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September 30, 2007

Houston Texans v. Atlanta Falcons

The Texans go for their third win of the season -- after coming frighteningly close to beating the Indianapolis Colts in a game marked by massive injuries to the Texans offense. And Texans QB Matt Schaub has something to prove to the team where he would have been starting this season if they hadn't traded him in the off season.

Better quarterback. Better defense. Texans win.





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US Deaths In Iraq Down -- Left Notably Silent

But then again, that might just be one more sign that the Surge is working, and they certainly couldn't let the American people start to believe that victory is possible.

US military losses in Iraq for September stood at 70 on Sunday, the lowest monthly figure since July last year, according to an AFP tally based on Pentagon figures.

The figure also marks the fourth consecutive drop in the monthly death toll following a high of 121 in May. June saw 93 deaths, July 82 and August 79. The monthly toll in July 2006 was 53.

Two US soldiers were killed on Saturday in separate incidents, pushing the overall toll of American losses since the March 2003 invasion to 3,801.

A US military "surge" strategy saw an extra 28,500 US troops being deployed from mid-February, mainly in Baghdad and the neighbouring province of Anbar, although commanders said most were not in combat positions until May.

US commanders say the strategy is starting to work and that levels of violence are dropping, allowing for a possible drawdown of the 160,000 or so troops currently deployed across war-torn Iraq.

So let's make this clear --more troops in Iraq, fewer deaths. the Surge is working -- even though the Democrats don't want you to know that.





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An Interesting Question

Will an unpopular Democrat at the head of the national ticket harm the party in many states? And could this help offset the difficulties facing the GOP elsewhere?

The New York senator and Democratic front-runner was by a wide margin the most unpopular of 13 potential presidential candidates in Montana, according to a June survey by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research for the Billings Gazette; 61% said they would not consider voting for her, compared with 49% who would not vote for former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and 45% who would not vote for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. The most unpopular Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, was rejected by 51%.

Recent polls in Colorado, Nevada and Arizona have found similar distaste for Clinton.

Got that -- the leading candidate for the Democrat nomination is overwhelmingly rejected by the majority in several states. Even her two closest competitors (if she can be said to have any) are rejected by nearly half of voters.

And while there is a single Republican rejected by a majority of voters, he is still so unfamiliar to most Americans that further exposure can only help him, while Hillary Clinton is so well-known that it is unlikely that she can overcome these negatives.

Now Hillary Clinton may be our next president -- if one can project that outcome from over a year away from th election -- but that could be a Pyrrhic victory for the Democrats. After all, if she has negative coattails for th lower part of the ticket, Democrats may fail to consolidate their hold on the Senate and House. Indeed, she could single-handedly destroy the advances made by the Democrats in some red states.





|| Greg, 08:25 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

WaPo Confirms Definition of "Bipartisan"

The old joke is confirmed with the front page tag-line for this WaPo story today.

In support for Democrat's plan, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) joins bipartisan side of Iraq debate.

Get that -- a Republican voting like a Democrat is "bipartisan. Never mind that the Democrats are acting in partisan lockstep. On the other hand, no Democrat voting with the Republicans -- say Joe Lieberman -- would never be considered to be "bipartisan".

And I guess it also goes to show that the Left considers military victory to be a partisan position, while surrender is a bipartisan option.





|| Greg, 08:12 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Iran Labels US Military, CIA "Terrorists"

And that claim has all the legitimacy of the Gambino family calling the FBI and Department of Justice "organized crime families".

Iran's parliament voted Saturday to designate the CIA and the U.S. Army as "terrorist organizations," a largely symbolic response to a U.S. Senate resolution seeking a similar designation for Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

The parliament said the Army and the CIA were terrorists because of the atomic bombing of Japan; the use of depleted uranium munitions in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq; support of the killings of Palestinians by Israel; the bombing and killing Iraqi civilians and the torture of imprisoned terror suspects.

"The aggressor U.S. Army and the Central Intelligence Agency are terrorists and also nurture terror," said a statement by the 215 lawmakers who signed the resolution at an open session of the 290-member Iranian parliament. The session was broadcast live on state-run radio.

The resolution, which urges Ahmadinejad's government to treat the two as terrorist organizations, would become law if ratified by the country's hardline constitutional watchdog but probably would have little effect as the two nations have no diplomatic relations.

If, however, Mahmoud the Mad does give approval to this silly resolution, I hope that all Americans will see fit to wabge a "terrorist" war against the Iranian regime -- one conducted without roadside bombs, suicide vests, beheadings of hostages and planes flown into buildings.

Mahmoud the Mad needs to be taught that war is Hell -- and it is high time that he receives a one-way ticket there, courtesy of Uncle Sam.





|| Greg, 07:59 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I'll Half Agree With Friedman

After all, he does have a point.

We cant afford to keep being this stupid!

He's right on that point -- and dead wrong on everything else.

We need to fight the Crusade Against Jihadi Terror much more intensively, not disengage. We need to quit pretending that jihadis are criminals who deserve a lawyer due process, and treat them like POWs who are imprisoned until the end of the conflict -- which may not come in my lifetime.

Friedman clearly wants to ignore the realities of the Crusade Against Jihadi Terror while raising taxes so that we can become another socialist "paradise" like the EU or Red China. I think I'll pass on that agenda.

But he's right -- we cannot continue to keep being this stupid. America must quit listening to nanny-state liberals and instead get serious about fighting terrorism, securing the border, and putting the socialist vision of the Left in the ash-heap of history where it belongs. In other words, we must do the exact opposite of what Thomas Friedman suggests.

MORE AT Stop the ACLU, JammieWearingFool, Don Surber, Jules Crittenden, Wizbang, The Van Der Galin Gazette, Ed Driscoll, NewsBusters, Freedom Eden, Riehl World View, Strata-Sphere, Wake Up America, Sister Toldjah, Chuch Adkins, Oxford Medievalist





|| Greg, 07:52 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

North Forest Tries Again

Of all the districts in the Houston area, there is one that really ought to be closed -- North Forest ISD. They have been through superintendent after superintendent in the last 20 years, having fired them over poor performance ratings for the schools, financial mismanagement, and the color of their skin (they canned a white superintendent because he "did not understand the community because he was white". The schools are a mess, the district is a mess, and there seems to be little hope of the place getting better. It really ought to be closed down, with a neighboring district taking over the area. But given the racial makeup of the district, it won't happen because it would be "racially insensitive" (I guess it is more racially sensitive to leave minority kids in failing schools run by minorities).

Well, now they are searching for another superintendent.

Leaders of the North Forest school district soon will pen their "help wanted" ad for a new superintendent, beginning a nationwide search that could prove difficult.

Given the problems facing the northeast Houston district, the job posting could read: Change agent needed to turn around an urban system with declining enrollment, shaky finances and numerous underperforming campuses.

The district's newly hired search consultant, Benjamin Canada of the Texas Association of School Boards, said the pursuit of a top-notch leader will be challenging, but achievable.

"It is a district that doesn't have the best reputation, but it has some outstanding students. It has some outstanding staff," said Canada, a former superintendent. ''But like all districts, it has a need for significant change."

The board has fired or forced out four of its past five permanent superintendents, the last being James Simpson in March.

You can see in the sidebar how rough things have been in the district -- and why any candidate for the job would be nuts to take it.

Add to that the fact that 5 of 11 schools are rated as "academically unacceptable" -- and that is an improvement from a year ago, when 8 of them received that ranking -- and you can see what awful shape the district is in. Indeed, it is probably the only district in the Houston area I would not apply in.

Still, I wish them well -- and can only hope that they find a good leader who can help turn the schools around. And that the racist, over-bearing school board members will allow the new leader to do the job for which he or she is hired without bringing in petty political and personal agendas like those that have brought the district to its current woeful state.





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

September 29, 2007

Last Resting Place of USS Grunion Found

More heroes of WWII have been found at the site of their final resting place, entombed forever in the remains of their submarine, USS Grunion.

USSGrunion.jpg

When famed novelist and sailor Joseph Conrad wrote in 1900, "I have known the sea too long to believe in its respect for decency," perhaps he had some foresight into the mysterious disappearance of a U.S. Navy submarine 42 years later.

The foreboding comment by Conrad, author of sea novels such as "Lord Jim," "Typhoon" and "The Rescue," dramatically applies to the fate of the crew of the submarine USS Grunion and the anguish of the families of the missing whose ship vanished in 1942 while steaming off the coast of Alaska.

The 311-foot, diesel powered Grunion and its 70-member crew had not been heard from for 65 years since they went missing while on patrol off the island of Kiska in the Aleutian Islands.

In early July of 1942, the Grunion had sunk two Japanese sub chasers and damaged a third near Kiska, one of two islands in the Aleutians that had been captured by the Japanese during the early months of World War II.

But the Grunion, named for a small fish and commissioned just three months earlier, had not been located since its last message of July 30, 1942, when it reported by radio the receipt of a Navy message ordering it back to the U.S. Navy base at Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

One month ago, the remains of the USS Grunion were found in 1,000 feet of water off Kiska Island following a lengthy and intensive search led by the son of the Grunion's skipper and with the cooperation of the Alaskan Civil Air Patrol and World War II Japanese navy veterans who had served in the Aleutians in 1942.

Utilizing Japanese navy records discovered in Tokyo last summer, John Abele, the son of Grunion skipper Lt. Cmdr. Mannert Abele, discovered the mangled remains of the sub utilizing an underwater, remotely operated vehicle equipped with video cameras.

May God Almighty grant them eternal rest, and comfort to their families.

The Crew of USS Grunion (SS-216)

Abele, M. L. LCDR
Alexander, F. E. SM3
Allen, D. E. SM3
Arvan, H. J. Matt2
Banes, P. E. CMOMM
Bedard, L. J. I. CMOMM
Blinston, W. H. RM3
Bonadies, N. R. F2
Boo, R. F. RM3
Bouvia, C. L. MM1
Caldwell, G. E. CEM
Carroll, R. H. S2
Clift, J. S. TM2
Collins, M. F. F2
Cooksey, L. D. MOMM1
Cullinane, D. MM1
Cuthbertson, W. H., Jr. ENS
Deaton, L. D. S2
DeStoop, A. E. CTM
Devaney, W. P., Jr. S2
Dighton, S. R., Jr. LTJG
Doell, L. H., Jr. RM2
Franck, L. H. S1
Graham, M. D. CTM
Hall, K. E. S2
Hellensmith, E. G. EM3
Henderson, H. B. MOMM2
Hutchinson, C. R. TM3
Kennedy, S. J., Jr. MOMM2
Knowles, E. E., Jr. S2
Kockler, L. R. TM1
Kornahrens, W. G. LT
Ledford, M. J. CY
Lehman, W. W. EM1
Loe, S. A. MOMM2
Lunsford, S., Jr. EM2
Lyon, J. W. F1
Martin, C. R. CMOMM
Martin, T. E. EM1
Mathison, R. EM1
McCutcheon, R. G. TM3
McMahon, J. M. LT
Miller, E. C. F2
Myers, D. O. F1
Nave, F. T. MOMM2
Newcomb, A. G. RM1
Nobles, J. W. MOMM1
Pancoast, J. E. MOMM2
Parziale, C. A. TM3
Paul, C., Jr. MATT2
Pickel, B. J. S1
Post, A. C. S2
Randall, W. H. RM2
Ryan, L., Jr. S2
Sanders, H. A. MOMM1
Schumann, E. T. CQM
Sullivan, P. P. PHM1
Surofchek, S. SC1
Swartwood, D. N. S2
Templeton, S. A. GM1
Thomas, M. W. LT
Traviss, B. A. S2
Ullmann, A. S1
VanWoggelum, M. F. F3
Walter, M. H. F3
Webster, R. E. EM2
Welch, D. F. FC2
Wells, J. H. TM2
Wilson, J. E., Jr. SC3
Youngman, R. J. F2

Bless those who serve beneath the deep,
Through lonely hours their vigil keep.
May peace their mission ever be,
Protect each one we ask of Thee.
Bless those at home who wait and pray,
For their return by night and day.
Reverend Gale R. Williamson

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A Stunning Admission

I wonder -- is this a true voice of sanity that presages change? Or is it simply one lone voice of sense that will be drowned out by in a sea of anti-Semitic Israel-bashing?

The United Nations Human Rights Council has not managed to deal fairly with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the council's president Doru-Romulus Costea told a Spanish newspaper on Saturday, according to Israel Radio.

Doru admitted that he was dissatisfied with the fact the council had overly focused on the degree of human rights violations by Israel.

"The body which I head must examine the actions of both sides equally, and we have not done that," said Costea. "Clearly, from now on things need to change."

Israel Radio reported that earlier this week, US President George Bush criticized the UN Human Rights Council, saying that it had put too great an emphasis on Israeli actions.

I suspect that the above comment is the lone voice -- after all, let's look at what the body in question has done this week.

When President Bush told the United Nations General Assembly this week the American people are disappointed by the failures of the Human Rights Council, his words could not have been more timely or deserved. He pointed out This body has been silent on repression by regimes from Havana to Caracas to Pyongyang and Tehran while focusing its criticism excessively on Israel. On Friday, the Council piled the dung heap higher. It wrapped up another session in Geneva by adopting two more resolutions against Israel and no resolutions critical of the human-rights record of any of the other 191 U.N. member states.

This brings the total of anti-Israel resolutions and decisions adopted by the Human Rights Council in only the first 15 months of its operation to 14. Another four very weak decisions and resolutions have been applied to Sudan. And the Council finally decided to hold a special session of the Council on Myanmar. So adding up the highly selective concerns of the U.N.s lead human-rights agency: 74 percent of the Councils moves against individual states have been directed at Israel, 21 percent at Sudan, 5 percent at Myanmar, and the rest of the world has been given a free pass.

But then again, it is easier to criticize liberal democracies that value human rights and human life than it is to oppose terrorists and oppressive regimes -- after all, the latter don't give a damn about anything except holding on to their power





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

A Thought For The Left

The incredible Mark Steyn points out why the Left's tendency to engage in only easy, safe protests against easy, safe targets (the US, Israel) where human rights are respected is unworkable when they are confronted with true evil that doesn't give a damn about their eloquent (or not so eloquent) protests .

The pen is not mightier than the sword if your enemy is confident you will never use anything other than your pen. Sometimes it's not about "freedom of speech," but about freedom. Ask an Iranian homosexual. If you can find one.

In the end, unsavory dictators like Mahmoud the Mad don't care about the insults of Lee Bollinger or the cries of has-been hippies in the streets. They know that the latte-sipping class won't actually get their hands dirty to stop the evils they protest -- and that such folks quickly become the unwitting allies of evil when they turn upon their own countries for daring to act on behalf of freedom and human rights.

After all, why fight the real oppressors of the world when you can do this instead, risk-free?


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He's Out!

I'm pleased to hear that Newt Gingrich has ended any flirtation with a presidential bid this year.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) decided Saturday morning not to run for president just as his staff was preparing to launch a website to seek $30 million in pledges, his spokesman told Politico.

Gingrich had planned to seek pledges as part of a three-week exploration without making any formal declaration of candidacy for the Republican nomination an approach that several Republican leaders said was legally questionable.

The decision will bolster the contention of several key Republicans that Gingrich's repeated flirtation with a presidential run was a publicity stunt designed to keep him in the news and sell his books.

I won't go so far as to say Gingrich was looking to sell books -- instead, I'll argue that it has all been about stroking the former Speaker's ego. But regardless of the reason for his proposed candidacy, I stand by what I said earlier today -- Let's say it loud and clear -- Newt has all of Rudy's liabilities and none of his personal popularity with the American people. Indeed, his abrasiveness even turns off a lot of Republicans. So while he is clearly one of the leading minds of the conservative movement, Newt Gingrich is clearly not someone who should be in the race for the nomination this year.

More at Michelle Malkin, Stop the ACLU, Captain's Quarters, RTFLC, American Mind, Wizbang





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Why We Need State Regulation Of Abortion Facilities

And this is not about religion, or discouraging abortion, or limiting "choice" (to kill other members of the human race because they are inconvenient). No, it is about public health and safety.

Consider this story.

The Alternatives abortion clinic in Atlantic City, New Jersey, opted to surrender its license to the state instead of correcting the list of health violations detailed in a 116-page report.

Atlantic City Councilman John Schultz, who leased the facility to Alternatives, said the clinic's equipment was emptied out of the building last month and the space is available for lease.

The state's report detailed a slew of violations at the clinic, including bloodstained operating tables, expired drugs and the absence of a sterilization sink.

The facility had not been inspected in six years, even though state law requires annual inspection. I guess they didn't want to come into conflict with the abortion industry or the feminists who support them.

Mark Noonan makes these interesting points on one of his sites.

If you go over to the Centers for Disease Control, you'll find that the CDC (at least in 2002) was saying that there is 0.6 deaths per 100,000 abortions - but the problem with this stat is that everything about abortion at CDC is reliant upon voluntary reporting. An abortion mill with 1.2 deaths per 100,000 has no obligation to report and, indeed, would have a vested interest in keeping the death rate quiet. With little or no regulation of abortion at the State and local level, we really have no idea how many women are killed and injured in the course of their abortion procedure.

What we need is to bring the abortion industry under the same regulations which are applied to all medical operations. We need records to be kept; we need suspected cases of abuse to be reported (among the many dirty secrets of the abortion industry is the way they have become the means of choice for older men to hide their statutory rapes of young women); we need to ensure the facilities are up to surgical standards and that the staffs are fully trained not just in baby-butchering, but in emergency medical care in case they botch the abortion. And we should also have a comprehensive study done of abortion in the United States - to find out how many are really happening, and what emotion and physical effects abortion has on the women who have them.

Naturally, any such attempts will be desperately fought against by the pro-abortion fanatics - showing, in the end, that their real desire is that the killing continue. This, I believe, is a result of their guilty consciences - they know what they do and advocate is wrong, but as long as they can prevent any change in the status quo, they believe they can block out the fact that they are committing horrible crimes on a daily basis. Pro-abortion people - and the people fooled into being "pro-choice" - are people more to be pitied than despised; it must be a sad way to view life - but we who are pro-life have a duty to do whatever we can to lessen the ill effects of abortion.

As long as Roe v. Wade stands as precedent, we will be unable to stop the slaughter of the unborn in this country. That is a sad reality. However, treating abortion centers like other medical facilities would be a good start in protecting the woman who make the (wrong) choice to kill their babies from the unscrupulous and incompetent medical "professionals" who operate places like the one in the article above.





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

Murtha To Be Deposed

And hopefully he will lose the defamation case against him.

A federal judge refused Friday to dismiss a defamation case against Rep. John P. Murtha and ordered the Pennsylvania Democrat to give a sworn deposition about his comments alleging "cold-blooded murder and war crimes" by unnamed soldiers in connection with Iraqi civilian deaths.

A Marine Corps sergeant is suing the 18-term congressman for making the charge, which the soldier claims is false. Murtha, who opposes the Iraq war, made the comment during a May, 2006 Capitol Hill news conference in which he predicted that a Pentagon war crimes investigation will show Marines killed dozens of innocent Iraqi civilians in Haditha in 2005.

Murtha's office declined to comment on the ruling. A Vietnam veteran and retired Marine Reserves colonel, Murtha has said his intention was to draw attention to the pressure put on troops in Iraq and efforts to cover-up the incident.

The Justice Department wanted the case dismissed because Murtha was acting in his official role as a lawmaker. Assistant U.S. Attorney John F. Henault said the comments were made as part of the debate over the war in Iraq.

I've got a real problem with the argument Henault made on Murtha's behalf. There is a provision of the constitution providing some limited immunity to members of Congress, but I think it is important to note what it says.

Article I, Section 6: The Senators and Representatives. . . shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

Murtha's comments were not made in the course of speech or debate -- they were made in a press conference, off the House floor and therefore so not meet the standard for such immunity under any legitimate reading of the text. If the argument advanced upon Murtha's behalf were to be accepted, any statement on any political issue made anywhere in the US (or the world) would be magically converted into "speech or debate in either House" -- thereby turning this limited immunity into a license to go forth and commit defamation against any private citizen or political opponent under the rubric of "debate" on a political issue. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has already spoken on this issue -- in Hutchison v. Proxmire, it ruled that the Speech of Debate Clause is limited in its scope.





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

Read My Lips: No New(t) Candidates!

The last thing that the GOP needs in the race for the 2008 nomination is another candidate -- and especially not one who is as polarizing as Newt Gingrich.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will open a website by Monday in an effort to round up the $30 million in pledges that he says would be his ticket to entering the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

A longtime adviser, J. Randolph Evans of McKenna Long & Aldridge, will hold a press briefing at 3:30 p.m. Monday in Atlanta to describe plans for what Gingrich aides are calling a feasibility assessment.

Aides say Gingrich will announce his intentions by Oct. 21, ahead of a Michigan filing deadline.

During a recent breakfast with a Politico reporter and other journalists, Gingrich made it clear he has given a great deal of thought to how he would run, starting with a national television ad that would be heavy on his policy ideas.

That might be followed with DVDs of his agenda to households in early-voting states.

Gingrich vowed that he would not participate in group debates like those that now sprinkle the campaign calendar.

Im not a penguin, he said, referring to the field of candidates at the debates as a row of penguins. Instead, he said, he wants to hold one-on-one, 90-minute dialogues on such topics as fixing specific inner cities.

If I did run, I wouldnt do any dog and pony shows, he said. Id debate anybody who wanted to for 90 minutes one-on-one, for 90 minutes, in either party.

Let's ay it loud and clear -- Newt has all of Rudy's liabilities and none of his personal popularity with the American people. Indeed, his abrasiveness even turns off a lot of Republicans. So while he is clearly one of the leading minds of the conservative movement, Newt Gingrich is clearly not someone who should be in the race for the nomination this year.





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

Blogging Scholarship

Over at Gates of Vienna, the Baron posted this interesting notice for college bloggers.

Blogging ScholarshipA representative of the Daniel Kovach Scholarship Foundation emailed us today, and asked us to spread the word that the Foundation is giving away $10,000 to a blogger this year. If youre a college student, a U.S. Resident, and you keep a blog, youre eligible.

Full scholarship details are available at the College Scholarships website.

Blog World ExpoThis Second Annual Blogging Scholarship prize will be awarded at the Blog World and New Media Expo, to be held in Las Vegas on November 8th and 9th.

Important Dates:
Submission Deadline: Midnight PST on Oct. 6th
10 Finalists Announced and Public Voting Begins: 9am EST on Oct. 8th
Public Voting Ends and Winner Declared: Midnight PST on Oct. 28th

Contact Information:
Daniel Kovach
(919) 630-4895
daniel@collegescholarships.org

If only I were 25 years younger!





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

Whitmire Urges Perry To Violate Texas Constitution

When it comes to the question of granting commutations and reprieves in death penalty cases, the governor of Texas has very limited authority. On his own authority, he can only stop an execution once, and for a maximum of 30 days. Anything else requires an affirmative recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Parole to be legal. This is both statutory and constitutional law in the state of Texas.

But at least one Texas legislator doesn't think that a little obstacle like a constitution should be grounds for Gov. Goodhair to allow executions to go forward while the US Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of lethal injection in a Kentucky case.

[Gov. Rick] Perry believes the fate of death row inmates lies with the courts, said spokeswoman Krista Moody.

"The governor does not have the authority to issue a moratorium nor does he believe there's a reason for one," she said.

Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire, D-Houston, said Perry should issue a moratorium because the Supreme Court likely will grant a stay in every Texas execution until the Kentucky case is decided.

Whitmire noted that Perry, until overturned by the Legislature, attempted to use his executive order power to require teenage girls to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease.

"If he can tell a state agency to vaccinate people, I think he can tell a state agency not to execute people," Whitmire said.

Perry, of course, was legally wrong to issue his Gardasil order last spring, and and was slapped down by the Legislature as a result. That action was clearly seen as an overstepping of his authority. Doing so in this case would be an even more blatant case of exceeding his authority -- and would be grounds for impeachment. It is up to the courts to act -- and for the Texas justice system to continue to move forward if they do not.

Rick Perry is correct in not acting in this case. If a moratorium is truly necessary, he ought to call the legislature back into session to consider one -- and perhaps also legislation restoring either hanging or the firing squad as the form of execution in Texas, rendering moot the need for a moratorium at all.


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Another Top Jihadi Bites The Dust

Dead terrorists are always a happy note on which to start the day.

A U.S. airstrike killed one of the most senior al-Qaida leaders in Iraq, a Tunisian linked to the kidnapping and killings last summer of American soldiers, a top commander said Friday.

Brig. Gen. Joseph Anderson said the death of the suspected terrorist in a U.S. airstrike Tuesday south of Baghdad, and recent similar operations against al-Qaida, have left the organization in Iraq fractured.

Abu Osama al-Tunisi was killed along with two other terrorist suspects in a U.S. F-16 strike that dropped two 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a safehouse where they were meeting, said the U.S. Central Command Air Forces.

"Al-Tunisi was one of the most senior leaders ... the emir of foreign terrorists in Iraq and part of the inner leadership circle," Anderson told a Pentagon news conference.

Al-Tunisi was a leader in helping bring foreign terrorists into the country, said Anderson, chief of staff to the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno.

Speaking by videoconference from Baghdad, Anderson said that al-Tunisi operated in Youssifiyah, southwest of Baghdad, November '04 and became the overall emir of Youssifiyah in the summer of '06.

His group was responsible for kidnapping American soldiers in June 2006, Anderson said.

As so many enemies of America have found since the birth of our country, the United States military will keep after you until they find you. Your two options are surrender or death -- and in the case of the jihadis, I personally like the second option.

And by now he knows that there were no virgins waiting for him -- and that the sands of Iraq are much cooler than his new eternal dwelling place.





|| Greg, 02:10 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Cosmic Ironies by Bookworm Room, and Rafael Medoff: Columbia "Invites Hitler to Campus" -- As it Did in 1933 by History News Network.  Here are the full results of the vote:

VotesCouncil link
2  2/3Cosmic Ironies
Bookworm Room
1  2/3The Human Touch
Big Lizards
1  1/3Gates' Iraq Agenda Short On Democracy
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1A Big Hole in the Desert (and in the story)
Soccer Dad
1Point of Inflection
The Glittering Eye
1How The Arab Lobby Works
Joshuapundit
1Columbia Dhimmis Get Ahmedinejad Earful! Some Applaud, Some Laugh -- We All Should Just Cry...
Okie on the Lam
2/3"Jena 6" Update
The Colossus of Rhodey
1/3Krugman Spews Race-Baiting Bile
Rhymes With Right

VotesNon-council link
2  1/3Rafael Medoff: Columbia "Invites Hitler to Campus" -- As it Did in 1933
History News Network
2Islam and Marxism -- A Marriage Made In Allah's Socialist Paradise
Dr. Sanity
1  2/3The Next Iranian Revolution
Reason Magazine
1  1/3The Ugly Side of Bob Herbert
The QandO Blog
1  1/3Acting On Principle Rather Than On Policy
The Paragraph Farmer
2/3Review of 'The Kingdom'
Crossroads Arabia
2/3Gays, Haircuts, Nooses. Some Denial Required.
Classical Values
1/3Musharraf Will Resign From Army
Captain's Quarters
1/3Abourezk, Part 3
Elder of Ziyon
1/3There's Slanting a Story, Then There's This Doozy.
The Sundries Shack





|| Greg, 01:42 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

September 28, 2007

Pelosi On Anti-Christian Poster For S-M Fest

You would think she would comment -- after all, the event is taking place in her district.

Instead, she chose to avoid answering the question.

CNSNews.com:"I'd like to get local for a second and talk about what's going on in San Francisco. Your spokesman told the Bay Area Reporter that the Folsom Street Fair advertisement mocking the last supper would not harm Christianity. I'm wondering if you find the advertisement personally offensive."

"And as a follow up, the city's Grants for the Arts program, funded by the city's hotel tax, subsidizes the fair. Do you think that it's fair to tax everyone who visits San Francisco and stays in a hotel to support the fair?"

Pelosi: "Well that's not really a local question. That's a constitutional question. That's a religious question. That's as big a global question as you can ask. I'm a big believer in First Amendment and therefore, as I said in my statement, I do not believe that Christianity has been harmed by the Folsom Street Fair advertising."

Notice what she avoids answering.

1) Are you offended by the poster?

2) Should tax dollars subsidize the event and the poster?

I guess Pelosi realizes that the gay bondage crowd is more likely to vote for her than Christians are -- but that she and her party need to court Christians and capture some of their votes to win in 2008.

But the obvious answers are:

1) No, I'm not offended by the mocking of Christianity and a sacred event in the life of Christ. Gay sado-masochism is a beautiful thing between two leather clad consenting adults.

2) Yes, taxpayers, especially Christian taxpayers, should have to subsidize everything that offends them and insults them, because they vote for Republicans. On the other hand, gay sado-masochists are a key part of the Democrat coalition of the victimized, and so they are entitled to everything they can get from the government.

Thank you, Madam Speaker, for highlighting the Democrat family values.

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

Of Course, The Percentage Is Down

But even as the percentage of the federal spending sits at about half of what it was 50 years ago, some want to cut it even further.

For Ben Cohen, the politically active half of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, life's not all about ice cream anymore. Since he and Jerry Greenfield sold their Burlington, Vt., company in 2000 to Unilever, the politically conscious cofounder Cohen has turned his attention entirely to making Americans more aware of what percentage of their tax dollars goes toward funding the Pentagon's budget. His latest efforts include hitting up the early primary states and finding Democratic caucus attendees who will pledge to only vote for a candidate who promises to slice the defense budget and put that money toward social needs programs.

* * *

From what I understand, you're trying to persuade the presidential candidates to commit part of the federal budget away from the Pentagon. How are you doing this?

About two years ago we started a grassroots campaign working with "Iowans for Sensible Priorities" and "Priorities New Hampshire" to educate people as to how the federal budget is currently sliced up. We knew from surveys that once people found out about it, people were incredulous and wanted to shift twice as much money as we're talking about.

What percent are you trying to get sliced away from the Pentagon?

It's about 13 percent. That's $60 billion and it's amazing what you can do with $60 billion. It's enough money to rebuild all our schools, provide healthcare for every kid who doesn't have it, provide food self-sufficiency for all 6 million starving kids a year in the world, and reduce our need for oil, increasing energy independencea lot of stuff.

piechartfy08discretionary.jpg

Cohen, of course, fudges the numbers in this project. What he shows is the proportions of government DISCRETIONARY spending. He ignores those expenditures that are not discretionary, which is about half the budget. Many of those expenditures that deal with the very social issues he wants to address expenditures on programs that grow every year and have generally been ineffective.

federalbudgetfy08.gif

But then why would we expect a super-rich socialist like Cohen to be honest? It simply is not in the nature of the Left to do so.

And I'm curious -- any American with common sense knows the War on Poverty was lost a generation ago. How many more lives and how much more treasure must be wasted on it before liberals will admit that their war policies have been a failure and devise a plan for surrender retreat redeployment of our nation's social workers and anti-poverty activists?

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

Why Should She Answer?

A young author gives an interview to promote her new book.

The reporter asks her a totally unrelated question on US foreign and military policy regarding Iraq.

Is it relevant? Is it appropriate? Should she answer?

My answer to all of the above is NO!

Even if her father is President of the United States.

Jenna Bush agreed to an interview with Diane Sawyer to promote her new book, "Ana's Story." The nonfiction book is based on the life of a 17-year-old Latin American mother infected with HIV. She met the mother while working for UNICEF, teaching in four countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The AP, of course, chooses to criticize her, claiming she ducked the question. But it was a question that should not have been asked in the first place.





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

Government Killing Protesters In Burma

Next time the Left claims that they are being oppressed in this country for speaking out against the government, point to the situation in Burma (I don't recognize the name change made by the oppressive military junta).

Brutality and defiance marked the second day of an armed crackdown in Myanmar today as the military junta tried to crush a wave of nationwide protests in the face of harsh international condemnation.

The violence began before dawn with raids on Buddhist monasteries and continued through the day with tear gas, beatings and volleys of gunfire in the streets of the countrys main city, Yangon, according to witnesses and news agency reports from inside the closed nation.

Witnesses said soldiers fired automatic weapons into a crowd of protesters. State television in Myanmar reported that nine people had been killed and that 11 demonstrators and 31 soldiers were injured. The numbers could not be independently verified, and exile groups said they could be much higher.

International action is being taken.

After news of Thursday's violence reached Washington, the White House renewed its demand that the Burmese junta end the crackdown.

"The world is watching the people of Burma take to the streets to demand their freedom and the American people stand in solidarity with these brave individuals," President Bush said in a written statement. He added: "Every civilized nation has a responsibility to stand up for people suffering under a brutal military regime like the one that has ruled Burma for too long."

The U.S. Treasury Department designated 14 senior Burmese figures under new sanctions announced by Bush earlier in the week, including Than Shwe; the army commander, Vice Senior Gen. Maung Aye; and the acting prime minister, Lt. Gen. Thein Sein. Any assets they have in U.S. jurisdictions will be frozen, and Americans are now banned from doing business with them. U.S. officials hope to leverage that to influence foreign banks and institutions to follow suit.

The European Union also vowed to seek tighter sanctions. The United Nations, meanwhile, has said it will send an envoy to Burma, a move that the Burmese foreign minister said Thursday would be welcomed.

India and Red China, however, are blocking a serious response by the UN Security Council. Contact their embassies to demand that they support concerted international action to end the violence against peaceful protesters seeking regime change.

Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

Embassy of India
2107 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20008

Michelle Malkin reports that the junta has cut off internet access to Burma.





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

Jihad-Apologist Resigns In Virginia

How is it that someone with such a record was ever appointed to a government office in the first place?

Oh, that's right -- the governor who appointed him is a Democrat, and they have been siding with the enemy for some time.

But at least the supporter of jihadi terror is no longer holding an official position in government.

A controversial leader of a U.S. Muslim group resigned from a Virginia state board hours after Gov. Tim Kaine learned during a radio call-in show about incendiary comments the appointee made about Israel, Islam and U.S. foreign policy.

Dr. Esam Omeish, who is a top surgeon at a Washington, D.C., area hospital, also is seen in videos found on YouTube.com that show him advocating "the jihad way," decrying the Israeli invasion last year of Lebanon, and calling for President Bush's impeachment.

In a statement Thursday afternoon, Kaine said he had accepted Omeish's resignation from the state Commission on Immigration, which only met for the first time on Tuesday.

"Dr. Omeish is a respected physician and community leader, yet I have been made aware of certain statements he has made which concern me," Kaine said. "Dr. Omeish indicated that he did not want this controversy to distract from the important work of the Commission."



What had Dr. Omeish said?

In a separate, undated video, Omeish tells a crowd of Washington-area Muslims, "... you have learned the way, that you have known that the jihad way is the way to liberate your land." The video was credited to Investigative Project, a Washington-based organization that investigates radical Islamic organizations.

Again and again we find "mainstream" Muslim leaders in this country engaging in the rhetoric of jihad. I applaud those who are engaged in an informational crusade to expose this ugly underbelly of the so-called "Religion of Peace."





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

I Guess Dingell Didn't Mean It

About 2 1/2 years ago, Nancy Pelosi and John Dingell sent a letter to the President that read as follows.

April 20, 2005

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As you know, gasoline prices have risen by an average 38 cents a gallon in the past two months. In fact, 70 percent of the American people have already said that the price at the pump is having an impact on their lives. We understand that the White House is feeling pressure from the American people to act, but misleading the public about the Republican's energy bill is not the answer.

In your weekly radio address last Saturday, you called on Congress to pass the energy bill and implied that the bill would lower costs to consumers. But your Administration's own Department of Energy studied last year's conference report on which this bill is based, and concluded that the Republican proposal would actually raise gas prices by 3 cents per gallon.

The American people deserve an energy policy that would boost the economy, preserve the environment, protect public health, and truly lower gasoline prices. This bill fails on all fronts. The Republican energy bill was written by energy lobbyists for the benefit of the energy industry, while hurting the environment, consumers, and taxpayers.

We encourage you to use your speech to the U.S.-Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to lay out an agenda that seeks to lower gasoline prices, not simply exploit them.

Sincerely,

Nancy Pelosi
Democratic Leader
John D. Dingel
Ranking Member, Committee on Energy and Commerce

And two years ago, Dingell spoke on the issue again in the Democrat radio address.

We must respond to the needs of the American consumers who are seeing the prospect of $4 a gallon gas and $1,000 monthly heating bills. I promise that Democrats will keep fighting for constructive solutions to Americas energy needs.
>

Well, around here gas prices are hovering around $2.50 a gallon -- and they are higher most other places in the country.

What is John Dingell's solution? A 50-cent tax on every gallon of gasoline.

Dealing with global warming will be painful, says one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress. To back up his claim he is proposing a recipe many people won't like a 50-cent gasoline tax, a carbon tax and scaling back tax breaks for some home owners.

"I'm trying to have everybody understand that this is going to cost and that it's going to have a measure of pain that you're not going to like," Rep. John Dingell, who is marking his 52nd year in Congress, said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press.

John Dingell has repeatedly spoken out against "price-gouging" by oil companies causing high gas prices, only to have every single investigation of those prices show that they were a legitimate response to market forces. So now what does he do? He proposes that the federal government perpetrate a little price-gouging itself to pay for programs to deal with the junk-science "problem" of man-made global warming. I guess that Mr. Dingell thinks that the government, which already makes more profit off a gallon of gas than the oil companies, just needs that extra 50-cents a gallon more than the American consumer does.

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|| Greg, 04:01 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Prayer -- 30 Years Later

It was a first that went unnoted at the time -- but which began a practice that is quite common today.

The play was 48 Toss, and 30 years later, Dick Vermeil remembers it as if he called it last Sunday. Herb Lusk took a pitch from Ron Jaworski, headed around left end and breezed unscathed 70 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown. Four steps over the goal line at Giants Stadium, the Philadelphia Eagles' running back rewrote the playbook. Alone in the end zone, with a crowd of 48,824 looking on, he celebrated with a gesture in what has since become a watershed moment in American sports.

With little ceremony and no advance warning, Lusk kept his eyes straight, dropped to his left knee and bowed his head in prayer. A few seconds later, he stood back up and returned to the sideline, his legacy sealed.

"Herb Lusk was the first NFL player to kneel in the end zone and pray," said Steve Sabol, president of NFL Films, which has footage of more than 9,000 games played since 1894.

No one doubts the sincerity of Lusk's action -- his faith was well-known to others in the NFL. The prayer was not particularly noted at the time. But it opened the floodgates to such religious moments -- something about which I have mixed emotions.

I'm glad to see folks be open about hteir faith.

I'm less pleased about the fact that some of those who engage in such public prayer appear to "talk the talk" during the game but don't particularly "walk the walk" off the field.





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

September 27, 2007

Cindy Sheehan: Wanted Criminal

I guess some folks think that absolute moral authority means the law does not apply to them.

A bench warrant was issued Thursday for antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, who did not appear for arraignment Thursday in a Washington, D.C., courtroom to face charges related to her Sept. 10 disorderly conduct arrest on Capitol Hill.

District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Michael McCarthy issued the order to Sheehan around noon, a court spokeswoman said. The warrant says she is to be arrested and brought before the court. She also faces one count of unlawful assembly.

"She wasn't aware that there was a court appearance today," said Sheehan's spokeswoman, Tiffany Burns, reached by cell phone.

"We'll have the attorney deal with this immediately, so as soon as she's rescheduled to appear, she'll be there," Burns added.

Burns said Sheehan was at home in California Thursday, and did not receive the paperwork notifying her of the court date.

However, a court document obtained by FOXNews.com dated Sept. 10, signed by Sheehan, advised her to appear Thursday at 8:30 a.m. The warrant issued Thursday sets a $50 bond for her arrest.

Damn those signed papers with the court date clearly indicated! They must be CIA fakes, manufactured as a part of a Rovian conspiracy by the BusCheneyHitler dictatorship!

And as for rescheduling the court date, I'd rather see her cuffed, stuffed, and dragged into court whining like Paris Hilton.





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

I Agree With Hugo Chavez

Even a wannabe Commie dictator can be right from time to time.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez railed against a new trend in his beauty-conscious country -- giving girls breast implants for their 15th birthday.

"Now some people think, 'My daughter's turning 15, let's give her breast enlargements.' That's horrible. It's the ultimate degeneration," Chavez said on his weekly television show, which lasted a record eight hours.

Do we really need to further sexualize young people?





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

World's Strangest Political Sign

coronersign.jpg

Do you really need to be a "people person" with this clientele?

H/T In Pursuit of Proverbs 31





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

Would Saddam Have Gone Away?

Well, maybe for a billion dollars and all his WMD information.

Less than a month before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein signaled that he was willing to go into exile as long as he could take with him $1 billion and information on weapons of mass destruction, according to a report of a Feb. 22, 2003, meeting between President Bush and his Spanish counterpart published by a Spanish newspaper yesterday.

The meeting at Bush's Texas ranch was a planning session for a final diplomatic push at the United Nations. The White House was preparing to introduce a tough new Security Council resolution to pressure Hussein, but most council members saw it as a ploy to gain their authorization for war.

Yeah, thats the ticket let the bad guy go with a wad of cash and the knowledge to either obtain WMD or sell the info to the highest bidder. That sure would have made the world a safer place!





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

New Penny Designs

To celebrate the bicentennial of Abraham Lincolns birth, the US Mint will issue commemorative pennies with a variety of designs on the reverse.

A penny for your thoughts will have extra meaning in 2009 the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincolns birth and the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the Lincoln cent.

To commemorate the event, the U.S. Mint, at the direction of Congress, will introduce four rotating designs on the 1-cent coin for that year depicting different aspects of Lincolns life.

Those designs will replace the engraving of the Lincoln Memorial on the tails side of the coin. The famous profile of the 16th president will remain on the heads side.

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, which provides recommendations on such matters, met Tuesday and got into a lively debate over what those rotating images should be.

The question of the design to depict the Lincoln presidency provoke some discussion and dispute. The panel didnt like the designs of the incomplete US Capitol building (Lincoln ordered construction to continue during the war to signify that the union would endure). Instead, there was a request for designs related to Lincoln as a war president (perhaps visiting troops) or relating to emancipation. Personally, I believe a design depicting Lincoln at Gettysburg would be most appropriate, given the fact that the Gettysburg Address so neatly unifies those two elements.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicatewe can not consecratewe can not hallowthis ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

A masterpiece of American rhetoric and a cogent statement of our nations republican form of government, love of liberty, and debt to those who serve our nation in time of war. They are words to remember today ideas appropriate to commemoration on our nations coinage.

H/T Don Surber





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

A Paradoxical Statement

Supporters of Hillary Clintons campaign frequently hearken back to Bill Clintons Administration for clues about what her administration will be like.

But consider what this answer tells us.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.) dodged a curveball thrown at her by moderator Tim Russert in tonights debate after she disavowed the use of torture against terrorists, even in extreme circumstances, only to be told her husband took the opposite position on Russerts Meet the Press. Well, hes not standing here right now, Clinton responded. The moment brought her huge applause, and her campaign promoted the clip as Tonights Video Moment.

So, she wont be a repeat of Bill Clinton and she is very correct to note that he is not going to be the candidate in 2008. Lets hope the American people recognize that fact.





|| Greg, 04:13 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

So Much For Academic Freedom

I suppose that she would have been welcome if she were denying the Holocaust, calling for the destruction of Israel, and giving support to those killing Americans at least if the principal were adhering to the Columbia University understanding of free speech and academic freedom. Instead, a few parental complaints were sufficient to get Alveda Kings speech cancelled.

A decision to cancel a speech by an anti-abortion activist at a Des Moines high school is sparking criticism.

The principal of Roosevelt High School, Kathie Danielson, says she canceled Friday's appearance by Alveda King because some parents complained about her message.

The Iowa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says it implies the school is taking sides on the abortion issue. Spokesman Ben Stone says Danielson is doing a "disservice" when she decides she must protect students from controversial viewpoints.

King is a niece of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Danielson says it was a good opportunity to hear King on issues such as diversity. But parents complained about her political and social views.

Of interest, though, is the fact that King was not scheduled to speak on abortion at all. Her topic was, by all indication, her lifetime involved with civil rights. After all, as an author and minister and former college professor and state legislator, she might just have something of importance to teach these students on that subjectand about her uncle, whose life and work in that area ought to be an inspiration to every American. Add to the fact that attendance a the speech was voluntary, it seems hard to believe that anyone was going to be coerced, indoctrinated, or proselytized as a member of a captive audience of students.

However, that was not good enough for some.

Danielson explained the decision in an e-mail to the parents. When the school scheduled King in August, the plan was for King to speak about her civil rights journey.

Then Monday, "several community members" called to complain about King's allegiance to anti-abortion issues and abstinence. There was also the sticky possibility of King's expressing her religious beliefs in a public-school setting.

Those still wishing to hear King's message, Danielson added, could see her at either Iowa State or Drake.

Danielson said she called King, had a nice talk and came away impressed.

"She is a wonderful person," Danielson e-mailed, "and our conversation was meaningful and enlightening. We will visit in the near future about the possibility of scheduling a time when she could speak to our parents."

That's good, because King has a compelling story to tell. The students should be allowed to hear it.

The irony of this situation is not lost on me. You see my knowledge of history and constitutional law makes Roosevelt High School in Des Moines a familiar name to me and it ought to be to any educator.

After all, Roosevelt High School was one of the schools at which the events occurred that gave rise to the Supreme Courts seminal decision of freedom of speech in schools, Tinker v. Des Moines. And while the circumstances are different, we again see a small group deciding that there are some ideas, well-within the mainstream of American political belief, that must be suppressed at all cost in the public schools. Such actions were wrong then, and are wrong now.

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|| Greg, 04:12 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Arab-Only Exception By The Democrats

Remember that "one man, no vote" edict promulgated by the Democrats regarding Florida? Well, it should also apply to Michigan -- but the Democrats have made an exception to the rules on no campaigning in that state. What is that exception?

In one reluctant concession, the Democratic chairs in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and that great American tradition, the Nevada caucus, are graciously allowing one exemption to the no-campaigning rule so the candidates can participate in a conference held in Dearborn by the Arab American Institute.

Are you following all this? Heres where we are so far:

Florida:

A) One man, no vote.

B) No talking to any Floridians who are not waving checkbooks.

Michigan: Both of the above, but Arab-Americans organized into a large conference are exempt.

So lets get this straight.

Florida, with its many Jewish voters, will be off limits to the Democrat candidates, and its voters will be disenfranchised by the DNC.

Michigan, with its many Arab and Muslim voters, will be granted a special exception to the rules -- and, I suspect, be subject to a lesser penalty so as not to disenfranchise those groups despite holding its primary two weeks before Florida.

Given the realities of the last six years, does it seem odd to you that the Democrats are prepared to accommodate a group that has shown great sympathy towards the jihadi cause while disenfranchising Jewish voters who are accused of having too much influence on American politics and policy? It seems to me that the disparity is objectively anti-Semitic -- and given the rhetoric that has come out of the pro-Democrat netroots and anti-war movement, that is a point that should not be easily dismissed or discounted without closer examination.

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|| Greg, 04:39 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (12) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Religious Purge Undone

The artificial limits imposed upon religious literature in prison libraries has been lifted following a public outcry over the absurd limits and nebulous standards behind the list.

Facing pressure from religious groups, civil libertarians and members of Congress, the federal Bureau of Prisons has decided to return religious materials that had been purged from prison chapel libraries because they were not on the bureaus lists of approved resources.

The bureau had said it was prompted to remove the materials after a 2004 Department of Justice report mentioned that religious books that incite violence could infiltrate chapel libraries.

After the details of the removal became widely known this month, Republican lawmakers, liberal Christians and evangelical talk shows all criticized the government for creating a list of acceptable religious books.

The bureau has not abandoned the idea of creating such lists, Judi Simon Garrett, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail message. But rather than packing away everything while those lists were compiled, the religious materials will remain on the shelves, Ms. Garrett explained.

In an e-mail message Wednesday, the bureau said: In response to concerns expressed by members of several religious communities, the Bureau of Prisons has decided to alter its planned course of action with respect to the Chapel Library Project.

The bureau will begin immediately to return to chapel libraries materials that were removed in June 2007, with the exception of any publications that have been found to be inappropriate, such as material that could be radicalizing or incite violence. The review of all materials in chapel libraries will be completed by the end of January 2008.

It is nice to see a little sunshine and public outrage bringing about a policy shift that makes sense. Get rid of the problem materials after a review of what is in the libraries, and in the future don't add anything until it has been reviewed. Packing away unobjectionable material based upon an arbitrarily defined limit of 150 items was the wrong way to go -- and the new policy is substantially better.





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

A Standard For Universities To Consider

In light of recent controversies on California colleges campuses regarding controversial speakers and faculty members and the Columbia University speech by Mahmoud the Mad, Victor David Hanson offers up a criteria regarding who should be welcomed and given a platform at such prestigious institutions of higher learning.

In each of the above cases, the general public has had to remind these universities that their campuses should welcome thinkers who have distinguished themselves in their fields, regardless of politics and ideology. The liberal Chemerinsky, the Clinton Democrat Summers and the conservative Rumsfeld have all courted controversy -- and all alike met the criterion of eminent achievement.

But the propagandist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not. Unlike Chemerinsky, Rumsfeld and Summers, he used the prestige of an Ivy-League forum solely to popularize his violent views -- and to sugarcoat the mayhem his terrorists inflict on Americans and his promises to wipe out Israel.

Here's a simple tip to the clueless tenured class about why a Larry Summers or Donald Rumsfeld should be welcome to speak, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shunned: former Cabinet secretaries -- yes; homicidal dictators killing Americans -- no.

Sounds like a reasonable standard to me -- what do you think?





|| Greg, 04:14 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Will Hillary Say "Nobama"?

Maybe, suggests Roger Simon at Politico.

There are two unbreakable rules for picking a running mate: Never pick anybody who might overshadow the top of the ticket, and never pick anybody you cannot completely control.

So Obama might be eliminated on both counts.

Then there is the Rule of Firsts. The Clinton campaign does not want to force too many firsts on the American electorate.

Electing the first woman president will be challenge enough. Electing the first woman president and first African-American vice president at the same time? Forget it; they dont need that kind of problem. (The same reasoning might prevent New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who is Hispanic, from getting the vice presidential nod.)

Does this mean that only white males need apply to become Hillarys running mate? Probably.

Which is why Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, former Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa, Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio, Sen. James Webb of Virginia, and even former Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri are all having their names tossed around.

Personally, I think there is a better reason to reject Obama -- his lack of experience. Hillary has enough of a credibility problem with some voters on that score (First Lady isn't a training ground for the Presidency), and selecting a national novice like Obama might leave the ticket open to questions about how qualified they really are. That is why I'd argue that Clinton might do well to go for a"double first" pick and tap Bill Richardson for as her running mate.





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

Is Hillary Running Away From The Pack?

These numbers sure look like it.

A brand-new CNN/WMUR poll finds her with a 23-point lead over Obama in New Hampshire (43%-20%). Back in July, her lead was nine points (36%-27%).

The question, of course, is this -- is the increasing lead a sign that Democrats have united behind her? Or is this limited to one state? And is this support stable, or is Hillary Clinton peaking way too soon?





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

September 26, 2007

A Fascinating Movie, A Missing Word

Id like to see the movie Banished.

There are ghosts haunting Marco Williamss quietly sorrowful documentary Banished, about the forced expulsion of black Southerners from their homes in the troubled and violent decades after the Civil War. Dressed in what looks like their Sunday best, in dark suits and high-collar dresses, they stare solemnly into an unwelcoming world. A couple ride in a cart along a pretty country road, and others stand awkwardly before houses with peeling paint. There are few smiles. Photography was then a serious business, though being a black landowner, part of a fragile, nascent Southern middle class, was more serious still.

The events and the period covered are clearly one of the great missed opportunities of American history, one of those what ifs that those of us who are students of history often look at and think of with a heart-felt sadness.

And it looks like Williams has done a great job, hitting many important but little-known incidents.

Mr. Williams isnt one for hysterics or histrionics, even when seated across from a Ku Klux Klan leader who says he wouldnt be happy if this African-American director moved in next door. The Klan leader lives in a nice-looking house adorned with white supremacist banners in Forsyth County, Ga., which in 1912 brutally expelled an estimated 1,000 of its black residents. Mr. Williams guides us through this terrible history, often while strolling on camera through the scene of the crime, talking to white residents and dredging up memories. He also uncovers some repellent images of a white mob trying to stop a peaceful, interracial civil rights march in the county in 1987. The marchers sing We Shall Overcome. The mob throws rocks.

There is so much more to the story than can be told by this 87-minute movie, which only casts glances at Reconstruction, the question of reparations and the bitter, enduring, living legacy of slavery. Although Mr. Williams somewhat overstates his case when he says that racial cleansing has remained hidden, theres no denying that this ugly chapter deserves more than an occasional well-meaning documentary. (A national day of mourning might be a good start.) The 1997 fiction film Rosewood recounted one such expulsion that took place in central Florida in the 1920s, and journalists, activists and descendants, including those who appear in Banished, have dug into the archives and sifted through the evidence. Mr. Williams has done his own part to shed needed light, though I wish he had dug longer, harder.

In late 2006 The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., published a series about an 1898 white riot to destroy a political alliance between blacks and poor whites in Wilmington, N.C., where the literacy rates for black men were higher than those for whites. One agitator, a former Confederate soldier and the future mayor of Wilmington, vowed that he and other like-minded whites would never surrender even if we have to choke the Cape Fear River with carcasses. What followed was a coup dtat, possibly the only time that a municipal government was toppled in American history. Black residents were murdered; the local black newspaper was torched, and survivors exiled. Reconstruction died, and Jim Crow moved right in.

But what I find interesting in this review, even with the commentary on the Wilmington incident (which I wrote about earlier), is the fact that a single word appears nowhere in the entire piece. This despite the fact that it is crucial to the story being told, and the evil being perpetrated. It points to the thing that linked the overwhelming majority of the perpetrators of these great evils, and the overwhelming beneficiary of them.

The missing word?

Democrat.

After all, the guilty individuals in most of these acts of domestic terrorism would have been Democrats, and the political party that benefited would have been the Democratic Party. It is an institution that today still benefits from the legacy of its own racism, even while trying to place the label of racist on its political opponents to obscure its racist past while exploiting black misery in the present. It is the party that placed a Klansman on the Supreme Court in the 1930s, and which still has an old Kluxer serving in the US Senate today.

For some reason, Manohla Dargis leaves those details out of the review. I hope that Marco Williams didnt leave them out of the movie.

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

Another Vick Screw-Up

Smoking pot while awaiting sentencing and subject to drug testing how freakin stupid can you get?

A federal judge placed tighter restrictions on Michael Vick on Wednesday after the Atlanta Falcons quarterback tested positive for marijuana. Because of the result, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson placed special conditions on Vicks release, including restricting him to his home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. with electronic monitoring and ordering him to submit to random drug testing.

The urine sample was submitted Sept. 13, according to a document by a federal probation officer that was filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday.

This could result in a longer sentence for Vick, because the judge can take such violations of release conditions into account when determining the amount of time he must serve.

I wonder will this violation lead to an additional suspension by the NFL under its drug policy after his release from prison (state or federal, as the case may be) and reinstatement in the NFL?





|| Greg, 04:33 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (26) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Animal Rights Terrorists Traumatize Preschoolers

Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.

Children at a downtown preschool got an unplanned lesson in animal rights activism when their pet rabbit was stolen and anti-circus fliers were left in the animal's cage.

Sugar Bunny vanished from the Community Building Children's Center during a celebration of building renovations Saturday evening, teachers said.

"Somebody stoled him," 5-year-old Zion told The Spokesman-Review, which gave only the first names of him and other children in a report on the heist. "I'm sad."

Lori Peters, a teacher, said watching, petting and playing with Sugar Bunny helped the little children overcome separation anxiety. The theft is being reported to police but it's unclear whether the preschool will find a new pet, she added.

The fliers that were left were for protests against the Ringling Brothers Circus, which was in town Friday through Sunday, and showed a picture of a bear trying to escape beneath the bars of a cage. Listed at the bottom were People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Northwest Animal Rights Network.

Save a child. Save a pet. Shoot an animal rights terrorist.





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

A Note On Jena

Ive stayed out of this controversy, because every time Ive tied to examine the facts the incident seems more and more muddied. After all, something is clearly wrong in Jena, Louisiana but the facts underlying the incident are often obscured by the haze induced by the heated racial rhetoric (often amazingly fact-free) surrounding the incident.

The district attorney offers an explanation of why he brought the serious charges he did in this case. The heart of his argument is compelling, when one considers what actually happened last December at the high school.

Last week, a reporter asked me whether, if I had it to do over, I would do anything differently. I didnt think of it at the time, but the answer is yes. I would have done a better job of explaining that the offenses of Dec. 4, 2006, did not stem from a schoolyard fight as it has been commonly described in the news media and by critics.

Conjure the image of schoolboys fighting: they exchange words, clench fists, throw punches, wrestle in the dirt until classmates or teachers pull them apart. Of course that would not be aggravated second-degree battery, which is what the attackers are now charged with. (Five of the defendants were originally charged with attempted second-degree murder.) But thats not what happened at Jena High School.

The victim in this crime, who has been all but forgotten amid the focus on the defendants, was a young man named Justin Barker, who was not involved in the nooses incident three months earlier. According to all the credible evidence I am aware of, after lunch, he walked to his next class. As he passed through the gymnasium door to the outside, he was blindsided and knocked unconscious by a vicious blow to the head thrown by Mychal Bell. While lying on the ground unaware of what was happening to him, he was brutally kicked by at least six people.

Imagine you were walking down a city street, and someone leapt from behind a tree and hit you so hard that you fell to the sidewalk unconscious. Would you later describe that as a fight?

Only the intervention of an uninvolved student protected Mr. Barker from severe injury or death. There was serious bodily harm inflicted with a dangerous weapon the definition of aggravated second-degree battery. Mr. Bells conviction on that charge as an adult has been overturned, but I considered adult status appropriate because of his role as the instigator of the attack, the seriousness of the charge and his prior criminal record.

So what we have here is an attack on a kid completely uninvolved in the noose incident. It was unprovoked, with six young thugs kicking and stomping their unconscious victim. That isnt a fight it is an ambush designed to maim (and perhaps kill) a defenseless individual based, it would appear, solely upon race. Frankly, Im disturbed that there is no hate-crime enhancement to these charges, just as I would expect there to be if a group of white kids did the same to a black kid. As a result, I think those aggravated battery charges are appropriate and one could argue (as does prosecutor Reed Walters) that the adult charges against Bell were not unreasonable in light of his previous criminal record.

Where I disagree with Walters is his assessment of the criminality of the original noose incident. Surely there was some aspect of civil rights law, either state or federal, that might apply to what happened that day. The prank was clearly designed to discourage students from fully and freely exercising their civil rights at the high school, and as an incident taking place on public property ought to be treated in precisely the same manner as a cross-burning would have. But even if my position is wrong on this point, there is no possible way of justifying the assault on Justin Barker which might best be described as an attempted lynching of an innocent man in the best race-hating tradition of the KKK.

Now do I fault people who have been outraged over the situation in Jena? No, I dont given the amount of misinformation out there it is hard to drill down to the facts. I wish the media had done a better job of reporting on this, and that the blogosphere had exercised a little more restraint before buying in to all the claims being made about the case by one side. This isnt Selma, and it isnt Scottsboro lets quit pretending it is.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Outside the Beltway, Stop the ACLU, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, Perri Nelson's Website, Rosemary's Thoughts, The Random Yak, DeMediacratic Nation, The Pet Haven Blog, Nuke's News & Views, Webloggin, Cao's Blog, , Conservative Cat, Inside the Northwest-Territory, Allie is Wired, Right Celebrity, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, Blue Star Chronicles, The Pink Flamingo, Right Voices, and Public Eye, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





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

Where Was Mahmoud?

This seems to be the sort of thing he and his entourage might do.

Police flooded a Brooklyn precinct with extra cops yesterday following the discovery of swastikas and other anti-Semitic messages scrawled on two synagogues and several other buildings and cars. Twenty extra detectives were added to investigate the incident, which sent shivers through Brooklyn Heights. In addition to the swastikas found late Monday, the culprits placed on cars fliers that read, "All Jews Die. Israel Land of Jews Die," above a swastika and "SS." The rabbi at a synagogue violated with a swastika laid the blame on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying his visit inspires anti-Semites. "I think [his] visit here spurred hate-mongers to come out of the closet," said Rabbi Aaron Raskin of Congregation B'nai Avraham. "I have numerous congregants whose parents are survivors of the Holocaust. It brings up bad memories. [A swastika is] not just a symbol - it represents the deaths of 6 million people."

I think the good rabbi is correct Mahmoud the Mad and his Jew-hating, Holocaust-denying rhetoric can bring the nut-jobs out of the woodwork to express the sort of bile spewed by this world leader.





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

Culture of Non-Discrimination Run Wild

Once upon a time, it was understood that a property owner could decide who they wanted to rent to or who they did not want to rent to based upon pretty much any standard they chose to set. After all, the government really had no business interfering in that decision on whether or not to enter into a contract with another.

Unfortunately, government decided to get involved. Sometimes it was through laws mandating racial or religious segregation, and later it was through laws banning such discrimination. As time moved on, we saw additional groups added to such fair housing laws, so that in many places one may not make such decisions based upon race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, family status, disability, veteran status, and a host of other criteria.

Do we now need to add laws preventing discrimination against those with tattoos and body/facial piercings?

Gilbert Carrillo thinks tattoos are an artform. He's been to tattoo conventions and one of his tattoos was featured in a magazine. "Ever since I was 18, to now, 25, bit by bit, covering up here, covering up there." But last month, Carrillo's tattoos kept him and his wife, Melissa, from moving into an apartment complex called the Villas at Medical Center. "We liked the apartment, we brought them a check for the deposit and a check for the application fee," says Melissa. Later, Gilbert went by to look at the apartment wearing a short sleeve shirt. The next day, the Carrillos were told they didn't qualify to live there, because the tattoos on Gilbert's arms violated the policy on personal appearance. "For them to be so judgmental on a person's appearance, and for them to judge someone based on them having a tattoo is just ridiculous, you know," says Melissa. The Carrillos were also upset that the manager refused to refund their full $70 application fee. But mostly, they feel the policy is discriminatory.

Ah, there we have the word discriminatory. And they are, in fact right but in the sense that one notices the differences among and between things and people and responds accordingly. There is no provision under the law that would (ordinarily) prohibit discrimination based upon body art.

We contacted one of the owners of the apartments: A southern California doctor named Edward Frankel. Frankel e-mailed us a statement saying his apartment complexes do, in fact, "reject prospective tenants who have... tattoos exposed on the neck, head, hands and wrists, or large tattoos that cover over 40% of the lower or upper arm." Frankel says, "We do not discriminate. The above applies to persons of any race, color, gender, etc." Frankel, and his partners, have purchased numerous upscale apartment complexes in San Antonio and Dallas, where they've also banned pierced eyebrows and tongues. Tenants can't have more than one nose piercing, or more than five earrings.

Fine this is the standard the owner wants. One can argue it is absurd, but that is one of the nice things about property ownership you get to make decisions about how to use your property. Do we really need to go the next step and have the government act to ban such discrimination? I certainly hope not.

Unfortunately, we have added so many exceptions to the right to determine who one rents to that I wouldnt be surprised to see new law come out of this case. Thats too bad, because what we really need to do is restore the property rights of owners by repealing all or most of the limits placed upon the rental of real estate. While there might be some individuals and companies that make decisions that I find despicable, the reality is that my standards should not ordinarily be the basis for limiting property rights. After all -- is it really freedom if citizens are only permitted to act according to the dictates of government and the majority (ore even a vocal minority) find acceptable?

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

Good News From Afghanistan

Coalition forces have killed 165 jihadis.

Two battles killed more than 165 Taliban fighters and a U.S.-led coalition soldier in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday as President Hamid Karzai prepared to discuss the escalating violence with President Bush in New York. One of the clashes began Tuesday when several dozen insurgents attacked a joint coalition-Afghan patrol with machine guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades near the Taliban-controlled town of Musa Qala in Helmand province, with Taliban reinforcements flowing in all day, a coalition statement said. The coalition said it returned artillery fire and called in fighter aircraft, killing more than 100 of the Taliban fighters. One coalition soldier was killed and four wounded. The coalition said there were no immediate reports of civilian deaths or injuries. Taliban militants overran Musa Qala in February, four months after British troops left the town following a contentious peace agreement that handed over security responsibilities to Afghan elders. Musa Qala has been in control of Taliban fighters ever since. Situated in northern Helmand province, Musa Qala and the region around it have seen the heaviest fighting in Afghanistan this year. It is also in the middle of the country's poppy-growing belt. In neighboring Uruzgan province, more than 80 Taliban fighters attacked a joint Afghan and coalition patrol from bunkers near the village of Kakrak in a six-hour battle Tuesday night, the coalition said. Coalition artillery and air support bombarded Taliban positions, killing more than 65 insurgents, it said. Three civilians were wounded in the crossfire, it said. No Afghan or coalition forces were hurt. The battle took place near an area where more than three dozen insurgents were killed as they prepared an ambush six days ago, the coalition said.

Heres hoping that they enjoy eternity in Hell.





|| Greg, 04:26 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why Seize The Money

Laws that allow the seizure of assets when someone is convicted of a crime never bother me. But actions like this one strike me as heavy-handed, and lead me to question how they can be squared with our rights under the Constitution.

Driving 11 miles over the speed limit cost one driver more than a quarter-million dollars this weekend at least for now.

A State Patrol trooper spotted a Honda Accord speeding southbound on Interstate 5 on Friday, according to State Patrol spokesman Jeff Merrill. It was raining, and the driver was cruising down the freeway at 71 mph. So the trooper pulled the driver over, Merrill said.

The 35-year-old from British Columbia, who had a valid driver's license, struggled to tell the trooper where he was going and how long he had been in Washington, prompting the trooper to search his car, Merrill said.

The trooper found two suitcases in the trunk one filled with $276,640 in cash. The driver claimed he won the stacks of dollar bills at 23 casinos in Washington, California and Nevada, but he was unable to produce any receipts, according to Merrill.

The money was confiscated as the State Patrol investigates the incident. Merrill said if it is determined the man obtained the money legally it will be returned to him.

1) On what basis does one have to account for one's whereabouts to a police officer during a routine traffic stop?

2) How does the failure to do so constitute probable cause to search the vehicle?

3) Upon what basis does the government legitimately seize property and assets that are, on their face, legal to possess?

4) Shouldn't the burden here be the other way around -- why should any individual be required to prove that he obtained property legally to get it returned? Shouldn't the burden be on the state to prove otherwise?

Yes, I know -- I'm going to hear the phrase "War on Drugs". But doesn't that really beg the question?





|| Greg, 04:39 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why We Need A Real Fence

Because a virtual fence will lead to virtual enforcement -- if there is any enforcement at all.

Technical and management troubles have caused the government's effort to secure a portion of the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border with a chain of surveillance towers to fall behind schedule, jeopardizing the success of a costly project meant to showcase the Bush administration's tougher stance on immigration enforcement.

A $20 million pilot program to safeguard a 28-mile stretch of rough, mesquite-dotted terrain that straddles a smuggling corridor south of Tucson was supposed to be operational in June but now is expected to be delayed until the end of the year, according to the officials at the Department of Homeland Security who are overseeing it.

Ground radar and cameras that were to identify illegal border crossers so that armed patrols could be dispatched to capture them have had trouble distinguishing people and vehicles from cows and bushes. The sensors are also confused by moisture, the officials said.

Here's an idea -- brick and mortar for a real wall. It may seem to be rather old school, but it is demonstrated to work.





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

Ethnic Shoes

I understand niche marketing, but I find the notion of limiting distribution by ethnicity to be a bit troubling.

Nike today unveiled what it said is the first shoe designed specifically for American Indians, an effort aiming at promoting physical fitness in a population with high obesity rates.

The Beaverton-based company says the Air Native N7 is designed with a larger fit for the distinct foot shape of American Indians, and has a culturally specific look. It will be distributed solely to American Indians; tribal wellness programs and tribal schools nationwide will be able to purchase the shoe at wholesale price and then pass it along to individuals, often at no cost.

Nike is aware of the growing health issues facing Native Americans, said Sam McCracken, manager of Nikes Native American Business program. We are stepping up our commitment ... to elevate the issue of Native American health and wellness.

Nike said it is the first time it has designed a shoe for a specific race or ethnicity. It said all profits from the sale of the shoe will be reinvested in health programs for tribal lands, where problems with obesity, diabetes and related conditions are near epidemic levels in some tribes.

Nike designers and researchers looked at the feet of more than 200 people from more than 70 tribes nationwide and found that in general, American Indians have a much wider and taller foot than the average shoe accommodates. The average shoe width of men and women measured was three width sizes larger than the standard Nike shoe.

As a result, the Air Native is wider with a larger toe box. The shoe has fewer seams for irritation and a thicker sock liner for comfort.

However, let's be honest -- it would be nice if Nike would market such shoes for a more general population. I've never been able to buy Nike shoes because I have very wide, taller feet than their product is designed to fit. Indeed, there are only two brands of athletic shoes that fit me comfortably -- and not even all the styles from those companies. I'd love to be able to get shoes designed to actually fit my feet -- a particular concern for me in light of my diabetes -- if only they were on the market. Maybe someday Nike will be interested in making shoes that fit me and other non-ethnic Americans who need a bigger shoe.





|| Greg, 04:19 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

SCOTUS To Rule On Voter ID

We'll know within the year if we can require the same standard of proof of identity to vote that we do for cashing checks or getting on airplanes.

With the 2008 presidential and Congressional elections on the horizon, the Supreme Court agreed today to consider whether voter-identification laws unfairly keep poor people and members of minority groups from going to the polls.

The justices will hear arguments from an Indiana case, in which a federal district judge and a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in January upheld a state law requiring, with certain exceptions, that someone wanting to vote in person in a primary or general election present a government-issued photo identification. Presumably, the court would rule on the case by June.

I think the rulings of the appellate court judges in this case are interesting because they are both correct. Especially this point by the Democrat judge who wrote the dissent in the case.

Lets not beat around the bush, [Judge Terence T. Evans] wrote. The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic.

Quite true. Having grown up outside of Chicago, I readily affirm that my support for such laws is based upon my explicit and conscious desire to disenfranchise certain key Democrat constituencies.

Dead-Americans.

Fantasy-Americans.

Felon-Americans.

"Not American Citizen"-Americans.

After all, those groups have been key to influencing elections and preventing GOP victories for years. And I believe that keeping members of these groups from voting violates nobody's rights under the Fourteenth Amendment -- especially when the necessary identification documents are available free to American citizens under the voter ID laws.





|| Greg, 04:11 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Sacriligious Art: The Difference

When images seen as disrespectful of Muhammad are published or displayed, there are riots, death threats, and demands for government apologies. Artists have to go into hiding, and receive police protection.

When similar artwork is done of Christ, the response is much more muted.

A SWEDISH artist unveiled a sculpture depicting Christ as a well-endowed dog, saying he wanted to stimulate debate about religion and freedom of expression in the wake of a row over cartoons of the prophet Mohammed.

The artwork showed Jesus as a dog with a bloodstained head under a crown of thorns and an enormous sexual organ, according to Swedish press agency TT.

However, within hours of the sculpture being installed on a roundabout in Skaanes Fagerhult, a town in the south of Sweden, it disappeared.

I want religion to stop taking society and the vulnerable for idiots, the 59-year-old artist, Stig Ramsing, told the online version of Helsingborgs Dagblad newspaper.

In Nordic countries the display of outlandish sculptures of dogs on roundabouts is a familiar art form which has become common in the past decade.

It is my turn to follow (artist) Lars Vilks and provoke a sensible discussion about religion, Ramsing said.

Vilks is the Swedish artist whose cartoon of the prophet Mohammed with a dog's body published in the Swedish press triggered controversy both in Sweden and other countries.

Sweden saw protests against Vilks's cartoon, while Egypt, Iran and Pakistan made diplomatic protests about the image. Death threats were also made against both Vilks and the editor of the newspaper which published the satirical cartoon.

Will Sweden apologize to the world's Christians? Will the pope put a price on Ramsing's head? How many Swedish embassies and consulates will rioting Christians burn? I think the answer to these questions is obvious -- Christians will do none of these.

What does that tell you about the nature of the two religions? Which one is really a religion of peace?





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

Senate Candidates Should File Electronically

I cannot disagree with this editorial in today's WaPo.

THEY SAY three times is a charm -- except when it comes to getting a common-sense bill through the Senate by unanimous consent that would require its members and candidates to file their campaign finance reports electronically. The latest attempt was killed by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.). At least he objected publicly.

Since April, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Rules and Administration Committee, has been trying to get the Senate to bring its filing system into the 21st century. Candidates for the House and for the White House have had to file their campaign finance reports electronically for years, as have political parties, political action committees and "527" groups. There is no good reason the Senate should not be doing the same.

Yet senators, particularly Republican senators, are blocking the innovation at every turn. The first two attempts at passage were beaten back with an anonymous hold. The reason was never given, and the identity of the objector not revealed, thanks to a fine Senate tradition. But after Congress approved the new ethics law last month, those who place holds on legislation must come forward within six days. Thus, Mr. Ensign objected publicly -- and offered a poison pill amendment.

Mr. Ensign wanted to add a provision to the electronic filing bill that would require an organization filing an ethics complaint against a senator to list donors who have given the group $5,000 or more. The idea deserves a debate in committee, as Ms. Feinstein offered. To try to push it through as a last-minute, non-germane add-on serves no purpose other than to kill the overall bill.

There is absolutely no reason that these documents should not be filed in a manner consistent with every other similar disclosure. My party needs to get out of the way and allow it to be done.





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

September 25, 2007

Lightning Rod?

This incredible story makes me cringe.

AN Croatian motorbike rider was knocked unconscious when lightning struck his penis during a roadside toilet break.

Metro.co.uk reported Ante Djindjic, 29, escaped relatively unscathed from the incident, suffering only light burns to his chest and arms.

He said: "I don't remember what happened. One minute I was taking a leak and the next thing I knew I was in hospital.

"Doctors said the lightning went through my body and because I was wearing rubber boots it earthed itself through my penis."

"Thankfully, the doctors said that there would be no lasting effects, and my penis will function normally eventually."

That's just as long as lightning doesn't strike in the same place twice.


And may I say Ouch!





|| Greg, 03:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

SanFran Says No To Marines, Yes to S-M Fest

I asked it before, and I ask it again can the rest of the US dump the city of my birth from America?

Once again, the city insults the military.

New York said "yes," but we said "no." Why were the U.S. Marines denied permission to film a recruiting commercial on the streets of San Francisco?

San Francisco is, once again, the center of a controversy over how city leaders treat the U.S. military. This time, it involves an elite group of Marines who wanted to film a recruitment commercial in San Francisco on the anniversary of 9/11.

The tension has been building in the two weeks since the city turned away members of the Silent Drill Platoon, and it boiled over Monday afternoon at a meeting of the San Francisco Film Commission.

The U.S. Marine Silent Drill Platoon performed Monday morning in New York's Times Square. They filmed part of a recruitment commercial through the start of the morning rush hour -- something they could not do in San Francisco on the anniversary of 9/11.

"It's insulting, it's demeaning. This woman is going to insult these young heroes by just arbitrarily saying, 'no, you're not going to film any Marines on California Street," said Captain Greg Corrales of the SFPD Traffic Bureau.

Captain Greg Corrales commands the police traffic bureau that works with crews shooting commercials, TV shows and movies in the city. He's also a Marine veteran and his son is serving his third tour of duty in Iraq.

He says Film Commission Executive Director Stefanie Coyote would only allow the Marine's production crew to film on California Street if there were no Marines in the picture. They wound up filming the empty street and will have to superimpose the Marines later.

Interestingly enough, they only needed a single lane shut down, and only for a few minutes at a time. The city regularly does more than that for construction purposes and private businesses often hire off-duty cops to do the same thing on major streets so that their employees can exit parking lots. For that matter, the city regularly allows anti-American anti-military and political protests to block streets for longer periods of time, including during rush hour. But to let representatives of our nations military do so would clearly have been beyond the pale to the leftards in San Francisco city government.

So yes, lets act as a nation and secede from San Francisco set up the border checkpoints and build a wall to keep them out of our country.

Especially in light of what they will shut multiple streets for annually after denying the US Marine Corps a few brief minutes in one lane.

Organizers of San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair -- sponsored by Miller Brewing Co. -- have portrayed Christ and his disciples as half-naked homosexual sadomasochists in the event's promotional advertisement, and the conservative group Concerned Women for America is complaining about the hypocrisy of it.

"The bread and wine representing Christ's broken body and lifegiving blood are replaced with sadomasochistic sex toys in this twisted version of Da Vinci's The Last Supper," CWA said on its Web site.

"'Gay' activists disingenuously call Christians 'haters' and 'homophobes' for honoring the Bible, but then lash out in this hateful manner toward the very people they accuse," said said Matt Barber, CWA's policy director for cultural issues.

"In their version of The Last Supper, Christ, Who gave His life for our sins, is despicably replaced by sin itself as the object of worship."

* * *

Concerned Women for America called it "shocking and offensive" that California taxpayers are forced to foot part of the bill for the Folsom Street Fair. The City of San Francisco sanctions the event by shutting down several city blocks and providing police for security.

So lets get this straight streets cannot be closed for the US Marine Corps, but will be closed for an anti-Christian festival celebrating gay sado-masochism. I guess those are what we call San Francisco family values.

H/T Michelle Malkin (twice), Right Voices (twice), Bookworm Room, Crush Liberalism, Stop the ACLU

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|| Greg, 03:50 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bring Back Hanging

That should settle matters, as the method of execution was one which the founders clearly viewed as not being cruel and unusual punishment due to its ubiquity at the time of the adoption of the Bill of Rights.

Such a course of action would clearly undo the ponderous jurisprudence of the Supreme Court on the death penalty, and what methods of execution are permissible.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to consider the constitutionality of lethal injections in a case that could affect the way inmates are executed around the country.

The high court will hear a challenge from two inmates on death row in Kentucky Ralph Baze and Thomas Clyde Bowling Jr. who sued Kentucky in 2004, claiming lethal injection amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

Baze has been scheduled for execution Tuesday night, but the Kentucky Supreme Court halted the proceedings earlier this month.

The U.S. Supreme Court has previously made it easier for death row inmates to contest the lethal injections used across the country for executions.

But until Tuesday, the justices had never agreed to consider the fundamental question of whether the mix of drugs used in Kentucky and elsewhere violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

All 37 states that perform lethal injections use the same three-drug cocktail, but at least 11 states suspended its use after opponents alleged it was ineffective and cruel. The three drugs consist of an anesthetic, a muscle paralyzer, and a substance to stop the heart. Death penalty foes have argued that if the condemned prisoner is not given enough anesthetic, he can suffer excruciating pain without being able to cry out.

Personally, though, I have to note that the entire debate over the constitutionality of any given form of the death penalty seems to be absurd to me. Look at the terms. Capital Punishment. Death Penalty. The goal is not to rehabilitate or show mercy it is to exact retribution for the misdeeds of the condemned. The time has come, quite frankly, to get over the misguided notion that these folks have a right to experience no pain or suffering as they are executed. Maybe a little pain and suffering would even be good for their souls or perhaps a foretaste of what they will experience for all eternity.





|| Greg, 03:28 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Good News, Bad News For Injured Texans

Hearts stopped and more than a few prayers were said at Reliant Stadium Sunday as Houston Texans DT Cedric Killings was removed from the field on a stretcher after what was clearly a serious injury. Those prayers seem to have been answered.

When Texans defensive tackle Cedric Killings stood up next to his bed Monday morning, the doctors and hospital personnel applauded. All indications point toward Killings eventually walking out of Methodist Hospital.

But there are a number of questions surrounding Killings' future as he tries to recover from a fractured vertebra. Killings, who initially had no feelings in his arms or legs, fractured his C-4 vertebra in the second quarter when he collided with Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Roy Hall on a kickoff return.

Team doctors said Monday that Killings, 29, has complete movement in his both of his legs, but his hands remain weak and so does his left arm. They said they are waiting to see if that changes in the coming days.

The C-4 is one of two vertebrae fractured by Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett two weeks ago. Everett is rehabilitating at Memorial Hermann Hospital, and has only limited motor function in his arms and legs. He is not yet able to walk.

The Bills' Everett is a local boy, so the Killings injury hit home for a lot of us in the stadium who immediately thought of the incident only two weeks ago. I'm thrilled to hear that Killings is doing better -- and that Everett is near to friends and family, and on the slow road to recovery.

Unfortunately, we have some other injury news that may have more of an immediate impact on the season, one that saw the Texans off to a strong start after five years of less-than-mediocrity.

Center Steve McKinney cannot believe the timing of it all. During five losing and often hopeless seasons, McKinney was on the offensive line trying to help lift the Texans to respectability.

If the Texans finally do record their first winning record this season, McKinney will be forced to watch from the sidelines.

During the 30-24 loss to the Colts on Sunday, McKinney suffered the first serious injury of his NFL career when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He must undergo season-ending surgery, and will be replaced in the starting lineup by 12-year veteran Mike Flanagan.

The loss of McKinney will be keenly felt, for he is a great performer on the field and a team leader.

And he isn't the only injury that will impact the starting lineup.

Coach Gary Kubiak said he is confident backup running back Ron Dayne (bruised ribs) will be able to play this weekend against Atlanta.

Ahman Green, who hasn't finished the last two games with a bruised knee, received positive news from an MRI, but said he doesn't know if he will be able to play Sunday. Tests revealed no damage to the knee.

"It's just sore," Green said. "(The MRI showed) nothing bad, just swelling. I'm grateful for that."

Kubiak said Green bruised the knee against Kansas City in the season opener, and it has gotten worse.

He is hopeful Green will start. If not, Dayne will fill in and Samkon Gado will back him up.

Of more immediate concern is the wide receiver position. Jacoby Jones will be out two to three weeks with a separated shoulder. He started the first game of his career against the Colts, filling in for Andre Johnson, who is out with a knee sprain.

Johnson will not return this week, either. Sunday was the first time he was allowed to bend his knee since suffering the sprain Sept. 16 against the Carolina Panthers.

Johnson sprained the posterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his left knee, and must wait until they both heal.

"It's like I'm learning to walk normally again," Johnson said. "I've been in a brace for the whole week. Now, I have slack in my brace where I can bend my knee."

Fortunately, we seem likely to get WR Andre Davis back after his finger injury.

But let's be honest -- we need Johnson, Green, and Jacoby back to bolster an offense that has done a good job in the opening weeks of the season. They are performers for the Texans, and without them the talent pool is definitely a bit shallower.





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

A Bad Idea That Rudy Must Kill

This is one of the worst political moves that I have ever sen -- and it is quite unclear who is responsible for it. Rudy Giuliani needs to step in and quash this plan immediately, and disassociate himself from those who originated it -- or else appear guilty of the most heinous act of pimping the events of 9/11.

A supporter of Rudy Giuliani's is throwing a party that aims to raise $9.11 per person for the Republican's presidential campaign.

Abraham Sofaer is having a fundraiser at his Palo Alto, Calif., home on Wednesday, when Giuliani backers across the country are participating in the campaign's national house party night.

But Sofaer said he had nothing to do with the "$9.11 for Rudy" theme.

"There are some young people who came up with it," Sofaer said when reached by telephone Monday evening. He referred other questions to Giuliani's campaign.

"I'm just providing support for him. He's an old friend of mine," Sofaer said of Giuliani.

I'm sorry -- the symbolism here is atrocious. Yes, Giuliani has made the events of that horrible day a centerpiece of his campaign, but this simply leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Better that the party be canceled and the funds be unraised than this sick idea move forward and tarnish the Giuliani campaign.

UPDATE: Don Surer disagrees.





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

More Bad News For Michael Vick

Looks like he may have state time to do, too.

The prosecutor in the county where Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has admitted to bankrolling a dogfighting operation plans to present evidence to the grand jury, Tuesday, that could possibly lead to an indictment.

"Yes, I'm presenting matters to the grand jury that involve dogfighting at 1915 Moonlight Road," Surry County Commonwealth Attorney Gerald G. Poindexter told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday night.

* * *

Poindexter couldn't detail the exact indictments he will pursue, but said the local investigation and the federal investigation largely focused on different crimes.

"The killing of dogs is one of those statutory prohibitions. Dogfighting is a crime, the mistreatment of animals is a crime, so you could take your pick, or take them all," Poindexter said before cutting the conversation short. "I don't have anything else to say about it. I'm through with it. Hopefully it's coming to an end."

The real question, other than the nature of the state charges, is whether the sentence will be served concurrently with or consecutively to the federal sentence that has yet to be imposed. If the latter, Michael Vick could find himself doing significantly longer prison time than he expected.

UPDATE: Vick indicted on state charges.

Michael Vick and three co-defendants were indicted by a grand jury Tuesday on state charges related to a dogfighting ring operated on Vick's Virginia property.

Vick, who already pleaded guilty in federal court to a dogfighting conspiracy charge and is awaiting sentencing Dec. 10, was indicted on one count of beating or killing or causing dogs to fight other dogs and one count of engaging in or promoting dogfighting. Each count is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

And since these are state charges, there should not be any question of double jeopardy.





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

Violent Crime Jumps

Is the jump in violent crime an aberrational spike or a sign of something else at work?

Violent crime in the United States rose more than previously believed in 2006, continuing the most significant increase in more than a decade, according to an FBI report released yesterday.

The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program found that robberies surged by 7.2 percent and homicides rose 1.8 percent from 2005 to 2006. Violent crime overall rose 1.9 percent, substantially more than an increase of 1.3 percent estimated in a preliminary FBI report in June.

The jump was the second in two years, following a 2.3 percent rise in 2005. Taken together, the two years represent the first steady increase in violent crime since 1993, FBI records show.

The uptick presents a significant political challenge for the Bush administration, which has faced growing criticism from congressional Democrats, big-city mayors and police chiefs for presiding over cuts in federal assistance to local law enforcement agencies over the past six years.

Frankly, the increase is troubling, though coming after a decade of decline might not be surprising as they initially seem. And the issue of cuts in federal aid to local law enforcement begs the question of whether local law enforcement should be funded at the federal level.

However, there seems to be a question that isn't answered by this story. To what degree does the surge in violent crime constitute a surge in gang-related crime connected to groups such as MS-13? And related to it, to what degree is the increase connected to the illegal alien population more generally?

This is not a question of scapegoating, but a genuine inquiry based upon increased media coverage of Latin American drug gangs and crimes committed by the undocumented. Are those real phenomena, or are they simply ratings boosting yellow journalism? And if the increase is connected to illegal immigration, to what degree should that impact the debate about border security and immigration amnesty programs?

Sadly, we may not be able to get those breakdowns -- the FBI classifies Hispanic perpetrators as White, so the data is not readily available to the public.

But the numbers for black-on-black crime are astounding, with there being nearly as many murders committed by that relatively small population segment against that relatively small population segment as there are by the many times larger white population against any ethnic group. That does sort of make one wonder about the focus on the questionable prosecution of the Jena 6 when there is obviously a much more pressing problem facing the black community. When will we see the major civil rights organizations making an effective effort to stem black-on-black violence in the face of a "no snitchin'" culture?


OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson's Website, Rosemary's Thoughts, DeMediacratic Nation, Big Dog's Weblog, Adam's Blog, Right Truth, Webloggin, The Amboy Times, Leaning Straight Up, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, Inside the Northwest-Territory, Allie is Wired, Faultline USA, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, The World According to Carl, Pirate's Cove, Blue Star Chronicles, The Pink Flamingo, Right Voices, Gone Hollywood, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





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

Clintons Seek To Manipulate The News

Kill the negative story about Hill or you don't get the promised story about Bill.

Early this summer, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clintons campaign for president learned that the mens magazine GQ was working on a story the campaign was sure to hate: an account of infighting in Hillaryland.

So Clintons aides pulled a page from the book of Hollywood publicists and offered GQ a stark choice: Kill the piece, or lose access to planned celebrity coverboy Bill Clinton.

Despite internal protests, GQ editor Jim Nelson met the Clinton campaigns demands, which had been delivered by Bill Clintons spokesman, Jay Carson, several sources familiar with the conversations said.

GQ writer George Saunders traveled with Clinton to Africa in July, and Clinton is slated to appear on the cover of GQs December issue, in which it traditionally names a Man of the Year, according magazine industry sources.

A couple of thoughts here.

1) Why would any media outlet be making Bill Clinton its cover boy in 2007 -- especially its man of the year?

2) What does this say about the Clinton machine's media manipulation strategy?

3) Would the media put up such manipulation from any Republican?

H/T Captain's Quarters, Stop the ACLU





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

More Craig Dirt

And here I thought the shelf-life of the Larry Craig story had expired with the arrest of OJ and the Britney custody saga. I guess not.

The prosecutor who brought charges against Sen. Larry Craig in an airport sex sting says he told the Idaho senator that he should hire an attorney, according to court papers filed Monday.

Prosecutor Christopher Renz, in a motion opposing Craig's request to withdraw his guilty plea, wrote that he spent considerable time in a July 17 conversation telling the Idaho senator how the legal process would work if he chose to plead guilty.

"The defendant told Mr. Renz that he felt he was in a difficult situation as the result of the public office he held, in response to which Mr. Renz said that he appreciated that difficulty and for that reason the defendant should consult with an attorney," Renz wrote.

Craig, R-Idaho, did not, and eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. He has since said that he was panicked into admitting to a crime he did not commit. A Hennepin County judge is set to consider Craig's request on Wednesday.

Let's call "bullshit" on that claim of panic. That might work if we were talking about bing dragged right into night court for a quickie plea to seeking a quickie in the loo -- but not when there was an eight-week gap between the offense and the court date. Larry Craig had plenty of time to consult a friendly attorney confidentially. He had plenty of time to do his onw legal research. He did none of that -- he simply tried to cover up his acts.

In my book, the best claim he has is that the evidence was legally insufficient to sustain a conviction -- but since he pled guilty to the offense, I think that boat has sailed and Larry Craig missed his opportunity to raise it.

Just go away, Senator -- and quit disgracing your state and your party.





|| Greg, 03:33 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Cowboy Code

You may notice I've added a new blogroll here at RWR -- One ascribing to the Cowboy Code.

What is the Cowboy Code?

The Cowboy Code

1. A cowboy always tells the truth and keeps his word.

2. A cowboy is a Patriot and stands for Truth, Justice and the American way.

3. A cowboy never betrays a trust or takes advantage.

4. A cowboy is brave, but never careless.

5. A cowboy defends the weak and helps them.

6. A cowboy is kind to children, old folks, and to animals.

7. A cowboy is free from racial and religious prejudice.

8. A cowboy is clean about his person and in thought, word, and deed.

9. A cowboy is loyal, hard working and maintains a high ethic.

10. A cowboy is thankful for what God has given him.

Seems like the sort of Texas values I ascribe to.





|| Greg, 03:15 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

September 24, 2007

Columbia Insults Memory Of Jewish Marine With Speech By Mahmoud The Mad

After all, the building where the Holocaust-denying, Israel-hating anti-Semite spoke today was named for and funded in large part by donations from philanthropist Alfred Lerner.

Alfred Lerner Hall, the main student center, was named for the late Jewish philanthropist who donated $25 million to the school.

It is an "obscenity" that the Iranian is speaking there, said Rabbi Gerald Skolnik of Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens, to which Lerner also gave. "To have a Holocaust-denying, nuclear-aspiring hatemonger speaking in a hall that bears his name in the interest of 'free speech,' it's just the wrong person in the wrong place."

Lerner, who died in 2002 at 69, was born in Brooklyn to Russian immigrants. He was a 1955 Columbia graduate and a Marine pilot. He became chairman of MBNA Corp. and owned the Cleveland Browns football team. Lerner donated a fortune to the Cleveland Clinic and created a fund to help families of first responders killed on 9/11. He also gave generously to the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, which assists aging unsung heroes from World War II who helped save Jews during the Holocaust and educates teachers about the genocide

Thank you, Columbia University, for pissing on the grave of a great man and a great patriot. May no American, and especially no Jewish American, give your pathetic excuse for a university a single penny in donations.

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|| Greg, 07:22 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Israeli Draft Dodgers

This kid offers the most inane reason for opting-out of military service in Israel.

To many she is a traitor, a coward and a parasite. But 17-year-old Israeli "draft dodger" Saar Vardi says if more people thought like her, the Middle East would be a more peaceful place.

Vardi is part of a growing group of young Israelis who are refusing to sign up for mandatory military service, often in protest over the Jewish state's occupation of Palestinian territory or because of last year's unpopular war in Lebanon.

* * *

"People refer to me as a traitor and say that my country has given me so much and I'm not willing to give anything back, like a parasite," Vardi, a student, told Reuters.

"But I know what I believe ... If truly everyone saw things the way I see them then we wouldn't need an army."

Actually, Saar Vardi has it wrong if everyone saw things like she does, then there would not be an Israel. Maybe the lack of a major fight for the survival of Israel since 1973 has resulted in a weakening in the resolve of that nations young people to ensure their homelands survival. Maybe distance from the Holocaust has made the notion that Jews must fight for survival an alien thought. But regardless, I fear for the future of Israel in a sea of hostile neighbors.





|| Greg, 07:16 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Pageant Money Scam

Maybe these archaic things will disappear if this sort of fraud is prosecuted like it would be in any other case.

When Ashley Wood was crowned Miss South Carolina in 2004, she thought her title came not only with a tiara and a shot at Miss America, but also a $20,000 state scholarship and $5,000 national pageant scholarship.

This fall, Ms. Wood entered the Wharton School, the business-studies arm of the University of Pennsylvania. But she has yet to receive any of that scholarship money, having been locked in a dispute with the Miss South Carolina pageant for more than two years.

You are talking about an organization that is promoting itself as the largest scholarship provider for women in the world, Ms. Wood, 26, said of the Miss America Organization. When contestants try to collect their funds, they encounter one obstacle after another.

Ms. Wood said she was told that she would not get the $20,000 for winning the Miss South Carolina pageant in part because her two local pageants had not paid her $950 that she had won from them (Ms. Wood said that after she enrolled in classes, one group reneged on payment and the other dodged her when she tried to collect). In turn, because she did not receive the state money, the national pageant sent her a letter in June saying she was ineligible for the $5,000 from it, even though the deadline to use her national scholarship had not passed. Its like a game of gotcha, she said. What is very clear to me is that the goal is to not give out the scholarships if at all possible.

Most of us have believed that the ugly underbelly of the pageants was the sexism and the unhealthy competition between contestants and their parents. I see now that the real problem is the financial shenanigans and broken promises f the pageants themselves.





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

Second Temple Quarry Found

But some will still deny that the Jews occupied Israel in the past, will still deny the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem, and will still advocate for their expulsion from the Holy Land. Historical evidence like this doesn't matter to them -- or to international organizations and "prestigious" universities that give such folks a platform to speak.

An ancient quarry where King Herod's workers chiseled huge high-quality limestones for the construction of the Second Temple, including the Western Wall, has been uncovered in Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Sunday.

The quarry, which is located four kilometers northwest of the Old City of Jerusalem in the city's outlying Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, was used 2,000 years ago by dozens of King Herod's workers at the site during the construction of the Second Temple walls, archeologist Yuval Baruch said.

"This unique and sensational find is the first Second Temple quarry ever found," he said.

The site, which spans at least five dunams, was uncovered by chance during a "salvage excavation" carried out by the state-run archeological body over the last two months following municipal plans to build an elementary school in the area, he said.

Dozens of quarries have previously been uncovered in Jerusalem - including ones larger than the present find - but this is the first one that archeologists have found which they believe was used in the construction of the Temple Mount itself, Baruch said.

Archeologists had previously assumed that the quarry which was used to construct the Temple Mount was located within the Old City itself, but the enormous size of the stones found at the site - up to 8 meters long - as well as coins and fragments of pottery vessels dating back to the first century CE indicated that this was the site used 2,000 years ago in the construction of the walls of the Temple Mount, including the Western Wall.

"We have never found any other monument in Israel with stones this size except for the Temple Mount walls," Baruch said.

One more bit of proof of the undeniable presence of the Jews in Israel. One more bit of evidence for the Jewish nature and history of Temple Mount. One more fact to throw back at the anti-Semites.

And may we see the Temple rebuilt in our lifetimes.





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

Senior Fight Food Nazis

Come on -- let Grandpa and Great Aunt Martha have their doughnuts.

It was just another morning at the senior center: Women were sewing, men were playing pool and seven demonstrators, average age 76, were picketing outside, demanding doughnuts.

They wore sandwich boards proclaiming, "Give Us Our Just Desserts" and "They're Carbs, Not Contraband."

At issue is a decision to refuse free doughnuts, pies and breads that were being donated to senior centers around Putnam County, north of New York City. Officials were concerned that the county was setting a bad nutritional precedent by providing mounds of doughnuts and other sweets to seniors.

The picketers said they were objecting not to a lack of sweets but that they weren't consulted about the ban.

"Lack of respect is what it's all about," said Joe Hajkowski, 75, a former labor union official who organized the demonstration. He said officials had implied that seniors were gorging themselves on jelly doughnuts and were too senile to make the choice for themselves.

Of course, this is precisely the problem when government is making the decisions. They don't consult you -- they decide for you.

Jon Edwards wants to tell us when we must go to the doctor. County officials want to tell seniors what they can have for a snack. Do we really want more government regulation of our lives?





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

Krugman Spews Race-Baiting Bile

Every now and then, liberal commentators have to pull out the same old template to comment on Republican racism. Never mind that the position is untrue -- it is holy writ among the Left, and must therefore be preached upon regularly.

And so you get this old chestnut from Paul Krugman.

Republican politicians, who understand quite well that the G.O.P.s national success since the 1970s owes everything to the partisan switch of Southern whites, have tacitly acknowledged this reality. Since the days of Gerald Ford, just about every Republican presidential campaign has included some symbolic gesture of approval for good old-fashioned racism.

Thus Ronald Reagan, who began his political career by campaigning against Californias Fair Housing Act, started his 1980 campaign with a speech supporting states rights delivered just outside Philadelphia, Miss., where three civil rights workers were murdered. In 2000, Mr. Bush made a pilgrimage to Bob Jones University, famed at the time for its ban on interracial dating.

And all four leading Republican candidates for the 2008 nomination have turned down an invitation to a debate on minority issues scheduled to air on PBS this week.

Ah, yes -- the liberal intones the mantra: Republicans are racist.

But let's look at those examples Krugman cites.

Yes, Reagan did oppose the Fair Housing Act -- but not on the grounds that discrimination was a moral good, but rather because of a belief that the government should not be regulating how private individuals control their own property. Having watched an elderly family member suffer through an investigation of her refusal to sell her home to a black couple with lousy credit (they wanted a 75 year old woman to finance the sale herself for 10 years because they could not qualify for a mortgage with a bank) before selling to a white couple with cash in hand, I can't help but sometimes feel that the government has no business in this field.

For that matter, the Philadelphia, Mississippi speech --w hcih came after teh GOP convention, not at the beginning of his presidential run, reflected the same themes that Reagan had been addressing for years, as California Governor, as a radio commentator, and as a candidate for the GOP nomination. While the choice of Philadelphia Mississippi may have been questionable, it was not chosen because of its racial symbolism. Rather, it was chosen because of an invitation from a leading Republican congressman whose district included Philadelphia -- Trent Lott.

And as for Bush visiting Bob Jones University (a place which I believe no civilized individual should patronize), I can only note that he spoke to many groups in many places in South Carolina. I'm curious -- will Krugman insist that n Democrat speak at Columbia University this year (or in any future year) because of the platform given to Mahmoud the Mad this week? Will he label any candidate who does speak at Columbia as objectively pro-terrorist and anti-Semitic? I think we know the answer -- so why does speaking at BJU indicate that the candidate is somehow racist or insensitive? Could it be that Krugman is warm to terrorists and cold towards Jews?

And as noted recently by many major outlets, the GOP candidates turned down the PBS debate because it comes two days before the quarterly fundraising deadline. But Krugman would prefer to impute racism where none exists because it fits the template.

The GOP has, throughout its history, done more to provide opportunity for racial and ethnic minorities than the Democrats. What's more, it has done so without pandering to racial separatism, but rather by appealing to racial equality. But that won't make the cut in a Krugman column -- because it doesn't fit the template.

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|| Greg, 04:28 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (110) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

WaPo Reporter Fails To Note That 9/11 Changed Everything

Yes, Rudy Giuliani didn't see terrorism as a threat before 9/11. Neither did most of America, Republican and Democrat, with the Clinton Administration being key among those who missed the threat level after the 1993 truck bomb in the World Trade Center.

Today, Rudy Giuliani has learned from that mistake following the horror of 9/11 -- but the Washington Post seems intent upon minimizing the reason for the change in his evaluation of the terrorist threat.

As Rudolph W. Giuliani campaigns for president, he rarely misses a chance to warn about the threat from terrorists. "They hate you," he told a woman at an Atlanta college. They "want to kill us," he told guests at a Virginia luncheon.

The former New York City mayor exhorts America to fight back in what he calls the "terrorists' war on us" and accuses Democrats of reverting to their "denial" in the 1990s, when, he said, President Bill Clinton erred by treating terrorism as a law enforcement matter, not a war.

Democrats, he said in July, have "the same bad judgment they had in the 1990s. They don't see the threat. They don't accept the threat."

It is a powerful message coming from the man who won global acclaim for his calm and resolve after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But it is undercut by Giuliani's record as mayor and by his public statements about terrorism since the 1990s, which document an evolution in thinking that began with a mind-set similar to the one he criticizes today.

And therein lies the difference -- in the 1990s, Rudy followed the prevailing wisdom that terrorism needed to be treated as a crime problem and handled by the courts. Today, he recognizes it as a national security problem that needs to be handled by other means. Democrats still want to handle the problem with cops and judges.

What it comes down to is this -- in a post-9/11 world, do we continue to follow 9/10 strategies. Rudy, who lived the devastation of 9/11, understands that we cannot. Rather than being criticized for holding a different view on handling the terrorist threat today than he did a decade ago, Giuliani needs to be applauded for moving forward rather than sticking with the failed policies of the past.

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|| Greg, 03:50 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

September 23, 2007

Houston Texans V. Indianapolis Colts

Can the Texans make it 3-0 this week? The loss of Andre Johnson is a problem, though, and the Colts are dominant. Still, a much-less talented Houston team beat the Colts last year as they prepared for their Super bowl run.

CBS had disabled embedding for the YouTube analysis of the game, but you can see it here.

In the mean time, here is another analysis for you.

This is a nationally televised this week, so let's hope they acquit themselves well and pull another miracle out of their hat.





|| Greg, 12:00 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bravo For Mike Gundy

Oklahoma State University QB Bobby Reid is a graduate the high school where I teach. He was really savaged in a column this week by a hack reporter for one of the local papers. Coach Mike Gundy went off about it yesterday.

Bobby Reid is a fine young man. Thank you, Coach Gundy, for standing up for him.

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|| Greg, 08:16 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (14) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Romney Takes Responsible Path On Blackwater

Let me explain.

Mitt Romney has remained mum on the alleged killing of 11 Iraqis by a company where one of his top advisers serves as vice chairman, even as the case has led to an uproar in Baghdad and Washington. Barack Obama, John McCain and other politicians have raised the possibility of tighter controls on the firm.

The top counterterrorism and national security adviser to Romneys presidential campaign is Cofer Black, vice chairman of Blackwater USA. The Iraqis died after guards employed by the private security firm opened fire following an alleged attack on a State Department convoy under their protection. Blackwater has a lucrative contract to guard U.S. diplomats in Iraq.

Frankly, I think the Romney/Blackwater connection is a red herring. Romney should remain silent pending the outcome of this case, because we remain unsure of what happened and he should not be politicizing it or prejudging it.

This is the same position I took with regard to the irresponsible words of John Murtha, the corrupt, cowardly cut-and-run congressman from Pennsylvania. He gave a press conference declaring the Haditha marines guilty of war crimes and murder -- only to later see those men cleared. He still has not retracted his libel against them. I'd rather that Romney remain silent than follow such a shameful path.

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|| Greg, 07:34 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

While We're On The Subject Of The Supreme Court

I can't help but note this fine profile of Justice John Paul Stevens. I encourage folks to read it -- and will likely assign it to my students the next time I teach US Government. It gives a fine insight into a complex jurist of the highest caliber -- though one with whom I often disagree on the outcome and reasoning of cases.

But I'm struck by this story.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Chicago in 1941, Stevens enlisted in the Navy on Dec. 6, 1941, hours before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He later won a bronze star for his service as a cryptographer, after he helped break the code that informed American officials that Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, the commander of the Japanese Navy and architect of the Pearl Harbor attack, was about to travel to the front. Based on the code-breaking of Stevens and others, U.S. pilots, on Roosevelts orders, shot down Yamamotos plane in April 1943.

Stevens told me he was troubled by the fact that Yamamoto, a highly intelligent officer who had lived in the United States and become friends with American officers, was shot down with so little apparent deliberation or humanitarian consideration. The experience, he said, raised questions in his mind about the fairness of the death penalty. I was on the desk, on watch, when I got word that they had shot down Yamamoto in the Solomon Islands, and I remember thinking: This is a particular individual they went out to intercept, he said. There is a very different notion when youre thinking about killing an individual, as opposed to killing a soldier in the line of fire. Stevens said that, partly as a result of his World War II experience, he has tried on the court to narrow the category of offenders who are eligible for the death penalty and to ensure that it is imposed fairly and accurately. He has been the most outspoken critic of the death penalty on the current court.

One can look at the death penalty from many different points of view, and this is one upon which I differ with Stevens -- particularly because the death penalty is clearly authorized in the Eighth Amendment, and therefore unambiguously constitutional. But his view on the intentional, targeted killing of Yamamoto strikes me as misplaced.

Yes, killing a random soldier or sailor is in some ways different from making a particular officer a target, with the intent of ending his life. But for all his Stevens' moral qualms, I think it is important to remember that military commanders, not just the man in the trenches, are legitimate targets. There really is no moral distinction between the two. And I wonder -- would he feel the same had he instead helped locate Hitler and therefore brought about the demise of that evil man (and likely the end of the war)?





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

Review Of The Nine Reveals O'Connor Flaw

But not the one that Toobin tries to reveal in regards to the Bush v. Gore decision.

OConnor was clearly Toobins most important source. Shes also readers can decide if its coincidental his hero: the justice, he argues, who through her pragmatic, seat-of-the-pants jurisprudence single-handedly kept the court close to the American mainstream, particularly on matters like reproductive freedom and affirmative action.

Excuse me -- court decisions, especially Supreme Court decisions, are not supposed to be based upon considerations like the political opinions of the majority of Americans or a judge's views of the same. They are supposed to be rooted in precedent, law, and the Constitution. If the picture painted by Jeffrey Toobin (and characterized above by reviewer David Margolick) is correct, Sandra Day O'Connor was unqualified to sit on the Supreme Court and performed her duties in an unfit manner for nearly a quarter of a century. It explains what I have long pointed out in my college level American government classes -- the lack of a clearly consistent jurisprudence on O'Connor's part. She is too busy trying to shape policy based upon some majoritarian impulse more appropriate to the Legislative or Executive branches.

As one of my students noted in a paper some years ago, an O'Connor opinion (especially when compared to those of her fellow justices) often seemed to be a conclusion in search of reasoning to support it. Now we know why.

Oh, one other comment on a Toobin tidbit discussed in the review.

Why were OConnor and Stevens the only colleagues the dying Rehnquist allowed into his home? And who most regularly persuades whom (if, on such a factionalized court, theres any persuasion going on at all)?

Simple -- O'Connor and Rehnquist had known each other since their days at Stanford Law School (it is even suggested that there might have been a few dates). Stevens and Rehnquist had become fast friends in the latter's early days on the Court and worked together for some 30 years. The rest of the justices were at least a decade younger and had a decade less service on the Court -- and had all come aboard AFTER (or in Scalia's case, concurrent with) Rehnquist's move to the center chair on the bench. Their relationships were therefore different from the rest.

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|| Greg, 07:06 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Mahmoud The Mad Threatens America

The day before coming to America to speak to the UN and (based upon his request) desecrate Ground Zero.

A day before flying to New York to speak directly to the American people, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad struck a confrontational tone Saturday with a parade of fighter jets and missiles and tough warnings for the United States to stay out of the Mideast.

Three new domestically manufactured warplanes streaked over the capital during the parade marking the 27th anniversary of the Iraqi invasion of Iran, which sparked a 1980-88 war that killed hundreds of thousands of people. The parade also featured the Ghadr missile, which has a range of 1,120 miles, capable of reaching Israel.

Some of the missile trucks were painted with the slogans "Down with the U.S." and "Down with Israel." The parade also featured unmanned aerial surveillance drones, torpedoes, and tanks.

Tensions are high between Washington and Tehran over U.S. accusations that Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons and helping Shiite militias in Iraq that target U.S. troops. Iran denies the claims.

Washington has said it is addressing the Iran situation diplomatically, rather than militarily, but U.S. officials also say that all options are open.

Our government needs to revoke Mahmoud the Mad's permission to enter America -- screw the UN and the Host Country Agreement. After all, what enforcement power do the terrorist supporters at the UN actually have?

On the other hand, assuming that this Iranian pig is allowed to enter the US, American citizens ought and should fully exercises their rights under the US Constitution to make him unwelcome at every turn. And if Mahmoud the Mad does attempt the desecration of Ground Zero, he must be physically prevented by doing so by American citizens. What's more, those citizens must resist any attempt by law enforcement officials to open a path for him to approach the site of the worst terror attack upon American soil, where his fellow hate-filled Muslim extremists murdered over 2700 Americans.

This week marks the Bush Administration's Elian Gonzalez moment -- will President Bush fail the test in the same way Bill Clinton failed his, accommodating evil anti-Americanism in the face of American freedom.





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

September 22, 2007

Canada Blames America

They don't want illegals either.

Fleeing stepped-up sweeps by the American authorities, illegal immigrants to the United States, mostly Mexican, are arriving in growing numbers at the foot of the bridge in this Canadian border town seeking refugee status.

Still more immigrants, mostly Mexicans living illegally in Florida, have begun trying to make their way past Americas northern border at other locations, the majority of them flying into the airport in Toronto, Canadian officials said Thursday.

So, will the fuzzy-minded liberals/socialists in Canada eventually decide they must take in all of the illegals? Or will they instead insist on deporting them home?

And if they decide to keep them, are they prepared to absorb all 12-20 million who are already violating America's immigration laws and who American citizens want out?





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

Remember To Re-Register

If you want to avoid those junk calls.

he cherished dinner hour void of telemarketers could vanish next year for millions of people when phone numbers begin dropping off the national Do Not Call list.

The Federal Trade Commission, which oversees the list, says there is a simple fix. But some lawmakers think it is a hassle to expect people to re-register their phone numbers every five years.

Numbers placed on the registry, begun in June 2003, are valid for five years. For the millions of people who signed onto the list in its early days, their numbers will automatically drop off beginning next June if they do not enroll again.

"It is incredibly quick and easy to do," Lydia Parnes, director of the FTC's bureau of consumer protection, said in an interview with The Associated Press this week. "It was so easy for people to sign up in the first instance. It will be just as easy for them to re-up."

I'd rather not drop off the list, but I understand teh time-limit rule.

And it isn't like it is difficult to deal with -- it takes under 5 minutes every 5 years.

In fact, I just re-registered today, through 2012.

Here is where to go to get on the Do Not Call list -- or to renew your registration.





|| Greg, 09:05 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Academic Freedom Controversy In Iowa

As a seminary-trained Christian who is also an educator, I find this story quite troubling.

A community college instructor in Red Oak claims he was fired after he told his students that the biblical story of Adam and Eve should not be literally interpreted.

Steve Bitterman, 60, said officials at Southwestern Community College sided with a handful of students who threatened legal action over his remarks in a western civilization class Tuesday. He said he was fired Thursday.

Im just a little bit shocked myself that a college in good standing would back up students who insist that people who have been through college and have a masters degree, a couple actually, have to teach that there were such things as talking snakes or lose their job, Bitterman said.

What, exactly, did Bitterman say?

Bitterman, who taught part time at Southwestern and Omahas Metropolitan Community College, said he uses the Old Testament in his western civilization course and always teaches it from an academic standpoint.

Bittermans Tuesday course was telecast to students in Osceola over the Iowa Communications Network. A few students in the Osceola classroom, he said, thought the lesson was denigrating their religion.

I put the Hebrew religion on the same plane as any other religion. Their god wasnt given any more credibility than any other god, Bitterman said. I told them it was an extremely meaningful story, but you had to see it in a poetic, metaphoric or symbolic sense, that if you took it literally, that you were going to miss a whole lot of meaning there.

Bitterman said called the story of Adam and Eve a fairy tale in a conversation with a student after the class and was told the students had threatened to see an attorney. He declined to identify any of the students in the class.

I just thought there was such a thing as academic freedom here, he said. From my point of view, what theyre doing is essentially teaching their students very well to function in the 8th century.

Now his words are harsh, impolitic, and maybe even mildly offensive -- but that does not mean they are wrong or that they should lead to discipline against him -- especially because they are, in my opinion, more or less correct.

The Genesis account of the creation cannot and should not be taken literally in light of the fossil record. It is best understood as an allegorical tale that communicates the essential truth that everything was created by God, and that our free will leads us to disobey God and to sever/strain our relationship with him. The story of Adam and Eve and the snake is therefore a myth -- but it is also true at its core.

And for those of you who object that the Bible is the revealed word of God (a contention which i whole-heartedly affirm), I offer this for your consideration -- if I can write an allegory, don't you suppose that the omnipotent God we both worship is able to do the same?

But regardless of whether we agree or disagree, and regardless of whether either of us agrees with Bitterman, there remains the question of academic freedom. There is a great body of academic literature which agrees with his position, and to fire him for citing it and teaching about it is not only wrong, but positively anti-intellectual.

It strikes me that Southwest Community College needs to offer a more public explanation of this personnel decision -- and that Bitterman should explicitly authorize them to do so. And if the comments on genesis have anything to do with the firing, Bitterman should be immediately reinstated.

And on a personnel note, I have more than a passing interest in such controversies. I've actually had a parent call my school and demand their child be removed from my class over a similar issue -- the inclusion of evolution in my World History class. Silencing truth in the name of religious sensitivity is simply wrong, whether the perpetrators of Christian, Muslim, or atheist.

A different viewpoint at Stop the ACLU

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|| Greg, 08:50 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

SF Giants Dump Steroid Boy

Let's hope that the rest of the league has the integrity to not offer Barry Bonds a contract.

Barry Bonds was told by the San Francisco Giants that he won't play for them in 2008, he said on his Web site Friday. But baseball's all-time home run leader said he planned on playing somewhere next season.

In a statement, Bonds said: "This journal will be one of my last entries as a San Francisco Giant. Yesterday, I was told by the Giants that they will not be bringing me back for the 2008 season."

Giants owner Peter Magowan told Bonds of the decision in person Thursday night, said Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris.

Frankly, the MLB should have banned Barry Bonds before he passed Hank Aaron with his steroid-enhanced home run number 756*.

And for all you Barry Bonds fans out there, you can kiss my asterisk.

* home run count includes those hit while using illegal performance-enhancing drugs in violation of major league rules -- and which shrunk his package to smaller than that of a six-year-old.





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

I Guess It All Comes Down To How You Define Emergency

New York is upset that Medicaid is no longer allowing chemo for illegals.

The federal government has told New York State health officials that chemotherapy, which had been covered for illegal immigrants under a government-financed program for emergency medical care, does not qualify for coverage. The decision sets the stage for a battle between the state and federal governments over how medical emergencies are defined.

The change comes amid a fierce national debate on providing medical care to immigrants, with New York State officials and critics saying this latest move is one more indication of the Bush administrations efforts to exclude the uninsured from public health services.

State officials in New York and other states have found themselves caught in the middle. The New York dispute, focusing on illegal immigrants with cancer a marginal group of unknown size among the more than 500,000 people living in New York illegally has become a flash point for health officials and advocates for immigrants in recent weeks.

Under a limited provision of Medicaid, the national health program for the poor, the federal government permits emergency coverage for illegal immigrants and other noncitizens. But the Bush administration has been more closely scrutinizing and increasingly denying state claims for federal payment for some emergency services, Medicaid experts said.

Last month, federal officials, concluding an audit that began in 2004 and was not challenged by the state until now, told New York State that they would no longer provide matching funds for chemotherapy under the emergency program. Yesterday, state officials sent a letter to the federal Medicaid agency protesting the change, saying that doctors, not the federal government, should determine when chemotherapy is needed.

The problem with that argument is not, of course, that th federal government is defining what is needed. Rather, it is defining what is "emergency" care, and determining whether or not medical care is entitled to reimbursement from federal funds. And since long-term chemotherapy is chronic, rather than emergency, care, it clearly is not covered under the limited exception to the law that is intended to provide critical care in the case of an immediate medical crisis.

If an illegal immigrant needs chemo, let him or her return to the country of origin and receive the health care there under whatever medical program their home country has. And if the home country has no such program, explain to me again why I, as an American taxpayer, should provide it for a persona who is in this country in violation of our nation's laws.

However, if the state of New York disagrees, it may opt to spend its own tax dollars for the non-emergency treatment of border-jumpers. Similarly, private charities can step in and cover the cost. But the demand for illegal reimbursements for medical care for illegal aliens is unacceptable.

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|| Greg, 07:56 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bad News From Cuba

Castro looks healthy.

Fidel Castro looked alert and healthier in a video taped Friday, the first images released of the ailing 81-year-old leader in more than three months. In the images aired unexpectedly on state television Friday evening, Castro wore a red, blue and white jumpsuit with "F. Castro" in small block letters. The Cuban leader spoke slowly and softly and didn't always look the interviewer in the eye, but appeared to be thinking clearly.

Officials broke into regularly scheduled programming only minutes earlier to announce that an hour-long "conversation" with Castro would be shown.

Castro mentioned the price of oil and the value of the Euro against the dollar, evidence that the video was recorded Friday, as Cuban officials said. At times, it was hard to follow his train of thought as he spoke about a wandering essay he published in state media Wednesday.

Which means, of course, continued oppression for the people of Cuba.

Couldn't the CIA arrange for him to receive a Semtex suppository?





|| Greg, 07:43 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Problem Of Discussing Race And Racism

Can be summed up in one line in a commentary in today's Houston Chronicle.

White people's refusal to acknowledge their own racism is a major stumbling block to addressing issues of race in this country.

But the reality is that this is NOT the major stumbling block, or even a major stumbling block, in the discussion. Instead, it is the demand that the writer makes that biased, bigoted, racist assumption that underlies that statement that is the major obstacles to addressing issues of race in this country. What is sought, therefore, is not discussion or engagement on controversial issues, but surrender and capitulation in an echo chamber of political correctness.





|| Greg, 03:51 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Is War With Iran Now Just a Matter of Time? by Right Wing Nut House, and Dead Eyes by Acute PoliticsHere are the full results of the vote:

VotesCouncil link
2  2/3Is War With Iran Now Just a Matter of Time?
Right Wing Nut House
2  1/3Freedom, But From What?
Bookworm Room
2"Surge a Failure, Democrats Tell General"
Big Lizards
1California Legislature Intent On Violating California Constitution
Rhymes With Right
1LA Times: "No Blood For Oil" Lackey
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1Exploitation?
The Education Wonks
2/3Detering the Deterrers
Soccer Dad
2/3America Must Be Defeated!
Joshuapundit
1/3I'd Like To Buy Into It, But Then I Read On...
The Colossus of Rhodey
1/3Why? What? When?
The Glittering Eye

VotesNon-council link
3  2/3Dead Eyes
Acute Politics
2  2/3Iraq the Model
Hugh Hewitt
1  2/3Taking Away Rights and Calling It a "Right"
Classical Values
1"al Qaidastan" Rising
ZenPundit
2/3"Conservatives" and the Lacrosse Case
The Volokh Conspiracy
2/3Chomsky Recollects
Oliver Kamm
2/3Looking to Madison
The QandO Blog
2/3In Context
In Context
2/3Hillary Missed "Mister Soldier" Moment
The Anchoress
1/3Book Review: Culturism
Dodgeblogium
1/3Chemerinsky and Drake To Do Beer Commercials?
Captain's Quarters





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September 21, 2007

Bill Clinton Offers A Reason To Vote Hillary

I might have to consider it.

"No, I may slit my throat," former president Bill Clinton joked last night on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart after being asked how well he might cope with going from leader of the world's remaining superpower to husband of the first woman president.

So, what do you folks think would the suicide of Billzebubba be sufficient reason to vote Hildebeast in 2008?

Or does Christian charity require working for her defeat in the name of preventing a needless death?

Or is this, like all the liberal threats to leave America if Bush won in 2004, simply another false promise designed to get our hopes up?


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|| Greg, 05:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Oh. My. God.

I cannot imagine such callous indifference to others.

Shouting, "This is YouTube material!" a 27-year-old British man urinated on a dying woman who had collapsed on the street, the BBC and local Hartepool Mail and Northern Echo tell us. He also doused her with a bucket of water and covered her with shaving cream.

The woman, 50-year-old Christine Lakinski, died at the scene of pancreatic failure.

In a sad sign of the times, it was all recorded on a mobile phone.

In court, Anthony Anderson said he had smoked a joint and been drinking with two friends when they spotted Lakinski. He faces jail after pleading guilty to "outraging public decency." Sentencing is set for Oct. 22.

"We will await the outcome and just hope he gets what he deserves," Lakinski's brother said after today's court hearing.

But he wont there is no death penalty in the UK.





|| Greg, 05:37 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

So, Dan, Is Petraeus A Traitor?

If my buddy over at Gone Mild is going to condemn a senator for condemning an ad calling an active duty military office commanding troops in the field a traitor, I want to know if he believes it to be true.

I've written about Claire McCaskill's abandonment of the people who elected her when the important issues arise. I suppose that, in the context of her blind support of Bush's war, her vote today to support a Senate Resolution condemning MoveOn's "General Betray Us" advertisement is hardly worth mentioning.

But, dammit, what in the hell is she thinking?

I understand the the Republicans like to attack the patriotism and human worth of anyone who dares to question their precious war. I understand that Republicans are offended when someone points out that Bush has hand-picked the lords of this war based upon partisan loyalty and sycophantry (sycophantocity? sycophanthood?) instead of merit.

But why would Claire McCaskill join them in telling America to shut up? Why would she join the Republicans in stifling dissent?

Personally, I think the MoveOn ad was poor judgment and poor taste. Not as bad as a Democratic Senator joining the Republicans to criticize Americans speaking their minds, though.

Well, Dan, what is it is Petraeus a traitor or not? And if he is not, why do you object to a condemnation of an ad calling him one?

After all, you took great offense at a satirical post here on my site. Will you offer the same level of outrage over an actual accusation of treason against a serving military officer based upon a policy dispute?

Oh, and will you explain why this condemnation constitutes stifling dissent and criticizing Americans speaking their minds when you condemned my post (and that of Michelle Malkin) and insisted that we had no right to offer that criticism of Harry Reid? Why do you feel free to tell America to shut up while taking offense when others do the same? Doesnt that constitute HYPOCRISY (a mortal sin when Democrats find it in Republicans) on your part?





|| Greg, 05:36 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dishonest Editing For Liberal Point-Scoring

Ive had local Democrats come here and take quotes out of context so as to prove some point about my blog and me personally usually to claim that I am a racist and a religious bigot by cherry-picking a sentence (or merely a part of a sentence) that confirms their pre-determined position.

Im therefore sympathetic to the President in light of a similar action by John Stewart.

This is the problem we're gonna have with the growing number of Americans getting their news from this guy:
Thanks to Jon Stewart and a quick edit on last night's Daily Show, the sufferers of Bush Derangement Syndrome will surely jump on a comment President Bush made yesterday that "Mandela is dead."
Only, Bush didn't say that. He was actually making a point that he and Ambassador Crocker have made several times since the Petraeus/Crocker testimony:

There could be no "instant democracy in Iraq" because "people are still recovering from Saddam Hussein's brutal rule," Bush told reporters.

Referring to former South African president Nelson Mandela, who led the fight against apartheid to become a symbol of reconciliation and hope, Bush said of Iraq: "I heard somebody say, 'Now where's Mandela?'"

"Well, Mandela is dead. Because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas."

Of course, Stewart and the writers at the Daily Show knew this. There's no way they saw the "Mandela is dead" clip without seeing the context. But the facts got in the way of an easy political joke. And, Stewart has the nerve to get all self-righteous on "Crossfire?" Ha.

Clearly he said something entirely different than that cherry-picked quote implied something that does make a difference to the message. But then again, weve long expected such intellectual dishonesty from too many Democrats.





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

Kosher Pork?

So it would appear, according to Congressman Henry Waxman.

The Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles is devoted to Jewish culture. It is well funded, backed by a $100 million endowment thanks in large part to its founders, Jack Skirball and Audrey Skirball-Kenis. Revenues were $885 million in 2005, CBS News reported. Many of its executives receive 6-figure salaries.

So why did taxpayers have to pony up $550,000 to build a playground for Skirball?

The center is rolling in money and pays no taxes. Why should Joe Sixpack give a dime to some well-endowed cultural center?

Congressman Henry Waxman, D-Beverly Hills, thats why. He is proud of his Jewish heritage. He used his position to get $550,000 for Skirball.

The amount of money that the Skirball got for this project was very, very small. It was $550,000, Waxman told CBS.

Its nice to know that Congressman Waxman believes that a sum of money equivalent to the pay of all the teachers on my end of the hall constitutes a very, very small sum of money.

Kudos to Don Surber for pointing it out and for linking to the article.





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

"Virgin" Defamation

Is implying that a teenager is a virgin defamatory? Has our society really sunk to such a level of depravity?

A Dallas family has sued Australia's Virgin Mobile phone company, claiming it caused their teenage daughter grief and humiliation by plastering her photo on billboards and Web site advertisements without consent.

The family of Alison Chang says Virgin Mobile grabbed the picture from Flickr, Yahoo Inc.'s popular photo-sharing Web site, and failed to credit by name the photographer who took the photo.

Chang's photo was part of a Virgin Mobile Australia campaign called "Are You With Us Or What?" It features pictures downloaded from Flickr superimposed with the company's ad slogans.

The picture of 16-year-old Chang flashing a peace sign was taken at an April church car wash by Alison's youth counselor, who posted it that day on his Flickr page, according to Alison's brother, Damon. In the ad, Virgin Mobile printed one of its campaign slogans, "Dump your pen friend," over Alison's picture.

The ad also says "Free text virgin to virgin" at the bottom.

The experience damaged Alison's reputation and exposed her to ridicule from her peers and scrutiny from people who can now Google her, the family charged in the lawsuit.

"It's the tag line; it's derogatory," said Damon Chang, 27. "A lot of her church friends saw it."

Now i'll agree that the use of the picture without credit or permission is probably actionable -- but I'm stunned by that last line. Calling a 16-year-old a virgin is derogatory? Her reputation has been harmed because people at her church have seen it? Are you kidding? What do they teach at that church?

I can certainly understand if they implied that she was sexually immoral -- but to argue that Virgin Mobile defamed Alison Chang for saying that she was not engaged in sexual activity seems to be a stretch. To argue that her reputation is damaged by calling her a virgin seems to indicate that she prefers to be known as sexually active, or even promiscuous. What does this say about her values and those of her family, church, and larger community?

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|| Greg, 05:10 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Stopping Mahmoud The Mad

Under no circumstances should this evil man be permitted to defile Ground Zero.

Iran's president has defied the United Nations Security Council and snubbed the Bush administration, but there is one authority he can't ignore: the New York Police Department.

The NYPD announced Thursday that it had turned down a request by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to lay a wreath at the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center. The Iranian leader is to arrive in New York on Sunday for the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.

The problem is that under the Host nation agreement signed by the US with the UN, world leaders must be permitted to travel more or less freely within 25 miles of the UN Headquarters -- and the host nation (that means us) must provide security.

Which means, of course, that the US Secret Service may be in the position of squaring off with NYPD to enforce the international obligation to permit the Iranian terrorist-sponsor to go to the site of the single worst terrorist attack in American history.

I personally agree with John McCain.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should be physically prevented from visiting Ground Zero should he attempt to go to the "sacred" site where the World Trade Center once stood, Arizona Sen. John McCain joked Thursday.

"I think the president of Iran should be physically restrained if necessary," a laughing McCain told radio host Shawn Wasson. "I hope it doesn't come to that but we're not going to have that kind of desecration of what is sacred ground. Obviously, it is a propaganda ploy on his part, and if we allowed him to do it it would just embolden his followers and give him the publicity he seeks."

If this evil man attempts to approach Ground Zero, American citizens ought to defend the sacred site from desecration by fully exercising the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights -- rights that Mahmoud the Mad denies his own people.

This is one more reason for demanding that our government repudiate the Host Nation Agreement, expel the UN from American soil, and and renounce membership in that corrupt organization (perhaps forming a new one, open only to free nations, in its place).


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

Hsu Charged

More on Dem funny money.

Norman Hsu, the Democratic fund-raiser with a habit of fleeing the law, confessed to FBI agents last week that he had pressured investors in what he now admits were phony business deals to contribute to political campaigns, prosecutors said in an indictment that was unsealed today.

The complaint, filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, accused Mr. Hsu of bilking at least $60 million from hundreds of investors in a nationwide Ponzi scheme, and using some of that money to illegally reimburse at least two people who made a total of $60,000 in campaign donations at his request.

While the complaint did not specify which candidates received the illegal or coerced contributions, federal authorities confirmed that one of them was Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her presidential campaign has said it intends to return $850,000 to more than 200 people whose donations were bundled by Mr. Hsu.

If convicted of the three charges he faces mail fraud, wire fraud and violating the Federal Election Campaign Act Mr. Hsu could face a maximum of 45 years in prison.

Will every candidate divest him or herself of ALL Hsu-related donations --and refuse to take any money from the donors associated with those funds? Or will they simply keep the revolving door of campaign corruption going.

Oh, yeah -- and will the media begin to treat this case with the same seriousness they do accusations of corruption against Republicans like Tom DeLay?





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

Treason Fails In Senate

Though I still suggest that appropriate charges be brought against the sponsors of the amendment and those who voted for it.

A proposal to cut off money for military operations in Iraq fell far short in the Senate this afternoon, a day after Democrats lost their best chance of changing the course of the war.

Legislation sponsored by Senators Russell D. Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who has been one of the fiercest critics of the Bush administrations war policy, and Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, received only 28 yes votes, 32 fewer than needed to cut off a Republican filibuster.

A majority of the House and a majority of the Senate want to change the direction of the war in Iraq, Mr. Reid said in a meeting with reporters beforehand. We have voted accordingly on more than one occasion, in fact on many occasions. But the House having done their job, they come to the Senate and the Senate Republicans, the vast majority of them will not allow us to change the direction of the war in Iraq.

The vote on the Feingold-Reid measure was entirely expected; in May, the Senate rejected a similar proposal by the two lawmakers by a similar margin.

However Reid's attempt to abandon American troops in the field of battle can only be deemed to b giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war, not "chang[ing] the direction of the war in Iraq."

I reiterate yesterday's observation.

I think that sponsoring of such legislation could legitimately be considered a violation of Article III, Section 3 of the US Constitution, and the provisions of Article I, Section 6, Clause 1 would seem to allow charges to be brought against Reid and Feingold for that violation, as that particular offense is specifically exempted from the immunity of legislators under the "Speech or Debate" clause.

Reid, Feingold, and those who voted in favor of the amendment ought to be charged and tried immediately.





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

September 20, 2007

No Patriots Allowed

Columbia welcomes Mahmoud the Mad, but bans the founder of the Minutemen.

Because after all, it wouldnt do for a university to welcome a hostage-taking, Holocaust-denying, international law-violating, genocide-advocating anti-Semite.

Oh they ARE welcoming that one.

President Ahmadinejad of Iran has accepted an invitation to speak at Columbia University on Monday afternoon at a forum sponsored by the university's School of International and Public Affairs, a spokesman for the university said last night.

The Iranian Mission to the United Nations requested the invitation through a professor in the Middle East department, Richard Bulliet, who is a specialist on Iran.

"Opportunities to hear, challenge, and learn from controversial speakers of different views are central to the education and training of students for citizenship in a shrinking and dangerous world," the dean of SIPA, John Coatsworth, said in a statement. Mr. Coastworth invited Mr. Ahmadinejad to kick off a series of lectures and events about Iran, he said in a statement. The president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, is scheduled to introduce Mr. Ahmadinejad on Monday to an audience that will be made up exclusively of Columbia students, faculty, and a few invited guests.

Mr. Ahmadinejad was invited by SIPA to speak at Columbia last fall, but Mr. Bollinger revoked the invitation on the grounds that he could not ensure that the program would reflect the academic values of the university. In his talk on Monday, Mr. Ahmadinejad will field questions from the audience and from Mr. Bollinger on his government, as well as his views on Israel and the Holocaust. Mr. Ahmadinejad has stated in the past that Israel should be "wiped off the map" and that the Holocaust did not happen.

But on the other hand, it is not in keeping with the values of Columbia to allow an American who loves America to speak after he was driven from the stage by criminals for advocating the defense of American borders and the enforcement of American law.

Jim Gilchrist, founder of the anti-illegal immigration Minuteman Project who was forced off a Columbia University stage last year, will not be coming back for a return engagement at the school.

The Columbia Political Union, a nonpartisan student group that had been planning the forum, said in a statement on its Web site Tuesday that "it has become clear that this event cannot take the form we had originally hoped it would and could not effectively accomplish the goals we had hoped it might."

Last Oct. 4, Gilchrist had to cut short his talk at the school after students from the Chicano Caucus and other groups climbed on stage with banners denouncing the Minutemen Project, which is based in Laguna Hills, Calif., and advocates action to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico.

If Columbia were truly committed to freedom and the free presentation of ideas, Bollinger would be introducing Gilchrist at an officially hosted university forum, and Mahmoud the Mad would be driven from campus by outraged students.

But then again, this is a school which (contrary to the claim of a commenter on an earlier thread), does not permit ROTC to operate on its campus.

As Columbia welcomes Ahmadinejad to campus, Columbia students who want to serve their country cannot enroll in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) at Columbia. Columbia students who want to enroll in ROTC must travel to other universities to fulfill their obligations. ROTC has been banned from the Columbia campus since 1969. In 2003, a majority of polled Columbia students supported reinstating ROTC on campus. But in 2005, when the Columbia faculty senate debated the issue, President Bollinger joined the opponents in defeating the effort to invite ROTC back on campus.

So got that -- there is no place at Columbia for patriots -- but terrorists and other enemies of America are more than welcome.


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|| Greg, 06:28 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Well, She'd Know

After all, she is married to Jabba the Hutt.

"Vice President Cheney came up to see the Republicans yesterday. You can always tell when the Republicans are getting restless, because the Vice Presidents motorcade pulls into the Capitol, and Darth Vader emerges," Hillary Clinton said just now at a $100-a-head fundraiser at Town Hall near New York's Times Square, referring to Cheney's efforts shore up Republican congressional support for the Iraq war.

jabba.JPG


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|| Greg, 04:39 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Rather Amusing Suit

Proof that anyone can sue over anything.

Dan Rather, whose career at CBS News ground to an inglorious end 15 months ago over his role in an unsubstantiated report questioning President Bushs Vietnam-era National Guard service, filed a lawsuit this afternoon against the network, its corporate parent and three of his former superiors.

Mr. Rather, 75, asserts that the network violated his contract by giving him insufficient airtime on 60 Minutes after forcing him to step down as anchor of the CBS Evening News in March 2005. He also contends that the network committed fraud by commissioning a biased and incomplete investigation of the flawed Guard broadcast and, in the process, seriously damaged his reputation.

That is sure a hoot -- a charge of biased and incomplete reporting from a journalistic hack like Dan Rather, who ran a hit piece on the President and continued to defend it after the documents involved were conclusively proven to be fraudulent! Dan Rather damaged his own reputation -- CBS simply engaged in damage control -- unsuccessfully, I might add.





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

A Note On GOP Filibusters

That old Kluxer Robert Byrd tols us some time back that the filibuster was a sacred thing -- positively a sacrament when Democrats used it to obstruct qualified conservative judges and civil rights legislation protecting uppity black folks from the likes of him. His Democrat colleagues and their fellow-travelers all agreed. That's why I find Kevin Drum's whining to be so amusingly hypocritical.

.I see that Republicans have successfully filibustered two more bills today: one to give a House seat to the District of Columbia (57-42) and one to restore habeas corpus rights to terrorism suspects (56-43).

That seems like a good excuse to rerun this chart that McClatchy put together a couple of months ago. As you can see, Republicans aren't just obstructing legislation at normal rates. They're obstructing legislation at three times the usual rate. They're absolutely desperate to keep this stuff off the president's desk, where the only choice is to either sign it or else take the blame for a high-profile veto.

The GOP blocked two bad bills -- one of them clearly unconstitutional. But even if these bills were pure as the driven snow, Drum and his ilk insisted in the last couple of years that the filibuster was an important tool in the American political system when used against the GOP. How can they complain now when Republicans use it to frustrate the least popular Congress ever?





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

Is Obama Acting White?

And is the accusation an example of racism from a so-called "civil rights leader".

Jesse Jackson reportedly ripped presidential candidate Barack Obama for "acting like he's white," according to The State newspaper in South Carolina, but the civil rights leader says he doesn't recall making any such comment.

Jackson, who endorsed Obama for president in March, reportedly blasted the Illinois senator for failing to bring attention to the case of six black kids arrested on attempted murder charges in Jena, La.

He later told the newspaper that he did not remember making the remark, but State reporter Roddie Burris told FOX News that Jackson's "acting like he's white" comment came during a 45-minute, one-on-one interview Tuesday after an hour-long speech at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C. Burris said he stands by his report.

The original article can be found here.

I suppose I would give Jesse a pass, except for teh fact that he has a long history of racist comments and has engaged in a pattern of self-dealing "economic justice campaigns" that have lined his own pockets and those of his family and close associates while doing nothing to help the black community as a whole. Not to mention stealing from his tax-exempt to cover up his fathering of a bastard by a close aide. Somehow, the Democrats don't find this nearly as troubling as shoe-tapping by Larry Craig.

But let's be clear -- the old corrupt race-hustler still supports Obama.

"I reaffirm my commitment to vote for Sen. Barack Obama," Jackson says in the statement. "He has remarkably transcended race, however the impact of Katrina and Jena makes America's unresolved moral dilemma of race unavoidable. I think Jena is another defining moment of the issue of race and the criminal justice system. This issue requires direct and bold leadership. I commend Sen. Obama for speaking out and demanding fairness on this defining issue. Any attempt to dilute my support for Sen. Obama will not succeed."

Personally, I think Obama needs to repudiate Jackson and his politics of racial division -- but we all know that ain't gonna happen.





|| Greg, 04:14 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

New Dem Strategy: Abandon Troops In The Field

If they cannot force a pell-mell retreat from Iraq because there is actually a victory in sight, the Democrats seem intent upon simply abandoning the troops in the field by cutting off their funding.

The Senate also planned to vote on legislation by Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Reid, D-Nev., that would cut off funding for combat next year.

Got that -- the Senate Majority Leader is sponsoring a bill to eliminate funding for soldiers on the field of battle during time of war.

I think that sponsoring of such legislation could legitimately be considered a violation of Article III, Section 3 of the US Constitution, and the provisions of Article I, Section 6, Clause 1 would seem to allow charges to be brought against Reid and Feingold for that violation, as that particular offense is specifically exempted from the immunity of legislators under the "Speech or Debate" clause.

Anyone want to tell me again how the Democrats "support the troops"?

NOTE TO ANDREW SULLIVAN: Now you see why the President cannot gather opponents into his cabinet, any more than Lincoln could invite Copperheads into his his inner circle during the Civil War.

H/T Don Surber

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|| Greg, 04:06 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

September 19, 2007

You Can Assume Alcohol Was Involved

Because i cannot imagine any other circumstances under which someone would do something this incredibly stupid.

Snake collector Matt Wilkinson of Portland grabbed a 20-inch rattler from the highway near Maupin, and three weeks later, to impress his ex-girlfriend, he stuck the serpent in his mouth.

He was soon near death with a swollen tongue that blocked his throat. Trauma doctors at the Oregon Health and Science University saved his life.

"You can assume alcohol was involved," he said. Actually, not just beer. It was something he called a "mixture of stupid stuff."

Calls from cable network television stations poured in Tuesday, when he still had sore muscles and nerves from the venom.

It happened at a barbecue with friends.

Wilkinson, 23, had downed a six-pack and his ex-girlfriend asked him for a beer. He handed her one, not realizing the snake was also in his hand.

"She said, 'Get that thing out of my face,'" Wilkinson said. "I told her it was a nice snake. 'Nothing can happen. Watch.'"

So he stuck the snake in his mouth.

"It got a hold of my tongue," he said.

This should have been a case of Darwin in action.





|| Greg, 06:22 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

What Would She Say If It Were A Republican?

As much as I personally despise Joe Trippi (dating back to the Howard Dean campaign and the shabby way he and other campaign officials treated my wife), I have to agree with his statements on behalf of the Edwards Campaign about this Hillary Clinton fundraiser.

The campaigns of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards traded pointed criticisms yesterday over Mrs. Clintons use of a Washington luncheon for fund-raising.

The confrontation started with Mr. Edwardss campaign attacking Mrs. Clintons $1,000-a-person luncheon and continued as her camp dismissed the broadside as signs of a flagging campaign.

At the luncheon, Mrs. Clinton and congressmen met donors to discuss domestic security.

Joe Trippi, a senior adviser to Mr. Edwards, made his criticism in a fund-raising e-mail message that said the luncheon highlighted how Mrs. Clinton was a corporate Democratic insider and that the event was a poster child for what is wrong in Washington.

There isnt an American outside of Washington who would not be sickened by the event, Mr. Trippi said. It was held at the Washington office of Jones Day, the large international law firm.

Simply put, if this were a Republican holding this luncheon for lobbyists at a law firm known for its lobbying activities, would any of the Democrats, Hillary Clinton included, view it as acceptable? We know the answer.

And given Hillary's other ethical lapses in raising money, this simply raises another red flag.





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

Looking For A Job?

Here's one that is -- literally -- out of this world.

NASA posted a hiring notice for new astronauts Tuesday, seeking for the first time in almost 30 years men and women to fly aboard spacecraft other than the shuttle.

The pilots, scientists, engineers and educators that NASA recruits will train primarily for three- to six-month missions aboard the international space station. However, some could be among those who stroll on the surface of the moon as part of NASA's plan to return human explorers to the lunar surface by 2020 aboard the shuttle fleet's successor spacecraft.

"Yes, I think it's quite likely," said Ellen Ochoa, who supervises NASA's astronaut corps as the director of flight crew operations at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

There are 10 to 15 openings.

here are the requirements.

ASTRONAUT JOB REQUIREMENTS

Must be a U.S. citizen between 5-foot-2 and 6-foot-3 in height (to squeeze into Russia's three-passenger Soyuz capsule).

At least a bachelor's degree in engineering, a biological or physical science, or mathematics; and three years of relevant professional experience.

Vision correctable to

20/20. For the first time, the space agency will consider applicants who have undergone successful refractive eye surgery.

Being too old, too fat, and too far outside the educational requirements, I don't think I'll make the effort to apply. However, I wish those who apply good luck -- and hope that a few of the younger folks from church who work at NASA put their applications in.

And I can't wait to see those selected lead teh next generation of space exploration.





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

The Loss Of Native Tongues

Here is a story that leaves me troubled, while at the same time also strikes me to be a natural part of the progression of things.

When every known speaker of the language Amurdag gets together, there's still no one to talk to. Native Australian Charlie Mungulda is the only person alive known to speak that language, one of thousands around the world on the brink of extinction. From rural Australia to Siberia to Oklahoma, languages that embody the history and traditions of people are dying, researchers said Tuesday.

While there are an estimated 7,000 languages spoken around the world today, one of them dies out about every two weeks, according to linguistic experts struggling to save at least some of them.

Five hotspots where languages are most endangered were listed Tuesday in a briefing by the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages and the National Geographic Society.

In addition to northern Australia, eastern Siberia and Oklahoma and the U.S. Southwest, many native languages are endangered in South America Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia as well as the area including British Columbia, and the states of Washington and Oregon.

Losing languages means losing knowledge, says K. David Harrison, an assistant professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College.

"When we lose a language, we lose centuries of human thinking about time, seasons, sea creatures, reindeer, edible flowers, mathematics, landscapes, myths, music, the unknown and the everyday."

All that is true, but is it necessarily an unnatural occurrence? Throughout history, languages have become extinct as others, used by larger and more powerful neighbors, have overwhelmed them. Yes, it is a sort of cultural imperialism, but it is also the price of peoples being able to communicate with each other. This is especially true of languages like Amurdag. Other than from a scholarly interest, do we really benefit from making an effort to save them, when in contemporary society there are only a handful of speakers left?

Why the loss of such languages?

Some endangered languages vanish in an instant, at the death of the sole surviving speaker. Others are lost gradually in bilingual cultures, as indigenous tongues are overwhelmed by the dominant language at school, in the marketplace and on television.

Modern communication and education. We live in an age of instantaneous electronic communication. A handful of languages have become the standards. Will we find, two centuries from now, that most folks communicate in English, Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic? Won't the internet and other forms of mass media necessarily bring that about -- especially as educational systems prepare children for a future in which a global community needs knowledge of global languages?





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

September 18, 2007

Will Change In Pakistan Happen Now?

Yesterday I noted a possible bargain between Musharraf and Bhutto to get the general out of the Army and the political leader out of exile. Will it happen now?

Pakistan's Election Commission yesterday changed the country's voting rules to open the way for President Pervez Musharraf to seek a new five-year term without giving up his powerful position of army chief.

Opposition parties decried the move as a violation of the constitution and accused the U.S.-allied leader of trying to bulldoze legal obstacles to his hold on power amid increasing demands for an end to military rule. They predicted a surge in democracy protests, which have already shaken the president's hold on power.

The ruling was likely to end up before the Supreme Court, which has proved an impediment to Gen. Musharraf this year.

Captain Ed sounds optimistic at this point, based upon the arguments made before Pakistan's Supreme Court.

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf will give up his post of army chief if he is re-elected president and will be sworn in for a new term as a civilian, his lawyer told the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

I'm less hopeful, given his flouting of the decision of the Pakistani Supreme Court just last week by sending Nawaz Sharif into exile after that body had ruled he could return to Pakistan.

Time will tell -- and Washington needs to apply pressure.





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

Dems Seek To Abuse The Confirmation Process

What they can't get legitimately, they are seeking to acquire by holding Judge Michael Mukasey hostage before the Judiciary Committee.

Two Senate Democrats warned Monday that the Judiciary Committee would delay confirmation of President Bushs choice for attorney general unless the White House turned over documents that the panel was seeking for several investigations.

* * *

But two Democrats who will have a powerful say over whether Mr. Mukasey gets confirmed Senators Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont and Charles E. Schumer of New York vowed on Monday to use the nomination to extract information from a reluctant White House.

All I want is the material we need to ask some questions about the former attorney generals conduct, on torture and warrantless wiretapping, so we can legitimately ask, Heres what was done in the past, what will you do? Mr. Leahy, the Judiciary Committee chairman, said.

Already, the New York Times is making noise about the appointment. This despite the fact that until last week Mukasey was the darling of the Democrats. Now that he has been appointed, the NYT finds aspects of his record that are "troubling".

In particular, they are complaining about the shift of leadership at the Justice Department from Solicitor General Paul Clement to Peter Keisler

Mr. Bush also announced yesterday that he was replacing Acting Attorney General Paul Clement, who was to serve until the Senate confirmed Mr. Gonzaless successor, with Peter Keisler, a hard-line movement conservative. Mr. Bushs sleight of hand in installing Mr. Keisler is an unfortunate indication that he intends to keep the department politicized for as long as he can.

However, as Hugh Hewitt noted on his show yesterday, there is a reason for the change -- as Solicitor General, Clement is in charge of arguing cases before the US Supreme Court when the federal government is a party. The new term opens October 1, and the Solicitor General has several cases to present early in the term. Dividing his attention between those cases and the running of the Justice Department would be a bad move, hence the shift in responsibility. It signals nothing about a newly confrontational move by the President.

However, if the Democrats are out to play hardball, the President needs to do the same. If there is an unreasonable delay in confirming Mukasey, a recess appointment is in order -- making Ted Olson the Attorney General, as he so richly deserves.

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

Bad News For OJailed Simpson

They've got the incident on tape.

A profanity-filled audio recording, apparently of O. J. Simpson and others during the incident last week that led to his arrest, surfaced online today.

In the 38-second recording, the voice of a man identified as Mr. Simpson by TMZ.com, the Web site where it is posted, is heard repeatedly telling others not to let anyone out of the room and accusing those present of stealing his property and trying to sell it.

Mr. Simpson is being held without bail on six felony charges stemming from the incident; a bail hearing is now scheduled for early Wednesday morning in Clark County Justice Court before Judge Ann Zimmerman. The judge may conduct the hearing in person or by videoconference.

Two sports memorabilia collectors and dealers have told the police that Mr. Simpson and five other men stormed into their hotel room at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino, about a mile from the Las Vegas Strip, on Thursday evening and robbed them at gunpoint.

I don't know about you, but I've always understood that holding someone against their will -- especially if at gunpoint -- a felony?

Here's where you can find the recording
-- in both censored and uncensored versions.





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

A Failed Business Model

After two years of marginalizing its top writers, the New York Times is ending TimeSelect, its pay for access service. Many of us projected that it would ultimately fail due to the amount of free content available on the Web.

But what is amusing to me is that the NYT claims it was a success!

The New York Times will stop charging for access to parts of its Web site, effective at midnight Tuesday night.

The move comes two years to the day after The Times began the subscription program, TimesSelect, which has charged $49.95 a year, or $7.95 a month, for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspapers archives. TimesSelect has been free to print subscribers to The Times and to some students and educators.

In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free.

The Times said the project had met expectations, drawing 227,000 paying subscribers out of 787,000 over all and generating about $10 million a year in revenue.

But our projections for growth on that paid subscriber base were low, compared to the growth of online advertising, said Vivian L. Schiller, senior vice president and general manager of the site, NYTimes.com.

Yeah -- we simply weren't ging to pay for acces. It is why I haven't bothered commenting on Rich, Brooks, Krugman or Dowd for the last couple of years -- I don't consider them worth paying for, and I can't imagine finding them worth paying for.

The paper recognized that folks like me dominate the internet, because it found it necessary to end TimeSelect so that it could move to a more future-oriented business model in which it maximizes advertising revenue -- an important goal, given the fall in its print-subscriber base.





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

Does It Make A Difference

Can an individual commit a hate crime against a member of a group of people of which he himself is a part? That interesting question has now arisen in a New York case in which the state is already arguing that one need not be motivated by hatred to commit a hate crime.

One of the defendants accused of killing a gay man in Brooklyn last year because of his sexual orientation offered a startling courtroom revelation yesterday: He, too, is gay.

So said the lawyer for Anthony Fortunato, 21, one of four men accused of chasing a gay man to his death on the Belt Parkway during a robbery on Oct. 8, 2006.

All along, homosexuality has defined the case. Prosecutors have used it as a sword, seeking heavier sentences for a hate crime.

As the trial began in Brooklyn Supreme Court yesterday, Mr. Fortunatos lawyer, Gerald J. Di Chiara, sought to use sexual orientation as a shield. Without much explanation of how he planned to introduce this fact or turn it to his advantage, Mr. Di Chiara offered it to the jury in his opening argument. Not only was Mr. Fortunato gay, Mr. Di Chiara said, but so was the main prosecution witness, Gary Timmins, 17, who has pleaded guilty to attempted robbery in exchange for his testimony.

In fact, Mr. Di Chiara continued, Mr. Fortunato had planned to tell his friends of his sexual orientation on the night in question. Luring a gay man out to a secluded lot in Sheepshead Bay was part of that plan, Mr. Di Chiara said.

Again, we find ourselves facing the question of whether the status of the criminal or the victim should be used to enhance a penalty for a crime. As I've argued all along, the answer should almost always be no -- and in this case, the muddling of group identity makes the lines even more interesting. Why don't we simply stick with the principle of equal justice for all individuals under the law -- and stick a needle in the arm of all these mooks for the death of Michael J. Sandy during the commission of a felony?





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

September 17, 2007

A Disturbing Incident At Kerry Forum

And I won't put the blame on John Kerry, though I believe he should have been much more forceful than his statement that he would answer the question. Indeed, I believe he should have insisted that the young man not be arrested.

U.S. Sen. John Kerry's speech at the University of Florida came to a dramatic close Monday, shortly after a vocal audience member was hauled off by police and shot with a Taser gun.

The audience member was preliminarily identified by UF officials as Andrew Meyer, a UF student in the College of Journalism and Communications.

Toward the conclusion of Kerry's UF forum, Meyer approached an open microphone at the University Auditorium and demanded Kerry answer his questions. The student claimed that University Police Department officers had already threatened to arrest him, and then proceeded to question Kerry about why he didn't contest the 2004 presidential election and why there had been no moves to impeach President Bush.

A minute or so into what became a combative diatribe, Meyer's microphone was turned off and officers began trying to physically remove him from the auditorium. Meyer flailed his arms, yelling as police tried to restrain him.

He was then pushed to the ground by six officers, at which point Meyer yelled, "What have I done? What I have I done? Get away from me. Get off of me! What did I do? ... Help me! Help."

Police threatened to user a Taser on Meyer if he did not "comply," but he continued to resist being handcuffed. He was then Tased, which prompted him to scream and writhe in pain on the floor of the auditorium.

Here's the video, so you can make your own judgement.

The incident is rather disturbing to me, because I don't see why the cops moved in (or why the organizers might have sought to have Meyer removed. Granted, he is nutty enough to be a part of the Truther Brigade or the Ron Paul Campaign, but did anything he did rise to the level of an offense meriting this level of action. Indeed, as I watch the video I can't find an answer to his pleading question -- "What did I do?"





|| Greg, 09:20 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (19) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Answer On OJailed

I asked a question yesterday, following the arrest of OJailed Simpson.

An interesting question arises, though. To what degree can the 1994 murders be taken into account at sentencing -- OJ was found not guilty in the criminal trial, but legally culpable in the civil trial. Can the latter be used as evidence of a history of criminal activity (especially when paired with is abuse of Nicole) to move his sentence to the higher end of the range?

Well, I got an answer today over at the Volokh Conspiracy, courtesy of Eugene Volokh himself.

The gist of the answer? Yes -- and so can the criminal case itself, despite the acquittal.

Simpson has been found guilty by a civil jury of killing his ex-wife and Ron Goldman. (If I'm not mistaken, the jury's award of punitive damages involved a finding of guilt by clear and convincing evidence, though I don't think this is necessary to my analysis.) It's possible -- I'm not sure -- that a judge could simply rely on this past finding; but a judge could certainly enter such a finding himself based on his own review of the evidence.

And given this finding about Simpson's past conduct and therefore his moral character, the judge would be legally allowed to impose a higher sentence than he would on a typical robber, burglar, or what have you. I'm not sure whether a judge would indeed act this way; but the federal Constitution would let him act this way if he so chose.

In other words, we may be seeing OJailed getting the entire 30 years if he is convicted on all counts. And since he is 60 now, that would pretty well constitute a life sentence. Ron and Nicole may get some justice after all.





|| Greg, 08:32 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

California Legislature Intent On Violating California Constitution

Upholding the rule of law is not high on the liberal agenda if it gets in the way of passing laws to benefit their special interest groups.

If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger goes through with his expected veto of San Francisco Assemblyman Mark Leno's measure to allow same-sex marriage in California, it's almost guaranteed the governor will say he's following "the will of the people."

That's the argument the Republican governor made two years ago when he rejected a similar measure. Although Schwarzenegger hasn't taken an official position on the new bill, he made clear in February that he did not intend to sign it.

"I don't want, as the governor, to go against the will of the people," Schwarzenegger said at an event put on by the YMCA, but added: "If it goes back on the ballot, the people can make the decision."

The Legislature approved the bill Sept. 7, and the governor has until Oct. 14 to sign or veto the measure.

Foes of same-sex marriage argue, along with Schwarzenegger, that California voters made their decision in March 2000, when Proposition 22, the protection of marriage initiative, was approved by a landslide 61 to 39 percent. The 14-word measure, which conservative and religious groups placed on the ballot, said simply, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

But times have changed in seven years, say supporters of Leno's bill, and voters now have elected a solid majority of legislators who want to make same-sex marriage legal in California.

"The people are speaking through their elected representatives," said Seth Kilbourn, political director for Equality California, a group backing the measure. "We want the governor to keep up with the will of the people and show the type of bipartisan leadership that he has shown on so many other issues."

Now the supporters of gay marriage insist that the will of the people has changed, at least according to the polls and the will of the legislators they have elected. But in making that claim, the insist upon the right to directly overturn a vote of the people -- and violate the California Constitution.

CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION ARTICLE 2 VOTING, INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM, AND RECALL SEC. 10.

(c) The Legislature may amend or repeal referendum statutes. It may amend or repeal an initiative statute by another statute that becomes effective only when approved by the electors unless the initiative statute permits amendment or repeal without their approval.

In other words, a vote of the people in favor of permitting gay marriage is necessary before the bill passed by the legislature can go into effect. If it were not, any vote of the people could be overturned after the next legislative election cycle was completed. In effect, the initiative and referendum process would be a farce because every proposition would require re-passage every election cycle to remain valid.

And as I pointed out two years ago, there is also an inherent problem with the argument that "time has passed and the electorate has changed" argument. Taken to its logical extreme, even Constitutional provisions themselves could be disregarded with impunity, making no pretense of upholding the constitutional processes for instituting such changes.

Supporters of the legislation, of course, don't want a little thing like constitutional law to get in the way of getting what they want. Take this argument.
The legislature didn't "derail" any vote. Proposition 22 was not voted on by the current California populace. Many of those who voted on Prop 22 are now dead, massive amounts of new voters have entered the pool and in the 5 years since that legislation passed many voters have changed their mind (according to polling data). It is the new California voting population who decided (AFTER Prop 22) that these current politicians (the ones who passed the equality bill) were fit to represent them. Now these politicians have done what they were elected to do and if anybody is "derailing" the will of the CURRENT voting population of California it is Schwarzenegger.

Unfortunately for the owner of that blog, it makes as much sense to argue that as it does to argue that Congress could reinstitute slavery without repealing the Thirteenth Amendment, since they represent the will of the people today and the Thirteenth Amendment represents the will of the people 140 years ago. Any rational person recognizes the flaw in both the posters original argument and the hypothetical I put forth -- both situations would ignore the process mandated by the respective constitutions to take the course of action in question.

I think the danger of such a scheme is obvious. Any pol with a poll could render any law or constitutional provision null and void without a real showing of popular support for the change.

The sad part is that Mark Leno and his colleagues did (and still do) have a mechanism available to repeal Proposition 22. All thy have to do is pass their legislation with a section authorizing the required popular vote on the repeal of Proposition 22. If, as they claim, the will of the people has changed in the last seven years, the repeal of Proposition 22 would be a snap. On the other hand, their refusal to include such a repeal vote in their bill is evidence that their dedication to the will of the people NOW is seriously lacking.

Indeed, Leno acknowledges that he does not particularly care what the people of the state of California want in regards to gay marriage.

"Civil rights for any group should never be put to a vote of the people. This is how we prevent the tyranny of the majority over the minority."

Ah, but is gay marriage a civil right. Most folks would argue that it is not, and the idea that it is one is a new and novel formulation. And under Leno's rubric, any group can claim any practice to be a civil right outside the purview of legislation or popular vote. Polygamy? Incest? Pre-pubescent marriage? Incestuous pre-pubescent polygamous gay marriage (yes, I'm being intentionally absurd there)? On what legitimate basis could one make a distinction between a valid civil rights claim and a spurious one upon which the people or the legislature could make law? Leno's argument fails because there is no clear or principled basis upon which to make legitimate distinctions as to teh power of the people or the legislature to act.

Which brings us back to the initial point of the article. Arnold Schwarzenegger is likely to veto the legislation in question. The California legislature can, and I would argue should, act to fix the bill by adding a repeal referendum to it and sending the revised legislation for the the governor's signature. At that point, the will of the people of California today could truly be known.

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|| Greg, 06:59 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Hillary And Petraeus

Whose service do you find more credible?

GeneralPetraeus.jpghillaryribbons.jpg

Frankly, it takes a willing suspension of disbelief to put any faith in the junior Senator from New York.

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

Romney Calls On UN: Arrest Mahmoud The Mad

The Iranian president has clearly and repeatedly violated the Genocide Convention with his statements about Israel and Jews. This grows out of a call issued last year that he should be indicted and tried for inciting genocide. Romney's letter is as follows.

To His Excellency Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,

With the disturbing news that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmandinejad is planning to address the United Nations General Assembly next week, I call on the United Nations to revoke any invitation to President Ahmadinejad to address the General Assembly. The only way he should be greeted in the United States is with an indictment under the Genocide Convention.

The Iranian regime under President Ahmadinejad has spoken openly about wiping Israel off the map, has fueled Hezbollahs terror campaign in the region and around the world, and defied the world community in its pursuit of nuclear weapons capabilities that make these threats even more ominous. As General Petraeus testified last week, Iran is also supporting Shia militia extremists and violence that is taking the lives of American soldiers and undermining the Iraqi government.

A failure by the United Nations to take a strong stand against Irans President Ahmadinejad would be especially disturbing given the United Nations record of failure to prevent genocide in other circumstances and the failure of the United Nations Human Rights Council to confront the Iranian regime and others among the worlds worst human rights abusers. Failure to act would mean that the United States must reconsider its level of support and funding for the United Nations as we look to rebuild and revitalize effective international partnerships to meet 21st century threats.

If President Ahmadinejad sets foot in the United States, he should be handed an indictment under the Genocide Convention. This approach has been called for by experts as diverse as Nobel Prize Winner Elie Wiesel, human rights advocate and former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton and law professor Alan Dershowitz.

The United States and the world must take a strong stand against the terrorist Iranian regime and the time for action is now.

Sincerely,

Mitt Romney

Will other candidates, both Republican and Democrat, join Mitt Romney in taking a stand? And will all of them, including Romney, commit to the principle that the Host Country Agreement between the UN and the US does not require that the US recognize the sovereign immunity of heads of states who have committed crimes against humanity?





|| Greg, 04:21 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (8) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Mukasey As AG?

I'm sure Judge Mukasey is well-qualified, and he is an adviser to Rudy Giuliani's campaign, but I still believe the President should have fought for Ted Olson.

President Bush plans to choose Michael B. Mukasey, a former federal judge who was nominated to the bench by Ronald Reagan, to replace Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Republicans close to the process told The Politico.

"It came down to confirmability," said a former Justice Department official involved in the conversations.

Conservatives had been rooting for former Solicitor General Theodore B. (Ted) Olson, but Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) vowed Wednesday to block his confirmation.

"The White House seems like they don't want a confirmation fight," said a Republican close to the selection process. "They think this guy is bulletproof from the left."

Frankly, I'm troubled on two levels. First, Bush should not have given in to the Democrats. Second, he should not have picked someone suggested by Democrat leaders. The Chuck Schumer seal of approval does not inspire confidence on my part.

Still, I won't rebel against the nomination -- but just don't expect me to show much enthusiasm for it.

MORE AT Blogs for Bush, Captain's Quarters, Don Surber

UPDATE: Captain Ed is reporting that Schumer is backing away from his support of Mukasey. In light of that, why not push for Olson?





|| Greg, 04:00 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Change In Pakistan

Looks like Musharraf is out as head of the army.

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf plans to stand down as army chief by 15 November, an official from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) says.

Gen Musharraf will resign from the powerful post after the presidential elections, said Mushahid Hussain Sayed, the PML's secretary general.

He is seeking re-election by parliament before its term expires in mid-October.

Pakistan's Supreme Court meanwhile is debating his right to remain army chief if he stands for president again.

There has been no confirmation from Gen Musharraf himself about his intentions.

It is unclear if this is part of a power-sharing deal with Benazir Bhutto. And unfortunately, this situation does nothing about the arrest and exile of former PM Nawaz Sharif in defiance of the Pakistani Supreme Court.





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

More On OJailed Simpson

Some scattered bits of information since yesterday's post.

First, the charges.

Police charged Simpson with two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and one count each of conspiracy to commit burglary and burglary with a firearm. He was booked last night in the Clark County Detention Center; a judge ordered him held without bail.

At a news conference last night, police said there were no indications that Simpson was carrying a weapon during the alleged robbery, nor was there evidence of physical harm to anyone in the episode.

It is those conspiracy charges that will get Simpson, because they make him responsible for any of the actions that went on among any of his co-conspirators. That means that he is responsible for the drawn gun, whether he was armed or not.

Second, there is some question about the ownership of the items taken.

Police said they were not sure who owned the memorabilia. But they say the manner in which the goods were taken was under investigation.

"Whether or not the property belonged to Mr. Simpson or not is still in debate," Lt. Clint Nichols said Sunday. "Having said that, the manner in which this property was taken, we have a responsibility to look into that, irregardless of who the property belonged to."

I'm willing to bet that those dealers all have some sort of records indicating that they purchased these items, making it relatively more difficult for Simpson to prove that the items are his -- and given how they were taken by Simpson and his crew, the ownership issue is irrelevant. You can't go in with guns drawn to recover your property.

And the specific items taken are not just OJ items.

It included a lot of sports memorabilia and most of it and had been signed by Mr. Simpson himself along with some other property, Lieutenant Nichols said. I believe there were some Joe Montana cleats, some signed baseballs and some other stuff.

Makes it somewhat harder to argue that he was just taking back his own items. Joe Montana cleats? Baseballs? Do tell how these were acquired -- especially with that judgment still hanging over Simpson's head.

This case should be fun to watch, as the Las Vegas cops have gone out of their way to dot every i and cross every t.





|| Greg, 03:28 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

September 16, 2007

Worthy Of Condemnation

And I do condemn it.

Police and the FBI are investigating after someone shot through the door of a mosque during Ramadan, a monthlong religious celebration involving dawn-to-dusk fasting, prayer and charity.

The bullet pierced the top aluminum frame of a glass entry door at The Islamic Center of South Texas on Friday afternoon.

Witnesses said they heard two gunshots, but investigators have found evidence of only one shot hitting the mosque, Corpus Christi police Cmdr. Jesse Garcia said.

"We're sure it's a high-caliber weapon, based on the damage," Garcia said.

Pieces of the bullet have been recovered for testing, but police have yet to name any suspects and haven't determined whether the incident is a hate crime.

Osama Bahloul, the spiritual leader of the mosque, is among about 600 members of the center who are celebrating Ramadan.

"We hope this is the end of it," he said. "But we are genuinely concerned about our people. We have a large number of children here this month, and if he or she did this again someone could be killed."

Bahloul said the center will install video cameras and members have been reminded to be aware of their surroundings.

Police have searched flower beds at an apartment complex across the street from the mosque and FBI agents went door to door to interview possible witnesses.

The FBI is adding $5,000 to the Crime Stoppers reward to bring it to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case, FBI spokeswoman Patricia Villafranca said.

Most Muslims are decent people, and are entitled to freely exercise their human right to worship. Such acts of violence are not merely immoral, but are also an assault on our Constitutional values. I urge others to speak out against this incident as well.

Does this contradict my condemnation of those who wage jihad against the United States and other non-Muslim peoples? Hardly, but I am certain that emulating their crimes against the innocent is precisely the wrong way to stop them.





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OJailed Simpson

Couldn't happen to a "nicer" guy.

O.J. Simpson was arrested Sunday on charges related to the armed robbery of Simpson sports memorabilia from a Las Vegas hotel room, Las Vegas police said Sunday.

Lead investigator Lt. Clint Nichols said Sunday that Simpson, 60, had played a "substantial role" in the incident and that in earlier interviews with the police, Simpson had provided information that "changed the course of the investigation."

Nichols said Simpson was taken into custody at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas hotel where he was staying without incident. Several police officers were seen entering the hotel; a security guard said police took Simpson out a side door shortly after.

Bail is expected to be set during an arraignment by video Monday morning.

Earlier Sunday, Las Vegas police seized two firearms and arrested another man allegedly involved in the robbery, authorities said Sunday.



If convicted on these charges, Simpson faces up to 30 years in prison
. Sounds good to me.

An interesting question arises, though. To what degree can the 1994 murders be taken into account at sentencing -- OJ was found not guilty in the criminal trial, but legally culpable in the civil trial. Can the latter be used as evidence of a history of criminal activity (especially when paired with is abuse of Nicole) to move his sentence to the higher end of the range?

H/T Stop the ACLU, Pirate's Cove, Don Surber, Speed of Thought, Patterico, SoCalPundit





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

Yes, Kathy -- Jesus Had EVERYTHING To Do With Your Emmy

And no, not based upon your personal faith or lack thereof. Based upon the nature of Western Culture, and America in particular, built upon the foundation of the ministry and mission of Jesus Christ.

I don't know what went through her mind and why she would think that was cutting edge or even funny. But first, I want to actually show you that, in fact, Kathy Griffin is wrong. Jesus had everything to do with her winning that award. And here's the reasoning.

Jesus died on a cross 2,000 years ago. His dying words were, "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do." He died and they buried him in a rock cut tomb. Three days later, as the Bible says, he rose from the dead. That day is what Christians celebrate as Easter.

After the resurrection, Christianity began to take off like wildfire, spreading from the Middle East northward to Europe and westward into Ethiopia. In 300 A.D. Emperor Constantine accepted Christianity and it beccame the religion of Europe. Rome soon became the seat of the faith. After several years of human failings, the church went through conflicts and quite a few unbiblical years the crusades and the inquisition to name just two. Out of that came the Reformation the reforming of the Church, sort of a back-to-basics Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Out of the Reformation emerged a vision of law by Samuel Rutherford, called Lex is Rex, Law is King. From that, others devised a secular version that is used to help lay the foundation of government for a new land called America. Ninety-four percent of America's founding era documents mention the Bible; 34 percent quote the Bible directly. The idea of bringing unity to the universal is a particularly Biblical concept.

The freedoms we enjoy in this country to speak freely and to live freely are directly related to that man who died on a cross 2,000 years ago.

So, you see, Kathy Griffin, Jesus has everything to do with you winning that award. You live in a free country where your abilities can be recognized if you're willing to work hard enough. That's at least the dream of America. If you'd been born in many other parts of the world, your daily activity might involve seeking out a way to survive, or even trying to avoid persecution and death. Luxuries like pursuing a career in the entertainment industry would never have been realized; luxuries like being able to insult the founder of a religion of forgiveness and acceptance would not have been possible.

Kathy Griffin, just because you "can" say something, doesn't mean you "should." When you say "suck it, Jesus," you didn't just insult Christianity you insulted the very reason you've prospered

Bravo to FoxNews religion reporter Lauren Green for that analysis.





|| Greg, 03:51 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Houston Texans V. Carolina Panthers

The CBS preview of this week's game.

While they may be picking the Panthers, i believe the Texans may just squeak out a win -- especially if they get to face David Carr under center for the Panthers for any length of time.

My pick -- Houston 24, Carolina 21





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Oh, Yeah -- And The Terrorists Are getting Fewer Reinforcements

Seems that the flow of supporters from Syria has slowed to a trickle. maybe it has to do with the fact that we are winning, no matter what the Demcorats say.

The number of foreign fighters entering Iraq from Syria has decreased noticeably in recent months, corresponding to a similar decrease in suicide bombings and other attacks by the group al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials.

"There is an early indication of a trend," said Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, in an interview. Border crossings from Syria that averaged 80 to 90 a month have fallen to "half or two-thirds of that over the last two or three months," Petraeus said.

Not only that, but the Syrians are blocking them from coming back into the country.

Makes you wonder what they know that the Democrats don't.





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

British Bishop Calls On Muslims To Affirm Religious Freedom

And as the son of a convert from Islam, he ought to know what ex-Muslims face at the hands of the members of their former religion.

One of the Church of England's most senior bishops is warning that people will die unless Muslim leaders in Britain speak out in defence of the right to change faith.

Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, whose father converted from Islam to Christianity in Pakistan, says he is looking to Muslim leaders in Britain to 'uphold basic civil liberties, including the right for people to believe what they wish to believe and to even change their beliefs if they wish to do so'.

Some Islamic texts brand Muslims who convert to other faiths as 'apostates' and call for them to be punished. Seven of the world's 57 Islamic states - including Iran - impose the death penalty for conversion.

Now Ali, who some see as a potential Archbishop of Canterbury, has told Channel 4's Dispatches programme of his fears about the safety of the estimated 3,000 Muslims who have converted to other faiths in Britain.

'It is very common in the world today, including in this country, for people who have changed their faith, particularly from being Muslim to being Christian, to be ostracised, to lose their job, for their marriages to be dissolved, for children to be taken away,' Ali said. 'And this is why some leadership is necessary from Muslim leaders themselves to say that this is not what Islam teaches.'

The problem is that this is what Islam teaches -- and while only 7 islamic countries impose that penalty under their laws, in many others they prohibit conversion and impose OTHER penalties upon those who leave Islam. Indeed, they tend not to punish the murders of such converts, either.

And when you consider this statistic from a recent poll, it strikes me that there is a much bigger problem at hand. A sizable group of British Muslims want to see the death penalty imposed upon those who convert away from Islam.

A poll of more than 1,000 British Muslims, conducted by the Policy Exchange think-tank this year, found that 36 per cent of Muslims aged between 16 and 24 believe those who convert to another faith should be punished by death.

Wouldn't you love to know the numbers here in the United States? Like any polling company would have the 'nads to ask that question.

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|| Greg, 08:56 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

But Don't They Know The Surge Isn't Working?????

I mean, that's what the Democrats are saying. How could these Iraqi Shiite leaders possibly want to work with the US?

American commanders in southern Iraq say Shiite sheiks are showing interest in joining forces with the U.S. military against extremists, in much the same way that Sunni clansmen in the western part of the country have worked with American forces against al-Qaida.

Sheik Majid Tahir al-Magsousi, the leader of the Migasees tribe here in Wasit province, acknowledged tribal leaders have discussed creating a brigade of young men trained by the Americans to bolster local security as well as help patrol the border with Iran.

He also said last week's assassination of Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, who spearheaded the Sunni uprising against al-Qaida in Anbar province, only made the Shiite tribal leaders more resolute.

"The death of Sheik Abu Risha will not thwart us," he said. "What matters to us is Iraq and its safety."

The movement by Shiite clan leaders offers the potential to give U.S. and Iraqi forces another tactical advantage in curbing lawlessness in Shiite areas. It also would give the Americans another resource as they beef up their presence on the border with Iran, which the military accuses of arming and training Shiite extremists.

Could it possibly be that these Iraqi leaders know better than the Democrats and the MoveOn.org puppet-masters what is going on in Iraq -- and that they like the odds of a US/Iraqi victory over the jihadi terrorists?





|| Greg, 08:44 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

What UC-Irvine Really Needs

In light of the handling of the Chemerinsky hiring, there is only one conclusion.

The University of California at Irvine clearly has misdirected its search efforts. It has been looking for a law school dean. But what it really needs is a new chancellor.

Now for all I take issue with Scott Horton's "right wing kooks" assertion in the paragraph before his conclusion, it is beyond doubt that he is correct in his conclusion. But I wonder -- would Horton be so ready to leap to the defense of a conservative scholar whose politics were opposed by "left wing kooks"? Or more to the point, as so often happens on campus, by left-wing faculty members (many of whom might reasonably be described as kooks)? Is it only the right wing which Horton believes should not have a veto? Or is it his belief that no political interest group should be permitted a veto in academic matters?

And would Horton care to engage in a little bit of intellectual honesty and note that many of us "right wing kooks", including some of the most respected voices on the right side of the blogosphere, who spoke out in defense of Chemerinsky?

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|| Greg, 08:13 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Ann Romney -- Prettier Than Bill Clinton

Hey -- in a world where we are seeing women enter non-traditional fields more and more often, we knew there would be a day with a real possibility of a male "First Lady".

I like Mitt Romney's response to it.

Commenting Saturday on a new Time Magazine cover story titled "The Real Running Mates" which focuses on the current crop of presidential candidates' spouses Republican candidate Mitt Romney said his wife would make a "prettier first lady" than former president Bill Clinton.

"It has a picture of five of the possible first ladies," the former Massachusetts governor said. "In the upper left hand corner it has my wife, and then next to it, it has Bill Clinton. And she is a much prettier first lady than Bill Clinton, I can tell you that!"

I don't know about the rest of you, but I find the comment to be amusing -- not the least of which because I have found myself in such a supporting role.

Not long after we married, my wife became pastor of a small church. When asked by one member of the board about how I would view my role in the congregation, I smiled and began with "Well, I hope that you all will understand my hesitation to be as involved in the Women's Fellowship as previous pastor's wives." It sort of helped to break the ice.

Given the fact that this is the first time we have a man in a position to be "First Lady" (will that term become an anachronism?), expect more such jokes. Especially since the "candidate" for that office happens to be a former president.

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|| Greg, 07:48 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are 2001 -- Our Own Odyssey Began On 9/11 by Okie on the Lam, and When the Left Cares, and When It Doesn't by American Thinker.  Here are the full results of the vote:

VotesCouncil link
1  2/32001 -- Our Own Odyssey Began On 9/11
Okie on the Lam
1  1/350 Million Intellectuals Can Be Wrong
Bookworm Room
1  1/3The Way We Were
Right Wing Nut House
1  1/3Osama's Real Message
Joshuapundit
1  1/3Voter Racism Must Be Condemned!
Rhymes With Right
1/3Bush Moves Goal Post in Iraq from Security -- to Security
Big Lizards
2/3Give Peace a Chance
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1/3Missile-leading Modifiers
Soccer Dad
1/3News Journal Provides Forum for What We All Knew
The Colossus of Rhodey

VotesNon-council link
2  1/3When the Left Cares, and When It Doesn't
American Thinker
1  2/3Iran Plan for Iraq
Counterterrorism Blog
1  1/3The Self-Righteous (Religious) Zeal of the "Outers"
Gay Patriot
1  1/3Apples and Oranges
Logosphilia
2/3Wrong Song! It's Not 1992!
Classical Values
2/3Reflections On Terror
JunkYardBlog
2/3George Bush and the Legacy of the Lincoln Era Democrats
Sigmund, Carl and Alfred
2/3Today's Qassam Attack
Israellycool
1/3The Unbearable Lightness of Being Martin Feldstein
Free Exchange
1/3Clueless Sister of a Midshipman
Right on the Left Coast: Views From a Conservative Teacher





|| Greg, 01:16 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

September 15, 2007

No Wonder The Dems Won't Condemn MoveOn.Org

They work with them every day to coordinate strategy!

And that isn't coming from a GOP source -- it is reported by that reliable Bush-hating MSM outlet that gave the seditious group a huge discount accusing the commander of US forces in Iraq of treason during time of war.

MoveOn representatives also take part, as co-founders of a coalition of antiwar groups together under the umbrella Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, in a daily conference call with the Democratic leadership staff on Capitol Hill to coordinate efforts.

I'm curious -- in light of this coordinated effort, will any political advertising by MoveOn.org be considered an illegal donation to the Democrats in 2008?

H/T Say Anything





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

Run Of The Mill Anti-Semitism In the Anti-War Democrat Left

After all, you remember the raft of anti-Semitic comments directed against Joe Lieberman by the KOSsacks and DUmmies and other left-wing commentators of the blogosphere last year. Why should we be surprised when a Democrat Congressman offends AGAIN by claiming that the Iraq war is all the fault of the evil rich JOOOOOOOOOS!

Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) has again come under fire from local Jewish organizations for remarking in a magazine interview that the "extraordinarily powerful" pro-Israel lobby played a strong role promoting the war in Iraq.

In an interview with Tikkun, a California-based Jewish magazine, Moran said the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is "the most powerful lobby and has pushed this war from the beginning. I don't think they represent the mainstream of American Jewish thinking at all, but because they are so well organized, and their members are extraordinarily powerful -- most of them are quite wealthy -- they have been able to exert power."

And if you think I'm being unfair, consider this quote from the interview that the WaPo article does not quote.

AIPAC members are willing to be very generous with their personal wealth. But its a two-edged sword. If you cross AIPAC, AIPAC is unforgiving and will destroy you politically. Their means of communications, their ties to certain newspapers and magazines, and to individuals in the media are substantial and intimidating.

Yep -- evil rich JOOOOOOOOOS! They'll get you if you don't watch out. Not only is Moran a socialist in his outlook, his outlook appears to trend towards National Socialist in terms of his belief in a Jewish conspiracy to control the media and direct teh course of the goverment.

But since he is a reliable vote for the Democrats, don't expect any criticism or denunciations from the Democrats -- after all, they rejoice at the presence of an old Kluxer like Robert Byrd in their midst, so why would they mind a brownshirt like Moran?

H/T American Thinker, Say Anything





|| Greg, 03:15 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why No Mention Of Jihadi Rhetoric?

There's this story from Foxnews.

A 26-year-old man accused of carrying an assault rifle in a Michigan park remained in custody Friday on a $1 million cash bond.

Houssein Zorkot, of Dearborn, Mich., was arrested on Sept. 8 after witnesses called police to complain about a man with an AK-47, dark clothes and blackened face walking around a park.

"We don't know exactly what his intent was or what he was intending on doing," Dearborn Police Chief Michael Celeski told FOXNews.com.

Police responded to the scene and approached the vehicle Zorkot was driving. Zorkot attempted to flee and was not cooperative with police, Celeski said.

"At one point, he was reaching to a lower area of the vehicle and the other officer at the scene was able to determine there was a weapon on the floorboard," Celeski said.

Officers then took Zorkot into custody and charged him with one count of carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent, one count of possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and one count of felony firearm. If convicted on all three counts, Zorkot faces 9 years in jail.

Zorkot was arraigned on Tuesday. A preliminary examination is scheduled for Sept. 21.

But what is left out is this "minor" detail about the suspect.

The day he was arrested, he uploaded this little number on his website.

personaljihad.jpg

And hours later was arrested in a park carrying an assault rifle.

Not to mention all the pro-terrorist material on his blog.

Or this claim on the website.

Police say he has a website where he claims to be a member of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Here's hoping that this terrorist goes down hard. And that our media begins reporting ALL the information about this story.





|| Greg, 12:31 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Those Tolerant Muslims!

If they really want to rebrand themselves as the Religion of Peace, they ought to come up with something other than "Submit or Die!" as their slogan.

The purported head of al-Qaeda in Iraq has offered a reward for the murder of a Swedish cartoonist over his drawing depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

The $100,000 (49,310) reward would be raised by 50% if Lars Vilks was "slaughtered like a lamb" said the audio message aired on the internet.

The speaker, said to be Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, threatened a new offensive during the holy month of Ramadan.

Last month's cartoon showed Prophet Muhammad's head on a dog's body.

Several Muslim countries protested.

Imagine, that someone might think that Islam is anything other than a peaceful religion!

But you know what -- maybe these folks have the right idea. Rather than turning the other cheek, perhaps slaying those who mock one's religion is the way to go.

I'll start by offering a reward of one hundred BILLION DOLLARS for the head of Christopher Hitchens on a silver platter -- and up it by 50% if it has an apple clenched between its teeth.

Oh, and $5.00 for every dead Muslim, since they say that Jesus isn't the Son of God but is instead a prophet inferior to Mo-doggie himself.

NOTE TO LOCAL DEMOCRATS: I'm being facetious.

And in the mean time, let's do our best piss off the jihadis (and their supporters) who insist upon the dhimmitude of the West.

In the mean time, might I urge you to sign this petition supporting the artist, Lars Vilks.

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|| Greg, 12:04 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Syrian Nukes

Courtesy of North Korea?

A State Department official said Friday that the United States had concerns about Syrias involvement in illicit nuclear activities and suggested that North Korea might be aiding the Syrians in their efforts.

Andrew Semmel, a top official on countering the spread of nuclear weapons, said that Syria may have a number of secret suppliers for a covert nuclear program, and that North Korean technicians were currently operating inside Syria.

His comments, in an interview with The Associated Press in Rome, came in response to questions about an Israeli airstrike inside Syria last week. Neither Israel nor the United States has confirmed what targets the Israeli jets hit, and the government in Jerusalem has imposed a blanket restriction on the Israeli news media from reporting details about the raid.

If this report is accurate, what does this mean for the recent agreement between the US and North Korea regarding the latter's nuclear program? And what does that mean for US policy in the Middle East? Will we be drawn into conflict with the Syrians as well as the Iranians? And what of Israel -- will it be responding with similar force to Iranian nuclear schemes?





|| Greg, 11:32 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

OJ Simpson -- Criminal

But then again, we already knew that.

Still, I wonder, has anyone found any gloves in the room?

O.J. Simpson says he only went into a casino hotel room to retrieve memorabilia that he felt was stolen from him. But police are investigating it as an armed robbery and named the fallen football star as a suspect Friday in yet another surprising chapter to his legal saga.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Simpson insisted there were no guns involved and he only went to the room at the Palace Station casino to retrieve stolen mementos that included his Hall of Fame certificate and a picture of the running back with J. Edgar Hoover.

"It's stolen stuff that's mine. Nobody was roughed up," Simpson told the AP.

Las Vegas Metro Police Capt. James Dillon said the confrontation was reported as an armed robbery involving guns. But he said no weapons had been recovered and stressed that the investigation was in its "infancy."

One has to wonder whether this was a set-up to obscure the release of his book by the Goldman family. After all, the timing is highly coincidental.

And I wonder who he will get to defend him in the resulting criminal and civil trials, now that Johnny Cockroach is dead.





|| Greg, 08:53 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Remember -- Those Troop Cuts Are A Minimum Reduction

Military conditions might allow for even greater reductions in the number of troops in Iraq.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Friday raised the possibility of cutting U.S. troop levels in Iraq to 100,000 by the end of next year, well beyond the cuts President Bush has approved.

Stressing that he was expressing his hope, not an administration plan, Gates said it was possible conditions in Iraq could improve enough to merit much deeper troop cuts than are currently scheduled for 2008.

Asked at a news conference whether he was referring to going from today's level of about 169,000 to about 100,000 U.S. troops by the end of next year, Gates replied, "That would be the math."

It was the first time a member of Bush's war cabinet had publicly suggested such deep reductions, although many in Congress have pushed hard for big cuts to begin bringing the war to a conclusion.

You see, the determining factor will be the situation on the ground and military necessity, not politics and pandering like this proposal from the Democrats.

Now that President Bush and Gen. David H. Petraeus have charted their course for the Iraq war, Democrats in the Senate say one of their proposals aimed at shifting the presidents strategy is finally close to winning enough Republican support for a real chance at being approved. It would require that troops spend as much time at home as on their most recent tours overseas before being redeployed.

The proposal, by Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, has strong support from top Democrats, who say that the practical effect would be to add time between deployments and force General Petraeus to withdraw troops on a substantially swifter timeline than the one he laid out before Congress this week, and that it would protect troops from serving protracted and debilitating deployments.

In other words, the Democrats are offering yet another plan to undermine the ability of the military to conduct operations during time of war. They seem to have forgotten, for example, that troops during WWII were not rotated home -- indeed, many remained deployed for the duration of the war, and didn't see loved ones from the time they shipped out until late 1945 or early 1946. But then again, these weak-kneed, limp-wristed liberals would have swooned as they read casualty reports from Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, and Normandy -- each of which cost the United states more troops in a matter of weeks (or, in the case of D-Day, hours) than Iraq has in four years.

In 1943 or 1944, proposals like the one offered by James Webb and promoted by Joe Biden and the Democrat leadership would have been promptly labeled what they are -- seditious capitulation to the enemy. It is disheartening to see that the party of Roosevelt has become the party of Benedict Arnold.

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

HDTV And Politics

Kevin Drum quotes Andrew Sullivan on President Bush's appearance during Thursday's speech.

HI-DEF BUSH....Last night Andrew Sullivan wrote that George Bush seemed "almost broken to me...his affect exhausted, his facial expression almost bewildered." Today he offers a second opinion:

I should say that I watched Bush in high-definition, and on regular TV, he didn't look so exhausted.

Clearly we're seeing a technology paradigm shift at work. Just as Richard Nixon "lost" the 1960 debate because, although he sounded fine on radio, he looked bad on TV, so modern politicians are going to have to learn to look good even when they're looming over their audience on 80-inch HD plasma screens. Looking good on a scratchy 32-inch tube doesn't cut it anymore. I predict booming business for a whole new generation of media advisors and skin care consultants.

I think this does raise a good point. We couldn't elect the homely Abe Lincoln today. Today's television would have doomed the reelection bid of FDR in 1944 (and probably 1940). With the coming of HDTV, will we find ourselves looking for even prettier candidates (such as John Edwards -- long on grooming and short on intellect)? Or will we finally consider that every candidate has warts and flaws -- in other words, that they are real human beings -- and go back to seriously considering ideas instead of photo ops and sound bites?

But I will also point out something else. The mouth-frothing Left has constantly told us that they believe the president to be unaffected by his decisions and untroubled by the difficulties and setbacks we have seen over time in Iraq. Sullivan's observations makes it clear that this is not the case, and that the strain is taking its toll on this President. Far from being untouched, George W. Bush is feeling the full weight of the crushing burden that goes with being President of the United States -- just as have many of our presidents who have left office as mere shells of themselves, sucked dry by the responsibilities they had shouldered.

I once read that American presidents, on average, lived four or five years shorter than the life expectancy of men of their generation. And while recent ex-Presidents seem to have gone on forever (one of the perks of the office is access to incredible health care), I think there remains some truth to that observation.

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|| Greg, 08:19 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||