March 31, 2007

A Miracle For PJP2

Pope John Paul the Great, whose quarter century in the Chair of St. Peter restored respect for the papacy and reinvigorated Catholicism throughout the world, falls into a very special category. He is one of those individuals whose holiness in life led the people to proclaim him a saint well before the Church would, or could, act. Indeed, in an earlier day the sense of the faithful on the matter would have been sufficient. St. Thomas Becket comes to mind, whose status as a saint in the eyes of the faithful led to Rome's proclamation of his sainthood a mere three years after his death, is a classic example of this earlier practice.

The modern process of recognizing an individual as a saint (not making a saint -- God does that through grace) is much more laborious and cumbersome. Even then, there is the possibility of waiving deadlines in cases of merit, which has been done with the late pontiff. And that leads us to this story.

For months she was known as the "mystery nun," an unidentified member of a religious order who told a Catholic Church investigator that she was miraculously cured of advanced Parkinson's disease after she and other nuns prayed to the late Pope John Paul II.

Her testimony -- describing the kind of medically inexplicable recovery that could help advance the pontiff toward sainthood -- was published anonymously on an Italian Catholic Web site. It bore the signature "A French Sister." Church officials, proceeding with a confidential inquiry into the claims, refused to name her.

On Friday morning, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, an unassuming 46-year-old who works in a Paris maternity clinic, stepped before a bank of microphones on French national television and, in a voice choked with emotion, declared that she was the nun.

She described going to bed one night barely able to write or walk and waking up at 4:30 a.m. fully cured. "All I can say is that I was ill and now I'm healed," said Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, smiling widely. "Now the church will decide if it's a miracle."

Church officials said Sister Marie Simon-Pierre's recovery from the advanced stages of a disease with no known cure could be instrumental in the canonization process, which can sometimes take centuries to complete but has been fast-tracked for John Paul.

In Rome on Monday, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre will take part in ceremonies commemorating the second anniversary of John Paul's death and the completion of the first phase of efforts to declare the pontiff "blessed," an intermediate step toward sainthood. This step, known as beatification, requires confirmation of one miracle brought about by the posthumous intercession of the candidate.

Now let me clarify some misconceptions that some of you may have -- misconceptions that abound in this sloppy opening in the New York Times.

If the story Sister Marie Simon-Pierre told Friday is true, then Pope John Paul II exercised miraculous powers from beyond the grave. A proven physical miracle is an important qualification on the road to sainthood.

Actually, no -- no one argues that John Paul the Great exercised any miraculous powers. The miraculous powers were those of God. Rather, Catholic teaching holds that just as we on earth can pray for and intercede on behalf of our fellow man, so can the saints in heaven (all the faithful departed before the throne in heaven, not just the select few recognized by the Church). God, in His infinite wisdom and sovereign will, decides when and if He performs a miracle in response to prayer. Indeed, this dear nun says it exactly right only a few paragraphs after that sloppy writing by the Times' Elaine Sciolino.

“I have been cured,” she told journalists gathered for a news conference in Aix-en-Provence. “My healing was the work of God through the intercession of Pope John Paul II.”

Now I will praise Ms. Sciolino for including this bit of information in her article.

Pope Benedict has given mixed signals on his approach to sainthood.

In addition to putting the late pope’s canonization on a fast track, he fueled speculation that sainthood was imminent when he expressed hope last May during a trip to Poland, John Paul’s homeland, that the process would conclude “in the near future.”

As a cardinal, however, Pope Benedict said several times that he was not in favor of naming an excessive number of saints. He was believed to have been aligned with conservatives who looked askance on Pope John Paul’s record canonization of saints during his 26-year papacy.

Here we have a conflict between different pontiff's over the canonization of (granting formal recognition of) saints. The current Pope is on record, prior to his elevation to the papacy, as wanting to proceed more slowly in granting this recognition -- perhaps, one would surmise, to preserve the special nature of the formal title of "saint". John Paul the Great, on the other hand, seemed to hold to a different position, one which was intent upon recognizing the depth and breadth of holiness that exists among the Christian faithful in this world, hence his eagerness to advance the process of recognizing men and women from around the globe for their holiness of life in order to provide the Church with many more examples of sanctity in many different nations and cultures. But in the end, each of these men was coming from the same place -- the recognition that the saints are exemplars to us all of ways to live the Christian life in fidelity with the Gospel, heroes of the faith to be emulated. And if Benedict wishes to reserve the title to a select few so that it retains its special nature, while John Paul the Great sought to demonstrate the real possibility of each of us attaining that accolade through a close and faithful walk with Christ in our daily lives, there can be no dispute that each was motivated by a desire to have the lives of the saints serve as signposts on the path to Heaven.

And on a personal note, I wait with hopeful expectation for the day when the Church canonizes these five martyrs, one of whom (Sister Kathleen McGuire) I knew when she ministered at the Newman Center in Carbondale, Illinois -- for they are undeniable proof that saints are ordinary people who do the extraordinary by faithfully following their Christian vocation wherever it may lead them.

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Britain -- No Longer Even A Great Power

Not only is the UK not a superpower, they don't even qualify as a great power any longer -- not if they can't stand up to Iran. And The Telegraph shows that the UK cannot do so absent support from the US, EU, or UN -- especially the US.

Diplomatic: Britain has already suffered a setback at the UN with a fairly feeble rebuke of the Iranians. In the next few days, major players such as Russia and China, who are also friendly towards Teheran, might be persuaded to become more robust. But both have trade links with Iran and would be uncomfortable about major economic sanctions.

Downing Street could order all diplomatic links to be severed, throwing out Iran's ambassador, but this would cut off the one line of communication with the regime, leaving the Navy ratings even more isolated.

Sanctions: This is probably the main area where Iran is vulnerable. While it is a huge exporter of oil it has a chronic shortage of refineries, making it necessary to import 40 per cent of refined products such as petrol and jet fuel.

Sanctions would certainly make the regime sit up but they are only likely to appear as part of the game to force Iran to give up its nuclear programme.

Whitehall might have more luck in persuading the European Union to bring in further sanctions and severing trade links. Britain and America are also hamstrung by the lack of political leverage in the Middle East as a result of the Iraq invasion - which has conversely strengthened Iran's position.

Blockade: The Strait of Hormuz is just 21 miles across, making it a highly strategic chokepoint - and consequently very heavily defended by Teheran. With Iran so reliant on the waterway for its fuel, arms imports and other goods it would be a key area to put pressure on the regime.

The Navy has prepared plans on how to enforce a blockade but it would require almost the entire Fleet at a time when it is facing cuts and many ships have been mothballed. A blockade would also substantially increase the threat of all-out war.

Military: Britain is not a strong enough power to go it alone in a land battle with Iran, especially with so many troops committed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

America is unlikely to back military action until diplomacy and possible sanctions have forced Iran to climb down over its nuclear programme. But the SAS will have already made contingency plans for a rescue mission. It would only be seriously considered if the hostages were considered to be under severe threat of death.

Looks to me like John Bull needs Viagra or Cialis.

|| Greg, 09:18 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Captain Ed Reports First Mate Doing Great

One of the folks I truly admire in the blogging world is "Captain Ed" Morrissey over at Captain's Quarters. If you haven't read his stuff you have to be hiding under a rock -- it is great.

Now one of the reasons I love Ed is that he makes no bones about the fact that he loves and is devoted to his wife, the "First Mate". And as regular readers know, she has major health issues, and has been awaiting a kidney transplant.

It happened yesterday.

And it was successful.

To both of them I send my best wishes and most fervent prayers for her continued recovery.

And my thanks.

As we've struggled in our household with the illnesses my dear wife (AKA he Loyal Opposition) is dealing with and the impact of them upon our life together, the Morrissey's have have inspired me and provided an example of how to make the best of a situation which adds an additional degree of difficult to the delicate balancing act that is the care and feeding of a good marriage to someone you adore. Your influence in that regard is more important to me than anything else that Ed puts on his blog.

UPDATE: FM's recovery continues to go well.

|| Greg, 09:06 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Cheer Injuries Proliferate

Stories like this worry me -- especially as I look out at my classroom and see one cheerleader with two knee braces (she had knee surgery last year) and a cervical collar following a landing on her neck that put her in the hospital.

For decades, they stood by safe and smiling, a fixture on America’s sporting sidelines. But today’s young cheerleaders, who perform tricks once reserved for trapeze artists, may be in more peril than any female athletes in the country.

Emergency room visits for cheerleading injuries nationwide have more than doubled since the early 1990s, far outpacing the growth in the number of cheerleaders, and the rate of life-threatening injuries has startled researchers. Of 104 catastrophic injuries sustained by female high school and college athletes from 1982 to 2005 — head and spinal trauma that occasionally led to death — more than half resulted from cheerleading, according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research. All sports combined did not surpass cheerleading.

New acrobatic maneuvers have turned cheerleaders into daredevils. And while the sport has retained its sense of glamour, at dozens of competitions around the country, knee braces and ice bags affixed to ankles and wrists have become accouterments as common as mascara.

With more than four million participants cheering at everything from local youth football games to the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament, female cheerleaders now commonly do tricks atop pyramids or are tossed 20 feet in the air to perform twists and flips. If all goes well, the airborne cheerleader, known as the flier, is caught by other cheerleaders. But not always.

Are there not some reasonable limits to be placed on some of these stunts -- especially for younger girls?

|| Greg, 08:40 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Hold Kimbrough In Contempt

I was pleased to see the governor appoint someone to review workings of the scandal-plagued TYC -- but I believe that the first action of TYC czar Jay Kimbrough likely exceeds his mandate by deciding whether a sentence imposed by a court was appropriate rather than whether the the perp in question had completed the terms of her sentence. Kimbrough needs to be held in contempt of court, and the perp ordered back into custody.

Shaquanda Cotton, a 15-year-old black teenager who spent more than a year in the state's distressed juvenile prison system for shoving a teacher's aide in a case that raised questions of racial bias, was ordered released Friday.

She became the first juvenile inmate ordered freed by Jay Kimbrough, whom Gov. Rick Perry tapped Thursday to lead the troubled Texas Youth Commission out of an abuse and mismanagement scandal. Kimbrough told lawmakers Friday that the order had been given.

"He made a determination that she served her time and it was time to let that child out," said Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas.

Cotton could have been kept in a cell until her 21st birthday. But a public outcry about the case helped secure her release.

I'm sorry, but this is not about whether or not this perp has served her time -- it is about caving in to political pressure tinged with false accusations of racism. If that were not the case, Kimbrough's first decision would not have been about a situation receiving national attention for something other than the TYC scandal. And by determinging the appropriateness of the sentence rather than whether its terms had been fulfilled, Kimbrough has usurped the prerogatives of the judicial branch.

And at the same time, made it clear that here in Texas it is open season on school employees.

During the remaining time that the Texas legislature is in session, we need legislation imposing mandatory incarceration for students who assault school employees.

|| Greg, 08:21 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

First Foie Gras Fine in Chicago

Doug Sohn decided to stand up to the silly geese on the Chicago City Council who passed an ordinance banning foie gras.

The city issued its first foie gras fine to a hot dog seller of all people, accusing "Hot Doug's" of violating a Chicago ban by lacing its specialty dogs with the duck liver delicacy.

Doug Sohn, who runs Hot Doug's "The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium," agreed to pay $250 Thursday for the first-time offense.

Sohn had been openly serving foie gras-laced hot dogs since the ordinance took effect in August. He says he knew about the rule — when he got a warning letter from the city, he had it framed and placed on his counter.

He could have faced up to a $500 dollar fine under the ordinance, Health Department spokesman Tim Hadac said.

Animal rights activists oppose serving foie gras, saying it is inhumane the way geese and ducks are force-fed through a pipe to plump up their livers. They have been pressing other cities, states and chefs for similar bans. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck announced earlier this month that his restaurants would stop serving foie gras.

The Chicago City Council had approved the ordinance despite Mayor Richard M. Daley's objections. He called it the "silliest" ordinance they had ever passed.

I find it interesting that we keep being told by liberals that we cannot impose morality through statute -- but here we banning a safe product because of the moral objections of a handful of liberal alderman to the method of production of the product. After all, there is no public health or safety rationale for the ban on foie gras. I guess what they mean is that we cannot impose morality they object to by statute.

|| Greg, 08:03 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 30, 2007

I Don’t See The Controversey

After all, given his association with Hamas the statement is undeniably true.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas a "terrorist" and accused him of transferring more than $1 million to militants to carry out attacks against Israel.

Haniyeh aide Ghazi Hamad said Olmert's statements were "confused and irresponsible".

Olmert's allegations, in an interview with Time magazine released on Friday, marked a sharp escalation in an Israeli campaign against Haniyeh and the unity government he formed with President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction this month.

Israel has been urging other countries to shun Haniyeh and the government, citing Hamas's refusal to recognise the Jewish state and renounce violence.

"Just lately Haniyeh transferred over a million dollars for a group of terrorists to carry out terrorist actions against Israeli citizens," Olmert said.

"He's a terrorist. You have a terrorist who is prime minister of the Palestinian Authority now."

Calling a terrorist a terrorist – how gauche!

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

Applause For Alec Baldwin

I disagree with his politics, but I applaud his act of kindness to one of our soldiers.

Actor Alec Baldwin was so moved by the story of an 18-year-old Army soldier who is scheduled to serve in Iraq, he’s going to help pay for her college education after she leaves the military.

Baldwin was so moved by a March 4 New York Times story about Pvt. Resha Kane’s last day with family and friends before going for training to prepare for serving in Iraq that he — not his people — tracked down Kane’s mother at a discount store where she works to offer his assistance, his spokesman said.

“I didn’t know what to say,” Kane said. “And then I asked him if he could send me his autograph. I’ve never met a star, let alone talked to one on the phone.”

Alec Baldwin is an arrogant jerk in many instances – but this move leads me to believe there is a spark of decency in the man.

|| Greg, 05:48 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

But It’s The Israelis Who Are Accused Of Dehumanizing Palestinians

What can we make of this situation?

Two Arabs involved in the sale of a Hebron building to the Jewish community have been placed under arrest, one by the Palestinian Authority, the other by Jordon.

The arrested Arabs now face capital punishment, as Palestinian Authority law dictates the death sentence for anyone found guilty of selling property to a Jew.
Orit Struk, political activist and member of the Hebron Jewish Committee, contends that the arrests "prove the sale was legal."

The Beit HaShalom, Peace House, located amongst Arab buildings between the Jewish enclave in Hebron and the neighboring large Jewish neighborhood of Kiryat Arba, was purchased two weeks ago for the sum of $700,000.

Immediately following the announcement of the transaction, Israeli police launched an investigation into the legality of the sale, and the Defense Ministry under the auspices of left-leaning Labor Chairman Amir Peretz began searching for grounds to expel the new Jewish residents of the building.

The resulting police investigation could not find any evidence of wrongdoing in the sale, and many within the police and defense establishment are acknowledging the sale was legal, albeit off-the-record.

Jewish Community Spokesman David Wilder claimed he does not see the arrests as proof of the legitimate nature of the sale. “We don’t need any proof that this was done legally, we know that the transaction was completely legal and the resulting police investigation confirmed this.”

So let’s get this straight – individuals of all races and religions can own property in Israel, but Terrorstinian law punishes the sale of property to Jews with death. Sounds rather like something out of Nazi Germany to me – but then again, since the Terrorstinians want to finish what Hitler began, I guess we should not be surprised.

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

More Proof Pius Maligned By Commies -- Nazis Hated Him For Helping Jews

I've been pointing this out for years -- Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church saved hundreds of thousands of Jews during WWII. That is more than any other group or organization, prior to the much delayed liberation of the concentration camps at the end of the war. What records were available indicated that Hitler viewed Pius as an enemy -- and that Pius spoke out about and acted on behalf of the Jews more loudly than any other world leader.

Now there is more evidence to confirm that.

Pius XII, the wartime pontiff often condemned as "Hitler's Pope", was actually considered an enemy by the Third Reich, according to newly discovered documents.

Several letters and memos unearthed at a depot used by the Stasi, the East-German secret police, show that Nazi spies within the Vatican were concerned at Pius's efforts to help displaced Poles and Jews.

In one, the head of Berlin's police force tells Joachim von Ribbentropp, the Third Reich's foreign minister, that the Catholic Church was providing assistance to Jews "both in terms of people and financially".

A report from a spy at work in the Vatican states: "Our source was told to his face by Father Robert Leibner [one of Pius's secretaries] that the greatest hope of the Church is that the Nazi system would be obliterated by the war."

La Repubblica, the newspaper that discovered the papers, said they were sent to the heads of the Stasi, after the Second World War.

The revelations they contain will help to clear the name of Pius XII, Eugenio Pacelli, who has long been criticised for turning a blind eye to the Holocaust. During the war, the British Foreign Office even described him as the "greatest moral coward of our age".

Those who have promoted the blood libel against the Pope are those who hate the Catholic Church, and wish to present it as always on the wrong side of history. They are not even above lying to do it. Will the documentary evidence that contradicts their claims stop the slander of a great and saintly pontiff?

H/T Captain's Quarters

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Iranians Make New Brit Charges

Even though the evidence shows the Brits were in Iraqi waters, the Iranians are making false counterclaims regarding their location.

Iran leveled new accusations against Britain on Thursday in the crisis over 15 captured British sailors and marines, and withdrew a promise to free the only woman in the group, insisting that Britain admit fault before any captives were released.

Iran also released what it said was a second letter from a captured British sailor — the woman, Leading Seaman Faye Turney— urging Britain to withdraw its forces from Iraq.

For its part, Britain flatly refused any talk of negotiations and called the release of the letter “cruel and callous,” and said it would seek the United Nations Security Council’s support in pressing Iran to release the captives.

With the latest developments the confrontation, now in its seventh day, seemed to have reached a point where neither side had left the other much room for a face-saving compromise. Deepening the sense of crisis, a senior Iranian official hinted that the captured troops might be put on trial for unspecified offenses.

Iran has not said where the sailors and marines are being held.

The dispute turns on rival claims about the whereabouts of the Britons when they were seized last Friday in disputed waters. Iran says they were more than 500 yards inside its territorial waters, but on Wednesday Britain produced satellite navigation coordinates to support its contention that the sailors were 1.7 nautical miles, or 3,400 yards, inside Iraqi waters, on a patrol approved by the United Nations and the Iraqi government.

If these kidnap victims are not released by the end of the weekend, there needs to be a complete blockade of Iranian ports -- and the bombing of Iran's one oil refinery.

After all, if they wish to behave like savages, let's work to send them back to the Stone Age.

|| Greg, 04:32 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Texas Teachers To Get Pay Raise

If this House proposal goes through, we'll get $800 a year -- less than $70 a month -- next year. That is only a drop in the bucket compared to the $5000 that Texas teachers lag behind the national average teacher salary.

House lawmakers deserted their leadership Thursday, voting overwhelmingly to drain teacher incentive programs championed by GOP Gov. Rick Perry and funnel the money to an across-the-board $800 pay raise for educators before they backed a two-year, $150.1 billion state budget.

``Bottom line, members, do we want to give teachers a pay raise?'' asked Rep. Rick Noriega. He offered the proposal to shift $583 million in funding from the incentive programs to the raise for teachers and other school personnel.

The Houston Democrat's proposal passed 90-56 in the Republican-dominated House, which gave approval to the overall budget with a vote of 129-14 after 3 a.m. today. Now it goes to the Senate for consideration.

Defenders of the incentive programs — including top GOP budget-writers — worked hard to try to ward off the provision. They argued the switch could work against deserving teachers, provide a raise that's less than intended and cost deserving campuses money.

Perry earlier Thursday, before the incentives were cut, had singled them out for praise: ``I think the performance pay that is in this budget will put Texas at the top of the heap from the standpoint of a really strong, powerful message about competition in our public schools."

Those who supported the pay raise said money for the incentive programs could be restored later. But, said Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville, "This is the only time this session you will be able to vote for a pay raise for your teachers back home."

I've got nothing against incentive pay programs -- once we get teacher pay up to something resembling the national standard. Until then, Texas teachers are simply being left behind.

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

March 29, 2007

Time For Me To Bleg (BUMPED)

UPDATED AGAIN -- Since PayPal won' work, let's try Amazon! Or you can use the PayPal link in the right column, which is working. Or you can just go directly to and use it to send to


You guys know my darling wife had a pair of serious hospitalizations last year. She has also had some additional medical issues arise in the last few weeks, and over night she was hospitalized again. Frankly, medical bills are creating a difficulty for us at this time.

I've been trying to monetize the blog lately to cover some of these expenses, but this latest hospitalization just makes things a little more difficult.

If you are so inclined, please click the link below. Any amount will be appreciated and acknowledged.

Amazon Honor System
Click Here to PayLearn More

Now back to the hospital.

|| Greg, 11:59 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Medical Update

I'll update this as appropriate and possible.

3/28/07 -- 0600 Central Time: My darling wife is still hospitalized for tests as they attempt to see what is causing the symptoms for which she was admitted. Depending upon the results of tests, she could be home today or could need surgery -- or anything in between.

3/29/07 -- 0600 Central Time: Brought her home last night, after getting the doctor to concede that one more night at the hospital waiting for one last blood test really wasn't necessary -- treatment would still be antibiotics at home after discharge, which would simply be delayed by 14 hours until he came in to check the results. So I got her home in time for American Idol, and she has been resting comfortably. The long and the short of it is that she had a virus that caused the vomiting, and it continued after she developed a low-grade allergic reaction to the first antibiotic they gave her, adding yet another to the list of antibiotics she can't take. All other test results fairly normal except one, and that has to be followed up with the GP because it will likely cause a medication change for her.

Thanks to everyone for their prayers and kindness.

|| Greg, 11:58 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

If I Could Make A Living Out Of Loving You

It's hard work, if you can get it.

Durex has launched its first UK recruitment drive for thousands of condom testers.

The condom maker wants a panel of 5,000 people who are single, married, or in couples to report their experiences of using its condoms and lubricants.

Men and women of all ages, ethnic groups or sexual orientation have been asked to apply on its website.

Durex was inundated with 14,000 applicants on the first day it started a similar scheme in France.

UK panellists will be expected to report online on how enjoyable the condoms and lubricants were to use and whether their sex lives have improved.

"The idea is to create a massive panel of testers who can try Durex condoms, have sex and then give us feedback about their experiences - in strictest confidence, of course," a Durex spokeswoman said.

"It isn't some crazy kind of '60s love-in," she added.

Durex sales in the six months until September 2006 increased by 7% compared to the same period in the previous year, driven by a surge in sales of personal devices and lubricants.

Unfortunately, there are no directions for how to apply for this job.

|| Greg, 09:14 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dobson Smears Thompson

Shame, Dr. Dobson! Shame!

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson appeared to throw cold water on a possible presidential bid by former Sen. Fred Thompson while praising former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is also weighing a presidential run, in a phone interview Tuesday.

"Everyone knows he's conservative and has come out strongly for the things that the pro-family movement stands for," Dobson said of Thompson. "[But] I don't think he's a Christian; at least that's my impression," Dobson added, saying that such an impression would make it difficult for Thompson to connect with the Republican Party's conservative Christian base and win the GOP nomination.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Thompson, took issue with Dobson's
characterization of the former Tennessee senator. "Thompson is indeed a Christian," he said. "He was baptized into the Church of Christ."

In a follow-up phone conversation, Focus on the Family spokesman Gary Schneeberger stood by Dobson's claim. He said that, while Dobson didn't believe Thompson to be a member of a non-Christian faith, Dobson nevertheless "has never known Thompson to be a committed Christian—someone who talks openly about his faith."

"We use that word—Christian—to refer to people who are evangelical Christians," Schneeberger added. "Dr. Dobson wasn't expressing a personal opinion about his reaction to a Thompson candidacy; he was trying to 'read the tea leaves' about such a possibility.

In other words, Dobson and his spokesman are redefining the word “Christian” to mean something other than a baptized, believing, practicing Christian. How Clintonian – indicating that Focus on the Family has adopted a linguistic relativism in which words mean anything they want them to mean when they use them, even if that meaning is contradictory to the commonly understood dictionary definition of the word. Perhaps someone need to ask Dr,. Dobson what the meaning of “is” is.

|| Greg, 06:44 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why There Should be No Scandal Over US Attorney Firings

This offers the best explanation of why Congress really has no role in this entire question – and how the Supreme Court has already dealt with the issue of firing Executive Branch appointees in the past.

The contrived controversy over the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys is largely an exercise in imaginary indignation. Congressional Democrats suggest that some of the firings may have been improper and demand to know the reasons for each of them. By what authority they make such demand is not clear, since the Supreme Court has ruled that, with limited exceptions, Congress has no voice in the dismissal of federal officers. After the Civil War the radical Republicans in Congress sought to limit the power of the executive to dismiss political appointees. A statute passed in 1876 provided that postmasters should be appointed to a term of four years with the advice and consent of the Senate, just as the law provides now for the appointment of U.S. attorneys. However, the 1876 act also provided that a postmaster could not be removed by the president except with the advice and consent of the Senate. In 1920, President Wilson removed a postmaster whose term had not yet been completed. The postmaster sued in the Court of Claims to recover the salary he would have been owed from the day of his dismissal to the end of his term. The Court of Claims ruled against him and he appealed to the Supreme Court.

In 1926, the Supreme Court held that the requirement for Senate approval of a dismissal was unconstitutional. Chief Justice William Howard Taft, writing for the majority, stated that in order for the president to fulfill his constitutional duty, he must be able to discharge federal officers whose performance in office was not in accordance with his desires and that this responsibility could not be shared with Congress. Neither the statute providing for the appointment of U.S. attorneys nor the Supreme Court opinion makes any attempt to define what would constitute proper or improper reasons for dismissal. In fact, nowhere is there any suggestion that the president would need any reason to dismiss a federal officer who is not covered by the Civil Service Act.

If Congress can have no voice in the removal of U.S. attorneys and no reason is required to dismiss them, then by what authority do members of Congress demand to know why the attorneys were fired? Well, they do have subpoena power. However, since none of the documents they demand can possibly relate to any legitimate legislative purpose, it is not clear that the courts would uphold such subpoenas if the president refused to produce the documents.

Now I realize that the Democrats view the Constitution as so flexible that it can mean exactly the opposite of what it clearly says at any given time, but one would think that the demands of fidelity to past Supreme Court precedent – “settled law”, as the Democrats called it during recent confirmation hearings – would require that they not stick their nose into an area that is clearly an Executive branch prerogative. But of course, this isn’t a question of principle – it is a question of creating the appearance of impropriety where none exists, for purely political purposes.

|| Greg, 06:42 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Segregated Motivational Rallies For TAKS

This may be among the dumber things I’ve heard of a school doing to “motivate” students for the TAKS test.

Parents at a Katy school were outraged after students were separated by race for TAKS test assemblies.

School officials confirmed that it did indeed happen, leaving parents and students alike wondering why.

At Mayde Creek High School right before spring break, African American students were singled out and called to a special assembly.

Later, an assembly was called just for Hispanic students.

Then, yet another was called for white students.

“To me, that’s segregation. I don’t feel that those kids are getting treated fairly,” concerned parent Deon Franklin, whose daughter is in the 9th grade at the school, said.

It really makes no sense – but the school and district still want to justify it.

The district said the students were brought together to be lectured on the upcoming TAKS test.

It was supposed to be a sort of rally – encouragement for the kids to do well on the test.

And race had what, exactly, to do with encouraging them to do well on the test?

“But why should they have to be separated to have this kind of meeting when they should’ve been having this meeting with all the kids,” Franklin said.

But the district insists the state is the one behind the multiple meetings, calling them “targeted interventions.”

“The state of Texas when they look at how our students perform, they break it down by ethnicity,” Katy ISD spokesman Steve Stanford said.

But the state also breaks the data down by factors like district and campus, among others.

“It’s not about color. It’s about how well they do on the test,” Franklin said.

Yeah, they do break results down along many lines. They do a racial breakdown – which means that Asians and Native Americans should also have had separate rallies. They also break it down by gender – will there be separate male and female rallies coming up? And what about some of the other targeted populations – like low-income, migrant, and special education – will they be having separate rallies, too, due to the various ways students are statistically broken down for reporting and evaluation purposes? Of course not – which makes the district’s argument ring quite hollow.

And it happens to be a test that many of the students were already nervous about taking.

The meetings were only held for students in the district labeled at risk for failing the exam.

Hmmmmmm…. If you are really only dealing with a much smaller subset of students, the ethnic breakdown makes even less sense. I suspect that only one meeting or rally could have been held.

And while Mayde Creek was the only school in the district to hold the meetings, Katy ISD officials say it will be up to the individual principals if the meetings will be held again next year.

I wonder what the Texas Education Agency, the US Department of Education, and the Civil Rights division of the Department of Justice have to say about doing this next year?

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

Honoring The Tuskegee Airmen

As a boy, my father instilled a great sense of reverence for these men in me -- heroes who fought despite the odds being stacked against them in a society still dominated by racism. As he often told me -- "The color of a man's uniform is the only one you should see or care about."

When Charles E. McGee slid his P-51 fighter, "Kitten," onto the tail of the fleeing German FW-190 in the skies over Austria in 1944, he fired his six big machine guns and struck a blow for civil rights back home.

Walter L. McCreary did the same a few months later, when his P-51 was hit by flak on a strafing run over Hungary and the cockpit floor began to slosh with what he thought was leaking gasoline.

And so did Woodrow W. Crockett's ground crews a few months after that, when they stopped a supply train and commandeered special gas tanks so their pilots could fly without running out of fuel.

Today, members of the famed black World War II aviation cadre now called the Tuskegee Airmen will be honored in the Capitol Rotunda for their history-making feats.

In a ceremony at 1 p.m., the airmen, including McGee, McCreary and Crockett, will receive the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor that Congress can give to civilians. President Bush is scheduled to speak, along with Colin L. Powell, former secretary of state, who received the medal in 1991.

The achievement of men such as McGee, McCreary and Crockett was simple: They were bold in battle and capable in command -- at a time when many in the military thought blacks could be neither.

"What we accomplished hasn't always been recognized for, really, what it meant to the country," McGee said this week. "There was meaning there, you might say, in a civil rights area that preceded what we know as the civil rights movement."

Not only did they pre-date the civil rights movement, I'd argue that their accomplishments and story made it possible, given the respect they earned from bomber pilots they protected. Any honor they receive is deserved -- and I applaud this one, which is long overdue.

|| Greg, 04:44 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Thompson Running?

It seems more and more likely.

Law & Order" star and former U.S. senator Fred Dalton Thompson is considering a bid for the White House that would test whether Hollywood can once again launch a Republican to the world's premier political stage.

His interest, confirmed in a brief interview this week, is generating buzz in Washington. He was third among Republican-leaning voters in a recent Gallup-USA Today survey, behind Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and ahead of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

The onetime senator from Tennessee is known to many Americans for playing New York District Attorney Arthur Branch on "Law & Order" and an admiral in the film "The Hunt for Red October." But his real-life record as a no-nonsense lawmaker who also served as the minority counsel to the Senate Watergate committee is appealing to party activists dissatisfied with the current crop of Republican hopefuls.

"He has a conservative bearing and a conservative presence, but he's independent in his thinking and his voting record," said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who added that Thompson is "seriously considering" a presidential campaign at the urging of many friends. "He has a commanding television presence that makes every other politician in America jealous."

Such a run would be a long-shot in this front-loaded presidential process, where so many have committed to candidates. But Thompson has appeal, name and face identification, and shows up well in the polls. Could he be a force to be reckoned with in 2008?

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

Acknowledge the Past -- But Don't Apologize For History

There are some valid points in this piece on apologies for slavery -- but it still does not overcome my objection to making such apologies for the actions of those long-dead.

While I applaud the efforts of Texas State Sen. Rodney Ellis and State Rep. Senfronia Thompson to pass a resolution of formal apology for slavery, their proposal does not go far enough. It may be a necessary first step, but Texas and Virginia, and the other slaveholding states, have much more to apologize for than just the institution of slavery, hideous though it was.

Particularly during the post-Reconstruction and Jim Crow periods, African-Americans in the South were treated with extraordinary brutality and cruelty, from the second-class citizenship status formalized in segregation to the epidemic of lynching that swept across the South and up into the Midwest as far north as Duluth, Minn., between about 1880 and 1930. Almost 500 documented lynchings took place in Texas alone, a greater number than in any other state except Georgia and Mississippi.

These lynchings included some of the most atrocious of the so-called "spectacle lynchings," a species of mass entertainment that probably began on Feb. 1, 1893, in Paris, Texas, with the prolonged torture/murder with hot irons and a bonfire of Henry Smith, a retarded black man, before a cheering mob of 10,000 spectators. In addition to the violence directed at individuals, there were also periodic "race riots," which usually meant pogroms directed at blacks. In 1886, all blacks were completely driven out of Comanche County by vigilantes. My father, who grew up in Comanche County in the 1920s, remembers stories of signs posted on the edge of town that read, "Nigger, don't let the sun set on you here."

Those who committed these evils are, by and large, long dead. So are their victims and those with living memory of them. And while we must not forget them, we must not apologize for these events either, for such apologies constitute an admission of our moral culpability for them -- something this generation does not have.

And in a state like Texas, where Republicans today dominate, such an apology is inappropriate -- for slavery and Jim Crow were institutions supported by the Democrats, while the GOP actively opposed them. Let the Democratic party apologize for its role in institutionalizing and supporting these practices, both by its policies and its active support of the Klan.

And if any apology, acknowldgement, or condemnation does come from state government, make sure that the role of that malignant political entity is acknowledged prominently in the text, along with Republican efforts to stop and oppose them. After all, that is history as well -- a history that some would rather hide.

And personally, I think this approach -- dealing with today's issues -- is much more important. Human trafficking goes on today, and must be stopped with the full resources of every level of government.

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

A Good Sign

Frankly, I welcome this trend -- which highlights a difference between legal immigrants and the border-jumping immigration criminals invading our country.

The number of naturalized citizens in the United States grew to nearly 13 million between 1995 and 2005, a historic increase that reflects the nation's changing ethnic makeup and could increase the power of immigrants to affect public policy at the ballot box, according to a study released yesterday by the Pew Hispanic Center.

More than half of the nation's legal immigrants are now naturalized citizens, "the highest level in a quarter century and a 15 percent increase since 1990," when the proportion of naturalized immigrants reached historic lows, the study said. Since 1995, the average number of yearly naturalizations has surpassed 650,000, compared with 150,000 in 1970.

Maryland was one of five states where more than 70 percent of eligible immigrants became citizens. The number of naturalizations in Maryland rose to 274,000 in 2005 from 120,000 in 1995.

Sixty-five percent of Virginia's eligible immigrants were naturalized in 2005, along with 50 percent of eligible immigrants in the District.

"We've seen dramatic changes in countries across the board," said Jeffrey Passel, the Pew Hispanic Center's senior research associate. "Today's immigrants are interested in becoming U.S. citizens," he said.

Mexicans were by far the largest group to naturalize, at more than 1.5 million. The number represented a 144 percent increase over 10 years, and it could have been much higher because Mexicans are the least likely of all groups to naturalize, Passel said. Another 3 million are eligible.

Immigrants from Cuba, China and the Philippines followed Mexicans as the largest groups to naturalize, Passel said. Most settled in four states -- California, New York, Texas and Florida.

I'm an advocate of strong enforcement of our immigration laws -- but I welcome those who follow them, and am pleased to see them join us as citizens of this great country.

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

Blog Recruits Terrorists

This is one reason we in the online community need to be vigilant for the cyber-jihadis in our midst.

"We were told to fight against Israel, America and non-Muslims," said Muhammed Bakhtiar, 17, explaining why he wanted to become a suicide bomber. "We are so unhappy with our lives here. We have nothing," he said.

Last month, Bakhtiar and his school friend, Miraj Ahmad, also 17, left their home, families, and boarding school in Buner, a district of the Malakand Division of the Northwest Frontier Province. Their destination was the Muridke madrassa right outside of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city. The madrassa or religious school is run by the Jama’at-ud-Da’awah, the charity linked to the outlawed terrorist organization, Lashkar e Taiba. And Lashkar e Taiba has links to al-Qaida.

he grounds of this madrassa looks much like the campus of any exclusive boys boarding school – except for the bearded armed guards sporting Kalashnikovs checking all those who come and go. There is a cricket field, swimming pool, all sorts of sport activities, and horses too. In addition to religious instruction, the school offers computer sciences, engineering and pre-med classes for students ranging in age from six to 17.

It also offers jihad.

"We read about jihad in books and wanted to join," said Ahmad. "We wanted to go to the Muridke madrassa so we would have a better life in the hereafter."

Not only do we need to be vigilant, but law-enforcement needs to enforce laws against servers that host such terrorist supporting sites.

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

Black Singles Site

I've written about dating sites in the past, and noted that they often cater to specific needs and interests of those who patronize them. I've recently been informed of this Black Dating site, for those who are looking to date black men or women.

Now some might argue that such sites promote segregation, but I disagree. Just as there are those who do not date outside their faith or prefer individuals of certain backgrounds, race and ethnicity are important issues in personal relationships. And so I encourage you, if you sincerely seek a relationship with an African-American man or woman, look at this Black Dating site as one resource for you.

Paid Endorsement.

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

TYC To Fire Felons

Probably, which is a good thing, considering that the TYC is the juvenile jail program for the state of Texas. Do we really want felons guarding troubled kids?

Jay Kimbrough, given new power Wednesday as conservator of the Texas Youth Commission, vowed to clean house at the embattled agency, beginning with the likely firings of perhaps dozens of convicted felons working there.

He said he also will ask a number of high-level agency executives and state school superintendents to reapply for their jobs.

Strike me that a lot of those high-level employees need to be let go in the housecleaning that is needed -- they didn't dhow even basic concern for sexual abuse of kids, or the punishment of those who resisted advances by TXC employees.

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

WalMart -- Playing Hard Ball With Employees, Too

Well, I guess it isn't just outsiders who WalMart uses its resources to go after -- they spare no expense when investigating rules violations, too.

The investigator flew to Guatemala in April 2002 with a delicate mission: trail a Wal-Mart manager around the country to prove he was sleeping with a lower-level employee, a violation of company policy.

The apparent smoking gun? “Moans and sighs” heard as the investigator, a Wal-Mart employee, pressed his ear against a hotel room door inside a Holiday Inn, according to legal documents. Soon after, the company fired the manager for what it said was improper fraternization with a subordinate.

Wal-Mart, renowned to outsiders for its elbows-out business tactics, is known internally for its bare-knuckled no-expense-spared investigations of employees who break its ironclad ethics rules.

Over the last five years, Wal-Mart has assembled a team of former officials from the C.I.A., F.B.I. and Justice Department whose elaborate, at times globetrotting, investigations have led to the ouster of a high-profile board member who used company funds to buy hunting equipment, two senior advertising executives who took expensive gifts from a potential supplier and a computer technician who taped a reporter’s telephone calls.

The investigators — whose résumés evoke Langley, Va., more than Bentonville, Ark. — serve as a rapid-response team that aggressively polices the nation’s largest private employer, enforcing Wal-Mart’s modest by-the-books culture among its army of 1.8 million employees.

WalMart is already famous for its strong-arm tactics for dealing with customers and others who litigate against it -- one older lady of my acquaintance was injured when a damaged changing station fell open as she passed it, striking her on the head and sending her tot he hospital. WalMart offered her a settlement for less than the amount of her medical bills, despite the fact that the evidence pointed to their own shoddy maintenance -- telling the injured 75-year-old that if she didn't accept it the company would "keep this thing in court until after you die, and we know that you need money to pay your medical bills now."

Nobody plays the game harder than WalMart.

|| Greg, 04:14 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (6) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 28, 2007

A Great Review – And A Modern Connection.

This book is one that has just jumped to the front of my “must-read” list.

While recovering from surgery recently, I had the good fortune to read a fine new book about political dissent in the North during the Civil War. The book, Copperheads: The Rise an Fall of Lincoln’s Opponents in the North, by journalist-turned-academic-historian Jennifer Weber, shines the spotlight on the “Peace Democrats,” who did everything they could to obstruct the Union war effort during the Rebellion. In so doing, she corrects a number of claims that have become part of the conventional wisdom. The historical record aside, what struck me the most were the similarities between the rhetoric and actions of the Copperheads a century and a half ago and Democratic opponents of the Iraq war today.

I made a similar connection some time back – and am quite interested in learning more about the treason of the Democrat Party in the past, as we deal with its subversion in the present.

|| Greg, 02:53 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Surge Success Leading To Too Many Detained Terrorists To Suit Iraq War Opponents

And here they kept saying that the surge would be a failure – now they are complaining that it is too successful.

Hundreds of Iraqis detained in the Baghdad security crackdown have been crammed into two detention centers run by the Defense Ministry that were designed to hold only dozens of people, a government monitoring group said Tuesday.

The numbers suggested that the security plan’s emphasis on aggressive block-by-block sweeps of troubled neighborhoods in the capital had flooded Iraq’s frail detention system, and appeared to confirm the fears of some human rights advocates who have been predicting that the new plan would aggravate already poor conditions.

After all, we can’t subject terrorists to less-than-optimal conditions, can we? It’s not like there are cold-blooded enemies of America and Iraq who are murdering civilians.

|| Greg, 02:51 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Looks Like A Quid Pro Quo To Me

You know, a similar move by a GOP candidate so close to an endorsement would be seen as scandalous.

Sen. Hillary Clinton has agreed to help former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who endorsed her Monday, pay off his $400,000 campaign debt.

Clinton (D-N.Y.) will put the arm on her donor network for Vilsack, who quit the presidential race Feb. 23 citing financial difficulties.

Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said it was a normal gesture to make and called suggestions of any endorsement quid pro quo "ridiculous."

"One thing's got absolutely nothing to do with the other," he said. "They've known each other for years. If she weren't running for President, she'd be doing whatever she can to help retire his debt."

Three weeks ago, Vilsack said his main focus was closing down his campaign debt and that he would not make an endorsement until the end of the year - if then. "I think the chances are good that I'll do that, but I don't know that for certain," he said.

Clinton has already run into problems with the appearance of buying endorsements.

I’m not saying it is illegal. I’m not even saying it is unethical (though she is a Clinton). What I’m saying is that it looks improper – and appearances are sometimes more important than realities in politics.

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

I’ll Tell You What Her Problem Is

An over-indulgent mother who has taught her that nothing is her fault and anything that goes against her is the result of discrimination.

A teenager has been jailed for more than a year for shoving a teacher's aide at her high school, a case that has sparked anger and heightened racial tensions in rural East Texas.

Shaquandra Cotton, who is black, claims the teacher's aide pushed her first and would not let her enter school before the morning bell in 2005. A jury convicted the 15-year-old girl in March 2006 on a felony count of shoving a public servant, who was not seriously injured.

The girl is in the Ron Jackson Correctional Complex in Brownwood, about 300 miles from her home in Paris. The facility is part of an embattled juvenile system that is the subject of state and federal investigations into allegations that staff members physically and sexually abused inmates.

Under the sentence handed down by Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville, she will remain at the facility until she meets state rehabilitation standards or reaches her 21st birthday.

But her family and civil rights activists say they want her home now. They are condemning the sentence as unusually harsh and say it shows a justice system that punishes young offenders differently, depending on their race.

Personally, I don’t care what momma and the “civil rights activists” want. Momma rejected the misdemeanor plea bargain that would have kept her child out of jail and on probation, but found that too harsh and went to trial. She lost.

And besides – I think any kid who lays hands on a teacher or school staff member ought to be in a juvenile facility until age 21 – or charged with an adult and facing hard time in a state prison.

|| Greg, 02:43 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Discipline At Columbia For Anti-Speech Terrorists

It is good the school acted -- but it is much too late and much too weak.

Columbia University has warned or censured eight students who were involved in disrupting speakers from the Minuteman Project last October in a melee that cut short the program, a university spokesman said yesterday.

In the televised fracas, protesters stormed a stage at the university and were attacked by others, shutting down speeches by the group, which opposes illegal immigration and has mounted civilian border patrols. The event hurtled the university back into the debate over free speech. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg chastised Columbia at the time.

The warnings and censures will be noted on the students’ transcripts for varying lengths of time, said Robert Hornsby, a Columbia spokesman. None will remain on the records after graduation. But if students face other disciplinary proceedings, they will face harsher penalties. “All of these punishments have a gravity to them and they should not be taken lightly,” Mr. Hornsby said.

Unfortunately, at least one disciplined student sees this as a victory for his side.

David Judd, a third-year student studying computer science who was one of the students who received a warning, said, “I view the fact that I got the lightest possible punishment as a small victory.”

And that's the problem -- the slap-on-the-wrist penalty says that nothing significant will happen to students who engage in attempts to shut down speech they disagree with.

I'm curious -- would the penalty have been so light if, instead of a speech by the Minutemen, a group of students had taken the stage and shut down a speech by Rev. Al Sharpton or Sen. Hillary Clinton? If instead of a program sponsored by the College Republicans, it had been a speech sponsored by a gay or Muslim group? I think we all know what would have happened in such cases.

|| Greg, 04:51 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Texans Need A Left Tackle? Sign Cory Redding!

I'm a little shocked by this news.

Coach Gary Kubiak disclosed Tuesday that the Texans might select a left tackle in the first round of the draft despite signing free agent Jordan Black and re-signing Ephraim Salaam.

Although the Texans need another wide receiver to play opposite Andre Johnson, Kubiak said they might target a left tackle because Charles Spencer is only 50-50 to make it back by the first game of the season.

The Texans have been working to address this issue during the off-season, but they think they still have a hole that needs to be filled. If they really do, they need a proven commodity at that spot.

Why not sign Detroit Lion free-agent Cory Redding, a UT alum and product of Houston's own North Shore High School?

Cory Redding is not only a fantastic player, but also a fantastic human being who would fit well with the clean-cut image the Texans have cultivated during the team's short history. Redding would bring immediate credibility to the Texan's defense.

And as a local product, the move would have immediate impact upon fan support. After all, Redding was popular in high school and at UT. Bringing him home would be welcome by those who have followed his career for years and watched him become a top-drawer player.

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

NY Times Argues Border Jumpers Have Rights, Need Government Assistance To Work Illegally

I'm curious -- what other violations of federal law does the New York Times want local governments to aid and abet?

In cities and suburbs across America, the confluence of homes, big-box stores and striving immigrant men has created an informal, often unruly job marketplace that has survived every effort to ban it or harass it out of existence.

This market, of Latino day laborers, is hardly the only manifestation of the shadow immigrant economy, but it is the hardest to ignore. These are the immigrants whom localities seem the most desperate to subdue, usually with laws against loitering and job solicitation. A Los Angeles suburb, Baldwin Park, is the latest of dozens to tackle the problem, with an antisoliciting bill written broadly enough to cover cookie-selling Girl Scouts but really meant for the Latino men at Home Depot.

Such crackdowns are constitutionally dubious and usually fail, and some lawmakers are having doubts about them. Last week, on Long Island, the Suffolk County Legislature defeated a bill to drive away day laborers by forbidding them to “obstruct” county roads. The majority understood that the dimly reasoned measure would have simply diverted workers and contractors’ trucks onto other roads while inviting civil-rights lawsuits. It would not have reduced the population of day laborers the least bit.

It was a good outcome for a bad bill, but the county is still stuck where it has been for years — wondering how to handle a volatile mixture of men and trucks in a suburb that wishes they would go away. A good next step for Suffolk would be to come around to a solution that other communities have tried, with generally positive results: a hiring site.

One can oppose illegal immigration and still approve of hiring sites, places where laborers can find shade, toilets and a safe place to negotiate jobs with contractors and homeowners. The most obvious reasons are crowd control and traffic safety.

But an equally compelling reason is that hiring sites impose order on free-market chaos. An unregulated day-labor bazaar wallows in the mud flats of capitalism, benefiting sleazy contractors and fostering rock-bottom wages and working conditions for all laborers, legal or not. Hiring sites that register and monitor contractors and laborers can hold them all to account. Employers who undercut competitors and rob workers will find it hard to return to a well-established hiring site, and drunks and belligerents among the laborers will be pressured to toe the line. These places are sometimes called “shape-up sites,” an apt term in more ways than one.

Some lawmakers have gotten over the notion that hiring sites are gifts to illegals, and have concluded that approaching day laborers as community members, with rights and civic responsibilities, is smarter than ranting about them as pests. It is heartening that some local officials are willing to confront the realities of a flawed immigration system and to work responsibly to lessen its troublesome side effects.

Then there are those who hold out hope that with just one more crackdown, one more ticketing blitz, the men who make our suburbs gleam will take their sweat and muscle elsewhere and leave us alone to tend our homes and hedges by ourselves. Government officials on Long Island, as elsewhere, have tried stiff-necked hostility to day laborers, and have reaped years of failure. They should consider hiring sites as the next, positive step — one that promises not only to be practical and humane, but also effective.

You know what -- I bet that government sponsored crack-sales sites would be a good idea as well. After all, it would help to regulate an unruly illegal market, and make the illegal purchase of illegal goods much easier -- as well as stop the harassment of an often unruly drug marketplace that has survived every effort to ban it or harass it out of existence

hey, it makes as much sense as the idea of government sponsored hiring sites for border-jumping immigration criminals.

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

MRIs For Breast Cancer Screening -- Will The Funding Be There?

Well, that's my question in response to this new recommendation.

A major medical group is recommending for the first time that women at greatest risk of breast cancer undergo MRI exams every year to try to catch more tumors at their earliest, most treatable stages.

The American Cancer Society is issuing new guidelines today that urge annual MRIs for women at high risk because of a strong family history of the disease, a genetic predisposition or other reasons. As many as 1.6 million women in the United States fall into this high-risk category.

For these women, the recommendation adds the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) exam to the standard tools that doctors should use routinely to detect breast cancer, marking the most significant change in the society's influential screening guidelines since doctors started recommending annual mammograms. The more sensitive MRI exams can pick up small tumors that mammograms frequently miss.

"The goal here is to do a better job of finding breast cancer early, when they are much more likely to be treated successfully," said Robert A. Smith, the society's director of screening.

The guidelines stop short of recommending annual MRI breast screening for all women, saying that there is insufficient evidence to support wider use of the relatively costly exams. But they say that women at a lesser, but still elevated, risk because, for example, they are breast cancer survivors or have a family history of the disease, should consult with their doctors about undergoing regular MRIs as well.

The guidelines stress that the exams should be done in addition to annual mammograms and regular physical exams in the hope of driving down the death toll from the common, widely feared malignancy.

Some question whether or not there is sufficient MRI capacity in the country to meet this call -- but I have no doubt that the machines can be manufactured and the operators trained in relatively short order. After all, look at the number of private imaging centers springing up around the country.

The issue is cash. Will insurance companies and government programs be prepared to regularly make the sort of payments this will require, as millions of new MRIs are done each year for cancer screening. After all, MRIs are around $500 a pop. This is out of reach of many patients without insurance help or other programs.

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

For The Children?

It strikes me that there may be a more productive way of showing your desire to help children than taking a bunch of them hostage.

A day-care center owner hijacked a busload of his students and teachers and drove them to Manila's city hall Wednesday to demand better housing and education for the children.

Jun Ducat and at least one other hostage-taker scribbled in large letters on a sheet of paper, taped to the bus' windshield, that they were holding 32 children and two teachers and were armed with two grenades, an assault rifle and a pistol, officer Mark Andal said.

One child with a fever was released after four hours, and then was driven away in an ambulance.

They said they were demanding improved housing and education for 145 children in a day-care center in Manila's poor Tondo district where the incident, televised live around the world, appeared to have begun. The driver was released soon afterward.

"I love these kids; that's why I am here," Ducat, identified by police and parents as the day-care center owner, told DZMM radio by cell phone. "We have a field trip. I invited the children for a field trip.

"You can be assured that I cannot hurt the children. In case I need to shed blood, I will not be the first to fire. I am telling the policemen, have pity on these children."

If he really loved these kids, would he be holding them with guns and grenades?

|| Greg, 04:23 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 27, 2007

Consequences Of Libby Case Come Home To Roost

After Scooter Libby was convicted over discrepancies that are reasonably explained as faulty memory, why would anyone ever voluntarily give any information to any government investigation? Monica Goodling has nothing to hide -- merely the sense to recognize that the fix is in and any evidence that contradicts the scenario preferred by the Democrats will result in prosecution.

Monica Goodling, a Justice Department official involved in the firings of federal prosecutors, will refuse to answer questions at upcoming Senate hearings, citing Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, her lawyer said Monday.

"The potential for legal jeopardy for Ms. Goodling from even her most truthful and accurate testimony under these circumstances is very real," said the lawyer, John Dowd.

He said that members of the House and Senate Judiciary committees seem already to have made up their minds that wrongdoing has occurred in the firings.

When witch-hunters determine set out to confirm there are witches they have already said they are certain exist, why would anyone choose to subject themselves to examination?

|| Greg, 09:34 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Tony Snow's Cancer Returns

Prayers for a good and decent man.

White House press secretary Tony Snow, who has become the face of the Bush presidency over the last year, has cancer again.

Snow's deputy, Dana M. Perino, broke into tears at an off-camera briefing this morning as she announced that the cancer has spread to his liver. Doctors discovered it when they operated on Snow on Monday to remove a small growth that had developed in his lower abdomen.

Snow, 51, who underwent surgery and months of chemotherapy for colon cancer two years ago, plans once again to "go after it as aggressively" as he can, Perino said, but it was unclear when or whether he would be able to return to work.

"Of course, we're pulling for Tony," Perino said. "We certainly gain strength from his optimism. We know he's going to beat it again."

I'm curious what the reaction will be over on DU, Kos, and HuffPo to this news. Do we even need to look to know?

|| Greg, 09:27 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Veto Showdown Over Cut-&-Run

Looks like the Senate GOP may leave it to the President to kill this deadline plan.

Unwilling to do the White House's heavy lifting on Iraq, Senate Republicans are prepared to step aside to allow language requiring troop withdrawals to reach President Bush, forcing him to face down Democratic adversaries with his veto pen.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) announced the shift in strategy yesterday, as the chamber took up a $122 billion war spending package that includes a target date of March 31, 2008, for ending most U.S. combat operations in Iraq. The provision, along with a similar House effort, represents the Democrats' boldest challenge on the war, setting the stage for a dramatic showdown with Bush over an otherwise popular bill to keep vital military funds flowing.

Republicans will still attempt to remove the deadline in a Senate vote expected as soon as today, and GOP leaders were reasonably confident they would muster a majority. But the margin is expected to be thin, requiring the presence of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who had skipped several previous Iraq votes to attend presidential campaign events. McCain canceled a series of fundraisers and meetings in Florida to return to Washington, telling a conservative radio program that he wanted to "beat back this recipe for defeat that the Democrats are trying to foist off on the American people."

No matter the outcome of the Senate vote, McConnell is looking ahead, assuming House Democrats will insist that withdrawal conditions be included when a final bill is sent to Bush. If so, McConnell said, Republicans would forgo the parliamentary tactics they used to block antiwar legislation that had forced Democrats to amass an insurmountable 60 votes to prevail.

"We need to get the bill on down to the president and get the veto out of the way," McConnell said.

Regardless, there will be no deadline enacted into law by Congress. Not even this absurd notion.

In one of the more unusual proposals to emerge in the Senate debate on Iraq withdrawal, Sen. Mark Pryor wants to keep any plans for bringing troops home a secret.

The Arkansas Democrat is a key holdout on his party's proposal to approve $122 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while setting a goal of March 31, 2008, for winding up military operations in Iraq. Unlike the plan's Republican opponents, Pryor wants a withdrawal deadline of some kind. He just doesn't want anyone outside the White House, Congress and the Iraqi government to know what it is.

"My strong preference would be to have a classified plan and a classified timetable that should be shared with Congress," Pryor said yesterday. A public deadline would tip off the enemy, "who might just bide their time and wait for us to leave," he said. "Then you'd have chaos and mayhem and instability."

Pryor said a classified plan would be provided by the president, shepherded by Senate committees and ultimately shared with Congress and Iraqi leaders. He is confident that the plan would remain secret, because Congress is entrusted with secrets "all the time."

And Congress leaks secrets all the time -- I imagine it would take about 20 minutes for some enterprising Democrat staffer to be dubbed "an anonymous Capitol Hill source" by the television networks, the NY Times and Washington Post. After all, when has the mere fact that something is classified -- and its disclosure harmful to national security -- ever stopped them from supplying information to the enemy? And since there is never any prosecution of leakers of classified info, what would be the reason to think it would not be let out to the public quickly?

|| Greg, 09:24 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (48) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Smithsonian Scandal

Not a place where one expects to find dishonesty and corruption.

Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence M. Small, the banker who took over the world's largest museum complex seven years ago, has resigned under pressure following revelations regarding his housing allowance and office and travel expenditures.

Museum officials announced Small's departure yesterday and named Cristián Samper, a biologist who heads the National Museum of Natural History, as acting secretary.

In recent weeks questions about Small's leadership and his personal expenditures had created a crisis at the Smithsonian. Small, 65, had been sharply criticized by members of Congress and his pay and expense accounts have been subjected to scrutiny by the Smithsonian inspector general. Last week, two separate committees were appointed by the regents to look into management operations at the Smithsonian, which includes 18 museums and research facilities as well as the National Zoo.

It is all rather sordid -- and seems based upon the attempt by a businessman to operate a museum/not-for-profit entity like the business he had left.

|| Greg, 09:16 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (47) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 26, 2007

Pork Bill Harms Military


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

Comment Snafu

I don't know what happened, but a number of comments have disappeared from my site after a recent rebuild.

I apologize for any inconvenience, and will attempt to restore them if possible. Please feel free to repost.

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

The Jihadi Goal – Keep The People Scared And Ignorant

It seems to be working in parts of Thailand.

THERE will be no children on the playground at Yaha primary school today, even though school should run for another week. The Government halted classes in southern Thailand two weeks ago to shield teachers from a brutal campaign.

Since the Muslim insurgency reignited in January 2004, 67 teachers have been murdered: shot in front of their class, beaten to death or set alight in a savage protest against the Thai education system. Another 80 have been injured.

The situation has deteriorated to such a level that the military provides escorts for teachers to and from school in hundreds of towns across the three southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.

Islam may, at one time, have placed great value on learning – but its most forceful proponents today seem intent on promoting ignorance instead.

|| Greg, 05:02 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

One More Reason To Shut Down TSU

It can’t even pay its debts.

A private developer shuttered Texas Southern University's two newly constructed parking garages and shuttle service today after the financially troubled school stopped paying its bills.

The move left thousands of students, faculty and staff members scrambling at the commuter campus, while the roughly $35 million project is at risk of default.
The Integrity Group made the decision less than three years into a 30-year lease with the university, which hired the Cleveland, Ohio-based company to construct and manage the parking garages and six-shuttle service.

The two garages, totaling 2,000 parking spaces, opened last year. But the university did not collect adequate fees or occupancy rates to pay the debt service on the project, and students recently voted down a proposed fee to pay for the shuttle service.

Campus leaders have asked the state Legislature for an emergency appropriation of $1.7 million to cover the shortfall. But lawmakers have balked because the expense is not directly related to education.

Time to merge the scandal-plagued, failing, third-rate educational institution with the University of Houston – only a few blocks away – and put an end to this embarrassing remnant of the Jim Crow era.

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

More Lampson Heart Problems

Well, “Slick Nick” Lampson is back in the hospital, only days after selling-out the troops and misrepresenting his district by voting in favor of the pork-laden cut-and-run appropriations bill.

U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Stafford, underwent a quadruple coronary artery bypass at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston Sunday morning.

The procedure was recommended after a checkup at the National Naval Medical Center in Washington Friday detected irregularities, his office said.

"The physicians have indicated that the surgery proceeded well and that Congressman Lampson will make a full recovery,'' Lampson spokesman Bobby Zafarnia said in a press release. "Though this was a serious procedure, Congressman Lampson has his family with him, his spirits are high, and he looks forward to returning to his office and serving his constituents as quickly as possible.''

Zafarnia said Lampson will remain under observation in the hospital for the next several days and should be released within the week. His recovery period will keep him in Houston for 3 to 4 weeks.

Heart bypass surgery involves surgeons creating a new channel when an artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body is blocked. In a quadruple bypass, four arteries are bypassed in the procedure.

Lampson, who replaced former Majority Leader Tom DeLay in the House, was hospitalized briefly in December, soon after he won that election. He underwent an angioplasty procedure at the time to open up a partially-blocked vessel.

I wish the Congressman a speedy and complete recovery -- because I want to be a part of the campaign that removes him from office in 2008.

|| Greg, 05:00 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Now He’s Black, Too

Who knows – maybe he beat Tiger Woods to be the first Cablinasian.

Ward Churchill's claims of Indian ancestry were questioned in an extensive genealogy by the Rocky Mountain News in 2005, which identified 142 direct forebears of Churchill and found no evidence that any of them were American Indians. Now the controversial University of Colorado ethnic studies professor says he has black ancestry as well.

Churchill made that claim while answering questions at the Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair in San Francisco on March 17. In a video clip available at, Churchill criticized as racist the vote this month by the Cherokee Nation to oust freedmen - descendants of slaves once owned by Cherokees - from tribal rolls. After repeating the debunked claims of his Indian ancestry and membership in an established Indian tribe, Churchill said: "Actually, I do have black ancestry."

Contacted by the Rocky, Churchill declined to elaborate on his claim.

Ward Churchill – the truth is not in him.

|| Greg, 04:56 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Five Taliban Rehabilitated At Pakistani School

Education, jihadi-style meets anti-terrorism, Pakistani-style.

Police challenged a group of suspected militants Monday at a high school in northwestern Pakistan after hearing that they wanted to "motivate" students for holy war, sparking a gunbattle that left six people dead, police said. Five militants and one police officer were killed in the shooting at the privately run Oxford Public School in Tank, a town about 60 miles from the Afghan border, said Javed Khan, a local police officer. It was unclear whether any students were hurt.

Khan said the militants told the administrators of the boys' school to assemble the students so the militants could address them.

"They wanted to speak with the boys and motivate them for jihad," Khan said by telephone from Tank.

Looks like the Taliban want to turn every school into a terrorist-spawning madrassa.

|| Greg, 04:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

For Those Who Think Saddam Didn’t Support Terrorism

Explain this.

A joint operation by Greek and US secret service officers in March 2003 led to the seizure of a large cache of explosives from the basement of the Iraqi Embassy in Athens, Kathimerini has learned.

“Operation Net” was launched just before the American invasion of Iraq after US authorities claimed to have been tipped off about the presence of a weapons cache in the embassy in Neo Psychico, sources have revealed. The informer is believed to be an Iraqi with links to the embassy.

Sources said a raid on the embassy unearthed explosive materials, car bombs, detonators, several guns and dozens of rounds of ammunition. Much of the material was “ready to use” while some was too old to be of any value, according to sources who said all the material was destroyed within a few weeks of discovery.

US secret services could not determine why the weapons cache had been kept at the embassy, although the possibility that it had been destined for use in a terrorist attack during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games has been ruled out.

‘Nuff said.

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

UNC Mascot Tragedy

I’ll lay it on the line – I hate the University of North Carolina. I always have, to the degree that I would support the University of Teheran Jumpin’ Jihadis before cheering for the Tarheels. That said, my heart goes out to the UNC community and the family of their mascot, Jason Ray, who is in critical condition after being struck by a car.

More than two dozen family members and friends held a bedside vigil Sunday for Jason Ray, the North Carolina student who suits up as the school's mascot who was in extremely critical condition after being hit by a car.

The 21-year-old senior remained on life support Sunday, two days after he was struck near his hotel in Fort Lee. Ray, who portrays UNC's ram mascot, Rameses, was in New Jersey for the NCAA men's tournament game between the Tar Heels and Southern California at the Continental Airlines Arena.

Ray's father, Emmitt, who flew to New Jersey in a friend's private plane after getting word of his son's life-threatening head injuries, said doctors hold out little hope for his son's recovery "short of the intervention of the Lord."

Ray left his hotel to go to a nearby convenience store Friday afternoon, and was walking back along Route 4 when he was struck from behind by an SUV. The driver stopped immediately to call 911. No charges have been filed.

No one should have to deal with such a devastating situation.

If you are so inclined, offer a prayer for Jason, his family, and the rest of the UNC community. I know I have, because likes and dislikes in college sports are truly insignificant next to matters of life and death.

|| Greg, 04:53 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

But The Left Says He’s Not A Commie

He just has a whole different idea about the nature of property.

President Hugo Chavez announced Sunday that his government's sweeping reforms toward socialism will include the creation of "collective property."

Vowing to undermine capitalism's continued influence in Venezuela during his television and radio program "Hello President," Chavez said state-financed cooperatives would operate under a new concept in which workers would share profits.

"It's property that belongs to everyone and it's going to benefit everyone," said Chavez, a close ally of Cuban leader Fidel Castro whom opponents accuse of leading Venezuela toward Cuba-style communism.

Chavez — a leftist former paratrooper popularly known as "El Comandante" — said his government fully respects private property, but pledged to replace capitalist ideals with socialist principles on cooperatives such as cattle ranches and farms.

"It cannot be production to generate profits for one person or a small group of people that become rich exploiting peons who end up becoming slaves, living in poverty and misery their entire lives," he said.

And we all know how successful “collective farms” were in the Soviet Union, don’t we?

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

Terrorists Using Kids & Puppies

Where I grew up, such folks would be known as “scum”. Using kids -- including mentally handicapped ones -- as decoys and bombs is below sub-human.

Al Qaeda in Iraq is using kidnapped children to pick up weapons dropped in battle zones, get past checkpoints and die in car bombs, according to U.S. officials and Iraqis in Baghdad.

"Al Qaeda is using children to pick up weapons and ammunition knowing that U.S. troops will not shoot against children," said one U.S. military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

There has also been a reported incident in which children were used to drive safely past a checkpoint in order to detonate a car closer to a target.

"Men traveling with children in the back of their cars rarely get searched because they look like a family," said Hassan, a middle-aged Shi'ite living in one of the capital's older mixed neighborhoods.

"Then they leave the car and blow it up by remote control with the children in it," he said. Hassan, who did not want his full name used out of fear of retaliation, said at one point last year children with Down syndrome had been used to carry bombs.

And in the past they’ve used animals to deliver deadly cargo.

Insurgents in Iraq attached explosives to a dog and tried to blow up a military convoy near the northern oil centre of Kirkuk.

The canine bomb went off but the only casualty was the unfortunate animal, said police. The militants wrapped an explosive belt around the dog and detonated it as the convoy passed through Dakuk, 25 miles south of Kirkuk, said the town's police chief, Col Mohammed Barzaji.

"The dog was torn apart by the explosion which caused neither injury among the soldiers nor any damage."

I guess the terrorists don’t have the courage to put themselves at risk, so they use kids and puppies instead. And yet they are the ones that Michael Moore, Sean Penn, and other moral midgets claim are freedom fighters and the equivalent of the Founding Fathers.

H/T Jawa Report

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

Peace In Ireland?

Well, we’ll see.

The leaders of Northern Ireland’s dominant political and religious parties, Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams and the Protestant leader Rev. Ian Paisley, held face-to-face negotiations today and agreed to work towards a resumption of the province’s power-sharing authority by May 8.

The agreement, announced by the two men sitting close together at a diamond-shaped table in the Stormont Parliament building, meant that the province will not meet a March 26 deadline set by Britain and Ireland to end a four-year suspension of the local government and assembly.

But it was welcomed in London as a “moment that we will remember,” a spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Blair said, speaking in return for customary anonymity.

“Let us be clear — if there’s a consensus about the way forward, the British government isn’t going to stand in the way of that consensus,” the spokesman said.

After reading statements in front of a live television camera, Mr. Adams and Mr. Paisley shuffled their papers but did not shake hands. Nonetheless, the notion of the two men, who have been bitter rivals and adversaries over the long period of Northern Ireland’s sectarian strife, sitting almost side by side was seen by many analysts as historic.

Hey, if these two terrorist leaders can set aside their differences and negotiate a true peace and a modus viviendi for their peoples, then maybe there is hope for other regions of the world.

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

A True Story From The Educational Frontlines

One of my colleagues told the most outrageous story over lunch today. The frightening thing is that it was true.

It isn’t unusual to have pregnant girls in class at our school. One girl in my colleague’s class is getting very close to giving birth, and so has begun reading up on how to care for her baby. Today she said the following to this colleague.

“Mr. C., I keep reading that breast milk is better for babies than regular milk, but I can’t find out where to get it or how much it costs.”

I understand that my colleague handled the question with much more tact than I would have been able to.

|| Greg, 04:43 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (73) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Turn-On For Aggies?

Or is it a turn-off?

Scientists have created the world's first human-sheep chimera - which has the body of a sheep and half-human organs.

The sheep have 15 per cent human cells and 85 per cent animal cells - and their evolution brings the prospect of animal organs being transplanted into humans one step closer.

Professor Esmail Zanjani, of the University of Nevada, has spent seven years and £5million perfecting the technique, which involves injecting adult human cells into a sheep's foetus.

Researchers at Texas A&M have reportedly been trying different methods to create human/sheep hybrids -- methods said to involve flowers, chocolates, and slinky negligees.

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

Will Plame's Testimony Unravel In the Face Of The Facts?

It certainly will if Rep. Lynn Westmoreland has her way about the matter.

When Valerie Plame Wilson testified recently before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, just two Republicans — out of 17 on the committee — bothered to show up. Ranking Republican Rep. Tom Davis asked few questions and seemed largely uninterested in the matter. The only other Republican to appear, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, showed more interest but appeared not to have mastered the details of the case.

Now, however, Westmoreland wants to know more. In a letter to committee chairman Rep. Henry Waxman Friday, he submitted more questions for Mrs. Wilson and requested that Waxman ask the Senate Intelligence Committee for information that could shed light on issues left unresolved after her testimony.

As part of its investigation into pre-war intelligence, the Senate committee interviewed Mrs. Wilson, as well as some of her colleagues at the CIA. The committee also reviewed CIA documents about the Niger uranium affair. In his letter, Westmoreland asked Waxman to ask the Senate committee for the full text of Mrs. Wilson’s interview with Senate investigators. Westmoreland also asked for the “full text of Ms. Plame’s February 12, 2002 email/memo to her boss regarding sending her husband, Joseph Wilson, to Niger.”

Will Howard Waxman act on the information request? Will Plame respond to it? Or will they, by their inaction and silence, implicitly confirm that there is a cover-up going on, one orchestrated by the enemies of the Bush Administration for purely partisan purposes?

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

The GOP's Face Of The Future -- And the Present

Here's a great profile of Rep. Adm Putnam, who is the number three Republican in the House of Representatives.

Amid the sea of square jaws and swept-back gray hair in Congress, Representative Adam H. Putnam, a tousled redhead whose cherubic appearance still causes Capitol police to stop him occasionally, appears a bit out of place.

But Mr. Putnam, 32, a Florida Republican, has become the unlikely mouthpiece for the beleaguered minority in the House, taking over as chairman of the Republican Conference, the third-ranking post behind the minority leader and whip, as his party struggles to right itself.

Mr. Putnam, something of a political wunderkind who at 26 was one of the youngest members of Congress in decades when he was elected in 2000, has taken on the role of attack dog over the last three months.

Combining agility on the issues and controlled partisan outrage, he has helped lead Republicans in the debate over the war in Iraq, lambasted Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her use of a military jet to fly across country to her home district, and generally tried to eke out political points at every opportunity.

Putnam is a guy to keep an eye on -- he should be in the public eye for many years, and seems like he may, in time, be a likely contender for the White House.

|| Greg, 04:22 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

More Thoughts On Edwards Campaign

As I said the other day, I understand and respect the decision of John and Elizabeth Edwards to continue John's presidential campaign.

Or at least I did until last night.

Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of the presidential candidate John Edwards, elaborated on her cancer diagnosis in an interview broadcast last night, saying that the disease had spread to one of her hips.

Mrs. Edwards and her husband said they would continue campaigning.

The interview, on “60 Minutes” on CBS, appeared three days after Mr. Edwards announced that his wife’s cancer, first diagnosed late in his 2004 campaign for the White House, had come back in an incurable form that had spread to her ribs.

When asked if the cancer had spread to any other part of her body, Mrs. Edwards said, “There are a couple of hot spots, on the bone scan, in my right hip, for example.” She did not mention any other areas having been affected.

It sounds to me like the cancer may have spread much more aggressively than I had originally believed, which leads me to reassess my earlier position on his continuing the campaign.

Senator Edwards, with all due respect, I think you are wrong to continue with your campaign. Your wife is ill, sir, and her condition will likely be terminal in the next five years. This campaign, and the obligations of the presidency, will increasingly take you away from her side as Elizabeth's condition deteriorates. Where is it more important that you be during the time she has left -- on the campaign trail and in the Oval Office, or with her? When she is gone, which are you most likely to have regrets about -- time with Elizabeth, or time pursuing the presidency? Fully believing that the love you two display in public is real, I believe we all know the answer.

And besides, Senator, you are still a young man. In four years, or eight years, you will still be of an age to seek the Presidency -- especially if you have served in the Cabinet of a Democratic President.

The full 60 Minutes transcript can be found here.

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

Does Day Care Lead To Poor Behavior?

Well, yeah, it does -- but not as much as other factors.

A much-anticipated report from the largest and longest-running study of American child care has found that keeping a preschooler in a day care center for a year or more increased the likelihood that the child would become disruptive in class — and that the effect persisted through the sixth grade.

The effect was slight, and well within the normal range for healthy children, the researchers found. And as expected, parents’ guidance and their genes had by far the strongest influence on how children behaved.

But the finding held up regardless of the child’s sex or family income, and regardless of the quality of the day care center. With more than two million American preschoolers attending day care, the increased disruptiveness very likely contributes to the load on teachers who must manage large classrooms, the authors argue.

On the positive side, they also found that time spent in high-quality day care centers was correlated with higher vocabulary scores through elementary school.

Now there are already lots of folks out there trying to shoot down this study, to lay the effect off on high turn-over at day care centers or some other factor, but the reality is that the effect does exist. Indeed, it has a lot to do with the lack of clear, consistent supervision and discipline experienced by these young kids, in my opinion.

|| Greg, 04:02 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 25, 2007

McCain Using Ex-Staffer Lobbyists To Raise Money For Campaign

And here I thought that money -- especially money from lobbyists -- was the source of all evil in politics.

he U.S. presidential candidates have friends in corporate America fanning out across the country raising millions of dollars for their 2008 bids, ranging from Washington lobbyists to Wall Street financiers.

Republican contender Sen. John McCain has set up an extensive fund-raising operation that includes friends and former employees who now are lobbyists at major companies like AT&T Inc. and Walt Disney Co.

* * *

McCain has friends and former staff at major communications companies helping him, including AT&T senior congressional lobbyist and longtime friend Tim McKone.

He also has support from chief executives at companies like Cisco Systems Inc. and former staff who now work for Verizon Communications and Disney.

Seems mighty hypocritical to me -- and certainly in violation of the spirit of campaign finance reform.

|| Greg, 03:58 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Is That A Threat?

Sounds like Mahmoud is suffering from delusions of grandeur -- or threatening to unleash the nuclear weapons he says he is not developing upon anyone who backs sanctions.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is rejecting new United Nations sanctions as illegal, according to IRNA, the state-run Iranian news agency.

Ahmadinejad, in an interview with France's Channel 2 TV network, warned nations "seeking to impose sanctions against Iran will suffer a greater damage themselves," IRNA reported.

The 15-member Security Council unanimously passed a resolution Saturday imposing new sanctions on Iran because of its refusal to suspend its uranium-enrichment program.

I t5hink the time has come for us to impose "greater damage" upon the Iranian president and his country.

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

Iran To Violate Geneva Convention -- World Silent

After all, they are not the United States or Israel, so their actions pass with relatively little comment -- even though their actions do, in fact, violate Geneva, something that is not the case with the criticized actions of the US and Israel.

FIFTEEN British sailors and marines arrested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards off the coast of Iraq may be charged with spying.

A website run by associates of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, reported last night that the Britons would be put before a court and indicted.

Referring to them as “insurgents”, the site concluded: “If it is proven that they deliberately entered Iranian territory, they will be charged with espionage. If that is proven, they can expect a very serious penalty since according to Iranian law, espionage is one of the most serious offences.”

The warning followed claims by Iranian officials that the British navy personnel had been taken to Tehran, the capital, to explain their “aggressive action” in entering Iranian waters. British officials insist the servicemen were in Iraqi waters when they were held.

However, as Captain Ed points out, this announcement is a clear statement of intent to violate international law as found in the Geneva Conventions.

The Iranians cannot try the men for espionage if they captured the sailors in uniform. Article 46 of the Geneva Convention states this clearly:

2. A member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict who, on behalf of that Party and in territory controlled by an adverse Party, gathers or attempts to gather information shall not be considered as engaging in espionage if, while so acting, he is in the uniform of his armed forces.

The indictment of British sailors in uniform as spies will violate the GC. Can we expect the same level of outrage over this explicit violation as the supposed violations of the US government?

Now since the status of those captured in uniform, as opposed to those captured out of uniform (like, for example, al-Qaeda jihadis), they cannot face criminal charges but must instead be treated as POWs. On the other hand, those captured out of uniform can be so tried, according to whatever for their captors see fit. If this situation does not make the matter clear to even the most dense of observers (including BDS-suffering American leftists), then nothing will.

Oh, and by the way -- the Iranians attacked US and Iraqi forces INSIDE IRAQ recently. Sounds like an act of war to me. Too bad Congress won't let us respond appropriately.

Personally, I like the suggestion at the Jawa Report for dealing with this act of naked aggression by the Iranians. So what if we have to print maps that read "Sea of Glass" where "Iran" used to be.

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|| Greg, 01:56 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Making AP AP Again

Sorry, but over the years the content of AP classes has become watered-down as too many districts encouraged too-many students to enroll in AP classes -- and then gave in when parents demanded that the grades (and the failure rates) be the same as regular level classes.

Now the College Board is striking back.

While her students at Blake High School prepare for an Advanced Placement exam that measures whether they know college-level world history, Saroja Ringo is being asked to prove she knows how to teach it.

The College Board, publisher of college-preparatory exams, is auditing every Advanced Placement course in the nation, asking teachers of an estimated 130,000 AP courses to furnish written proof by June 1 that the courses they teach are worthy of the brand.

An explosion in AP study -- participation in the program has nearly doubled this decade -- has bred worry, particularly among college leaders, of a decline in the rigor for which the courses are known. Once the exclusive province of elite students at select high schools, AP study or its equivalent is now more or less expected of any student who aspires to attend even a marginally selective college.

In the haste to remain competitive in the AP arms race, schools sometimes award the designation to courses that barely resemble the college curriculum the program is meant to deliver, according to College Board officials and educators. Until now, there has been no large-scale effort to weed out such abuse.

"Anybody could just say, 'I'm teaching an AP course; I'm an AP teacher. There's no protocol,' " said Ringo, who teaches AP World History at the Silver Spring school and works as an official grader of the exams.

Beginning with the 2007-08 academic year, only teachers whose syllabuses have been approved by the College Board may call their courses AP. Each teacher must submit an audit form, along with a syllabus for the course he or she teaches. Depending on how well the teacher's syllabus -- assuming he or she has one -- reflects the rigor expected by the College Board, the process can be brief or time-consuming.

It is about time. And for all the grumbling that comes from the pseudo-AP teachers out there, let me suggest that they start to walk a mile in the shoes of regular education teachers who don't exclusively get "the best and the brightest" in our classes.

|| Greg, 01:44 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

When Will North Forest ISD Close?

The sooner the better, as far as this teacher is concerned.

The story has been the same for years in this small, poor, mostly black school district in northeast Houston: Financial problems, shoddy recordkeeping and low test scores prompt sanctions from the state.

Employees get indicted on criminal charges. The school board fires the superintendent. The district might improve some but then falls again.

In the past decade, enrollment in the North Forest Independent School District has dropped 35 percent to fewer than 9,000 students. Today, eight of its 11 schools are rated academically unacceptable, and its average SAT score — 748 out of 1600 — is nearly the worst in Texas.

History repeated itself three weeks ago when the school board voted 4-3 to oust the superintendent, James Simpson, and the Texas Education Agency again has sent in a conservator to oversee the district's finances.

While some in the North Forest community are rallying behind the state's largest predominantly black school system, others, including some Texas lawmakers, are beginning to ask: When is enough enough? Would students be better off if the district were abolished and annexed by neighboring systems?

State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, a longtime defender of North Forest, recently told the Houston Chronicle, "I'm at the breaking point."

Thompson, a Democrat, said the school board deserves time to search for a top-notch superintendent. But if the district doesn't shape up quickly — she's not certain on a timeline — she'd be ready to support shutting down North Forest ISD. Closure could happen only if the state education commissioner ordered it or if the school board chose it.

And the school board won't choose it, as its members have been operating the district as their own personal fiefdom for years, to the detriment of the students and the teachers in the district. The neighboring districts, Houston, Aldine, Sheldon and Humble, would end up absorbing the students -- though I know we would have a lot of the students attempt to enroll in my district as well, as I suspect some already do.

I think that the state superintendent of education, Dr. Shirley Neeley, really dodged the question of whether or not the district should be closed.

Neeley said she always asks herself the same question before abolishing a district: "Would I want my children or grandchildren attending that school or that school district?"

Asked whether she would send her children to the schools in North Forest, Neeley skirted the question.

"I'm partial to Galena Park," she said of the nearby district where she once served as superintendent.

Come on, Shirley, I know you better than that. For all your love of GPISD (where you not only were superintendent, but where you, your daughter, and your grandson all attended school and where you taught and worked as an administrator most of your career), you KNOW North Forest ISD was not measuring up. You knew that when kids from NFISD were playing residency games to enroll at GPISD schools. The time has come for you to ACT, not to avoid closing down a majority minority district in your own backyard. After all, you would not have let either your daughter or grandson go to NFISD schools -- why should you continue to force anyone else's child to do so?

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|| Greg, 01:13 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (12) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 24, 2007

McCain On The Rocks?

He can't meet his fundraising goals -- and is being beaten by Mitt Romney in the amount raised.

Sen. John McCain said his presidential campaign would not meet its fundraising goals this quarter, and his campaign advisers acknowledged that ex-MA Gov. Mitt Romney may wind up raising more.

"We're going to pay a price for it because we got a late start," McCain told reporters in New Hampshire. "We're not going to meet the goals we had." He later said he did not know whether Romney would outpace him, but his advisers did not downplay that possibility. They also did not rule out finishing first.

McCain contends that his exploratory committee's opening in December and the rush of the busy holiday season did not allow his campaign to begin fundraising in earnest until January. But once that month began, owing in part to a busy Senate schedule, McCain attended only two fundraisers and only two in February. There are twenty scheduled for all of this month, and another twenty in April.

While the numbers that come out in July are a better indicator of the strength of a campaign, one would have to think that the failure of one of America's most visible and best known GOP politicians to meet his goal in this area constitutes a major failure.

But then again, maybe lots of Republicans are simply practicing our own version of "campaing finance reform" -- by not giving money to a candidate with a record clearly hostile to the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

|| Greg, 07:46 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Will Gonzales Need To Go?

If this information is correct and cannot be squared with his previous statements on the matter, I would have to say that he does.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales approved plans to fire several U.S. attorneys in a November meeting, according to newly released documents that contradict earlier claims that he was not closely involved in the dismissals.

The Nov. 27 meeting, in which the attorney general and at least five top Justice Department officials participated, focused on a five-step plan for carrying out the firings of the prosecutors, Justice Department officials said late Friday.

There, Gonzales signed off on the plan, which was crafted by his chief of staff, Kyle Sampson. Sampson resigned last week amid a political firestorm surrounding the firings.

The five-step plan involved notifying Republican home-state senators of the impending dismissals, preparing for potential political upheaval, naming replacements and submitting them to the Senate for confirmation.

The documents released Friday indicated that the hour-long morning discussion, held in the attorney general's conference room, was the only time Gonzales met with top aides who decided which prosecutors to fire and how to do it.

Now this comes back to how you parse out the statements made. Gonzales seems not to have been involved in the selection process of those to be fired, but does seem to have given approval to the process used to implement the firings. Can that be reconciled with his earlier statement about his relative lack of involvement? After all, here is what he said a week and a half ago.

On March 13, in explaining the firings, Gonzales told reporters he was aware that some of the dismissals were being discussed but was not involved in them.

“I knew my chief of staff was involved in the process of determining who were the weak performers — where were the districts around the country where we could do better for the people in that district, and that’s what I knew,” Gonzales said last week. “But that is in essence what I knew about the process; was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on. That’s basically what I knew as the attorney general.”

Interestingly enough, there do not appear to be any material released that indicates he received memos, took phone calls or participated in other meetings on the firings -- which were well-within the prerogative of the Executive Branch, because US Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President -- so one can argue that he knew what was going on and was not otherwise involved in the decision-making process. But putting his final stamp of approval on the process can be seized upon by political opponents seeking to make a scandal where no improper activity occurred, and so the Administration needs to tread carefully here. After all, what he said was true, but can be presented as inaccurate.

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|| Greg, 08:27 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Potter Stars All Back

The three stars of the Harry Potter movies will remain a team through the final film, according to a new announcement on the matter.

Actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson will return as teen wizards Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger in the final Harry Potter films, Warner Bros. Pictures announced Friday.

The young stars will reprise their roles in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — the last two films in the franchise based on J.K. Rowling's best-selling novels, said Jeff Robinov, the studio's president of production.

"It would be inconceivable to imagine anyone else in the roles with which they have become so identified," Robinov said.

Radcliffe, who recently made news for his role in the London production of Equus, said playing Potter has been "an immense privilege."

"I feel a huge sense of loyalty to the character of Harry and the fans who have supported these films over the years," the 17-year-old said in a statement.

Watson, 16, said her character was her hero.

"I could never let Hermione go," she said. "I love her too much and love what playing her has meant to me. I'm excited and honored to be finishing what I started and playing her in all seven of the films."

Grint, 18, added: "I've been so proud to play (Ron) and loved every second of being part of this world."

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be released in July, and the final two movies should be filmed and released over the next couple of years. The final book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will also be released this summer.

|| Greg, 08:07 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Lying Lawyers Screw Clients

Sounds to me like some folks need serious jail time.

W. L. Carter knew there was something fishy going on when he went to his lawyers’ office a few years ago to pick up his settlement check for the heart damage he had sustained from taking the diet drug combination fen-phen.

The check was, for starters, much smaller than he had expected. And his own lawyers threatened to retaliate against him if he ever told anyone, including his family, how much he had been paid. “You will be fined $100,000, you will go to jail and you will be sued,” Mr. Carter recalled them saying.

Mr. Carter was right to have been suspicious. The lawyers defrauded their clients, a state judge has ruled in a civil case, when they settled fen-phen lawsuits on behalf of 440 of them for $200 million but kept the bulk of the money for themselves. Legal experts said the fraud might be one of the biggest and most brazen in legal history.

This week, several clients testified before a federal grand jury that has begun to investigate potential criminal wrongdoing arising from the settlement.

“It enrages me,” said Sonja Pickett, a retail manager, who testified Thursday before the grand jury. “They robbed us.”

I won't trash trial lawyers or class-action suits, because I recognize that lawyers are necessary and class action suits are sometimes the best way to deal with an injustice. However, too often they become a vehicle to enrich lawyers -- and the secrecy/confidentiality agreements that go with the settlements often close off justice. Indeed, ANY court order that closes the results of the justice system to the eyes of the public needs to be strongly questioned by the American people as a violation of the principle that the workings of the courts are to be public.

|| Greg, 07:58 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are The Contranomics of Global Jihad by Big Lizards, and Four Years In by American Digest.  Here is a link to the full results of the vote.

Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
3The Contranomics of Global Jihad
Big Lizards
2  1/3Muslim Cashiers Refuse to Touch Pork
The Colossus of Rhodey
1  1/3The American Ideon: Its Decay and Restoration
Eternity Road
1Skills, Employment, and Energy Use
The Glittering Eye
2/3The Bad Seed: 13-Year-Old Andrew Riley
The Education Wonks
2/3Cappuccinos for Peace?
Soccer Dad
2/3Scandal Hysteria Grips the Capitol
Right Wing Nut House
1/3Move It, Yah Big Baboon! -- Or, Scenes from the Class Struggle in South Africa...

VotesNon-council link
2Four Years In
American Digest
1  2/3Muslim Violence -— Crime or Jihad?
Gates of Vienna
1  1/3A WWII Hero That History Almost Forgot
1  1/3The Iraq Insurgency Has Ended, Which Opens a Path to Peace
Defense and the National Interest
1The Quadrant Lecture
Melanie Phillips
1Quote of the Day, and Is CAIR Paying Lawyers to Intimidate Air Travelers?
Power Line
2/3A Call for Segregation
Alpha Patriot
2/3The Slanted Economist
1/3Good News Never Sells
Kobayashi Maru

|| Greg, 12:10 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 23, 2007

TYC Official Arrested For Abuse Cover-Up

Not only that, there will be a review of sentences to determine if any more victims of abuse have been held longer for their resistance to victimization by TYC personnel.

The superintendent of the Texas Youth Commission's intake facility in Marlin was arrested today, charged with falsely telling a Texas Ranger there were no sex abuse accusations at the unit.

Jerome Parsee is charged with making a false statement to a peace officer, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $2,000 fine and 180 days in jail.

Also today, officials announced a panel of community activists, prosecutors and juvenile prison officials will review the records of nearly all youth inmates to make sure their sentences haven't been extended unfairly.

Advocates for TYC inmates and their families have complained that sentences are often extended for capricious reasons or in retaliation for filing grievances.

TYC special master Jay Kimbrough said the panel will review the documentation on each inmate's sentencing extension and discuss whether the decision was just and appropriate.

The panel will make a suggestion to a retired judge, who will decide whether the inmate should be immediately released.

"I have no confidence in the integrity of that entire system,'' Kimbrough said.

TYC incarcerates about 4,700 offenders ages 10 to 21 who are considered the most dangerous, incorrigible or chronic. Kimbrough said about nine in 10 of those offenders have had their sentences extended.

We need lot's more charges, going both directions in the chain of command -- including the Governor's staff.

UPDATE: Looks like this is only the tip of the iceberg.

|| Greg, 09:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The President Speaks On Neo-Copperhead Appropriations Bill

Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.

Today I'm joined here at the White House by veterans, family members of people serving in combat, family members of those who have sacrificed. I am honored that they have joined me here today.

Here in Washington, members of both parties recognize that our most solemn responsibility is to support our troops in the war on terror. Yet, today, a narrow majority in the House of Representatives abdicated its responsibility by passing a war spending bill that has no chance of becoming law, and brings us no closer to getting our troops the resources they need to do their job.

The purpose of the emergency war spending bill I requested was to provide our troops with vital funding. Instead, Democrats in the House, in an act of political theater, voted to substitute their judgment for that of our military commanders on the ground in Iraq. They set rigid restrictions that will require an army of lawyers to interpret. They set an arbitrary date for withdrawal without regard for conditions on the ground. And they tacked on billions for pet projects that have nothing to do with winning the war on terror. This bill has too much pork, too many conditions and an artificial timetable for withdrawal.

As I have made clear for weeks, I will veto it if it comes to my desk. And because the vote in the House was so close, it is clear that my veto would be sustained. Today's action in the House does only one thing: it delays the delivering of vital resources for our troops. A narrow majority has decided to take this course, just as General Petraeus and his troops are carrying out a new strategy to help the Iraqis secure their capital city.

Amid the real challenges in Iraq, we're beginning to see some signs of progress. Yet, to score political points, the Democratic majority in the House has shown it is willing to undermine the gains our troops are making on the ground.

Democrats want to make clear that they oppose the war in Iraq. They have made their point. For some, that is not enough. These Democrats believe that the longer they can delay funding for our troops, the more likely they are to force me to accept restrictions on our commanders, an artificial timetable for withdrawal, and their pet spending projects. This is not going to happen. Our men and women in uniform need these emergency war funds. The Secretary of Defense has warned that if Congress does not approve the emergency funding for our troops by April the 15th, our men and women in uniform will face significant disruptions, and so would their families.

The Democrats have sent their message, now it's time to send their money. This is an important moment -- a decision for the new leaders in Congress. Our men in women in uniform should not have to worry that politicians in Washington will deny them the funds and the flexibility they need to win. Congress needs to send me a clean bill that I can sign without delay. I expect Congress to do its duty and to fund our troops, and so do the American people -- and so do the good men and women standing with me here today.


|| Greg, 09:30 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (12) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Lampson Misrepresents CD22 Again

So much for being pro-military and an opponent of pork -- Nick Lampson followed the wishes of the DemocratICK Party leadership and against the sentiment of CD22 and his own promises to the voters by lending his support to a pork-laden supplemental appropriations bill which abandons the troops and calls for unilateral surrender in the face of the enemy.

Nick Lampson (TX-22): Nick Lampson campaigned on fiscal responsibility and took a harsh stand against congressional pork on his campaign website: “We have terrible waste in our government that can be addressed right now. We shouldn't be spending on pork projects like bridges to nowhere in Alaska and a tea pot museum in North Carolina. We must set priorities and stick to them.” By that standard, Rep. Lampson should cast a “no” vote on the Iraq war spending bill.

But he didn't vote no, despite his claims to be a pork-buster -- and instead voted to reject the expertise of the generals in the field in favor of that of the anti-American left-wingers at


H/T Michelle Malkin and Sen. Tom Coburn

UPDATE: But then again, why should we be surprised? After all, Speaker Pelosi lied to the American people on this issue only three months ago.

The headline over the column by Tom Curry of MSNBC oin Dec. 5, 2006, was clear: “Pelosi: ‘We will not cut off funding’ for Iraq”

Curry quoted her then:

“We will not cut off funding for the troops,” Pelosi said. “Absolutely not,” she said.

The vote today was clear: Pelosi is cutting the funding for Iraq. Out by Sept. 1, 2008.

It was a partisan stab in the back of the 150,000 troops in Iraq.

What's a lie to your constituents if your party leadership is telling big lies to the American public?

H/T Libertarian Leanings

|| Greg, 06:31 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Boston Globe Concerned Over Too Much Free Speech

I’ve not sent he “Big Sister” ad about the Hldebeast – and I’m really not interested in seeing it. And frankly, I’m not even concerned that it was made by a guy who did some technical consultation on Obama’s website. After all, there really is nothing deceptive or troubling about such political speech – and much more that is troubling about the efforts to prevent political speech by Americans.

Sadly, the Boston Globe wants even more restrictions on the right of Americans to speak – whether in a straight-forward or satirical manner.

The anti-Clinton clip falls within the boundary of acceptability. It makes a point in a witty way -- the runner is wearing an iPod, unknown in 1984 -- and is airing too early in the campaign to have a significant impact. The Huffington Post has unmasked the creator as a Barack Obama supporter, who denies the campaign was involved. Viewers can now evaluate the clip based on its source. And a Clinton supporter has subsequently doctored the video to put Obama in the Big Brother role, and put that on YouTube. Free speech has generated more speech to enhance the debate over who would make the best Democratic nominee for president.

But suppose it was two or three days before a close election, and a scurrilous, deceitful, anonymous clip was posted on YouTube and the other sites that specialize in homemade videos. Candidates should, of course, monitor all these sites and flag the offending videos. But doesn't YouTube have an obligation to make sure these ads are swept from its site before they can do harm? YouTube today doesn't have a policy against attack ads late in the campaign, but it should.

After all, only the mainstream media should have the ability to put out scurrilous, deceitful attacks on candidates that cannot be effectively rebutted two or three days before a close election. If amateurs get into the business of disseminating political smears, newspaper circulation might fall.

And as for YouTube doing the regulating, they do have the right to do so – but is it appropriate for a corporate entity to decide what constitutes unacceptable political speech, and to then engage in censorship. Having already seen how YouTube applies a biased standard to speech about jihadi terror (banning anti-terrorist speech, but often letting pro-terrorist speech slide), do we really such subjective judgments to become the rule?

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

To Honor A Hero

How fitting that a grateful nation honors a soldier who willingly gave his life to save his comrades.

The legacy of an Iraq War hero from Allegany County will be honored on the high seas for years to come.

Members of Congress announced Tuesday that the U.S. Navy will name its newest guided-missile destroyer the USS Jason Dunham – for the Marine corporal from Scio who threw himself on a grenade to save the lives of his comrades in April 2004.

“We’re basically totally amazed that this happened,” said Deb Dunham, Jason’s mother. “I anticipated that it would be 10 or 20 years before we saw this.”

Indeed, the Navy has a long tradition of naming its ships for war heroes, but it often happens many decades after their death.

For example, in June 2006, the Navy commissioned the USS Farragut, a guided-missile destroyer named for Adm. David Glasgow Farragut, the Civil War hero who coined the phrase: “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”

Mrs. Dunham said she wasn’t sure how the Navy came to name a ship for her son less than three years after his death. She said the family’s Marine liaison called last week to mention the possibility. “We thought it was very appropriate,” she said.

The naming of the ship will be just the latest accolade accorded to Dunham, who was awarded the Medal of Honor — the nation’s highest military award – by President Bush in January.

As a historian, I know it is important that we honor the heroes of decades and centuries past, to keep their memory – and our history – alive. But it is equally appropriate that we bestow such honors upon our latter-day heroes – men like Jason Dunham, who gladly served this nation and who laid down his life for his friends.

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

Islamist Students Murder Christian Teacher

Saudis shred Bibles and destroy non-Islamic religious items that travelers attempt to bring in to the country with hardly a peep of protest from the world.

Will there be an outcry over this murder over alleged desecration of a Koran – and which appears to be merely maintain good order and discipline in the classroom. Or will they continue to demand special treatment for their sacred objects that they deny to those of any other faith?

Secondary school pupils in north-eastern Nigeria have killed a teacher after apparently accusing her of desecrating the Koran, police say.

The teacher, a Christian, was attacked after supervising an exam in Gombe city. It is not clear what she had done to anger the students.

The authorities, concerned that communal unrest could break out, have ordered all the city's schools to shut.

Similar accusations sparked riots in neighbouring Bauchi State last year.

At least 15,000 people have been killed in religious, communal or political violence since the country returned to civilian rule in 1999.

Frankly, there is no justification for what was done here – even if the teacher had dropped trou and defecated on the Koran, killing her would have been an inappropriate response. Where is the outrage and contrition from the Muslim community over this horrific act?

|| Greg, 06:10 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Common Sense From WaPo

Proving that there are those on the Left who are not complete anti-American surrender monkeys.

Congress can and should play a major role in determining how and when the war ends. Political benchmarks for the Iraqi government are important, provided they are not unrealistic or inflexible. Even dates for troop withdrawals might be helpful, if they are cast as goals rather than requirements -- and if the timing derives from the needs of Iraq, not the U.S. election cycle. The Senate's version of the supplemental spending bill for Iraq and Afghanistan contains nonbinding benchmarks and a withdrawal date that is a goal; that approach is more likely to win broad support and avoid a White House veto.

As it is, House Democrats are pressing a bill that has the endorsement of but excludes the judgment of the U.S. commanders who would have to execute the retreat the bill mandates. It would heap money on unneedy dairy farmers while provoking a constitutional fight with the White House that could block the funding to equip troops in the field. Democrats who want to force a withdrawal should vote against war appropriations. They should not seek to use pork to buy a majority for an unconditional retreat that the majority does not support.

Personally, I prefer a reauthorization without a timetable – which telegraphs strategy to the terrorists – but can accept one that is, as this editorial suggests, made up of non-binding goals that are designed to meet the needs on the ground in Iraq not at the ballot box in 2008. But to put the ideology of the extremists and the greed of the porksters above the expertise of those tasked with carrying out the policy is absurd – and the editors at the Post are correct for condemning it.

A pity that the DemocratICK majority in the House lacks such wisdom.


|| Greg, 06:08 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Tinker Must Be Preserved

I’ve generally not commented on the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case, in part because there are some very specific factual issues that make the lines rather blurry here – as well as one or two legal issues that people can disagree upon in good faith. However never, in any of my reading, have I encountered anyone proposing that the landmark decision in Tinker v. DesMoines should be overturned by the Supreme Court.

Until today.

Some history: Lawsuits over the free-speech rights of schoolchildren exist because the Supreme Court legitimized them in 1969. Several years earlier, a 13-year-old girl and 15-year old boy decided to wear black armbands to their schools in Des Moines, Iowa, to protest the Vietnam War. The schools had a policy against wearing symbolic armbands at school and warned they'd be suspended. They showed up with the anti-Vietnam armbands, were suspended and in what today is the landmark Tinker case for school "speech," Justice Abe Fortas famously wrote that students do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate."

Two later cases, Fraser and Kuhlmeier, refined Tinker's scope, which we'll see shortly is the background to one of the most hilarious--and revealing--exchanges at oral argument ever in a school free-speech case.

In the years since, school officials and lower courts have struggled with Tinker. The Massachusetts Supreme Court said a T-shirt, "Coed Naked Band: Do It to the Rhythm," was protected speech. But schools in several states have banned a T-shirt with "Abortion is Homicide. You will not mock my God." (Religious groups filed amicus briefs for the Juneau "bong" banner because they want similar protections to wear anti-abortion shirts and the like.) A federal appeals court in California said schools could ban a T-shirt calling homosexuality shameful because it was "injurious to gay and lesbian students and interfered with their right to learn." But a federal court in Ohio conferred constitutional protection on a shirt with: "Homosexuality is a sin! Islam is a lie! Abortion is murder!" All these cases involve public schools.

* * *

Rather than just fiddle with the dials on the school-speech contraption, the solution would be to take Tinker and throw it out the window. But they won't. They'll tinker, telling us what to do, but unable to give coherent reasons why we should do it.

The pious extension of First Amendment speech rights amid Vietnam from adults to students prior to college was a mistake. The Bong case may be another nail in the coffin of public schools. Parents, including liberals who can afford it, will quicken the trend to sending their children to private schools whose principals can exercise real discretion and in loco parentis.

One argument for the say-it-loud status quo is that kids should be free in school to learn how "to deal" with different viewpoints. I'd bet all nine justices went to high schools with principals who put learning first and Tinkered "speech" in its place. It doesn't seem to have stopped them from growing up to drive people nuts with their opinions.

I’m sorry, but Daniel Henninger has this one completely wrong here. If one fundamental mission of public education is to teach young people the importance of American political values and the freedoms that are part of our representative democracy, then it is essential that Tinker not be overturned, but instead be reinforced. If it is not, our public school would become no different from the old Soviet Union, which had a Constitution guaranteeing expansive individual liberties which were systematically denied to the inhabitants thereof.

Imagine the situation that would ensue were Tinker to fall. Schools would be free to establish an official orthodoxy that could not be contradicted or questioned by students. A school could, as in the example pointed to above by Henninger, establish a de facto policy that any speech opposing homosexuality would be subject to punishment. To avoid offending religious minorities, expressions of the Christian faith could be restricted or banned. And recalling the irritation I caused my teachers as a high school senior whose Reagan button was constitutionally protected under the Tinker doctrine, I would not see it as being far-fetched to have support for the “wrong” candidates or parties banned by those who see themselves as the guardian of “correct” speech and messages. Do we truly teach young people how to live in a free society by closing off such fundamental freedoms to them?

And let me correct one notion put forth by Henninger. Tinker presented no constitutionally novel doctrine, being based in large part upon the holding in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, which at the height of World War II held that the government could neither compel student speech nor punish refusal to speak a state endorsed message – the Pledge of Allegiance. Indeed, the words of that 1943 decision ring as true today as they did 64 years ago.

Struggles to coerce uniformity of sentiment in support of some end thought essential to their time and country have been waged by many good as well as by evil men. Nationalism is a relatively recent phenomenon but at other times and places the ends have been racial or territorial security, support of a dynasty or regime, and particular plans for saving souls. As first and moderate methods to attain unity have failed, those bent on its accomplishment must resort to an ever-increasing severity. [319 U.S. 624, 641] As governmental pressure toward unity becomes greater, so strife becomes more bitter as to whose unity it shall be. Probably no deeper division of our people could proceed from any provocation than from finding it necessary to choose what doctrine and whose program public educational officials shall compel youth to unite in embracing. Ultimate futility of such attempts to compel coherence is the lesson of every such effort from the Roman drive to stamp out Christianity as a disturber of its pagan unity, the Inquisition, as a means to religious and dynastic unity, the Siberian exiles as a means to Russian unity, down to the fast failing efforts of our present totalitarian enemies. Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

It seems trite but necessary to say that the First Amendment to our Constitution was designed to avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings. There is no mysticism in the American concept of the State or of the nature or origin of its authority. We set up government by consent of the governed, and the Bill of Rights denies those in power any legal opportunity to coerce that consent. Authority here is to be controlled by public opinion, not public opinion by authority.

The case is made difficult not because the principles of its decision are obscure but because the flag involved is our own. Nevertheless, we apply the limitations of the Constitution with no fear that freedom to be intellectually and spiritually diverse or even contrary will disintegrate the social organization. To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds. We can have intellectual individualism [319 U.S. 624, 642] and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds only at the price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes. When they are so harmless to others or to the State as those we deal with here, the price is not too great. But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order.

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.

And indeed, if a student cannot be compelled to confess by word or action his or her assent to that which one does not believe, is there any legitimacy to forbidding the expression of views contrary to the officially established orthodoxy? Do we not betray our own constitutional heritage if such a regime of speech suppression is permitted? Can young people learn freedom by being taught lessons in oppression and suppression of their fundamental civil liberties?

That is not to say that there are not legitimate limits to student speech – as Tinker itself points out. Actual disruption or interference with the educational mission of the school caused by a student speaker can and must be prohibited, and on this point it is possible to argue that the school in Morse v. Fredericks may well be acting in a manner consistent with the relevant precedents. Similarly, it is possible to argue against strict financial liability on the part of educators in some First Amendment cases. However, nothing in this case merits overturning Tinker -- or its predecessor, the Barnette case – and proper application of the precedents lends itself to their reaffirmation.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Stix Blog, Stop the ACLU, Outside the Beltway, Blog @, Perri Nelson's Website, The Virtuous Republic, The Random Yak, 123beta, Adam's Blog, basil's blog, Shadowscope, Stuck On Stupid, The Bullwinkle Blog, Cao's Blog, , LaTogaStrappata®, sissunchi, Allie Is Wired, third world county, Faultline USA, Woman Honor Thyself, stikNstein... has no mercy, The World According to Carl, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, CORSARI D'ITALIA, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

|| Greg, 06:23 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (9) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Islam Triumphs Over Human Rights In Germany

If you are Muslim, you can beat and abuse your wife in Germany because the Koran sanctions it.

A German judge has stirred a storm of protest here by citing the Koran in turning down a German Muslim woman’s request for a fast-track divorce on the ground that her husband beat her.

In a remarkable ruling that underlines the tension between Muslim customs and European laws, the judge, Christa Datz-Winter, said that the couple came from a Moroccan cultural milieu, in which she said it was common for husbands to beat their wives. The Koran, she wrote, sanctions such physical abuse.

In other words, German law now holds that Muslim men may treat their women in a barbaric fashion that degrades and violates their fundamental human dignity -- because their culture and religion are fundamentally barbaric and sanction that barbarism.

Shocking -- and a sign that we in the West must insist that the Muslim minority in our midst conform to Western legal norms and respect the fundamental human rights of all individuals if they are to be permitted to remain among us.

This is a War of Civilizations -- and we cannot let fuzzy-minded politicians and judges surrender Western Civilization to those who would take us backwards to a dark and savage place.

UPDATE: While Ruth, in her much appreciated update on the case, assures us below that wife-beating is not permitted in Islam, I think this article should be taken as casting some doubt on her assertion on the matter. After all, why would the new translation be controversial if the verse in question DID NOT condone wife-beating?

|| Greg, 04:58 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Freedom Triumphs Over Islam In France

Charlie-Hebdo will not be punished for publishing the Danish Muhammad cartoons.

A French court cleared a satirical weekly newspaper Thursday in a case brought by Muslims who were angered by its publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

The newspaper Charlie-Hebdo and its director, Philippe Val, were accused of "publicly abusing a group of people because of their religion." Val had risked a six-month prison sentence and a fine of up to $29,250.

The court ruled that Charlie-Hebdo showed no intention of insulting the Muslim community with the caricatures, several of which appeared first in a Danish paper and sparked angry protests across the Muslim world and in Europe.

The case drew massive attention from politicians and the media in France, which has western Europe's largest Muslim population — 5 million people — and a deep commitment to secularism and free speech.

Val said the ruling was a victory for believers in freedom of expression, and for secular French Muslims.

"This debate was necessary," he said.

Frankly, this victory for free speech should have come even if the editors had intended to publicly abuse and insult Muslims -- after all, no one has a right not to be offended, and a free people cannot be forced to conform their speech to the practices and beliefs of a particular faith without having their fundamental human rights violated.

|| Greg, 04:50 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Prepare To Say “Awwwwwwww!”

It’s Knut, the baby polar bear, making his public debut.

You know, the one the animal rights folks want to kill.

|| Greg, 04:48 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Edwards Campaign Continues

Contrary to my expectations, John Edwards did not drop out of the presidential race yesterday, despite the return of Elizabeth Edwards' cancer in a much more serious form.

John Edwards, the Democratic candidate for president, said today that his wife Elizabeth Edwards was once again suffering from breast cancer, this time in an incurable form.

But in a joint news conference, he and Mrs. Edwards expressed confidence that the disease could be managed with treatment, and that there would be no interruption in his campaign for the Democratic nomination.

Mrs. Edwards said she was in little pain, and that she was maintaining a positive attitude and a full schedule of appearances on behalf of her husband’s candidacy.

“I expect to do next week all the things I did last week,” she said at the midday news conference, conducted in a courtyard at the inn on the campus of the University of North Carolina where the Edwardses held their wedding reception 30 years ago this summer.

Frankly, I was rather angry at John Edwards yesterday -- I believed he was fundamentally wrong in his decision to continue his campaign. Indeed, I had a blog post attacking John Edwards all composed in my head for his over-weaning ambition leading him to place his interests above the needs of his wife, lambasting him for failing to be where I believed he belonged -- at the side of Elizabeth Edwards as she faces a condition that is likely to take her life before the end of the next presidential term.

And then I realized where I was -- in my car, driving to a Republican fundraiser at the insistence of my wife, who found it necessary to stay home because of her own health issues. And I realized that, no doubt, there had been, in the privacy of the Edwards home, a conversation like the one I had with Paula on Wednesday when it became clear that she could not attend the function with me. So upon reflection, I don't doubt that John Edwards was ready to quit and argued in favor of quitting -- and that it was only the insistence of Elizabeth Edwards that has led him to continue this race.

Regardless, the Edwards family remains in my prayers -- even as I hope John Edwards' presidential fortunes (and those of all the Democrats) go down in flames.

UPDATE: Public reaction, like mine, is mixed on the decision to continue the campaign.

|| Greg, 04:44 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Global Warming – On Mars, Jupiter, And Pluto

I wonder how Al Gore accounts for this.

Some people think that our planet is suffering from a fever. Now scientists are telling us that Mars is experiencing its own planetary warming: Martian warming. It seems scientists have noticed recently that quite a few planets in our solar system seem to be heating up a bit, including Pluto.

NASA says the Martian South Pole’s “ice cap” has been shrinking for three summers in a row. Maybe Mars got its fever from earth. If so, I guess Jupiter’s caught the same cold, because it’s warming up too, like Pluto.

This has led some people, not necessarily scientists, to wonder if Mars and Jupiter, non signatories to the Kyoto Treaty, are actually inhabited by alien SUV-driving industrialists who run their air-conditioning at 60 degrees and refuse to recycle.

Silly, I know, but I wonder what all those planets, dwarf planets and moons in our SOLAR system have in common. Hmmmm. SOLAR system. Hmmmm. Solar? I wonder. Nah, I guess we shouldn’t even be talking about this. The science is absolutely decided. There’s a consensus.
Ask Galileo.

Now such increases are inexplicable if one presumes that terrestrial global warming is caused by the actions of homo sapiens sapiens. On the other hand, if a natural, Solar System-wide phenomenon is at play here then there is more than sufficient reason to accept that the climactic changes on our planet are governed by the same effect at work on the other planets.

Now does this mean that we should not conserve energy, cut harmful emissions, and generally pollute less? Hardly – because each and every one of those goals is laudable in and of itself, absent any reference to the man-made global warming fraud perpetrated by advocates of Big Global Government Nanny-Staters like Al Gore. But the fact is that the adoption of such eco-friendly practices then becomes a matter of personal free choice rather than government diktat -- much to the chagrin of those who promote a convenient falsehood to stifle individual liberty while calling it an inconvenient truth.

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

March 22, 2007

Why Bush is Right On Executive Privilege

If this matter doesn't qualify for coverage under executive privilege, does anything?

These columns have long supported the principle of "executive privilege," though we realize it is not a blanket prerogative: Both the Burger Supreme Court in United States v. Nixon and the Rehnquist Court in Clinton v. Jones upheld the principle that a President cannot use the claims of his office to protect himself from criminal or civil legal claims.

But there's little doubt that this or any other President has the right--we'd say the obligation--to protect the confidentiality of internal White House discussions, especially over Presidential appointments. If Congress can solicit any email concerning advice to the President, or haul any White House official before Congress, then executive branch deliberations will soon be an oxymoron.

Personally, I think the Administration should have told Congress to pound sand from the very beginning of this non-scandal. Prosecutors are Executive Branch appointees, and Congress has no role in interfering with such personnel decisions. Indeed, any attempt to take the authority over such positions from the Executive Branch reeks of the same sort of constitutional infirmity that afflicted the Tenure In Office Act used to impeach Andrew Johnson -- though whether or not the Democrats have enough respect for that document to tread lightly when there is political hay to be made is a doubtful proposition.

|| Greg, 04:46 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Questions Not Answered In Plame Case

No doubt because they are "inconvenient truths" for the opponents of the Bush administration.

Republican Rep. Peter Hoekstra could hardly believe what he heard on television Friday as he watched a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. Rep. Henry Waxman, the Democratic committee chairman, said his statement had been approved by the CIA director, Michael Hayden. That included the assertion that Valerie Plame Wilson was a covert CIA operative when her identity was revealed.

As House intelligence committee chairman when Republicans controlled Congress, Hoekstra had tried repeatedly to learn Plame's status from the CIA but got only double talk from Langley. Waxman, 67, the 17-term congressman from Beverly Hills, may be a bully and a partisan. But he is no fool who would misrepresent the director of central intelligence. Waxman was correctly quoting Hayden. But Hayden, in a conference with Hoekstra yesterday, still did not answer whether Plame was covert under the terms of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

* * *

Waxman and Democratic colleagues did not ask these pertinent questions: Had not Plame been outed years ago by a Soviet agent? Was she not on an administrative, not operational, track at Langley? How could she be covert if, in public view, she drove to work each day at Langley? What about comments to me by then CIA spokesman Bill Harlow that Plame never would be given another foreign assignment? What about testimony to the FBI that her CIA employment was common knowledge in Washington?

Why not seek these answers? because it would make it clear that there was no plot, and no violation of th law. But the Democrats simply don't want the truth to get in the way of a good lynching -- a longstanding tradition in that party

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

An Unfortunate Development

One need not be a psychic to predict what is coming in this press conference by John and Elizabeth Edwards.

John Edwards, the North Carolina Democrat making a second bid for the presidency, called a news conference for Thursday to discuss the future of his campaign, a day after he and his wife, Elizabeth, visited Mrs. Edwards’s doctor to assess her recovery from a bout of breast cancer.

Mrs. Edwards, in a brief interview from her home in Chapel Hill, N.C., said she and Mr. Edwards would discuss her health at the news conference, but she declined to elaborate.

“I’m still here,” she said.

Jennifer Palmieri, communications director for the Edwards campaign, would not comment. The news conference is to be held in Chapel Hill.

Mr. Edwards canceled a campaign appearance in Iowa on Wednesday to join his wife on what he had described as a presumably routine follow-up examination.

Mrs. Edwards, 57, received a cancer diagnosis in 2004 almost on the day that Mr. Edwards, the vice-presidential candidate, and Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, were defeated in their race for the White House.

Mr. Edwards has said he waited to announce a second bid for the presidency until he and Mrs. Edwards’s doctors were confident about her recovery.

I suspect that Elizabeth's cancer is back, and that John Edwards will be showing a level of spousal devotion I admire and will end his campaign for President. If this is the case, my respect for John Edwards will increase dramatically -- and the Edwards family will be in my deepest prayers. Some things you don't want to see even your political opponents face, and cancer is one of them.

|| Greg, 04:18 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Episcopal Bishops Choose Schism Over Orthodoxy

In rejecting efforts by the larger Anglican community to preserve orthodoxy Christian teaching and minister to those who have fidelity for it, the Episcopal Church is likely to be expelled from worldwide Anglicanism.

Responding to an ultimatum from the leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion, bishops of the Episcopal Church have rejected a key demand to create a parallel leadership structure to serve the conservative minority of Episcopalians who oppose their church’s liberal stand on homosexuality.

The bishops, meeting at a retreat center outside of Houston, said they were aware that their decision could lead to the exclusion of the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion, an international confederation of churches tied to the Church of England.

The bishops have a “deep longing” to remain part of the Communion, they said, but they are unwilling to compromise the Episcopal Church’s autonomy and its commitment to full equality for all people, including gay men and lesbians.

Given their willingness to compromise teh Gospel instead, it is time for folks to recognize the reality that the ECUSA is a post-Christian denomination.

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

Shocking Treatment Of Sex Offender

Here's a case that needs investigating. You don't let violent rapists off with lesser charges, a lighter sentence, and freedom from registering as a sex offender.

Especially when the perp has a position of trust in the community.

The Fairfax County prosecutor who agreed last week to reduce charges against a minister accused of raping and beating a woman, paving the way for a 16-month sentence and no requirement to register as a sex offender, did not tell her bosses or the victim that she had done so.

The sentence handed to the Rev. Eugene A. Marriott Jr., a pastor at Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington, was surprisingly light compared with those of other sexual assault cases heard in Fairfax, many veteran lawyers said. But the deal offered to Marriott by Assistant Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Toni S. Fay is what has the courthouse buzzing.

Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. said he "had no idea" that the charges had been reduced four months after Marriott's conviction and that the victim "absolutely" should have been consulted: "That's Rule One. You just don't go and change a plea that the victim had agreed to." He said he had spoken to Fay but declined to say why she reduced the charges or failed to tell either the victim or the detective. Fay did not respond to phone messages seeking comment.

At the sentencing, Fay said: "I wish Mr. Marriott well. I hope that his wife takes him back. I am very glad to see his church and his community are still supporting him."

Horan said he was stunned. "The function of a criminal prosecutor is to point out how bad the crime is," Horan said. "It's not a social partnership with the defense."

I'm stunned.

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

March 21, 2007

Who Found Australia?

Was it the Portuguese?

A 16th century maritime map proves Portuguese adventurers, not British or Dutch, were the first Europeans to discover Australia, according to a new book.

The book, Beyond Capricorn, says the map, which accurately marks geographical sites along Australia's east coast in Portuguese, proves Portuguese seafarer Christopher de Mendonca led a fleet of four ships into Botany Bay in 1522 - almost 250 years before Britain's Captain James Cook.

The map is in a Los Angeles library vault.

Australian author Peter Trickett said that when he enlarged the small map he could recognise all the headlands and bays in Botany Bay in Sydney - the site where Cook claimed Australia for Britain in 1770.

"It was even so accurate that I found I could draw in the modern airport runways, to scale in the right place, without any problem at all," Trickett told Reuters.

This theory presumes, of course, that the theory put forth by David Menzies in 1421 that the Chinese Admiral Zheng He's great fleet explored the East coast of Australia (as well as the coasts of Africa and the Americas) is not correct -- and that the chart in question is based upon a copy of a copy of the charts from that expedition.

|| Greg, 10:12 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bush Nephew Joins Navy Reserve

Want to bet it won't be enough for the rabid Bush-hating Left? Comments at the article's end proves it won't be.

George P. Bush, a nephew of President Bush who was a hit on the campaign trail, has been accepted in the Navy Reserve as an intelligence officer and has begun the process of being commissioned for eight years of service.

Bush, 30, said in a telephone interview from his office at a real estate development firm in Fort Worth, Texas, that he was moved to join the service in part when he attended the rainy commissioning in October of the aircraft carrier named for his grandfather -- the USS George H.W. Bush.

"My grandfather's my hero, and what really sold me on the ultimate decision was having the chance to see the CVN-77 be commissioned under his name," he said. "That was pretty moving, and I had a chance to meet some Navy admirals, as well. I had a chance to talk to them briefly about the opportunity, and I was won over."

George Prescott Bush, the oldest son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, said the death of Pat Tillman, the NFL player and Army Ranger who was killed in Afghanistan in 2004 in what was later determined to be a friendly-fire incident, "was a wake-up call for me." He said he even "looked into active duty" and had somber conversations with his wife about the possibility.

Bush said he had not intended to announce his plans. "Honestly, I'm kind of a little disappointed that the word got out," he said. "I was hoping to keep this as confidential as possible. I'm not doing it for political purposes or anything along those lines. I'm just doing it because I've been inspired by the friends of mine that have served, either through the JAG (military law) program or through the Reserves. I thought this was a small way that I could get involved."

I wish this young man -- and future political rock star -- well in his military endeavors.

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

Cathy Seipp --RIP

Cathy Seipp has passed away.

Sign the online memorial petition.

|| Greg, 06:56 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (35) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Anti-Semitic "Mainstream" Muslim Blogger

I just love it when Muslims, complaining about ill-treatment and so-called Islamophobia trot out their own anti-Semitism.

Guess what -- I've found a perfect example in this blogger.

Joe Sestak (D-PA) is facing an intense attack of sorts by the Philly Jews to back down from his commitment to speak at a CAIR dinner.

Come on, surely he could just come out and call them "kikes", given the tone of his opening.

And if you have any doubt of his anti-Semitism, consider what he has to say later on.

There is a lesson in this for all of us… consider for a moment how this group of people are so beholden to a foreign country (Israel) that they do not mind There is a lesson in this for all of us… consider for a moment how this group of people are so beholden to a foreign country (Israel) that they do not mind demanding the disenfranchisement of fellow Americans.

Ah, the anti-Semitic "dual loyalty" canard, trotted out to delegitimize the speech of Jewish-Americans -- what I think the author of the sentence would call an example of "demanding the disenfranchisement of fellow Americans" if it were used to criticize Muslim loyalty to the ummah above any other loyalty.

But then again, the author makes it really clear that he doesn't consider non-Muslims worthy of respect in another post -- especially if they are supportive of Israel.

“Our Muslim brothers”? First of all, we ain’t your brothers, especially YOUR brothers.

Contempt returned -- in spades.

Oh, and by the way, the only reason I found this blog is because it is being promoted by the Houston Chronicle's reader blog about Islam. It's author (a charming young woman with whom I have had a number of cordial and respectful discussions) claims to be "excited and happy" about this blog -- and is a co-blogger on the site in question, which makes me wonder if she has missed the anti-Semitism of at least one of her co-bloggers.

UPDATE -- 3/22/07: As you can see, Amad insists he was misunderstood. He even modified one portion of one of the posts in question, recognizing I may have had a point. After reflection, I'll presume good-will on his part, and that what he wrote did not have the intent I saw.

|| Greg, 09:03 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

This Is Amusing

No, not the story itself, which is all about the Edwards Campaign getting illegal campaign contributions. Democrat corruption of that nature is to be expected -- after all, honesty has never been a requirement in the Donkey Party.

No, this is the part I find hilarious.

Trial lawyers are a fixture of Democratic politics and fundraising, particularly in the South, but some also have a reputation in Democratic political circles for a freewheeling approach to campaign finance law. Within Edwards' 2004 campaign, staffers referred to those flamboyant personalities by an acronym: They called them "DFTLs," which according to former staffers was short for "dirty (expletive) trial lawyers."

"No current staffer for John Edwards for President uses that kind of language to talk about our donors," said Kate Bedingfield, campaign spokeswoman.

Edwards, of course, is one of those "dirty (expletive) trial lawyers." And while Bedingfield may be right that the phrase is no longer used in the campaign, I can't help bit be struck that the Edwards camp has no real objection to that particular expletive being used by staffers to describe Christians who deviate from the Gospel of Liberalism because the follow instead follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

After all -- Christians are much worse for the country than trial lawyers, isn't that right, Ms. McEwan and Ms. Marcotte?

|| Greg, 07:05 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Pelosi Seeks To Punish Democrat Dissent On War

It doesn't matter what is good for the country or the belief of their constituents -- Nancy Pelosi is threatening to punish Democrats who don't vote her way on the funding bill for the Iraq War.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is holding the implied threat of lost committee seats over the heads of Democratic Caucus members who may vote against her $124 billion Iraq war supplemental bill.

Faced with the possibility of losing the first really big vote since taking majority control in the November elections, Pelosi is talking tough to wavering lawmakers and isolating those opposed to the bill.

Interestingly enough, it is the most liberal, anti-war Democrats she is seeking to penalize for voting their consciences. And while I consider the folks she is out to punish to be anti-American traitors, I object to the Speaker's methodology, which shows rank disrespect to the elected representatives of the people of each of their districts.

Bad precedent for a speaker who vowed not to play petty politics as usual.

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

When Did George Washington Blow Up Kids To Murder Civilians?

You know, since so many folks on the Left claim the so-called insurgents (terrorists, really) are the equivalent of our Founding Fathers. After all, I'm not aware of George Washington ever engaging in tactics like this.

Insurgents detonated a bomb in a car carrying two children after using the children as decoys to get through a military checkpoint in Baghdad, an American general said Tuesday.

Speaking at a news briefing at the Pentagon, Maj. Gen. Michael Barbaro, deputy director for regional operations at the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, said that American soldiers had stopped the car at the checkpoint but allowed it to pass after they seeing the two children in the back seat.

“Children in the back seat lower suspicion,” he said, according to a transcript. “We let it move through. They parked the vehicle. The adults run out and detonate it with the children in back.”

General Barbaro offered no further specifics about the incident.

Savages -- supported by dupes who would rather believe worse of their own country than its enemies.

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

Perry Aides Knew TYC Abuse Ignored -- Did Perry?

I'm sorry -- it is a question that had to be asked. Why would aides to the governor allow accusations of child abuse to be investigated by the alleged abusers -- especially when one of the complaints came from the second-highest ranking Republican in the US House of Representatives? It seems incomprehensible, unless the policy was approved at the highest levels.

Gov. Rick Perry's staff knew as early as June 2005 that two administrators at a Texas Youth Commission facility were not being prosecuted on allegations of sexually abusing youths in their custody, according to records obtained Tuesday by the Houston Chronicle.

Perry's aides have said that TYC notified them of the initial investigation in February 2005, and that they thought the case was being pursued by prosecutors until they were told otherwise in October 2006 by an aide to state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston.

Also, other records show Perry's office routinely sent written complaints from parents about their children's treatment in TYC facilities to the agency for self-investigation. A complaint of sexual abuse involving students was forwarded to Perry in 2001 by then-U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Denton.

I'm particularly shocked at this "business as usual" response from Rick Perry's official spokesperson.

Royer said the governor's office had to rely on TYC to respond to the complaints.

"When constituents write to tell us their insurance company is overcharging them, we refer them to the Texas Department of Insurance," Royer said. "We do not have the staff to investigate complaints about other agencies."

Royer said as far as the governor's office knew, the complaints were handled appropriately.

Excuse me, but if you put complaints of sexual abuse of kids in the same category as complaints of insurance over-charging, I think there is a serious question regarding your judgment. And even if their isn't, your analogy fails -- what the aides did in this question is more the equivalent of turning the complaint of overcharging over to the insurance company to investigate, not the Insurance Commission.

And I guess that as a teacher, I'm particularly troubled by one little point here -- if I find out about alleged sexual abuse and do not report it to CPS or law enforcement for investigation, I can lose my teaching credentials for life and possibly face criminal charges. It looks like the governor's staff and employees of TYC are held to a much lower standard than I am.

|| Greg, 06:37 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 20, 2007

In Prayer For Cathy Seipp

One of my blogging heroes is dying on the West Coast.

Prayers for Cathy Seipp and her family at this sad time.

|| Greg, 11:47 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Until An Employee Exercises A Free Choice

The recent passage of the Employee Free Choice Act was heralded as a victor for workers (if one considers eliminating their right to a secret-ballot vote on union representation to be a victory for free choice. Well, here's what unionists do if a worker exercises a free choice they don't like.

Labor problems at The Toledo Blade in Ohio hit a new level with a replacement worker relating that his car was intentionally torched last night while he was on the job about 10:30 behind the Toledo Newsprint Trucking Company. "It's going a little further than they need to go," Pete Thayer told a local TV station.

You see, what has happened here is that the paper has decided that it doesn't want to pay what the union demands, and so it has offered a wage it sees as reasonable and allowed workers the free choice to accept it or not -- something that Pete Thayer did. In response, a union thug vandalized and torched his car.

And if you want some evidence that acts of violence and intimidation are acceptable to union thugs, you simply need to take a look at the response of the spokesthug for one of the unions.

Larry Vellequette, a spokesman for the Toledo Council of Newspaper Unions, denied that any of his members played a role in the incident. "I'm pretty sure it wasn't us," he told E&P. "I know that we have been seven months without a single incident and why they would start now makes no sense." He added that, "the real crime here is the Blade lockout."

"Pretty sure" that the act of violence and intimidation against a worker making a free choice wasn't the union's work -- that speaks volumes. he can't deny that such acts are part of the unionist's bag of dirty tricks -- or that such acts are not from time to time sanctioned by the union. Indeed, he doesn't even see this as particularly being a criminal act -- he views the unwillingness of the Toledo Blade to knuckle under to union demands and Thayer's willingness to take a job at the wage offered by an employer as being the "real crime". Talk about your inverted value system!

Its time for us to implement an amendment to the Employee Free Choice Act to go along with the recent removal of the right to a secret ballot on union recognition. Employers should have every circulate "non-union"cards among their employees, and when a majority of workers have signed them, derecognition of the union should be automatic -- just like recognition is when a majority signs union cards. After all, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, isn't it?

H/T GM's Corner

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

Animal Rights Activists Demand Bear Cub's Execution

Better dead than bottle-fed!

Tiny, fluffy and adorable, Knut the baby polar bear became an animal superstar after he was abandoned by his mother.

He rapidly became the symbol of Berlin Zoo, whose staff bottle-fed him and handed out cuddles in between.

At three months old, however, the playful 19lb bundle of fur is at the centre of an impassioned debate over whether he should live or die.

Animal rights activists argue that he should be given a lethal injection rather than brought up suffering the humiliation of being treated as a domestic pet.

"The zoo must kill the bear," said spokesman Frank Albrecht. "Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws."

When Knut was born in December, his mother ignored him and his brother, who died. Zoo officials intervened, choosing to raise the cub themselves.

But Albrecht and other activists fret that it is inappropriate for a predator, known for its fierceness and ability to fend for itself in the wild, to be snuggled, bottle-fed and made into a commodity by zookeepers.

After all, we wouldn't want one more breeding member of an endangered species to be allowed to live, would we?

|| Greg, 08:17 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

NYU Gets Commie Docs

Neat stuff -- from an organization controlled by America's foreign enemies and dedicated to the destruction of American liberty.

The songwriter, labor organizer and folk hero Joe Hill has been the subject of poems, songs, an opera, books and movies. His will, written in verse the night before a Utah firing squad executed him in 1915 and later put to music, became part of the labor movement’s soundtrack. Now the original copy of that penciled will is among the unexpected historical gems unearthed from a vast collection of papers and photographs never before seen publicly that the Communist Party USA has donated to New York University.

The cache contains decades of party history including founding documents, secret code words, stacks of personal letters, smuggled directives from Moscow, Lenin buttons, photographs and stern commands about how good party members should behave (no charity work, for instance, to distract them from their revolutionary duties).

By offering such an inside view, the archives have the potential to revise assumptions on both the left and the right about one of the most contentious subjects in American history, in addition to filling out the story of progressive politics, the labor movement and the civil rights struggles.

“It is one of the most exciting collecting opportunities that has ever presented itself here,” said Michael Nash, the director of New York University’s Tamiment Library, which will announce the donation on Friday.

It should provide some great insights into the enemy within -- and may just expose which current pols are fellow-travelers with the CPUSA.

One day, no doubt, we will get a look at the archives of the party of America's domestic enemies -- the DemocrtICK Party.

|| Greg, 08:03 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Attack On Congressional Office An Attack On American Democracy

And also a typical tactic of the American Left, which finds violence in support of its cause to be perfectly acceptable.

Congressman Mike Rogers' home is under police guard after his Lansing office was severely vandalized last night.

The case is being handled by the FBI and the US Capitol Police, who have requested that the Lansing Police investigate the matter.

According to the Congressman's spokesperson, the office was extensively damaged.

Two security cameras were destroyed and the building was spray painted.

The tapes from the cameras are being reviewed to see if they recorded anything before they were destroyed.

The vandals also spread red paint all over the 8th congressional district sign in front of the building, as well as on a sign that says "We Support Our Troops."

They also put a sign on one of the buildings windows that says Congressman Rogers has "blood on his hands."

Rogers is, of course, a Republican -- hence the show of support for the troops that the criminals defaced. I'll bet we have a deafening silence from the national media and the DemocratICK Party -- which would be screaming loudly if such an assault were to occur on a Democrat.

|| Greg, 06:55 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 19, 2007

Radical Indoctrination In NYC Schools

Could you ever imagine the right-wing counterparts of these teachers being permitted to teach in such a manner in a public school setting?

Among those scheduled to speak at the conference is Eric Gutstein, a mathematics education professor at the University of Illinois and a former Chicago public school math teacher. Gutstein’s book, Reading and Writing the World with Mathematics: Toward a Pedagogy for Social Justice, combines Marxist teaching methods with examples of math lessons for seventh-graders. One of these lessons is “The Cost of the B-2 Bomber—Where Do Our Tax Dollars Go?” Its purpose, Gutstein writes, “was to use U.S. Department of Defense data and find the cost for one B-2 bomber, then compare it to a four-year, full scholarship to the University of Wisconsin–Madison, a prestigious out-of-state university. The students had to answer whether the whole graduating class of the neighborhood high school (about 250 students) could receive the full, four-year scholarships for the whole graduating class for (assuming constant size and costs) the next 79 years!”

Gutstein also recounts how, on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, he was able to convince his seventh-grade math class that the U.S. was wrong to go to war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. “I told students that none of the hijackers were thought to be Afghan,” Gutstein writes. He also told them that he would not “fight against Iraq or Afghanistan . . . because I did not believe in going to war for oil, power, and control.”

On the other hand, if I were to try to teach a class pointing out how privatization of Social Security or Individual Medical Savings Accounts would be better for the American people, how long would it be until I was removed from my classroom? Or how about convincing my students of the need to carpet bomb Iran as a means to ensuring world security?

Another of the math conference’s “experts“ is Cathy Wilkerson, an adjunct professor at the Bank Street College of Education. Wilkerson’s only other credential of note (as listed by the conference’s organizers) is that she was a “member of the Weather Underground of the 60s.” Some credential. On March 6, 1970, Wilkerson was in a Manhattan townhouse, helping to construct a powerful bomb to detonate at a dance attended by civilians on the Fort Dix, New Jersey army base. The bomb exploded prematurely, destroying the townhouse and instantly killing three of the bomb makers. Wilkerson escaped unharmed. After resurfacing years later and serving a brief prison term, she became a high school math teacher and, presumably, developed expertise on how to bring the revolution into the classroom.

I wonder -- will any known associates of Eric Rudolph, the abortion clinic bomber, be permitted to teach in mainstream academia, preparing the teachers of the future?

The meeting’s chairs were Edwin Mayorga, a twentysomething fourth-grade teacher at the highly acclaimed P.S. 87 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and NYU education professor Bree Pickower. Mayorga urged his fellow teachers to “be political inside the classroom, just as we are outside the classroom. The issues we are up against as we teach for social justice are the mandates of [Mayor] Bloomberg, Klein, and No Child Left Behind.”

Pickower then reminded attendees of the group’s “Katrina curriculum,” which teachers could use to convince elementary school students that the hurricane was, not a natural disaster, but an example of endemic American racism. And Mayorga, describing how he had piloted the Katrina curriculum with his fourth-graders, pronounced it a big success. The curriculum leaves nothing to chance, providing teachers with classroom prompts designed to illustrate the evils of American capitalism and imperialism. One section, called “Two Gulf Wars,” suggests posing such questions as: “Was the government unable to respond quickly to the crisis on the Gulf Coast because the money and personnel were all being used in Iraq?”

I'll say nothing here while I recover from the cerebral hemorrhage that occurred even considering this sort of political abuse of students in a public school classroom.

Frankly, it is time for those of us in education -- and taxpayers in general, to stand up and denounce this sort of inappropriate, unprofessional activity whenever we find it going on in the classrooms of our schools. It is time to take back our educational establishments for EDUCATION, not indoctrination.

|| Greg, 05:49 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

George Soros -- Halliburton Profiteer

Dick Cheney owns no Halliburton stock, but is accused regularly of making money off the company's business dealings related to the Iraq war.

But guess who IS making money off of Halliburton as an investor in their stock (AKA an owner of the company) -- left-wing Bush/Cheney critic and Democrat money-man George Soros.

So far this March, Keith Olbermann has been spent more time defending George Soros than addressing the incongruity of this far-left patron making a $62 million investment in Halliburton, a company KO has routinely condemned on Countdown.

Unremarked upon by Olbermann was that Soros, the world's most famous war profiteer and leading patron of far-left activist groups, celebrated his first million dollars in capital gains when Halliburton cracked through the $32.00 a share level.

Soros began making purchases of Halliburton last October when the stock was trading near its 52 week low (26.33). His purchase prices were between $27.62 and $33.53, with an estimated average price of $31.3. As of 12/31/06, Soros owned 1,999,450 shares, more than 2% of his total portfolio, making it one of the largest investments by Soros Fund Management over the past year.

Halliburton closed the week at $32.06 giving Soros a profit of $2,019,367 based on his holdings at the end of the 2006-4Q.

The Soros-funded Center for American Progress which has published dozens of scathing articles on Hallburton since its founding in 2003 by Soros has gone silent on Soros' investment in Halliburton. In fact, all criticism of Halliburton by CAP ceased in 2006 shortly before Soros began buying up Halliburton stock. Likewise, other Soros-backed groups such as and Media Matters for America have been silent as have been the big blue blogs.

So -- when will Dems begin denouncing Soros and stop taking their money? When will MoveOn.Org and Cindy Sheehan speak out against their major financial patron? Enquiring minds want to know!

H/T Jawa Report

|| Greg, 04:32 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Powerful Are Different From You And I

For one, in Memphis they won't get their electricity turned off, no matter how often they neglect to pay their bill.

Everybody has to pay the light bill, an unpleasant maxim lately made even more so here, knowing the powerful do not always observe it.

Month after month, Memphis Light, Gas and Water allowed City Councilman Edmund Ford to forgo paying thousands of dollars in overdue bills without having his power cut. Meanwhile, other prominent politicians — council members, a judge, a state representative — were on a protected list, supervised by a senior utility official, intended to prevent them from having their power cut off in case of nonpayment.

Even the mayor, Willie W. Herenton, was on the list, though Mr. Herenton says he did not know about it and never got any favors. It is not clear that anyone but Mr. Ford was allowed to pile up unpaid bills. Still, the whiff and practice of favoritism — detailed for the last several weeks in the local news media — is upsetting many in a city where nearly a quarter of the people are poor, and the local utility is publicly owned.

Hmmm. . . another corrupt Memphis politician named Ford. Yep, that is another member of the family of former Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. I wonder how long it will be until some scandal or another ensnares him, given the culture of entitlement in which he seems to have been raised.

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

Should I Apply?

Big Brother 8 is coming up, and looking for contestants.

Here are some of the rules:

•You cannot be a candidate for office, which automatically disqualifies the hundreds of people seeking the presidency.

•All participants will undergo physical and mental examinations, so be prepared to come face to face with assorted instruments of the sharp and Sharpie variety.

•An application must be accompanied by a videotape of the applicant no more than two minutes long. CBS isn't kidding about the two-minute rule; 2:01 and it gets tossed. This rule should eliminate hundreds more applicants, since Big Brother egos are difficult to confine to 120 seconds.

•If you're selected to be in the semifinals, you must pay your way to a regional interview. For Houston, the outlay isn't so bad since Austin is our regional site.

•If you make it to the finals, you must travel to Los Angeles for the final selection process. Major expenses are paid by the producers.

•Of course, you must commit to living as many as 100 days in the Big Brother house, cohabiting with 12 strangers, without privacy and with cameras and microphones running 24/7.

•The good news: A stipend is provided to each participant for each week he or she remains in the Big Brother house.

•The best news: One of the 12, the one who lasts the longest, pockets $500,000.
Applications must be turned in by April 13. To download your own, go to

I wonder what my principal and superintendent would have to say if I got selected? And would I be able to continue this blog while in the house?

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

Rose Comes Clean

Not only did he bet on baseball, but he also bet on the Reds while he was their manager.

Pete Rose bet on the Cincinnati Reds "every night" when he managed them and, despite his lifetime ban because of gambling, would like another chance in a major league dugout.

"I bet on my team every night. I didn't bet on my team four nights a week," Rose said Wednesday on "The Dan Patrick Show" on ESPN Radio.

"I bet on my team to win every night because I love my team, I believe in my team," he said. "I did everything in my power every night to win that game."

Given his previous denials about betting, I'm not sure that I believe his claims that he always bet on the Reds to win. The ban therefore stay in place.

|| Greg, 04:10 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Germans Reject Missle Defense

Fine -- let 'em glow.

The leader of Germany's governing Social Democrats criticized U.S. plans to locate a missile defense system in eastern Europe, insisting in an interview published Monday that ''we need no new missiles in Europe.''

The U.S. plan to place a radar base in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptor missiles in Poland as part of its proposed missile defense shield has infuriated Russia and prompted some unease elsewhere in Europe.

''We need no new missiles in Europe,'' Kurt Beck, the chairman of the center-left Social Democrats, was quoted as saying in an interview with the mass-circulation Bild daily. The Social Democrats make up half of conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition.

Beck said his party ''does not want a new arms race between the USA and Russia on European soil.''

''Europe must speak with one voice here,'' he added, according to the report. ''There are enough problems worldwide that we need to master; I would name poverty, climate change and terrorism -- new missiles and weapons systems won't help here.''

If the Germans -- and other Europeans -- are not interested in being protected from iranian nukes, then I feel no need to offer them such protection against their will.

|| Greg, 04:02 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Seat Available

News from the Watcher himself.

As a result of a coming shift in blogging focus, Jimmie Bise of The Sundries Shack has chosen to vacate his seat on the Watcher's Council.  It's been great having Jimmie on board for all this time and I wish him the best of luck with his new blog, but now that he has decided to step down, there is one open seat and I need to find a blog worthy enough to fill it.  Anyone that has a blog, please read the up-to-date version of the rules here and contact me if you are interested in applying for membership.  I plan on choosing a replacement in time for that person to participate in the March 27th nominations process and that week's vote.  (Quentin Tarantino's 44th birthday...  w00t!)

|| Greg, 12:33 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Some Stuff Is Just Too Crazy To Believe

Not only are some ideas so goofy as to be beyond belief, it is even more unbelievable that the "mainstream press" would even consider publishing them.

AS EVERY CARBON-BASED life form on this planet surely knows, Barack Obama, the junior Democratic senator from Illinois, is running for president. Since making his announcement, there has been no end of commentary about him in all quarters — musing over his charisma and the prospect he offers of being the first African American to be elected to the White House.

But it's clear that Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the "Magic Negro."

Can you imagine the uprorar if a conservative wrote this crap? It would -- rightly -- be denounced as racist. Why isn't it when it comes from a liberal?

|| Greg, 12:10 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 18, 2007

It Had To Happen Eventually

This is an undeniable tragedy. Will we now start taking sex between female educators and male students as seriously as we take sex between male educators and their students of either sex?

In a tragic twist to a familiar story, a teenager who had sex with his married 30-year-old teacher was fatally shot outside the woman's home, and authorities have charged the woman's husband.

"You see all this stuff with teachers involved with their students. It just comes up time after time on the national news," said Norman McLean, father of suspect Eric McLean. But this time, he said, someone "actually died over it."

McLean's wife, Erin, had completed half of a one-year teaching internship at West High School, where she met the 18-year-old Sean Powell last fall.

Powell's mother, who gave him up for adoption a dozen years ago but re-established contact in 2005, said her son acknowledged having an affair with a teacher.

"He wouldn't let me answer my cell phone," Debra Flynn recalled. "I said, 'Why?' He said, 'Well, Mom, I'm going out with this girl.' I said, 'So what?' He said, 'She is a counselor at school.' I said, 'Oh, my God, Sean.'"

Flynn, whose son sometimes stayed at her home in Nashville, said she later found text messages on her phone. "Come home. Baby, I love you. You are beautiful," they said. She believes Erin McLean preyed on her son.

"These teachers are feasting on our children in school and something has to be done," Flynn said.

Maybe this tragedy will open up the eyes of some people who think that male students "getting some" from a female teacher are somehow receiving a great benefit. Good God, one talk radio host in town thinks the teachers shouldn't even be charged, because the kid has "bragging rights for life". But stuff like this is serious -- deadly serious -- and needs to be dealt with as such.

But I'm curious about one thing -- why didn't "mama" her call the cops when she found out?

|| Greg, 02:14 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Prof Gets Big Reaction To "Death To Republicans" Comments

All too often, college professors expect that they will be able to make the most outrageous comments in class free from any criticism or penalty. Indeed, because of their position of power, they presume that their students will sit back and shut up as they are indoctrinated in the left-wing views of a professor -- even if the class is not about politics.

It hasn't worked out that way for one professor in Idaho.

A woman is asking North Idaho College to refund the money she paid for an English class, saying her instructor spent more time bashing Republicans than teaching English composition.

Linda Cook, a former aide to the late Idaho Congressman Helen Chenoweth and a longtime GOP supporter, withdrew last week from an entry-level English class taught by part-time instructor Jessica Bryan. Cook sent a letter to NIC Vice President Barbara Hanson Monday asking that the college refund her $379 course fee.

On Monday, Bryan said Cook is "making a mountain out of a molehill" and that she's "surprised and disappointed" that Cook didn't tell her about her concerns before making a formal complaint.

Notice, Bryan isn't denying the comments -- she is blaming the offended student for complaining. What were the comments made? Oh, nothing much.

The letter claims Bryan said on the first day of class that "George Bush was elected president because people in this country can't read" and said Feb. 12 that "I believe in the death penalty … . First we line up everyone who can't think and right behind them, anyone who's ever voted Republican."

Bryan doesn't deny saying those things but said Cook missed her point entirely, which was to encourage debate and critical thinking among her students.

"Most (comments) were said facetiously in an attempt to get my students to think," she said. "Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that anyone would take it seriously … . They were always said with a smile."

Excuse me, Ms. Bryan -- I have a hard time imagining those comments were appropriate in an English class, even when "said with a smile." Would you have considered it appropriate to replace "anyone who's ever voted Republican" with "anyone with Jewish blood"? Or how about "anyone who is an illegal immigrant"? I don't think so -- instead you encourage the death penalty for over half the population of the United States because they have defied your political will. Frankly, I'm concerned that only one of your students offered an objection. But then again, you began the course by branding anyone who disagrees with you politically as ignorant and illiterate and then kept up the drumbeat of political partisanship every class, so I can understand that students who wanted a grade based upon the quality of their work would keep silent.

It seems that Ms. Bryan's employer agreed with the complaining student -- she got her refund.

But Bryan got more than she bargained for.

Coeur d'Alene Police are investigating death threats against a part-time North Idaho College English instructor who made disparaging remarks against Republicans, including a facetious suggestion that Republicans be put to death.

* * *

Bryan told police she began receiving threatening phone calls and harassing e-mails shortly after the column was published. Police began investigating Tuesday and released copies of 10 of the messages Friday. An account of the complaint also was posted earlier this week on a popular conservative news Web site under the headline "Execute Republicans,' says college prof."

The account in World Net Daily also linked to Bryan's e-mail address.

In the messages that were subsequently sent to Bryan, she was threatened numerous times with death and variously derided as a communist, a traitor, a parasite and a Leninist radical.

A writer from California referenced past South American dictators who executed liberal intellectuals: "Pray that there's never a right-wing coup d'etat in this beautiful nation you'll be one of the first ones floating in a river like your cronies did in Argentina and Chile."

NIC spokesman Kent Probst said Bryan's e-mail address and phone number have since been changed, and campus security has been placed on a higher level of alert. "It's a situation we take very seriously," Probst said. "The well-being of the instructor and the students in those classrooms is of paramount importance."

I guess it is acceptable at NIC to support the execution of political opponents while teaching a class, but to threaten a professor with death write nasty emails to a professor who urges the execution of political opponents during class is quite beyond the pale. Interestingly enough, there is no indication that Bryan considered these threats harsh emails to be an invitation to dialogue, a spur to critical thinking, or the possibility that they were written by smiling individuals who were merely being facetious. No, rather than tell the writers of her concerns, Bryan contacted the police. Seems somewhat hypocritical to me, as does the act of changing her phone number and email address. After all, how can debate and dialogue happen if you close down the avenues of communication in this manner?

Of course, I don't advocate death threats against political opponents, -- not even ones who have already called for my death. Indeed, I condemn the threats that have been made against Jessica Bryan, because they are immoral and counterproductive. But I refuse to consider Bryan to be a victim in this case, merely someone who has received back what she dished out -- in spades. Perhaps this affair will cause her to think before she issues death threats in her classroom in the future -- and, being a "good liberal" be more "sensitive" to boot.

UPDATE: WorldNetDaily covered this story, and included four of the "threatening" emails. By my lights, none of them actually qualifies as a threat -- unless, of course, Bryan's comments in class are to be labeled as equally threatening.

Among the offensive emails released by authorities are these:

"You contemptuous excuse for an instructor. If you are trying to start another civil war and it comes about, I hope your family will be targeted first. As a Republican, I take umbrage at your suggestion that I should be shot. You'll find that Republicans can shoot back."

"Screw you, communist (expletive deleted). Even though you are entitled to your opinion we all have freedom to vote anyway we please. You would do well teaching in Iran hating Jews. Bottom line I feel the same way about liberal (expletive deleted) such as you."

"I hope you lose your position and cease poisoning the flower of our future who enroll in your class with your leftist indoctrination."

"Pray that there's never a right-wing coup d'etat in this beautiful nation [because] you'll be one of the first ones floating in a river like your cronies did in Argentina and Chile."

There no actual threats there, only some hateful sentiments expressed to her. But tell me -- are they really any more hateful than the comments made by Jessica Bryan in her class? And can anyone argue that if her words in class are somehow protected by the First Amendment, these emails are entitled to any less protection?

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|| Greg, 12:46 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

HuffPo: Send Rove To Prison For Existing

That is, of course, what Cliff Schecter proposes, sending the man to prison just because he is. After all, he identifies not one crime in his entire rant -- other than succeeding against DemocratICK candidates. I mean, look at this absurdity.

Karl Rove must go to the jail, the pokey, the big house, if you will. No not country-club Republican, I-ripped-off-your-grandma-with-junk-bonds prison where he can join the Dartmouth or Princeton rowing squad and walk by a state-of-the-art outdoor weight-lifting facility his two-seats-on-Southwest ass would never even think about using.

I mean real prison. Like the kind you go to if you're caught in Kuala Lumpur with Rush's medicine bag.

Or maybe Patrick Kennedy's. Personally, I don't think Rove should do any more time or pay any more penalty than Teddy Kennedy did for leaving a girl to drown and then trying to obstruct justice by urging his cousin to take the rap for him. Or than Bill Clinton did for the crimes he confessed to on his last day in office.

Once again, I just can't abide by these Johnny-come-way-too-latelys who now realize George W. Bush is challenged by My Pet Goat and "The Google," Dick Cheney's an evil right-wing assclown and Karl Rove is, to quote a not so bright man, "a grotesquely corpulent, politically sociopathic parasite who destroys all government he touches."

He most closely resembles a locust, devouring his surroundings, only to move on to a new destination after all is destroyed (see the Texas political system).

I'm curious -- what would Schecter and other HuffPo writers do about such language directed at Paul Begala or James Carville?

A spate of books came out on this amoral anthropoid before he became a household name in 2000, and all you had to do was observe his past patterns to know this would happen. A candidate he was working for in 1986 who was running for Governor of Texas magically found a "listening device" in his office the day before a big debate.

Right before the first Bush/Gore debate in 2000, a tape of Bush's "performance" arrives at Gore HQ in the mail, so that's all the press was talking about while George W. Bush was mixing up pronouns and screwing up multisyllabic foreign leaders' names.

Surely, coincidence.

Could be -- and do you have any evidence to prove differently, Mr. Schecter? You know, evidence that would allow a jury to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. Or do you simply want Rove imprisoned on your say-so? I mean based upon your standard, both Clintons should be preparing for lethal injections on death row -- after all, all those convenient deaths surely can't be a coincidence, can they?

If you read Boy Genius for example, you will find that the way Rove beat Democrats in Texas was by politicizing the FBI (Sid Blumenthal has more on this in a new column), and using those partial to his candidates and his blow...I mean politics, to start high-profile investigations of Democratic officeholders right before elections.

So why would it be a shock that his fingerprints are all over the Justice Department politicization/obstructing investigations into serially corrupt members of the GOP, scandal, which occurred, of course, right before the 2006 election. And, of course, the buildup to Iraq, right before the 2002 cycle, was completely out of character for Rove. As was outing an undercover agent.

Absolutely none of which is criminal -- though the behavior of those Democrats you mention often was. But then again, you don't want Democrats who are actually corrupt going to jail, do you, Mr. Schecter, just your political opponents who have the audacity to kick the collective asses of the candidates you support. Oh, and about politicizing the FBI -- 900 FBI files. Does than number ring a bell to you?

And since US Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States, firing any or all of them (or urging that it be done) is not a crime -- it is an Executive Branch prerogative. You know, separation of powers and all that.

This man is an adult diaper worn by an astronaut for a nine-hour, homicidal road trip. Kaiser Sose on a KFC drip.

Semen on a blue dress. A cigar in an orgasmic humidor. Missing Rose law Firm files in the White House residence.

He has corrupted American Democracy at every level, and has never paid the price.

He must go to prison, for the integrity of our system, if not just because it is the most natural place for him to reside outside of Hades. For once in his pathetic self-hating life, fully investigate this piece of garbage--please.

Oh, now I see -- he has to go to prison because he has been successful -- and after complaining about alleged politicization of the FBI and the Justice Department, you want the FBI and Justice Department to conduct a political investigation designed to find evidence of political crimes committed by your political enemies. I believe, Mr. Schecter, that is called hypocirisy -- but then again, that is standard operating procedure on the part of you Leftists, especially over at HuffPo.

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|| Greg, 08:31 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March Madness Brackets

Speaking of the NCAA Tournament, did you know you still have time to do your brackets and make picks before the Sweet Sixteen begin to play those all-important games? Doc's Sports has a great set of March Madness Brackets, updated after each round, for those who are really interested in doing their best in making the picks. So if you are in it to win it, drop by and look at Doc's March Madness Brackets.

Paid Endorsement.

|| Greg, 12:35 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Salukis Do Better In NCAA Hotel Seedings

The story of the awful hotel accommodations received by Southern Illinois University during the 2002 NCAA tourney are legendary -- one assistant coach became seriously ill, and the team refused to eat on the premises. Seeded number 4 this year, their hotel is certainly better -- and the NCAA has worked hard to try to equalize accommodations somewhat.

At about 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Southern Illinois University assistant basketball coach Brad Korn walked into the upper echelon of college basketball. Three doormen greeted his team at its swank hotel, The Columbus, before the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. Plush white couches sat on mahogany paneled wood in the lobby. Limestone columns framed the front desk.

In his previous five trips to the tournament, Korn rarely enjoyed such luxuries. For the most part, he had arrived as a player or coach with lowly regarded Southern Illinois teams and stayed at lowly regarded hotels. In 2002, the NCAA assigned Korn's 11th-seeded Salukis to a hotel in Syracuse, N.Y., with moldy showers, unkempt beds and filthy curtains. The property was sold in a bankruptcy auction several months later.

This year, Southern Illinois was seeded fourth -- and the lodging arrangements matched the team's elevated status.

In the NCAA tournament, where you stand determines where you sleep at night: to the best teams go the best hotels. About three months ago, NCAA officials visited the eight cities hosting the first two rounds of the tournament, toured hotels and, with input from local host committees, ranked the facilities based on quality and location. The NCAA then assigned the best-seeded teams to the most prestigious hotels. In general, elite teams ended up at downtown Marriotts; small-conference underdogs sometimes settled for small historic hotels or airport area chains.

Go Salukis!

|| Greg, 12:33 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Damn DeLay

Frankly, I wish he would just crawl back under his rock -- the one in Virginia that he slithered under after betraying the GOP base here in CD22.

Tom DeLay, the fiery former House majority leader, knows why his party lost control of Congress last year. And he is not to blame.

In his new book, Mr. DeLay, a polarizing figure whom Democrats sought to make a symbol of Republican corruption, attributes the Republican defeat in November to frustration with President Bush, the war and “a general perception of Republican incompetence and lack of principles.”

“I would suggest that Republicans lost because they did not communicate their message and their victories with enough strength to overcome short-term, media-fed issues that arose right before the election,” Mr. DeLay writes in the book, “No Retreat, No Surrender” (Sentinel), referring in part to the Congressional page scandal.

Maybe, Tom, you would care to address the way in which you sought the congressional nomination for an election which you never intended to contest, and then bailed out after getting an "attaboy" from the majority of the voters of this district. Your self-centered, selfish decision cost us one congressional seat for sure -- yours, because we had to run a write-in candidate in your place -- and emboldened Democrats around the country when they were able to claim they had your scalp.

And Tom, while I still believe you are not guilty of the offenses charged by Ronnie Earle, I believe you are guilty of one thing -- the selling out of your own party for your personal aggrandizement.

|| Greg, 12:10 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 17, 2007

Why I Don't Teach Middle School

This article makes it really clear why I work on the high school level, and why I'd prefer to go back to working with elementary school kids if high school were ever to stop being an option. Teaching middle school is just too much!

Faced with increasingly well-documented slumps in learning at a critical age, educators in New York and across the nation are struggling to rethink middle school, particularly in cities, where the challenges of adolescent volatility, spiking violence and lagging academic performance are more acute.

As they do so, they are running up against a key problem: a teaching corps marked by high turnover, and often lacking expertise in both subject matter and the topography of the adolescent mind.

The demands of teaching middle school show up in teacher retention rates. In New York City, the nation’s largest school system, middle school teachers account for 22 percent of the 41,291 teachers who have left the school system since 1999 even though they make up only 17 percent of the overall teaching force, according to the United Federation of Teachers.

Frankly, I prefer working with the older kids because they tend to think and act in a more mature, adult fashion. I also prefer high school because I know all my colleagues will be trained in our subject matter, something you can't count on at the middle school level. Many teachers on th middle school level are just displaced elementary teachers -- generalists who took a content specific job when it became available. After all, my certificate runs grades 6-12 and is content are specific, but an elementary certificate runs from kindergarten to grade 8 or 9 in most states and carries with it no subject area limitations. That means a middle school history teacher might have no more than the minimum number of social science classes required to graduate from college -- generally meaning two. Thhey therefore often do a poor job of teaching the content because they don't know it.

|| Greg, 07:12 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

White House Seeks To Uphold Constitution

The Washington Post, of course, views matters differently, as their headline indicates.

White House Opposes D.C. Vote

Of course, that isn't the case at all.

The White House declared its opposition yesterday to a bill that would give the District its first full seat in the House of Representatives, saying it is unconstitutional, and a key Senate supporter said such concerns could kill the measure.

"The Constitution specifies that only 'the people of the several states' elect representatives to the House," said White House spokesman Alex Conant. "And D.C. is not a state."

But then again, when has a little thing like the Constitution ever gotten in the way of liberals pursuing a goal that is illegitimate under the clear language of the document that defines our government and its powers?

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

Plame Testi-Lies Before Congress

Proving that she and her husband are well-matched, given the conclusion reached that he lied in his testimony before the Intelligence Committee. After all, she clearly lied in her testimony yesterday.


Valerie Plame, the former CIA officer at the heart of a four-year political furor over the Bush administration's leak of her identity, lashed out at the White House yesterday, testifying in Congress that the president's aides destroyed a career she loved and slipped her name to reporters for "purely political motives."

Plame, breaking her public silence about the case, contended that her name and job "were carelessly and recklessly abused" by the government. Although she and her colleagues knew that "we might be exposed and threatened by foreign enemies," she said, "it was a terrible irony that administration officials were the ones who destroyed my cover."

Plame calmly but firmly knocked down longstanding claims by administration allies that the disclosure was not criminal because she had not worked in a covert capacity.

"I am here to say I was a covert officer of the Central Intelligence Agency," Plame told House members, a horde of journalists and a few antiwar activists. Her work, she said, "was not common knowledge on the Georgetown cocktail circuit."

So, the Post now takes as "proof" the fact that she makes the claim she was covert -- and that there was a plot by the Administration. Since when does the Washington Post take anyone's words, especially when contradicted by the evidence, as proof. After all, we know who leaked Valerie Plame's identity -- and that he and Plame and her perjuring husband were all opposed to the Iraq war. It was Richard Armitage. And we know there was no violation of the law in letting her identity out, because otherwise Patrick Fitzgerald would have charged Armitage with a crime instead of conducting a rogue investigation that turned faulty memory into perjury.

Interestingly enough, the MSM doesn't want to deal with the "minor" question of the law and whether or not Plame was actually a covert agent, nor do the Democrats. If they did, they would have also reported the testimony of Veronica Toensing, who wrote the statute on disclosing the identity of covert agents, including the definition what constitutes being covert. Indeed, only Rush Limbaugh did so, insofar as I can tell, actually playing the testimony that shows the committee chairman refusing to permit actual testimony on that matter. So what we had yesterday were not hearings designed to get at the truth, and not news coverage designed to disseminate the truth, but a political show-trial and witch-hunt -- featuring lies by a major Democrat contributor. And while she claims that the Administration was motivated by "purely political motives" (discrediting her husband's lies), it is clear that Plame and her suppoters are motivated by impure political motives -- the destruction of the Bush Presidency and the undermining of the War in Iraq.

|| Greg, 10:33 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

More Bizarre Nagin Utterances.

And this one proves that New Orleans Buffoon Mayor Ray Nagin is out of contact with reality.

New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin has suggested that the slow recovery and rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina -- which has prevented many black former residents from returning -- is part of a plan to change the racial makeup and political leadership of his and other cities.

"Ladies and gentlemen, what happened in New Orleans could happen anywhere," Nagin said at a dinner sponsored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a trade group for newspapers that target black readers. "They are studying this model of natural disasters, dispersing the community and changing the electoral process in that community."

Excuse me, Mayor Nagin, but you are clearly unaware how the parasites from your city are viewed in their new communities. Here in Houston, we're ready to put them all back on buses and send them home to you whether or not "Chocolate City" has been rebuilt or not -- they have had an overwhelmingly detrimental impact upon our schools, our neighborhoods, and our way of life. Not only that, but we know that they are double-registered for voting -- meaning they impact not just your city elections (remember coming to Houston to campaign), but also our elections here in Houston, where they provide additional votes for the Democrats. We want them gone as much as you want them back.

|| Greg, 10:12 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

My Favorite NCAA Tourney Team Advances

Go Salukis!

It was supposed to be the seniors that led the Southern Illinois University men's basketball team to a tournament run. It was supposed to be Jamaal Tatum and Tony Young pacing the way.

Instead, it was one of the Salukis' sophomores who carried the team into the Round of 32 -and it's only because of an injury to one of SIU's starters that he even had the chance.

With Matt Shaw sidelined for the entire second half with a sprained left ankle, Tony Boyle came to the rescue for SIU. Boyle responded with a career-best game, lifting the Salukis to a 61-51 win over Holy Cross during the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday. The Salukis, seeded No. 4 in the West region, will face No. 5 Virginia Tech Sunday at 1:40 p.m.

Boyle scored a career-high 14 points and grabbed a career-best five rebounds - all in the second half. He also played the entire second half until being subbed out with 36 seconds remaining.

America loves a hero coming in from the bench -- let's hear it for Tony Boyle!

And for the record, my love of SIU is based upon the fact that I, like most members of my family who have attended college, spent at least some time taking classes in Carbondale. Oh, yeah -- and the fact that my father and aunt are both retired SIU professors.

|| Greg, 10:01 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Serving While Republican by Eternity Road, and Tenured Deceit by Sigmund, Carl and Alfred.  Here is a link to the full results of the vote.

Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
2  2/3Serving While Republican
Eternity Road