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April 30, 2007

CD22 Don't Need No Stinking Rove

Nick Lampson is at the top of the GOP hit-list here in CD22 without any urging from Karl Rove. After all, this is a GOP district and the only way he got in was a betrayal by Delay and a court case to keep him from having a opponent on the ballot.

The political slide shows that landed President Bush's adviser Karl Rove in the middle of an investigation named the congressman who replaced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay as the White House's No. 1 target.

Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Texas, tops the list of the "2008 House Targets: Top 20", part of a presentation made to executive branch employees, possibly illegally.

Critics have alleged the presentation was political and violated laws restricting executive branch employees from using their jobs for political activity.

The White House has defended the presentations as informational briefings for appointees and acknowledged last week there have been briefings at several agencies.

Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, D-Texas, also was on the list at No. 12.

Now if Rove screwed up and engaged in illegal political activity, lock him up -- I could care less. But that does nothing to minimize the misrepresentation of CD22 by the Neo-Copperhead carpetbagger from Beaumont -- or the need to rid ourselves of the candidate of MoveOn.org.





|| Greg, 09:14 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (24) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Zero Tolerance Goes Way Too Far

Here we have a student denied a degree in her field of studies and her teaching credentials because of a photo on MySpace.

Take a look at the photo.

drunkenpirate.jpg

Seems pretty tame to me especially given that the young woman in question was at least 25 at the time, and the mother of two.

Lets look at the story.

A 27-year-old Millersville University graduate filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the college for denying her an education degree and teaching certificate after a controversial Internet photograph surfaced last year shortly before graduation.

The picture shows Stacy Snyder of Strasburg wearing a pirate hat while drinking from a plastic "Mr. Goodbar" cup. The photograph taken during a 2005 Halloween party was posted on Snyder's MySpace Web page with the caption "Drunken Pirate."

"The day before graduation, the college confronted me about the picture," Snyder said Thursday. "I was told I wouldn't be receiving my education degree or teaching certificate because the photo was 'unprofessional.' "

Snyder said she apologized for the photograph, but Jane S. Bray, dean of the School of Education, and Provost Vilas A. Prabhu refused to issue the bachelor of science degree in education and teaching certificate Snyder earned.

Instead, the college issued Snyder a bachelor of arts degree in English.

Snyder is asking for the modest sum of $75,000 and the awarding of her proper degree and teaching credentials. That seems pretty reasonable to me I mean there are some serious freedom of speech issues here that apply, since Millersville University is a public entity and they are punishing her for engaging in legal and, one could argue, constitutionally protected activities.

And Ill say it flat out if Stacy Snyder is held to have engaged in unprofessional conduct that merits her being barred from the classroom, Im not sure that any teacher who blogs or drinks can stand up to scrutiny. And given that I have already beaten off one attempt to suppress my First Amendment rights and interfere with my employment by a gang of illiberal Democrat thugs who dont like my politics, I find this case to be particularly troubling.

H/T FIREs Torch


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|| Greg, 03:43 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

CFL Bulbs Hazardous?

How are we supposed to deal with the toxic waste that these bulbs will become especially as we see jurisdictions trying to outlaw incandescent bulbs.

How much money does it take to screw in a compact fluorescent light bulb? About US$4.28 for the bulb and labour -- unless you break the bulb. Then you, like Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine, could be looking at a cost of about US$2,004.28, which doesn't include the costs of frayed nerves and risks to health.

Sound crazy? Perhaps no more than the stampede to ban the incandescent light bulb in favour of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

The problem with these bulbs? They contain mercury, which is a highly toxic substance. Are we exchanging an inefficient light source for a potentially much more serious problem?

And we wont get into the question of domestic tranquility.





|| Greg, 03:37 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Quotes You May Have Missed

And these are CNN reporters, not FoxNews correspondents.

On Thursday, two CNN correspondents just back from Iraq -- Kyra Phillips and Michael Ware -- were asked if it would help the situation in Iraq to withdraw U.S. troops.

Phillips responded: "There is no way U.S. troops could pull out. It would be a disaster."

Ware answered, "If you just want to look at it in terms of purely American national interest, if U.S. troops leave now, you're giving Iraq to Iran, a member of President Bush's axis of evil, and al-Qaida. That's who will own it. And so, coming back now, I'm struck by the nature of the debate on Capitol Hill, (by) how delusional it is. Whether you are for this war or against it, whether you've supported the way it's been executed or not, it does not matter. You broke it -- you've got to fix it now. You can't leave, or it's going to come and blow back on America."

And remember Ware is the guy who took on John McCain not long ago over his comments about the safety of Baghdad so he certainly is no GOP shill.

Somehow, though, these comments by liberal journalists who have been in Iraq will be ignored by the war opponents. Their agenda is cutting losses and surrendering to the enemy., and these observations just dont fit.





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

Fire Melts Steel

Here in Houston and in San Francisco.

It must suck to be a Truther, and to have publicly claimed that such a thing couldn't have happened on 9/11.

H/t Malkin, America's North Shore Journal, Daily Pundit, Hot Air.





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

GOPBloggers Presidential Straw Poll





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

The Problem With DOJ Racial Disparity Report

I'll be the first to concede that the raw numbers are troubling. That minorities are more likely than whites to be arrested if pulled over by the police appears problematic.

But I wonder how many folks will consider the disclaimer in the report.

Like the 2002 report, this one contained a warning that the racial disparities uncovered "do not constitute proof that police treat people differently along demographic lines" because the differences could be explained by circumstances not analyzed by the survey. The 2002 report said such circumstances might include driver conduct or whether drugs were in plain view.

And that is precisely the problem with the report -- until we look at the circumstances that led to the arrests, we cannot know for sure what the reason for the disparity is. As I see at school, there is a cultural difference in how different ethnic groups respond to being confronted by authority figures. That could go a long way towards explaining the differences. So could questions of immigration status or, heaven forbid, obvious actual evidence of criminal behavior. For that matter, so could the socio-economic status of the drivers or the neighborhoods where they were pulled over. And until we manage to quantify and control for such things, does the data really tell us anything useful at all?





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

More On Attacks On Female Bloggers

When they were just verbal assaults on female conservatives like Michelle Malkin and Debbie Schlussel the MSM didn't want to consider the issue of sexually-based attacks on female bloggers. Now that it has hit more bloggers outside of the political Right -- and outside of political blogging as a whole -- it is being treated as a crisis.

A female freelance writer who blogged about the pornography industry was threatened with rape. A single mother who blogged about "the daily ins and outs of being a mom" was threatened by a cyber-stalker who claimed that she beat her son and that he had her under surveillance. Kathy Sierra, who won a large following by blogging about designing software that makes people happy, became a target of anonymous online attacks that included photos of her with a noose around her neck and a muzzle over her mouth.

As women gain visibility in the blogosphere, they are targets of sexual harassment and threats. Men are harassed too, and lack of civility is an abiding problem on the Web. But women, who make up about half the online community, are singled out in more starkly sexually threatening terms -- a trend that was first evident in chat rooms in the early 1990s and is now moving to the blogosphere, experts and bloggers said.

I agree with Michelle Malkin -- where have you all been?





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

Columnist Calls Border Enforcement Advocates Demagogues And Nativists

More name-calling open-borders nonsense in the Washington Post. And it is too bad, because without the playground-style name-calling, Sebastian Mallaby might just have contributed something of value to the debate on immigration legislation.

Border security does not come cheap: We could save money on unmanned aerial drones and use it to help high-school dropouts with a more generous earned-income tax credit. And although the concern for high-school dropouts is welcome, it must be weighed against the aspirations of migrants. Is it right to push native workers' pay up by 2 percent if that means depriving poor Mexicans of a chance to triple their incomes?

Of course it isn't, and given that the total economic effect of immigration on U.S. households is a wash, the big ramp-up in enforcement spending beloved by immigration hawks is an egregious waste of money. But no politician is going to say that. Candidates with a good record on immigration -- Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Clinton, John McCain -- are trying to avoid the issue. And the demagogues and nativists are allowed to spout unchallenged nonsense.

Because, of course, opponents of liberal policy preferences aren't just wrong -- they must be declared to be EVIL!





|| Greg, 04:08 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Human/Neanderthal Link?

More salvos in the never-ending question of whether or not humans and Neanderthals interbred 40,000 years ago.

Researchers have long debated what happened when the indigenous Neanderthals of Europe met "modern humans" arriving from Africa starting some 40,000 years ago. The end result was the disappearance of the Neanderthals, but what happened during the roughly 10,000 years that the two human species shared a land?

A new review of the fossil record from that period has come up with a provocative conclusion: The two groups saw each other as kindred spirits and, when conditions were right, they mated.

How often this happened will never be known, but paleoanthropologist Erik Trinkaus says it probably occurred more often than is generally imagined.

In his latest work, published last week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Trinkaus, of Washington University in St. Louis, analyzed prehistoric fossil remains from various parts of Europe. He concluded that a significant number have attributes associated with both Neanderthals and the modern humans who replaced them.

"Given the data we now have, it would be highly improbable to argue there is no Neanderthal contribution to the early European population that came out of Africa," Trinkaus said. "I believe there was continuous breeding between the two for some period of time.

"Both groups would seem to us dirty and smelly but, cleaned up, we would understand both to be human. There's good reason to think that they did as well."

The conclusion, one of the strongest to date in this debate, remains controversial, and it has potentially broad implications. It suggests, for instance, that humans today should still have some Neanderthal genes. It also means that the unanswered question of why the Neanderthals died out is even more puzzling -- because under this scenario they were quite capable of living successfully alongside the more modern newcomers.

Don't like this conclusion? Don't worry -- in the next few years there will be a new study claiming exactly the opposite, as has been the case for decades whenever a groundbreaking study of this question is published.





|| Greg, 04:00 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

More Thoughts On Anti-Catholicism

I have to ask -- would the press ever respond to such bigotry with respectful, dispassionate discussion if it were directed at Jews or African Americans?

Is it significant that the five Supreme Court justices who voted to uphold the federal ban on a controversial abortion procedure also happen to be the court's Roman Catholics?

It is to Tony Auth, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He drew Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. wearing bishop's miters, and labeled his cartoon "Church and State."

Rosie O'Donnell and Barbara Walters hashed out the issue on "The View," with O'Donnell noting that a majority of the court is Catholic and wondering about "separation of church and state." Walters counseled that "we cannot assume that they did it because they're Catholic."

And the chatter continues, on talk radio and in the blogosphere. In the latter category, no one has stirred it up quite like Geoffrey R. Stone, former dean and now provost of the University of Chicago's law school.

Once again we see, anti-Catholicism, long described as the anti-Semitism of the intellectual (or rather, I would suggest, the pseudo-intellectual) remains the most persistent prejudice in the American psyche.





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

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Earth Day by Done With Mirrors, and The Big White Lie by City Journal.  Here is a link to both winning entries and to the full results of the vote.

Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
2  2/3Earth Day
Done With Mirrors
2  1/3Presidential Power and Criminal Terrorists
Bookworm Room
2Helots
Eternity Road
1On Winners and Losers -- Harry Reid and Defeatism
Joshuapundit
1One Day Has Passed
The Glittering Eye
1Into Every Life, Some Reid Must Fall
Big Lizards
2/3Reid and the Dems: Cowardly, Immoral Jellyfish
Right Wing Nut House
2/3Cohen Must've Got Lost
Soccer Dad
1/3Quota Baseball
The Colossus of Rhodey
1/3Kevin Granata: Virginia Tech Hero
Cheat Seeking Missiles

VotesNon-council link
2  1/3The Big White Lie
City Journal
1  2/3Where Kurdistan Meets the Red Zone
Middle East Journal
1  1/3Getting the Message
The Mudville Gazette
1  1/3A Failure of Doctrine, Not of People
Winds of Change
1A Time for War
Treppenwitz
1We Get the Government We Deserve
The QandO Blog
2/3NY Times Public Editor Examines Paper's Duke Coverage
TalkLeft
2/3"To Jaw-Jaw Is Always Better Than To War-War."
Wizbang!
2/3Chomskyite Billionare Pleads Oppression
Diary of an Anti-Chomskyite
1/3Why the Liberal Media Whores Out for Terror
Breath of the Beast





|| Greg, 01:43 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 29, 2007

Bernstein To Publish Hillary Book

It will be so nice to have a little sunshine poured forth on the Hildebeast by one of the Left's most beloved journalistic icons -- Carl Bernstein. I may have to shell out for that particular book.

Drawing on a trove of private papers from Hillary Clintons best friend, the legendary Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein is to publish a hard-hitting and intimate portrait of the 2008 presidential candidate, which will reveal a number of discrepancies in her official story.

Bernstein, who was played by Dustin Hoffman in the film All the Presidents Men, has spent eight years researching the unauthorised 640-page biography, A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Bernstein reaches conclusions that stand in opposition to what Senator Clinton has said in the past and has written in the past, said Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for Knopf, which publishes the book on June 19.

With the thoroughness for which he is famous, Bernstein spoke to more than 200 of Clintons friends, colleagues and adversaries. He stops short of accusing the New York senator of blatantly lying about her past, but has unearthed examples of where she has played fast and loose with the facts about her personal and political life, according to Knopf.

The book could revive the explosive charge, made earlier this year by David Geffen, a former Clinton donor and Hollywood mogul, that the Clintons lie with such ease, its troubling.

I can't wait to see if Bernstein's reputation is impugned by the Clinton spin machine -- or if he ends up having an "unfortunate accident". If I were you, Carl, I'd stay away from Fort Marcy Park.





|| Greg, 08:46 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Jumping The Border For An American Education

This just chaps my behind -- immigration authorities making it easier for kids who don't live in the United States to cross the border to steal a free public education from American taxpayers.

For the past two years, Rachel Ortiz's commute to her El Paso school has begun each morning in Mexico.

As the sun rises over that side of the Rio Grande, the first-grader follows her father from their cinder-block home through the streets of Ciudad Juarez.

Aaron Ortiz holds his 6-year-old's pink backpack and later her hand. At the border they funnel onto the pedestrian bridge alongside dozens of other children with backpacks holding parents' hands. Then they are on the other side, saying goodbye at the gates of Vilas Elementary, where breakfast is served free and special classes are offered for English-language learners.

At that school, Rachel has made friends with American students. She writes reports on butterflies and decides she wants to be a doctor for dogs when she grows up. And when the school bell rings at the end of the day, her father is waiting outside, ready to walk her back home to Mexico.

No wonder there are 12-20 million illegal aliens in this country, along with millions of anchor babies. Our own government aids and abets them -- and expects us to pay for it.

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|| Greg, 08:22 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Murtha Urges Ignoring Constitution, Abusing Impeachment

Indeed, this is nothing short of a call for a coup if the President does not capitulate to Congress.

Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) said Sunday that Democrats in Congress could consider impeachment as a way to pressure President Bush on his handling of the war in Iraq.

What Im saying, theres four ways to influence a president. And one of thems impeachment, Murtha, chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, said on CBS Face the Nation.

Excuse me, but "Jihad Jack" Murtha seems to be ignoring a minor detail -- impeachment in our system is reserved for removing an individual from office for "high crimes and misdemeanors". Exercise of the powers delegated to the President by Article II of the Constitution -- such as use of the veto power and the power as Commander in Chief -- is not grounds for impeachment. Indeed, the possibility of such a flagrant abuse of power by the legislative branch is why Article I so sharply circumscribes the power of that branch in this regard.

But then again, since when does a corrupt old fart like Murtha give a damn about the Constitution?

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|| Greg, 08:13 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (128) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

More Success In Iraq Undercuts Democrat Surrender Strategy.

And in the mean time, good news from Iraq in the effort to clean up Anbar Province.

Many Sunni tribal leaders, once openly hostile to the American presence, have formed a united front with American and Iraqi government forces against Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. With the tribal leaders encouragement, thousands of local residents have joined the police force. About 10,000 police officers are now in Anbar, up from several thousand a year ago. During the same period, the police force here in Ramadi, the provincial capital, has grown from fewer than 200 to about 4,500, American military officials say.

At the same time, American and Iraqi forces have been conducting sweeps of insurgent strongholds, particularly in and around Ramadi, leaving behind a network of police stations and military garrisons, a strategy that is also being used in Baghdad, Iraqs capital, as part of its new security plan.

You know, the US and the Iraqi people might come out of this thing as winners -- if the President holds firm against al-Qaeda, al-Sadr, and the Democrats.





|| Greg, 08:10 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Support For Democrat Moves To Force Iraq Retreat

It's good to know that the Democrats have the terrorists on their side in their efforts to undercut our troops.

"Here are the Democrats calling you to withdraw or even set a timetable and you are not responding," al-Sadr's statement said. "It is not only them who are calling for this but also Republicans, to whom you belong."

"If you are ignoring your friends and partners, then it is no wonder that you ignore the international and Iraqi points of view. You will not benefit from this stubbornness," he added.

And Muqtada al-Sadr would certainly know what is best -- for the terrorists and Iranians.

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|| Greg, 08:06 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Problem Of School Crime Reports

School administrators have a problem when it comes to criminal conduct by students. They can be by-the-book and support the most severe possible charges against a kid who has broken the law. Or they can call it a school disciplinary matter and never call the cops. Or, as a middle ground, they can arrange with the cops for many offenses to be treated in a less serious manner that results in a ticket rather than an arrest.

Kenneth Trump, a national authority on school safety who testified before Congress on Monday, says the underreporting of disciplinary incidents in area schools is part of "a historical culture of downplay, deny, deflect and defend when it comes to publicly acknowledging and reporting school crimes." It's driven, experts say, by an overarching concern among school principals to protect their image and that of their school.

"If you're the administrator and you report what happened, you may get blamed," said Jean O'Neil, director of research and evaluation at the National Crime Prevention Council in Washington. "If you're the administrator and you don't report what happened, you may get blamed."

And more to the point, that blame does not just come from the general public. A lot of disciplinary decisions get questioned by vocal parents, whose first phone call is to the Superintendent. When it involves an arrest, you can bet that call is going to be made. Assuming, of course, that the parent doesn't call the press and start to cry racism. It is often easier to give the kids a break on lesser offenses and treat them as mere disciplinary matters -- which will have the double impact of keeping the crime statistics down





|| Greg, 07:55 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Kevin Kolb To Philly

I'm glad to see this happen -- Kevin Kolb is a fine young man and a fine quarterback. I envy you folks in Philly, because he is going to be fun to watch as he develops behind McNabb.

Early in the second round of the NFL draft Saturday, Kevin Kolb decided it would be best to avoid the television and spend some time outside on his family's farm.

Minutes later, it wasn't the cows that came calling.

It was the Eagles.

Kolb, the record-setting quarterback from the University of Houston, was taken with the No. 36 overall pick and will begin his career learning behind Pro Bowler Donovan McNabb.

"I wasn't outside two minutes when my wife (Whitney) came out with the phone and said, 'I don't know who it is! I don't know who it is!' " said Kolb, the highest UH player selected since Antowain Smith was taken by Buffalo in the first round in 1997.

Tell me -- how many other potential first-day picks did anything other than camp out by the phone and television until their name was called or Round 3 ended? For that matter, Kolb was one of the few to have a team trade up for them on the first day of the NFL draft -- a day on which he became the thrid quarterback picked overall.

And for you Eagles fans who booed this choice, i want you to consider these stats.

A four-year starter, Kolb finished his career as one of the most prolific passers in NCAA history with 12,964 passing yards, 13,715 yards total offense and 106 TDs. As a senior, Kolb led the Cougars to a 10-win season and their first Conference USA title since 1996.

This young man has quite an arm on him -- and as I've said, is a strong leader and quality human being. That is what I hear from several former students (and a teaching colleague) who played with him at UH, so I'm not just believing his press releases. These are the things that come out of the mouths of his teammates in day-to-day conversation.

Good luck, Kevin -- I'm just sorry you didn't somehow end up in Houston.





|| Greg, 07:27 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 28, 2007

NFL Draft -- I'm Happy With Texans Pick

With Brady Quinn still on the board, I expected the Texans to take him or trade the pick. They didn't. Nor did they try to shore up the weak offensive line that was largely responsible for the destruction of David Carr as a useful quarterback.

Instead, for the fourth straight year, they went with a defensive player in the first round. Frankly, I was stunned -- but the more I have researched the player selected, the better I feel about it.

Who did they pick?

Amobi Okoye -- Defensive tackle out of Louisville.

Height: 6'2"

Weight: 302

In four years at Louisville, Okoye started 24 games. He finished with 121 tackles, 10.5 sacks for minus-42 yards and 23 stops for losses totaling 81 yards. He caused four fumbles and recovered three others.

But that isn't the only thing I love about this kid. His story is amazing. Born in Nigeria, he started high school at age 12, played football for the first time at 13, and made his first college sack at age 15. Now 19, he earned a degree in psychology in 3 1/2 years.

One of the biggest challenges was in 1999 when Okoye moved to Huntsville, Ala., from Nigeria. Because he had started school in Nigeria at 2 1/2 , he was in the ninth grade at 12. The principal in Huntsville was skeptical.

"The principal wanted to send me back to eighth grade," Okoye said at the NFL scouting combine. "I disagreed and felt like I was getting pushed back. We came to an agreement. She decided 'I'll keep you here for two weeks and depending on how you perform determines if you stay or not.'

"After the first week, she put me in some classes I had already taken. The reports got back, and the teacher told her I had to be moved to upper classes. After that, I stayed in high school."

Soon thereafter, a substitute teacher saw Okoye's size and encouraged him to try out for football. Okoye played soccer in Nigeria and knew nothing about football.

At 13, he started his first game on varsity and a year later, he was starting on both sides of the ball. By 15, he signed with Louisville and became the youngest player in college football when he enrolled in 2003 at 16.

He played in 13 games as a true freshman, despite then-Louisville coach Bobby Petrino saying Okoye couldn't step on the field until he needed to shave.

"I knew he was serious, but deep inside he wanted to play me," Okoye said. "I went out there and proved myself, and he went and got me a razor."

By his junior season, Okoye was a starter. As a senior, he was the defensive leader and recorded a career-high 58 tackles with eight sacks and 15 stops for losses. He also caused three fumbles.

And at age 20, he will start his first NFL game.

Damn! I may just need to get myself a new Texan's jersey. And I certainly have a role model for my students.

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|| Greg, 08:47 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

What Abortion Hath Wrought

When boys are more desirable than girls, guess which gets aborted -- and what the long-term demographic consequences are.

It seems like an ordinary village school, deep in the farm hills of Hainan Island in southern China.

A red Chinese flag flutters in front of the white-tiled building on the village's main street. Outside are rice paddies, water buffaloes, banana trees and grass-roofed houses.

But look more closely at the school's Grade 6 class: row upon row upon row of boys. There are 34 of them in this classroom, and only 20 girls. The same is true across the entire school, where 180 boys vastly outnumber 105 girls.

It's always a headache to keep order in this school, said Xing Zhen, the principal of Sanbai Primary School. The boys are always misbehaving. They run all over the place, climbing the trees and the walls.

What he really fears is the restless intensity of boys who grow up to become unmarried men. There are already hundreds of single men in nearby villages, an army of unhappy bachelors. They can't find wives, and it affects the social stability, Mr. Xing says.

All across China, the dangerous combination of modern technology and traditional beliefs is creating a huge army of single men. By 2020, more than 30 million men of marriageable age will be unable to find wives. Ultrasound machines and selective abortions, combined with China's restrictive one-child policy, are helping parents to skew the gender ratio, with potentially disastrous consequences.

Well, this could go a long way towards reducing the Chinese population -- or make them more warlike, with "excess" men being bled off through wars of aggression.





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

A Story With A Happy Ending

Dead Taliban!

Caught in the middle of the Helmand river, the fleeing Taliban were paddling their boat back to shore for dear life.

Smoke from the ambush they had just sprung on American special forces still hung in the air, but their attention was fixed on the two helicopter gunships that had appeared above them as their leader, the tallest man in the group, struggled to pull what appeared to be a burqa over his head.

As the boat reached the shore, Captain Larry Staley tilted the nose of the lead Apache gunship downwards into a dive. One of the men turned to face the helicopter and sank to his knees. Capt Staley's gunner pressed the trigger and the man disappeared in a cloud of smoke and dust.

And that isn't even the good part -- die, terrorists, die!

I am curious, though -- why is this story appearing in a British newspaper, and not an American one? You don't suppose it could have anything to do with the bias of the MSM, do you?


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|| Greg, 07:31 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Al Gore -- Hypocrite!

He says he has no right to interfere in Canadian politics -- and then does so anyway.

The Conservatives' new environmental platform is a "complete and total fraud" that is "designed to mislead the Canadian people," former U.S. vice-president Al Gore said Saturday.

* * *

Gore acknowledged he is not a Canadian citizen and said he has "no right to interfere in your decisions."

However, he said, the rest of the world looks to Canada for moral leadership and that's why this week's announcement was so "shocking."

But the Tories proceeded to bitch-slap the former vice president and noted hypocrite (who still has done nothing to make an actual reduction in his "carbon footprint").

Baird released a statement later in the day Saturday in which he refuted Gore's criticisms.

"The fact is our plan is vastly tougher than any measures introduced by the administration of which the former vice president was a member," Baird said in the statement.

After all, the Clinton/Gore Administration never submitted the Kyoto Protocol for ratification.

Oh, and by the way -- Gore says "intensity reduction" is nothing but a focus-group tested deception by "Big Oil". I suppose that would make it the equivalent of "carbon off-sets", a phrase test-marketed by those who sell them to make a profit off of the failure of Left-wing trendoids to reduce pollution -- by folks like Al Gore, who profits from selling these latter-day indulgences.


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|| Greg, 07:20 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Draft Day

The Raiders will set the tone for the draft.

The Oakland Raiders kept everyone in the league guessing yesterday about what they were planning to do with the top overall selection in today's NFL draft. Many people around the league continued to assume that the Raiders would use the pick on Louisiana State quarterback JaMarcus Russell, but there were conflicting accounts, and Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn apparently remained possibilities.

The rest of the first round, which promises to include runs on wide receivers and defensive linemen and could produce an unusually high number of safeties chosen, hinges on the Raiders' decision. Teams were making contingency plans and lining up potential trades, but everything was on hold until Raiders owner Al Davis and first-year coach Lane Kiffin finally tip their hand.

The Raiders had contract discussions during the week with the representatives for Russell, Quinn and Johnson. NFL rules permit the team with the first pick to sign the player that it intends to choose before the draft, a tactic that eliminates the possibility of a combative set of contract negotiations during the summer that might delay the player's arrival at his first training camp. But as of last night, there was no indication that the Raiders had a deal in place with any of the players.

And who will they pick? ESPN is offering this tidbit.

It appears the Oakland Raiders have made their choice, and it's JaMarcus Russell. According to two sources, one with the Raiders and one close to Russell, the team called the LSU quarterback Friday to inform him he would be the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NFL draft.

We'll know soon.

But my big question is this -- what will my Houston Texans do? And will it help improve a team that was on on the cusp of being good last season?





|| Greg, 08:36 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

State Department Official Resigns In Escort Flap

This is a personal peccadillo, not a professional one -- will the Democrats try to make a bid deal about it? After all, this is just about sex.

Randall L. Tobias, the deputy secretary of state responsible for U.S. foreign aid, abruptly resigned yesterday after he was asked about an upscale escort service allegedly involved in prostitution, U.S. government sources said.

Tobias resigned after ABC News contacted him with questions about the escort service, the sources said. ABC News released a statement last night saying Tobias acknowledged Thursday that he had used the service to provide massages, not sex.

Tobias has been Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's point man in an ambitious effort to overhaul how the U.S. government manages foreign aid, a key part of her "transformational diplomacy" agenda. Just two days ago, President Bush lauded Tobias for his work in the administration leading "America's monumental effort to confront and deal with the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the continent of Africa."

I hope the Democrats wait to pounce until Barney Frank can weigh in upon this matter.





|| Greg, 08:29 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Mountain Meadows Massacre

It is one of the uglier parts of early Mormon history -- the murder of non-Mormon settlers passing through Utah. Among the questions in dispute is the role of Brigham Young in the events? Did he order the murders? Did he fail to act to prevent them? Or is there some point in between.

One hundred fifty years ago, a glorious September morning in the Utah mountains morphed into Mormonism's darkest hour when a militia opened fire on a wagon train, leaving more than 120 men, women and children dead in a flowery field.

Now the "Mountain Meadows Massacre" is becoming more than a subject of somber reflection within tight-knit Mormon circles. Two new films and a forthcoming book aim to tell the nation what happened, why and -- perhaps most important -- whether the revered Mormon prophet Brigham Young ordered the killing.

At stake are not just the details of a tragic moment in pioneer history. For the 5.8 million Americans who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Mormon church is officially known, the integrity of one of their most important heroes hangs in the balance. For others, the depictions stand to forge new impressions of a controversial religious minority that has known both violent persecution and substantial influence across its tumultuous 180-year history.

"As a society, we are definitely at a crossroads" in terms of rethinking Mormonism, says Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. "This is a huge moment, because it's a very important religion."

There are three projects in the works. One, a movie, depicts the events sensationally and stakes out the position that this was an act inspired by, if not ordered by, Brigham Young. The second, a PBS documentary, tries to contextualize what happened and does not, in so far as I can tell, really take a clear position on Young's involvement. And an upcoming book by three Mormon historians takes the official Mormon position that Young had nothing to do with the events of that morning at all -- and that he tried to stop it.

What is the answer? In the end, I suspect the PBS documentary may do a great service by contextualizing the events, coming as they did as a part of the "Mormon War" in Utah. And personally, I doubt that Young actually ordered these murders -- but I do suspect that his words, like those of Henry II in the case of Thomas a Becket, could legitimately have been taken by some of his more loyal followers as an implicit call for these events. As such, one might fairly impute an indirect moral responsibility to the Mormon leader, though perhaps not the sort that those who claim he directed the massacre would insist upon. But regardless, the events of September 11, 1857 remain a blot upon the history of the LDS Church -- and will likely continue to be a source of controversy.





|| Greg, 08:23 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Expanded Offshore Drilling Proposed

If you want to decrease dependence upon foreign oil, you must find domestic sources.

The Interior Department will announce a proposal Monday to allow oil and gas drilling in federal waters near Virginia that are currently off-limits and permit new exploration in Alaska's Bristol Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, according to people who have seen or been told about drafts of the plan.

The department issued a news release yesterday that was lacking details but said that it had finished a five-year plan that will include a "major proposal for expanded oil and natural gas development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf." Department officials declined to describe the plan.

Congress would still have to agree to open areas currently off-limits before any drilling could take place off Virginia's coast. Every year since 1982, after an oil spill off Santa Barbara, Calif., Congress has reaffirmed a moratorium on drilling off the nation's Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Last year, after a vigorous push by drilling advocates, Congress opened new waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Interior Department might still go ahead with environmental and geological seismic studies off Virginia, but the plan does not envision drilling there before 2011, according to a congressional source who saw an earlier version of the proposal. The sources who described the plan spoke on the condition of anonymity because they didn't want to compromise relationships with people who showed them drafts.

So, what's it going to be -- more domestic production, or continued reliance on dictators in the Middle East and Latin America for our oil?





|| Greg, 07:55 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 27, 2007

My Democrat Dream Ticket

Kucinich /Gravel in 2008





|| Greg, 05:27 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Little Something For Everyone

Some headlines just leap out at you.

Polygamous lesbians flee Sharia

Uhhhh -- yeah.





|| Greg, 05:19 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Depravity Of Jihadi Murderers Of Christians In Turkey

The sickness of these diabolically-inspired individuals knows no bounds.

Having arranged to meet these three Christians on Sunday morning for a Bible study, they brutally martyred Tilman Ekkehart Geske, Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel.

After Necati read a chapter from the Bible the assault reportedly began. "The young men tied Ugur, Necati, and Tilmans hands and feet to chairs as they videoed their work on their cell phones," ICC said, adding that what "followed in the next three hours is beyond belief."

ICC said the men were "disemboweled, and their intestines sliced up in front of their eyes. They were emasculated and watched as those body parts were destroyed." The group added that "fingers were chopped off" and "their noses and mouths and anuses were sliced open" as part of what it called "satanic torture."

It added that "possibly the worst part was watching as their brothers were likewise tortured. Tilman was stabbed 156 times, Necati 99 times and Ugurs stabs were too numerous to count."

Finally, their throats were sliced from ear to ear, and their "heads practically decapitated," ICC said.

Such brutality would be shocking were it not all too common among those who have taken to murdering non-Muslims in the name of the Islamic faith. Let us hope that the government of Turkey will vigorously deal with these perpetrators of these horrific actions. And may the blood of these martyrs be a spring that nurtures the Christian faith in Turkey, and draw more and more to the truth of the Christian faith.

H/T Jawa Report, Christian Persecution Blog

UPDATE: Will there be justice for Christians in Turkey? I think it is doubtful, given the arrest of four street evangelists in Turkey for attempting to spread the Gospel. Especially when you get quotes like this from senior officials of the Ministry of "Justice".

Missionaries are more dangerous than terror organizations, Niyazi Guney, Ministry of Justice director general of laws, reportedly commented only a day after the murders.
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|| Greg, 04:52 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I Agree With Barney Frank

Words you never thought you would see on this blog but which are true in this case.

Legislation that would lift an online gambling ban imposed by Congress last year was introduced on Thursday by the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Calling the Internet gambling prohibition "imprudently adopted," Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts outlined a bill to make it legal again for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites.
"The fundamental issue here is a matter of individual freedom," Frank told a news conference, adding his committee would hold a hearing on the matter in June.

The bill includes provisions for licensing and regulating online gambling companies to protect against underage gambling, compulsive gambling, money-laundering and fraud.

I said it was a stupid law when it passed, and I still believe that to be the case. Repeal the online gambling ban NOW!





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

To Disregard the Second Amendment, You Must Disregard the Rest

Im shocked by the lack of respect for the US Constitution shown by Dan Simpson, a retired diplomat and member of the editorial boards of both the Toledo Blade and the Pittsburgh Gazette. After all, he proposes nothing less than gun confiscation and warrantless searches of any person or place without suspicion of any crime.

Now, how would one disarm the American population? First of all, federal or state laws would need to make it a crime punishable by a $1,000 fine and one year in prison per weapon to possess a firearm. The population would then be given three months to turn in their guns, without penalty.

* * *

The disarmament process would begin after the initial three-month amnesty. Special squads of police would be formed and trained to carry out the work. Then, on a random basis to permit no advance warning, city blocks and stretches of suburban and rural areas would be cordoned off and searches carried out in every business, dwelling, and empty building. All firearms would be seized. The owners of weapons found in the searches would be prosecuted: $1,000 and one year in prison for each firearm.

Clearly, since such sweeps could not take place all across the country at the same time. But fairly quickly there would begin to be gun-swept, gun-free areas where there should be no firearms. If there were, those carrying them would be subject to quick confiscation and prosecution. On the streets it would be a question of stop-and-search of anyone, even grandma with her walker, with the same penalties for "carrying."

Whats more, he even notes positively that the slowness of the courts would enable many jurisdictions to disarm the citizenry before their rights under the Constitution could be vindicated.

Lets see, besides the obvious violation of the Second Amendment contemplated under this proposal, there are a number of other abrogations of the Bill of Rights that should trouble even the most ardent gun-grabber. I see violations of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments as well.

But what is more disturbing is that Simpson has apparently forgotten the history of this country that led to the American Revolution. Indeed, his search proposal is nothing less than the Writ of Assistance issued by the British government one of the abuses of the rights of colonists that helped precipitate the American Revolution.

Indeed, Im not sure what disturbs me more Simpsons un-American proposals, or the fact that a man so disconnected from the fundamental values contained in our Constitution was ever permitted to serve as in any capacity in the Foreign Service, much less at the ambassadorial level.

H/T Captains Quarters, Q and O, No Runny Eggs, The Liberty Papers





|| Greg, 04:41 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dean Hypocrisy On Giuliani

Ive made no secret of the fact that I am not a backer of Rudy Giuliani for the presidency and Ive acknowledged my concerns over his personal life.

But when Howard Dean raises such issues, Im stunned by the hypocrisy.

Democratic party chairman Howard Dean said on Thursday that Rudy Giuliani "personal life is a serious problem."

Dean sent the warning on CNN's SITUATION ROOM with host Wolf Blitzer.

Chariman Dean said the former New York City Mayor "has a lot of character issues that he has to answer for. And overwhelmingly, Americans are going to vote on honesty and integrity.... We've begun to reach out to evangelical Christians, and that's a real problem for him. His personal life is a serious problem for him."

BLITZER: Well, describe those character issues...

DEAN: No, I'm not going to get into that stuff. I don't like attacking people on their personal lives, but I can assure you that in the Republican primary, given what went on in the 2000 Republican primary in South Carolina between George Bush and John McCain, those attacks will be made in the Republican Party.

For this to come from the leader of the party of Barney Frank, Gerry Studds, Ted Kennedy, and Bill Clinton is rather shocking. After all, Giuliani has never let a prostitution service run out of his home, had sex with a teenage page, left a woman to drown in his car after diving drunk, or committed perjury about his sex life. After all, the familial sins of Rudy Giuliani don't hold a candle to theirs.





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

Durbin Lied, Soldiers Died

That is the only conclusion possible, if the claims of the Illinois Senator are accurate.

The Senate's No. 2 Democrat says he knew that the American public was being misled into the Iraq war but remained silent because he was sworn to secrecy as a member of the intelligence committee.

"The information we had in the intelligence committee was not the same information being given to the American people. I couldn't believe it," Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said Wednesday when talking on the Senate floor about the run-up to the Iraq war in 2002.

"I was angry about it. [But] frankly, I couldn't do much about it because, in the intelligence committee, we are sworn to secrecy. We can't walk outside the door and say the statement made yesterday by the White House is in direct contradiction to classified information that is being given to this Congress."

If, as Durbin claims, he knew of falsehoods being given to the American people, he had a moral and Constitutional responsibility to speak out. But he didnt. And his claims are contradicted by his fellow Democrats on the Intelligence Committee.

That leads me to two possibilities.

1) Dick Durbin failed to do his duty to the American people by not exposing these so-called misleading statements especially given his statements that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the United States.

2) Dick Durbin lied to the American people in making this claim of that the administration lied to the American people.

Only one conclusion can be drawn at this point Dick Durbin is a liar, and unfit to serve in the United States Senate. He should resign immediately.


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|| Greg, 04:36 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Giant Carbon Footprints To South Carolina

Remember these are the folks who believe in global warming. You would think they might actually practice what they preach by reducing their carbon emissions and fossil fuel usage. You would be wrong.

A flock of small jets took flight from Washington Thursday, each carrying a Democratic presidential candidate to South Carolina for the first debate of the political season.

For Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden, it was wheels up shortly after they voted in favor of legislation requiring that U.S. troops begin returning home from Iraq in the fall.

No one jet pooled, no one took commercial flights to save money, fuel or emissions.

Lifestyle changes to combat global warming? Thats for the little people.

Because the politically powerful are different from you and me.





|| Greg, 04:35 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Question That Needs To Be Asked

Im not a big Oliver North fan, and never have been. I dont watch his television work, and rarely read his column. However, he does ask a question that we should demand the Neo-Copperhead Democrats be forced to answer.

Reid and his cohorts in Congress who believe "this war is lost" have acted to ensure that it will be. No one asked them: "If we lost, who won?" The answer should be obvious.

So come on, my Democrat friends if we follow your plan for defeat in Iraq, who is the winner?





|| Greg, 04:31 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A New Washington Letter

Found in a child's scrapbook, compiled 180 years ago at the time our nation marked the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

The letter from George Washington is pasted between poetry and party invitations, stuffed into a dusty scrapbook amid jokes and cutouts of handsome men, and all the highlights of a lucky little girls life.

It was written in May 1787 and addressed to Jacob Morris, grandfather of Julia Kean, the precocious 10-year-old who started the brown leather scrapbook in 1826 and put the letter under a portrait of the nations first president.

The letter is just 111 words long, a scant two paragraphs, but it mentions a rival of Washington, Horatio Gates, and includes enough hints of intrigue to whet the appetite of scholars. They learned of the letters discovery only recently, after it was found among the private papers of one of New Jerseys most prominent families.

What a neat treasure to find -- and the words of the letter are significant, written during the Constitutional Convention over which George Washington presided.

The happiness of this Country depend much upon the deliberations of the federal Convention which is now sitting, reads the second paragraph of the quill-and-ink letter. It, however, can only lay the foundation the community at large must raise the edifice.

Indeed -- the Constitution is mere paper unless We, the People, build and maintain the structure it designs. Have we lived up to that responsibility in the 220 years since that great man wrote those words?





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

Terror Assisting Shyster Disbarred

Lynne Stewart is no longer a lawyer.

he's still out on the street, but convicted terror helper Lynne Stewart is out of the legal profession.

A state appeals court yesterday formally disbarred Stewart, officially ending her 30-year career as a lawyer.

The Appellate Division made the disbarment retroactive to Feb. 10, 2005. That's the date she was convicted of providing material support to terrorists by helping her jailed client, blind Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, communicate with his followers. He is the suspected mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing .

The unsigned decision by the five-judge panel also rejected Stewart's bid to resign from the bar, which her lawyer made 18 months after she was convicted.

I can't wait for her to rot in jail after her appeals are over.





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

Bobby "Boris" Pickett -- RIP

A bit of my childhood has died.

He does the "Monster Mash" no more. Bobby "Boris" Pickett, whose dead-on Boris Karloff impression propelled the Halloween anthem to the top of the charts in 1962, making him one of pop music's most enduring one-hit wonders, has died of leukemia. He was 69.

Pickett, dubbed "The Guy Lombardo of Halloween," died Wednesday night at the West Los Angeles Veterans Hospital, said his longtime manager, Stuart Hersh. His daughter, Nancy, and his sister, Lynda, were at Pickett's bedside.

"Monster Mash" hit the Billboard chart three times: when it debuted in 1962, reaching No. 1 the week before Halloween; again in August 1970, and for a third time in May 1973. The resurrections were appropriate for a song where Pickett gravely intoned the forever-stuck-in-your-head chorus: "He did the monster mash. ... It was a graveyard smash."

Rest in peace, and may your family be comforted.





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

More Time At Public Trough For Katrina Evacuees

So now the rent assistance will be extended to three-and-a-half years.

Thousands of families displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita will receive housing assistance for 18 additional months but must begin contributing to their rent next year, federal officials said Thursday.

Evacuees, their advocates and local officials welcomed the news as a realistic acknowledgment that many families still need help but must prepare to assume more responsibility for their own lives.

"I want the city of Houston to know that the majority of the people of New Orleans are trying as hard as they can," said evacuee Samuel Pollen, 63, who is taking classes for certification to work as a teacher. "They gave up on us too soon because of the bad ones."

Housing assistance for more than 120,000 displaced families, which was scheduled to end Aug. 31, will continue through March 1, 2009. Starting March 1, 2008, recipients will be required to make monthly payments starting at $50 and increasing to $600 by the time the assistance ends.

Oh, the horror! After 2-and-a-half years these folks will actually be expected to do something to provide for themselves!

Personally, I like this response from a fellow Houstonian.

Instead of endless Federal Emergency Management Agency's handouts, perhaps it's time for Katrina evacuees to take those jobs "Americans just won't do." This seems to be working well for illegal immigrants in this country.

Indeed -- but then again, the illegals haven't been raised with the expectation that the government will support them through some form of public dole, which many of them were on BEFORE the hurricane.





|| Greg, 04:23 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Diabetes Breakthrough

And the more we know, the more we can do to find a cure.

Researchers said yesterday that they had identified seven new genes connected to the most common form of diabetes the latest result of an intensifying race between university researchers and private companies to find genes linked to a range of diseases.

The findings, presented in three reports by university scientists and one by a private company, offer novel insights into the biology of a disease that affects 170 million people worldwide.

And the sudden spate of new results mark an acceleration, and perhaps a turning point, in the ability to find disease genes, the long-promised payoff from the human genome project that began in 1989.

Yesterdays reports bring the number of well-attested genes involved in adult-onset, or Type 2 diabetes up to 10, from the 3 known previously. The new genes do not immediately suggest any new therapy, but may point to a new biological basis for the disease, from which effective treatments could emerge in time.

And in the mean time, I'll just keep taking my pills.





|| Greg, 04:15 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

DemsVote For Surrender, Ignoring Two Voices -- General, Iraqis

Because after all, heeding the two constituencies closest to the events in Iraq would force them to reconsider their pre-conceived cut-&-run-&-surrender strategy.

The Senate approved a $124 billion Iraq war spending bill yesterday that would force troop withdrawals to begin as early as July 1, inviting President Bush's veto even as party leaders and the White House launch talks to resolve their differences.

The 51 to 46 vote was a triumph for Democrats, who just weeks ago worried about the political wisdom of a veto showdown with the commander in chief as troops fight on the battlefield. But Democrats are hesitant no more. And now that withdrawal language has passed both houses of Congress, even Republicans acknowledge that Bush won't get the spending bill that he has demanded, one with no strings attached.

Sad, isn't it, that the Democrats need to bring about the defeat of the United States military in the central front of the war on terror in order to achieve political "triumph".

Of course, a veto looms.

Which is appropriate, given the words of General Petraeus and the Iraqi government.

The top military commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, warned Thursday that an American troop pullback this fall would lead to an escalation in sectarian killings and worsening violence.

My sense is that there would be an increase in sectarian violence, a resumption of sectarian violence, were the presence of our forces and Iraqi forces at that time to be reduced, General Petraeus said at a Pentagon news conference.

And

An Iraqi government spokesman criticized the U.S. Senate vote to begin withdrawing U.S. troops by Oct. 1.

"We see some negative signs in the decision because it sends wrong signals to some sides that might think of alternatives to the political process," Ali al-Dabbagh told The Associated Press.

I'm sure glad that this crop of Democrats wasn't around on the worst days of WWII. We'd all be speaking German and Japanese.





|| Greg, 04:08 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

1-800-No-Drugs Helpline

When you or a loved one needs help with drug addiction, where would you turn? Would you know of a reputable facility to send them to for treatment? Or would you find yourself confused, and torn over how to help? If you are like most folks, I'd bet the latter.

That is why 1800NoDrugs.com exists -- to provide you with a resource to turn to when faced with a crisis brought on by drug abuse. They can point you to a drug rehab facility that meets the needs of the addicted individual -- one that will hopefully help them achieve sobriety. And that, after all is the goal.

Paid Endorsement.





|| Greg, 04:00 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Unacceptable And Worthy Of Condemnation

And i do condemn the actions of whoever attempted to engage in terrorism against this abortion clinic.

A package left at a women's clinic that performs abortions contained an explosive device capable of inflicting serious injury or death, investigators said today.

"It was in fact an explosive device," said David Carter, assistant chief of the Austin Police Department. "It was configured in such a way to cause serious bodily injury or death."

The package was found Wednesday in a parking lot outside the Austin Women's Health Center, south of downtown Austin.

Nearby Interstate 35 was briefly closed, and a nearby apartment complex was evacuated while a bomb squad detonated the device.

Abortionists are among the scum of the scum of the earth in my book, a mere half-step above Osama. However, acts of violence are unacceptable in the pro-life cause, and I cannot remain silent when one occurs. I hope that the perp is caught, prosecuted, and given the maximum sentence.





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

April 26, 2007

Heres A Great Solution To Border Jumpers In Prison

Parole them, then deport them.

Nevadas Pardons Board on Wednesday commuted the sentences of 46 illegal aliens in the Nevada prison system, clearing the way for the Parole Board to release them.

But they wont be let go. Instead, theyll be released to federal immigration authorities who will deport them.

Supreme Court Justice Jim Hardesty suggested releasing many of the illegals, who may constitute more than 10 percent of the prison population, as a way to reduce overcrowding. He said there are 1,065 illegal aliens in the Nevada prison system, many are being held for nonviolent crimes.

David Smith, of the Parole Board, said 35 illegals have been turned over to federal authorities. But the group dealt with Wednesday wasnt eligible for release because they hadnt served their minimum sentences yet. Only the Pardons Board, which consists of the seven Supreme Court justices, the attorney general and the governor, has the power to make them eligible for parole early.

Hardesty said another 40 or so will become eligible for parole and deportation before June. Altogether, he said, the parole board should be able to turn over a total of 121 illegals by June 15.

But he said thats just the first phase of the plan. He said another 186 inmates will be considered at the Pardons Board on May 29. He said the inmates on that list are also good candidates for deportation since their crimes are nonviolent. Once the Pardons Board commutes their sentences, the parole board can release them for deportation as well.

In the future, he said, the board hopes to develop a system that routinely hands over
illegals to the federal government for deportation.

And the great thing about it is that if they do return, they are parole violators who can be quickly and easily incarcerated if caught.

Round e up! Ship em back! Rawhide!





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

Columnist Demands Censorship Of Message She Despises

The words painted on the side of the house are offensive but if a homeowner does not have the right to engage in free speech (as undeniably reprehensible as it is) on his own property, does the First Amendment mean anything anymore? That is my question for columnist Carol McAlice Currie.

The words "Go to F...... Hell Jew Bastard" drip in 3-foot-high letters along the side of a house in northeast Salem. Neighbors and passers-by can't miss the message any time they drive west along the rural road.

But getting Marion County to order the owner to paint over it is proving a chore because, despite its vulgar and violent message, it's protected free speech.
Well, here's some more free speech: Horse manure!

While county officials sit around considering their options, the sideshow gets more attention daily.

The county's legal eagles are correct about the First Amendment. Because there's a possibility that Chadwick Michaels himself wrote the words on his home at 4063 Hayesville Road NE (he refuses to say), they're protected free speech. As intolerant and offensive as they are, they apparently don't meet legal tests for presenting an "immediate and imminent danger."

* * *

As a journalist, the First Amendment is sacred to me. I don't take suppressing it well. So I accept that as miserable a message as it is, it's Michaels' right to say it.

Michaels is not shouting "fire" in a movie theater, so he shouldn't be muzzled. But he is advertising hatred on a big, two-story brown sign in a residential neighborhood of farms and fields.

Surely we can regulate that without trampling on the Bill of Rights.

Notice the hypocrisy, please. She acknowledges the theoretical right to speak but demands censorship anyway. How liberal of her.

WARNING! PICTURE OF HOUSE BELOW FOLD.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Columnist Demands Censorship Of Message She Despises" »




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

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Rosie! Rosie! Rosie!

Rosietoon.jpg

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

Sheep Swindle

Who says that the Japanese are smarter than Americans?

THOUSANDS of Japanese have been swindled in a scam in which they were sold Australian and British sheep and told they were poodles. Flocks of sheep were marketed as fashionable accessories - available at $1600 each - by a company called Poodles as Pets.

A real poodle retails for twice that much in Japan.

The scam was uncovered when Japanese film star Maiko Kawamaki went on a talk-show and wondered why her new pet would not bark or eat dog food.

She was crestfallen when told it was a sheep.

Hundreds of other women got in touch with police to say they feared their new "poodle" was also a sheep.

One couple said they became suspicious when they took their "dog" to have its claws trimmed and were told it had hooves.

Police believe there could be 2000 people affected by the scam.

One would have hoped that these people would have figured it out when the dog said Baaaaaaaaaaaa!

And I have to ask was there an Aggie involved in this scam?

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

Memorializing A Would-Be Killer?

What next a memorial to Cho at Virginia Tech?

The father of a University of Oklahoma student who died after a homemade explosive he was carrying detonated near a packed football stadium said the placement of a memorial to the young man on campus wasn't his idea.

A football fan attending OU's Red-White game on April 7 spotted a stone paver outside the student union with Joel Henry Hinrichs III's name on it.

"I was just kind of horrified," Jenny Clemons told The Oklahoman. "I don't think he has any business being out here."

The school's student affairs division arranged to have the stone placed, an OU alumni affairs employee said. Families pay for such memorials, which cost about $150, officials said, but Hinrichs' father told the newspaper the school offered to place the stone and never billed him.

Hinrichs, an engineering student, died Oct. 1, 2005, when his bomb went off as he sat on a campus bench not far from Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, where a night game was being played.

The FBI investigated whether the 21-year-old Colorado Springs, Colo., resident tried or intended to enter the stadium but reported finding no conclusive evidence.

Joel Hinrichs Jr., the student's father, said OU's dean of students, Clarke Stroud, offered to have the stone placed. In an e-mail, the father told The Oklahoman the dean "very kindly understood that Joel's act was one of loneliness, not of aggression, and offered to have the stone placed in the memorial courtyard; he also indicated that the wife of the university president might select a tree to be placed on campus, also in Joel III's memory."

Even if we presume (just for a minute) that Hinrichs didnt intend to detonate the bomb at the game, the mere fact that he made it and detonated it in a public place is sufficient to make the memorial inappropriate and unseemly and the appropriation of public funds for that purpose outrageous.





|| Greg, 05:19 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

America Can Do Better

Than Harry Reid. So says liberal columnist David Broder.

Given the way the Constitution divides warmaking power between the president, as commander in chief, and Congress, as sole source of funds to support the armed services, it is essential that at some point Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi be able to negotiate with the White House to determine the course America will follow until a new president takes office.

To say that Reid has sent conflicting signals about his readiness for such discussions is an understatement. It has been impossible for his own members, let alone the White House, to sort out for more than 24 hours at a time what ground Reid is prepared to defend.

Instead of reinforcing the important proposition -- defined by the Iraq Study Group-- that a military strategy for Iraq is necessary but not sufficient to solve the myriad political problems of that country, Reid has mistakenly argued that the military effort is lost but a diplomatic-political strategy can still succeed.

The Democrats deserve better, and the country needs more, than Harry Reid has offered as Senate majority leader.

The only question is, would Schumer or Durbin be any better?





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

Dems Refuse To Protect Religious Freedom

If the proposed law on hate crimes isnt intended, in part, to silence religious believers, then why oppose this amendment.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) proposed an amendment protecting freedom of religion: "Nothing in this section limits the religious freedom of any person or group under the constitution," the amendment read, but that, too, was defeated.

Why on earth would anyone refuse to vote for an amendment stating that the law is to be interpreted consistent with the requirements of the First Amendment unless it is the intent of those backing it that the law be used to limit rights guaranteed under the First Amendment. The failure of the amendment is therefore reason enough to oppose this legislation.





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

Freedom Wins At University Of Rhode Island?

For the second time this month, an attempt by liberal student governments to punish conservative speech they disliked has been beaten back this time at the University of Rhode Island. Or has it been?

College Republicans at the University of Rhode Island won't have to apologize for sponsoring a satirical scholarship for white, heterosexual men.

Instead, URI's student Senate says it will ask the Republican group to write letters to the 40 people who applied explaining that the scholarship was fake and that a newspaper advertisement for it was intended purely as satire.

Applicants were asked to write about what it means to be a "white, heterosexual American male" and to describe any adversity they had dealt with and overcome.

A student Senate committee had demanded an apology and threatened to cut off funding and other perks. But the entire Senate instead decided to ask the group to send clarification letters to the applicants.

Frankly, I find even that much of a sanction unacceptable, but acknowledging in writing what has always been acknowledged (that the scholarship was an act of satire) is not worth fighting.

Unfortunately, there does appear to be another element that is more disturbing.

The senate also added an amendment requiring the College Republicans to notify the governing body about its activities and events. The bill only allows the senate to act as an adviser.

LaRocca originally opposed the bill when it was written in the committee, but changed her views after the amendments. "I still have my concerns that this may not happen the way we want it to, but I am going to try to look on the bright side and work on it in the best way that I can," she said.

Another amendment stated, "If the URI College Republicans fail to follow through with the actions outlined in this bill to the satisfaction of the senate, then their recognition status shall be revoked for one year."

Cavanaugh said not to worry about the College Republicans. "I guarantee that they are going to follow through with this," he said.

So the threat of derecognition remains over the head of the College Republicans because they engaged in a constitutionally protected activity. As such, I dont know that we can really say that freedom won.





|| Greg, 05:13 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Alec Baldwin And I Agree

At least on this point.

"If I never acted again I couldn't care less," Baldwin said in a pre-taped appearance for ABC's "The View," scheduled to air Friday.

I also couldnt care less if Alec Baldwin never acts again but then again, he hasnt made a good movie since Hunt for Red October.





|| Greg, 05:12 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Aiding The Enemy?

I dont know about one of these charges. The charge of aiding the enemy sounds an awful lot like the definition of another crime the only one defined by the US Constitution.

A senior U.S. officer has been charged with nine offenses, including aiding the enemy and fraternizing with the daughter of a detainee while he commanded a military police detachment at an American detention facility near Baghdad, the military said Thursday.

Army Lt. Col. William H. Steele was accused of giving "aid to the enemy" by providing an unmonitored cell phone to detainees.

Steele was the commander of the 451st Military Police Detachment at Camp Cropper, a U.S. detention center on the western outskirts of Baghdad, when the offenses allegedly occurred between October 2005 and February, military spokesman Lt. Col. James Hutton said.

Steele was being held in Kuwait pending a grand jury investigation, Hutton said.
The other charges included unauthorized possession of classified information, fraternizing with the daughter of a detainee, maintaining an inappropriate relationship with an interpreter, storing classified information in his quarters and possessing pornographic videos, the military said.

Steele also was charged with improperly marking classified information, failing to obey an order and failing to fulfill his obligations in the expenditure of funds, the military said.

All of this is serious. All of it needs to be punished. But if Steel has provided aid to the enemy, doesnt that fall within the scope of the definition of treason contained in Article III, Section 3 of the US Constitution?





|| Greg, 05:11 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Academic Over-Reaction Creates Zero-Tolerance Absurdity

Do your homework, go to jail if it troubles your teacher.

High school senior Allen Lee sat down with his creative writing class on Monday and penned an essay that so disturbed his teacher, school administrators and police that he was charged with disorderly conduct.

"I understand what happened recently at Virginia Tech," said the teen's father, Albert Lee, referring to last week's massacre of 32 students by gunman Seung-Hui Cho. "I understand the situation."

But he added: "I don't see how somebody can get charged by writing in their homework. The teacher asked them to express themselves, and he followed instructions."

Allen Lee, an 18-year-old straight-A student at Cary-Grove High School, was arrested Tuesday near his home and charged with disorderly conduct for an essay police described as violently disturbing but not directed toward any specific person or location.

So lets see writing an essay assigned by a teacher has gotten this boy arrested and sent to a different school, despite the fact that he made no threats towards anyone. Why? An over-reaction to the Hokie Horror.

Im curious. Are we going to start arresting Hollywood types directors, producers, screenwriters, actors for their creation of violently disturbing movies and television shows?





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

Time To Cut All Federal Funds To Oakland

After all, if they are going to resist federal attempts to enforce federal law on immigration (which, liberals constantly remind us, is a federal responsibility), then they certainly should not benefit from federal funds under other federal laws.

Oakland city officials today announced two new resolutions condemning recent federal immigration raids and formalizing the city's intention not to cooperate with the U.S. government effort to deport undocumented residents.

The resolutions, one by Mayor Ron Dellums and the other by Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, both condemn the recent raids, which included one on Friday at an East Oakland manufacturer.

Both resolutions are also an effort to update Oakland's 1986 "City of Refuge" ordinance which only applies to refugees fleeing political violence in Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and South Africa, De La Fuente said. His proposed ordinance would give refuge to any undocumented immigrant regardless of national origin.

The council president, Dellums, Police Chief Wayne Tucker, City Councilwomen Jean Quan and Jane Brunner, and other city officials appeared at a City Hall news conference to support both resolutions.

The measure by De La Fuente and co-sponsors Quan and Brunner would direct city departments and staff not to cooperate with any federal immigration investigation, detention, or arrest procedures. They will introduce the measure Thursday to the City Council Rules Committee, De La Fuente said.

"The City of Refuge declaration is just as relevant today as it was 21 years ago, if not more, as our federal immigration policies are still in need of comprehensive reform," said De La Fuente, a native of Mexico and one of the Bay Area's more prominent immigrant elected officials.

City of Refuge? Lets call it what it is City of Lawlessness. And lets take it a step further these actions are reminiscent of the actions of South Carolina during the Nullification Crisis of the 1830s and no more legitimate.





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

Gun Grabbers Without A Clue

A law to ban guns from college and university campuses failed in the Arizona legislature. That should come as no surprise.

The surprise should be over this ignorant comment from its sponsor, Rep. Steve Gallardo (D-Phoenix)

"My amendment was not taking away gun rights; it was protecting students," he said.

Yep, just like being on a gun-free campus protected students at Virginia Tech last week.





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

Dubious NY Times Editorial On "Dubious" Firing

If the Times says there is something improper about the firing, then there must be. After all, they are the New York Times!

Congressman Rick Renzi, an Arizona Republican, was locked in a close re-election battle last fall when the local United States attorney, Paul Charlton, was investigating him for corruption. The investigation appears to have been slowed before Election Day, Mr. Renzi retained his seat, and Mr. Charlton ended up out of a job one of eight prosecutors purged by the White House and the Justice Department.

The Arizona case adds a disturbing new chapter to that scandal. Congress needs to determine whether Mr. Charlton was fired for any reason other than threatening the Republican Partys hold on a Congressional seat.

* * *

There is reason to be suspicious about these events. Last week, all Attorney General Alberto Gonzales could offer was weak excuses for the firing that Mr. Charlton had asked Mr. Gonzales to reconsider a decision to seek the death penalty in a murder case and that hed started recording interviews with targets of investigations without asking permission from Justice Department bureaucrats.

Now wait -- you've got a US attorney bucking Justice Department policy and rebelling against top-level decisions coming out of Washington. That isn't a weak excuse -- that is a pretty good one, in my book. The guy was out of step with the priorities of the department. Indeed, that would be sufficient to get you or I fired from our jobs, and is legitimate reason for firing this US Attorney.

Now, if there is ANY ACTUAL EVIDENCE that the firing was improper, bring it on and present it -- I'll gladly support the resignation and prosecution of anyone involved in obstruction of justice. But until there is actual evidence of such activities, the only thing dubious is this NY Times editorial -- and the claims of partisan Democrats looking for a scandal.





|| Greg, 04:24 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Perry HPV Power Grab Going Down

Looks like Rick Perry may not get to play doctor with the eleven-year-old girls of Texas after all.

A revolt by lawmakers has blocked Gov. Rick Perrys effort to make Texas the first state to require sixth-grade girls to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.

In a 135-to-2 vote that appeared veto-proof, the Texas House gave final passage on Wednesday to a Senate bill that bars the state from ordering the shots until at least 2011. Even many supporters of the governor resented Mr. Perrys proposal as an abuse of executive authority.

Indeed, it is the latter issue that is the problem for a great many of us here in Texas. It isn't that we are "pro-cancer" or "anti-woman", but rather that we insist upon the proper constitutional limits on the governor's power be abided by -- and Rick Perry blew right through those. We also have some concerns about the vaccine itself, the question of parental rights, and the possible quid-pro-quo that got the governor to issue this executive order.

More to the point, many of us are all for making the vaccine more widely available -- just not mandatory. After all, Merck's ads for Gardasil tell women to ask their doctor IF the vaccine is right for them.





|| Greg, 04:15 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

13,000

Yep, I guess the economy really must suck -- not.

The Dow Jones industrial average surged past the 13,000 mark for the first time Wednesday, as U.S. stocks rallied on better-than-expected manufacturing data and strong corporate earnings.

The close, 13,089.89, comes less than two months after a late February plunge in world markets sent investors heading for safer ground. The broader market has been rising almost uninterrupted since late March. If the trend holds, U.S. stocks are on track to finish April with the biggest monthly gain in more than three years.

So I guess it would appear that the state of the US economy is quite sound -- at least according to those whose money makes the engine of capitalism run.





|| Greg, 04:09 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Issue Ad Ban Going Down?

If the First Amendment and the questions asked in yesterday's oral arguments before the Supreme Court are any indication, quite possibly.

The Supreme Court put defenders of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law on the defensive on Wednesday in a spirited argument that suggested the court could soon open a significant loophole in the measure.

At issue is a major provision of the five-year-old law that bars corporations and labor unions from paying for advertisements that mention the name of a candidate for federal office and that are broadcast 60 days before an election or 30 days before a primary. By a 5-to-4 vote in December 2003, the court held that the provision, on its face, passed First Amendment muster.

But a new majority may view more expansively the Constitutions protection of political messages as free speech, and invite a flood of advertising paid for by corporations and unions as the 2008 elections move into high gear.

The argument on Wednesday was over whether, despite the 2003 blanket endorsement, the law would be constitutional if applied to three specific ads that an anti-abortion group sought to broadcast before the 2004 Senate election in Wisconsin.

The ads, sponsored by Wisconsin Right to Life Inc., mentioned the states two senators, both Democrats: Russell D. Feingold, a co-sponsor of the McCain-Feingold law, who was up for re-election, and Herb Kohl, who was not. The advertisements focus was a Democratic-led filibuster of some of President Bushs judicial nominees. Viewers were urged to contact Senators Feingold and Kohl and tell them to oppose the filibuster. The ads provided no contact information, instead directing viewers to a Web site that contained explicit criticism of Mr. Feingold.

A special three-judge Federal District Court here ruled that because the text and images of the ads did not show that they were intended to influence the voters decisions, they were genuine issue ads that the government could not keep off the air.

McCain-Feingold is bad law all the way around -- but this particular provision may be among its worst, effectively stifling the ability of the people to engage in political speech and to petition the government for a redress of grievances -- a two-fer of First Amendment violations. While I'd love to see the entire law declared unconstitutional, I'd settle for this provision. But then again, I've always been one who sees more political speech as better than less.





|| Greg, 04:06 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Same Standard For Hillary?

I love this line from a letter in today's Houston Chronicle.

After responding to more than 70 questions with some variation on the words, "I don't recall," [Gonzales] demonstrated he is either a gross incompetent, a party hack or a liar.

Now let's see, if that makes the attorney general "either a gross incompetent, a party hack or a liar", what would answering "I don't recall" or some variation 50 times during testimony before a House committee make a Democrat? Oh that's right -- First Lady, Senator from New York, and the leading candidate for her party's presidential nomination!





|| Greg, 03:59 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 25, 2007

Armed Demonstrators In Gaza

Thanks to James Taranto over at Opinion Journal for pointing out these two pictures.

palgun1.jpg

palgun2.jpg

Reuters has a couple of amusing photos from a mass gathering in the Palestinian territories. This one shows a guy brandishing a rifle in his right hand and shaking his left fist. At least one more rifle is visible among the crowd walking behind him. This one shows another guy, holding a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher. Both photos have the same caption:

Palestinians attend a demonstration against violence in Gaza April 23, 2007.

We've often noted that many so-called pacifists seem to have a taste for tumult, but only in Palestinistan would a peace protester carry an RPG launcher. Or should we say only in Reuterville?

Gotta love those anti-violence Palestinians!





|| Greg, 06:14 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Unable To Tell The Difference Between A Threat And An Allusion

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania are all in an uproar over a pro-gun sign held by Second Amendment rights activists at the state capitol.

Members of the Legislative Black Caucus called yesterday for a state police investigation into the display of what they called a racist banner in the Capitol that said a Latino lawmaker should be "hung from the tree of liberty for his acts of treason against the Constitution."

The outcry came hours after several gun-rights proponents unfurled a banner saying that State Rep. Angel Cruz (D., Phila.) should be hanged for introducing legislation that would require people to register their guns and pay a $10 fee to the state police.

"People want to hang me for doing my job," Cruz said, adding that his bill was aimed at trying to reduce gun violence in his district.

"I am appalled by the actions by a group of demonstrators," State Rep. Jewell Williams (D., Phila.) said. "We will not tolerate people making threats against members."

Williams was one of 10 Philadelphia-area lawmakers who appeared at a news conference yesterday afternoon to denounce the banner's language as a "terroristic threat" that raised the ugly specter of mob violence against African Americans.

Cruz, who is of Puerto Rican ancestry, is a member of the Black Caucus.

Now heres the sign that so offended folks.

20070425_inq_sgun25-b.JPG

Now the language is provocative, but clearly not a threat especially if one has any notion of the quote referenced by the phrase the tree of liberty.

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Who was the hate-mongering terrorist who is responsible for such an evil sentiment being expressed?

Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence an third President of the United States generally credited as being one of the greatest Americans who ever lived. It refers to the reason why the right to keep and bear arms was and must be viewed as fundamental to a free society that a free people must be armed to preserve their liberty in the face of tyranny.

So cool your jets, folks, and recognize that these demonstrators are simply more historically literate than you are. And to the demonstrators, might I suggest that you recognize your average lawmaker is not terribly bright, so it is probably best to assume that they wont understand an appeal to the words of any president that predate I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.

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

EU May Cave On Iran Nukes

When is enrichment of uranium mot enrichment of uranium? When the European Union might otherwise have to show some backbone and stand up to Iran over its illegal nuclear program.

On the eve of talks in Ankara today between top Iranian nuclear envoy Ali Larijani and EU foreign-policy chief Javier Solana officials familiar with the negotiations said the discussions, for the first time, could try to sidestep the deadlock over enrichment by trying to agree on a new definition of the term.

Iran's defiance of a U.N. Security Council demand to freeze all activities linked to enrichment -- a possible pathway to nuclear arms -- has led to two sets of sanctions against the country. Although the punishments are limited and mild, they could be sharpened if the Islamic republic refuses to compromise.

The Europeans like to work with Muslim dictators because it is profitable look a how they supplied Saddam Hussein with material in violation of UN resolutions. Why should we expect any change in their behavior now after all, they have been appeasing tyrants since at least 1938.





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

Religious Bigots Seek Religious Test For Office, Imposition Of Their Religious Values

Bigots! What else can you call a bunch of religious leaders who condemn public officials based upon their religion because they properly carried out their constitutionally defined role?

Hypocrites! What else can you call a group that complains that judges applying the Constitution and the clear (as mud) standards set out in Roe v. Wade to uphold an act of Congress are guilty of imposing their religion upon the American people and then insist not only that THEIR religious values should be enacted but also that legislation be passed to forbid medical personnel from abiding by their own values?

A coalition of religious leaders took on the Catholic Church, the U.S. Supreme Court and the Bush administration on Tuesday with a plea to take religion out of health care in the United States.

They said last week's Supreme Court decision outlawing a certain type of abortion demonstrated that religious belief was interfering with personal rights and the U.S. health care system in general.

The group, calling itself the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, said it planned to submit its proposals to other church groups and lobby Congress and state legislators.

"With the April 18 Supreme Court decision banning specific abortion procedures, concerns are being raised in religious communities about the ethics of denying these services," the group said in a statement.

"They are imposing their points of view," Barbara Kavadias, director of field services for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, told reporters in a telephone briefing.

She noted that the five Supreme Court justices on the majority in the 5-4 decision were all Catholic men -- Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Antonin Scalia.

All were appointed by conservative Republican presidents who oppose abortion, including President George W. Bush.

The group also complained about Catholic-owned hospitals that refuse to sterilize women who ask for it, refuse to let doctors perform abortions and do not provide contraception.

"Doctors, pharmacists and nurses are also increasingly exercising a so-called 'religious or moral objection,' refusing to provide essential services and often leaving patients without other options," the group said in a statement.

In other words, they not only want to disqualify Catholics and other conservative Christians from holding public office (or at least bringing their values with them), but they want to require that Catholic hospitals quit being Catholic and that Catholic and other conservative Christian medical professionals stop acting on their religious beliefs.

I think that this response says it best.

Marie Hilliard of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia said she had grave concerns about the report.

"There is no recognition of the true meaning of the separation of church and state, which mandates that the free exercise of religion, including that of the provider, be respected," she said.

And at the risk of offending these hypocritical religious bigots in pastors robes, may I heartily say Amen!

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|| Greg, 06:01 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bye Bye, Be-Yotch!

You wont be missed, Rosie.

On the heels of her obscene comments at a recent media event, an infamous feud with Donald Trump and countless politically sensitive remarks, Rosie O'Donnell is leaving "The View" at the end of her first season on the show.

ABC said Wednesday it was unable to agree on a contract with the opinionated host, and she'll leave the show in June.

O'Donnell said in a statement that "my needs for the future just didn't dovetail with what ABC was able to offer me."

"This has been an amazing experience," she said, "and one I wouldn't have traded for the world."

And there are a whole bunch of folks around the blogosphere who are in mourning today after all, what will they do for material once the Voice of Inanity is off the air?
But not to worry ABC is going to try to get her back for a number of specials next year, so she may still be available to spew liberal stupidity while chewing the blubber fat with her brainless gal pals.





|| Greg, 06:00 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Of Laws And Legislators

This case could have a big impact upon the legal accountability of members of Congress including, perhaps, the issues surrounding last years search of William Jeffersons office. The issue is simple how far does the speech and debate clause of the Constitution extend in immunizing Senators and Representatives, and to what degree do statutes (and, one presumes, warrants) have upon Congressional offices.

To ensure robust debate, the U.S. Constitution protects members of Congress from lawsuits rising out of their legislative duties. But does that provide immunity from an aide's claims of discrimination?

The U.S. Supreme Court took up a Minnesota case Tuesday that could answer that question.

The case involves former Minnesota Sen. Mark Dayton, who was sued by staffer Brad Hanson for discrimination after he was fired in 2002.

Dayton said he dismissed Hanson, who directed his Minnesota office, for poor performance; Hanson claimed it was because he had a heart condition and needed time off.

A lower court allowed the lawsuit to proceed, but the case has never been tried, pending higher court rulings on whether it should be.

The issue at hand is whether the staffing of ones congressional office is an administrative act or a part of the legislative process. If the court holds that it is the latter, it seems to me that one could then infer that any activity or material in the office could be deemed a part of the legislative process, rendering those offices safe zones for stashing evidence of criminal conduct. On the other hand, a ruling for the plaintiff in this case would apply the laws of the land to members of both houses by upholding the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995, which gave congressional employees the same legal rights as other American workers (holding for Dayton would effectively strike down this law as unconstitutional).

Daytons team is now arguing that the case should be deemed moot because he was able to stall the matter until he left office. That argument should not fly, because for four years Brad Hanson may have suffered the consequences of illegal employment discrimination, and he is therefore entitled to his day in court.





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

What A Difference A Decade Makes

Ten years ago, Democrats called impeachment an attempt to overturn the results of an election. Today, at least one of those same Democrats calls it a fulfillment of the Declaration of Independence.

"I do not stand alone," Dennis Kucinich said as he stood, alone, in front of a cluster of microphones yesterday evening. The Ohio congressman, a Democratic presidential candidate, was holding a news conference outside the Capitol to announce that he had just filed articles of impeachment against Vice President Cheney. But subsequent questioning quickly revealed that Kucinich had not yet persuaded any of his 434 colleagues to be a cosponsor, that he had not even discussed the matter with House Democratic leaders, and that he had not raised the subject with the Judiciary Committee. Kucinich did have one thing: a copy of the Declaration of Independence. And he was not afraid to read it. "We hold these truths to be self-evident," the aspiring impeachment manager read at the start of his news conference. He continued all the way through the bit about the right of the people to abolish the government. "These words from the Declaration of Independence are instructive at this moment," he said.

I looked at the resolution, and Kucinich wants to declare disagreements over policy and good-faith reliance upon the best available intelligence into a high crime or misdemeanor. On the other hand, he and his party couldnt support impeachment of a president over perjury an actual felony (AKA "high crime"). That tells you everything you need to know about the Democrats they seek power at any cost, even the integrity of the US Constitution.





|| Greg, 05:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dem Leaders We Dont Care What The General Says

After all, it might get in the way of cutting, running, and surrendering. So one simply chose not to hear what General Petraeus has to say and the other declares anything that contradicts the assertions that the war is lost is a lie. At least one Republican has had the guts to speak out on this disgraceful situation.

On the other hand, the (relatively) moderate Arab states in region dont want the US to withdraw from Iraq because of the very real, very negative consequences of such a course of action.

The so-called axis of moderate Arab states - comprising Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan - dreads an early US withdrawal. First, because it would be widely interpreted as an American defeat, which would weaken these pro-American regimes while both energising and radicalising their populations.

Second, if the US leaves, the emergence of a Shia regime in Iraq - in itself an offensive prospect to them - would only be a matter of time. Facing Arab antipathy, this regime would be likely to look eastward and forge close ties with its Iranian co-religionists. In the view of most Arabs, this would present a formidable challenge, setting in motion a series of dangerous events - an Iranian-Iraqi alliance; political and material support from Arab countries being offered to disgruntled Iraqi Sunni groups; retaliation by Iraqi forces; and the threat of broader regional involvement.

Third, a US departure risks triggering Iraq's partition. As some Arabs see it, the occupation is what holds the country together. So long as coalition forces are deployed, a full-blown breakup can be avoided.

But the no-faith (in our troops) based Democrats dont care about the consequences of their strategy except the hoped-for electoral success a perceived military defeat brings to their party. It must such, having to root against your country to get power for yourself. A patriot couldnt do it.





|| Greg, 05:56 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Educational Priorities In Texas All Effed Up!

As I reported yesterday -- a school burns down, and the biggest concern of the state of Texas is -- making sure the kids retake the TAKS test since the answer sheets from the original administration were destroyed in the fire.

State education officials have approved a plan to let high school students whose TAKS tests burned up in a deliberately set fire to retake the exams, possibly as early as next week, officials said.

The test results were destroyed when the fire heavily damaged Needville High School early Monday in rural Fort Bend County. The tests were administered last week.

"Once we determine a date when they are actually going to conduct the testing, then we will ship those materials out to them," Texas Education Agency spokeswoman Suzanne Marchman said Tuesday.

Marchman said the tests could be sent to Needville at the end of this week so that ninth-, 10th-, and 11th-grade students could take the state-mandated exams sometime next week.

The Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills is an annual statewide standardized test used to measure student and school performance.

Classes for high schoolers will resume Monday with students going to school on a staggered schedule, said Needville Independent School District Superintendent Curtis Rhodes.

"With the classroom space that is available, we will just kind of double up and share the classrooms," Rhodes said.

Only 19 instructional days remain in the school year.

Like they don't have better things to do with those last four weeks of school.

Shameful -- just shameful!





|| Greg, 04:41 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

NY Times Demands Court Support Speech Suppression -- For Everyone Except Them

After all, they are the media and have special rights -- the rest of America has no right on under the Constitution to comment on political matters if the government incumbents order them to shut up.

Corporations have been prohibited since the early 1900s from contributing to political campaigns. This ban and a similar one imposed later on unions prevents these wealthy entities from buying elections and elected officials. The Supreme Court, in upholding these bans, has recognized that Congress has a compelling interest in preventing the corrosive and distorting effects of corporate and union contributions.

Corporations and unions have, not surprisingly, tried to get around the ban. One tactic they have used is bankrolling phony issue ads: commercials that purport to educate the public about a policy issue, but are actually intended to elect or defeat a particular candidate. Todays case involves phony issue ads run on radio and television by a group called Wisconsin Right to Life, which accepted major contributions from corporations against Senator Russell Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin.

The ads attacked Mr. Feingold and Wisconsins other senator, Herb Kohl, for blocking President Bushs judicial nominees, and urged the public to contact the two men to complain. Clearly the ads purpose was to try to prevent Mr. Feingolds re-election. Wisconsin Right to Life had made it clear that it was targeting him for defeat. Mr. Feingolds opponents were using the issue of judicial nominees against him. The ads ran shortly before the election, while the Senate was in recess and no votes on judges were being held. And they did not provide contact information for Mr. Feingold and Mr. Kohl.

Let's be quite honest here -- these ads were really no different in content from the sort of things that regularly appear on the editorial pages of the New York Times (a corporation, don't you know) on a daily basis, urging a position and implicitly seeking to influence the behavior of politicians and the actions of voters. In fact, the corporation known as the New York Times offers endorsements -- specific directions to voters on who to vote for. But this corporate entity, the New York Times, is unrestricted, while issue-related groups like Wisconsin Right To life (which receives money from both individuals and corporations) is banned from speaking. Hardly seems reasonable -- especially since Wisconsin Right To Life is engaged in speech, the freedom of which is as firmly guaranteed by the First Amendment as is freedom of speech.

But I'm particularly disturbed by this closing line.

It would be disturbing if the court now changed the rules to make it easier for special interests to corrupt American democracy.

Actually, no it wouldn't be -- what would be disturbing is for the Supreme Court to turn the First Amendment on its head and decree that pornography, a crucifix dipped in urine and flag burning have more protection under the Constitution than measured and responsible speech on political matters and politicians.





|| Greg, 04:32 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (31) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Is He Draft Material?

I don't think he is -- but I hope that the Texans invite him in as an unsigned free agent if no one drafts Walter Thomas this weekend.

On the edge of the Texas Gulf is a 370-pound football player who can execute a perfect forward flip.

When he lands, the ground trembles.

The players name is Walter Thomas, and as he kicked his size 16 feet overhead Saturday morning, onlookers studied the sculpted giant with curiosity and awe. It was the kind of reaction Thomas usually elicits from professional football scouts.

I feel like Im a big secret, Thomas said. The secret of the draft.

The National Football League draft, which begins Saturday, does not really have secrets anymore. Prospects are timed and tested, interviewed and investigated, over and over again. Entire dossiers are prepared for second-string players.

Thomas is as close as modern football can come to an old-fashioned sleeper. In the past two years, his only playing experience was at Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia, Miss. He played in two games, both losses. Then he was arrested on a charge of conspiracy to commit robbery, according to the Tate County (Miss.) Circuit Clerks office, and never played college football again.

Judging by his credentials, perhaps Thomas should not be drafted. Judging by his dimensions, however, Thomas has to be drafted.

Big Walt, as he is known, is a 6-foot-5 defensive tackle who wears a size XXXXXXL jersey. He bench presses 475 pounds and squats 800 pounds. Weight lifters at the Galveston Health and Racquet Club stop their workouts to watch him.

Football teams everywhere are filled with big men, but many of them can barely move. Thomas has run the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds, faster than some N.F.L. tight ends. He is the rare tackle who can catch a running back from behind.

Not only that, h is so nimble that he can do back-flips. He's a freakin' 6'5", 370 pound gymnast! And Lord knows we need some help on the defense (and the offense, and special teams) down here in Houston. But Thomas' record might not merit the use of a draft choice -- at least not before the sixth or seventh round. After all, he has made a mess out of his college career, and so enters teh draft as damaged goods with a big question mark attached.

But Walter Thomas is a local boy, from just 45 miles the next county over from Houston. People here remember his high school career. H has the potential to be a performer on the field -- and a sentimental favorite among the fans. I'd love to see him play here.





|| Greg, 04:08 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Common Sense On Gun Purchase Background Checks

Lord knows that I am a big advocate for a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment, but I have to support this move by Virginia's governor.

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said yesterday that he is considering an executive order to make sure that gun sellers have more information about the mental health of potential buyers, a move that would have kept Seung Hui Cho from purchasing the handguns he used to kill 32 people at Virginia Tech last week.

A court had found Cho to be dangerously mentally ill, but that information was not available in the computer systems used by the outlets that sold Cho the guns. Kaine's proposal would ensure that such mental health information be in the database.

"I think there's a way to tighten this and to get more data onto the system," Kaine (D) said. If that data had been available at the gun stores, Cho, who killed himself after the rampage April 16, would have been barred by federal law from buying the weapons.

Even lawmakers who have traditionally been reluctant to restrict gun ownership said that providing additional information would help keep guns out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill.

"The murderer down at Virginia Tech never should have been able to purchase a gun," said Del. Mark L. Cole (R-Fredericksburg). "Someone who's declared a threat to themselves or others should not be able to purchase a firearm."

Since Cho was adjudicated an imminent threat to himself or others in 2005, he was ineligible to make that gun purchase under federal law -- but only actual involuntary commitments got entered in the gun database, not cases in which the individual voluntarily went to into a mental health facility. This change corrects bad practice on the part of Virginia -- and I do not know a singe gun owner who would question the propriety of this move by Gov. Kaine.





|| Greg, 03:56 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 24, 2007

Free Hurwitz!

Practicing good medicine for chronic pain patients is not a crime!

William E. Hurwitz, the prominent doctor on trial here for drug trafficking, spent more than two days on the witness stand last week telling a jury why he had prescribed painkillers to patients who turned out to be drug dealers and addicts. But the clearest explanation of his actions and of the problem facing patients who are in pain came earlier in the trial.

The problem -- too many doctors don't want to give opioids to treat chronic pain, wven though they are often the most effective medications. The result is that patients suffer -- and are often incapacitate -- by pain that can be relieved. Indeed, chronic pain patients are often dismissed and given les effective treatments by doctors adhering to old ways of doing things or covering their butts out of fear of prosecution by over-zealous prosecutors.

Consider this testimony from defense experts (who testified for free, unlike the prosecution experts) about the standard of care given by Dr. Hurwitz.

Prescribing opioids was once taboo because of concerns over patients becoming addicted. But medical opinion gradually shifted over the past two decades as researchers concluded that high doses of opioids could sometimes be safer and more effective than alternatives like surgery or injections.

Two of the leading pain experts, Dr. Russell K. Portenoy of Beth-Israel Medical Center and Dr. James N. Campbell of Johns Hopkins University, testified without pay as experts for the defense. They said Dr. Hurwitz was widely known as a knowledgeable physician and passionate advocate of giving patients full pain relief, unlike many doctors who were reluctant to prescribe opioids because they feared legal repercussions, particularly when dealing with patients who sometimes used illegal drugs.

Such problem patients consumed so much time and energy that most doctors refused to treat them regardless of what the consequences would be for the patient, Dr. Campbell testified. He said that he had been initially skeptical of some of Dr. Hurwitzs high-dose treatments, but was then impressed by the results in patients he sent to Dr. Hurwitz.

He said some doctors might argue that Dr. Hurwitz was guilty in some instances of negligence that would make him liable for damages in a civil case. But Dr. Campbell contradicted the prosecutions experts by testifying that all the prescriptions were clearly within the bounds of medical practice.

But sadly, fear of prosecution is a real problem. One physician's office I was in recently had signs posted stating that "This office no longer prescribes Oxy-Contin, Lortab, or Darvocet" -- medications that are among the best out there for dealing with constant, debilitating pain. Good medicine? No -- good legal advice, after a visit from an inspector from medical regulators concerned about the number of his patients on pain medication. Another doctor I know insists upon a monthly visit from her patients seeking refills of pain medication they have been on for chronic conditions, after being asked by an insurance company to justify the number of pain pills she prescribes each month o its patients. And my wife's neurologist has had to document her case (as well as all his other patients) in excruciating detail to justify her level of pain medication -- to satisfy the demands of his lawyer, not best medical practices, so that he stays out of jail.

This prosecution is particularly troubling because Dr. Hurwitz was generally viewed as one of the leaders in his field. If they can go after him over disagreements on how to best manage the symptoms of chronic pain patients, how intimidated should every other doctor in the field feel? And if the level of risk becomes too high, what will be the fate of my wife, and hundreds of thousands of patients like her around the country?





|| Greg, 04:57 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Cease Fire Violation Admitted

Hamas just cant stop attacking Jews and they dont care who knows it.

Hamas militants in Gaza fired rockets and mortar shells at Israel for the first time in five months Tuesday, retaliating for deadly Israeli raids in the Palestinian territories and leaving a largely successful Gaza truce in serious doubt.

The barrage, which came on Israel's 59th independence day, did not cause any damage or injury, but it marked the first time Hamas acknowledged firing shells toward Israel since agreeing to the cease-fire. Hamas is tightly organized, and Israel says attacks from Gaza have the tacit approval of the militant group's political leaders.

Hamas gave conflicting predictions about the future of the truce some officials said it was over, while others said everything depends on Israeli actions.

The cease-fire, announced by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in November, declared an end to Palestinian rocket fire and Israeli attacks, including airstrikes at Gaza militants and punishing invasions of towns in northern Gaza.

Israel stopped most of its military activity but kept Gaza in a stranglehold by closing vital crossings, citing security threats. And while Hamas rocket squads stayed on the sidelines, other groups, like Islamic Jihad, kept up fire of homemade rockets almost daily at Israeli towns and villages just outside Gaza.

A largely successful truce? Only if successful is defined as Israel being under attack by surrogates for Hamas, and Hamas doing nothing to stop those attacks -- all while Israel receives international condemnation for seeking to root out those who break the cease fire.

It strikes me as long past time for Israel to clean out the rat hole that is Gaza.





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

An Idea I Could Get Behind

Not that I think it goes quite far enough.

Maybe a congressional race was so nasty that a large number of voters simply didn't want to check the box next to either candidate.

That's what state Sen. Mike Bennett said he believes happened in the now-infamous District 13 congressional race.

Hoping to prevent a repeat, he persuaded the Senate Ethics and Elections committee to approve a bill, SB-494, on Monday that would require ballots to have the additional option of "I choose not to vote."

That option could not win a race, and the actual candidate with the highest number of votes would win the election.

Bennett, R-Bradenton, said the no-choice option would enable uninformed or disgusted voters to opt out in a way that clearly displays their intention to abstain for elections officials.

Ive got a better idea one freely stolen from L. Neil Smiths classic libertarian science fiction novel, The Probability Broach.

Give us the option of None Of The Above Is Acceptable. And let that choice be a possible winner. Then either leave the office vacant for the course of the term, or mandate a special election which excludes any of the defeated candidates.

That might raise the caliber of elected official in this country.





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

Let Mexico Pay

They are your people you take care of them.

Mexico's new secretary of health visited San Francisco on Monday to learn about the health needs of the millions of Mexican immigrants living in California and to further collaborate with state officials to meet those needs.

"We can build a new model for attention to the health needs of Mexican workers here," said Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos, appointed by Mexico's new president, Felipe Calderon.

The former hospital chief and medical school director from the state of Guanajuato said he plans to meet every six months with U.S. health officials and Mexican immigrant communities to create a basic health care plan to cover Mexicans in the United States and eventually extend to them a system of universal health care that is being developed by the Calderon administration.

Cordova, who came here from a meeting on border issues in Tijuana, spoke with reporters at the Mexican consulate and then met with Bay Area groups that provide health care to Mexican immigrants. He planned to end his one-day trip to the Bay Area, his first official visit to this country, by hosting a dinner at Tommy Toy's restaurant with officials of the University of California, the governor's office, and the state and federal health departments.

Now if you would only be as proactive about stopping them from crossing the border illegally as you are about trying to get them medical care in this country





|| Greg, 03:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

UK/US Space Cooperation?

This looks good and may well lead to a quickening of the pace towards the next generation of spacecraft and exploration vehicles.

The UK and the US have signed a memorandum of understanding that paves the way for closer collaboration on missions to explore our solar system, including robotic exploration of the moon and trials of technology that could one day be sent to Mars.

The deal was reached in Washington last Friday, after a series of meetings between officials.

It will give NASA wider access to the UK's expertise in robotic and small satellite technologies, and could mean UK participation in manned lunar missions.

Science and innovation minister Malcolm Wicks said: "During my recent meeting with Nasa's administrator Dr Michael Griffin, I was keen for the USA and UK to co-operate on exactly this sort of exciting endeavour."

Griffin recently suggested that the "level of participation would go so far as to include astronauts".

This will make for some interesting times down the street at JSC if true.





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

If You Believe It, Live It

You have to love a man who insists that the beautiful people live up to the standards they want to see imposed upon the rest of us.

A leading skeptic of global-warming science is challenging celebrity activists such as Al Gore and Sheryl Crow to lower their "carbon footprint" to the same level as the average American by Earth Day in April 2008.

"I simply believe that former Vice President Al Gore and his Hollywood friends who demand we change the way we live to avert this over-hyped 'crisis' not only talk the talk, but walk the walk," said Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican.

"How hard is it for these elitists to become as frugal in their energy consumption as the average American? I think the American public has a right to know they are being had."

* * *

Yesterday, the Web site thesmokinggun.com revealed that Miss Crow's tour caravan includes three tractor-trailer rigs, four buses and six cars.

Come on, Sheryl if it is really An Inconvenient Truth that global warming is all about Earth In The Balance, then you need to do your part. Even if that means scaling back your tour and entourage.





|| Greg, 03:53 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Does This Really Bother Most Americans?

Really Im serious. Do most of us find the notion that a murderer sentenced to death isnt just whisked away into a dreamless sleep the least bit disturbing? I know it doesnt trouble me at all.

The drugs used to execute prisoners in the United States sometimes fail to work as planned, causing slow and painful deaths that probably violate constitutional bans on cruel and unusual punishment, a new medical review of dozens of executions concludes.

Even when administered properly, the three-drug lethal injection method appears to have caused some inmates to suffocate while they were conscious and unable to move, instead of having their hearts stopped while they were sedated, scientists said in a report published Monday by the online journal PLoS Medicine.

No scientific groups have validated that lethal injection is humane, the authors write. Medical ethics bar doctors and other health professionals from taking part in executions.

The study concluded that the typical "one-size-fits-all" doses of anesthetic do not take into account an inmate's weight and other key factors.

The journal's editors call for abolishing the death penalty.

Personally, Im all for replicating the sort of horror they perpetrated upon their victims but if that troubles the squeamish, Im all for bringing back the firing squad or the guillotine.





|| Greg, 03:49 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

This Could Be Interesting

Do you, as a passenger in a stopped vehicle, have a right to get out and walk away? Or have you been "seized" by police -- therefore bringing into play a number of rights under the Bill of Rights?

Most people sitting in the passenger seat of a car that has been stopped by a police officer do not feel free to open the door and leave. Neither do most members of the Supreme Court, or so the justices comments indicated during an argument Monday on the constitutional rights of passengers in that familiar but uncomfortable situation.

The question of whether a reasonable passenger would feel free to leave was significant because that perception is a principal part of the courts test for whether a seizure has taken place within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

If a reasonable person would not feel constrained, then he or she has not been seized and has no basis for complaining that the police have violated the Fourth Amendment. The converse is also true: a person who reasonably feels detained by the police is entitled to challenge the validity of the police action and perhaps to keep illegally seized evidence out of court.

The surprisingly vexing question of the rights of passengers was brought to the Supreme Court by a California man who was a passenger in a car that a police officer stopped, ostensibly to investigate a possibly expired registration. The stop was later found to be improper because, earlier in the day, when the car was parked, the same officer had checked and learned that it was properly registered.

Given that the first thing police officers do when you try to open that door is order you to close it and remain in the vehicle -- at times with weapons drawn -- I don't think that there can be any other conclusion than to decide in favor of the fellow who was arrested and charged in this case -- though there might well be other bbases for upholding his conviction.





|| Greg, 04:43 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Do We Really Want To Give Government More Power Over The Media?

Isn't the best regulation of television the regulation of the marketplace -- exercised by remote controls and consumer preference? Do we really need more government control over our entertainment choices?

Federal regulators, concerned about the effect of television violence on children, will recommend that Congress enact legislation to give the government unprecedented powers to curb violence in entertainment programming, according to government and TV industry sources.

The Federal Communications Commission has concluded that regulating TV violence is in the public interest, particularly during times when children are likely to be viewers -- typically between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., FCC sources say.

The agency's recommendations -- which will be released in a report to Congress within the next week, agency officials say -- could set up a legal battle between Washington and the television industry.

For decades, the FCC has penalized over-the-air broadcasters for airing sexually suggestive, or "indecent," speech and images, but it has never had the authority to fine TV stations and networks for violent programming.

The report -- commissioned by members of Congress in 2004 and based on hundreds of comments from parents, industry officials, academic experts and others -- concludes that Congress has the authority to regulate "excessive violence" and to extend its reach for the first time into basic-cable TV channels that consumers pay to receive.

First Amendment experts and television industry executives, however, say that any attempt to regulate TV violence faces high constitutional hurdles -- particularly regarding cable, because consumers choose to buy its programming.

I'm particularly disturbed by the attempt to grap power over cable television -- after all, the "broadcast spectrum as public resource" argument doesn't work nearly as well there. In addition, it sets a precedent that would allow the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" to be extended to cable news channels if the Democrats ever seek to reimpose government control of news reporting -- creating a Brave New World of regulated media and strangled voices.





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

Two Deaths Of Note

One a statesman, one a journalist.

First the statesman -- Boris Yeltsin.

Boris N. Yeltsin, the burly provincial politician who became a Soviet-era reformer and later a towering figure of his time as the first freely elected leader of Russia, presiding over the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the demise of the Communist Party, died yesterday in Moscow. He was 76.

His death, at a hospital, came at 3:45 p.m., the Kremlin said, making the announcement without ceremony, a reflection of the contradictory legacy of Mr. Yeltsins presidency in the view of many Russians, including his successor, the current leader, President Vladimir V. Putin.

Medical officials told Russian news agencies that Mr. Yeltsin had died of heart failure after being admitted to the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow. He had suffered heart problems for years, undergoing surgery shortly after his disputed re-election as Russian president in 1996.

Yeltsin's resignation eight years ago took him out of the political spotlight -- so much so that many had forgotten he was still alive. It also brought Valdimir Putin to power -- a move that has had dire consequences for Russian democracy.

And then there is the journalist, David Halberstam.

avid Halberstam, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and tireless author of books on topics as varied as Americas military failings in Vietnam, the deaths of firefighters at the World Trade Center and the high-pressure world of professional basketball, was killed yesterday in a car crash south of San Francisco. He was 73, and lived in Manhattan.

Mr. Halberstam was a passenger in a car making a turn in Menlo Park, Calif., when it was hit broadside by another car and knocked into a third vehicle, said the San Mateo County coroner. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The man who was driving Mr. Halberstam, a journalism student at the University of California at Berkeley, was injured, as were the drivers of the other two vehicles. None of those injuries were called serious.

Mr. Halberstam was killed doing what he had done his entire adult life: reporting. He was on his way to interview Y. A. Tittle, the former New York Giants quarterback, for a book about the 1958 championship game between the Giants and the Baltimore Colts, considered by many to be the greatest football game ever played.

You didn't have to agree with Halberstam to respect his writing -- and personally, I feel a sense of loss that the book in progress may never be finished, because the topic intrigues me.

Two lives -- ended on one day. Two important figures gone from the world stage. Two of the many who died yesterday -- but two whose lives had impact far beyond their own circle of family and friends.





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

Evidence We Focus Too Much On TAKS In Texas

A headline from today's Houston Chronicle.

Arson Hits Needville high School; TAKS Tests Destroyed

Excuse me? The first concern is the destruction of the testing material from last week? What about the impact on hundreds of students and the community as a whole.

Oh, maybe this explains the focus of the headline.

[School Board President Jim] Kocian said TAKS tests were in the building, but he did not think the destruction of the tests was the reason behind the fire. "Even if the TAKS tests are destroyed, they have to retake them. So they don't accomplish anything by that," he said.

Yeah, neve mind those science labs and administrative offices -- the kids need to retake those tests so that they can be "assessed". Never mind that there might be things that need a little bit of a higher priority right now.

Then again, is there a glimmer of hope for common sense here?.

No decision has been made about the TAKS tests taken last week by high school students. The answer sheets were still in the office, waiting to be sent Monday to TEA offices in Austin for scoring. Passage of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge Skills test is required for graduation.

Texas Education Commissioner Shirley J. Neeley, who was traveling Monday, will talk with Rhodes by telephone and probably decide today what to do about the TAKS test, said agency spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson.

Culbertson said experts at the state agency don't recall a whole district's test papers being lost in a fire before. "We have had boxes of tests come up missing, and there was one time when a box fell off an airplane," she said.

Here's hoping that Neeley exercises a little prudence and common sense and simply waives the requirement this year -- if she is able to do so under state law.

Because state testing should be the lowest priority for Needville ISD right about now.





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

April 23, 2007

I'll Pass On The Sausage Pizza, Thank You Very Much

In fact, I think I've completely lost my appetite.

A man chopped off his penis with a knife in front of horrified diners at a busy restaurant.

Police were called to Zizzi, in The Strand, London, at 9pm on Sunday after reports of a man in possession of a knife.

Sales rep Stuart McMahon, who was eating at the restaurant with his girlfriend, told the SUN:

"This guy came running in then charged into the kitchen, got a massive knife and started waving it about.

"Everyone was screaming and running out as he jumped on a table, dropped his trousers and popped his penis out.

"Then he cut it off. I couldn't believe it."

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said a man aged between 30-40 was the only person injured and that his injuries were self-inflicted.

She said he was taken to a south London hospital where his condition was today described as stable.

Next time I may just order out for Chinese food.

MORE HERE





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Doing The Right Thing Because It Is Right

I just wish it hadn't taken so long.

The Wiccan pentacle has been added to the list of emblems allowed in national cemeteries and on goverment-issued headstones of fallen soldiers, according to a settlement announced Monday.

A settlement between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Wiccans adds the five-pointed star to the list of "emblems of belief" allowed on VA grave markers.

Eleven families nationwide are waiting for grave markers with the pentacle, said Selena Fox, a Wiccan high priestess with Circle Sanctuary in Barneveld, Wis., a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

The settlement calls for the pentacle, whose five points represent earth, air, fire, water and spirit, to be placed on grave markers within 14 days for those who have pending requests with the VA.

Speaking as a Christian who loves my country and its Constitution, my only question is "What took so long?" This should have been settled as soon as the issue was raised.





|| Greg, 09:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 22, 2007

Pennsylvania Imam: "Kill The Apostate"

And yet this same imam no doubt demands the full protection of the First Amendment for his loathsome belief system. However, he insists that author and human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali must die for rejecting such barbarism.

Imam Fouad ElBayly, president of the Johnstown Islamic Center, was among those who objected to Hirsi Alis appearance.

She has been identified as one who has defamed the faith. If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death, said ElBayly, who came to the U.S. from Egypt in 1976.

* * *

Although ElBayly believes a death sentence is warranted for Hirsi Ali, he stressed that America is not the jurisdiction where such a crime should be punished. Instead, Hirsi Ali should be judged in a Muslim country after being given a trial, he added.

If it is found that a person is mentally unstable, or a child or disabled, there should be no punishment, he said. Its a very merciful religion if you try to understand it.

Yeah, merciful if you are willing to submit to the barbarism of sharia and not use your head on pain of having it separated from your shoulders for daring to reject its false teachings.

Not content to seek this heroic woman's death, though, ElBayly and other Islamic leaders also sought to ban her speech at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Fortunately, university officials let the lecture go on, but the mere fact that they were even willing to hear and consider their anti-freedom point of view is distressing. They should have been told to pound sand, and given precisely the amount of consideration that the KKK or American Nazi Party would be given if they came around demanding a speech be canceled.

ElBayly's statements leave me wondering if there is any possibility of his being deported back to Egypt. Regardless, his Islamist mosque must be put under intense surveillance and scrutiny, just like any Christian Identity pukes receive.

And I wonder -- where are the denunciations of such hate by so-called mainstream Muslims? Or are they silent because ElBayly accurately reflects the true nature of Islam?

MORE AT Jawa Report, LGF, Riehl World View , Ace of Spades HQ, Hot Air, PAWaterCooler.com, Right Voices, Blue Crab Boulevard, Freedom Zone, Sister Toldjah, Blog-o-Fascists, Atlas Shrugs





|| Greg, 07:42 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald -- RIP

Deepest condolences to her loved ones.

Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, a seven-term congresswoman from southern California, died early Sunday of cancer. She was 68.

Millender-McDonald died at her home in Carson, said her chief of staff, Bandele McQueen.

The congresswoman had asked for a four- to six-week leave of absence from the House last week to deal with her illness. McQueen couldn't immediately provide details on what form of cancer Millender-McDonald had, but said she had been receiving hospice care.





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

Asking the Wrong Question

Columnist Vin Suprynowicz points out that some folks who want more anti-gun legislation following the Hokie Horror are asking the wrong question.

America's hoplophobe press will follow Mr. Horwitz's lead and concentrate on "where he got his guns" -- which makes about as much sense as investigating the latest Baghdad truck bombing by asking, "Where on earth did that suicidal militant get his Toyota?"

Why don't they explain to us, just this once, why these chemically warped fruitcakes never attack police stations or Army bases? Could it be because, even in their madness, they know the armed people there might shoot back?

Bravo, Vin.





|| Greg, 09:22 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Threatening Oneself

Some folks -- especially academics -- just have to be the center of attention.

Sheriff's investigators arrested and charged a Calhoun Community College instructor with making a terrorist threat against herself following the Virginia Tech massacre.

Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely said Penelope Blankenship, 43, of Decatur was arrested Friday on the felony charge and released on $5,000 bond.

Calhoun officials said Blankenship, a criminal justice and psychology instructor, has been placed on administrative leave.

She's accused of leaving threatening voice mail messages against herself. The messages made reference to Monday's Virginia Tech massacre, saying "you next," according to a campus police report.

Campus police also received a threatening phone call in connection with the same incident.

The caller was initially identified as a former student of Blankenship's, but further investigation indicated that the calls came from Blankenship herself, through Calhoun's switchboard to campus security and to her own voice mail, investigators said.

How can a woman who would appear to be so smart be so dumb?

H/T Michelle Malkin





|| Greg, 09:02 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Immigration Legislation Coming Soon?

If the New York Times is encouraged, then I'm discouraged.

The good news is that in this years debate, triggers and touchback have become potential areas of compromise. It remains true that maliciously devised triggers can be too onerous, but as The Wall Street Journal reported, Democrats are now saying that they are open to well-written trigger provisions, since that could give a bill broader support among Republicans. Reassuring Americans that border security is improving is reasonable, as long as achieving the benchmarks is not the sole and ultimate aim. Republican leaders, to their credit, have backed away from the narrow, enforcement-only approach that disgraced their efforts last year.

Triggers and touchback have already been conceded by the supporters of comprehensive reform; a bill in the House, the Strive Act, sponsored by Representatives Jeff Flake and Luis Gutierrez, would require immigrants to leave the country and return within a six-year span. Its not ideal, but if a touchback provision is manageable and reassures people that illegal immigrants are indeed going to the back of the line, then it will be defensible.

The possible breaking of the stalemate was only part of the good news in recent days. The other part came in the form of research showing Americans way ahead of the hard right on immigration reform. The USA Today/Gallup poll found that 78 percent favored earned citizenship.

The problem is, though, that the triggers teh Times supports are too easy to meet -- and the touchback provision too soft. And there still remains no real enforcement provision. And of course 78% of Americans -- including me -- support the notion of earned citizenship. The thing is that a great many of us reject the notion that we should be regarding those who have already shown a propensity to violate our nation's law with a preferential spot in the line, which any "comprehensive" immigration bill will do.





|| Greg, 08:56 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Blue Angel Crash

As a Navy brat, I grew up worshiping the Blue Angels. Indeed, my brother and I both had fantasies of flying those planes. There even are a couple of pictures of us boys actually standing next to one of the planes with its pilot -- being an officer's kid has some advantages.

And so stories like this one leave me with a heavy heart.

A Navy Blue Angel fighter jet crashed during an air show Saturday, plunging into a neighborhood of small homes and trailers and killing the pilot, the county coroner said.

It was the first death of a Blue Angel pilot since 1999.

Witnesses said the Navy aerial-demonstration team, made up of six planes, was flying in formation at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort when one jet dropped below the tree line and crashed, sending up clouds of smoke.

It was not immediately known whether anyone on the ground was injured.

* * *

The Blue Angels were formed in 1946 to promote public interest in naval aviation. Flying F/A-18s painted navy blue, the team performs nationally at air shows, spring through fall, executing highly synchronized aerial acrobatics that bring the fighters within feet of each other at high speed.

Twenty-four Blue Angel pilots have died in accidents, including the one killed Saturday. In 1999, two were killed when an F/A-18 crashed into a stand of pine trees in Georgia as the team practiced for a show.

May the family and colleagues of the pilot who died yesterday -- whose name has yet to be released -- be comforted in this time of sorrow.





|| Greg, 08:48 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Black Leaders Seek To Save Sub-Standard Jim Crow Institution

From the minute that the Texas State University for Negroes was established as a Jim Crow institution to prevent the desegregation of the state's white colleges and universities, it has been a failure. It took only a few years for the United States Supreme Court to declare it was a sub-standard institution that was unequal by any measure. Through decades of scandal and mismanagement at Texas Southern University, however, the black community has embraced this remnant of Jim Crow, a shining example of the inherent inequality of "separate but equal", which is little more than a four year community college with a graduate program and a law school.

The governor and legislature are looking for a fix for the school -- something I believe to be impossible, given the track record of "fixes" over the last decade. TSU is simply unable to stand as an independent institution.

But that does not keep certain black leaders from insisting that it must.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee vowed Saturday to stop Gov. Rick Perry's attempt to place Texas Southern University under conservatorship in the wake of the latest financial problems at the 11,000-student institution.

Jackson Lee said she wants the U.S. Department of Education to intervene, alleging that conservatorship would be a strict violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, imposing "undue burdens on black students."

The governor announced plans April 13 to appoint a conservator to control spending.

The individual selected would also have the ability to fire and hire any employee, and to change the administrative structure at the nation's second-largest historically black university.

Conservatorship has never occurred at any Texas university or college.

Sylvia Brooks, president of the Houston Area Urban League, said state funding to compensate for the university's "decades of neglect" and a "great board" would be able to solve the current financial problems.

But the problem is that TSU has had a "great board" in the past, made up of respected alumni and state African-American leaders. The last time a great president was brought in to make sure that the university was well-managed, she ripped off TSU so bad that she and a number of aides were indicted for their actions.

And then there is this propaganda piece.

Texas Southern continues its proud tradition of welcoming students the Texas public schools have failed. And while these nontraditional students tend not to graduate within the traditional four or even six years, there is a strong indication they eventually do graduate, have increased earning capacity and contribute largely to the Texas economy.

Texas Southern University is often compared with Prairie View A&M. Both are historically black universities. Prairie View's success is often attributed to being part of the Texas A&M system. Largely overlooked, Prairie View is not an open admissions university; it has specific academic criteria for the admission of students that closes its doors to the Cliffords and Thomases and Bettys.

TSU has always been here for Texas. We must ensure that it remains a viable institution so that it will continue to be.

And therein lies the biggest problem with TSU -- it has NO STANDARDS for admission! And while that may have been a great thing in the days before the state of Texas had a large system of community colleges, it does not make sense today and cannot be defended. the former president of TSU and local community leader who wrote this piece cannot even be troubled to cite statistics on graduation rates becauee they know TSU is a failure in that regard, too.

Community pride and an indefensible mission are not reason to keep the school open as an independent institution. And the difficulties TSU has had for decades places "undue burdens on black students" every bit as much as the conservatorship plan does.

There exist three options for dealing with TSU if conservatorship is not an option.

1) Close TSU. It is a failed experiment in racial segregation and standardless academics that wastes the money of the people of Texas. Or in the alternative, divest the state of TSU and let it become a private school that supports itself without the flood of public money that is going down a rathole.

2) Do nothing. Just continue to send the money down the rathole.

3) Merge TSU into the University of Houston system. Given that TSU is only a few blocks away from the main campus of the University of Houston, it seems to me that this is a viable Now this could take two forms -- either full incorporation of TSU into UH, or maintaining TSU as a separate institution that continues to operate with its own lax academic standards. While I view the latter possibility as less desirable, it at least has the advantage of providing much stronger oversight for the school, providing it the strength of leadership the school so desperately needs.

TSU is a mess. Will black leaders actually lead in fixing the problem, or will they obstruct any possible solution because the school is a "black thing" -- despite the fact that its budget comes out of the pockets of every taxpayer in the state of Texas. Will they allow TSU to become the sort of institution it ought to be in the twenty-first century -- or insist that it remain what it has been, a sub-standard Jim Crow institution?





|| Greg, 08:38 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Fighting Back Was Not an Option, Part 2 by Big Lizards, and The Laughter in the Dark by The Belmont Club.  Here's a link to the full results of the vote).

Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
3  1/3Fighting Back Was Not an Option, Part 2
Big Lizards
1  2/3Media At Its Worst On Display At Virginia Tech
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1Happy Netted Nose
Done With Mirrors
1The Beast Among Us
Eternity Road
1They Should Get Out More
The Glittering Eye
2/3Hokie Horror
Rhymes With Right
2/3Confession: I Hate Democracy
Right Wing Nut House
2/3When Sorry Is Really... Sorry.
Joshuapundit
2/3Desegregation Consternation
The Colossus of Rhodey
1/3Hero and Villain
Soccer Dad

VotesNon-council link
2  1/3The Laughter in the Dark
The Belmont Club
1  1/3BREAKING: Present At the Bombing
Pajamas Media
1  1/3Tax Day Self-Congratulations
The QandO Blog
1  1/3Bill Clinton Grabs Some Contributions for Hillary
Pillage Idiot
1A Few Thoughts on Female Leadership
Western Survival
2/3And Yet There Are Heroes
The Remedy
2/3The Proper Way to Die
Freedom's Cost
2/3Anthrax: Some New Findings
American Thinker
2/3Professional Revertard Yvonne Ridley Misquotes, Misrepresents Self.
Tao of Defiance
2/3VA Tech & the Vampire Media
CDR Salamander
1/3Brown-Out: "Diversity," Inclusion, Segregation, Discrimination
Discriminations





|| Greg, 05:24 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 21, 2007

Gay Speech Good, Straight Speech Bad In Michigan

If you are going to permit students to express themselves about sexuality in schools, can you punish a kid for "coming out" as being the wrong one?

Oakridge High School in Muskegon, Michigan, is one of many schools across the U.S. that took part in Wednesday's "National Day of Silence" -- an event promoted heavily by homosexual activist groups, which view it as a day to protest alleged discrimination faced by students who identify as "gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (GLBT)." At Oakridge High, duct tape was passed out for students to wear over their lips as a way to show solidarity with homosexual students who are purportedly suffering in silence.

John Gardner is pastor of Holton Family Life Worship Center in Holton, a community of approximately 2,500 about 17 miles northeast of Muskegon. Pastor Gardner says his 15-year-old son David, a student at Oakridge High, was suspended for a day by the school because he wrote with a black marker "I'm straight" on a piece of duct tape and attached it to his shirt. He explains that David donned the message to voice his objection to the school's participation in the Day of Silence.

"They asked him, at that point, to take it off," Gardner says, "and David [asked] why do the rest of the kids in the class get to wear theirs and I can't wear something about what I believe?" According to the pastor, the teacher then instructed David to remove the message or he would be "kicked out" of class. "And he said, 'Well then, you'll have to kick me out' -- and that's what they did," says David's father.

There is absolutely no way that any school official could possibly argue that the sticker in question created a material disruption or the threat of one. There was no denigration of anyone -- merely the assertion of the student's sexual orientation as a heterosexual. Given that the school was sponsoring speech about sexuality that day, there can be no denying that the school had opened up itself up as a forum for the topic -- and I somehow doubt that a kid who had written "I'm Gay" on the duct tape and worn it would have bee silenced and suspended.

Don't these people know about Tinker v. Des Moines?

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Outside the Beltway, The Virtuous Republic, Perri Nelson's Website, The Pet Haven Blog, Shadowscope, Stuck On Stupid, Leaning Straight Up, The Amboy Times, Pursuing Holiness, Pet's Garden Blog, Rightlinx, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, , stikNstein... has no mercy, Pirate's Cove, The Right Nation, The Pink Flamingo, Dumb Ox Daily News, Right Voices, Right Pundits, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, 123beta, Maggie's Notebook, Adam's Blog, basil's blog, MONICA, Cao's Blog, Phastidio.net, The Bullwinkle Blog, , Jo's Cafe, Conservative Cat, Conservative Thoughts, Sujet- Celebrities, Allie Is Wired, stikNstein... has no mercy, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The World According to Carl, CORSARI D'ITALIA, The Yankee Sailor, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





|| Greg, 05:14 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Message From The Democrats

NOTE TO LEFTISTS AND OTHER INTELLECTUALLY DEFICIENT FOLKS: SATIRE

harryloser.jpg

Of course, some things never change.

* "I believe . . . that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by the extreme violence in Iraq this week."--Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, April 19, 2007


* "Resolved, that this convention does explicitly declare, as the sense of the American people, that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war, during which, under the pretence of military necessity, or war power higher than the Constitution, the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and public liberty and private right alike trodden down, and the material prosperity of the country essentially impaired, justice, humanity, liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities, with a view to an ultimate convention of the States or other peaceable means, to the end that at the earliest practicable moment peace may be restored on the basis of the federal Union of the States."--1864 Democratic platform

H/T Lundesigns & Michelle Malkin

UPDATE: Even Harry Reid's hometown paper thinks he is out of line.

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|| Greg, 09:07 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (13) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Texas Independence Secured -- 171 Years Ago Today

At the Battle of San Jacinto.

The attack on Mexican troops at the Battle of San Jacinto came at just the right time and place 171 years ago today, leading to a Texian victory that secured independence from Mexico.

* * *

Texian troops were defeated by Mexican troops at the Alamo on March 6, 1836.

Another major blow came on March 27, when more than 350 Texian soldiers at Goliad who had surrendered were massacred.

Then came the Battle of San Jacinto.

* * *

"The battle only took 18 minutes so you can literally take an 18-minute walk and feel the battle," he said. "The Alamo takes a lot of attention, but this is where we won it."

And the world -- in particular the destiny of the United States and Mexico -- was forever changed in those 18 minutes.





|| Greg, 08:25 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Carbon-Neutral Clinton

Well, not really. A big part of her effort will come in the form of participation in the carbon-offset scam.

To observe Earth Day on Sunday, Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign said it would become "carbon neutral" to help fight global warming.

"We all must act and that includes our campaign," the Democratic front-runner said in a statement Friday.

The campaign said it would take several steps to conserve energy, such as buying 100 percent recycled paper products, installing motion-controlled lights and purchasing carbon offsets through Native Energy, a Vermont-based company that produces renewable energy.

I'll be much more impressed when Hillary gives up her private airplane and flies commercial. Or better yet, when she stops breathing and speaking -- thereby ending her personal expulsion of so-called greenhouse gases into the environment.





|| Greg, 08:20 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

US Law Says Cho Couldn't Have Guns

Proving, of course, that the calls for more gun control in the wake of the Hokie Horror are as doomed to failure as the laws currently on the books.

Under federal law, the Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho should have been prohibited from buying a gun after a Virginia court declared him to be a danger to himself in late 2005 and sent him for psychiatric treatment, a state official and several legal experts said Friday.

Federal law prohibits anyone who has been adjudicated as a mental defective, as well as those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, from buying a gun.

The special justices order in late 2005 that directed Mr. Cho to seek outpatient treatment and declared him to be mentally ill and an imminent danger to himself fits the federal criteria and should have immediately disqualified him, said Richard J. Bonnie, chairman of the Supreme Court of Virginias Commission on Mental Health Law Reform.

A spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also said that if Mr. Cho had been found mentally defective by a court, he should have been denied the right to purchase a gun.

The federal law defines adjudication as a mental defective to include determination by a court, board, commission or other lawful authority that as a result of mental illness, the person is a danger to himself or others.

Mr. Chos ability to buy two guns despite his history has brought new attention to the adequacy of background checks that scrutinize potential gun buyers. And since federal gun laws depend on states for enforcement, the failure of Virginia to flag Mr. Cho highlights the often incomplete information provided by states to federal authorities.

So the problem is not a lack of laws, it is the inadequacy of the enforcement of those laws (sounds rather like our border situation, doesn't it?). So our choice is to more stringently enforce the laws on the book -- or to round up the 250,000,000 to 300,000,000 guns that are in private hands in this country. The latter is a virtually impossible job -- if we cannot find and expel 12 million illegal aliens, how could we possibly round up and destroy 20-25 times as many guns -- as well as a betrayal of our constitutional heritage. So enforcement it must be, unless America is willing to wake up and see that fewer gun laws, rather than more limitations on a constitutional right, may just be the proper solution.





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

Much Too Close To Home

After all, Johnson Space Center is 10 minutes from my home -- and that is if I miss all the traffic lights. We spent a tense afternoon/evening here, waiting to see if any of our friends/neighbors were among those involved in this ugly situation.

A NASA contract worker barricaded himself inside a Johnson Space Center building Friday and killed one of two hostages before committing suicide.

William A. Phillips, a 60-year-old engineer, fatally shot co-worker David Beverly in the chest with a snub-nosed revolver at about 1:40 p.m., authorities said.

More than three hours later, with Houston police and JSC security officers inside the three-story Building 44, Phillips shot himself in the head. In the same room, police found a second hostage, Francelia Crenshaw, also a contract worker, bound to a chair with duct tape.

She was taken to Christus St. John Hospital near the center and later released.

It was not clear why Phillips described as a model employee for 13 years by Mike Coats, JSC's director went on the rampage. Police were unable to communicate with him during the standoff.

Now folks will want to know why security didn't stop this, because after all, JSC is supposed to be a secure facility. The reality is that it is -- or at least as secure as a military base, where one needs to have a sticker on the car and an ID to access certain areas of the facility. But short of every searching car and putting metal detectors in every building, there is no stopping someone from bringing a gun to this gun-free installation.

Indeed, as with the Virginia Tech case, the problem comes down to the fact that the gun-free policy worked almost perfectly. Nearly 100% of the employees in Building 44 were gun-free -- which is why the one who was not gun-free had such an easy time of it when he decided to act violently against close acquaintances/co-workers. In that respect, what happened yesterday is no different from what happens from time to time in workplaces and at schools around the country -- except that the location simply has a much more storied history than is usually the case.

And lest you start to wonder what the deal is with NASA (after all, we are not far from another unpleasant incident involving NASA personnel), please consider that your average NASA employee or contractor is, when it comes right down to it, an ordinary human being. I live around them and go to church with a number of them -- including folks who are honest-to-God rocket scientists. They have spouses, kids, hobbies, and everything else that ordinary people have. Some also have problems that lurk beneath the surface, or odd aspects to their lives. let's not forget -- Rusty Yates was (and I believe still is) employed at NASA, some six years after his strange family life came to light following the murder of his children by his wife, Andrea Yates.

Oh, and speaking of murders with a tie to NASA, I've got one more for you. Remember the Clara Harris case -- the one involving the dentists who ran over her cheating husband with an SUV in the parking lot of a hotel? That happened at the Hilton right across the street from Johnson Space Center, under a mile from the site of yesterday's incident -- at the corner of NASA Parkway and Space Center Boulevard.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Stop the ACLU, Outside the Beltway, The Virtuous Republic, Perri Nelson's Website, The Pet Haven Blog, Shadowscope, Stuck On Stupid, Leaning Straight Up, The Amboy Times, Pursuing Holiness, Rightlinx, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, , Pirate's Cove, The Right Nation, The Pink Flamingo, Dumb Ox Daily News, Right Voices, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, 123beta, Maggie's Notebook, Adam's Blog, basil's blog, MONICA, Phastidio.net, The Bullwinkle Blog, Cao's Blog, , Conservative Cat, Jo's Cafe, Conservative Thoughts, Allie Is Wired, stikNstein... has no mercy, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The World According to Carl, CORSARI D'ITALIA, The Yankee Sailor, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





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

April 20, 2007

Just A Reminder About The Effectiveness Of Gun Bans

From James Q. Wilson, one of Americas greatest living political scientists.

AS FOR THE European disdain for our criminal culture, many of those countries should not spend too much time congratulating themselves. In 2000, the rate at which people were robbed or assaulted was higher in England, Scotland, Finland, Poland, Denmark and Sweden than it was in the United States. The assault rate in England was twice that in the United States. In the decade since England banned all private possession of handguns, the BBC reported that the number of gun crimes has gone up sharply.

Some of the worst examples of mass gun violence have also occurred in Europe. In recent years, 17 students and teachers were killed by a shooter in one incident at a German public school; 14 legislators were shot to death in Switzerland, and eight city council members were shot to death near Paris.

The rest of the article is a masterpiece as well, coming from the pen of a distinguished scholar, not a polemicist. I encourage you to read it.





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

Rosie ODonnell Is At It Again

She not only seems intent upon bashing Catholics, but also upon imposing a religious test for holding public office.

On todays edition of the ABC show, The View, the discussion turned to the Supreme Courts ruling yesterday affirming the partial-birth abortion ban. In an angry tone, Rosie ODonnell asked, You know what concerns me? How many of the Supreme Court judges are Catholic, Barbara? Walters responded, Five. ODonnell: Five. Five are Catholic. Separation of church and state, America. Walters then said that when the Catholic justices were vetted, they said they would not vote in a particular way because of their religion. But she then said, It is interesting theyre Catholic. After others spoke, Walters said she thought the justices were able to separate their faith from everyday life. To which ODonnell replied, From your everyday life but not hopefully from the foundation of our government. Separation of church and state.

So, Rosie, do you want to placed a quota on the number of Catholics that can hold public office despite the fact that such a quota would clearly run afoul of the Constitution? For that matter, have you read the various opinions in the case to find out what the legal and constitutional reasoning was behind the decision or did you simply let your bigotry run rampant as you look at the religion of the justices?

Oh, and as far as the issue of separation of church and state which is a phrase that appears nowhere in the Constitution or Bill of Rights maybe it is time that we have a little separation of fat, ugly, obnoxious, bigoted lesbian and talk-show. Disney-ABC Television Group needs to give Rosie ODonnell the Don Imus treatment.

Oh, and on a side note, it looks like Rosie isn't alone in stoking the fires of America's oldest and most persistent prejudice.

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|| Greg, 08:02 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Ill Pass On This Surgery

For practical reasons, if nothing else.

Doctors in New York have removed a womans gallbladder with instruments passed through her vagina, a technique they hope will cause less pain and scarring than the usual operation, and allow a quicker recovery. The technique can eliminate the need to cut through abdominal muscles, a major source of pain after surgery.

The operation was experimental, part of a study that is being done to find out whether people will fare better if abdominal surgery is performed through natural openings in the body rather than cuts in the belly. The surgery still requires cutting, through the wall of the vagina, stomach or colon, but doctors say it should hurt less because those tissues are far less sensitive than the abdominal muscles.

The notion of taking a different direction for to reach abdominal sites is a good one, though there are already options for gallbladder removal that involve only a tiny incision through the belly button.





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

Jacobins In The Senate

As I read this description of yesterdays Senate testimony by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, I couldnt help but be put in mind of the trial of Charles Darnay in Dickens A Tale of Two Cities.

Democrats turned the Senate Judiciary Committee into a circus-like political rally Thursday, complete with chants from costumed demonstrators. Alberto Gonzales was the most sober man in the room. How does "The World's Greatest Deliberative Body" treat the nation's chief law enforcement officer?

With his panel breaking for lunch, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy was seen giggling as a departing Attorney General Gonzales was subjected to crowds holding up signs and bellowing "Resign!" in the hearing room. After Gonzales returned for the afternoon session, noisy demonstrators were allowed to roam freely around the room with their placards. At the hearing's final gavel they sang and shouted taunts.

Why didn't Leahy have the Capitol Police clear the room? Why didn't the ranking Republican, the liberal Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, call on Leahy to do so? Or someone on the committee concerned with the Senate's highfalutin reputation?

They didn't because that mob demanding Gonzales' scalp is what the hearing was all about. The senators may have worn suits and ties and spoken in softer tones (though not always), but their blood lust for the White House is just as fervent as the extremists who wore orange garb and pink police costumes and had "Arrest Gonzales" duct-taped on their backs.

Leahys actions and inaction were a disgrace to the Senate virtually unrivaled since the founding of the Republic (perhaps exceeded only by the failure of Democrats to come to the aid of Charles Sumner as he was brutally beaten at his desk by a fellow-Democrat from the House of Representatives) and the grandstanding by members of the committee indicates the proceeding had even less concern with justice than the proceedings at Salem in 1692.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Church and State, Stop the ACLU, The Virtuous Republic, Perri Nelson's Website, The Pet Haven Blog, Stuck On Stupid, The Amboy Times, Leaning Straight Up, Pursuing Holiness, Rightlinx, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, , Pirate's Cove, The Right Nation, The Pink Flamingo, Dumb Ox Daily News, Right Voices, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, 123beta, Adam's Blog, basil's blog, MONICA, Phastidio.net, The Bullwinkle Blog, Cao's Blog, , Jo's Cafe, Allie Is Wired, stikNstein... has no mercy, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The World According to Carl, CORSARI D'ITALIA, Gone Hollywood, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





|| Greg, 07:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Nanny-Statism At Its Worst

As many Americans begin questioning the rationale of denying legal adults the right to drink, now the state of Texas wants to infantilize legal adults in the area of smoking, too.

You're old enough to vote and serve your country at 18, but you'd have to wait a year to buy cigarettes under a bill approved Thursday by the Texas Senate.

"The further you can put this (legal age) off, there's a much better chance that people will not start to smoke," said Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio.

His Senate Bill 448, approved 26-4, moves to an uncertain future in the House, where it doesn't yet have a sponsor. Rep. Garnet Coleman, a Houston Democrat on the House Public Health Committee, said he doesn't have a position on the bill but would like to see it aired.

"I'm in favor of restricting who can buy cigarettes," Coleman said, "but I think there are a lot of people who are going to say, 'Enough is enough. You've taxed me to death, now you're saying that someone (age 18) can't buy cigarettes.' "

You can get married at 18. You can vote at 18. You can join the military and fight and die for your country at 18. Precisely why the hell shouldnt you be able to smoke (or drink) at 18?





|| Greg, 07:49 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Joe Biden Is Scum

But then again, his long litany of hate-filled and racist comments already told us that and since he was addressing a group run by arch-racist Al Sharpton, we shouldnt be surprised by this.

Speaking at Al Sharptons National Action Network event in New York, Biden said President Bush, Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove are responsible for what he called the politics of polarization.

Biden said Republicans have created an environment that brings bad things to the United States.

I would argue, since 1994 with the Gingrich revolution, just take a look at Iraq, Venezuela, Katrina, whats gone down at Virginia Tech, Darfur, Imus. Take a look. This didnt happen accidentally, all these things, he said.

I wish I was stunned but this is typical of the Party of Hatred, Imbecility, and Surrender.

UPDATE: One newspaper has the courage to speak out.

So if we have this straight - partisan Republicans are now responsible for Imus show (on which Biden was a frequent guest) and the massacre at Virginia Tech? And this man thinks he should be president?




|| Greg, 07:44 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

DoubleClick Deal A Privacy Threat?

Well, given the amount of data that DoubleClick and Google gather on private individuals, some are arguing that it is.

Google's proposed $3.1 billion purchase of online ad firm DoubleClick would merge two powerful digital data gatherers that track people's online activities, raising serious privacy concerns that the Federal Trade Commission should investigate, consumer advocates allege in a complaint to be filed with the FTC today. The deal would create a firm with access to more information about consumers' Internet activities than any other company in the world, the Electronic Privacy Information Center said in its complaint.

"Google will operate with virtually no legal obligation to ensure the privacy, security and accuracy of the personal data that it collects. At this time, there is simply no consumer privacy issue more pressing for the commission to consider than Google's plan to combine the search histories and Web site visit records of Internet users," the complaint says.

Hopefully this matter will be closely scrutinized.





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

TYC Reorganization

Progress is being made in fixing the broken Texas Youth Commission.

The Texas Senate unanimously approved fundamental changes in the Texas Youth Commission on Thursday, supporting efforts to reduce the population at its facilities, improve staff-to-offender ratios and require enhanced training for guards.

Senate Bill 103, by Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, passed 30-0, and is part of the promised overhaul of an agency reeling from accusations that incarcerated youths have been sexually and physically abused by staff at many of the state's 15 correctional facilities.

The Senate is trying "to rebuild, restructure TYC from the bottom up," he said, adding that his bill would create "checks and balances, a wide open system that is transparent. It'll change the whole culture in the way we treat our young people."

Soon after the bill passed, agency officials announced the firing of a high-ranking official in Austin and the resignation of four of his colleagues. All but one had served on the agency's executive council, and all, said spokesman Jim Hurley, "were on board when the agency failed in a spectacular way on a national stage. All were running the agency when the wheels came off."

Now that the folks who let the agency get out of control are gone, there could be some hope. but whill any of the policians who let the situation get this bad pay a price?





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

Conduct Policy Impacts Draft?

I lived in St. Louis when the Rams picked Lawrence Phillips -- a talented thug with a tendency towards violence and a history of abuse of women. I was shocked -- but hey, he was the best player out there, so what were the Rams to do? It was a gamble that didn't pay off.

Now, such a pick might not happen -- because the NFL has begun to crack down on bad behavior.

Many NFL team officials say they will be less likely to draft players who misbehave off the field because of the league's new conduct policy, which allows Commissioner Roger Goodell to impose lengthy suspensions on misbehaving players and punish clubs with significant numbers of offenders.

Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome said that he and his peers have been feeling additional pressure since Goodell first told them during a meeting of general managers at February's NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis that teams would be held accountable for players' misdeeds.

"That falls on us," Newsome said, "that there are some players now we may have to pass on because I don't want to put [Ravens owner] Steve Bisciotti in that position or put this organization in that position to be held accountable for a player that I knew had some issues."

Such considerations during the pre-draft evaluation process are not entirely new to scouts, executives and coaches. With millions of dollars in player contracts at stake, it has long been standard practice for teams to conduct background checks and probe players' psyches in interviews. With some regularity, players have plummeted on draft day because of fears by teams about possible misbehavior.

At next weekend's NFL draft, the issue could be an important one. Pro Football Weekly reported Wednesday that three top draft prospects -- Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams and Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye -- admitted to past marijuana use during interviews that the league tapes with players at the combine and distributes to the teams. But there's been no indication that any of the three failed the drug tests taken by players at the combine. That falls under the league's substance abuse policy, not the conduct policy, and it's unlikely that their draft status will be significantly affected.

Other draft-eligible players with conduct-related issues include Florida defensive tackle Marcus Thomas, who was dismissed from the team in November for violating the terms of his pending reinstatement from a suspension for violating the school's substance abuse policy; Texas running back Ramonce Taylor, who was arrested last year on a marijuana charge; Texas cornerback Tarell Brown, who was arrested in September on drug and weapon charges and last month on a marijuana charge (the drug charge from September was dropped); UNLV cornerback Eric Wright, who left Southern California after being arrested in 2005 on suspicion of sexual assault, although prosecutors declined to press charges because of insufficient evidence; and California running back Marshawn Lynch, who in January was accused of sexual assault and domestic violence by a former girlfriend but was not charged. Lynch is being projected by many draft observers as a first-round selection.

Now this will be interesting -- do some of these players drop in the draft given the new policy -- including the recent suspensions of two NFL stars? Or will it be business as usual for the teams?





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

Alec Baldwin -- Crappy Parent

Alec Baldwin's daughter missed his phone call -- and now a judge has banned him from contact with the child in light of his abusive message to her.

After Ireland failed to answer her father's scheduled morning phone call from New York on April 11, Alec went berserk on her voice mail, saying "Once again, I have made an ass of myself trying to get to a phone," adding, "you have insulted me for the last time."

Switching his train of thought, Baldwin then exercised his incredible parenting skills and took a shot at his ex-wife, declaring, "I don't give a damn that you're 12-years-old or 11-years-old, or a child, or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the ass who doesn't care about what you do." The irate Baldwin went on to say, "You've made me feel like s**t" and threatened to "straighten your ass out."

"This crap you pull on me with this goddamn phone situation that you would never dream of doing to your mother," screamed Baldwin, "and you do it to me constantly over and over again."

Before hanging up, Baldwin warned the child, "You better be ready Friday the 20th to meet with me." That's tomorrow.

We've learned that on Wednesday, Los Angeles County Superior Court commissioner Maren Nelson heard the tape and temporarily suspended Baldwin's visitation rights. A hearing is set for May 4, where the judge could permanently deny Baldwin visitation or contact with Ireland.

We shouldn't be surprised -- anyone who has ever heard Alec Baldwin give an interview with anyone but the most fawning reporter knows that he has serious anger management problems -- and believes his own press releases that he is the greatest actor on the planet. Why should we be surprised that he would speak this way to his own child?

Hey, Alec -- the universe does not revolve around Uranus.

UPDATE: Heres an appropriate decision by Baldwin.

Alec Baldwin has taken a vow of silence after a recording of a volcanic tirade by the actor to his 11-year-old daughter appeared in US media reports.

No great loss, especially if this becomes a vow of perpetual silence.





|| Greg, 04:12 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 19, 2007

If They Are that Traditional Why Are They Voting At All?

After all, Islam traditionally treats women as inferior and lacking in the full rights due a man.

Elections Canada has begun to contact Muslim organizations to gauge their feelings on how to accommodate veiled women if photo identification becomes necessary to cast a federal ballot, Sun Media has learned. Sameer Zuberi, with the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he spent 30 minutes on the telephone with an Elections Canada representative on Tuesday. "They asked about how we can deal with this and what are the ways we can deal with it," said Zuberi. Zuberi said veiled Muslim women should be given the option of unveiling in front of another woman.

Of course, there is this little bit of absurdity from the representative of another group.

Khaled Mouammar, president of the Canadian Arab Federation, said veiled women should not be asked to show their faces. "If somebody comes in with a valid ID then it doesn't matter how you're dressed," said Mouammar.

Never mind, of course, that the veil would obscure the identity of the individual in question making the question of whether they possess a valid ID something more than an academic exercise.





|| Greg, 06:16 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Question For The Hildebeast

Hillary Clinton had this reaction to yesterdays partial birth abortion infanticide decision.

"Todays decision blatantly defies the Courts recent decision in 2000 striking down a state partial-birth abortion law because of its failure to provide an exception for the health of the mother."

Excuse me, Senator, but it is the proper place of the Supreme Court to determine that a precedent is wrong, and to overrule it.

Unless, of course, you have a problem with the Supreme Courts 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education to defy the venerable precedent set in 1896 in Plessy v. Ferguson, which held that separate but equal segregation was not a violation the 14th Amendment.

So, Senator, do you believe that the Supreme Court has the right and obligation to overturn wrongly decided precedents or do you believe that our public schools should still be segregated?

Or is it possible that your ignorance of the US Constituiton renders you unfit to be President -- or Senator, for that matter?





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

AP Seeks To Tie Cho, Bush Administration

How is the employment of the killer's sister relevant -- or newsworthy?

The sister of the gunman responsible for the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history works as a contractor for a State Department office that oversees billions of dollars in American aid for Iraq.

Sun-Kyung Cho is employed by the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office, according to U.S. officials and a State Department staff directory that says she works from an annex near the department's headquarters in Washington.

Messages left on her office voicemail, in which she identifies herself as "Sun Cho," were not immediately returned on Wednesday.

The Virginia Tech gunman was her brother, Cho Seung-Hui. Thirty-three people died in the rampage Monday, including the 23-year-old student, who committed suicide.

Spokesman Sean McCormack declined to discuss Sun Cho's status but told reporters "this person is not a direct-hire employee of the State Department." He declined to comment further, citing privacy concerns. Other U.S. officials confirmed she works for a contractor.

Nothing in the article ties Ms. Cho to her brother's evil deeds -- besides her name and parentage. Why do a profile on her at all -- unless one is seeking to discredit the Bush administration, or the mission to help Iraq become a stable democracy after decades of oppression. Is it possible that the media is so interested in doing so that the life, accomplishments, and reputation of a young woman must be sacrificed because of the evil done by her brother?

Ms. Cho needs to be held up as an example of hard work and accomplishment -- not made a sideshow freak at her brother's carnival of horrors. The AP owes her an apology.

H/T Malkin





|| Greg, 04:52 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Just A Reminder About The Racism of Sharpton & Jackson

Why do we let these men sit in moral judgment of anyone on matters of race relations -- or anything else?

Sharpton never apologized for falsely accusing a former assistant district attorney in 1987 of sexually assaulting black teenager Tawana Brawley. A New York grand jury determined the whole Brawley affair a hoax, and the assistant DA successfully sued Sharpton and two other defendants for defamation. A unanimous, multiracial jury awarded the assistant DA $65,000 from Sharpton. No apology.

In 1989, after the "Central Park Jogger" was viciously attacked and left for dead, Sharpton called the jogger a "whore" and accused her boyfriend of committing the crime. No apology.

Jesse Jackson also criticized Imus. But in 1984, when the Washington Post's Milton Coleman reported Jesse Jackson called Jews "Hymies" and New York "Hymie-Town," the reverend initially denied the statement. Days later, Jackson apologized for his anti-Semitic remark, thus taking longer to apologize than did Imus for his racist, sexist remark. Jackson's friend and confidant, the Nation of Islam's Minister Louis Farrakhan -- publicly threatened black reporter Coleman on radio and warned the Jews, "If you harm this brother [Jackson], I warn you in the name of Allah this will be the last one you harm." Jackson refused to condemn Farrakhan's remarks.

Being a "civil rights leader" means never having to say you're sorry. And it also means you get a pass on viciously racist words and deeds that far surpass the misdeeds of Don Imus -- who deserved to be fired.





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

Cho's Violent Potential Recognized In 2005

Interesting. I thought they told us that they had no idea who he was, and that campus police had never had any dealings with him. Could Virginia Tech have been lying to us? Or were they merely incompetent?

Campus authorities were aware 17 months ago of the troubled mental state of the student who shot and killed 32 people at Virginia Tech on Monday, an imbalance graphically on display in vengeful videos and a manifesto he mailed to NBC News in the time between the two sets of shootings.

* * *

The hostility in the videos was foreshadowed in 2005, when Mr. Chos sullen and aggressive behavior culminated in an unsuccessful effort by the campus police to have him involuntarily committed to a mental institution in December.

For all the interventions by the police and faculty members, Mr. Cho was allowed to remain on campus and live with other students. There is no evidence that the police monitored him and no indication that the authorities or fellow students were aware of any incident that pushed him to his rampage.

Despite Mr. Chos time in the mental health system, when an English professor was disturbed by his writings last fall and contacted the associate dean of students, the dean told the professor that there was no record of any problems and that nothing could be done, said the instructor, Lisa Norris.

The quest to have him committed, documented in court papers, was made after a female student complained of unwelcome telephone calls and in-person communication from Mr. Cho on Nov. 27, 2005. The woman declined to press charges, and the campus police referred the case to the disciplinary system of the university, Chief Wendell Flinchum said.

Mr. Chos disciplinary record was not released because of privacy laws. The associate vice president for student affairs, Edward F. D. Spencer, said it would not be unusual if no disciplinary action had been taken in such a case. On Dec. 12, a second woman asked the police to put a stop to Mr. Chos instant messages to her. She, too, declined to press charges.

The police said Mr. Cho did not threaten the women, who described the efforts at contact as annoying. But later on the day of the second complaint, an unidentified acquaintance of Mr. Cho notified the police that he might be suicidal.

Mr. Cho went voluntarily to the Police Department, which referred him to a mental health agency off campus, Chief Flinchum said. A counselor recommended involuntary commitment, and a judge signed an order saying that he presents an imminent danger to self or others and sent him to Carilion St. Albans Psychiatric Hospital in Radford for an evaluation.

Affect is flat and mood is depressed, a doctor there wrote. He denies suicidal ideations. He does not acknowledge symptoms of a thought disorder. His insight and judgment are sound.

The doctor determined that Mr. Cho was mentally ill, but not an imminent danger, and the judge declined to commit him, instead ordering outpatient treatment.

Officials said they did not know whether Mr. Cho had received subsequent counseling.

Which raises a different issue -- our society does not generally allow for the forcible treatment of metal illness, and has not done so since the compassionate liberal reforms of the 1960s threw open the gates of the nation's insane asylums and mental hospitals. Individual autonomy has been the rule for four decades, and the right to refuse treatment for mental illness has been viewed (quite properly, might I add) as a basic right of every citizen, just as it is for virtually any other medical condition. Unfortunately, that leaves a gaping hole through which the truly dangerous like Cho can walk.

And then there is federal and state education law, which further restricts what colleges and universities (not to mention public schools like the ones where I teach) can do when faced with a mentally ill student. They are liable if they don't act to protect the student and others from a mentally ill student's behavior -- but are also liable if they take any action deemed "discriminatory" against that same student. Small wonder, then, that Cho was allowed to remain at Virginia Tech.





|| Greg, 04:37 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Cooperate With Dictators, Pay A Price

And if you are going to make yourself a cog in the repressive machinery of a human rights violating entity like Red China, expect to be sued.

A human rights group sued Yahoo on Wednesday, accusing the Internet giant of abetting the torture of pro-democracy writers by releasing data that allowed China's government to identify them.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, says the company was complicit in the arrests of 57-year-old Wang Xiaoning and other Chinese Internet activists. The suit is the latest development in a campaign by advocacy groups to spotlight the conduct of U.S. companies in China.

As they seek a slice of the booming Chinese market, Yahoo and other American companies have sometimes set aside core American values, such as free speech, to comply with the communist government's laws.

The suit, in trying to hold Yahoo accountable, could become an important test case. Advocacy groups are seeking to use a 217-year-old U.S. law to punish corporations for human rights violations abroad, an effort the Bush administration has opposed.

In 2003, Wang began serving a 10-year sentence on charges that he incited subversion with online treatises criticizing the government. He is named as a plaintiff in the Yahoo suit, which was filed with help from the World Organization for Human Rights USA, based in Washington.

Yahoo is guilty of "an act of corporate irresponsibility," said Morton Sklar, executive director of the group. "Yahoo had reason to know that if they provided China with identification information that those individuals would be arrested."

I'm ashamed of the Bush Administration for opposing this suit -- and wish that they would instead seek criminal penalties against Yahoo, Google, and other companies that seek to make money by turning democracy advocates over to oppressive regimes for their exercise of a right as fundamental as freedom of speech.

What next? Will Yahoo cooperate with Islamists in identifying targets for beheading due to their "Islamophobic" statements and sentiments?





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

Chronicle Columnist Proposes Arresting People For Speech

But only the ones who engage in speech that is "crazy".

It's probably more effective, though, to find and remove these potential killers and try to deny them the most lethal hardware. That means we must detain them for their words and deny them guns.

As we see time and again, the right to bear arms and be crazy is a deadly combination.

And given the Left's willingness to classify opposition to certain political agenda's as a form of mental illness (ie "homophobia" -- the moral belief that there is something wrong with homosexual behavior, as was the clear and consistent Christian teaching ofevery Christian denomination until until only few years ago; or "Islamophobia" -- the opposition to jihadi terrorism), this is rather frightening. But then again, we've already seen where such detentions of the "mentally ill" because of their exercise of the right to freedom of speech -- it was a favorite tactic in the Soviet Union to crack down on dissent.

But given Cragg Hines' Froma Harrop's opposition to the Second Amendment, it isn't surprising to see him willing to abandon the First Amendment as well. She's just a little bit more honest about it than the average left-winger.

UPDATE: I was notified about the error in identifying the author of the piece earlier today, and fixed it as soon as I came home.





|| Greg, 04:12 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 18, 2007

Here's A Laugh

This from an article about the consequences of the state of Texas appointing a conservator to begin fixing the problems at Texas Southern University -- which could include the loss of accreditation by the school for not having a multi-member board of directors.

Beyond degrading the value of degrees earned at TSU....

Given the reputation of this corrupt open-enrollment school -- which is little more than a four-year community college with a graduate program and a law school -- I don't think that the loss of accreditation could do much harm to the value of a TSU degree.

UPDATE: Well, at least the Houston Chronicle is willing to call for the state to do something about this pathetic institution. But in typical fashion, TSU regents are unwilling to act in the best interests of the school.





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

Justices Uphold Infanticide Ban

Contrary to the wailings of the supporters of legalized abortion infanticide, this decision does not overturn the ill-considered and flawed precedent established by Roe v. Wade. Rather, it reinforces that precedent by recognizing that the government does have a compelling interest in limiting late-term abortions, which Roe itself indicates can be banned. And this decision does not even go that far, merely allowing the restriction of a single method of abortion infanticide that kills a child that has effectively been delivered.

he Supreme Court upheld the nationwide ban on a controversial abortion procedure Wednesday, handing abortion opponents the long-awaited victory they expected from a more conservative bench.

The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.

The opponents of the act "have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

The decision pitted the court's conservatives against its liberals, with President Bush's two appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, siding with the majority.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia also were in the majority.

It was the first time the court banned a specific procedure in a case over how not whether to perform an abortion.

Roe v. Wade allowed for regulation of second and third trimester abortions -- and a ban on the latter. How can the supporters of Roe complain?





|| Greg, 05:53 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Student Government Claims First Amendment Does Not Apply To Them At University Of Rhode Island

After all, why should the Constitution get in the way of imposing political correctness and silencing conservatives who dissent from the liberal orthodoxy?

Displaying a dramatic disregard for students constitutional rights, a committee of the University of Rhode Island (URI) Student Senate voted on Monday to derecognize the College Republicans student group. For months, the Student Senate has demanded that the group publicly apologize for advertising a satirical $100 scholarship for white, heterosexual, American males. The College Republicans refused to apologize and contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. FIRE is now calling upon URI President Robert Carothers, who has already informed the Senate that it could not compel student speech, to reverse the decision to derecognize the group. Neither the Student Senate nor anyone else at URI has the power to force the College Republicans to say things against their will, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. As bad as it may be to tell people what they cannot say, it is still worse to tell them what they must say. The Supreme Court has long recognized that compelled speech is not compatible with free societies. It is stunning that URIs student government would show such contempt for fundamental rights, especially after URIs own president explained it to them. The College Republicans student organization first advertised the satirical White, Heterosexual, American Male scholarship in November, 2006. The scholarship consisted of a nominal $100 to be awarded to someone fitting those criteria who submitted an application and an essay on the adversities he has faced. College Republicans President Ryan Bilodeau explained that the point was to use satire to protest scholarships awarded on the basis of race, gender, or nationality. Over 40 URI students applied for the scholarship, many submitting equally satirical application essays. In a meeting on February 19, the Student Senates Student Organizations Advisory and Review Committee (SOARC) prohibited the College Republicans from disbursing the money. The group agreed that it would not give out the $100, but SOARC decided that even advertising the satirical scholarship violated URIs anti-discrimination bylaws and demanded that the group publish an apology in the campus newspaper. Unwilling to apologize, Bilodeau appealed SOARCs decision. The Senate denied that appeal. FIRE wrote to Senate President Neil Cavanaugh on March 13, stating that because the Student Senate derives its authority from a public university, it must comply with the First Amendment prohibition on compelled speech. The Student Senate, however, in a memo to the College Republicans on March 27, ruled again that the College Republicans must publish an apology and claimed authority to force them to do so. That sanction was later reduced to an explanation to be published in the campus newspaper and a mandatory apology to be sent to all of the students who applied for the scholarship. The College Republicans agreed to publish an explanation of its intentions, but refused to write any apologies. FIRE wrote to URI President Robert Carothers the following day to urge him to intervene in the situation. FIRE wrote, URI administrators have a legal duty to step in where the Student Senate has failed and to check its attempt to trample upon students most basic freedom of conscience. And in a letter dated April 6, President Carothers did indeed instruct the Senate in no uncertain terms to drop its unconstitutional demand for an apology. Carothers wrote that the mandatory apology does not meet constitutional standards as laid forth in the First Amendment and in subsequent court decisions interpreting the standard. But at a meeting on Monday night, SOARC nonetheless unanimously voted to ignore both its constitutional obligations and Carothers directive and derecognize the College Republicans for refusing to issue an apology. SOARCs decision will be voted on by the entire Student Senate on Wednesday, April 25. FIRE wrote another letter to Carothers yesterday calling upon him to immediately reverse SOARCs decision to derecognize the group. FIRE wrote that [b]y fulfilling this responsibility as a public official, you can teach the Senate leadership that they must respect the rights of URI students and help to instill in them an understanding of the full repercussions for repeatedly and recklessly defying the Constitution. URIs student government thinks it is above the lawthat it can take fees extracted from students by a state university and yet ignore the constitutional obligations that come with them. It is sadly mistaken, Lukianoff said. President Carothers must act now to stop this rogue organization from conducting these unlawful acts under the aegis of the university. FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, due process, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and rights of conscience at our nations colleges and universities. FIREs efforts to preserve liberty universities across America can be viewed at www.thefire.org.

It strikes me that only one course of action is open to President Carothers -- using his authority as the president of the University of Rhode Island to disband the Student Senates Student Organizations Advisory and Review Committee and the entire Student Senate, replacing them with organizations that clearly and unambiguously are bound by the United States Constitution (which those two organizations legally are though they claim otherwise) and which accept the limitations that the Bill of Rights imposes upon them.





|| Greg, 05:43 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Shocking -- Absolutely Shocking

No, not the material sent to NBC News by the evil bastard responsible for the Hokie Horror, nor even the fact that he sent it to some media outlet.

No, the shocking thing is their decision to turn it all over to the police.

Sometime after he killed two people in a Virginia university dormitory but before he slaughtered 30 more in a classroom building Monday morning, Cho Seung-Hui mailed NBC News a large package, including photographs and videos, lamenting that I didnt have to do this.

Cho, 23, a senior English major at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, killed 32 people in two attacks before taking his own life.

NBC News President Steve Capus said the network received the package, which was not addressed to a specific person, in Tuesday afternoons mail delivery, but it was not opened until Wednesday morning. The network immediately turned the materials over to FBI agents in New York.

But wait -- I thought that the press turning information over to the media is unethical and a threat to freedom of the press. You know, "making the press an investigative arm of the state" and all that crap we hear every time the news media wants to withhold evidence of a crime -- especially when they are the only folks who know the identity of the criminal, such as those who illegally leak classified national security information to them.

I guess that principle are only principles for these people when they disagree with the actions of the criminal -- and when they are not complicit in the crime.

Oh, and by the way -- this material does show how depraved that the murderer Cho really was.





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Christians Martyred To Silence Publisher

One more act of terrorism against Christians in a Muslim country -- but at least they weren't detained by police and made to miss their flight home.

Three people have been killed in an attack on a Turkish publishing house which prints Bibles and Christian literature, according to media reports.

CNN Turk television said the victims' throats had been cut and that police had detained six people in connection with the incident on Wednesady at the Zirve publishing house in Malatya.

Television pictures showed casualties being carried out of the building and one man

The attack follows the murder earlier this year of Hrant Dink, an Armenian-Turkish editor, by an ultra-nationalist.

Dink's killing prompted extra security measures to be taken for writers and journalists.

I guess they recognize the importance of shutting down a publisher of Bibles -- for the Truth will set men and women free from the evil that ensnares them. And so we have this day three more saints in heaven.

H/T Gateway Pundit





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Professor Liviu Librescu

On the morning after the Columbine massacre, one of my 11th graders asked me what I would do if a gunman were to enter our school -- an especially pressing issue given that the classroom was on an inside corridor with no windows and only one door.

My response?

"I would put myself between you guys and the guy with the gun -- and pray that you would get out even if I didn't."

On Monday, Professor Liviu Librescu did exactly that for his students.

As Jews worldwide honored on Monday the memory of those who were murdered in the Holocaust, a 76-year-old survivor sacrificed his life to save his students in Monday's shooting at Virginia Tech College that left 33 dead and over two dozen wounded.

Professor Liviu Librescu, 76, threw himself in front of the shooter when the man attempted to enter his classroom. The Israeli mechanics and engineering lecturer was shot to death, "but all the students lived - because of him," Virginia Tech student Asael Arad - also an Israeli - told Army Radio.

Several of Librescu's other students sent e-mails to his wife, Marlena, telling of how he had blocked the gunman's way and saved their lives, said Librescu's son, Joe.

"My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee," Joe Librescu said in a telephone interview from his home outside of Tel Aviv. "Students started opening windows and jumping out."

Librescu was respected in his field, his son said.

"His work was his life, in a sense," said Joe. "That was a good place for him to practice his research."

I honor the sacrifice and memory of Liviu Librescu, and hope that I will have the strength to emulate him if ever faced with his choice -- and pray I never have to do so.





|| Greg, 05:17 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Problem With Political Speech Limitation

I've said in the past that I'll vote for a Nazi or a Communist -- or worse yet, Hillary Clinton -- before I vote for John McCain for President because of his role in imposing campaign spending regulations that fly in the face of the clear language of the US Constitution.

Today, Bradley Smith lays out the constitutional problems with such regulations.

In his most recent Townhall column, Armstrong Williams has laid out a plan that he claims will "divorce" money from politics. In the process, Williams employs every tired canard of the campaign finance "reform" community.

But a few words were noticeably absent from Williams' column. There was no mention, for example, of "the First Amendment." Nor was there any mention of "free speech." And while I looked for "freedom" and "liberty," alas, these too were absent. This comes as no surprise. Advocates of political speech regulation have for so long felt unconstrained by the First Amendment's seemingly clear command, that "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech," that they now ignore it as a matter of course.

The closest Williams comes to addressing the constitutional problems with campaign finance regulation is the bare assertion that "giving money is not giving voice." But it most certainly is. In modern society, money facilitates speech. It costs money to publish a newspaper or operate a broadcast station. It is not possible to run a political campaign or effectively criticize officeholders without spending money for signs, advertisements, rallies, mailers, and more.

In his column, Williams had gone so far as to quote a misguided senior citizen who wants political speech limitation and regulation.

But I (and millions of Americans, a few of which are even lawmakers) disagree. First, giving money is not giving voice. Second, privately donated money is not necessary for a campaign if "clean" or public money is given equally to each candidate. I agree with the political activist Doris Haddock who literally walked across the country at the age of 88 in hopes of bringing about true campaign finance reform. She said, "If money is speech, then those with more money have more speech, and that idea is antithetical to a democracy that cherishes political fairness. It makes us no longer equal citizens."

Haddock, of course, is wrong -- unless one wishes to argue that the existence of large corporate media like the television networks, New York Times, and Time Magazine are also "antithetical to a democracy that cherishes political fairness" and "makes us no longer equal citizens." After all, the vast spending of these news organizations ALSO give them an unequal voice that can drown out the voices of the less well-heeled among us (such as this blogger) and get them access that the common man cannot obtain. Would Haddock (and Williams) accept the argument that "money is not speech" and therefore allow Congress to limit the budgets of news organizations and the amount that Americans spend to access the same? Or how about regulations, similar to those imposed upon advocacy groups, that ban reporting upon or editorializing about candidates and officeholders for 25% of an election year? Of course not!

Smith then points out the fundamental understanding of the Founders about the nature of men and the nature of our constitutional republic -- and Williams' fundamental misunderstanding of the First Amendment.

When the Founders drafted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, they were not nave. They knew that men weren't angels, and that factions would sometimes try to harness the power of government for their own benefit. They wrote the First Amendment with full knowledge of this threat. Indeed, they wrote the First Amendment because they also knew that one of the surest checks against government corruption was the unfettered ability to criticize those in government. Williams' scheme abandons these cherished First Amendment principles. The likely result is more and harder to detect corruption. The long term effects could be even worse. As the Founders knew, prohibiting ordinary citizens from effectively discussing politics is no prescription for clean government. It is a prescription for tyranny.

Money may or may not be speech, depending upon how you look at it -- but cutting off private money is a sure way of strangling the speech of citizens, an action which the Founders would have rightly labeled tyranny and which they would have understood merited the exercise the rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment to dislodge the tyrants.





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April 17, 2007

Newspapers Agree -- Make It Harder For Victims To Defend Themselves

What else would you expect from the New York Times?

Not much is known about the gunman, who killed himself, or about his motives or how he got his weapons, so it is premature to draw too many lessons from this tragedy. But it seems a safe bet that in one way or another, this will turn out to be another instance in which an unstable or criminally minded individual had no trouble arming himself and harming defenseless people.

* * *

Our hearts and the hearts of all Americans go out to the victims and their families. Sympathy was not enough at the time of Columbine, and eight years later it is not enough. What is needed, urgently, is stronger controls over the lethal weapons that cause such wasteful carnage and such unbearable loss.

Which ignores, of course, that the problem is likely to be one of illegally obtained guns -- guns already banned under the statutes that exist -- and not legally obtained weapons. Indeed, as I've already noted, the laws and regulations in placed guaranteed that the stable and non-criminally-minded students lacked the means to stop this individual from continuing his rampage.

And, of course, there is the Houston Chronicle.

Proponents of unfettered access to firearms rely on the rallying cry, "Guns don't kill people; people kill people." That's true. The horrifying reality is that too many Americans afflicted with mental illness, alienation or hatred are ready and willing to take life. And they can arm themselves to the hilt without ever undergoing a background check.

While Virginia Tech police believe they know who was responsible for the shootings, his motives remain a mystery that might never be satisfactorily solved.

Meanwhile, the mass murderer is another in a series of American figures who combine a fascination with deadly weapons, easy access to them, a grudge against the world and an unexplained capacity for cruelty.

And given the description of the weapons used in this shooting, it appears that they were not legally obtained at all -- meaning that even the most stringent background checks would have been ineffective because buyers and sellers of illegal weapons, by definition, will ignore any law designed to limit gun sales.

At least the Washington Post showed a little moderation, asking questions rather than immediately urging that potential victims law-abiding citizens exercising their constitutional rights be further restricted and disarmed.

The atrocity at Virginia Tech sparked instant and fierce debates, online and elsewhere, even as survivors were fighting for their lives. Under what circumstances, and where, did the gunman obtain his weapons? Would the university have suffered the same tragedy if Virginia law did not prohibit the carrying of guns on campus? Should metal detectors be ubiquitous in American classrooms and dormitories? And why are gunmen so apt to carry out their lethal rampages at American schools?

So many questions -- and a same resistance to the siren call of the failed solution of limitation on gun rights.

I have to agree with the Post's conclusion as well.

As the debates rage and questions are raised, the mourning will go on. But the parents, relatives and friends of the victims at Virginia Tech will not mourn alone. Their tragedy is America's too.




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Local Teen Calls For Federal Hate Crime Law

I reported on this case when it happened, and feel great compassion for this young man.

David Ritcheson had been a running back on the Klein Collins High School football team. He was homecoming prince as a freshman and had a girlfriend. He "hung out with the good crowd," he says, and had every reason to look forward to returning last fall.

But once classes resumed, Ritcheson was overwhelmed by the looks he got everywhere he went in the halls, in the cafeteria, in classrooms.

The looks all said the same thing: You're a victim, how do you deal with it? Everybody knew what had happened to him, and the attack, he says, "was just so degrading."

In a case that drew national attention, Ritcheson, a Mexican-American, was severely assaulted last April 23 by two youths while partying in Spring. One of the attackers, a skinhead named David Tuck, yelled ethnic slurs and kicked a pipe up his rectum, severely damaging his internal organs and leaving Ritcheson in the hospital for three months and eight days almost all of it in critical care.

In an hour-long interview at his home with his parents on Monday, Ritcheson agreed to be photographed and have his name made public. He reflected on his life before the attack, described the lengthy recovery that followed and looked forward to wresting something positive from the experience.

"How hasn't it changed me?" he asked, summing up the experience.

Today, Ritcheson will be in Washington, D.C., to testify before a congressional committee about why he feels federal hate crime laws need to be expanded. As much as he doesn't want to be a "poster child," Ritcheson is convinced he can do some good.

The problem with his position? The facts of his case show that a federal hate crime law is not necessary.

Tuck, 19, and Keith Turner, 18, both of Spring, eventually were convicted of aggravated sexual assault for attacking Ritcheson in the backyard. Tuck was given a life sentence, Turner 90 years.

Life in prison. Ninety years in prison. Excuse me, but it does not strike me that there is anything more that can be done, unless you simply want to take these two mutts out and put a bullet into the base of their skulls. It is rather like the call for a hate crime law here in Texas after the James Byrd dragging in Jasper -- where two of the three perps got the death penalty and the one who cooperated with authorities got life. How would you "enhance" those sentences?

Don't think perpetrators of hate crimes are getting punished sufficiently? Fine, I'll agree with you -- but the solution is not a hate crime law. The solution, instead, is to enhance the penalties for the underlying offenses, across the board, so that actions like theirs are punished harshly. Because after all, what is it we are out to punish -- the crime or the motive? The thoughts or the actions? I hope and pray that the answer is obvious.





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