August 31, 2006

Armed And Dangerous Peace Activists Assault "Baby Killer" National Guardsman

Well, given the demonization of our military personnel by the lft, we knew it would come to this.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department is searching for five people who allegedly attacked a uniformed National Guardsmen walking along 138th Street in Parkland Tuesday afternoon.

The soldier was walking to a convenience store when a sport utility vehicle pulled up alongside him and the driver asked if he was in the military and if he had been in any action.

The driver then got out of the vehicle, displayed a gun and shouted insults at the victim. Four other suspects exited the vehicle and knocked the soldier down, punching and kicking him.

“And during the assault the suspects called him a baby killer. At that point they got into the car and drove off and left him on the side of the road,� Detective Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News.

Notice, of course, that none of the scum were willing to make it a fair fight -- five-on-one and a gun gave tehm all sorts of courage that they lack as individuals.

H/T to Michelle Malkin, who also lists a number of such instances in the recent past.

|| Greg, 04:34 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Out Of Pocket Costs

In the business world, there are expense accounts for needed supplies and decorating issues are generally dealt with out of the company budget. Not so in education, where teachers are often given little or no assistance with material beyond the basics while they are held responsible for creating a stimulating environment to facilitate education.

So where does the money come from for the expected materials?

The posters were hung, the scissors and glue stashed in their proper places and the bulletin boards in Brenda Burlingame's classroom at Legacy Elementary School wrapped and trimmed in a cheery color.

The room simply screamed "Welcome to first grade." That feeling didn't come cheap.

"I probably spent $500 this year," Burlingame said as she shopped for a few last-minute adornments at Loudoun Learning, a teacher supplies store in Leesburg. "No matter if you've been a teacher for five minutes or five years, it has to be done."

Across the region, teachers are digging into their pockets to buy the supplies that turn four walls and a few tiny tables and chairs into the image of a child's classroom, complete with cubbyholes and attendance charts and a cozy reading corner with pillows and a rocking chair.

In a nationwide survey conducted last school year by the National School Supply and Equipment Association, 94 percent of teachers said they spent their own money on school supplies. On average, they estimated they would spend $552 of their own money on their classrooms before the school year was over.

I don't spend that much money on my materials -- because as a male high school teacher, a certain minimalism is not unheard of. I've got a lot of laminated posters hung high enough on the wall that they cannot be vandalized or destroyed, so I can reuse thm from year to year. But were I an elementary teacher, the expectations would be much higher -- and i woul be spending a lot more out of pocket. Instead of $100, I would probably be closer to the $1000 that the wife of a colleague spent last year making sure that second grade was a year of stickers, projects, and other educational activities that would have been denied if submitted on a purchase order.

A teacher expense account would be nice -- not for three-martini lunches, but for the sort of supplies and materials that contribute to student learning. Take it out of the budget for the new football stadium, athletic arena, or natatorium.

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

An Observation On Texas Poverty Statistics

The Houston Chronicle laments the high poverty statistics in parts of Texas -- but I believe they ignore something.

The U.S. Census Bureau released new poverty estimates on Wednesday. The outlook for Texas is troubling indeed, and should prompt self-examination from state leaders and voters both.

According to the new data, one in six Texans lived in poverty last year. And Texas was home to three of the nation's 10 poorest counties, including the top two — Cameron County, with 42 percent below the poverty level, and Hidalgo County, with 41 percent. With 29 percent of its population poor, El Paso County was listed as the country's fourth least-prosperous.

A full quarter of all Texas children are poor, the Bureau's American Community Survey found. Almost 20 percent of Texans are economically deprived, which the government defined for a family of four as earning $19,971 or less. Only 13 percent of Americans overall were found to be poor.

The news was no more heartening in Houston. A full 29 percent of black families here were impoverished, a jump from 25 percent in 2000. Among Hispanics, the number living in poverty climbed to 30 percent from 26 percent. Fewer white Houstonians, 9 percent, were found to be poor.

Look at those Hispanic statistics -- what percentage of them are among the "undocumented" community. I recognized very quickly that the counties mentioned are among the most Hispanic -- and most illegal -- in the state.

And the statistics on African Americans? Do these numbers include the Katrina evacuees who we have welcomed into our midst -- many of whom are stuck in a cycle of chronic, generational dependence on public aid rather than work? We have witnessed this crew demanding ever more cash from the public teat so that they might avoid seeking and finding employment until they can return to their homes in the welfare state of Louisiana. Does this skew the numbers?

We don't get that sort of analysis -- because if such analysis was given, we might have obvious policy solutions for both that fly in the face of liberal dogman.

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

August 30, 2006

Will Bush Get The Credit?

Given that George W. Bush has been blamed by Democrats for high gas prices, will they acknowledge that he is equally responsible for this development?

he recent drop in prices at the pump could pick up steam, driving gasoline sharply lower in coming months.

"I'd say $2 to $2.50," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. "Once you get past Sept. 15, it's really a downhill game."

Kloza said so far the average cost of a gallon of gas peaked this year at $3.036 on Aug. 10 and has come down largely thanks to diminishing hurricane fears.

"There's just nothing happening in the tropics, and the market had priced in all sorts of calamities," he said.

The motorist organization AAA reported a nationwide average of $2.82 Tuesday, the lowest since April 20.

Online gasoline price survey site shows Wednesday's national average at $2.80.

Another analyst pointed to a 60-cent drop in wholesale and spot prices the past few weeks, noting consumers should see a similar drop in retail prices in the coming few weeks as the decline works its way through the market.

The drop in wholesale and spot prices would translate to retail gasoline prices of around $2.50 to $2.60 a gallon, analysts said.

"The levels that were in place were never justified to begin with," said Mark Gilman, an analyst with The Benchmark Co. "This is a bit of a return to reality."

Gilman said retail gasoline prices of around $2 a gallon by Thanksgiving were certainly possible, although not likely.

Gas prices dropping significantly -- possibly to $2.00 a gallon. What an accomplishment!

And while we are at it, given that he took the blame for last year's hurricane season, I assume that Democrats will also credit him with successfully decreasing the number of storms this year -- and the fact that their impact on the US has been minimal.

And if the president's detractors will not credit him with these developments, will they be honest enough to admit that increasing gas prices and the 2005 hurricane season were both beyond his control as well -- and that they were dishonest in blaming him for either?

|| Greg, 08:33 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Donald Richardson -- Dishonorable, Lying Poltroon

SInce the beginning of the CD22 saga last April, when Ton Delay announced his impending resignation, there has been one candidate who I have considered a joke. His name is Donald Richardson, and he is a retired Major who made a career in the Air Force. He'll tell you that at every opportunity, like he believes it makes him somehow superior to the rest of the candidates who sought the GOP nomination. He spend a lot of time talking about honor and honesty and integrity. He also admitted that he had not voted Republican in years. Frankly, most of us involved in the process considered the man to be a joke.

I finally began to gain some respect for Richardson when he came to the August 17 GOP meeting that selected Shelley Sekula-Gibbs. He spoke well and sincerely. Most importantly, he agreed to withdraw his write-in candidacy in favor of the choice of the precinct chairs if he was not chosen.

Well, guess what -- DON RICHARDSON IS A LIAR.

In yet another surprise in the race for Congressional District 22, there will be two Republican write-in candidates running against Democrat Nick Lampson and Libertarian Bob Smither.

On Tuesday – the deadline for withdrawing or registering as a write-in – Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs traveled to Austin to file her papers, as expected.

But unexpectedly, by the end of the day former Republican congressional candidate and Houston businessman Don Richardson did not ask the Texas Secretary of State’s office to remove his name as a write-in candidate.

The move threatens to further confuse voters in what has already been an extremely complicated congressional campaign. And having two GOP write-in candidates in the race may jeopardize funding from national Republican Party sources.

Contacted at his home Tuesday night, Richardson said he is still in the race despite telling GOP officials and precinct chairs at an Aug. 17 gathering in Pearland that he would drop out.

At that meeting, some 83 precicnt chairs in CD-22 voted to support Sekula-Gibbs as an unofficial Republican write-in candidate, and party officials urged other GOP candidates – including Richardson and Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace – to withdraw from the race.

At the Pearland gathering, Texas GOP Chairman Tina Benkiser “got up and said the Republican National Committee would put up $4 million if and only if� there were a single write-in candidate in the race, Richardson said.

In that case, he said, he would withdraw and allow Sekula-Gibbs’ campaign to benefit from the funding.

But the next morning, he called an official at the RNC in Washington, D.C. “I said put it in writing� that $4 million would be available to the single GOP candidate running as a write-in against Lampson, Richardson said.

He didn’t hear back. On Friday, Richardson said, he sent a fax to RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, to the RNC official to whom he’d originally spoken, and to Benkiser.

“I said look, if you’ll put it in writing about the $4 million and refund my campaign expenses…I will withdraw,� Richardson said. “I haven’t heard from anybody. So my name is still on the ballot.�

In other words, after telling the precinct chairs he would withdraw, he decided to add conditions and ultimatums to his promise. That is the sign of a man who is dishonest, dishonorable, and a disgrace to the uniform in which he served. Indeed, is character has significantly more in common with that of Tom DeLay than he would care to admit -- he has placed his own ego above the good of the voters of CD22 and the Republican Party. I'd argue that he has proven what many of us have suspected from the beginning of this process -- that he is a political opportunist whose record shows that he is not now a epublican and has not been one for years.

To borrow a phrase from an earlier era, Don Richardson is a miserable poltroon.

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

What Not To Wear

At an airport, trying to board a plane? Don't wear a shirt with an Arabic slogan on it.

An Arab human rights activist was prevented from boarding a plane at Kennedy Airport while wearing a T-shirt that read, "We will not be silent" in English and Arabic.

Raed Jarrar was at the gate to board a JetBlue Airways flight to Oakland, Calif., on Aug. 12 when four officials from the airline or a government agency stopped him and told him he could not board with the shirt on, he said Wednesday.

One official told him, "Going to an airport with a T-shirt in Arabic script is like going to a bank and wearing a T-shirt that says, `I'm a robber,'" he said.

Sorry, folks, but in a day and age in which we are at war with a group of people who use Arabic to communicate their plans and their fould ideology, wearing a shirt written in Arabic to the airport or on a plane is a provocation. Don't do it.

|| Greg, 06:15 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Recipe For A Merry Fitzmas For Conservtives

Now that the identity of the Plamegate leaker (Richard Armitage) has become public, the matter should be just about over. All that remains is for President Bush to take some action to deal with the fact that the rogue investigation went on for years despite the fact that the identity of the leaker as known very early on and it was clear that there was no violation of the law.

I like these suggestions.

I’m so livid at this tangible and intangible harm that I cannot imagine that the President doesn’t share my fury at such damaging perfidy. If I were advising him, here’s what I’d tell him:

(1) He should have Attorney General Gonzales report to him everything the Department knows of the Armitage revelations and when they occurred to ascertain whether any of the Isikoff-Corn report is false.

2) Former Secretary Powell should be summoned and asked when he learned of the Armitage admission and why he failed to report this to him.

(3) If the reports that he knew in September 2003 that Armitage was the leaker prove true, the President should publicly say that he is deeply disappointed in the conduct of the former State Department officials, that he doesn’t question their belief that the Armitage leaks were inadvertent but that there failure to notify him of those leaks was inexcusable.

(4) If the facts indicate that former Attorney General Ashcroft and Comey knew who Novak’s source was, the President should indicate his disappointment in them for having yielded to the press frenzy in appointing a special prosecutor rather than simply having the courage to tell what happened and why.

(5) He should express regret to the country for this unnecessary and longstanding distraction occasioned by these failures.

(6) He should express special regret to Scooter Libby and his family who have been forced to endure so much for no reason whatsoever.

(7) Finally, he should express disappointment in the unprofessional conduct of the Special Prosecutor who misled the public and the Courts, among other things, and he should announce that he is instructing the Atttorney General to dismiss Fitzgerald and drop the case against Libby.

I'd personally take matters a bit further -- I'd suggest a full pardon for Libby, whose "crime" appears to be nothing more than a discrepancy between his memory and written records of events that happened at least two years earlier.

Heck -- I wonder if there is a basis for a special prosecutor to investigate the cover-up of the leaker's identity by State Department (and possibly Justice Department) officials, and the prosecutorial abuses of Patrick Fitzgerald. And when the indictments are handed down against those who have perpetrated this fraud on the American people, it will be a Merry Fitzmas indeed.

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

Fill 'Er Up For A Cheap Fill Up

Sounds like a pleasurable way to get cheap gas.

A SYDNEY brothel owner has resorted to offering petrol discounts to clients in a bid to boost business.

Madam Kerry's brothel in western Sydney offers clients a discount of 20c a litre if they use one of its "service providers".

Kerry said high petrol prices were hurting the sex service market as much as any other industry.

"We wanted to think outside the box, we have gone quieter with the high petrol prices and we wanted to find a way to give something back to our clients."

And on top of the money back from the brothel, motorists could still claim the 4c discount offered by service stations aligned with supermarket chains.

"They just need to bring in the docket," Kerry said.

Ah, the entrepreneurial spirit is at worl!

But I will say this -- I'm surprised the line I put in italics made it into a story that deals, even tangentially, with prostitution. "Think outside the box"? "Give something back to our clients"? Incredible!

|| Greg, 05:13 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Crooked Ex-Prexy Remains As Proff At TSU

Let's see -- your local univerity has fired its president and she has been indicted for stealing from the school to rehab her personal home. She has, in turn, sued the school for wrongful termination. What does the Univeristy do next?

A) Bar her from campus until the dispute has been resolved.

B) File suit to recover the cash from the homes's sale to the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft.

C) Return her to her previous duties as an accounting professor.

Priscilla Slade, the former Texas Southern University president fired for her spending of school money on personal expenses, is teaching accounting courses on campus this semester.

Her return to the classroom comes four weeks after a Harris Country grand jury indicted Slade and three aides for allegedly violating the university's policies and state laws in paying for household furnishings and landscaping, among other things.

* * *

Officials said the university could move to revoke her tenure, and Slade almost certainly would file a grievance. The grievance would be heard by a committee of faculty members, whose recommendation would go to the regents for the final decision.

Such a dispute would likely end up in court, officials said.

"Regardless of who it is, we have to make sure that due process is followed because faculty members nationwide have fought for the right of tenure," said Sanders Anderson, president of TSU's faculty council.

At most universities, professors with tenure have the implicit promise of a lifetime job. They cannot be dismissed, transferred or demoted, with the exception of extreme misconduct on their part or a financial emergency at the school.

And given that TSU operates like a poorly-run community college, with no admissions requirements to speak of and a sense that it can do what it wants because it is a "black thing", the odds of anybody doing anything about this travesty is pretty near zero. Heck, this is at least the third financial scandal at the place since I moved to Houston nine years ago. Maybe the alumni will create an endowed professorship in Slade's honor -- "The Priscilla Slade Endowed Chair of Crooked Accounting and Financial Fraud".

UPDATE -- 8/31/2006 -- A real newspaper would have published this editorial the same day as the original story. But then again, this is the Houston Chronicle, so a 36 hour delay isn't too bad.

Given the blizzard of bad press, the last thing TSU needs is to put its controversial former president at the head of a class while awaiting trial. Slade deserves and will get her day in court to prove her innocence of the two felony charges she faces for misapplication of fiduciary property. In the meantime, school officials should have assigned the tenured academic to non-teaching duties with a lower public profile.

Such a course would have been the prudent way to minimize damage to the school's image while the question of Slade's professional future is determined. It's not too late to assign another professor to handle her teaching duties while justice takes its course.

Might I suggest having her was dishes in one of the dining halls?

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

August 29, 2006

Do They Have To Take You In?

Home is the place, where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.

Well, that is what Robert Frost says.

But what if you are a naturalized citizen seeking to return to the United States after an extended stay in the country of your birth? Or the US native son of such a naturalized citizen, traveling with his father in the Old Country? That doesn't seem to be the opinion of the federal government in this case.

Federal authorities have prevented two relatives of a father and son convicted recently in a terrorism-related case from returning home to California from Pakistan unless they agree to be interviewed by the F.B.I.

It is unclear whether the men, Muhammad Ismail, 45, and his son Jaber, 18, have a direct connection to the terrorism case or if they have been caught up in circumstance.

The United States attorney’s office in Sacramento declined Monday to answer questions about the Ismails beyond confirming that the men had not been permitted to fly into the United States and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation wanted to question them.

The United States attorney, McGregor W. Scott, reiterated a comment he had made to The San Francisco Chronicle, which reported Saturday about the Ismails’ troubles.

“They’ve been given the opportunity to meet with the F.B.I. over there and answer a few questions, and they’ve declined to do that,” Mr. Scott said through a spokeswoman, Mary Wenger.

Part of the problem is the conviction of two family members from California on terrorism charges -- charges related to their activities during a visit to Pakistan. The Ismails, however, have not been charged with any crime. But they have been placed on the "no-fly" list, and have been told they will not be permitted to enter the US without an FBI interview.

But just a moment. Upon what theory can the Federal Government effectively exile American citizens? Is there not, as held repeatedly by the Supreme Court, a right for American citizens to travel, both within the United States and abroad? And while ertain travel restrictions may reasonably be imposed (such as the ban on travel to Cuba), shouldn't such restrictions be clearly spelled out in advance and generally applicable?

We are not the old Soviet Union, with internal passports and heavy travel rsetrictions placed upon enslaved citizens. This course of action does not feel right to me. Because these are Americans, when they seek to come home, we have to take them in -- and they cannot be required to surrender their rights under the Constitution of the United States as a condition of return, which is precisely what is being demanded of them.

A number of my conservative brother and sister bloggers take the opposite position, including Stop the ACLU, Woman Honor Thyself, Cigar Intelligence Agencyand Uncooperative Blogger.

Hammer of Truth Practical Nomad, and Volokh Conspiracy (sort of) are on my side of the issue.

|| Greg, 07:47 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (103) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Special Election In CD22

Looks like we will have TWO congressional elections in CD22 on November 7.

Perry Calls Special Elections for DeLay, Luna and Madla Seats on Nov. 7

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today ordered special elections to be held concurrently with the Nov. 7 general election for the U.S. congressional seat vacated by Congressman Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, who has resigned and removed his name from the ballot; and for state Rep. Vilma Luna, D-Corpus Christi, and state Sen. Frank Madla, D-San Antonio, both of whom have resigned their positions in the Texas Legislature.

In his proclamation setting the special election for DeLay’s seat, Perry noted that the U.S. Constitution requires that a special election be held and state law requires that it be held on the next uniform state election date, which is Nov. 7. Delay represented the 22nd Congressional District, which consists of parts of Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston and Harris counties.

Luna represents the Texas House of Representatives District No. 33, which consists of part of Nueces County. Madla represents Texas State Senate District No. 19, which consists of Bandera, Brewster, Crockett, Culberson, Edwards, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Medina, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Reeves, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Ward, Winkler and parts of Bexar and El Paso counties.

Candidates who want to place their names on the ballot for DeLay’s, Luna’s or Madla’s district must file with the Secretary of state by 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1.

This creates all sorts of interesting possibilities.

Will additional GOP candidates other than designated write-in candidate Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs try to jump into the race? Or will the Houston City Councilwoman have a clear shot at Nick Lampson? Will the presence of two races help her or hurt her in the write-in portion of the campaign? And if she wins the unexpired portion of DeLay's term (about two months),beating Lampson, will she become the undisputed front-runner in 2008, based upon having beaten lampson in a race for which she was listed on the ballot?

This makes everything quite interesting, in a year in which things have been interesting for some time.

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

The Balrog Of Bigotry In The Democrat Base

Don’t you just love the vile stuff that shows up on “liberal� and “progressive� websites these days. The KOSsacks and Dummies are venomous, and there is plenty of HuffPoison over at Aarriana’s place, but the neuro-toxins are on display among the “peace-loving and tolerant� affiliated with MoveOn.Org.

So no doubt the media and the Left will soon turn their attention to the vicious anti-Semitism the followers and members of a political organization that donates millions to Democratic candidates and uses the Web to whip up support for its policies.

I am referring to; an entity that claims it is merely the vehicle of "real Americans — from carpenters to stay-at-home moms to business leaders — we work together to realize the progressive vision of our country's founders." To the extent that is a reflection of its membership, it is also a reflection of the opinions and sentiments it shares about its fellow Americans and citizens of the world. And boy do the Moveon folks hate Jews.

* * *

After Sen. Joe Lieberman lost the Democratic primary in Connecticut, one Moveon member stated: "Jew Lieberman first step. Corporate Clinton will be next. Impeachment of BushCo will be third." This one came in with 95 percent of Moveon members responding approving the "Jew Lieberman" post. (Moveon helpfully records the percent of people agreeing with each post.)

Many postings creatively connect the need to eliminate Jewish influence with the goal of impeaching President Bush: Here's a typical one, which also received a high approval rating:

"I was reading some where someone posting about how Israel has lost world respect because of their murderous rampage throughout Lebanon?

Talk about loss of respect? What do you think the rest of the world thinks of ZioUSA now after seeing the BushCo spectacle, with Rice & Bolton flailing in the wind for the Zionazis against all world opinion?

Loss of respect is putting it mildly.

Impeachment of Bush is the only remedy."

Yeah, there is Bush plenty of Bush Derangement Syndrome at work, but the really vile stuff is the anti-Semitism. Calling a respected senator “Jew Lieberman� really crosses a line in this context, because it is premeditated and there was the option to edit and moderate the bigotry within. But the Democrats and media do not denounce this – though they were quick to pounce on a congressman several years back when, in a slip of the tongue which was immediately retracted, he referred to a certain homosexual congressman as “Barney Fag�. Or, as the article points out, there is the stupid “Macaca� comment of George Allen – a slur so obscure that I at one point was willing to believe that there was nothing to it, but an ongoing controversy which continues to be the fodder for political commentary and late-night humor.

I am personally struck by this comment.

"Why are the Jews so Jew-y?"

Those damn Jews – they are just so Jew-like. What next? A complaint that African-Americans are too “nigger-y�? Come on!

America has striven to slay the balrog of bigotry for many decades. Our most shining moment as a nation was the civil rights movement and the strength with which most Americans rejected such hatred as contrary to our national ethos. The Democrats, long the party of slavery, segregation, and the KKK, rejected its heritage of hate and sought to join the GOP in supporting freedom and equality of opportunity and rights for all Americans. Yet today it seems clear that a perverse pride in prejudice has taken hold in the activist wing of the Democrat party, re-embracing the night-riding nastiness of a bygone era.

And yet the decent people within the Democrat Party – and the media – stand by in silence while this horrifying freak-show continues to gain ascendancy on the Left. Dare they speak out? Or are the too filled with fear – or too much in agreement – to denounce this dangerous dogma of destruction?

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

How Can Muslims Play Football?

After all, they use a pigskin in the game. But if it gets them a chance to claim to be persecuted and victimized -- or make lots of money in the NFL after getting a free-ride to college courtesy of infidel taxpayers, they are willing to overlook it, I guess

Three former New Mexico State University football players – all Muslims – on Monday sued the university and coach Hal Mumme, alleging they were dismissed from the team because of their religious beliefs.

The federal lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Mu'Ammar Ali and brothers Anthony and Vincent Thompson. The lawsuit alleges religious discrimination and violations of the athletes' right to freely exercise their religion.

* * *

In response to the allegations, New Mexico State hired an Albuquerque law firm to investigate and the law firm concluded the football program had not engaged in religious discrimination against the three Muslim athletes.

The investigation by Albuquerque law firm Miller Stratvery found that the players were released from the team based on their performance and attitudes, not because of religion. The probe included interviews with the football coaching staff, athletics department personnel and student-athletes.

Simonson at the time questioned the fairness of the investigation.

“I think it's very troubling that the university could not find any basis for these allegations whatsoever when three very sincere individuals came forward with such serious allegations,” he said. “It really raises questions in my mind about the university's commitment to diversity and racial equality and issues of equality.”

In other words, the only good investigation is one that finds what the ACLU and its fellow-travelers claim to be true. Any other finding, no matter how supported by the facts, is troubling and indicative of a lack of commitment to diversity and equality. I guess a commitment to truth simply pales beside those two.

But I have to wonder – given the status of pigs in the eyes of Muslims, how can they play football at all? After all, it isn’t called a pigskin for nothing.

Maybe the coach was just looking out for their spiritual best interest – both by putting them off the team, and by encouraging Christian brotherhood (which unlike the Muslim Brotherhood, won’t kidnap you, kill you, or force you to convert at gunpoint).

|| Greg, 04:54 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Islamo-Paki SOB Kidnaps Pre-Teen Daughter For Pedophile Muslim Marriage

Sorry – no respect for ethnicity or religion with this scumbag, who violates court orders and common decency to bring about the forced marriage of his 12-year-old daughter to a man over twice her age.

AN INTERNATIONAL hunt has been launched for a 12-year-old girl after she was allegedly abducted from her home in Stornoway and taken to Pakistan, amid reports she is to be married to a man of 25.

Molly Campbell went missing from school on Friday. It is believed she was taken by her father and elder sister and flew with them to Lahore.

Police say they want to reunite the girl with her mother, Louise Campbell, her legal guardian.

Last night reports quoted Molly's grandmother as saying she feared the schoolgirl had been taken to become a child bride.

Violet Robertson, 67, said: "It's just terrible. Molly is only a little girl. It's an arranged marriage.

"She doesn't know the man. He's 25. Molly doesn't want to go to Pakistan. She wants to stay with her mum."

Molly, also known as Misbah Iram Ahmed Rana, was last seen at 10:50am on Friday in the grounds of her school, the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway.
Northern Constabulary believe she was met there by her sister, Tahmina, 18, and the pair took a taxi to Stornoway Airport before flying to Glasgow.

They then met their father, Sajad Ahmed Rana, and all three boarded the 2:55pm Emirates flight to Lahore.

Just following the example of Muhammad, I guess. I recall that he liked sex with little girls, too.

Would somebody please remind me – what is there in Islam that is good and noble?

|| Greg, 04:47 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Headline Of The Day

My initial reaction was “Now THAT’S entertainment!”

Kids Watch As Clown Is Crushed to Death

Admit it. It sounds sort of like something out of The Onion.

Unfortunately, the story is much more tragic – and all too true.

|| Greg, 04:41 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Domanick Davis Watch

Will his injuries lead to his losing a spot on the roster of the Houston Texans?

Running back Domanick Davis, the Texans' career rushing leader, is in danger of not making the team this season.

Davis, who missed five games in 2005, has not practiced since the first week of preseason because of a bruised left knee that is unrelated to the arthroscopic surgery he underwent on the same knee in December.

Unlike Wali Lundy and Vernand Morency, Davis has been unable to be on the field to impress his new coaching staff, specifically head coach Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Troy Calhoun. Kubiak said Monday that if the regular season began today, Lundy would start against Philadelphia.

Each day, Kubiak grows more concerned about Davis' lack of availability. The roster will be reduced to a final 53 on Friday, one day after the Texans close the preseason at home against Tampa Bay.

"I'm very concerned," Kubiak said. "There's not much we can do about it, but I'm very concerned about that situation.

"It'll be a tough decision for the final 53. We'll make the decision based on what's best for Domanick and the team."

The Texans will have several options. They can make Davis, 25, part of the final roster and wait for him to get healthy. They can place him on waivers. They can put him on injured reserve, which means he wouldn't play this season. They also could trade him, which is unlikely because he's damaged goods.

We here in houston -- especially the season ticketholders -- will be waiting to see what happens here.

And for the first time, I wonder if we didn't make a mistake in letting Reggie Bush slip to the number 2 pick in the draft by picking Mario Williams, who has not developed quite as fast as some of us have been hoping.

|| Greg, 04:35 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

CAIR And Anti-Semite Profs -- A Match Made In Hell

Undermining American foreign policy AND promoting the dual-loyalty canard against American Jews. No wonder the terror-apologists from CAIR love Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt.

Yesterday, at the invitation of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), they held a forum at the National Press Club to expand on their allegations about the Israel lobby. Blurring the line between academics and activism, they accepted a button proclaiming "Fight the Israel Lobby" and won cheers from the Muslim group for their denunciation of Israel and its friends in the United States.

Whatever motivated the performance, the result wasn't exactly scholarly.

Walt singled out two Jews who worked at the Pentagon for their pro-Israel views. "People like Paul Wolfowitz or Doug Feith . . . advocate policies they think are good for Israel and the United States alike," he said. "We don't think there's anything wrong with that, but we also don't think there's anything wrong for others to point out that these individuals do have attachments that shape how they think about the Middle East."

"Attachments" sounds much better than "dual loyalties." But why single out Wolfowitz and Feith and not their non-Jewish boss, Donald Rumsfeld?

"I could have mentioned non-Jewish people like John Bolton," Walt allowed when the question was put to him.

Picking up on the "attachments" lingo, Mearsheimer did mention Bolton but cited two Jews, Elliott Abrams and David Wurmser, as "the two most influential advisers on Middle East affairs in the White House. Both, he said, are " fervent supporters of Israel." Never mind that others in the White House, such as national security adviser Stephen Hadley, Vice President Cheney and President Bush, have been just as fervent despite the lack of "attachments."

Yeah, but it is so much easier to play on the ant-Semitism of Muslims and their fellow travelers (like my old toll, Ken Hoop) by mentioning the officials of Jewish heritage. After all, to such folks everything is the fault of the Jews. And by highlighting them, it makes it easier to claim that other officials are puppets of the Jews and that the US is controlled by (as my troll regularly stated in emailed to me and Christian Identity militias often assert) a Zionist Occupied Government.

The association between these professors and the terrorist-supporting CAIR should be enough to discredit these pseudo-academics -- and to discredit the organizatation, which sponsored them despite their having been iscreditted as dressing up old anti-Semitism in new garments.

|| Greg, 04:31 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Couple Days Late And A Couple Dollars Short

Well, the Washington Post has finally caught up with Newsweek and most of the blogosphere. Richard Armitage outed Valerie Plame.

The leak of information about an undercover CIA employee that provoked a special prosecutor's investigation of senior White House officials came from then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage, according to a former Armitage colleague at the department.

Armitage told newspaper columnist Robert D. Novak in the summer of 2003 that Valerie Plame, the wife of a prominent critic of the Iraq war, worked for the CIA, the colleague said. In October of that year, Armitage admitted to senior State Department officials that he had made the remark, which was based on a classified report he had read.

Gee, didn't I write about this on Sunday?

However, there is one interesting tidbit about the Bush Derangement Syndrome-afflicted Left.

"Just because Armitage did this on his own, earlier, doesn't mean that there wasn't a White House conspiracy to 'out' Valerie [Plame] Wilson. We don't think it affects the case," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the group pressing the lawsuit.

In other words, never let the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory -- or a politicall motivated lawsuit.

Washington Monthly's Kevin Drum tries to keep the anti-Bush fires burning, too.

|| Greg, 04:21 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Lightning Knocks Station Off Air

I missed this story.

KSBJ (89.3 FM) ihas been off the air due to a lightning strike. The Christian music station has long been known in the Houston area for its slogan, "God Listens".

Listeners who have tried to tune in to KSBJ 89.3 in the past couple of days have likely gotten silence. As KHOU-11 reports, that's because lightning hit the Christian station's tower earlier this week:
A Christian radio station was knocked off the air after its tower was hit by lightning earlier this week. KSBJ-89.3 FM The station, KSBJ 89.3 FM, has a main tower in Plum Grove, near Cleveland. It was hit at about 8 p.m. Tuesday and is operating at reduced power, the station said.

Typically, the station, which has a contemporary Christian music format, broadcasts at 100,000 watts, but is currently operating at only 50 watts.

The station said that crews are working to repair the problem, but that it will be several days until it will be completely fixed.

The station said that listeners can instead hear programming on their website, at

We presume God is still listening, and doesn't need the full 100,000 watts.

I'll let you fill in your own punchline.


|| Greg, 04:13 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

We'll Just Work Harder

Speaking as a GOP precinct chair in CD22, all I can say is that we are just going to have to work harder than usual to win.

The Texas Republican Party establishment has rallied around a single candidate, Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, in their unusual write-in campaign to salvage the 22nd Congressional District seat vacated in June by Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader.

But the extreme rarity of successful write-in campaigns for Congress and the presence of a solid Democratic nominee on the ballot in former Rep. Nick Lampson has prompted to change its rating on the 22nd District race to Leans Democratic from No Clear Favorite.

The GOP faces a world of trouble in this race because of a serious miscalculation on the part of DeLay and his party colleagues.

There is a strong commitment on the part of local Republicans to hold this seat, and with enough work we will be able to do it. At the same time, i ad mit that we have no easy task before us, despite having a good candidate for office who can be contrasted with DeLay as having no hint of scandal associated with her andnot being the candidate of the Fort Bend power structure that produced him. At the same time, she contrasts with Lampson by bing ideologically in tune witht he district and having lived here for the last two decades -- while Lampson carpetbagged into the district within the last year after most of his life near the Louisiana border in Beaumont.

Still, I understand the rating change -- write-in campaigns are an uphill battle.

|| Greg, 04:06 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 28, 2006

A Time For Muslim Moderates To Speak Out

Davud Frum makes this point regarding the forced conversion to Islam of Fox journalists Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig.

Does not the gunpoint forced conversion to Islam of two Western journalists provide an opportunity for Western Muslim groups to condemn attempts to spread Islam by violence and to declare their support for the principle enshrined in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

CAIR? The Muslim Council of Britain? The Canadian Islamic Congress? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone at all?

Do YOU hear crickets chirping?

|| Greg, 03:38 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Tear It Down! Kick ‘Em Out! Rawhide!

After all, if the UN headquarters is such a death trap, it should be condemned and destroyed as a matter of public safety.

And that would allow the organization to relocate to some other, more socialist country – and maybe it could bay one-fifth of the organization’s operating costs.

The long-delayed plans to renovate the United Nations buildings, old and riddled with safety violations, pose deadly risks to emergency responders and thousands who live and work around the area, Sen. Charles Schumer said yesterday.

Citing the testimony of UN officials, Schumer said a fire could travel quickly up the walls of the main building, which lacks sprinklers. Also, the heat pipes leak and could contaminate the Manhattan neighborhood with asbestos if they were to explode, he said.

"If this building were owned by a private company, there would be so many violations that the Buildings Department would be tempted to close it down," Schumer, a Democrat, said. Since the UN is considered international territory, it is not subject to local codes, a department official said.

The UN – who would really miss them?

|| Greg, 03:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Biden Brags – I’m From A Slave State!

And here we’ve all been told that this quit being an asset in seeking the Democrat presidential nomination 150 years ago.

I guess Joe Biden didn’t get the memo.

Biden dismissed the notion that he was a "Northeastern liberal" who would have a poor showing in the South against other likely contenders such as Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee.

"Better than anybody else," Biden said, when asked on "Fox News Sunday" to rate his chances of winning Southern states.

"You don't know my state," he said. "My state was a slave state. My state is a border state. My state has the eighth-largest black population in the country. My state is anything from a Northeast liberal state."

I am, to say the least, stunned. How big a screw-up does Biden have to make before the Democrats renounce and condemn him – and before he quits being treated like a credible candidate for any office.

And, as I often ask, what would be the reaction of the media if a comment like that came out of a Republican?

|| Greg, 03:33 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Produce Hemp?

Personally, I've never understood the ban on producing hemp, which has many industrial uses but such a minimal THC level that it is not useful for toking purposes.

Now there is a move to legalize the crop, which was raised by Washington and Jefferson, in California.

Charles Meyer’s politics are as steady and unswerving as the rows of pima cotton on his Central Valley farm. With his work-shirt blue eyes and flinty Clint Eastwood demeanor, he is staunchly in favor of the war in Iraq, against gun control and believes people unwilling to recite the Pledge of Allegiance should be kicked out of America, and fast.

But what gets him excited is the crop he sees as a potential windfall for California farmers: industrial hemp, or Cannabis sativa. The rapidly growing plant with a seemingly infinite variety of uses is against federal law to grow because of its association with its evil twin, marijuana.

“Industrial hemp is a wholesome product,” said Mr. Meyer, 65, who says he has never worn tie-dye and professes a deep disdain for “dope.”

“The fact we’re not growing it is asinine,” Mr. Meyer said.

Things could change if a measure passed by legislators in Sacramento and now on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk becomes law. [The bill reached Mr. Schwarzenegger last week; he has 30 days to sign or veto it.]

What are the uses of hemp?

Hundreds of hemp products, including energy bars and cold-pressed hemp oil, are made in California, giving the banned plant a capitalist aura. But manufacturers must import the raw material, mostly from Canada, where hemp cultivation was legalized in 1998.

Over 30 countries worldwide allow the cultivation of industrial hemp. The Chinese currently produce about 40% of the world's supply.

Must the War on Drugs, which has produced any number of inane results over the years, make the capitalist system a casualty?

|| Greg, 04:13 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Iraq: Quit or Commit by Right Wing Nut House, and Bad Faith by 3AM Magazine

Please click the link for the full results of the vote.

|| Greg, 03:46 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 27, 2006

Let's Do More Of This

Time for this country to quit being the patsy on illegal immigration -- and allowing the border-jumping invaders to become so comfortable that they think they have anything approaching the rights of a US citizen.

More cases like this one would be a good start.

The deportation Friday of a well-educated Venezuelan couple who admitted lying about their citizenship when they registered to vote in Boone County has struck a chord among those who are in the United States illegally, their lawyer said.

Abraham E. Gomez, 46, and his wife, Mayen C. Gomez, 41, entered the United States legally on a visa, but became illegal when they overstayed, said attorney John Arnett.

Still, the couple, both of whom have college degrees, settled in Union, obtained jobs, and sent their two children to school.

Over the past six years, along with dozens, if not hundreds of illegal immigrants in Boone County, they have become part of the community, Arnett said, their status almost forgotten.

It may have been their downfall, he said.

"After being here for a while, they got lulled into a false sense of security," he said.

"They don't think that way now, that's for sure."

Their arrest - along with the arrests of dozens of illegal immigrants in connection with an investigation into the Northern Kentucky home-building industry - has not gone unnoticed among those in the United States illegally.

Arnett said he knows several such people who have returned home for fear of being caught.

In 2004, the Gomezes went to get their driving licenses. While at the courthouse, they registered to vote, falsely checking the box that said they were United States citizens.

"They knew they were not citizens of this country when they checked the form, but they had no criminal intent," Arnett said. "In their country, they are required to vote."

They were arrested earlier this year after agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement received an anonymous tip. In a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, they pleaded guilty to falsely claiming they were U.S. citizens in exchange for a recommended sentence of probation and deportation.

That sentenced was imposed Friday.

The conviction also means the couple is prohibited from ever entering the United States again, even as visitors, Arnett said.

And don't let the screen door hit you in the ass on the way out.

|| Greg, 04:26 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

If We Knew The Leaker, Why The Wide-Ranging Special Prosecutor?

By the end of the first week of October, 2003, investigators knew the identity of the individual who leaked the identity of non-covert CIA employee Valerie Plame in violation of no law. Furthermore, this information was made available to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald when he was appointed to that position in December, 2003.

It was Richard Armitage, a well-known gossip and moderate opponent of Bush policy in the Middle East.

In the early morning of Oct. 1, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell received an urgent phone call from his No. 2 at the State Department. Richard Armitage was clearly agitated. As recounted in a new book, "Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War," Armitage had been at home reading the newspaper and had come across a column by journalist Robert Novak. Months earlier, Novak had caused a huge stir when he revealed that Valerie Plame, wife of Iraq-war critic Joseph Wilson, was a CIA officer. Ever since, Washington had been trying to find out who leaked the information to Novak. The columnist himself had kept quiet. But now, in a second column, Novak provided a tantalizing clue: his primary source, he wrote, was a "senior administration official" who was "not a partisan gunslinger." Armitage was shaken. After reading the column, he knew immediately who the leaker was. On the phone with Powell that morning, Armitage was "in deep distress," says a source directly familiar with the conversation who asked not to be identified because of legal sensitivities. "I'm sure he's talking about me."

Armitage's admission led to a flurry of anxious phone calls and meetings that day at the State Department. (Days earlier, the Justice Department had launched a criminal investigation into the Plame leak after the CIA informed officials there that she was an undercover officer.) Within hours, William Howard Taft IV, the State Department's legal adviser, notified a senior Justice official that Armitage had information relevant to the case. The next day, a team of FBI agents and Justice prosecutors investigating the leak questioned the deputy secretary. Armitage acknowledged that he had passed along to Novak information contained in a classified State Department memo: that Wilson's wife worked on weapons-of-mass-destruction issues at the CIA. (The memo made no reference to her undercover status.) Armitage had met with Novak in his State Department office on July 8, 2003—just days before Novak published his first piece identifying Plame. Powell, Armitage and Taft, the only three officials at the State Department who knew the story, never breathed a word of it publicly and Armitage's role remained secret.

Fitzgerald continued his investigation for a additional two years, creating perjury traps for individuals who he knew had no connection to the leak. In the end, only one individual was indicted, on charges that could well stem from a faulty memory rather than intentional criminal activity. Armitage walked away unscathed, and continues to lack the cojones to admit his role publicly -- and allowed the Bush administration to suffer from close to three years of acusations of malfeasance which have undermined the trust of some segments of the American Body Politic.

And while we are at it, let us note that this should forever remove any notion that Colin Powell is a stand-up guy and a straight-shooter. He allowed Armitage to stay on at the State Department for some time after the leak, never publicly disclosed the identity of the leaker, and also permitted the left-wing spin to undermine the Bush Administration. His actions were disgraceful, dishonorable, and unpatriotic.

UPDATE: Make this one reason to not support John McCain. He's got both Armitage and Powell on his team. If McCain has any integrity, he will dump them both.

ADDITIONAL COVEAGE AT Captain's Quarters. Sister Toldjah, Unalienable Right, USS Neverdock, Hot Air, Old War Dogs

UPDATE -- 8/30/2006: Armitage admits guilt.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT: Stop the ACLU, Wizbang, Samantha Burns, Is It Just Me?, Adam's Blog, Bacon Bits, Bullwinkle Blog, Stuck on Stupid, Conservative Cat, Third World County, Blue Star Chronicle, Right Nation, Uncooperative Blogger, Right Wing Nation, Woman Honor Thyself

|| Greg, 03:05 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

What Are The Implictions For Education Policy?

One new study raises the possibility that my maleness harms the education of my female students -- and that the femininity of some of my colleagues impedes the education of their male students.

For all the differences between the sexes, here's one that might stir up debate in the teacher's lounge: Boys learn more from men and girls learn more from women.

That's the upshot of a provocative study by Thomas Dee, an associate professor of economics at Swarthmore College and visiting scholar at Stanford University. His study was to appear Monday in Education Next, a quarterly journal published by the Hoover Institution.

Vetted and approved by peer reviewers, Dee's research faces a fight for acceptance. Some leading education advocates dispute his conclusions and the way in which he reached them.

But Dee says his research supports his point, that gender matters when it comes to learning. Specifically, as he describes it, having a teacher of the opposite sex hurts a student's academic progress.

''We should be thinking more carefully about why,'' he said.

I don't have an answer to this one. Is it single-sex classes? Single-sex schools? Is it something else? And if the best education for the most students is found in one of the first two solutions, will that certain forces in our society allow for such a system to be implemented?

|| Greg, 12:34 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Bit Of The Surreal In Texas Politics

Every now and then, you just need a little bit of the weird to make people take politics more seriously -- and less seriously.

In Texas this year, we have Kinky Friedman doing exactly that.

Many people continue to laugh at the jokes, one-liners and other quotable quotes still being delivered by the Clown Prince of the Texas governor's race. But at what point, if any, does the laughter give way to something else?

Some of Kinky Friedman's quips are funny (at least the first two or three times you hear them). Some are funny and outrageous, as is the nature of satire, while others are mostly outrageous, and anything but politically correct.

Friedman, so far, has been able to operate without the PC restraints of most political figures, probably because he is viewed as more of an entertainer or self-promoter than a politician, as a protest candidate who only a handful of people, if that many, expect to be the next governor.

Without much of a political program to promote, he simply performs the role of Kinky.

What could have been a simple refusal to apologize to Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, the other independent candidate, over a recent campaign flap about ethics prompted Friedman, instead, to challenge the PC issue head-on.

"It's meaningless," he told R.G. Ratcliffe, an Austin bureau reporter for the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News.

"It's politically correct these days to apologize to the Indians and apologize to the Hawaiians for taking their land, apologize to the African-Americans for dealing with them as slaves and on and on without end. It's a little late in the game to go around apologizing and thinking everything's going to be OK."

Some of what the man says makes sense. Some of it does anything but.

But when you see the number of Kinky stickers around Texas, I sometimes wonder if we might not see the man pull a Jesse Ventura style victory this November. After all, the governor is alientaing the GOP base by stacking his property tax commission with opponents of property tax relief and leaving off the leading expert on the subject, our state comptroller is mounting a quixotic independent campaign, and the Democrats couldn't find a legitimate candidate for office so they picked a thrid-rater who would have been censured by the House Ethics committee if he hadn't been thrown out of office int eh Democrat primary.

After all, there is something to be said for a guy whose campaign slogan is "Why The Hell Not?"

|| Greg, 11:53 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Stupid Government Tricks

Sometimes the government does really dumb things in the name of protecting us from terrorism. You know, like making 90-year-old quadraplegic Swedish nuns disassemble their wheelchairs to prove they are not al-Qaeda terrorists. Or giving heightened scrutiny at airports to military personnel in uniform carrying travel orders from the Department of Defense.

Or investigating this case.

Jim Bensman thought his suggestion during a public hearing was harmless enough: Instead of building a channel so migratory fish could go around a dam on the Mississippi River, just get rid of the dam.

Instead, the environmental activist found himself in hot water, drawing FBI scrutiny to see whether he had any terrorist intentions.

The case "shows just how easy it is to be labeled a suspected terrorist," he says.

It all started on July 25 in Alton, Ill., when the Army Corps of Engineers invited public discussion about options for improving fish movement at the nearby Melvin Price Locks and Dam, considered a major impediment to roughly three dozen species that migrate upstream.

During the 90-minute hearing that included on the agenda whether to build a fish channel, Bensman says, he reiterated he's no fan of dams, contending they're environmentally destructive and amount to billions of dollars in corporate welfare for boating interests.

He urged that the dam be torn out. He said he never mentioned blowing the dam up, though the corps' presentation of possible options included a picture of a dam being dynamited.

The next day, however, a local newspaper reported that Bensman "said he would like to see the dam blown up and resents paying taxes to fix dam problems when it is barge companies that profit from the dam."

Workers at the corps' St. Louis office "took a dim view (of the article) and questioned if it was a potential threat," and a security manager forwarded the clipping to the FBI, said corps spokesman Alan Dooley.

Now hold on here -- the guy gets words attributed to him in a newspaper -- words that can easily be refuted by listening to the tape of the public hearing (such things are recorded by the government, you know, to provide a full record of the public hearings). The only mention of blowing up the dam was in the Corps' own presentation ,not in Bensman's comments. But the FBI conducted a full-scale investigation?

What's more, the Corps of Engineers refuses to make any apology or even acknowledge that it had over-reacted in calling the FBI over a newspaper article without even checking its own records of the event.

I'm all for keeping America safe -- but this is ridiculous.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT: Stop the ACLU, Wizbang, Samantha Burns, Is It Just Me?, Adam's Blog, Bacon Bits, Bullwinkle Blog, Stuck on Stupid, Conservative Cat, Third World County, Blue Star Chronicle, Right Nation, Uncooperative Blogger, Right Wing Nation, Woman Honor Thyself

|| Greg, 11:10 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Chron On Sekula-Gibbs

The Houston Chronicle today offers a an article on the Shelley Sekula-Gibbs campaign.

As she begins her uphill campaign for Congress, City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs is taking heart in hills she already has climbed to earn the long-shot Republican assignment.

Her emergence as the GOP's only hope to retain the seat vacated by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay resulted from hard work and perseverance, with help from luck and circumstances.

"There is some truth to that, because there were so many iterations during this process," Sekula-Gibbs said. "It was amazing and imperfect, but nevertheless decisive. No one could have predicted the outcome. But I was determined to stay the course and be the Republican choice if they wanted me."

And it has been an uphill battle from day one. I was an early supporter, though I will concede that I gave a hard look at all the possible options following the decision that the GOP could not replace Tom Delay on the ballot. Still, I have never wavered from my perspective that Shelley that Shelley was and is the best available Republican candidate for this Republican district -- a conservative with a solid record and no hint of ethical impropriety who was willing to work with the party to mount an effective campaign.

That was a contrast with her major opponent in the waning days of the selection process.

And frankly, I don't get the large amount of space devoted to Shelley's failed opponent. He never had significant support outside of Sugar land, and had spent the entire process antagonizing the state party, and the harris COunty GOP in particular. At no point did that candidate express any willingness to meet with the representatives of the largest county in his district as a group. We were expected to come to him, individually, on his turf and his terms. This stands in sharp contrast to Shelley's strategy of reaching out to precinct chairs in all four counties, holding events in each and making herself available to virtually any group in the counties that wished to hear from her.

I encourage folks to read this article to find out why Shelley Sekula-Gibbs is our candidate, even as a write-in -- and why she should be the choice of voters in CD22

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

August 26, 2006

Look Out World -- Texas Is Nearly Ready To Kick Your @$$

USS Texas (SSN 775), that is.

The Navy debuted its newest nuclear-powered submarine Friday in an Atlantic Ocean swing off the Florida coast, the second in the latest fast-attack class that marks a broad departure from the Cold War-era deterrence boats.

The Texas, which will officially earn a "USS" designator in a commissioning ceremony in two weeks, weighs 7,800 tons, measures 377 feet long and can remain submerged on covert surveillance up to three months. It travels faster than 25 knots underwater and dives farther than 800 feet.

"It's much more effective than any ship I've been on before," said Capt. John Litherland, who has been on more than 50. "It's not the fastest, but the difference is that it's quiet even at its top speed."

Perhaps the biggest improvement is the ability to travel with a small special forces submarine, nine commandos and their gear. Previous subs would have carried only three Navy SEALS.


The second of the so-called Virginia boats, following the USS Virginia, the Texas also features advanced navigation and computer systems that only require two sailors piloting. The periscope is fiberoptic, useful for two reasons: there is no longer a vulnerable hatch on top to telescope into and out of, and its images can be projected to everyone in the control room.

God bless Texas!

|| Greg, 06:41 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Are Republican Prospects Improving?

Look at these numbers for the five most closely watched Senate races -- GOP candidates listed first, and previous polling numbers in parentheses.

Missouri : 46-44 (46-47)

Rhode Island: 43-42 (38-44)

Ohio : 42-45 (41-49)

Montana: 47-47 (42-43)

Pennsylvania: 39-44 (42-48)

We lead in two, are tied in one, and are close in the other two. That means that all are serious prospects to be won by a Republican -- if one considers Lincoln Chaffee to be a Republican.

|| Greg, 01:05 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Iran Makes Nuke Moves

Looks like the UN will receive one final test of whether it is worth a pitcher of warm spit. Its handling of this latest move by the Madman of Tehran will determine whether or not the organization deserves to survive. If it fails here, the US and other sane nations should simply walk away.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated on Saturday a new phase in the Arak heavy-water reactor project, part of Iran’s atomic program which the West fears is aimed at producing bombs.

A Reuters witness said the president inaugurated the project and toured the site at Khondab, which is near Arak 120 miles southwest of the capital Tehran. The plant’s plutonium by-product could be used to make atomic warheads.

The move came days before a U.N. deadline for Iran to halt uranium enrichment, the part of the program which is the biggest worry to the West. But the latest development is likely to raise further fears in Western capitals.

This move will likely split the major powers working to slow or stop Iran's nuclear program.

Six world powers have offered Iran incentives to halt enrichment. But Iran has so far only hinted it might be ready to consider halting the work as a result of talks, not as a precondition.

The reply seemed tailored to divide the four Western powers and Russia and China who agreed to the deadline on August 31.

The United States has said the six powers will move quickly to adopt sanctions if Iran disregards the deadline. Britain, Germany and France have been less conclusive in public.

Russia and China, both trade partners of Iran, have been unwilling and could veto sanctions in the Security Council.

But the Mullahocracy in Iran has said that it will not comply with UN demands.

Iran responded Tuesday to package of incentives, presented by the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany, for it to halt uranium enrichment and return to negotiations on increasing international oversight of its nuclear program. Tehran said it would be open to negotiations but did not agree to the West's key demand to halt enrichment as a precondition to talks.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, will report on the state of Iran's program by mid-September. If its report finds that enrichment is continuing, the council could move toward sanctions.

Tehran has called the Security Council resolution that set the Thursday deadline "illegal" and has insisted it won't give up its nuclear program.

"They may impose some restrictions on us under pressure. But will they be able to prevent the thoughts of a nation?" Ahmadinejad said Saturday. "Will they be able to prevent the progress and technology to a nation? They have to accept the reality of a powerful, peace-loving and developed Iran. This is in the interest of all governments and all nations whether they like it or not."

The major problem is that while nuclear power in the hands of a peace-loving and developed Iran would be a good thing, we are stuck with a barbaric sharia-law dictatorship ruled by a madman who has expressed a desire to wipe one nation off the face of the earth -- and this call for completing the Hitlerian project of genocide against the Jews is advanced by the continuation of this project.

|| Greg, 12:36 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Try This With Other Groups And Imagine The Controversey

Now let me begin by saying that I find Trooper Robert Henderson's beliefs and associations to be reprehensible -- but I also find them to be First Amendment protected. And furthermore, I find the attempt to fire him more offensive than his membership in these groups. Fortunately, an arbiter agreed with my position, although the state of Nebraska intends to seek to have a court overturn that ruling.

Robert Henderson was not fired as a state trooper because he belonged to the Ku Klux Klan and another white supremacist group, authorities said. Instead, he was ousted because he could not uphold public trust while participating in such groups, they said.

An arbitrator disagreed, ordering the State Patrol to reinstate Henderson within 60 days and pay him back wages. The state went to court Friday to keep him off the force.

"The integrity of Nebraska's law enforcement is at risk," Attorney General Jon Bruning said at news conference in Lincoln. "The Constitution does not require law enforcement to employ anyone tied to the KKK."

In a summary of the causes for firing Henderson in March, the State Patrol said membership in the KKK "seriously compromised" Henderson's ability to do his job.

Henderson and the state troopers union appealed and, under its contract, went to binding arbitration, to get his job back.

Arbitrator Paul J. Caffera, a New York lawyer, last week overturned the firing.

Heck -- imagine that the state tried that with someone who joined the Nation of Islam, a notoriously racist group. Or for that matter, a Muslim convert -- after all, how much of the public really trusts Muslims since 9/11, especially given the continued terrorism of the last five years (or, for that matter, the preceeding few decades). Or maybe some Hispanic guy associated with MEChA -- which has as its motto "For Our Race, everything. For Those Outside Our Race, nothing" (Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada). Would firing a Communist be acceptable? There would be lawsuits galore regarding First Amendment violations and accusations of racism and religious discrimination. Either all members of the law enforcement community retain their First Amendment rights, or none do.

By the way -- is Robert Byrd still in the US Senate?

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This Seems A Travesty

We'll let illegal aliens who have no right to be in this country enroll in our public schools -- but woe to the American citizen kid whose parents try to sneak him/her across district lines in search of a better education!

SAD to say, but suburban schools also have a problem with illegal immigrants, only theirs are pint-size and most are American citizens.

Take Greenwich. Students from bordering communities like Port Chester, N.Y., and Stamford, Conn., keep striving to land seats in Greenwich classrooms. Who can blame them? Just as Mexicans sneak into California because that’s where the better jobs are, students sneak into Greenwich because that’s where the better schools are.

Greenwich, one of America’s wealthiest towns, has not yet surrounded itself with a chain-link fence and National Guard troops. But it has its own version of a border patrol. A private eye, the kind who might be expected to snoop around motels, has been hired to check out tips of juvenile border crossings. Tattletale parents will report that they’ve spied a student crossing the Mill Street bridge from Port Chester or spotted another being dropped off by a car with New York license plates. The gumshoe, camera in hand, might shadow the third grader to his home.

The school district would not identify its Sam Spade, except to say he’s a former Greenwich police officer and that he is paid $15,000 a year. He also does the shoe-leather sleuthing of confirming whether students live where their leases and utility bills say they do. In the 2004-5 school year, Greenwich investigated 62 cases and found 20 intruders. Dr. John Curtin, assistant superintendent, told of one student whose address was a golf course and who, upon inquiry, turned out to be the child of a maintenance worker legitimately housed on the greens.

Most suspicious cases don’t arise from border crossings, but from the turmoil of 21st-century life. Parents divorce, executives get posted overseas. That’s one reason why Greenwich is thinking of going high-tech with software, already used by West Hartford, Conn., schools, that crosschecks people who file change-of-address forms with the post office against the district’s database.

Why does Greenwich work so hard at stopping illegals? Put simply, state and local laws require students to attend schools where they live. Pelham, N.Y., bordered by the Bronx and Mount Vernon, takes similar steps, budgeting $50,000 to track down alien students. In the past year, according to Dr. Charles Wilson, the superintendent, it expelled half the 60 students it investigated.

I guess some illegal aliens are just a little bit more equal than others -- and the inferior ones have American citizenship. Because after all, Greenwich and its ilk don't have to worry much about the OTHER illegal aliens. Those are paid for by the taxpayers of the less affluent community who would desperately like their children to have the same sort of facilities and education Greenwich students get.

|| Greg, 11:30 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Picasso's Best Friend

A dog is a man's best friend.

That even applies -- perhaps especially applies -- if you are a world-famous artist.

And that best friend sometimes even finds his way into your art.

Some old masters made a point of including the faces of fellow artists and patrons in the crowds portrayed in large oil paintings. Pablo Picasso paid similar homage to a more unusual friend: a self-assured little dachshund called Lump.

* * *

More than three decades after the deaths of the Spanish-born artist and the German-born dachshund, Mr. Duncan has published “Picasso and Lump: A Dachshund’s Odyssey” (Bulfinch Press, $24.95), a 100-page book of photographs taken in 1957 that show Lump as the top dog in the Villa La Californie, Picasso’s hillside mansion in Cannes.

The sequence starts on April 19, 1957, the day that Lump met Picasso. Mr. Duncan, who had first photographed Picasso a year earlier, brought Lump along for the ride, largely because the dog did not get along well with Mr. Duncan’s other pet, an Afghan hound called Kublai Khan.

“Lump immediately decided that this would be his new home,” Mr. Duncan recalled in an interview on a visit to Paris, noting pointedly that “lump” means “rascal” in German. “He more or less said, ‘Duncan, that’s it, I’m staying here.’ And he did, for the next six years.”

Picasso was apparently equally entranced. That very day, he did his first portrait of Lump, a signed and dated portrait of the dog that he painted on a plate while having lunch with Jacqueline Roque, his new partner, whom he would marry four years later.

Lump eventually went back home with Duncan -- and died, one week before Picasso, in 1973.

This is a charming story -- and a must for dog lovers everywhere.

|| Greg, 11:03 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Just A Question. . . Or Two

I'm troubled by this story.

A Madison County public defender has been accused of having "inappropriate sexual relations" with a 32-year-old female inmate.

Walter Wood, 52, a one-time Municipal Court judge in Ridgeland, was arrested Wednesday on two counts of disorderly conduct, said Sheriff Toby Trowbridge.

Wood posted bond and referred all questions to his attorney, Tommy Savant.

Savant could not be reached for comment.

Trowbridge said that following a meeting between the inmate and Wood last week, "we had reason to believe that there might be some inappropriate behavior between attorney Walter Wood and his client in the interview room of the detention center."

After their meeting, the woman was interviewed by sheriff's deputies and accused Wood of "sexual misconduct," he said.

1) Could there have been a circumstance under which Wood had "appropriate sexual relations" wih his client?

2) Under the Clinton Doctrine, isn't this "just about sex" and therefore not any of our business?

|| Greg, 10:44 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

America's Choice -- 'War On Terror' Or 'War On Wal-Mart'

Columnist Jack Kelley makes an important point about the inane and ungrounded ruling of Judge Anna Diggs Taylor on the rights of terrorists to attack America free from government interference. It highlights the decision we face this November.

We suffered on Sept. 11, 2001, the most devastating attack ever on our soil. It likely would have been repeated this month, were it not for the program Judge Taylor wants to terminate.

President Bush has made mistakes in his conduct of the war on terror. But thanks in part to Judge Taylor's ruling, voters this November will be asking themselves whether they would rather be governed by a political party that thinks Islamic terror is the greatest threat to Americans, or by a political party which is more concerned about Wal-Mart.

Let us hope the American people answer wisely.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT: Stop the ACLU, Wizbang, Samantha Burns, Is It Just Me?, Adam's Blog, Bacon Bits, Bullwinkle Blog, Stuck on Stupid, Conservative Cat, Third World County, Blue Star Chronicle, Right Nation, Uncooperative Blogger, Right Wing Nation

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August 25, 2006

Think Abortion Isn't Murder?

If it isn't a baby, how can you explain this attrocity?

Police and prosecutors in Hialeah, Fla., are investigating an abortion clinic incident that has all the markings of murder. On the morning of July 20, an 18-year-old girl walked into the A Gyn Diagnostics Center to abort her baby at 23 weeks. She had received medication to dilate her cervix the night before. By that afternoon, however, the clinic abortionist, Frantz Bazile, had not shown up for work.

The girl delivered her baby, alive, moving, and trying to breathe. Clinic worker Belkis Gonzalez then allegedly cut the umbilical cord, stuffed the wriggling, gasping baby into a biohazard bag, and sealed the bag shut.

That is the story the baby's mother and at least one other witness told investigators, according to Hialeah Deputy Police Chief Mark Overton. The day the baby was born, police received a tip and searched the clinic, but found no body. Nine days later, acting on another tip, police searched A Gyn again. This time they found the infant, still in the biohazard bag, unrefrigerated and badly decomposed.

There are no words that need be added.

H/T Anna Venger & Right Wing News

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Archaeology News -- Scythian Warrior Found


And that isn't a reference to the permafrost where the mummy was found.

The spectacular find of the frozen remains of a Scythian warrior in Mongolia by an international team of archeologists could shed new light on ancient life. Some of those findings will be the subject of a major exhibition in Berlin next year.

Scientists in Berlin this week gave their first major press conference about the spectacular discovery of a frozen mummy in Mongolia's Altai mountains. The frozen corpse, embedded in permafrost, is considered one of the greatest archeological finds since climbers came across the mummified remains of Ötzi, the ice man, in an alpine glacier. The corpse of the Scythian warrior could help provide clues about how people lived 2,500 years ago and about what illnesses they suffered.

"The mummy is unbelievably valuable to science," Hermann Parzinger, president of the German Archeological Institute (DAI), said on Thursday in Berlin. He described the mummy recently discovered in Mongolia as a "one of a kind find" that could increase our knowledge about the nutrition and health of early man.

The mummy, which is believed to be about 2,500 years old was a 30-to-40 year-old man with blond hair, and was found in very good condition, Patzinger said. It's too delicate for exhibition, but new techniques developed following other recent discoveries of frozen mummies will enable scientists to study the remains in detail. The newly discovered Altai mummy has been compared to the discovery of Ötzi in southern Tyrol in 1991 and a tattooed Siberian ice princess in 1993.

Wikipedia has a good article on Scythia and the Scythians, if you want more information on these fierce warriors.

|| Greg, 06:24 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Fire Destroys Cathedral Domes In St. Petersburg

Does this picture not break your heart?


A fire gutted a 19th century cathedral in the heart of Russia's second city on Friday, destroying its famous azure domes which attract thousands of tourists every year.

As flames leapt from the main dome of the Troitsky (Trinity) Cathedral -- one of the largest wooden domes in Europe -- passers-by helped to rescue priceless artefacts from its renowned art and religious icon collection.

"The fire services don't have long enough ladders to reach the top of the dome. They have been aiming their water guns at the middle section," Reuters photographer Alexander Demyanchuk said by telephone from outside the cathedral.

The cathedral had been covered by wooden scaffolding during reconstruction work when the fire started.

"The main dome has been destroyed but we could not stop the fire because it was so high and now other domes are in flames," a spokesman for Russia's emergencies ministry told Interfax news agency.

Emergency services said there had been no casualties.

The Troitsky Cathedral, built overlooking one of central St Petersburg's canals, is big enough to hold 3,000 worshippers and also housed the military uniforms of Russian 19th century tsars.

No word yet on the extent of the damage, or the loss of any of the important historical and religious items in the building.


UPDATE: It appears that most of the items of historical and religious significance have been saved.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but acting St. Petersburg emergency department chief Leonid Belyayev said the blaze apparently started on scaffolding on the outside of the church, which was undergoing restoration.

He said the most valuable icons and other items had been saved, and that structural damage beneath the roof area was minor.

The damage will be repaired.


The above picture sums up my feelings as well. My heart breaks for the people of St. Petersburg.

|| Greg, 05:59 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Stupid Law Hinders Education

I’m glad this school district backed down from a wooden, literal and absurd application of a particularly inane law.

A geography teacher put on paid leave for refusing to remove Mexican, Chinese and United Nations flags from his classroom will be allowed to return to school today after district officials backed down.

But Eric Hamlin, who teaches seventh-graders in Jefferson County, hopes his experience will inspire a backlash against a Colorado law that restricts display of other nations' flags.

"This hasn't been a teacher-versus-school- district issue," Hamlin said. "This has been a teacher taking on the state statute, with the school district stuck in the middle as the enforcer."

Carmody Middle School principal John Schalk put Hamlin on paid leave Wednesday after the teacher refused three orders to take the flags out of his classroom.

The school district cited a state law prohibiting the display of any flag but the American, Colorado or local flags on public buildings, including schools. Temporary displays for instructional or historical purposes are exempt, but the school principal did not consider Hamlin's display temporary enough.

District officials agreed Thursday that Hamlin could keep the flags up for six weeks, then exchange them with other flags from his collection of more than 50. The district said he could keep his next set of flags, 25 of them from Middle Eastern nations, up for 12 weeks.

See, the display is educational, part of a legitimate educational display in a classroom, which is clearly contemplated under the statute. Not that such logic satisfies the legislator who sponsored the current law.

Former state Rep. Carl Miller, who sponsored legislation in 2002 strengthening a 1971 law restricting foreign flag displays, said the school was right to put Hamlin on leave and should not have let him return so soon.

Miller, a Democrat from Leadville, disagreed with Jefferson County Superintendent Cindy Stevenson, who said the outcome was a "win-win situation."

"The only win-win I see is that Mr. Hamlin wins, China wins, Mexico wins and the United Nations wins," he said.

Miller said he and former Democratic Sen. Alice Nichol, co- sponsor of the legislation, intended for temporary displays to last a few days, not weeks.

First, the legislation has no time-limit. Second, the exception allowing for educational displays does exist, and using the flags during a period of time that it takes to cover a unit or set of units is quite appropriate.

What this really shows is that Colorado has a truly stupid law on the books, and that there needs to be a revision of that law by the Colorado legislature.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT: Stop the ACLU, Wizbang, Samantha Burns, Is It Just Me?, Adam's Blog, Bacon Bits, Bullwinkle Blog, Stuck on Stupid, Conservative Cat, Third World County

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Congressman Danny Davis Must Resign

And I don’t say that lightly – but when a member of Congress is taking trips funded by a terrorist organization, it is inconceivable that he or she can remain in that body.

Illinois congressman Danny Davis and an aide took a trip to Sri Lanka last year that was paid for by the Tamil Tigers, a group that the U.S. government has designated as a terrorist organization for its use of suicide bombers and child soldiers, law enforcement sources said.

Davis' seven-day trip came under new scrutiny this week following the arrests of 11 supporters of the organization on charges of participating in a broad conspiracy to support the terrorist group through money laundering, arms procurement and bribery of U.S. officials.

The five-term Democratic congressman said he was unaware that the Tigers paid for the trip and on his required congressional disclosure form he reported that the trip was paid for by a Hickory Hills, Ill.-based Tamil cultural organization, the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America.

During the visit, Davis spent most of his time in a region controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, as the group is formally known, and visited the organization's political headquarters. He also met with a police chief for the region appointed by the Tigers.

The Tamil Tigers is a separatist group that has been fighting since 1983 for an independent state for 3.2 million ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka, a tear-shaped island nation of 20 million off the southern tip of India. In addition to conventional guerrilla tactics, the group has used terrorist methods, including 200 suicide bombings, in a bloody conflict that has claimed more than 60,000 lives. Though the violence between the government and the separatist group abated during the past several years, it recently surged again, threatening a renewed civil war.

Davis said he believed that the trip, from March 30 to April 5, 2005, was paid for by the Tamil federation, which in accordance with congressional ethics rules sent him a written statement of the travel expenses, more than $7,000 each for Davis and his aide, Daniel Cantrell. Davis said he knew that the group was "associated" with the Tamil Tigers but did not realize that the trip's costs were covered with funds controlled by the rebel group.

"I know who I got the trip from," Davis said. "I don't know if any clandestine group gave them money. All I know is what I saw and was told."

Sorry, Congressman, but that explanation does not cut it. Would you consider it appropriate to take a trip or money from an al-Qaeda “associated� group? Hardly! By your own admission, you have engaged in equivalent conduct. You have no place serving in any position of public trust.

MORE AT Wizbang & LankaWeb.

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But I Thought They Were Members Of The Religion Of Peace®

This just in from Denmark, where they understand that Islamic extremism is a threat to freedom and safety of everyone else.

A Danish prosecutor on Thursday charged four young Muslims with helping to supply weapons and explosives for a planned terror attack in Europe.

Five other suspects in the case have been charged in Bosnia, including two men accused of preparing to blow up an unidentified European target. Three other suspects have been charged in Britain.

Prosecutor Henning Fode said the four men arrested in Denmark last October helped the two main suspects in Bosnia get hold of "weapons and explosives with the aim of committing a terror act."

All four, who cannot be named under a court order, have denied wrongdoing. Danish investigators have released little information about the suspects, but said two of them are 17, and the others are aged 20 and 21.

If convicted they could face life in prison, although such sentences are commuted after 16 years under Danish law. A trial date has not yet been set.

The probe stems from the Oct. 19 arrests in Sarajevo of Swedish national Mirsad Bektasevic, 19, and Abdulkadir Cesur, an 18-year-old Turkish national living in Denmark.

Bosnian prosecutors said Bektasevic and Cesur were planning an attack in Bosnia-Herzegovina or at some other unidentified site in Europe with the aim of forcing the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Police raiding their Sarajevo apartment allegedly found a suicide bomber belt, explosives, firearms and other military equipment, as well as a videotape showing masked men asking for God's forgiveness.

Where are the peacemakers from the Religion of Peace®? All I see are jihadi swine.

|| Greg, 05:16 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (286) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Think Twice, Jihadi Fascists

Israel has the capability to nuke your camel-humping @$$. And that means you, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

With the purchase of two more German-made Dolphin submarines capable of carrying nuclear warheads, military experts say Israel is sending a clear message to Iran that it can strike back if attacked by nuclear weapons.

The purchases come at a time when Iran is refusing to bow to growing Western demands to halt its nuclear program, and after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

The new submarines, built at a cost of $1.3 billion with Germany footing one-third of the bill, have diesel-electric propulsion systems that allow them to remain submerged for longer periods of time than the three nuclear arms-capable submarines already in Israel's fleet, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The latest submarines not only would be able to carry out a first strike should Israel choose to do so, but they also would provide Israel with crucial second-strike capabilities, said Paul Beaver, a London-based independent defense analyst.

* * *

German officials have said the contract for the new submarines was signed July 6, and the Jerusalem Post reported this week the subs will be operational shortly.

If the Iranians really want to go there by hitting Israel with a primitive nuclear device, it seems to me that Israel would be more than capable of ensuring that Iran remains uninhabitable for approximately the next 25,000 years

|| Greg, 05:15 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (286) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

How Low Can The Left Go?

Just as the disgusting Phelps Klan crosses a line of decency with their reprehensible protests at the funerals of slain servicemen and women (and their earlier protests at the funerals of homosexuals), a group of anti-Bush cretins are crossing a line this weekend. They are picketing and protesting a wedding because the President is attending. The groom is a member of the extended Bush family.

Antiwar groups affiliated with Sheehan plan to rally as close as they can get to the wedding at St. Ann's Episcopal Church, near Walker's Point. "Join with people of conscience to call for an end to the war in Iraq and say NO! to the Bush Agenda," reads an online recruitment pitch for the demonstration.

Excuse me – people of conscience and decency, regardless of their views on the war or other political issues, do not seek to mar the wedding day of a couple with a protest directed at one of the guests.

But then again, these are the same sort of folks who held signs outside of Walter Reed Hospital that read to taunt wounded veterans. They have no shame, no decency, and no conscience.


|| Greg, 05:13 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Katrina Kids Still Lag In Academics

One in four children evacuated in the wake of the hurricane failed to pass on to the next grade this year.

One in four Houston Independent School District students displaced by Hurricane Katrina failed to make enough academic progress to be promoted to the next grade this school year — a far higher rate than their classmates and an indicator of the massive challenges still facing area schools.

About 700 of the 2,900 Katrina students returning to HISD this year were held back, including 41 percent of high school sophomores and 52 percent of juniors. That 24 percent retention rate was among the highest in the area, according to retention rates released by some local school systems.

"These kids have worked hard, but many of them were not prepared for the rigorous Texas standards," HISD spokesman Terry Abbott said.

On the other hand, many of these kids didn't work hard at all, based upon my experience. They arrived woefully behind due to an inadequate system of education in New Orleans and the surrounding area, took the initial outpouring of generosity (our school bought every single evacuee kid over $200 in clothes and school supplies -- despite having many impoverished children in the neighborhood who didn't gt freebies from every social service agency) as a sign that the year was a free ride, and complained that what was expected of them was more than they would need back in Louisiana schools and therefore didn't do much work because they expected to be back there this fall. Add to that the isues raised in the article and you can understand why the numbers show what they show -- especially since HISD received so many of the children coming from the lowest socio-economic backgrounds.

I hate to say it, but looking back over the last year I'm just not surprised by the number of failing kids, especially in the upper grades.

|| Greg, 04:33 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Eff You, Ray Nagin

Why are we sending one thin dime to a backwater, Third World hell-hole like New Orleans -- especially as long as this jackass is in charge?

During the "60 minutes" interview, a correspondent pointed out flood-damaged cars still on the streets of New Orleans' devastated Ninth Ward. Nagin replied, "You guys in New York can't get a hole in the ground fixed, and it's five years later. So let's be fair," according to CBS.

New Orleans is one of the stupidist places in America to build a city -- and America's stupitest city. The incompetence and corruption of state and local officials over the course of many years resulted in many deaths and the failure of the levees. And at every turn, Ray Nagin looks to blame someone else for the failures of the state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans.

And now he insults the victims of a real American tragedy -- an attack on the United States by foreign enemies.

From where I stand (surrounded by criminals and welfare leeches shipped in from New Orleans following Katrina), the time has come to cut that city off, raze it, and let Mother Nature reclaim the site.

MORE AT Hot Air, Oblogatory Anecdotes, small dead animals, Pundit Guy, HuffPo, Gawker, Ed Driscoll

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August 24, 2006

More On Lina Joy

Human rights in Malaysia have always been something of a farce -- but this case deserves international condemnation.

From the scant personal details that can be pieced together about Lina Joy, she converted from Islam to Christianity eight years ago and since then has endured extraordinary hurdles in her desire to marry the man in her life.

Her name is a household word in this majority Muslim country. But she is now in hiding after death threats from Islamic extremists, who accuse her of being an apostate.

Five years ago she started proceedings in the civil courts to seek the right to marry her Christian fiancé and have children. Because she had renounced her Muslim faith, Ms. Joy, 42, argued, Malaysia’s Islamic Shariah courts, which control such matters as marriage, property and divorce, did not have jurisdiction over her.

In a series of decisions, the civil courts ruled against her. Then, last month, her lawyer, Benjamin Dawson, appeared before Malaysia’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, to argue that Ms. Joy’s conversion be considered a right protected under the Constitution, not a religious matter for the Shariah courts.

“She’s trying to live her life with someone she loves,” Mr. Dawson said in an interview.

Threats against Ms. Joy had become so insistent, and the passions over her conversion so inflamed, he had concluded there was no room for her and her fiancé in Malaysia. The most likely solution, he said, was for her to emigrate.

The truly obscene part of the case is that the civil courts left her with only one remedy other than leaving her homeland forever -- taking the case into the Sharia court system, which would have clerics of a faith Lina Joy rejects as false ruling upon her ability to exercise an international recognized human right. The problem is that the backwards and barbaric Muslim legal system considers attempted conversion to be a crime -- and it is therefore most likely that Lina Joy's attempt to vindicate her human rights would be met with a decision that she is a criminal for doing so. She would therefore be sent to a prison controlled by Muslim clerics in order to "rehabilitate" her -- in other words, to force her to renounce Christ in order to regain her freedom.

I urge prayers for Lina Joy.

And I ask where the international outcry is over this fundamental violation of human rights.

UPDATE -- 8/25/06: Michelle Malkin provides excellent coverage, noting that Malaysian police are investigating the Catholic Church where Lina Joy was baptized and the government is considering strengthening laws against preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Muslims. And she includes this quote from an Islamic scholar on the subject of conversions.

"If Islam were to grant permission for Muslims to change religion at will, it would imply it has no dignity, no self-esteem," said Wan Azhar Wan Ahmad, senior fellow at Malaysia's Institute of Islamic Understanding.

"And people may then question its completeness, truthfulness and perfection."

In other words, fundamental human rights are anathema to Islam. You can have freedom of religion or ROPMA, but not both. has the time come for the civilized nations of the world to decide between religious liberty and Islam?

COVERAGE FROM MALAYSIA by Maobi -- with many links to bloggers from Malaysia and around the world. Also good stuff from Guambat Stew

Religious Freedom -- Islamic Style
Malaysian Muslims Steal Hindu Hero's Body From Family
Dhimmitude In Malaysia
Human Rights And Islam – Incompatible

|| Greg, 04:24 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Anyone Else Troubled By This?

I know it is just a game and I know it is just Hollywood -- but something just strikes me as wrong about the decision to group Survivor contestants by race.

Get ready for a segregated "Survivor." Race will matter on the upcoming season of the CBS show as contestants will be divided into four tribes by ethnicity. That means blacks, whites, Latinos and Asians in separate groups.

The announcement was made on CBS' Early Show. Host Jeff Probst says the idea "actually came from the criticism that 'Survivor' was not ethnically diverse enough." He says the twist fits in perfectly with what "Survivor" does, saying the show is "a social experiment. And this is adding another layer to that experiment." Probst says contestants had mixed reactions to the racial divisions.

This time the new Survivors are stranded on the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. The castaways include a police officer, a heavy metal guitarist, an attorney and a nail salon manager. The new season of Survivor debuts September 14th.

|| Greg, 04:01 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 23, 2006

Do You Believe Taxes Are Too Low?

If so, please remit the amount you believe you are underpaying to the following address.

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 6D37
Hyattsville, MD 20782

Until you do, please refrain from suggesting that taxes are not high enough.

|| Greg, 05:34 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (26) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Hope For Hurwitz – And Chronic Pain Patients

I’ve mentioned more than once that my dear wife suffers from a cluster of chronic neurological conditions which are degenerative and result in chronic pain. We have been fortunate that her doctors take her seriously and are willing to prescribe therapeutic dosages of appropriate pain medications.

Unfortunately, state and federal regulators have been going after doctors in the pain management field for prescribing such medications at therapeutic levels, second-guessing the medical judgments of physicians. One recent conviction really had me disturbed – but it has now been overturned on appeal.

A federal appeals court threw out the conviction of William E. Hurwitz yesterday, granting the prominent former Northern Virginia pain-management doctor a new trial because jurors were not allowed to consider whether he prescribed drugs in good faith.

The decision again galvanized the national debate that the Hurwitz case had come to symbolize: whether fully licensed doctors prescribing legal medication to patients in chronic pain should be subject to prosecution if their patients abuse or sell the drugs. Patient advocate groups strongly supported Hurwitz and expressed concern that his conviction would have a chilling effect on pain doctors.

The Richmond-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit acknowledged that prosecutors presented "powerful" evidence at Hurwitz's trial that was "strongly indicative of a doctor acting outside the bounds of accepted medical practice." Hurwitz was convicted in December 2004 of running a drug conspiracy from his McLean office, causing the death of one patient and seriously injuring two others.

But a three-judge panel concluded that U.S. District Judge Leonard D. Wexler improperly told jurors that they could not consider whether Hurwitz acted in "good faith" when he prescribed large amounts of OxyContin and other painkillers -- in one instance, 1,600 pills a day.

"We cannot say that no reasonable juror could have concluded that Hurwitz's conduct fell within an objectively-defined good-faith standard," the judges wrote, adding that Hurwitz presented evidence that he ran a legitimate medical practice and believed that his prescriptions were "medically proper."

Patient and medical advocates hailed the decision. "It's about time that courts start to realize that these are doctors, not drug dealers," said Kathryn Serkes, a spokeswoman for the Arizona-based Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

While my wife is not – quite – on as much medication as this doctor was prescribing, her dosages are increasing as her symptoms worsen. I would hate to think that her medical team would ever have to face a choice between giving her enough medication or staying out of jail.

|| Greg, 05:25 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Crazy Man Dumped By Paramount

No matter how much money Tom Cruise makes for a movie studio, there is still a limit to the odd behavior that studio will take.

Paramount Pictures will end its longstanding relationship with Cruise/Wagner Productions, actor Tom Cruise's production company, citing his erratic behavior, according to a published report.

Sumner Redstone, CEO of Paramount owner Viacom, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that appeared in Wednesday's edition that Cruise's controversial behavior over the last year - including advocating for Scientology and denouncing the use of antidepressant drugs - was the cause for the move
The movie company is concerned that Cruise's behavior hurt his most recent film, "Mission: Impossible 3," said the report.

"As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal," Redstone was quoted as saying in the Wall Street Journal. "His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount." .

Cruise paints this as a mutual agreement, but it seems petty clear that he was dumped.

|| Greg, 05:15 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Astrodome Plans Approved

Houston's own wonder of the world will be getting a new life in the not too distant future.

Commissioners Court unanimously gave the go-ahead to a private firm's plan to spend $450 million reinventing the mostly dormant, county-owned Astrodome as a convention hotel.

The hotel is planned as a four-star facility with at least 1,000 rooms, a 2,100-space garage around two-thirds of the Dome's exterior, and restaurants, nightclubs and retail stores.

The entrepreneurs behind the project envision the facility as a destination attraction, with winding waterways and gondola rides.

With its vote, the court gave the Harris County Sports & Convention Corp. permission to sign a letter of intent with Astrodome Redevelopment Corp. No public money will be put into the project.

The letter of intent states that by March 2007, Astrodome Redevelopment must obtain financing and the approval of Reliant Park's tenants, the Houston Texans and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Hotel construction would begin late next year at the earliest.

The county would lease the Dome to Astrodome Redevelopment for 50 years and give it an option to extend the lease another 20 years.

Astrodome Redevelopment would pay the county $2.5 million in rent annually and 2 percent to 3 percent of gross revenues.

Unfortunately, the approval forbids the operation of a casino in the dome -- and also bans sexually oriented busineses (I guess to avoid unfair competition with the adult bookstore across Loop 610 and all the local stripper bars).

But that also means that the world's largest emergency shelter will be out of commission.

As the county moved a step closer Tuesday to redevelopment of the Astrodome as a convention hotel, officials said it no longer will figure in emergency shelter plans as it did when thousands of hurricane evacuees arrived last year.

During future emergencies, other facilities, including the George R. Brown Convention Center and Reliant Center, will be the region's primary shelters, Harris County Judge Robert Eckels said.

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

Houston Cops To Traffic Offenders -- Run Away! Run Away!

Seems to me like we will see fewer car chases on television -- but will have more fleeing traffic violators due to this new policy change.

A new policy rolled out late Tuesday by the Houston Police Department will prohibit officers from chasing minor traffic offenders who refuse to stop.

The new policy- read at roll call Tuesday night-was signed into immediate effect by Houston police Chief Harold Hurtt.

* * *

Houston Police Officers' Association President Hans Marticiuc said the new policy will make officers less effective on the streets.

``Personally, I think it is an asinine policy at this point in the city's history,'' Marticiuc said. ``First of all, we've already got crime going up, and now let's tie the officers' hands a little bit more.

``This is a clear message to the criminal element (to) 'go ahead and run from the police,''' Marticiuc said.

Several HPD officers said late Tuesday that they were not happy with the change in policy. But they declined to comment on the record about why traffic offenders might not stop for police officers.

Marticiuc said that people run from police officers for several reasons.

``Sometimes, they run out of fear. Sometimes, it's other outstanding warrants for minor offenses,'' Marticiuc said. ``And sometimes, they run because they have committed a more serious crime. Why give those people the right to take off from us?``

So if you want to avoid that ticket, fine, and the consequences of your misdeed, just put the pedal to the metal and leave HPD in the dust -- you get a freebie.

But don't bother shooting a bird at the cops as you go -- Chief Hurtt has done that for you.

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

Hillary Plays Politics With AIDS

For shame, Senator Clinton!

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is holding up renewal of the primary federal law that battles HIV/AIDS, the 1990 Ryan White Act, causing a rift among activists on the subject and threatening approval of the legislation this year.

Clinton (D-N.Y.) said she opposes the measure because it would lower funding for her home state. But some AIDS groups also see broader political motives at work. Other states that would lose out include California, Florida and Illinois -- all places Clinton would need to win if she seeks the presidency. Her critics also note that many of the states that would receive higher funding under the new formula are rural and Southern, which tend to vote Republican.

Clinton was the sole vote against the Ryan White Act reauthorization bill that passed the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in May. Ever since, she and other senators have been negotiating to find a consensus that would allow the measure to pass by acclamation before Congress's scheduled adjournment at the end of September. But a compromise has not been found.

"With a bipartisan bill like this, and with time limited, we want to have something that would go through without objection," said Michael Mahaffey, spokesman for the health committee. But, he added, Clinton "objects to the bill in the form passed out of committee."

Observers note that her objection is to a new funding formula which will give more funding to Southern and rural states, areas where AIDS is increasing at a faster rate than in other parts of the country. Interestingly enough, she is seeking to preserve extra funding for states that she needs to win the Democrat nomination and the presidency in 2008.

Even AIDS activists are critical.

Asked why Clinton might countenance lower funding for Southern and rural states, Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the nation's largest community-based HIV/AIDS medical provider, said, "I don't think she expects to carry the South."

Looks like Lady MacClinton is prepared to have the blood of AIDS patients on her hands if that's what it takes to win the White House.

|| Greg, 04:13 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 22, 2006

News For Space Geeks

It appears we have an unintentional leak of the name of the new crew exploration vehicle which will take us back to the moon and blaze the trail to Mars – Orion.

The name of the new vehicle that NASA hopes will take astronauts back to the moon was supposed to be hush-hush until next week.

But apparently U.S. astronaut Jeff Williams, floating 220 miles above Earth at the international space station, didn't get the memo.

Williams let it slip Tuesday that the new vehicle's name is Orion.

"We've been calling it the crew exploration vehicle for several years, but today it has a name Orion," Williams said, taping a message in advance for the space agency that was transmitted accidentally over space-to-ground radio.

NASA planned to reveal the new name Aug. 31, when the space agency also announces which contractor will build the vehicle. Competing for the award are Lockheed Martin and a team made up of Northrop Grumman and Boeing.

The crew exploration vehicle will replace the space shuttle program after it ends in 2010. Earlier this summer, NASA announced the names of the rockets that will propel the crew exploration vehicle and a cargo vehicle, respectively Ares I and Ares V.

Nine days until we know more about the next generation of space vehicle.

|| Greg, 06:15 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Democrats Seek To Limit Voter Choices In Connecticut

Just as they acted to limit voter choices here in CD22, now the Democrats are trying to prevent the people of Connecticut from voting for the candidate of their choice.

Critics of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's independent run to keep his job attacked on two fronts Monday, with one group asking an elections official to throw him out of the Democratic Party and a former rival calling on state officials to keep his name off the November ballot.

Staffers for the senator from Connecticut, who lost the Aug. 8 Democratic primary to Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont, called both efforts dirty politics. The senator filed as an independent candidate a day after the loss, running under the new Connecticut for Lieberman Party.

A group whose members describe themselves as peace activists asked Sharon Ferrucci, Democratic registrar of voters in New Haven, to remove Lieberman from the party, arguing that he cannot be a Democrat while running under another party's banner.

* * *

John Orman, a Democrat who gave up a challenge to Lieberman last year, argued in complaints filed with the state Monday that the senator should be kept off the Nov. 7 ballot.

Orman, a Fairfield University professor of political science, accused Lieberman of creating "a fake political party" and added: "He's doing anything he can to get his name on the ballot."

In other words, anything to keep the people from having a choice – law or no law to the contrary. I guess voters are only disenfranchised if the result goes against the DNC-favored candidate.

|| Greg, 06:12 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Valid Pedagogical Purpose – Poor Pedagogical Methodology

I’m a teacher, and I teach a course that includes a component on the Constitution. We talk about the Bill of Rights extensively, including freedom of speech. I often try something outrageous to provoke my students into thinking. But there are limits – and I believe this teacher crossed the line.

A Stuart Middle School teacher has been removed from the classroom after he burned two American flags in class during a lesson on freedom of speech, Jefferson County Public Schools officials said. Dan Holden, who teaches seventh-grade social studies, burned small flags in two different classes Friday and asked students to write an opinion paper about it, district spokeswoman Lauren Roberts said.

Let’s look at the purpose of the assignment. The goal was to offer a provocative example of free speech to discuss the extent and the limits of the First Amendment. That is perfectly appropriate. The associated assignment is also perfectly appropriate.

But burning a flag – or anything else – in a classroom without proper precautions is reckless because of the possibility of fire. And engaging in such an inflammatory action risks causing a fire of a different sort, one which causes the point of the lesson to be lost.

And that is
what happened.

Pat Summers, whose daughter was in Holden's class, said more than 20 parents showed up at the school Monday, upset over the incident.

I don’t blame them. This is the sort of lesson that you prepare for by contacting the parents in advance in order to have them aware for what you are going to do. Maybe the parents won’t buy-in to your lesson plan, but they will at least be aware of what is happening in the classroom. You also need to have administration support for such a lesson. It appears that olden failed to do either of these things. And one must ask whether a certain course of action will serve the intended purpose and reach the appropriate educational goal.

And that is where I feel that Holden failed. He chose an action which offends most Americans as an instructional tool in a middle school classroom. The kids are not (quite) old enough to deal with the issue in the way he wanted them to. And the parents are rightly offended that an action of this sort took place in their children’s classroom without their being made ready to deal with the fallout.

So what we have here is a critical-thinking assignment that went awry because a teacher failed to think through the implications of his lesson plan. This does not appear to have been an attempt to inspire anti-Americanism. I do not believe that disrespect was intended. And I do no believe that Holden should be fired – just cautioned to use better judgment – and not to play with fire in the future.

And as for the flag-burning issue itself, I’ve long stated my opposition to amending the Constitution to deal with that action. If it is your flag, feel free to burn it, trample it, or wipe your butt with it. But if you are a teacher, I would urge you to keep such actions out of the classroom.

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

A Bit More Hypocrisy On Homosexual Marriage

Ultimately, Steve McCarthy is guilty of arguing his position based upon the same basis that he declares illegitimate when it is used by his opponents -- theology.

I see marriage as a civil right, and no group's religious beliefs should be allowed to deny the rights of others. And because blacks have suffered from bigotry and injustice that were cloaked by religion and morality, we should avoid doing the same thing to others.

In other words, policy positions based upon religious belief are anathema -- unless they are policy positions that Mr. McCarthy supports. And this is an argument we hear again and again from the allegedly-religious Left, which declares their liberal position infalible based upon their own religious beliefs, while declaring heretical any divergent views.

|| Greg, 04:17 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Agreeing With EJ Dionne

I don't do that very often, but this time I need to. After all, Dionne puts forward a thesis that explains why liberalism became the effete, elite, irrelevancy that it is today.

And it all traces back to an idea propounded by Richard Hofstadter.

But reading Brown is also a reminder of where Hofstadter may have misled the very liberal movement to which he was devoted. There was, first, his emphasis on American populists as embodying a "deeply ingrained provincialism" (Brown's term) whose revolt was as much a reaction to the rise of the cosmopolitan big city as to economic injustices.

Many progressives and reformers, he argued, represented an old Anglo-Saxon middle class who suffered from "status anxiety" in reaction to the rise of a vulgar new business elite. Hofstadter analyzed the right wing of the 1950s and early 1960s in similar terms. Psychological disorientation and social displacement became more important than ideas or interests.

Now, Hofstadter was exciting precisely because he brilliantly revised accepted and sometimes pious views of what the populists and progressives were about. But there was something dismissive about Hofstadter's analysis that blinded liberals to the legitimate grievances of the populists, the progressives and, yes, the right wing.

The late Christopher Lasch, one of Hofstadter's students and an admiring critic, noted that by conducting "political criticism in psychiatric categories," Hofstadter and his intellectual allies excused themselves "from the difficult work of judgment and argumentation."

Lasch added archly: "Instead of arguing with opponents, they simply dismissed them on psychiatric grounds."

But that is still precisely the problem today.

Disagree with a liberal on race? One is a racist, afflicted with a deep psychological disease that renders one's opinions irrelevant. And we won't even get into the Stalinist diagnosis of "homophobia" that gets trotted out when someone dares to question the concept of homosexual marriage or the morality of homosexual activity.And rather than deal with the policies they oppose, liberals went after Reagan and the current President Bush based upon questions of intelligence and supposed psychological defests.

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

August 21, 2006

Wallace Steps Back -- Sekula-Gibbs Is Lone Write-In Candidate

Oh happy day! David Wallace is OUT of the CD22 race, leaving the field clear for a single GOP-backed write-in candidate, Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs.

Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace withdrew Monday as a Republican write-in candidate for the seat vacated by the resignation of former House Majority leader Tom DeLay.

His action left the Texas GOP united behind one write-in candidate, Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, who had won the party's endorsement last week.

Wallace had previously indicated he would stay in the race despite the party's snub.

"What I am choosing to do at this time is unite with the Republican Party behind one candidate," Wallace said at a news conference. "There is no way that two write-in candidates could win. It would be very difficult and divisive to the Republican Party."

Wallace said the party did not pressure him to withdraw.

I don't know about that last statement -- a lot of the grasroots activists (including me) have been putting pressure on him to get out of the race. I don't doubt that Wallace heard from some elected officials telling him to get out of the race if he wants to have any sort of future in the GOP.

And it does come down to a question of campaign finance.

The national GOP says it's willing to commit $3 million for the race, but only if there was one Republican write-in candidate.

Actually, I've heard a figure of $4 million -- but only in the event there was a single viable GOP with the backing of the party. Continuing to stay in the race would have resulted in the national party writing off CD22 -- and left David Wallace holding the bag for the loss of the seat. The other GOP write-in, Don Richardson, is a non-entity who promised to drop out last week. I can only presume that he is a man of his word.

That is not to say that Wallace exited the race with either class or grace -- that is not in his nature.

Wallace took a swipe at that process Monday. “In a session closed to the public, an alternative candidate received the endorsement of the Texas Republican Party by winning a straw poll of 83 precinct chairs that were allowed to vote for what was labeled ‘the Republican choice’ for the write-in candidate to replace Tom DeLay,” he said.

Since that night, “I have received hundreds and hundreds of emails and phone calls” by “people who were not allowed to vote” at the Thursday meeting, and who “strongly encouraged me to continue to run,” Wallace said.

“Without exception, these callers and supporters questioned this made-up process and asked why 83 individuals could determine the ‘Republican choice’ candidate for over 33,000 Republican primary voters across the district,” he said. “Rather than unifying our party, it has only caused further fragmentation.”

In other words, Wallace claims that any process that involved the selection of a candidate by the elected grass-roots leaders of the GOP in CD22 is illegitimate unless it were to result in his selection as the candidate. Too the very last, he is seeking to sow division.

Democrats, of course, are now trying to create a scandal since they have a strong conservative woman from CD22 running against their liberal carpetbagger candidate. Seems obvious that there is a reason that Democrat and Desperation both start with a D!

|| Greg, 06:03 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

First Days And New Teachers

The first day of school is always interesting -- especially when you are a first year teacher. Philip Rucker catches some of th anxiety of the new teacher in this article in the Washington Post.

Munachiso Onuoha anxiously awaited her first day of fifth grade in Prince George's County yesterday afternoon.

"I am so nervous, just thinking of all the things that could not go right," she said. "I've been sleeping well. Tonight might be another story, though."

And trust me, there is always something "that could not go right" that you will not think of. Be prepared to role with it, whetehr it is being challenged by a kid over discipline matters or having a girl go into labor in your class (it actually happened to me on my first day at my current school). And yes, you can pretty well guarantee that your principal or department chair will walk in on something or other that does not constitute your finest moment.

But really, don't worry, even if they have this expectation of you.

Glenn Dale Principal Lia Thompson predicted that the two would energize returning faculty.

"They bring excitement and energy -- their enthusiasm, their love for the profession they've chosen, their eagerness to do the best that they can for the students they're working with," Thompson said.

Hopefully your colleagues still have that same drive -- even those of us who are a little bit cynical. I can guarantee you that we will do evrything we can for you new teachers, because we still remember that trrifying first day and agonizing first year -- the year when we went home utterly drained each day. We want you to make it, and we want you to stay.

And rest assured that the principal hasn't forgotten what it was like his or her first year -- and will probably be willing to concede, if pushed, that you are not making any more of a hash of it than they did during that first year.

Good luck, rookies!

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

August 20, 2006

Tagged By The Book Meme

Book Meme from Anna Venger.

And just for the record, I will not use the Bible as an answer because, for me, it would feel like trivializing Scripture.

1. One book that changed your life: I'd have to say the first one, whatever that was, back when I was 50 years old. I've not been far from a book since then -- but if I have to select a particular title, it would be The Brethren by Woodward and Armstrong, because it awakened in me a scholarly interest in law and the Constitution that lay dormant just beneath the surface back during my junior year of high school.

2. One book that you've read more than once: Gee, that could cover a lot of territory -- but let's go with something a little off-beat. When I was a high school junior, I bought a paperback during my lunch break one Saturday while working at the base PX. It was L. Neil Smith's The Probability Broach, and I have probably read it at least once every other year since then -- and I still have the original copy I bought in 1979. It awakened me to libertarian political philosophy in a way that my earlier encounters with Heinlein had not, and also opened up the world of alternate history science fiction to me.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, another favorite that I first encountered as a high school junior (curious, isn't it, that my first three selections would all come from one very specific formative year -- what do you make of that?). If I had a chance to toss a few more books in the lifeboat, I'd want Forester's Hornblower Saga and O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels.

4. One book that made you laugh: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Don't panic! And, uh, it seems to be another one I read at age 16!

5. One book that made you cry: The Robe -- it is every bit as melodramatic as the epic movie based upon it. When I was 12, my mom and I found her copy (given to her as a gift for her First Communion) in a trunk. I still have it tucked away safely, three decades later.

6. One book that you wish had been written: Well, maybe I should say the one book I wish the author had finished writing. That would be 21: The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey by Patrick O'Brian. The author passed away while working on this, the 21st volume of his epic series of the British Navy in the Age of Nelson. The published version is raw, incomplete, and much of it consists of the author's semi-legible scrawl. There is enough there to make any fan wish that the old man had lived to complete it.

7. One book that you wish had never been written: The Deputy, by Rolf Hochhuth. This blood libel against Pope Pius XII ignores teh historical record and the assessments of his contemporaries (including no less than Golda Meir) to falsely accuse the pontiff of complicity in the Holocaust. Similarly, I would add The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the most pernicious work of anti-Semitism ever published.

8. One book you’re currently reading: Gee, I've read a great deal in the four weeks since this post. I've read all three books in Naomi Novick's Temeraire series, Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation, and am currently working on Harry Turtledove's latest "Settling Account's novel, The Grapple.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: You may be surprised by this, given my tagline above. I've repeatedly promised myself that I would read David McCullough's biography of John Adams, but have never gotten around to it.

10. Tag five others. This is hard, given that I wanted to tag Dan from Gone Mild, only to find that he has this same meme up. So I'll start with three fellow teachers -- Hube from Colossus of Rhodey, Darren from Right on the Left Coast and EdWonk from The Education Wonks. Then I'll tap my felow CD22 political blogger, Chris from Texas Safety Forum, because despite to all the jokes we make about them, Aggies do know how to read. And to give the list an international flavor, I'll add an Israeli friend, Avi from Tel-Chai Nation. Don't let me down, boys!

|| Greg, 11:28 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are A Questionable Assumption by ShrinkWrapped, and Muslim Musings on British Muslims by Eteraz

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

|| Greg, 10:36 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Another Endorsement For Shelley Sekula-Gibbs

Word is that she will be picking up the endorsement of Tim Turner, former SREC member and former opponent for the CD22 nomination, sometime tomorrow. I'll post more when I know more.

UPDATE: As usual, the Ron Burgundy of Fort Bend County, Chris Elam, gets the story first and posts the press release.

Tim Turner, Republican activist and finalist among the candidates seeking to represent the Republican Party in the Congressional District 22 position, today announced that he is supporting Shelley Sekula-Gibbs as the Republican candidate in an effort to encourage unity from all Republicans and to preserve the district as a Republican stronghold.

Turner, who finished second to Sekula-Gibbs in the final selection by party leadership in a district wide meeting of precinct chairs last week, said he was honored to have received a significant number of votes in that proceeding but, once the party choice had been made, especially under the unique circumstances surrounding this election, all differences and personal agendas need to be set aside in the interest of unifying Republican efforts.

Turner says, “As someone who has been a Republican activist and a team player for over 26 years, I have supported many solid conservatives and have no problem in supporting the candidate chosen by the Republican leadership in District 22. I would enjoy the opportunity to serve the voters in the future if the opportunity to run presents itself, but the race for CD 22 is a race we must work together to win. I would hope that all Republicans will realize how important it is to put differences and agendas aside for a common good in this situation.”

We are now waiting on Mayor Dave's Big Announcement.

|| Greg, 08:27 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Which Will It Be?

Is it to be "Never Again"?

Or "Here We Go Again"?

Put differently, are Jewish lives less valuable than Arab lives?

Rabbi Jonathan Pearl looks at the issue, and does not like what he sees.

As we witnessed the incessant calls and declarations for “an immediate cease-fire" from Israel's detractors – whether politicians, journalists, religious and community leaders, or the United Nations with its resolution mandating a “cessation of hostilities” – I couldn't help but conclude that for all of these addressing the Middle East “conflict” boils down to this guiding principle: Jewish/Israeli lives are simply worth less than Muslim/Arab lives. When missiles are blasted into Israel by Muslim/Arab terrorists living in their non-disputed Muslim/Arab territory, resulting in the murder of innocent Israelis/Jews, the world tells Israel to show restraint and refrain from retaliating with targeted responses against the origins of the rocket launches. Why? Because some Muslim/Arab civilians might inadvertently be killed. And when Muslim/Arab suicide-bombing murderers steal into Israel and blow to smithereens innocent Jewish/Israeli civilians in pizza parlors and discotheques, Israel is admonished to show restraint and refrain from targeting the planners, facilitators, and future perpetrators of suicide-murder actions. Why? Because some Muslim/Arab civilians might inadvertently be killed.

Read the entire piece, for it shows pretty clearly that the international comunity clearly has not renounced the genocidal anti-Semitism that was pursued by the Third Reich. After all, if the jihadi terrorists stop shooting at and bombing Israel, Israel will have no need to respond with force in self-defense.

|| Greg, 03:28 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||


Lock this terrorist-supporting homicide-bomber wannabe away forever. His threat in this speech makes him too dangerous to remain free to do harm to the innocent.

The audience at a Muslim rally today were told that dying for your beliefs was "just" and the "greatest act of martyrdom".

Dr Azzam Tamimi, a firebrand Islamic academic and self-styled Hamas sympathiser, claimed he is prepared to become a suicide bomber.

Religion of Peace my ass!

UPDATE: Get this litle tidbit.

Dr Tamimi, a prominent member of the Stop The War coalition, is married with three children and lives in Willesden, North West London. After coming to Britain from the Middle East more than 30 years ago, he and his family have become British citizens and live in a council block.

This friggin' savage wants to "Stop the War" -- and is willing to blow up innocents to do it. Not one member of the so-called "peace movement" has denounced this jihadi swine, which makes it quite clear that "Peace" equals "Surrender" in their eyes.

Like I said -- Religion of Peace my ass!

|| Greg, 03:17 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Crimes Against Humanity

Listen to this load of crap from the terrorist shill who ostensibly runs Lebanon.

Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, meanwhile, toured the devastated Hezbollah stronghold in south Beirut and decried the destruction by Israeli bombs as a "crime against humanity." Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a Shiite and Hezbollah backer, stood at the Sunni premier's side and said they spoke with one voice.

Of cours the Hezbollah-supporting Parliament Speaker stood beside Prime Minister Saniora -- someone had to operate the puppet strings. My only question is if Berri's lips moved as he put words in the mouth of the ventriloquist dummy who nominally heads the Lebanese government.

And I'll notie that we have yet to hear a single world leader condemn the intentional attacks carried out against Israel's civilian population as "crimes against humanity" -- but every single civilian casualty caused by israel qualifies as one. That is perhaps the clearest indictment of the UN and its leadership that I can think of -- that the victim of the attack is defined as a the aggressor for daring to act in self-defense against an organization that was supposed to have been disarmed years ago under the terms of UN Resolution 1559.

|| Greg, 03:00 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

CD22 News

The ever-alert Chris Elam of Texas Safety Forum has two items up that show why he's the man among local political bloggers.

First, Tom DeLay's main primary challenger, Tom Campbell, has issued a statement supporting Shelley Sekula-Gibbs in November.

Tom Campbell, who finished second in the Republican Congressional Primary in March, announced his endorsement today of Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs as the Republican write-in candidate for the November general election. Campbell also called upon all other past and present District 22 candidates to join him in endorsing Dr. Sekula-Gibbs.

“This is no longer about personal goals. It is about principle,” Campbell said.

Speaking about Dr. Sekula-Gibbs’ selection, Campbell said, “Supporting Shelley is the right thing. Uniting behind a single candidate grounded in Republican values and principles will result in victory. She is worthy of our support and worthy to carry our Republican standard into this election. Even as a write-in, a conservative Sekula-Gibbs can beat liberal Nick Lampson in District 22.”

Campbell attended the meeting of Republican precinct leaders from Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria and Galveston Counties on Thursday and observed the process. “These are the people that Republicans across the district elected to represent our party,” Campbell said. “These are good men and women working to find a way to unite the Republican Party at a time when unity is essential. They decided to select one candidate that would carry our party’s banner in the November election. Dr. Sekula-Gibbs emerged as the clear winner. The process was fair – everyone had an opportunity to speak.”

About Tom DeLay's role in the meeting, Campbell added, "The Tom DeLay era is over. Dr. Sekula-Gibbs was not hand picked by our former congressman. She was the clear choice of representatives from all four counties in District 22. The cloud of scandal no longer hangs over this race. Now the election can be about the important issues facing our country. I challenge Nick Lampson to stop the muckraking - stop the litigation and let the people decide.”

Tom Campbell made an attempt to get the nomination before the Democrats stopped the process, but got very little traction among the GOP precinct chairs. He is prohibitted by law from running as a write-in candidate. He did, however, get an invite to attend our meeting last week as an observer, and so his statement in the final paragraph that Shelley Sekula-Gibbs is not Tom Delay's Hand-picked successor ought to carry weight with anyone who cares about the truth.

And to add one observation, Campbell's statement proves what i have always believed about him -- he is a good and decent man whose actions wee based upon what he believed was best for CD22. He was simply over his head in a race that no opponent of the incumbent could have won.

And it appears that David Wallace may be making a move of some significance on Monday.

Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace is speaking for the first time since finding out his party won't support him. Wallace wants to be a write-in candidate to replace Republican Tom DeLay in Congress.

The first person to file as a Republican write-in candidate, Mayor Wallace had not commented publicly ever since Republican precinct chairs chose someone else to throw their support behind. But now, he's opening up to Eyewitness News about the unusual selection process and his future plans.

While it's no secret that Wallace wants the job DeLay left behind, it's also quite obvious that on Thursday, Republican precinct chairs picked someone else -- Houston Councilmember Shelly Sekula-Gibbs to support. And Wallace admits he's not a fan of the closed door selection process.

"We've got a large voter base in Congressional District 22 and having the voice of 83 individuals coming together, is that representative of the entire district?" he asked.

* * *

Mayor Wallace says he'll be announcing his decision on whether to stay in the race on Monday. And a lot of people will be waiting for an answer.

"With all of the different changes that took place this week, obviously I am doing a lot of soul searching, meeting with a number of representatives to talk about the next step and that'll be announced on Monday," he said.

My guess is that he is OUT -- and if he isn't, I point back to my earlier comment on his candidacy.

|| Greg, 12:05 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bravo For Israel

Since the terms of the cease-fire agreement have not been fulfilled by Hezbollah, Lebanon, the UN, or any of the other parties involved, why should Israel not take steps to protect its own security?

Helicopter-borne Israeli commandos raided a Hezbollah stronghold in the Bekaa Valley early Saturday, setting off a fierce gun battle. Lebanon called the attack a "flagrant violation" of a fragile six-day-old cease-fire and threatened to halt troop deployments in protest.

Hezbollah, which battled the Israeli military for 33 days until the truce took hold Monday, said its fighters encountered the Israeli commandos in a field near the town of Boudai, about 20 miles from the Syrian border.

The Israeli military, confirming the raid, said its commandos carried out the operation to interdict shipments of weapons and munitions to Hezbollah from Syria and Iran. The military said one Israeli officer was killed and two soldiers were wounded, one seriously.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told reporters in Beirut that the attack was a "flagrant violation" of the U.N. cease-fire and that he planned to lodge a complaint with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Later Saturday, Annan said that he agreed the raid violated the cease-fire agreement and that he was "deeply concerned."

Hezbollah issued no immediate reaction. But many Lebanese worried that the militant Shiite Muslim movement would retaliate, risking a chain of cease-fire violations that could rekindle the devastating war that drove nearly a fourth of Lebanon's inhabitants from their homes and inflicted an estimated $3.6 billion in damage to bridges, roads and other infrastructure.

In accepting the cease-fire, the Hezbollah leader, Hasan Nasrallah, warned that his militia reserved the right to attack Israelis as long as they remain on Lebanese soil. At the same time, the Israeli military declared that it reserved the right to respond to attacks and prevent weapons shipments to Hezbollah guerrillas in the southern border hills until an international force was in place.

Hezbollah has not been disarmed -- and was being resupplied. The Lebanese government has continued to allow Hezbollah to operate in violation of multiple UN resolutions to the contrary. The UN has acted like the UN -- justifying Arab terror agains thte Israelis. France has shown its usual cowardice.

In short, screw the cease-fire -- Israel should declare its provisions to be a joke and resume its planned destruction of Hezbollah. Let the attacks continue

|| Greg, 10:27 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

It Isn't A Draft

Some on the Left call it a "backdoor draft" -- but it isn't. Then again, their mischaracterization of the truth is one more demonstration that the Left cannot be trusted with the security of our nation.

Spc. Chris Carlson had been out of the U.S. Army for two years and was working at Costco in California when he received notice that he was being called back into service.

The 24-year-old is one of thousands of soldiers and Marines who have been deployed to Iraq under a policy that allows military leaders to recall troops who have left the service but still have time left on their contract.

"I thought it was crazy," said Carlson, who has found himself protecting convoys on Iraq's dangerous roads as part of a New Jersey National Guard unit. "Never in a million years did I think they would call me back."

Although troops are allowed to leave active duty after a few years of service, they generally still have time left on their contract with the military that is known as "inactive ready reserve" status, or IRR. During that time, they have to let their service know their current address, but they don't train, draw a paycheck or associate in any other way with the military.

But with active duty units already completing multiple tours in Iraq, the
Pentagon has employed the rarely used tactic of calling people back from IRR status, a policy sometimes referred to as a "backdoor draft."

But it isn't any sort of draft -- as noted above, it is holding individuals who volunteered for service to the terms of their contract. It is something which they are told about up front, and which they know to expect.

Take this soldier, for example.

Anthony Breaux, 24, from La Place, La., said he had a feeling that eventually he would be recalled to service after hearing of so many other soldiers who were pulled from IRR status. Breaux, who left active duty in September 2002, said he knew it was part of the bargain when he joined the army.

"Well, I signed up. I signed the papers. So you know what? I got to do what I got to do," Breaux said, before getting ready for a reconnaissance patrol around Camp Anaconda.

Got that -- they knew what they were signing up for when they signed their contracts. They are not draftees being plucked from the streets -- they are members of our nations military reserves being called to fulfill the duty they volunteered for.

And anyone who claims differently is simply a liar, and more concerned with trashing the Bush Administration than protecting the United States from its enemies.

|| Greg, 10:17 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Expand AP -- Maybe, But...

Hey, I'll admit that I took AP English when I was in high school -- though I opted out of the Calculus and Physics classes tht my school offered because I simply lacked the interest in the subjects to apply myself to them at age 17. At a Catholic school in the Chicago suburbs, we had around 55 students in the AP English program -- about 20% of the class of 1981. And we had a fair amount of success in the program, with about 10 students scoring a 4 or 5 on the test, and around 25 scoring at least a 3. In short, about 2/3 of us were in a position where we might be eligible for college credit.

Fast forward to the present. The class of 2006 saw 126 students take the AP English test -- roughly 40% of the class. Of those students, 19 scored a 4 or 5, and 43 scored a 3. That means only about 50% potentially received college credit.

Now does this mean that the program has declined in quality, and that today's teachers do not teach the material as well as my teacher did? Hardly -- it is indicative of the reality that explanding AP programs result in lower average scores because less able students are placed in the classes. That does not mean that these students are ill-served by being in the program -- indeed, the experience of being in the AP program may raise the level of their learning in a dramatic fashion. But the expansion will hurt the overall "snapshot" that most folks focus on -- the overal test scores.

Which leads me to an article in today's Washington Post.

Prince George's County schools chief John E. Deasy this week is rolling out a $33 million proposal to improve the school system's uneven academic performance, an initiative that includes a partnership with the College Board to expand Advanced Placement course offerings countywide.

* * *

Deasy proposed that by the 2007-08 school year each of the county's 22 major high schools should offer at least eight AP courses, which are meant to introduce students to college-level study. Currently, AP offerings in the county vary widely. Many high schools have only a few.

The College Board, which oversees the AP program, will help the school system train a new corps of 200 AP teachers over the next year. In addition, the school system plans to expand subsidies for AP test fees to help ensure that needy students take the tests.

"It's a monumental culture shift," Deasy said. "AP will be on the tongue of every kid around here before too long."

Michael Marchionda, a College Board official working on the project, called it "a multiyear effort" to widen student access to AP. "It's very comprehensive," he said.

The county school board will consider the plan Thursday and is expected to support it.

"People asked for rigor," said Chairman Beatrice P. Tignor (Upper Marlboro). "We've got rigor."

And i hope the district does have a rigorous program, one which holds to the very strict standards of teh College Board. But I hope tha the district recognizes that test scores -- on average -- will drop if there is an increase in the size and scope of the program.

I also hope that parents realize what they are getting themselves and their children into when thy sign up for the AP program. Such classes are -- and are supposed to be -- at or near the college level. In my own district, we struggled for years with parents who insisted upon putting their child into AP classes -- and then insisted upon taking them out when the student didn't continue to receive the same A he or she had gotten in regular level classes. But most importantly, I hope that teh Prince George District sticks to its guns -- because we have found that the presence of AP classes raises the level of instruction in all classes in the school as regular level teachers collaborate with and adopt strategies used by the AP teachers.

|| Greg, 09:53 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Overturn This Decision

Under no circumstances should any alien not yet legally admitted to the United States be held to have any rights beyond the right to continue breathing.

The case of a Juárez woman who said she was physically abused in 2001 by an immigration officer at the Paso del Norte Bridge prompted a decision by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals this month that non-U.S. citizens have constitutional rights at ports of entry.

"It doesn't matter whether you are a U.S. citizen or not, you have rights. It may seem obvious but nobody had said it before," said El Paso lawyer Lynn Coyle, who represents the woman, Maria Antonieta Martinez-Aguero.

The decision sets a precedent and could lead to more lawsuits on the border, legal experts said.

The decision came in response to a preliminary motion by the immigration officer seeking to dismiss the case on grounds that his alleged victim did not have constitutional rights to be free from false imprisonment and the excessive use of force by law enforcement officers because she had not made official entry into the United States, among other reasons.

The officer, Humberto Gonzalez, now a Border Patrol agent, denies the abuse.

"By no means did he do the things she said he did," said his lawyer, Jeanne "Cezy" Collins.

What this decision means, in effect, is that the US Constitution applies to foreigners before they are even in the United States as defined by the laws of the United States and relevant court precedents dating back decades. Stupid decision -- even more stupid than holding that illegal aliens have rights under the Constitution and laws of the United States.

|| Greg, 08:45 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 19, 2006

But Why Are We Taking Such Extreme Precautions?

After all, these are OLD chemical weapons -- weapons dating back to the Cold War and therefore clearly old enough that they must be degraded beyond use and not a threat to anyone.

The Army has begun draining and incinerating thousands of containers of mustard gas held in storage at a facility in the Utah desert.

The project at the Deseret Chemical Depot, begun Friday, will last six to 10 years. It involves burning about 6,200 tons of liquid blister agent and is complicated by the presence of an estimated 800 pounds of toxic mercury.

At one time, the depot housed more chemical weapons than any other U.S. storage site. To comply with the international Chemical Weapons Convention, the U.S. government began weapons destruction there in 1996.

The destruction of the mustard gas is the final phase in the project.

Mustard gas, which is a liquid at room temperature, causes severe blisters, internal and external bleeding, and strips mucous membranes from airways.

Workers will first drain and incinerate the 1-ton mustard gas containers, depot spokeswoman Alaine Southworth said. They will also design and install filters to scrub mercury from the exhaust, she said.

So would someone explain to me why American chemical weapons must be disposed of so carefully? Are these some sort of super-weapons that contain speacial chemicals not bound by the same laws of physics that operate in Iraq? Is this program simply a government boodoggle, putting an expensive piece of pork in someone's home state?

Or is it perhaps teh case that these weapons are still dangerous WMDs -- and that the ones found in Iraq are ALSO live, dangerous WMDs that prove that Saddam Hussein was not in compliance with his UN obligations?

|| Greg, 06:45 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

But They Are White Guys, So Will Be Done

If this were a story about black youth or Hispanic women or quadraplegic Muslim lesbians of Asian descent, there would be calls for massive government intervention to deal with the "crisis". Want to bet the response to this story is silence, thoug -- because the suicide epidemic is among older white men.

Older white males have the highest suicide rate in the United States, said the Population Reference Bureau in Washington.

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States with 11 suicide deaths per 100,000 Americans.

For white males over the age of 65, the rate is almost triple that figure.

White males are more than eight times as likely to kill themselves as women of the same age and the risk increases as they get older, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Suicide experts are unable to pinpoint an exact cause for the higher rate but some believe white males lack the resilience and coping mechanisms that women and other ethnic groups have.

They also point to the fact that males are socialized to be in control and are less apt to seek help for depression which leads to suicide.

I think it probably comes from a lifetime of being told that every social problem is the fault of white males. If you internalize the notion that every single problem in the world is ultimately your responsibility, wouldn't you feel a moral obligation to check out as soon as possible?

|| Greg, 05:58 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why The GOP Backs Lieberman

When you can't break the 10% level in polling data, and then sink below 5%, why shouldn't the party look elsewhere?

While some Republicans are quietly rooting for his Democratic opponent, Ned Lamont, because they feel he would be such a polarizing liberal target, many leading Republicans say it would serve the party better to have a centrist like Mr. Lieberman remain in office, particularly after being spurned by his own party.

But one thing is clear: there is little to no talk of bolstering Mr. Schlesinger, 48, the Republican nominee, a little-known former mayor of Derby who has registered polling numbers so low they are breaking records. Little known throughout the state, Mr. Schlesinger received attention this summer following reports in The Hartford Courant that he had gambled under a fake name and once had gambling debts. He has dismissed the accounts as irrelevant.

Mr. Schlesinger has reacted bitterly to the rejection by his own party, dismissing calls for him to leave the race. He maintains he can win by conveying his conservative platform to voters.

* * *

As Mr. Schlesinger’s popularity has waned from a minuscule 9 percent in July to an almost invisible 4 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, the question for Republicans has shifted to whether to embrace Mr. Lieberman.

GOP leaders have had to decide -- remain loyal to the party and hope for a win by the extreme liberal lamont, or act to support what is best for America by supporting Lieberman. I'm pleased that so many have put America first.

|| Greg, 04:30 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I Applaud Trooper Thomas Chabot

Imagine that -- a cop who catches lawbreakers acting to see that the law is enforced. Who could oppose that? Besides the ACLU and groups that support border-jumping immigration criminals, of course.

The Rhode Island State Police will review a trooper's actions during a July 11 traffic stop on Route 95 in Richmond, when he detained 14 people who he suspected were in the country illegally, a state police spokesman said.

The internal investigation stems from a complaint the Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union filed this week, on behalf of 11 of the 14 people involved, said Maj. Steven O'Donnell.

The ACLU took the case after the driver and several passengers alleged during a Providence news conference last month that Trooper Thomas Chabot overstepped his authority by taking immigration enforcement into his own hands.

They also alleged that Chabot threatened to shoot anyone who tried to escape the van that morning as it was escorted to the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement office in Providence.

The traffic stop occurred at 6:30 a.m. near Exit 4 south, where Chabot was posted at a speed checkpoint. Chabot's report states that he pulled the van's driver over for failing to signal a lane change.

After the driver provided a license and ID, Chabot asked the passengers for identification, his report states. When only a few could do so, he then "asked if any of them had immigration credentials proving their U.S. citizenship."

None did. Chabot contacted ICE authorities, and he and another trooper escorted the van to the ICE office on Dyer Avenue in Providence. The 14 were found to be in the country illegally, and they now face deportation.

Who came up with the goofy idea that illegal aliens have any rights beyond breathing?

Round 'em up! Ship 'em back! Rawhide!

|| Greg, 04:24 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

If Surveiling Al-Qaeda Is Unconstitutional...

If the current NSA program is unlawful, let us consider other eavesdropping programs when America fought foreign enemies.

Her outrageous ruling means that our past activities in Magic, in Ultra, at the Coral Sea, at Midway, at Bletchley Park, in Venona, were illegal also. Imagine the cheek we used in defeating the Nazis and Imperial Japan. Oh, let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin and the crying towels appear. Let’s revisit the unfair treatment afforded the Axis at Normandy, the Marianas, the Philippines, and the Battle of Britain — where radar and radio intercepts were unfairly used to outwit and outfox the wily Germans and the cunning Japanese.

That mean old Mr. Roosevelt didn't have the decency to respect the First and Fourth Amendment rights of the Axis powers and their supporters here in America. Just because they were our enemies didn't mean that Roosevelt could act like a hereditary king, did it judge? Surely such spying programs were indisputibly illegal -- just like the current NSA program.

|| Greg, 04:17 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Jordan Times -- Get The Jews Out Of Israel

Well, more support for the pro-terrorist position from Western "intellectuals" writing for Arab sources.

Perhaps it is time, if not to rewrite, at least to redirect the Balfour declaration back to Europe from whence most Jewish settlers in Israel have come.

The animosity that is making the clash of civilisations a current reality is driven first and foremost by the unsettled issue of the division of Palestine. If this could be solved, Al Qaeda’s influence would sharply diminish. So would Hamas’ and Hizbollah’s. But left to stew as it is now, it is spilling over into Lebanon and perhaps in a few years into a nuclear confrontation between Israel and Iran, or even, if President Pervez Musharraf is assassinated and a more Islamic-minded president comes to power, between Israel and Pakistan.

As relations between Jew and Muslim deteriorate, not only Israel is becoming unliveable for ordinary people (read Israeli novelist Shifra Horn’s new book, “Ode to Joy”, if you want to smell the cordite and sense the everyday fear of being blown up deep in the soul), but also are parts of Europe and North America gradually becoming so. Just as Israel has “terrorists” in its midst so now do the UK, Spain, France, Russia, the US and Canada.

Power's solution? Get the Jews out of Israel and back to Europe. This disgusting piece of anti-Semitism is cloaked in feigned concern for the Israeli people, but not really.

But i have a better idea -- one which I am sure Mr. Power will support with his whole heart. If the Jews of Israel are to be uprooted, then let us settle them someplace where we know they will be safe -- the United States. We can put them in Dearborn and other areas currently occupied by Arab Muslims who support jihadi terrorism around the world. In return, we will ship the Arab Muslims in the United States -- regardless of their citizenship -- back to Middle East.

Now some may object that such a proposal is inhumane and racist -- "What about the rights of America's Arab Muslims?" some may ask. Well, if Jews who have settled in the Middle East over the last century and who have fought and died to create, maintain and protect a tiny homeland for themselves have no place in a Middle East dominated by Arab Muslims, then clearly Arab Muslims have no place in the West, and in particular not in the United States. After all, they and their relatives back in their homelands have shown their utter inablility to live at peace with neighbors who are different from themselves.

Outrageous? Sure. but then again, consider this justification for Power's exclusion of the jews from their own homeland.

Without such “out of the box” thinking we are all going to be sucked under by the maelstrom being unleashed by what is dangerously becoming a true “clash of civilisations”.

So why not consider my "outside the box" solution as a way of avoiding the "clash of civilizations" by separating the parties completely. After all, why should the Jews alone bear the cost of the capitulating to the jihadi terrorists? After all, if the Jews are not a good fit in the Middle East, why should the unassimilable Muslims be welcome in America?

And if my proposed solution -- excluding people from America based upon religion and ethnicity -- is unacceptable, upon what basis can anyone support the expulsion of Israel's Jews from the land given them by the international community in the 1940s and which they have defended time and again over the last six decades? The only possible answer is a rank, festering anti-Semitism which abides in the blackened souls of the opponents of Israel.

|| Greg, 04:00 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

No Sympathy For These Folks

Let's remember -- the only folks who censored the Dixie Chicks were tehir former fans, who decided that they would prefer not to direct their dollars to entertainers who clearly despised them and their values. In doing so, they exercised teh same First Amendment rights as the Dixie Chicks, to speak out vocally, in writing, and with their hard-earned dollars to make a political statement of their own. That this has effecively killed the Chicks' career is too bad -- they are a talented group of girls ane I will admit that I like much of their early music.

But the censorship the girls met up with is of the sort that the Founders clearly recognized as legitimate, for the Constitution only forbids GOVERNMENT censorship. No where does the Constitution require that I buy their music or listen to it on the radio -- nor does it require that any radio station play it or any music store stock it. What's more, nothing in the Constitution requires them a recording contract after their album sales trail off and much of their concert tour gets cancelled because of sparse ticket sales.

Which leads us to today's New York Times.

Sitting at a table in early August, Bobby Braddock, the longtime songwriter, lamented the conservatism of the country music industry that was demonstrated when the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks became a target of fury three years ago after saying she was ashamed that her band and President Bush shared the same home state.

Asked whether his recent song “Thou Shalt Not Kill” would have airplay, Mr. Braddock said, “Oh, never.”

“Something political will not get played on country radio unless it’s on the conservative side,” he added. “If you show both sides, it’s not good enough. It’s got to be just on the right.”

Country music, the genre of lonely hearts and highways, lost jobs and blue-collar woes, has become a cultural battleground. Conservatism is widely seen as having the upper hand, a red-state answer to left-leaning Hollywood.

Democrats on Music Row, the country music capital here, have grown frustrated with that reputation. A group of record-company executives, talent managers and artists has released an online compilation of 20 songs, several directly critical of Mr. Bush and the Iraq war.

The price for the set is $20, with most of the proceeds going to the group, which calls itself Music Row Democrats and is using the money to support local and national candidates who share its values.

In other words, this is a political fundraiser, not merely a statement of principle.

So while I admire the folks involved in this project for speaking their mind, please understand that I won't be buying their album or calling my local stations to play the music.

Indeed, I will use the information about the writers and performers to determine my future music purchases -- because as an American, I am free to do so, just as they are free to make asses out of themselves and alienate much of the country music fan base.

Because contrary to the views of these music Row liberals, "Dixie Chicking" an artist is a patriotic act, not an unAmerican one.

And if you disagree, consider this -- how many pro-Bush songs and pro-Bush artists make it on to rap and urban stations?

|| Greg, 03:39 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Apology Regarding CD22 Politics

Still feeling sort of cruddy, but thought I'd check my email.

Someone sent me a link to a post on another blog attacking me for things I've written regarding CD22 over the last week or so. Since the poster is offended, I figure I owe him some apologies.

Here is what I left him in his comment section.

1) If stating matters that are on the public record constitutes "trashing" someone, then I gladly plead guilty. On the other hand, if being a loyal member of the party means hiding corruption and dishonesty on the part of elected officials, I want nothing of it. I continue to find it interesting that you criticize me for "trashing" David Wallace but fail to point to a single spot where my posts have been inaccurate -- much less flse. But if you think I need to apologize for what I posted, I will "I'm sorry I have spoken the truth about David Wallace."

2) I think Smither is a good man, and I believe that it would have been a legitimate course of action for the GOP to support him. I struggled, -- publicly, as you note -- with the question of whether the best course of ction might be to put the support of the GOP behind him as a way of keeping CD22 out of the hands of a liberal like Nick Lampson. As I said in a number of places "Maybe we should make Bob Smither the first Libertarian party congressman in 2006 -- and the first Libertarian party ex-Congressman in 2008." But since you seem to feel I was wrong to think and say what I did, let me offer this apology -- I am sorry that I had the audacity to think unauthorized thoughts, and to think outside the box (or think at all) with regard to the best course of action to prevent the seat from falling into Democrat hands."

3) Of the entire lot of GOP candidates who emerged after The Virginian decided to "screw, blue and tattoo" CD22 this spring, I believe Shelley was and is the best of the bunch. I worked long and hard this spring and summer to persuade my fellow chairs of that. I am not, however, a member of her campaign staff and hold no official position with her organization -- and my words represent me and my opinions only. I was even prepared to give Wallace a chance -- but he has displayed a sense of arrogance and entitlement from the very moment The Virginian announced his resignation. He has refused to meet wtih any group which is not dominated by his supporters or at any forum not organized by them. Whether it is the Harris COunty GOP candidate forum in May or the CD22 Executive Committee meeting on Thursday, David Wallace has shown he is unable to face the unconverted and is only willing to preach to the choir -- not a good trait in a candidate for such a highly contested seat. But since you are offended, I'll offer another apology -- "I'm sorry that I have come to expect better of Republican candidates over the course of my quarter century of political activism within the GOP."

As I remind my students when I teach American Government, politics is the art and science of trying to ensure the election of candidates who will do the most to implement policies which most closely put conform with one's beliefs and desires -- and I have openly discussed how to do that in the current situation. Any other course of action would have been counter-productive.

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

August 18, 2006

Feeling Cruddy

So much to write, so little energy.

Temperature started to rise about 11:00, and is just shy of 100.

Just popped my third dose of pepto in the last six hours.

I think I'm going to bed -- or maybe I'll just fall asleep in my computer chair.

But the cold medicine just makes... me... so.........

|| Greg, 06:02 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Will There Be Media Hysteria?

After all, this "civil rights advocate" has spewed bigotted garbage against ethnic minorities and Jews -- while stone-cold sober. Will Andrew Young get the Mel Gibson treatment?

The civil rights leader Andrew Young, who was hired by Wal-Mart to improve its public image, resigned from that post last night after telling an African-American newspaper that Jewish, Arab and Korean shop owners had “ripped off” urban communities for years, “selling us stale bread, and bad meat and wilted vegetables.”

In the interview, published yesterday in The Los Angeles Sentinel, a weekly, Mr. Young said that Wal-Mart “should” displace mom-and-pop stores in urban neighborhoods.

“You see those are the people who have been overcharging us,” he said of the owners of the small stores, “and they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they’ve ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it’s Arabs.”

Mr. Young, 74, a former mayor of Atlanta and a former United States representative to the United Nations, apologized for the comments and retracted them in an interview last night. Less than an hour later, he resigned as chairman of Working Families for Wal-Mart, a group created and financed by the company to trumpet its accomplishments.

“It’s against everything I ever thought in my life,” Mr. Young said. “It never should have been said. I was speaking in the context of Atlanta, and that does not work in New York or Los Angeles.”

His remarks drew forceful condemnation from Arab, Jewish and Asian leaders.

Mel Gibson is an alcoholic actor who spoke while three (or more ) sheets to the wind. Young is an influential political figure who spoke while under the influence of his own hatred. Wil he receive the same sort of high-tech lynching that Gibson did -- or will his liberal credentials be sufficient to earn him a pass from those who have sought the personal destruction of a sick conservative?

|| Greg, 04:37 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Soon To Be Overturned On Appeal

Well, they finally found a judge to do what no other judge in the country has been willing to do -- rule that the NSA program to make connections between terrorists at home and abroad is unconstitutional.

A federal judge in Detroit ruled yesterday that the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program is unconstitutional, delivering the first decision that the Bush administration's effort to monitor communications without court oversight runs afoul of the Bill of Rights and federal law.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ordered a halt to the wiretap program, secretly authorized by President Bush in 2001, but both sides in the lawsuit agreed to delay that action until a Sept. 7 hearing. Legal scholars said Taylor's decision is likely to receive heavy scrutiny from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit when the Justice Department appeals, and some criticized her ruling as poorly reasoned.

This puts her at odds with every other judge who has ruled on the matter -- so much for res judicata.

Not that this decision is ikely to stand.

Several dozen lawsuits have been filed around the country challenging the program's legality, but yesterday's ruling marked the first time that a judge had declared it unconstitutional. Experts in national security law argued, however, that Taylor offered meager support for her findings on separation of powers and other key issues.

"Regardless of what your position is on the merits of the issue, there's no question that it's a poorly reasoned decision," said Bobby Chesney, a national security law specialist at Wake Forest University who takes a moderate stance on the legal debate over the NSA program. "The opinion kind of reads like an outline of possible grounds to strike down the program, without analysis to fill it in."

And all she had to do to get it was ignore or dismiss as irrelevant every single case that has dealt with national security surveilance -- including those of the FISA court that provide precedent for sustaining the NSA program.

The NY Times, of course, is ecstatic that the safety of the United States has been given the backseat to the privacy rights of those who would kill America and eliminate all rights. And while legal scholars are pointing to the flaws of the case, the NY Times sees the matter differently.

But for now, with a careful, thoroughly grounded opinion, one judge in Michigan has done what 535 members of Congress have so abysmally failed to do. She has reasserted the rule of law over a lawless administration and shown why issues of this kind belong within the constitutional process created more than two centuries ago to handle them.

More proof that the editorial staff of this once-proud institution of our nation's most significant city has relocated to Fantasy Island.

UPDATE: As noted in the comments below, I didn't get the chance to read or comment upon the editorial of that other traditional bastion of Democrat Party liberalism -- the Washington Post. Interestingly enough, their editorial sees matters a bit different, and more in line with the legal experts -- Taylor blew it. While not at all conceding the legality of the NSA program, the editorialist makes it very clear that Taylor failed in her task of impartially and fairly assessing the evidence and rendering a decision based upon the law and the merits of the case.

THE NATION would benefit from a serious, scholarly and hard-hitting judicial examination of the National Security Agency's program of warrantless surveillance. The program exists on ever-more uncertain legal ground; it is at least in considerable tension with federal law and the Bill of Rights. Careful judicial scrutiny could serve both to hold the administration accountable and to provide firmer legal footing for such surveillance as may be necessary for national security.

Unfortunately, the decision yesterday by a federal district court in Detroit, striking down the NSA's program, is neither careful nor scholarly, and it is hard-hitting only in the sense that a bludgeon is hard-hitting. The angry rhetoric of U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor will no doubt grab headlines. But as a piece of judicial work -- that is, as a guide to what the law requires and how it either restrains or permits the NSA's program -- her opinion will not be helpful.

Judge Taylor's opinion is certainly long on throat-clearing sound bites. "There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution," she thunders. She declares that "the public interest is clear, in this matter. It is the upholding of our Constitution." And she insists that Mr. Bush has "undisputedly" violated the First and Fourth Amendments, the constitutional separation of powers, and federal surveillance law.

But the administration does, in fact, vigorously dispute these conclusions. Nor is its dispute frivolous. The NSA's program, about which many facts are still undisclosed, exists at the nexus of inherent presidential powers, laws purporting to constrict those powers, the constitutional right of the people to be free from unreasonable surveillance, and a broad congressional authorization to use force against al-Qaeda. That authorization, the administration argues, permits the wiretapping notwithstanding existing federal surveillance law; inherent presidential powers, it suggests, allow it to conduct foreign intelligence surveillance on its own authority. You don't have to accept either contention to acknowledge that these are complicated, difficult issues. Judge Taylor devotes a scant few pages to dismissing them, without even discussing key precedents.

The judge may well be correct in her bottom line that the program exceeds presidential authority, even during wartime. We harbor grave doubt both that Congress authorized warrantless surveillance as part of the war and that Mr. Bush has the constitutional power to act outside of normal surveillance statutes that purport to be the exclusive legal authorities for domestic spying. But her opinion, which as the first court venture into this territory will garner much attention, is unhelpful either in evaluating or in ensuring the program's legality. Fortunately, as this case moves forward on appeal and as other cases progress in other courts, it won't be the last word.

Ultimately, the conclusion here is correct -- this is not the last word on the NSA program, and we as a nation are fortunate this is true. And if I come down upon the side of recognizing this program is acceptable under the law, the COnstitution, and the historical practices of previous United States presidents during time of war, I accept that there can be good-faith disagreement on this matter.

|| Greg, 04:32 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (12) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Little Moral Clarity From A Few Celebrities

Imagine that -- bucking the trend and condemning terrorists for engaging in terrorism.

NICOLE Kidman has made a public stand against terrorism.

The actress, joined by 84 other high-profile Hollywood stars, directors, studio bosses and media moguls, has taken out a powerfully-worded full page advertisement in today's Los Angeles Times newspaper.

It specifically targets "terrorist organisations" such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine.

"We the undersigned are pained and devastated by the civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon caused by terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organisations such as Hezbollah and Hamas," the ad reads.

"If we do not succeed in stopping terrorism around the world, chaos will rule and innocent people will continue to die.

"We need to support democratic societies and stop terrorism at all costs."

A who's who of Hollywood heavyweights joined Kidman on the ad.

The actors listed included: Michael Douglas, Dennis Hopper, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Danny De Vito, Don Johnson, James Woods, Kelly Preston, Patricia Heaton and William Hurt.

Directors Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Michael Mann, Dick Donner and Sam Raimi also signed their names.

Other Hollywood powerplayers supporting the ad included Sumner Redstone, the chairman and majority owner of Paramount Pictures, and billionaire mogul, Haim Saban.

Is it just me, but are the big donors to Democrats missing from this list? Could it be that there is a connection between support for liberals and support for terrorists?

|| Greg, 04:20 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Poor Little Celebrities!

No more tax-free freebies just for showing up at awards shows!

Movie stars appearing at the Academy Awards will no longer receive the lavish goody baskets they have come to expect -- worth as much as $100,000 each and including freebies such as iPods, resort vacations, coupons for laser eye surgery, jewelry and high-priced lingerie -- because of a crackdown by the federal tax collector.

The Internal Revenue Service and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences yesterday announced they have reached a settlement on undisclosed taxes owed to the government on the "gifts" received at the Oscars in the last several years, through 2005.

The academy also announced it will no longer give out the bags, saying the board quietly voted last April to end the practice. In recent years, the academy has given the bags -- also known as gift bags or swag -- to as many as 200 hosts, performers and winners on Oscar night. "There's no special red-carpet tax loophole for the stars," IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson said in a prepared statement. "Whether you're popping the popcorn, sitting in the audience or starring on the big screen, you need to respect the law and pay your taxes."

Typically, if the IRS finds someone has failed to pay taxes but no fraud is involved, it assesses back taxes, interest and penalties for only the preceding three years. In this instance, if 200 people received $100,000 baskets in each of the three years through 2005, the taxable non-cash income would be $60 million.

All of which means that these over-privileged buffoons might have to buy their own rhinestone encrusted cellphones and Tempur-Pedic mattresses.

|| Greg, 04:17 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 17, 2006

Shelley Sekula-Gibbs Endorsed By GOP Precinct Chairs

In this evenings meeting of GOP precinct chairs from CD22, the decision was made to endorse Houston City Councilwoman Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs to replace Tom Delay in Congress.

I have been working with the Sekula-Gibbs campaign since spring, as I believe her to be the best of the candidates who stepped forward following The Virginian's resignation. A solid pragmatic conservaitive, I believe she matches up well with this district.

I'll write more tomorrow.

|| Greg, 09:46 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||