded By Slavery Profits

Just so you know what sort of swine we are dealing with here -- the jihadis are funding their cause by kidnapping and selling Christian children.

A SENIOR member of an Islamic organisation linked to Al-Qaeda is funding his activities through the kidnapping of Christian children who are sold into slavery in Pakistan.

The Sunday Times has established that Gul Khan, a wealthy militant who uses the base of Jamaat-ud Daawa (JUD) near Lahore, is behind a cruel trade in boys aged six to 12.

They are abducted from remote Christian villages in the Punjab and fetch nearly £1,000 each from buyers who consign them to a life of misery in domestic servitude or in the sex trade.

Khan was exposed in a sting organised by American and Pakistani missionaries who decided to save 20 such boys and return them to their homes. Using a secret camera, they filmed him accepting $28,500 (£15,000) from a Pakistani missionary posing as a businessman who said he wanted to set up an operation in which the boys would beg for cash on the streets.

Khan was observed driving from the meeting with a knapsack full of cash to the JUD headquarters at Muridke, near Lahore.

The base was funded by Osama Bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda leader, in the late 1990s and the JUD’s assets were frozen last month by the US Treasury after it was designated a terrorist organisation.

Sweet Jesus -- sounds like the sort of stuff perpetrated by the Ottomans against Anatolian Christians for centuries, in East Africa to supply slaves to the Muslim wold. The slave trade has been wiped out in civilized parts of the globe, but still continues -- licitly and illicitly -- in the Muslim world.

This evil perpetrated by the jihadi swine is beyond comprehension -- but not without Koranic precedent or sanction by the hadith and by sharia law. After all, non-Muslims have very few rights that a Muslim is bound to respect in the Islamic tradition followed by these scum.

Thank God for the actions of those brave Christian missionaries -- already living under the threat of death for preaching the gospel in the Islamic world -- for acting to save these boys and expose those who would violate human rights in the name of their malignant theology.

But why do I suspect that this horror will be ignored in the rest of the Western media? And I suspect that the usual apologists for Jihadi Islam will accuse those of us who point to this attrocity of being "inflammatory" and "hateful" -- just as they always do.

MORE AT: Jawa Report, The Western Seminarian, Isaac Schrödinger, ninme, Right Wing Nation, Preemptive Karma, Clarity & Resolve, Blue Crab Boulevard, American Thinker, E.L. Frederick, Bullwinkle Blog, Western Resistance, Jihad Watch, Dvorak Uncensored, Daily Pundit



» Maggie's Farm links with: Tuesday Morning Links
» Maggie's Farm links with: Islam Update: Moslems are your friends!



|| Greg, 09:47 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

Who Cares About The Dixie Slits?

I'll be honest -- I enjoyed listening to the Dixie Chicks, but I joined the boycott when they started all the anti-Bush trash-talk. Yes, they had a right to take the position they took -- but I have every right to express my disapproval by refusing to buy their product.

Well, they are at it again, hoping to turn their bush Derangement Syndrome into commercial success. But I don't think this is the way to go.

The Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines apologized for disrespecting President Bush during a London concert in 2003. But now, she's taking it back.

"I don't feel that way anymore," she told Time magazine for its issue hitting newsstands Monday. "I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever."

And we should take your views into consideration because...?

But probably the most significant reason I won't buy their new CD has nothing to do with Natalie's politics -- it has to do with this statement.

For band member Martie Maguire, the controversy was a blessing in disguise.

"I'd rather have a small following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith," Maguire said. "We don't want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do."

Well, I wouldn't want to limit you by contributing to your commercial success. I'll stick with Reba, Kenny Chesney, and a few old Chris LeDoux CDs. But thanks for making it clear that you aren't interested in those of us who helped build your career in the early days. We'll pass those sentiments on to country radio stations around the country.



» The Tech In Black links with: Dixie who?



|| Greg, 08:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Hypocritical Mexican Duplicity

Let's treat Mexicans like Mexico treats Americans and other foreigners.

Even as Mexico presses the United States to grant unrestricted citizenship to millions of undocumented Mexican migrants, its officials at times calling U.S. policies "xenophobic," Mexico places daunting limitations on anyone born outside its territory.

In the United States, only two posts — the presidency and vice presidency — are reserved for the native born.

In Mexico, non-natives are banned from those and thousands of other jobs, even if they are legal, naturalized citizens.

Foreign-born Mexicans can't hold seats in either house of the congress. They're also banned from state legislatures, the Supreme Court and all governorships. Many states ban foreign-born Mexicans from spots on town councils. And Mexico's Constitution reserves almost all federal posts, and any position in the military and merchant marine, for "native-born Mexicans."

Recently the Mexican government has gone even further. Since at least 2003, it has encouraged cities to ban non-natives from such local jobs as firefighters, police and judges.

Mexico's Interior Department — which recommended the bans as part of "model" city statutes it distributed to local officials — could cite no basis for extending the bans to local posts.

One more reason to close the southern border and deport the immigration criminals who stream in from Mexico.





|| Greg, 06:08 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

He Needs To Be The FORMER Ambassador

This US diplomat is undercutting the immigration policies of the United States. As such, US Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza needs to be fired by the President -- or Congress needs to act to force his resignation.

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza described building a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border as un-American in a speech to the University of Texas at Austin graduating class Saturday night.

"Simply building walls does not speak America to me," said Garza, a former Texas railroad commissioner and a close friend to President Bush. "I know we can be both a welcoming society and a secure and lawful one."

Congress currently is debating proposals for building fences as a means of controlling illegal immigration. President Bush, who has opposed fences in the past, this week endorsed a limited fence-building proposal for Arizona and California.

The Chonicle calls his speech "a message of tolerance for the millions of Latin American immigrants who have poured into the United States in recent years". That is a miccharacterization. Garza's speech was nothing less than an apologia for law-breaking and border-jumping by those who disrespect our country, and a call for more of the same. As such, Tony Garza does not speak for the overwhelming majority of Americans -- and if President Bush does not wish to further alienate the American people, he needs to fire his old friend immediately, for it is his message that is truly un-American.

OPEN TRACKBACKING: Conservative Cat, Outside the Beltway, Samantha Burns, Liberal Wrong Wing, Business of America is Business, Third World County, Adam's Blog, Blue Star Chronicles, Stop the ACLU





|| Greg, 11:18 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Encode This, DaVinci!

A gullible subset of the world's population has embraced Dan Brown's fictional work, The DaVinci Code, and the underlying conspiracy theory most notably expounded in the pseudo-historical work, Holy Blood, Holy Grail. The idea is that there are secret descendants of jesus living among us, and that the Catholic Church has been hiding this from the followers of Christ for centuries. It is all a load of bullcrap, of course, but thre exist enough fools to believe such tripe.

Well, here is another flaw with the hypothesis -- there would not be some small group of descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene hidden away. Instead, most of us would have the Son of God popping up on our family tree. Not because we are particularly special, but because of the geometric progression that goes along with geneaology.

This absurd-sounding statement is an inevitable consequence of the workings of ancestry. People may have just a few descendants in the two or three generations after they lived, but, after that, the number of descendants explodes. For a population to remain the same size, every adult has to have an average of two children who grow to adulthood and have children. So the number of descendants for the average person grows exponentially — two children, four grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and so on. In just 10 generations — roughly 250 years — an average person can have more than 1,000 descendants.

Of course, no one is average. Some people have lots of children; some have none. But over time the fecund and the barren balance each other out. Also, a person's descendants eventually start having children with each other. That slows the rate of growth of a person's descendants, but usually not much, at least in the short term.

It's virtually impossible to "manage" a genealogical lineage so that a person has a limited number of descendants. The lineage would quickly go extinct in the occasional generation in which all of a person's descendants do not have children (or their children die). And a managed lineage inevitably would "leak" — someone would begin having children at a normal pace, and the usual process of growth would commence.

In real genealogies, a person's descendants either peter out within a few generations or begin to grow exponentially. That's why people who came to America on the Mayflower now have thousands of descendants. People who lived just a few centuries earlier have many millions of descendants.

So what about the possibility that Jesus and mary Magdalene had kids, as per Dan Brown?

The same observations would apply to Jesus, although we'll never know if he really had children.

But let's assume that he did, and that he also had a lower than average number of descendants — say 500 in the year AD 250. Where would they have lived?

Those centuries were a time of great ferment in the Roman Empire. Although most of Jesus' descendants probably would have lived in the Middle East, at least a few would have moved as far away as modern-day Italy and central Asia (whether as soldiers, traders or slaves).

Many of these individuals also would have had 500 to 1,000 descendants 250 years later. And these tens of thousands of descendants of Jesus likely would have been scattered along trade routes from western Europe to southern Africa to eastern Asia. After another 250 years, Jesus would have had millions of descendants. Repeat that cycle five more times and the whole world begins to fill up with descendants of Jesus.

Essentially, whether you have descendants is an all-or-nothing proposition in the long run, as two co-authors and I showed in an article in the scientific journal Nature a couple of years ago. If a person has four or five grandchildren, that person will almost certainly be an ancestor of the entire world population two or three millenniums from now. And if a person lived longer than two or three millenniums ago, that person is either an ancestor of everyone living today or of no one living today.

The idea that we all could be descended from Jesus takes some getting used to. After all, if we're all descended from Jesus, and Jesus is the son of God, that's a pretty illustrious bloodline.

But don't let it go to your head. You're also descended from Pontius Pilate and Judas, as long as they produced the requisite four or five grandchildren.

Every time we elect a new president, we learn that he is the descendant of some British monarch's bastard child. The genes of Ghengis Khan are said to have been passed on to much of today's population through his multitude of offspring (to paraphrase Mel Brooks, "It's good to be the khan."). So if you aren't descended from Christ, and I'm not descended from Christ, nobody is descended from Christ.

OPEN TRACKBACKING: Conservative Cat, Outside the Beltway, Samantha Burns, Liberal Wrong Wing, Business of America is Business, Third World County, Adam's Blog, Blue Star Chronicles, Stop the ACLU





|| Greg, 11:09 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Not That It Signifies Corruption

But if this were, for example, Tom DeLay and not Democrat Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), it would be plastered on the front page of every newspaper in america as more evidence of a "culture of corruption" in the GOP.

But it is just business as usual for a Louisiana Democrat.

More than a dozen FBI agents raided the Capitol Hill office of Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) last night, searching for documents related to an ongoing public corruption investigation, a government official said.

As many as 15 agents wearing business suits began searching the office in the Rayburn House Office Building about 7:15 p.m. and were expected to continue possibly into the afternoon today, the official said shortly before 4 a.m.

Debbie Weierman, an FBI spokeswoman, said that "the search was conducted this evening in conjunction with an ongoing FBI public corruption investigation."

Portions of the search warrant are expected to be unsealed later today.

Jefferson's lawyer is, in typical defense attorney form, outraged.

Robert Trout, Jefferson's attorney, complained that FBI agents refused to allow him or the general counsel of the House to witness the search.

"The government's actions in obtaining a search warrant to search the offices of a United States Congressman were outrageous," Trout said in a statement, the Associated Press reported. "There were no exigent circumstances necessitating this action. The government knew that the documents were being appropriately preserved while proper procedures were being followed. We are dismayed by this action. The documents weren't going anywhere and the prosecutors knew it."

Yeah. Sure. Isn't this the guy who got a rescue craft and emergency personnel to take him to his home in the days following Hurricane Katrina to remove material from his home -- material that included a laptop computer, briefcases, and boxes of documents that may well be related to the case? Do you want to assure us again that nothing would have happened to the material sought in the warrant if it had not been immediately executed?

And let's not forget this little tidbit from teh end of the story.

The investigation became public on Aug. 3 when FBI agents raided Jefferson's homes in New Orleans and Northeast Washington, where they found about $90,000 in cash in his freezer, law enforcement sources have said.

They also raided five other locations, including the Kentucky and New Jersey offices of iGate Inc., which has become central to the investigation.

I say again -- why isn't this story getting the play that DeLay, Ney, and Cunningham get> Because William Jefferson is black, Democrat, and from teh corrupt state of Louisiana, so nothing better is expected of him. Ethics rules and laws apply to Republicns only.

MORE AT: Captain's Quarters, Stop the ACLU, Expose the Left, and No Agenda.

UPDATE: GatewayPundit notes that the FBI caught Jefferson on tape taking a $100,000 bribe. Instapundit reminds us of an earlier Jefferson indiscretion -- is the cash linked to the bribe in question? Additional news coverage at these sites.



» Freedom for Some links with: Tape Shows Democratic Congressman Taking $100G
» BIG DOG'S WEBLOG links with: What Is It With William Jeffersons?



|| Greg, 10:19 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (2) ||

Beyond Belief -- New Orleans Picks Nagin

Proof positive that not only is New Orleans the dumbest place to build a city in the United States, but that it is also the dumbest city in the United States.

raynagin.jpg

Voters here endorsed the leadership of incumbent Mayor C. Ray Nagin Saturday, narrowly approving his reelection bid even though his term was marked by the apocalyptic chaos of Hurricane Katrina, his controversial "chocolate city" remarks and the stalled recovery.

Nagin overcame a strong challenge by Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, the scion of a politically powerful clan, who outspent him by large margins.

Many here, such as City Council President Oliver Thomas, considered Nagin's victory the "biggest upset ever." With all precincts reporting, Nagin had 52.3 percent, or 59,460 votes, to Landrieu's 47.7 percent, or 54,131 votes.

The vote split largely along racial lines. Nagin won by getting the support of about 80 percent of black voters and about 20 percent of white votes, according to election analyst Greg Rigamer.

Many here called the election a pivotal moment in city history. Scores of voters arrived after a five-hour bus trip from Houston. Some emerged from cramped FEMA trailers parked in otherwise abandoned neighborhoods. And even those who came from the comfort of houses untouched by the flooding said the only issues that mattered were the hurricane and its aftermath.

NO_buses.jpg

Let's remember some simple facts. It was Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco who failed to order an evacuation. It was Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco who failed to order those school buses to be used for evacuation purposes. And it was Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco who decided the SuperDome and Convention Center would be fantastic places to keep folks for the duration of the storm and beyond. But for some reason, the people of New Orleans want to keep their incompetent mayor around for another term. No doubt we will soon hear that this is george Bush's fault, just like all the failures of Ray Nagin and Kathleen Blanco.

As far as this Houston area resident is concerned, I hope that all those folks who traveled by bus from our area stay in New Orleans -- the crime rate in the area dropped significantly as they crossed the county line, and the collective IQ of texas was raised when they crossed they crossed the Sabine River into Louisiana.

Here's hoping that the people of the "chocolate city" realize that they will be getting it up the "Hershey highway" as long as they continue to select the sort of corrupt and incompetent officials that are legion in Louisiana.

More At Stop the ACLU">Stop the ACLU





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May 20, 2006

A Travesty For the Ages

When babe Ruth hit 714 homers in his career, the only "artificial enhancements" he used to stimulate his success were booze and hookers. Barry Bonds is the steroid king. That makes the milestone he has reached illegitimate in this fan's eyes. Number 714 simply does not count -- and his records and accolades should be expunged once the BALCO investigation is over. The number 714 should be deemed an achievement legitimately reached by Babe Ruth alone.

he agonizing wait is over for Barry Bonds. He and the Babe are even at 714.

Bonds tied Babe Ruth for second place on the career home run list Saturday, ending a nine-game homerless stretch with a shot into the first deck of the elevated stands in right-center during San Francisco’s 4-2, 10-inning victory over the Oakland Athletics.

“This is a great accomplishment because of Babe Ruth and what he brought to the game of baseball and his legacy in the game of baseball,” Bonds said. “This and a World Series ring to me would be the ultimate. He changed the game of baseball. ... It’s just great to be in the same class.”

No, Barry, you are not in the same class as Ruth, Aaron, and Mays. You are in a no-class all your own.





|| Greg, 11:49 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Elected Iraqi Government Forms -- Leftists Mourn

UPDATE: I've been Insta-lanched! Welcome visitors from Instapundit. Thanks, Glenn.

Following much wrangling, the Iraqis have their own government, the result of free and fair elections.

Iraq's parliament swore in its full-term prime minister and his cabinet Saturday, a political milestone U.S. leaders hope will allow a new government to begin solving the country's problems and lead to the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops.

But the formation of the new government, anticipated for over five months since national elections were held Dec. 15, was marred by the new prime minister's inability to fill the top two positions in his government and the walkout of several Sunni Arab politicians who felt they had been spurned in the negotiations over cabinet posts.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that he would run the Interior Ministry himself for a week, and that one of his deputies, Salam al-Zubaie, would temporarily fill the Defense Ministry. In the meantime, he will try to find a permanent replacement for those powerful posts, which control the country's police and army.

Yeah, that's right, we cannot talk about what is right with the situation -- we have to talk about what is wrong. Discussing the successes that led to this day isn't nearly as much fun as raining on this ever-so-significant parade.

And then, of course, we will soon be treated to the bleatings of those intrepid Leftists who view this as a bad thing because, after all, anything that smacks of a Bush success is bad for the world. Better that there be victories for the jihadi terrorists than for the President of the United States and the Iraqi people.





|| Greg, 02:15 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (10) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Houston Chronicle Demands Special Rights For Journalists

Proving once again that members of the press consider themselves a royal priesthood not subject to the laws that apply to non-journalists, The Houston Chronicle is demanding that a press shield law be passed by Congress.

Thanks to federal prosecutors probing a grand jury leak in the BALCO investigation of steroid use by professional baseball players in California, the secretary of state can add the names of San Francisco Chronicle reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wade to that long list of journalists threatened by potential imprisonment.

The pair's stories and subsequent book, Game of Shadows, exposed the scope of steroid use by athletes, forced major league baseball to institute reforms to prevent their continued use, and won the praise of the sport's highest-ranking fan, President George W. Bush.

Yet U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told the Houston Chronicle editorial board on Friday he approved the issuance of subpoenas that would force the journalists and their paper to identify confidential sources and produce any grand jury transcripts in their possession.

* * *

Unfortunately, such attempts by law enforcement to compel journalists' testimony and pry open their notebooks and computers are becoming all too frequent. According to the Newspaper Association of America, more than 30 reporters have been pressured by authorities in the last two years to divulge information for investigations, creating a national atmosphere that makes investigative reporting more difficult and whistleblowers more fearful about talking to journalists. When that happens, both good journalism and good government are endangered.

It's appropriate that this week a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Free Flow of Information Act of 2006, a long-sought federal shield law to protect journalists and their employers from being forced in most cases to reveal confidential sources. It also would prevent authorities from mining telephone, Internet and other communications data to identify journalist contacts. The only exceptions would be threats to national security or the physical safety of the public.

"We believe the legislation establishes important ground rules for confidential sources and reporters," said Newspaper Association of America President and CEO John F. Sturm. "It is a very positive step toward safeguarding the free flow of information to the public."

Such a law would provide for American journalists the kind of freedom to do their jobs that Secretary Rice so eloquently espoused for their foreign counterparts. Those words ring hollow if they are not accompanied by the same concern and concrete actions to protect journalists at home as well.

I say NO -- in fact, I say HELL NO!

What the Chronicle demands is nothing less than a press exemption from the obligations that apply to every citizen. You know -- the obligation to provide information and material subpoenaed by a court, to testify truthfully before a grand jury or in a trial, and to not traffic is stolen or illicitly obtained documents. They seek to exempt the press from law enforcemnt tactics which are regularly and legitimately applied against citizens in every other walk of life. The seek to make journalists -- as defined by the obsolescent media elite -- a class apart from the rest of citizens. I find the notion of estalishing a journalistic aristocracy to be repugnant.

The press often speaks piously of "the public's right to know." Let's not give them the capacity to keep the public in the dark in situations that any other citizen would be required to speak.





|| Greg, 09:07 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dueling Dems In Virginia

Debates can turn ugly during a hotly contested campaign -- and so can other joint appearances by candidates. When such things happen within a party, that can be a sign that there will be difficulty rallying the troops around the eventual nominee.

That may be the case in Virginia.

The two men vying for the Democratic nomination in Virginia's U.S. Senate race angrily accused each other of being disloyal to their party in a bitter exchange Friday during their first face-to-face meeting of the primary campaign.

Former lobbyist Harris Miller and former Navy secretary James Webb clashed during the taping of what was billed as a casual conversation for "On the Record," a Norfolk television show that will air Sunday morning. The exchange started calmly, with both taking potshots at the man each wants to face in the fall, incumbent Republican Sen. George Allen.

But the conversation quickly turned nasty, with Miller questioning Webb's partisan "values" and Webb noting that Miller had been called by some people "the antichrist of outsourcing." It ended at an impromptu news conference after the taping, with a visibly frustrated Webb telling Miller to "shut your mouth."

The two went after each other on questions of party loyalty -- Webb's support for Republicans in 2000 and Miller's history of campaign contributions to senior Republicans.

The antipathy that had until Friday been reserved for news releases and quiet remarks by campaign aides became personal slams moments into the taping as Miller questioned Webb's support for Republicans during the 2000 election.

"When we were fighting in the trenches to defeat George Bush and George Allen in 2000, you weren't just voting for them, you were endorsing them," Miller said, ignoring the question of the show's host, Joel Rubin.

Webb quickly accused Miller of making inappropriate campaign contributions to senior Republicans in the Congress.

"Why did you donate money to [U.S. House of Representatives Speaker] Dennis Hastert? I've never given money to a Republican in my life," Webb said.


They both claim they will support the other in the general election. But you have to wonder -- will it be an active support? Or will we see the loser retire from the field and offer nothing beyond a few polite words of endorsement at the state convention?





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

May 19, 2006

Caption Contest (OPEN TRACKBACK & LINKFEST)

What’s Ray got to say?

raynagin.jpg

Submit your entry today!

* * *

And now time for our linkfest and open trackback carnival!

You know the rules -- link back to this post with your best/favorite current posts. I won't limit your number of posts, but instead ask you to exercise prudent judgement about how many you send.

Some folks have tols me they have problems trackbacking to this site. If this is the case, please use the Wizbang Standalone Trackback Pinger to establish the link.

And, of course, don't forget the big three rules.

No Spam. No Porn. No Problem.

OTHER LINKFESTS: Conservative Cat, Outside the Beltway, Samantha Burns, Liberal Wrong Wing, Business of America is Business, Third World County, Adam's Blog, Blue Star Chronicles, Stop the ACLU



» BIG DOG'S WEBLOG links with: El Sneako In The El Trucko Open Trackback
» The Business of America is Business links with: Carrots, Sticks, and Carrot Sticks
» The Florida Masochist links with: Did the Miami Herald cross a journalistic line?
» Planck's Constant links with: Islamic Hierarchy: Men are from Mars - period.



|| Greg, 11:15 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (4) ||

Why Is This Even Controversial?

Why on earth would anyone object to declaring English the national language of the United States?

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called a proposal to make English the official language "racist" on the Senate floor yesterday.

"This amendment is racist. I think it's directed basically to people who speak Spanish," the Democrat said during the already tense debate over immigration reform.

Moments later, the Senate approved the measure on a 63-34 vote. Virtually all Republicans were joined by 11 Democrats to approve the largely symbolic amendment. Immediately following that vote, the Senate approved a second amendment, declaring on a 58-39 vote that English is the "common and unifying language."

Racist? To declare the major language of the Unite4d States to be the national language? Hardly – and they ought to go the next step, to make it the official language, ending voting and other government services in languages other than English. It would be suppoted by the overwhelming majority of Americans.

A poll by Zogby International earlier this year found that 84 percent of Americans say English should be the official language of government operations. The same poll found that 77 percent of Hispanics agree.

And it's a bipartisan issue, according to the poll, which found that 92 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats approve making English the country's official language.

Reid, of course, is an imbecile, who is trying to score votes from the supporters of illegal immigration. What he does not want to acknowledge is that those who come to this country and wish to make themselves successful and productive need to speak English to do so.



» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Senate votes to make English the national language / Amendment to block eventual citizenship defeated



|| Greg, 10:56 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

Two-Tiered Wage Law In Chicago

In an attempt to overcome fundamental laws of economics, the City of Chicago has taken action to make the nation’s most competitive retailers a little less so. The result will be higher prices, fewer jobs, and a decrease in shopping choices for Chicago residents – but hey, they’re gonna stick it to WalMart!

With a nudge from organized labor, 33 aldermen have signed on to a groundbreaking ordinance that would make Chicago the nation's first major city to establish a wage and benefit standard for "big box" retailers.

On Thursday, they got an earful from the other side: business leaders and an impoverished and retail-starved West Side community that's about to become home to Chicago's first and only Wal-Mart.

They argued that the minimum wage standard is the exclusive purview of the General Assembly, and that making demands that apply only to the largest retailers would violate the constitutional guarantee to equal protection.

They further contended that nowhere in the United States is there a living wage ordinance that applies exclusively to retailing giants, and that passing one here would put Chicago at a competitive disadvantage.

* * *

Introduced by Ald. Joe Moore (49th), it would apply to both newly built and existing stores with at least 75,000 square feet of space owned by companies with $1 billion in annual gross revenues. They would be required to pay any employee who works more than five hours a week a "living wage" of at least $10 an hour, along with $3 an hour in benefits.

There is, of course, a simple solution available to WalMart, Target, and other large retailers who might be considering the possibility of doing business in Chicago – locate outside the city limits, in one of the many suburbs that are interwoven along the edge of (often nearly surrounded by) the city itself. Then just suck all the business and cash out of the city while giving a major tax-revenue boost to the county and the suburbs – leaving Chicago a desiccated husk of a once great city with no retail base to meet the needs of the city’s poorest residents – they can buy the higher priced goods of smaller stores with their welfare checks, or their checks from the WalMart located just on the other side of the city limits.


OPEN TRACKBACKING: Conservative Cat, Outside the Beltway, Samantha Burns, Liberal Wrong Wing, Business of America is Business, Third World County, Adam's Blog, Blue Star Chronicles, Stop the ACLU





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

Iran Imposes Nazi Program Upon Its Dhimmis

If you ain’t a Muslim in Iran, you will have to wear specially marked clothing to make you stand out. Think “Yellow Stars� in Nazi-occupied Europe.

Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.

"This is reminiscent of the Holocaust," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. "Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis."

Iranian expatriates living in Canada yesterday confirmed reports that the Iranian parliament, called the Islamic Majlis, passed a law this week setting a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear almost identical "standard Islamic garments."

The law, which must still be approved by Iran's "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenehi before being put into effect, also establishes special insignia to be worn by non-Muslims.

Iran's roughly 25,000 Jews would have to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth.

Not that such badges of dhimmitude are really of Nazi origin – Hitler took the idea from an old Muslim practice.





|| Greg, 10:53 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Cut Them Off!

That is my reaction to the vote in the House of Representative to keep the ban on off-shore drilling for oil during this time of shortage.

The House late Thursday rejected an attempt to end the quarter-century ban on oil and natural gas drilling that has been in effect for 85 percent of the country's coastal waters from Alaska to New England despite arguments that new supplies are needed to lower energy costs.

Lawmakers from Florida and California, who led the fight to continue the drilling moratorium, said they feared energy projects as close as three miles from shore could jeopardize multibillion-dollar tourism industries in their states.
"People don't go to visit the coasts of Florida or the coast of California to watch oil wells," Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., said.

Down here in Texas, we have plenty of wells off-shore – wells that contribute to the current supply of oil. If California, Florida, and other coastal states refuse to help the US establish energy independence, then they clearly have no moral right to the oil produced by the very sort of well they reject along their own coast lines.





|| Greg, 10:52 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Feingold's Temper Tantrum

I'm curious -- has this twerp ever objected to any other vote being held in this location? Or are we seeing a simple case of grandstanding by a wannabe presidential candidate fromt he far left? I doubt it -- but Russ Feingold is better known for his publicity seeking than his fidelity to the Constitution (see McCain Feingold for the classic example of his infidelity to our nation's founding document).

Certainly his confrontation with Arlen Specter is a classic.

A Senate committee approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage Thursday, after a shouting match that ended when one Democrat strode out and the Republican chairman bid him "good riddance."

"I don't need to be lectured by you. You are no more a protector of the Constitution than am I," Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., shouted after Sen. Russ Feingold declared his opposition to the amendment, his affinity for the Constitution and his intention to leave the meeting.

"If you want to leave, good riddance," Specter finished.

"I've enjoyed your lecture, too, Mr. Chairman," replied Feingold, D-Wis., who is considering a run for president in 2008. "See ya."

Frankly, I can't believe in the arrogance expressed by Feingold, whose lack of fidelity to the Constitution may only be matched by his lack of fidelity to his marriage vows.

Specter noted that the choice of locations was realy a side issue.

Among Feingold's objections was Specter's decision to hold the vote in the President's Room, where access by the general public is restricted, instead of in the panel's usual home in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Specter later said he would have been willing to hold the session in the usual room had he thought doing so would change votes.

In addition, Specter noted that he voted to send the proposed amendment to the floor because it deserves debate, not because he supports it -- in fact, he does not. I guess he just has the intellectual honesty to allow people to discuss the issues -- something Feingold's previous opposition to unfettered political speech proves he fears.

And what is the text of the amendment?

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman," reads the measure, which would require approval by two-thirds of Congress and three-fourths of the states.

Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.

In other words, it recognizes the cultural beliefs and practices of the overwhelming majority of Americans and makes them a part of our Constitutional system, preserving them from renegade judges imposing their will in place of the will of the people.





|| Greg, 04:55 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Times Stood by; People Died

Could the New York Times have prevented 9/11 by publishing information and material it had?

That is what is alleged in an Alternet article referenced by Attywood.

Why didn't the information make the NY Times? because Judih Miller was too busy writing a book to report what could have been the biggest story of her career.

At the time I also had had a book coming out. Steve, Bill Broad and I were co-authors of a book about biological terrorism. So we were working flat out on that book trying to meet our deadline. I was desperately trying to get my arms around this series that we were trying to do on Al Qaida. I was having a lot of trouble because the information was very hard to come by. There was a lot going on. I was also doing biological weapons stories and homeland security stories. And in Washington, if you don't have a sense of immediacy about something, and if you sense that there is bureaucratic resistance to a story, you tend to focus on areas of less resistance.

While I don't agree with all the conclusions in the articles, i cannot help but agree with this.

So this is now the third time that the timing and flow of a news article with major impact on the electorate and the American political debate was affected by journalists working on a book, and the conflict that posed with their responsibility to newspaper readers. The others are Bob Woodward's withholding of information about the CIA-Valerie Plame case he uncovered during his book research, and James Risen's warrantless wiretapping scoop, which was finally published in the Times after he finished writing a book on the same subject.

There's got to be a better system here. In theory, we think that newspaper reporters writing books is a good thing, certainly for the career of the reporter and usually for the reading public. But must the public's right-to-know be a casualty, time and time again?

That said, I'd add this -- in the case of the Risen story -- must US national security be compromised to pump -up book sales for second-rate hack rporters at once great American newspapers?






|| Greg, 04:41 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The UN Speaks

Close Gitmo, they tell us.

The United States should close its prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and avoid using secret detention facilities in its war on terror, a U.N. panel report released Friday said.

In an 11-page report on its review of U.S. adherence to the Treaty Against Torture, the committee said detainees should not be returned to any state where they could face a "real risk" of being tortured.

"The state party should cease to detain any person at Guantanamo Bay and close the detention facility," said the U.N. Committee Against Torture, a panel of 10 independent experts on adherence to the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

The United States should also ensure that no one is detained in secret detention facilities under its control and disclose the existence of any such places, the report said.

The committee said it was concerned that detainees were being held for protracted periods with insufficient legal safeguards and without judicial assessment of the justification for their detention.

The committee was also concerned about allegations that the United States has established secret prisons, where the international Red Cross does not have access to the detainees.

"The state party should ensure that no one is detained in any secret detention facility under its de facto effective control," the report said. "The state party should investigate and disclose the existence of any such facilities and the authority under which they have been established and the manner in which detainees are treated."

And we should give this matter precisely as much respect as Saddamite Iraq gave UN resolutions over the years.

Heck, we just need to repudiate the entire corrupt UN organization.





|| Greg, 04:32 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Words Mean Things

And "cigarette" means "small cigar".

How, then, could anyone argue that "little cigars" are anything other than "cigarettes"?

Forty states have asked the U.S. Treasury Department to bar tobacco companies from marketing products they say are identical to cigarettes as "little cigars," a designation the states say lets the firms evade taxes and target younger consumers.

Attorneys general from the 40 states, including Maryland, want the department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to reverse decades-old rules that permit products the size, shape and weight of cigarettes, but have brown rather than white wrappers, to be labeled as little cigars.

"If it looks like a cigarette, smokes like a cigarette and is being marketed like a cigarette, then the federal government should classify it as a cigarette," said Bill Roach, spokesman for Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, co-chairman of the National Association of Attorneys General tobacco committee. The attorneys general also said the "little cigars" appeal to young smokers because they cost less than cigarettes and come with flavorings such as chocolate and raspberry.

The "little cigar" label allows the companies to pay lower federal and state taxes, and to avoid payments and advertising restrictions required for cigarettes under the 1998 master agreement between tobacco companies and all 50 states, according to the petition for rule changes.

Personally, I find the distinction to be ludicrous, and urge that the definitions be revised and the regulatory scheme made more sensible by placing all cigars in the same category as cigarettes.

Of course, I also think that the mandatory warning labels and advertising restrictions should be dropped as antithetical to notions of liberty and freedom of speech -- for both compelled and forbidden speech are examples of government censorship.





|| Greg, 04:29 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 18, 2006

CD22 Candidate Forums (Or Is It Fora)

Chris over at Texas Safety Forum notes these two open-to-the-public candidate events in Fort Bend County as we prepare for the June 9 resignation of Tom DeLay.

The first is on May 25.

Sugar Land - The Fort Bend Republican Club and the Spirit of Freedom Republican Women's Club are pleased to co-sponsor a forum for Fort Bend voters that will feature the candidates seeking the Republican Party nomination for the Congressional District 22 position in the November election.

Congressional District 22 voters who want to learn more about the individuals seeking to represent them as the Republican nominee for CD 22 will be able to hear the candidates discuss their reasons for seeking the nomination and can learn more about the candidates as they answer questions on issues in a moderated panel format.

The forum will be held on May 25th at the Comfort Suites Conference Center, located at 4820 Techniplex Drive in Stafford, Texas (South side of Hwy 59 in Stafford). A reception will be held from 6:30 - 7:00 PM prior to the event and the forum will last from 7:00- 8:30 PM.

For information, please contact Fort Bend Republican Club President, Dean Hrbacek, at 281-240-2424.

The second is on June 8.

Republican Party of Fort Bend County Candidate’s Forum

Save the date! On June 8th the Republican Party of Fort Bend County will hold a Candidate’s Forum for candidates to the 22nd Congressional District race. Because the list of candidates is fluid right now, please forward this notice to anyone interested in the race.

The forum will be open to any Precinct Chair from Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston and Harris County and will be open to the public. Candidates will be interviewed by local media representatives.

The location will be announced soon. Candidates are encouraged to contact Gary Gillen, Chairman of the Republican Party of Fort Bend County for further details. Contact Gary at chairman@fortbendgop.org

I echo Chris in wondering if David Wallace has been personally notified and invided, since he and his staff obviously are unfamiliar with the internet and the wealth of political resources -- including blogs -- that exist on the world wide web (and which include CD22 blogs like this one).

Interestingly enough, I got a big envelope from the Wallace campaign today -- containing the candidate survey from the Harris County event, signed and dated May 8. I'm betting the "prior committment" that kept him from coming to that event was a ruse, and the real problem is that he couldn't answer the questions in a timely fashion.





|| Greg, 09:25 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Unfit For The Force

You wouldn't believe the cops this couple ran into trying to get to the freeway on the way home from an Orioles game in Baltimore.

Just call her Officer Psycho Bitch.

Baltimore City police arrested a Virginia couple over the weekend after they asked an officer for directions.

WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team reporter David Collins said Joshua Kelly and Llara Brook, of Chantilly, Va., got lost leaving an Orioles game on Saturday. Collins reported a city officer arrested them for trespassing on a public street while they were asking for directions .

"In jail for eight hours -- sleeping on a concrete floor next to a toilet," Kelly said.

"It was a nightmare," Brook said. "I was in there thinking I was just dreaming and waiting to wake up."

Collins reported it was a nightmare ending to a nearly perfect day. He said the couple went to a company picnic and watched the Orioles beat Kansas City. It was their first trip to Camden Yards and asked two people for directions to Interstate 95 South when they left.

Collins said somehow they ended up in the Cherry Hill section of south Baltimore. Hopelessly lost, relief melted away concerns after they spotted a police vehicle.

"I said, 'Thank goodness, could you please get us to 95?" Kelly said.

"The first thing that she said to us was no -- you just ran that stop sign, pull over," Brook said. "It wasn't a big deal. We'll pay the stop sign violation, but can we have directions?"

"What she said was 'You found your own way in here, you can find your own way out.'" Kelly said.

Collins said the couple spotted another police vehicle and flagged that officer down for directions. But Officer Natalie Preston, a six-year veteran of the force, intervened.

"That really threw us for a loop when she stepped in between our cars," Kelly said. "(She) said my partner is not going to step in front of me and tell you directions if I'm not."

Collins reported the circumstances got worse. Kelly pulled 40 feet forward parking next to a curb and put his flashers on while Brook was on the phone to her father hoping he could help her with directions. Both her parents are police officers in the Harrisburg, Pa., area.

"(Brook's father) was in the middle of giving us directions when the officer screeched up behind us and got out of the car and asked me to step out. I obeyed," Kelly said. "I obeyed everything -- stepped out of the car, put my hands behind my back, and the next thing I know, I was getting arrested for trespassing."

"By this time, I was completely in tears," Brook said. "I said, 'Ma'am, you know, we just need your help. We are not trying to cause you any trouble. I'm not leaving him here.' What she did was walk over to my side of the car and said, 'Ok, we are taking you downtown, too.'"

Collins said the couple was released from jail without being charged with anything. Brook is now concerned the arrest may complicate a criminal background check she's going through in her job as a child care worker.

Collins said police left Kelly's car unlocked and the windows down at the impound lot. He reported a cell phone charger, pair of sunglasses and 20 CDs were stolen.

Baltimore City police said they are looking into the incident.

Sounds to me like someone was on quite a power trip -- and the arrests sound like an abuse of authority to me. That woman needs to lose her badge.

Wanna bet that litigation commences soon?





|| Greg, 08:00 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Oil For Food Connection In US Senate?

I wonder who this could be.

The US Senate is looking into allegations that a former US senator urged Baghdad to give a US company lucrative contracts under the much-criticised United Nations oil-for-food programme.

This is the first time that a leading US lawmaker has been linked to the controversial UN programme, whose shortcomings have been an important element of the Bush administration's critique of the UN.

No name, no party, no state. I wonder why the omission?

The investigation involves one of the most vivid figures in US east coast politics, former senator Robert Torricelli, a New Jersey Democrat who was forced to pull out of the 2002 election after being "severely admonished" by the Senate ethics committee for accepting expensive gifts from David Chang, a campaign contributor. Mr Chang, a Korean-American businessman, was found guilty in 2002 of conspiring to violate federal campaign laws and was jailed for 15 months.

Oh, that explains it -- a Democrat. Bury the pertinent details as deep as possible.

I just have to ask -- French Socialists, British ultra-Lefty Galloway, and now a liberal Dem. What is it about Saddam that drew the Left to him like moths to a flame?





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

Unbelievable!

I am utterly flabbergasted by this story.

A child custody battle between a former Strongsville High School substitute teacher and her former student lover is now over.

Christine Scarlett, 39, will share custody with the father of her 2-year-old son, former Strongsville football captain Steven Bradigan.

The two had an affair when Bradigan was still a 17-year-old high school student.

Scarlett's lawyer Eric Laubacher said the two put their differences aside and did what's best for their son. He said he doesn't believe criminal charges will be filed against Scarlett.

School officials fired Scarlett when they found out about the affair.

Two questions.

First, why is this child being left in the custody of a known sex offender when the father was willing to take custody? I see no reason the judge should have accepted the arrangement.

Second, why is this sex offender not in jail – and deemed unlikely ever to be charged?

Rest assured that if this wee a male teacher and a female student, the pervert in question would be doing hard time.





|| Greg, 05:51 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Get Your Stones Ready

If these events do not happen, I’d have to argue that Pat Robertson qualifies as a false prophet.

In another in a series of notable pronouncements, religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says God told him storms and possibly a tsunami will hit America's coastline this year.

Robertson has made the predictions at least four times in the past two weeks on his news-and-talk television show "The 700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network, which he founded.

Robertson said the revelations about this year's weather came to him during his annual personal prayer retreat in January.

"If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms," Robertson said May 8. On Wednesday, he added, "There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest."

I’ll be the fat guy with the granite concession outside the Robertson residence on January 1, 2007.





|| Greg, 05:49 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Longevity, But Not Significance

It is hard to argue against the premise that Thomas Jefferson was the greatest intellect to ever occupy the White House, as well as the author of one of the most important documents in world history. And it is equally beyond dispute that without John Adams, the need for that document would have been moot, for he was the firebrand that spurred his colleagues on to declare independence. As much as George Washington, they deserve recognition as fathers of our country. And if Adams is overshadowed by the great men whose presidencies surround his, one cannot argue that his was unimportant.

In less than a week, though, a record they set will be eclipsed by Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale – that for longevity by a president and vice president from the same administration.

On Thursday, May 23rd, President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale will become the longest-living, post-administration President and Vice President in U.S. history. On that day, they will surpass President John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Adams and Jefferson lived 25 years, 122 days after the end of their administration. Both Adams and Jefferson died on July 4th, 1826.

On Thursday, President Carter and Vice President Mondale will have lived 25 years, 123 days after leaving office.

"While breaking the Adams and Jefferson record is certainly a milestone, the important thing is how President Carter and Vice President Mondale have used that time," Carter Presidential Library Director Jay Hakes said.

Sorry, Jake – I’d have to argue that the holders of the longevity title remain mediocre and insignificant, especially when compared to their esteemed predecessors. One is an apologist for terrorists and dictators, while the other is a non-entity. Compared to Adams and Jefferson, the best they can hope for is to continue to fade deeper into murky mists of insignificance.





|| Greg, 05:48 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Everyone Votes Values

Being married to a Democrat, I have to agree with George Will on this one.

An aggressively annoying new phrase in America's political lexicon is "values voters." It is used proudly by social conservatives, and carelessly by the media to denote such conservatives.

This phrase diminishes our understanding of politics. It also is arrogant on the part of social conservatives and insulting to everyone else because it implies that only social conservatives vote to advance their values and everyone else votes to . . . well, it is unclear what they supposedly think they are doing with their ballots.

My Darling Democrat has values – some of which I disagree with, others of which I simply prioritize differently. To imply that she doesn’t is condescending – and cuts off any chance of the GOP ever getting her and others who fall into the center-left to ever move our direction in terms of setting the direction of this country politically and socially. They are our family members, neighbors, co-workers and fellow church-members, and they often are not that far away from those of us in the conservative movement in terms of the values they hold dear.

After all –one’s position on civil rights is values based. So is one’s position on education. I cannot think of a single aspect of belief or ideology that is not, in the end, based upon the moral values one holds dear. The trick is often not to change the values that others hold, but to influence how they prioritize them and how they should be implemented.





|| Greg, 05:47 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why The Focus On This Weird Name?

Oh – I guess it is a “fashionable” weird name, given that it has a celebrity cachet.

Chances are you don't have any friends named Nevaeh. Chances are today's toddlers will.

In 1999, there were only eight newborn American girls named Nevaeh. Last year, it was the 70th-most-popular name for baby girls, ahead of Sara, Vanessa and Amanda.

The spectacular rise of Nevaeh (commonly pronounced nah-VAY-uh) has little precedent, name experts say. They watched it break into the top 1,000 of girls' names in 2001 at No. 266, the third-highest debut ever. Four years later it cracked the top 100 with 4,457 newborn Nevaehs, having made the fastest climb among all names in more than a century, the entire period for which the Social Security Administration has such records.

Nevaeh is not in the Bible or any religious text. It is not from a foreign language. It is not the name of a celebrity, real or fictional.
Nevaeh is Heaven spelled backward.

After years of Sheniqua, Tannikka Roshaundra, Kevandrew, Keatrick, D’John, and even a poor boy named Ducky, I don’t even blink an eye any more when I get that roll sheet on the first day of school.





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

May 17, 2006

Buh-Bye

Send this guy back to Honduras -- not only is he here illegally, but he clearly doesn't understand the American concept of freedom of speech.

An Honduran teenager arrested for stealing an anti-immigration protest sign is facing deportation after authorities discovered he was allegedly in the country illegally, authorities said.

Joel Martines, 19, was arrested last Thursday after he allegedly stole a sign being carried by an anti-immigration protester outside a 7-11 convenience store, Southampton police said.

The site is popular with day laborers, many of whom are suspected of being in the country illegally, and has lately been the scene of protests by those favoring strict enforcement of immigration laws.

In addition to being charged with the felony theft of the sign, Martines was also charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly giving police false information about his age and identity.

While in custody, officials from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency then determined that Martines allegedly entered the country illegally on Feb. 21, 2005, through Eagle Pass, Texas.

A spokeswoman for the Suffolk County District Attorney's office could not immediately say whether Martines was still in the custody of local authorities, or whether he was being processed by ICE officials.

Let's keep him here just long enough to get him the felony conviction needed to permanently bar him from US under the new Senate immigration bill. He is not needed or wanted here.





|| Greg, 08:02 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I Wondered When This Would Happen

My wife has been speculating on a secret marriage for the couple for several months – now it looks like we at least get an engagement out of the romance.

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban will tie the knot, the country music star's publicist has confirmed.

"They are very happily engaged," said publicist Paul Freundlich. He declined to discuss details of their wedding plans, and Kidman's publicist did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday.

The Oscar-winning actress broke the news to People magazine Monday after hosting a weekend gala event in New York.

"He's actually my fiance. I wouldn't be bringing my boyfriend," the magazine quoted her as saying in a story posted on its Web site.

No date yet, so I guess I will keep hearing about this one.





|| Greg, 06:00 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Human Rights And Islam – Incompatible

At least according to Muslims.

Dozens of academics, policy-makers and others are meeting in Malaysia this week to discuss "human rights in Islam" at a time when Muslims' tolerance levels have come under scrutiny as a result of the Mohammed cartoon ruckus.

Many Muslim scholars promote an "Islamic view" of human rights, even though their countries -- as U.N. member states -- are expected to support the objectives of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

In 1990, the world's Islamic countries signed a document called the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, which asserts that all rights and freedoms must be subject to Islamic law (shari'a).

Since the furor over the satirical Mohammed cartoons erupted, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a grouping of more than 50 Muslim states, has led calls for defamation of religion and "prophets" to be outlawed.

The row has highlighted different perceptions of free speech, and human rights in general, in the Islamic and Western worlds.

Participants at the meeting in Kuala Lumpur have been discussing these issues, and some suggested that it was time Muslims were more open about the inconsistencies between the two worldviews on rights.

If [human rights] are contradictory with Islamic law, we have to say 'no,' " said Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, a minister in the department of the Malaysian prime minister.

These are not my words, they are the words of Muslim leaders – human rights that conflict with Islamic law must be rejected.

Is there a place for such an ideology in the civilized world?





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

Steve White Fired

Remember the goofball teacher who showed profane political rants to students? Well, he has been fired.

Steve White, a political candidate and eighth grade teacher, was dismissed from his position late Tuesday night after an investigation found he showed videos with sex acts, nudity and other obscene images to students.

“I think the evidence was clear,� said Dr. Barry Carroll, superintendent of Limestone County Schools, who recommended the Board of Education cancel White’s contract following the hearing.

During a two-week-long investigation in April, Carroll said pornographic material was found in White’s computer and administrators determined that White was showing videos rather than teaching science in his class at West Limestone High School.

White was placed on paid administrative leave April 7. Some of the students who were interviewed following the allegations on April 10 testified during Tuesday night’s hearing.

* * *
In a copy of the letter Carroll sent White on April 24 informing him of his intention to recommend canceling his contract, Carroll listed reasons for termination as “incompetency, insubordination, neglect of duty, immorality and failure to perform duties in a satisfactory manner or other good and just cause.�

Here is the list of reasons Carroll gave White in the letter:

1. Mr. White lets students watch videos and computer images in his classroom rather than engage in teaching;

2. Mr. White shows videos and computer images to his students which are inappropriate to be shown at school and inappropriate for the age of the students.

3. Mr. White has shown students in his class videos and computer images with sexual themes.

4. Mr. White has shown students in his class computer images purporting to show a former president and his wife engaged in sexual activity;

5. Mr. White has shown members of his class computer and video images showing an older lady answering questions relating to sex and other subjects using profanity. (Editor’s note: According to a student, these were clips of The Fruitcake Lady, a character shown on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.)

6. Mr. White has shown students in his class a computer image of a girl exposing her breast;

7. Rather than teach science, Mr. White shows students videos and computer images;

8. In violation of school board policy IFBG-A., Mr. White has used his computer to access Internet sites or programs which are offensive and otherwise not suitable or proper for use in the Limestone County School system;

9. Mr. White, in violation of school board policy, has pornographic images on his computer;

10. Mr. White has shown students computer images of a girl with a can of beer and a cigarette.

It is unclear to me precisely which charges wee determined to be true in the hearing, which White requested be closed to the public. His attorney indicates that there will be an appeal.





|| Greg, 05:57 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Duke Lynching

It seems like some in the black community won't be happy until white boys are punished for rape at Duke -- guilty or not, and whether or not there really was a rape at all.

The worst thing said in the case involving rape charges against Duke University students was not said by either the prosecutor or the defense attorneys, or even by any of the accusers or the accused. It was said by a student at North Carolina Central University, a black institution attended by the stripper who made rape charges against Duke lacrosse players.

According to Newsweek, the young man at NCCU said that he wanted to see the Duke students prosecuted, "whether it happened or not. It would be justice for things that happened in the past."

Demanding that someone pay for a crime, regardless of actual guilt, is reprehensible. . If such attitudes are common sentiment in the black community, it appears there is a bigger issue than whether or not this woman was raped and who did it. Rather, there is the issue of our moving further and further away from the concept that individuals should be judged based on their character as demonstrated by their deeds.

Do we really want judgments made based upon skin color? Do we really want to bring back the bad old days?





|| Greg, 05:47 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

FISA Judges Knew Of Telephone Surveillance

Want to bet this ever-so-significant detail changes nothing for those with Bush Derangement Syndrome?

Two judges on the secretive court that approves warrants for intelligence surveillance were told of the broad monitoring programs that have raised recent controversy, a Republican senator said Tuesday, connecting a court to knowledge of the collecting of millions of phone records for the first time.

President Bush, meanwhile, insisted the government does not listen in on domestic telephone conversations among ordinary Americans. But he declined to specifically discuss the compiling of phone records, or whether that would amount to an invasion of privacy.

USA Today reported last week that three of the four major telephone companies had provided information about millions of Americans' calls to the National Security Agency. However, Verizon Communications Inc. denied on Tuesday that it had been asked by the agency for customer information, one day after BellSouth said the same thing.

Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said that at least two of the chief judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had been informed since 2001 of White House-approved National Security Agency monitoring operations.

"None raised any objections, as far as I know," said Hatch, a member of a special Intelligence Committee panel appointed to oversee the NSA's work.

So the FISA court was in on this from the beginning. That should be enough to lay to rest the "illegal spying meme" -- if truth is a consideration for those propagating it.

But, as we have seen time and again, truth is not a factor for those seeking to undermine Bush by undermining the war against jihadi Muslims.





|| Greg, 04:34 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Pentagon Attack Tapes Released.

For those with doubts, they can be viewed here.

Video showing a plane crashing into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, was released publicly for the first time Tuesday, a judicial watchdog group said.

The Justice Department has handed over tapes showing American Airlines Flight 77 striking the building outside Washington to Judicial Watch, a public interest group that requested the video, the group said.

The video is available on the group's Web site, according to a news release from Judicial Watch.

I won't watch them -- I have no doubts, and I know that inside one of those offices destroyed on the tape was a college classmate. I need not see his death.





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

Slate And The Bible

What happens when you take a non-observant Jew writing for a liberal media outlet and you add a sudden insight that he doesn't know the holy book of his childhood nearly as well as he thought he did? You get a potentially interesting series of articles.

Like many lax but well-educated Jews (and Christians), I have long assumed I knew what was in the Bible—more or less. I read parts of the Torah as a child in Hebrew school, then attended a rigorous Christian high school where I had to study the Old and New Testaments. Many of the highlights stuck in my head—Adam and Eve, Cain vs., Abel, Jacob vs. Esau, Jonah vs. whale, 40 days and nights, 10 plagues and Commandments, 12 tribes and apostles, Red Sea walked under, Galilee Sea walked on, bush into fire, rock into water, water into wine. And, of course, I absorbed other bits of Bible everywhere—from stories I heard in churches and synagogues, movies and TV shows, tidbits my parents and teachers told me. All this left me with a general sense that I knew the Good Book well enough, and that it was a font of crackling stories, Jewish heroes, and moral lessons.

So, the tale of Dinah unsettled me, to say the least. If this story was strutting cheerfully through the back half of Genesis, what else had I forgotten or never learned? I decided I would, for the first time as an adult, read the Bible. And I would blog about it as I went along. For the millions of Jews and Christians who know the Bible intimately, this may seem obscene: Why should an ignoramus write about the stories and lessons that you know by heart and understand well? I don't intend any kind of insult. My goal is not to find contradictions, mock impossible events, or scoff at hypocrisy. Nor am I quite stupid enough to pretend that Judaism (or Christianity) is just the Bible. Jews are not only the People of the Book but the People of Many Books. There is the rest of the Hebrew Bible—the Prophets and Writings, the vast commentary of the Talmud, the stories of the midrashim, and thousands and thousands of years of other law and story and commentary. This 4,000years' worth of delving and discussion is totally unfamiliar to me—I can't hope to compete with its wisdom. Nor is there any shortage of modern advice on how to read the Bible. (Just look up "How to read the Bible" on Amazon.) There are experts to tell you why the Bible is literally true, others to advise you how to analyze it as history, and still others to help you read it as literature. You can learn how to approach it as a Jew, a Catholic, an evangelical Protestant, a feminist, a lawyer, a teenager.

So, what can I possibly do? My goal is pretty simple. I want to find out what happens when an ignorant person actually reads the book on which his religion is based. I think I'm in the same position as many other lazy but faithful people (Christians, Jews, Moslems, Hindus). I love Judaism; I love (most of) the lessons it has taught me about how to live in the world; and yet I realized I am fundamentally ignorant about its foundation, its essential document. So, what will happen if I approach my Bible empty, unmediated by teachers or rabbis or parents? What will delight and horrify me? How will the Bible relate to the religion I practice, and the lessons I thought I learned in synagogue and Hebrew School?

I'll spend the next few weeks (or months) finding out. I'll begin with "in the beginning" and see how far I get. My wife, struck by my new biblical obsession, gave me a wonderful Torah translation and commentary for Hannukah, the Etz Hayim, which was prepared by conservative Jewish scholars. I'll read that and dip into the King James and other translations on occasion. (But I'll avoid most commentary, since the whole point is to read the Bible fresh.) I'm sure I'll repeat obvious points made by thousands of biblical commentators before; I'll misunderstand some passages and distort others—hey, that'll be part of the fun. I hope you'll tell me how I've screwed up by e-mailing me at plotzd@slate.com.

I have to wish David Plotz good luck -- and point out to him that there are those who spend a lifetime studying scripture yet continue to find new aspects to it. It is sort of like any relationship -- if it does not remain fresh, the relationship dies. So it is with the most important of texts.

Plotz makes a good start with an examination of the Creation narratives.





|| Greg, 04:21 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

50 Ways To Kill A Blog

You just step out the back, Jack;
Make a new Plan, Stan..."

Oh, I'm sorry -- that's 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.

I guess I have just one way to kill a blog to talk about today -- and that is the course of action taken by Polipundit regarding co-blogger Lorie Byrd.

So far, I’ve allowed the guest bloggers here to write pretty much what they pleased about all issues, including illegal immigration.

But on the illegal immigration issue, I now find myself having to contend with at least three out of four guest bloggers who will reflexively try to poke holes in any argument I make.

Suppose three out of four columnists at the Old York Times were pro-Republican. You can bet publisher “Pinch” Sulzberger would do something about that right quick.

Suppose a Bush administration official came out openly against amnesty. The Bushies would show him the door.

Similarly, the writers at PoliPundit.com need to respect the editorial position of PoliPundit.com on the most important issue to this blog, as the “publisher” sees it - illegal immigration.

We will discuss amongst ourselves what that means, and how we can best achieve it. Once we have come to a resolution, we will make it public.

Sounds to me like the resolution has been made -- conform or die, conscience be damned. Never mind that the very ideological conformity Polipundit has demanded is a part of what has taken the New York Times (his example) from the status of "paper of record" to bird-cage liner.

Demanding ideological conformity on a particular issue is a sure path to disaster -- unless you want to be regarded as a one-trick pony devoting a blog to a single issue.

I hope that Polipundit reconsiders this misguided course of action before he damages the viability of his blog -- if he has not done so already.





|| Greg, 04:08 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 16, 2006

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are White House Rules by Done With Mirrors, and Republicans and the Flight of Opportunity by Cato Unbound

Here is where you can access the full results of the vote.





|| Greg, 05:31 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Oh. My. God.

I do not believe that this could be written by any supposedly responsible member of the press, much less make it past one of the supposedly “racially sensitive” editors in our modern newswooms. I’ve bold-faced the slur, just to make the point.

Still, Powell rose higher than almost any black Republican by making the party faithful comfortable with his non-threatening and non-demanding presence on racial issues. Powell flamed out after his ego no longer allowed him to be an unquestioning spearchucker in Mr. Bush's war.

The use of the slur was intentional and done with malice aforethought. What is more, both the author and the ombudsman defend the use of such racist language directed at conservative and Republican African-Americans. I guess when you are black and writing for a second-rate waste of wood pulp, journalistic standards and basic civility are inapplicable.

Contrast this incident with the response to a slip-of-the-tongue incident in St. Louis recently.

A St. Louis radio station wasted no time firing a talk show host for using a racial epithet to describe Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on his morning show Wednesday.

KTRS president and general manager Tim Dorsey came on the air to announce the firing shortly after talk show host Dave Lenihan used the word "coon," a racial slur, instead of "coup" in describing her attributes for the post of NFL commissioner.

Dorsey and Lenihan both called the use of the word a "slip of the tongue," but Dorsey said the utterance was nonetheless "unacceptable, reprehensible and unforgivable."

Prior to the utterance, Lenihan was heaping praise on Rice, a big football fan, who has frequently said she aspires to run the league one day. But as recently as Wednesday, Rice ruled out applying for the job of NFL commissioner after Paul Tagliabue retires.

After taking several calls from listeners, Lenihan offered this on the air:
"She's been chancellor of Stanford. She's got the patent resume of somebody that has serious skill. She loves football. She's African-American, which would kind of be a big coon. A big coon. Oh my God. I am totally, totally, totally, totally, totally sorry for that.

I guess it is just another example of the double standards that inhabit American broadcast and print media today – only some have to be racially sensitive, and only some are entitled to racial sensitivity.

(H/T – Opinion Journal)





|| Greg, 04:49 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bomb Venezuela

Rather than allow this rogue regime to sell American-made fighters to the Iranians, we need a surgical strike to destroy the aircraft.

Venezuela's military is considering selling its fleet of U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to another country, possibly Iran, in response to a U.S. ban on arms sales to President Hugo Chavez's government, an official said Tuesday.

Gen. Alberto Muller, a senior adviser to Chavez, told The Associated Press he had recommended to the defense minister that Venezuela consider selling the 21 jets to another country.

Muller said he thought it was worthwhile to consider "the feasibility of a negotiation with Iran for the sale of those planes."

Even before the United States announced the ban on arms sales Monday, Washington had stopped selling Venezuela sensitive upgrades for the F-16s.

Muller said officials have been considering options for replacing the F-16s for some time. He said the military was considering Russian Su-35 jet fighters, "which is the best jet fighter there is in the world right now."

Chavez has previously warned he could share the U.S.-made F-16s with Cuba and China _ and look into buying new jets from Russia or China _ because he said Washington was not supplying parts for the planes as agreed.

U.S. officials disputed that accusation, saying they were living up to their commitments under the deal. They said Venezuela is bound under the 1982 contract to consult with Washington before transferring any F-16s to another country.

"The recommendation that I'm making to the minister, and which I will make to the president at the appropriate time, is that the (F-16s) be sold to a third party because if they aren't complying with their part of the agreement, we don't have any obligation to comply with our part," Muller told the AP.

The sale of these planes to Iran on the eve of that country obtaining nuclear weapons is a risk we cannot and must not take.





|| Greg, 04:46 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Churchill Investigation Results

Ward Churchill has been unanimously determined to have engaged in serious academic misconduct.

Findings The conclusions of the investigative committee that examined seven allegations of research misconduct against University of Colorado ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill:

Charge A: That Churchill misrepresented the General Allotment Act of 1887 in his writings by incorrectly writing that it created a "blood quantum" standard that allowed tribes to admit members only if they had at least half native blood.
Finding: Falsification, failure to comply with established standards regarding author names on publications.

Charge B: That Churchill misrepresented the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 by incorrectly writing that the act imposed a "blood quantum" requiring artists to prove they were one-quarter Indian by blood.
Finding: Falsification, failure to comply with established standards regarding author names on publications.

Charge C: That Churchill incorrectly claimed there was "some pretty strong circumstantial evidence" that Capt. John Smith introduced smallpox among the Wampanoag Indians between 1614-1618.
Finding: Falsification and fabrication.

Charge D: That in several writings Churchill falsely accused the U.S. Army of committing genocide by distributing blankets infested with smallpox to Mandan Indians in the Upper Missouri River Valley in 1837.
Finding: Falsification, fabrication, failure to comply with established standards regarding author names on publications, and serious deviation from accepted practices in reporting results from research. The committee also found that Churchill was "disrespectful of Indian oral tradition."

Charge E: That Churchill claimed as his own work a 1972 pamphlet about a water-diversion scheme in Canada titled "The Water Plot." The work actually was written by a now-defunct environmental group, "Dam the Dams."
Finding: Plagiarism.

Charge F: That Churchill plagiarized part of an essay written by Rebecca L. Robbins in a book he published in 1993.
Finding: No misconduct

Charge G: That Churchill plagiarized the writings of Canadian professor Fay G. Cohen in a 1992 essay.
Finding: Plagiarism.

While three of the panel members believe that the misconduct rises to the level at which termination might be justified, the panel offered a 4-1 recommendation in favor of a 5-year suspension. I would argue that such a suspension is insufficient, and that the higher penalty must be invoked in order to establish the seriousness of the misconduct and the importance of intellectual and academic honesty in the context of academic freedom.

I would also note that the charges in question have NOTHING to do with the inflammatory statements made regarding the victims of the 9/11 terrorist acts – they have to do with serious violations of scholarly standards and ethics. That is as it should be.





|| Greg, 04:42 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

She’s Coming To America

As noted over the weekend, human rights crusader Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been under harassment from her political opponents who would prefer to rid the Netherlands of an inconvenient opponent of Islamism rather than the jihadi Muslim scourge itself.

A Somali-born member of Parliament who became an internationally known opponent of some violent types of Islam said Tuesday she will resign and leave Holland after the government said she was improperly granted citizenship.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been under police protection since a film she wrote criticizing the treatment of women under Islam provoked the murder of its director, Theo van Gogh, by an Islamic radical.

Hirsi Ali said she had made the decision to resign Monday night, after Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk told her "she would strip me of my Dutch citizenship."

"I am therefore preparing to leave Holland," Hirsi Ali told reporters in The Hague.

Hirsi Ali has acknowledged that she lied on an asylum application in 1992. But after a television program again reported on the matter last week, Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk ruled Monday that her naturalization had been improperly granted.

Hirsi Ali was placed under guard after Van Gogh's murderer left a note threatening her was pinned on the filmmaker's corpse with a knife.

Hirsi Ali will likely be taking a position with the American Enterprise Institute, beginning in September. This could be an interesting mix.

Leon de Winter, an English-language blogger for the conservative German daily Die Welt, said, "She rocks the boat. As a member of the Dutch parliament for the liberal party she scares the insipid appeasers of the centre-left who'd like nothing better than to ignore what she has to say. What the racist right think of her is perhaps best left unsaid."

The report that Ali would join AEI was "premature," he added.

The Dutch media reaction to her prospective exile to America has been mixed, according to Expatica.com. Some political allies have expressed regret, while a spokesman for a Dutch Muslim group said her departure would contribute to religious understanding. An AEI spokesman cited a blanket policy of not commenting on personnel decisions.

In light of her loss of citizenship in the dhimmified Dutch nation, I again call upon American authorities to act to grant her immediate American citizenship in recognition of her activities on behalf of human rights.


UPDATE: The Washington Post has a later write-up that is none-too-friendly to Hirsi Ali.





|| Greg, 03:32 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Bush Plan On Illegal Immigration.

Suffice it to say that virtually no one is happy with the proposal put forward in last night's speech by the President last night.

President Bush said last night that he will dispatch 6,000 National Guard troops starting next month to help secure the porous U.S.-Mexican border, calling on a divided Congress and country to find "a rational middle ground" on immigration that includes providing millions of illegal workers a new route to citizenship.

"We do not yet have full control of the border, and I am determined to change that," Bush said. He also called on Congress to end the U.S. practice of releasing into the country tens of thousands of people caught illegally crossing the southern border because officials lack the jail space or legal authority to detain them or send them home. He said every foreign worker should be required to hold a high-tech, tamper-proof identification card so U.S. companies could determine whether their employees are legal.

Unfortunately, this plan is flawed. The troops deployed to the border region are there for purposes of pushing paper, not stopping the flow of foreign invaders into the southwerstern part of the United States. Rather than stopping incursions by Mexican troops bringing illegal people and illegal drugs across the border, they will be filling out forms, processing paperwork, and answering phones.

In a rare prime-time speech from the Oval Office, Bush said the nation must move immediately to stanch the flow of illegal immigrants from its southern border by sending in the National Guard to free up U.S. Border Patrol agents in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. The Guard troops will provide intelligence, surveillance and logistical assistance over the next two years -- not armed law enforcement.

It contains what amounts to an amnesty plan, in the form of a guest worker program and a "head of the line" citizenship program that puts the lawbreakers ahead of the law abiding.

We are a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws. We are also a nation of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition, which has strengthened our country in so many ways. These are not contradictory goals -- America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time. We will fix the problems created by illegal immigration, and we will deliver a system that is secure, orderly, and fair.

Unfortunately, what he is saying is that this "mation of laws" is going to allow those who broke the law to keep the major booty of their illegal activity -- life in the United States and eventual citizenship.

But let's face it -- there is no chance of the hard-line proposal of the House of Representatives being passed and signed. Doing nothing will result in more disaster at the border. Ands a plan that does impose meaningful border controls is better than the status quo. I therefore have to agree with Dafydd over at Big Lizards.

So that's it; if the anti-immigrant side of the GOP -- fair or not, that is the impression they leave -- persists in this folly, the idea that we can round up and deport eleven million people, and that we can just seal off the border and keep all the foreigners out, then bid adieu to the House, the Senate, and the White House, and gird yourself for twenty years of absolute hell on Earth. Because if we blow this, then that's how long the Republicans will have to wander in the wilderness until we're back in power.

Twenty years of socialist misery. Twenty years of staggering tax increases. Twenty years of racial preference poured down our throats with a gasoline funnel. Twenty years of imperialist judges nullifying elections and ruling by decree.

Twenty years of increasingly savage terrorist attacks; America will be Israel under Barak.

But at least, thank God, we will have stuck to our guns and refused to compromise in any way, shape, form, manner, style, jot, or tittle.

For the love of God, people... compromise means you must give a little. There is a middle ground. And if I'm wrong, if there is not, then we are all lost -- because John's side does not have the support of the American people and will never win.

Here are our choices:

1. We settle on a reasonable compromise bill that includes both border enforcement and also immigration reform, a guest-worker program, and some eventual normalization; and we try to make it the best bill we can, given those constraints; or...

2. We rend the party, the Democrats win, and then you'll find out what "amnesty" and "open borders" really mean. And minor things like the entire war on jihadi terrorism will trampled underfoot by the Democratic thugs who seize control of our country.

And all for the want of the simple art of giving a little to get a lot.

Think. Think. Think two times, three times... and don't throw away this magnificent opportunity -- just because you only get three-quarters of a loaf instead of the whole bloody thing on a golden plate.

I'd rather have a plan proposed by President Tancredo -- but if the best we can do is a plan by President Bush, I'll take it, because it is a damn site better than what we will eventually get from President Hillary Clinton, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.





|| Greg, 04:43 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Leftist Quandry

The President wants to use the military to help the border patrol.

How much longer until we see this sort of Left-Wing lunacy?

bringthemnodont.jpg

Oh -- the ACLU is already there, according to Stop the ACLU.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director:

“Turning immigration enforcement policy into another military operation is not the answer. The president’s proposed deployment of National Guard troops violates the spirit of the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the military from getting into the business of civilian law enforcement.

US out of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California NOW!





|| Greg, 04:15 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 15, 2006

“Their Only Biological Parent”?

I’d love to know how this was accomplished. Did Michale Jackson’s millions pay for some scientific breakthrough that has not been disclosed to the world?

As things stand today, Jackson is supposed to be in New York in one week to answer a wide range of questions about his parenthood.

You may recall that his two eldest children, Prince and Paris, were born to Rowe during their brief marriage. The children have been told by Jackson that they don’t have a mother, yet Rowe — as I revealed here last year — is their only biological parent.

Neat trick, if it is true.





|| Greg, 03:38 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Loss Of A Legend

I had the privilege of attending a lecture given by Jaroslav Pelikan on the early fathers of the Church many years ago, while I was a student in the seminary. I was fascinated by the breadth of his knowledge and the depth of his insight.

And then I got to fix drinks for him and the rest of the audience in my capacity as a bartender at the conference center at the seminary. Professor Pelikan was a delightful, friendly old man who made a point of asking the two of us tending bar how we had enjoyed the lecture – and tipped generously.

Yale professor Jaroslav Pelikan, one of the world's foremost scholars of the history of Christianity, has died of lung cancer, his son said Monday. He was 82.

Pelikan wrote more than 30 books, using sources in nine languages and dealing with literary and musical as well as doctrinal aspects of religion.

"For a man as talented and accomplished as he was, he was also exceptionally kind and genuinely humble," said his son, Michael. "The more he learned, the more amazed he was by how much he did not know."

Pelikan died Saturday at his home in Hamden, his son said.

A Lutheran convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, Pelikan was a former president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

His works include the acclaimed five-volume text, "The Christian Tradition," which followed the story of Christianity from its origins to modern times.

Pelikan's "Whose Bible Is It?", published in 2005, explored how people of different faiths interpret the Bible. He said language and cultural differences led to varying interpretations of the Scripture.

His conclusion, he said in an interview with National Public Radio last year, was that, "Christians and Jews need each other in an effort to understand the sacred text they share."

It is sad to see such a great intellectual light has gone out – but I rejoice in the certainty that Pelikan stands in the presence of the God who he contemplated so deeply during his earthly life.





|| Greg, 03:36 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

No Deal For Vandal Prof

I’m glad this malignant witch is being made an example of by the authorities.

Six Northern Kentucky University students could see charges of dismantling an anti-abortion display dismissed if they complete community service under a deal offered by prosecutors.

But prosecutors didn't offer that deal to Sally Jacobsen, the NKU literature professor involved in the April 12 incident.

Jacobsen is charged with criminal solicitation. Police said she encouraged students in one of her classes to destroy the display, which consisted of rows of about 400 white crosses. Jacobsen and the six students also were charged with criminal mischief and theft by unlawful taking.

A student Right to Life group put up the display, saying it represented aborted fetuses.

Jacobsen's attorney, Margo Grubbs, entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf Thursday in Campbell District Court, and a new court date was set for May 23.
The six students appeared before District Judge Karen Thomas but did not enter pleas. Thomas said charges would be dismissed if they completed a diversion program, which typically consists of community service.

Assistant County Attorney Rick Woeste said that based on the evidence so far, Jacobsen played a different role because she was the teacher.

Jacobsen abused her role as a teacher – she merits different treatment than her students.





|| Greg, 03:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Corruption In Chicago

You don't mean to tell me that the much-vaunted Democrat machine of my youth is still pulling the strings, taking kickbacks and giving out patronage jobs in the city run by Boss Daley's son, do you?

When Mary Jo Falcon started work as personnel director in the Chicago Sewers Department in 1994, she picked up some stern advice from her predecessor, who told Falcon that her real boss worked in a faraway office in City Hall.

The powerful man was Robert Sorich, and she could expect instructions from him on whom to hire, Falcon was told, according to court documents describing the scene. But his name was never to be penned on any documents. If questioned, she was to "deny everything. Deny, deny, deny."

Sorich, who worked in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, was Mayor Richard M. Daley's patronage chief until a federal grand jury indicted him last year on charges of rigging city hiring to favor campaign workers and others with notable political connections. In court this week, he will be fighting for his own reputation and, in a way, his boss's.

Prosecutors aim to persuade 12 jurors that Sorich and his associates made sure their favorites, whatever their qualifications, got secure jobs as building inspectors and bricklayers, tree trimmers and truck drivers, in a city heavily perfumed with government corruption.

That Sorich's office was right down the hall from the famously micromanaging mayor's is the tantalizing subtext of a case expected to open a window onto the way business is conducted in Daley's City Hall.

Prosecutors are not saying whether they think Daley is pulling levers behind the curtain. The five-term Democratic mayor has been questioned, but not implicated and not charged. His public response: "I don't play any role in hiring; no, I don't. I never have."

Not that Illinois politics have ever been clean -- rewarding political allies with public largesse is an old custom. And I'll be honest about it, my grandfather's connections to Democrat Senator Paul Douglas was the key to my grandmother scoring college scholarship for all four of her children back in the in the early 1950s. Those party ties also explain how my grandfather managed to score a plum job as a state policeman in the late 1930s, at a time when the department was noted as much for its patronage as for its professionalism.

Not, of course, that the GOP hasn't been involved in such shennanigans as well -- former Gov. George Ryan was recently convicted of using his office for personal gain.

This could be interesting -- showing once again that the more things change the more they stay the same.





|| Greg, 04:44 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Who Was Columbus?

There isn't enough DNA in supposed Seville remains to do research, and the Dominicans refuse to grant access to alleged remains in the New World. That means that we may never be able to figure out conclusively where the bones of Christopher Columbus really rest today.

But more than that, will we ever figure out who the "discoverer of America" really was? What were his roots, which have been clouded in mystery for centuries?

He gave new meaning to the phrase "world-class celebrity," but like Garbo, Christopher Columbus had little interest in talking about himself and dismissed queries about his origins with a rhetorical shrug: " Vine de nada" -- "I came from nothing."

It was never enough. For centuries, scholars have wondered about this enigmatic mariner whose compulsion to travel east by traveling west altered the course of Western civilization and effectively ended the Middle Ages.

He may have been born in Genoa, but he wrote in indifferent Latin or in good Spanish -- never in Italian. He had French connections, married a Portuguese woman, may have been Jewish, may have lived in Catalonia and died May 20, 500 years ago this week, in the Spanish city of Valladolid.

To commemorate this event, researchers led by Spanish forensic pathologist Jos� Antonio Lorente Acosta are comparing the DNA of Columbus's illegitimate son, Fernando, with DNA from hundreds of possible Columbus descendants in at least three countries.

The goal is to determine once and for all whether Columbus, as traditionalists hold, was the son of Genoese wool weaver Domenico Colombo, or was instead a Spaniard named Colon; or a Catalan Colom, from Barcelona; or a French Coulom or Colomb; or perhaps Corsican or Mallorcan.

"We'll get something, but it will be complicated," Lorente said in a telephone interview from his University of Granada office. "The trick is to differentiate between the Columbuses from different places -- and there's no guarantee."

The likely result? That is a good question, as there are plausible narratives to explain any of the above -- or some combination.

Or perhaps we will have to live with the mystery.





|| Greg, 04:31 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 14, 2006

Anti-Semitism In British Higher Education

Looks like the Israel-bashers are at it again, holding Jews to a higher standard than that to which they hold Muslims.

Britain's biggest union for college and university teachers plans to ask its 67,000 members to consider boycotting Israeli lecturers who do not publicly dissociate themselves from what it called Israel's "apartheid policies."

The language is from a resolution to be put before the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education at its annual conference in Blackpool from May 27 to 29.

The move has reopened a fiery debate that seized another college union, the Association of University Teachers, last year. In response to appeals from 60 Palestinian organizations, the Association of University Teachers voted in April 2005 to boycott two Israeli universities, saying it would bar faculty members from Haifa and Bar-Ilan Universities from taking part in academic conferences or research with British colleagues.

Less than a month later, the association voted to overturn the boycott when numerous advocates, including a group of Nobel laureates, argued that university campuses in Israel enjoyed vigorous political debate and were not the most appropriate institutions to boycott.

This year, however, the Association of University Teachers, with 40,000 members, plans to merge with the larger National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education, just after its conference in Blackpool. The contentious resolution is one of two relating directly to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

So if you are an Israeli Jew, these edu-Nazis want to make you submit to a political litmus test as a condition of allowing you to work or study in the UK. Such requirements are not imposed upon the citizens of the world's most oppressive dictatorships -- Red China, Cuba, North Korea -- but will be imposed upon the citizens of the only Western-style democracy in the Middle East.

Furthermore, this is only one of two resolutions being considered by the group.

The first, concerning Hamas's victory in Palestinian elections, enjoins British academics "to continue to help protect and support Palestinian colleges and universities in the face of the continual attacks by Israel's government" and to "contact the Palestinian Authority government to reaffirm that support."

That resolution accuses Britain of displaying "outrageous bias" against Hamas.

The European Union, the United States and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist organization with which they refuse to have dealings, especially so long as it declines to recognize Israel and renounce violence.

In other words, the group wants to go on record in support of Hamas and the Terrorstinians, who continue to conduct a campaign of murder against innocent civilians. Not only will there be no requirement that Muslims denounce Islamic terror around the globe, but the group willcondemn those who oppose the perpetrators of terror attacks! At the same time, though, any Israeli attempt to safeguard itself and its citizens is to be decried as illegitimate.

In the event this resolution passes, the United States needs to implement a policy of denying visas to all members of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education "who do not publicly dissociate themselves from" the group's anti-Semitic, pro-terrorist policies.

After all, what's good for the Israeli goose is good for the British gander.





|| Greg, 11:26 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Non-Hateful Muslim Literature

Now I am no advocate of censorship, but I do wonder what Australian censors would consider to be inciting violence if these books do not meet the criteria of that nation's anti-terrorism laws.

One of the books, Defence of the Muslim Lands, carried an endorsement from Osama bin Laden on its back cover and promoted "wiring up one's body" with explosives for "martyrdom or self-sacrifice operations".

The Criminal West, written by Australian Muslim Omar Hassan, claimed to be called Australian was something to be ashamed of and Western culture is the culture of wolves, injustice and racism.

It also claims Australian police are rapists who bash young boys and spoke of a conspiracy involving politicians to turn young Muslims into drug addicts.

The Ideological Attack claims there was a barbaric onslaught against Muslims by Jews, Christians and atheists.

Again, these are all books that the Australian government has said are just hunky-dory under its anti-terrorism law and other statutes which ban books promoting hatred and violence.

On the other hand, it is illegal in Australia to quote the Koran to prove that Islam is a religion which promotes hatred of Christians and Jews, and which is promotes violence against non-Muslims -- and Christians have been convicted for doing so.





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

Chinese Commies Continue Anti-Catholic Campaign

Once again, the atheist Red Chinese choose confrontation over reconciliation with the legitimate authorities of the Catholic Church.

China's state-approved Catholic Church welcomed the installation Sunday of another bishop who was not approved by the pope, exacerbating the strain in Beijing's relations with the Vatican.

Bishop Zhan Silu, also known as Vincent Zhan, celebrated Mass for 500 Catholics and officials in a church in the southern city of Ningde to mark his formal appointment as head of the Mindong diocese. Hong Kong Cable TV showed Zhan holding a gold staff and wearing the pointed hat, or miter, used by bishops.

The welcoming ceremony compounded tensions in Vatican-China relations. Just a few months ago, Catholics had expressed hope that back-channel communications and concessions by the Vatican would end a rift between Rome and a separate Chinese church set up by the Communist government a half-century ago.

In recent weeks, China's state-approved Catholic hierarchy ordained two other bishops without papal assent, drawing a threat of excommunication from the Vatican and aggravating the split.

"They had to know that this would cause a serious reaction, a breakdown in the efforts to normalization," Richard Madsen, an expert on China-Vatican ties at the University of California at San Diego, said of the ordinations. "This shows at some level, they just didn't want relations to go forward."

In the fallout, the Vatican put on hold a review of Zhan's appointment that could have led to his approval by Pope Benedict XVI, a church official in Hong Kong said on condition of anonymity because of his involvement in the Rome-China dialogue.

Seems to me that the butchers in Beijing don't want to be seen as allowing too much religious freedom to the ever growing Christian population of China, so they are intentionally weakening relations with the Vatican -- relations that had been leading to Vatican acceptance of many officially sponsored episopal candidates.

For more on the status of Chinese Catholics loyal to the Vatican, click here.

UPDATE: More on this story here.



» Current Affairs links with: China: do they know what Human Rights are?



|| Greg, 10:41 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

More Democrat Corruption

I doubt we'll be hearing the name Abramoff prominently from the Democrats this year. That is because any attempt to accuse the GOP of systemic corruption will only lead back to the ethical cess-pool that is the Democrat Party. Take this senior Democrat.

Starting in the 1990s, Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.) chose an unusual way to funnel federal funds into his poverty-ridden district. He set up a network of nonprofit organizations to administer the millions of dollars he directed to such public endeavors as high-tech research and historic preservation.

Over the same period, Mollohan's personal fortunes soared. From 2000 to 2004, his assets grew from no more than $565,000 to at least $6.3 million. The partners in his rapidly expanding real estate empire included the head of one of these nonprofit groups and the owner of a local company for which he arranged substantial federal aid.

Mollohan used his seat on the House Appropriations Committee to secure more than $150 million for five nonprofit groups. One of the groups is headed by a former aide with whom Mollohan bought $2 million worth of property on Bald Head Island, N.C.

Controversy over this blending of commerce and legislation has triggered a federal probe, cost Mollohan his position on the House ethics committee and undermined the Democrats' effort to portray the GOP as the party of corruption because of the Jack Abramoff scandal. As early as today, the 12-term congressman will admit that he misstated some transactions in his congressional filings, according to Mollohan staffers.

"Mollohan has earmarked tens of millions of dollars to groups associated with his own business partners. That immediately raises the question whether these funds were allocated to promote the public good or to promote his interests and the interests of his partners," said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative watchdog group. "He also got very rich very quick, and that suggests a relationship that is suspect if not corrupt."

How bad is it? Take a look at this little tidbit.

Mollohan, 63, faces a widening federal investigation. The FBI has notified his nonprofit organizations that they will be subpoenaed soon and, according to Mollohan, a subpoena has already been served on a D.C. real estate company in which he has invested. In addition, Mollohan plans to divulge that he misstated on House financial disclosure forms the amount of loans and income from some of his real estate holdings.

I love that term, "misstated". Could you imagine the Democrats allowing a senior GOP congressman get by with that? The entire situation reeks of corruption -- yet the Democrats were more than willing to let him sit on the Ethics COmmittee and pass judgement on Tom DeLay, whose alleged lapses have everything to do with politics and not personal enrichment.

Now maybe there is some reasonable explanation for all this, but remember what the Democrats kept telling us -- the appearance of impropriety is itself an impropriety.





|| Greg, 10:26 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Escape From Massachusetts

You know -- it must really suck to live in Massachusetts. Why else do you think a quarter of a million folks escaped between 2000 and 2005? And why else do you think that the state saw a population decrease of over 19,000 just in the period from 2003 to 2005, even with new arrivals and births?

A majority of people who moved out of Massachusetts last year report they are very satisfied with life in their new state and would not move back, a Boston Globe poll has found.

Seventy-three percent of those surveyed said they live in a home that is bigger than their home in Massachusetts was. Fifty-four percent said their standard of living is higher now.

The top reason people gave for leaving Massachusetts was a better job, followed by the cost of housing, family ties, and the weather. In a separate set of questions, 50 percent of those surveyed said the cost of housing was a ''major factor," and a better job was cited as a ''major factor" by 39 percent.

The findings underscored the difficulties of living, raising children, and earning enough money in Massachusetts, and suggested that these fundamental aspirations of the American middle-class are often easier for people to achieve outside the state.

The wide-ranging poll was the first of its kind to measure the motivations of people who have left Massachusetts, whose population of 6.39 million dropped by nearly 19,000 between 2003 and 2005, according to Census data.

The reasons are about what you would expect, and all relate to quality of life.

The survey also sought to measure what was a major factor in prompting people to move. Housing and jobs were cited by 50 percent and 39 percent, respectively. Taxes were cited by 30 percent; a better place to raise kids, by 25 percent; the weather by 24 percent; and the traffic by 20 percent.

Other issues were less important, the poll showed. Only 8 percent of respondents indicated crime as a major factor for their move, while 9 percent cited the public schools, 12 percent cited Massachusetts' liberal bent, and 13 percent its political leadership.

The problem is, though, that many of the reasons cited do, in fact, relate back to political leadership and the liberal politics of the state government. I'd argue that the first four points (housing costs, jobs, taxes, and "better place to raise kids" ) all relate back to the policies coming out of liberal government. This is especially true when you look where folks are going.

The results showed New Hampshire was the top destination for people who left Massachusetts. Florida was the second most popular state, followed by Texas. Regionally, the Southeast was the most popular destination, drawing 19 percent of those polled, followed by 18 percent who now live in the Midwest and West.

Do you notice anything?

By and large, the Massachusetts ex-pats are headed for red states.

Is this a harbinger of decreasing political influence for the People's Republic of Taxachusetts?





|| Greg, 10:03 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Demand To Congress -- Grant Her US Citizenship

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a hero, standing up against the Islamists who wish to wipe out Western civilization. Having rejected the Muslim faith of her birth, and having taken a stand for the rights of women (especially Muslim women) to equal human dignity, Hirsi Ali has become a target of the same ilk as the murderer of her colleague, Theo Van Gogh.

Now some of her opponents wish to see her stripped of her Dutch citizenship because she lied on an asylum application in 1992 -- a fact which has been public knowledge since 2002, when she was elected to the Dutch Parliament.

The latest political storm followed the airing of a 30-minute TV documentary Thursday tracing her steps from Somalia, where her father was an imprisoned opposition politician, to her family's exile in Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Hirsi Ali repeated on the TV documentary that when she arrived in 1992 she changed her name from Hirsi Magan and her birth date on her asylum application and did not tell the authorities that she had lived in three different countries since leaving Somalia.

"I invented a story that would be consistent with the conditions for asylum," she told The Associated Press.

I urge the US Congress to act now -- grant her US Citizenship for her important work on behalf of freedom, and guarantee her the freedom of speech, religion, and movement that she is denied in the Netherlands, where she is under constant guard by government security personnel and where a court recently ordered her out of her apartment because her presence constitutes a danger to her neighbors.

If we truly believe in human rights, it is the least we can do.

MORE AT: American Expat, Discarded Lies, Liberty and Justice, All Things Beautiful, Jihad Watch, Protein Wisdom, Atlas Shrugs, HNN, Super Fun Power Hour, Daimnation, Allahpundit, Clarity & Resolve, Stop the ACLU, Booker Rising, Drinking From Home, Tammy Bruce, Western Resistance, Pajamas Media, Felis Domesticus





|| Greg, 07:09 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Death of A Zionist Oppressor -- Allah Be Praised!

Well, that is how the Terrorstinians and their Left-Wing apologists view this story.

Never mind that the victim was a 16-year-old having lunch with family in a restaurant at the time of the homicide bombing that took his life. Never mind that he has fought for his life for the last month, and that his family and friends have suffered every day.

A Florida teenager wounded in a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv last month died Sunday from his injuries, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Daniel Wultz, 16, of Weston, Fla., will be flown home for burial Monday, said Yael Tzuberi, a spokeswoman for the Tel Aviv Medical Center where he was hospitalized.

Wultz came to Israel with his parents to visit relatives on Passover. He and his father, Tuly, were having lunch at a Tel Aviv restaurant on April 17 when a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated about 10 pounds of explosives in the entrance.

His death brought the number of those killed in the attack to 11, in addition to the suicide bomber. Dozens were wounded, including Wultz's father, who survived.

And our government wants Israel to cave into these murderous barbarians because...?





|| Greg, 06:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

McCain At Liberty

I don't trust John McCain. And I've never been a huge fan of Jerry Falwell, though I do root for Liberty University in the NCAA tourney each year. So I guess that this pronouncement doesn't really do much for me.

If yesterday's teaming up of Sen. John McCain and the Rev. Jerry Falwell seems like a marriage of political convenience, Falwell is quick to say who drove him toward McCain.

Who else? Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Clinton seems to be the political matchmaker for all kinds of conservatives and McCain, who didn't win any friends six years ago when he blasted Falwell as an agent of intolerance.

Now a lot of people are letting bygones be bygones for a simple reason: They think McCain looks like a Hillary-stopper.

"He's consistently beat Hillary in every poll," Falwell said last week. "Others could beat her. But I think McCain, barring health problems or a Howard Dean [style] explosion, is going to beat Hillary."

And that's part of the reason Falwell sounds a lot like a McCain supporter, even though he's officially uncommitted now. He said that while Bill Clinton was a populist, Hillary is "an ideologue. I think Hillary would be the worst thing that would ever happen to America."

But he also says Republicans can't beat her with just anyone. "Anybody who sells her short is not wise," Falwell said.

You know what -- i don't believe that John McCain can get the nomination in the GOP. He has alienatd too many of us who make up the base. Campaign finance "reform" makes a mockery of the Frst Amendment, and McCain has indicated his preference for eliminating its protections completely in the name of "getting money out of politics."

I honor the man's military service -- but if he were on fire, I still couldn't bring myself to spare the water to urinate on him.

Falwell must be in teh grips of senile dementia if he believes mcCain is the answer to the threat of "President Hillary".





|| Greg, 04:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Entering The Home Stretch

The first term of the Roberts Court will end in a matter of weeks, and there are still some 35 cases to be decided. By my count, and based upon recent practice, that means we can expect more decisions to start dribbling out if the Supreme Court, culminating with a torrent of decisions in the final to weeks of June.

What is still out there to decide?

Still to be decided are cases involving President Bush's power to order military trials for suspected foreign terrorists held at the Navy prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and an appeal that will decide when death row inmates should get a new chance to prove their innocence with DNA and other evidence.

In addition, the justices are delving into politics. At issue in one case is whether the court should throw out all or part of a Texas congressional map promoted by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. A free-speech case asks whether states can limit how much money is spent in political campaigns.

My gueses are as follows.

1) Tribunals for terrorists -- yes.

2) DNA evidence -- sometimes.

3) Texas remap -- acceptable.

4) Campaign spending limits -- permitted, unless they decide to oveturn recent precedents on campaign finance "reforms".

And as far as resignations/retirements go, I wouldn't expect any to be announced this year, unless there is a serious health issue that has been kept under wraps. Justices tend not to leave when there might be problems getting the new nominee confirmed before the start of the new Supreme Court term in October -- and there is no way that any justice would get confirmed in this contentious election year.





|| Greg, 03:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Rendering Justice In Texas

This Tuesday, one of the perpetrators of one of the most horrific killings in Houston history will get what he has coming to him. Hopefully, two of his fellow predators will follow. And unfortunately, two others will escape due to the failure of the US Supreme Court to rule based upon American law and the US Constitution.

Catching up with friends after a family vacation in Florida, Elizabeth Peña beamed as she showed off the stuff she'd bought with her 16th birthday money: a new pager, some new underclothes.

As the summer evening waned, Jennifer Ertman, 14, another Waltrip High School sophomore, checked her Goofy wristwatch and saw that it was pushing midnight. She and Peña would break their curfews if they didn't get home in a hurry.

The girls debated how to get to Peña's Oak Forest home in northwest Houston. One route would take half an hour; a well-known shortcut along the railroad tracks through T.C. Jester Park would save about 10 minutes.

The shorter route instead led the girls into the hands of six teenage gang members who had just finished an initiation ritual. For an hour, the six raped and tortured the girls before strangling them — stomping on their necks for good measure.

Their bodies were discovered four days later, horrifying a city that shrugs off hundreds of homicides each year. The Ertman-Peña case captivated a generation of Houstonians the way the Dean Corll-Elmer Wayne Henley multiple murders had an earlier one.

On Tuesday, the first of Ertman and Peña's killers is set to die by injection.

Sadly, the do-gooders think that it is in the best interest of society to save teh first of these animals from death -- Derrick Sean O'Brien. I wholeheartedly hope they fail in his case, and in those of Peter Anthony Cantu and Jose Medellin. For that matter, I wish that the state of Texas would set execution dates for Raul Villarreal and Efrain Perez, in an effort to overturn the extra-constitutional decision in Roper v. Simmons.

Because as we say down here in Texas -- some folks just need killing.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT: Conservative Cat, Third World Country, Sed Vitae, TMH Bacon Bits, Adam's Blog, Uncooperative Blogger, Is It Just Me?, Blue Star Chronicles, Stop The ACLU, Leaning Straight Up





|| Greg, 03:35 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 13, 2006

Need A Penpal?

The friendly folks at the Jawa Report supply the snail mail address of a poor soul doing a long stretch in the pokey.

Zacarias Moussaoui has been moved to the Federal Supermax Prison in Florence Co.
CNN : Moussaoui was removed from the Alexandria, Virginia, detention center on Friday night and flown to Colorado on a service nicknamed "Con Air."

A team of deputy U.S. marshals delivered him early Saturday to the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. The prison is sometimes called the "Alcatraz in the Rockies."

"It is a place of extraordinary security, 23 hours a day in cells, one hour of recreation," CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said at the time of Moussaoui's sentencing earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

"It is as close to permanent solitary confinement as exists in our prison system," Toobin said.

So the rotting has begun. Let’s all send him a note so he really has to dig to find that letter from mommy. Remember be civil (no threats of any kind) and tell him how glad you are that he will never see the light of day. I got his new address here at the FBOP

ZACARIAS MOUSSAOUI
51427-054

Inmate Mail/Parcels
FLORENCE ADMAX USP
PO BOX 8500
FLORENCE, CO 81226

I'm sure Zack would enjoy hearing from you all.





|| Greg, 12:15 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Duke Rape Case Looks Weaker And Weaker

They found DNA.

And it doesn't match anyone from the team.

It matches her boyfriend.

Will Nifong have the honesty to admit this is a hoax, apologize to the players, and drop all charges against them?

Will he have the guts to charge the accuser with making false statements to police?





|| Greg, 11:58 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Andrew Sullivan -- Homosexualist

Hugh Hewitt notes that Andrew Sullivan wants to lump the conservative Christians in with Taliban and al-Qaeda.

What does the term "Christianist" mean and why is Time peddling it?

Time columnist Andrew Sullivan uses the term to describe evangelicals with whom he disagrees. He says his goal is to "take back the word Christian while giving the religious right a new adjective: Christianist. Christianity, in this view, is simply a faith. Christianism is an ideology, politics, an ism. The distinction between Christian and Christianist echoes the distinction we make between Muslim and Islamist."

He explains further, "Muslims are those who follow Islam. Islamists are those who want to wield Islam as a political force and conflate state and mosque. Not all Islamists are violent. Only a tiny few are terrorists. And I should underline that the term Christianist is in no way designed to label people on the religious right as favoring any violence at all. I mean merely by the term Christianist the view that religious faith is so important that it must also have a precise political agenda. It is the belief that religion dictates politics and that politics should dictate the laws for everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike."

Most pundits have rejected "Christianist" because it obviously tries to link Islamists and those evangelicals Mr. Sullivan loathes. He is attempting to dress up hate speech as simple precision, but given the vast spectrum of political opinions among believers on the center-right, "Christianist" is a howler. Still, no one should be laughing when a once-respected newsweekly defines a huge portion of the American mainstream as the equivalent of the Islamists who attacked the country on 9/11. Be prepared as others pick up Time's term.

Such crap coming from Sullivan and Time couldn't be a sign of the continuing War on Christianity, which teh Left steadfastly assures us is a figment of our our own imaginations and our desire to illegitiamtely manipulate the debate on cultural and political issues.

But two can play that game. Let's just engage in a little bit of substitution with Sullivan's own words.

"Muslims are those who follow Islam. Islamists are those who want to wield Islam as a political force and conflate state and mosque. Not all Islamists are violent. Only a tiny few are terrorists. And I should underline that the term Homosexualist is in no way designed to label people in the homosexual rights movement as favoring any violence at all. I mean merely by the term Homosexualist the view that homosexuality is so important that it must also have a precise political agenda. It is the belief that sexual orientation dictates politics and that politics should dictate the laws for everyone, homosexual and non-homosexual alike."

The description probably fits the so-called "gay rights" movement better than it fits the religious right. And we can certainly see plenty of developments over the last several years in which the undeniable rights of Christians (and other religious believers) to live their lives according to their faith have been trampled by the questionable claims of the homosexualists.

MORE AT: Outside the Beltway, Eunomia, Don Singleton, Fides et Veritas, Civil Commotion, Hugh Hewitt (twice), ChronWatch

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» 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, 11:03 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (3) ||

Seattle Schools -- Whites Cannot Be Subjects Of Racism

When it comes to being PC, you can't get better thanthe Pacific Northwest. The school district in Seattle has proven that in spades, having officially promulgated a definition of racism that EXPLICITLY excludes white student and staff from protection under policies that ban racist acts, practices, or harrassment.

Racism:

The systematic subordination of members of targeted racial groups who have relatively little social power in the United States (Blacks, Latino/as, Native Americans, and Asians), by the members of the agent racial group who have relatively more social power (Whites). The subordination is supported by the actions of individuals, cultural norms and values, and the institutional structures and practices of society.

So when your little white child is assaulted by a gang of black or Hispanic kids because he is white, it isn't an act of racism. When a white teacher is targetted for firing by a group of minority parents who shout "discrimination" because he or she has high expectations for students, it isn't an act of racism. And when a teacher calls another teacher a "cracker bitch" because of a disagreement over material to use in the following year's curriculum, it was not an act of racism.

On the other hand, a gang of white kids beating up a minority child, white parents objecting to a minority teacher, or a racial slur directed at a minority teacher are all acts of racism and will be treated as such.

I guess some animals really are more equal than others in Seattle. It is all a matter of the color of one's skin, not the content of one's character.

I wonder what federal law and the US Constitution have to say about such race-based politcies and practices? Or is "equal protection of the law" a culturally racist construct that needs to be eliminated in the name of "Equity and Race Relations".

(H/T AndrewsDad, Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler



» The COLOSSUS OF RHODEY links with: Speaking of PC ...



|| Greg, 10:12 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (1) ||

May 12, 2006

I'm Fully Back!

Well, I think I've got the new computer running the way I want it to. Unfortunately, the Darling Democrat and I lost a lot of stuff in the crash of the old system. That means that someone in the family is pretty upset about a number of unrecoverable graphics.

* * *

Well, in celebration, let's have a linkfest and open trackback party.

Post as much as you want, within reason -- but make sure it is good/interesting stuff.

And remember the rules.

No Spam. No Porn. No Problem.

OTHER TRACKBACK PARTIERS: Conservative Cat, Third World Country, Sed Vitae, TMH Bacon Bits, Adam's Blog, Uncooperative Blogger, Is It Just Me?, Blue Star Chronicles, Stop The ACLU, Leaning Straight Up



» Jon Swift links with: The NSA Code
» Stuck On Stupid links with: Mother's Day Weekend Open Post
» Planck's Constant links with: Video Blogging getting there
» third world county links with: Blogmothers Day: May 14
» Planck's Constant links with: Sexual harassment affects most college students - what nonsense!



|| Greg, 07:48 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (5) ||

Dem Candidate Denies Holocaust

I've got to ask -- what is it about Alabama Democrats? First you had the idiot legislative candidate/teacher showing profane anti-Bush material to students in his science classes. Now you have this candidate for attorney general denying the Holocaust.

Democratic candidate for Alabama attorney general denies the Holocaust occurred and said Friday he will speak this weekend in New Jersey to a "pro-white" organization that is widely viewed as being racist.

Larry Darby concedes his views are radical, but he said they should help him win wide support among Alabama voters as he tries to "reawaken white racial awareness" with his campaign against Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson.

* * *

Speaking in an interview with The Associated Press, Darby said he believes no more than 140,000 Jewish people died in Europe during World War II, and most of them succumbed to typhus.

Historians say about 6 million Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis, but Darby said the figure is a false claim of the "Holocaust industry."

"I am what the propagandists call a Holocaust denier, but I do not deny mass deaths that included some Jews," Darby said. "There was no systematic extermination of Jews. There's no evidence of that at all."

And not only is he a Holocaust denier and white supremacist, he also stakes out some other interesting positions.

Darby, founder of the Atheist Law Center and a longtime supporter of separation of church and state, said he has no money for campaign advertising and has made only a few campaign speeches.

Tyson said aside from his views on race and the Holocaust, Darby also has publicly advocated legalizing drugs and shooting all illegal immigrants.

In the defense of the Alabama Democrats, their party chairman had this to say.

The state Democratic chairman, Joe Turnham, said the party became aware of some of Darby's views only days ago and was considering what to do about his candidacy.

"Any type of hatred toward groups of people, especially for political gain, is completely unacceptable in the Alabama Democratic Party," said Turnham.

* * *

Turnham said the party began an investigation last week after hearing about some of Darby's comments in a television interview. While the party supports the free-speech rights of any candidate, Turnham said some of Darby's views appear to be in "a realm of thought that is unacceptable.

But you have to wonder -- what is it about the Democrat Party that attracts individuals of this calibre?





|| Greg, 06:38 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Go Nuclear!

The Democrats are signaling their intent to filibuster the Kavanaugh nomination.

While Democrats on the committee acknowledged Mr. Kavanaugh has "top-flight credentials," they said his background is overtly political.

"While his academic credentials are undeniably top-notch, he has largely devoted his legal talent to helping notch political victories for his party," Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said yesterday.

Which means, of course, that this is a qualified nominee, but the Democrats don’t like his politics. There exists no legitimate reason -- and certainly no "extraordianry circumstance" -- for delaying or denying this nominee.

Time to restore the Constitution by laying the filibuster to rest in the case of judicial nominees – first by making the Democrats actually hold the floor continuously while preventing all other business from taking place, and then by getting a ruling from the parliamentarian that such a filibuster is not in order when the GOP is ready for the vote – preferably during prime time.





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

Is This McCarthyism?

This story disturbs me deeply. It seems to strike at the heart of the citizenship rights of teachers. Do teachers not have free speech rights outside of the classroom. Are the political, social, and philosophical views of teachers really an appropriate mater for public inquiry? Do certain view make someone unfit for the classroom?

Inside the walls of Brookland-Cayce High School, you expect students to be treated equally. But a viewer tip led News19 online where a teacher's comments left us asking questions.

"These sorts of things are going to upset people, but the truth can be very upsetting," said Brookland-Cayce High School teacher Winston McCuen.

That truth, at least according to McCuen, is that black people are inferior to whites.

"Intellectually, yes they are," said McCuen. "This has been confirmed over and over, and this is a generalization. Again, there are some blacks who are more intelligent than individual whites. But as a rule, that is true. I-Q tests prove it over, and over and over."

Now I can’t help but conclude that this man’s beliefs and statements outside of class are racist. But they do not appear to have influenced his treatment of his students – at least not if the story is any indication. After all, the one student quoted talks about some comments related to John C. Calhoun, the nemesis of Andrew Jackson. Seems like this was off topic in a Latin class, but hardly a problem. Calhoun was known for lacing classical quotes into his speeches, so it is not beyond the realm of possibility that this is the way in which the course and the discussion segued.

But to get back on point, how much (or how little) protection are we going to allow educators under the Bill of Rights? And will that protection be selective – because I doubt we would ever see such an investigation of the views of a high school teacher who was a Communist. After all, that would be McCarthyism.

But isn’t an investigation like this also McCarthyistic in its very nature?


UPDATE: My esteemed friend, fellow teacher, and fellow Watcher's Council member EdWonk offers a very different point of view -- not that I agree with him.

McCuen claims that his views do not affect his teaching.

I have to call B.S. on that one.

The type of nonsense that McCuen is spewing uttering is prima faci evidence that he is indeed prejudiced in his belief that a student's race is a component of his or her ability to acheive mastery of academic concepts.

Winston McCuen damns himself with his own words.

McCuen has been placed on administrative leave for the remainder of this school year and will not be teaching in the same district next year, although he hopes to obtain another teaching position after resolving certain undefined "credentialing" issues.

Maybe those men males who run amok in white sheets and hoods may consider hiring him for the nearly-impossible task of teaching them how to read and write.

The problem is that the mere existence of a prejudice is not evidence that said prejudice is expressed in the classroom or that it impacts ones ability to do one's job in a professional manner. it may indicate that you are a reprehensible human being -- but do we want ideological litmus tests imposed on teachers?

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|| Greg, 06:07 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Racism In Law Enforcement

A senior police official in the Atlanta area has admitted that he refused to promote qualified officer because they are white.

Police union officials Thursday accused the former second-ranking DeKalb County police commander of delaying promotions to hurt the careers of white officers.

Union officials released an audio recording purportedly containing the voice of former Assistant Chief R.P. Flemister asking someone: "Have you ever thought about why I ain't promoted them nine on the list right now ... because seven of them are white."

* * *

Police Chief Louis Graham resigned last week after police union leaders disclosed a profanity-laced audio recording of a conversation between Graham and Flemister in which Flemister referred to an unnamed person as a "white bitch." Flemister retired last Friday.

In the recording released Thursday, a voice apparently belonging to Flemister says that "the white folks understand, [things] done changed. ... That's what this union is about."

Later, he says he is not worried about unspecified rumors about the police department because Chief Executive Officer Vernon Jones is "running the black-[expletive] place."

Funny, I’ve not seen anything about this in the national media. Racial discrimination in a major law enforcement agency in a major metropolitan area used to be big news.

But then again, when the racists are black and the victims are white, it just isn’t news in the eyes of the MSM. After all, they think of it as affirmative action – judging people by the color of their skin, not the content of their character or the strength of their accomplishments.





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

Is It A Crime? Is It A Hate Crime?

Regardless of the answer, it is certainly tasteless and beyond the bounds of morally acceptable behavior.

Despite an apology, a syndicated hip-hop disc jockey was being investigated for a possible bias crime after making threatening racial and sexual remarks about a rival's wife and 4-year-old daughter, police said Thursday.

The New York Police Department's Hate Crime Task Force launched the probe after the chief of detectives reviewed a transcript of DJ Star's on-air comments about DJ Envy and his family, said police spokesman Paul Browne.

Star, whose real name is Troi Torain, apologized on Thursday through his attorney, Benjamin Brafman.

The lawyer called the remarks "unsuitable and inappropriate" and assured the rival's wife she had nothing to fear. But he also claimed his client was the victim of threats by her husband.

"The statements made by Star in response, while inappropriate, were, however, made under great duress and at a time when he was fearful for his safety and the safety of members of his staff," Brafman said in statement.

Torain worked for Clear Channel Radio's Power 105.1 FM before being fired Wednesday amid protests from elected officials. A city councilman, John Liu, said on Thursday that the disgraced DJ "now must be put behind bars for spewing these threats against a little 4-year-old girl."

I guess the question that I have is whether or not these actually constitute threats of a criminal nature. The sort of garbage spewed out of hip-hop culture is disgusting and appalling. Was this an actual threat, or was it a part of the shtick that is part of the entertainment milieu?

What was said, of course, is beyond the bounds of decency.

In the comments, made between May 3 and Monday, Torain — co-host of the "Star & Buc Wild Morning Show" — offered $500 to any listener who could provide information about the rival DJ's daughter's school and used racial slurs when talking about his wife, who is part Asian.

"I will come for your kids," Torain said, according to transcribed excerpts provided by Liu's office. "I finally got the information on his slant-eyed, whore wife."

Torain also called the couple's child a "little half a lo mein eater" and said he wanted to "do an R. Kelly on your seed, on your little baby girl. I would like to tinkle on her," according to the excerpts.

Sick, racist stuff – but is it criminal? And is it really all that unusual, in a sub-culture which calls R. Kelly a victim and labels his young victim the perpetrator? Should we be surprised when one DJ several years ago claimed that “rumor has it” that one teenage rapper was anally raped by his bodyguards and needed multiple stitches to repair his injuries? Threats of violence and threats of death – not to mention blatant glorification of sexual assault and degradation of women -- are mainstream fare in hip-hop and rap. Is it any wonder that this guy made such comments in a field where life is often nasty, brutish and short?

I don’t know that criminal charges or monetary fines in this discrete instance are really the right answer. Maybe the end of this moral moron’s career is a good start. Perhaps what needs to happen is for Clear Channel and other media companies to reconsider their support for the thug life that is hip-hop and rap.

And lest we let these folks get away with their outrage over the racism of it all, please remember that DJ Envy (Raashaun Casey), whose wife and child were the targets in all this, was part of another famous incident involving anti-Asian racism – but as the perpetrator.

Mr. Casey and Ms. Jones were among several employees suspended by Hot 97 in January 2005 after broadcasting a song that ridiculed victims of the previous month's tsunami in Asia.

That history makes me wonder if the notion of this being a hate crime is nothing more than a bit of PR puffery by a member of the thugocracy of hip-hop and rap.


UPDATE: As pointed out in a comment below, Torain has been arrested and charged in this case.

A syndicated hip-hop disc jockey was arrested Friday on charges of harassment and endangering the welfare of a child amid an uproar over his on-air racial and sexual rants about a radio rival's wife and 4-year-old daughter.

Police officials had launched a hate crime investigation of DJ Star on Thursday after reviewing a transcript of his recent remarks about DJ Envy and his family.

DJ Star, whose real name is Troi Torain, was contacted by police on Friday and ordered to surrender a 9mm handgun and target-practice permit at Police Headquarters. When he arrived, he was arrested and taken to the 1st Precinct stationhouse in lower Manhattan, said police spokesman Paul Browne.





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They Have No Rights

When will the pro-terrorist Left get the message that the illegal combatants captured in the course of combat operations have NO rights under the Geneva Conventions? The International Red Cross still doesn’t get it.

The head of the international Red Cross on Friday deplored the Bush administration's refusal to allow its delegates to visit detainees in secret detention.

In an unusually strongly worded statement, the neutral agency known for its discretion expressed disappointment that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other officials refused to yield to its demand.

"No matter how legitimate the grounds for detention, there exists no right to conceal a person's whereabouts or to deny that he or she is being detained," said Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, following a series of top-level meetings in Washington.

The ICRC is designated by the Geneva Conventions on warfare as the organization to visit prisoners of war. It is the only independent body the United States allows to visit terror suspects detained in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but it has long been demanding access to detainees in "undisclosed locations."

The one problem is that they are not prisoners of war. They do not meet the requirements for that status, as they did not wear recognizable uniforms or insignia. They therefore have no right to any visits from anyone, nor do they have any rights beyond the most basic of humane treatment. They may, under traditional rules of war, be detained permanently, and even lack the right to more than the most rudimentary elements of due process.

When we are done with them, they merit a 5-minute hearing before a military officer in order to permit a plea for mercy, ordinarily followed by execution within the hour. And they should be reminded that such treatment is better than that received by hostages at the hands of their fellow terrorists.





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

DeLay D-Day -- June 9, 2006

Well, Tom DeLay has finally informed us of his intended resignation date -- and I am unhappy about it.

He won't resign until June 9, 2006 -- and presumably will not render himself ineligible to be on the ballot until the same time.

Rep. Tom DeLay, the once-powerful majority leader whose career was undermined by scandal, said Thursday he would resign from the House on June 9.

"As you are aware," the Texas Republican wrote House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., "I have recently made the decision to pursue new opportunities to engage in the important cultural and political battles of our day from an arena outside of the U.S. House of Representatives."

He told Hastert he would resign at the close of business on June 9.

The combative conservative last month stated his intention to resign in June, saying he did not want to allow Democrats to turn the next election in his district near Houston into a negative personal campaign.

Why am I unhappy? Because the resignation will not take place before the Texas GOP convention on June 2-3 -- when I had hoped to see the party's new standard-bearer announced and given a rousing launch to his/her campaign. Instead, the formal selection process cannot even begin for a week after convention ends.

Assuming, of course, that the man doesn't dally about switching his residency and notifying the party here in Texas.

Once that takes place, state law sets the following process for selecting a replacement candidate.

1) State GOP Chair declares DeLay ineligible for reelection.

2) Precinct chairs from the district caucus by county and select one of their number to form a committee to select a new candidate.

3) Committee meets to select a new candidate.

4) If no candidate is selected by 70 days prior to the election, the State Republican Election Committee may select a candidate.

5) General election takes place in November -- in this case, in tandem with a free-for-all special election to complete the last two months of Delay's term of office.

Nick Lampson's folks are still not willing to admit that state law permits the removal of DeLay and the naming of a replacement.

Many have speculated that Lampson’s campaign or the Democratic Party would challenge DeLay’s ability to drop off the ballot merely by changing residency.

“We have never conceded that Tom DeLay can legally remove his name from the ballot simply because he saw he was going to lose and wanted the chance to choose his successor,” Malaise said two weeks ago.

This despite the fact that state law has specific provisions allowing for exactly such a process to take place if a candidate becomes ineligible -- and Constitutionally, Tom DeLay becomes ineligible the minute he establishes residency in another state by doing something like registering to vote there.

There is, of course, another candidate in the race besides Nick Lampson.

Former Rep. Steve Stockman has collected enough voter signatures to run as an independent candidate in the race to replace former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, his spokesman said Wednesday.

Stockman, a former Republican, has collected more than the 500 signatures needed, said campaign spokesman Jason Posey, though he didn't immediately know the total amount.

Most of us are quite unhappy about this, given that Stockman's candidacy can only hurt the eventual GOP nominee.

I'll say it loud and clear -- I wish that Delay were leaving office TODAY, so we could hasten the process along. Actually, havign been nominated, I wish he would have stuck it out no matter what the polls said on his reelection chances. Better yet, I wish he had not sought the nomination, since there is every indication that he had been seriously considering a withdrawal from the general election as early as the day he filed for reelection.

It is going to be a long month for me and the rest of the precinct chairs in CD22.



» Off the Kuff links with: From the "How can we miss you if you won't go away?" files



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May 11, 2006

Students Seek To Declare Free Speech To Be Hate Speech

Remember that pro-life display that was demolished in Washington state? Well, students at Western Washington University want to make sure nothing like that ever happens again on their campus.

No, they are not out to strengthen the campus policy on freedom of speech or the responsibility of all students to respect the rights of others to express thoughts and ideas they reject.

No, they want to ban pro-life speech as a form of “hate speech” on campus, making those who oppose abortion subject to penalties imposed by the campus kangaroo court judicial system.

In response to the anti-abortion display Tuesday and Wednesday in Red Square, Western senior Cara Pierson started a petition to ban hate speech from campus.

She said the photos of aborted fetuses, lynchings and Holocaust victims bullied and offended women who had abortions or considered having abortions.
Pierson said she felt the display’s message constituted hate speech.

“Hate speech is a verbal, written or visual harassment of a particular group intended to degrade or dehumanize members of that group,” Pierson said.

She started the petition Wednesday and spent five hours in Red Square collecting approximately 300 signatures from students, professors and staff members.

Pierson said she researched other colleges that have policies protecting campuses from hate speech before bringing her petition to Red Square.

In other words, one side of the debate on a major social and political issue in our society would be suppressed at Western Washington University, while the opposing side will be subsidized as part of the academic program (Women’s Studies). It seems appropriate, therefore, that the assault on free speech was conducted in the middle of “Red Square” – after all, the policy demanded by Pierson and her supporters is nothing short of Stalinism.

Fortunately, the school is not interested in imposing such viewpoint censorship

.Dean of Students Ted Pratt said Western’s policy must respect citizens’ right to free speech the First Amendment protects.

“We have our policies here that talk about freedom of expression and those are in line with the First Amendment,” Pratt said.

Western’s policy is that it deals with protests or displays on campus on a case-by-case basis, Pratt said. No policy specifically addresses hate speech, he said.

The administration reviewed the anti-abortion display before allowing it on campus, he said.

It determined the display didn’t advocate violence or hate against any groups, such as women who have had abortions and saw no reason to stop Western For Life from bringing the display to campus, Pratt said.

Seems to me that the school has an appropriate policy in place. Perhaps Cara Pierson needs to be re-enrolled in American Government so she can learn about the rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

(H/T The Torch





|| Greg, 07:11 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

All Set For Nuclear Option

They got their second hearing – time for the Democrats to stand aside and allow this superbly qualified judicial nominee to be confirmed by the majority that supports him.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved White House aide Brett Kavanaugh for an appeals-court seat on Thursday, clearing the way for a likely confirmation vote by the full Senate.

Kavanaugh won approval from the committee on a 10-8 party-line vote as Democrats said he was too partisan and inexperienced for the job.

Democratic senators had asked for an unusual second hearing on his nomination to question his involvement in White House policies on like eavesdropping on U.S. citizens' telephone calls without obtaining warrants and torture of detainees.

* * *

Kavanaugh must be approved by the full Senate, where Republicans hold 55 of 100 seats, before joining the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Democrats are unlikely to muster the 60 votes necessary to block his nomination. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says he intends to schedule a vote before the late-May Memorial Day recess.

Should he be filibustered, it is time for the Constitutional option to be invoked, eliminating the ability of a minority to impose an unconstitutional requirement of a super-majority for confirmation.

I cannot help but note the laughable comments of Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Chivas Regal), father of Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-Pills & Liquor).

He failed to win over committee Democrats. "This nomination is a triumph of cronyism over credentials," Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy said. Kavanaugh, 41, has been a White House aide since 2001.

Let’s see – this is the same guy who got elected to the Senate at age 30 with the sole qualification that his brother was the sitting president. His son was first elected to office at age 21 with no particular qualification other than his name. He has no more place criticizing a nominee for lack of credentials than he does criticizing them for their driving skills.

Here’s hoping that certain spineless republicans do not interfere in the deployment of the GOP nukes if there is any Democrat funny business.





|| Greg, 07:08 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Lawsuit Abuse

This suit is proof that we have either too many laws, too many lawyers, or too many greedy Americans.

A Los Angeles psychologist who was denied a tote bag during a Mother's Day giveaway at an Angel game is suing the baseball team, alleging sex and age discrimination.

Michael Cohn's class-action claim in Orange County Superior Court alleges that thousands of males and fans under 18 were "treated unequally" at a "Family Sunday" promotion last May and are entitled to $4,000 each in damages.

The targets of the suit are the team and the Corinthian Colleges. Corinthian oversees Bryman College, which has an Anaheim campus and sponsored the event, its name printed on the bags.

Thousands of the red nylon bags were given to women 18 and older attending the Sunday Mother's Day game.

Angel officials said they had not seen the suit, filed May 4, and could not comment. But Angel spokesman Tim Mead said the team was proud of its promotions and giveaway days.

"Historically, we have tried to appeal on those special days that might be nationally noted holidays or special occasions," he said. "We have tailored programs or giveaways accordingly. In the past, we've given the moms roses…. We're trying to satisfy fans of all ages, genders and, most importantly, the baseball fans, so there's something for everybody."

I am sure about two things that will result from this piece of litigation.

First, sports teams will be less likely to have special giveaways like this one, resulting in ever dwindling attendance.

Second, Cohn will be deemed eligible to receive the team logo “pound of flesh” to be given away at next season’s “Litigious Assholes Day”.





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Is This Constitutional?

After all, the Constitution certainly appears to limit actual voting representation to states. How can this legislation meet that challenge?

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) is teaming up with U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) to introduce a bill that would for the first time give the District a full vote in Congress, a sign of bipartisan cooperation that advocates of D.C. voting rights hailed as a breakthrough.

The legislation, set to be unveiled at a news conference today, would expand the House from 435 to 437 seats, giving a vote to the District as well as a fourth seat to Utah, the state next in line to enlarge its congressional delegation based on the 2000 Census.

Davis first introduced a version of the bill two years ago, but he struggled to persuade Norton and House Democrats to support it. Through a spokeswoman, Norton declined yesterday to discuss her change of heart, promising to explain all at today's news conference.

"We have an agreement in principle with our Democrats, and that's a significant development," said Davis spokesman David Marin. "It's no secret that legislation to give the District a vote wasn't going to go too far without Eleanor Holmes Norton on board."

Given that the District is all territory carved from the state of Maryland, I would prefer to see the city lumped in with Maryland for representation purposes. It would finesse the issue of giving representation to anything other than states. Look for a challenge to the first law on which the DC delegate casts the deciding vote.

And then there is the Utah question, which raises another Constitutional issue in my book.

The first would address Democratic concerns by making Utah's new seat a statewide position, rather than creating another congressional district. Utah now has three House members, including one Democrat, Jim Matheson. House Democrats had worried that Utah Republicans, who control the statehouse, would use the extra seat to reconfigure the congressional districts and push Matheson out of his job. By making the fourth seat an at-large position, the three existing districts would remain intact.

Now hold on here -- once seats are apportioned among the states, it is the business of the state legislatures to take care of districting issues. This provision seems to usurp the function of the state legislature. As such it seems certain to meet a stiff Constitutional challenge.

Also, does the "at-large" mandate disappear after the 2010 census?





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May 10, 2006

In The Name Of Islam

Remember the martyrdom of three Christian teens in Indonesia. These pig-spawned followers of Satan have confessed to their guilt in the deed.

Seven suspected Islamic terrorists have confessed to beheading three Christian schoolgirls on Indonesia's Sulawesi Island, police said on Wednesday.

The seven detained suspects confessed under questioning that they planned and carried out the October 29 beheadings in the Sulawesi town of Poso, police chief Lieutenant Colonel Rudi Sufahriadi told The Associated Press.

Another girl was wounded but spared by the assailants, he said.

Two of the suspects also say they have ties to Noordin Top, regarded as a key leader of the al-Qaeda-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah, according to Central Sulawesi police chief Brigadier General Oegroseno.

Indonesia has arrested scores of militants belonging to the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terror group in recent years.

Jemaah Islamiyah has been blamed for a series of suicide bombings in Indonesia in recent years, including two separate strikes on the tourist island of Bali.

Poso, a coastal town, is some 1600km northeast of Jakarta. It was the scene of clashes between Muslims and Christians in 1999-2002 that claimed more than 1000 lives.

Sporadic bombings and attacks, mostly targeting the Christian community, have continued and police suspect Jemaah Islamiyah involvement.

May the blood of saints murdered for their faith in Christ inspire us to continue to be faithful to the truths he gave us. And may the very pit of Hell open to welcome all those who kill the innocent in the name of their false god.

More at Interested Participant and Jawa Report





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An Update On Ashley Reeves

I posted on the Ashley Reeves story, and it generated a lot of traffic and comments from a group of girls. One of them made a particularly nasty allegation, and when I saw it refuted today by Ashley's mother, I thought it was important to post it.

he parents of Ashley Reeves, 17, who was strangled and left for dead in a Belleville park on April 29, said their daughter "is fighting various injuries related to brain trauma" and is not on life support, according to a statement released by the hospital this afternoon.

Mother Michelle Reeves said in the statement that Ashley has a high fever "that may be related to the many insect bites on her body."

Responding to rumors that have circulated on the case, the family said that Ashley "is not pregnant, nor has she ever been pregnant."

So thank you, Kim, for taking a rumor that you heard somewhere and broadcasting it to the world without a shred of actual evidence to back it up, so that the mother of a grievously injured girl has to go public and deny such lies. I won't say where I believe such behavior puts you on the morality scale -- but I suggest you remove that beam from your eye before your criticize either Ashley or your sister.





|| Greg, 03:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 09, 2006

Since Folks Are Talking About It

Even if my computer had not crashed last Friday, I had no intention on commenting the CD22 Candidate Screening meeting held by Harris County Precinct Chairs. It was SUPPOSED to be a private meeting, and my understanding was that it was supposed to be private at this point. After all, Tom DeLay has taken no action to get off the ballot or out of Congress, so everything is informal and preliminary.

That said, our “on private property so we can keep it private” meeting had a reporter in the lobby, being gabbed to by an individual who I thought was sensible enough to know better. Interesting, isn’t it, that she is the establishment candidate for the Harris County Elector? And It appears her comments went beyond that single reporter, too, giving the establishment line.

And then there is this reflection from another participant, one whose views are clearly those of one of the establishment. Chris seems to think the author is a Harris County chair, and I have no reason to dispute this conclusion. Here is what this blogger thinks.

If I had to pick in terms of sheer performance on Saturday, I would go with the candidates in the following order:

1. Charlie Howard
2. Robert Talton
3. Shelly Sekula-Gibbs
4. Mike Jackson
(Gibbs & Jackson could really be a tie)
5. Tom Campbell
6. Andy Meyers
7. Tim Turner

David Wallace & Brad Wright made appointments but didn't show up, so I'm not considering either of them. Actually, I don't think I will consider anyone who hadn't already gotten their crap together enough to be prepared for this particular event. I can't commit to saying for sure that I definitely won't, but I don't think I will. This is going to be a sprint campaign and people will have to be ready.

Now, remember, gentle YPS readers, the above ranking is based upon Saturday' performance alone. Here are my candidate choices in rank order based on all factors. This is how I will position myself within the caucus, take this as if we were voting tomorrow.

1. Charlie Howard - I had never met or had any contact with Mr. Howard, but he really knocked my socks off on Saturday. I was really impressed with him. I had previously looked up his voting record in the State House and he puts his vote in the right place too. His questionnaire was spot on, his background is impressive and he is solid. There is a difference between a party conservative and a true conservative. You can learn which you have just by listening to them. Trust me folks, Howard is a true conservative. He's wow and ready.

2. Mike Jackson - This is the individual I went in favoring. Saturday he was very flat, uninspiring and unprepared. He acknowledged that his work in the Senate over the special session really didn't give him time to “brush up” on federal issues; however, I'm thinking that if you don't know where you stand on most of these issues by now, you deserve the job you have, and not much more. Both Talton and Howard are also in special session and gave much more solid presentations. Honestly, I am afraid that Lampson might out shine him in a debate if he can't get his crap together.. He stays my second choice, however, because I know that he's a good conservative and will vote the right way.

3. Robert Talton - I could not place Talton as my #1 or 2 for personal reasons, although he would keep a fairly solid conservative voting record. He put his friends ahead of principle once regarding a purely non-politics issue, and I can't put my trust in anyone who might have a shot at becoming “friends” with Sheila Jackson Lee or Nancy Pelosi. Plus, he makes me nervous because he stated that he doesn't support zero-based budgeting.

4. Shelly Sekula-Gibbs - I post the most about her because it seems as if she has positioned herself the most strongly amongst the precinct chairs. Or maybe her contingent is the most outspoken/annoying. Gibbs was very energetic and charismatic, but I still hold that she doesn't have the temperament for this office. She was almost too immature/girly. I didn't like in her opening statement on Saturday, how she evoked the memory of her late husband (who was a local news anchor/celebrity). As previously posted by me, she didn't take on her married name until she started running for office, so it comes off as sheer opportunism. Her worst habit, however is that nobody likes to be told how much “smarter I am than you”. And she just keeps doing that, it is very condescending. She says things like “well you probably don't know this because you're not a doctor.” It might be cool in Clear Lake, but that crap isn't going to fly with the industrial guys in the area where we live because it is very blue collar. Plus, quite simply, she's a “nanny stater”. She actually bragged because she was the force behind the “no smoking in Houston restaurants” ordinance. Now, don't get me wrong, I quit smoking about 3 years ago and don't like it much, but I can't get behind anyone who will tell a private property/business owner how he or she can conduct his or her business. It all comes back to that “I'm smarter than you and I know what's best for you mentality”. Thank you, Hillary Clinton. Further, she can't seem to get a grip on any issue outside the health care/medical side of it because of her royal doctorness, I guess. Her questionnaire answers were strong, but when she provided additional comments, she killed herself. We deserve more than her; she's too liberal.

And such is my assessment. The remainder of the pack aren't worth mentioning, in my opinion. Bless their hearts. They were outclassed, either too emotional or unprepared, and just not suitable for this particular office.

I’d have to rank the candidates differently in terms of performance at the forum.

1) Shelley Sekula-Gibbs
2) Charlie Howard
3) Andy Meyers
4) Mike Jackson
5) Robert Talton
6) Tim Turner
7) Tom Campbell

As he points out, David Wallace & Brad Wright made appointments but missed them, so I place them at the bottom of the list.

My ranking of the candidates, based upon my personal preference, also differs. These are subject to revision, based upon future developments.

1) Shelley Sekula-Gibbs – Let’s say it flat out – this lady has been campaigning like she really wants this nomination and this office. That counts for something – and the fact that the candidate and her supporters are active and enthusiastic should not be seen as “annoying” – unless one considers support for anyone other than one of the three “good old boy” members of the legislature to be an annoyance. Shelley is intelligent (which frightens the blogger in question) articulate, and passionate, all of which are generally considered plusses in a candidate. And yes, she is conservative – though I personally disagree with her on the smoking ban issue. Oh, by the way, she did make the “you probably don't know this because you're not a doctor” comment – but it was in relationship to a particular law that impacts medical care. That law, EMTALA, may as well be called “The Anchor Baby Creation Act”, as it requires that an illegal alien in labor be allowed to deliver her child in the US, even if transferring her back across the border to a hospital in Mexico would in no way endanger her life or health or that of her child. I didn’t know about that law before I first met Dr. Sekula-Gibbs a month ago, and I suspect the same was true of many of those in attendance. Also, I like the brash pledge to be our congresswoman for at least six terms – it radiates a confidence and optimism that I like.

2) Charlie Howard – Here is a hard-working legislator who is well-spoken and conservative. He is a strong conservative, and I cannot say I heard anything that I disagree with. He would make a great candidate for Congressman. He has not made much of an effort to contact precinct chairs. My only issue is his age – even though Charlie is in good health, I have to ask how many terms we are likely to have him around. Will we be looking for a new candidate in four or six years? I would rather we were not.

3) Mike Jackson – My state senator has a lot of CD22 in his district, and he always does well. He is reasonably conservative, but I think he hurt himself with his vote last week on the tax bill, though he explained his reasoning well. I’m just worried how much compromising he would be willing to do in Washington. Mike's nomination will also set off a scramble to take his place in the state senate – and probably for at least one state representative district. I’m uncomfortable with the notion so many positions being filled by precinct chairs in the weeks prior to the general election.

4) Andy Meyers – Is he simply a surrogate for Robert Eckels and Paul Bettencourt? He is close to both and didn’t enter the race until they decided not to run. Does he have the desire to win on his own merits? I don’t care how right he is on the issues, I don’t want to settle for third best.

5) Robert Talton – There seems to be too maneuvering and scheming on the part of the Harris County GOP hierarchy to get this nomination for Talton. He also couldn’t clearly answer some questions about his votes on certain issues in the current special session. Add to that the reality that his major legislative priority in the last regular session was to keep homosexuals from adopting or being foster parents – and would have actually prohibited all single people, regardless of sexual orientation, from adopting or fostering. Besides having out-of-whack priorities, he is, at best, a pale shadow of Charlie Howard.

6) Tim Turner – Never won an election. He would not be a bad choice to replace Shelley or Mike, given his experience in appointed positions and business.

7) Tom Campbell – still asserts that his second-place finish in the primary was the result of disaffected Republicans, not cross-over Democrats. We don’t need a candidate who is delusional.

8) David Wallace – Probably the only candidate whose nomination would lead me to not vote GOP in this race in November. Stood us up after requesting inclusion after missing the deadline. We don’t need a candidate who is stupid.

9) Brad Wright – No name recognition.

Well, that is my take on the candidates. It should be fun over the next few weeks to see how this whole thing works out. And anyone in CD22, please feel free to let me know what you think about candidates.



» Off the Kuff links with: Frontrunners?



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Moral Confusion

Well, I got through my unit on WWII and the Holocaust this year without encountering this situation – for the first time in 10 years.

“Of course I dislike the Nazis. But who is to say they’re morally wrong?�

* * *

The statement above was spoken by a student at Hamilton College in New York. “Professor Roger Simon … said that he has never met a student who denied the Holocaust happened,� Anderson writes. “But he also reported that 10 to 20 percent of his students cannot bring themselves to say that killing millions of people is wrong.�

The first time I heard this argument, I was horrified – “Well, the Holocaust may be wrong for me here and now, but I really can’t say that it would be wrong for anyone else. It may have been OK for the Germans – and it could have been OK for me if I lived back then in Germany.�

And that was from students in a Catholic school, where they had supposedly been inculcated with Christian morality.

I have to agree with Rebecca Hagelin’s condemnation of moral relativism that follows.

If this isn’t an indictment of how modern society has deified “tolerance,� nothing is. What could illustrate the dangerous folly of moral relativism more perfectly than a student who can’t admit that mass murder is wrong -- not because of his feelings but because it’s a fact? A society of people who cannot condemn the Nazis is a society courting moral anarchy.

Sadly, we see the results of such relativism all around us – from pregnant twelve-year-olds to gay marriage to illegal alien rights demonstrations. Will we stand up for moral values – and is it already too late.





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Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are decided.

The top Council entry was The Last Boat Out of Liverpool by Gates of Vienna, with You're-being-mean-to-me Liberalism by New World Man making a strong showing in second place.

Similarly, Non-Council entry Can America Still Win Wars? by Villainous Company was selected as the winner this week, hotly pursued by Of a Fire in a Field from American Digest

Having linked to both winning entries and their runners up, here is the full results of the vote.

Congratulations one and all!





|| Greg, 10:38 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

How Many Attackers?

We are not talking about a small discrepancy here – the woman in the Duke case initially claimed a substantially larger number of attackers.

The day after the March 13 team party where a 27-year-old black woman claimed she was raped, Durham police told campus officers that "this will blow over," the report said. The woman initially told police she was raped by 20 white men, then said she was attacked by three, the report said.

Now given the timeline that we are aware of in this case, this does raise some questions about the accusations. It isn’t as if she said four, or even five. The accuser indicated that she was raped by twenty men – which makes for one every 90 seconds during the time she was in the house. She later settled on three. I cannot see this as doing anything other than helping the defense.





|| Greg, 10:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 07, 2006

Computer = kablooey

Heya folks. Rhodey here from The Colossus of Rhodey (go figure, eh?). Just wanted to inform you that the lack of posts from Greg are due to a very good reason -- one that many of us have experienced at one point or another: His computer went kablooey late last week.

Hopefully, he'll be back in action soon!





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

May 04, 2006

Principal Quits

Remember this guy?

The Chronicle notes today a case at Reagan High School, where Principal Robert Pambello flew the Mexican flag along with the U.S. and Texas flags on the school's flagpole yesterday. Pambello was ordered to remove the Mexican flag because HISD said "it is not appropriate to permit use of school district flagpoles for the purpose of flying flags representing other countries."

Well, it seems that he has quit his job at Reagan High School -- but over a completely different issue.

The Reagan High School principal who was disciplined in March for flying a Mexican flag on campus has resigned amid allegations that he sexually harassed a teacher.

Citing personal reasons, Principal Robert Pambello left his post at the 1,700-student campus April 22. He's using accumulated leave until his resignation takes effect July 18.

"I am leaving the district for personal reasons and to pursue other opportunities," Pambello said in a letter to Superintendent Ab