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May 31, 2007

Oppose Genocide In Darfur? No Coke For You!

That seems to be the position of the genocide-denying Sudanese ambassador to the United States. And i love Dana Milbank's nickname for this creep -- Khartoum Karl!

Now, the genocidal Sudanese government has an entry in this category. Let's call him Khartoum Karl.

Karl -- a.k.a. John Ukec Lueth Ukec, the Sudanese ambassador to Washington -- held a news conference at the National Press Club yesterday to respond to President Bush's new sanctions against his regime. In his hour-long presentation, he described a situation in his land that bore no relation to reality.

Genocide in the Darfur region? "The United States is the only country saying that what is happening in Darfur is a genocide," Ukec shouted, gesticulating wildly and perspiring from his bald crown. "I think this is a pretext."

Ah. So what about the more than 400,000 dead? "See how many people are dying in Darfur: None," he said.

And the 2 million displaced? "I am not a statistician."

Khartoum Karl went on to say that, all evidence to the contrary, his government does not support the murderous Janjaweed militia. "It cannot happen," he said, "so rule it out." As for the Sudanese regime itself: "We are the agents of peace, people like me, my colleagues who are in the central government of Sudan."

What's more, the good and peaceful leaders of Sudan were prepared to retaliate massively: They would cut off shipments of the emulsifier gum arabic, thereby depriving the world of cola.

"I want you to know that the gum arabic which runs all the soft drinks all over the world, including the United States, mainly 80 percent is imported from my country," the ambassador said after raising a bottle of Coca-Cola.

A reporter asked if Sudan was threatening to "stop the export of gum arabic and bring down the Western world."

"I can stop that gum arabic and all of us will have lost this," Khartoum Karl warned anew, beckoning to the Coke bottle. "But I don't want to go that way."

Personally, I'm willing to give up my soda fix -- it isn't particularly good for me. i wonder, though, how my Coca-Cola swilling spouse would respond to this development? I suspect she would be in the streets demanding massive retaliation.





|| Greg, 10:34 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (87) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A License To Ill?

This case certainly concerns me because of the public health issues it raises.

A man who may have exposed passengers and crew members on two trans-Atlantic flights earlier this month to a highly drug-resistant form of tuberculosis knew he was infected, and had been advised by health officials not to travel overseas.

The man flew to Paris from his home in Atlanta on May 12 for his wedding and honeymoon, even though health officials told him they preferred that he not get on the flight, he said in an interview published today in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Days later, while he was in Italy, he was contacted by officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and was told that he had a rare and potentially virulent form of the disease and should turn himself over to Italian health authorities immediately.

Officials of the centers said at a news conference today that they had begun to make arrangements with the Italian authorities to isolate and treat the man in Rome. But instead of cooperating with the plans, the man traveled to the Czech Republic and took a flight from Prague to Montreal.

He said in the published interview that he did that in the belief that he had been put on a no-fly list and would not be allowed to board a flight bound for the United States.

From Canada, he drove to the United States, and then turned himself in at a tuberculosis isolation hospital in New York City.

This is precisely the sort of entitlement-fueled arrogance that allowed the AIDS epidemic to spread -- the idea that the public does not have the right to be protected against highly communicable diseases because of the purported right of the plague carrier to be free of limitations on their freedom, the rest of society be damned. Knowing that he was ill and carrying the disease, we have a guy knowingly and intentionally exposing hundreds -- if not thousands -- of people to a didease that is drug-resistant and can kill its victims.

And the ACLU wants to make such a self-indulgent "license to ill" the law of the land in America. Just look at this suit.

A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union alleges that Maricopa County officials have violated the rights of a quarantined tuberculosis patient for months by treating him as a criminal.

The U.S. District Court complaint on behalf of Robert Daniels alleges health officials and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office have violated numerous constitutional rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The suit asks that Daniels be housed in appropriate accommodations, rather than the severe and "inhumane" jail conditions.

"It's good news for me," Daniels said Wednesday evening. "I finally have a chance to get out of this black hole."

Robert England, the county's tuberculosis control officer, declined comment. Other county health officials were not immediately available.

Daniels, 27, has been isolated in a jail ward at Maricopa Medical Center for 10 months under court order, although he was not convicted or charged with any crime.

Linda Cosme, an attorney for Daniels, said her client has been victimized by constitutional violations. "Robert is helpless," she added. "And he's at the mercy of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He needs as much support as possible, and the ACLU is supplying that support."

Arpaio said Daniels is confined under court order, and must abide by security measures. "I run a safe jail, and he's going to be treated like anyone else," he said.

The problem is that the only facility equipped to handle such a severe health issue in that county is the secure ward. And while Daniels thinks it is good news for him that someone is trying to spring him from the most appropriate medical facility in the region, it is bad news for every person that Daniels will come in contact with in a less secure setting -- those who may die due to the disease that Daniels passes on to them.

If terrorists ever want to do a biological attack on the US, all they have to do is send in a dozen guys with Ebola. The ACLU will quickly file suit to ensure the attack is a success. After all, public health and public safety can't trump the freedom to pass on deadly diseases.


OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Right Pundits, Perri Nelson's Website, The Virtuous Republic, DeMediacratic Nation, Leaning Straight Up, The Amboy Times, Colloquium, Conservative Cat, Pursuing Holiness, Pet's Garden Blog, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, Wake Up America, stikNstein... has no mercy, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker, High Desert Wanderer, Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





|| Greg, 07:58 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (104) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Demo-Hypocrisy On Earmarks

They were supposed to be the root of all evil -- and Democrats campaigned against them and promised to end them.

Guess what? Earmarks are the hallmark of Democrat pork-barrel spending. Not only that, but they want to hide it from you.

Sailing into majority status by running against the GOP culture of corruption, which included charges of widespread abuse of earmarks, Democrats have since turned their backs on promised reforms and instead have adopted rules that guarantee a continuation of the practice.

In the House Appropriations Committee, Chairman Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., has made it clear that anonymous earmarking will continue, as will the practice of including the extra spending in the House-Senate conference report behind closed doors with no debate whatsoever on the efficacy of the earmark while the bill is under consideration on the floor.

Obeys arrogant response to questions about abandoning a major campaign pledge of the Democrats? I dont give a damn if people criticize me or not.

Guess what, America -- they didn't mend it, they didn't end it. Obey and the rest have said "Screw you" to the American people. There's no better example of that than the refusal to condemn Jack Murtha's threats against a GOP colleague for exposing his earmarks to the public.

Turn them out in 2008 -- and elect real conservatives who have been acting to end earmarks.





|| Greg, 07:41 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Be Afraid -- Be Very Afraid

At last -- a potential presidential candidate I can treat with less seriousness than Ron Paul!

cynthia_mckinney.jpg

On May 25, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney participated in a 23-minute interview on Radio Station WBAI. The hosts asked her about the possibility that she may seek the Green Party presidential nomination in 2008. She said, With the failure of the Democratic Congress to repeal the Patriot Act, the Secret Evidence Act, the Military Tribunals Act, I have to seriously question my relationship with the Democratic Party. The idea has not been ruled out. All the current Democrats running for president support the principle of potential military action against Iran; none of them is for impeachment of the President. They cant speak for me. I am open to a lot of ideas in 2008.

The Hit & Run blog over at Reason.com offers these questions.

Remaining questions:

1: Would McKinney get more or fewer votes than Nader did in 2004?

1a: Would the Libertarian candidate actually win fewer votes than her? Her? Really?

2: Would a McKinney candidacy make the LP look, by the mainstream media's lights, like the serious third party?

My answers?

1. More.

1a. Probably -- she takes all the right positions for the netroots, and the LP voters can't stuff a real ballot box like they do for Ron Paul in online polls.

2. No -- because the MSM actually likes McKinney, while they find the Libertarians insufficiently socialist -- though they do like the stuff about legalizing pot and prostitution.

Perhaps we can get a Cynthia/Cindy ticket in 2008 -- I doubt that Cindy Sheehan can keep herself out of the limelight more than two or three weeks and this would get her a platform.





|| Greg, 07:26 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

How Owns Whom -- Dogs Or People?

Around here, I'm reasonably sure that neither my wife nor I are top dog.

carmie.jpg

As the demographics of America have changed, so too has the nature of pet ownership. It used to be that most pets were bought by families. Now, the majority of pet owners, 61 percent, are childlesssingles, unmarried couples waiting to have kids, gay couples, empty-nesters. Invariably, these owners tend to treat their pets like surrogate babies, and they spoil them accordingly. To help these childless pet-parents spend their disposable income, the pet products industry has mushroomed in the past decade. This year well shell out more than $40 billion to keep our furry friends fed, adorned, amused and healthythe latter a huge growth category, with more and more owners paying top dollar for elaborate medical treatments to forestall that inevitable last visit to the vet. By the end of the decade, well be spending $50 billion on pet products, according to the APPMA. Walk the aisles of Petco or PetSmart, past the Hawaiian shirts and sunglasses for your dog and the $140 Catnip Chaise Lounge for your cat, and youll discover just how well-trained we Americans have become. I dont know whos been domesticated: the animals, or the humans? says Jeff Corwin, Animal Planets globetrotting wildlife biologist.

Let's be honest here -- the adorable ball of fur pictured above is our child -- to the point that folks are surprised to find that my wife and I don't really have any kids (unfortunately). And my students are amused by the (small) framed picture of our pampered pooch on my desk. However, we are nto quite this goofy.

Some 56 percent of dog owners and 42 percent of cat owners buy their pets Christmas presents. Pets can listen to their own Internet radio station (Elvis Presleys Hound Dog is one of the more popular songs on DogCatRadio.com), post their pictures and make play dates on dogster.com and catster.com, and earn frequent flier miles on United. They even have cell phones now: PetsCell is a bone-shaped telephone that attaches to your dogs collar and allows you to ring him up (sorry, incoming calls only). And theres a new beer for dogs (from Amsterdam, no less), called Kwispelbier, which is Dutch for waggy tail brew. The recent scare over tainted pet food has made feeding your animal a pricey proposition: Ive switched Samantha to holistic kibble and wet food, hormone-free chicken strips and handmade cookies from a local dog bakery, along with the occasional whole-roasted chicken that we share for dinner. She also gets dried pig hearts, which cost $5 apiece (those, we dont share).

Still, we do get Carmie the best of vet care, and ensure that she has good food and plenty of treats. And if she is getting a bit chubby, what can I say -- she is 11 years old, which would put her somewhere in her mid-70s if she were a person. It's OK that she has lost her girlish figure.

And the adoration of the canine is certainly preferable to this sort of disgusting display.


OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Right Pundits, Perri Nelson's Website, The Virtuous Republic, DeMediacratic Nation, Leaning Straight Up, The Amboy Times, Colloquium, Conservative Cat, Pursuing Holiness, Pet's Garden Blog, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, Wake Up America, stikNstein... has no mercy, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker, High Desert Wanderer, Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





|| Greg, 07:11 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

ACLU Absurdity

Can't sue the government for legal actions? Well, then, let's just sue anyone who did business with them and performed any services connected with that legal action.

The American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday it is suing Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing Co., claiming it secretly flew three of the CIA's terrorism suspects overseas, where they were tortured.

The cases involve allegations of mistreatment of Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian citizen, in July 2002 and January 2004; Elkassim Britel, an Italian citizen, in May 2002; and Ahmed Agiza, an Egyptian citizen, in December 2001.

Mohamed is being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Britel in Morocco; and Agiza in Egypt, the ACLU said in a news release.

Mike Pound, a spokesman for Englewood, Colo.-based Jeppesen, said company officials had not seen the lawsuit and had no immediate comment. He said Jeppesen, a subsidiary of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, provides support services, rather than the flights themselves.

"We don't know the purpose of the trip for which we do a flight plan," Pound said. "We don't need to know specific details. It's the customer's business, and we do the business that we are contracted for. It's not our practice to ever inquire about the purpose of a trip."

What next -- lawsuits against the companies that fueled the planes? How about against any company that manufactured a part for the plane? Or better yet -- lawsuits imposing individual personal liability against each and every employee of the companies in question?

Dismiss the suit, disbar the lawyers -- and by the way, lock their terrorists clients away forever if not longer.





|| Greg, 06:59 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Teresa -- Get Out The Checkbook For John

Looks like your boy-toy is going to need a bit of cash to pay back the American people for some lawbreaking by his campaign.

John Kerry spent $1.4 million more than federal rules allowed during his 2004 presidential bid, primarily on customizing two campaign planes, according to a draft audit by the Federal Election Commission.

If the commissioners approve the staff findings at a meeting Thursday, Kerrys campaign could have to repay the overspending to the U.S. Treasury, since his unsuccessful general election campaign was funded by tax dollars.

In order to receive the public funds, Kerry, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts, and his running mate, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, agreed to spend $74.6 million or less on their general election campaign against President Bush.

Of course, Kerry aides object.

Marc Elias, a lawyer for Kerry-Edwards, says the campaign stayed within the limits and accused the commissions auditors of taking an unsupportably aggressive view of the law.

Yeah -- we wouldn't want to aggressively enforce teh law against a Democrat, would we.

By the way, when it comes right down to it, he either over-spent or he didn't. What do the numbers say? Exactly what the auditors claim. Maybe Kerry just wants them to use fuzzy math.

But then again, he's just a gigolo, everybody knows...





|| Greg, 06:52 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (114) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 30, 2007

Proper Ruling By Supreme Court

I hate the outcome, but the majority made the right call on this one.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it harder for many workers to sue their employers for discrimination in pay, insisting in a 5-to-4 decision on a tight time frame to file such cases. The dissenters said the ruling ignored workplace realities.

The decision came in a case involving a supervisor at a Goodyear Tire plant in Gadsden, Ala., the only woman among 16 men at the same management level, who was paid less than any of her colleagues, including those with less seniority. She learned that fact late in a career of nearly 20 years too late, according to the Supreme Courts majority.

The court held on Tuesday that employees may not bring suit under the principal federal anti-discrimination law unless they have filed a formal complaint with a federal agency within 180 days after their pay was set. The timeline applies, according to the decision, even if the effects of the initial discriminatory act were not immediately apparent to the worker and even if they continue to the present day.

And you know what -- the dissenters were correct -- the ruling ignores workplace realities. however, so does the statute in question, and judges are supposed to be bound by the statutes they examine. They are not a super-legislature which corrects the bad judgement and faulty craftsmanship of the lawmakers.

Captain Ed puts it very well -- and I wish i had written these words.

And the response to that for the Court should be: Write better laws. It is not the job of the Supreme Court to rewrite poorly-constructed legislation. Congress obviously intended for a short window of opportunity for these complaints, for whatever reason they had. The Supreme Court follows the law, unless the law is expressly unconstitutional. Fine-tuning dumb laws and badly-written legislation isn't the purview of the Court, but rather the responsibility of Congress.

Obviously, Congress needs to revisit this piece of legislation. Thankfully, we now have a Court which forces America's elected representatives to do their job, primarily by refusing to legislate from the bench. This gives hope that the last fifty years of judicial legislation have come to an end.

I hope Congress revisits this statute quickly and corrects the flaw in it. That will allow justice in the future, though it cannot undo the injustice caused by their previous sloppy work.

UPDATE: Why am I not surprised that the New York Times wants the court to serve as a super-legislature?





|| Greg, 08:39 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Malaysian Court Rules Islam Trumps Internationally Recognized Human Rights Norms

Well, that is the easiest way to view this case -- either that, or the court has ruled that Muslims are not human beings and therefore do not have human rights that must be respected.

Malaysia's top civil court Wednesday rejected a woman's appeal to be recognized as a Christian, in a landmark case that tested the limits of religious freedom in this moderate Islamic country.

Lina Joy, who was born Azlina Jailani, had applied for a name change on her government identity card. The National Registration Department obliged but refused to drop Muslim from the religion column.

She appealed the decision to a civil court but was told she must take it to Islamic Shariah courts. Joy, 43, argued that she should not be bound by Shariah law because she is a Christian.

A three-judge Federal Court panel ruled by a 2-1 majority that only the Islamic Shariah Court has the power to allow her to remove the word "Islam" from the religion category on her government identity card.

In other words, in order to exercise her human rights, Lina Joy must get permission from religious authorities whose own religious legal code forbids leaving the faith -- and imposes the death penalty on those who try. Incredible!

And here is what Lina Joy faces when she approaches that religious court.

In practice, Mr. Teoh said, Ms. Joy, who was born Azlina Jailani, will have a very difficult time getting the Islamic authorities to allow her to leave Islam. No one in recent years has done it in the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur, where Ms. Joy is registered, he said. Those who have tried have been threatened and cajoled, Mr. Teoh said.

Indeed, part of what has happened to those who try is that they are imprisoned in religious prisons where they are subjected to great pressure to renounce their new faith as a condition of release. But maybe -- after several years of imprisonment for her faith -- the court will let her go. But we know what the public demands of apostates in the Muslim world -- we've sen it too many times.

Perhaps most distressing is this quote from the judge who wrote this abominable decision.

"You can't at whim and fancy convert from one religion to another," Federal Court Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said in delivering judgment in the case, which has stirred religious tensions in the mainly Muslim nation.

A pity that this pathetic excuse for a jurist is not familiar with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

This principle is a fundamental, essential human right. Will the international community speak out against this atrocity against religious freedom? Will the American government act in defense of this fundamental human right? Or will the world, once again, kow-tow to the barbarism that is Islam?

H/T Jawa Report, Michelle Malkin, Sundries Shack, 7.62mm Justice, Absinthe & Cookies

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Right Pundits, Perri Nelson's Website, The Virtuous Republic, DeMediacratic Nation, Leaning Straight Up, The Amboy Times, Colloquium, Conservative Cat, Pursuing Holiness, Pet's Garden Blog, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, Wake Up America, stikNstein... has no mercy, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker, High Desert Wanderer, Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





|| Greg, 07:37 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Jordin Had Voice Coach

May I offer a hearty "who cares?"

Jordin Sparks says that she cant take credit for her fabulous voice because its a gift from God. Apparently, the American Idol winner also had a little more earthly help: she reportedly had a vocal coach. That may come as a surprise to Sparks fans because on her official bio on the Idol Web site, when asked if she ever had formal training, Sparks answered, No.

I guess it is all in how you define "formal training" -- and whether you think it matters, given that Melinda was a professional back-up singer and others have been working in the music field for years.





|| Greg, 06:53 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Thompson Takes The Next Step

Not that this comes as a surprise to anyone at all -- Fred Thompson is going to be forming an exploratory committee to explore the possibility of running for the White House. When? Monday.

"Law and Order" star Fred Thompson will make his flirtation with a White House bid official this week, forming a presidential committee and launching a fundraising effort that could culminate in a formal announcement over the July 4th weekend, advisers to the former senator said.

Thompson, who has been fueling speculation that he would seek the Republican presidential nomination with a spate of appearances and speeches around the country, urged a group of donors in a conference call yesterday to each attempt to raise a total of $46,000 from 10 couples starting on June 4, according to two participants in the call. Once the money begins flowing, Thompson will begin to hire a campaign staff and set up headquarters in Washington and Nashville, his advisers said.

The question is, of course, which staffers are not committed to someone else -- and which "names" will be jumping to Thompson from the other declared candidates in the GOP.

And the launch date for the "real" campaign? The Fourth of July weekend -- giving Fred one month to raise a substantial kitty. Expect him to make his announcement in Nashville.

The big question is -- who among the GOP leaders does this development hurt? Could it be Romney? Or is it McCain, whose political record is similar to Thompson's?





|| Greg, 06:48 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 29, 2007

Pelosi On Climate Change -- Right On Reality, Wrong On Cause

Nancy Pelosi just does not get it.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) said Monday she led a congressional delegation to Greenland, where lawmakers saw "firsthand evidence that climate change is a reality," and she hoped the Bush administration would consider a new path on the issue.

Actually, Nancy, I know of very few folks who doubt climate change outright. What we question is the cause, the mechanism, behind it.

The California Democrat pointed to her delegation's weekend stop in Greenland, "where we saw firsthand evidence that climate change is a reality; there is just no denying it."

"It wasn't caused by the people of Greenland it was caused by the behavior of the rest of the world," she said.

Scientists have noticed that Greenland's output of ice into the North Atlantic had increased dramatically, doubling over the decade that ended in 2005.

Yes, it has -- but has it been caused by human beings? Or has it been part of a cyclical change in climate that occurs over a 1000-1500 year period -- after all, have you never thought of why it was called GREENland by those who discovered it? The climate was much more temperate a millenia ago, while we are now coming out of a period which is often referred to by historians and climatologists as the Little Ice Age.

Oh, and by the way -- who rejected Kyoto? Try Bill Clinton, who never submitted it to the Senate -- and the unanimous Senate that expressed its opposition to the treaty in 1998.






|| Greg, 11:20 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (49) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Don't Go Away Mad -- Just Go Away

When the going gets tough -- the Loony Left posts over at Kos and then abandons the field.

Cindy Sheehan, the "peace mom" who made headlines in 2005 by staging a marathon protest outside President Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch, said Monday that she no longer wants to be seen as a leader of the anti-war movement.

In a 1,245-word missive entitled "Goodbye Attention Whore" posted on the liberal DailyKos blog, Sheehan said her campaign to end the war in Iraq had strained her relationship with her children, cost her a marriage and left her nearly penniless.

"This is my resignation letter as the 'face' of the American anti-war movement," Sheehan wrote. "I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost."

Her sanity and dignity are probably two of the things Sheehan will not recover, having clearly been driven around the bend by her son's death. I don't hate her -- I pity her, both for the loss she has suffered and her inability to channel her grief in a way that didn't destroy her family and disgrace the sacrifice of her son.

But I will point this out to you -- the Democrats embraced her in an opportunistic fashion only, as a weapon agains the GOP, so the conservative suggestion that she was a Democrat tool was, in fact, an accurate one. Once she ceased serving their purpose, she was discarded. It just sort of goes to show you how committed to the cause of ending the war in Iraq they really are -- and how much concern they really ahve for the troops and their families.





|| Greg, 11:13 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Cyber-War In Estonia -- The Shape Of Things To Come

This development in recent weeks has been interesting.

When Estonian authorities began removing a bronze statue of a World War II-era Soviet soldier from a park in this bustling Baltic seaport last month, they expected violent street protests by Estonians of Russian descent.

Expected, yes -- but the decision to remove the statue would be no different than one to remove a statue of the conquering Japanese from the streets of Manila.

They also knew from experience that if there are fights on the street, there are going to be fights on the Internet, said Hillar Aarelaid, the director of Estonias Computer Emergency Response Team. After all, for people here the Internet is almost as vital as running water; it is used routinely to vote, file their taxes, and, with their cellphones, to shop or pay for parking.

What followed was what some here describe as the first war in cyberspace, a monthlong campaign that has forced Estonian authorities to defend their pint-size Baltic nation from a data flood that they say was set off by orders from Russia or ethnic Russian sources in retaliation for the removal of the statue.

The Estonians assert that an Internet address involved in the attacks belonged to an official who works in the administration of Russias president, Vladimir V. Putin.

The Russian government has denied any involvement in the attacks, which came close to shutting down the countrys digital infrastructure, clogging the Web sites of the president, the prime minister, Parliament and other government agencies, staggering Estonias biggest bank and overwhelming the sites of several daily newspapers.

It turned out to be a national security situation, Estonias defense minister, Jaak Aaviksoo, said in an interview. It can effectively be compared to when your ports are shut to the sea.

Computer security experts from NATO, the European Union, the United States and Israel have since converged on Tallinn to offer help and to learn what they can about cyberwar in the digital age.

This may well turn out to be a watershed in terms of widespread awareness of the vulnerability of modern society, said Linton Wells II, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration at the Pentagon. It has gotten the attention of a lot of people.

The denial of a Putin connection is the most clear sign that there is one, given the byzantine workings of Russian government.

But more importantly, it raises the question of whether or not the US is ready for such an attack by our enemies -- and if we are ready to perpetrate one against our enemies. Given the freedom with which al-Qaeda and other Islamists prowl the internet, I fear that the answer may be no.





|| Greg, 11:06 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Army Of Bloggers Against Cancer

You may notice that I've added a new blogroll on my site -- one devoted to fighting cancer. That issue is a very important one to me right now, given that my uncle will undergo cancer surgery beginning at 7:30 this morning, the time I've set for this post to appear on my site.

The originator of the blogroll, G.M. Roper (a fellow Munuvian) explains the goal this way.

Cancer is no respecter of race, religion, social status, income or profession. It is an insidious disease that robs people of a quality of life and too often, of life itself. This blog has one purpose, and one purpose only, to enroll as many bloggers in An Army Of Bloggers as possible and to encourage them to make an annual contribution to fighting cancer. The Rules for membership are simple, put the logo and blogroll on your blog, send a donation to a cancer program of any kind and post about it. It would be helpful if you write in the "memo field" of your check the following "Donated By The Army Of Bloggers." Help spread the word, help beat this s.o.b. into the ground. If you are a blogger, join the blogroll and make a donation. Leave a comment too if you would be so kind as to whom you donated to. Please leave the address and name of the charity in your comment (you don't need to name the amount). Please, if everyone helps this disease can eventually be whipped.

This Blog and accompanying Blogroll is dedicated Pamela Roper Clark, my beloved sister who passed away in 1990 from ovarian cancer. By putting the power of the blogosphere to work, we hope to make a citizens push to conquer this dread disease.

Who do I plan on supporting? The Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis, which is a research partnership between Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. It is where my uncle is being treated, and where, with the help of the dedicated medical team and the grace of God, he will beat this disease.

To join, please information, please visit this link. Also contact G.M. Roper for inclusion.





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

Fitzgerald Seeks To Punish Crimes Not Charged, Proven

Outrageous -- especially because he knew the guilty party from the first day of his investigation and chose not to charge that individual. How can he therefore seek to sentence a non-leaker like he did the leak?

During the perjury and obstruction trial of Lewis Libby, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald never charged, and never presented evidence, that Libby illegally disclosed the name of a covert CIA agent. But now, Fitzgerald wants Libby to be sentenced as if he had been guilty of that crime.

Libby is scheduled to face sentencing on June 5. In court papers filed last week, Fitzgerald argues that Libby should be sentenced to 30 to 37 months in jail a relatively stiff sentence that is appropriate, Fitzgerald says, because of the seriousness of the investigation which Libby was convicted of obstructing.

During the CIA-leak probe, Fitzgerald looked into possible violations of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and the Espionage Act. He did not charge anyone with breaking either law. But in his court filing, Fitzgerald writes that the grand jury obtained substantial evidence indicating that one or both of thestatutes may have been violated. Therefore, Fitzgerald is asking Judge Reggie Walton to treat Libby as if it had been proven that such crimes occurred. Because the investigation defendant was convicted of endeavoring to obstruct focused on violations of the IIPA and the Espionage Act, Fitzgerald continues, the court much calculate defendants offense level by reference to the guidelines applicable to such violations.

As a basis for his argument, Fitzgerald is using a common legal distinction: Its more serious to obstruct a murder investigation than a shoplifting investigation. The problem, for Fitzgerald, is that he never proved that a crime, as defined by either the Intelligence Identities Protection Act or the Espionage Act, actually occurred. Now, hes arguing not only that he proved a crime occurred but that Libby knowingly took part in it. The formula for calculating the sentence recommendation, Fitzgerald writes, is designed to match the offense level to the conduct and result intended by the defendant.

Absolutely outrageous. Fitzgerald didn't charge Libby with leaking, fought to keep him from presenting evidence that any disclosures were legitimate under the law, and hid the identity of the real leaker throughout the investigation -- ultimately choosing not to charge that individual, who was in no way influenced by or connected to Libby, and who in fact was an opponent of Libby and his boss, Dick Cheney. But now Fitzgerald wants to treat Libby like a leaker?

There is only one word taht fits here -- scapegoat.





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Pressuring Sudan

Maybe this will get the situation to improve.

President Bush has decided to implement a plan to pressure Sudan's government into cooperating with international efforts to halt the violence in its troubled Darfur region, where his administration said almost three years ago that genocide was taking place.

Administration officials said yesterday that the Treasury Department will step up efforts to squeeze the Sudanese economy by targeting government-run ventures involved with its booming oil business, which does many of its transactions in U.S. dollars. Bush will sanction two senior Sudanese officials and a rebel leader, who are suspected of being involved in the violence in Darfur.

The United States will also seek new U.N. Security Council sanctions against Khartoum, as well as a provision preventing the Sudanese government from conducting military flights in Darfur. The United Nations has accused Sudan's government of bombing Darfur villages.

Bush has been considering such steps for months and was set to announce the plan last month at the U.S. Memorial Holocaust Museum. But he held off at the behest of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, who pleaded for more time to conduct diplomacy with Sudan's president, Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan al-Bashir, toward allowing international peacekeepers into the country.

International organizations have been silent too long in the face of this crisis. The time has come for that to end.





|| Greg, 04:52 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dishonoring The Vets

I'm stunned by this one.

Vandals burned dozens of small American flags that decorated veterans' graves for Memorial Day and replaced many of them with hand-drawn swastikas, authorities said Monday.

Forty-six flag standards were found empty and another 33 flags were in charred tatters Sunday in the cemetery, authorities said. Swastikas drawn on paper appeared where 14 of the flags had been.

Members of the American Legion on this island off Washington's northwest coast replaced the burned flags with new ones Sunday afternoon.

The vandals struck again on Memorial Day after a guard left at dawn, the San Juan County sheriff's office said. This time, the vandals left 33 of the hand-drawn swastikas.

"This is not an act of free speech. This is a crime," Sheriff Bill Cumming said in a statement released Monday afternoon

Burn your flag -- free speech. Burn someone else's flag, especially one from a soldier's grave -- criminal vandalism.

Catch these scumbags and throw the book at them.

H/T Malkin





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

May 28, 2007

Memorial Day 2007

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

arlington.jpg

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





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Barry Bonds -- The Epitome Of No-Class

Some quotes reveal everything about someone's character.

As Barry Bonds nears his record 756th home run, he's stockpiling quite a collection of souvenirs -- bats, balls, helmets and spikes, pieces of baseball history perfectly suited for the Hall of Fame.

Whether he'll donate any of them to Cooperstown, however, is in doubt.

"I'm not worried about the Hall," the San Francisco slugger said during a recent homer drought. "I take care of me."

It still isn't too late do ban this steroid-enhanced cheater from the game. No one will miss him.





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CD22 -- Revenge Of The GOP

I'm so looking forward to seeing Nick Lampson crushed in November, 2008. After all, he showed himself unwilling to face a Republican in 2006, and this time there will definitely be an opponent on the ballot to put the seat firmly in the GOP column where it belongs.

Heres a sign that full-bore preparations for the 2008 elections start when the legislative session ends later today: U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson of Stafford, near Houston, is letting it be known hes not running next year for the U.S. Senate seat held by John Cornyn, Lampsons political strategist says.

Mustafa Tameez of Houston, a political consultant to Lampson, said this morning that Lampson, the Democrat who last year captured the U.S. House seat vacated by Tom DeLay of Sugar Land, intends to seek re-election insteadfully knowing that his district historically leans Republican.

A Senate bid is not going to happen, Tameez said. It sounds goofy, but he feels like he made a commitment to the people of Congressional District 22. Tameez said Lampson feels a Senate try would be disingenuous.

Tameez aired Lampsons decision to stamp out speculation regarding a Senate bid. We just want it to stop, he said (unwittingly the desire of some observers of this legislative session).

So Nick is willing to actually stand and face a GOP opponent this time around? Should be fun to watch him go down in defeat to a Republican -- again. After all, constituents keep rejecting him when he has to face an opponent who is actually on the ballot!

And let there be no mistake -- there are several credible candidates out there, ready, willing, and able to write the final line of Lampson's political obituary.

Deluded Democrat reactions at Musings and BayAreaHouston (OMG-- have I actually linked to John twice today?)





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Frightening Injury In Cincinnati

The initial reports give signs of hope that Ryan Freel will be OK.

Reds center fielder Ryan Freel had feeling in all of his extremities and was coherent after colliding with right fielder Norris Hopper on Monday.

Freel, known for his all-out play, was down for 13 minutes while being examined and was taken off the field on stretcher.

The frightening scene took place in the third inning of a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Freel and Hopper chased a ball hit by Humberto Cota leading off the inning. Freel caught the ball on the warning track and his left arm was run into by Hopper. Freel was twirled around to his left and fell at the base of the wall.

After being examined by Reds trainers and physicians, Freel was turned over on his back, strapped to a stretcher, loaded into an ambulance and taken to Good Samaritan Hospital.

The Reds announced Freel's condition in the fourth inning. He was scheduled for further exams.

Hopper remained in the game.

Freel, hitting .253 entering the game, was replaced by Ken Griffey Jr.

The initial fears of a catastrophic injury involving paralysis seem to have been unfounded. Still, everybody keep Ryan Freel in prayer during his recovery from what still appears to be a serious injury.





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Patriot Player Missing Drowns Following Jetski Accident

Let's be honest, folks -- this story about Marquise Hill does not look good.

U.S. Coast Guard rescue crews continued searching Lake Pontchartrain on Monday for New England Patriots defensive end Marquise Hill, who was reported missing following a jetski accident.

"We searched throughout the night," said Petty Officer Tom Atkeson.

According to WDSU-TV, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said they are no longer on a search and rescue mission. Now their mission is one of search and recovery and Hill is presumed drowned.

Hill's agent, Albert Elias, said he had been told Hill and a young woman were jetskiing Sunday in the lake when both of them went into the water, which had a strong current. Elias said the woman was able to make it to a pylon and hang on until she was rescued, while Hill was last scene floating away from the scene.

"I'm an optimistic guy," Elias told WWL television in New Orleans. "He's a strong kid and a fighter."

By all accounts, Hill is a decent guy, who has regularly returned home to help family members recover from the devastation left by hurricane Katrina.

Unfortunately, at least one media outlet has begun using the words "presumed dead" in their coverage -- let's hope and pray that this is a case of leaping to an unwarranted conclusion, and that Marquise Hill is found alive.

UPDATE -- 5/28/07 15:18 Central Time: The body of Marquise Hill has been found.

Officials told New Orleans television station WDSU on Monday that they recovered the body of Marquise Hill of the NFL's New England Patriots.

The news report came about 17 hours after the Coast Guard received word that Hill was missing following an apparent water scooter accident on Lake Ponchartrain.

The former Louisiana State University, a defensive tackle in the NFL since 2004, was reported missing Sunday night. the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said at about 10:45 a.m. Monday that they were no longer on a search and rescue mission.

Tragic.

May his family and teammates be comforted in the face of the loss of this gentleman at much too young an age.





|| Greg, 01:18 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Texas Teachers Screwed Again

I just love the budget priorities this year when it comes to pay raises.

This year, it includes money for a teacher pay raise of up to $450 and a $35,000 raise for Gov. Rick Perry.

Fortunately, though, they decided to go back to fully funding the pension system this year.

And according to the wrong-wing BayAreaHouston blog, those are not the only two pay raise obsecenities.

Pay raise for our Texas school teachers: $430.
Pay raise for Governor Rick Perry: $32,000.
Pay raise for Attorney General Abbott: $25,000
Pay raise for the Commissioner of the Teacher Retirement System: $151,000.

Here's hoping the governor line-item vetoes the last three -- or better yet, vetoes the whole bill and brings them back to try again.

I'm curious, though, about whether or not the legislature gave itself a huge increase in pay this year. I wonder if John's leaving that out is because there isn't one -- or because it might make his Democrat cronies look bad for voting in favor of a budget that lines their own pockets, like they did last time around.

Oh, and for those of you who are curious -- if we average the two figures mentioned above, it works out to a raise of $2.35 per contract day for each teacher in the state. It's great to know how I am valued by my state legislature -- less than the cost of my lunch in the school cafeteria.





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Al-Qaeda Worldwide --Where Do We Fight?

And how do we stop them in this country without being accused of ethnic profiling and religious discrimination? Because they are expanding their reach beyond the battlefields of Iraq and into the rest of the Middle East -- and into the West.

There are some operational parallels between the urban terrorist activity in Iraq and the urban environments in Europe and the United States, Mr. Pluchinsky wrote. More relevant terrorist skills are transferable from Iraq to Europe than from Afghanistan to Europe, he went on, citing the use of safe houses, surveillance, bomb making and mortars.

A top American military official who tracks terrorism in Iraq and the surrounding region, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the topic, said: Do I think in the future the jihad will be fueled from the battlefield of Iraq? Yes. More so than the battlefield of Afghanistan.

Which is, of course, a good reason for decisively ending the terrorist threat in Iraq by wiping out every last vestige of al-Qaeda there, and by ruthlessly uprooting al-Qaeda where ever it rears its ugly jihadi head -- preferably with the help of our allies, but going it alone if necessary.

Provided, of course, that the American people are wise enough not to elect a president from a party that doesn't see terrorism as real threat to America.





|| Greg, 09:39 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

One More Reason For A National Curriculum?

As a conservative, I hate to see anything run out of Washington. As a teacher, I particularly despise federal mandates in the realm of education, because all too often they are based upon pie-in-the-sky theories that bear little relationship to what actually goes on in the classroom.

However, might it not be a good idea to set a clear standard for what students should learn in high school, so that a diploma actually means something? Right now, it really does not, for core classes are not necessarily rigorous.

It's no secret to most high school students that taking the required courses, getting good grades and receiving a diploma don't take much work. The average U.S. high school senior donning a cap and gown this spring will have spent an hour a day on homework and at least three hours a day watching TV, playing video games and pursuing other diversions.

This is sometimes a surprise to adults, particularly state legislators and school board members who thought that by requiring a number of courses in English, math, science and social studies they had ensured that students would dig in and learn what they need to succeed in college.

Guess again, says a new study, "Rigor at Risk: Reaffirming Quality in the High School Core Curriculum," by the Iowa City-based testing company ACT Inc. "Students today do not have a reasonable chance of becoming ready for college unless they take a number of additional higher-level" courses beyond the minimum, the report said. Even those who do, it concluded, "are not always likely to be ready for college either."

Using research on the college success of students who took the ACT college entrance test, and comparing their test scores to their high school records, ACT researchers found that many core courses were not carefully constructed or monitored and that students often received good grades in the core courses even if they didn't learn much.

State requirements also leave something to be desired, the report said. More than half of states do not require students to take specific core courses in math or science to graduate. Many students pick up diplomas having taken "business arithmetic" rather than geometry or "concepts of physics" rather than a physics course with labs and tough exams.

let's set a rigorous standard nationally for education -- with course expectations that actually teach the important concepts that prepare a student for college or the work world. Furthermore, let's mandate a sequence that makes sense, and that will allow a student to move from district to district, and from state to state, without having their academic credits become a complete hash that delays graduation.





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Some Animals More Equal Than Others In Australia

You'll be punished if you try to bar homosexuals from your establishment in Australia -- but gay establishments can bar heterosexuals with impunity.

An Australian hotel catering for homosexuals has won the right to ban heterosexuals from its bars so as to provide a safe and comfortable venue for gay men.

In what is believed to be a first for Australia, the Victorian state civil and administrative tribunal ruled last week that the Peel Hotel in the southern city of Melbourne could exclude patrons based on their sexuality.

Australia's equal opportunity laws prevent people being discriminated against based on race, religion or sexuality.

But Peel Hotel owner Tom McFeely said the ruling was necessary to provide gay men with a non-threatening atmosphere to freely express their sexuality.

"If I can limit the number of heterosexuals entering the Peel, then that helps me keep the safe balance," Peel told Australian radio on Monday.

Welcome to Animal Farm -- where all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.





|| Greg, 08:53 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

NYTimes Highlights Disillusionment With, Downplays Support Of Mission In Iraq Among Soldiers

After all, it wouldn't do for the American people to be given any sense that the war is going well this memorial day -- it wouldn't fit in the template of the narrative established by the MSM and the neo-Copperhead Democrats.

So you get this story highlighted by the Times.

Staff Sgt. David Safstrom does not regret his previous tours in Iraq, not even a difficult second stint when two comrades were killed while trying to capture insurgents.

In Mosul, in 2003, it felt like we were making the city a better place, he said. There was no sectarian violence, Saddam was gone, we were tracking down the bad guys. It felt awesome.

But now on his third deployment in Iraq, he is no longer a believer in the mission. The pivotal moment came, he says, this past February when soldiers killed a man setting a roadside bomb. When they searched the bombers body, they found identification showing him to be a sergeant in the Iraqi Army.

I thought, What are we doing here? Why are we still here? said Sergeant Safstrom, a member of Delta Company of the First Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. Were helping guys that are trying to kill us. We help them in the day. They turn around at night and try to kill us.

Of course, they then proceed to downplay the attitude of a different sergeant in the same unit, hiding his comments at the very end of the article, wehre they are most likely to be overlooked.

Sergeant Griffin understands the criticism of the Iraqi forces, but he believes they, and the war effort, must be given more time.

If we throw this problem to the side, its not going to fix itself, he said. Weve created the Iraqi forces. We gave them Humvees and equipment. For however long they say they need us here, maybe we need to stay.

So, whose view of reality is more valid?

And let's not forget the point of view that highlights what has been accomplished, rather than the negatives.

I thought it would not be long before we could just stay on our base and act as a quick-reaction force, said the barrel-chested Captain Rogers of San Antonio. The Iraqi security forces would step up.

It has not worked out that way. Still, Captain Rogers says their mission in Kadhimiya has been an amazing success.

Weve captured 4 of the top 10 most-wanted guys in this area, he said. And the streets of Kadhimiya are filled with shoppers and the stores are open, he said, a rarity in Baghdad due partly to Delta Companys patrols.

Unfortunately, there are negatives to this situation -- including turncoats and infiltrators in the Iraqi Army. But a piece on disillusionment in a single unit, based upon interviews with 14 soldiers, hardly seems to be the thing of headlines drawing major conclusions about the war.

Unless the folks doing the writing and publishing have already decided the war isn't worth fighting.

Too bad the days are long gone when the press felt its role was to support, not undermine, the war effort.

H/T Malkin





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

May 27, 2007

Plame Perjury?

If this report is correct, one has to ask why Valerie Plame is not facing perjury charges. After all, her own memo seems to contradict her sworn testimony.

In her testimony before the House, Mrs. Wilson said flatly, I did not recommend him. I did not suggest him. She told the House committee that a 2004 Senate report, which concluded that she had indeed suggested her husband for the trip, was simply wrong. In particular, Mrs. Wilson pointed to a February 12, 2002, memo she had written, which the Senate said showed that she had suggested her husband for the trip, and claimed that the Senate had taken the memo out of context to make it seem as though I had suggested or recommended him.

The 2004 Senate report to which Mrs. Wilson referred had quoted a brief excerpt from her memo. In the new report, Sen. Bond publishes the whole thing, and it seems to indicate clearly that Mrs. Wilson suggested her husband for the trip. The memo was occasioned by a February 5, 2002 CIA intelligence report about Niger, Iraq, and uranium. The report had been circulating in the intelligence community for a week by February 12, and Mrs. Wilson headlined her memo, Iraq-related Nuclear Report Makes a Splash.

The report forwarded below has prompted me to send this on to you and request your comments and opinion. Briefly, it seems that Niger has signed a contract with Iraq to sell them uranium. The IC [Intelligence Community] is getting spun up about this for obvious reasons. The embassy in Niamey has taken the position that this report cant be true they have such cozy relations with the GON [Government of Niger] that they would know if something like this transpired.

So where do I fit in? As you may recall, [redacted] of CP/[office 2] recently approached my husband to possibly use his contacts in Niger to investigate [a separate Niger matter]. After many fits and starts, [redacted] finally advised that the station wished to pursue this with liaison. My husband is willing to help, if it makes sense, but no problem if not. End of story.

Now, with this report, it is clear that the IC is still wondering what is going on my husband has good relations with both the PM and the former minister of mines, not to mention lots of French contacts, both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity. To be frank with you, I was somewhat embarrassed by the agencys sloppy work last go-round, and I am hesitant to suggest anything again. However, [my husband] may be in a position to assist. Therefore, request your thoughts on what, if anything, to pursue here. Thank you for your time on this.

Now Byron York points out the obvious contradiction here -- them memo clearly puts forward her husband as a candidate for the mission to Niger, though admittedly she was not the first person to raise his name. however, she is clearly pushing his candidacy here, advocating for him to be selected. How can this be squared with her sworn testimony that she did not recommend her husband? After all, she is clearly laying out her husband's qualifications for the role -- the day before the vice president was briefed on the uranium matter and asked the questions that ostensibly led to her husband's mission.

There is also evidence that she made contacts abroad with US officials in Africa seeking concurrence for her husband's travel -- only hours after the Cheney briefing. However, there is no way that her timeline can be jibed with the contention that the vice president instigated her husband's trip to Niger -- because it is practically a done deal when she sent the cable, and she had already been putting forth her husband as a candidate to seek information in Niger on the previous day.

Now this leads to a very interesting problem for Plame and Wilson. They are now seeking damages based upon true statements made by executive branch officials trying to correct the record after her husband's statements in the press. We now know that Plame lied about her role in selecting her husband -- and have since the original Senate Committee report was issued. The matter is new even clear than it was at the time. Should this evidence not be the basis for dismissing the suit? Furthermore, should this not be the basis for trying Plame, and perhaps Wilson, on perjury charges?

Regardless, it is clearly a basis for appeal on the part of Scooter Libby -- assuming the president is unwilling to immediately do the honorable thing and issue a full, complete, and unconditional pardon. After all, any misstatements on Libby's parts were not material to the investigation conducted by Fitzgerald, the actual leaker was never prosecuted, and the one individual clearly guilty of perjury is the so-called victim in the case.

H/T Ace





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Lina Joy Decision Coming Wednesday

An important case concerning the human rights of those who do not wish to follow Islam will be decided on Wednesday by a court in Malaysia. It involves Lina Joy, a convert to Catholicism who I've blogged about in the past.

Lina Joy has been disowned by her family, shunned by friends and forced into hiding - all because she renounced Islam and embraced Christianity in Muslim-majority Malaysia.

Now, after a seven-year legal struggle, Malaysia's highest court will decide on Wednesday whether her constitutional right to choose her religion overrides an Islamic law that prohibits Malay Muslims from leaving Islam.

Either way, the verdict will have profound implications on society in a country where Islam is increasingly conflicting with minority religions, challenging Malaysia's reputation as a moderate Muslim and multicultural nation that guarantees freedom of worship.

So it is very simple -- do basic norms of human rights recognized repeatedly under international law apply to those who have the misfortune of being born and raised Muslim? Or does forced submission to Islam trump the right to accept freedom in Christ?

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Outside the Beltway, The Virtuous Republic, DeMediacratic Nation, Maggie's Notebook, On the Horizon, Webloggin, Cao's Blog, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, Blue Collar Muse, Allie Is Wired, Stageleft, stikNstein... has no mercy, The Pink Flamingo, Gulf Coast Hurricane Tracker, CORSARI D'ITALIA, Dumb Ox Daily News, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





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A Column I Can Get Behind

Now here is a position on illegal immigration that I can support completely. The column itself is great, but the conclusion is short, to the point, and dead-on correct.

People who break our laws should be shipped back to wherever they came from and should be told never to dare to darken our doors again. As Sonny Bono said, Whats to debate? Its illegal.

Hurrah!

And might I add:

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





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Affirmative Action For Poverty

If the goal of affirmative action programs is to help the disadvantaged, let's make sure that the disadvantaged -- regardless of race and ethnicity -- are the beneficiaries. That is the goal of this program.

Concerned that the barriers to elite institutions are being increasingly drawn along class lines, and wanting to maintain some role as engines of social mobility, about two dozen schools Amherst, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, the University of Virginia, Williams and the University of North Carolina, among them have pushed in the past few years to diversify economically.

They are trying tactics like replacing loans with grants and curtailing early admission, which favors the well-to-do and savvy. But most important, Amherst, for instance, is doing more than giving money to low-income students; it is recruiting them and taking their socioeconomic background defined by family income, parents education and occupation level into account when making admissions decisions.

Amhersts president, Anthony Marx, turns to stark numbers in a 2004 study by the Century Foundation, a policy institute in New York, to explain the effort: Three-quarters of students at top colleges come from the top socioeconomic quartile, with only one-tenth from the poorer half and 3 percent from the bottom quartile.

Race-based preferences are inherently immoral and contradictory to the spirit of US Civil Rights law and the Fourteenth Amendment -- in addition to often "helping" the most advantaged members of ethnic communities instead of those most in need. By focusing on actual evidence of need rather that blithely making the racist assumption that skin color is a surrogate for being disadvantaged, it may be that affirmative action programs may accomplish an important goal -- helping qualified individuals who truly need the assistance.





|| Greg, 07:37 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

End Birthright Citizenship For Children Of Aliens?

That proposal is set forth in a commentary by US District Court Judge Edmund V. Ludwig. Indeed, he argues that any guest worker program is doomed to failure if birthright citizenship is not ended.


If not faced and dealt with promptly, the geometric, or Malthusian-type, consequences of birthright citizenship will careen Birthright Citizenship even further out of control.

Birthright citizenship accounts for many more persons within than the annual influx of illegal immigrants. One striking example is the woman in Chicago who earlier this year was ordered deported and sought asylum in a church because her child was a birthright citizen.

Guest-worker programs, opportunities to earn citizenship and trying to close our borders deal only with the visible aspects of the huge and complex immigration iceberg. All of them are vulnerable to the insidious issue of birthright citizenship, which deserves immediate attention.

And he is right. Guest workers arrive, have kids, and the kids are US citizens -- making it possible, in many cases, for the "temporary" parents to stay on well past the expiration of their status as guest workers.

If we don't reexamine this issue in a public fashion, and consider the implications of birthright citizenship on guest worker programs, we are simply setting such programs up for failure.





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Looks Dirty To Me

And this would be labeled as such by the press and the Democrats if Bill and Hillary had an R after their names instead of a D.

A longtime Clinton benefactor used corporate jets to fly the former president and Hillary Rodham Clinton on business, personal and campaign trips that a lawsuit brands as wasteful company spending.

The supporter, Vinod Gupta, also secured contracts worth more than $3 million for
Bill Clinton to provide consulting services to Gupta's Nebraska-based company, infoUSA, from 2003 through 2008, according to the suit.

Since 2002, Gupta spent $900,000 flying the former president to international locations on presidential foundation business and flying Hillary Clinton, a Democratic senator from New York, to political events.

The suit, filed by infoUSA shareholders last year, claims those expenses as well as millions of others unrelated to the Clintons were a "serial misuse of corporate assets and resources." The Clintons are not a party to the suit.

Details of the suit were first reported in February by The Deal, a business publication. Accounts also appeared in Saturday's New York Times and Washington Post.

These freebies have made it onto ethics reports and campaign finance disclosures. However, they do create an appearance of impropriety, because the Clinton sense of entitlement does not concern itself with little matters like appearances.

I'm curious -- will the Clintons provide reimbursement to the company at full cost if Gupta is found to have engaged in wrong-doing?

Oh, and one other question -- why did this story get buried in the Saturday paper on a holiday weekend by both the Post and Times? Is is an attempt to cover it up? And is it collusion to avoid embarrassing the former president and his presidential candidate wife?

In other words, there are lots of questions out there.





|| Greg, 07:22 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Reelecting A Dictator In Syria

As a kid, i remember watching the show MASH. For some strange reason, one of the lines that stuck with me over the year was one by Radar, who announced that a party was because "Syngman Rhee 's been elected dictator again."

That line bubbled to the surface this morning as i read about the upcoming Syrian election, which will almost certainly award another seven-year term to Bashir Assad.

But as he prepares for a so-called national referendum in which he is certain to be overwhelmingly re-elected for a second seven-year term, Mr. Assad seems very much in control, with his rivals isolated, his critics increasingly in prison or fearing retribution, and international pressure eased. He has consolidated power around his immediate family and rewarded loyalists. And he has continued to reap the benefits of Washingtons troubles in the region. In Lebanon, the anti-Syrian March 14 movement, which helped force Syria out, has seen its political fortunes plummet, mired in unrest.

Syria has a great deal of confidence now, said Abdel Fattah al-Awad, editor in chief of the government-run newspaper Al Thawra. The country is convinced that the major pressures that once faced us have disappeared. We want to offer security thats what we offer. The Americans, they offer Iraq, which is chaos.

Mr. Assad came to power on a wave of optimism, promising to bring change and to rule differently from his iron-fisted father, Hafez. But as he prepares for another term, Mr. Assad has increasingly begun to emulate his father.

Political campaigners openly called for change several years ago; today many have landed in prison in a government crackdown on dissent. Others shrink from public life.

Few Syrians would even speak on the record for this article, fearing government reprisal.

The article goes on to note his support for terrorist organizations in th region.

Remember -- this is one of the folks the Democrats want to negotiate with to ensure security in Iraq, despite the fact that he is a supporter of the very terrorists that American troops are fighting. I guess that human rights and free, fair elections -- and defeating terrorism -- are not particularly a value to that party after all.

UPDATE 5/28/2007: Assad has been reelected as dictator. But then again, when a leader doesn't permit an opponent on the ballot, what do you expect?





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May 26, 2007

Farrakhan Blasphemes Christianity

And did those present stone him? No, they applauded him -- which proves two things that I've always known:

1) Christians reject the sort of violence promoted by Islam, because Farrakhan was not stoned to death or beheaded.

2) St. Sabina Catholic Church and its pastor have long since strayed from faith in Christ and into some fuzzy spirituality.

"Even though I am a Muslim -- I don't apologize for that -- I'm also a Christian," he told the crowd at 1210 W. 78th Pl. "Islam considers the Bible a sacred book."

"A good Muslim is a Christian, and a good Christian is a Muslim," he added later, stressing the common aspects of the faiths. "Whenever Christ's name is mentioned, I feel at home."

Calypso Louie lies here -- a good Muslim accepts blasphemy against the divinity of Christ, while a good Christian must reject the blasphemous teachings of Islam.


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|| Greg, 06:30 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Army To Seize Venzuelan TV Station

Just remember -- Chavez is the hero of the nutroots activists, and they support his repeated assaults on freedom. At the same time, they claim that civil liberties in the US have been eviscerated by George W. Bush. Let's use this story to consider what the real truth is.

Venezuela's top court on Friday ordered the Defense Ministry to take control of installations of an opposition television station amid a show of military force before the station's controversial closure.

President Hugo Chavez's decision to close the RCTV television channel, which he accuses of backing a 2002 coup against him, has prompted international condemnation and several demonstrations.

Venezuela's Supreme Court ordered the military to "guard, control and monitor" some of the station's installations and equipment including transmission equipment and antennas throughout the country.

An RCTV source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said staff at the station believed troops would take over the station's Caracas headquarters.

The court determined that the government must take RCTV's broadcast equipment to ensure a smooth handover to a state channel that will replace RCTV with broadcasts promoting the values of Chavez's socialist revolution.

I've yet to see the president order the closure of a single media outlet in the US, even treasonous ones like the Washington post, New York Times, and ABC News, all of which have illegally disclosed classified military information that aid the enemies of the United States and actively seek to undermine our nation's war effort. I've not seen the President appoint judges that would give him the sort of deference to do so -- and I've not seen the nation's military leaders corrupted to the point that they would carry out such a violation of fundamental liberties. Yet this is the model the nutroots would follow.

That should make it pretty clear -- they don't want liberty or democracy, but instead want a leftist authoritarian government.





|| Greg, 06:25 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Israel Faces Its Choices In Gaza by Joshuapundit, and On Dehumanizing the Enemy In War and the Nature of Victory by TigerHawk.  Here is a link to the full results of the vote). 

Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
2  1/3Israel Faces Its Choices In Gaza
Joshuapundit
2Musings on a Late Spring Afternoon
Right Wing Nut House
1  2/3Why Are Liberals So Afraid of Their Own Ideas?
The Colossus of Rhodey
1  1/3The Silent Iconoclasm
Soccer Dad
1  1/3Pressure Mounts for Clinton, Obama, Feingold, Biden, Reid to Resign From Senate
Big Lizards
1  1/3Stuck in Westphalia
Done With Mirrors
2/3The Political Problem: Changing the Game
Eternity Road
2/3Look in the Mirror
The Glittering Eye
1/3Why Don't We Celebrate These Kids?
Rhymes With Right
1/3Hello, Hillarycare!
Cheat Seeking Missiles

VotesNon-council link
2  1/3On Dehumanizing the Enemy In War and the Nature of Victory
TigerHawk
1  2/3The Inbetween War
Seraphic Secret
1  1/3In the Shadow of the Wolfowitz Wars -- the Melkert & Malloch Brown Dollars-for-Despots Program
The Rosett Report
1  1/3Poll: 26% of Young *American* Muslim Men Find Terrorism Sometimes Justified; 48% of All American Muslims Oppose War Against *Taliban*
Ace of Spades HQ
2/3"Scorched Earth" Politics, Justice and Christianity
Pursuing Holiness
2/3The Death of the American Way
The Astute Bloggers
2/3Fisking Baskin: Why People Think You Are a Flake
Augean Stables
2/3Still Not Gone...
Dodgeblogium
2/3Strange New Respect, Judicial Branch
Power Line
1/3Rachel's Helpful Guide to Online Dating: For Men
Rachel Lucas
1/3The Revolution #4: A Modest Proposal: the Solution of Illegal Immigration and Foreign Terrorists Living in the United States
The Jackalope's Voice
1/3Biden in NH
Kavips
1/3Competing Analyses On Immigration
Captain's Quarters





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

May 25, 2007

A New Level Of Decadence

This is a revolting development.

One of the world's most prestigious health journals has lashed a fast-growing trend in the United States and Britain for "designer vaginas," the tabloid term for cosmetic surgery to the female genitalia.

The fashion is being driven by commercial and media pressures that exploit women's insecurities and is fraught with unknowns, including a risk to sexual arousal, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) says.

Known as elective genitoplasty, the surgery usually entails shortening or changing the shape of the outer lips, or labia, but may also include reduction in the hood of skin covering the clitoris or shortening the vagina itself.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the practice is spreading fast in the United States as well as in Britain, but the picture is unclear, the BMJ says.

If we in the West are going to continue to decry the genital mutilation of young girls for religious and cultural reasons, how can we countenance the mutilation of women in the developed world for reasons of fashion?





|| Greg, 06:16 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (17) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Applying Standards Brings Fort Worth Protest

If you havent met the requirements to graduate, why should you be permitted to walk across the stage at the graduation ceremony?

Students who had been planning to walk across the stage at graduation ceremonies this weekend were instead walking a picket line Thursday morning.

The Trimble Tech High School seniors marched in front of Fort Worth Independent School District headquarters to protest Wednesday's decision by trustees to bar students who failed the TAKS test from commencement exercises.

About a dozen young people, carrying signs and chanting, began picketing at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. They represent the 613 Fort Worth seniors who did not pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills exam.

Take these young ladies.

Crystal Martinez complained that while she finished at the top of her class with a 3.5 grade point average, she is now blocked from graduation by failing the TAKS test.

"We know we're not going to get our diplomas, but we just want to walk across the stage," Martinez said. "That's all we ask for right now."
Classmate Chloe Walker agreed. "I believe that I have at least the right to walk the stage with all my friends," she said. "I made it this far, and I have all my credits I need. I deserve to get my certificate of completion."

Oh, the humanity! They havent met the legal requirements for graduation, but they want to get the perks that go with graduation including a piece of paper that effectively says Yeah, she showed up.

And it isnt like they dont have a chance to actually get the diploma and graduate.

School officials said non-graduating seniors will have a chance to take the TAKS test again in July. If they pass, they can participate in a separate commencement exercise in August.

You know whenever they have actually met the standard and accomplished the goal for which the accolade is being offered. Otherwise it is the equivalent of giving holding a wedding reception for a couple just shacking up together. What they do not recognize is that participating in the graduation ceremony is an honor for accomplishment, not a right.

Sadly, there are too many districts that have forgotten the true significance of the ceremony and let those who havent met the graduation standards put in a cameo appearance and "walk the stage." Im glad my district does not. I wonder is it time for the Texas Legislature to pass legislation to put a stop to this absurd practice?

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|| Greg, 06:15 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A News Story That Says Everything About Media Bias

When the reporting of good news from Iraq merits its own news coverage, then you know the American people are not being given the whole story by the media.

TIME Magazine's Joe Klein a longtime critic of President Bush and the Iraq war writes this week "There is good news from Iraq." Klein details progress in Anbar province against Al Qaeda including some days in which there have been zero effective attacks by insurgents. He credits alliances between U.S. troops and local tribes and writes that at least two other Sunni-dominated provinces are seeking similar alliances.

And among the examples are the following.

There is good news from Iraq, believe it or not. It comes from the most unlikely place: Anbar province, home of the Sunni insurgency. The level of violence has plummeted in recent weeks. An alliance of U.S. troops and local tribes has been very effective in moving against the al-Qaeda foreign fighters. A senior U.S. military official told meconfirming reports from several other sourcesthat there have been "a couple of days recently during which there were zero effective attacks and less than 10 attacks overall in the province (keep in mind that an attack can be as little as one round fired). This is a result of sheiks stepping up and opposing AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] and volunteering their young men to serve in the police and army units there." The success in Anbar has led sheiks in at least two other Sunni-dominated provinces, Nineveh and Salahaddin, to ask for similar alliances against the foreign fighters. And, as TIME's Bobby Ghosh has reported, an influential leader of the Sunni insurgency, Harith al-Dari, has turned against al-Qaeda as well. It is possible that al-Qaeda is being rejected like a mismatched liver transplant by the body of the Iraqi insurgency.

None of that is to say that the situation is perfect nor that everything will be fixed in six months. And there are certainly problems with the current government but it is a heck of a lot better than the murderous Saddamite regime ever was.

Nd let me say it I understand the desire to see this war come to an end. Having grown up in a military family and having repeatedly sought a military career during my college years (injuries in a car accident ended that dream), I recognize that war is horrible and produces thousands of deaths in combat that each constitute a monumental individual and national tragedy. I wept the night that the war began, and I have wept over this war every day since then. But my study of history tells me that there is no acceptable substitute for victory in Iraq, and that choosing failure will result in a tragedy that far outstrips the horrors of Cambodias killing fields and will render the sacrifices of the troops a meaningless waste of human life.





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

What Should Muslims Do?

Heres a great idea though the Muslim suggesting it has been labeled as "the latest weapon in the Islamophobe arsenal" for speaking out against Islamist violence and Islamic barbarities contained in sharia law.

We Muslims should publicly show our strong disapproval for the growing number of attacks by Muslims against other faiths and against other Muslims. Let us not even dwell on 9/11, Madrid, London, Bali and countless other scenes of carnage. It has been estimated that of the two million refugees fleeing Islamic terror in Iraq, 40% are Christian, and many of them seek a haven in Lebanon, where the Christian population itself has declined by 60%. Even in Turkey, Islamists recently found it necessary to slit the throats of three Christians for publishing Bibles.

Of course, Islamist attacks are not limited to Christians and Jews. Why do we hear no Muslim condemnation of the ongoing slaughter of Buddhists in Thailand by Islamic groups? Why was there silence over the Mumbai train bombings which took the lives of over 200 Hindus in 2006? We must not forget that innocent Muslims, too, are suffering. Indeed, the most common murderers of Muslims are, and have always been, other Muslims. Where is the Muslim outcry over the Sunni-Shiite violence in Iraq?

Islamophobia could end when masses of Muslims demonstrate in the streets against videos displaying innocent people being beheaded with the same vigor we employ against airlines, Israel and cartoons of Muhammad. It might cease when Muslims unambiguously and publicly insist that Shariah law should have no binding legal status in free, democratic societies.

It is well past time that Muslims cease using the charge of "Islamophobia" as a tool to intimidate and blackmail those who speak up against suspicious passengers and against those who rightly criticize current Islamic practices and preachings. Instead, Muslims must engage in honest and humble introspection. Muslims should--must--develop strategies to rescue our religion by combating the tyranny of Salafi Islam and its dreadful consequences. Among more important outcomes, this will also put an end to so-called Islamophobia.

In other words, when Islam joins the civilized world, there will be no reason for others to think ill of it. Until that happens, Muslims are not victims of irrational fear by those who believe in human rights and freedom.





|| Greg, 06:11 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Iran Threatens Israel

When youre a Jew, self-defense will be punished with destruction so decrees the Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"If you think that by bombing and assassinating Palestinian leaders you are preparing ground for new attacks on Lebanon in the summer, I am telling you that you are seriously wrong," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a rally in the city of Isfahan.

"If this year you repeat the same mistake of the last year, the ocean of nations of the region will get angry and will uproot the Zionist regime."

Bomb, bomb, bomb
Bom, bomb Iran!

After all, the Stone Age would be an improvement.





|| Greg, 06:07 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dems Grudgingly Fund The Troops

Hey -- abandoning the troops in the field and surrendering to the enemy is a grand old tradition for the Dems, dating back to at least 1864. Fortunately, just like then, there are Republicans to safeguard the nation from Democratic irresponsibility.

Bowing to President Bush, the Democratic-controlled House and Senate reluctantly approved fresh billions for the Iraq war on Thursday, minus the troop withdrawal timeline that drew his earlier veto.

The Senate vote to send the legislation to the president was 80-14. Less than two hours earlier, the House had cleared the measure, 280-142, with Republicans supplying the bulk of the support.

Five months in power on Capitol Hill, Democrats in both houses coupled their concession to the president with pledges to challenge his policies anew. This debate will go on, vowed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, announcing plans to hold votes by fall on four separate measures seeking a change in course.

Unfortunately, the leading Democrat contenders for the White House showed their unfitness for the position.

Courting the anti-war constituency, Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama both voted against legislation that pays for the Iraq war but lacks a timeline for troop withdrawal.

"I fully support our troops" but the measure "fails to compel the president to give our troops a new strategy in Iraq," said Clinton, a New York senator.

"Enough is enough," Obama, an Illinois senator, declared, adding that
President Bush should not get "a blank check to continue down this same, disastrous path."

Their votes Thursday night continued a shift in position for the two presidential hopefuls, both of whom began the year shunning a deadline for a troop withdrawal.

Supporting the troops by abandoning them -- an interesting concept. I guess they are more interested in the nomination that in principle or national security.

Though I will concede that they are not as unfit as John Edwards, who doesn't even recognize that the United States is at war with the forces of Islamist terrorism around the world, and who effectively denies the last 5 1/2 years (the last 15, really) of American history.





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

Dems Pass Ethics Reform After Giving Colleague A Pass

I'm sure the Democrats will implement this provision every bit as completely and even-handedly as the ones that they gave Murtha a pass on earlier this week.

Prodded by Democratic leaders and by freshmen elected partly on promises to clean up Washington, the House approved new ethics legislation yesterday that would penalize lawmakers who receive a wide range of favors from special interests, and would require lobbyists to disclose the campaign contributions they collect and deliver to lawmakers.

Party leaders and new lawmakers worked until the day before the vote to sway some longtime members who had balked at the proposals. It took weeks of persuasion by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other key lawmakers to convince recalcitrant Democrats -- among them some members of the speaker's inner circle.

The new proposals, which in the end passed overwhelmingly, would expand the information available about how business is done on Capitol Hill and make it available online. They would provide expanded, more frequent and Internet-accessible reporting of lobbyist-paid contributions and sponsorships, and would for the first time impose prison terms for criminal rule-breakers. They would also require strict new disclosure of "bundled" campaign contributions that lobbyists collect and pass on to lawmakers' campaigns. Yesterday's legislation passed 396 to 22.

"It is absolutely imperative that we break this circle of deceit that exists, that has existed, between lobbyists, their wealthy clients and this legislature," said Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio), who helped rally support for the rules. In November, Space won the seat vacated by Republican Robert W. Ney, who had pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

The House in January passed rules banning gifts, meals and travel from lobbyists. The rules also require sponsors of pet spending projects, known as earmarks, to identify themselves and certify that they have no financial interest in them.

The vote to let Murtha skate, followed by his admission of guilt, makes it clear that this is nothing but window-dressing from the Democrats.





|| Greg, 04:09 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 24, 2007

A Request For Prayer

I dont usually post stories like this here. Ill make an exception for this one.

A horrible accident. That's how investigators are describing a Saginaw fire that killed six people, including five children.

The fire started at around 2:30 this morning in the home at the corner of Waller and South Michigan on the city's west side.

One person, 33 year old Tanesha Watkins was rescued and is in fair condition at Covenant Healthcare.

Her husband, Samuel Watkins, 36, died in the fire, along with his stepchildren. They have been identified as Adam Dupuis, 13, daughters Majesty Price, 8, Destiny Price, 5, Essence Price, 3, and Chad Skinner, 1. His birthday was yesterday.

Here's what happened. Samuel Watkins was cooking in the kitchen when the fire started. Tanesha Watkins awoke when one of her daughters got up to go to the bathroom.

Tanesha smelled the smoke and went to look for the fire. She went to the basement, and was trapped as the flames spread.

She was rescued by two Saginaw County sheriff's deputies, who were waved down by the stepfather.

Saginaw Police Fire Investigator Jason Ball explains what the stepfather did next.
"From what we've learned, there was a fire in the kitchen. The father was made aware of the fire, ran outside, sought help from a sheriff's deputy who was on a traffic stop nearby. The sheriff's deputy reported that he observed the 36-year-old stepfather run into the house, through a wall of smoke and flames, to try to make it to the upstairs where the children and his wife were sleeping."

Such a tragedy is hard to wrap your head around. In this case, these people were the family of one of my fellow teachers. Id ask that you keep this entire family in prayer at this horrific time, that they may know Gods love in the midst of their sorrrow, and be comforted with the assurance that those who have died are wrapped in the arms of a loving God. Especially, please pray for Tanesha Watkins as she recovers from her injuries and from the devastation of losing her husband and children in one cruel blow.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them. Amen.





|| Greg, 06:19 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Political Speech Most Foul?

Well, that seems to be the position taken in Colorado, where a Democratic Party official has been acquitted of criminal use of a noxious substance for stuffing dog crap in the mailbox of her congresswoman.

A former Democratic Party activist who left dog feces on the doorstep of U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave's Greeley office during last year's 4th Congressional District campaign was found not guilty Wednesday of criminal use of a noxious substance.

A Weld County jury deliberated about two hours before acquitting Kathleen Ensz of the misdemeanor count. Her trial began Tuesday.

Ensz's lawyers never denied that their client left a Musgrave campaign brochure full of feces at the front door of the congresswoman's office. But they argued that Ensz was making a statement protected by free speech - the poop was a symbol of what she thought of Musgrave's politics.

"Her only intention of going over there was to make a political statement that Marilyn Musgrave's politics stink," attorney Shannon D. Lyons said after the verdict.

So lets get this straight.

Stuffing dog crap in the mailbox is free speech.

Presumably this also means that throwing dog crap at an elected official is free speech, despite my argument that such repulsive and disgusting behavior was criminal conduct, not free speech, back when I originally wrote about this case.

Gee I cant wait for Hillary to come to town!





|| Greg, 06:18 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

University of Michigan Admits More Qualified Freshman Class

You know, when you start applying objective academic standards and not racial preferences, that is what happens.

However, some folks are not happy about the University being forced to follow the Fourteenth Amendment.

Cordelia Martin, a senior at Farmington Hills' Mercy High School, believes Proposal 2 is the leading culprit for her denial.

"If affirmative action would have still been allowed in the admissions process, I think U of M would have considered the odds that I strived to overcome more and taken my racial ethnicity into account," said Martin, who will attend Michigan State University in the fall. She's also a plaintiff in a lawsuit to repeal Proposal 2.

So you see, shes upset that she was not admitted to the University of Michigan despite her failure to meet the color-blind admissions requirements. As far as she is concerned, she should be judged by the color of her skin and not the content of her character or the quality of her intellect. Not that she is particularly harmed by this outcome, given her admission to Michigan State University.

Interestingly enough, U-M officials acknowledge that Prop. 2 has resulted in an increase in academic ability.

U-M officials did not comment Wednesday on the diversity of the class. However, they said it should be one of the "most highly qualified and intellectually dynamic ever admitted."

Now if one presumes that the purpose of a university is to educate, and that a top-tier university is supposed to be taking the top-tier intellects, then Prop 2 has done exactly what it is supposed to do.

And if those who dont measure up lose out to those who do, then what we have is justice, not racism.





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

Will Murtha Be Punished Now?

Now that Jack Murtha has admitted violating House Ethics Rules, will he receive an appropriate sanction or his misdeeds?

Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania sent a note of apology to Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan Wednesday, the day after a divided House denied Rogers a vote to officially reprimand the powerful senior Democrat.

Murtha apologized for his "outburst" in a handwritten note Rogers received Wednesday morning, the latter's office confirmed. This marks his first acknowledgement of an episode between the two lawmakers on the House floor.

Last week, the powerful Democrat allegedly threatened to deny Rogers any future spending projects in defense bills after the Michigan Republican challenged his earmark request for $23 million to prevent the administration from closing an intelligence gathering facility in his western Pennsylvania district.

Republicans have called the tirade a flagrant abuse of House rules.

Members and aides on both sides of the aisle continued to speculate that Rogers or another Republican will eventually call on the ethics committee to formally investigate last week's flap, even after Tuesday's partyline vote to prevent debate.

However, Tuesdays vote followed by Wednesdays apology makes the duplicity of the Democrats really clear and clarifies that their promises of a new tone were a lie.





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

Send In The Clowns

This is a classic line, one that will have to join Queen Sheilas many other inane comments as highlights of her pathetic career in public office.

Rep. Jackson Lee also caused a few observers to scratch their heads when she opened her questioning of Goodling this way: Allow me just to simply begin a series of questions, Ms. Goodling, and I would ask that they your answers be as cryptic and as brief as possible, however truthful, because we do have a shortened period of time.

The woman is an idiot but since she serves a racially gerrymandered district designed to put an African-American, no matter how incompetent, in Congress, we shouldnt be surprised that she lives down to the level of Maxine Watters and Cynthia McKinney.

And interestingly enough, it appears that Congressman Keith Ellison may be giving her a run for her money in the idiocy department.

So you all bypassed a chief of [the Civil Division] and went to somebody who had no experience in management simply because they were a liberal? Ellison asked Goodling.

No, not at all, she answered. There were other reasons involved in the decision.

Now

To clarify, we

No, I dont need a clarification, Ellison said. Thank you, maam.

Well, I would like to complete my answer.

Well, I dont need an answer.

Actually, that is probably true. After all, these hearings into the perfectly legal firings of appointees who serve at the pleasure of the President are not about wrong-doing or oversight. Rather, they are about scoring cheap political points with pseudo-scandals and mini-gotchas. As a result, the actual evidence and testimony is irrelevant, for the conclusions were predetermined before the first question was asked. Ellison simply made the mistake of letting the cat out of the bag.


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|| Greg, 06:13 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

New Star Wars Film

Hurrah! Provided, of course, it is better than Episodes I-III.

STAR WARS fans will sense a disturbance in the force amid rampant rumours that a new movie set before the prequels is to be announced in LA tomorrow.

The news of the "huge" announcement by Star Wars creator George Lucas comes on the 30th anniversary of the first film.

Chris Brennan, a member of Star Walking Inc - the Australian Star Wars appreciation society, is in LA for the offcial convention Celebration IV at the Los Angeles Covention Centre.

He said the rumours sweeping the venue is that Lucas will announce a new Star Wars movie is in the works.

Reports have been circling among fans and on the internet of a new Star Wars movie or movies set before the recent prequels at the time of Old Republic when the Jedi regained control of the galaxy from the Dark Lords of the Sith.

"He did make a slip in an interview a couple of weeks ago and say something about a forthcoming movie,'' Brennan said.

"The reporter went back to him and said `did you say movie?'

"George said no he didn't say that and tried to cover it up.''

This would be in addition to the live-action television series that has already been announced.

I like the premise of an early history of the Galaxy. However, I wish he would reconsider his earlier decision not to do Episodes VII-IX, set after Return of the Jedi. Given the years that have passed, the original actors might just be old enough to return for their original roles.





|| Greg, 06:11 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Domestic Terrorist Sentenced

His sentence seems too short but maybe he and his fellow eco-terrorists can serve their time at Gitmo.

Declaring that fires set at a police station, an SUV dealership and a tree farm were acts of terrorism, a federal judge Wednesday sentenced a member of a radical environmental group to 13 years in prison.

Stanislas Meyerhoff, 29, has admitted to being a member of a Eugene cell of the Earth Liberation Front known as The Family, which was responsible for more than 20 arson fires from 1996 through 2001 in five Western states that caused $40 million in damage.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken commended Meyerhoff for having the courage to "do the right thing" by giving authorities information about his fellow arsonists after his arrest.

But Aiken said his efforts to save the Earth by setting fires were misguided and cowardly, and contributed to an unfair characterization of others working legally to protect the environment as radicals.

"It was your intent to scare and frighten other people through a very dangerous and psychological act - arson," Aiken told Meyerhoff. "Your actions included elements of terrorism to achieve your goal."

This guy at least recognizes he was wrong and made a statement that could clearly come from the mouths of most left-wing radicals.

"I was ignorant of history and economy and acted from a faulty and narrow vision as an ordinary bigot," said Meyerhoff, his voice breaking at times.

After all, dissent is not tolerated by the Left and must be met with violence. After all, that violence is in the service of a higher cause, and those who are its victims deserve it for not kowtowing to the dogma of the Left.

* * *

And here is a family member of another convicted domestic eco-terrorist trying to make the case that burning down buildings (which could kill people, last time I checked) for political purposes is not terrorism. The scary part? The individual making the argument is a former firefighter!





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

Bad News On Missing Soldier?

UPDATE -- 5/24/2007: The murdered American hero has been identified.

The American military confirmed today that a body found in the Euphrates River on Wednesday is that of Army Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr., one of three American soldiers seized in an ambush on May 12.

A military official said that the body, which was pulled from the river several miles south of where the attack occurred, had been identified late Wednesday and that the family of Private Anzack, 20, of Torrance, Calif., had been notified.

The discovery brought the first signs of closure to a massive manhunt that has gone on for 11 days, with thousands of American and Iraqi troops searching day and night for the missing soldiers. But for the men and women who lost friends, it was hardly enough.

* * *

Iraqi police officials said the body was partly clothed in an American military uniform and had a tattoo on one arm, bullet wounds and possible signs of torture. Residents said it was found floating in the Euphrates on Wednesday morning, several miles south of the road by the river where the attack occurred.

Some people from our town and I was with them dragged the body from the river, said Ali Abbas al-Fatlawi, 30, a resident of Musayyib. We saw the head riddled with bullets, and shots in the left side of the abdomen. His hands were not tied, and he was not blindfolded.

* * *

American military officials did not confirm the local accounts. A group of soldiers who had been searching near Musayyib this week and who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the operations said American troops might have cornered the gunmen, who then killed the soldier and dumped his body as they fled.

The bitter irony here is that only last month, this news report about Private Anzack appeared in the media.

A Torrance family was trying to return to a normal life this week after learning that reports of their son's death in Iraq were incorrect.

Rumors that Joseph Anzack, an Army gunner stationed south of Baghdad, had been killed in Iraq began circulating earlier this week, shocking family members and prompting his high school to put a message on its marquee: In Loving Memory -- Joseph Anzack -- Class of 2005.

Family members were stunned, and none more so than Anzack himself, who called home to make it clear he was, in fact, alive and kicking.

To have to deal with such horror twice in one month boggles the mind.

My deepest sympathy to the Anzack family, and to his comrades in arms. You are in my prayers, and the prayers of every loyal American.

* * * * * * * * *

ORIGINAL REPORT- 5/25/2007

It is way too early to tell, but this report does not look good.

Iraqi police found the body of a man who was wearing what appeared to be a U.S. military uniform and had a tattoo on his left hand floating in the Euphrates River south of Baghdad on Wednesday morning, and one Iraqi official said it was one of three missing American soldiers.

The man had been shot in the head and chest, Babil police Capt. Muthana Khalid said. He said Iraqi police turned the body over the U.S. forces.

The report of the body found was confirmed by a senior Iraqi army officer in the Babil area. He told The Associated Press that the body found in the river was that of an American soldier. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

The discovery of the body in Musayyib, about 40 miles south of Baghdad in Babil Province, came as U.S. troops and Iraqi forces continued their massive search for the three soldiers abducted May 12 in an ambush on their patrol near Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad.

The U.S. military said in an e-mail that it was looking into the report, but could not confirm it.

It doesn't take a great leap of faith to reach the conclusion that the terrorists have failed to show the same respect for the rights of their prisoners that the neo-Copperheads in this country and the terrorist-supporters abroad demand that America show captured terrorists.

As i've said in the past, maybe it is time to start treating such folks as pirates.





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

I {HEART} My Senator!

This is the sort of stuff that explains why John Cornyn will be handily reelected to the Senate.

The question I put to my colleagues is this: Should Congress permanently bar from the U.S. and from receiving any immigration benefit: suspected terrorists, gang members, sex offenders, felony drunk drivers, and other individuals who are a danger to society?, Sen. Cornyn said. I hope that every Senator would answer this question with a positive response.

Go John! Go John! Go John!

H/T Jawa Report, Michelle Malkin





|| Greg, 04:48 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

This Could Hurt

John Edwards can kiss the gay vote goodbye -- or he could if he were comfortable around such people.

Robert Shrum, the veteran Democratic strategist who worked on John Edwards's 1998 Senate campaign in North Carolina, does not remember his onetime client very fondly.

In his new memoir, "No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner," Shrum recalls asking Edwards at the outset of that campaign, "What is your position, Mr. Edwards, on gay rights?"

"I'm not comfortable around those people," Edwards replied, according to Shrum. He writes that the candidate's wife, Elizabeth, told him: "John, you know that's wrong."

Maybe we can get registered Democrat Fred Phelps to start showing up outside Edwards campaign events. He can just make his signs read "John Hates Fags".

And Shrum also makes it clear that Pretty-Boy John is an intellectual light-weight with a temperament unsuitable for the White House.

While praising Edwards as a man of "many innate political gifts," Shrum says he hoped the senator wouldn't run for the White House in 2004: "I was coming to believe he wasn't ready; he was a Clinton who hadn't read the books."

When Shrum called to say he had decided to join the presidential campaign of another former client, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Edwards was angry. "I can't believe you would do this to me and my family. I will never, ever forget it, even on my deathbed," he quotes Edwards as saying.

Dumb.

Inexperienced.

Emotionally unstable.

That's John Edwards.





|| Greg, 04:44 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (21) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bad Gas Bill Passes on Urge To "Do Something"

Because after all, the terms are vague and undefined, leaving those potentially accused with no way of knowing if they are in compliance.

The House, eager to do something about record high gasoline prices in advance of the Memorial Day weekend, voted narrowly Wednesday to approve stiff penalties for those found guilty of gasoline price gouging.

The bill directs the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department to go after oil companies, traders or retail operators if they take unfair advantage or charge unconscionably excessive prices for gasoline and other fuels.

The White House called the measure a form of price controls that could result in fuel shortages. It said President Bush would be urged to veto the legislation should it pass Congress.

Define "unfair advantage" What is an "unconscionably excessive" price for a product? There really is no standard for measuring either -- especially if one is not out to repeal the law of supply and demand (take ECONOMICS 101 at your local community college for details). What next -- Hugo Chavez-style nationalization of oil companies?

Get that veto pen out, Mr. President -- this bill is awful.





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

HuffPo Writer Equates Isolated Christian Nutjob To Islamism's Global Terror Network

Because after all, we've seen such great terroristic efforts put forth by Christians to hijack planes and fly them into buildings, murder those who don't live up to Christian standards, and behead our opponents.

Oh, that's right -- that is Islam, not Christianity.

But you wouldn't know that from the warped, disproportionate moral equivalency drawn by HuffPo writer Max Blumenthal.

Visitors to Mark David Uhl's Myspace page will quickly learn that Uhl is a student at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, that he is a devoted Christian, that his name means "Mighty Warrior" -- and that he likes Will Smith's saccharine tear-up-the-club track, "Switch." Uhl reveals his career ambitions on his page as well: "I will join the Army as an officer after college." Already, Uhl was preparing in Liberty's ROTC program.

Uhl waited until he was offline, however, to reveal his plot to kill the family of itinerant Calvinist provocateur Fred Phelps (famous for their "Fag Troops" rallies outside soldiers' funerals). The Phelpses planned to protest Falwell's funeral, a bizarre stunt designed to highlight Falwell's somehow insufficiently draconian attitude towards homosexuals. Uhl made several bombs and allegedly told a family member he planned to use them to attack the Phelps family.

He was arrested soon after and charged with manufacturing explosives. On the surface, Uhl appears to be the latest version of Virginia Tech rampage killer (and "Richard McBeef" author) Cho Seung-Hui. Indeed, both Uhl and Cho were alienated young men who conceived or carried out campaigns of mass murder on college campuses.

Of course, Blumenthal then goes on to explain how he believes Christianity -- in particular conservative Christianity that actually believes in the Bible, the traditional tenets of the faith, and is supportive of America is responsible for this utterly obscene corruption of everything that Christianity stands for -- and which would have been condemned by Jerry Falwell himself were he still alive.

And I've no doubt that any poll of young Christians (even of the most conservative stripe) would not produce a result that said over a quarter of them believed that murdering civilians in the name of God was acceptable, as a recent poll of American Muslims shows.

And have no doubt -- you won't find a single Christian leader supporting the frightfully wrong actions of Mark David Uhl, and will probably find many actively denouncing them, which again stands in stark contrast to the situation within Islam.

Though I cannot help but note one thing -- I suspect that there are many Americans of any political, religious, or philosophical stripe (myself included) who would have had a difficult time finding a downside and would have shed no tears if Uhl had been successful in taking out the Fred Phelps Klan.





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

Jordin Wins

Yeah, she's a cute little thing with an infectious grin. And yes, she has a powerful voice. So congratulations to this year's winner.

Jordin Sparks, the perky 17-year-old high school student from Glendale, Ariz., won the sixth round of "American Idol" last night, beating out 11 other finalists, including several who were better singers, but none with her winning package of big voice, big smile and teetering-on-womanhood.

Did we mention she's only 17, as the show's three judges reminded viewers at every possible moment in the four-month-long competition? That makes her the youngest "Idol" winner ever.

My problem with the outcome? First, she seems more like a host on the Disney Channel than a real American idol. Second -- does anyone really believe that either of the two finalists was better than Melinda Doolittle, who was eliminated last week? It all feels like the outcome has been scripted for the last few weeks, even up to the surprise elimination of the odds-on favorite to set up a final taht was designed to produce a run-away result.

But regardless, I think we will see at least three hit-makers come out of this season -- and can't help but remind folks that the only winner previous winner who has really left a mark as a successful artist has been Kelly Clarkson, while any number of runners up have seen more success. I do hope that changes.





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

Congratulations -- The Only Moral Response

Because in the end, the birth of a baby is to be celebrated.

Vice President Dick Cheney is a grandfather for the sixth time.

According to the vice president's office, Cheney's daughter, Mary Cheney, 37, and her longtime partner, Heather Poe, welcomed 8 lbs., 6 oz. Samuel David Cheney into the world at 9:46 this morning at Sibley Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Now some conservatives did themselves great discredit with negative responses to the announcement of the pregnancy some months ago. Even if one accepts the notion that the best environment for a child is a two-parent family with a married father and mother (and that is my view), and even if one believes that encouraging such families is proper policy, once there is a pregnancy we are morally obliged as a society to give support to th mother and a joyous welcome to the new child among us.





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

May 23, 2007

Bravo Boehner

A little candor on the immigration bill.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, speaking to a private gathering of Republican activists last night, called the Senates immigration compromise bill a piece of shit but said that he had promised President Bush earlier in the day that he would let his teeth be a barrier to such thoughts in public.

Boehner spoke last night at a small reception for the Republican Rapid Responders on Capitol Hill.

I promised the President today that I wouldnt say anything bad about this piece of shit bill, he said, according to two attendees.

Now if hell just start saying this stuff publicly, to keep this piece of shit bill from becoming a piece of shit law!

H/T Hot Air





|| Greg, 02:44 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Interesting Conundrum For The Living Constitution Folks

Louisiana Supreme Court upheld a death sentence for the rape of an eight-year-old girl yesterday, setting up a real interesting constitutional challenge.

Louisiana's Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a man may be executed for raping an 8-year-old girl, and lawyers say his case may become the test for whether the nation's highest court upholds the death penalty for someone who rapes a child. Both sides say the sentence for Patrick Kennedy, 42, could expand a 1977 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that held the death penalty for rape violated the Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment. The high court said then that its ruling applied only to adult victims. Attorney Jelpi Picou, director of the New Orleans-based Capital Appeals Project, said he will ask the Louisiana Supreme Court for a rehearing and, if rejected, will go to the U.S. Supreme Court. "As horrid as (rape) is and as harshly as we believe it should be condemned, death is inappropriate in this case," Picou said. Louisiana law allows the death penalty for the aggravated rape of someone less than 12 years old. "He's the only person in the United States on death row for non-homicide rape," Picou said.

Now heres where it gets interesting. Given the 1977 ruling, which effectively held that the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution had evolved to prohibit capital punishment for rape, the Louisiana statute and this decision would appear to be in direct contradiction of the controlling legal authority on the matter. However, as we all know, there exists the notion that the Constitution evolves and grows and changes over time, making it a rather fluid standard by which to determine the constitutionality of any state action. Indeed, that 1977 decision itself was a part of a series of evolving standard decisions related to the death penalty for certainly the Framers of the Bill of Rights and those who ratified it did not view capital punishment as something to be reserved for homicide cases alone.

And therein lies the crux of the matter. If one concedes the legitimacy of the 1977 decision, then one must admit that the Constitution grows and changes over time. But if that is the case, then there is no legitimate basis for striking down the Louisiana statute and overruling the Louisiana high court. After all, one can legitimately argue that the Eighth Amendment has evolved again, and now allows capital punishment for some, if not all, sex crimes. After all, societys attitudes towards and experiences with sex criminals over the last three decades have resulted in an entirely new way of viewing predatory perverts who sexually victimize children. A new consensus has emerged in our society about the need to harshly punish such individuals, and the Louisiana law is one example of that trend (at least six state have similar laws on the books or will shortly). If the standard can evolve and change in a liberal direction to protect violent child abusers from a just punishment, why can it not transform back to the original intent of those who wrote and adopted it? To argue that it cannot is to expose the illegitimacy of the living Constitution theory of evolving standards and expose it as nothing more than legislating from the bench to impose liberal dogma that would never be accepted by We the People.

On the other hand, an originalist understanding of the Constitution and Bill of Rights would surely allow the state of Louisiana to impose death as a just punishment for violent pedophiles like Patrick Kennedy and any other sex criminal as well.

In other words, there is no legitimate reason for the Supreme Court not to overturn the 1977 decision other than a raw judicial arrogance that places the rights of rapists above justice for their victims.

Interestingly enough, Jonah Goldberg takes on the same philosophical issue in a pair of posts (related to a different context) at NROs The Corner.





|| Greg, 02:42 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Facts Get In Way Of Non-Scandal

Liberals tried to make a scandal out of the fact that the president wasnt wearing a seatbelt while driving on his ranch in Texas.

Guess what his actions were legal.

President Bush found himself in a flap Tuesday about seat-belt use, a day after a federal agency began a campaign to encourage drivers to buckle up.

Video cameras caught Bush without his seat belt while driving a pickup on his Texas ranch last weekend, giving a tour to NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

White House spokesman Tony Snow declined to comment in detail on Bush's driving habits but said, "We encourage everybody to wear their seat belts." He noted Bush was driving slowly at his ranch when the incident was taped.

On Monday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began its annual "Click it or Ticket" seat-belt campaign, which runs through June 3.

Bush did not violate Texas law. "On private property, you're not required to wear your seat belt," said Tela Mange, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety. She said "it's fairly common" in the ranchlands of Texas.

Mind you, Im opposed to the nanny-statism that legally mandates seat belts and motorcycle helmets, and believe such laws should be repealed. That said, I also know the requirements of Texas law and recognized immediately that there was no scandal here, because all such private farm and ranch roads are exempt under Texas law.





|| Greg, 02:38 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Iran Violates International Law

But then again, what else is new? Unfortunately, the US and world media seem to be ignoring this new hostage crisis in Iran.

Swiss diplomats seeking to visit Haleh Esfandiari, a leading Iranian-American academic jailed in Iran, have not been given access to her, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars said yesterday.

In addition, Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and lawyer who has taken on Ms. Esfandiaris defense, confirmed yesterday that two lawyers from her office had been denied permission to visit their client but she said that they would continue their efforts.

Iran announced Monday that Ms. Esfandiari was being accused of trying to foment a velvet revolution there. The Wilson Center and her family had avoided asking the United States or other governments to intervene until she was sent to Evin prison two weeks ago.

The Swiss government, which runs the American Interests Section in Tehran in the absence of diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran, requested that a consular official be allowed to visit Ms. Esfandiari but no such visit was granted, Lee H. Hamilton, the director of the Wilson Center in Washington, said at a news conference there.

He said other governments had intervened on Ms. Esfandiaris behalf since she was jailed on May 8, but declined to say which ones. The Swiss Embassy in Washington referred questions to the State Departments Office of Iranian Affairs, which said the United States government has made repeated requests about Ms. Esfandiari.

This is just as egregious as the taking of hostages in 1979 by Iranian militants (including, it is believed, the current Iranian president). Will the US government have the guts to take a firm stand against this rogue regime, and demand freedom for this American citizen, backing that demand up with serious action if the proper response is not forthcoming? or will it simply be a replay of Jimmy Carter's weak-kneed response to an act of war by the Islamists n charge there?

I think Senator McCain unintentionally got it right recently

Bomb, bomb, bomb
Bomb, bomb Iran!





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

Sound Reason For Defeating Press Shield Law

The Houston Chronicle is right -- defeating this bill for technical reasons is wrong. However, i'd argue that defeating it because it is a bad idea is a better thing.

One of the most egregious and undignified maneuvers occurred on Monday, when a lawmaker used a minor omission in a bill analysis to waylay legislation at the last minute that would have provided limited protections for journalists seeking to keep their sources confidential.

The bill, titled "The Free Flow of Information Act and sponsored by Houston's Sen. Rodney Ellis, a Democrat, and Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale, a Republican, had already passed the Senate and was headed for its final legislative hurdle in the House.

Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, acting on behalf of district attorneys who opposed the law, seized on the insertion of a sentence into the bill by committee counsel that was not referenced in the legislative analysis. As a result, the shield law was ruled out of order. Although its supporters have not yet given up on finding an alternate route to consideration, time is running out.

The bill would provide journalists with protections against being subpoenaed by prosecutors to reveal confidential sources except in limited circumstances. It would also require a court hearing where the evidence and necessity for divulging the information would be weighed by a judge and would set out guidelines for jurists to use in reaching their decision. Thirty-three other states and the District of Columbia have similar statutes.

Sen. Ellis expressed disappointment that the effort to pass the shield law had been undercut by such a trivial objection.

"To fight for so long and to move this bill so far and to have it snatched away on something that is completely nonsubstantive is neither good government, nor good for the people of Texas," he said.

Texas media representatives have argued that a shield law is necessary to make it possible for whistleblowers to share information with journalists without the fear that their identity will later be revealed.

However, this bill really only serves the special interests of Big Media (you know, companies like the Houston Chronicle), as it is pretty clear that corporate media will be the only folks that qualify as reportesr under this bill.

\And as I pointed out yesterday, it is the definitions and exclusions that make such laws either dangerously broad or arbitrarily and capriciously narrow -- and in reality serve no public interest at all.





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

Now This Will Sure Help

NOT! After all, what sovereign country will abide by the decision of some federal court judge? After all, that is what OPEC is. Would NATO have followed the decision of a Soviet court during the height of the Cold War? The members of OPEC will simply keep their quotas and just quit selling oil to the US.

Decrying near-record high gasoline prices, the House voted Tuesday to allow the government to sue OPEC over oil production quotas.

The White House objected, saying that might disrupt supplies and lead to even higher costs at the pump. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is the cartel that accounts for 40 percent of the world's oil production.

"We don't have to stand by and watch OPEC dictate the price of gas," Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (news, bio, voting record), D-Mich., the bill's chief sponsor, declared, reflecting the frustration lawmakers have felt over their inability to address people's worries about high summer fuel costs.

The measure passed 345-72. A similar bill awaits action in the Senate.

Why don't we deal with the real issues in the gas price crisis and allow for more exploration and drilling in areas closed by law, encourage the building of more refineries and the upgrading of older ones, and do away with all the special blends of gas required by government fiat. Those things would do more to end the upward spike than getting a non-enforceable judgment from a federal court.





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

No Timetable In Iraq Funding Bill

Who knows -- maybe the Democrats will be forced to let the troops win this one if the White House remains firm.

Democrats gave up their demand for troop-withdrawal deadlines in an Iraq war spending package yesterday, abandoning their top goal of bringing U.S. troops home and handing President Bush a victory in a debate that has roiled Congress for months.

Bush, who has already vetoed one spending bill with a troop timeline, had threatened to do the same with the next version if it came with such a condition. Democratic leaders had moved ahead anyway, under heavy pressure from liberals who believe that the party won control of Congress in November on the strength of antiwar sentiment. But in the end, Democrats said they did not have enough votes to override a presidential veto and could not delay troop funding.

The netroots are, of course, frothing, as are assorted moonbats doing fly-bys on radio and television broadcasts.

I just wish they would remember -- there is no substitute for victory.





|| Greg, 03:55 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Oh, The Horror!

I mean, really -- treating lawbreakers like lawbreakers! What could they have been thinking?

By the time he tugged on a pair of jeans and walked toward the living room, he could hear nearby voices shouting. He saw his mother on the couch, being peppered with questions by four immigration agents questions about her papers, questions about his, questions about two single men who rented rooms from them. In his entire life, all 18 years, Alex had never seen her so close to crying.

In the end, the agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement accepted the proof that Alex and his mother, who has permanent resident status, were legal. The two renters, Roberto and Augustine, were led away in handcuffs, Roberto wearing only his boxer shorts.

Then Ms. Sorto discovered how the agents had apparently entered her apartment; the window of the locked side door, intact the previous night, was now broken.

Even after all the tumult, Ms. Sorto insisted that Alex go to school. Even though it was 8:30, and he had no classes for another hour, she drove him there. He watched her hands quake as she tried to steer. In art class, his favorite, he could not get his pencil to move. All he could think about was what would become of him if his mother were taken away.

Such was the triumph of Operation Cross Check, the federal raid against illegal immigrants that went on for four days last month in this community of about 18,500 people. To the Department of Homeland Security, the operation was a success, catching a convicted sex offender and several welfare cheats among its 49 arrests. In a news release announcing the toll, an immigration enforcement director for Minnesota said, Our job is to help protect the public from those who commit crimes.

Yet more than half of those arrested had committed no crime other than being in the United States illegally, doing the jobs at Jennie-O that prop up the local economy. And, as the experience of Alex Sorto demonstrates, the aggressive, invasive style of the sweep instilled lasting fear among Willmars 3,000 Hispanics, many of them students born or naturalized in the United States. These young people are the political football in Americas bitter, unresolved battle about immigration.

All of us are scared, said Andrea Gallegos, a junior at the high school. When you go to school, you dont know if your parents will be there when you come home. I dont feel safe anywhere walking to the school bus, walking outside the school building.

I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of all these sob-stories about the poor persecuted border-jumpers and their kin, forced to live with the threat of having the law enforced. What next? Articles about how the children of drug dealers live with the daily threat of their parents being arrested?





|| Greg, 03:48 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 22, 2007

One More Reason To Oppose Amnesty Bill

Taxpayers will pick up the legal tabs of the border-jumping immigration criminals seeking their reward of permanent residency for their crimes.

Ken Boehm, Chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), today criticized the immigration bill crafted in secret by Senators led by Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA).

Boehm said, "If passed, this bill will make taxpayers pay the legal bills for illegal aliens seeking amnesty. Tucked away on page 317 is a provision that would allow lawyers in the federally-funded legal services program to represent illegal aliens, which they are presently barred from doing."

John Carlisle, NLPC's Director of Policy, said, "Many taxpayers will be chagrined to learn they may soon have to provide a lawyer for illegal aliens who should not be here in the first place. Activist lawyers, illegal aliens and government money are a bad mix."

The federally-funded Legal Services Corporation (LSC) supports s a network of lawyers in hundreds of communities in the country to provide civil (not criminal) day-to-day legal help to poor people. This year, LSC will receive $330 million. Since it was founded in 1974, LSC has received over $6 billion.

The authorizing language states: Section 504(a)(11) of Public Law 104-134 (110 Stat. 1321 et seq.) shall not be construed to prevent a recipient of funds under the Legal Services Corporation Act (42 U.S.C. 2996 et seq.) from providing legal assistance directly related to an application for a Z-A visa under subsection (b) or an adjustment of status under subsection (j).

This negates a provision approved by Congress in 1996, with NLPC's input, that prevents LSC-funded lawyers from representing illegal aliens. The restriction was necessary because legal services lawyers have a long history of promoting illegal immigration and showing contempt for the ban on representing illegals.

The proposed amnesty law started bad now it looks even worse. It must be defeated, and its supporters driven from office.





|| Greg, 07:28 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Whores For Hillary?

Well, first she got the porn stars now shes getting the pimps. Will the group mentioned above be next?

First, we learned that adult movie star Jenna Jameson supports Sen. Hillary Clintons run for president of the United States.

Now, we learn that another, um, Taboo Titleholder backs the New York senators White House ambitions: Deborah Jeane Palfrey, aka, the D.C. Madam.

Yeas & Nays tracked down Palfrey following her appearance at Nathans of Georgetowns Q&A Cafe Tuesday (where she told Nathans owner Carol Joynt that she's a conservative Democrat) and inquired into the politics of this former escort service owner.

Palfrey admitted that shes pulling for Hillary in 2008. I think shes great, she said. Shes bright and articulate.

Im sure that Bill is out rounding up support and contributions from such supporters with great vigor.





|| Greg, 07:25 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Iraq As the Central Front In The War On Terror

I dont agree with everything that Bob Kerrey has to say in this column but I do believe that there is significant truth contained within it.

The critics who bother me the most are those who ordinarily would not be on the side of supporting dictatorships, who are arguing today that only military intervention can prevent the genocide of Darfur, or who argued yesterday for military intervention in Bosnia, Somalia and Rwanda to ease the sectarian violence that was tearing those places apart.

Suppose we had not invaded Iraq and Hussein had been overthrown by Shiite and Kurdish insurgents. Suppose al Qaeda then undermined their new democracy and inflamed sectarian tensions to the same level of violence we are seeing today. Wouldn't you expect the same people who are urging a unilateral and immediate withdrawal to be urging military intervention to end this carnage? I would.

American liberals need to face these truths: The demand for self-government was and remains strong in Iraq despite all our mistakes and the violent efforts of al Qaeda, Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias to disrupt it. Al Qaeda in particular has targeted for abduction and murder those who are essential to a functioning democracy: school teachers, aid workers, private contractors working to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure, police officers and anyone who cooperates with the Iraqi government. Much of Iraq's middle class has fled the country in fear.

With these facts on the scales, what does your conscience tell you to do? If the answer is nothing, that it is not our responsibility or that this is all about oil, then no wonder today we Democrats are not trusted with the reins of power. American lawmakers who are watching public opinion tell them to move away from Iraq as quickly as possible should remember this: Concessions will not work with either al Qaeda or other foreign fighters who will not rest until they have killed or driven into exile the last remaining Iraqi who favors democracy.

Well stated and absolutely correct.

But it is this point that is even more essential to Kerreys argument and is the one overlooked by the cut-&-run-&-surrender advocates of todays neo-Copperhead movement.

The key question for Congress is whether or not Iraq has become the primary battleground against the same radical Islamists who declared war on the U.S. in the 1990s and who have carried out a series of terrorist operations including 9/11. The answer is emphatically "yes." This does not mean that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11; he was not. Nor does it mean that the war to overthrow him was justified--though I believe it was. It only means that a unilateral withdrawal from Iraq would hand Osama bin Laden a substantial psychological victory.

And that is precisely what those of us who support the war continue to argue and what maligned patriots like Joe Lieberman have been attacked for saying by those who support a policy of defeat.

American patriots can take only one position. No surrender, no retreat in the War on Terror. Im proud to count Bob Kerrey among our number.





|| Greg, 07:25 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Problem With Press Shield Laws Brought To Life

After all, once you exempt the press from the laws that apply to the rest of us, you then get into the question of who qualifies as a journalist. Take this case here.

A lawyer trying to get an Internet writer to testify and turn over notes for a court case says Web bloggers shouldn't have the same rights as mainstream reporters.

Attorney William McCorriston, in a lawsuit brought by landowner James Pflueger over the failure of the Kaloko Dam, claims that Malia Zimmerman of Hawaiireporter.com is a blogger who isn't entitled to withhold her sources of information.

But Zimmerman, an editor and reporter for the Web site, says she is a legitimate journalist, not just some hack who offers half-baked commentary on the news of the day.

"Any journalist who gives their word that they'll protect somebody's information or keep them in confidence, you have to abide by that," Zimmerman said. "It's not the medium you publish in, it's what you do with that information."

Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Gary Chang has ordered Zimmerman to submit to questioning under oath by McCorriston, likely in June. She can refuse to answer questions, but she must explain her reasons for doing so, and the judge would later rule on whether she's justified.

Hawaii does not have a journalist shield law like those enacted in 31 states to protect reporters' rights to keep their sources confidential.

That means there will be two issues for Chang to decide: whether Zimmerman is a bona fide journalist, and whether reporters have a qualified privilege to refuse providing confidential information to lawyers in a civil case.

Now lets be real honest about this website here -- Hawaiireporter.com posts lots of news, including original content, along with commentary. Zimmermann tries to differentiate herself from bloggers in tone and content and does not consider her site to be a blog. Furthermore, she has worked with major media on stories in the past in her capacity as a journalist covering stories like the one that is at the heart of this matter.

But that really begs the question. In a day and age in which anyone can set up a website and establish themselves as proprietor and publisher of a news/opinion site, does the distinction between blogger and journalist really make sense or is it purely arbitrary? This leads to the great conflict at the heat of this case involving the newest form of information media.

On the one hand, the plaintiffs attorney raises the specter of anyone being able to flout a subpoena if bloggers qualify as journalists.

"It seems to me that if a blogger is a journalist, everyone can produce a blog and never be subject to a subpoena," McCorriston said. "Are all bloggers journalists? It's a question that's never been answered anywhere."

On the other hand, if there is some legitimate basis for a reporters privilege, why shouldnt bloggers and internet journalists like Zimmermann qualify?

"She's far more than a blogger. She's got an institutional publication. It just happens to come out on a computer," said Zimmerman's attorney, Jeff Portnoy. "She's not just sitting at home and every couple of days writing a note to people."

One constitutional law professor sees the case as having serious implications.

The courts will have to weigh how press freedom extends to the realm of the Internet, said Jon Van Dyke, a University of Hawaii constitutional law professor.

"How does she differentiate herself from the zillions of other people who use the Internet, posting things on MySpace or whatever?" he asked. "If we're going to give special protection to the press, we should have some idea of who's in it and who's not."

And therein is precisely the heart of the issue if such a privilege is created, who is in and who is out? How does one differentiate between Zimmermann and A reporter for the New York Times? Between a news and commentary blogger like myself and a serious journalist like Robert Novak? Where does one draw the line and how without being fully arbitrary in the process?

Frankly, I there can be only two legitimate outcome. Either every blogger qualifies as a journalist/reporter for purposes of press shield laws or press shield laws must fall on the basis that they do not provide equal protection of the law to all citizens.





|| Greg, 07:24 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bill Maher Goes Too Far

Bet he wouldnt have dared make such comments about Islam out of fear for his life.

And its easy to start a religion! Watch, I'll do it for you: I had a vision last night! A vision! The Blessed Virgin Mary came to meI dont know how she got past the guardsand she told me its high time to take the high ground from the Seventh Day Adventists and give it to the 24-hour party people. And what happens in the confessional stays in the confessional. Gay men, dont say youre life partners, say youre a nunnery of two. We werent having sex, officer, I was performing a very private Mass, here in my car. I was letting my rod and staff comfort him. Take this and eat of it, [our emphasis] for this is my roommate Barry. And for all those who believe there is a special place for you in Kevin.

The Catholic League is starting a campaign to protest this blasphemous treatment of those things that Catholics hold sacred. Somehow, though, I doubt the Imus rules will be applied here and I further doubt that we will see a single act of terrorism committed by Catholics in protest.





|| Greg, 07:23 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Should We Be Relieved Or Afraid?

On the bright side, 75% of young American Muslims oppose blowing up infidels like us in the name of Islam.

One in four younger U.S. Muslims say suicide bombings to defend their religion are acceptable at least in some circumstances, though most Muslim Americans overwhelmingly reject the tactic and are critical of Islamic extremism and al-Qaida, a poll says.

* * *

While nearly 80 percent of U.S. Muslims say suicide bombings of civilians to defend Islam can not be justified, 13 percent say they can be, at least rarely.
That sentiment is strongest among those younger than 30. Two percent of them say it can often be justified, 13 percent say sometimes and 11 percent say rarely.

Of course, some have tried to justify this result by saying it really only applies to blowing up Jews over the Palestinian issue but I dont find that particularly comforting. Nor do I find this attempted dismissal of the poll results to be particularly convincing.

"We have crazies just like other faiths have them," said Eide Alawan, who directs interfaith outreach at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Mich., one of the nation's largest mosques. He said killing innocent people contradicts Islam.

Somehow I doubt that the number of Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, or Hindu crazies approaches 25% -- or that you would find many who would support murder in the mane of their faith. That is why Alawans attempt to downplay the poll results is so disingenuous he knows that the numbers dont even compare.

On the bright side, our Muslims are less likely to support the random murder of infidels than those in other countries.

U.S. Muslims are far less accepting of suicide attacks than Muslims in many other nations. In surveys Pew conducted last year, support in some Muslim countries exceeded 50 percent, while it was considered justifiable by about one in four Muslims in Britain and Spain, and one in three in France.

I would be relieved by the statistic that only 5% of American Muslims are supportive of al-Qaeda were it not for the little qualifier that we get in the article.

Only 5 percent of U.S. Muslims expressed favorable views of the terrorist group al-Qaida, though about a fourth did not express an opinion.

Got that one out of every four American Muslism wont say what they think of al-Qaeda. Am I the only one who finds that result frightening? Am I the only one who thinks this might be indicative of a fight column among us?

Nor will I let this little tidbit pass.

Only 40 percent said they believe Arab men carried out the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Im too astounded for words thee is really no disputing this FACT, but some 60% of Muslims are sufficiently in contact with reality to concede the truth, despite the fact that Osama himself has claimed responsibility for 9/11!

Frankly, these results can only be described as disturbing and certainly justify heightened scrutiny of the Muslim community in this country.





|| Greg, 07:22 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Karmas A Bitch

No great loss here.

A CALIFORNIAN man who tried to kill his girlfriend by leaving her in a car parked across railway lines was himself killed when an oncoming train hurled the car into him as he fled.

His girlfriend survived, the Associated Press reported.

The man drove the car to the head of a line of traffic stopped at a level crossing in the San Fernando Valley neighbourhood of Sunland on Monday, police spokesman Mike Lopez said.

The man, who was seen arguing with the woman, then parked the car on the tracks and jumped out, leaving her behind, Mr Lopez said.

A 450-tonne commuter train hit the rear of the car, launching it into the man.
The girlfriend, who was injured , was taken to hospital in a stable condition.

Who said that the universe didnt provide its own form of rough justice?

Prayers, of course, for the injured girlfriend.

H/T NROs The Corner





|| Greg, 06:30 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Start Using It?

The nutroots that control the Democratic Party haven't stopped using it since January 21, 2001. Why should we be surprised that they have turned their sites on Alberto Gonzales -- despite the fact that he is not accused of a single high crime or misdemeanor, merely carrying out a policy the nutroots dislike?

The Gonzales hearings have made plain for all to see that the highest law enforcement officer in the land is unwilling to tell the truth under oath. He doesn't recall, or he doesn't know, or he answers questions with questions, evading the issues. He can't remember his own name, his job title, details of meetings or decisions or strategies.

* * *

Let's not be shy. Let's get the "I" word -- IMPEACHMENT -- out there loud and clear. Say it, SHOUT it -- it has a good patriotic feel to it. And yes, in fact, the attorney general CAN be impeached. It is legal, it is proper, it is time.

Here is your ammunition for impeachment -- a video, a petition, a whole campaign to get the House Judiciary Committee to launch this action, NOW. We and our friends and partners at Democracy for America want and need your help.

Don't just be angry, don't just be annoyed, don't yell at the ones you love. IMPEACH GONZALES.

Let's see -- these folks were quite supportive of a president who couldn't remember having sex with a federal employee in the office, using his office to actually obstruct justice, misusing FBI files, and other actual high crimes and misdemeanors -- but they are more than willing to go after this administration and its officials for firing employees who serve at the pleasure of the president. I guess though, that it is the party, not the facts, that matter to such folks.





|| Greg, 04:26 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Attack On Rudy

The NY Times is hardly at the forefront of reporting. I posted about this on May 15, when the NY Post wrote about Jerry Hauer's challenge to Rudy Giuliani.

As Rudolph W. Giuliani runs for president, his image as a chief executive who steered New York through the disaster of Sept. 11 has become a pillar of his campaign. But one former member of his inner circle keeps surfacing to revisit that history in ways that are unflattering to Mr. Giuliani: Jerome M. Hauer, New York Citys first emergency management director.

In recent days, Mr. Hauer has challenged Mr. Giulianis recollection that he had little role as mayor in placing the citys emergency command center at the ill-fated World Trade Center.

Mr. Hauer has also disputed the claim by the Giuliani campaign that the mayors wife, Judith Giuliani, had coordinated a help center for families after the attack.

And he has contradicted Mr. Giulianis assertions that the citys emergency response was well coordinated that day, a point he made most notably to the authors of Grand Illusion, a book that depicts Mr. Giulianis antiterrorism efforts as deeply flawed.

Seems to me that Hauer is out to make a buck off of his connection to Rudy and 9/11, and is prepared to sell him down the river to do so. Interestingly enough, this also shows the flaw of GOP elected officials being "bi-partisan" in their appointments -- the Democrat Hauer is more than willing to stab his old boss in the back as he heads into the presidential run.





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

Bush Wins On Iraq Funding

They are going to let the commander-in-chief be the commander-in-chief.

In grudging concessions to President Bush, Democrats intend to draft an Iraq war-funding bill without a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and shorn of billions of dollars in spending on domestic programs, officials said Monday.

The legislation would include the first federal minimum wage increase in more than a decade, a top priority for the Democrats who took control of Congress in January, the officials added.

While details remain subject to change, the measure is designed to close the books by Friday on a bruising veto fight between Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress over the war. It would provide funds for military operations in Iraq through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Democrats in both houses are expected to seek other opportunities later this year to challenge Bush's handling of the unpopular conflict.

While the war may be unpopular, the cut-&-run-&-surrender proposals of the neo-Copperheads are even less popular -- especially when they are loaded up with pet pork projects. America wants victory -- and may get it, if the Democrats can beforced to continue backing down.





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

May 21, 2007

I Thought Hed Announced

But I guess he hadnt not that this formality makes any significant difference.

Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico formally announced his candidacy for president here Monday, launching a bilingual campaign for the Democratic nomination that emphasized his Hispanic heritage, his extensive diplomatic and political experience and his knowledge of issues.

Richardson, 59, the son of a Mexican mother and half-Mexican father, drew a large crowd of supporters -- and, perhaps as importantly, reporters -- to a ballroom in downtown Los Angeles for the announcement, which had been all but a foregone conclusion for many weeks. Richardson chose to launch his bid in California, the state where he was born, in part to attract as much media attention as possible in a race that already includes numerous high-profile candidates.

I dont think that playing up his ancestry will work as my students tell me, with a name like Bill Richardson they consider him to be just another white guy. Im sure that reflects the view of their parents as well.





|| Greg, 08:11 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Regulate Carbon Offsets?

I think a probe of these companies may be in order but would regulating them lend legitimacy to what is essentially the sale of snake-oil?

For those who support it, it offers the reward of "carbon neutrality" without having to lower one's standard of living. To critics, it allows guilt-free pollution. Either way, the burgeoning carbon offset industry needs more oversight, say two members of Congress.

In a letter to the Government Accountability Office, Republican Reps. Tom Davis of Virginia and Darrell Issa of California asked for an investigation into emission offset programs.

About 60 different companies sell carbon offsets to U.S. consumers but operate under virtually no standards, the congressmen said. They cited reports alleging that some organizations get money for emissions that don't exist and that others make large profits on cleanups that would have taken place anyway.

"We want to understand the products sold in these markets and make sure they are doing what they say they are," said Davis, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

"Offsets are becoming a convenient shortcut for individuals and industry to become 'carbon neutral.' Now that we see legislation introduced to direct the federal government to do the same thing, we need a complete picture," Davis said.

Frankly, the notion of selling carbon offsets seems no more legitimate to me than the notion of selling indulgences in the Middle Ages with the additional drawback that while sin is real, man-made global warming is not. Im therefore troubled by the notion of a governmental imprimatur upon what is effectively a fraud upon the gullible or, if you really believe in man-made global warming, a license to go on sinning. Where are the latter-day Luthers?





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

From Here To Paternity

I guess there are limits to paternity tests.

Twin brothers Raymon and Richard Miller are the father and uncle to a 3-year-old little girl. The problem is, they don't know which is which. Or who is who. The identical Missouri twins say they were unknowingly having sex with the same woman. And according to the woman's testimony, she had sex with each man on the same day. Within hours of each other.

When the woman in question, Holly Marie Adams, got pregnant, she named Raymon the father, but he contested and demanded a paternity test, bringing his own brother Richard to court.

But a paternity test in this case could not help. The test showed that both brothers have over a 99.9 percent probability of being the daddy and neither one wants to pay the child support. The result of the test has not only brought to light the limits of DNA evidence, it has also led to a three-year legal battle, a Miller family feud and a little girl who may never know who her real father is.

"'Did you sleep with him [Richard Miller] while in Sikeston for the rodeo?'," Cameron Parker, Richard's lawyer, said she asked Holly Marie Adams in 2003 court testimony, to which she answered "'Yes ma'am.'" "She then said she went to appellant's [Raymon Miller's]home where they had sex later that night or early the next morning," Parker said.

Im sure glad Im not the judge in this case. Personally, though, I like the idea of splitting the support payments 50-50 -- after all, they both played, so they both can pay.





|| Greg, 08:09 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Does Murdoch Spike Stories Unflattering To Clintons, Communists?

That is the charge made by some former employees in the lawsuit of Jared Paul Sterns against News Corp of America. Stern and former NY Post employee Ian Spiegelman make some startling claims.

For example, Spiegelman claims that Murdoch ordered his editors at The Post to kill any negative stories about President Clinton and his wife Hillary.

He also said that Murdoch ordered a story about a Chinese diplomat and his visits to a New York strip club to be killed because it might have angered the Communist regime and endangered News Corp's broadcasting privileges in China.

It also suggests that Murdoch cancelled the publication of a book, by Harper Collins, a News Corp subsidiary, by former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten that was critical of the Beijing regime.

At the same time, claims Spiegelman, Harper Collins was ordered to publish a flattering book about Communist Party boss Deng Xiaoping, written by his daughter Deng Rong. Although Spiegelman claims it is "stunningly awful" Deng Rong was given, he alleges, a $1 million advance.

And there are other juicy allegations in the case as well this one could be incredibly titillating and fodder for all sorts of fun press stories as the case moves forward.





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

The Case For DNC Reparations For Slavery And Other Acts Of Racism

It is really pretty straight-forward. Any honest commentator would have to recognize that the Democratic Party is responsible for the following attrocities.

1. Preserving and enhancing the legal-standing of the institution of slavery in the ante-bellum South against all humanitarian calls for reform;

2. Extending the peculiar institution of slavery into Texas and Missouri;

3. Attempting to extend the institution of slavery into California, Kansas and other US territories and states;

4. Extending into free-states the slave-masters' legal right to retrieve their "property", escaped slaves. (Dred Scott);

5. Initiating the secession of the Southern states to preserve slavery upon the election of Abraham Lincoln, a Republican with abolitionist views;

6. Undermining the North's resolve to preserve the Union and emancipate the slaves (Democrat Copperheads);

7. Terrorizing freed black Republican politicians and voters during Reconstruction in order to ensure election of white Democrats;

8. Disenfranchising black voters to make the entire South a one-party state (Democrat), a political monopoly not broken until quite recently;

9. Via their control of Southern state governments, instituting Jim Crow laws in the 1880s and preserving them until 1965 (America's apartheid);

10. Governing the South in a manner that tolerated, concealed and surreptitiously-supported racial terrorists such as the Ku Klux Klan, who murdered southern civil rights activists;

11. Resisting Federal enforcement to end racial segregation as initiated by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower.

If reparations are due for slavery and the subsequent failure of the promises of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to be fully realized by the freed slaves and their descendants, they are clearly the responsibility of the institution that committed itself to maintaining the subjugation of African-Americans for an additional century after they were emancipated through the efforts of the Republican Party.

Send all demands for reparations to:

The Dishonorable Howard Dean
Chairman
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003





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

Liberal Idiots For Animal Liberation

What more needs be said about this crowd?

A group hoping to abolish horse-drawn carriage tours of New York will crack the whip on Boston if they persuade the Big Apple to just say nay to animal slaves.

These are two international cities that will get along just fine without carriage rides, said Edita Birnkrant, New York City campaign coordinator for Connecticut-based Friends of Animals

People only see the surface of it, where it looks so romantic. Its a complete life of misery for a horse: noise, traffic, pollution. Theyre like animal slaves. Its their whole lives until they either die or just get too old or sick to work anymore. Im surprised more of them dont drop in the street, she said.

One day these people will figure out that animals are not people. Or maybe not they are liberals, after all.





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

Thompson In By July 1?

It seems pretty clear that Fred Thompson is going to jump into the presidential race -- his departure from Law and Order was probably the biggest sign, along with his increased number of columns and appearances. Now one key supporter, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, is spreading this word.

I can tell you that Thompson will be making an announcement NLT the first of July. I have had one phone conversation with Thompson and I'm convinced he is getting in the race. Others who have talked to him are also convinced.

I know Jerry Patterson, and find him to usually be a reliable source and astute reader of the political tea-leaves. he wouldn't stick his neck out like this unless it were going to happen.





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

Duke Lacrosse -- Up From The Ashes

This is a story that has to warm the heart of anyone with a sense of decency and fair play. After having their season canceled last year and three teammates falsely accused of rape, the Duke lacrosse team is back -- and at the top of its game.

The Duke lacrosse team defeated North Carolina 19-11 to advance to the final four of the NCAA tournament. Carolina jumped to an early 6-1 lead, but from that point on Duke outscored the Tar Heels 18-5. Last week, Duke defeated Providence 18-3, so it's becoming clear how dominant this team can be when it's clicking.

Next up is Cornell, a team that finished the season unbeaten, defeated Duke in Durham, yet somehow received only a fourth seed in this tournament. Cornell got by Albany with a 12-11 overtime victory in its quarterfinal match.

Final Four, baby --capping a season which saw their teammates vindicated and their persecutor brought down. These young men have to be the sentimental favorite of the nation -- except for rabid racists, feminists, and other moonbats.





|| Greg, 04:34 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Gays In Military Work In UK

And to be honest, I think it would work just fine in this country, too.

The officer, a squadron leader in the Royal Air Force, felt he had no choice. So he stood up in front of his squad of 30 to 40 people.

I said, Right, Ive got something to tell you, he said. I believe that for us to be able to work closely together and have faith in each other, we have to be honest and open and frank. And it has to be a two-way process, and it starts with me baring my soul. You may have heard some rumors, and yes, I have a long-term partner who is a he, not a she.

Far from causing problems, he said, he found that coming out to his troops actually increased the units strength and cohesion. He had felt uneasy keeping the secret that their boss was a poof, as he put it, from people he worked with so closely.

Since the British military began allowing homosexuals to serve in the armed forces in 2000, none of its fears about harassment, discord, blackmail, bullying or an erosion of unit cohesion or military effectiveness have come to pass, according to the Ministry of Defense, current and former members of the services and academics specializing in the military. The biggest news about the policy, they say, is that there is no news. It has for the most part become a nonissue.

The Ministry of Defense does not compile figures on how many gay men and lesbians are openly serving, and it says that the number of people who have come out publicly in the past seven years is still relatively low. But it is clearly proud of how smoothly homosexuals have been integrated and is trying to make life easier for them.

We know how to handle the integration of homosexuals into the military -- Truman provided the model when he integrated the armed forces nearly 60 years ago. Those who cannot accept the change in policy are unfit for military service -- and should be discharged.





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

Field Testing Disrupts Education

I'm glad to see that some folks in a position of power are starting to speak out about the problem of field testing for state exams.

Place a group of school superintendents in a room, and the conversation inevitably turns to testing students.

At a recent meeting in Houston, the topic drawing the most wrath was state-mandated field testing. These are tests that don't count for anything but instead allow the testing company to try out questions for future exams to ensure fairness and reliability.

About 80 percent of schools in Texas had to give students at least one field test this year. In coming years, high school students could face more of these tryout tests because state lawmakers appear intent on replacing the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills at some grade levels with a dozen new end-of-course exams.

"With field testing, you're just testing kids to death," said David Anthony, superintendent of the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. "The field testing's about to go out the roof if they pass the end-of-course exams. It will be worse."

Students could get some relief under pending legislation. The House has passed a bill that would limit field tests at a school to once every four years. The Senate's version would keep field testing to an every-other-year practice statewide but only after the end-of-course exams are developed.

My school has lost at least one day a year to field testing every year in the last five -- and some of our most academically challenged kids have lost more due to their being pulled out of class for additional field testing of the specialized tests for special education and ESL students. Everyone knows these tests don't matter, so the kids simply do not try.

And then you get the objection that came from one of my students, who just failed her math TAKS by one question -- after taking a test with several embedded field test questions. Since those questions didn't count towards her score, isn't it possible that she actually met the standard on the test she took -- only to have enough correct answers excluded from her score to keep her from passing? Isn't it possible that she spent extra time on questions that didn't count, causing her to miss questions that did? I wish I had a good answer for her.





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

Pelosi Defends Murtha

You have to wonder what he has on her, that the Speaker stands by a guy with such a long history of sleaze and corruption.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is defending a close Democratic ally whom Republicans want to reprimand for threatening a GOP lawmaker's spending projects.

Pelosi, D-Calif., said she had "no idea what actually happened" during a noisy exchange in the House chamber last week between Reps. John P. Murtha, D-Pa., and Mike Rogers, R-Mich.

"What I do know is that Congressman Murtha has enjoys an excellent reputation in the Congress on both sides of the aisle," said Pelosi in a broadcast interview taped Friday and aired Sunday.

"He writes the defense appropriation bill in a bipartisan way each year and with the complete involvement of the Republicans as to who gets what on the Republican side," she said.

Murtha is a 35-year House veteran who leads the House Appropriations subcommittee on military spending. He is known for a fondness for earmarks carefully targeted spending items placed in appropriations bills to benefit a specific lawmaker or favored constituent group.

Three observations.

First, I thought the Democrats considered earmarks a bad thing -- but Murtha is the King of Earmarks. Was last year's campaign strategy a case of selective outrage at the practice?

Second, the House Democrats decisively rejected Murhta when Pelosi backed him for a high leadership post earlier this year due to the loud outcry over Murtha's sleaze. Does that sound like folks having high regard for him -- or her, as the new Speaker of the House?

Third, Murtha is n tape indicating his willingness to take bribes during the Abscam case -- and was even named an unindicted co-conspirator. Doesn't that give her any pause before she defends him?

Of course, since Nancy admits she really doesn't know what happened in the confrontation on the House floor, does her opinion really even matter?





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

Kucinich's Wife As Kooky As Him

One has to wonder if these two moonbats hang by their feet beside one another as they sleep -- because Elizabeth Kucinich is, if anything, stranger than Dennis.

Kucinich met her husband-to-be two years ago when she visited his office in the House of Representatives with her boss as a volunteer worker for the American Monetary Institute, an offbeat group dedicated to reforming the unjust monetary system."

It was love at first sight for both of them. Immediately after their meeting, Dennis Kucinich phoned a friend and said: Ive met her [my future wife].

He was mesmerized to receive a business e-mail from Harper with her usual signature line from "Kama Sutra," one of her favorite films: Knowing love, I shall allow all things to come and go, to be as supple as the wind and take everything that comes with great courage. My heart is as open as the sky.

He proposed at their second meeting in Albuquerque, N.M., and they married three months later. The actress Shirley MacLaine attended their wedding.

I knew at once I really wanted to marry this man, Elizabeth Kucinich said. When you know it, why hang around? It was Denniss third marriage, but by the time he met Elizabeth he had been single for more than 20 years.

If Dennis were elected, they would make a great team, Elizabeth said.

Can you imagine what it would be like to have real love in the White House and a true union between the masculine and the feminine?

Well, they would certainly be more of a union of masculine and feminine than th last pair of Democrats to occupy the White House -- but I don't think we have to worry about the Kucinich family ever taking up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.





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

May 20, 2007

Romney Leads In Iowa

At least among those who count -- the folks who actually participate in the caucuses.

Mitt Romney has sprinted ahead of presidential competitors John McCain and Rudy Giuliani in a new Iowa Poll of likely Republican caucus participants.

The Des Moines Register poll shows Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is the top choice of 30 percent of those who say they definitely or probably will attend the leadoff Iowa caucuses in January.

McCain, a U.S. senator from Arizona, nips former New York Mayor Giuliani for second place 18 percent to 17 percent.

However, things could go differently if the list of candidates changes.

Other polls taken in Iowa this month, presenting a different lineup of candidates that included Newt Gingrich and Fred Thompson, have shown Giuliani, McCain and Romney bunched together. The former U.S. House speaker and former Tennessee senator have said they are considering presidential bids but have not taken steps toward running.

Rudy's abortion problem and McCain's immigration problem may be sufficient to give the nomination to Romney -- provided there are no significant new entries into the presidential race.





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

Democrat Judge Controls Illegal Alien Firm

He hasn't been charged in the case -- yet. But does a judge who is the president of a company that actively violates our nation's immigration laws deserve to be on the bench?

Two corporations charged in an alleged plot to supply undocumented workers to Keppel AmFELS, an oilrig manufacturer based at the Port of Brownsville, are apparently run by a state district judge.

Judge Leonel Alejandro, who is presiding judge of the 357th District Court in Brownsville, has not been charged in the case, but he said he helped start Port Fabricators, which provided workers to AmFELS.

The two companies behind Port Fabricators, CPEP Inc. and LAMC Inc., and former employees Rolando Villanueva, 31, and Ernesto Casas, 33, of Brownsville, were named in a 15-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Brownsville earlier this month.

Alejandro is the president of both CPEP and LAMC, and the public record reflects he was AmFELSs attorney before taking his seat on the court in January 2003.

Several years ago, I helped develop Port Fabricators at the Port of Brownsville and still have some involvement with the company, Alejandro said in a prepared statement to The Herald. The company has continuously cooperated throughout the process. It would not be appropriate to comment further given the preliminary information we have at this time.

The corporations, Villanueva and Casas are charged with a combination of crimes, including conspiracy to produce, sell or transfer fraudulent employment documents to the workers, hiring more than 10 undocumented workers, accepting fraudulent documents, transferring fraudulent documents and using the identification of others.

Will there be action taken to remove this man from the bench pending the outcome of this case -- given that he appears to give the phrase "criminal judge" a whole new meaning.





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

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Cheney's Chess Moves in the Middle East by Joshuapundit, and Don't Bury Your Heads in the Sand. by Iraq the Model.  Here is a link to the full results of the vote) in a post. 

Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
2  2/3Cheney's Chess Moves in the Middle East
Joshuapundit
1  2/3Positive Thinking Vs. The Greenies
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1  2/3Gone Across Peterson
The Glittering Eye
1  1/3You Asked for It
Done With Mirrors
1  1/3We Found the "Moslem Methodists!"
Big Lizards
1/3It Breaks My Heart To Say This
Rhymes With Right
1/3Gaffes, and Why They're Interesting
Bookworm Room
1/3Talk Isn't Cheap
Soccer Dad

VotesNon-council link
2  2/3Don't Bury Your Heads in the Sand.
Iraq the Model
2  1/3A Communism for the 21st Century
Gates of Vienna
1  2/3The New Anti-Blasphemy Rules, Again
The Volokh Conspiracy
1  1/3The Black Pleasure of Hatred and Cultural Provincialism
All Things Beautiful
2/3Siniora Pushes the Saudi Plan
Israel Matzav
1/3Support Those Poor Troops!
Power Line
1/3Defining Patriotism Down
Protein Wisdom
1/3Springtime in Islamberg
The New Media Journal
1/3Mort Kondracke's Plan B for Iraq: Ethnic Cleansing by Shiites
Hot Air





|| Greg, 04:42 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

May 19, 2007

What Does Carter Know?

After all, the incompetent anti-Semite from Plains did a lousy job as president.

Former President Carter says President Bush's administration is "the worst in history" in international relations, taking aim at the White House's policy of pre-emptive war and its Middle East diplomacy.

The criticism from Carter, which a biographer says is unprecedented for the 39th president, also took aim at Bush's environmental policies and the administration's "quite disturbing" faith-based initiative funding.

"I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history," Carter told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in a story that appeared in the newspaper's Saturday editions. "The overt reversal of America's basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including those of George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me."

Excuse me, but the single least competent individual to occupy the Oval Office during my lifetime was this pea-brained peanut farmer. After all, he decimated the military and our intelligence services, helped bring hostile regimes to power in both Iran and Nicaragua, presided over the worst economy in the last four decades and did such a poor job that the liquor-addled lecher Ted Kennedy even looked like a better choice to many of his fellow Democrats (and fellow Americans in general).

UPDATE: Great response from the White House.

I think its sad that President Carters reckless personal criticism is out there, Fratto told reporters. I think its unfortunate. And I think he is proving to be increasingly irrelevant with these kinds of comments.

But then again, Jimmy Carter was irrelevant from about November 1979 onward, so I don't know that it would be fair to characterize him as "increasingly irrelevant". After all, his despicable abandonment of the Shah and his ball-less response to the Iran Hostage Crisis can arguably be seen as marking the start point of the Islamist reaction against America.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Outside the Beltway, Is It Just Me?, The Virtuous Republic, DeMediacratic Nation, Adam's Blog, Big Dog's Weblog, Webloggin, Phastidio.net, The Amboy Times, Cao's Blog, Colloquium, Jo's Cafe, Right Celebrity, Wake Up America, Stageleft, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, stikNstein... has no mercy, Walls of the City, The World According to Carl, Nuke's news and views, Blue Star Chronicles, The Pink Flamingo, and High Desert Wanderer, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





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May 18, 2007

Who Knew This Was Still Around?

It has been rumored for some time that Tony Blair would likely convert to Catholicism after his time as prime Minister came to an end. Id figured it had something to do with the established nature of the Anglican Church in Great Britain but certainly not this.

He is widely considered to have remained an Anglican because of the potential complexities of conversion while in office.

Some lawyers believe the 1829 Emancipation Act, which gave Roman Catholics full civil rights, may still prevent a Catholic from becoming Prime Minister.

Clauses in the Act state that no Catholic adviser to the monarch can hold civil or military office.

It does raise an interesting issue and one would hope that it would also raise calls for that limit on religious liberty to be changed.





|| Greg, 06:34 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why Dont We Celebrate These Kids?

Seems to me that Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich makes a really valid point here while it is great that we celebrate student-athletes for their accomplishments, we really need to be much more serious about honoring the kids who are doing the heavy lifting of education. You know, the valedictorians and other kids who are excelling at the curricular activities of a school, not the extracurricular ones.

Michael Dotson wanted to be his high school valedictorian because he hates to see his mother sad.

He hated how sad she seemed when he was in 7th grade and started making C's and D's instead of A's. So when he entered Julian High School, he vowed to shape up.

"If I didn't have my mother and I was valedictorian, it would be like, so what?" he said Thursday, sitting in an office at the school. He's a heavyset young man with a soft voice who wears baggy jeans and braids his hair.

"When I found out I was valedictorian, I thought: My mother's going to be the happiest person in the world."

And this young man has succeeded in more ways than one.

By junior year, he realized he had a real shot at graduating first in his class. He studied a little harder. He wound up as one of only 17 boys among this year's 86 Chicago public school valedictorians.

The principal at Julian had hoped Dotson would go to Tuskegee, a revered African-American university in Alabama. Dotson, who hopes to be a video game programmer, chose the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Ariz., a school he discovered at a Navy Pier college fair.

He was sold by the brochure about "geeks at birth" that showed a fetus working at the computer.

Nudged by school officials, he applied to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a scholarship. The day the letter arrived, his mother ripped it open. He hadn't even wanted to apply, knowing the odds were against him.

She shouted for joy.

"I was my calm self," he said. "Then I went into my room and called a friend and started screaming."

I know how hard it is to get one of those scholarships. Weve had kids at my schools win National Merit Scholarships and other prestigious awards but not make the cut for the Gates awards. This young man has shown his ability, and also his individuality he could have given in to the pressure to pick a college other folks wanted him to attend, but he instead followed his own heart in making that choice.

Yet into Michael Dotsons life there has come tragedy his mother recently suffered a stroke. But the good news is that she will be there to see her son graduate from high school at the top of his class, a tribute to his effort and her parenting skills.

Its great to see one of these kids get recognition for this ort of success, but it also makes me stop and think about the out-of-whack priorities we set. Last week, one of our alums (a former student of mine) was brought back to campus to give a motivational speech to a group of kids who might charitably be labeled as troubled. He is a starter in the NFL (tagged as his teams franchise player) and making millions and is someone of whom we are all quite justifiably proud due to his success and his high moral character. And yet no one would ever think of bringing back one of his classmates, the valedictorian who got accepted at MIT and who is now finishing medical school here in town, or his sister who went to Harvard and is now a microbiologist, or his other sister who followed them to academic excellence and who is finishing her final year at Harvard with a degree in science. These young people grew up in the same neighborhood and faced many of the same challenges as that much-admired football player, but for some reason we seem unwilling or unable to hold them up with the same sort of pride and respect for their accomplishments. Why not and what can we do to change that?


OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Outside the Beltway, Is It Just Me?, The Virtuous Republic, DeMediacratic Nation, Adam's Blog, Big Dog's Weblog, Webloggin, Phastidio.net, The Amboy Times, Cao's Blog, Colloquium, Jo's Cafe, Right Celebrity, Wake Up America, Stageleft, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, stikNstein... has no mercy, Walls of the City, The World According to Carl, Nuke's news and views, Blue Star Chronicles, The Pink Flamingo, and High Desert Wanderer, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





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

Raising Taxes On Who?

On you and me, thats who!

Everyone takes a hit. Forty-five million working families with two children will see their taxes increase by nearly $3,000 annually. Theyd see the current child tax credit cut in half from $1,000 to $500. The standard deduction for married couples is also cut in half, from the current $3,400 to $1,700. The overall effect on married couples with children is obvious: Far from shifting the burden onto the wealthy, the Democratic budget drives up taxes on the average American family by more than 130 percent.

Seniors get hit hard too. Democrats like to crow that only the richest one percent of Americans benefit from the stimulative tax cuts Republicans passed in 2001 and 2003. What they rarely mention is how much seniors benefited from those cuts in the form of increased income as a result of lower taxes on dividends and capital gains. More than half of all seniors today claim income from these two sources, and the Democratic budget would lower the income of every one of them by reversing every one of those cuts.

I thought that it was only the top 1% of Americans who needed to pay more according to the Democrats. Looks like it is going to be all of us and as I see it, my taxes will be going up a couple of grand. Thats OK, though Im sure we will be able to do without our medications until the middle of October, when this school teacher and his disabled wife will have finally paid off the additional taxes we owe for being among the super-rich who disproportionately benefited from the Bush tax cuts.





|| Greg, 06:30 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Civil War? So What?

Jonah Goldberg points out that there often are good guys and bad guys in a civil war and that the argument that Iraq is a civil war is not a compelling one for adopting a cut-&-run-&-surrender policy as advocated by the neo-Copperheads.

Why is it obvious that intervening in a civil war is not only wrong, but so self-evidently wrong that merely calling the Iraqi conflict a civil war closes off discussion?

Surely it cant be a moral argument. Every liberal foreign policy do-gooder in Christendom wants America to interject itself in the Sudanese civil war unfolding so horrifically in Darfur. The high-water mark in post-Vietnam liberal foreign policy was Bill Clintons intervention in the Yugoslavian civil war. If we can violate the prime directive of no civil wars for Darfur and Kosovo, why not for Kirkuk and Basra?

If your answer is that those calls for intervention were humanitarian, that just confuses me more. Advocates of a pullout mostly concede that Iraq will become a genocidal, humanitarian disaster if we leave. Is the prospect of Iraqi genocide more tolerable for some reason?

Indeed, there is no way one can argue that intervention in Kosovo or Darfur are defensible while intervention in Iraq is not. For that matter, many folks still struggle mightily over our failure to intervene in the brief and bloody events in Rwanda, which can also be argued constituted a civil war. I fail to see the moral calculus that would allow for intervening to stop genocide while not doing so in an effort to forestall such genocide.

Then there are those who take the fatalists cop-out: Civil wars have no good guys and bad guys. Theyre just dogfights, and we should stay out of them and see who comes out on top. But thats also confusing, because not only is it not true, liberals have been saying the opposite for generations. They cheered for the Reds against the Whites in the Russian civil war, for the Communists against the Fascists in the Spanish civil war, and for the victims of ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia and Sudan. Surely liberals believe there was a good side and a bad side in the American Civil War?

Indeed, most civil wars do, in fact, have an identifiable dichotomy of good guy and bad guy, to use Goldbergs simplistic terms. With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that the world would have been a better place had the Whites won in Russia. Knowing what we do about Communist regimes, one can reluctantly conclude that the better of two sides won in Spain. And would anyone argue that a Serbian victory in Yugoslavia or an Islamist victory in Sudan and their accompanying genocides would be better for America or the world? Would one seriously argue that a Confederate victory over the Union would have been a neutral outcome?

In the end, America has an interest in who wins in Iraq as do the Iraqi people. It is strategically, not to mention morally, imperative for us to act in the best interests of our nation and the Iraqi people and to reject the defeatist cries of the nay-sayers who invoke the phrase civil war as if it were a magic talisman.





|| Greg, 06:29 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Not A Public Forum

Military posts have never been a public forum for political activity. These folks must therefore lose their case.

Last year they stopped short of the U.S. Military Academy gate. This year, anti-war protesters hope to go a few steps further.

As Vice President Dick Cheney prepares to deliver commencement remarks at West Point on May 26, local activists are headed to court for permission to protest the Bush administration inside the Academy on Graduation Day.

It's a type of civil disobedience that's never been permitted at the nation's oldest military college.

But Goshen civil rights attorney Michael H. Sussman and members of the Democratic Alliance of Orange County say they are seeking to set precedent. A federal judge has agreed to hear their request for an injunction this morning in White Plains.

"These people want to have it inside the gate, and West Point says they don't authorize (protests) inside the gate," said the group's lawyer, Stephen Bergstein. "But if they can be there in a peaceful way, they should be allowed to be there."

Nonsense.





|| Greg, 06:28 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (17) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Michael Kinsley And The Big Lie

I just love it when liberals set up a strawman to attack the GOP. Michael Kinsley does exactly that in this current Time column.

The official position of the Republican Party on abortion is more extreme than most people realize. All of its recent platforms have declared that "the 14th Amendment's protections apply to unborn children." The 14th Amendment is the one that protects fundamental rights and "equal protection of the laws." If "unborn children" are a protected group under the 14th Amendment--like blacks, women and so on--abortion is unconstitutional. A state couldn't legalize abortion even if its citizens wished to. Women who procure abortions and doctors who perform them would have to be prosecuted for murder, just like a woman who hires a gunman to kill her child. Death-penalty states would have to either stop executing murderers or start executing women who have abortions.

Actually, not quite, Michael. Yes, abortion would be banned in all states, but that would not require that abortion be treated as first degree murder or force the execution of abortionists and their clients. Just as there are currently multiple different criminal penalties for various sorts of homicide, abortion could be treated at any of those levels or even placed in its own class. For that matter, criminalization of abortion would not be required after all, there is no constitutional requirement that a state have laws against murder.

None of this, though, matters to Kinsley who would rather alarm folks than illuminate them. After all, Kinsley knows that most Americans support sharp limits on abortion, if not an outright ban. So Kinsley has to scare people and isnt about to let the actual facts get in the way. You know, things like this from the next paragraph in the platform.

We oppose abortion, but our pro-life agenda does not include punitive action against women who have an abortion.

But then again, when you want to paint your opponents as heartless extremists it wouldnt do to tell the whole truth.





|| Greg, 06:26 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (20) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

More Murtha Corruption

Aside from his betrayal of the troops and readiness to surrender, John Murtha has long left a trail of slime and corruption in his wake. This charge should therefore come as no surprise -- and be seen as entirely in character.

Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) threatened to deny any further spending projects to a Republican who challenged him over an earmark, his antagonist has charged -- a potential violation of House rules.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) had challenged money that Murtha inserted into an intelligence bill last week.

Rogers turned the tables later that night by saying he would propose a reprimand of Murtha for violating House rules.

The Republican is planning to insert a transcript of their exchange in the Congressional Record to document the potential violation.

The privileged resolution will also require a House vote to reprimand Murtha for his comments, according to a copy received by Politico. Rogers is expected to file it on Monday.

It does not call for an investigation by the ethics committee.

Bravo to Rogers for bringing this matter to the public -- but it also needs to go before the Ethics Committee. And I'm curious -- will the Democrats show anything approaching the level of outrage they always showed over Tom DeLay? Or will they continue to accept corrupt members as they have in the past, even as they talk a good game about ethics while shielding them?