August 31, 2007

Texas Supreme Court Gets It Right On Religious Freedom

One of the strangest laws on the books in Texas has been a statute forbidding any person or organization from operating an educational institution referring to itself as a seminary or awarding theological degrees without licensure and supervision by the State of Texas. It seemed out of place, for the teaching of theology and the determination of the qualifications of those who have a theological education for a degree has always seemed to be decidedly a matter for churches, not the state.

Today, the Texas Supreme Court agreed.

The Texas Supreme Court reversed lower court decisions today and ruled that state restrictions on what unaccredited religious institutions can call themselves and their education training violate the First Amendment.

The court said banning an institution like the Tyndale Theological Seminary in Fort Worth from using the term "seminary" in its name violates the Constitution.

Three religious organizations waged the legal fight. Tyndale, one of the schools, was cited in 1998 for violating a law that requires seminaries to be accredited and prevents unaccredited institutions from awarding degrees. It was fined $173,000 by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute represented the schools and argued before the court in 2005 that the state has no business regulating how pastors are trained.

State law requires institutions to meet certain standards if they call themselves a college, university or seminary. The court ruled that the law as it pertains to seminaries intrudes upon religious freedom.

"This decision is a huge victory for all seminaries not only in Texas but nationwide," said Kelly Shackelford, the institute chief counsel. "Seminaries are going to now be free to be seminaries ... The shackles are off."

The case is not about secular teaching and degrees, but about purely theological education, he said. Shackelford said the ruling means the plaintiffs can try to recover attorneys' fees incurred in the case.

Ultimately, the statute had the state (either directly or through a private organization) determining the qualifications of teachers of theology and the structure and content of that education if a school wished to award academic degrees. Indeed, there was potential here for the state to deny a religious body the ability to credential its own clergy -- especially given the fact that the state recognized only one body for accrediting schools of religion, meaning that a group with unorthodox beliefs might be denied due to doctrinal and ecclesiastical governance issues. with which it was at odds with the organization granted a monopoly on recognizing such programs by the state.

Freedom of religion means nothing if the teaching of religion by religious organizations can be regulated and restricted by the state.

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Elizabeth Edwards: "I Slept Through The 1990s"

Well, maybe that isn't exactly what she said -- but it is the only way this woman can plausibly claim she does not understand the conservative and Republican disdain and contempt for Hillary Clinton.

Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, says "hatred" of his rival Hillary Rodham Clinton would motivate Republicans to vote against her in the general election.

"I want to be perfectly clear: I do not think the hatred against Hillary Clinton is justified," Elizabeth Edwards said in an interview with Time magazine out this week. "I don't know where it comes from. I don't begin to understand it. But you can't pretend it doesn't exist, and it will energize the Republican base. Their nominee won't energize them, Bush won't, but Hillary as the nominee will. It's hard for John to talk about, but it's the reality."

Well, let's see.


Cattle futures.


Gennifer Flowers.

Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

Rose Law Firm.

FBI files.

Craig Livingston.

"I don't recall."

And I think that only takes us through 1995. Does any of that ring a bell, Liz?

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Do Accurate Quotes, Bios Constitute "Slime"?

That is what I'm left wondering after reading this WaPo article and the complaints from the congresscritters contained within.

The sheets of paper seemed to be everywhere the lawmakers went in the Green Zone, distributed to Iraqi officials, U.S. officials and uniformed military of no particular rank. So when Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) asked a soldier last weekend just what he was holding, the congressman was taken aback to find out.

In the soldier's hand was a thumbnail biography, distributed before each of the congressmen's meetings in Baghdad, which let meeting participants such as that soldier know where each of the lawmakers stands on the war. "Moran on Iraq policy," read one section, going on to cite some the congressman's most incendiary statements, such as, "This has been the worst foreign policy fiasco in American history."

The bio of Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher (D-Calif.) -- "TAU (rhymes with 'now')-sher," the bio helpfully relates -- was no less pointed, even if she once supported the war and has taken heat from liberal Bay Area constituents who remain wary of her position. "Our forces are caught in the middle of an escalating sectarian conflict in Iraq, with no end in sight," the bio quotes.

"This is beyond parsing. This is being slimed in the Green Zone," Tauscher said of her bio.

My question – are the quotes accurate? Yes, in fact, they are. So how is it "sliming" if one accurately quotes the public words of a member of Congress? They strike me as honest, straight-forward comments that hardly can be described as defamatory.

Unless, of course, the representatives in question have defamed themselves and revealed their own personal sliminess by their criticisms of the Iraq war and their willingness to undercut the troops and their mission.

Especially when the polls show that over half of Americans believe victory is attainable.

|| Greg, 03:56 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Law Without A Problem

Normally I'd oppose legislation to avoid a problem that does not exist. However, this one strikes me as a reasonable regulation by the California legislature.

Tackling a dilemma right out of a science fiction novel, the state Senate passed legislation Thursday that would bar employers from requiring workers to have identification devices implanted under their skin.

State Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) proposed the measure after at least one company began marketing radio frequency identification devices for use in humans.

The devices, as small as a grain of rice, can be used by employers to identify workers. A scanner passing over a body part implanted with one can instantly identify the person.

"RFID is a minor miracle, with all sorts of good uses," Simitian said. "But we shouldn't condone forced 'tagging' of humans. It's the ultimate invasion of privacy."

Simitian said he fears that the devices could be compromised by persons with unauthorized scanners, facilitating identity theft and improper tracking and surveillance.

The bill has been approved by the state Assembly and now goes to the governor.

Nine senators opposed the measure, including Bob Margett (R-Arcadia), who said it is premature to legislate technology that has not yet proved to be a problem. "It sounded like it was a solution looking for a problem," Margett said. "It didn't seem like it was necessary."

I was surprised, though, to find out that one company, based in Ohio, already requires RFID chips for employees so that they can be tracked in the workplace.

To be honest, I'm glad to see legislatures preempting this. While I'm willing to give employers wide latitude on some things, chipping their employees crosses a line. It strikes me as a violation of one's bodily integrity that no employer has a right to demand.

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

Commutation In Texas Death Penalty Case

I've got mixed emotions about this decision by Governor Rick Perry.

Perry issued the commutation order on a parole board's rare recommendation about seven hours before Kenneth Foster was to have been put to death — the narrowest gap by which he has halted an execution in his more than eight years in office.

Thursday's vote marked only the second time since Texas resumed carrying out executions in 1982 that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles endorsed stopping an execution with so little time remaining. And in that 2004 case, Perry rejected the board's recommendation and the prisoner, who had been diagnosed as mentally ill, was executed.

This time, Perry agreed with the board's recommendation that Foster be saved from lethal injection.

Foster, 30, learned of Thursday's board vote during a morning visit with his father. A warden told him of the governor's commutation about an hour later.

On the one hand, I firmly believe that every participant in this crime ought to be executed -- and that the guy merely driving the getaway car deserves to go to his death for his part in the criminal rampage that resulted in a murder.

On the other hand, I am troubled by the fact that two other participants did not get the death penalty.

In the end, though, I believe that Rick Perry's decision was wrong, and denies justice to the victim and his family.

H/T Don Surber

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

Reid Again Seeks To Undermine War Effort

Is there no seditious extreme to which the Democrats will not go in an attempt to undermine the war effort for political gain?

Saying the coming weeks will be "one of the last opportunities" to alter the course of the war, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said he is now willing to compromise with Republicans to find ways to limit troop deployments in Iraq.

Reid acknowledged that his previous firm demand for a spring withdrawal deadline had become an obstacle for a small but growing number of Republicans who have said they want to end the war but have been unwilling to set a timeline.

"I don't think we have to think that our way is the only way," Reid said of specific dates during an interview in his office here. "I'm not saying, 'Republicans, do what we want to do.' Just give me something that you think you would like to do, that accomplishes some or all of what I want to do."

Reid's unwavering stance this summer earned him critics who said he was playing politics by refusing to bargain with antiwar Republicans. In the interview, he said that his goal remains an immediate return of U.S. troops but that now is the time to work with the GOP. He cited bringing up legislation after Labor Day that would require troops to have more home leave, forcing military leaders to reduce troop levels, a measure that has drawn some Republican support.

The Surge is working. Progress is being made. And yet we again see the Democrats seeking to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in order to gain political advantage in 2008.

And let me be clear -- I know of no Republican who does not want the war to come to an end and all the troops brought home. However, speaking as the son of a Vietnam vet, I know that we want to see it done in a way that honors the troops -- and the only way to do that is to pursue a strategy of victory an success, not retreat and surrender.

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

Game Prank Garners Suspensions

A part of me admires the ingenuity and dedication of this kid in pulling off a classic sports prank. Is a suspension really an appropriate punishment here? Is any punishment warranted?

A high school student who tricked football fans from a crosstown rival into holding up signs that together spelled out, "We Suck," was suspended for the prank, students said.

Kyle Garchar, a senior at Hilliard Davidson High School in suburban Columbus, said he spent about 20 hours over three days plotting the trick, which was captured on video and posted on the video-sharing Web site YouTube. He said he was inspired by a similar prank pulled by Yale students in 2004, when Harvard fans were duped into holding up cards with the same message.

At the end of the video, Garchar wryly thanks the 800 Hilliard Darby High School supporters who raised the cards at the start of the third quarter during last Friday's football game.

"It couldn't have been done without you," reads the closing frame of the video.

Garchar, 17, created a grid to plan how the message would be spelled out once fans in three sections held up either a black or white piece of construction paper.

Directions left on stadium seats instructed fans to check that the number listed on their papers matched their seat numbers. Darby supporters were told the message would read "Go Darby."

"It was tedious," Garchar said. "I didn't really think it was going to work."

There was a day, not many years past, when folks would have found this humorous and the kid would have become one of those school legends that is talked about for years to come. Faculty and administration would have been at least marginally approving of the show of school spirit that went into the prank.

Today we make it a matter for serious discipline.

What do you think -- is the punishment appropriate or not?

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Subprime Bailout Plan To Be Announced

The Bush Administration will take steps to help homeowners facing financial problems due to their subprime home mortgages -- a move that will likely not satisfy his Democrat critics.

President Bush, in his first response to families hit by the subprime mortgage crisis, plans to announce several steps Friday to help Americans who have credit problems meet the rising cost of their housing loans, administration officials said Thursday.

The officials said Mr. Bush would call for the Federal Housing Administration to change its federal mortgage insurance program in a way that would let an additional 80,000 homeowners with spotty credit records sign up, beyond the 160,000 likely to use it this year and next.

The administration is offering his plan, which will include what one official called jawboning of lenders to persuade them not to foreclose on some borrowers, at a time of growing attacks on Mr. Bush from Democrats who say he has remained on the sidelines amid increasing anxiety over whether millions of Americans could end up losing their homes. Other elements of the plan would need legislative action, requiring Mr. Bush to win over the Democratic leadership in Congress.

Administration officials, who asked not to be identified, briefed a handful of news organizations on the proposals to be announced by Mr. Bush at an appearance in the White House Rose Garden on Friday morning.

The main objective of the package, one senior official said, is not to affect the stock markets but to help low-income homeowners, many of them concentrated in certain neighborhoods in several distressed areas of the country, such as Ohio and Michigan.

“The primary focus is to help individuals who have an opportunity to stay in their homes to stay in their homes,” this official said. “The subprime mortgage situation is having a crushing effect on a lot of communities right now.”

This does, of course, raise the issue of how far the government should go to help those who made poor financial decisions and are marginally able to afford their homes to stay in them. At what point does the government need to allow the market to apply economic realities to the situation, rather than having government provide a political solution?

In the coming weeks and months, Democrats (especially the presidential candidates) will push for more and more government involvement in the mortgage market if there is not a turnaround. It is in their nature. Where should the line be drawn?

|| Greg, 04:03 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (26) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Wall Of Second Temple Found

The discovery of more of the ruins of the Second Temple in Jerusalem clearly puts the lie to claims by some Islamists that there was never a Jewish temple on Temple Mount -- and seems to confirm the belief of some Jewish groups that renovations and improvements by Muslim religious authorities are really directed at destroying Jewish artifacts there.

Remains of the Jewish second temple may have been found during work to lay pipes at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in east Jerusalem, Israeli television reported Thursday.

Israeli television broadcast footage of a mechanical digger at the site which Israeli archaeologists visited on Thursday.

Gaby Barkai, an archaeologist from Bar Ilan University, urged the Israeli government to stop the pipework after the discovery of what he said is "a massive seven metre-long wall."

Television said the pipework carried out by the office of Muslim religious affairs, or Waqf, is about 1.5 metres deep and about 100 metres long.

The compound, which houses both Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, is located in east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967 and then annexed. It is the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina.

For Jews it as known as the Temple Mount, which they revere as the site of the King Herod's second temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. It is the holiest site in Judaism.

All that remains today is the temple's Western Wall, or Wailing wall.

I agree with Barkari's assessment that the Israeli government must act to stop the construction work so that this historical treasure may be preserved, studied, and properly venerated by the Jewish faithful.

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Fred To Announce September 6

The waiting game is almost over. Fred Thompson will declare his candidacy for the presidency next week.

Republican Fred Thompson will officially launch his presidential bid Sept. 6 in a Webcast on his campaign site, followed by a five-day tour of early primary states.

"I believe that there are millions of Americans who know that our security and prosperity are at risk if we don't address the challenges of our time; the global threat of terrorism; taxes and spending that will bankrupt future generations, and a government that can't seem to get the most basic responsibilities right for its citizens," the former Tennessee senator and "Law & Order" actor said in a statement Thursday that laid out themes of his campaign.

Thompson, 65, is vying to be seen as the most consistent mainstream conservative in the race.

Aides disclosed details about how he will formally enter the race in a conference call with supporters.

Evening house parties will be held nationwide on Sept. 6. A tour of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina will quickly follow the Internet announcement on, with later stops in Florida, and a homecoming event in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., on Sept. 15.

Next Wednesday, Thompson will appear on NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" but he won't participate with his Republican rivals in a debate that same night in New Hampshire.

Thompson brings to the eight-man GOP field a right-leaning Senate voting record with a few digressions from GOP orthodoxy and a healthy dose of Hollywood star power. He is hoping to attract conservatives who are lukewarm about the current crop of candidates.

I personally think it is about time that he make the move -- but that he should make the announcement on September 4 and participate in the big GOP debate on September 5. I don't think he is intentionally dodging that event, but it would have made for a great opportunity to place himself next to the otehr candidates at the start of his formal campaign.

|| Greg, 03:47 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 30, 2007

NYTimes Condemns Absolutist Idolatry Of Bill Of Rights

Or at least of the Second Amendment – they will continue to engage in absolutist idolatry of the First Amendment, even if it undermines the war effort.

As the Army's suicide rate hits record levels in the Iraq war, there's small wonder practically everyone in Congress wants to deal with the parallel emerging crisis of depressed veterans tempted to take their own lives. Everyone, that is, except Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma. He stands alone in blocking final passage of a suicide prevention bill in fear that the government's record-keeping on troubled vets might somehow crimp their ability to purchase handguns.

Even the craven gun lobby should manage some shame over this absurd example of Second Amendment idolatry.

The House has unanimously approved a measure mandating the screening of all veterans for suicide risk, but Senator Coburn worries that veterans' medical data might be appropriated by other agencies to deny that all-encompassing right to wield arms on the domestic front.

If Congress can somehow guarantee confidentiality, I'd support this bill. But unfortunately, Coburn is correct in fearing that these records could somehow be abused . After all, I remember some 900 FBI files turned over to political appointees in the Clinton White House, the disclosure of top secret national security programs by the NY Times – and today's lead story at the Washington Post is all about a leaked copy of a classified report. Imagine the concern that this confidential information will get out and be used to deny veterans the right to own a gun!

I'll tell you what – I'll give up my absolutism on the Second Amendment when the New York Times gives up its absolutism about the First Amendment. Until then, I'll stick by the views of the Founding Fathers.

Oh, and I can't help but be struck by the ignorance of our founding documents exhibited in the editorial as well.

But that's to care for them as human beings, under that other constitutional right — to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Guys – that isn't a constitutional right. It is a statement of principles in the Declaration of Independence. My tenth graders even know that.

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|| Greg, 03:32 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Economy Grows At 4% -- It's Bush's Fault!

After all, EVERYTHING is the fault of George W. Bush!

The economy grew at its strongest pace in more than a year during the spring as solid improvements in international trade and business investment helped offset weakness in housing.

The gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic health, expanded at an annual rate of 4 percent in the April-June quarter, significantly higher than the 3.4 percent rate the government had initially estimated a month ago, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

That may taper off in response to the sub-prime crash – but then again, maybe not. But even if it does, we will still likely see 2% growth.

|| Greg, 03:29 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Consensus? It Doesn't Exist

You know how we keep being told that there is consensus view of scientists in favor of catastrophic man-made Global Warming? That is a lie.

In 2004, history professor Naomi Oreskes performed a survey of research papers on climate change. Examining peer-reviewed papers published on the ISI Web of Science database from 1993 to 2003, she found a majority supported the "consensus view," defined as humans were having at least some effect on global climate change. Oreskes' work has been repeatedly cited, but as some of its data is now nearly 15 years old, its conclusions are becoming somewhat dated.

Medical researcher Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte recently updated this research. Using the same database and search terms as Oreskes, he examined all papers published from 2004 to February 2007. The results have been submitted to the journal Energy and Environment, of which DailyTech has obtained a pre-publication copy. The figures are surprising.

Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers "implicit" endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This is no "consensus."

The figures are even more shocking when one remembers the watered-down definition of consensus here. Not only does it not require supporting that man is the "primary" cause of warming, but it doesn't require any belief or support for "catastrophic" global warming. In fact of all papers published in this period (2004 to February 2007), only a single one makes any reference to climate change leading to catastrophic results.

These changing viewpoints represent the advances in climate science over the past decade. While today we are even more certain the earth is warming, we are less certain about the root causes. More importantly, research has shown us that -- whatever the cause may be -- the amount of warming is unlikely to cause any great calamity for mankind or the planet itself.

Indeed, the insistence that there was a consensus in the IPPC's report was in a section not written by scientists – it was written by politicians and bureaucrats. And the sections written by the scientists are edited to conform with the conclusion – in other words, the politicians and bureaucrats throw out what doesn't fit with a conclusion that is written and published before the actual research chapters.

In other words, the tail wags the dog.

And there is no consensus in favor of catastrophic global warming – cause by man or otherwise.

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Will Liberals Complain About Thes Police State Tactics?

Probably not -- after all, they want to grab your guns, and the mere fact that these police officers and city officials violated Virginia law and the Second Amendment won't bother them a bit.

More than 100 gun-rights advocates, most carrying handguns on their hips and wearing buttons saying "Guns Save Lives," came to the City Council on Tuesday night to protest what they called harassment of law-abiding gun owners by city officials.

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The protest was called by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun-rights group, after Chet Szymecki of Yorktown was arrested in June at Harborfest for carrying a gun.

Szymecki was arrested for violating a city ordinance banning guns at Harborfest - an ordinance that officials now acknowledge violates state law. City Attorney Bernard A. Pishko said city officials were unaware of a state law prohibiting localities from banning guns.

Carrying a weapon openly is legal in Virginia, even at a large gathering such as Harborfest. Once city officials realized their error, the charges against Szymecki were dropped.

"We made a mistake," Councilman Barclay C. Winn said. "It was unintentional."

Most who came to protest didn't appear to believe it was an innocent mistake.

"You know it was illegal," said Dave Vann, who drove from Falls Church to speak. "You arrested someone, and now it's going to cost you dearly."

Szymecki, a Navy veteran, said he was manhandled and hurt and that his wife, Deborah, his three children and two other children who accompanied them were traumatized. He said he has hired Norfolk attorney Stephen Merrill.

An emotional Deborah Szymecki told the council that after several police officers were done handcuffing her husband, she was left without money or the keys to the family car.

Others rose to describe incidents in which they said they were questioned and often handcuffed by police for simply carrying a firearm openly.

"Apparently you have some officers who don't understand the law," said the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Philip Van Cleave of Midlothian.

Most distressing is that one member of the city council, Paul R. Riddick, left the meeting rather than hear what mere citizens had to say on the issue of the police violating state law via their thuggish conduct in enforcing an illegal city ordinance. Such arrogance, of course, is why this incident was able to happen in the first place.

But then again, maybe we shouldn't expect protests by liberals and outraged coverage by the press over the violations of right and official arrogance in Virginia Beach. After all, these are loyal, law-abiding American citizens of a conservative bent whose rights have been violated -- and since they are not border-jumping immigration criminals or terrorist-affiliated enemy combatants, their rights will not be seen as relevant by reporters or leftards.

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

No Space Drunks

This fits a certain MSM pattern -- report an overblown charge as fact, then back off when it turns out there is no actual evidence to support the charge.

An internal investigation has found no evidence of heavy drinking or drunkenness among astronauts before space missions, NASA officials said Wednesday.

In a report summarizing the investigation, NASA’s safety chief, the former astronaut Bryan D. O’Connor, said that although stories had circulated about astronauts abusing alcohol before missions, nothing was found to support them.

“Within the scope and limitations of this review, I was unable to verify any case in which an astronaut spaceflight crewmember was impaired on launch day,” Mr. O’Connor wrote.

He also said he had found no evidence that managers had disregarded recommendations from flight surgeons or other crew members that an astronaut not be allowed to fly.

In the report, Mr. O’Connor recommended that NASA remind its employees to report, either openly or using one of several anonymous reporting systems the agency has in place, any threat to a flight’s safety, including alcohol abuse. The report also recommended improvements in the oversight role of flight surgeons on launching day.

“I am confident that there are reasonable safeguards in place to prevent an impaired crew member from boarding a spacecraft,” he said.

So the mention of two unverified reports in an earlier report was sufficient to tar the space agency as unconcerned with safety and irresponsible in its handling of personnel and machinery. But now that the stories have been shown to be nothing more than NASA urban legends, will the media give the sort of remedial coverage needed to repair NASA's image? I doubt it.

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

Haditha Charges Fail

And yet neither the press nor the anti-war lynch mob led by John Murtha have offered a peep of apology now that it has been definitively shown that the "cold-blooded murders" violated not a single law.

Last December, when the Marine Corps charged four infantrymen with killing Iraqi civilians in Haditha, Iraq, in 2005, the allegation was as dark as it was devastating: after a roadside bomb had killed their buddy, a group of marines rampaged through nearby homes, massacring 24 innocent people.

In Iraq and in the United States, the killings were viewed as cold-blooded vengeance. After a perfunctory military investigation, Haditha was brushed aside, but once the details were disclosed, the killings became an ugly symbol of a difficult, demoralizing war. After a fuller investigation, the Marines promised to punish the guilty.

But now, the prosecutions have faltered. Since May, charges against two infantrymen and a Marine officer have been dismissed, and dismissal has been recommended for murder charges against a third infantryman. Prosecutors were not able to prove even that the killings violated the American military code of justice.

Now their final attempt to get a murder conviction is set to begin, with a military court hearing on Thursday for Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, the last marine still facing that charge. He is accused of killing 18 Iraqis, including several women and children, after the attack on his convoy.

If the legal problems that have thwarted the prosecutors in other cases are repeated this time, there is a possibility that no marine will be convicted for what happened in Haditha.

Could it be that what we had was a rush to judgment by the MSM and the cut-and-runners? Will the press look at that possibility?

No, they will instead continue to besmirch the names of heroes and wonder aloud about how the military justice system is broken, rather than consider that the media reporting was flawed and that the war's opponents have such low regard for the truth that they acted as a high-tech lynch mob that convicted these men before the charges were even brought.

After all, that story wouldn't fit the template that they are using to cover the war.

|| Greg, 03:42 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why Is This A Story?

This really doesn't even rise to the level of a human interest story.

Karl Rove, your car is ready.

White House pranksters wrapped Rove's Jaguar in plastic wrap on the private driveway next to the West Wing. Rove's car is easily recognizable because of its "I love Barack Obama" bumper sticker and the twin stuffed-animal eagles on the trunk. Oh, and there's a stuffed-animal elephant on the hood.

Rove, the top White House political strategist who recently announced his resignation, left his car on the driveway while visiting Texas and traveling with President Bush.

He got back to the White House early Wednesday evening, ventured out to the driveway and — wearing a big smile — began unwrapping the car. Rove got some help from a few eager children who had come by the White House to watch President Bush arrive on the South Lawn in the Marine One helicopter.

Rove seemed to assign blame for the prank on Al Hubbard, the chairman of Bush's National Economic Council. He playfully pointed the finger at Hubbard while the kids ripped off the plastic wrap.

So what? What does this story tell us, other than that Rove has friends and coworkers who play practical jokes -- and not even particularly original ones?

|| Greg, 03:34 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 29, 2007

Soros-Funded Democrat Corruption

Seems to me that liberals just can't follow the rules that they insist be applied to the rest of us.

The Federal Election Commission has fined one of the last cycle's biggest liberal political action committees $775,000 for using unregulated soft money to boost John Kerry and other Democratic candidates during the 2004 elections.

America Coming Together (ACT) raised $137 million for its get-out-the-vote effort in 2004, but the FEC found most of that cash came through contributions that violated federal limits.

The group's big donors included George Soros, Progressive Corp. chairman Peter Lewis and the Service Employees International Union.

The settlement, which the FEC approved unanimously, is the third largest enforcement penalty in the commission's 33-year history.

I don't know about you, but illegal campaign practices seem a lot more important than Larry Craig's non-BJ. Which will the press cover extensively?

Seems to me that the bumper sticker slogan that the Democrats need is "Got Corruption?"

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

Sacrifice For Thee But Not For Me

Yep – that is the latest John Edwards mantra.

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards told a labor group that he would ask Americans to make a big sacrifice: their sport utility vehicles.

"I think Americans are actually willing to sacrifice," Edwards said Tuesday during a forum held by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. "One of the things they should be asked to do is drive more fuel efficient vehicles."

The former North Carolina senator was asked specifically if he would tell them to give up their SUVs, he said, "Yes."

Doesn't Edwards often travel in an SUV? Doesn't he often fly on private jets? Isn't he the owner of a palatial mansion that uses a superabundance of energy? In other words, isn't John Edwards a carbon sasquatch?

I've never owned an SUV, and won't unless my wife needs one to get around in a wheelchair. But let me say this – I resent being called on to sacrifice by an individual who annually consumes more energy than I do in the course of 5 years.

MORE AT Captain Ed.

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

You Have To Admire Them

I don't agree with their challenge to the policy, but I respect their willingness to stand up for what they believe.

The leaders of a student group at Montgomery County's Wissahickon High School that opposes a new rule requiring backpacks worn inside the school to be made of mesh or clear plastic won praise from the school board and administration at a board meeting Tuesday night, but got no change in the policy.

The students vowed to continue the fight; they are calling for a "Day of Silence" on Sept. 12, when they will refuse to talk during classes. The board agreed to take another look at the policy after school starts.

The new rule was part of a 13-page list of school safety recommendations released in July by a school safety task force convened by Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. Several other Montgomery County school districts already either require see-through backpacks or have banned backpacks altogether from school hallways.

Principal William Hayes decided over the summer to implement the clear or mesh backpack policy, saying that while it was not a surefire way of keeping weapons out of the school, it would "make kids think twice" about bringing contraband into the school.

The move unleashed a wave of protest from students who formed an online group calling itself "Hell No I'm Not Wearing a See-Through Backpack."

What is particularly nice here is that the school board is taking its responsibility to encourage good citizenship quite seriously. Rather than dismissing the complaints and punishing the students, they offer nothing but praise for the kids and express a willingness to discuss – but not necessarily change – the policy.

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

More Arrogance From Elvira Arellano

With her history of lawbreaking and border jumping, I think it would be appropriate top declare her persona non grata so that she can NEVER legally return to this country under any circumstance.

The recently deported illegal migrant and activist who took refuge in a Chicago church for a year, has asked the Mexico's president to appoint her "peace and justice" ambassador so she can return to the United States.

Elvira Arellano, 32, who sought refuge to avoid being separated from her U.S.-born, 8-year-old son, was arrested and sent back to Mexico on Aug. 19 after traveling to Los Angeles to attend a rally for the overhaul of U.S. immigration laws. Her son stayed in the United States.

"What I'm asking for is a diplomatic visa so that I can be an ambassador for peace and justice because I'm not a terrorist and the United States can't continue treating undocumented migrants as terrorists," Arellano told reporters after meeting with President Felipe Calderon at the presidential residence, Los Pinos.

There is no reason for us to recognize any diplomatic status the Mexicans give her – and every reason to permanently ban her from American soil.

|| Greg, 06:00 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (43) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Clinton Taking Funds From Fugitive

I guess that felons really are a Democrat constituency.

For the last 15 years, California authorities have been trying to figure out what happened to a businessman named Norman Hsu, who pleaded no contest to grand theft, agreed to serve up to three years in prison and then seemed to vanish.

"He is a fugitive," Ronald Smetana, who handled the case for the state attorney general, said in an interview. "Do you know where he is?"

Hsu, it seems, has been hiding in plain sight, at least for the last three years.

Since 2004, one Norman Hsu has been carving out a prominent place of honor among Democratic fundraisers. He has funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions into party coffers, much of it earmarked for presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

In addition to making his own contributions, Hsu has honed the practice of assembling packets of checks from contributors who bear little resemblance to the usual Democratic deep pockets: A self-described apparel executive with a variety of business interests, Hsu has focused on delivering hefty contributions from citizens who live modest lives and are neophytes in the world of campaign giving.

Hsu has donated or raised over $100,000 for Hillary Clinton's presidential run -- and over $1,000,000 for Democrats since 2004.

And Hillary's response to this?

"Norman Hsu is a longtime and generous supporter of the Democratic Party and its candidates, including Sen. Clinton," Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for the campaign, said Tuesday.

"During Mr. Hsu's many years of active participation in the political process, there has been no question about his integrity or his commitment to playing by the rules, and we have absolutely no reason to call his contributions into question or to return them."

Could you imagine the outrage if this were a Republican candidate refusing to return funds raised by a fugitive felon? And given the unusual patterns of some of those donations, it is clear that there is a serious question about Hsu's integrity and his commitment to playing by the rules.

I wonder if the Clinton PardonMart is already open for business.

|| Greg, 04:43 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Gul Elected In Turkey

The Turkish Parliament, acting in accord with the will of the people as expressed in recent elections, have defied the Turkish military and elected Abdullah Gul as the nation's new president.

Beaming as the votes were counted, a veteran government figure with roots in political Islam won a parliamentary vote to become Turkey's president Tuesday, in defiance of the country's strongly secular military. Abdullah Gul's triumph presented Turkey's generals with a choice: overthrow Gul in what would be a deeply unpopular coup or accommodate the rise of political Islam in the Muslim world's most rigidly secular state.

Gul immediately sought to reassure the military and other doubters. "Turkey is a secular democracy. . . . These are basic values of our republic, and I will defend and strengthen these values," he told parliament after taking the oath as Turkey's 11th president.

Many Turks say the popularity of Gul's mildly Islamic Justice and Development Party after five years in power, and the unprecedented economic prosperity it has brought, will probably shield it from any immediate putsch. Turkey's military sees itself as the guardian of the secular state established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923. Generals have driven out four governments since 1960, including an overtly Islamic government in the 1990s in which Gul held a cabinet post.

The election of Gul, as I noted yesterday, offers a model for the Muslim world of a Democratic government that respects Islamic values while not imposing a sharia-based theocracy. The Bush administration needs to strongly support Gul's election, and make it clear to the Turkish military that any attempt to undo it will not receive favorable treatment from Washington.

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

Sadly Pathetic

The Firefighters Union has endorsed. . . Chris Dodd.

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) picked up the first significant prize in the competition for labor union endorsements yesterday, winning the support of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) in what his advisers believe will be an important boost to his presidential primary campaign.

The firefighters count 281,000 members, meaning they are only the 10th-largest union in the AFL-CIO. But they are among the most politically active and symbolically prized labor groups in the country, in part because of the heroic actions of firefighters at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon when terrorists struck on Sept. 11, 2001.

Just let that one sink in. Chris Dodd.

That certainly makes me take them seriously when the union thugs in charge of this organization attack Rudy Giuliani. After all, if you want evidence of bad judgment, this endorsement is it.

Chris Dodd? Good God!

|| Greg, 04:21 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (18) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Iran To Step In If US Fails In Iraq

In other words, the cut-&-run crowd, whether they intend it or not, are advocating turning Iraq over the Mahmoud the Mad and the murderous Mullahs of Iran.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad boldly declared Tuesday that U.S. political influence in Iraq is "collapsing rapidly" and said his government is ready to help fill any power vacuum.

The hard-line leader also defended Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a fellow Shiite Muslim who has been harshly criticized by American politicians for his unsuccessful efforts to reconcile Iraq's Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.

"The political power of the occupiers is collapsing rapidly," Ahmadinejad said at a news conference, referring to U.S. troops in Iraq. "Soon, we will see a huge power vacuum in the region. Of course, we are prepared to fill the gap, with the help of neighbors and regional friends like Saudi Arabia, and with the help of the Iraqi nation."

The last thing we want to see in Iraq is another hardline Islamic theocracy. And at a time when US policy in Iraq seems to be working, pulling out so that one can be established by an enemy of the United States is precisely the wrong policy.

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

GOP To Follow Dems In Disenfranchisement

I condemned it when the Democrats did it. Now I fear that my own party may follow them in the same sort of mistake -- even if not nearly as extreme.

The Republican National Committee plans to penalize at least four states holding early primaries, including New Hampshire and Florida, by refusing to seat at least half their delegates at the party’s national convention in 2008, a party official said Tuesday.

Much of the focus in the primary scheduling fight up to now has been on the Democratic National Committee’s moves to penalize Florida by not seating its convention delegates because of the state’s decision to move up its primary. But the Republican rules are even more stringent, and the national party said today that it would not hesitate enforcing them.

I agree that we need to get a better hold on the nominating process, but disenfranchising the voters is not the way to do it. And make no mistake, that is what such penalties do.

To the legislators of the four states involved, I offer the same advice that I offered when the Democrats took action against Florida.

1) Deny access to the November 2008 ballot to any party which holds a national nominating convention which refuses to seat the delegates duly elected on the primary date established by law.

2) Exercise its constitutional power to direct the votes of the state's electors by prohibiting the awarding of any of the state's electoral votes to a candidate nominated at a national nominating convention which refuses to seat the delegates duly elected on the primary date established by law.

Disenfranchisement is wrong when the GOP does it, every bit as much as when the Democrats do it. I urge my party to pull back from the brink of a serious political and moral wrong.

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

VIrtual Police State

Now the Red Chinese are working to turn the internet into the same sort of freedom-free zone as the rest of their country.

Police in China's capital said Tuesday they will start patrolling the Web using animated beat officers that pop up on a user's browser and walk, bike or drive across the screen warning them to stay away from illegal Internet content.

Many of the sites that will bring the cyber-cops to your screen are those that have politically questionable content. You know, advocacy of freedom, democracy, and human rights. All things that have undermiend communism in every nation where such ideas are able to take hold in the hearts and minds of the people.

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

New Poverty Numbers

And they are all George Bush's fault.

Five years into a national economic recovery, the share of Americans living in poverty finally dropped.

The nation's poverty rate was 12.3 percent in 2006, down from 12.6 percent a year before, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. Median household income increased slightly, to $48,200.

Individual earnings dropped for both men and women in 2006, but more members of each household worked, resulting in the overall increase in household income, said David Johnson, chief of the Census Bureau's Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division.

Remember -- the burst of the tech bubble in the final months of the Clinton Administration, followed by the Enron debacle (caused by lax enforcement and supervision by the SEC during the Clinton years) and 9/11 (again, brought on by lax Clinton terrorism policies) led to an economic downturn in 2001 and 2002. Tax cuts brought us out of that slump -- the Bush tax cuts opposed by the Democrats. Had we followed their policies, we would still be in the midst of an economic depression.

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

August 28, 2007

Too Cool!

This would be really goofy if it didn't have a serious cool factor to it -- at least for science fiction and space geeks like me.

May the force be with shuttle Discovery and seven astronauts on an October mission to the International Space Station.

Coming from a galaxy far, far away, the lightsaber wielded by Luke Skywalker in Star Wars will fly aboard the orbiter three decades after the classic movie opened.

"What better way to celebrate the 30th anniversary than to send the original lightsaber into space with the shuttle?" Julie Kuenstle, a spokeswoman for Space Center Houston, said Tuesday.

The lightsaber will be on display at the visitor complex at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston through Labor Day. Then it will be shipped to Kennedy Space Center and packed into Discovery's mid-deck.

NASA spokesman James Hartsfield said the sci-fi sword would remain stowed throughout the shuttle's 13-day mission.

Yeah -- I guess a lightsaber wouldn't be much good if the Shuttle were to encounter the Death Star.

I guess I'll have to drive down the road this week to see the movie relic before it gets shipped to Florida.

|| Greg, 10:51 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Abuse Of "Community"

I've had it.

I'm tired of seeing "community" abused.

It has been going on for years. We hear it all the time.

The black community.

The Jewish community.

The GLBT community

Fine, these are all groups of people who share some common trait, but do they really have the level of commonality and cohesion to be considered a "community? That can be argued either way, especially since the word has taken on an expanded meaning in recent years.

But tonight I heard the most egregious abuse of the word "community" that I've ever encountered.

On one of our local stations tonight, the reporter dutifully reported that a task force to study ways to decrease convenience store robberies included "representatives of the convenience store community".

Convenience store community?

What next -- Convenience Store-Americans?

|| Greg, 10:47 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Note On Hypocrisy

I frankly don't care whether or not Senator Larry Craig is gay or bisexual.

I don't even care if he attempted to solicit sex in a bathroom.

We determined in the 1980s and 1990s that sexual orientation and sexual misconduct are irrelevant to fitness for office -- and any Democrat who didn't support the removal of Bill Clinton, Barney Frank, and Gerry Studds from office has no basis for raising a fuss over Craig.

What I do find disturbing is the hypocrisy charge -- based upon the presumption of his sexuality and his positions on gay marriage and hate crimes.

I've been trying to figure out how to explain my position, but ran across something that reflected my thoughts in a manner better than I could express them.

The liberal view of homosexuality is based on two claims: an empirical one and a moral one. The empirical claim is that sexual orientation is inborn, a trait over which one has no control. The moral claim is that homosexuality is no better or worse than heterosexuality; that a gay relationship, like a traditional marriage, can be an expression of true love and a source of deep fulfillment. Out of these claims flows the conclusion that opposition to gay rights is akin to racism: an unwarranted prejudice against people for a trait over which they have no control.

For the sake of argument, suppose this liberal view is true. What does it imply about the closeted homosexual who takes antigay positions? To our mind, the implication is that he is a deeply tragic figure, an abject victim of society's prejudices, which he has internalized and turned against himself. "Outing" him seems an act of gratuitous cruelty, not to mention hypocrisy if one also claims to believe in the right to privacy.

According to the Statesman, the blogger who "outed" Craig did so in order to "nail a hypocritical Republican foe of gay rights." But there is nothing hypocritical about someone who is homosexual, believes homosexuality is wrong, and keeps his homosexuality under wraps. To the contrary, he is acting consistent with his beliefs. If he has furtive encounters in men's rooms, that is an act of weakness, not hypocrisy.

Defenders of "outing" politicians argue that the cruelty is not gratuitous--that politicians are in a position of power, which they are using to harm gay citizens, and therefore their private lives are fair game. But if the politician in question is a mere legislator, his power consists only of the ability to cast one vote among hundreds. The actual amount of harm that he is able to inflict is minimal.

Anyway, most lawmakers who oppose gay-rights measures are not homosexual. To single out those who are for special vituperation is itself a form of antigay prejudice. Liberals pride themselves on their compassion, but often are unwilling to extend it to those with whose politics they disagree.

Of course, liberals don't really believe that those who disagree with them are worthy of respect or rights. From Stalin's USSR to the Clinton White House to the local Democrat official who called for the murder of a prominent Republican for supporting the Iraq War, those who oppose the position of the liberal is seen as an enemy to be destroyed, not a fellow human being with a different point of view.

Some interesting takes on the Craig issue at Captain's Quarters, Slate, Lawyers Guns & Money, Talking Points Memo, Crossed Pond

|| Greg, 10:01 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A New Journalistic Low From Time Magazine

I've seen cheap shots before -- but exploiting this tragedy in this manner is inexcusable.

Bush Motorcade Kills Cop

What -- did the George W. Bush order his motorcade to speed up and run this law enforcement officer off the road? Was Dick Cheney laying down covering fire as they passed th cop?

No. Nothing of the sort.

What happened was that the officer lost control of his bike as the motorcade entered a parking garage, and was fatally injured in the performance of his duty. It was a tragic accident, notable to the national press only because the officer was one of the escorts of the presidential motorcade.

Should this story have been reported? Absolutely.

But is the headline irresponsible and misleading? You bet.

But you know the MSM motto -- never miss a cheap shot at the the President.

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|| Greg, 05:52 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Anarchists Organizing

Seems rather oxymoronic to me -- but then again, most anarchists I've met have been morons, so there's no surprise.

A group of activists who describe themselves as "anarchists and anti-authoritarians" will hold a private strategy session over the Labor Day weekend to discuss plans to protest at the Republican National Convention to be held in St. Paul Sept. 1-4, 2008.

The group, called the RNC Welcoming Committee, held a news conference on Monday at the Jack Pine Community Center on Lake Street in Minneapolis, where Bea Bridges, speaking for the committee, showed a video that hinted at confrontational tactics, read a statement and walked out, taking no questions.

It seems pretty clear they are planning violence -- like such anarchist groups do every time they seek to express their displeasure.

Captain Ed
has a great analysis of this group and the article.

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

Racist Dems Banned From Politics

You cannot discriminate against voters -- even if you are black and they are white.

In a case that marked the federal government's first use of the Voting Rights Act to accuse African-Americans of discriminating against white voters, a judge on Monday ordered a Mississippi county Democratic Party and its chairman to forgo election activities until 2011.

U.S. District Judge Tom Lee issued the order as a remedy in the 2005 lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Under his order, a "referee-administrator" will have full authority over the party's primary and runoff elections through November 2011. The job went to former state Supreme Court justice Reuben Anderson, the first African-American to serve on the high court in Mississippi.

In June, the mostly black-run Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee (NDEC) and Chairman Ike Brown, who is black, were found to have discriminated against white voters and their candidates by fixing absentee ballots and ignoring residency requirements.

Democrats have engaged in racist behavior throughout their history to maintain their hold on power wherever possible. When will it be recognized that the nation's RICO laws need to be applied to its ongoing pattern of misconduct, for the good of the American political system?

|| Greg, 04:16 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Religious Candidate Headed To Victory In Turkey

And if Gul can successfully walk the fine line between the nation's secular constitution and the desire of religious Turks to see their values reflected in the nation's laws, there may be a real model for Muslims to follow.

After being shut out of the presidency last spring, Abdullah Gul, a religious man in the assiduously secular realm of Turkish politics, allowed himself a little soul-searching.

“Has the government limited women’s rights?” Mr. Gul, 56, asked a panel of newspaper editors on national television, hoping to persuade Turkey’s establishment that it had nothing to fear from his candidacy.

After all, he argued, his party was already in power, but “has the government closed down places where young people or modern people go? Has the government done some secret things and those been disclosed? What happened?”

As he saw it, he had done everything right. As foreign minister, he pushed for Turkey to join the European Union. He called for changes to a law that punished writers for “insulting Turkishness.” He raised Turkey’s profile abroad and helped devise a set of democratic reforms.

But for Turkey’s secular class, all that was beside the point. Mr. Gul came from a party that espoused political Islam, his wife wore an Islamic head scarf and the fear that inspired outweighed his accomplishments. A high court blocked his candidacy at the request of the main secular opposition party.

Four months later, he is running again, after Turks voted overwhelmingly for his party in a national election. This time, in today’s parliamentary vote, he is almost certain to win.

Turkey’s secular class is still clearly uncomfortable with the choice. Turkey’s powerful military, which has ousted four elected governments, said on its Web site on Monday that there were “centers of evil” that “systematically try to corrode the secular nature of the Turkish Republic.”

But Turkey’s secular elite won only a fifth of the vote last month, and Mr. Gul, an outsider from Turkey’s religious heartland, seems to be calculating that he no longer needs its consent.

His approval will thrust a group of young, reform-minded members of the Islamic middle class into the upper echelons of secular power in Turkey, a fundamental reversal of the hierarchy in place since the founding of the state in 1923. For most of Turkey’s history, upper-class Turks have occupied the presidency and imposed Western values onto the conservative Anatolian heartland below. With Mr. Gul’s election, that heartland is on top.

Given that Gul and his supporters appear to be the Muslim equivalent of the Christian Coalition, I hope they are successful in their efforts to balance religion and politics.

|| Greg, 04:11 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

TYC Releases Spark Crime Wave

Earlier this year, a sex-abuse scandal hit the Texas Youth Commission. At the same time (for unrelated reasons), the whining mother of a whining delinquent got a crew of race-baiters to demand her release -- and sparked the early release of a large number of juveniles thugs and criminals.

Care to guess what happened? It shouldn't be too hard.

Thirteen days after Howard McJunkin was paroled from a Texas Youth Commission facility for beating and raping an elderly woman in this East Texas town, authorities say he committed the same crime again.

McJunkin is one of 2,200 offenders the TYC rushed to release this year as part of an effort to drastically reduce the population of the scandal-plagued juvenile corrections system. Nearly one in five of those parolees — 408 — have been rearrested for committing new offenses, including McJunkin and 42 others for violent crimes, documents obtained by the Houston Chronicle reveal.

While high recidivism rates have long been a fact of life for TYC — 50 percent of parolees offend again within three years — the rapid rearrests of offenders released in a hurry this year has residents in this town of 25,000 demanding to know: Exactly who's getting out, and how are decisions being made?

* * *

While the Legislature this spring enacted a series of agency-wide reforms in an effort to address a sex abuse scandal, including closing TYC to offenders between the ages of 19 and 21 and those who committed misdemeanor offenses, they left untouched TYC's current criteria for paroling juveniles.

Staff who make parole decisions can consider neither the seriousness of an offender's original crime, nor his or her sentence, just the offender's behavior inside TYC.

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

Bacarisse Preparing To Pull The Triger

A great many Harris County GOP activists became quite upset after last spring's bait-and-switch resignation of County Judge Robert Eckels and his replacement with Ed Emmett only weeks after Eckels had been sworn in for a new term of office. We have been looking around for a candidate that we could support -- one selected by the voters, not foisted on us as a part of an inside deal.

The day is rapidly approaching when our candidate makes his formal announcement.

Harris County District Clerk Charles Bacarisse is expected to announce his candidacy for county judge on Wednesday, ending months of speculation about whether he would seek the job after being passed over for it earlier this year.

Bacarisse told the Houston Chronicle last week that he had no plans to declare his intentions before Labor Day. But a close political adviser, Jim McGrath, indicated Monday that Bacarisse would make it official this week.

Asked if that was true, the district clerk hedged.

"I want to wait until I speak at the press conference to say anything, for obvious reasons," Bacarisse said. "I don't want to trigger the 'resign to run' provision until I trigger it."

Charles has done a great job in his current office, and has the skills needed to be a fine County Judge. He has been popular among Harris County voters, while Emmett has not been before the people for election in about 20 years, and holds his job because he was chosen by a constituency of one -- Eckels selected his friend and pulled the strings to get him selected.

Charles Bacarisse has my whole-hearted endorsement for the office.

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

Yahoo Makes Changes

Yahoo has announced changes that might put it ahead of Google in the free email game.

Yahoo Inc. will introduce new features Monday for its popular Web-based e-mail program, including software that allows computer users to type text messages on a keyboard and send them directly to someone's cell phone.

The enhancements make it easier to send e-mail, instant messages or text messages from a single Web site — no need to launch or toggle between separate applications or devices. The features will be available to users in the United States, Canada, India and the Philippines.

The most obvious beneficiaries will be parents, who will be able to use their keyboards to type messages sent to their children's cell phones — no thumb-twisting typing on a dial pad, said Yahoo Vice President John Kremer.

"We're giving you the right way to connect at the right time with right person," said Kremer, whose two preteen sons vastly prefer text and instant messages to e-mail.

I'll be honest -- I don't text, because i don't like using the little keypad on my phone. This move could be enough to get me to start -- although I have become so wedded to my Gmail address that I can't imagine making the switch. So I guess I'll wait for Google to introduce the feature.

|| Greg, 03:41 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 27, 2007

See – It Does Work!

Take away the jobs, and the border jumpers leave.

Undocumented immigrants are starting to leave Arizona because of the new employer-sanctions law.

The state's strong economy has been a magnet for illegal immigrants for years. But a growing number are pulling up stakes out of fear they will be jobless come Jan. 1, when the law takes effect. The departures are drawing cheers from immigration hard-liners and alarm from business owners already seeing a drop in sales.

It's impossible to count how many undocumented immigrants have fled because of the new law. But based on interviews with undocumented immigrants, immigrant advocates, community leaders and real-estate agents, at least several hundred have left since Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano signed the bill on July 2. There are an estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona.

Some are moving to other states, where they think they will have an easier time getting jobs. Others are returning to Mexico, selling their effects and putting their houses on the market.

The number departing is expected to mushroom as the Jan. 1 deadline draws closer. After that, the law will require employers to verify the employment eligibility of their workers through a federal database.

"I would say we are losing at least 100 people a day," said Elias Bermudez, founder of Immigrants Without Borders and host of a daily talk-radio program aimed at undocumented immigrants.

Here's hoping that the rate increases as the deadline looms.

And that other states – and the federal government – impose similar employer sanctions.

|| Greg, 08:26 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why Does The Justice Department Sponsor An Unidicted CoConspirator

This makes no sense at all -- if this organization is a terrorist conspirator in an ongoing trial, the Justice Department should be keeping far away from them, not sponsoring their annual convention.

The Justice Department is co-sponsoring a convention held by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) — an unindicted co-conspirator in an ongoing federal terrorist funding case — a move that is raising concerns among the Justice's rank and file.

Justice lawyers have objected to the affiliation with ISNA, fearing it will undermine the case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development in Dallas.

"There is outrage among lawyers that the Department of Justice is funding a group named as a co-conspirator in a terrorist financing case," said a Justice lawyer who spoke to The Washington Times on the condition of anonymity.

According to an e-mail from Susana Lorenzo-Giguere, acting deputy chief of the Voting Rights Division, the sponsorship will involve sending government lawyers to man a booth for the Labor Day weekend event in Illinois.

"This is an important outreach opportunity, and a chance to reach a community that is at once very much discriminated against, and very wary of the national government and its willingness to protect them," Mrs. Lorenzo-Giguere said in an e-mail obtained by The Washington Times.

"It would be a great step forward to break through those barriers. And Chicago is lovely this time of year," Mrs. Lorenzo-Giguere said.

We should be locking some of these folks up, not registering them to vote. We should be monitoring their activities, not supporting them.

What next -- government catering of the next reunion of the Gambino family?

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

"Listen To The Generals" Becomes "Who Cares About The Generals"

John Edwards has jumped on the defeat-at-any-cost bandwagon.

Congress should continue to push for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq regardless of what top military advisers say in their progress report next month, Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said Sunday on Face The Nation.

"I think they should not submit a single funding bill to the president for the war that doesn't have a timetable for withdrawal," Edwards told Bob Schieffer. "And I think they should use whatever legislative tool is available to them, including filibuster."

And Edwards kept insisting that there has been no political progress in Iraq, even as the Maliki government announced exactly the sort of compromises and steps forward that Edwards called a necessary step to stability.

Iraq's top Shi'ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish political leaders announced on Sunday they had reached consensus on some key measures seen as vital to fostering national reconciliation.

The agreement by the five leaders was one of the most significant political developments in Iraq for months and was quickly welcomed by the United States, which hopes such moves will ease sectarian violence that has killed tens of thousands.

It seems that the Breck Girl wants to go down in history as an even worse president than Jimmy Carter.

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

Teacher Shortage

As classes start today, I'm pleased to say that we don't have a single vacancy in my building. That is not the case at many schools around the country.

The retirement of thousands of baby boomer teachers coupled with the departure of younger teachers frustrated by the stress of working in low-performing schools is fueling a crisis in teacher turnover that is costing school districts substantial amounts of money as they scramble to fill their ranks for the fall term.

Superintendents and recruiters across the nation say the challenge of putting a qualified teacher in every classroom is heightened in subjects like math and science and is a particular struggle in high-poverty schools, where the turnover is highest. Thousands of classes in such schools have opened with substitute teachers in recent years.

Of course, there are ways of fixing the problem -- starting with higher salaries to entice more and better-qualified teachers into the classroom. Giving teachers more support instead of adopting the attitude that the student and parent are always right would help as well. Too many teachers I know walk away from the field in the first five years because they are imply beat down by the constant expectation that they accomplish miracles while standards of conduct and achievement are lowered for students. Until we see a return to the day when teachers were treated as respected professionals, the shortage will continue.

|| Greg, 04:07 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Clinton Praise Bush Policies

And I don't doubt that Hillary will be throwing lamps at her husband again, this time for being off-message as she attacks the Bush record in the course of her presidential run.

In an interview for a high-profile magazine cover story just hitting newsstands, President Clinton offers praise for several foreign policy initiatives undertaken by President Bush.

Speaking with Condé Nast Traveler, Mr. Clinton lauds Mr. Bush mostly for decisions that involved overruling hard-liners in his administration.

"He has done three things that I think the world generally approved of: restoring cooperation with the Latin American countries, making a diplomatic agreement with North Korea instead of continuing to have a frigid standoff, and sending Americans to the conference to discuss the future of Iraq with the Iranians and the Syrians," Mr. Clinton said. "Those are, all three, things that signify we're trying to do better in the world."

The former president said more inflexible positions the Bush administration took earlier on those and other issues were the understandable product of the trauma America incurred on September 11, 2001. "It took us a couple of years to regain our bearings, and I think we have now," he said. "I think that we're getting our balance back."

Mr. Clinton also gave Mr. Bush credit for pressing for an end to the genocide in Darfur. "I think the fact that he's pushing really, really hard through the diplomatic channels on Darfur is a plus. People see that we're pushing harder than some of the other countries are to try to get an acceptable UN force in there that will save more lives," he said.

Clinton's rhetoric is so moderate that it can only further alienate the mouth-frothing leftoids that claim to be the new center of Democrat politics. Not only does he praise Bush, but he also praises Wal-Mart at a time that his wife is having to distance herself from the company. I don't see this as being any help to the Senator .

|| Greg, 03:54 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Iranian Smart Bomb To Destabilize Region?

With the government of Mahmoud the Mad insisting that it "will use these (bombs) against our enemies when the time comes", that isn't even a question.

Iran vowed Sunday to use a new 2,000-pound "smart" bomb against its enemies and unveiled mass production of the new weapon, state television reported.

The government first announced development of the long-range guided bomb Thursday, saying it could be deployed by the country's aging U.S.-made F-4 and F-5 fighter jets.

"We will use these (bombs) against our enemies when the time comes," Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said on state television Sunday.

Iran often announces new weapons for its arsenal, but the United States maintains that while the Islamic Republic has made some strides, many of these statements are exaggerations.

The broadcast included a brief clip of a fighter jet apparently dropping one of the bombs, which destroyed a target on the ground.

The defense minister continued his threats as state television showed him unveiling a mass production line for the weapon in Tehran.

"We will use this weapon where we want to ... hit enemy's strategic and defense targets," Najjar said. "This will be used against our enemies, against those who violate our land and air space."

Israel said the claim underlines its concerns over Iran's arms buildup.

The Israeli government rightly notes that every nation in the region is concerned about Iran's expansionist military build-up. And given the regular threats to wipe Israel off the map which emanate from Tehran, I wonder how long it will be until the Israelis shut down this production line "with extreme prejudice".

|| Greg, 03:45 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

South Park Ad Deal

Is this the wave of the future for entertainment?

Now, however, Mr. Stone and Mr. Parker and their bosses at Comedy Central, a unit of Viacom’s MTV Networks, are attempting to leapfrog to the vanguard of Hollywood’s transition into Web. In a joint venture that involves millions in up-front cash and a 50-50 split of ad revenues, the network and the two creative partners have agreed to create a hub to spread “South Park”-related material across the Net, mobile platforms, and video games.

The deal, signed Friday, begins with a three-year extension of the show and its creators’ contracts through a 15th season, in the year 2011, and gives Mr. Stone and Mr. Parker sizable raises, both in their salaries and in their guaranteed advances against back-end profits from DVDs, merchandising, syndication and international sales.

It also creates an entity called, to be housed in the show’s animation studio in Culver City, Calif., that is intended to be an incubator not only for new applications for characters the likes of Cartman, Kyle, Stan and Kenny, but for new comedy concepts that could one day mature into TV series of their own.

All told, people involved in the deal confirm that it is worth some $75 million to Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone over the next four years. But what is likely to draw the most attention in Hollywood is not the richness of the pact, but the network’s willingness to share its advertising revenue.

In an age when you don't need a network to be successful in reaching viewers, it seems to me that there will have to be a new paradigm for splitting the revenue generated by network shows. I just wonder if this will give the creators of South Park greater freedom from PC cenosrship like that involving the depiction of Muhammad this spring.

|| Greg, 03:34 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 26, 2007

Not Our Job

No wonder we have a problem with border jumpers and drug smugglers breaking American law and sneaking into the US -- it isn't the job of the Border Patrol to stop them.

At least not according to Carlos X. Carrillo, Border Patrol chief of Laredo, Texas.

A Border Patrol chief at one of the nation's most dangerous Southwest border crossings says the agency's mission doesn't include apprehending illegal aliens or seizing narcotics — perplexing front-line agents and angering a congressional critic of illegal immigration.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again," Carlos X. Carrillo, Border Patrol chief of Laredo, Texas, told guests at a town-hall meeting Thursday. "The Border Patrol's job is not to stop illegal immigrants. The Border Patrol's job is not to stop narcotics. ... The Border Patrol's mission is not to stop criminals.

"The Border Patrol's mission is to stop terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the country."

Law-enforcement agencies consider Laredo to be one of the Southwest's most dangerous border crossings. It is the sister city of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, which is controlled by one of that country's most ruthless drug-smuggling rings.

Somebody needs to explain to Carrillo that the interdiction of drugs and immigration criminals is a big part of his agency's job.

Better yet, somebody in Washington needs to tell him that he needs to find a new job, because he no longer works for the US government.

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Cancellation Of Florida Religious Broadcast Is Troubling

Not, mind you, that the station doesn't have the right to do as its choosing with its schedule. However, the reason for that change is quite troubling.

A Christian televangelist who harshly criticizes Islam and other religions said Friday that his late-night program is being pulled off the air because of pressure from a Muslim group.

Earlier this month, officials from the Council on American Islamic Relations wrote a letter to the TV station's owners asking for an investigation of the show it broadcasts, "Live Prayer with Bill Keller."

In a May 2 broadcast, the televangelist said Islam was a "1,400-year-old lie from the pits of hell" and called the Prophet Muhammad a "murdering pedophile." He also called the Quran a "book of fables and a book of lies."

Council officials asked for equal air time for Florida Muslims to counter Keller's comments, but never got the chance.

The hourlong show, which airs nightly at 1 a.m., is broadcast on WTOG-TV, a CBS-owned station that airs the CW network locally. WTOG station manager Laura Caruso said the decision to end Keller's contract was a programming one, made by station executives and the televangelist.

But after speaking with CBS executives, the Islamic group claimed credit for Keller's demise. His last broadcast will be Aug. 31.

"They really based their decision upon our letter," said Ramzy Kilic, the group's civil rights coordinator. "They really did not know that Bill Keller was involved with this kind of anti-Muslim rhetoric."

Let's see -- Keller says they yanked the show because of Muslim complaints. The terrorist-affiliated Muslim group indicates that its protests got Keller off the air. The station, on the other hand, says that the complaints had nothing to do with it and that Keller agreed to the change. Is it just me, or does it appear that someone -- likely the CBS affiliate -- is lying here?

Mind you, I don't necessarily agree with all of Keller's theology, or even all of his comments about Islam. But he is accurate in his initial premise that Islam and Christianity are fundamentally incompatible -- and that since Jesus is THE Way, THE Truth and THE Light, an incompatible faith explicitly states that Jesus was not divine and was not crucified and resurrected clearly does constitute a danger to one's eternal soul. A book (such as the Quran) which purports to be divinely revealed and teaches falsely about Jesus is, in fact, a "book of fables and a book of lies." And while one can argue the Mohammad was not a pedophile based on certain cultural and social norms that prevailed in seventh century Arabia, it is clear that he and his successors over the next 1400 years often engaged in murder to advance their religion and to prevent the exercise of the human right to freely practice the faith of one's choosing.

In America, respect for the religious beliefs and sensitivities of others is not required. Indeed, WTOG-TV and CBS regularly broadcast material which is insensitive and insulting towards the religious beliefs of Christians and other religious groups. Only Islam seems to get this sort of hyper-sensitive treatment.

Could it be that the tendency of Muslims world wide to riot and murder when confronted with opposing voices is the reason for this disparity? And if it is, isn't such barbaric behavior sufficient reason in and of itself to denounce ridicule and belittle the Religion of Behead-The-Infidel and those who practice it?

H/T Stop the ACLU, Weasel Zippers

* * * * * * *

And on a related note, bravo to for having the courage to host two weeks of Berkley Breathed's "Opus" which have been withheld from publication by many newspapers for mocking Islamism.

Islam -- Eroding Freedom Since 610 AD

|| Greg, 02:17 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Any Opportunity To Bash Bush

What can I say -- even when the New York Times explicitly concedes the legitimacy of the President's position on an issue, it still feels it necessary to delegitimize that position.

I mean, consider this in today's editorial on the SCHIP program and the new regulations put into place by the President.

There is a legitimate argument to be had over how far up the income scale the federal-state partnership known as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or S-chip, should climb. When it was created, the program focused on children whose family incomes were no higher than twice the poverty level, or about $41,000 today for a family of four. The goal was to cover the near-poor, who earned too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private health insurance.

After all, who can argue with the notion that those intended to be helped by the program should be effectively served before it is expanded to cover others -- especially when the new "market" is the upper middle class, including families making over $82,000 a year (also called "the rich" by the NYT editors when they get a tax cut)?

Well, the New York Times, that's who!

Yet the Bush administration wants to return to a darker age. Its letter to state officials seems intent on virtually eliminating such coverage for middle-income children, or at least drastically reducing it.

In other words, the position advocated by the President (making sure the program fulfills its primary mission) is legitimate, but not legitimate because it is advocated by the President.

It must be so easy to be a part of th NYT editorial staff. You just need to see what W is doing and declare it illegitimate.

|| Greg, 01:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

And You Don't Even Need To Fry An Egg

This is David Broder.


This is David Broder on drugs.

Chuck Hagel, the senator from Nebraska, describes himself as a "tidal" politician, one who believes that larger forces in society shape careers more than the ambitions of individuals. "The only mistakes I've made," he told me last week, "were when I tried to go against the tide."

Today, that tide may be carrying him away from his Republican Party and toward a third-party or independent ticket with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- a development that could reshape the dynamics of the 2008 presidential race.

Any questions?

* * * * * * * *

Where, exactly, would Hagel and Bloomberg draw their support? Neither has any significant GOP support. Neither would appeal to the Democrats. And third party/independent bids are generally insignificant things. Why would this one, with two politicians with limited national recognition, be any different?

|| Greg, 01:16 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (50) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why A Multi-State Solution Is Essential In Iraq

Whether that means several smaller independent nations emerging in its place, or some sort of national confederation of regions drawn based upon ethnicity and religion is subject to discussion and debate, the political status quo is difficult to overcome following decades of dictatorship during which the Baath Party exploited the divisions between different religious and ethnic groupings.

In part, of course, Iraq remains a place pocked by violence and fear, which makes compromise difficult. But more important, say Iraqi political commentators and officials, Iraq has become a cellular nation, dividing and redividing into competing constituencies that have a greater stake in continued chaos than in compromise.

In most areas, for most Iraqis, the central government today is either irrelevant or invisible. Provinces and even neighborhoods have become the stages where power struggles play out. As a result, Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds — or elements of each faction — have come to feel that they can do a better job on their own.

“No one can rely on the political participants who lack a common view of the public interest,” said Nabeel Mahmoud, an international relations professor at Baghdad University. “Such a concept is completely absent from the thinking of the political powers in Iraq’s government, so each side works to get their own quota of positions or resources.”

Because of their autonomy, the Kurds are perhaps best positioned to benefit from the government’s failures. American protection in the final years of the Hussein government helped disconnect the Kurdistan region from the rest of Iraq, bringing glass office towers and foreign workers to cities like Erbil.

Earlier this month the Kurds took another step in that distancing process, passing a regional oil law that will reach its full potential only if a national oil law is never implemented.

Shiites and Sunnis, however, are still the factions with the greatest responsibility for Iraq’s political stalemate, and the ones most able to gain from the dysfunctional status quo.

Personally, I prefer the confederation model, which I believe would produce more a more viable Iraq.

Why the problem? For the same reason we find instability in a number of Middle Eastern and African nations. Boundaries were drawn by imperialist powers in the late 19th and early 20th century without regard to the traditional affinities and antipathies of the groups that would be impacted by the borders.

In Africa, that got us Rwanda and Darfur. In the Middle East, that created Iraq and Lebanon. Rarely have the results been good.

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

Dems Disenfranchise Florida

In an attempt to control the primary dates of the states, the DNC has declared that Florida delegates selected this January will not be seated at the 2008 presidential nominating convention.

The Democratic National Committee, threatening to take the toughest line possible, voted Saturday to refuse to seat any Florida Democrat at the Democratic presidential convention in 2008 if the state party did not delay the date of its 2008 primary to conform to the party’s nominating calendar.

The committee gave Florida Democrats 30 days to propose a primary date that conformed with Democratic rules prohibiting all but four states from holding their primaries or caucuses before Feb. 5. But Florida leaders, who seemed stunned by a near-unanimous vote and the severity of the punishment, said they were doubtful they could come up with an alternative.

They said they were bound by the vote of the Republican-controlled State Legislature, which set the primary for Jan. 29.

Beyond what is emerging as a clear embarrassment for the party, the practical results of this dispute were unclear. To a considerable extent, it could prove to be little more than a reminder of how little authority the party appears to have over its nominating process this year.

It strikes me that the Florida legislature may need to take a firm hand in resolving this dispute. As i see it, they have two options.

1) Deny access to the November 2008 ballot to any party which holds a national nominating convention which refuses to seat the delegates duly elected on the primary date established by law.

2) Exercise its constitutional power to direct the votes of the state's electors by prohibiting the awarding of any of the state's electoral votes to a candidate nominated at a national nominating convention which refuses to seat the delegates duly elected on the primary date established by law.

The first of these might be subject to a court challenge, but the second is clearly within the power of the legislature to implement, and would not even require the signature of the governor to implement.

And I'd like to pointedly suggest to my own GOP that my proposal is not a partisan one -- they apply to any attempt to sanction the Florida GOP as well.

On the other hand, this does point up the need for some nominating structure that is more structured, more coherent, and arrived at through a process of consensus.

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

Treason At HuffPo!

What else do you call Martin Lewis' direct call for the overthrow of the Constitutional principle of civilian control of the military by having a general relieve the President of his constitutional role of commander-in-chief during time of war?

Though you are Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the President's principal military advisor - President Bush has shown his disdain for your honesty and wisdom. Though you are a decorated Vietnam war hero - who has served his nation honorably for four decades - the President is dispensing with your services. You have one month left in your position before you are tossed out by the President.

President Bush is going to ignore your advice. Just as he has ignored the advice of other Generals who have had the courage to respectfully point out how terribly wrong he is in respect of the Iraq War and the safety of the US military he is sworn to protect. Highly-decorated colleagues of yours such as General Anthony Zinni (Commander in Chief of U.S. Central Command), General Eric Shinseki (Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army) and General John Abizaid (Commander of the U.S. Central Command).

General Pace - you have the power to fulfill your responsibility to protect the troops under your command. Indeed you have an obligation to do so.

You can relieve the President of his command.

Not of his Presidency. But of his military role as Commander-In-Chief.

That is, of course, a military coup and a direct abrogation of the US Constitution. The military is subordinate to the President.

What is most shocking is this disingenuous disclaimer.

To be crystal clear - I am NOT advocating or inciting you to undertake any illegal act, insurrection, mutiny, putsch or military coup. You are an honorable patriotic man.

I am NOT advocating or inciting you to interfere with any of the civilian duties of the President. That would not be a legal action by you.

However you have the legal responsibility - under Article 134 of the Uniform Code Of Military Justice - to protect the troops under your command by relieving the President of his MILITARY command…

In addition to relieving him of his command as Commander-In-Chief, you also have authority to place the President under MILITARY arrest.

Now let's break this down -- he is urging the general to violate his oath to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution by preventing the President from exercising his powers under that Constitution, and to do so by illegally (indeed, unconstitutionally) using military force to that end. That would be unlawful, an insurrection, an act of mutiny, and, consequently, a military coup. And the call for a military trial of the President while he is detained under military arrest prior to and during a military trial is undeniably one which would interfere with the President's civilian duties -- one of which is to be the civilian head of the armed forces exercising civilian control over the same.

In effect, the author is calling on the general to dispense with the constitutional method of removing a president -- impeachment. Given that the House lacks the votes to impeach and the Senate lacks the votes to convict, Lewis is calling for the subordination of the Executive Branch to military control, but also the Legislative Branch. No doubt any attempt to use the courts to legally challenge this military coup would be suppressed, so we would also see the constitutional role of the Judicial Branch overthrown. Interesting how quickly this Leftist is prepared to dispense with the Constitution just to get rid of a President and policies he disagrees with. Who is the fascist?

Captain Ed points out a number of flaws, some of which I have touched upon.

Lewis quotes extensively from the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but clearly his scholarship does not extend to the Constitution. The command of the armed forces follows from the president’s election to office, and cannot be separated from the office itself. Bush isn’t C-in-C because he got appointed to that position, but because the American electorate voted him into that role. In other words, the military cannot arrest the C-in-C but leave the President in power, and to argue otherwise is to demonstrate complete ignorance.

Secondly, the President does not serve at the pleasure of the Joint Chiefs — and indeed, the military is subservient to the civilian command structure. They do not have arrest authority over the President — nor over anyone else in the US other than military personnel, as the Posse Comitatus Act stipulates. Civilian oversight keeps the military from seizing power and is a long and vital tradition in this nation. It’s what keeps us from becoming a banana republic, run by military strongmen.

Lewis wants to turn America into just that kind of nation. His Bush-hatred runs so deep that he would willingly see the military take control over the federal government just to get rid of him. The Left likes to talk about supposed fascism among conservatives, but the Huffington Post is literally calling for a military coup to reverse an election, not only an un-Constitutional act but also the kind of authoritarian rule they supposedly despise.

I'd argue, as my title suggests, that this post at HuffPo constitutes treason on Lewis' part -- and possibly on the part of Arianna Huffington for allowing it to continue to run on her site. However, Clayton Cramer suggests that it might merely be sedition, and points out that Lewis has taken a course of action that could legitimately lead to his imprisonment for the next twenty years.

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|| Greg, 12:42 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 25, 2007

And The Left Calls Them "Freedom Fighters" And "Minutemen"

I call them depraved followers of Satan who make Michael Vick and OJ look like Jesus.

I guess I missed George Washington burning little children.

UPDATE: Tammy Bruce has info on where to donate to help Yousif.

Here's the Children's Burn Center site if you would like to make a donation. Under "Honor/Memorial Gift Information" there's a drop down menu for Youssif's fund.

|| Greg, 09:43 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Evolutionary Evidence

As Houston prepares to welcome Lucy from Ethiopia, a new discovery will likely cause a reevaluation of the evolutionary timeline of the human species.

Ten million-year-old fossils discovered in Ethiopia show that humans and apes probably split six or seven million years earlier than widely thought, according to landmark study released Wednesday.

The handful of teeth from the earliest direct ancestors of modern gorillas ever found -- one canine and eight molars -- also leave virtually no doubt, the study's authors and experts said, that both humans and modern apes did indeed originate from Africa.

The near total absence to date of traces on the continent of apes from this period had led many scientists to conclude that the shared line from which humans and living great apes emerged had taken a long evolutionary detour through Eurasia.

But the study, published in the British journal Nature, "conclusively demonstrates that the Last Common Ancestor (of both man and ape) was strictly an African phenomenon," commented paleoanthropologist Owen Lovejoy of Kent State University in Ohio.

Lovejoy described the fossils as "a critically important discovery," a view echoed by several other scientists who had read the paper or seen the artifacts.

"This is a major breakthrough in our understanding of the origin of humanity," Yohannes Haile-Selassie, a physical anthropologist at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, told AFP.

The most startling implication of the find, the scientists agree, is that our human progenitors diverged from today's great apes -- including gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees -- several million years earlier than widely accepted research based on molecular genetics had previously asserted.

Looks like I may have to revise my lesson plans for Wednesday. Who says there is nothing ever new in history?

|| Greg, 09:25 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Prepare Ye The Way Of The Fred

Looks like the big announcement is coming VERY SOON.

A round of applause, please, for former Virginia Sen. George Allen, who finally got likely GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson to hint when he plans his big announcement. Filling in for Richmond's WRVA morning host Jimmy Barrett, Allen just came out with it, asking the Law & Order star what's up.

Said the Fred, who's been testing the political waters: "Well, the water is pretty warm. I like the temperature a lot." He also told Allen, "It won't be very many more days" before he declares.

During the five-minute chat, Thompson addressed the complaints that he is taking too long to make up his mind.

"This is not an attempt to be cute or game the system," he promised. Thompson said instead that he's just working on more of an old school schedule, when candidates didn't announce until the fall before the election year.

And he said that running for president isn't something he's planned all his life. "I'm doing in a few months what people have taken a long, long time period to do," he said.

It will be interesting to see how the announcement jumbles up the already tight GOP race.

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

Justice Served

An aging member of the Democrat Party's terrorist wing has been sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of two black teenagers during the height of the civil rights movement.

Calling the crime “unspeakable because only monsters could inflict this,” a federal judge on Friday sentenced a former member of the Ku Klux Klan to three life terms in prison for his role in the 1964 kidnapping and murder of two black teenagers in Mississippi.

The case was one of several that focused a spotlight on white supremacist violence during the civil rights era.

The victims, Henry H. Dee and Charles E. Moore, both 19, were hitchhiking in Meadville, Miss., when a group of Klansmen, including James Seale, picked them up and took them to a wooded area, where they were beaten and their weighted bodies thrown into the Mississippi River. Both young men drowned.

Their bodies were not recovered until later that year in a high-profile search for three civil rights activists whose deaths generated widespread revulsion against the racial violence in Mississippi.

“The pulse of this community still throbs with sorrow,” Judge Henry T. Wingate of Federal District Court said as he imposed the sentence, which will effectively keep Mr. Seale, who is 72 and has cancer, behind bars for the rest of his life.

Personally, I'd like to see this decrepit terrorist hung by the neck until dead, but I'm sure he will meet his maker sometime soon. And I'm sure he will be joining al-Zarqawi and the jihadis in the same warm environment -- and that he won't be getting 72 virgins, either. After all, the Klan and al-Qaeda may have different ideologies, but they are reflective of the same fundamental evil that lurks in the hearts of some individuals and leads them to harm their fellow human beings.

|| Greg, 08:31 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

iPhone Hacked

Which I suppose could be beneficial if you have the technical skill to do it and the willingness to risk screwing up a $600 cell phone.

A teenager in New Jersey has broken the lock that ties Apple’s iPhone to AT&T’s wireless network, freeing the most hyped cell phone ever for use on the networks of other carriers, including overseas ones.

George Hotz, 17, confirmed Friday that he had unlocked an iPhone and was using it on T-Mobile’s network, the only major U.S. carrier apart from AT&T that is compatible with the iPhone’s cellular technology.

While the possibility of switching from AT&T to T-Mobile may not be a major development for U.S. consumers, it opens up the iPhone for use on the networks of overseas carriers.

Why do I have a feeling that this kid will one day be able to write his own ticket to do anything he wants in a technical field of some sort?

Or that he will one day own us all?

|| Greg, 08:14 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Tsarevich Alexei, Grand Duchess Maria Identified

The missing children of Russia’s last Tsar have been identified, nearly 90 years after they and their family were murdered on the orders of Vladimir Lenin.

Prosecutors announced Friday that they have reopened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the last Russian czar and his family nearly 90 years ago after an archaeologist said the remains of the czar's son and heir to the throne at last may have been found.

The announcement of the reopened investigation, while a routine matter, signaled that government may be taking the claims — announced Thursday by Yekaterinburg researcher Sergei Pogorelov — seriously.

In comments broadcast on NTV, Pogorelov said bones found in a burned area of ground near Yekaterinburg belong to a boy and a young woman roughly the ages of Czar Nicholas II's 13-year-old son, Alexei, and a daughter whose remains also never have been found.

Yekaterinburg is the Urals Mountain city where the czar, his wife and children were held prisoner and then shot in 1918.

If confirmed, the find would solve a persistent mystery and fill in a missing chapter in the story of the doomed family, victims of the violent 1917 Bolshevik Revolution that ushered in more than 70 years of communist rule.

* * *

The spot where the remains were found appears to correspond to a site described in writing by Yakov Yurovsky, the leader of the family's killers, said Pogorelov, an archaeologist at a regional center for the preservation of historical and cultural monuments in Yekaterinburg.

"An anthropologist has determined that the bones belong to two young individuals — a young male he found was aged roughly 10-13 and a young woman about 18-23," he told NTV television by telephone.

Nicholas abdicated in 1917 as revolutionary fervor swept Russia, and he and his family were detained. The next year, they were sent to Yekaterinburg, where a Bolshevik firing squad executed them on July 17, 1918.

Historians say guards lined up and shot Nicholas; his wife, Alexandra; their five children and four attendants in the basement of a nobleman's house. The bodies were loaded onto a truck and initially dumped in a mine shaft but were later moved, according to most accounts.

And thus closes a sad chapter in the violent, murderous history of Communism.

|| Greg, 07:43 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Is the United States an Imperialist Power and Does It Matter? by Right Wing Nut House, and How The New Republic Got Suckered by Pajamas Media.  Here are the full results of the vote:

VotesCouncil link
4Is the United States an Imperialist Power and Does It Matter?
Right Wing Nut House
2St. Nietzsche
Done With Mirrors
1  1/3Horrific Nineveh Bombing Shows Counterinsurgency Working
Big Lizards
2/3Noriega Rips Cornyn For Representing Texans The Way They Vote
Rhymes With Right
2/3On Science, Fashion & Being PC
‘Okie’ on the Lam
2/3Papa Giuliani
Bookworm Room
2/3God's Warriors?
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1/3Christians and Democrats: An Open letter To Anne Rice
1/3A Misguided College Senior
The Colossus of Rhodey
1/3The Economic War On Terror
Soccer Dad

VotesNon-council link
4How The New Republic Got Suckered
Pajamas Media
1  1/3The Peace Racket
City Journal
1  1/3Israel and the Double Standard
1  1/3The Technology of Our Dissent
Beijing Wide Open
1UK Civics Class Asks: What Would Muhammad Do?
Sweetness & Light
2/3The VSP Club
The Washington Monthly
1/3Arming Teachers
Right on the Left Coast: Views From a Conservative Teacher
1/3"Consensus": Wrong
1/3In Another Country
1/3How To Educate Inner City Poor

|| Greg, 05:45 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 24, 2007

The Best Reason For A Lifetime Ban

Michael Vick refuses to admit to his crimes.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick will not admit to killing dogs or gambling on dog fights, as detailed in his indictment, when he enters a guilty plea in a Richmond, Va., federal court Monday, a source close to the case has told ESPN. Instead, the one count of conspiracy that Vick will plead to will admit guilt to the charge of interstate commerce for the purpose of dogfighting.

The source told ESPN that Vick's defense team met with federal attorneys Thursday afternoon to determine the "summary of facts" to which Vick will plead, and that his attorneys believed they had a deal. The source said Vick maintains he never killed dogs and never gambled on a dog fight.

He will admit he was present when dogs were killed, but that he did not personally kill any of the dogs.

The allegations of killing dogs and gambling were part of the picture painted by Vick's three co-defendants, all of whom have pleaded guilty.

Vick, 27, is scheduled to enter his plea agreement Monday and could face up to five years in prison.

Vick's co-defendants said Vick provided virtually all the gambling and operating funds for the Bad Newz Kennels enterprise. Two of them also said Vick participated in executing at least eight dogs seen as underperforming by various means, including drowning and hanging.

His failure to come clean is clear proof of a lack of contrition. And his involvement in this ongoing gambling enterprise is a strong basis for keeping him out of the NFL in any event.

|| Greg, 02:59 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||


I’ll admit it – I’m not a fan of Hillary or Obama.

That said, this sort of rhetoric and display are beyond the pale.

I hope my fellow conservatives will join me in denouncing Ted Nugent over this.

|| Greg, 02:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Local Blogger, Democrat Leader, Urges Jasper-Style Truck-Drag of Jewish Republican

Proving that the Democrat legacy of hatred and violence is alive and well today, one local blogger and Democrat leader has called for a prominent Jewish Republican to be tied to the back of a pickup truck and dragged like James Byrd.

And there is no question of my misinterpreting the post in question. Not with this title.

Time to drag Ari Fleischer out of town

And certainly not when it is combined with this conclusion.

The ads are running in states where Senators are possibly waffling on whether to continue to "stay the course". Nothing like using the war and our vets for political purposes. Someone needs to volunteer to give Ari, the rotten bastard, a ride out of town.

Behind the back of a pickup truck.

Sorry about the language, folks, John Cobarruvias tends to be a crude, profane individual. He clearly doesn't believe that his political opponents have a right to speak, and obviously isn't above urging/threatening violence to silence them.

Since John is a good enough friend with Congressman Nick Lampson to be admitted to his hospital room following heart surgery, I wonder what he has to say about such a close friend and political supporter engaging in calls for political violence. Why don't you call him and ask?

Congressman Nick Lampson
Washington Office Phone: 202.225.5951
Stafford Office Phone: 281.240.3700
Clear Lake Office Phone: 281.461.6300

For that matter, how about making a similar call to John's new best friend, Senate candidate Rick Noriega. Does Noriega support calls for dragging Jews and Republicans behind a pickup truck like James Byrd?

Exploratory Committee Office Phone: 713-921-7425

Political violence has no place in the American political system. That calls for such violence are coming from a Democrat leader is despicable -- and presents an opportunity for that party to prove whether it has really progressed beyond the era when it held on to power via the noose and the burning cross.

As an aside -- John makes an accusation about me here (note the juvenile name-calling) that is false and libelous. The comments in question raised the issue of his call for violence and a tendency towards anti-Semitism. He deleted them and then made the accusation -- but you know that had they REALLY been racist he would have left them in place, given his history of attempts to frame me as a hate-monger for opposing illegal immigration and jihadi terrorism.

UPDATE: Looks like John is calling for the lynching of more folks who disagree with him -- now he is going after Lone Star Times blogger/managing editor Matt Bramanti

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|| Greg, 06:31 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (27) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Relative Crime Rates

Kudos to Don Surber for pointing out these little details about America's crime rates and those of "more civilized" socialist nations with lots of gun control and fewer jail cells.

In 2006, Norway had 86.3 crimes reported for every 1,000 people, according to Statistics Norway.

In the United States, reported crimes were 39.8 per 1,000 people, according to the FBI.

The violent crime rates are similar: 5.5 per 1,000 people in Norway, 4.7 per 1,000 people in the United States.

No, for violent crime, one has to head north to Canada, where there are 9.5 violent crimes for every 1,000 people. That figure is down 5 percent from 1996. The numbers are from Statistics Canada.

That's double the violent crime rate in the United States.

I agree with Don on his key point -- our crime rates are low because we imprison (and, might I add, execute) criminals. I think the comparisons make it clear how the more the "humane and compassionate systems" of these nations with lower incarceration rates impact the lives of law-abiding citizens.

|| Greg, 05:32 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Census No Excuse For Ignoring Lawbreaking

I applaud this decision.

In contrast to the months before and after the 2000 census was conducted, federal officials say they will not suspend raids on illegal immigrants during the population count in 2010.

“We would not even consider scaling back our efforts,” said Pat A. Reilly, a spokeswoman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The census counts all residents, legal and illegal.

This month, Preston Jay Waite, the Census Bureau’s deputy director, cautioned in an interview that raids during the population count would further discourage an already distrustful group from cooperating with government enumerators. Mr. Waite said federal officials did not conduct raids for several months before and after the 2000 census.

Given how politically volatile an issue immigration has become, however, Mr. Waite was quoted by The Associated Press as saying that enforcement agencies “may not be able to give us as much of a break” in 2010.

We don't suspend other law enforcement activities at the time of the Census so that we can guarantee an accurate count. We still pick up thieves, rapists, and murders, even though it makes them less likely to fill out a census form or answer the door for a census worker. The public would be outraged if we did.

And for the same reason, we should give no quarter to border jumping immigration criminals.

|| Greg, 05:20 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Welcome To The Profession

It is great to see someone you know get good coverage in the paper.

And Al Bates certainly deserves it.

He worked long hours for more than three decades, making good money in the restaurant business. But Al Bates says there was always something more he wanted to accomplish.

Now he's getting his chance. He had to take a detour from his executive's job to a stint as a substitute janitor, but he got there.

Bates, who is 53 and has eight grandchildren, is preparing his classroom for the big day Monday — when he starts his new career as a fifth-grade teacher.

He achieved his dream job at the Galena Park school district's new Sam Houston Elementary by working as a janitor, and later in the warehouse, so he could study in his off hours and earn his alternative certification, an increasingly popular source of new teachers in Texas.

Like many of the pupils who'll show up Monday, Bates expects to have a case of jitters.

"It's new and different," he said as workers scurried to finish the school at 4101 E. Sam Houston Parkway North. "I'm sure, after a couple days and I'm into it, I'll be just fine. For me, it's a huge, huge change, career-wise."

Bates substituted around the district, including my school. We all knew he was seeking his certification, but not all of us knew his story.

I'm glad to see him get the sort of recognition he deserves, and know that his students are getting a fantastic individual as a teacher.

Welcome to the profession.

|| Greg, 05:14 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Michael Vick -- Dog Lover?

Unbelievable! Looks to me like Vick's father has even less sense than Vick himself.

My son has a fascination with animals anyway. He's a natural dog lover.

Yeah -- and they say OJ never stopped loving Nicole.

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

A Waste Of Time

They are unsightly and look moronic -- but I'm sorry, any government that has nothing better to do than outlaw this fashion trend simply needs to close up shop and disband. Any politician who has nothing better to do than propose such a law needs to resign.

Baggy pants that show boxer shorts or thongs would be illegal under a proposed amendment to Atlanta's indecency laws. The amendment, sponsored by city councilman C.T. Martin, states that sagging pants are an "epidemic" that is becoming a "major concern" around the country

"Little children see it and want to adopt it, thinking it's the in thing," Martin said Wednesday. "I don't want young people thinking that half-dressing is the way to go. I want them to think about their future."

The proposed ordinance would also bar women from showing the strap of a thong beneath their pants. They would also be prohibited from wearing jogging bras in public or show a bra strap, said Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.

The proposed ordinance states that "the indecent exposure of his or her undergarments" would be unlawful in a public place. It would go in the same portion of the city code that outlaws sex in public and the exposure or fondling of genitals.

So let's get this straight -- not only do you want personal areas covered, but you also want require the covering of the clothing that covers these areas. What next? Will you outlaw "going commando"?

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

Pakistan Moving Towards Democracy?

I've never been comfortable with our nation's relationship with Pakistan's dictator, General Pervez Musharraf. I've never felt we have had his full support in the Crusade Against Jihadi Terrorism. Perhaps this ruling will lead to a return to democracy in that nation -- and a more faithful ally in our fight against al-Qaeda.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled today that the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was thrust into exile in 2000 after a military coup, could return to the country, in what could be a direct political challenge to Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

Mr. Sharif, a critic of the current government, leads one of the strongest political movements against General Musharraf, and he wants to run against him for president in elections later this year. The ruling could lend momentum to the return to the country of Benazir Bhutto, Mr. Sharif’s predecessor as prime minister, who has also been living in exile and is another potential challenger to the president.

As a rival to both General Musharraf and Ms. Bhutto, Mr. Sharif’s return could challenge Washington’s strategy of backing the president as the linchpin of its fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the region, and some American officials’ preference to see the general and Ms. Bhutto in a power-sharing agreement in the country.

General Musharraf seized control from Mr. Sharif in a bloodless coup in 1999. Mr. Sharif was imprisoned on corruption and other charges and then entered an understanding with the government to go abroad for 10 years in return for having the charges against him dropped. He has been living in exile in Saudi Arabia. Today at a news conference in London, he said he intended to return to Pakistan as soon as possible.

“It is the beginning of the end of Musharraf,” he said, according to Reuters.

Bravo to the Pakistan Supreme Court, for its courageous refusal to be bullied by a dictator.

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

August 23, 2007

How Dare They Be Resentful!

Although I suppose can understand that trying to track down possible terrorists might be resented by members of the Religion of Blow-The-Infidels-To-Pieces.


Now the FBI's release of photographs of two men of unknown origin, who the agency says were observed acting suspiciously aboard as many as six different Washington ferry routes in recent weeks, is creating new worries in the community.

Muslim- and Arab-American leaders are upset that the FBI didn't consult them — as it has done in other instances — before releasing the photos on the Internet and to news organizations. They worry that the action may fracture the relationship the agency and the community have carefully built.

The FBI has stressed that the release of the photos is a rare move, taken only after it had exhausted other efforts to identify the men. The agency also has said the men's actions could be innocuous, but it needs to question them.

The photos were snapped by a ferry captain last month after crew members alerted him to suspicious activity. The men seemed inordinately interested in the operation of the vessel, took photographs of the interiors of the boats and went into areas tourists and commuters don't normally go, the FBI has said. The agency has received many tips but has not yet found the men.

Dozens of Muslims and Arabs have complained to community leaders about the photographs. The fallout has led to a meeting planned today between Muslim- and Arab-American community leaders and law-enforcement officials.

"We need to get some type of apology from them and figure out how to get back to where we were," said Rita Zawaideh, head of the Arab-American Community Coalition.

Anyone who objects to the release of the photos is more than welcome to get back where they or their ancestors belongs, as far as I'm concerned.

After all, I'm still pretty resentful about this.


And this.


This, too.


And even this.


So I suggest that you folks get over your resentment as long as we find ourselves at war with jihadi swine acting in the name of Islam. I urge you to think carefully -- are you with us, or are you with the terrorists? I know what your whining response to the release of the photos indicates to me.

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|| Greg, 08:52 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Arrogance Of Mexico

I don’t know any other word for this course of action.

A Mexican Senate committee passed a measure Wednesday urging President Felipe Calderon to send a diplomatic note to the United States protesting the deportation of an illegal migrant who took refuge in a Chicago church for a year.

The committee also approved a scholarship to help her 8-year-old U.S.-born son, Saul, who is an American citizen and stayed in the United States.

Elvira Arellano, 32, became an activist and a national symbol for illegal immigrant parents by defying her deportation order and speaking out from her sanctuary in the Adalberto United Methodist Church. She announced last week that she was leaving to try to lobby U.S. lawmakers for immigration reform.

On Sunday, shortly after she spoke at a rally in a Los Angeles church, she was arrested and deported to Tijuana, across the border from San Diego.

"We cannot remain quiet in view of this injustice and must ask for firm action from our authorities," Mexican Sen. Humberto Zazue said.

He accused the United States of violating international deportation accords by denying her access to the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles.

Arellano, who was at the committee's session, said Saul is in Chicago in the care of his godmother and will attend a Sept. 12 rally for immigration reform in Washington. She said she would help organize a rally in Tijuana that same day to demand Mexican authorities do more to protect migrants.

"For me it is very important that our government take a strong stand to defend all of us who decide to migrate to another country," she said.

In other words, the US is evil for insisting that it has the right to determine which foreigners enter and stay United States. And as for the closing quote from Arellano, she is calling for nothing less than an act of war against the United States. I’d be much more impressed if Mexico instead chose to punish the United States by forgoing all American foreign aid.

And then there is this gem.

If the US is such an evil place, she should prove she is a fit mother by sending for him so that he can be raised in Mexico, not a lawless criminal nation like the United States. Mexico should be protecting its people by acting aggressively to close the border so that Mexican citizens cannot come to a America, where they are abused, exploited, and disrespected.

And when the diplomatic note arrives, it should be used appropriately and then flushed.

Round ‘em up! Ship ‘em back! Rawhide!

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|| Greg, 02:41 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dhimmified Humor In The UK

It seems this guy's message has taken root in Great Britain.


After all, the police took action to ban this humorous entry in a carnival parade.


It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. Stuck for inspiration about what to wear at their village carnival, one group made a last-minute decision to dress up in mock Muslim burkas.

Calling themselves the "Page Three Beauties from the Ramalama Ding-Dong Times", the 17 men and women carried placards with made-up names such as "Miss Hairyarmpitsbad", "Miss Slackistan", "Miss Notbadinbedabad" and "Miss Reallyamanistan".

As they walked the one-mile parade route, the group knelt down in mock prayer and used fake compasses to try to find Mecca.

Their routine impressed carnival judges - a mayor, two district councillors and a parish councillor - and they were shortlisted for the "best entry" prize.

But before any awards were handed out, police told the group to leave after complaints about racism.

And all it took was six unidentified "students from out of the area" to complain and get the group hustled out of the area.

I somehow doubt that a group mocking priests or nuns or Hare Krishnas would have received similar treatment.

But then again, those folks don't threaten you with death for mocking them.

Islam -- Eroding Freedom Since 610 AD

H/T LGF, Jawa Report

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|| Greg, 05:26 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Cops Ordered To Enforce Law

Imagine that -- law enforcement by law enforcement.

And all it took was a highly publicized multiple homicide in a sanctuary city.

Attorney General Anne Milgram today ordered all local police officers in New Jersey to inquire about the immigration status of suspects charged with serious crimes, and to notify federal immigration authorities if there is reason to believe the suspect is in the country illegally.

The requirements, which go into effect immediately, apply to suspects arrested for specific indictable offenses and for driving while intoxicated, Milgram said. If the suspect is unable to prove he or she is legally in the United States, the police officer is required to notify Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, she said. The policy also specifies that prosecutors and courts be notified.

Local officers cannot inquire about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses to crimes or persons requesting police assistance, she said.

"The overriding mission of law enforcement officers in this state is to enforce the state's criminal laws and to protect the community that they serve," Milgram said. "This requires the cooperation of, and positive relationships with, all members of the community. Public safety suffers if individuals believe they cannot come forward to report a crime or cooperate with law enforcement."

It would have been nice if such rules had been in place before. it might have saved the lives of three very promising young people who were murdered by border jumpers.

For that matter, this policy would save lives nationally if implemented in all 50 states.

When I was a kid, the problem of young people drinking and driving and dying in auto accidents earned the border between Wisconsin and Illinois a nickname that sounds like it should apply to the US-Mexico border, given the spiraling number of bodies left in the wake of the border jumpers -- BLOOD BORDER.

H/T Tammy Bruce, Michelle Malkin

|| Greg, 05:01 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (38) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

VA Tech Report Fails To Include most Basic Security Measure

Sounds like there are a number of good recommendations -- but none that would allow students to defend themselves against a killer on the loose.

Officials at Virginia Tech University issued a set of mild recommendations for campus security Wednesday, suggesting the university provide more counseling for mentally troubled students, erect Internet-based message boards across campus to alert students of emergencies and install more surveillance cameras and better internal door locks.

These are all good, as far as thy go. But until students and staff are permitted to freely exercise their rights under the Second Amendment -- especially those already holding a concealed carry permit -- there is no safety on the Virginia Tech campus.

|| Greg, 04:50 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Looks Like A Football Score


But it isn't a football score.

It is a baseball score.


The Texas Rangers rounded the bases at a dizzying pace and became the first team in 110 years to score 30 runs in a game, setting an American League record Wednesday in a 30-3 rout of the Baltimore Orioles.

"This is something freaky. You won't see anything like this again for a long, long time. I am glad I was on this end of it," said Marlon Byrd, who hit one of two Texas grand slams in the first game of a doubleheader.

* * *

Texas kept right on hitting in the second game, too, although at a decidedly tamer pace. Travis Metcalf drove in four runs and the Rangers used a three-run eighth for a 9-7 victory and a sweep.

Texas set an AL record for runs in a doubleheader, surpassing the 36 scored by Detroit in 1937.

The second game, however, will forever be regarded as a postscript to the incredible opener.

It was the ninth time a major league team scored 30 runs, the first since the Chicago Colts set the major league mark in a 36-7 rout of Louisville in a National League game on June 28, 1897, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

That's 110 years, folks.

Some random reflections.

1) What did this do to the ERAs of the various Orioles pitchers?

2) How do you go out and play the second game of a double header after such a loss?

3) I wonder if we should blame this on global warming?

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

August 22, 2007

Romney Outlines Federalist Stance On Abortion

Within the GOP, there is a wide-range of positions on abortion. And while the official platform position is one supportive of a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution, there is a sizable group that simply believes that Roe v. Wade needs to be overturned and the matter left to "the several states". This latter group includes folks who are vocally pro-choice and vocally pro-life, but who agree that the major flaw of Roe is its nationalizing the so-called "right to an abortion" in a manner that cut off political debate and imposed a "one size fits all" policy on a sharply divided nation. Such folks prefer that the issue of abortion be dealt with as a question of federalism not federal preemption.

Mitt Romney seems to have placed himself in this camp with his latest statements about abortion.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Tuesday in a Nevada television interview that he supports letting states "make their own decision" about whether to keep abortion legal.

"My view is that the Supreme Court has made an error in saying at the national level one size fits all for the whole nation," Romney told Nevada political columnist Jon Ralston in a televised interview. "Instead, I would let states make their choices."

Asked by Ralston if it was "OK" with him that Nevada is a "pro-choice state," Romney said, "I'd let states make their own decision in this regard. My view, of course, is I'm a pro-life individual. That's the position I support. But, I'd let states have this choice rather than let the federal government have it."

Some are going to accuse Romney of waffling on the abortion issue. I don't think that is fair, and believe that such criticism is coming from those who were opponents from the get-go -- both from the hard-core pro-life advocates who cannot be reconciled to his previous pro-choice rhetoric and the liberals who would never have supported a clean-living conservative Mormon under any condition.

Frankly, I fall into the same camp as Romney. There is no way that a Human Life Amendment is going to pass in the short term. And the legislative solution of a congressional resolution stating that the 14th Amendment applies to the unborn would be legally weak and politically unsustainable as partisan control of Congress shifts back and forth. The best we who are pro-life can hope for is a situation in which we can fight and win the battle on the state level, with the ultimate goal of creating a political reality in which stronger defenses of the unborn can be enacted. That doesn't indicate tepid support for a pro-life position -- it reflects a reasoned strategy towards the goal of protecting innocent human life. And I say that as someone who has been involved in pro-life activities for over 30 years, including service as the founding vice president of the pro-life group at my college.

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

Zero Tolerance = Zero Sense In Arizona

As a teacher, my only reaction is scorn for those who made this absurd decision.

Chandler school officials have suspended a 13-year-old boy for sketching a picture that resembled a gun, saying it posed a threat to classmates.

But parents of the Payne Junior High School student said the drawing was a harmless doodle of a fake laser, and school officials overreacted.

"I just can't believe that there wasn't another way to resolve this," said Paula Mosteller, the boy's mother. "He's so upset. The school made him feel like he committed a crime. They are doing more damage than good."

The Mostellers said the drawing did not show blood, bullets, injuries, or target any human. They said it was just a drawing that resembled a gun.

But Payne Junior High administrators thought the sketch was enough of a threat and gave the boy a five-day suspension, later reduced to three days.

Chandler district spokesman Terry Locke said the sketch was "absolutely considered a threat," and threatening words or pictures are punishable.

The school did not contact police and did not provide counseling or an evaluate the boy to determine if he intended the drawing as a threat.

The clincher is that last sentence above. If this were considered a real threat, the school would be morally and legally obligated to call in the police. If this student were believed to be somehow dangerous, a psychological evaluation would be mandated before he could return to campus. The fact that neither of these took place settles the matter for me.

Does my school have a similar sort of weapons policy? Yes, especially insofar as the dress code is concerned. And yes, I have been obligated to send a kid to the office for wearing a Marvin the Martian t-shirt if the cartoon character has his ray gun out (the same for Scarface shirts with a weapon shown)-- but the punishment is a stern warning (detention for repeat offenses) and being required to wear a day-glo yellow shirt with "Dress Code Violation" printed on it until the end of the day. But a suspension? Good Lord -- not in a million years!

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Does "Family" Mean Anything?

While many of us have been concerned about the unilateral imposition of homosexual marriage upon the nation by judges, there is a much more insidious threat to the traditional family wending its way through the federal courts. If the ruling in question is upheld, it would eliminate any notion of traditional family as a special institution.

Let's give a little background. Two men were arrested on drug charges and accepted plea deals. This subjected them to certain federal rules while on probation and parole.

When they were released, both were subject to Standard Condition No. 9 of federal probation, which says that a convicted felon on probation "shall not associate with any person convicted of a felony, unless granted permission to do so by the probation officer." Mangini's and Roberts' probation officers did not give them permission to associate with each other.

This is when the conviction of two drug dealers was converted into an opportunity to change the legal status of the traditional family.

Assisted by attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union, Roberts and Mangini brought a case in federal court.

The rules for enforcing Standard Condition No. 9, it turns out, include a blanket exception that allows a convicted felon on probation to associate with another convicted felon if they are spouses or blood relatives. Mangini and Roberts claimed this unfairly discriminated against them, violating their rights to "due process" and equal protection of the law under the Fifth Amendment.

"They considered, and still consider, themselves to be spouses," Judge Katz explained in his July 31 opinion. "Defendants were in every way a family."

The judge pointed out that the two men took in Roberts' niece as a foster child; and at one point in his opinion, he called them the niece's "two fathers."

After some legal wrangling, a federal judge has ruled that, under Lawrence v. Texas, any people who claim an "intimate association" must be given the same rights as a married couple or a family. Forget homosexual marriage -- this opens the door for any many of relationship being magically transformed into a legally recognized "family".

Dude -- who stole my country?

|| Greg, 05:53 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (28) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Speaking Of Reading

Since we mentioned the reading survey, let's take a look at it.

One in four adults read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and older people were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

The survey reveals a nation whose book readers, on the whole, can hardly be called ravenous. The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who hadn't read any, the usual number read was seven.

"I just get sleepy when I read," said Richard Bustos of Dallas, a habit with which millions of Americans can doubtless identify. Bustos, a 34-year-old project manager for a telecommunications company, said he had not read any books in the last year and would rather spend time in his backyard pool.

That choice by Bustos and others is reflected in book sales, which have been flat in recent years and are expected to stay that way indefinitely. Analysts attribute the listlessness to competition from the Internet and other media, the unsteady economy and a well-established industry with limited opportunities for expansion.

This reflects what I saw when I taught English -- the comment that stood out to me came from a student seven or eight years ago.

"Mr. RWR, books today are called movies."

Younger folks today have a variety of media sources for getting information and entertainment. At 44, I was raised with books and television. Those who are two decades younger have many more outlets vying for their attention, and the book is simply an archaic communication form for them.

The study notes that men don't read books -- something I have long found to be true, though I am very much an exception. Other than "purposeful reading" (work and education), I never saw my father read a book growing up. Mind you, he was a career military officer, and earned a masters and a doctorate during the latter part of his military career and in retirement, but I just never saw him reading for pleasure. Indeed, neither the book about a colleague's experiences as a POW nor Tom Clancy's jack Ryan novels interested him when I got them for him. In fact, the Clancy books went home with me in my suitcase three years later -- without the cellophane having ever been stripped from the boxed set. I think this is true of many men -- reading is a work skill, not a leisure activity.

But again, I will caution folks that not reading books does not necessarily translate to not reading at all.

|| Greg, 05:17 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

It Is All In How You Spin It

This headline looks just awful.

Book chief: Conservatives want slogans

Certainly more so than this one which would disclose more information

Longtime liberal pol: Conservatives want slogans

Unfortunately, the first headline is the one placed on the article, while the more honest one was left on the scrapheap along. I suppose that is because it would make the criticism much easier to dismiss.

Liberals read more books than conservatives. The head of the book publishing industry's trade group says she knows why — and there's little flattering about conservative readers in her explanation.

"The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,'" Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. "It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page."

Schroeder, who as a Colorado Democrat was once one of Congress' most liberal House members, was responding to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll that found people who consider themselves liberals are more prodigious book readers than conservatives.

She said liberals tend to be policy wonks who "can't say anything in less than paragraphs. We really want the whole picture, want to peel the onion."

The book publishing industry is predominantly liberal, though conservative books by authors like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and pundit Ann Coulter have been best sellers in recent years. Overall, book sales have been flat as publishers seek to woo readers lured away by the Internet, movies and television.

I suspect that a lot of that has to do with what is being published today. How many conservatives have given up on the publishing world because of the amount of crap coming out? And I'm also curious how many of those conservatives have, in fact read a book in the last year -- the Bible, cover to cover -- but do not count it as "reading a book" due to its sacred nature?

Oh, and speaking of my personal habits, I certainly meet the conservative average of eight books.

Oh -- that was eight books a year. I'm sorry -- I've read that many from cover to cover just in the month of August.

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

August 21, 2007

Clinton-Appointed CIA Chief Failed To Protect US

Remember -- at the time 9/11 happened, George Bush had been President of the United States for less than 8 months -- George Tenet had been CIA director for over 4 years, having been appointed by Bill Clinton.

The former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, George J. Tenet, recognized the danger posed by Al Qaeda well before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but failed to adequately prepare the C.I.A. to meet the threat, according to an internal agency report that was released in summary form today.

Mr. Tenet was sometimes too occupied with tactics instead of strategy, and he was lax in promoting an information-sharing environment within the C.I.A., the inspector general’s office of the agency says in a report released today.

An inspector general’s team that reviewed the agency’s performance found that C.I.A. officers “from the top down” worked hard against Al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, before the Sept. 11 attacks.

“They did not always work effectively and cooperatively, however,” the team concluded, in what amounted in part to sharp criticism of Mr. Tenet’s management skills and style.

The smoking in in this report regarding how far back the failure goes?

The head of the C.I.A. was once in charge of all federal intelligence agencies. That was the case during Mr. Tenet’s tenure, and the report noted that he said as far back as 1998 that “we are at war” with Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

However, the document went on, Mr. Tenet and his top aides failed to create “a documented, comprehensive plan to guide the counterterrorism effort at the intelligence community level.” One meeting “soon devolved into one of tactical and operation, rather than strategic, discussions,” the report said.

It concluded that Mr. Tenet “did not use all of his authorities” in leading a strategic effort against Osama bin Laden, and that “the management approach” within the C.I.A.’s counterterrorism center “had the effect of actively reinforcing the separation of responsibilities” among key units.

When did Tenet finally get a strategic planning system together to deal with counter-terrorism? Less than two months before 9/11, at the specific orders of George W. Bush and Condolezza Rice. Prior to that, Tenet had taken no significant steps in that direction.

So it seems pretty clear where the failure occurred -- not under President Bush, but under President Clinton. Given the failure of leadership and vision that dated back at least three years before Bush became president, there can be only one conclusion.

There is an interesting debate on the blogosphere right now about how much we should be pointing fingers at the Clinton Administration for these clear failures to protect the US. Captain Ed says that it is "not healthy" to do so, but Lifelike Pundits points out that this report demonstrates the Bill Clinton and Madeline Albright lied to the American people when they claim that they left a detailed plan for the Bush Administration. I tend to agree with the latter's approach, since the front-runner status of Senator Hillary Clinton to be the Democrat presidential candidate means we could be facing the return of the same Clintonoids who failed to protect America and then lied about it following 9/11.

Over at the Sundries Shack, we get this very important quote from the report.

The CIA’s analysis of al-Qaida before Sept. 2001 was lacking. No comprehensive report focusing on bin Laden was written after 1993, and no comprehensive report laying out the threats of 2001 was assembled. “A number of important issues were covered insufficiently or not at all,” the report found.

Can we really afford to return to the failed policies that left us unprotected from terrorism even as it mouthed platitudes about seriousness of purpose in combating it?

UPDATE -- 8/23/2007: More today from Captain Ed.

I've written before that pursuing partisan blame for 9/11 is a waste of time. It gets in the way of determining where failures occurred and developing the proper approaches to avoid them in the future. The truth is that the issues that created these failures stretched back for years, probably decades in terms of interpretation of intelligence law.

However, it gets difficult to remember that when former presidents essentially lie about their roles on national television. Given Clinton's unique history, this prevarication and self-aggrandizement comes as no surprise, but it is still pretty disappointing. It leaves the historical record muddied, right up to the point when independent investigations reveal the truth. Worse, his shouted fabrications contribute to the partisan atmosphere.

One has to sympathize with CIA officials who had read the classified report in 2005, but were unable to respond to his exaggeration in 2006. He once gave the same kind of finger-waggling tirade to the nation, which turned out as false as his Wallace interview. It's a sad reflection on a man who somehow cannot bring himself to tell the truth, even when his nation needs it.

And again, I disagree to the extent that Clinton's wife is now seeking to the presidency. To the degree that Clinton's failures and lies led to 9/11, we must make the record clear -- because Hillary Clinton is running, in part, on Bill Clinton's record and with him as a top adviser.

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Now Here's A Shocker!

Talk Radio helped defeat the shamnesty immigration bill.

Opposition from key talk radio and cable TV hosts helped kill the immigration bill in Congress, a study out today concludes.

“What listeners of the conservative talk radio media were hearing, in large part, was that the legislation itself was little more than an ‘amnesty bill’ for illegal immigrants, a phrase loaded with political baggage,” it says.

The study by the nonpartisan Project for Excellence in Journalism quantifies what White House and Capitol Hill phone lines and e-mail inboxes already indicated: Talk radio focused on the immigration debate more intensely than the mainstream media did from April to June.

Conservative hosts touched off a brushfire in the Republican base that President Bush and other party leaders were helpless to contain.

"If media attention translates into political pressure, the argument that talk radio helped kill the immigration bill in Congress has some support in the data," the study says. "Thanks to energetic opposition from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage, immigration was the biggest topic, at 16%, on conservative talk radio in the second quarter."

But I have to question something about this report. Was talk radio leading the way in opposing the legislation, or was it actually reflecting the sentiment that existed. Most folks I know opposed the legislation on principle before ti became a talk radio topic due to the amnesty provisions -- and were already inclined to do so without any prompting for talk radio. It strikes me, therefore, that the real impact of talk radio was not in creating opposition, but was rather in mobilizing that which already existed by providing more information and encouraging action.

H/T Captain Ed

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

Bush Acts To Keep Low-Income Kids Insurance Program For Low-Income Kids

After all, isn't a cut-off of 250% of the poverty line sufficient?

The Bush administration, engaged in a battle with Congress over whether a popular children's health insurance program should be expanded, has announced new policies that will make it harder for states to insure all but the lowest-income children.

New administrative hurdles, which state health officials were told about late last week, are aimed at preventing parents with private insurance for their children from availing of the government-subsidized State Children's Health Insurance Program. But Democrats and children's advocates said that the announcement will jeopardize coverage for children whose parents work at jobs that do not provide employer-paid insurance.

Under the new policy, a state seeking to enroll a child whose family earns more than 250 percent of the poverty level -- or $51,625 for a family of four -- must first ensure that the child is uninsured for at least one year. The state must also demonstrate that at least 95 percent of children from families making less than 200 percent of the poverty level have been enrolled in the children's health insurance program or Medicaid -- a sign-up rate that no state has yet managed.

These and other steps must be implemented within a year, Dennis G. Smith, director of the federal Center for Medicaid and State Operations, advised state health officials in a letter on Friday.

As written, the current legislation could allow families making over $82,000 -- 400% of the poverty level for a family of 4 -- to enroll their kids in the program. And without the changes being implemented here, the law would also allow/encourage parents to dump the health insurance they are paying for through an employer plan and shift the burden to the taxpayers. After all, the reauthorization legislation will declare 75% of American families to be "poor" for purposes of the program.

Now, if we can just find a way to keep illegal immigrant kids from getting the benefits, eliminating one more incentive for folks to jump the border.

What I find particularly interesting, though, is that the Democrats are complaining that folks they call "wealthy" when they got tax cuts pushed by the Bush Administration in 2001 are now considered "poor" when the Democrats want to expand government-funded insurance. Setting aside the hypocrisy of the Democrats (which is never in short supply), could it be that they simply don't like folks to be able to choose how they spend their ow money, and prefer for the government to decide how to spend it for them?

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|| Greg, 04:59 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Thompson Cash Complaint

I've been waiting for this.

A liberal blogger has filed a federal complaint against former Sen. Fred Thompson, the actor and unannounced Republican candidate for president, accusing him of violating election laws as he ponders his entry into the race.

The blogger, Lane Hudson, submitted his complaint to the Federal Election Commission on Monday saying Thompson has raised far more money than he needs to explore whether to run for president.

Federal law allows potential candidates to raise money to travel, conduct polls and pay for other expenses related to "testing the waters" for a political campaign. During that exploratory period, a potential candidate does not have to file financial reports with the FEC.

The law prohibits anyone who is "testing the waters" from hoarding the money for use during his actual campaign. Potential candidates also cannot refer to themselves as candidates, can't run ads that publicize their intention to campaign or take steps to qualify for the ballot in a primary or caucus state.

According to a financial report filed late last month, Thompson had raised nearly $3.5 million and had had spent $625,000. Thompson must raise money within federal contribution limits and must report it to the FEC once he becomes an official candidate.

"We're following the law," Thompson spokesman Jim Mills said in response to the complaint.

Under federal guidelines, the FEC will now give Thompson 15 days to respond to the complaint. Following Thompson's response, election commissioners will decide whether to dismiss the case or investigate further.

I pointed this out when Fred's contribution numbers came our last month.

2) Exploratory committees are only supposed to raise "what could reasonably be expected to be used for exploratory activities”. As Captain Ed has pointed out, Politico (which now is questioning the "low" numbers) raised that issue weeks ago -- and there have already been accusations by the KOS-sacks are, in fact, accusing Thompson of raising TOO MUCH money under that provision.

I'm just surprised that it has taken so long for someone to file a complaint. I suppose this will help clarify the incredibly vague rules on such activities -- as well as making it clear that efforts to regulate political contributions are fatally flawed no matter what you try to impose beyond full disclosure.

|| Greg, 04:35 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (37) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 20, 2007

BBC: TV Show Must Not Offend Muslims With Muslim Suicide Bombers

In what may be the height of political correctness run amok, the BBC has ordered that terrorists in an upcoming episode of a popular drama be changed to animal rights activists instead of Muslims.

The BBC has dropped plans to show a fictional terror attack in an episode of Casualty to avoid offending Muslims.

The first show of the hospital drama's new series was to have featured a storyline about an explosion caused by Islamic extremists.

I suppose such a change might be warranted if, for example, there were no Muslims engaged in terrorism and the religion actually espoused peace. however, given the propensity of a certain strain of Islam to lead its followers to self-detonation and self-immolation in the name of the faith, I don't see where this change makes any sense.

In the last two years, there have been multiple terrorist attacks by jihadis, and others have been thwarted by good intelligence and good luck. Why not portray the reality that exists? Why sugar-coat it in order to avoid giving offense?

Unless, of course, the terrorists have achieved one of their goals -- the domination of Western institutions so that they defer to Islamic sensibilities.

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Vick To Admit His Crimes

Vick is accepting a plea deal that will net him prison time. I can't wait to see him behind bars. His actions are sub-human.

Michael Vick agreed Monday to plead guilty to federal dogfighting conspiracy charges, a deal that leaves the Atlanta Falcons quarterback facing up to 18 months in prison and puts his NFL career in jeopardy.

Under the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend Vick be sentenced to between a year and 18 months in prison, according to a government official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the terms have not yet been made final.

That would be a higher penalty than is usually recommended for first-time convicts, and reflects an attempt by the government to show that animal abusers will receive more than a slap on the wrist for their crimes, the official said.

Speaking as a fan with season tickets, I can tell you that I will be most unhappy if the NFL does not ban this cretin for life.

And I'd like to note that has the best comment on the subject of any I've seen.

Now, let's see how Michael Vick likes it

Indeed -- and let's hope he spends every day in prison experiencing the same sort of fear that the poor animals he and his fellow conspirators tortured and killed did in their sad,a bused lives.

H/T Tammy Bruce, Captain Ed,

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

Prominent Border Jumper Deported

I can always handle a little good news -- and getting this immigration scofflaw out of the country definitely qualifies.

An illegal immigrant who took refuge in a Chicago church for a year to avoid being separated from her U.S.-born son has been deported to Mexico, the church's pastor said.

Elvira Arellano became an activist and a national symbol for illegal immigrant parents as she defied her deportation order and spoke out from her religious sanctuary. She held a news conference last week to announce that she would finally leave the church to try to lobby U.S. lawmakers for change.

She had just spoken at a Los Angeles rally when she was arrested Sunday outside Our Lady Queen of Angels church and deported, said the Rev. Walter Coleman, pastor of Adalberto United Methodist Church in Chicago, where Arellano had been living.

"She is free and in Tijuana," said Coleman, who said he spoke to her on the phone. "She is in good spirits. She is ready to continue the struggle against the separation of families from the other side of the border."

Personally, I believe that the doors of Adalberto United Methodist Church should have been kicked off their hinges a year ago so that she could be removed pursuant to a long-standing deportation order -- and that Coleman and his co-conspirators should have been taken into custody and charged for their part in this sham as well.

And if anything, this story points out to the need to do away with automatic birthright citizenship for the children of border jumping immigration criminals like Arellano -- for without it, she would have had no basis for even making a claim to stay.

More At Malkin, Surber, Stop the ACLU, Stix, Jammie Wearing Fool, Captain Ed

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

Now Let's Get This Straight

You are the head of an agency that
1) put out incorrect information;
2) tried to hide the error;
3) tried to deny those who question your conclusions access to government data; and
4) refused to publicize the fact that your conclusions were wrong after revising your conclusion.

What do you have to say about those who were right when they irrefutably proved you to have made a serious scientific error?

The real deal is this: the 'royalty' controlling the court, the ones with the power, the ones with the ability to make a difference, with the ability to change our course, the ones who will live in infamy if we pass the tipping points, are the captains of industry, CEOs in fossil fuel companies such as EXXON/Mobil [sic], automobile manufacturers, utilities, all of the leaders who have placed short-term profit above the fate of the planet and the well-being of our children. The court jesters are their jesters, occasionally paid for services, and more substantively supported by the captains' disinformation campaigns.

No mea culpa.

No thanks to those who advanced scientific accuracy.

Instead we see condemnation of those who advanced us closer to the truth on the basis of their alleged nefarious agenda and connections -- and a refusal to admit that the basis for your conclusions has been seriously undercut.

I have to ask -- given such clear intellectual dishonesty, why is James Hansen, head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, still on the government payroll. After all, he is clearly manipulating the data to reach a preconceived conclusion that supports his policy preferences based upon his adherence to the cult of man-made global warming.

H/T Fumento

|| Greg, 03:18 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Feds To Set Porn Record Standards

The government sees it as a way to ensure that minors are not being sexually exploited. Porn producers worry that it is a way to regulate and harass their industry.

Ron Jeremy, Jenna Jameson - get ready to stand and be counted.

The Department of Justice wants to come up with an official list of every porn star in America - and slap stiff penalties on producers who don't cooperate.

The new rules, proposed under the Adam Walsh Child Safety and Protection Act, would require blue-movie makers to keep photos, stage names, professional names, maiden names, aliases, nicknames and ages on file for the inspection of the department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

"The identity of every performer is critical to determining and ensuring that no performer is a minor," according to the new proposal.

The adult film industry plans to challenge the new rule as a violation of the First Amendment, said Paul Cambria, a lawyer for Hustler and other adult film companies.

He sees it as a way to harass legitimate stag-film producers.

"If they can't get you for obscenity, they'll get you for violating record-keeping," he said. Such a violation would carry a five-year penalty.

It does raise some interesting questions, especially when one deals with the internet. After all, who will be responsible for keeping the records -- the original producer, a website owner, or the person who posts the picture? Will this record keeping law become the equivalent of the tax evasion statute used to put away Al Capone? And ultimately, how far will the US government be able to go in imposing requirements on foreign producers of porn? These are interesting questions from a First Amendment standpoint.

However, the question that impacts me more directly is this -- will it help stop the flood of comment spam from porn sites that I have to deal with daily on this blog?

|| Greg, 04:47 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Artificial Life?

You know, the scientific issues may be much less complicated than the moral, ethical, and legal issues that go along with this scientific advance.

Around the world, a handful of scientists are trying to create life from scratch and they're getting closer.

Experts expect an announcement within three to 10 years from someone in the now little-known field of "wet artificial life."

"It's going to be a big deal and everybody's going to know about it," said Mark Bedau, chief operating officer of ProtoLife of Venice, Italy, one of those in the race. "We're talking about a technology that could change our world in pretty fundamental ways — in fact, in ways that are impossible to predict."

That first cell of synthetic life — made from the basic chemicals in DNA — may not seem like much to non-scientists. For one thing, you'll have to look in a microscope to see it.

"Creating protocells has the potential to shed new light on our place in the universe," Bedau said. "This will remove one of the few fundamental mysteries about creation in the universe and our role."

And several scientists believe man-made life forms will one day offer the potential for solving a variety of problems, from fighting diseases to locking up greenhouse gases to eating toxic waste.

Now scientists expect that artificial lifeforms will have short lifespans and will be unable to escape controlled settings and take over like in a sci-fi flick. However, this begs the question of how far such research should be taken -- after all, might more durable life forms eventually be created? What is their status? And should the secrets of life itself be proprietary information?

Ultimately, the question becomes very basic -- is there a place where our science should not go?

|| Greg, 04:38 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (40) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

August 19, 2007

San Francisco Gives Religious Preference To Nation Of Islam

I have a difficult time imagining the city of San Francisco allowing a Christian school to operate on city land -- especially not one that hews to orthodox Christian teachings. And I certainly cannot imagine the city doing so if the group operating it were one with a long and well-documented history of racist and anti-Semitic teachings coming out of its top leadership.

But that is happening in San Francisco right now. Except the religious school in question is operated by the racist, anti-Semitic Nation of Islam -- and it has been allowed to operate on city land RENT FREE for five years.

The Nation of Islam school in San Francisco's Hunters Point, now at the center of a controversy over whether asbestos-laden dust from a neighboring development is sickening residents, has quite a history - not to mention a curious lease arrangement with the city.

It sits on city land, and the school was supposed to pay rent - but in the five years since it opened, it hasn't been billed a dime.

It's a classic example of how the patronage politics that defined the Willie Brown era at San Francisco City Hall still rattle around to this day.

Read the rest of the story -- it is sickening.

Oh, and by the way -- it appears that the organization's mosque may also have been paid for with city and federal state tax dollars. I wonder if San Francisco would cut such a deal for a Baptist Church in the city's Castro District?

Seems to me that the Nation of Islam has become the officially established religion of San Francisco -- without a word of outcry from the ACLU or others that these mosque-itos have been sucking the taxpayers dry for years.

|| Greg, 01:15 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Democrat Congress A Failure

After all, we've been told that the President's low approval rating is indicative that he is a failure. But if Bush has numbers more than twice as high as Congress, how can we argue that they are a success?

President George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has taken a small dip, dropping to 32% positive, down from 34% who gave him positive job marks in mid-July, a new Reuters/Zogby International telephone poll shows.

The survey also shows that the overall job approval rating for the work of Congress remains far below the President's, as just 15% give the national legislature a collective positive rating, up one point since last month. Changes in both the ratings for the President and Congress are statistically insignificant.

This latest Reuters/Zogby poll included interviews with 1,020 likely voters between August 9-11, 2007. It carries a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

What i find really interesting, though, are these numbers.

Just 35% said they are pleased with current U.S. economic policy, but 60% said their own personal economic situation is good or excellent. Overall, 65% said they feel secure in their current jobs, and most are optimistic about the long-term future of the nation: 64% said they expect their children to have a better life than them.

More than three-quarters - 77% - said they feel America is facing threats from abroad, while 21% said they are not concerned about such things.

It is fair to say that the doom and gloom pronouncements of the Democrats have managed to convince people that our nation's economic policy is bad, despite the fact that they are finding their own economic status to be pretty good. Indeed, a closer look by these folks would probably force them to admit they don't know anybody facing serious economic issues (unless they bought too much house on too much credit using a gimmicky loan, like this WaPo reporter). And contrary to the notions promulgated by John Edwards, most Americans recognize that the Crusade Against Jihadism is not merely a bumper sticker.

H/T Don Surber

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|| Greg, 11:20 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Two More Victims Of 9/11

I don't know how else you can characterize these firefighters.

Two firefighters were killed yesterday battling a blaze in the Deutsche Bank skyscraper, a vacant relic of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack that was in the process of being dismantled.

The firefighters were among hundreds who poured into ground zero all afternoon to fight the high-rise fire, which was finally brought under control after seven hours. At least five others were hospitalized, but were expected to recover.

The building, at 130 Liberty Street, had stood as a ghost since parts of the twin towers crashed into it, leaving it severely damaged and filled with toxic debris, including asbestos, dioxin, lead and chromium. For residents nearby, the acrid smoke brought back memories of the grim dust clouds that lingered after the attacks.

The demolition work created difficulties for firefighters trying to reach and put out the blaze, which started on the 17th floor, allowing the fire to mushroom out of control, fire officials said. The building did not have a working standpipe, which runs through high-rise buildings to provide a source of water for firefighters.

Let's see who the liberals blame -- Osama bin Laden or Bush and Giuliani.

|| Greg, 11:06 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (31) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dem Message From Economic Illiterate

It's a cute stunt -- bringing in a waitress to give the Democrat's message this week. The only problem is that she betrays her ignorance as she parrots the Donk talking points.

A North Carolina waitress on Saturday lauded the Democratic-initiated increase in the minimum wage, saying in the party's weekly radio address that the extra money will have a ripple effect on millions of lives.

Fawn Townsend, a nightshift server in Raleigh, N.C., criticized Republicans for blocking efforts to raise the minimum wage over the last 10 years. The Democratic-led Congress approved the increase earlier this year and President Bush signed it into law in May.

"Millions of Americans now have a little more in their paychecks to help pay for basic necessities like food and clothing. And now more Americans can save to build a better future for themselves and their families," Townsend said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says about 1.7 million people made $5.15 or less in 2006. The federal minimum wage increased from $5.15 to $5.85 an hour last month. Increases of 70 cents are scheduled each of the next two summers.

And I wonder what Ms. Townsend will have to say over the next couple of years as prices rise following these increases. Will she thank the Democrats for the inflation? Or will she blame greedy business owners (Dem code-word for Republicans) for daring to raise their prices to cover the higher labor costs? Or when she (or a co-worker) gets fired because the restaurant can't afford as many employees? How about when her employer closes because teh new, higher costs make him less competitive?

But there is more.

Townsend criticized Bush for threatening to veto a bill that would provide more money for the Children's Health Insurance Program. The Senate has voted to add 3 million lower-income children to the plan at a cost of $35 billion, and the House has approved a more ambitious and expensive version. Bush has proposed spending just $5 billion more on the program.

Yep -- now parents who make $82,000 a year and currently have private insurance for their children will be able to shift the burden on to the American taxpayer. Are these the "lower-income" families and children that Townsend thinks ought to be getting a share of the tax dollars taken out of her check?

In the future, Townsend said she hoped to attend nursing school — and she applauded Democrats for passing legislation to make higher education more affordable.

I encourage her to enroll in an Economics class, where she might discover hatt every time the government has acted "to make higher education more affordable" we have seen massive increases in college costs -- both because of the increased federal mandates on colleges and universities, and the economic reality that the cost of an item will increase to match the number of disposable dollars available to purchase it. That is why education costs have spiraled well-ahead of the rate of inflation for decades.

"I'm grateful that our Democratic leaders in Congress are taking our country in a new direction," she said. "They have accomplished more this year than Republicans accomplished in the past six years combined — including giving people like me a long-overdue raise."

Now that Townsend thinks that it is the place of the government to give her a raise, I also suggest that the take an American Government class along with that Economics class. That way she will read the US Constitution and will be shocked to find that nowhere is the government granted the power to raise anyone's pay, unless they are a government employee.

But she is right about one thing -- the Democrats have and will lead us in a new dircetion.

Towards higher taxes for all Americans.

Towards a substantial weakening of an economy that has grown strong under a GOP Congress and a GOP President.

And towards a surrender in Iraq and the Crusade Against Jihdism.

Yep -- they had to find someone pretty ignorant to deliver this weekly address. No one with a lick of sense would have believed a word of it.

Others commenting include Carolina Politics Online, The IDIOT, and The Media Blog. The last of these also notes that Fawn Townsend isn't some random waitress -- she is an activist with ACORN, a radical left-wing group that is noted for its efforts to subvert American elections through registering face voters and other sorts of election fraud.

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|| Greg, 07:54 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (91) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

WaPo Admits -- Rove Not Really Different, Just Better At What He Did

After all, every administration has engaged in the sort of political calculus and activities that angered Democrats over the last several years.

Many administrations have sought to maximize their control of the machinery of government for political gain, dispatching Cabinet secretaries bearing government largess to battleground states in the days before elections. The Clinton White House routinely rewarded big donors with stays in the Lincoln Bedroom and private coffees with senior federal officials, and held some political briefings for top Cabinet officials during the 1996 election.

But Rove, who announced last week that he is resigning from the White House at the end of August, pursued the goal far more systematically than his predecessors, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Washington Post, enlisting political appointees at every level of government in a permanent campaign that was an integral part of his strategy to establish Republican electoral dominance.

Under Rove's direction, this highly coordinated effort to leverage the government for political marketing started as soon as Bush took office in 2001 and continued through last year's congressional elections, when it played out in its most quintessential form in the coastal Connecticut district of Rep. Christopher Shays, an endangered Republican incumbent. Seven times, senior administration officials visited Shays's district in the six months before the election -- once for an announcement as minor as a single $23 government weather alert radio presented to an elementary school. On Election Day, Shays was the only Republican House member in New England to survive the Democratic victory.

"He didn't do these things half-baked. It was total commitment," said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (Va.), who in 2002 ran the House Republicans' successful reelection campaign in close coordination with Rove. "We knew history was against us, and he helped coordinate all of the accoutrements of the executive branch to help with the campaign, within the legal limits."

And while the Democrats are demanding investigations and shouting about possible Hatch Act violations, it thus far appears that Rove's work violated no law -- simply was more coordinated and more effective. Indeed, there is only one meeting which may have strayed over the line -- and the individual who did so was not even a part of Rove's staff.

Indeed, despite the tone of the article, the reality that comes through is that Rove's offense is not the breaking of the law, but rather his effectiveness.

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