October 31, 2006

Tuesday News Omnibus

1) Note to all those Christian-hating leftists out there ranting about theocracy: THIS is what a theocracy looks like.

2) Looks like a group of African-American politicians have strayed off the Democrat plantation. Will the voters in their county follow, and help elect Michael Steele to the US Senate?

3) Another reminder about why the issue of judicial nominations requires that conservatives get out and vote for Republicans in this years Senatorial races Justice John Paul Stevens.

4) Democrat candidate steals signs to suppress opponents message but of course, it is the GOPs fault. I guess that is because the Dems are the party of no personal responsibility.

5) Looks like the terrorists are getting another pass from the UN. How much longer until the Israelis are forced to go after the Hezbollah rats in the sewer that is south Lebanon?

6) Drew Brees tells his Democrat mama I dont support you, so quit using me in your campaign ads!

|| Greg, 05:53 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

John Kerry Disses The Troops

Ive got no doubt that the senator was aiming to disrespect the President of the United States, but instead he hit every man and woman in the United States military. But then what do you expect from this pampered imbecile who sold out his own comrades in arms with false claims of war crimes, all to advance his own political career.

You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you dont, you get stuck in Iraq.

Clearly not the sort of man who should have ever been considered for the role of Commander-in-Chief.

But lets look at the numbers from one branch of the service the Air Force.

Academic Education

-- 49.2 percent of officers have advanced or professional degrees; 39.4 percent have master's degrees, 8.5 percent have professional degrees and 1.3 percent have doctorate degrees.

-- 22.8 percent of company grade officers have advanced degrees; 16.5 percent have master's degrees, 5.9 percent have professional degrees and 0.3 percent have doctorate degrees.

-- 85.4 percent of field grade officers have advanced degrees; 70.7 percent have master's degrees, 12.1 percent have professional degrees and 2.5 percent have doctorate degrees.

-- 99.9 percent of the enlisted force have at least a high school education; 73.3 percent have some semester hours toward a college degree; 16.2 percent have an associate's degree or equivalent semester hours; 4.7 percent have a bachelor's degree; 0.7 percent have a master's degree and .01 percent have a professional or doctorate degree.

Im curious, Senator what other employer would have such high educational attainment among its employees? I dont think you would find such achievement in your average corporation, school district, police or fire department. It would take a highly specialized organization a law firm, hospital, or NASA.

No, our armed forces are made up of dedicated, educated individuals who love our country something that apparently cannot be said of the Democrat party, given this statement and the lack of Democrat outcry against it.

But then again, lets assume that my charitable speculation about John Kerrys ignorant insulting comment is correct. Lets assume that he meant to insult the President of the United States, George W. Bush. As I recall, they both attended the same university and Bush out-performed Kerry academically.

Lots of great coverage of this story in the Blogosphere. Ms. Michelle Malkin is great, as is Captain Ed. Jawa Report is fantastic as well.

UPDATE: OH MY GOD! I cannot believe the gall of this arrogant piece of shit from Massachusetts. He makes Teddy Kennedy and Barney Franks look like they have class.

This is how John Kerry responds to critics who defend our troops.

Statement of John Kerry Responding to Republican Distortions, Pathetic Tony Snow Diversions and Distractions

Washington Senator John Kerry issued the following statement in response to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, assorted right wing nut-jobs, and right wing talk show hosts desperately distorting Kerrys comments about President Bush to divert attention from their disastrous record:

If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. Im sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.

Im not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Foxs Parkinsons disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq. It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.

The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it. These Republicans are afraid to debate veterans who live and breathe the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor.

Bottom line, these Republicans want to debate straw men because theyre afraid to debate real men. And this time it wont work because were going to stay in their face with the truth and deny them even a sliver of light for their distortions. No Democrat will be bullied by an administration that has a cut and run policy in Afghanistan and a stand still and lose strategy in Iraq.

In other words, the John Kerry dares to question the right of Americans to question his defamatory statements about the American military! Rather than apologize for his ill-chosen words, he attacks anyone who would dare to call criticize him for them. The arrogance of this son of a bitch!

An reckless driver who caused an auto accident stole my dream of a military career many years ago, and so I chose a career of service to my country by going into teaching. Along the way, I have encouraged my students to consider serving their country in the military and many have entered the Armed Forces. Often, they are among my best and brightest. So while I didnt get the opportunity to serve, I want to take this opportunity to speak on behalf of young men and women who I love and respect as if they were my own flesh and blood.

Screw you, Senator Kerry! Go to Hell!

UPDATE II: American Legion condemns Kerry comments. So does John McCain.

Update III: Even though his words are on tape, Kerry denies that he said what he said and even dares to question John McCains right to question him. I guess only left-wing, anti-American vets have a right to speak out on this issue. Heroes like McCain need not apply.

|| Greg, 03:50 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Improving Teacher Eucation

All of us know it is true -- the first rule that new teachers learn is to forget most of what they learned in their education classes back in college. Indeed, some of the worst teaching we experience comes from our education professors, so following that advice is not difficult.

This should be a shining moment for education schools. Never has the nation paid so much attention to improving the quality of teaching. Yet the institutions that produce teachers have never faced so much criticism.

"Teacher education is the Dodge City of the education world," said Arthur Levine, former president of Columbia University's Teachers College. "Like the fabled Wild West town, it is unruly and chaotic."

Stanford University educational historian David F. Labaree wrote in a recent book: "Institutionally, the ed school is the Rodney Dangerfield of higher education; it don't get no respect. The ed school is the butt of jokes in the university, where professors portray it as an intellectual wasteland."

The attacks have become so frequent and intense that some educators say they have gone too far. But a growing number of educators say ed schools fail to give teachers enough background in their subject matter, fail to prepare them for the difficulties of urban schools and fail to recruit the best students.

For a study on ed schools released in September, Levine surveyed administrators with firsthand knowledge of these problems: principals. Only two of every five principals surveyed said ed schools were preparing teachers very well or moderately well to get new curriculum and performance standards into the classroom. Only one-third said their teachers were very or moderately well prepared for maintaining classroom order. Only one-fifth said their teachers were that well prepared to work with parents.

Of course, there is little agreement on what to do to make things better. I'll put in my two-cents worth on the matter.

1) Require that students get a degree in their subject matter. My college allowed education students to take two fewer classes in their subject area so that they could take teaching methods classes. I had already taken the full class-load for a regular history degree before switching to the education program, so I was the exception among my classmates in having just as much preparation as a student seeking a regular degree.

2) Make education degrees a five-year program. Heck, maybe make it a Master's degree program.

3) Talk about how to deal with parents. My first parent conference was at 22, during student teaching. Many of my colleagues didn't have their first until after they were hired. It is a daunting experience, and one that most new teachers are ill-prepared for.

4) It is all nice to prepare teachers for a classroom where every kid has a computer at home, reads on grade level, and isn't worried about the food and shelter components of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. That isn't where I teach, nor is it where most teachers teach. help us learn about real kids, not ideal kids -- or the children of professors at the campus laboratory schppl.

|| Greg, 05:30 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 30, 2006

Closing The Gap In CD22


No wonder I've noted a touch of desperation among left-wing bloggers in recent weeks -- it looks like the Democrats may be about to lose what they believed to be a "sure-thing" election here in CD22.

That isn't my assessment -- that is the conclusion that one has to draw based upon the polling data found in Monday's Houston Chronicle.

The Republican write-in effort to hold former Rep. Tom DeLay's congressional seat, once viewed as a long shot, has created a tight race, according to a Houston Chronicle-11 News poll.

Thirty-five percent of respondents said they would vote for a write-in candidate, a statistical tie with the 36 percent support for Democrat Nick Lampson, according to the poll of more than 500 likely voters in the 22nd Congressional District.

Most who say they will write in a candidate plan on naming Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, the Houston city councilwoman backed by the Republican Party. Two lesser-known candidates also are running as write-ins.

One voter in four is still undecided.

Libertarian Bob Smither, the only person besides Lampson on the general election ballot, drew 4 percent support.

The third option on that ballot is "write-in." Voters who make that selection on the electronic voting machines that most will use are directed to an alphabet screen, where they use a wheel to spell out their choice's name a letter at a time.

And since the names of all eligible write-in candidates will be posted in each voting booth, I feel confident that people will not be intimidated by the process. Indeed, I keep hearing from folks who have early voted that they are hearing the sound of wheels spinning and buttons being pushed by those around them -- an indication that there are a great many CD22 voters who are taking the time to use the write-in option to select a candidate.

What the polls show is that Lampson has only 36% of respondents saying they will vote for him -- while 35/1% indicate a plan to vote for a write-in candidate. Of that percentage, 79.4% (or 28% overall) plan on voting for Shelley Sekula-Gibbs. That is an incredible total at this point, and likely to grow as the undecided vote breaks Republican in this heavily GOP district.

Even more important -- both for this year and for 2008 -- if Shelley Sekula-Gibbs were on the ballot, she would be leading Lampson 52% to 35%. There is clearly a preference for her in this race, and only Democrat efforts to keep any Republican off the ballot following DeLay's resignation make this seat one that can be considered "up for grabs".

And actually, I would note this is a Zogby poll, and they tend to favor Democrats. I'm therefore betting the numbers are actually even closer than this result indicates.

UPDATE: And look who came stumping for Shelley today -- President George W. Bush himself!

UPDATE II: Some interesting pieces from on Shelley's campaign.

Remember -- on November 7, 2006, vote twice for Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs for Congress in CD22. Or vote this week during the remaining days of early voting.


|| Greg, 11:59 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watchers Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are A Liberal Manifesto and Other Halloween Frights by Right Wing Nut House, and Archaeological Temple Artifacts Drive PalArabs Crazy by Elder of Ziyon.  Here are the full results of the vote.

Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
3A Liberal Manifesto and Other Halloween Frights
Right Wing Nut House
2Japan, North Korea and Nuclear Weapons
American Future
1  2/3Hostis Humani Generis
The Glittering Eye
1  1/3Talkin' 'bout My Generation
1  1/3To Deter or Not, Time to Choose
1Wake Up. Please?
The Sundries Shack
1The Mexican Eagle Flies Over a Texas High School
The Education Wonks
2/3I Must Be a Threat To Someone...
Rhymes With Right
2/3A Case of Race
Done With Mirrors
1/3Sharkey's Flying Machine
Soccer Dad

VotesNon-council link
2  2/3Archaeological Temple Artifacts Drive PalArabs Crazy
Elder of Ziyon
1  2/3Fighting Back
The Mudville Gazette
1  1/3How I Learned to Lie About Islam
1  1/3The Fire This Time
The Belmont Club
1All About Reality
1Barack Obama: The Visible Man
The American Thinker
2/3Thoughts in the Wilderness
2/3The End of Empire
The Belmont Club (2)
2/3The Wack-job Party
The Kitchen Drawer
2/3How Reagan Would Handle Islamism
1/3A Letter from the Son of a Woman Who Was Stoned to Death
Dhimmi Watch

|| Greg, 07:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Monday Omnibus Post

1) Not only is illegal immigration a crime, but it appears to have become the province of organized crime. Those good, hard-working people willing to do jobs Americans wont are being charged hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars by traffickers in human flesh. It is almost a latter-day slave trade. No wonder the Democrats are unwilling to act to stop it after all, they supported the trade in human beings in the 1800s, too.

2) The Duke Rape Case continues to implode. First we find out the DA has yet to interview the victim, now we find out that she may have asked to be marked up during her ride home. The morals of those young men may be suspect, but it continues to look more and more like their actions were not criminal.

3) Which party is the Party of the Rich? Take a hint from the top political donors in this country they support the Jackass Party.

4) What should the GOP focus on for the next week? Judges. Judges. And Judges.

5) I could be happy with a Mitt-Jeb ticket in 2008 but would still prefer seeing a Mitt-Condi ticket instead. But then again, Im one of those conservatives who like Mitt Romney.

6) Israels preemption of terrorist violence is justified under international law and the UN Charter. An excellent article explaining why appears at TCS Daily.

7) When will Gary Kubiak realize that David Carr is not consistent enough to start for the Houston Texans and that Sage Rosenfels is? Texans fans want to know and soon.

|| Greg, 06:05 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Underlying Anti-Semitism

I think Suzanne Fields says it quite well in this piece, which demonstrates the anti-Semitism underlying so much of the criticism of Israel today -- and the tendency of some people to blame every evil on the Jews.

When Jews is news

"Jewcentricity" is a word that sounds like it was coined by an embittered anti-Semite. But it's actually the inspiration of Adam Garfinkle, a Jew, writing in The American Interest magazine to call attention to a phenomenon that has roots in anti-Semitism and runs from the silly to the sublime: " . . . the idea, or the intimation, or the subconscious presumption . . . that Jews are somehow necessarily to be found at the very center of global-historical events."

"Jewcentricity" is most evident in the recycling of "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion," a fictitious text commissioned by the czar's secret police for a Russian audience at the end of the 19th century, describing a fanciful cabal of Jews who plan to take over the world. Some critics of the neoconservatives, some of whom are Jewish, cite the protocols, so called, in their accusations that Jews have hijacked American foreign policy. Others, critical of Israel, hyperventilate over the power of the "Israel lobby."

"The Protocols" have naturally become a best seller in several Muslim countries, including Turkey and Egypt, where they were turned into a television series. ("Semitic Sex in the City," however, it was not.) "The Protocols" were featured on the Iranian stands at last year's book fair in Frankfurt "to expose the real visage of this Satanic-enemy," along with an abridged edition of Henry Ford's literary thriller, "The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem" (which never made it to the screen). "The grip of the Jewish parasitic influence," asserts the preface of the new edition, "has been growing stronger and stronger ever since [Henry Ford's time]."

Serious examples of "Jewcentricity" are reflected in the media obsession with Sen. George Allen's Jewish mother, who was born in Tunisia and barely escaped the Holocaust, and before that, with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's Jewish roots in Czechoslovakia. The national newspapers and television networks spent considerably more time investigating the senator's "blood" parentage and its likely effect on his re-election campaign than the blood being spilled in Darfur. "Why?" asks Adam Garfinkle. "Because . . . Jews is news and there are no Jews in Darfur." That doesn't slow down the conspiracy theorists in other countries, with or without Jews, from obsessing over the myth of sinister Jewish power.

Germany's Jewcentricity is of a completely different order. No negative slur against Jews goes unanswered in the law courts or in the court of public opinion. This has hardly eliminated prejudice against Jews. In an anti-Semitic prank with echoes of the Third Reich, a high-school student in eastern Germany was forced by bullies not long ago to wear a sign around his neck in the school yard: "In this town I'm the biggest swine because of the Jewish friends of mine." The teacher reported it, the chief of police was firm in his outrage, and the state minister of the interior promised an investigation. Germany does not tolerate public exhibition of Nazi symbols.

But the strain of anti-Semitism that many thought would vanish after the horror of the Holocaust has again risen again in the Middle East and among European fellow travelers of the Islamists, whose rhetoric targets Israel in a way that Hitler would readily recognize. Israel is the euphemism for the demonized Jew. The Jews become, as Jonathan Rosen observed in The New York Times, "interchangeable emblems of cosmic evil."

It's not simply an empty gesture that maps available in Middle Eastern countries show Israel erased. Hezbollah demonstrated its capacity to send rockets into Israel, and the Iranian nuclear threat is aimed first at Israel.

Jews remain convenient scapegoats as they continue to haunt the fantasies of rationalizers and haters who want to avoid responsibility for their own culpability. In the 1930s, Jews were blamed for everything that went wrong in Germany (and later in Eastern Europe). Today they're perceived as the seminal cause of Islamic terrorism, subject to the same old media stereotypes that thrived in Nazi newspapers. Getting rid of the Jews in Europe wasn't enough.

"Jewcentricity" serves a specific purpose both in the Middle East and in Europe. It unites the Muslims against a common enemy and conceals their own divisions and discontents, which would be there even if there were not an Israel to hate. Increasing Muslim populations in Europe threaten the peace in ways that absent Jews do not. But we can blame the Jews, anyway.

The Nobel Prize-winning Hungarian novelist Imre Kertesz observes that Europeans mask their criticism of Israel in mournful tones about the Holocaust but use the language that led to Auschwitz. "Because Auschwitz really happened, it has permeated our imagination, become a permanent part of us," he says. "What we are able to imagine -- because it really happened -- can happen again."

And that some today wish to minimize or deny the historical reality of Auschwitz and the other death camps makes such a repeated attempt at genocide all the more likely.

|| Greg, 05:42 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A "Crack" Question

I've recently been accused of racism by a local blogger (echoed by a commenter here) because, among other things, I offended liberals by making a comment about a local African-American Democrat and crack cocaine.

But now I have a question for those who want to make such an accusation.

On liberal blogger Taylor Marsh's site, she makes this assessment of a prominent Republican.

Liddy Dole was on crack this morning on Fox "News."

Do you find that statement unacceptable? If not, is the statement acceptable because Dole is white or because she is Republican -- or is it the combination of Dole's whiteness and Republicanism that makes it acceptable?

Or is it just that you folks are are alarmists who like to make the charge of racism whenever possible, just to discredit your opponents?

|| Greg, 05:33 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 27, 2006

Sexualizing Kiddies

I certainly think this rather disgusting "toy" would qualify. Thankfully, public pressure got it pulled -- sort of.

A "sexy" pole-dancing kit has been pulled from the toys and games section of a website run by Britain's biggest retailer after protests from outraged parents.

The Peekaboo pole-dancing kit, which has a "sexy garter" to help "unleash the sex kitten inside" was sold in Tesco Direct's toys and games section, the Daily Mail newspaper reported.

"Soon you'll be flaunting it to the world and earning a fortune in Peekaboo Dance Dollars," its blurb reads.

"Unleash the sex kitten inside ... simply extend the Peekaboo pole inside the tube, slip on the sexy tunes and away you go!"

The 50 ($125) kit includes a 2.6 metre chrome pole, a 'sexy dance garter' and a DVD demonstrating suggestive dance moves, the report said.

Do we really want our children to be "strippers in training?

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Will Dem Vote Fraud Claims Suppress The Black Vote?

After all, if you claim that black votes are not counted or not counted accurately, eventually people are going to start believing you and decide that going out to vote just isn't worth the time.

or Democrats like these in tight races, black voter turnout will be crucial on Election Day. But despite a generally buoyant Democratic Party nationally, there are worries among Democratic strategists in some states that blacks may not turn up at the polls in big enough numbers because of disillusionment over past shenanigans.

This notion that elections are stolen and that elections are rigged is so common in the public sphere that were having to go out of our way to counter them this year, said Donna Brazile, a Democratic strategist.

This will be the first midterm election in which the Democratic Party is mobilizing teams of lawyers and poll watchers, to check for irregularities including suppression of the black vote, in at least a dozen of the closest districts, Ms. Brazile said.

Democrats worries are backed up by a Pew Research Center report that found that blacks were twice as likely now than they were in 2004 to say they had little or no confidence in the voting system, rising to 29 percent from 15 percent.

And more than three times as many blacks as whites 29 percent versus 8 percent say they do not believe that their vote will be accurately tallied.

Voting experts say the disillusionment is the cumulative effect of election problems in 2000 and 2004, and a reaction to new identification and voter registration laws.

Long lines and shortages of poll workers in lower-income neighborhoods in the 2004 election and widespread reports of fliers with misinformation appearing in minority areas have also had a corrosive effect on confidence, experts say.

The harder question is whether this jaded outlook will diminish turnout.

Won't it be amusing if the Democrats are hoist on their own petard, and a big part of their coalition stays home because tehy believe -- incorrectly -- that their vote won't be counted anyway?

|| Greg, 04:36 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dems Offer Voter Inducements In Local Legislative Race?

That is what it looks like to some observers, especially to former representative Talmadge Heflin, who lost to current state representative Hubert Vo in 2004 by a mere handful of votes.

A Vietnamese-language radio ad campaign that backers call a get-out-the-vote effort amounts to a dollars-for-votes scheme to help a Vietnamese-American legislator, his challenger claims.

The state House District 149 flap concerns ads urging early votes at an Asian-American community center, and pointing out that $5 coupons available at the center can be used at a nearby mall.

The Vo campaign disavowes all involvement in the ad campaign, which is sponsored by a Vietnamese community group. And the group insists {wink nudge} that the intent of the ad is to boost anemic voter turnout in their community, NOT to help Vo.

"We have 35,000 Vietnamese registered voters and only 12,000 actually vote, so what we did was create the One Brings One campaign urging people to bring a family member to the polls to vote with them," said Van Huynh, executive director of the group.

"Our businesses felt it would be helpful and fun to create something enjoyable for voters, so they offered coupons for use at the Hong Kong Mall. Anyone can come for the coupons. We don't obligate them to vote. And we have a disclaimer on our ads saying this campaign is not related to any candidate or any election."

Huynh said the group is awaiting an official opinion from Harris County officials on the legality.

"We have turned over all our scripts," he said. "If the officials say this violates election laws, we will immediately drop the whole campaign."

David Beirne, spokesman for Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman, the county's elections administrator, said he advised the group to stop running the ads and initially thought they had been dropped.

When group leaders continued running them and asked for an official opinion, Beirne turned the matter over to the District Attorney's and U.S. Attorney's offices for review.

But the ad only runs on Vietnamese-language radio, not on any stations that cater to teh wider community in the district. Given that this just happens to be Vo's base, it seems mighty convenient.

And an awful lot like traditional Democrat tactics of offering a beer, a pack of smokes, or five bucks to those who go out and vote "the right way."

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

October 26, 2006

Canadian Postal Workers Seek Censorship Of Mail

I don't agree with the content on the mailers in question, but I still believe that there is a right to say what is said. Allowing government employees to stifle that right is unacceptable.

Vancouver postal workers have walked off the job to protest an anti-gay pamphlet theyre being asked to deliver to hundreds of homes.

They say the brochure distributed by a religious group amounts to hate mail -- but they face disciplinary action if they refuse to handle it.

Ken Mooney, the Vancouver president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, says the walkout sends a message that posties will not participate in the dissemination of homophobic material.

The pamphlet says AIDS is the plague of the 21st century and calls homosexuality ungodly, unhealthy and unnatural.

Mooney says postal workers are deeply offended by the mailing, which he says subjects members of the gay community to scorn and hate.

Frankly, I'd take offense at large parts of the message and much of the language in the pamphlet. I'd drop mine in the nearest garbage can after first using it to scoop up the dog crap in the back yard.

But I don't see where the union or individual postal workers have any place determining what goes through.

And I applaud Canada Post for indicating that those who refuse to deliver the flier will face serious punishment.

|| Greg, 04:57 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (17) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Even the Dems Denouce Former President Dhimmi Carter

Since he left office, former President Carter hasn't met a terrorist leader or Third World dictator whose side he won't take against the US or Israel. For doing so, the Left has declared him to be a revered elder statesman.

But now he has gone too far -- even for his own Democrats.

Top Democrats are rushing to repudiate former President Carters controversial new book on the Middle East, in which he accuses the Israeli government of maintaining an apartheid system.

Two key party leaders Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, party chairman, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and several congressmen issued statements Monday saying that the book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, does not represent their views on the Jewish state.

It is wrong to suggest that the Jewish people would support a government in Israel or anywhere else that institutionalizes ethnically based oppression, and Democrats reject that allegation vigorously, Pelosi wrote in a statement. With all due respect to former President Carter, he does not speak for the Democratic Party on Israel.

Carters book is being published by Simon & Schuster and is slated for release November 14. In an advanced draft copy of the work, obtained by the Forward, the former president asserts that Israels current policies in the Palestinian territories constitute a system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights. He argues that Israels settlement policy is principally to blame for the failure of peace initiatives in the Middle East.

Dean also took issue with Carters assessment.

While I have tremendous respect for former President Carter, I fundamentally disagree and do not support his analysis of Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Dean wrote in a statement. On this issue President Carter speaks for himself, the opinions in his book are his own, they are not the views or position of the Democratic Party. I and other Democrats will continue to stand with Israel in its battle against terrorism and for a lasting peace with its neighbors.

Several Democratic members of New Yorks House delegation Reps. Steve Israel, Charlie Rangel and Jerrold Nadler also have issued statements criticizing Carters book, as did Rep. John Conyers, Jr., a Michigan Democrat who is often criticized by members of the Jewish community for his failure to support Israel in a certain instance. Last summer, Conyers was one of eight House members who did not vote for a resolution backing the Jewish state in the wake of the Hezbollah attacks.

Good grief -- when even an anti-Semite like Conyers denounces someone for being too critical of Israel, you have to recognize that they have gone way too far.

And another sign that the argument goes way too far is when French government officials start taking the opposite side of the issue.

rench Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy declared last week he has changed his opinion on Israel's controversial separation barrier in light of its drastic effect on terror, forcing French authorities to clarify their position on the issue.

The barrier, which separates the West Bank from the rest of Israel, has garnered much criticism for creating a ghetto-style situation for the Palestinians and for allegedly appropriating Palestinian land on the Israeli side.

But although the French government has been critical of it since the start of its construction four years ago, Douste-Blazy has now reversed the feeling.

I have significantly evolved on the matter of the separation fence said Douste-Blazy on French Jewish television TFJ on Thursday. Although the wall was a moral and ethical problem for me, when I realised terror attacks were reduced by 80 percent in the areas where the wall was erected, I understood I didnt have the right to think that way.

Douste-Blazy is the first high ranking French official to openly state his support for the security fence.

Remember -- he is part of a government that opposed and led the condemnation of the security fence. That there is now support for the fence from a member of that government should be seen as significant.

Buit not to worry -- Hamas is still in Dhimmi Carter's side.

|| Greg, 04:50 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (14) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Thursday Omnibus Post

1) ACORN, long connected to voter registration fraud cases around the country, is now accused of more voter fraud in St. Louis. Hundreds of fraudulent voter address changes have been submitted to St. Louis County election officials. Just trying to win one more for the Democrats.

2) Female circumcision. Just gotta love those Islamic folk remedies for promiscuity in two-year-olds. Can the sentence include using the same scissors of the dad who did this to his daughter?

3) More charges in this espionage case American military secrets being given to the Red Chinese.

4) Looks like the Foley outing came from within the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group. The staffer involved has been fired for unauthorized use of the organizations computer equipment, not for violating Foleys right to keep his sexual orientation a secret. None of which, of course, mitigates teh fact that Foley is a perv.

5) Some folks think their ethnicity entitles them to do what they want even if it is against the rules and disrupts school. And these claim they want to join the US military? They sure don't seem loyal to THIS country.

6) Imam to rape victims Its your fault for dressing like a whore. "If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab (veil), no problem would have occurred."

7) This clown would be a great companion for my Holocaust-denier troll KKKen an Australian convicted of intentionally spreading the virus that causes AIDS is challenging the existence of the HIV virus in court.

8) Build it so they wont come! Bush signs border fence bill.

9) Coming home! The Bnei Menashe (children of Manasseh) will return to their ancestral homeland in Israel after 27 centuries of exile from the land God gave to their ancestors at the time of Moses.

10) Freedom of speech trumps Islamo-censors in Denmark.

|| Greg, 03:20 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (10) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Gays Win In New Jersey -- GOP Handed Winning Issue

I understand that there are arguments on both sides of the gay marriage issue that folks find persuasive. But yesterday's decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court should frighten and offend folks on either side of the issue. After all, it is a case of judicial activism run amok.

The New Jersey Supreme Court left the door ajar for the approval of same-sex marriage Wednesday, ruling that gay couples are entitled to rights no different from those of heterosexual couples.

The court gave state legislators 180 days to craft a bill offering same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples, though it appeared to leave open a choice between calling the status "marriage" or "civil unions."

"Although we cannot find that a fundamental right to same-sex marriage exists in this state, the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our state constitution," the court said in its 4 to 3 ruling.

Now the problem here should be obvious to anyone who isn't looking at the decision from a "results-oriented" perspective. The justices do not find a right to gay marriage in the state's Constitution -- and then go on to overturn the status quo anyway on vague theory taht "the status quo is intolerable". They order that the legislature act in 180 days to create gay marriage -- in fact, whetehr or not they do so in name. And the minority dissented not because of this radical judicial activism -- no, they don't feel the court was activist enough! they wanted teh court to create gay marriage and implement it through judicial fiat! In both cases, however, they ignore th specific policy decisions of the state legislature to NOT create gay marriage when they passed a domestic partnership law.

This could have some serious impact in New Jersey and elsewhere.

The New Jersey decision could stoke the fires for social conservatives elsewhere in the nation, who during this election cycle have complained loudly of their unhappiness with the Republican Party. New Jersey, however, tends toward social liberalism -- albeit with strong pockets of social conservatism. As the court's decision stops short of mandating same-sex marriage, few expected it to unhinge a taut race for the U.S. Senate between Sen. Robert Menendez (D) and Republican Thomas H. Kean Jr., according to political observers. Menendez and Kean oppose same-sex marriage, although Kean has gone further and called for a state constitutional amendment to ban it.

"If the Supreme Court had flatly forced the state to recognize gay marriage, it would have had a negative effect and rallied the conservative Republican base in New Jersey and hurt Robert Menendez," said Ross K. Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University. "As it stands, he should be okay, but this could rally evangelicals elsewhere."

I disagree. The Kean-Menendez race has been tightening. I think it could be enough to push Tom Kean over the top -- all without becoming "unhinged".

If Kean were to focus on the issue of judical activism and the importance of keeping a GOP majority to ensure that judges who recognize the constitutional limits of their office are confirmed, it could gain him votes. Ditto a stronger emphasis on the constitutional amendment issue.

On the other side of the river in Pennsylvania, this could help Rick Santorum defeat Bob Casey, Jr..

In Maryland, this could help Michael Steele garner a few more black votes for his GOP race, given that blacks tend to be conservative on the gay marriage issue.

Similarly, this could swing a few House races to the GOP as well.

And those eight gay marriage referenda around the country? I think they could now be wins for the traditional marriage side of the issue, which was in doubt after New York and California courts refused to do what the New Jersey judges have.

UPDATE: And that is a new direction being tried by conservatives around the country.

MORE AT: Malkin, Hot Air, Church & State, Blogs for Bush, Ace of Spades, Riehl World View, Wide Awakes, Gay Patriot, Wizbang, Don Surber, Stop the ACLU

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

Dispute Over Mormon Tabernacle Pews

Having been part of a church doing a renovation, I know what passions can be arroused. And when you are renewing a historic building with great sentimental value to an entire faith, I can imagine things only get more difficult.

When the historic Tabernacle, the egg-shaped building that is home to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, reopens next year after a lengthy face-lift and seismic retrofit, visitors will find something new: the pews.

The loss of the original, and uncomfortable, pine pews, handmade in 1867 and meticulously etched and painted to look like oak, angers many Mormons, whose religion is strongly defined by its history and its forebears hardships.

Kim Farah, a spokeswoman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, released a two-sentence statement saying some original pews Ms. Farah would not say how many would be returned and that others would be replaced with oak copies to maintain historicity. No determination has been made on what will happen to the unused original benches, the statement said.

Church officials would not give an explanation for the change, Ms. Farah said in an interview.

The church is circumspect about the pews, because it is a work in progress, she said of the Tabernacle renovations, including the pews.

Lack of an explanation angered LaMar Taft Merrill Jr., a retired schoolteacher who grew up here and lives in Lexington, Ky. Mr. Merrill, a descendant of an early church apostle, said not returning the pine pews would be a shameful act by the churchs misguided top echelon.

You cant ever replace whats original, he said. And an oak bench is no more comfortable than a pine bench.

I'm sure there are reaons for the new pews -- but I cannot think of what they are. The original pews are still in good shape? Why replace that link to the past?

|| Greg, 04:03 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 24, 2006

Desperate Dems In CD22

Good grief -- the Democrats are attacking pro-abortion liberal GOP write-in candidate Don Richardson, who hasn't voted for a Republican in a primary in this century, as "too conservative for Texas".

Republican Congressional Write-In Candidate Don Richardson Is Too Conservative For Texas

Republican congressional write-in candidate Don Richardson wants to:

- Put American troops on the border to stop illegal immigration
- Allow law enforcement officials to wiretap suspects without a warrant
- Permit the government to read suspects' e-mails without a warrant
- Allow the government to conduct random searches without a warrant

Paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

The man doesn't even register in opinion polls. Why is the DCCC attacking him? Could it be an attempt to get some conservatives to vote for him to ensure the defeat of Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, the official GOP write-in candidate? Could it be that the Democrats are running scared in the race, believing that the good doctor might beat the Democrat carpetbagger?

|| Greg, 06:51 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 23, 2006

I Must Be A Threat To Someone...

BUMPED: Since I've now been deemed worthy of no fewer than three posts on his website by the lying, thieving Demo-dirtbag, I figured I'd celebrate by bumping this to the top of the page.

Some weeks ago, I wrote a post in which I used a term that I probably shouldn't have use. I'm told that it is a racist term, though I have always understood it to be a label based upon illegal conduct. After much discussion on another blog, weeks after the fact, I became convinced that my understanding was wrong, admitted as much, and offered an apology. I even included a disclaimer on the post, as I don't believe in sending things down the "memory hole" when they are inconvenient.

That apprarently was not good enough for one moonbat moral midget. He stole a family photo from my site and infringed upon my copyright by having it hosted on no fewer than three separate image-hosting services claiming that he held copyright to the image (and then entered into an illegal agreement with another local Democrat blogger to host the image on her server under her account). I directed him to quit violating my copyright and suggested that he remove defamatory statements about me. I'm taking steps -- not including legal action, which I never intended or threatened -- to deal with him.

He has decided that I threatened a lawsuit or violence against him, and so he decided to "expose" me as a "disgusting racist." He even quotes me from a number of posts -- quotes which are in some cases taken out of context, in other cases legitimate policy or social positions, and in others cases of satire on a level far beyond his comprehension.

Oh, yeah, one more thing. He has also decided I have no right to blog under a pseudonym -- which I have done out of a professional obligation to make sure that there is never any question of my trying to indoctrinate my students with my political opinions -- and posted my name on his site and in a couple of other locations. As such, I won't be linking back to him, for I still intend to maintain as much of my anonymity as I can.

So let's look at the offensive quotes.

The first thing he objects to besides the offensive term is found here.

He then goes on to accuse Councilwoman Ada Edwards of "scrambling for a few more Hispanic votes like they were crack rocks."

As the councilwoman is black, he clearly means to imply that I was using racist stereotypes to attack a black woman. But let's look at the whole quote in context.

"I apologize to the Johnson family today for one of our colleagues attempted to pimp the death and tragedy of Officer Johnson for their political career," said Councilmember Ada Edwards.

Edwards, of course, was whoring herself out to those who support the violation of American law and American sovereignty, scrambling for a few more Hispanic votes like they were crack rocks, just to advance her own career.

So as most folks of any degree of intelligence would recognize, I was playing on Edwards' own invocation of pimping, extending her own metaphor. I guess that escaped his understanding, even though I explained it elsewhere when he objected.

And then he goes on listing other excerpts from posts on my site, claiming "there is obviously no context in which these hateful remarks are acceptable." In doing so, of course, he gives himself license to take the quotes out of context.

I'll let you decide -- both if they are acceptable, and if he is honest in his characterization of what was said in these ofhter posts.

1) He objects to this.

"That's one more dead terrorist in Hell with Allah."

Of course, that statement comes from a post making fun of a jihadi suicide bomber who blew himself up early while riding a bicycle to his target. He believed he was going to spend eternity in Allah's abode, and I presume he knows best -- and since he was on a mission of murder and mayhem, I can only presume that his final destination was Hell. I see nothing to apologize for -- but if my Democrat friend chooses to be an apologist for terrorists, he is welcome to that role and should fit right in with Sheehan, Murtha, and Lamont.

2) He is also troubled by this excerpt.

"In return, we will ship the Arab Muslims in the United States -- regardless of their citizenship -- back to the Middle East...They and their relatives back in their homelands have shown their utter inablility to live at peace with neighbors who are different from themselves....After all, if the Jews are not a good fit in the Middle East, why should the unassimilable Muslims be welcome in America?"

I might almost agree with his assessment -- were it not for the fact that he raped the context to post it. You see, the entire piece was a satirical response to an editorial in a Jordanian paper advocating the expulsion of all Jews from the Holy Land. And my conclusion? Try this on for size.

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.

I'm not sure if this moonbat is an anti-Semite or simply never read "A Modest Proposal" in 12th Grade English -- or the entire post from which he quoted.

3) Now this quote might appear hard to defend at first.

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

But then again, it was a story about one more group of would-be terrorists -- and my excerpt from the story once again made it clear I was talking about Islamic extremists being a threat. However I, like many Americans (indeed, like many people worldwide), am waiting to hear more forthright, non-nuanced denunciations of terrorism and unambiguous moves to expel the extremists from their midst or to marginalize them within the Islamic faith. Or is it that my liberal friend is offended that I would hurt the feelings of jihadi terrorists by calling them so vile a name as "pigs"?

4) I'll concede I might have done better on this one, and further thought and reflection might have led me not to phrase this quite the way I did.

"Sorry, no respect for any ethnicity or religion with this scumbag...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?"

But then again, I refuse to offer a lick of respect for someone who decides that his religion and culture dictate that he violate a court order regarding custody, take his child to another country beyond the reach of the courts that awarded custody, all with the intent of having his 12-year-old daughter marry a guy in his mid-20s. If it is the position of my esteemed opponent that I should respect such behavior, that is fine -- but then I want to know what principled objection he could possibly offer to the Mark Foley "talk dirty to me" IMs? Or does he object to my stating the historical fact, acknowledged in Muslim religious works, that the "Prophet" married a girl at age 6 and had sex with her at age 9 to cement an alliance with her father? Maybe he just likes the idea of sex between older men and young children. I just don't know.

5) This one looks bad.

"Israel has the capability to nuke your camel-humping ass."

Of course, the quote does come in the context of a commentary on news that Iran is buying subs capable of launching nuclear missles -- shortly after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Israel should be wiped off the map and at a time when his nation is working to develop nukes. Now I suppose members of the Ahmadinejad Fan Club might take exception to my insulting the genocidal Holocaust-denier who is the leader of Iran, but I don't -- especially since he was one of the folks who took Americans hostage at our embassy in 1979. I hope that my critic doesn't find my anti-Fidel quotes, either -- after all, if he likes Ahmadinejad, he must love Castro.

6) You decide on this one.

"In other words, fundamental human rights are anathema to Islam."

This was commentary about a case involving a woman who has been baptized and seeks to be recognized as a Christian. She has been told by Malaysia's civil courts that it is a matter for the Muslim religious courts, and the Muslim religious courts have indicated the she will be imprisoned until she recants her apostasy. I guess that this leftard doesn't find that sort of theocratic infringement on human rights to be offensive -- only Christians in America being allowed to vote and have their policy preferences make it into the law.

7) You could argue that this one is bad.

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.

I think the remark stands on its own -- but if you wish to shill for those who violate our nation's immigration laws, go right ahead. I will add that I believe such folks do have one other right -- the right to immediate deportation, with the associated costs deducted from the foreign aid appropriated for their homeland.

8) I was simply pissed-off when I wrote this -- but he does a creative editorial job to make it appear I am saying something else entirely. Here is his version.

"Why are we sending one thin dime to a backwater, Third World hell-hole like New Orleans?"

Then there is the complete sentence (note to moonbat -- when you edit, make sure you punctuate it so that is evident).

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?

Oh -- it was actually a commentary on Ray Nagin, who had just described Ground Zero as "a hole in the ground" that New Yorkers have been unable to get fixed. Given the conduct of our "guests" from New Orleans over the last year (hey, folks, thanks for the soaring homicide rate!), I see nothing to repent or apologize for -- and as far as Mayor Ray "Chocolate City" Nagin is concerned, I described him in significantly more polite terms than the average lefty moonbat uses for our president in daily conversation.

9) Not only is my critic a supporter of illegal immigration, but he objects to criticism of other criminals as well -- even when their actions causs the suspension of search-and-rescue efforts in the aftermath of a major natural disaster. After all, this is viewed as hateful.

"What needs to happen is that those caught looting especially those armed thugs we have all been hearing about simply need to be shot on sight."

Here comes what I actually said, and you will see that the context is everything.

First, the priority is wrong. Search-and-rescue needs to be the primary mission, not property protection. What needs to happen is that those caught looting (especially those armed thugs we have all been hearing about) simply need to be shot on sight.

Yes, I have sympathy for those who have been getting food, diapers, and other necessities. However, the situation is so out of control that order needs to be restored ruthlessly. I don't believe there are many recipes that call for a boom-box, a 32-inch flat-screen television or ten pairs of designer jeans.

I think you see where there is serious dishonesty at work. But if he wants to oppose the imposition of law and order so that people can be rescued from the riseing waters of a hurricane, let him defend that position.

10) Oh, and he objects as well to this, though he doesn't bother to provide more than a snippet.

A reader emails to tell me that [he] is still at it, and yesterday called Islam "the religion of barbarism."

Well, yeah -- but I think you need to consider exactly what was written.

Italian journalist who converted to Islam kidnapped by jihadis in Afghanistan who demand the return of an Afghan convert to Christianity for application of the sharia penalty for apostasy (which is, of course, death). Am I the only one who smells a set-up here? Better idea the civilized world will keep the Christian and the followers of the Religion of Barbarism can keep their co-religionist.

Hey -- I'd argue that anyone who doesn't find the actions committed in the name of Islam by these folks to be barbaric has the problem, not me. I guess we see what some Democrats really stand for.

Now I considered closing this blog in response to this controversy. I'm not going to do so. This attack means that my blog has become important in a way I never expected and never dreamed -- and never wanted.

The Left is afraid of ME.

This is an attempt to embarrass me and silence me -- and there have also been email and online threats to try to get me fired from my teaching job (I guess you have to be a left-wing academic fraud and faux-ethnic like Ward Churchill to qualify for free speech in the academy). But I look around at folks I admire -- Sean Hannity, Bill Bennett, Michelle Malkin, Dr. Mike Adams -- and I recognize my beliefs as mainstream. Yes, my rhetoric is Coulteresque, but it certainly is more elevated than what is found on "mainstream" leftwing sites like Kos or Democrat Underground.

So here I stand; to do otherwise is to betray the First Amendment and my own beliefs.

And to quote a bunch of liberals whose politics I despise, "I'm not ready to make nice, I'm not ready to back down."

|| Greg, 06:57 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Pelosi Claims Impeachment "Off The Table" -- But Will She Enforce That

After all, she will be beholden to Dingell and Rangel and Murtha and all the other hard-lefties in her party who are afflicted with Bush Derangement Syndrome.

So while she might not push such a move, would she block one by other members -- members of her own senior leadership?

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has pledged not to pursue impeachment of President George W. Bush if Democrats win the November election.

"Impeachment is off the table," said Pelosi in an interview aired Sunday on CBS "60 Minutes."

Asked if that was a pledge, Pelosi said it was.

"Yes, it is a pledge," she said. "Of course it is."

Pelosi called impeachment "a waste of time," and suggested Republicans -- who have controlled the House for 12 years -- would make political hay out of it if Democrats tried to impeach Bush.

"Wouldn't they just love it if we came in and our record as Democrats coming forth after 12 years is to talk about George Bush and Dick Cheney? This election is about them. This is a referendum on them. Making them lame ducks is good enough for me."

Actually, Nancy, they are lame ducks whether you people win or not. And I see nothing in your "pledge" that is binding on any other Democrat.

|| Greg, 04:37 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (14) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Grammar Makes A Comeback

And it is about time. When students get to high school without knowing nouns and verbs, much less punctuation rules, there is a problem. And sometimes the only solution is to teach the rules by the old "drill and kill" method, rather than by having children "explore" their way to proper grammar.

Direct grammar instruction, long thought to do more harm than good, is welcome once more.

Several factors -- most notably, the addition of a writing section to the SAT college entrance exam in 2005 -- have reawakened interest in Greiner's methods.

Nationwide, the Class of 2006 posted the lowest verbal SAT scores since 1996. That was the year the test was recalibrated to correct for a half-century decline in verbal performance.

Gaston Caperton, the College Board president, has lamented the scarcity of grammar and composition course work in public schools. In surveys, not quite two-thirds of students said they had studied grammar by the time they took the 2005 SAT.

Those concerns, and a growing consensus among scholars that many high school graduates "can't write well enough to get a passing grade from a professor on a paper," drove the addition of a third section to the SAT, upending decades of balance between reading and math, said Ed Hardin, a content specialist at the College Board.

Let's hope for a more literate future generation.

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

Call For Voter Fraud? Or Bad Reporting/Editting At Houston Chronicle?

Otherwise the Houston Chroinicle missed the big story while reporting on the reaction of the Hispanic community (especially among those here illegally) to changes in HPD policies on working with immigration officials.

Immigration activist Maria Jimenez is quoted extensively in the article. But the attribution of comments becoenm indirect in the final paragraph.

"Everything is stalled on immigration reform," she said, but she nonetheless urged those who are eligible to vote, or who have family members who are, to cast their ballots in the upcoming election.

I've got no problem with her urging people to vote if they are eligible. I want to see every eligible voter vote. But this sentence could be read as a claim that Jimenez advocated the those ineligible to vote should vote if they have an eligible family member but are not eligible to vote themselves. I hope that she is not urging that fraudulent votes be cast. If that is what she called for, reporter Cynthia Leonor Garza missed the big story.

However, I hope that we are just seeing sloppy reporting/editting at the Houston Chronicle. It would not be the first time.

|| Greg, 04:05 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 22, 2006

Dems Object To GOP Anti-Terrorism Ad

Of course, all it does is quote al-Qaeda leaders and show terrorist training films captured during the war on terror.

Republicans took a page from President Johnson's Cold War-era presidential campaign with an advertisement set to air this weekend called "The Stakes," which prominently features al Qaeda leaders threatening to kill Americans.

"Just like in the Cold War, the reality is that our nation is at war with an ideology and not a country," said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt.

Democrats, however, have called the commercial, which is reminiscent of Johnson's 1964 "Daisy" ad, a "desperate ploy to once again try to scare voters."

The advertisement, which is available on the Republican National Committee Web site, is scheduled to run on national news networks Sunday. Republicans are emphasizing national security and terrorism issues in their bid to maintain control of Congress with about two weeks before the November midterms.

And the offensive content?

The ad features al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri, speaking, but the only sound is a ticking clock in the background. The terror leaders' quotes are posted on the screen and key phrases in the quotes stand alone as the rest of the quote fades out.

In one instance, bin Laden is quoted as saying, "With God's permission we call on everyone who believes in God ... to comply with His will to kill the Americans." As the text of the quote fades out, "kill the Americans" remains on the screen.

Another bin Laden quote: "They will not come to their senses unless the attacks fall on their heads and ... until the battle has moved inside America" -- fades out, leaving only "inside America" on the screen.

Meanwhile, footage of terrorists engaged in martial arts and weapons training rolls in the background. One scene shows terrorists traversing monkey bars over fire.

The ticking clock morphs into a heartbeat as the ad comes to a close, and the only spoken words on the commercial announce, "The Republican National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising."

If the Democrats are really opposed to terrorism, how could they object to the content of the ad? They wouldn't be trying to hide the facts, would they?

|| Greg, 07:19 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Women In Islam

We keep hearing that women have high status in Islam. But then you get a book, popular in American mosques, written by a prominent Islamic leader, which advocates the following. It makes it clear what the practical status of women is in that religion.

When dealing with a "disobedient wife," a Muslim man has a number of options. First, he should remind her of "the importance of following the instructions of the husband in Islam." If that doesn't work, he can "leave the wife's bed." Finally, he may "beat" her, though it must be without "hurting, breaking a bone, leaving blue or black marks on the body and avoiding hitting the face, at any cost."

Such appalling recommendations, drawn from the book "Woman in the Shade of Islam" by Saudi scholar Abdul Rahman al-Sheha, are inspired by as authoritative a source as any Muslim could hope to find: a literal reading of the 34th verse of the fourth chapter of the Koran, An-Nisa , or Women. "[A]nd (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them," reads one widely accepted translation.

And for those who want to argue that the author of the book, a Saudi cleric, was representing a minority position or one held only abroad, consider the experience of the author only a few weeks after she received a copy.

Not long after I picked up the free Saudi book, Mahmoud Shalash, an imam from Lexington, Ky., stood at the pulpit of my mosque and offered marital advice to the 100 or so men sitting before him. He repeated the three-step plan, with "beat them" as his final suggestion. Upstairs, in the women's balcony, sat a Muslim friend who had recently left her husband, who she said had abused her; her spouse sat among the men in the main hall.

At the sermon's end, I approached Shalash. "This is America," I protested. "How can you tell men to beat their wives?"

"They should beat them lightly," he explained. "It's in the Koran."

And even one online audio sermon (now censored after the speaker was challenged on the issue) made the following suggestion.

Last October, I listened to an online audio sermon by an American Muslim preacher, Sheik Yusuf Estes, who was scheduled to speak at West Virginia University as a guest of the Muslim Student Association. He soon moved to the subject of disobedient wives, and his recommendations mirrored the literal reading of 4:34. First, "tell them." Second, "leave the bed." Finally: "Roll up a newspaper and give her a crack. Or take a yardstick, something like this, and you can hit."

An imam from Kentucky, addressing a mosque in West Virginia. Telling the men to beat their wives.

And yet the feminists are silent about Islam.

I've been accused of hatred and bigotry for daring to suggest that there is something fundamentally barbaric about Islam. But my (liberal) critics fail to address the barbarism of the teaching that women should be beaten. They would insist that any Christian organization that advocated domestic violence be banned from every college campus in the nation -- but they are supportive of the presence of Muslim organizations that advocate physical abuse of disobedient women as a mark of diversity and pluralism.

I'm sorry -- such diversity and pluralism are not useful or needed anywhere in our society. Fundamental respect for women requires taht we condemn such teachings and the violence and sexual assault that come with them. Islam must change -- or Islam must be rejected, marginalized and excluded.

Unless, of course, we in the civilized world wish to reconsider our views against the physical and sexual abuse of women, and adopt the "enlightened" ways of Islam.

|| Greg, 07:09 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Garry Trudeau, Doonesbury And The Gulf War Vets

Garry Trudeau has gotten a bad rap from conservatives over the years -- some of it deserved, some of it not. But I think we need to acknowledge some basic human decency on his part and how it serves as a counterpoint to how the Left responded to Vietnam vets -- and how some respond to the vets of today's War on Terror.

IN THE BANQUET ROOM WERE MEN WHO WERE BLIND, men with burns, men with gouges, men missing an arm, men missing a leg, men missing an arm and a leg, men missing an arm and both legs, men missing parts of their faces, and a cartoonist from the funny pages.

We were just a few blocks from the White House, at Fran O'Brien's Steak House. Fran's was hosting a night out for casualties of the current war, visiting from their hospital wards.

It's hard to know what to say to a grievously injured person, and it's easy to be wrong . You could do what I did, for example. Scrounging for the positive, I cheerfully informed a young man who had lost both legs and his left forearm that at least he's lucky he's a righty. Then he wordlessly showed me his right hand, which is missing fingertips and has limited motion -- an articulated claw. That shut things right up, for both of us, and it would have stayed that way, except the cartoonist showed up.

Garry Trudeau, the creator of "Doonesbury," hunkered right down in front of the soldier, eye to eye, introduced himself and proceeded to ignore every single diplomatic nicety.

"So, when were you hit?" he asked.

"October 23."

Trudeau pivoted his body. "So you took the blast on, what . . . this side?"


Brian Anderson, 25, was in shorts, a look favored by most of the amputees, who tend to wear their new prostheses like combat medals. His legs are metal and plastic, blue and knobby at the knee, shin poles culminating abruptly in sneakers.

Trudeau surveyed Brian's intact arm. "You've got dots."

"Yeah." Dots are soldier-speak for little beads of shrapnel buried under the skin. Sometimes they take a lifetime to work their way back to the surface. At this, Brian became fully engaged and animated, smiling and talking about the improvised explosive device that took his vehicle out; about his rescue; his recovery; his plans for the future. Trudeau, it turned out, had given him what he needed.

("In these soldiers' minds," Trudeau will explain afterward, "their whole identity, who they are right now, is what happened to them. They want to tell the story, they want to be asked about it, and you're honoring them by listening. The more they revisit it, the less power it has over them.")

And this is not a PR visit -- this is a part of who Trudeau is. Indeed, it is a part of his body of work, having maimed the beloved B.D. in Iraq and walked with him through recovery, rehab and post-traumatic stress. He may have a problem with the war and the president, but he behaves as a man of decency -- and a patriot.

God bless you Garry Trudeau.

|| Greg, 06:34 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 21, 2006

OJ Confesses?

Let's be honest -- we all know he did it, even if the prosecution did screw up the case so badly that they could not possibly have gotten a conviction. And while I may reject the notion of a civil liability for a crime following a Not Guilty verdict in a criminal trial, that doesn't change my certainty that OJ killed Ron and Nicole.

Now he may have confessed -- hypothetically, of course.

ELEVEN years after O J Simpson walked free from Americas most controversial murder trial, the former star athlete is at the centre of a row over reports that he is being paid $3.5m for an autobiography in which he describes how he hypothetically might have murdered his ex-wife and her male friend.

* * *

The National Enquirers account could not be verified this weekend but the newspaper provided extensive details in a four-page report on what it called a tell-all blockbuster. Simpson is said to describe how he grabbed a knife from a man who accompanied him to Nicoles home and moments later found himself covered in blood and looking down on the bodies of Nicole and Ron.

The other man is identified only as Charlie. No mention of an accomplice or witness emerged at either of Simpsons trials, but according to the book, Charlie had earlier paid Simpson a late-night visit and passed on gossip about Brown and other men, prompting Simpson to explode in rage.

Simpson prefaces these key pages by almost half-heartedly claiming that this part of the book is hypothetical, the Enquirer reported. Simpson is said to have written that he stormed around to Browns Los Angeles home to confront her. He grabbed a knife he kept in his Ford Bronco car, but Charlie snatched it away from him.

According to the Enquirer, the book describes a series of arguments between Simpson, Goldman and Brown. Simpson snatched his knife back from Charlie and launched into a blur of violence.

When he saw the couple lying dead on the pavement, OJ says he was in a daze, asking himself whod done it, the Enquirer reported. He was still trying to work out what happened when a terrified Charlie whispered Jesus Christ, OJ, what have you done? Simpsons lawyers made no comment on the allegations last week. Other legal sources said there was no danger that Simpson could be prosecuted again for the crimes however hypothetical his confession under Americas double jeopardy laws forbidding retrial after acquittal.

Granted, this is originally from the National Enquirer, but they have been known to get scoops like this from time to time. And this would explain why OJ Simpson is playing golf rather than looking for the real killer like he promised.

By the way -- might "Charlie" be OJ's old buddy, Al Cowlings?

|| Greg, 08:04 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Let's All Go To The Stoning!

To us in the West, that is a line from a Monty Python movie.

In Iran and other parts of the Islamic world, it is a reality, due to the imposition of sharia law. Article 83 of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran, as one example, declares stoning to death a permissible punishment for some types of adultery.

This needs to be read by every American -- indeed, by ever citizen of the civilized world. I've put the more graphic details below the fold.

stoning to death.jpg


I read your recent article about stoning to death.

Reading your article reminded me of the bleeding bruises in my heart once again.

You wrote about murdering by stoning.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Let's All Go To The Stoning!" »

|| Greg, 07:47 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (531) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

GOP To Maintain Majority In House, Senate?

Well, that is the analysis by Barron's Magazine, being touted by Drudge.

BARRON'S COVER Survivor! The GOP Victory


JUBILANT DEMOCRATS SHOULD RECONSIDER their order for confetti and noisemakers, BARRON's claims in their next edition. The Democrats, as widely reported, are expecting GOP-weary voters to flock to the polls in two weeks and hand them control of the House for the first time in 12 years -- and perhaps the Senate, as well. Even some Republicans privately confess that they are anticipating the election-day equivalent of Little Big Horn. Pardon our hubris, but we just don't see it.

Our analysis -- based on a race-by-race examination of campaign-finance data -- suggests that the GOP will hang on to both chambers, at least nominally. We expect the Republican majority in the House to fall by eight seats, to 224 of the chamber's 435. At the very worst, our analysis suggests, the party's loss could be as large as 14 seats, leaving a one-seat majority. But that is still a far cry from the 20-seat loss some are predicting. In the Senate, with 100 seats, we see the GOP winding up with 52, down three.

I still have hope.

|| Greg, 07:32 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 20, 2006

Voter ID Law To Proceed In Arizona

A great day for the integrity of American elections. Now we just need such laws in 49 other states and the District of Columbia.

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Arizona may enforce a new state law requiring voters to show a photo identification card at the polls on Election Day this year, despite a pending lawsuit by opponents who say the measure will disenfranchise the poor, minorities and the elderly.

In its unanimous five-page ruling, the court did not decide whether the Arizona law was constitutional. Rather, it overturned a federal appeals court in San Francisco that would have blocked enforcement of the law until the opponents' suit could be decided.

That would take too long, the court said, noting that, "in view of the impending election," Arizona needed "clear guidance."

The actual impact of the Arizona law, which was approved in a statewide referendum two years ago but has not yet been applied, was still too unclear to justify changing the state's plans so close to Nov. 7, the justices said.

What is the requirement?

Arizona, which borders Mexico and has seen a surge in migration in recent years, is one of several states that have recently enacted a photo-ID requirement in response to reports that illegal immigrants and other ineligible voters have been casting ballots.

The Arizona law requires voters not only to present proof of citizenship when they register but also to present a photo ID when they go to the polls. Those without a photo ID may cast a provisional ballot, but their votes do not count unless they can produce a valid identification card within five days.

It requires proof of identity and residence
-- hardly unreasonable. And it provides a method for those who don't have the identification on Election day to have their vote count. The IDs are even free if you cannot afford them.

Now if only we could find a way to require proof of citizenship as well.

By the way, while the Court's opinion said it is not ruling on the merits of the case, this decision makes me believe that they lean in favor of the identification requirement. If there was a serious probablility of the anti-identification forces winning, they would have enjoined enforcement.

|| Greg, 07:18 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Friday Omnibus Post

1) Theyve never been willing to interfere with Hezbollah terrorist attacks, and have even flow the Hezbollah flag with their own. Now the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon -- so-called "peace keepers" -- wants to shoot down Israeli airplanes engaged in acts of self-defense. Is it US out of the UN/Un Out of the US time yet?

2) The Vatican says Christians and Muslims must stand together against terrorism. Weve done it, they havent. Dialogue and understanding can go nowhere until they do.

3) Gee they may as well be talking about my Democrat critic.

Activist efforts to limit America's free marketplace of ideas -- such as the tactic of slandering commonsense criticism as "Islamophobia" -- are contrary to the very foundation of democratic governance.

Just because a liberal or minority disagrees with a comment does not make it racist, bigoted, or hateful or even wrong. By the way, you might consider checking out the proposed methods of dealing with jihadi terrorism they are spot-on.

4) More global warming hysteria which overlooks the fact that Greenland is called GREENland for a reason. Receding glaciers are a reversion to the status quo at the time of Greenlands discovery condition in the time of Eric the Red and Lief Ericson. I'm curious -- what produced the "global warming that created those conditions? Or had something happened to cause "global cooling"? Or -- horrors -- might the current warming trend be part of a centuries/millenia-long pattern of warming and cooling?

5) Somehow this got overlooked in reporting of the defensive action by Israel against Hezbollahs terrorists Hezbollah was using cluster bombs against Israel. Israel was roundly condemned for doing so, but the actions of Hezbollah were covered-up. Could it be another sign of the anti-Semitic, pro-terrorist stance taken by the world media?

6) Muslims Gone Wild! Another example of Islamic tolerance and respect for human rights.

7) Run silent, run deep, Check out the most silent and deadly attack submarine on earth part of the fleet of the SWEDISH navy!

8) Do-it-yourself abortion on day of scheduled delivery not illegal judge dismisses charges against woman who shot herself in the stomach to murder her baby. Pro-choices support the decision in this article. Does anyone want to defend it here?

9) Why should anyone with sense oppose socialist socialized medicine? Maybe you should consider this horrendous outcome that puts economic efficiency ahead of human life.

10) Is it treason yet? CNN shows terorist "snuff films" of sniper attacks on US troops. Ill bet they would have gladly aired Nazi propaganda films of the heroic SS defending their positions against the Allied invaders to present the unvarnished truth about D-Day, spliced with clips of an exclusive interview with Adolph Hitler.

11) Dem staffer suspended for leaking classified information to the press (and therefore to the enemy). Democrats are outraged that the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee would take action to safeguard our nations military and intelligence secrets. I guess the only thing they believe should remain hidden from public view is the Plame Name. More from Michelle Malkin and Captain Ed.

12) Dont speak ill of any Islamic practice it could incite Muslims to violence. And your friendly neighborhood supporters of terrorists at CAIR want to make sure doing so does. My take Hurrah for John Gibson!

13) You've got to see the picture with this story -- Bambi was feeling mighty playful when he saw this cross-country runner.

|| Greg, 06:35 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (16) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Votes To Hew To Baptist Tradition

I guess I don't find any of this to be a big deal. After all, what the board of the institution has done is indicate it is going to stay within the bounds of what has always been Baptist custom and practice.

Trustees at a Baptist seminary have put it in writing: They will not tolerate any promotion of speaking in tongues on their campus.

The 36-1 vote Tuesday came nearly two months after the Rev. Dwight McKissic of Arlington said during a chapel service at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary that he sometimes speaks in tongues while praying.

McKissic, a new trustee at the Fort Worth school, passed the lone dissenting vote on the resolution.

It states: "Southwestern will not knowingly endorse in any way, advertise, or commend the conclusions of the contemporary charismatic movement including private prayer language. Neither will Southwestern knowingly employ professors or administrators who promote such practices."

As an organization, Baptists (especially Southern Baptists) are not charismatic/pentecostal in their theological stance. As a seminary, the school is indicating that it will anchor itself to baptist tradition.

That isn't to say that I have a problem with any of the spiritual practices the school disassociates itself from -- I remain neutral on the validity of them.

Frankly, I'd be shocked if it did not -- and would hope that any seminary of any denomination would cling to its its doctrinal anchors.

|| Greg, 04:30 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Trauma, Passivity, & the Fear of Aggression by ShrinkWrapped, and Prison Jihad? by The Weekly Standard.  Here is where you can see the full results of the vote.

Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
2Trauma, Passivity, & the Fear of Aggression
1No Greater Love
Right Wing Nut House
1So Julia Wilson and Her Parents Are Idiots, But Hey What Else Is New?
Rhymes With Right
1Sanctions on North Korea: The Weakest Link
American Future
1Running Down the Middle
2/3Baker's Folly
Soccer Dad
2/3Nobody But Us 'Moderates' Here, Condi!
2/3Arab Sport: Crucifying Christian Children in Iraq
Gates of Vienna
2/3The Discouraging Situation in Iraq
The Glittering Eye
1/3Restricting Kindergarten: Treating Equals Unequally?
The Education Wonks

VotesNon-council link
2Prison Jihad?
The Weekly Standard
1  2/3What It Means To Be a Conservative
Villainous Company
1  1/3March 2001: Iraqi IIS Wants To Attack American Assets
Captain's Quarters
1  1/3Only US Congressman Who Admitted to Statutory Rape Dies Suddenly
Gay Patriot
1It Isn't "Life, Liberty and Property Insurance"
TFS Magnum
2/3Democrats and Republicans: Who Supports Israel More?
Israel Matzav
2/3Very Interesting Arabic Editorial in "Falasteen"
Elder of Ziyon
2/3Tired of Holding Your Nose?
Classical Values
1/3This Is the Future...
EU Referendum
1/3Battlestar Galactica Season 3 Opener
Psycho Toddler

|| Greg, 04:19 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 18, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: I'm A Terrorist Target This Sunday

This terrorist plot looks like a direct attempt to shut down this blog. The other six stadiums are just a distraction from their true target.

After all, my wife and I will be in our customary seats in Reliant Stadium.

A Web site is claiming that seven NFL football stadiums -- including Houston's -- will be hit with radiological dirty bombs this weekend, but the government today expressed doubts about the threat.

The warning, posted Oct. 12, was part of an ongoing Internet conversation titled "New Attack on America Be Afraid." It mentioned NFL stadiums in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Oakland and Cleveland, where games are scheduled for this weekend.

The Homeland Security Department alerted authorities and stadium owners in those cities, as well as the NFL, of the Web message but said the threat was being viewed "with strong skepticism." Officials at the NCAA, which oversees college athletics, said they too had been notified.

Houston-based FBI officials would not comment on any security measures that might occur as a result of the threat to detonate a dirty bomb at Reliant Stadium and the six other NFL stadiums throughout the nation.

"But, we always have a presence at the games and at major events," said FBI Special Agent Shauna Dunlap.

If I don't go watch NFL football, the terrorists win.


Jawa Report has done great work covering this story -- including posting the threat and the site in question. Gateway Pundit connects the dots to previous terrorist threats.

|| Greg, 06:50 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Wednesday Omnibus Edition

Some articles of note that you might want to look to.

1) We were told that the Enron case conviction of Ken Lay proved that the law applied the rich and powerful just like it does to everyone else. Guess what now folks are upset because the law is being applied to Ken Lay just as it is to everyone else!

2) Hmmmmm. Top Dem makes a statement indicating that a black Republican is a slave. Im curious, where are the leftist sensitivity police on this one? Malkin has more.

3) Italian journalist who converted to Islam kidnapped by jihadis in Afghanistan who demand the return of an Afghan convert to Christianity for application of the sharia penalty for apostasy )which is, of course, death). Am I the only one who smells a set-up here? Better idea the civilized world will keep the Christian and the followers of the Religion of barbarism can keep their co-religionist. Malkin weighs in on this one

4) Service dog dies after saving owner from fire cause by cat while trying to save the cat.

5) We are a nation of over 300,000,000. Notice the statistics on foreign-born individuals and realize that the population would be 10-20 million less if we actively deported border-jumping immigration criminals.

6) One of these could ruin the whole day of our enemies. And to think such weapons wee the stuff of science fiction only a few decades ago!

7) Donna Shalala proves she is still a typical Democrat "I believe that the young men we have recruited for our football team are young men of great character. But they did a very bad thing." Wasnt that what she said about Slick Willie, too?

8) Arab-American group sues to find out if terror deportees disproportionately Arab and Muslim tells America to ignore the fact that the 9/11 hijackers were disproportionately Arab and Muslim.

9) Muslim group condemns second Koran in toilet at university in NYC. Conveniently, the group fails to condemn murders of Christians or honor killings by fellow Muslims.

10) For that matter, the group in the above story also has failed to condemn this attack upon a pro-Israel editor in Pakistan or his trial on sedition charges for advocating diplomatic relations between that Muslim country and the Jewish state.

11) Gay terrorist Mike Rogers making homophobia a legitimate political strategy since 2004. I guess Its just about sex only applies to Democrats. Captain Ed has a great commentary on Rogers strategy of left-wing homophobia. IowaHawk has this humorous insight on possible Democrat moves to make use of Rogers' efforts.

12) Desperate Democrat rips opponent over her cheesy romance novel. Have you no issues?

13) It may surprise you to discover I support the plaintiff in this suit but think any damage award should be nominal. After all how much emotional distress should a reasonable individual have over a dismissed ticket? But then again, she does appear to suffer from BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome).

14) But look what has been banned as patently offensive speech at Marquette University.

As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.
-- Dave Berry

15) During his days as Russian dictator, didnt this guy defend the Berlin Wall, which was designed to keep the people of East Germany prisoners of their own government? Shouldnt he have faced a trial for crimes against humanity by now?

|| Greg, 06:17 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (108) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Ban It -- Or Don't Restrict It

I don't smoke. I consider it a disgusting habit, and question the sanity of those who engage in it. I've watched too many friends and family members die of smoking-related illnesses.

But I oppose the half-hearted "smoking ban" measures that are being proposed and implemented here in Houston and other places in the US.

As Houston debates whether to ban smoking in bars, cities across the country are enacting their own smoking bans, adding fuel to a movement that has gained momentum during the past few years.

In the two weeks since Mayor Bill White released a draft ordinance to extend the city's ban, which council members will consider today, at least four smaller municipalities across the country, as well as France, have banned smoking in restaurants and bars.

Houston's decision could affect how state lawmakers approach the issue, said Joe Cherner, an expert on the smoking-ban movement and founder of BREATHE Bar and Restaurant Employees Advocating Together for a Healthy Environment.

"If Houston passes a strong law, Texas will pass a law within a year," he predicted, based on how other states have reacted to bans by their largest cities.

Houston's existing law prohibits smoking in dining areas of restaurants but allows it at bars. Customers can smoke at bars within restaurants so long as the smoke doesn't drift into the dining area.

The mayor's proposed changes would extend the ban to bars but include some exemptions such as cigar shops, outdoor patios and some private functions.

Council members also will consider various amendments to the proposal. One would exempt stand-alone bars that were in operation before Sept. 1, and others would extend the ban to cigar shops and most outdoor patios.

The council is divided on the issue, so it's unclear which, if any, of the proposals has the best chance of being approved.

We have the evidence that smoking is harmful, and (arguably) that second-hand smoke is equally dangerous. And yet smoking continues to be legal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Governmen continues to raise revenue off of the addiction of its citizens to a clearly dangerous substance. I find that unacceptable.

So I will come flat out and say it -- either we need to accept the liberty argument that people should be free to smoke, or we should accept the argument that cigars, cigarettes, snuff, chew, and other such products are so irredeemably dangerous that their production, sale, and possession should be banned. Quit the half-hearted measures and just do it.

Or just don't do it, and repeal all restrictions on the basis that adults have a right to do with their bodies what they want to do with them.

The middle ground on this issue is not principled and not in the public interest. Either be willing to follow the logical outcome of every study of the effects of tobacco on the grounds of public health, or admit that liberty dictates allowing people to make dangerous choices and businesses to cater to those choices if they desire.

|| Greg, 04:31 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

New Diabetes Drug

This might be of interest to my fellow diabetics.

Diabetics gained a new way of controlling their blood sugar levels Tuesday with federal approval of a novel pill for Type 2 diabetes, which affects about 20 million Americans.

The Food and Drug Administration said it approved Januvia, which enhances the body's own ability to lower blood sugar levels, after clinical trials showing the new pill works just as well as older diabetes drugs, but with fewer side effects like weight gain. The drug is made by Merck and Co. Inc.

* * *

Januvia, also known as sitagliptin phosphate, works with a one-two punch: It increases levels of a hormone that triggers the pancreas to produce more insulin to process blood sugar while simultaneously signaling the liver to quit making glucose. The pill does that by blocking production of an enzyme, called DPP-4, that normally inactivates that hormone.

Unfortunately, this drug may be out of reach for many Americans -- rather than the current $15.00 to $30.00 a month cost for the most common generic diabetes drugs, this one will cost nearly $150.00. Whether and when insurance companies will cover the medication and at what price level is unknown at this time.

Novartis is expecting approval of a similar medication by year's end.

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

October 17, 2006

What Matters Most

Over the past 2 years, Ive given glimpses of my life to you. Probably the one thing that Ive made most clear is that I am married o a woman I passionately love, and that I want to have as the center of my life for the rest of my life. You would also be aware that there are health issues in her life that are a source of great concern.

And for that reason, some changes are coming.

I plan on blogging a bit less and I want to explain why.

Im up before sunup every morning, out the door by before dawn, and dont return home until for another 9-10 hours. I teach a night class that takes me out of my home several nights a week. That means my evenings with my wife are at a premium, especially since my return time is late enough that she will be asleep or ready for bed when I get home after class and so there is not any significant time to spend with her then.

And I look at how I have spent those evenings lately including a bonus one last night, when torrential rains and flooding in the Houston area caused the cancellation of my night class and Im not happy.

Ive spent them making replies to the Holocaust denying neo-Nazi troll who just wont leave, despite my best efforts to rid my site of his filth. Ive done the same with the filth-spewing liberal who cant string three words together without one being a profane insult. Ive made posts on my site and commented on others and last night found myself doing battle with a thief who stole a photo off my site, among other things.

And then Ive spent what time is left with the woman that I love.

Ive been struggling with this issue for several days now, and driving in to school this morning, I found myself asking a basic question.

What is your priority and why?

And in one of those brutal epiphanies that are a part of life, I recognized that the answer I wanted to give wasnt well-reflected in my actions.

After all, this blog is simply not that important, but Ive let it become a driving force in my life to an extent that has ceased to be healthy. And Ive let it begin to take the place of what matters most in my life, allowing this hobby to become too time-consuming and too important.

And so I will be cutting back. I have to, for the sake of my own sanity and the happiness of the person I still want to spend the rest of my life with.

That will mean probably only one or two posts a day, and possibly days without any posts at all. It will mean putting the focus on the part of my life that really needs to be the priority my wife, especially while she still enough has enough good days to balance out the bad ones that have slowly come to be more frequent over the last few months. I want to take those walks and long drives. I want to go shopping with her. I want to go out for a movie or dinner or take a romantic weekend away. And maybe Id rather not have thoughts about possible posts, how to respond to commenters, and site traffic levels crowding out my attention to her when she needs it most.

In short, I need blogging to be less of a jealous and demanding mistress and more of a recreational diversion.

I hope folks will still come around. I hope people will still comment (well, maybe not KKKen or Nunya, but decent people), and maybe even link back to something that you like. But if the changes dont meet with your approval, please know that I have appreciated your visits and wish you well and hope you will still pop in from time to time.

And sweetheart, if you are reading this, know that Im sorry for too many evenings and weekends when Ive failed to give you your due. I know I cant make them up, but I can strive to do better.

|| Greg, 11:44 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are "As Long As We're Talking, We're Not Shooting At Each Other" by Right Wing Nut House, and Is Islam Waging War on the World? by Reconquista.  I have linked to both winning entries and to the full results of the vote.

Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
2  2/3"As Long As We're Talking, We're Not Shooting At Each Other"
Right Wing Nut House
1  2/3Changes
1  1/3Condi Rice Meets With Terrorists... and the Bush Administration Proves, Once Again That They're Hypocrites On Terrorism and 'Arab Democracy'
1  1/3Bringing Fire
The Glittering Eye
1  1/3Those Who Will Make a Difference
Gates of Vienna
2/3What if They're Writing to Journalists?
2/3Califano Page Apologia -- True, But Fails To Deal With Weak Dem Response
Rhymes With Right
1/3Has the Time Come for Pistol-Packing Educators?
The Education Wonks
1/3The Lefts Moral Mafia
The Sundries Shack

VotesNon-council link
3Is Islam Waging War on the World?
2The Ahmadinejad Code
Cox & Forkum
1Global Warming: the Chilling Effect on Free Speech
1I'm Sorry...
1Pelosi Speech a Revelation In More Than One Way
Captain's Quarters
2/3A Long Overdue Farewell...
Mr Smith's Refusal
2/3Woodward, Not Bush, In "State of Denial"
History News Network
2/3Asymmetric Cultural Warfare
Dean's World
2/3The Political Impact of the Foley Flap
The QandO Blog
1/3Okay. I Understand the Feeling...

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

Slap On The Wrist For Terrorist Messenger

Lynne Stewart was once a great lawyer.

Sadly, while defending a client, she chose to become part of a criminal conspiracy to direct terrorist activities.

Convicted in federal court, she was sentenced yesterday for her crimes.

Lawyer Lynne Stewart was sentenced Monday to 28 months in prison for helping a terrorist client communicate with his followers, a far less severe sentence than the 30 years sought by federal prosecutors.

As U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl delivered his sentence in a packed federal courtroom in Manhattan, Stewart lifted her glasses and dabbed at tears while her husband gave a tight hug to their daughter. An hour later, the 67-year-old lawyer emerged from the federal courthouse holding hands with her granddaughter and grandson and, to loud cheers and applause from hundreds of supporters, declared a victory of sorts over the Bush administration.

What is disgusting is that this "victory over the Bush administration" comes despite the fact that the judge acknowledged that Stewart's offense was reat, severe, and potentially lethal.

n fact, Koeltl made it clear that Stewart had committed a serious offense by smuggling messages between her client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, and his followers in the Middle East, including a statement withdrawing the sheik's support for a cease-fire with the Egyptian government. Stewart's actions, Koeltl said, constituted "extraordinarily severe criminal conduct" and material support for terrorism, and could have had "lethal consequences."

Koeltl noted, however, that neither Stewart's actions nor those of her co-defendants, translator Mohammed Yousry and Rahman aide Ahmed Abdel Sattar, resulted in violence in the United States or overseas.

It seems, though, that the judge in this case was a fan of her prior legal work, and allowed his admiration for her previous public service to be the basis for this absurdly low sentence -- and therefore wildly departed from federal sentencing guidelines.

Stewart should have spent the remainder of her life rotting in prison. Instead, the judge sent a message that terrorists and their associates who act out of what are perceived as noble motives can expect leniency.

And you wonder why many of us have argued against treating terrorism as a criminal matter and not a military one. Judge Koeltl proves that the courts are ill-equipped to handle such matters.

|| Greg, 04:27 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 16, 2006

Funding Jihadi Terror -- A First Amendment Protected Activity?

This little tidbit, commented upon by Stop the ACLU and Jawa Report, is utterly stunning

Emadeddin Z. Muntasser and Muhammed Mubayyid face charges in U.S. District Court of Massachusetts for the soliciting and expenditure "of funds to support and promote the mujahideen and jihad, including the distribution of pro-jihad publications." Their Care International "charity," a now-defunct Boston-based al Qaeda front organization, published, among other things, the English version by al Qaeda co-founder Abdullah Azzam of "Join the Caravan," which states: "[t]he obligation of Jihad today remains [individually required] until the last piece of land, which was in the hand of the Muslims, but has been occupied by disbelievers, is liberated."

In their Oct. 5 request for a dismissal, the defendants effectively -- and unwittingly -- explain all the reasons why the federal government should outlaw Islamic charitable giving in the United States.

In their motion, attorneys Mrs. Estrich, Malick Ghachem, Norman Zalkind and Elizabeth Lunt, argue that the defendants merely exercised their religious freedom and obligation to give "zakat" (Islamic charity).

Their motion cites Chapter 9, verse 60 of the Koran, which describes "those entitled to receive zakat." According to the definition of zakat in The Encyclopedia of Islam, "category 7" of eligible recipients are "volunteers engaged in jihad" for whom the zakat cover "living expenses and the expenses of their military service (animals, weapons)."

In other words, faithfully practicing Islam mandates the funding of terrorist activities -- and funds given in support of jihadi terrorism should be tax-deductable!

We Americans keep being told that jihadi terrorism is not a true face of Islam, that Islam is a religion of peace and that terrorist activites are contrary to its teachings. We are frequently told that jihad is an internal struggle and not the spreading of Islamic hegemony by the sword. yet the argument presented in federal court by distinguished lawyers -- law professors, the campaign manager for a former Democrat nominee for president, and the former head of a state ACLU chapter -- are arguing precisely the opposite as they seek the dismissal of the charges against individuals who have aided and abetted terrorism.

I'm not sure which is more shocking -- that these "respectable" folks are explicitly siding with jihadi terrorism against the United States, or that they are arguing that the United States Constitution protects jihadi terrorism against interference by the United Staes government.

Oh, and this is one more reason to vote Republican -- the ACLU is an actively partisan group that favors teh Democrats, and Estrich is a likely judicial nominee in any future Democrat presidential administration.

MORE AT: Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, Ace of Spades, Texas Hold 'Em, Dread Pundit Bluto.

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

Succession Crisis?

The Washington Post raises interesting questions about who would become speaker -- and potentially president in the unlikely deaths of both President Bush and Vice President Cheney -- under a secret list of individuals as "Speaker Pro Tem".

But that is not the interesting part to me.

Perhaps the biggest question, some lawyers say, is whether a House speaker -- full time or pro tempore -- can assume and keep the presidency under any circumstance. A statute, not the Constitution, lists the speaker's place in the line succession.

A case can be made that no one in Congress qualifies as an "officer" eligible to assume the presidency under Article II of the Constitution, said Neil Kinkopf, a professor of law at Georgia State University. The question may never be settled, he said, because the Supreme Court would take it up only if a speaker became president and someone challenged the action in court.

My guess? This would constitute a political question with which the courts would be unlikely to involve themselves. And given that speaker (and President Pro Tem of the Senate) are boh constitutionally ordained offices, I'd have to argue that they do qualify as "officers" for purposes of the succession.

But if they don't, would any individual occupying a statutorily created position as a cainet secretary qualify?

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

Terror Attack In Sri Lanka

Fifty are dead as the Tamil Tigers attack a Sri Lankan Navy convoy.

t least 50 Sri Lankan navy sailors were feared killed when an explosives-laden truck driven by a suspected Tamil Tiger rebel rammed into their convoy in a north-central district on Monday, a military official said.

``There were about 15 buses and 13 were damaged in the explosion. About 50 bodies have been taken to hospital,'' a navy official in Colombo, who did not want to be identified, told Reuters.

One more group that needs to be dealth with by the world. Terrorists are like pirates -- the enemy of all mankind.

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

NY Times Advocates Giving Government Power To Destroy Religious Organizations

That the power of taxing by the States may be exercised so as to destroy it, is too obvious to be denied. McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)

That principle is a cardinal part of our nation's constitutional jurisprudence. And Yet, the NY Times would set it aside in the case of religion, and with it the First Amendment rights of Americans.

Religious institutions should be protected from excessive intrusion by government. Judges should not tell churches who they have to hire as ministers, or meddle in doctrinal disputes. But under pressure from politically influential religious groups, Congress, the White House, and federal and state courts have expanded this principle beyond all reason. It is increasingly being applied to people, buildings and programs only tangentially related to religion.

In its expanded form, this principle amounts to an enormous subsidy for religion, in some cases violating the establishment clause of the First Amendment. It also undermines core American values, like the right to be free from job discrimination. It puts secular entrepreneurs at an unfair competitive disadvantage. And it deprives states and localities of much-needed tax revenues, putting a heavier burden on ordinary taxpayers.

Like most special-interest handouts, these privileges exist in large part because the majority is not aware, or is not being heard. With property taxes growing ever more burdensome, it is likely that localities will start to give religious exemptions closer scrutiny. People who care about discrimination-free workplaces, the right to unionize and childrens safety should also start to push back.

Indeed, the NY Tmes akes a specific call for taxation of xhurcxhes, a much learer and much more substantial threat to the First Amendment than the exemptions it complains of could ever be. After all, who is going to determine what is essential to the free exercise of religion or cetral to a church's religious mission -- the church or the government? The authors of the editorial would support an entanglement of religion and government that they would never accept if we were talking about, for example, giving vouchers to allow shchool choice.

And more to the point, in every case that the NY Times raises a question regarding exemptions from taxation or regulation of religious institutions, it fails to ask a question that I think would be central to the issue if one does not believe in virtually unlimited government power -- is it the burden of taxation and regulation imposed upon society that is onerous, and not the exemptions permitted to those who do the work of God? Are the rest of us too oppressed by government, rather than religious institutions too free?

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

October 15, 2006

***AN IMPORTANT WARNING FOR DIABETICS (Bumped To Top For The Weekend)***


The government warned diabetics to watch for counterfeit versions of test strips used to monitor blood sugar levels. The strips, for use in glucose monitors made by a Johnson & Johnson company, were distributed nationwide, the Food and Drug Administration said. The strips are for use with various models of LifeScan Inc.s OneTouch brand of blood glucose monitors. LifeScan is part Johnson & Johnson. Diabetics who bought the strips should stop using them, replace them and call a doctor, the F.D.A. said. The counterfeits are: OneTouch Basic/Profile, lot numbers 272894A, 2619932 and 2606340. The 50-count packages are labeled in English and French; and OneTouch Ultra, lot number 2691191. The 50-count packages are labeled in English, Greek and Portuguese.

I'd like to commend the New York Times for putting this story on its front page with the health news. While I wish it were higher up on the page, it is the only place I have seen this news about this important issue involving the sort of meter I currently use (no, I don't have the fake strips).

|| Greg, 11:59 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

AFT Condemns Call For Israel Boycott

I'd like to applaud the American Federation of Teachers for opposing this anti-Semitic move by an Irish educator's organization.

he American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is calling on Irish academics to oppose demands to boycott Israel. The union, which represents 1.3 million members across the US, sent a letter to four Irish teachers and academics unions, urging them to oppose the boycott which has been proposed by several Irish academics in recent weeks.

"Boycotts of this nature only help those who wish to curtail the academic freedom faculty members hold dear," wrote Edward J. McElroy, president of the American Federation of Teachers in the letter to his Irish colleagues.

The American union also notes that the Irish academics' singling out faculty members from Israel, which is a democratic country, while ignoring those from other countries "raises more questions than it answers."

The boycott call voiced by 61 Irish faculty members in a letter sent to the Irish Times in late September. They called for the EU to cut ties with Israeli academic institutions in protest of Israel's policy towards the Palestinians and its conduct during the Lebanese war.

Yep, they only oppose democratic Israel -- not dictatorships rife with human rights violations like Cuba, North Korea, or Libya. Only Jew-hatred can explain such a move. And while I am not a member of the AFT (indeed, I am a building representative for another teacher's organization), I wholeheartedly endorse their position.

|| Greg, 08:00 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (8) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

NY Times Labels Terrorist Detainees As POWs

Do you doubt me? The look at this.

Mr. Bush ignored that fact after 9/11, when he tried to put the prisoners of the war on terror beyond the reach of American law and the Geneva Conventions.

If these folks are really prisoners of war, they are then not entitled to any trial. Indeed, trying them at all is a violation of the Geneva Convention. Furthermore, it would be within the province of the President to order them held until the conflict is ended by treaty or victory. Given that the War on Terror will last for many years (possibley beyond our lifetimes), the NY Times has conceded that the captured terrorist may be detained for life without any trial whatsoever.

|| Greg, 04:01 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Katrina Evacuees In Houston -- Permanent Wards Of The Taxpayers

Hey, I figure I should just come out and say it. After all, that seems to be the signal being given by yet another extension of federal housing benefits to those living in Houston more than a year after their city was devastated by the hurricane and subsequent collapse of the levees.

Houston social service agencies and Hurricane Katrina victims living in the city welcomed a decision by Federal Emergency Management Agency officials to extend housing subsidies past an Oct. 31 deadline for recertification for at least another four months. The specter of thousands of jobless people being thrown out of their apartments onto the streets still remains, but the FEMA action provides a window of opportunity to prevent that from happening.

The federal disaster relief agency dropped its requirement for extensive documentation for housing assistance recertification after few of the estimated 21,000 evacuee households in Houston made submissions. Instead, a simple one-page form is being accepted, with an automatic extension of all housing payments through the end of February.

Here we are, over a year later, and these folks still are not working and pulling their own weight. Indeed, the only substantive contribution they have made to the Houston community is their impact upon the crime rate, which has skyrocketed since September 2005. And for all Mayor White and others say that 18 months is the upper limit for FEMA assistance of this sort, I've no doubt that come the first of the year we will be hearing the Katrina sob stories again. After all, I've got some Katrina kids, here for a year, still trying to use the hurricane to explain why they don't have basic school supplies. They don't have because they don't bother -- and that explains the housing and employment situation for many of these folks.

Enough is enough -- either cut off the asistance or concede teh reality that we will be supporting these folks and their descendents until the end of time.

|| Greg, 01:25 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Just Say No To Microsoft Vista!

I won't be buying the newest operating system from Microsoft -- and will likey get a Linux machine if these licensing terms remain in place.

From the Houston Chronicle's TechBlog:

Earlier this week, Microsoft released the license terms for the various versions of Windows Vista. As is always the case with a new operating system, there are some terms that weren't present with Windows XP.

One of them has caused a firestorm among computer enthusiasts who build their own machines and/or frequently upgrade hardware. As Ed Bott writes, Vista now limits the number of times you transfer the operating system from an old machine to a new one.

Specifically, you can transfer your Vista license once. That means if you install Vista onto a new PC, you must remove it from the old one. And you may only perform that maneuver once.

In addition, making enough changes to key components in a PC will constitute transferring the license, effectively creating a new PC.

I spoke with Shanen Boettcher, the general manager of product management for Windows Vista, who confirmed those scenarios. Those used to being able to use the same copy of Windows XP on multiple machines -- so long as the same copy isn't being used on more than one at a time -- will be out of luck after that first transfer.

Boettcher said this change was made to clarify that "Windows is licensed on a per copy, per device basis."

Of course, Windows' current activation process pretty much assures that. With XP, you're not able to have the operating system running on more than one device -- Microsoft's activation servers will block XP, and you'll be forced to call an 800 number to explain yourself.

Boettcher said that, as with Windows XP, an algorithm in Vista is used to determine the hardware fingerprint of a system. Change enough of the fingerprint, and the system is considered a new PC. Two things that are sure to trigger that, Boettcher said, is replacing the hard drive and/or the motherboard.

Those may not be things most users do every day... but they are not unusual things, either.

So what does that mean? You are paying more for the latest software, but have even fewer rights under the license than you did before. Indeed, not only are you limited in how many times you can transfer the software from machine to machine as you upgrade to meet your technology needs, even hardware upgrades on the same machine may be enough to qualify as that single transfer that you are permitted. In other words, simply installing a new hard drive after one crashes (a choice I considered this spring when mine failed) constitutes a transfer of the software, even though you continue to use what is, effectively, the same machine!

Frankly, I'm tired of Microsoft's BS games with consumers. Monopoly power chas led to teh screwing of the consumer with this latest OS. How long until XP is no longer supported, and new machine purchasers find themselves coerced into buying machines with the new licensing agreement.

Here's hoping that the consumers say no -- and that computer manufacturers start saying no to Microsoft Vista.

H/T: By The Bayou

|| Greg, 08:15 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 14, 2006

Did An Indigenous Illness -- Not the Spaniards -- Wipe Out The Aztecs?

It is generally accepted history that the Spaniards and other Europeans brought diseases with them that killed off the indigenous people of the Americas. There is certainly some truth to that in some areas of the New World -- but it may not be the case in Mexico, which is usually cited as Exhibit A for the "foreign diseases" argument.

Here's what history tells us about the Spanish conquest of Mexico: Armed with modern weapons and Old World diseases, several hundred Spanish soldiers toppled the Aztec empire in 1521. And by the end of the century, the invaders' guns, steel and germs had wiped out 90 percent of the natives.

It's a key piece of the "Black Legend," the tales of atrocities committed by the Spanish Inquisition and colonizers of the New World.

But it may be just that legend, according to Rodolfo Acua-Soto, a Harvard-trained epidemiologist.

He argues that an unknown indigenous hemorrhagic fever may have killed the bulk of Mexico's native population, which plummeted from an estimated 22 million in 1519, when the Spaniards arrived, to 2 million in 1600.

And he warns that the fever which the Aztecs called cocoliztli in their Nahuatl language may still be lurking in remote rural areas of Mexico.

Not everyone buys the theory. But Acua-Soto, who spent 12 years poring over colonial archives, census data, graveyard records and autopsy reports, is convinced that many historians are wrong about what killed the Aztecs.

"The problem with history is that it's very ideological," he said. "In this case, it was a beautiful way of accusing the Spaniards of unimaginable cruelties and of decimating the population of Mexico."

Spanish colonizers were far from blameless, he quickly points out. By subjecting the Indians to slave-like conditions and malnutrition, they made them more vulnerable to the disease, he said.

"Of course, there's a terrible story of cruelty and disease that killed a huge amount of indigenous people," he said. "But we don't know what this disease was."

Acua-Soto, who has published his findings in several international scholarly journals, is a research professor at Mexico's National Autonomous University.

Notice, this doesn't absolve teh Spanish of charges of great cruelty. But it does raise the possibility that something else was at work -- and that the agent of infection is still around. I ca't wait to se what further research shows.

|| Greg, 10:41 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Negligence In Death Of Katy Taylor Student?

Maybe, maybe not. The availability of a defibrilator may not have made a difference. But wouldn't you think that every coach (those most likely to need it) would have a key to gain access to the equipment?

Katy school district officials acknowledged Friday that two coaches did not have keys to unlock a room where an automated external defibrillator was stored, 25 feet from the track where 16-year-old Jhonathan Bruda collapsed and died last week.

District officials originally told the Houston Chronicle that both track coaches Ryan Ratcliff and Amy Pitzel had keys to the trainer's room on the morning of Oct. 6. They said Friday that police reports and witness statements won't be released now because of an ongoing investigation.

"We thought all the coaches had keys but now we know that's not true," said Steve Stanford, a spokesman for Katy Independent School District. ''Neither coach had a key."

This was just one of the discrepancies in the accounts the district gave this week about how coaches responded to Bruda, a Taylor High School cross-country team member who collapsed after a light workout.

Stanford also acknowledged Friday that a 911 dispatcher did, in fact, ask Pitzel if she had access to an AED. According to Stanford, Pitzel responded, "Yes, but I can't get to it."

Pitzel was relaying information to Ratcliff as he performed CPR on Bruda, Stanford said.

I'm not surprised by the discrepancies between the original account and the current one. It is only about two weeks since we had a 12-year-old collapse and die during football practice at one of the middle schools that feeds into my high school. The initial statements of the district and the later ones contained some differences that can best be ascribed to the rush to supply information in a timely fashion vs. the desire to to transparantly release all facts. None of the changes impacted teh basic narrative, though.

I am shocked, however, by the discovery that coaches didn't have a key to the defibrilator. I'm willing to bet that it will come out that only the "big sport" coaches have them. It is typical that minor sport coaches are disregarded in that fashion. Let's just hope that it didn't cost a boy his life.

|| Greg, 10:30 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Guilty Plea Confirms Hamas/Holy Land Foundation Connection

And we've been repeatedly assured by Muslim groups that the government's actions with regard to that Islamic "charity" were unfounded and a case of post-9/11 Islamophobia.

But now we have a guilty plea to confirm that the organization was supporting terrorists.

The imam of a northern Georgia mosque pleaded guilty to providing material support to the militant group Hamas in a case in which the agreement, charges and even the plea hearing were handled in secret.

The U.S. attorney's office said Friday that the charges and plea agreement involving Mohamed Shorbagi were filed Aug. 28 in federal court in Rome, Ga., a division of Atlanta's federal court, but were sealed until Friday.

Shorbagi, 42, agreed to a maximum of 15 years in prison, prosecutors said. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 3.

According to prosecutors, between 1997 and 2001, Shorbagi provided financial support to Hamas, a group designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization. He also was accused of conspiring with unnamed others to provide material support to Hamas.

The donations were passed through the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, prosecutors said.

"It was not for a large amount of money," U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said. "But that goes to show you it doesn't take a large amount of money to get 15 years in prison."

What did Imam Shorbagi and the Holy Land Foundation do to support terrorism?

Nahmias's office said Shorbagi was a Georgia representative of the Holy Land Foundation and knew money provided to the foundation was actually funneled to Hamas.

He had attended Holy Land Foundation meetings at which high-level Hamas officials made presentations condemning Israel, and had hosted high-level Hamas officials at the Rome mosque where he served as imam, prosecutors said.

So it appears that there was more than charity work going on out of the offices of the Holy Land Foundation (a name intended to trick American Christians into giving money to support Muslim terrorism against Israel and the US), and more than religious activities going on at the mosque. Is it any wonder, then, that many of us believe that the FBI should be monitoring mosques and other Muslim organizations for ties to terrorists as we continue the Crusade Against Jihadism?

Of course, the usual suspects are up in arms over the fact that their fellow jihadi Islamists have been investigated, charged, and in this case determined to be guilty of support for terrorism.

The facts of these cases are never actually released, said Rabiah Ahmed, a spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, based in Washington. Theres no public scrutiny except what the government chooses to release. The perception is that theyre being heavy-handed and the Muslim community is being unfairly targeted.

The reality is that Imam Shorbagi could have had a trial in open court in which his crimes and those of the Holy Land Foundation would have been laid out for all to see. Instead he cut a deal to save his own skin, tuning on his fellow jihadi-wannabes. There will be plenty of time for all the evidence to be laid out in court when the principals of the Holy Land Foundation are put on trial. And by the way -- I can't wait for charges to be filed against CAIR, which I understand has its own Hamas connections.

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|| Greg, 10:03 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Former Congressman Gerry Studds Dies -- Remained In Congress After Molesting Page

This news just breaking.

Former U.S. Rep. Gerry Studds, the first openly gay person elected to Congress, died early Saturday at Boston Medical Center, several days after he collapsed while walking his dog, his husband said.

Studds fell unconscious Oct. 3 because of what doctors later determined was a blood clot in his lung, Dean Hara said.

Studds regained consciousness, remained in the hospital, and seemed to be improving. He was scheduled to be transferred to a rehabilitation center, but his condition deteriorated Friday and he died at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Hara said.

My sympathies extend to his survivors. May they be comforted in this time of loss.

* * *

Of course, i don't write about every deceased former member of Congress. But it is quite appropriate to do so, given what he is best known for and its relationship to certain current events in Washington.

Gerry Studds had sex with one page and made inappropriate advances on two others. he admitted it. he refused to apologize for it. he turned his back on the House of representatives and rejected the censure vote of his fellow members over it. And he stayed in Congress, reelected with the full support of the Democrat leadership of the House and the Democrat Party, serving six additional terms until he retired after the 1996 elections. He was even given a committee chairmanship and was honored by having a National Marine Sanctuary named after him. So much for concern about the safety of pages by the Democrats, who now hypocritically object to the creepy words and dirty talk of disgraced former Congressman Mark Foley and the failure of the GOP leadership of the House to psycically know about IMs that no one showed them.

UPDATE: The guys over at GayPatriot have a great piece on Studds -- and note these two quotes upon his passing.

Gerrys leadership changed Massachusetts forever and well never forget him. His work on behalf of our fishing industry and the protection of our waters has guided the fishing industry into the future and ensured that generations to come will have the opportunity to love and learn from the sea. He was a steward of the oceans.

- U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

No one fought harder for human rights, particularly in Latin America; for our environment; and for the fishermen of New England and the entire nation. He was a true pioneer.

- U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., whose wife, Lisa, once worked as an aide to Studds.

In other words, even in the midst of the Mark "Talk Dirty To Me" Foley scandal, Democrats find it impossible to condemn a Democrat ex-congressman who actually did have sex with a page. Incredible!

Oh, and there are two other quotes that they left out of their piece hat I feel need to be included.

"Gerry was a stalwart champion of New England's fishing families as well as a committed environmentalist who worked hard to demonstrate that the cause of working people and the cause of the environment go hand in hand with the right leadership. When he retired from Congress, he did not retire from the cause, continuing to fight for the fishing industry and New England's environmental causes.

- U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.


"I am very saddened by the death of Gerry Studds. From his days in the early 1970s as an articulate and effective opponent of the Vietnam war, through his consistent leadership on environmental issues, to his insistence that the U.S. government stop ignoring the AIDS crisis, Gerry was a forceful advocate for causes that were not always popular and that were consequently shunned by many politicians."

- U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.

Leading Democrats all. I guess its not what you do, its how you vote that counts. After all, its for the children -- and Gerry Studds was all about children.

I bet that Mark Foley gets no such eulogies on his death -- but then again, his party didn't run him for reelection a half dozen times after he was exposed, either.

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

Expel Ney NOW!

I'm disgusted that Bob Ney did not resign upon entering a guilty plea on bribery charges -- indeed, I believed he should have resigned when he announced the deal some weeks ago. I'm shocked that the prosecutors did not mandate he do so immediately as a condition of his plea deal. Those who take bribes have no place in Congress -- or any other public office.

Representative Bob Ney, the first member of Congress to confess to crimes in dealings with the lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty to corruption charges Friday but said he would not immediately resign.

Mr. Ney, Republican of Ohio, announced last month that he intended to plead guilty, admitting that in return for official acts, he had accepted tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts from Mr. Abramoff that included lavish trips, meals and tickets to concerts and sporting events. He faces a prison term of more than two years.

But what had not been expected at Fridays court hearing was Mr. Neys disclosure that he intended to remain in Congress for now. The announcement appeared to surprise and infuriate House Republican leaders, who are trying to tamp down other scandals that are threatening to damage the party in next months Congressional elections.

After learning that Mr. Ney would not step down immediately and would continue to draw his $165,200-a-year salary, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and other Republican leaders said they would move to expel him as soon as Congress returns next month for a postelection session.

Bob Ney must be punished for the criminal actions he has acknowledged, they said in a statement. He betrayed his oath of office and violated the trust of those he represented in the House. There is no place for him in this Congress.

The White House joined in calling for Mr. Ney to resign immediately. What Congressman Ney did is not a reflection of the Republican Party, said Tony Snow, the White House spokesman. Its a reflection of Congressman Ney, and he ought to step down.

I'm heartened by the GOP moves to rid themselves of this criminal -- though I am disturbed that they were willing to wait until after the plea to expel their corrupt colleague. After all, his admission of guilt should have been sufficent to trigger an expulsion vote.

By the way, I knew Jack Abramoff way back when -- a one of several members heads of the national College Republicans I've had the opportunity to know (one, Tony Zagotta, was a good friend back during our days at Illinois State). That association makes me more disgusted, rather than less, by the misdeeds we are learning of as this investigation unfolds, and makes me more desirous of seing all involved severely and justly punished.

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

October 13, 2006

9000 Year Old City Discovered

This could change our whole picture of the emergence of human civilization.

The remains of what has been described as a huge lost city may force historians and archaeologists to radically reconsider their view of ancient human history.

Marine scientists say archaeological remains discovered 36 metres (120 feet) underwater in the Gulf of Cambay off the western coast of India could be over 9,000 years old.

The vast city - which is five miles long and two miles wide - is believed to predate the oldest known remains in the subcontinent by more than 5,000 years.

The site was discovered by chance last year by oceanographers from India's National Institute of Ocean Technology conducting a survey of pollution.

Using sidescan sonar - which sends a beam of sound waves down to the bottom of the ocean they identified huge geometrical structures at a depth of 120ft.

Debris recovered from the site - including construction material, pottery, sections of walls, beads, sculpture and human bones and teeth has been carbon dated and found to be nearly 9,500 years old.

Read the whole article -- it is fascinating.

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So Julia Wilson And Her Parents Are Idiots, But Hey What Else Is New?

Let me begin by noting that I just love the headline for this news story from the Sacramento Bee it is so marvelously and subtly misleading.

U.S. agents question teen
Girl ran anti-Bush page on MySpace

Those fascists! How dare they harass this poor child for exercising her First Amendment rights.

Only if you read the story do you find it is more than an anti-Bush site.

The latest Sacramento resident to be questioned by federal agents in possible threats against President Bush is a 14-year-old girl with a heart on her backpack and braces on her teeth, a freckle-nosed adolescent who is passionate about liberal politics and cute movie stars.

Her name is Julia Wilson, and she learned a vivid civics lesson Wednesday when two Secret Service agents pulled her out of biology class at McClatchy High School to ask about comments and images she posted on MySpace.

Beneath the words "Kill Bush," Julia posted a cartoonish photo-collage of a knife stabbing the hand of the president. It was one of a few images Julia said she used to decorate an anti-Bush Web page she moderated on MySpace, the social networking Web site that is hugely popular among teenagers.

Yes, you read that right Kill Bush. A graphic of a knife stabbing the president. Sounds like a possible threat that needs to be checked out, and possibly a violation of federal law. Certainly more than merely an anti-Bush site.

This brainless childs parents are very upset but not at their daughter. No, they upset that the Secret Service would DARE question her baby especially without one of them present.

Federal law prohibits making serious threats against the president, and Julia and her parents say what she did was wrong.

The couple are disturbed, however, that federal agents questioned a child at school -- without her parents present. And First Amendment lawyers question whether the Secret Service over-reacted to a 14-year-old's comments on a Web site made for casual socializing.

"I don't condone what she did, but it seems a little over the top to me," said Julia's father, Jim Moose. "You'd think they could look at the situation and determine that she's not a credible threat."

Actually, you fool, they dont know what the situation is until they investigate. Suppose that, instead of an ill-informed little brat raised by overly-indulgent parents, the site was operated by a nascent Dylan Klebold or Eric Harris? No one took them seriously before they attacked their high school and murdered 13 people. How was the Secret Service to know that your daughter wasnt a mentally and morally disturbed sociopath? What is over the top, sir, is that you think they should NOT have pursued the matter as they did.

Here is how Julia Wilson's family tells their story:

Two Secret Service agents arrived at their Land Park home about 2:30 Wednesday afternoon, Kirstie Wilson said. They told her they wanted to speak with her daughter about threats to the president that she had posted on MySpace.

"She was in molecular biology, and I said I really didn't want to take her out of class for this," Kirstie Wilson said. "I said I'd make sure she came right home from school."

She asked the agents to come back in an hour, and they left.

Then Wilson sent her daughter a text message instructing her to come straight home from school.

"... there are two men from the secret service that want to talk with you. Apparently you made some death threats against president bush. Dont worry youre not going to jail or anything like that but they take these things very seriously these days," Kirstie Wilson wrote.

"Are you serious!?!? omg. Am I in a lot of trouble"? her daughter replied, using common teenage shorthand for "Oh, my God."

Kirstie Wilson called her husband. While they were on the phone, she received another text message from her daughter: "They took me out of class."

I guess that the Wilson family believes that law enforcement should schedule their appointments with potential assassins at the convenience of them and their families you know, just to allow them to gather up their weapons of choice and go underground until they can do commit their murder.

And one more thing about this case, Mom and Dad were completely unaware of what their child was doing on the internet. They are lucky that all she lured out of the woodwork was a pair of nice Secret Service agents wanting to question her about her potentially criminal activity. They are lucky that she wasnt abused or abducted, or lured to the Middle East for a child marriage and conversion to Islam. Rather than bitching, they should hit their knees that they were spared any of those true horrors.

By the way, this was not an isolated incident for young Julia. She started the space last year calling it "People who want to stab Bush". Why MySpace didnt delete the account then for violating its terms of service is a mystery to me. She then changed it to "So Bush is an idiot but hey what else is new?", but left the graphic. It appears, though, that she never considered that her art work was also a potentially illegal act.

I think this stupid little child need to change the name of her group now. How about the title of this blog post -- So Julia Wilson and her parents are idiots, but hey what else is new?

UPDATE: I've run across several additional articles, and found a couple of quotes that make my blood boil.

The first couple are from Julia's over-indulgent, under-involved "parents".

"She obviously is not a threat to society, if you look at her age, her family background, the cartoonish nature of the MySpace page," said her father, Jim Moose, an environmental lawyer.

"She is just a typical teenage girl who made a mistake," said her mother during an interview at their neatly landscaped home.

First, Mommy Dearest, she is a girl who potentially committed a crime, not merely "a typical teenage girl who made a mistake". She deserved to be questioned. And Daddy Dearest, it is clear that you are a typical liberal hypocrite -- after all, your argument is that law enforcement should look and find out that this is a rich white little girl from a good home and therefore miraculously divined that she was no threat, because we all know that it is only "those people" (black, Hispanic, poor) who commit crimes.

Then there is this whine from the little anti-American felon-in-training herself.

Julia Wilson said the agents threatened her by saying she could be sent to juvenile hall for making the threat.

"They yelled at me a lot," she said. "They were unnecessarily mean."

In other words, they told you what could happen if you were charged as a juvenile. They didn't get you a double half-caf latte with extra milk before asking you any questions and they raised their voices, so you got your feelings hurt over that because Mommy and Daddy have told you that the universe revolves areound Uranus and you therefore don't have to accept the authority of anyone but yourself. Too bad they didn't cuff you and take you in for further questioning -- then maybe you would learn that your conduct was seriously wrong.

UPDATE 2: One more stupid comment from this self-centered little imbecile.

On Friday, the teenager said the agents' questioning led her to tears.

"I wasn't dangerous. I mean, look at what's (stenciled) on my backpack - it's a heart. I'm a very peace-loving person," said Wilson, an honor student who describes herself as politically passionate. "I'm against the war in Iraq. I'm not going to kill the president."

Four observations, you self-absorbed little brat:

1) John Wilkes Booth was a popular actor. He was pro-secession, and pro-slavery, but he would never try to kill the President.

2) Lee Harvey Oswald was a family man with a baby who was also a Communist. He'd never try to kill the President.

3) John Hinkley came from a good home in a nice neighborhood. he would never try to kill the President.

4) How many terrorists were "good Muslims" carrying a Koran? How many criminals are wearing hearts, crosses or other "nice" symbols when they are arrested -- or when they commit their crime?

UPDATE 3: Looks like the young lady is capable of learning and has some common sense after all. I dislike her politics, but support her next move.

And I'll post here my offer from the comments -- if Julia and/or her parents wish to comment here they are welcome, and if they wish to submit a piece for me to publish as a featured piece on this site I will be glad to host it. I'm willing to let them get out their side of teh story.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Conservative Cat, Blue Star Chronicles, Samantha Burns, Pirate's Cove, Bullwinkle Blog, Stuck on Stupid, Adam's Blog, Third World County, Clash of Civilizations, Right Nation, Is It just Me?, Uncooperative Blogger, Stop the ACLU, The World According to Carl, Church & State, Amboy Times, Woman Honor Thyself, Jo's Cafe

|| Greg, 06:33 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (133) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

John Murtha Corrupt Partisan Hack

John Murtha, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Abscam case, decided to bring the level of political dialog to his own level.

"Screw them," Rep. John Murtha said of Republicans in an email sent to the liberal political group on Wednesday. The Pennsylvania Democrat, who is urging a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq, added that he needs its members' help to throw GOP congressmen "out of power -- as many of them as possible."

"A year ago when I presented my plan for Iraq, I did it to provide leadership and protect our troops," Murtha stated in his email. "The Republicans have spent their time name-calling while the situation for our troops in Iraq gets worse. They've tried to smear me, other veterans, Democrats, you and anybody who stands up to them.

"Well, let me say one thing right now: screw them," the 16-term congressman declared. "Those gravestones at Arlington cemetery don't say Democrat or Republican on them. We are all patriots.

I dont believe you are a patriot. I dont care how long you served or how many decorations you have your desire to cut and run in the face of the enemy is a cowardly abrogation of the security of the United States.
And I think this presentation of your record, Congressman Murtha, bears that assertion out.

Also on Thursday, Larry Bailey, president of Vets for the Truth (VFTT) -- an organization working to "boot Murtha" from Congress on Nov. 7 -- agreed that the congressman's attitude in his email is something voters should consider.

Bailey told Cybercast News Service: "'Screw them' is what John Murtha has said for 32 years to:

"Iraq War veterans, who have tried unsuccessfully to discuss that conflict with Murtha;

"Honest citizens, who are berated, cursed and threatened by Murtha goons;

"Taxpayers, who have to come up with the money for Murtha's self-serving appropriations 'earmarks;'

"Troops in Iraq, who are unjustly characterized by Murtha for having 'killed innocent civilians in cold blood;'

"Honest politicians, who object to the 'bully-boy' tactics employed by Murtha in getting his way; and

"Anyone who dares to disagree with or vote against John Murtha.

"'Screw them' might well be the epitaph inscribed on Murtha's tombstone," Bailey stated.

So Congressman, your fundraising communique leads me to respond in kind Go screw yourself!

|| Greg, 06:28 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (23) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dem Fraudster Seeks Foley Seat

I guess dirty talk is a much more serious issue than financial fraud that cost investors $2.4 million.

After investors sued a company whose new breast-cancer detector turned out to be ineffective, a firm partly owned by the Democrat fighting for Mark Foley's congressional seat stepped in.

Tim Mahoney's company, though, didn't side with the investors, who included a former deputy CIA director and a media empire heiress.

Instead, Mahoney's Boca Raton-based vFinance Inc. bought out the assets -- but not the liabilities -- of a deep-pocketed investment group that sold shares in the cancer-detector company. The plaintiffs said the purchase of Sterling Financial Investment Group's assets was a fraudulent effort to hide ill-gotten gains and will make it tougher for them to collect if they win the suit filed in December 2005 in federal court in Texas.

''At the very least, this was unethical. vFinance showed up at the party and took away the money that should be part of a judgment,'' said the plaintiffs' attorney, Mark Kincaid.

vFinance was recently added to the suit along with Sterling and the cancer-detector company DOBI. All deny wrongdoing and say investors knew the risks of speculating on the market. Through his campaign, Mahoney, vFinance's chairman who is not named in the suit, declined to comment and deferred questions to the company's attorney, Peter Ticktin.

This stripping of assets while leaving only liabilities seems to be a pattern among liberals. That is a big part of why Air America, which filed for bankruptcy today, was able to survive once its creators ran up debt, they simply sold the assets and left those owed money holding the bag. Highly unethical but seemingly an approved practice if you are on the left end of the political spectrum.

And one more reason to vote Republican.

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

How Porous Is The Border?

Yeah, it was a publicity stunt, but I think it indicates the fundamental lack of control we have of the border region, and the resulting lack of security.

Rio Grande Elephant

Reports of an elephant crossing the river or people trying to smuggle an elephant across were rampant Tuesday while an elaborate political stunt was taking shape near the mouth of the Rio Grande.

It was a while later that the stunt, which was a photo shoot, was abruptly met by federal agents.

The elephant never made landfall into Mexico, but I tell you something, he could have made 15 laps back and forth, but no one showed up, said Raj Peter Bhakta, a former star on the NBC show The Apprentice, who also is a Republican candidate for the 13th District U.S. House of Representatives seat in Eastern Pennsylvania.

Three elephants, two African and an Asian, were taken out to a ranch near Boca Chica beach to perform, the 31-year-old Bhakta said.

He was in Brownsville to raise funds with friends and decided to get a first-hand look at border security while he was here, he said.

* * *

If I can get an elephant led by a mariachi band into this country, I think Osama bin Laden could get across with all the weapons of mass destruction he could get into this country, Bhakta said.

The only response from authorities was the arrival of the US Department of Agriculture, which seized the elephants because they were in a quarantine zone. The beasts wee released after they were sprayed for ticks.


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

Sic Semper Terrorists

News like this brings a smile to my face.

The Israel Air Force scored a direct hit on a car carrying a three-man terrorist cell Friday morning in northern Gaza. All three terrorists were eliminated.

The IDF reported that the cell was involved in many Kassam rocket attacks, including the five rockets fired at the Jewish town of Sderot on Thursday. The fifth rocket hit an electric power line in the evening, leaving the Jewish town in darkness. Power was gradually restored to the city over the next several hours.

The car carrying the terrorists was laden with Kassam rockets. The cell was on its way to launching them at Jewish targets when it was liquidated. Among the three dead is the commander of a northern Gaza branch of the Al-Kassam Brigades, Imad Al-Makusi, 32.

The death of such terrorists is always good news. So is this additional defensive move by the Israelis.

In a counter-terror aerial attack Thursday night, the IDF, targeted a weaponry manufacturing facility in Sajaiya, in southern Gaza. The weapons factory was located in the home of Ashraf Faruna, a senior Hamas terrorist. According to the IDF spokesman, Faruna was involved in numerous attacks as well as the manufacturing and distribution of weapons to terrorist cells. The PA claimed that several people were killed in the offensive; the IDF was unable to confirm or deny the claim.

The IDF spokesman noted that prior to the offensive, the IDF warned the population not to stay in structures that are used by terrorist organizations for storing weaponry. A statement from the IDF read: "Terrorist organizations operate from within civilian populations, while cynically exploiting uninvolved civilians and using them as human shields, exploiting their homes to store weaponry and launching rockets at Israeli towns from populated areas."

And just to clarify, Hamas has not changed its stripes, nor does it accept the right of Israel to engage in such defensive actions.

Hamas warned Israel that it would "painfully avenge" the recent deaths, and says it has "surprises" for Israel if the IDF tries to invade Gaza. "The enemy entangles itself when it merely infiltrates a few meters into Gaza," a Hamas spokesman said, "so what will happen if it infiltrates into all of the Gaza Strip?!"

Has the time come to exterminate the Hamasroaches?

|| Greg, 06:23 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dem Fundraiser Skips Arraignments

He is traveling abroad. Id be surprised if he bothers returning to the country.

A fundraiser and political confidant of Gov. Rod Blagojevich missed his arraignment Friday on federal charges that he swindled investors and used fraud to get a $10 million loan.

Antoin "Tony" Rezko, 51, was traveling overseas but intends to return to face the charges next week, defense attorney Joseph J. Duffy told U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel.

Wednesday's indictments caught the real estate and fast food entrepreneur by surprise, Duffy told the judge.

"I spoke with him this morning and he told me that he was aware of his obligation as a citizen, and he was prepared to meet that obligation," Duffy said. The judge continued the arraignment to next Thursday.

The attorney said Rezko also would miss a court appearance later Friday on separate charges that he and millionaire campaign contributor Stuart Levine plotted to shake down investment firms seeking state business for kickbacks.
Duffy told reporters he did not know Rezko's exact whereabouts.

Prosecutors had said after the two indictments were unsealed that Rezko, of suburban Wilmette, could be considered a fugitive if he failed to show up for his arraignment. An arrest warrant was issued earlier this week.

Given the level of corruption endemic in the Illinois Democrat Party, the shakedowns and kickbacks of which Mr. Rezko is accused are no surprise. Starting with the Chicago machine and oozing on Downstate, there is a long history of such shenanigans among Democrats in the state. Indeed, that is why the state went over two decades without electing a Democrat as governor and why the GOP refused to stand behind former governor George Ryan when his illegal conduct was uncovered.

My question is when the indictment of Blagojevich will be handed down.

|| Greg, 06:22 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

First Indict, Then Investigate

That seems to be the strategy of Ronnie Earle in the Tom DeLay case. After all, how else can you explainthe fact that only a few hundred dollars of expenses related to the Tom DeLay investigation were reported prior to the indictment of the former GOP congressman, while tens of thousands were reported afterwards?

Weeks before Texas Republican Tom DeLay resigned from Congress, five of Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle's staffers traveled to Washington, D.C., and pursued their investigation of DeLay at a cost of more than $40,000.

The expenditures, made six months after DeLay was indicted by a grand jury that heard evidence presented by Earle's staff, are documented in records obtained by the Houston Chronicle on Thursday. Under open records law, the newspaper had asked for material on the cost of the probe.

Rosemary Lehmberg, a top Earle deputy, said Thursday that Earle's team traveled to Washington from Austin to interview witnesses in preparation for DeLay's trial, which is still pending.

Almost all the spending for the investigation of DeLay was made only after he was indicted in September 2005, according to the records.

Of the $41,103 that Earle's office said reflected all the money spent pursuing the case, only $313 was documented before the indictment. Yet Earle's probe of DeLay began in February 2003.

Lehmberg said it is possible some of the expenses, such as a $3,000 fee for transcribing witness statements, involved witnesses interviewed before DeLay was indicted and that the transcripts were produced afterward.

Oh, and by the way, Earle refuses to disclose how he is spending the public's money for nearly half his expenses related to the case. I gues that we, the little people, just ae not entitled to know how he pissed-away $19,000.

Ronnie Earle -- unethical by any definition.

|| Greg, 04:20 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dems Engage In Politics OfPpersonal Destruction

It is a sign of two things -- the lack of a substantive platform and the desire to win at any cost. The Democrats have decided that if they cannot win on substance, they can just dig up dirt -- real or imagined -- on their opponents.

In the wake of the Mark Foley page scandal, Democrats are targeting the personal lives of Republicans in numerous key House races as part of a campaign to capitalize on voter disgust with the messy personal lives and alleged character defects among elected officials.

Although Democrats' internal polling shows that the Foley scandal is resonating deeply only in half a dozen races, party operatives are calculating that GOP candidates are now unusually vulnerable to personal attacks, several candidates and strategists said.

Opponents are questioning how one candidate tried to pick up women in a bar. Another wants to raise allegations of violence against a fomer girlfriend that were investigated by the police and found lacking. Still another wants to focus on a three-decade-old DUI and a car accident years later. None of the charges are particularly relevant to the race in which they are being raised, but instead show a desperation and a desire to sink into the mud as a strategy for victory.

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

Reid's Ethical Lapse

I've been trying to sort through Harry Reid's confusing financial disclosure scandal for the last couple of days. I'm still trying to get a handle on all of the details, but have come to a conclusion similar to that of the Washington Post.

THE BEST CASE for Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) is that he was sloppy about financial disclosure rules in accounting for a real estate deal on which he made a $700,000 profit. The more unattractive case is that the senator's inaccurate description of the investment was an effort to disguise his partnership with a Las Vegas lawyer who's never been charged with wrongdoing but whose name has surfaced in federal investigations involving organized crime, casinos and political bribery since the 1980s. As of now, the evidence points toward sloppiness; Mr. Reid's friendship with Jay Brown isn't exactly a secret in the state. But either way, an Associated Press report about Mr. Reid's dealings doesn't cast the senator in an attractive light. Neither does his response to the AP story, which indicates a casual disregard for the importance of accurate reporting of lawmakers' financial affairs.

The real problem here is not necessarily the deal itself -- it is the cover-up. Why hang up on a reporter who calls asking questions? Why attack teh integrity of those who raise questions about the deal? Why not simply issue amended financial disclosure materials? By failing to act, Harry Reid created an appearance of impropriety where I and others would have been willing to let the matter go. Instead, like any number of perceived financial irregularities by politicians on both sides of the aisle, we are forced to look more closely for wrongdoing where there may not be any.

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

October 12, 2006

When Free Speech And Islam Collide

Does religious tolerance dictate silence about those things that a faith says may not be discussed? Does the freedom to speak critically about historical figures, theology, and uncomfortable truths endure even when such speech offends religious believers? That is an issue that is being faced today in France, and in much of the Western world.

Most, I suspect, would agree that murders, looters, polygamists and such deserve little respect. Why then cannot there be an honest debate over whether Mohammed was -- as M. Redeker alleges -- a "merciless warlord, a looter, a mass murderer of Jews and a polygamist"? Simply because Islam allows of no debate when it comes to Allah, his prophet, and his word. And the French government is fine with that.

That's where provocateurs like M. Redeker come in. Redeker is simply trying to kick-start that debate, even at the price of his own hide. That takes guts, I think, something the French politicians lack. And something Muslim intellectuals like Prof. Tariq Ramadan, the French university lecturer, cannot comprehend. Ramadan ominously warned M. Redeker that he can write what he likes, "but he must know what he wanted -- he signed a stupidly provocative text."

It is clear, in the case of Tariq Ramadan, that those who speak uncomfortable truths or dare to critically examine things held sacred by some believers deserve to be attacked verbally and physically and indeed have chosen a course to action that merits such assaults and even death. Strangely enough, Ramadan does not extend his crabbed view of freedom to those who, like himself, espouse the hateful teachings of jihadi Islamism. After all, he is currently suing in a federal court demanding that he be allowed to travel to the US to take a position at a major university, and makes the claim that a denial of a visa is illegitimate because it is based upon a desire to censor his views. Perhaps we simply need to clarify to this Islamist swine that until he learns to respect the rights of non-Muslims to speak negatively about Islam (or any other religion), he is not welcome on our continent.

|| Greg, 03:24 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Big Brother Will Be Watching Chicago

Am I the only one troubled by this culture of surveillance that is developing in too many pats of the country?

Security and terrorism won't be an issue if Chicago wins the right to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games because, by that time, there'll be a surveillance camera on every corner, Mayor Daley said Wednesday.

"By the time 2016 [rolls around], we'll have more cameras than Washington, D.C. ... Our technology is more advanced than any other city in the world -- even compared to London -- dealing with our cameras and the sophistication of cameras and retro-fitting all the cameras downtown in new buildings, doing the CTA cameras," Daley said.

"By 2016, I'll make you a bet. We'll have [cameras on] almost every block."

Now how, exactly, will these cameras be used? Will they be strictly limited to providing evidence of crimes for investigatory purposes? Will they be monitored and reviewed looking for offenses and will such monitoring be for major crimes of revenue enhancing offenses? Or will they be a surveillance tool which, given the Chicago Police Department in monitoring political dissent, could mean that those whose views offend the powers that be could have their movements monitored and documented with staggering consequences.

|| Greg, 03:21 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

More Duke Revelations

And, as usual, they are bad for the prosecution and its flimsy case.

he dancing partner of the woman who accuses three Duke Lacrosse players of raping her refutes a key part of her partners account of the alleged crime.

Kim Roberts, who danced at the same party where the alleged rape took place, makes the revelation in an interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley this Sunday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Roberts' answer to Bradleys question directly contradicts a crucial statement the accuser gave to police. Bradley asks whether she, Roberts, who goes by the stage name "Nikki" when she performs, was holding onto the accuser at the beginning of the alleged crime.

Says Bradley, "In the police statement, [accuser] describes the rape in this way: 'Three guys grabbed Nikki,' 'That's you,'" says Bradley, "'Brett, Adam and Matt grabbed me. They separated us at the master bedroom door while we tried to hold on to each other. Bret, Adam and Matt took me into the bathroom.' Were you holding on to each other? Were you pulled apart?"

"Nope," replies Roberts, who says she was hearing this account for the first time.

Roberts also denies the accuser's statement to the police that after the alleged rape, Roberts came into the bathroom and helped one of the rapists dress her.

When pressed by Bradley about whether she saw signs of rape from the accuser, such as complaining about pain or a mention of an assault, Roberts says, "She obviously wasn't hurt...because she was fine."

Bradley's report also contains interviews with the three defendants, Collin Finnerty, Reade Selligmann and David Evans, all of whom proclaim their innocence, and others involved in the case.

It seems to me that, unless there is some bombshell information is ut there, DA Nifong needs to drop this case.

|| Greg, 03:20 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Warner Out

One has to wonder, though, what the full story is.

Did the former governor recognize he cant defeat Godzillary? Is there some family issue that takes precedence over political ambitions or perhaps a potentially embarrassing revelation Warner wants to forestall. Or should we take his statement at face value?

Former Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) announced this morning that he will not seek the presidency in 2008, saying he wants to spend more time with his family.

In a statement released shortly before his 11 a.m. press conference here, Warner said, "This has been a difficult decision, but for me, it's the right decision." He said he made up his mind after celebrating this father's 81st birthday in Connecticut and touring colleges with his oldest daughter.

"I know these moments are never going to come again. This weekend made clear what I'd been thinking about for many weeks -- that while politically this appears to be the right time for me to take the plunge -- at this point, I want to have a real life.

"And while the chance may never come again, I shouldn't move forward unless I'm willing to put everything else in my life on the back burner."

Maybe Im a cynic, but Im guessing that this is not all there is. After all, spending more time with my family is often a euphemism for Im trying to avoid a scandal. But I hope that isnt the case, because even while I disagree with Mark Warner on many issues, I have always had the impression that he was a decent guy and Im not so cynical that I wouldnt like to see him be every bit as clean as he appears at first glance.

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

A Well-Regulated Militia

Seems to me that this is not at all out of line with the underlying intent of the Founders not that government should be restricting the ownership and possession of firearms, but rather that they should be encouraging it as part of ones duty as a citizen.

Say an earthquake snaps a dam and the full force of the Boise River floods the Treasure Valley, driving untold thousands toward high ground.

Or maybe the subdivisions spreading west from Boise finally push big-box, subwoofer, exit-ramp America right up to this plateau of mint and alfalfa fields, where rural lives have passed in peace since Quakers settled a century ago.

However humanitys rush may arrive, a town must prepare. Greenleaf, population 862, is not taking the task lightly. Thus the proposed language for Section 2, Chapter 6, Subsection 2 of the Greenleaf City Code.

Heads of households to maintain firearms, the heading announces.

In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, the proposal says, it is recommended that every head of household residing in the city limits maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore, and obtain appropriate training relating to proper, safe and lawful handling of firearms.

Im for more guns in our society, not fewer. Todays gun laws are destined to keep the law-abiding, responsible citizens of this country disarmed and vulnerable both to the criminal class and the government. But Jeffersonian principles support the idea that the people should always be able to overpower a tyrannical government that has become destructive of their liberties, which has the side-benefit of enabling them to deal with those of their fellow citizens who would threaten their life, liberty, or property.

In the end, gun ownership is about ensuring self-reliance and not dependence on government.

|| Greg, 03:04 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

This Slope Sure Looks Slippery

I'm not a fan of video games. I don't play them, and haven't done so with any regularity since the days of video arcades, featuring Space Invaders Tempest and Frogger. So I really don't have any knowledge about the game Bully. But I find the implications of this suit and the possible outcome to be quite disturbing.

The Bully is taking a beat-down. Game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. was ordered to demonstrate an upcoming video game titled "Bully" for a judge to determine whether it violates Florida's public nuisance laws. Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Ronald Friedman issued the order yesterday.

The move is a major coup for conservative Miami attorney Jack Thompson, known for his crusades against pornography and obscene rap music, and now the video game industry. He claims that the makers of the game have designed a "Columbine simulator" in Bully, which follows the life of a prep school student as he navigates the social ladders of a fictional school called Bullworth Academy.

Thompson filed the lawsuit a month ago, claiming that the game would violate Florida's public-nuisance laws, which are more typically used to prosecute environmental polluters. Besides Take-Two, the suit also names retailers Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and GameStop Corp.

"My view is that the game potentially impinges on public safety," he said. "I'm pretty sure that the game is harmful to minors."

Since the game has not been released yet, how does this idiot lawyer know that it is a "Columbine simulator", And even if it were a "shooting gallery" game set in the halls of a high school, would that make any difference from a First Amendment standpoint? After all, if the game is a public nuisance, what about movies, television shows, and music that glorify certain sorts of anti-social behavior. Might a judge be able to declare them to be a "public nuisance" subject to special regulations or outright bans, the guarantees of the US Constitution notwithstanding? Heck, I could see lawsuits declaring certain religious groups to be a "public nuisance" because of their unpopular or "intolerant" (read that "in accordance with traditional Christian teaching") teachings constituting a threat to others

A better move, from my point of view, would be to declare Jack Thompson, the lawyer in this case, to be a public nuisance, to strip him of his license to practice law, and to forbid him to file any future lawsuits seeking censorship of others.

After all, if you don't like the game then don't buy it and don't allow your kids to buy it. I realize that some folks have a real problem with such radical concepts of personal responsibility over government regulation, but it strikes me as much more important from the standpoint of balancing individual liberty over government power.

|| Greg, 04:29 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 11, 2006

Trucking School Chief, Indicted On Terror-Related Fraud Charges, Is Dem Legislative Candidate In Missouri

But hey, at least he didn't send anyone a creepy email. And I'd love to know why the GOP is not all over this scandal.

With all the Democrats screaming about Mark Foley, we wonder why there's hardly a peep from Republicans about Dean P. Proffitt. has learned that Proffitt--the indicted chief of a Missouri Trucking School----is THE Democratic candidate for the Missouri House of Representatives from Missouri's 151st District. As we reported in September, Proffitt was indicted because, as superintendent of the South Central Career Center Truck Driver Training School in West Plains, Missouri, his school provided answers for the Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Test to Muslim students seeking to fraudulently pass the test and seek CDLs and Hazardous Materials hauling certificates.

A whopping 60% of those taking the CDL test at Proffitt's trucking school were Muslims, who'd traveled from all over the U.S. and the world to take the test specifically at the school. That's because his school enabled Muslims to cheat. Some never even attended classes and can't drive trucks. As we reported yesterday, there has already been one fatality linked to a Muslim driver from the school, the killing of an Oklahoma State Trooper. True to the phonetics of his surname, Dean Proffitt apparently cared more about making a profit than America's security.

So let's get this straight. This guy is under indictment for enabling hundreds of folks to fraudulently get a CDL -- which makes it possible for a potential terrorist to create and transport an 18-wheel truck-bomb. Not only that, but one of his alums who obtained his license fraudulently recently murdered an Oklahoma state trooper. But nobody is saying anything about it? Why is this not a serious scandal?

H/T Debbie Schlussel

|| Greg, 06:52 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Homo Hypocrite Threatens To Violate Privacy Of Gay Republicans

Professional queers like Mike Rogers tell us that homosexuals have a right to be left alone, and to reveal their sexual orientation in their own time and own way or not at all.

But that rule doesnt apply to homosexuals who dare to engage in the heresy of independent thought and deviation from the political orthodoxy of the gay rights movement.

Homosexual activist Mike Rogers said he will reveal the identities of homosexual Republicans on Capitol Hill each day "for hypocritically opposing gay rights for political reasons when they themselves are gay."

But according to Rogers, who runs a web log called, he's "reporting on hypocrisy," not "outing them."

"The right wing of this country is so out of control beating up gay people," Rogers told Cybercast News Service on Tuesday.

Rogers named two congressional staffers who he believes had "a vested interest in protecting closeted men like former Republican Congressman Mark Foley so the majority can remain in power." One of those staffers left Capitol Hill earlier this year.

Rogers also blamed the Republican Party for pushing the Federal Marriage Amendment and the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy.

"It's [because of] those kinds of things that it's time to say 'enough, it's over,'" Rogers said. "Those who equate being gay with immorality will be surprised just how diverse the House Republican Caucus is when it comes to sexual orientation.

"The party is over for these guys who think they can be gay and beat up gay people, and there are a lot of them in the Republican Party," Rogers added.

In other words, homosexuals are only as free to exercise their political rights as the queer mafia like Rogers are willing to permit them to be. If they dont hew the right (or is that left?) political line, they lose what we keep being told is an essential right.

It rather makes me wonder if folks Rogers and his ilk are behind the Foley scandal, outing him not because of his sex talk with a former page but because of his politics. After all, folks like Rogers still view Gerry Studds as a hero and a role model, even though he actually engaged in sex acts with a page while that boy was serving his internship. The difference (other than the fact that Studds actions were much more repulsive) is that Studds is appropriately progressive in his politics, while Foley was a conservative. Thus Studds was and is exempt from criticism while the activists seek to destroy gay Republicans because they dare to support conservative policies.

What moral midgets like Rogers fail to recognize is that the overwhelming majority of conservatives are significantly more tolerant of homosexuals than he is. We judge them based upon their individual behavior and character, not upon their adherence to the correct set of political beliefs. We dont use their sexuality as a club to beat them into submission that is the job for Mike Rogers in the other intolerant leftists of the gay no-rights movement.

And remember, this is not the first time Mike Rogers has attempted to intimidate gay conservatives.


|| Greg, 05:03 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Voter Registration Fraud In St. Louis

But, of course, we wouldnt want folks to have to prove their identity and citizenship in order to register or vote, would we? That might make it even easier to detect fraudulent registrants.

St. Louis Election Board officials say they've discovered at least 1,492 "potentially fraudulent" voter registration cards - including three from dead people and one from a 16-year-old - among the thousands pouring in before today's voter registration deadline for the Nov. 7 election.

City Republican elections director Scott Leiendecker said the board's staff expects to find even more bogus voter-registration applications among the thousands remaining to be processed. The board plans to turn all the questionable cards over to city Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce for investigation and possible prosecution, said board chairman Kimberley Mathis.

The board says all the questionable cards were turned in by one group - the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, commonly known as ACORN.

Brian Mellor, the group's election counsel, said that it welcomed any prosecutions of workers who turn in fraudulent cards. "We try very hard to monitor the employees, but there are chances of things slipping through," he said.

My buddy Dan keeps telling me that he is unaware of any history of voter fraud in Missouri maybe this will stick in his memory next time we talk about requiring the same sort of identification necessary to get a passport or cash a check.

And is anyone else struck by the fact that once again it is ACORN that is the source of hundreds of fraudulent registration cards? They have a history of this sort of stuff around the nation whenever they run voter registration drives. Think we could get a RICO prosecution over this issue?

|| Greg, 04:49 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Only If You Are A Promiscuous IV Drug-User

This declaration from international HIV expert marginally talented actress Scarlett Johansonn tells us more about her morals and activities than about what responsible adults should be doing.

While most people have a dental check-up every six months, Scarlett Johansson has revealed that she has two HIV tests a year. She said it was "part of being a decent human to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases".

* * *

"I do think on some basic level we are animals and by instinct we kind of breed accordingly. But, as much as I believe that, I work really hard when I'm in a relationship to make it work in a monogamous way.

"I get tested for HIV twice a year. . . One has to be socially aware. It's part of being a decent human to be tested for STDs. It's just disgusting behaviour when people don't. It's so irresponsible."

No, most of us simply have sufficient self-control to keep needles out of our veins, keep our pants on, and stay in stable monogamous relationships. Those are the actions of decent human beings. Failure to engage in them is disgusting and irresponsible.

|| Greg, 04:38 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

German Literalism Threatens Anti-Nazi Efforts

After all, a ban on a symbol is a ban on a symbol -- even if the symbol is being mocked and deprecated.

Juergen Kamm, the owner of a small German mail-order business, makes a modest living fighting neo-Nazis. His firm sells sloganeering T-shirts, music albums and books as part of a campaign to rid the country of extremists. "Smash Fascism!" one hot-selling button urges.

Last week, however, a court in the city of Stuttgart ruled that under German law Kamm might as well be a Nazi himself. His crime? Selling items bearing swastikas, the Nazi symbol that has been forbidden here since the end of World War II.

Never mind that Kamm's company, Nix Gut, loosely translated as "No Good," displayed the swastika only inside a crossed-out circle or as part of other designs intended to impugn Nazis and their ilk. A panel of judges agreed with state prosecutors in Stuttgart that any reproduction of the symbol, no matter the context, risked making it socially acceptable again in Germany.

"The danger of familiarization is ever present," said presiding Judge Wolfgang Kuellmer. "In particular, this mass-market business risked undermining its taboo status."

I hate the swastika. I also hate the ubiquitous Che photo. But I wish that they are never banned -- because making them illegal just makes them attractive to a small segment of non-conformist, not just the moral midgets who accept the underlying philosophy.

Free speech is the key to killing malignant ideologies -- from Nazism to Communism to Islamism.

|| Greg, 08:00 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

No Handwriting On The Wall?

I've noticed this trend over the last few years -- many of my kids cannot use cursive writing and continue to print. Not only that, some don't even print well.

The computer keyboard helped kill shorthand, and now it's threatening to finish off longhand.

When handwritten essays were introduced on the SAT exams for the class of 2006, just 15 percent of the almost 1.5 million students wrote their answers in cursive. The rest? They printed. Block letters.

And those college hopefuls are just the first edge of a wave of U.S. students who no longer get much handwriting instruction in the primary grades, frequently 10 minutes a day or less. As a result, more and more students struggle to read and write cursive.

Many educators shrug. Stacked up against teaching technology, foreign languages and the material on standardized tests, penmanship instruction seems a relic, teachers across the region say. But academics who specialize in writing acquisition argue that it's important cognitively, pointing to research that shows children without proficient handwriting skills produce simpler, shorter compositions, from the earliest grades.

Scholars who study original documents say the demise of handwriting will diminish the power and accuracy of future historical research. And others simply lament the loss of handwritten communication for its beauty, individualism and intimacy.

I'd add one additional reason for the use of printing -- the increase in the number of foreign-born or first-generation Hispanic students. The Mexican education system teaches block printing -- to the point that students do written work on what in this country considers to be graphing paper, with one letter to the box. Studetns who started school south of the border learned that system, and the children of such immigrants are often taught that at home. The result is a shift in style.

|| Greg, 04:37 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Peter Jackson Options Temeraire Novels

I mentioned new author Naomi Novik's series">series several weeks ago as one of my favorite new finds. Look's like Peter Jackson is interested in giving them the Lord of the Rings">Lord of the Rings treatment.

Naomi Novik has written three fantasy novels chronicling the Napoleon-era adventures of a swashbuckling ship captain and a heroic dragon named Temeraire who fight to rescue Britain from a French invasion.

Now she has a dramatic tale of her own: Geek Girl Makes Good.

Ms. Novik has just sold the film rights to all three of her books to Peter Jackson, the director of such blockbusters as King Kong and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The deal has completed her ascent from a computer programmer to a virtually unknown writer to a newly minted member of a select group of authors J. R. R. Tolkien among them whose novels could receive the extravagant high-tech, big-budget Jackson treatment.

Sitting in the living room of the tidy Upper East Side apartment she shares with her husband, Charles Ardai, Ms. Novik, a petite, pale and bookish-looking 33-year-old, said she had always hoped her novels would catch Mr. Jacksons eye.

I fantasized about Peter Jackson, said Ms. Novik, surrounded by bookshelves crammed with Star Wars figurines and vintage toys that bring to mind the apartment of the lead character in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Before we ever sent the books to Hollywood, really, I was talking, we were joking with friends. Even my parents were saying, Wouldnt it be wonderful if the man who did Lord of the Rings bought your books?

Im a big geek and a fangirl, she said, referring to her penchant for fantasy fiction. If you wanted to make a dragon movie, I would be incredibly excited about it, just for that. And if its mine, so much the better.

It is nice to see science fiction and fantasy works going more and more mainstream instead of being treated like escapist fare for pimple-faced teenagers with no friends. Some of the best writing today is found in the genre, which is so much more than Star Trek and Star Wars.

By the way, to give you a quick taste of what reviewers are saying of Novik's work, I encourage you to look at this.

Reviewing her first novel, His Majestys Dragon, in The Washington Post, Rachel Hartigan Shea wrote that the book contained a generous dollop of intelligent derring-do. The Times of London called it Patrick OBrian crossed with Anne McCaffrey: historic, seafaring adventure, with dragons.

And now, coming soo to a theater near you!

And speaking of Anne McCaffrey, when will we get a film or television adaptation of the Pern novels?

|| Greg, 04:22 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Return Of the Tridentine Mass?

We hear of such moves from time to time -- will the Latin Mass be brought back as an option for the Catholic Church?

THE Pope is taking steps to revive the ancient tradition of the Latin Tridentine Mass in Catholic churches worldwide, according to sources in Rome.

Pope Benedict XVI is understood to have signed a universal indult or permission for priests to celebrate again the Mass used throughout the Church for nearly 1,500 years. The indult could be published in the next few weeks, sources told The Times.

Use of the Tridentine Mass, parts of which date from the time of St Gregory in the 6th century and which takes its name from the 16th-century Council of Trent, was restricted by most bishops after the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

This led to the introduction of the new Mass in the vernacular to make it more accessible to contemporary audiences. By bringing back Mass in Latin, Pope Benedict is signalling that his sympathies lie with conservatives in the Catholic Church.

During my seminary days, i knew any number of my fellow seminarians and lay people who wanted to see the Tridentine Rite made more available, due to both an attachment to the Church of their youth and a respect for the history o the Church. This will help to satisfy those folks. It may also help to heal the rift between schismatic supporters of the Latin Mass and the Catholic Church. This seems like a measured, moderate move on the part of a Pope who seems most interested in bringing reasonable people of faith together, not dividing them.

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

But It Has Nothing To Do With The Nature Of Islam, Of Course.

After all, we get reports of Christian parents murdering their children because they want to leave the faith every day -- don't we?

A RELIGIOUS feud between a Muslim father and his teenage daughter may have sparked a bloody domestic dispute on Queensland's Gold Coast which left the man's wife dead and him fighting for life in hospital.

Police are investigating suggestions the violence erupted after the 17-year-old girl told her father she wanted to opt out of the Islamic faith and convert to Christianity. The girl's mother is believed to have stepped in to protect her daughter, only to be fatally stabbed with a kitchen knife.

Neighbours reported hearing "blood-curdling" screams before the hysterical girl ran half-naked from their Southport home unit covered in scratches.

Police later found the body of the girl's mother, 41, inside the blood-smeared unit. Her husband was taken to the Gold Coast Hospital with a stab wound to the chest. He was last night in a critical condition under police guard.

I've known parents who were sad or angry over the decision of a parent who chose to convert from Christianity to some other faith. But I've never met, or read about, a parent who tried to kill a child over that issue.

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

October 10, 2006

Excuse Me? Who Knew About Foley?

Ken Silverstein of Harpers explains why he didnt run the Foley story months ago.

But interestingly enough, we should consider the reaction of several lefty websites.

Among those who received information about the story but declined to pursue it were liberal outlets such as,, and The New Republic (The Hill, Roll Call, and Time magazine also had the Foley story, though I'm not certain when it came to their attention.).

Excuse me these reliably liberal websites and publications knew about the story but didnt see fit to go public? Werent Josh Marshal and John Aravosis sufficiently concerned about the safety of the pages to publish the information on their site or to turn the material over to the police or FBI? Shouldnt they have known that these emails indicated serious predatory behavior? Or did they simply see emails that were creepy, inappropriate, and unprofessional, but not really indicative of anything more?

Or do they hold themselves to lower standards than they hold the House leadership?

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

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are "Peace" and War on an Autumn Afternoon by Gates of Vienna, and Observations on Arabs by Rants and Raves.  Here is a link to and to the full results of the vote.  Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
2  2/3"Peace" and War on an Autumn Afternoon
Gates of Vienna
1  2/3There Are No Words
1  2/3The Horrors of Club Gitmo... and Camp Pendleton
1  1/3So Whatever Happened to Ruthlessness?
The Sundries Shack
1  1/3Goldberg on Torture: Sophistry on a Stick
Right Wing Nut House
1AbbaGav Goes To Crossing-Guard School
2/3Wonkitorial: Artless, Spineless, and Clueless In Texas
The Education Wonks
1/3The Media We Deserve
Done With Mirrors
1/3For the Sake of the Fifty
The Glittering Eye
1/3Sekula-Gibbs Supports Public Safety - Pro-Wetback Council Members Play Politics
Rhymes With Right
1/3Democratic Israel Jujitsu
Soccer Dad

VotesNon-council link
3  1/3Observations on Arabs
Rants and Raves
2On Perversions, Pedophiles, and the Homophobes of the Left
One Cosmos
1  2/3Unnecessary Division Over Unnecessary Divisions?
Classical Values
1  1/3The Declassified NIE Excerpts
The Belmont Club
1(UPDATED) Libertarian Democrat: Part I -- Initial Reaction
The QandO Blog
2/3A Thought on the Pending Racial School Assignment Cases: "Individual Review" of ... What?
2/3How Not To Argue About Islam
Michelle Malkin
1/3Dear Aaron: Year End 5766
Elie's Expositions

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

Speech-Disrupting Students Claim They Are Victims

Of all the unmitigated gall!

First your try to prevent a speech by interrupting the speaker.

Then you rush the stage and unfurl banners, stopping the program.

You drive the speaker from the stage.

And when the college you attend seeks to punish you for violating the First Amendment rights of the speaker and his sponsors, as well as the academic freedom of the university community, you claim that you are the real victims!

The protesters who rushed the stage at Columbia University Wednesday night when the founder of a volunteer border-patrol group tried to speak are crying foul, asserting that they were the victims of the violence and that they should not be disciplined by the university.

After the students climbed onstage, overturning tables and chairs and causing mayhem, President Lee Bollinger called the students' disruption of the event "one of the most serious breaches of academic faith that can occur at a university."

"It is unacceptable to seek to deprive another person of his or her right of expression through actions such as taking a stage and interrupting the speech," Mr. Bollinger said in a statement, adding that "of course" the university is investigating the incident.

Three students who claimed responsibility for taking the stage and interrupting the speech by the border-patrol group known as the Minutemen held a press conference yesterday on Broadway outside the university. One of the students, Karina Garcia, the political chairwoman of the Chicano Caucus, said that she and her fellow protesters were the victims of a "massive campaign of vilification and demonization."

Flanked by members of the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism group and the National Lawyers Guild, which have rallied to the student protesters' cause, Ms. Garcia said,"We wanted the whole world to know that the Minutemen are racists who terrorize defenseless immigrant families" and that the protesters set out to "sabotage them."

In other words, the arrogant Ms. Garcia claims that she and her Leftist colleagues have the right to determine what views are acceptable and may be expressed on the campus of Columbia University. They claim the right to respond with violence to silence any view that they disagree with. That is typical of a totalitarian mindset. I won't even get into the inaccuracy of the characterization of the Minutemen, whose group includes members of all ethnic groups and is concerned with stopping the illegal crossing of our nation's borders, not the race of the border-jumpers.

In a reversal of standard accounts of Wednesday evening's events, Ms. Garcia said that when the protesters stormed the stage, they were attacked by the Minutemen and other students. "Shame on the administration for launching an investigation into peaceful protesters," she said. Ms. Garcia referred to video footage captured by the Spanish television network Univision that she said depicted the violence.The video shows students fighting over a banner that the protesters unfurled, but the violence to which Ms. Garcia said she was victim is not evident.

Ms. Garcia said that no disciplinary action had been taken yet. She nonetheless called on the public to send letters to Mr. Bollinger demanding that the investigation be halted. She said that he has already received over 3,000 such notes.

Student protesters attesting to the violence they said had been inflicted on them by the Minutemen followed Ms. Garcia at the podium. The student leader of the International Socialist organization, Monique Dols, said that the Minutemen's "violent backlash" was "in the same tradition of the attackers in Birmingham and Montgomery," referring to events of the Civil Rights era. Comparing the plight of illegal immigrants to that of blacks in the 1960s, Ms. Dols advocated for granting full rights to illegal aliens, noting, "Every movement for social justice has always been deemed untimely or too extreme. It's time for immigrant rights."

Ms garcia, what those who had reserved the stage and sponsored the talk were doing was defending themselves and their civil rights from a lawless mob intent on denying them their liberties as American citizens. Given the history of violent attacks upon defenders of American sovereignty by those who support immigration criminals, their actions were reasonable. You engaged in mob action, and they treated you like the violent gang you and your supporters proved yourself to be.

Ultimately, Ms. Garcia, you reveal yourself in one comment from the press conference.

Challenged by reporters to square her advocacy of free speech with her decision to take the stage at last Wednesday's event, Ms. Dols said, "The nature of these questions shows there's more concern for the Minutemen than for helpless illegal immigrants."

Damn straight -- we are much more concerned with preserving our nation and the rights and liberties enshrined in our Constitution than in allowing and assisting the violation of American law and American sovereignty. That comment proves that you place foreign law-breakers ahead of American citizens. You should be ashamed of yourself. Here's hoping that Columbia expels the lot of you.

|| Greg, 04:59 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Problem With Banning Historical Points Of View

I've got a Holocaust-deying troll who has been infesting my site for some time. He is an immoral, intellectually-deficient pseud-Christian hate-monger. But under no circumstance should he be considered a criminal for his holding and expression of a repugnant view that is contrary to the overwhelming weight of historical evidence.

A situation taking place in Europe now illustrates the folly of laws banning the publication of what the government decides is the only correct interpretation of historical evidence.

Turkey's painful progress towards European Union membership has been plunged into crisis by a dispute with the French over the massacre of Armenians during and after the 1914-18 war.

A Socialist-backed proposal, which could pass the National Assembly on Thursday, would make it illegal in France to deny that the killings amounted to genocide by Turkey.

The legislation, which has gained support from Right-wing assembly members, would see anyone denying that a genocide took place jailed for up to five years.

Armenians claim that as many as 1.5 million of their ancestors were killed between 1915 and 1923 in an organised campaign to eradicate them from eastern Turkey.

The Turkish government fiercely denies a genocide, saying that hundreds of thousands of Turks and Armenians died in a civil war.

Under Turkish law, it is illegal to accuse the state of genocide. Scores of Turkish writers and intellectuals who have debated the massacres publicly have faced prosecution under article 301 of the penal code, outlawing insults to "Turkishness".

The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reacted with indignation to the French proposal, asking: "What would you do if the Turkish prime minister came to France and denied that the genocide had taken place? Arrest him?"

And therein lies the problem. Such an official, while clearly wrong about the history of his own nation, would not be a criminal in any moral sense -- merely deluded. After all, the documentary evidence is too strong -- including pictures of soldiers standing next to piles of severed heads of Armenian men, women and children.

But neither is the scholar who dares to present that evidence to document the grave evil that took place betwen 1915 and 1923 a criminal, for all of Turkey's attempt to punish those who dare to speak the truth about the murder of millions of Christian Armenians by Muslim Turks acting (for at least part of that time) on behalf of the religious government of the Muslim Ottoman Empire.

The study of history is not a crime. Stating one's conclusions should not be, either.

|| Greg, 04:44 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

No Nuke?

So says Bill Gertz of the Washington Times, quoting US officials.

U.S. intelligence agencies say, based on preliminary indications, that North Korea did not produce its first nuclear blast yesterday.

U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that seismic readings show that the conventional high explosives used to create a chain reaction in a plutonium-based device went off, but that the blast's readings were shy of a typical nuclear detonation.

"We're still evaluating the data, and as more data comes in, we hope to develop a clearer picture," said one official familiar with intelligence reports.

"There was a seismic event that registered about 4 on the Richter scale, but it still isn't clear if it was a nuclear test. You can get that kind of seismic reading from high explosives."

The underground explosion, which Pyongyang dubbed a historic nuclear test, is thought to have been the equivalent of several hundred tons of TNT, far short of the several thousand tons of TNT, or kilotons, that are signs of a nuclear blast, the official said.

The official said that so far, "it appears there was more fizz than pop."

A successful nuclear detonation requires a properly timed and triggered conventional blast that splits atoms, setting off the nuclear chain reaction that produces the massive explosions associated with atomic bombs.

Which means, of course, that the NorKs attempted to set off a nulear explosion, but that they failed to pull it off and instead got a blast far short of what they had anticipated.

|| Greg, 04:27 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 09, 2006

How Can We Let Her Have Any Power?

In her own words --Nancy Pelosi on the need for a missile defense program.

"The United States does not need a multi-billion-dollar national missile defense against the possibility of a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile."

Really, Mrs. Pelosi?


There once existed a Democrat Party filled with men and women who supported a strong national defense. Except for Joe Lieberman, rejected by his own party, they are gone.

|| Greg, 06:54 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Mexico To Take Fence Issue To UN?

So not only does Mexico intend to continue violating American sovereignty by aiding its citizens as they illegally cross the border into the United States, now they want the UN to tell the United States it cannot act to stop the passage of these Mexicn citizens by building a fence inside the borders of the United States!

Mexico's foreign secretary said Monday the country may take a dispute over U.S. plans to build a fence on the Mexican border to the United Nations.

Luis Ernesto Derbez told reporters in Paris, his first stop on a European tour, that a legal investigation was under way to determine whether Mexico has a case.

The Mexican government last week sent a diplomatic note to Washington criticizing the plan for 700 miles of new fencing along the border. President-elect Felipe Calderon also denounced the plan, but said it was a bilateral issue that should not be put before the international community.

Derbez said Monday after meeting with French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy that it was a "shame" U.S. immigration policy had been used for what he claimed was a short-term political gain in the lead-up to midterm elections in the U.S. in November.

He said he discussed the issue with Douste-Blazy, and planned to bring it up in meetings with his Spanish and Italian counterparts during visits to Madrid and Rome. He vowed to work on the case until the "very last day" of President Vicente Fox's term, which ends Dec. 1.

The U.S. Senate approved the border fence bill last month and President Bush has said he will sign it into law - despite last-minute pleas from the Mexican government for a veto.

"What should be constructed is a bridge in relations between the two countries," Derbez said.

Well, that would mean we need to tell both Mexico AND the UN that they can go to hell. This is entirely an internal matter, not subject to UN interference according to the UN charter. No question of human rights is impacted here.

Of course, if the UN does order the US to stop building the fence and allow unfettered illegal immigration, they would have no reason to object when the 82nd Airborne chose to "illegally immigrate" to Mexico with the assistance of the US Air Force and the US demanded that the Mexican government accede to its demand that the Mexican authorities unconditionally surrender to the United States and submit to annexation.

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

Ban The Burqa!

For national security reasons.

A MALE suspect in a major anti-terrorist investigation in Britain escaped capture by allegedly disguising himself as a Muslim woman dressed in a burka, The Times can reveal.

The man, who was wanted in connection with serious terrorist offences, evaded arrest for several days as police searched for him across the country.

The fact that a fugitive remained at large after disguising himself in an Islamic dress which covered his face will further fuel the debate sparked by Jack Straw, Leader of the House of Commons, about the wearing of the veil.

Details of the mans true identity were circulated to ports and airports to try to prevent him leaving the country.

He was eventually caught and is now one of more than 90 suspects in British prisons awaiting trial on terror charges.

The suspects name and the detail of the offences he is accused of cannot be revealed because of the danger of prejudicing his forthcoming trial.

It is the first time that a male suspect has allegedly disguised himself as a Muslim woman in Britain. However, the tactic has been used frequently by Islamist fighters including suicide bombers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, often dressed in a burka to evade American forces hunting him.

If it can be done there -- and it has been done elsewhere in the world -- then it can be done here. Such full face coverings are therefore a danger to national security and law enforcement.

|| Greg, 05:50 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Less Than Meets The Eye

No doubt the Left will be wanting to cry "retaliation!" However, I think there is significantly less to this story than meets the eye.

The Navy lawyer who led a successful Supreme Court challenge of the Bush administration's military tribunals for detainees at Guantanamo Bay has been passed over for promotion and will have to leave the military, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.

Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, 44, will retire in March or April under the military's ``up or out'' promotion system. Swift said last week he was notified he would not be promoted to commander.

He said the notification came about two weeks after the Supreme Court sided with him and against the White House in the case involving Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who was Osama bin Laden's driver.

``It was a pleasure to serve,'' Swift told the newspaper. He added he would have defended Hamdan even if he had known it would cut short his Navy career.

``All I ever wanted was to make a difference - and in that sense I think my career and personal satisfaction has been beyond my dreams,'' Swift said.

The Pentagon had no comment Sunday.

The problem with this story (by the anti-American Guardian) is that the promotion decision would have been made weeks before the Hamdan case was decided by the Supreme Court. There are only a limited number of promotion slots to captain available, particularly in the JAG Corps, and a lot of highly qualified attorneys seeking to make that next step. Much like we see each fall in the NFL when rosters are pruned, good men of talent and integrity do not make the cut and find themselves taking an unplanned career detour.

As my dad said to me some years ago when a friend's father retired under similar circumstances, such decisions are not a reflection on the man but are instead designed to make room for the next generation of officers coming up the ladder -- or else we would rapidly find the military full of 40-year-old lieutenants waiting for 60-year-old commanders and 70-year-old captains to die or retire. Military readiness dictates that we not allow such a situation to occur.

|| Greg, 05:45 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

No Agenda Dems

When the Dems get hammered by a member of the Washington Post editorial board, you know ther policy proposals really suck, where they exist at all.

If Democrats cared about poor women and minorities, they would be clamoring to reform Social Security. But instead they get a childish gratification out of stamping their feet and refusing to discuss the subject.

They can't muster the courage to block the suspension of habeas corpus. But when it comes to blocking entitlement reform, the Democrats ride out to battle.

I'm not saying that Republicans are at all better, and of course elections breed some policy timidity. But the infuriating thing about the Democrats is that, just a decade ago, they knew how to empathize with voters' economic insecurities without collapsing into irresponsibility; they combined attractively progressive social policies with sensible pro-market fiscal responsibility. Now many in the party have lost interest in this necessary balance. If the Democrats win a measure of power next month, it's hard to see what they will do with it.

In other words, at least the GOP, for all its current problems, is trying to do something. It is difficult to find an agenda among the Democrats.

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

Kolbe Knew -- But Washington Post Won't Tell Us What

I suppose there are a number of questions here. What was the content of the messages? What did Kolbe -- an openly gay Republican -- do about them? Who has been holding on to these messages since that time? What are the motives for releasing them now? And why is the Washington Post showing more deference to their secrets than to those involving America's nationl security?

A Republican congressman knew of disgraced former representative Mark Foley's inappropriate Internet exchanges as far back as 2000 and personally confronted Foley about his communications.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) confirmed yesterday that a former page showed the congressman Internet messages that had made the youth feel uncomfortable with the direction Foley (R-Fla.) was taking their e-mail relationship. Last week, when the Foley matter erupted, a Kolbe staff member suggested to the former page that he take the matter to the clerk of the House, Karen Haas, said Kolbe's press secretary, Korenna Cline.

Now this takes the date at which someone knew about the Foley problem back five years earlier -- but there is a problem. The Washington Post won't tell us what is in the messages in question.

A source with direct knowledge of Kolbe's involvement said the messages shared with Kolbe were sexually explicit, and he read the contents to The Washington Post under the condition that they not be reprinted. But Cline denied the source's characterization, saying only that the messages had made the former page feel uncomfortable. Nevertheless, she said, "corrective action" was taken. Cline said she has not yet determined whether that action went beyond Kolbe's confrontation with Foley.

In other words, the Washington Post knows what was in the messages, but we are expected to take it on faith that there is something improper about them. While the paper is prepared to spill national security secrets on the front page, it will hold back information needed for the American people to decide for themselves whether Kolbes actions were responsible or gross malfeasance. Neither will the Washington post share the source of their information with us, to permit us to assessits credibility -- or determine when the source knew of the emails and why that source did not come forward earlier. Also undisclosed is whether these messages have been shared with the House Leadership so that they can be investigated by the Ethics Committee -- or the authorities for criminal investigation.

Indeed, there are more questions than answers in this story -- and at least some of them need to be answered by the Washington Post.

|| Greg, 04:48 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 08, 2006

North Koreans Test Nukes

Well, the North Korean dictator has taken the dangerous and destablizing step of conducting a test of a nuclear weapon.

"The field of scientific research in the DPRK successfully conducted an underground nuclear test under secure conditions on October 9, 2006, at a stirring time when all the people of the country are making a great leap forward in the building of a great, prosperous, powerful socialist nation.

"It has been confirmed that there was no such danger as radioactive emission in the course of the nuclear test as it was carried out under scientific consideration and careful calculation.

"The nuclear test was conducted with indigenous wisdom and technology 100 percent. It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the KPA and people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defense capability.

"It will contribute to defending the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the area around it."

The test resulted in a 3.56 earth tremor that was measured in Seoul.

North Koreas neighbors and the world community had expressed concern in advance of the test.

The move came as Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began a visit to South Korea focused on pressuring North Korea to drop its planned nuclear test, and on improving bilateral relations soured by historical issues.

Abe arrived from Beijing, where he and President Hu Jintao had expressed "deep concern" about the test plan and vowed to push for the resumption of stalled disarmament talks.

North Korea's October 3 announcement that it plans to test a nuclear bomb in response to what it called US military threats and sanctions, had sparked worldwide alarm and condemnation from the UN Security Council.

What will be the reaction of South Korea and Japan? Of Red China? Of the US?

UPDATE -- Some world reaction here.

Although North Korea has long claimed it had the capability to produce a bomb, the test was the first manifest proof of its membership in a small club of nuclear-armed nations. A nuclear armed North Korea would dramatically alter the strategic balance of power in the Pacific region and would tend to undermine already fraying global anti-proliferation efforts.

"If the test (is) true, it will severely endanger not only Northeast Asia but also the world stability," Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso warned.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, facing his first major foreign policy test since his recent election, called for a "calm yet stern response."

South Korea said it had put its military on high alert, but said it noticed no unusual activity among North Korea's troops.

China, the North's closest ally and the impoverished nation's main source of food, expressed its "resolute opposition" to the reported test and urged the North to return to six-party nuclear disarmament talks. It said the North "defied the universal opposition of international society and flagrantly conducted the nuclear test."

Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair said the test was a "completely irresponsible act," and its Foreign Ministry warned of international repercussions.

The White House said a test defied world opinion.

"A North Korean nuclear test would constitute a provocative act in defiance of the will of the international community and of our call to refrain from actions that would aggravate tensions in Northeast Asia," Snow said.

Russia, which borders North Korea, had urged Pyongyang not to conduct a nuclear test. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov last week voiced concern about the environmental consequences for Russia. The Foreign Ministry warned that a test would add to regional tensions and undermine the international nuclear nonproliferation regime.

And the Washington Post offers this analysis which comes down to "It's all Bush's fault!" Ditto MSNBC/Newsweek, which blames sanctions against North Korea for forcing the pathetic dictator in Pyongyang to act. NY Times, shockingly, blames the Red Chinese.

Reaction from the blogosphere at Captain's Quarters, Stop the ACLU (twice), Blogs for Bush, Belmont Club

UPDATE II: Russia claims NorK nuke significantly larger than estimated by others.

Russia's defense minister said Monday that North Korea's nuclear test was equivalent to 5,000 tons to 15,000 tons of TNT.

That would be far greater than the force given by South Korea's geological institute, which estimated it at just 550 tons of TNT.

By comparison the bomb the United States dropped on Hiroshima during World War II was equivalent to 15,000 tons of TNT.

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

Califano Page Apologia -- True, But Fails To Deal With Weak Dem Response

I've mentioned the 1980s page scandal and the anemic response of the Democrat controlled House of Representatives to the physical sexual misconduct with pages. Former Carter Administration official Joseph Califano, who headed the investigation, offers his defense of his work. I think it falls short.

The most troubling aspect of the Mark Foley scandal is not his conduct, disgusting as it was, but what the response of the leadership reveals about the rancid state of partisanship and the consequent decline of the House of Representatives. Speaker Dennis Hastert presides over a legislative body so infested with mistrust that it doesn't even have a functioning ethics committee. Since the House is incapable of washing its own dirty laundry and policing itself, the speaker has to turn over that responsibility to the attorney general and the executive branch of government.

Compare the current situation with the way Speaker Tip O'Neill and the House handled the last scandal involving sexual misconduct with pages, in the summer of 1982.

Yes, let's compare the responses -- because the GOP comes off looking much better than the Democrats, by any reasonable standard.

On The CBS Evening News With Dan Rather that June, two former pages, their teen-age faces silhouetted to hide their identity, claimed they were victims of sexual abuse by members of Congress. One described homosexual advances by members; the other shocked the nation when he said he had engaged in homosexual relations with three members and procured prostitutes for others. The CBS broadcast sparked a wildfire of reports and rumors about sexual abuse of pages and drug use by members and pages.

I cannot help but note that the original charges were later recanted by the pages , who claimed that the CBS reporter put words in their mouth and distorted what they said. Seems that Dan Rather's newscast was lying to the American people from a very early date.

But let's set aside the sins of CBS and note a difference. One situation involved charges of ACTUAL sex between members and pages. The other involved (initially) several emails that were weird but not overtly sexual. That explains the difference in how the leadership would respond.

Within a week the House had authorized its ethics committee to conduct a full investigation of allegations of "sexual misconduct, illicit drug distribution and use, and offers of preferential treatment in exchange for sexual favors or drugs by Members, officers or employees of the House." House Speaker O'Neill and Minority Leader Robert Michel asked me to be special counsel to the ethics committee, co-chaired by Ohio Democrat Lou Stokes and South Carolina Republican Floyd Spence. I was allowed to select my own staff and given a commitment that I could follow the evidence wherever it led, because, as O'Neill and Michel said, "The integrity of the House is at stake."

And within hours of the salacious IMs being made public, the House leadership had driven Foley from Congress. Within a week an investigation was announced, but the Democrat leadership refused to consent to the appointment of a respected former head of the FBI to head the investigation because he had criticized the Democrat president under whom he had served and had donated money to the current Republican president. Clearly the current Democrat leadership believes that something more important than the integrity of the House is at stake -- the chance to use the scandal as a wedge issue to seize control of the House.

Assistant Deputy Attorney General Rudolph Giuliani was the point man for the Justice Department and its grand jury investigation of the charges. We agreed to exchange all relevant information and that there would be no leaks. Allegations of sexual misconduct and drug use were raw meat for a voracious, scandal-hungry Washington press corps, and Giuliani and I came across rumors and fragments of information about many members of Congress. We shared them all with each other, and there were no leaks from him or me.

The big surprise came when the two pages whom CBS had put on its evening news show recanted. They testified under oath that they had lied and that CBS reporter John Ferrugia had put words in their mouths. But uncovering the lies of the pages and the reckless reporting of CBS didn't end our investigation. We had received a host of allegations of sexual misconduct and drug use and sale by other pages and House members. We interviewed, under oath, some 2,000 past and present pages, adults who had supervised and taught them, congressional staffers, and House members. We issued scores of subpoenas.

And the FBI (which concluded the initial set of emails was not a criminal matter) is investigating again now that the IMs have been turned over to it. The matter will be investigated by the Ethics committee. Remember -- we are only 10 days from the initial revelation of the IMs.

We found no evidence of widespread sexual misconduct. We did find that Rep. Daniel Crane, R-Ill., had had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female page and that Rep. Gerry Studds, D-Mass., had sexual relations with a 17-year-old male page and had made advances to other teen-age male pages.

When I reported our findings to O'Neill and Michel, the dishonor that these members had brought on the House infuriated the two leaders. "Get it out," they said, "and let the committee recommend disciplinary action," which its four Democratic and four Republican members did, unanimously, in July 1983. Crane and Studds were censured by the House. Crane resigned his seat. Studds chose to stay on and was retained in office by his constituents for 13 more years.

But O'Neill didn't want the Ethics Committee to expel either of the members who engaged in sexual conduct with pages. Rather than really deal with the integrity of the House and say that such conduct was wrong, he supported mere censure. Newt Gingrich argued for expulsion of both the abusive congressmen -- including close ally Dan Crane -- but the Democrat-controlled leadership firmly opposed such a move. Democrats kept Studds -- a sexual predator -- around for over another decade and even gave him a committee chairmanship. Sonds like they had no concern at all about the integrity of the House. On the other hand, Crane was thrashed in his reelection attempt.

But the ethics committee had done its job well, we believed. Our investigation found other misdeeds:

House members two Democrats and a Republican had used drugs. And between 1978 and 1982 a number of House and Senate employees were involved in illicit use and distribution of drugs. All were named (Barry Goldwater Jr., who retired from the House; Fred Richmond, who admitted buying and using drugs and later pleaded guilty to tax evasion; and John Burton, who entered rehab and became a recovering addict with a productive career in the California state legislature). The employees were fired and prosecuted. The House adopted all the changes we recommended to provide far more attentive supervision of pages.

Note again -- the Republican, scion of a major political family, was run out of Congress. The Democrats continued to have active careers in politics -- until one pleaded guilty to other crimes. The other is referred to with respect. Interestingly enough, only staffers and aides were prosecuted -- no member of Congress faced criminal charges.

The course the House took in that scandal, and its reaction to the current one, show the difference between a leadership that saw a threat to the integrity of the House of Representatives and one that sees a threat to its continuing control of the institution. It's useful today to remember that there was a time when partisanship took second place to trust and the House leadership had the strength to wash its own dirty laundry.

Califano dishonors his work with this closing paragraph. The Democrat leadership allowed child molesters to stay in the House after knowing they had sex with pages. The GOP ran a member out of Congress after discovering conduct that may well be criminal but which involved no physical abuse of pages, only sexual talk. Who is the partisan here? Clearly the Democrats -- who would be howling if a gay Congressman were outed and disgraced over the initial emails.

|| Greg, 08:43 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (13) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

To Forgive, Divine

I'd like to think I could achieve this level of forgiveness. I don't know that I could.

Dozens of Amish neighbors came out Saturday to mourn the quiet milkman who killed five of their young girls and wounded five more in a brief, unfathomable rampage.

Charles Roberts, 32, was buried in his wife's family plot behind a small Methodist church, a few miles from the one-room schoolhouse he stormed Monday.

His wife, Marie, and their three small children looked on as Roberts was buried beside the pink, heart-shaped gravestone of the infant daughter whose death nine years ago apparently haunted him.

About half of perhaps 75 mourners on hand were Amish.

"It's the love, the forgiveness, the heartfelt forgiveness they have toward the family. I broke down and cried seeing it displayed," said Bruce Porter, a fire department chaplain from Morrison, Colo., who had come to Pennsylvania to offer what help he could and attended the burial. He said Marie Roberts also was touched.

"She was absolutely deeply moved by just the love shown," Porter said.

I disagree with various points of Amish teaching and theology -- but I do respect the group. Acts such of this show why their witness among the Christian community is so important.

UPDATE: Got to Church this morning and guess what the sermon illustration was.

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

October 07, 2006

Big Meat

Come on, guys -- get your mind out of the gutter.

I'm talking real, Texas-sized meat. Indeed, 72 ounces of sirloin goodness.

You used to have to travel to Amarillo to get it, but now it is just a mouse-click away -- meaning you can eat your meat in the privacy of your own home, instead of on display before a curious audience.

Since 1960, the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo has vigorously promoted its free 72-ounce steak dinner to thrill-seekers, hungry truckers and anyone else willing to pit human digestive capacity against 4 1/2 pounds of beef.

Now, they're offering the home version.

"At this point, I would say (the 72-ouncer) is accounting for at least 35 to 40 percent of total sales," said Kathie Greer, who oversees Big Texan's new mail-order business,

Although the gargantuan top sirloin is free in the fabled restaurant — provided the customer puts up a $72 deposit and also polishes off a salad, shrimp cocktail, baked potato and dinner roll in one hour — it costs $99.95 to get the same slab of beef delivered with extras, including an apron and spice rub.

"Already, in three months, we've sold more than we sold the entire previous year," she said.

The restaurant has long sold mail-order meat but didn't dedicate a Web site to it until this summer.

Of course, long-distance conquests of the signature cut don't count toward Big Texan's records. Of about 42,000 in-house attempts, only about 8,000 have succeeded. Women make up a small minority of contestants, but have won their meals about half the time while the macho men have racked up an impressive failure rate.

If you ever get a hankering for a huge steak, Greer offers a tip: Make it medium rare. Overcooked steaks can be dry.

So try your luck with a Texas legend!

|| Greg, 05:53 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Little Bit Of Happy News

Looks like the Dictator of Havana will be taking up residence in hell before too long. It seems that they Cuban strongman may be so ill with cancer that he will be unable to ever resume power.

Fidel Castro has terminal cancer and will not return to power as Cuba's leader, anonymous U.S. officials tell TIME magazine.

However, the officials said the intelligence reports on the ailing, 80-year-old Cuban president are not definitive.

Last month, Castro said in a statement that he has lost more than 41 pounds since he had intestinal surgery but added that the "most critical moment" was behind him.

The statement was accompanied by 10 photographs of Castro during his convalescence, in all of them sitting up and wearing either short-sleeved navy blue or light-blue pajamas. In several he is reading or writing.

Start chilling the champagne -- the parties in Miami and other places where freedom is still loved will begin immediately upon the announcement of the good news.

|| Greg, 05:22 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

When Equal Opportunity Requires Eliminating Choices

Women don't participate in sports at the same rate as men. Why then should men be denied the opportunity to compete in order to achieve some sort of "balance" in opportunities for women?

The James Madison University men’s and women’s cross-country teams had run especially well against an elite field during a competition late last month in eastern Pennsylvania. Afterward, Coach Dave Rinker gathered a giddy, excited group of athletes with tears in his eyes.

Rinker’s runners noticed he was not smiling. In the middle of the meet, back here on the James Madison campus, the university had announced it was eliminating men’s cross country and track, along with eight other, mostly men’s, sports to comply with Title IX, the federal gender-equity law.

“Title IX was created in 1972 to prevent sex discrimination, and it was needed,” Jennifer Chapman, a senior on the women’s cross-country team, which is not being eliminated, said four days later as she led a protest rally of 400 students on campus. “But look what’s happening now. We rode the bus home from Pennsylvania for four hours, 14 guys and 19 girls all crying together. How is that supposed to have been Title IX’s intent?”

* * *

James Madison’s student body of 17,000 is 61 percent female, and one provision for complying with Title IX instructs institutions to have the percentage of participating athletes match the ratio of men to women on campus. At James Madison, the elimination of seven men’s sports (swimming, cross country, indoor and outdoor track, gymnastics, wrestling and archery) and three women’s sports (gymnastics, fencing and archery) will boost the proportion of female athletes to 61 percent from about 50 percent.

When the cuts take effect in July, James Madison will be left with 12 women’s sports and 6 men’s sports, the minimum required to participate in N.C.A.A. Division I competition. Three full-time coaches and eight part-time coaches will lose their jobs, and 144 athletes will be without a varsity team.

Officials conceded that the three women’s sports eliminated might not be termed exclusively Title IX cuts. Rose said that fencing had struggled with a dwindling roster, that archery was a niche sport that might be better suited as a club team, and that gymnastics was not a conference sport and had few nearby rivals for competition.

Title IX is a good idea gone horribly wrong. The interest is there for the eliminated men's sports. The eliminated women's sports were struggling programs with limited interest. But because it has become a results-oriented game rather than an issue of providing the opportunity to participate in sports, men are consistently denied the chance to participate in activities in which they are interested and which women are not. Shouldn't the real measure not be matching the percentage of students enrolled, but rather the percentages of students interested in participating in sports?

Maybe we can start applying that logic to academic programs. We'll cap enrollments based upon sex, and eliminate programs that are so seriously out of balance that they are unredeemable. I suspect that we will then see a drop in the number of Women's Studies programs around the country.

|| Greg, 08:02 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Deny. Dismiss. Deport.

That is how this case should be handled.

Deny the claim.

Dismiss the suit.

Deport the plaintiffs.

A group of illegal immigrants who worked for Wendy's International Inc. is suing the restaurant chain because the company fired them after discovering it had missed a deadline for joining a federal program that would have helped them attain legal status.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in state district court in Houston, is a companion to a similar class-action suit filed last month in Dallas against Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy's, its subsidiary Cafe Express and the Houston-based business law firm Boyar & Miller.

The immigrants, who worked for Cafe Express, are seeking unspecified damages.

Between the two lawsuits, 40 illegal immigrants say they were fired after the company recently found that Boyar & Miller, the law firm Wendy's had hired, never filed paperwork for a 2001 legalization program that allowed immigrants with employer sponsorship or an American spouse to apply for citizenship.

Once the discovery was made, Wendy's was forced by law to fire the employees because of their illegal status. Immigrants in the program would have been insulated from being fired.

They are here illegally.

They had no right to be employed.

The company had no obligation to participate in the program.

The law required the firings.

As such, I don't see the basis for any legitimate claim -- and indeed, I only see the basis for the federal government to impose sanctions against Wendy's for employing the border-jumping immigration criminals in the first place.

So it is time for the federal government to do their duty in this case.

Round 'em up!

Ship em's back!


|| Greg, 07:49 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Unemployment Down, Wages Up -- It's All Bush's Fault!

After all, the Democrats blamed every negative event over the last six years on George W. Bush -- including a recession that began a year before he became president and misdeeds at Enron that happened under Clinton's watch -- so it is obvious that the good news is also entirely the responsibility of George W. Bush.

The nation's unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent last month, down from 4.7 in August, and average wages rose by 4 percent over the previous year -- the best performance for both measures in five years.

The monthly Labor Department report released yesterday revealed that 51,000 new jobs were reported last month, a disappointing figure, but job gains were stronger than reported earlier for the previous year and a half.

"The economy is actually stronger than these employment numbers suggest," said Bernard Baumohl, executive director of the Economic Outlook Group, a Princeton, N.J., economic-advisory firm. The figures were mixed and elicited widely varying reactions from financial markets and analysts.

Add to that record-high stock prices and dropping oil prices -- along with a deficit that is decreasing at a rate even greater than that predicted by the administration, and it is clear that George W. Bush and the GOP Congress are doing a fantastic job with the economy.

Let's hope America doesn't mess with a good thing and elect the Democrats to enact the economy killing policies they support.

|| Greg, 07:41 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 06, 2006

Harold Ford -- Liar!

He couldn't pass the bar exam, but he has tried to pass himself off to the voters of Tennessee as a lawyer.

Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Harold Ford Jr. referred to himself as a lawyer earlier this week, but the congressman has not passed the bar exam.

Michael Powell, senior adviser to the Ford campaign, said U.S. Rep. Ford took the Tennessee bar exam in February 1997 and failed. He said that was the only time Rep. Ford has taken the test.

Rep. Ford, of Memphis, got his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1996, according to his congressional Web site.

He said Tuesday during a meeting with Chattanooga Times Free Press editors and reporters that Republican opponent Bob Corker has said the next senator should be a businessman and not a lawyer.

"I told Senator (Lamar) Alexander, I said, ‘I won’t hold it against you if I’m elected, and there’s two lawyers in the delegation who try their hardest to work through the issues," Rep. Ford said.

Corker campaign spokesman Todd Womack said, "If Congressman Ford will stretch the truth about his own resume, what else will he stretch the truth about?" Mr. Powell said it is his understanding that Rep. Ford was joking when he made reference to being a lawyer during Tuesday’s meeting.

Sorry, that explanation makes no sense. It is obvious that Ford was not joking -- he was lying about his qualifications.

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


That is the charge made against Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) after they filed a Freedom of Information Act request on Wednesday.

A liberal government watchdog group has asked the Secret Service to release its records of prominent conservative Christian leaders' visits to the White House, but one of those leaders called the request "an act of Christianophobia."

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on Wednesday. The group said in the request that the records are "likely to contribute to the public's understanding of the influence that conservative Christian leaders have, or attempt to have, on the president in the exercise of his authority."

The Secret Service has 20 business days to respond to the request for records pertaining to James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Gary Bauer of American Values, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Louis Sheldon and Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition, Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Don Wildmon of American Family Association, and Jerry Falwell of Liberty University.

"These are people that are publicly identifiable as leaders of what I would call the Christian right, and we are interested to know the extent of influence that they may have had on the president and his policies," Anne Weismann, chief counsel for CREW, told Cybercast News Service.

"It's one thing to know that people have influence and have support of the president, but I don't know that that answers the question about the degree to which they have access and influence to the president and his staff on a day-to-day basis," Weismann added.

I’m curious – what would the response be to a conservative group if it requested access to the records of the visit of prominent black leaders, Jewish leaders, Muslim leaders, homosexual leaders or other minority group leaders? I think the question answers itself – and clearly indicates the despicable nature of the request.

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

A Comment I Want To Echo

The Mark Foley scandal is not about sexual orientation. It is about sexual deviancy and inappropriate exploitation of young people by a powerful politician. As such, I want to echo the comment of Ann Lowry, from her column published in the Star-Tribune.

The bottom line is that it does not matter that Mark Foley is gay.

Now I may disagree with her next conclusion (that the GOP leadership ignored evidence of a problem), but that statement is the one that really matters.

This is not a scandal about homosexuality – no matter how much a few on the Religious Right and many on the Homosexual Left want to turn it into an opportunity to purge Congress and of Republicans who are gay. The problem is that Foley is a sick freak with a serious psychological and moral problem who likely has broken laws and probably cannot be safely permitted to remain at large in society or on the Internet.

|| Greg, 07:53 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Teacher’s Union Thugs Murder Strike Opponent In Mexico

Let’s hope this doesn’t give the NEA any ideas.

A teacher was hacked to death in this historic Mexican city that has been paralyzed for months by protests and violence, police said late Thursday. A colleague claimed the man was killed for opposing a teachers' strike.

Thousands of trade unionists and leftists have been camped out in Oaxaca since May, building barricades, taking over buildings and burning buses. The protesters are demanding the resignation of Oaxaca Gov. Ulises Ruiz, accusing him of rigging the 2004 election to win office and sending armed thugs against dissenters.

Victor Alonso Altamirano of the Oaxaca state police said teacher Jaime Rene Calva Aragon was on his way to a meeting Thursday evening when he was killed by two assailants wielding hefty ice picks.

Fellow teacher Alma Rosa Fernandez accused militant leftists of killing Calva for opposing a statewide teachers' strike that was a catalyst for the wider protests. Fernandez, who also opposes the strike, said the dissident teachers have been receiving death threats.

"We blame this murder directly on the radical teachers' wings," Fernandez said.

And lest you think this couldn’t happen here, consider the history of union violence in this country. Union opponents are regularly stalked, threatened and assaulted. When will union thugs recognize that the right to join a union and the right to strike can exist only insofar as there is the equally valid right to refuse to join a union and to refuse to strike? Until they do, unionism is not about freedom – it is merely about who gets to do the oppressing of the workers.

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

Black Dems Complain Of “Whites Only” Ticket In Maryland

Bt then again, why should anything different be expected of the party of slavery and segregation?

httpBlack business owners and religious leaders say there is an undercurrent of discontent with the Maryland Democratic Party's lack of black statewide candidates and think it will encourage support for Republicans -- especially Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's run for the U.S. Senate.

"There's a lot of nervousness. You got a whole lot of black folks who are going to move towards Steele and possibly [Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.]," said Wayne Frazier, a black business leader in Baltimore and a supporter of Mr. Steele's opponent, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin.

The Rev. Grainger Browning Jr., pastor of the 10,000 member Ebenezer A.M.E. Church in Fort Washington, said: "The Democratic Party does have a challenge now to show that it wants to make sure the African-American leadership is included in decision making."

The Baltimore Sun yesterday reported that Maryland's 10 black state senators met last week with Mr. Cardin and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, the Democratic nominee for governor, to register complaints that the party's top candidates for statewide office are white men.

The black senators, dubbed the "Committee of Ten," told Mr. Cardin and Mr. O'Malley, who are both white, that they are hearing about discontent among their constituents over the party's lack of diversity.

One participant complained that blacks get nothing but lip-service from the Democrats, despite the overwhelming loyalty of African-Americans to that party. This points up two things. First, because of their monolithic voting patterns, Democrats don’t need to even throw a sop to the black community because their votes are secure. Second, it demonstrates that too many blacks have bought into the myth that the GOP is racist, despite the fact that the Republicans do run minorities for major offices for substantive offices and reach out to the black community despite having their hand slapped away by black “leaders” who have been bought and paid for by the Democrats.

|| Greg, 07:51 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Steele Smacks Dem Dirty Tricks, Racism

I think that Lt. Gov. Michael Steele has clearly articulated the record of Democrat racism and criminal activity in the Maryland Senate race.

October 4, 2006

Congressman Ben Cardin
Ben Cardin for Senate
22 Bloomsbury Avenue
Catonsville, Maryland 21228

Governor Howard Dean
Chairman, Democratic National Committee
430 South Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

Senator Chuck Schumer
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
120 Maryland Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002

Mr. Terry Lierman
Chairman, Maryland Democratic Party
188 Main Street, Suite 1
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Dear Congressman Cardin, Governor Dean, Chairman Lierman and Senator Schumer:

For several months, I have been trailed by Democrat operatives filming my public events. At these events – speeches, press conferences, county fairs and parades – my every word and move has been recorded.

I realize this has become a part of modern campaigning and I welcome the scrutiny. In fact, I always make a point to say a friendly hello to whomever the Democrat Party sends to follow me. However, recent actions have crossed the line from political activity to an invasion of privacy.

On the morning of September 30, I participated in a homecoming ceremony for the Army National Guard 243rd Engineers. The event – as fitting for the occasion – was non-political. Republicans and Democrats joined together to welcome home brave men and women returning from Iraq and I attended in my official capacity to spend time with the troops and their families.

While speaking with two mothers whose sons had died in Iraq, I noticed the ever present Democrat operative filming our conversation. A conversation with parents who have lost a loved one in combat is private in nature and has no place in partisan politics, and certainly not in the smear campaign you have waged against me even before I entered the race for United States Senate. The filming of this conversation demonstrates a callous disregard for families who have lost a loved one and is an indefensible invasion of privacy.

Unfortunately, I have come to expect such ugly, gutter politics from you. Congressman Cardin, while saying you have expressed outrage to “all concerned parties” for the racist comments on your senior staffer’s blog, you have yet to apologize to me. Chairman Dean, your personal pollster, Cornell Belcher, advocated racist attacks to “knock” me down and “discredit” me, and yet I have received no apology from you. And, Senator Schumer, your staffers pled guilty to a crime when they stole my credit report and violated my privacy and that of my family, but I have had no apology from you either.

I did not think until this past Saturday, however, that such ugliness would intrude upon the return of our troops from Iraq. As I told your colleague, Congressman Steny Hoyer, who attended the event, this action represents a new low in Maryland politics and has no place in this campaign.

My campaign is focused on having a conversation with the voters of our state about the issues affecting Maryland and I am committed to building bridges over that which divides us. But, ugly partisan political tricks only work to divide our communities and represent the very type of political behavior voters are sick of.

If your respective organizations are as concerned as I am about the use of such poor judgment by your staff(s), you would take immediate steps to hold all responsible parties accountable.

I eagerly await your prompt response.



No apologies to the victim of illegal and racist activities and statements by Democrat political operatives. I guess that doing so would legitimize the right of a black man to stray off the Democrat plantation.

Mr. Cardin, Mr. Dean, Mr. Schummer -- do the right thing. Apologize PERSONALLY to Steele for the misdeeds you and your staffs have perpetrated.

|| Greg, 04:36 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dems Offer Partisan Objections To Freeh Selection

One would think that the former head of the FBI under Bill Clinton would be an acceptable selection to head up any investigation of the House Page Scandal. That isn't the case, though -- because he is an honest man and independent thinker on political matters. Who objects to his selection? The Democrats, especially Nancy Pelosi.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert said Thursday he is looking for a high-caliber figure to step in and fix flaws in the congressional page program that left the teenagers vulnerable to sexual advances.

Hastert was on the verge of naming former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who boasts a long, high-profile career in law enforcement, for the post. But the speaker held off because of objections from Democrats.

Hastert had called House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday to notify her that he intended to hire Freeh to overhaul the program, their aides said. But Pelosi suggested it was too soon to make decisions about changing the program, and that Freeh might be the wrong man for the job.

“That's about public relations for the Republican leaders, it's not about protecting the children,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It smacks of 'blame the victim.'"

The possibility that Republican leaders covered up evidence that Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., was making inappropriate overtures to pages needs to be investigated first, before any changes in the program are considered, said Pelosi spokeswoman Jen Crider.

But Crider noted that Hastert, R-Ill., could name Freeh without Pelosi's support if he chose.

At his news conference Thursday about the House ethics committee's investigation of the page scandal, Hastert didn't cite any candidates for the job of overhauling the page program.

“We're looking for a person of high caliber to advise us on the page program,” he said at a news conference in Illinois. “I reached out to the Democrat leader and shared with her some of the ideas and we hope to resolve this soon.”

What are the real objections to Freeh?

Freeh urged Justice Department superiors to seek an independent counsel to investigate the 1996 presidential fundraising scandal, which focused largely on Democrats and the White House. The Justice Department turned him down.

After leaving office, Freeh was harshly critical of Clinton in his book, “My FBI.” He wrote that, during Clinton's presidency, “whatever moral compass the president was consulting was leading him in the wrong direction.”

“His closets were full of skeletons just waiting to burst out,” said Freeh, who said he was preoccupied for eight years at the FBI with Clinton investigations, including Whitewater, 1996 presidential fundraising and the Monica Lewinsky affair.

In other words, there seems to be concern that Freeh might be an honest and impartial figure to head up the investigation, and that he might look under Democrat rocks to find misconduct or malfeasance. The Democrats are looking for political advantage -- the Republicans are looking to safeguard children.

Mr. Speaker, name Freeh to the post over teh objections of Nancy pelosi and the Democrats. It is the right thing to do.

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

October 05, 2006

Where Is The Crime?

This from Pace University in New York City.

A paperback copy of the Koran was tossed into a toilet on the lower Manhattan campus of Pace University - the latest in a spate of bias incidents upsetting students and administrators at the college, officials said yesterday.

The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the vandalism of the Koran, and the university's private security also is probing the incident, sources said.
"A Koran thrown into the toilet? I am hurt, not just as a Muslim but as a human being," said Zeina Berjaoui, 20, president of Pace's Muslim Student Association.

In the past two weeks, vandals also scrawled a swastika and .anti-black slurs on the same bathroom wall at Pace's campus near City Hall. Someone also sprayed the N-word onto a car parked at the school's Westchester County campus, cops and university sources said.

"One of our university's greatest strengths is its diversity," Pace President David Caputo wrote in a letter describing the incidents. "When speech is hurtful towards a class of people or incites violence, we must condemn it and take measures to stop it."

The copy of the Koran had been taken from the university .library before being defaced Sept. 21. It turned up in the toilet approximately two weeks ago. Today, cops will quiz the student who last withdrew the book, police sources said.

Well maybe there is a crime here – someone stole the book from the library.

But apart from the theft, how exactly does the act of placing a Koran in a toilet constitute any sort of crime? Indeed, is it not like flag burning, expressive conduct that communicates a point of view -- perhaps “Islam is a bunch of shit.” Would a Bible in a toilet elicit a similar response from the University? How about an American flag? An Israeli flag?

I find the statement that the university wishes to “take measures to stop” speech that is “hurtful to a class of people” particularly chilling. Does this mean that expression of the “wrong” views on abortion, homosexuality, religion, or race are prohibited at Pace University? Will speech that targets conservatives, Christians, Jews, or white people be stopped by the University, or will the offended students and faculty members be told that they need to butch up and accept the right of their antagonists to speak out? Just wondering – but pretty sure about the answer.

|| Greg, 06:08 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Malkin Questions Drudge, Passionate America On IM Buddy's Age

I posted this last night, and want to give the flip side of the issue as prominent play as I gave the original arguments of Drudge and Passionate America.

For the past two days, a conservative blogger has ginned up publicity for his work outing a 21-year-old young man--a former congressional page and current deputy campaign manager for a heartland Republican congressman--who received sexually explicit instant messages from disgraced Florida GOP Rep. Mark Foley when he was 17 and 18 years old. I have received several e-mails from the blogger and readers flogging the post.

I refused to link to the blogger then and even though the Drudge Report has plastered screaming headlines about the blogger's scoop, I refuse to link to it now. There was absolutely no good reason to expose the former congressional page's name and identity. Seizing on ABC News' redaction failure and reporting errors (more on that in a moment) to play gotcha in a feeble attempt to avenge Foley is not a sufficient reason to obliterate the young man's privacy. The young man was the prey, not the predator.

Nobody is acting well here. ABC News seems to have made an honest error when it failed to completely redact the young man's AOL IM handle. That's how the conservative blogger traced the exposed man's identity. But in the wake of the Drudge pounding tonight, the news network surreptitiously edited its misreporting on the young man's age at the time of one of the IM exchanges without bothering to make clear it was a correction.

ABC's website now reads as follows.

ABC News now has obtained 52 separate instant message exchanges, which former pages say were sent by Foley, using the screen name Maf54, to two different boys who began their exchanges with Foley at the age of 16 and 17, and continued through the age of 18.

That does change matters -- and indicates sloppy work by the ABC reporters and editors involved.

But even that still raises some of the legal issues noted in the MSNBC article I linked below -- while disgusting and repugnant, Foley's actions may well have been legal due to the requirement of state and federal laws that obscene communication be with someone under 16 amd the whole age of consent issue. These matters could impact the investigations in an interesting way -- and make the Gerry Studds comparison more pertinant, as he actually engaged in sex with a 17-year-old. Is talking dirty to a page really worse than sodomizing one?

|| Greg, 04:38 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

October 04, 2006

Foley IM Page Over 18?

While the actions of former Rep. Mark Foley are beyond acceptable, it is possible that they were not criminal -- because he was engaged in an exchange with an 18-year-old adult!

A posting on ABCNEWS.COM of an unredacted instant message sessions between Rep. Mark Foley and a former congressional page has exposed the identity of the now 21 year-old accuser.

The website PASSIONATE AMERICA detailed the startling exposure late Wednesday.

ABCNEWS said in a statement: "We go to great lengths to prevent the names of alleged sex crime victims from being revealed. On Friday there was a very brief technical glitch on our site which was overridden immediately. It is possible that during that very brief interval a screen name could have been captured. Reviews of the site since then show no unredacted screen names."


On Tuesday ABC news released a high-impact instant message exchange between Foley and, as ABC explained, a young man "under the age of 18."

ABC headlined the story: "New Foley Instant Messages; Had Internet Sex While Awaiting House Vote"

But upon reviewing the records, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, the young man was in fact over the age of 18 at the time of the exchange.

A network source explains, messages with the young man and disgraced former Congressman Foley took place before and after the 18th birthday.

Now Democrats and homosexual activists have for years claimed that Rep. Gerry Studd's sexual dalliances with a 17-year-old page were a private matter and acceptable because the boy was above the age of consent at the time. Should this young man prove to be an adult, will they now acknowledge that they would have been making an issue over LEGAL sexual activity by a homosexual -- and that they have been applying a different standard to a gay Republican than to gay Democrats?

Will ABC and Brian Ross admit that they have deceived the American public if the conversations were with an adult rather than a juvenile?

And will pigs sprout wings and fly round the Capitol Rotunda?

UPDATE: MSNBC has this piece on why thre may be no crime (or at least no prosecution) at all in the emails or IMs.

Investigators could consider federal obscenity laws, experts said, but the law prohibiting disseminating obscene material to children applies only to those under 16.

Benjamin Vernia, a former federal prosecutor specializing in such cases, compared Foley’s online conversations with pages to “grooming,” a law enforcement term for the way sexual predators bring along their underage victims. Grooming is a red flag for authorities, Vernia said, but it’s rarely enough to bring charges.

The question for federal investigators is whether Foley’s online chats ever led to real encounters. One chat transcript suggests Foley and a page had met in San Diego, but the chat doesn’t indicate what took place.

Even if a sexual encounter occurred, however, that won’t necessarily be enough to lead to charges. It depends on how old the pages were at the time and what the age of consent was in that state.

If a state law was broken and authorities can show Foley used the Internet to facilitate it, that could trigger federal jurisdiction, experts said.

Foley is scum. That is beyond question. But he may not be a criminal -- and this may all be much ado about legal actions with individuals above the age of consent in their respective jurisdictions. This may highlight that the real difference between Democrats and Republicans is that we get rid of our perverts, while Democrats reelect them.

|| Greg, 08:32 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||