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March 31, 2008

Holy Crap! Hillary Fired From Watergate Staff Over Lying, Hiding Documents, Unethical Behavior

She was known as Hillary Rodham back then, a young lawyer hired at behest of a Kennedy crony to help investigate the Watergate affair and move towards possible impeachment of Richard Nixon.

That is a matter of public record, and a well known part of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s biography.

What is not known is that she was fired from her position on the staff for behavior that constituted a grave breach of legal ethics (not to mention fundamental fairness and decency) and denied a recommendation by the general counsel and chief of staff of the House Judiciary Committee – a lifelong Democrat.

Jerry Zeifman, a lifelong Democrat, supervised the work of 27-year-old Hillary Rodham on the committee. Hillary got a job working on the investigation at the behest of her former law professor, Burke Marshall, who was also Sen. Ted Kennedy’s chief counsel in the Chappaquiddick affair. When the investigation was over, Zeifman fired Hillary from the committee staff and refused to give her a letter of recommendation – one of only three people who earned that dubious distinction in Zeifman’s 17-year career. Why? “Because she was a liar,” Zeifman said in an interview last week. “She was an unethical, dishonest lawyer. She conspired to violate the Constitution, the rules of the House, the rules of the committee and the rules of confidentiality.”

Unethical. Dishonest. Contemptuous of the rules and the Constitution. Those are the same type of charges that others have made against Hillary for years.

But these go back to the very beginning of her career, when she was a nobody on the committee staff. These are not the charges of political partisans out to destroy her and her husband – and are documented by a diary that dates back to the time of her offenses.

How could a 27-year-old House staff member do all that? She couldn’t do it by herself, but Zeifman said she was one of several individuals – including Marshall, special counsel John Doar and senior associate special counsel (and future Clinton White House Counsel) Bernard Nussbaum – who engaged in a seemingly implausible scheme to deny Richard Nixon the right to counsel during the investigation. Why would they want to do that? Because, according to Zeifman, they feared putting Watergate break-in mastermind E. Howard Hunt on the stand to be cross-examined by counsel to the president. Hunt, Zeifman said, had the goods on nefarious activities in the Kennedy Administration that would have made Watergate look like a day at the beach – including Kennedy’s purported complicity in the attempted assassination of Fidel Castro. The actions of Hillary and her cohorts went directly against the judgment of top Democrats, up to and including then-House Majority Leader Tip O’Neill, that Nixon clearly had the right to counsel. Zeifman says that Hillary, along with Marshall, Nussbaum and Doar, was determined to gain enough votes on the Judiciary Committee to change House rules and deny counsel to Nixon. And in order to pull this off, Zeifman says Hillary wrote a fraudulent legal brief, and confiscated public documents to hide her deception. The brief involved precedent for representation by counsel during an impeachment proceeding. When Hillary endeavored to write a legal brief arguing there is no right to representation by counsel during an impeachment proceeding, Zeifman says, he told Hillary about the case of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, who faced an impeachment attempt in 1970.

* * *

“Hillary then removed all the Douglas files to the offices where she was located, which at that time was secured and inaccessible to the public,” Zeifman said. Hillary then proceeded to write a legal brief arguing there was no precedent for the right to representation by counsel during an impeachment proceeding – as if the Douglas case had never occurred.

The brief was so fraudulent and ridiculous, Zeifman believes Hillary would have been disbarred if she had submitted it to a judge.

Zeifman still has the diary, and is willing to make it available to those who are interested in what it contains. It reveals a lot about the character of the woman who would be president – or maybe that should be her lack of character.

UPDATE -- 4/1/08, 7:30 PM: Ed Morrissey over at HotAir catches up with this story, and offers some intriguing insights. STACLU has picked up on it, too.

Patterico links to this older piece by Zeifman himself. This Freeper archive dates the story back to 1999, and there is apparently a 1996 book that raised the story. I'm curious -- why no significant press coverage in all this time -- especially given Zeifman's claim of a contemporaneous record? Certainly there must be some intrepid journalist who would be willing to shell out the cash to authenticate the diary or debunk the claim.

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Not That This Will Settle Anything

There really is no surprise in the ruling that the Brits didn’t murder Princess Diana.

The coroner leading the inquest into the death of Princess Diana said Monday that there is no evidence that Prince Philip, the Secret Intelligence Service or any other government agency had anything to do with her death in a 1997 car crash.

Lord Justice Scott Baker told jurors they can decide whether Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, died as the result of an accident, or because of gross negligence by the paparazzi following their car or driver Henri Paul.

But he told jurors they do not have the option to find that Philip or anyone else staged the Paris car accident that killed Diana, Fayed and Paul.

"There is no evidence that the duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip) ordered Diana's execution, and there is no evidence that the Secret Intelligence Service or any other government agency organized it," he said.

Why is there no evidence? Because it didn’t happen that way.

Of course, there are still those who believe that the moon landing didn’t happen. There are still those who believe in Kin Tut’s curse? There are still those who believe with an ardent faith approaching religious zeal that human beings are responsible for global climate change. I therefore have no doubt that this conclusion will simply lead to strengthen those who believe that Diana’s death was anything other than a senseless tragedy.





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What Would be Their Cause Of Action?

That exercising a human right guaranteed by both Dutch and international law hurt their business interests?

Dutch businesses warned on Saturday that they would consider suing far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders if his anti-Islam film led to a commercial boycott of Dutch goods, while police said cars were set ablaze and graffiti called for Wilders to be killed.

“A boycott would hurt Dutch exports. Businesses such as Shell, Philips, and Unilever are easily identifiable as Dutch companies. I don’t know if Wilders is rich, or well-insured, but in case of a boycott, we would look to see if we could make him bear responsibility,” Bernard Wientjes, the chairman of the Dutch employers’ organisation VNO-NCW, told the Het Financieel Dagblad newspaper.

Better idea – sue the boycotters, and those who are stirring up REAL hatred against Holand and Wilders. After all, they are the ones who are doing the damage, not Wilders.

Unless, of course, you believe that profits trump human freedom.

UPDATE: Looks like the Dimmification of Holland continues.

The ambassadors of 26 Islamic countries want the Netherlands to investigate whether the film Fitna made by Dutch right-wing populist MP Geert Wilders can be banned. They asked Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen whether it is possible to start legal proceedings against the anti-Islam film. The meeting at the ministry in The Hague was attended by ambassadors of countries including Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Mr Verhagen told the 26 ambassadors he was pleased that responses from the Muslim world up to now had been moderate. He said the public prosecutor was investigating whether any offence had been committed, and the Dutch government clearly distanced itself from the film.

At the same time he called on the ambassadors to ensure Dutch citizens and organisations abroad were protected. "Let's keep heads cool and relations warm," he added. "We know about the concerns and feelings about this film among the international Muslim community, but hurt feelings must never be an excuse for aggression and threats."

I guess the real answer is that Wilders isn't likely to kill anyone, but the most vocal opponents of the film are. As a result, Wilders' rights are the one to be suppressed. See why the Second Amendment is in the US Constitution?

H/T HotAir





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Remains Of Sgt. Matt Maupin Found In Iraq

I first wrote about Sgt. Matt Maupin in December of 2005, and concluded with this line.

For we must never forget Matt Maupin, a typical American young man, who fell into the hands of the enemy while fighting for this country and the freedom of the Iraqi people.

And we must make sure that Sgt. Matt Maupin returns home with honor -- an American hero.

Maupin will be returning home soon -- for burial by his family. After nearly four years, his family has been notified that his remains have been identified.

Sgt. Matt Maupin is dead, the parents of the missing Clermont County soldier said today.

Maupin’s remain were found in Iraq, nearly four years after he was captured by insurgents, his parents said. An Army general visited them today and gave them the news, they said.

“Matt is coming home. He’s completed his mission,” his father, Keith Maupin, said.

Maupin was a 20-year-old private first class when he was captured on April 9, 2004, after his fuel convoy was ambushed west of Baghdad. He had been driving a supply truck.

Arab television network Al-Jazeera aired a videotape a week later showing Maupin sitting on the floor surrounded by five masked men holding automatic rifles. That June, Al-Jazeera aired another tape purporting to show a U.S. soldier being shot. But the dark and grainy tape showed only the back of the victim’s head and not the actual shooting.

The Glen Este High School graduate was the only U.S. military member still listed as missing-captured in Iraq. Military officials identified the remains through DNA, Keith Maupin said. He said he wasn’t told where the remains had been found.

“We don’t know where, just somewhere in Iraq.They found a shirt similar to what he (Matt) was wearing,” Keith Maupin said. “They had DNA and confirmed it was Matt.”

Given the video evidence that the jihadi cowards who had captured him committed a war crime by murdering their prisoner, this is not a surprising outcome.

To learn more about Sgt. Maupin, American hero, feel free to read this post from a year ago, which I had already been preparing to update for net week.

Michelle Malkin offers this information as well.

The Maupin family website is here. And please support their Yellow Ribbon Support Center.

I join with her in directing my readers to those two sites.

My deepest condolences to the Maupin family --you are in my prayers at this difficult time, as you have been for some time. I thank you for your family's sacrifice.

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Freedom Wins in Zimbabwe

Will Mugabe permit it to survive?

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party said Sunday that it had won a landslide victory, insisting that unofficial election results showed that the Movement for Democratic Change had unseated President Robert G. Mugabe, the man who has led this nation for 28 years.

Those results had been compiled by adding the vote counts posted at thousands of individual polling stations, and were not formally released by the government. Indeed, the nation’s chief election officer warned that the opposition’s boasts were premature and asked people to wait for official totals.

People did just that, anxiously watching the government television station on Sunday for announcements about the election the day before. But instead of news they were shown irrelevant fare like a program about biodegradable Chinese plastic and a documentary about the Netherlands’ 1974 soccer team.

Near midnight, the election commissioner, George Chiweshe, finally announced that the official results would begin coming out at 6 a.m. Monday. At the appointed hour no results were forthcoming. “It is of absolute necessity that at each stage the result be meticulously analyzed, witnessed and confirmed,” he said. Soon after the designated time, an election official began laboriously reading results, but only of six parliamentary races.

So once again, we see electoral shennaigans in Zimbabwe.

I'm still waiting to see if these threats are carried out.

Zimbabwe's security forces, which have thrown their weight firmly behind Mr. Mugabe, said before the election they would not allow a victory declaration before counting was complete.

Government spokesman George Charamba warned the opposition against such claims. "It is called a coup d'etat and we all know how coups are handled," he told the state-owned Sunday Mail.

And since in some areas there are riot police n the streets and warnings for the people to remain indoors, the possibility of Mugabe refusing to honor the results of the election appears to be quite high.





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A Headline We've Seen Too Many Times

In some form or fashion.

Rice Wins Concessions From Israel

Time and again we have seen members of various administrations win concessions form Israel. From the Palestinians? Not so much -- and never concessions that are substantive or honored in practice.

That is why I'm even more disturbed as i read the content of the story.

Israel pledged to remove some West Bank roadblocks as a start to "concrete steps" in an agreement Sunday with the Palestinians that is aimed at paving the way for a final peace deal this year.

Under the plan that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced, Israel will remove about 50 roadblocks and upgrade checkpoints to speed up the movement of Palestinians through the West Bank.

The Israelis also will give Palestinians more security responsibility in the town of Jenin with an eye toward looking at "other areas in turn." They also pledged to increase the number of travel and work permits for Palestinians and to support economic projects in Palestinian towns.

In return, the Palestinians promised to improve policing of Jenin "to provide law and order, and work to prevent terror," according to a State Department statement.

Yeah, but no end to suicide bombings or the random lobbing of rockets from within Palestinian territory.

No end to gunmen shooting up schools and killing children.

No end to terrorists hiding among civilians to use them as human shields.

in other words, Israel agreed to reduce its security in exchange for nothing of particular value.

But then again, that is how it always goes.





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March 30, 2008

CD22 Runoff -- Shelly Sekula Gibbs Vs. Pete Olson

I've written relatively little about the congressional race here in CD22 this year -- an oversight due in large part do to a string of family situations that have kept me from being nearly as involved as I would have wished. That said, today's article in the Houston Chronicle about the race deserves to be noted.

And I think the first line of the story is critical.

Since moving to Sugar Land last summer, Pete Olson has restricted his job search to a seat in the U.S. House.

Yeah, that's right. Pete Olson doesn't have a job. He has a wife, kids, and two houses (the family kept the one in the DC suburbs when Pete carpetbagged back to CD22). Heck, I suppose he may even have two mortgages, which I'm sure is tough to manage if you don't have job other than campaigning for Congress in a district where you have not been physically present for nearly two decades.

And this is why so many of us are opposed to Pete Olson. We already have a Democrat carpetbagger congressman who we want to get rid of in 2008 -- we don't want to replace him with a Republican carpetbagger, even if Olson is much closer to our political views.

Olson, a former staffer for two Republican U.S. senators from Texas, has had a two-fold answer. One, he grew up in the Clear Lake part of the district and attended Rice University and the University of Texas law school, so this is his home. Two, no one should begrudge his nine years as a Navy pilot and Pentagon worker and another nine years on the U.S. Senate staffs of Phil Gramm and John Cornyn.

And Pete Olson is quite disingenuous in his argument. No one I know "begrudges" him his military service. Indeed, all of us honor and respect it. But many of us who support Shelley Sekula Gibbs do have a problem with the fact that for the decade after that military service Olson has been a resident of the Virginia suburbs, owned his only home there, been a licensed driver there, and a registered voter there. Yes, he has been a top aide to two fine Texas senators, but we have concerns about the strength of his connection and commitment to our district.

And I always find it interesting that folks trot out this argument -- that Dr. Sekula Gibbs has not always been a conservative.

Sekula Gibbs acknowledges that she has reversed her position on abortion; she now says it should be illegal. She voted on the council to fund pavilions for day laborers, then opposed funding them because, she said, she learned that they made neighborhoods no safer and were used mostly by illegal immigrants.

In 2005, she did not strongly advocate for Houston police officers to question criminal suspects about immigration status. She did in 2006, as she ran for Congress and immediately after a policeman was killed by an illegal immigrant he had detained. Conservative and liberal council members, saying Sekula Gibbs was exploiting an officer's death for political gain, left their public meeting in protest when she spoke about changing the city's law enforcement policies on immigrants.

I'll be the first to recognize that there are elements of her past record that are less than conservative. But I also recognize that her increased conservatism over time, and her decades of service to our community here in CD22 for the last 20 years.

Besides, Ronald Reagan was at one time wrong on abortion. I think he did just fine.

And then there is this question that I like to ask -- after a loss in the runoff, what would these two candidates most likely do.

If she were to lose the election, I know for a fact that Shelley Sekula Gibbs will stay in our community, and continue to serve the people here as a respected medical professional.

Pete Olson? I have every reason to suspect that he will put the house in Sugar Land back on the market and head back inside the Beltway -- most likely as an employee of one of the lobbyists or politicians who contributed the seed money to start Olson's campaign in the first place. In other words, he'll go home again.

That dichotomy makes my choice in the runoff on April 8 really clear.

In the end, though, following the runoff I will support either of these candidates over Nick Lampson, because either of them is more representative of my views on the critical issues facing America than the incumbent is. I encourage my fellow voters to do the same.

UPDATE Welcome to readers of Ben DumbAss from RedState. As you've seen, my post takes exactly the opposite tack of what he claims. Let's hope he is more honest in his other posts -- and less touchy when others call him on a blatant lie.

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ANOTHER Paterson Scandal?

Good grief! Will the new governor of New York serve less time in office than William Henry Harrison did as president? Now we have even more ethical questions surrounding him -- and these not involving sex or campaign funds.

When Gov. David A. Paterson was the State Senate minority leader, he got in touch with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a fellow Democrat, with what seemed like a routine request: Would he meet with a representative of a small Harlem hospital that was in need of financial assistance?

As it turned out, the hospital’s representative was Mr. Paterson’s wife, Michelle Paige Paterson, who was responsible for lobbying the State Legislature for aid. Mr. Silver agreed to meet, but warned that it would be improper for the senator to be present. As a result, Mr. Paterson did not attend the session, held on April 7, 2003; he would later say that arranging the meeting was a mistake.

But that meeting was not the only thing Mr. Paterson did for his wife’s employer. He also directed state grants of at least $150,000 — with a pledge for as much as $500,000 more — to the hospital over the next two years, a period that overlapped substantially with his wife’s employment there from 2002 to 2005.

The fuller picture of Mr. Paterson’s efforts on behalf of the hospital, North General, emerged from a review of documents, which revealed a previously unreported $50,000 state grant he made in 2003, and interviews with lawmakers and their aides, who said Mr. Paterson spoke with some of them about the need to avoid ethical conflicts that could arise because of his wife’s job.

Let's see -- his wife was working as a lobbyist, and he was arranging meetings for her? He was directing funding to the hospital that employed her at a rate that exceeded his prior efforts on its behalf -- and also in excess of what he directed there after her employment ended? The appearance of corruption is stunning!





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If Only We Had Jeremiah Wright At The Founding Of Our Nation

Those of you who are not subscribers to the National Review might not be familiar with the works of Rob Long, which is among the best satirical work you are likely to see in print today.

He takes on the current "pastor problem" involving Barack Obama's minister at Trinity United Church of Christ in a piece entitled Excerpts from: The Collected Sermons of Jeremiah Wrighte, Parson of the Angry Lord Church of Somerstowne, Massachusetts 1775–1798, Informal Spiritual Adviser to Presidents and Governors. (SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED)

My personal favorite? This bit about the American Revolution itself.

We’ll get to Christmasse in a moment. Firste, I’d like to talk a bit about the so-called War of Independence, currently being fought without oure Consent! How longe will this War last? So far, it’s been a Faylure, a Quagmire! And for whom?

For the Power Structure, that’s for whom! It’s about Lyberty? Oh, really? I mean, Come onne! Lyberty? How do you figure that one?

When yr Little Ones are sick, do they get free Healthe Care? Doth the Docktor say, upon delivering the tonick, bleedynge, or cure, “Oh, this one’s on the House?” No he doth not! He demands Monnaies! So how can we be free? What’s wronge with our Countree?

My dear wife, liberal to the core, laughed out loud at Long's work -- and, as a graduate of a UCC affiliated seminary and former pastor of a UCC congregation, thinks that Long really did his homework on the denomination and picked up the flavor of much of the UCC in this section of his work.

May 30, 1784:

My friends, we have muche to be thankful for. And as Sinners all, much to atone for. But first, some Announcements.

The Dyversity Committee shalle assemble in the Parishe Hall directly followynge this service. Such topicks as it shall address during this Assemblee shall include the continuing Care and Outreache to our Gaye, Lesbianne, and Transgendred &c. members, all of whom we cherishe and respeckt. We will also be tayking up the Issue of our Friends in Morrocco, who have been Provocked by our owne Arrogance into boarding and pirating an American quote unquote sailing vessel.

Oh, we’re Americans now? So what does that make our neighbors in Canada? Or to the Southe?

We brought thisse upon our Selves! Friends, pray not for the Americans, but insteade for the brown-skinne of the Marock, who merely wish to challenge the Hegemonie of the American War Contraption!

Please also remember to sign uppe for Choir Practice! Let us praye . . .

Now let me say this rather explicitly -- I don't take issue with Barack Obama, a liberal, being a member of the most liberal mainline Protestant denomination in America. I'm not interested in starting a theological inquisition. Obama's denominational affiliation is no more relevant than Romney's Mormonism. What I have and do question is his willingness to associate himself with the more outrageous POLITICAL statements -- and outright lies, such as the claim that the US government started AIDS to kill blacks and the US government supplied crack to the ghetto so as to lock up blacks -- that are preached from the pulpit there. The folks of Trinity UCC -- and Wright and Obama in particular -- are entitled to their own theology and their own faith, but not their own facts.

And you are entitled to the great satire of Rob Long -- and so you ought to subscribe to National Review!

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Tase 'Em

Indeed, tase 'em early and often.

Former White House advisor Karl Rove gave a speech at George Washington University on Friday that was disturbed by protestors from the anti-war group Code Pink.

As the "insurgents" were being removed from the Harry Harding Auditorium by security guards, students in attendance could be heard comically shouting "Tase 'em!"

Interesting, isn't it, that these anti-American left-wingers seem to believe that the Constitution does not protect the right of anyone except themselves to speak. Try to say a word they oppose, and they will do everything in their power to prevent you from speaking at all.

And it doesn't matter if it involves interrupting a political figure giving a speech or threatening to mount a campaign to get a teacher (me) fired for running a conservative political blog. Freedom is, for them, only a one-way street.





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March 29, 2008

Rosenthal Avoids Jail

Too bad.

A federal judge on Friday ordered former Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal to pay $18,900 in sanctions after finding him in contempt of court for deleting more than 2,500 e-mails that had been subpoenaed for a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Additionally, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt determined Scott Durfee, general counsel for the district attorney's office, was jointly responsible for paying $5,000 of that, finding Durfee failed to appropriately advise Rosenthal on how to comply with the subpoena.

Both Rosenthal and Durfee have until April 30 to pay their respective fines, according to the judge's order released late Friday afternoon.

Neither Rosenthal nor Durfee could be reached for comment.

Whether the county pays those sanctions with taxpayers' money is a question to be decided by Commissioners Court. The court must determine whether paying the sanctions would serve a public purpose, said County Attorney Mike Stafford.

I don't know that I agree with the fine against Durfee -- as an attorney, Rosenthal should have been well-aware of the requirements of an order to preserve all emails.

And I'll be honest -- I believe a little jail time should have been meted out here against Rosenthal for his misdeeds.

Let's hope he is quickly and permanently disbarred.

Oh, and by the way -- any member of the Commissioner's Court who votes to use taxpayer funds to pay these fines needs to be voted out of office immediately. And if that puts the government of Harris County in the hands of the Democrats, so be it.





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Truth A Valid Defense In Case of Japanese Historian

Rather than trying to refute the arguments of Kenzaburo Oe, the 1994 Nobel laureate in literature, a 91-year-old war criminal veteran of the Imperial Japanese Army tried to use the courts to force him to retract and apologize for information about the connection between the Japanese military and suicides by civilians during the fall of Okinawa.

In a closely watched ruling, the Osaka District Court threw out a $200,000 damage suit that was filed by a 91-year-old war veteran and another veteran’s surviving relatives, who said there was no evidence of the military’s involvement in the suicides.

The plaintiffs had also sought to block further printing of Mr. Oe’s 1970 book of essays, “Okinawa Notes,” in which he wrote that Japanese soldiers had told Okinawans they would be raped, tortured and murdered by the advancing American troops and coerced them into killing themselves instead of surrendering.

“The military was deeply involved in the mass suicides,” Judge Toshimasa Fukami said in the ruling. Judge Fukami cited the testimony of survivors that soldiers had handed out grenades to civilians to use for committing suicide, and the fact that mass suicides had occurred only in villages where Japanese troops had been stationed.

One more confirmation that the Japanese militarists who plunged Asia (and America) into war in the 1930s and 1940s were engaged in acts of unspeakable brutality and inhumanity. And also proof that there remains to this day an element of the Japanese population that does not want to deal with those historical truths.





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Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Get Your Grim Milestone Today? by Done With Mirrors, and Stake Through Their Hearts by Michael Yon.  Here are the full results of the vote) in a post.  There was actually a tie in the non-council category this week...  I enjoyed both posts, but Michael Yon's latest dispatch ultimately won me over.  Thanks to everyone for all the great entries this week...  I'm eager to see next week's entries!  Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
2  1/3Get Your Grim Milestone Today?
Done With Mirrors
2What Would You Do?
Bookworm Room
1  2/3Beer-Soaked Politics
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1  1/3It's All in the Branding
Soccer Dad
1Question "Authority"
The Colossus of Rhodey
2/3Welcome To a Brave New World
Right Wing Nut House
2/3Municipal Internet -- Deader Than a Doornail?
Rhymes With Right
2/3Genocide By Inches
Joshuapundit
1/3A Conversation With Sa'ad
Wolf Howling
1/3A Taxonomy of Mea Culpas
The Glittering Eye

VotesNon-council link
3  2/3Stake Through Their Hearts
Michael Yon
2  2/3CAIR Exposed: Part 1
The Investigative Project on Terrorism
1  1/3Thoughts On Cheap Symbols of Patriotism
The Paragraph Farmer
1  1/3The Showdown Cometh
Defence of the Realm
1Britain's Broken Heart
Melanie Phillips
2/3Obama, Israel, and American Jews -- It Just Keeps Getting Worse
Power Line
2/3University of the Absurd
Minding the Campus
1/3The Labor of Hate -- Part I
Simply Jews
1/3Can Obama Overcome the ‘Wright Stuff?’
Pajamas Media





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March 28, 2008

(BUMPED) Fitna Is Here UPDATE: Threats Of Violence Lead To Self-Censorship

I will not submit. I will join the international movement to see that Geert Wilders' documentary, Fitna, is freely available.

Here is the Torrent link to the movie.

I have not watched the movie. I may not watch the movie. But I will do my part to help prevent the suppression of the movie.

Bravo to LiveLeak for upholding the same principle.

Free speech trumps the right not to be offended.

UPDATE: The torrent link still works, but LiveLeak was forced to drop their hosting of Fitna. Their statement is as follows.

Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, and some ill informed reports from certain corners of the British media that could directly lead to the harm of some of our staff, Liveleak.com has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers.

This is a sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else. We would like to thank the thousands of people, from all backgrounds and religions, who gave us their support. They realised LiveLeak.com is a vehicle for many opinions and not just for the support of one.

Perhaps there is still hope that this situation may produce a discussion that could benefit and educate all of us as to how we can accept one anothers culture.

We stood for what we believe in, the ability to be heard, but in the end the price was too high.

Seems to me that a certain segment of the Islamic community just proved Geert Wilders' point -- aided and abetted by certain elements of the liberal media. Good going, Islamo-Fascist scum!

Fortunately, another source exists for the video.

Freedom of speech will not be stopped by seventh-century barbarism.

H/T Michelle Malkin, Hot Air


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

Muslims Seek More Censorship -- Because The Truth Hurts

Now a Muslim group is seeking to ban ANOTHER film because they are offended by its depiction of Muhammad.

The only problem is that the film depicts a historical fact attested to in Muslim writings about the life of Muhammad that are considered to be authoritative by islamic scholars.

Former Dutch Labor party politician Ehsan Jami, founder of the Committee of ex-Muslims, said he has produced an anti-Muslim cartoon that will show a sexually aroused prophet Mohammed with his nine-year-old wife. The film is to be released next month and will be called "The Life of Mohammed."

A group of Muslims has seen the film and is going to court in an effort to ban it from being shown, citing it as unacceptable and offensive. Jami said the film would be more shocking than the Danish cartoons two years ago that showed Mohammed wearing a bomb-shaped turban.

Now, some might be offended by the notion of Muhammad sexually aroused -- and given the special liberties he was permitted to take with women due to his status as Prophet, I can't understand why a Muslim would be -- but this is documented in islam's own religious texts. And lest any Muslim think that we Christians would never be subjected to such treatment of Jesus, might I offer the example of the movie The Last Temptation of Christ? Despite its heretical and ahistorical approach to Christ's sexuality, Christians were expected to tolerate the showing of the film, including on the campuses of publicly funded colleges and universities using mandatory student fees. Similarly, murder was not the response to the play Corpus Christi -- there were protests, but no significant acts of violence, and threats made over the film were universally denounced by Christian leaders.

In short, when will Muslims grow up and recognize that human rights trump their desire to have non-Muslims accord the same level of respect and reverence to those things that Muslims hold sacred? That is not a requirement in the free world -- even if it might be in the Muslim world.

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|| Greg, 08:54 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dems Disenfranchise More Voters

This time it is the Kentucky edition.

Thousands of Kentuckians who have switched political affiliations over the past three months in hopes of voting in May's Democratic presidential primary will instead be barred from casting ballots.

Secretary of State Trey Grayson alerted Kentuckians on Wednesday to a little-known state law that forbids people who change their party registration after December 31 to vote in the May 20 primary.

"We're getting a lot of reports of folks who are either independents or Republicans who are trying to become Democrats in order to vote in the primary," Grayson said. "In the presidential primary, they will not be eligible to vote."

Some 9,000 people have switched parties since Jan. 1. Grayson said voter registration drives by supporters of Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton could inadvertently cause the number of ineligible voters to grow.

Grayson said Obama's campaign requested 5,000 Kentucky voter registration cards earlier this week.

"They're obviously going to do a big push over the next three week to register voters," Grayson said. "I'm sure the Clinton campaign will do the same thing."

In other words, Democrat ignorance of Kentucky law has resulted in thousands of Kentuckians losing their right to vote – and these same Democrats are working hard to disenfranchise even more voters.

Funny, isn’t it, that these are the same Democrats who have been complaining about crossover voters in other states now trying to create them in Kentucky – but instead creating disenfranchised Americans.





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

How Can Casey Do This?

I’m curious – hasn’t the latest call of the Obama folks been that superdelegates ought to support the will of their given constituencies? If so, does this mean a switch to Hillary at the convention by Senator Bob Casey?

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey plans to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president today in Pittsburgh, sending a message both to the state's primary voters and to undecided superdelegates who might decide the close race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Dan Pfeiffer, deputy communications director for the Obama campaign, confirmed that Casey would announce his support during a rally at the Soldiers and Sailors Military Museum and Memorial and that he would then set out with the Illinois senator on part of a six-day bus trip across the state.

The endorsement comes as something of a surprise. Casey, a deliberative and cautious politician, had been adamant about remaining neutral until after the April 22 primary. He had said he wanted to help unify the party after the intensifying fight between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"There are few stronger advocates for working families in Pennsylvania than Sen. Casey," Pfeiffer said.

By coming out for Obama, Casey puts himself at odds with many top state Democrats - including Gov. Rendell, Rep. John P. Murtha and Mayor Nutter - who are campaigning for Clinton.

Now polling data shows that Obama is going to take a real drubbing in Pennsylvania. Doesn’t that mean that the Obama campaign should have rejected Casey’s help – you know, in the interest of guaranteeing that the Pennsylvania senator doesn’t go against the will of Pennsylvania voters?

Or are their protestations about respecting the vote of the people simply more lip service to principle while hypocritically doing anything to win?





|| Greg, 03:27 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Fly Me To The Moon?

Well, this is one way to get there.

The moon could become a final resting place for some of mankind thanks to a commercial service that hopes to send human ashes to the lunar surface on robotic landers, the company said on Thursday.

Celestis, Inc., a company that pioneered the sending of cremated remains into suborbital space on rockets, said it would start a service to the surface of the moon that could begin as early as next year.

The cost starts at $10,000 for a small quantity of ashes from one person.
Celestis president Charles Chafer said his company reached an agreement with Odyssey Moon Ltd. and Astrobotic Technology Inc., to attach capsules containing cremated remains onto robotic lunar landers.

Odyssey Moon and Astrobotic are among private enterprises seeking to land a robotic craft on the moon and conduct scientific experiments. The cremation capsules would remain on the moon with the lunar landers when the missions were complete.

When I was 6 years old watching the Apollo 11 land on the moon and men walk on that orb high overhead, I believed that we would see frequent and reasonably inexpensive travel to the moon in my lifetime. Such has not been the case. Maybe, however, I’ll still get there – in death, if not in life.





|| Greg, 03:25 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

UN Body Denounces Human Rights In Favor Of Right Not To Be Offended (UPDATED)

Can we simply abolish the whole organization now, and deport all its staff from the US, and allow the headquarters to become a crack house, brothel, or overgrown vacant lot -- something of greater social utility than the UN itself? The main "human rights" body of the UN has come out against the right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion when Muslims take offense.

The top U.N. rights body on Thursday passed a resolution proposed by Islamic countries saying it is deeply concerned about the defamation of religions and urging governments to prohibit it.

The European Union said the text was one-sided because it primarily focused on Islam.

The U.N. Human Rights Council, which is dominated by Arab and other Muslim countries, adopted the resolution on a 21-10 vote over the opposition of Europe and Canada.

EU countries, including France, Germany and Britain, voted against. Previously EU diplomats had said they wanted to stop the growing worldwide trend of using religious anti-defamation laws to limit free speech.

The document, which was put forward by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, "expresses deep concern at attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations."

Although the text refers frequently to protecting all religions, the only religion specified as being attacked is Islam, to which eight paragraphs refer.

Interesting how "respect for religion" is defined as "respect for Islam" in this document. Never mind that particular strains of Islam have been a violent pox upon human civilization for most of my lifetime -- we are not supposed to criticize the very elements of Islam that the terrorists themselves use to justify their acts of murder and mayhem. Odd, isn't it, that the UN Human Rights Suppression committee cannot be bothered to denounce the anti-Semitism rife in the Muslim world -- and within the tenets of the Islamic faith itself as defined by the Qu'ran and hadiths.

Heck, maybe these folks will merit serious consideration when they condemn the Islamic practice of killing or imprisoning those who attempt to leave Islam for another religion that better meets their spiritual needs -- or the practice of Saudi Arabia in banning all non-Muslim worship in the country. But then again, maybe such condemnations would constitute "attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations."

And the timing of this action -- coinciding with the release of Geert Wilder' Fitna, is transparently an attempt to suppress his human rights.

I wonder -- does this mean my website is now officially condemned by the UN?

MORE AT Hot Air, who notes the following provisions from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Interestingly enough, the Secretary General of the UN has expressed his belief that these rights, though expressed in absolute terms since the earliest days of the UN, really are not implicated by the ongoing attempt by extremist Muslims (and non-extremist Muslims) and their craven dhimmis to prohibit expression of speech that disturbs Muslim sensibilities.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned as “offensively anti-Islamic” a Dutch lawmaker’s film that accuses the Koran of inciting violence.

Ban acknowledged efforts by the government of the Netherlands to stop the broadcast of the film, which was launched by Islam critic Geert Wilders over the Internet, and appealed for calm to those “understandably offended by it.”

“There is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence,” Ban said in a statement. “The right of free expression is not at stake here.”

Interestingly enough, Wilders' film is not an incitement to violence -- but the words of those who have threatened violence as a response to this film (and to previous "offenses" such as the Muhammad cartoons or Benedict XVI's quoting of a Byzantine Emperor) do fall under that rubric. Where is Ban Ki-moon's condemnation of the actual threats of violence and the vitriol that accompanies it, rather than speech that the UN's own documents declares to be a human right.

Now we know why the 9/11 hijackers didn't target the UN Headquarters on 9/11 -- that organization is already in the pocket of al-Qaeda.


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|| Greg, 04:37 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Inventor Of Ubiquitous Breakfast Sandwich Dies

Now here's an accomplishment to be known for.

Herb Peterson, who invented the ubiquitous Egg McMuffin as a way to introduce breakfast to McDonald's restaurants, has died, a Southern California McDonald's official said Wednesday. He was 89.

Peterson died peacefully Tuesday at his Santa Barbara home, said Monte Fraker, vice president of operations for McDonald's restaurants in that city.

He began his career with McDonald's Corp. as vice president of the company's advertising firm, D'Arcy Advertising, in Chicago. He wrote McDonald's first national advertising slogan, "Where Quality Starts Fresh Every Day."

Peterson eventually became a franchisee and was currently co-owner and operator of six McDonald's restaurants in Santa Barbara and Goleta, Fraker said.

Peterson came up with idea for the signature McDonald's breakfast item in 1972. He "was very partial to eggs Benedict," Fraker said, and worked on creating something similar.

The egg sandwich consisted of an egg that had been formed in a Teflon circle with the yolk broken, topped with a slice of cheese and grilled Canadian bacon. It was served open-faced on a toasted and buttered English muffin.

Well, everybody wants to be known for something -- and looks like Peterson made himself a part of popular culture. I can remember when the notion of a breakfast menu at a fast food place was unheard of. Now it is big business. Interesting how one idea can spark an industry revolution.





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

Free Photoshop

I may be doing more graphics around here, now that a basic version of this software is coming online.

The maker of the popular photo-editing software Photoshop on Thursday launched a basic version available for free online.

San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe Systems Inc. says it hopes to boost its name recognition among a new generation of consumers who edit, store and share photos online.

While Photoshop is designed for trained professionals, Adobe says Photoshop Express, which it launched in a "beta" test version, is easier to learn. User comments will be taken into account for future upgrades.

Photoshop Express will be completely Web-based so consumers can use it with any type of computer, operating system and browser. And, once they register, users can get to their accounts from different computers.



Drop by and take a look.

This is a great marketing move. It allows consumers to learn about the software and build basic skills -- and many folks will then buy the full software package at the market price, which is of great benefit of the company. At the same time, it allows casual users access to some of the best tools out there. I'm really happy with the outcome.





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

Obama Admits Political Opportunism In Wright Affair

That's what I see in this statement, which amounts to "I would have left Trinity UCC if Wright were still there when the press got clips of his racist, anti-American comments."

White House hopeful Barack Obama suggests he would have left his Chicago church had his longtime pastor, whose fiery anti-American comments about U.S. foreign policy and race relations threatened Obama's campaign, not stepped down.

"Had the reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying at the church," Obama said Thursday during a taping of the ABC talk show, "The View." The interview will be broadcast Friday.

Now this is the THIRD different story Obama has tried to tell the American public.

I watched the weekend before "the speech", when Obama tried to sell the American people a bill of goods by claiming he had never known about Wright's incredibly offensive and factually incorrect statements.

There was then the celebrated speech, when he argued that he knew about the outrageous material, but would not abandon his close friend and spiritual mentor or the church -- but was willing to insult and denounce the white woman who raised him.

And now he is arguing that he would have separated himself from Wright and Trinity if not for the pastor's recent retirement -- even though the new pastor spent this past Sunday defending Wright and condemning those who take issue with his hate speech from the pulpit for "lynching" the retired pastor.

Barack Obama wants to have his cake and eat it too. I wonder what his position will be next week.

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

Ticket-Splitters And Party-Switchers Like McCain

Those folks who have expressed a belief that Republicans are going to desert John McCain en masse while the Democrats unite behind their candidate may want to consider this poll.

A new analysis of March polling data suggests that John McCain's cross-party support surpasses that of either Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton.

According to data provided by the Gallup Organization at Politico’s request, in a hypothetical contest between McCain and Obama, McCain wins 17 percent of Democrats and those leaning Democratic, while Obama wins 10 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaners.

In a potential contest with Clinton, McCain wins 14 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaners while Clinton wins 8 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaners.

By way of comparison, exit polls in 2004 reported that George W. Bush won 11 percent of Democrats and John F. Kerry won 6 percent of Republicans.

The new analysis, calculated from a compilation of Gallup’s daily polls between March 7 and 22, seems to indicate that there are more “McCain Democrats” than the much-ballyhooed “Obama Republicans” — or “Obamacans,” as they are sometimes referred to.

Yes, John McCain has his problems among some vocal segments of the GOP -- I'll concede disappointment with the selection of the man as the nominee, but I consider him infinitely better than anyone the Dems will give us. And I know that there is a vocal minority of Republicans who are irreconcilably against McCain, but their numbers seem to be surpassed by those Dems who cannot reconcile themselves to one or the other of their party's potential nominees. So in the end, the percentages break in favor of McCain and the GOP.

And just imagine what it will be like after a couple of more months of Hillary and barack wrestling in the mud!





|| Greg, 03:52 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 27, 2008

I Guess Party’s Not Important

Why else leave it out of this story?

A law enforcement official says Puerto Rico's governor has been charged in a long-running public corruption probe in the U.S. island territory. A law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday that Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila is among several people named in a sealed indictment. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the indictment is still sealed.

An FBI spokesman in San Juan declined to comment, saying there would be a news conference later to discuss the first arrests in the probe.

A government official in San Juan also said Acevedo would be charged in the indictment and that the governor's attorneys were expected to appear in court later Thursday.

Now I DiDn’t have any iDea what AceveDo’s party affiliation was before I read the story from the AssociateD Press about the inDictment. I DiD a check of WikipeDia and founD that the AceveDo is a Democrat. I wonder why that Detail was excluded from this breaking news story?





|| Greg, 04:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Bad Plea Deal

It is pathetic that this lying, thieving public official will not do a day in jail.

A scandal that began in 2006 when a TSU regent complimented Priscilla Slade's choice of home furnishings ended Wednesday with a deal that lets the ousted leader of Texas' largest historically black university avoid prison in exchange for paying back $127,672.18.

It is only a fraction of the $500,000 in school money Slade was accused of spending, lavishly and improperly, on herself. Her first trial ended last year in a mistrial, and the former, much-beloved president was scheduled to again face judgment Friday.

Wednesday's settlement, reached after hours of negotiations and ending with Slade apologizing, brings the saga to an end.

"I thank God that it's over," Slade told reporters after the plea bargain. "I can move on with my life to bigger and better things."

Slade, a CPA, said she is now working as a consultant but declined to answer any other questions.

Yeah, you saw that right -- the crook will only be required to repay 25 cents on the dollar. In other words, the makes about $325,000 in ill-gotten gains from her abuse of office. That means that we, the taxpayers of the state of Texas, really did get the shaft.

Especially since the crooked college president was not required to even admit guilt as a part of the plea deal.

Mike DeGeurin, Slade's attorney, said she is not admitting guilt and would not be forced to admit she committed a crime. He said she accepts responsibility for not ensuring that proper guidelines were followed.

Sorry -- this Texan believes there should have been a conviction.

I'm curious -- if this had been the president of UT or Texas A&M, or even University of Houston three or four blocks down the street from TSU, would this sort of plea deal have been offered or accepted? Why is it that the head of the dismally-performing open-admission four-year community college that pretends to be a university permitted to get away with her crimes? Heck, why hasn't the legislature abolished this scandal-plagued money pit?





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

Principal Flips Out

My initial thought was that this was a figure of speech -- but if you get a whole room full of teachers concerned with the words and tone, I have to accept that it was said in a manner that made it something more.

And besides -- if a student said something like this, he'd be in jail, or at least expelled.

A middle school principal threatened to kill a group of science teachers if their students did not improve their standardized test scores, according to a complaint filed with the New Braunfels Police Department.

Anita White, who taught at New Braunfels Middle School for 18 years before being transferred this month to the district's Learning Center, said Principal John Burks made the threat in a Jan. 21 meeting with eighth-grade science teachers.

She said Burks was angry that scores on benchmark tests were not better, and the scores on the upcoming Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills tests must show improvement.

"He said if the TAKS scores were not as expected he would kill the teachers," White said. "He said 'I will kill you all and kill myself.' He finished the meeting that way and we were in shock. Obviously, we talked about it among ourselves. He just threatened our lives. After he threatened to kill us, he said, 'You don't know how ruthless I can be.'

"We walked out of the meeting just totally dumbfounded because it was not a joke," White said.

New Braunfels Police spokesman Mike Penshorn said the incident was filed as a verbal assault, but is being investigated as a terroristic threat.

Of course, I can understand the principal being a bit stressed over scores. I know districts where new principals are told that if their campus has not achieved recognized status after three years, they will be fired. And I have seen departments in my own district decimated when their scores have not made the progress a principal or superintendent desired.

But threatening to kill your teachers? That goes a bit too far. Seems to me that Burks crossed a pretty bright line.





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

NY Times Finally Finds A Government Regulation Of Busines It Opposes

It is so nice to see the NY Times use these words with regard to a proposed government regulation on business.

The burden on law-abiding companies would be great: thousands of dollars to comply with the rules, and thousands more to fire and replace workers.

Of course, it would happen to be a regulation that involves protecting our borders and putting an end to the scourge of illegal immigration. But still, it is progress. Will the NY Times use this standard in the future -- namely that the burden on law-abiding companies of being required to spend "thousands of dollars" (much less millions of dollars like some regulations cost business) overrides the importance of ensuring that businesses are complying with the law? Or is it only the fact that the editorial staff of the paper, with their illegal gardeners, nannies, and household help, fear having to pay American wages to American workers -- therefore imposing "thousands of dollars" in additional costs on their own personal budgets?





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

Saddam Paid For Trip By Democrat "Aid And Comfort" Caucus

And they wonder why we question their patriotism.

The Justice Department said Wednesday that Saddam Hussein’s principal foreign intelligence agency and an Iraqi-American man had organized and paid for a 2002 visit to Iraq by three House Democrats whose trip was harshly criticized by colleagues at the time.

The arrangements for the trip were described in the indictment of an Iraq-born former employee of a Detroit-area charity group who was charged Wednesday with accepting millions of dollars’ worth of Iraqi oil contracts in exchange for assisting the Iraqi spy agency in projects in the United States.

The indictment did not claim any wrongdoing by the three lawmakers, whose five-day trip to Iraq occurred in October 2002, five months before the American invasion.

Two continue to serve in the House: Jim McDermott of Washington State and Mike Thompson of California. The other, David E. Bonior of Michigan, has since retired from Congress.

“None of the Congressional representatives are accused of any wrongdoing, and we have no information whatsoever that any of them were aware of the involvement of the Iraqi Intelligence Service,” said Dean Boyd, a Justice spokesman.

Maybe there is no direct evidence, but it is rather interesting that at the exact time that tensions are rising between the US and iraq, three of the most strongly pro-Saddam Democrats just happen to get t trip illegally financed by the dictator. I'm curious -- now that they know the trip was illegally funded, will the threesome be expected to repay all expenses involved in the trip? Will they face ethics charges for not digging deeper.

In other words, will they face the same treatment that Democrats demanded when Tom DeLay took a couple of trips that later turned out to have been illegally funded without his knowledge? Or do such requirements only cut one way?

Oh, and interestingly enough, the indicted Saddamite is another former official with CAIR. How many terrorists and traitors need to spring from the leadership of that organization before the US government takes action against it?





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

March 26, 2008

Dems Take 10% Hit, No Matter The Candidate

It must suck to have a race for the nomination so polarized that at least 1 out of every 5 voters for one candidate or the other will bolt to the GOP in November if the other candidate gets the nomination – meaning a 10% loss of voters committed enough to vote in the primary.

"A sizable proportion of Democrats would vote for John McCain next November if he is matched against the candidate they do not support for the Democratic nomination," the pollsters at Gallup report this morning. "This is particularly true for Hillary Clinton supporters," they add, "more than a quarter of whom currently say they would vote for McCain if Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee."

Gallup surveyed "6,657 national Democratic voters, aged 18 and older," from March 7-22. Of that group:

• 28% of those who support Sen. Clinton said they would vote for Republican Sen. McCain in the general election if Sen. Obama ends up being the Democratic presidential nominee.

• 19% of those who support Obama said they would vote for McCain in the general election if Clinton ends up being the Democratic nominee.

And notice that the hit is bigger if Barack Obama gets the nomination than if Hillary does.

We’ve seen a number of recent polls showing John McCain inching into the lead over both Democrats. That seems indicative of precisely the level of attrition caused by this very divisive primary fight.

And then there is this interesting tidbit from Rasmussen – 22% of Democrats want Hillary to quit the race immediately, while an identical percentage wants Obama to quit now. And 6% want both of the leading Democrats to quit the race. This sure isn’t good for them and bodes problems with “party unity”.





|| Greg, 03:42 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

One More Good Reason To Vote McCain

Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez believes that Hillary and Obama will be easier to get his way with work with than the Arizona Senator and war hero.

Chavez said he hopes the United States and Venezuela can work better together when his ideological foe, U.S. President George W. Bush, leaves the White House next year, but he said McCain seemed "warlike."

"Sometimes one says, 'worse than Bush is impossible,' but we don't know," Chavez told foreign correspondents. "McCain also seems to be a man of war."

* * *

He said on Tuesday that he had better communication with the administration of former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

"Independently of who wins the elections, we are hopeful and it is within our plans to enter an era of better relations with the U.S. government," he said. "At the least one would hope for the level of relations we had with ex-President Clinton."

He did not mention Democratic hopefuls Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Both are cautious about Chavez, although Obama has said he could meet him.

So it is clear who one of America’s enemies does not want in the White House, and his name is John McCain. Given Obama’s willingness to lend Chavez legitimacy by meeting with him and the explicitly praise of the policies of Senator Clinton’s husband, I think we can see who would be better for America – and who would be better for the dictator.





|| Greg, 03:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

More Racist Ranting From Obama’s Pastor

Here’s my favorite.

The government runs everything from the White House to the schoolhouse, from the Capitol to the Klan, white supremacy is clearly in charge…

The government runs the Klan? Really? Do you have any EVIDENCE for this contention? After all, you are making what you claim to be a statement of fact. Lay out your case, sir. Ditto your white supremacy claim.

Or is proving your contentions contrary to the tenets of Black Liberation Theology?

Otherwise, Rev. Wright, publicly concede that you are a liar and a racist. And seek out some psychiatric help.

And by the way, Jeremiah, if the government is so bad and so evil, you should want less of it – not a massive increase of the sort that your parishioner Barack Obama wishes to impose on America.





|| Greg, 03:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Vote Fraud In Texas Primary?

These numbers concern me. And if these are actual cases of voters violating the law, I want to see them prosecuted.

But at the same time, I want to make sure that folks who did this are not prosecuted.

Robert Duran Jr. said he walked into the wrong room to vote in the March 4 primary. But he said he should not be indicted for it.

"It was an innocent mistake," said Duran, who works for an oil services company. "I just failed to read the sign."

Duran's name appeared on a list of "questionable voting cases" released Tuesday by Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman. The 1,148 individuals may have voted illegally, Kaufman said. She turned the list over to the district attorney's office for investigation and possible indictment.

Duran said he rushed to the polls after work, meaning to vote as a Republican. Duran was voting in his first primary, and he unthinkingly went to the same room he always does for general elections. But after Duran signed in the poll book and went to the booth, he saw the ballot had the names of the Democratic candidates, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

"I clicked on it and said, 'Whoa, this is not what I meant to do,' " Duran said.

We had about half-a-dozen folks at my precint do this. Despite signs saying REPUBLICAN PRIMARY" and the fact that the Democrats were voting over a mile away (there were signs directing them there) and questions about whether it was their intent to vote int eh Republican or Democrat primary, some folks still signed our poll book and then complained that Hillary and Obama were not on their ballot. We duly canceled out their ballots (it is a simple procedure), if done before the press cast ballot) -- and in such a case you are supposed to cross the voter's name out of the poll book. Did some election judges or poll workers overlook that step?

Sounds to me like some election judges failed to do their job correctly, if Duran's story is correct. That is a matter of concern for me. The same is true if someone managed to early vote and then vote on election day -- we have a list of all early/absentee voters and are supposed to mark them in the poll book before election day. Did some election judges not do that -- or did some poll worker ignore the information marked in the book?

But I also suspect that some voters committed real fraud. In such a case, they need to go directly to jail.





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

Dishonesty In Reporting

It's a good thing that Andrew Sullivan does not hold himself out to be a real journalist, given this post.

"What does it take to be the most liberal member of the United States Senate – farther left than Ted Kennedy, John Kerry or even Hillary Clinton? For the answer, take a look at a man who could be the next president of the United States: Barack Obama.

Sen. Obama was recently named the most liberal U.S. Senator, based on the annual voting analysis by the non-partisan and highly respected National Journal. If he emerges as the Democratic nominee, one of the critical jobs of Focus Action will be to uncover the real Barack Obama—not the feel-good orator who speaks of “change” and “hope,” but the man who would be the most left-wing president in our nation’s history.

Throughout our history, great Americans have stood up to grave challenges of all sorts. As this latest wave of secular liberalism threatens us, I look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with you in prayer and action – in defense of the family," - James Dobson, in his latest email.

The problem is that Sullivan's source reports the email this way.

Dr. Dobson's Focus on the Family begins an e-mail sent out today with:

What does it take to be the most liberal member of the United States Senate – farther left than Ted Kennedy, John Kerry or even Hillary Clinton? For the answer, take a look at a man who could be the next president of the United States: Barack Obama.

Sen. Obama was recently named the most liberal U.S. Senator, based on the annual voting analysis by the non-partisan and highly respected National Journal. If he emerges as the Democratic nominee, one of the critical jobs of Focus Action will be to uncover the real Barack Obama—not the feel-good orator who speaks of “change” and “hope,” but the man who would be the most left-wing president in our nation’s history.

The e-mail ends with this:

Throughout our history, great Americans have stood up to grave challenges of all sorts. As this latest wave of secular liberalism threatens us, I look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with you in prayer and action – in defense of the family.

Now Sullivan commits a cardinal sin here -- he takes two disconnected quotes and runs them together. Say what you want about the Sullivan's source and the conclusions made at the end of the post, but it is implied that there is a gap between those first two paragraphs and the last -- perhaps filled with some substantive discussion of issues. You know, discussion that might make that the conclusions found in that last paragraph somewhat more understandable (whether or not you accept all of Dobson's premises -- something I don't always do).

Pretty sloppy stuff, based upon the evidence we have here.

Anyone got the full text of the actual email -- since neither blogger provides the full context of the quotes in question?





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

Geneaology Watch: Presidential Families

Not that it is particularly significant, but you do find some interesting family connections.

This could make for one odd family reunion: Barack Obama is a distant cousin of actor Brad Pitt, and Hillary Rodham Clinton is related to Pitt's girlfriend, Angelina Jolie.

Researchers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society found some remarkable family connections for the three presidential candidates — Democratic rivals Obama and Clinton, and Republican John McCain.

Clinton, who is of French-Canadian descent on her mother's side, is also a distant cousin of singers Madonna, Celine Dion and Alanis Morissette. Obama, the son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya, can call six U.S. presidents, including George W. Bush, his cousins. McCain is a sixth cousin of first lady Laura Bush.

Now there really are some interesting connections turned up here, but they really are not that significant, especially when you see them in the historical context of those relationships. You find family connections between the candidates going back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which at first blush could lead one to ask questions about the importance of certain families and why those families consistently rise to the top.

But then you find bits of historical trivia like one I encountered last night while reading McCullough's excellent biography of John Adams (I don't get HBO, so I have to read the book instead of watching the miniseries). Some families, especially early American families, have been quite prolific. For example, John Adams' great-grandfather had no fewer than 89 grandchildren (including the second President's father). If one presumes that only 2/3 of those grandchildren had only 5 children each pretty small number for that era), the next generation would have been some 300 great-grandchildren -- and the generation after that would have been 1000 great-great-grandchildren. You can continue the exponential growth for the next couple of generations, at which point you will discover that within a couple more generations we are into the tens of thousands of descendants. And as one works one's way back the family tree from today, remember that by the time you drill back to the Civil War era, most living Americans are looking at 64 (or even 128) ancestors of that generation. Frankly, it would be shocking not to find a connection, however collateral, to the Adams family (or the prolific Lees of Virginia). In other words, the family connections signify nothing.





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March 25, 2008

Reagan Endorses McCain

Let no one say that John McCain doesn't merit the support of Reagan conservatives.

The keeper of the flame has endorsed the Arizona Senator.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan planned to endorse John McCain for president on Tuesday, as the Arizona senator continued to collect the backing of leading Republicans who might help him win over critical conservative voters.

Now certain to win the GOP nomination, McCain is on the West coast this week to raise money. He was to stop by the Southern California home of former President Ronald Reagan's widow to accept her endorsement.

In a statement before the event, Reagan said she typically waits until after the GOP convention to announce her support but she decided to do so now because it is clear the Republican Party has chosen its nominee.

"John McCain has been a good friend for over thirty years," Reagan said. "My husband and I first came to know him as a returning Vietnam War POW, and were impressed by the courage he had shown through his terrible ordeal. I believe John's record and experience have prepared him well to be our next president."

Nobody has more of a right than Nancy Reagan to speak for the fitness of John McCain to stand in the shoes of Ronald Reagan. Were John McCain unfit, she would doubtlessly have remained silent. So the time has come for the Reagan Conservatives to accept the wisdom of the one closest to Ronald Reagan and lend their support for John McCain -- or renounce their claim to the Reagan name and legacy.

H/T Hot Air





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Chelsea: How Dare You Ask Questions About My Parents!

Yeah, she is acting as a surrogate for Mom, and yeah, Mom is running for President, but Chelsea just doesn't think that the American people have the right to know about Mom's credibility in light of Dad's escapades.

Chelsea Clinton had a quick retort Tuesday when asked whether her mother's credibility had been hurt during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

"Wow, you're the first person actually that's ever asked me that question in the, I don't know maybe, 70 college campuses I've now been to, and I do not think that is any of your business," Clinton said during a campaign visit for her mother, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

If Obama is called on the carpet about his relationship with his pastor, it certainly seems reasonable to ask questions about Hillary's relationship with Bill -- and the damage he did to both her credibility and the nation as a whole.

And if Chelsea can't handle the heat, maybe she needs to retreat back to that cushy bond trading job Mom and Dad got her.

UPDATE: Bill gets irritated about having to answer a substantive question.

More At Michelle Malkin, Hot Air





|| Greg, 06:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Sales Up, Prices Down

Now this presents an interesting question. Is an increase in home sales good news if the prices of homes are down?

Sales of existing homes increased unexpectedly in February after six months of decline, but private economists said it was too soon to say the prolonged slide in housing is coming to an end.

The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes rose by 2.9 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.03 million units. It marked the first sales increase since last July, but even with the gain sales were still 23.8 percent below where they were a year ago.

Prices continued to slide. The median sales price for single-family homes and condominiums dropped to $195,900, a fall of 8.2 percent from a year ago, the biggest slide in the current housing slump. The median price for just single-family homes was down 8.7 percent from a year ago, the biggest decline in four decades.

Those numbers make it hard to say that we are out of the housing slump -- and analysts are predicting another six months of a weak housing market. But I can't help but remember that for the last couple of years we have been hearing that the housing market in many areas of the country was overheated and overpriced. Would this not simply constitute a readjustment of the market to reflect the actual value of the properties in question -- especially after rash speculation on the part of some buyers and sellers?

I don't pretend to have an answer to the question -- but I feel that it is an important question to ask.

Especially since the drop in prices may allow some families to purchase homes that they could not have purchased a year ago because of the inflated prices. And if so, do we really need the sort of increased government intervention in the housing market that some politicians are proposing?





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

Tibet Unrest Spreading?

If this keeps up, maybe it will become necessary to cancel the Olympics.

After all, we wouldn't want a repeat of 1936, would we?

One policeman was killed and several others injured in riots Monday in western Sichuan province, China’s state media reported.

The official Xinhua News Agency gave no other details regarding the riot.

Xinhua also said that 381 people involved in protests in another Sichuan county, Aba, had surrendered to police, according to local authorities.

The Communist leadership has faced the biggest challenge to its rule in the Himalayan area in nearly two decades after protests in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa exploded into violence on March 14, sparking sympathy protests in the neighboring provinces of Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai.

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China is murdering peaceful protesters in Tibet -- and the unrest is now spreading to other parts of the country. The Red Chinese are demanding that athletes be silenced in their home countries in the weeks and months prior to the Olympic Games, undercutting human rights around the globe. Better that the spectacle be canceled than allowed to lend legitimacy to the world's largest violator of human rights.

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"Misspoke"?

Excuse me, "misspoke" means that you substituted the name of one city or country for another, or some other relatively minor gaffe. When you make up a story about dodging and weaving to avoid gunfire during an assault on an airport, it is called "lying".

Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign said she "misspoke" last week when saying she had landed under sniper fire during a trip to Bosnia as first lady in March 1996.

The Obama campaign suggested it was a deliberate exaggeration by Clinton, who often cites the goodwill trip with her daughter and several celebrities as an example of her foreign policy experience.

During a speech last Monday on Iraq, she said of the Bosnia trip: "I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."

According to an Associated Press story at the time, Clinton was placed under no extraordinary risks on that trip. And one of her companions, comedian Sinbad, told The Washington Post he has no recollection either of the threat or reality of gunfire.

When asked Monday about the New York senator's remarks about the trip, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson pointed to Clinton's written account of it in her book, "Living History," in which she described a shortened welcoming ceremony at Tuzla Air Base, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

"Due to reports of snipers in the hills around the airstrip, we were forced to cut short an event on the tarmac with local children, though we did have time to meet them and their teachers and to learn how hard they had worked during the war to continue classes in any safe spot they could find," Clinton wrote.

"That is what she wrote in her book," Wolfson said. "That is what she has said many, many times and on one occasion she misspoke."

And just like Obama found out last week, Mrs. Clinton is discovering the YouTube can allow inconvenient facts to obscure undermine the immage one seeks to project.

Damn that contemporaneous video coverage of the event! No ducking and weaving and dodging -- and a VIP greeting for the then-First Lady.

Maybe Hillary Clinton needs a new campaign theme song.

More At Michelle Malkin, HotAir, Stop the ACLU





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

Wi-Fi Bubbles For Houston

Even though free municipal wi-fi plans appear to be deader than a doornail, the Bill White Administration here in Houston is intent upon creating one.

Except you won't get wi-fi everywhere in the city.

You'll only get it if you live in one of ten "bubble" zones around the city.

Houston is aiming to turn EarthLink's lemons into the city's lemonade.

The company had to pay the city $5 million after defaulting on a contract to build a citywide wireless Internet network last year. On Monday, Mayor Bill White announced the city will use about $3.5 million of that money to build 10 free wireless network "bubbles" in low-income parts of Houston to give residents access they otherwise might do without.

The long-term possibility, White said, is that the bubbles could be connected and the areas between them added to the network, providing WiFi access across the city.

"It's a matter of connecting those bubbles," White said.

Monday's announcement launched the first bubble in the densely populated Gulfton area of Southwest Houston. The city is establishing a committee to determine where future networks will be located. Build-out is expected to happen over the next two years.

Yeah, it is a matter of connecting those bubbles, Mr. Mayor -- and how you are going to pay for it. Is the city headed for a tax increase?

And how can you justify undermining businesses that have already set up for-profit wi-fi networks in Houston -- or other broadband services -- which cost subscribers around $30 a month? Is undercutting business a legitimate city function? And why not free telephone or cable television service, too?





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

March 24, 2008

Kilpatrick Charged With Perjury, Obstruction, Misconduct In Office

And my question is “Why?”

In a stunning and historic day, Kwame Kilpatrick was charged with perjury, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office Monday, the latest blow to the Detroit mayor embroiled in a text message scandal.

Kilpatrick could go to prison if convicted of any of the eight felonies filed against him by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. His former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, faces seven felonies.

"Our investigation has clearly shown that public dollars were used, people's lives were ruined, the justice system was severely mocked and the public trust trampled on," said a visibly angry Worthy. "This is as far from being a private matter as one can get."

Excuse me, but these charges are about nothing but sex. After all, doesn’t everyone lie about sex? Yeah, it was under oath as but it was still about sex. And the misuse of one’s office to conduct a sexual affair with a subordinate, to reward that subordinate and to try to cover up the affair? Still, in the end, nothing but sex.

At least that was the argument that we heard about 10 years ago when another prominent Democrat politician lied under oath, engaged in a conspiracy to obstruct justice, and moved heaven and earth to feather the nest of his sugar baby. Indeed, Republicans were excoriated for attempting to hold Bill Clinton to precisely the standards that these charges are based upon. Why does Kwame Kilpatrick face jail time while Bill Clinton got to serve out his term, play elder statesman, and potentially become the first man to serve as First Lady?

Is it race?

Or is it just that the Clintons are above the rules that apply to mere mortals?

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT The Virtuous Republic, Rosemary's Thoughts, third world county, DragonLady's World, Adam's Blog, The World According to Carl, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Leaning Straight Up, Big Dog's Weblog, , Right Voices, Adeline and Hazel, and D equals S, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





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Popular Vote Or Electoral Vote

Set aside the question of whether we should elect a president by popular or electoral votes. The reality is that we do so using the electoral vote system.

That's why the Clinton campaign is now adopting an electoral vote strategy in wooing superdelegates.

Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, who backs Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, proposed another gauge Sunday by which superdelegates might judge whether to support Mrs. Clinton or Senator Barack Obama.

He suggested that they consider the electoral votes of the states that each of them has won.

“So who carried the states with the most Electoral College votes is an important factor to consider because ultimately, that’s how we choose the president of the United States,” Mr. Bayh said on CNN’s “Late Edition.”

In a primary, of course, electoral votes are not relevant, but the Clinton campaign is trying to use them as an unofficial measure of strength.

So far, Mrs. Clinton has won states with a total of 219 Electoral College votes, not counting Florida and Michigan, while Mr. Obama has won states with a total of 202 electoral votes.

It is a fascinating issue, don't you think? Should the will of the majority count more in the nominating contest, or the measure of strength in terms of the measure that actually counts in November? Of course, given the denunciation of the Electoral College system by Democrats -- including Mrs. Clinton -- to consider the weight of states based upon electoral votes seems a bit hypocritical.

But then again, when have the Clintons ever averse to a little hypocrisy in the service of political opportunism?


OPEN TRACKBACKING AT The Virtuous Republic, Rosemary's Thoughts, third world county, DragonLady's World, Adam's Blog, The World According to Carl, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Leaning Straight Up, Big Dog's Weblog, , Right Voices, Adeline and Hazel, and D equals S, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





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

Aquino Ill

One of the happier moments of my college years was watching Corazon Aquino become president of the Philippines. To see the will of the people enforced in such a bloodless, non-violent way was a moment of great hope for the world.

Now comes word that Mrs. Aquino is seriously ill.

Former Philippine President Corazon Aquino has colon cancer, her daughter said Monday.

Aquino, 75, was swept into power by the peaceful "people power" revolt that ousted late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, cementing her as an icon of democracy.

Usually dressed in her trademark yellow in public, she has remained active in social and political causes. Most recently, she has been attending rallies calling for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Kris Aquino, fighting tears, read a statement on live television that said her mother had gone in for tests after suffering from high blood pressure and difficulty breathing during the Christmas and New Year holidays, then a persistent cough and weight loss.

"The result showed our mother is suffering from cancer of the colon," she said.

In recent years, the former president has become active in politics again as she has fought corruption in the Arroyo administration. At a time when her nation truly needs her, she is fighting a much more serious, much more personal battle. In her honor, may the people of her nation heed her words and opt for an end to government corruption and abuse of power.





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

Is It Time For Excommunication

Engaging in terrorism and support of terrorism by disrupting religious services strikes me as grounds for serious sanctions from religious authorities as well as civil authorities.

Six Iraq war protesters disrupted an Easter Mass on Sunday, shouting and squirting fake blood on themselves and parishioners in a packed auditorium.

Three men and three women startled the crowd during Cardinal Francis George's homily, yelling "Even the Pope calls for peace" as they were removed from the Mass by security guards and ushers.

One Mass attendee, Mike Wainscott of Chicago, yelled at the anti-war protesters.

"Are you happy with yourselves?" he said. "There were kids in there. You scared little kids with your selfish act. Are you happy now?"

The group, which calls itself Catholic Schoolgirls Against the War, said in a statement after the arrests that they targeted the Holy Name Cathedral on Easter to reach a large audience, including Chicago's most prominent Catholic citizens and the press, which usually covers the services.

Kevin Clark of International Solidarity Movement told the Chicago Tribune that he attended the Mass to serve as a witness for the protesters.

"If Cardinal George is a man of peace and is walking the walk and talking the talk, he should have confronted George Bush and demanded an immediate end to the war," Clark said.

Speaking after the service, George said, "We should all work for peace, but not by interrupting the worship of God."

First, let me note the lie in the group's name -- Catholic Schoolgirls Against the War. Setting aside the co-ed nature of the group, I cannot help but note that any true Catholic would not disrupt mass to make a political point.

And interestingly enough, these thugs were removed in a peaceful, safe manner with no injuries. I wonder what would have happened if they had descended on a mosque instead and engaged in the same sort of display, demanding that the leadership of the mosque call for an end to Muslim terrorism right at that moment? Would they have left that mosque uninjured? Would they have left with their heads still on their shoulders?

I'm curious -- when will anti-war leaders denounce these tactics of hate? And will the two remaining Democrats in the presidential race -- opponents of the war -- do so, especially since one is from Chicago.

MORE AT Michelle Malkin, Gateway Pundit, Hot Air, Dan Lee, Wizbang, Macsmind, Urban Grounds, Pirates Cove, Blue Crab Blvd.





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

March 23, 2008

The Easter Story According To The Gospel Of Matthew

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CHAPTER 28
1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.
4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.
6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”
8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.
9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.
10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”





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

Sorry For The Outage

Even having been away so much this month, traffic on the site has still been up quite high.

This led to a little bandwidth problem for much of the day -- a problem that has since been corrected.

I apologize for the difficulties you might have experienced earlier, and invite you all to come back and visit as often as you want, since the problem is now fixed.





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

Saudis Promise Religious Freedom For Christians

But with one minor proviso.

They must embrace key tenets of Islam and reject key tenets of Christianity.

No churches should be permitted in Saudi Arabia, unless Pope Benedict XVI recognised the prophet Mohammed, according to a Middle East expert.

While Saudi mediators are working with the Vatican on negotiations to allow places of religious worship, some experts believe it will not occur without this recognition.

Anwar Ashiqi, president of the Saudi centre for Middle East strategic studies, endorsed this view in an interview on the site of Arab satellite TV network, al-Arabiya on Thursday.

"I haven taken part in several meetings related to Islamic-Christian dialogue and there have been negotiations on this issue," he said.

"It would be possible to launch official negotiations to construct a church in Saudi Arabia only after the Pope and all the Christian churches recognise the prophet Mohammed."

"If they don't recognise him as a prophet, how can we have a church in the Saudi kingdom?"

Ashiqi's comments came after a declaration launched by the papal nuncio of the Persian Gulf, the archbishop Mounged El-Hachem, at the opening of the first Catholic church in Qatar last week.

The prelate had announced the launch of "treaties to construct a church in Saudi Arabia where it is banned to practise whatever religion they want outside Islam".

El-Hachem estimated three to four million Christians in the Saudi kingdom who want to have a church.

Let's see -- accepting Muhammad as a prophet would also require rejecting the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Oh, and also his divinity. In other words, Christians can have churches in Saudi Arabia just as soon as they apostasize and become Muslims.

Of course, that would means that there would be no need for Christian churches in Saudi Arabia. But then again, that is the Muslim view of religious freedom -- if you aren't Muslim, you have none.

Isn't it a wonderful insult for the Saudis to throw at the Christian world in the midst of the holiest season of the Christian faith?





|| Greg, 12:23 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Back To Prison For Domestic Terrorist

Many were outraged that this woman was allowed out of prison after so short a time -- especially given her years on the lam. But it turns out that the state of California miscalculated, and now Kathleen Soliah (I refuse to call her by the name she adopted while on the lam -- let her always be called by the name under which she was know while engaged in terrorism) is back behind bars where she belongs.

Former Symbionese Liberation Army radical Sara Jane Olson went back to prison Saturday after just five days as a free woman.

State corrections officials said they released Olson early because of a "clerical error." They said she must now return to a women's prison in Chowchilla to serve as many as two more years for her role in crimes including the 1975 murder of a Carmichael woman during a bank robbery.

"We understand how sensitive the impact of such an error has on all involved in this case and regret the mistake," said Scott Kernan, chief of adult operations for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, at an afternoon news conference in Sacramento.

Authorities arrested Olson - known as Kathleen Soliah during her SLA days - just before midnight Friday at Los Angeles International Airport. Olson, 61, had spent her brief freedom with relatives in Palmdale. She was minutes away from boarding a plane with her husband to return to family in Minnesota when eight corrections officers stopped her.

Olson's attorney, David Nickerson of San Rafael, said corrections officials "blew it" and had no right to arrest his client, whom they had given permission to serve a year of parole in Minnesota. He said he will mount a legal challenge as soon as court offices open Monday.

"They seem to be saying, 'We were massively incompetent: We gave her the wrong release date,' " Nickerson said. "Well, if they are so incompetent, how should we believe the new release date?"

I've got a solution -- let's make Soliah's release date the day she finishes every single second of her twelve-year sentence.

Now one prominent conservative blogger did express this sentiment.

...it’s hard not to sympathize with Soliah’s children, who must be crushed at this unexpected turn of events.

Yes, Ed, you have expressed outrage at her early release, but I'll reserve my sympathy for this child -- the son of one of Soliah's murder victims.

Jon Opsahl of Riverside, Myrna Opsahl's son, said Saturday he's thankful Olson will have to serve at least one more year, but it's still not enough.

"The judge, on her release, said 'For Sara Jane Olson to spend another day in prison would be an injustice: She's no threat to society.' It was my mother who was no threat to society," Opsahl said.

Soliah's children will get their mother back one day -- Jon Opsahl never will.

We need a change of law in this country -- one which forbids the early release of any terrorist, foreign or domestic.





|| Greg, 10:53 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Kicked Back And Relaxing

So, folks, did the Easter Bunny visit your house overnight, leaving baskets of goodies for the kids?

Well, he's home now, safe and sound, taking a bit of time to relax.

Ever wonder what the Easter Bunny does after a hard night delivering candy to little kids around the world?

Well, secret cameras have caught him relaxing at home.

Check out below the fold to see how he unwinds.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Kicked Back And Relaxing" »




|| Greg, 08:37 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 22, 2008

Since The Democrats Took Over Congress

We've seen the following changes in America.

Here are some of the outcomes of them being in control.

Up:

* Gasoline up from $2.19 to $3.35 or 53%
* Unemployment up from 4.5% to 5% or 11.1%
* National dept per ca pita was $27,677 then and now $31,551 or 14% higher.
* Congressional pay increase.


Down:

* Consumer confidence at multiple year lows.
* Equity value of mutual funds down $2.3 trillion.
* Home equity values down $1.2 trillion
* Congress's approval rating at all time low.

Remember, 2006 was all about change, according to the Democrats. And since the 2006 election, we've gotten plenty of change in the economy -- none of it good.

Indeed, it is likely that a Democrat victory in 2008 will result in Americans having nothing but change in their pockets and bank accounts by the time the next presidential election comes around.

Can America really afford any more of the "change" that the Democrats have given us?





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

Why Do We Fund The Terrorstinians? (BUMPED & UPDATED)

After all, they openly and proudly support deeds like this.

When a poll reveals all but a fraction of Palestinians support the murder of eight innocent Jewish seminarians, it shows a people wedded to evil. It's a short trip from this hate to the kind Hitler espoused.

The West Bank-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, a professional and independent polling agency that surveys Palestinians four times a year, has found that no less than 84% of 1,270 Palestinians questioned by the center in personal interviews said they supported the March 6 shooting inside Jerusalem's Mercaz Harav yeshiva.

The slaughter was carried out by East Jerusalem resident Alaa Abu Dheim, who was himself eventually killed during his attack. All but one of the eight he killed were teens, two of them only 15 years old. Another 11 were wounded.

Pollster Khalil Shikaki was understandably shocked at the results, which also found 75% support for scrapping Israeli-Palestinian talks and 64% support for the Hamas terrorist group's thousands of recent rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip on Israeli towns.

In other words, these backwards barbarians support terrorists entering a school and shooting the teenage students inside. They support lobbing rockets randomly at civilians without regard to cease-fire agreements. And they have no interest in actually seeking peace with Israel.

And yet the US government is releasing more funding to the "government" of the Terrorstinian Anarchy. Seems to me that we are just funding more terrorism, not creating a "partner for peace".

UPDATE: A pointed reminder of those murdered in the Mercaz Harav yeshiva terrorist attack leads me to bump this post up -- please take the time to read the material below the fold, and to remember each of these young men,

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Why Do We Fund The Terrorstinians? (BUMPED & UPDATED)" »




|| Greg, 01:11 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Classic Carville Quote

Let no one say that the Clintons and their surrogates are keeping things polite.

“An act of betrayal,” said James Carville, an adviser to Mrs. Clinton and a friend of Mr. Clinton.

“Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic,” Mr. Carville said, referring to Holy Week.

Now once can (and should) question whether endorsing Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton really qualifies as the moral equivalent of betraying the Son of God to the Temple authorities. But one would have hoped that the Obama campaign would have considered the timing of the endorsement before choosing Good Friday as the day to make it public.


But then again, given the rhetoric of Obama's pastor comparing him to Jesus Christ in his 2007 Christmas sermon, perhaps the timing wasn't a coincidence.

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|| Greg, 11:36 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Someone To Vote Against

Here's hoping that folks in Wilmer, Texas, have the common sense and common decency to vote against this guy.

A registered sex offender is running for mayor of a Dallas-area town.

James Brian Sliter wants to be mayor of Wilmer. The election is May 10.

Records show that Sliter was arrested four years ago for arranging sex with someone he thought was a 15-year-old girl on the Internet. When Sliter got to the meeting place, he was greeted by police instead of a teenager.

Sliter, who is now 42, said he needs to prove that he can be an asset to his community. He says that he's truly sorry and hopes voters realize that people make mistakes.

Sliter was charged with attempting to sexually assault a child and placed on 10 years probation, according to state records. He's eligible to run because he received deferred adjudication and not a conviction.

First, attempting to arrange to have sex with a child is not "a mistake".

Second, I hope the Texas Legislature takes the time to fix state law so as to make any registered sex offender ineligible to run for office.





|| Greg, 11:14 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Municipal Internet -- Deader Than A Doornail?

Many of us wondered about the feasibility (not to mention the propriety) of these municipal internet schemes when they were first announced. Now it would appear that we were right -- and there is a question as to how much these failed efforts will cost taxpayers.

It was hailed as Internet for the masses when Philadelphia officials announced plans in 2005 to erect the largest municipal Wi-Fi grid in the country, stretching wireless access over 135 square miles with the hope of bringing free or low-cost service to all residents, especially the poor.

Municipal officials in Chicago, Houston, San Francisco and 10 other major cities, as well as dozens of smaller towns, quickly said they would match Philadelphia’s plans.

But the excited momentum has sputtered to a standstill, tripped up by unrealistic ambitions and technological glitches. The conclusion that such ventures would not be profitable led to sudden withdrawals by service providers like EarthLink, the Internet company that had effectively cornered the market on the efforts by the larger cities.

Now, community organizations worry about their prospects for helping poor neighborhoods get online.

Of course, this begs the question of whether or not it is the responsibility of government (whether municipal, county, state, or federal) to provide internet access -- especially high-speed internet access -- to residents of any economic class. We wondered how the private companies involved would make a profit on the programs, and whether it would eventually be taxpayer dollars that would sustain what is, in the end, a luxury rather than a necessity. We also questioned how poor people who could not afford the cost of internet service could afford the cost of a computer to access that service if it were free.

While the last question has not been answered, advocates for free municipal wi-fi networks are already attacking what they see as the root problem that led to the failure of the programs in the American cities mentioned above -- free market capitalism and the concept of a profit-driven market.

“The entire for-profit model is the reason for the collapse in all these projects,” said Sascha Meinrath, technology analyst at the New America Foundation, a nonprofit research organization in Washington.

Mr. Meinrath said that advocates wanted to see American cities catch up with places like Athens, Leipzig and Vienna, where free or inexpensive Wi-Fi already exists in many areas.

He said that true municipal networks, the ones that are owned and operated by municipalities, were far more sustainable because they could take into account benefits that help cities beyond private profit, including property-value increases, education benefits and quality-of-life improvements that come with offering residents free wireless access.

So the solution, in the eyes of the folks from the New America Foundation, is increasing the level of socialism in America and undermining the free market. After all, if cities offer for free (or at cut rates) what private businesses have spend billions developing and building, we will quickly see the vast improvements in internet connectivity come to a screeching halt. After all, why invest in improving the ability to access the internet when the government is going to strip you of your market?

Adam Smith is no doubt whirling dervishly in his mausoleum.





|| Greg, 11:08 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 21, 2008

Good Friday 2008

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?





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

Silly Legislative Actions To Undo Historical Wrongs

"You mean witches? We have 'em too. We just pronounce it differently." -- Brigadoon

I think we'll all concede that there are no witches, at least not in the traditional sense of the malignant figures used to scare children.

And I think we'll all concede that there were massive wrongs done in witch hunts centuries ago, with men and women unjustly condemned for witchcraft.

But do we really need a legislative acknowledgment of centuries-old wrongs against accused and convicted witches?

Three years ago, Debra Avery and her family were shocked to learn they were direct descendants of Mary Sanford, a wife and mother of five who was hanged in Connecticut in 1692 after being convicted of witchcraft.

On Thursday, they trekked to the state Capitol, in the same city where Sanford and several other convicted witches were executed, to ask state lawmakers to restore their relative's good name. Legislators are considering a resolution that states that those convicted and their descendants should be freed from the stigma of the witchcraft accusations.

Avery, a New Preston resident and an eighth-generation great-granddaughter of Mary Sanford, said it has become a personal mission.

"We talk an awful lot about Mary being with us. We talk about whether we are Mary exonerating ourselves," she said. "But Mary has become a big part of our life. We talk about her a lot. I think it's in the DNA."

According to legislative research, it is believed that nine women and two men were convicted and hanged in the mid-1600s in Connecticut for witchcraft. Others were banished, indicted or fled the colony.

Two women were dropped into water to see if they possessed evil spirits. If they sank, they were innocent. But if they floated, they were guilty because the pure water cast out their evil spirit. One was acquitted while the other was given a reprieve by the General Assembly.

Others were also acquitted of the alleged crimes.

"Freed of the stigma"? Come on -- how much of a stigma is there, really, in 2008 over witchcraft charges in the seventeenth century? Do we really need legislation to acknowledge what everyone today admits -- that those accused were innocent of any wrongdoing? What next? Reparations for the descendants of those accused?

Sometimes we just have to recognize that great wrongs were done in the past, and that nothing we do or say today can undo them. All we can do is learn from them and move forward -- and that is not accomplished by breast-beating over the ancient wrongs.





|| Greg, 03:10 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Noting A Favorite Site

OK -- I'll admit it.

I'm a dog person.

And I've fallen in love with a certain website over the last few months.

One with pictures like the one below the fold.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Noting A Favorite Site" »




|| Greg, 02:52 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Maybe Paterson's Affair Is Relevant

I wrote this the other day regarding New York's new governor, David Paterson.

Oh, one last comment -- good luck to the people of New York and their new governor. Here's hoping that this story dies the death that it deserves -- because as I said above, an extramarital affair alone should not be fodder for the press or grounds for disqualification from office.

Man, I really hoped that my observation would be the last about his extramarital affairs, and those of his wife. After all, it appeared that they truly belonged in that personal zone of privacy that we ought to, but rarely do, afford politicians.

Unfortunately, there appears to be a little something more to this story that may mean it won't go away.

Concern is growing in Albany over the prospect that, even as Governor Paterson races to get on top of the budget crisis, the disclosures of his private sexual affairs have damaged — perhaps irreparably — his capacity to execute the state's highest office.

Dogged by suspicions that his campaign expenditures and his extramarital relationships were improperly entangled, Mr. Paterson heads into his second week on the job no longer the fresh face who symbolized a return to civility, but a weakened politician.

"Paterson's persona has been really damaged," a politics professor at Baruch College, Doug Muzzio, said. "On Monday, he was sitting on top of the world. It was, 'I am David Paterson and I am governor of New York.' It now becomes, 'I am David Paterson and I am this philandering, pay-for-it-with-other-people's-money type of guy,'"

For the third consecutive day, Mr. Paterson struggled to account for a 2002 payment, billed to the credit card of his campaign committee, for an Upper West Side hotel room where Mr. Paterson had a sexual liaison.

The governor, who served as lieutenant governor under Eliot Spitzer, has also been unable to explain the circumstances behind a $500 campaign payment to a woman with whom he was romantically involved.

Meanwhile, Paterson officials sought to provide details about more than $11,000 in payments that his campaign committee made between 2002 and 2007 to a 45-year-old woman, April Robbins-Bobyn, whose connection to Mr. Paterson is not clear.

Please tell me that he didn't expense the hotel room and sugar-daddy payments to his hot little honey. Please tell me that he didn't use funds that are regulated by ethics laws to pay for his affair.

But if he did, it looks like he has a major problem on his hands.

Tell me -- who is next in line of succession for the office of Governor of New York?

UPDATE: I just found the answer to the question.

One consequence of Mr. Paterson's elevation is that the next in line to be governor is the temporary president of the state Senate, Joseph Bruno, who has held that position since 1995, when newly-elected Governor Pataki and Senator D'Amato secured it for him.

Senator Bruno has repeatedly been described in the press as facing indictment for a variety of allegedly corrupt transactions, but so far he has escaped prosecution, and it is possible that he will never be charged.

If, however, Mr. Bruno became governor, and were subsequently forced to leave the office, whether for legal entanglements or for reasons of health — he was born in April 1929 — the next in line to be New York State's chief executive is Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has held that position since 1994 with increasing authority. In 2000, Mr. Silver crushed a revolt, punished the plotters, and solidified his power.

The denouement of this series of untimely events could be the accession of Shelly Silver as the 57th governor of New York State. A strong governor might control a dysfunctional legislature.

A Silver regime may cure the paralysis which has affected state government through decades of split responsibility and partisan conflict. However, it raises the issue of whether the taxpayers and voters of the state of New York would be better off with a divided, enfeebled legislature and governor than with officials who could really injure the people by their devotion to the special interests, labor, and business, and their persistent lobbyists, who in fact constitute the permanent government of the Empire State.





|| Greg, 01:47 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Is Iraq Important To Al-Qaeda?

The leading Dems say that it isn't. The head of al-Qaeda begs to differ.

Al-Jazeera broadcast on Thursday an audiotape on which a voice identified as Osama bin Laden declares "Iraq is the perfect base to set up the jihad to liberate Palestine."

The voice calls on "Muslims in neighboring countries" to "do their best in supporting their mujahedeen brothers in Iraq."

"My speech to you is about the siege of Gaza and the way to liberate it," he said.

"The Gaza siege is a direct result of Annapolis," he adds, apparently referring to the site of November's summit in Annapolis, Maryland, where Israeli and Palestinian leadership agreed to work toward a two-state plan.

He accused Arabs who supported the plan of having become "partners in this horrendous crime."

And he predicted, "Palestine will be restored to us, with God's permission, when we wake up from our slumber and adhere to our faith and sacrifice our souls and belongings for it."

So let's make it quite clear -- Osama bin Laden has declared Iraq to be a crucial front in his Jihad Against The Civilized World. He intends to turn the country into a staging area against the single free nation in the Middle East, Israel, and the interests of the US in the region.

Now please understand -- I'm not saying that those who support a US withdrawal from Iraq without victory are supporting the goals of al-Qaeda.

On the other hand, Osama bin Laden is.

That should be something to think about when casting a vote for President of the United States -- whose plan for Iraq does the most to advance the goals of al-Qaeda?





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

Richardson Endorses Obama

Setting up a situation that I have long expected -- a high probability of a Barack Obama-Bill Richardson ticket this fall.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the nation's only Hispanic governor, is endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for president, calling him a "once-in-a- lifetime leader" who can unite the nation and restore America's international leadership.

Richardson, who dropped out of the Democratic race in January, is to appear with Obama on Friday at a campaign event in Portland, Ore., The Associated Press has learned.

On one level, this endorsement and the increased likelihood of an Obama-Richardson ticket is somewhat comforting -- it means that one member of an Obama Administration would actually have some foreign policy experience. But on the other hand, I don't know if the ticket would really do Obama much good among Hispanic voters -- as I've noted in the past, the general response I've heard from Hispanic students (both on the high school and college levels) regarding Bill Richardson is that they consider him to be a privileged white guy with a white name. Can that perception be overcome? And what about the betrayal of the Clinton's by this long-time Clintonoid?





|| Greg, 09:56 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Will She Get A Dinner Invitation From Obama?

After all, besides maintaining a close personal relationship with his racism-spewing, terrorism-supporting anti-American pastor, Barack Obama maintains a tight relationship with Weather Underground terrorists William Ayers and Bernardine Dorhn.

Surely murdering terrorist Kathleen Soliah would fit right in around the Obama dining room table.

Kathleen Soliah, a former member of the radical Symbionese Liberation Army, was released on parole this week from a California women's prison after serving about six years behind bars for her role in a plot to kill Los Angeles police officers by blowing up their patrol cars.

* * *

Soliah pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing a destructive device with the intent to murder and also struck a deal in a separate case, in which she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for participating in a Sacramento bank robbery where another SLA member killed a customer. For the murder conviction, she received a one-year sentence. For the botched bombings, Soliah initially was sentenced to five years and four months, but that term was extended to 12 years by a state prison board after the board designated her a serious offender.

And now she is out of prison after serving only half her sentence.

Frankly, this scumbag (like every terrorist) merited nothing more than a single bullet to the back of the head and disposal of her remains in the local dump. Instead she became an icon to liberals. I hope the press does its job and asks both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton what they think about Soliah's release from prison -- and grill Obama about his relationship with the terrorists mentioned above.

H/T Michelle Malkin, Hot Air





|| Greg, 09:37 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

What Other Bloggers Are Saying About Sammy

Sammy bin Laden, of course.

And the good folks over at Salon.com have some interesting details in their round-up.

Small Dead Animals shows that al-Qaida evidently stole one screen capture in a recent propaganda video from the film 300: "The Al-Qaeda media braintrust's latest production incorporates images of Spartan spears drenched in the blood of Persians."

At Commentary's contentions, Emanuele Ottolenghi writes: "Bin Laden has just officially applied the doctrine of taqfir against Europe because of the Danish cartoons. Taqfir, it should be recounted, means the permission to punishment unbelievers by death: unbelief, more than any other sin, dooms souls to hell in Islamic thinking. What Bin Laden said is short for 'Europeans, as a body politic, are apostates. And they deserve to die.' " "People like OBL are incapable of seeing and understanding irony, aren't they?" says Michael van der Galien at PoliGazette. "Sure, it's perfectly fine to blow yourself up in the middle of a market, in an attempt to kill as many innocent 'non-believers' (and believers) as you can, but publishing a cartoon about the Prophet Muhammed is considered to be 'uncivil' and in breach with 'the etiquettes of dispute and fighting.' "

Steve Skojec says bring it on: "If you want a new crusade, Bin Laden, go ahead and go after the pope. Ever hear of the Battle of Lepanto? How about Granada? Vienna? The Catholic armies of the past broke the back of the Ottoman Empire and scattered the warriors of jihad so badly they had to nurse their wounds for centuries."

The Jawa Report thinks Bin Laden's dead: "The Muhammad cartoons were first published in September of 2005! There is literally no doubt in my mind now. This is an old audio, probably from 2006, of bin Laden. As Sahab must have been embarrassed that they had nothing to offer the world on this the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, so they hurriedly released an old audio they had lying around. The fact that there was no accompanying banner is evidence that they threw this together last minute." Pretty much, adds Report on Arrakis: "Why is Bin Laden harping on news from 2 years ago? No mention of Geert Wilders' upcoming movie? No one's even seen the movie and already you have some muslims foaming at the mouth. But Bin Laden only talks about the motoons, because he doesn't know about Fitna, because in most likelyhood he is dead."

The consensus? This is old material cobbled together to release a message now, rather than an actual message from bin Laden. Seems plausible -- but I don't know that I agree. After all, the Mohammad Cartoons are recent news again, and attacks on "Crusaders" are always timely.

Personally, I can only reiterate my earlier message -- "Kiss my bacon-grease smeared butt, you follower of Satan!"

And I offer this challenge to any offended liberal or Muslim -- would you care to explain why you find my insult to the belief system of the top terrorist to be offensive, or why you reject my contention that his beliefs and actions are Satanic in nature?





|| Greg, 09:21 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 20, 2008

Court Rules Constitution Allows Non-Discrimination Laws

One would have thought that the Fourteenth Amendment would have made this outcome a foregone conclusion, but it has taken a federal judge to rule that an amendment to Michigan's constitution that nearly verbatim copies provisions of the US civil rights law (in particular the 1964 Civil Rights Act) does not violate the US Constitution.

A federal judge Tuesday upheld the constitutionality of a Michigan law that prohibits racial and gender preferences in government hiring and public university admissions.

"To impugn the motives of 58 (percent) of Michigan's electorate, in the absence of extraordinary circumstances which do not exist here, simply is not warranted on this record," U.S. District Judge David Lawson wrote.

Michigan voters approved the constitutional amendment known as Proposal 2 in November 2006.

Several groups -- including the NAACP and By Any Means Necessary -- as well as minority high school and college students challenged the measure, saying it would reduce minority enrollment in public universities.

Among the arguments in the lawsuits was that Proposal 2 violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution as well as federal statutes.

Lawson rejected the claim. "The Court believes that Michigan may limit the ability of discrete groups to secure an advantage based upon a racial classification without offending the Fourteenth Amendment," he wrote.

George Washington, an attorney for BAMN, said the group planned to immediately file an appeal. "We will take this to the U.S. Supreme Court if we have to. This is racially targeted legislation of the worst kind. To say it's protecting equal rights is outrageous."

Now what is it that these pro-discrimination morons claim is so offensive tot he US Constitution? Well, this.

(1) The University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and any other public college or university, community college, or school district shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

(2) The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

(3) For the purposes of this section "state" includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the state itself, any city, county, any public college, university, or community college, school district, or other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of or within the State of Michigan not included in sub-section 1.

(4) This section does not prohibit action that must be taken to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, if ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the state.

(5) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting bona fide qualifications based on sex that are reasonably necessary to the normal operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

(6) The remedies available for violations of this section shall be the same, regardless of the injured party's race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin, as are otherwise available for violations of Michigan anti-discrimination law.

(7) This section shall be self-executing. If any part or parts of this section are found to be in conflict with the United States Constitution or federal law, the section shall be implemented to the maximum extent that the United States Constitution and federal law permit. Any provision held invalid shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.

(8) This section applies only to action taken after the effective date of this section.

(9) This section does not invalidate any court order or consent decree that is in force as of the effective date of this section.

On what legitimate basis can a voter initiative forbidding the use of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to either advantage or disadvantage individuals in the provision of government services be seen as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. If anything, it constitutes a demand by the people of the state of Michigan that its government operate consistent with the guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment.





|| Greg, 03:15 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Reminder Of The Tolerant Nature Of Islam

Another author has had to go into hiding in the face of death threats from the followers of the Religion of Peace.

BANGLADESHI writer Taslima Nasreen has left India after being hounded into hiding by death threats from Islamic extremists, her publisher and friends say.

"Taslima Nasreen flew out of New Delhi this afternoon to Europe for medical treatment,'' her publisher Sibani Mukherjee said.

She said Nasreen had asked her not to reveal the author's exact destination.

Close friends also told said she had left India, and some Indian television stations reported that Nasreen was headed for Canada.

Nasreen was forced to flee Bangladesh in 1994 after radical Muslims accused her of blasphemy over her novel Lajja (Shame') - which depicts the life of a Hindu family persecuted by Muslims in Bangladesh.

The 45-year-old gynaecologist-turned-author - whose predicament is similar to that of Indian-born British author Salman Rushdie - had been seeking permanent residence in India, where she moved after spending time in Europe and the United States.

But New Delhi had stalled the request, fearful of a backlash from the country's 140 million-plus Muslims, and has given the openly atheistic author only six-month visas.

Why the outrage over Nasreen's writings? is it because it depicts untruths about Islam? No -- it is because it depicts the truth about the status of religious minorities in Islamic societies. And an unflattering truth about Islam cannot be allowed to go unchallenged-- and those who speak such truths cannot be allowed to go unmurdered.

Personally, I would welcome Nasreen in this country -- not because I agree with her atheistic beliefs (non-beliefs?), but because I believe in her undeniable right to hold and express them freely. Indeed, there was a time that the "offenses" committed by Nasreen were considered to be human rights, and Western nations (even non-Western nations) sought to protect those who exercised those rights. Today, fear of Islamic terrorism leads many nations to back down or remain silent in the face of Islamic demands for the murder of those whose only crime is exercising their human rights.

But the threats of those who would kill Taslima Nasreen for the crime of speaking and writing freely once again leads to a choice between two strikingly sad realities -- either Islam is incompatible with human freedom, or it teaches that Muslims are not human beings.





|| Greg, 02:52 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Message To Sammy Bin Laden

Kiss my bacon-grease smeared butt, you follower of Satan!

Wednesday's audiotape from bin Laden was posted on a militant Web site that has carried al-Qaida statements in the past and bore the logo of the extremist group's media wing Al-Sahab.

"The response will be what you see and not what you hear and let our mothers bereave us if we do not make victorious our messenger of God," said a voice believed to be bin Laden's, without specifying what action would be taken.

He said the cartoons "came in the framework of a new Crusade in which the Pope of the Vatican has played a large, lengthy role," according to a transcript released by the SITE Institute, a U.S. group that monitors terror messages.

"You went overboard in your unbelief and freed yourselves of the etiquettes of dispute and fighting and went to the extent of publishing these insulting drawings," he said. "This is the greater and more serious tragedy, and reckoning for it will be more severe."

Why don't you act like a man and come crawling out of your cave? You know, instead of releasing video and audio statements, actually appear somewhere in person and say these things. I'm sure that any of the American media would be more than willing to give you the protection that you need.

And since most of them won't print the cartoons out of fear of giving you offense, here they are on my site. What are you going to do about it?

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In the West, we are free. In the Islamic Caliphate you envision, we would be slaves. I therefore reject you and your threats against those of us who exercise the freedom to reject your religion of hatred and violence.

H/T Michelle Malkin





|| Greg, 02:24 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Barack Calls All Whites Bigots

Well, now we understand why Barack Obama has stayed with Trinity UCC and racist Reverend Jeremiah Wright -- he holds to the views expressed by Wright from the pulpit that white people are inherently racist.

610 WIP (Philadelphia) host Angelo Cataldi asked Obama about his Tuesday morning speech on race at the National Constitution Center in which he referenced his own white grandmother and her prejudice. Obama told Cataldi that "The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity, but that she is a typical white person. If she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know (pause) there's a reaction in her that doesn't go away and it comes out in the wrong way."


Obama typical white person
by dollarsandsense123

Excuse me -- "a typical white person"????????

Sounds like more of the same racial and ethnic insults that come from Rev. Wright -- the guy who rants about "white greed" and "the US of KKK-A". Could you imagine if Hillary or McCain commented on "typical black people"? There would be a shit-storm so big that it would make Hurricane Katrina look like a gentle spring rain shower.

And this from a guy who demanded that Imus be fired for his "nappy-headed ho" comment. This comment therefore seems like an offense sufficient enough to require that he withdraw from the presidential race -- except, of course, that as a black man no liberal Democrat would have the guts to call him on his racism and hold him to the same standards a white candidate would be held to. Proof again that Geraldine Ferraro got it exactly right, and that Barack Obama is nothing but an affirmative action candidate who is held to a lower standard than a similarly situated white candidate would be.

H/T Campaign Spot, Holy Coast, Hot Air, Michelle Malkin

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Outside the Beltway, The Virtuous Republic, Rosemary's Thoughts, guerrilla radio, Adam's Blog, Right Truth, Leaning Straight Up, Pursuing Holiness, Allie is Wired, McCain Blogs, Miss Beth's Victory Dance, Blue Star Chronicles, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Dumb Ox Daily News, A Newt One, Tilting At Windmill Farms, Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





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

WaPo Acknowledges Dem Withdrawal Plans Dangerous, Unrealistic

The Washington Post unintentionally gives one more reason to vote Republican -- the cut-and-run plans of the Democrats will not only result in the abandonment of all the progress that has been made in Iraq, but will also directly lead to the civil war that they claim to want to avoid.

BOTH Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton propose withdrawing U.S. troops at the most rapid pace the Pentagon says is possible -- one brigade a month. In the 16 months or so it would take to remove those forces, they envision the near-miraculous accomplishment of every political goal the Bush administration has aimed at for five years, from the establishment of a stable government to agreement by Iraq's neighbors to support it. They suppose that the knowledge that American forces were leaving would inspire these accords. In fact, it more likely would cause all sides to discount U.S. influence and prepare to violently seize the space left by the departing Americans.

With equal implausibility, the Democratic candidates say they would leave limited U.S. forces behind to prevent al-Qaeda from establishing bases. They assume that an Iraqi government that had just been abandoned by the United States would consent to the continued presence of American forces on its territory. In all, Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama speak as if they have no understanding of Iraqi leaders, whom they propose to treat as willing puppets.

If there was a glimmer of sense in Mr. Obama's speech, it lay in his acknowledgment that "we will have to make tactical adjustments, listening to our commanders on the ground, to ensure that our interests in a stable Iraq are met and to make sure our troops are secure." Ms. Clinton conceded that "the critical question is how we can end this war responsibly" and added "it won't be easy." In fact it will be terribly hard -- and it can't be done responsibly in the way or on the timeline the two Democrats are proposing. We can only hope that, behind their wildly unrealistic campaign rhetoric, the candidates understand that reality.

So let's see -- a liberal bastion like the Washington Post has labeled the plans of the two remaining Democrat contenders as "unrealistic", "irresponsible", "implausible", and "dangerous". Indeed, the title of the editorial makes it clear that the proposals are so far from reality as to enter the realm of fantasy. What the editorial does not say -- perhaps because those responsible for this piece are wedded to the notion that the Democrats must win in November -- is that the proper solution to Iraq lies in voting for the one candidate who actually has a realistic plan for dealing with Iraq. That would be the Republican, John McCain.





|| Greg, 01:28 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Lefty Icon "Lyin' Joe" Wilson Backs Hillary, Dumps On Obama

No doubt sipping on tea on some porch somewhere at the behest of his wife Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson has spoken from on high about who has the necessary foreign policy credentials to serve as President. And the icon of the anti-Iraq War crowd says it ain't Obama.

Claims of superior intuitive judgment by his campaign and by him are self-evidently disingenuous, especially in light of disclosures about his long associations with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko. But his assertions of advanced judgment are also ludicrous when the question of what Obama has accomplished in his four years in the Senate is considered.

As the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee subcommittee on Europe, he has not chaired a single substantive oversight hearing, even though the breakdown in our relations with Europe and NATO is harming our operations in Afghanistan. Nor did he take a single official trip to Europe as chairman. This is the sum total of his actions in the most important responsibility he has had in the Senate. What are his actual experiences that reassure us that when the phone rings at 3 a.m. he will know what to do, which levers of power to pull, or which world leaders he can count on?

Obama has stated that he will rely upon his advisers. But how will he know which ones to depend upon and how will he be able to evaluate what they say? Already, one of his chief foreign policy advisers, Samantha Power, has been compelled to resign for, among other indiscretions, honestly revealing on a British television program that Obama's public position on withdrawal from Iraq is not really his true position, nor does it reflect what he would do. Her gaffe exposed a vein of cynicism on national security. How confident can we be in his judgment? In fact, the hard truth is that he has no such experience.

Obama has tried to have it both ways on the issue of national security. On the one hand, he claims his intuition somehow would make him best equipped to handle the difficult challenges that face the next president. On the other hand, he tries to ridicule and dismiss as relatively insignificant the idea that actual experience with and intimate knowledge of foreign affairs and leaders, the U.S. military, the intelligence community, and the intricacies of diplomacy matter. He has even suggested that talking about the problems of national security amounts to exploitation of "fear." One of Obama's fervent supporters, a Harvard professor named Orlando Patterson, who has no expertise in foreign policy, wrote absurdly in a New York Times op-ed that the 3 a.m. ad wasn't about national security at all, but really a subliminal racist attack. Delusions aside, sometimes a discussion about national security is about national security.

Well, all you Bush-hating leftoids -- this is the man you label to be a hero and a supremely trustworthy voice on foreign policy (despite a bipartisan Senate finding that he lied about his mission to Niger). He says Obama is unqualified and that electing the man would constitute a danger to the United States. If you trusted his judgment then, why won't you trust it now?





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Kettering University

As I’ve mentioned more than once around here, I’m a high school teacher. One of the things about teaching high school is that you end up hearing a lot about colleges and universities, and the various strengths and weaknesses of different programs. In recent years there has been a focus on co-op and internship programs, and how to get students “real world” experience to go along with their classroom learning.

That is one of the reasons I find the industrial engineering program at Kettering University to be intriguing. Kettering University offers engineering co-op programs that don't only provide a classroom education, but the sort of hands-on experience that is so important for young people entering today’s highly competitive job market. Having a degree isn’t enough today -- you've got to have some sort of work experience to go along with it.

How respected is this program? US News and World Report recently ranked Kettering University as "the #1 University in the nation for Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering". One of the reasons for this ranking was the unique engineering co-op programs, in which Kettering places students in companies beginning in their freshman year, rotating them between school and their co-op job every 3 months so that they gain practical experience. Not only do the students get experience outside the classroom, but they also earn a professional salary.

There are eleven science, business, and engineering programs and seven different majors to choose from at Kettering. Their program is one of the best in the nation. I’ll be encouraging students interested in engineering to at least take a look at Kettering and the opportunities they offer outside of the classroom. It is certainly a program worth examining.





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I Guess The Army Isn't Broken After All

Set aside the fact that we are (inconveniently, from a liberal Democrat perspective) winning in Iraq. We've been hearing from the Left that the US military is broken and defeated, and that's why we need to cut-and-run from Iraq.

One year ago, as President Bush decided to send more troops to Iraq, the conventional wisdom in Washington among opponents of the war was that the U.S. Army was on the verge of breaking.

In December 2006 former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell warned, "The active Army is about broken."

Ret. Gen. Barry McCaffrey, in a much-cited memo to West Point colleagues, wrote: "My bottom line is that the Army is unraveling, and if we don’t expend significant national energy to reverse that trend, sometime in the next two years we will break the Army just like we did during Vietnam."

Army Maj. Gen. Bob Scales, the former head of the Army War College, agreed. He wrote in an editorial in the Washington Times on March 30:

"If you haven't heard the news, I'm afraid your Army is broken, a victim of too many missions for too few soldiers for too long. ... Today, anecdotal evidence of collapse is all around."

But interestingly enough, Scales now admits that his assessment was dead wrong.

But now, one year later, Scales has done an about-face. He says that he was wrong. Despite all the predictions of imminent collapse, the U.S. Army and the combat brigades have proven to be surprisingly resilient.

According to Army statistics obtained exclusively by FOX News, 70 percent of soldiers eligible to re-enlist in 2006 did so — a re-enlistment rate higher than before Sept. 11, 2001. For the past 10 years, the enlisted retention rates of the Army have exceeded 100 percent. As of last Nov. 13, Army re-enlistment was 137 percent of its stated goal.

Scales, a FOX News contributor, said he based his assessment last year "on the statistics that showed a high attrition among enlisted soldiers, officers who were leaving the service early, and a decline in the quality of enlistments," a reference to the rising number of waivers given for "moral defects" such as drug use and lowered educational requirements.

"In fact, what we've seen over the last year is that the Army retention rates are pretty high, that re-enlistments, for instance, particularly re-enlistments in Iraq and Afghanistan, remain very high," Scales said. He noted that re-enlistments were high even among troops who have served multiple tours.

Not only that, but the predicted loss of those often considered to be the backbone of the military just hasn't happened.

But Scales says the desertion by mid-grade officers — captains and majors — just hasn’t occurred as predicted.

"The Army's collapse after Vietnam was presaged by a desertion of mid-grade officers (captains) and non-commissioned officers," Scales wrote a year ago. "Many were killed or wounded. Most left because they and their families were tired and didn't want to serve in units unprepared for war....

"If we lose our sergeants and captains, the Army breaks again. It's just that simple. That's why these soldiers are still the canaries in the readiness coal-mine. And, again, if you look closely, you will see that these canaries are fleeing their cages in frightening numbers."

But an internal Army document prepared at the request of Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey and obtained by FOX News suggests that the comparison to the "hollow Army" of 1972 near the end of the Vietnam War is inappropriate.

The main reason: Today's Army is an all-volunteer force, and the Army in Vietnam largely was composed of draftees.

Captain losses have remained steady at about 11 percent since 1990, and the loss of majors has been unchanged at about 6 percent.

"To date, the data do not show heightened levels of junior officer departures that can be tied directly to multiple rotations in Afghanistan or Iraq," the internal Army memo concludes.

In other words, the phenomena that were supposed to be indicative of the weakening of the US military just are not happening. And while that may be disturbing to those whose political goals require the defeat of the American armed forces, it is ample reason for Americans to reject the defeatism which would have been appropriately labeled as defeatism and sedition in an earlier generation, back when patriotism and support of the military were still strongly held values among Democrats, not just Republicans.





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Will The IRS Act Against Trinity UCC?

Watch and listen to the Christmas sermon of Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Jeremiah Wright is clearly engaging in political speech on behalf of Barack Obama and against Hillary Clinton BY NAME from the pulpit in his sermon. Doesn't this violate IRS regulations? Or is there a special exemption for black churches? If so, doesn't that violate the Fourteenth Amendment as well as the First Amendment?

Oddly enough, the liberal anti-Christian group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has not made any public statement about the status of Trinity UCC in light of the comments of its pastor. Why not? Could it be that Barry Lynn, the head of that organization, is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ? Or is it that Barry Lynn is too busy going after conservative pastors who act within IRS regulations.

By the way -- does anyone catch the false historical assertion that Jesus was black. I guess that Rev. Wright has never seen a Jew.

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March 19, 2008

Diggin' Dinos

Now here's an interesting bit of news for all of us dinosaur buffs -- a mummified dinosaur!

Using tiny brushes and chisels, workers picking at a big greenish-black rock in the basement of North Dakota's state museum are meticulously uncovering something amazing: a nearly complete dinosaur, skin and all.

Think about the possibilities here -- we can learn much more about the anatomy and physiology of these long-extinct beasts.

Unlike almost every other dinosaur fossil ever found, the Edmontosaurus named Dakota—a duckbilled dinosaur found in southwestern North Dakota in 1999 and announced to the public last December — is covered by fossilized skin that is hard as iron.

It's among just a few mummified dinosaurs in the world, say the researchers who are slowly freeing it from a 65-million-year-old rock tomb.

"This is the closest many people will ever get to seeing what large parts of a dinosaur actually looked like, in the flesh," said Phillip Manning, a paleontologist at Manchester University in England, a member of the international team researching Dakota and a National Geographic Expeditions Council grantee.

"This is not the usual disjointed sentence or fragment of a word that the fossil records offer up as evidence of past life," Manning said. "This is a full chapter."

Frankly, the possibilities are intriguing. This is probably the best preserved fossil of its type, and so we are getting the opportunity to learn about the soft-tissue structures that most fossils do not preserve. We've got lots of fossilized bones, but few fossilized hearts, as an example.

And what's more, there is talk of a world tour for this fossil. That means that Dakota could be coming to a town near you one day, and you might actually get to see what a real dinosaur looked like.

Eat your heart out, Steven Spielberg!





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Science Fiction Giant Arthur C. Clarke Dies

Sir Arthur C. Clarke wrote what may be the greatest science fiction book of all time, 2001: A Space Odyssey. But the prolific author and scientist published much more than that one work, and worked to promote scientific understanding and advancement during his many decades of work.

Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the science fiction writer, has died aged 90 in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, it was confirmed tonight.

Clarke, who had battled debilitating post-polio syndrome since the 1960s and sometimes used a wheelchair, died at 1:30am after suffering breathing problems, his personal secretary Rohan De Silva said.

“Sir Arthur passed away a short while ago at the Apollo Hospital [in Colombo]. He had a cardio-respiratory attack,” he said.

* * *

The visionary author of more than 70 books, who was nominated for a Nobel Prize after predicting the existence of satellites, was most famous for his short story "The Sentinel", which was expanded into the novel that was later adapted for Stanley Kubrick's film "2001: A Space Odyssey".

He was also credited with inventing the concept of communications satellites in 1945, decades before they became a reality.

Clarke was the last surviving member of what was sometimes known as the "Big Three" of science fiction, alongside Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov.

The astronomer Sir Patrick Moore said that his friend was a “great visionary, brilliant science-fiction writer and great forecaster”.

“He said there would be a man on the Moon by 1970, while I said 1980 — and he was right,” he said.

“He was ahead of his time in so many ways. I’m very, very sad that he’s gone."

What is amazing to consider is that Clarke was working int he field of space science long before there was an actual space program, and that he was considered enough of a scientific expert to be brought on as a commentator by CBS News during its coverage of the Apollo program so many years ago.

And with the passing of Arthur C. Clarke comes the closing of an era in science fiction. He was the last of the giants of that era, the last of the authors who made the genre respectable and lifted it above the realm of pulp fiction. To class him with Asimov and Heinlein is quite appropriate, for the trio have the distinction of having written so many great works that still hold up to scrutiny decades after their publication.

Farewell, Sir Arthur C. Clarke -- and thanks for the many hours of pleasure your works brought to my life and the lives of so many others.





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March 18, 2008

Fisking The Obama Speech

OK -- it is supposed to be the speech to overcome the Jeremiah Wright situation. Let's take a look at the thing and see if it worked.

We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution - a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

Great words -- seriously great words. Indeed, words that I agree with completely, and will likely include in my course materials the next time I teach American government. Why? Because Obama has it exactly right here -- the Constitution is not and never has been a perfect document and can probably never be perfected due to the flaws of humanity -- what those of us from certain faith traditions call "Original Sin". But to the degree to which we work to perfect the Constitution, we fulfill the Founders' vision. I am struck, though, by the fact that Barack Obama left out the most important means by which we perfect that document -- though the process of amendment, which is the means by which the document was intended to grow and change, rather than through the activism of judges of either the Left or Right.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign - to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

Beautiful rhetoric, but does it really mean anything? After all, every candidate argues that they are working to bring the hopes and dreams of Americans to fruition in the better futures of succeeding generations, and that they are best suited to make that happen. In other words, he's just said nothing of significance.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the worlds poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It’s a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one.

True -- but do ancestry and biography really add up to competency?

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either too black or not black enough. We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

Indeed, it has been the folks on the Left who have engaged in that discussion, not those of us on the Right. We on the Right have long-since embraced the color-blind vision of Martin Luther King and other great Americans -- and when we echo his call we are accused of being unrealistic and insincere. I really don't care that Barack Hussein Obama is a man of mixed racial heritage whose father was raised in a faith other than Christianity -- I care solely about his competence and his character. Sadly, I find it necessary to question both because of the Wright affair.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

Because you say that your candidacy is not about race while playing upon your racial heritage -- and condemning any opponent who raises the same issues.

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that its based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

And it has only taken you two decades to recognize that those statements are offensive and say so in a public fashion. That, sir, is a sign that you are either oblivious to the extremist, racist rhetoric of your pastor or dishonest in the claims you have made over the last several days. Personally, I believe the latter to be the case, given your sudden exclusion of Rev. Wright from the festivities surrounding the announcement of your candidacy over a year ago AND the inclusion of some of his race-based rhetoric in your other writings, quoting Wright as describing the world as a place where "white folks’ greed runs a world in need." You didn't denounce that rhetoric, sir -- you joined his church because you were inspired by it. That isn't my claim -- it is yours! You clearly cannot have it both ways.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy.

Except for the ones you have praised.

For some, nagging questions remain.

Such as, "Why is this man lying to the American people, and does he really believe that we are dumb enough to fall for it?"

Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course.

And that is not, in and of itself, a problem. After all, many of us disagree with this or that element of American policy in very strong terms. But that isn't the issue, and you know it.

Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes.

Again, not a problem. I've been on both sides of that pulpit, sir, and I have both said and heard controversial things. That is not, in and of itself, a problem.

Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

Sure I have -- at times I have felt that they have strayed from the Gospel, at other times I have thought that they were simply incorrect in their interpretation of Scripture or politically naive. And I include in that a particular former pastor of a United Church of Christ congregation with whom I chose to maintain a particularly close personal relationship -- my wife, who I love with all my heart even when I believe her to be dead wrong.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wrights comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Well, at least you are honest enough to get to the heart of the problem. You are honest enough to condemn the indefensible -- statements that are incompatible with the Gospel and with patriotism. But you have been aware of these sorts of statements for a long time -- if not with the particular ones currently cited, then with similar ones made in your presence. You did and said nothing, and remained a member of this man's congregation, dedicated a book to him and proudly declared him to be your spiritual mentor? Where was your concern about bringing people together then, Senator? Or did that only become a priority when Wright's anti-American, anti-white, anti-Semitic rantings became public?

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way.

Indeed, Senator, renouncing your membership in Trinity UCC is precisely what you should have done at this point -- as well as calling for an IRS investigation of the church's tax-exempt status because of Wright's explicit support for you and attack upon your major opponent from the pulpit in his Christmas sermon. Instead you have begun an attack upon those who have brought the words of Jeremiah Wright into the light.

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing Gods work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

Yeah, he has done a lot of good things. However, that doesn't negate his hatemongering from the pulpit. But then again, given you include a domestic terrorist among your friends (William Ayers), I guess you have a high level of tolerance for those who hate America and attack this country rather than its enemies. That is not, however, a quality that is acceptable in a President.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverends voice up into the rafters….And in that single note - hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lions den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories - of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild.

Interestingly enough, you fail to note that comment I mentioned earlier about "white folks’ greed" -- despite the fact that it is quoted on the page just prior to this passage in your book. Great job with the creative editing -- but lousy job with the candor and honesty.

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

So are you trying to say that anti-American rhetoric is a staple of the black church? If so, you have just set race relations back decades, Senator, and made it clear that while America may be ready for a black president, the black community is not fit to produce one.

That is not, fortunately, the case. Great Americans like JC Watts, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, Kenneth Blackwell, Michael Steele, and so many others have risen to great heights in this country and loved this country. That you choose to associate with those who do not love this country and embrace them shows your unfitness for office. I would gladly vote for any of the above individuals for any office -- but never, ever, for you. Not because of your race, but because of your willingness to defame your race to embrace the black equivalent of Fred Phelps.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

But we now know that he does these things from the pulpit -- and yet you refuse to definitively break from him.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Again, you defame the black community to justify your embrace of a black David Duke. You are sowing division, sir, not unity. And let's not forget -- your grandmother merely echoes the words of Jesse Jackson when she expresses fear of young black men on the streets.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not.

Yes, Senator, it is. Quit lying to the American people.

I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

The difference, of course, being that Ferraro was correct and Wright is wrong. Ferraro made the truthful observation that it would be virtually impossible for a white candidate of such meager qualifications to be the front-runner for the nomination of either party's presidential nomination, while you have really gotten a pass up to this point because of the notion that your candidacy is the litmus test for America on race.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

So now your candidacy is about race? I thought it wasn't about race. or is it only about race when it is to your advantage to have your candidacy be about race?

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past. We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments - meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for ones family, contributed to the erosion of black families - a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods - parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement - all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

Interesting -- you tell us we don't need to recite the litany of injustice and racism and then proceed to recite it. Why?

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it - those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations - those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politicians own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

Actually, it is more important to condemn it than to understand it. And it is important to denounce and renounce the racial dinosaurs like Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Louis Farrakhan as apart of coming of age and unifying this country. Just as no one insists that we "understand" David Duke or Fred Phelps, it is wrong to extend such understanding to African-Americans who are equally bigoted in their beliefs and their rhetoric.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no ones handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

In other words, the demands of the Jeremiah Wrights of this world and their willingness to denounce any criticism as racist has brought about a justified resentment.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Not true, Senator -- when we attempt to engage in those discussions we are told that we are guilty because of our race and that we have nothing to contribute. When we embrace the vision of Dr. King, we are told that the color of our skin somehow disqualifies us from actively participating in the conversation about race.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze - a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns - this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

How much did your wife make in that corporate culture? And do you want to talk about the greed of associates like Tony Rezko and your insider dealings with him -- you know, the ones that your campaign tried to hide by dribbling them out on Friday during the height of the Wright crisis?

This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

How about if we try to get beyond our racial divisions by doing away with the racial spoils system that is affirmative action, and instead look at character, qualifications, and merit? Oh, that's right -- if America did that, your candidacy would be over.

But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives - by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American - and yes, conservative - notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

Well, then, Senator -- why don't you start embracing some of that conservative vision instead of promoting more left-wing, statist solutions that have failed again and again in the past. Government did the most to keep black people down in this country, and individuals who acted to bring about change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. Its that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country - a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds - by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

I can agree with you here, sir -- but then again, that has been the view of conservatives during my entire lifetime. Why should we embrace your liberalism -- a philosophy that thrives on exploiting those divisions and the notion of victimhood -- to solve the very problems that liberalism needs to succeed?

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the worlds great religions demand - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

There is a way to do that -- VOTE REPUBLICAN!

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wrights sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

And yet somehow the fact that 90% of blacks are voting for you can be ignored -- and will be called "playing the race card" if someone does comment upon that reality. And the fact that the white male vote is split between all three remaining candidates is a reality -- so quit building up strawmen.

We can do that.

And you have and you will.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, Not this time. This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

And as a white man teaching in a classroom in which I am sometimes the only white person, I can offer you some suggestions. But it comes not from another government program, but by raising expectations from every segment of society. It comes from allowing us to hold students accountable for learning and behavior, and not having parents scream "racism" every time a kid gets in trouble or holding a protest march because someone doesn't like a decision or objects to an expectation.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

Excuse me -- you will get treated in any emergency room in this country, and the government will pick up the tab. You don't even have to be a citizen -- or even in the country legally -- to get that benefit.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; its that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

And your solution? More government intervention in the economy? Like that has worked! More government always equals less freedom.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how well show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

In other words, cut-and-run. And, as you and your aides have admitted, go back after allowing the enemy to rest, rebuild, and rearm.

I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation - the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today - a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and thats when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, I am here because of Ashley.

I'm here because of Ashley. By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

Nice fluff story -- but all it proves is that you believe that government's role is to take from the wealthy to give to the poor. That, sir, is not America.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

Unfortunately, your vision is incompatible with the vision of the band of patriots you praise in your conclusion. They would stand against you and your vision for America. And so do I.

And since you won't take a forthright stand against your dear friend the anti-American racist who preaches hate from his pulpit, none of it really matters -- you are unfit for office.





|| Greg, 07:15 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Note On The Spitzer Story

One of the things about being out of the loop for the last week was that I missed the Elliot Spitzer story when it was timely. I would, however, like to say a few words about it.

1) You know, I don't care about the extramarital affair part of the story. That truly is between him and his wife, and how they handle that situation is not for me to comment upon. Indeed, it would be my hope that an extramarital affair alone would be deemed not to be newsworthy by the media. The private failings of a human being are precisely that -- even when that human being is a public person, such a politician. It is why I don't care about the story that Democrats tried to push last week regarding John McCain. Marital infidelity alone is simply not a disqualifier for me.

2) What I do care about in this case is the issue of illegal conduct. In this case, "Client 9" broke the law against prostitution. Now we can argue about whether or not there SHOULD be a law against prostitution (after all, as my libertarian friends would argue, is there a compelling government interest in banning prostitution?), but the reality is that laws were broken by Spitzer -- laws against prostitution, against interstate trafficking in human beings, and regarding certain sorts of financial transactions. As such, his continuance in office really was not an option. Indeed, this is where my problem with Bill Clinton arose -- it was the perjury and other possible illegal actions related to his involvement with Monica Lewinsky that led me to believe he should be removed from office, not the sexual infidelity itself.

3) The fall-out. Spitzer was a big supporter of Hillary Clinton. As such, this should have really hurt her by calling to mind her husband's illicit deeds. I expected this to be a net positive for Barack Obama -- until it was overshadowed by the Jeremiah Wright story. Given the way that latter story broke, the Spitzer story becomes a was -- neither hurting nor helping either of the presidential contenders.

Oh, one last comment -- good luck to the people of New York and their new governor. Here's hoping that this story dies the death that it deserves -- because as I said above, an extramarital affair alone should not be fodder for the press or grounds for disqualification from office.





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I'm Back

I've been gone a while here, and I want to offer an explanation.

As I've mentioned a couple of times recently, my mother-in-law has bee seriously ill for some time. We made that hellacious trip through Pittsburgh to visit her and mark her 82nd birthday about three weeks ago. We also made arrangements for her to enter a local nursing home.

Over the next ten days, she declined, passing away on March 7. On March 10, my wife and I traveled east again, to bury her mother. That was followed by several days of packing up her home and driving a U-Haul back to Texas. We arrived home about 24 hours ago.

There are many things I could say about my mother-in-law. A lot of guys do not have the blessing that I did, of a woman who accepted me as her own and who never scrimped in the love that she showed me. Indeed, I used to look forward to getting on the cell phone many afternoons after school, just to talk to her for a few minutes and see how she was doing. And I thank God daily for the greatest gift my mother-in-law gave me, the gift of my wife, who she raised alone after losing her husband four decades ago when my wife was very young. Frankly, I am going to miss her very much, though not nearly as much as my wife does.

Anyway, that is why I've not been posting here lately. I'll get back into the stream of things here shortly -- just give me time.





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

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Change & The Cessation of British History by Wolf Howling, and Guitar Heroes by Michael Yon.  Here is a link to the full results of the vote):

VotesCouncil link
2  1/3Change & The Cessation of British History
Wolf Howling
2Californichusetts
Big Lizards
2/3Obama-Rezko and Media Ignorance of "The Chicago Way"
Right Wing Nut House
2/3The Cook County Fiscal Mess
The Glittering Eye
2/3A Long Ten Minutes
Soccer Dad
1/3Biology Will Have Its Way *UPDATE*
Bookworm Room
1/3Torture
Joshuapundit
1/3Exposing Washington's Wasteful Ways: Where's PigFoot?
The Education Wonks
1/3Bush Wields a Necessary Veto
Cheat Seeking Missiles

VotesNon-council link
3Guitar Heroes
Michael Yon
1  1/3An Empty Revolution
Foreign Affairs
1  1/3The Tragedy of the Democratic Party
American Thinker
1  1/3The High School Massacre
Townhall.com
1Attorney Jon Schoenhorn's Arguments in the Doninger Case at the Second Circuit
Orient Lodge
1/3Amid Charges of Spitzer Tryst, Embattled Prostitute "Kristen" Expected to Resign
Iowahawk
1/3Rubbernecking (or Holy Crap, I Kind of Agree with MoDo for the Second Time in a Month)[Dan Collins]
Protein Wisdom
1/3Confused Americans for Truth -- Here's How Barack Obama Can Prove He Has What It Takes
The Conservative Cat

I didn't vote this week because of the family situation I mentioned below, and got hit by a vote penalty as a result. However, I know that would not have put me anywhere near the winning entry for the week.





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

March 14, 2008

Still Alive

Really, I am.

The family situation is in hand, just need a couple of days to get life back to normal.

I've missed blogging, and missed hearing back from folks.

I haven't missed the spam.

Details will be forthcoming -- next week.





|| Greg, 07:50 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 10, 2008

Blogging Will Be Sporadic

A family crisis has arisen.

Blogging will be "catch as catch can" for the next several days, depending upon events during that time.

I'll offer more of an explanation at a future date -- I'm just not ready to say more at this time.

In the mean time, be welcoming to my guest blogger.





|| Greg, 09:29 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Honor For Heroism, Long Overdue

I'm sorry I didn't get to this story sooner, but I only found out about it today. An American hero has been honored for his bravery in combat, and has been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor to Master Sergeant Woodrow W. Keeble, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty:

In action with an armed enemy near Sangsan-ni, Korea, on 20 October, 1951. On that day, Master Sergeant Keeble was an acting platoon leader for the support platoon in Company G, 19th Infantry, in the attack on Hill 765, a steep and rugged position that was well defended by the enemy. Leading the support platoon, Master Sergeant Keeble saw that the attacking elements had become pinned down on the slope by heavy enemy fire from three well-fortified and strategically placed enemy positions. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Master Sergeant Keeble dashed forward and joined the pinned-down platoon. Then, hugging the ground, Master Sergeant Keeble crawled forward alone until he was in close proximity to one of the hostile machine-gun emplacements. Ignoring the heavy fire that the crew trained on him, Master Sergeant Keeble activated a grenade and threw it with great accuracy, successfully destroying the position. Continuing his one-man assault, he moved to the second enemy position and destroyed it with another grenade. Despite the fact that the enemy troops were now directing their firepower against him and unleashing a shower of grenades in a frantic attempt to stop his advance, he moved forward against the third hostile emplacement, and skillfully neutralized the remaining enemy position. As his comrades moved forward to join him, Master Sergeant Keeble continued to direct accurate fire against nearby trenches, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Inspired by his courage, Company G successfully moved forward and seized its important objective. The extraordinary courage, selfless service, and devotion to duty displayed that day by Master Sergeant Keeble was an inspiration to all around him and reflected great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

The delay in this award is, depending upon whose side you accept, based upon either lost paperwork or racial animus towards Woody Keeble, a member of the Sioux tribe. And yet regardless of the reason, it is important that all of us note the award and honor his memory.

H/T Pink Flamingo





|| Greg, 01:49 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 09, 2008

Judge Places Political Views Over Foster Child's Desire To Serve His Country

Because, after all, she has the power to impose her views on him.

Shawn Sage long dreamed of joining the military, and watching "Full Metal Jacket" last year really sold him on becoming a Marine.

But last fall, a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner dashed the foster teen's hopes of early enlistment for Marine sniper duty, plus a potential $10,000 signing bonus.

In denying the Royal High School student delayed entry into the Marine Corps, Children's Court Commissioner Marilyn Mackel reportedly told Sage and a recruiter that she didn't approve of the Iraq war, didn't trust recruiters and didn't support the military.

"The judge said she didn't support the Iraq war for any reason why we're over there," said Marine recruiter Sgt. Guillermo Medrano of the Simi Valley USMC recruiting office.

"She just said all recruiters were the same - that they `all tap dance and tell me what I want to hear.' She said she didn't want him to fight in it."

Sage, 17, said he begged for Mackel's permission.

"Foster children shouldn't be denied (an) ability to enlist in the service just because they're foster kids," he said. "Foster kids shouldn't have to go to court to gain approval to serve one's country."

Mackel, a juvenile dependency commissioner at the Children's Court in Monterey Park, declined through a clerk to speak about any court case or comments she may have made in court.

Now let's be honest. Some recruiters are over-zealous. But here is a kid who has dreamed of joining the military since he was 7 years old, and who has chosen which branch he wants to join. On what legitimate basis does she impose her own views upon him? And upon what basis does she allow her bailiff to harangue the young man -- and another foster child, who was denied permission to enter the Delayed Entry Program for the Navy -- over a decision made out of love of country?

Interestingly enough, the judge and the bailiff, neither of whom know Shawn Sage, were the only two people in the courtroom who objected to his plans. His foster parents and social worker, who know him well, supported the decision. But that didn't stop Mackel from acting on her anti-military (and, may I say, anti-American) bias to deny the young man his freedom of choice.

What is particularly galling here is that if Shawn were a female foster child seeking an abortion, there would probably be no need for permission and it would almost certainly not be denied by Mackel if it were needed. But a patriotic desire to serve one's country doesn't merit such consideration in her eyes.





|| Greg, 03:11 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Malkin Profile

The Baltimore Sun presents a very fair look at the lovely and multi-talented Michelle Malkin.

A couple of quotes stand out in the article.

. I've lived among many different kinds of people in this country, and it has always been the case -- in life or on the Internet -- that the most vicious attacks I've faced have not come from the archetypal red-necked bigots on the right. It's always been the people who profess to have the best intentions for me and my race and my gender. The loudest cheerleaders for tolerance are the most intolerant of all."

And she is even more explicit in her observation later on.

It also amuses her that so few of her critics realize "I actually believe what I believe." Why, she says, should being born "with brown skin and a uterus" confine her to any particular set of beliefs?

In other words, it isn't her fellow conservatives who hold to stereotyped views of what a woman or an ethnic minority ought to believe. Rather, it is those who rant and rave about diversity who object most strongly to her words -- because she threatens their stereotypical notion of what "diverse" (read that liberal) views she is supposed to bring to the debate because of the color of her skin and her genitalia. And it is why she is regularly berated and attacked in the most vile racist and sexist terms by writers who claim to be opposed to racism and sexism.

Michelle Malkin remains one of the most articulate voices on the right side of the blogosphere -- and this conservative would like to express his appreciation and love for her.





|| Greg, 02:47 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

SNL Spoofs Obama, Hillary

I find this one amusing -- in a scary sort of way.

After all, Obama is completely unprepared and unqualified to handle the sort of national security situation depicted here.

And the notion of Hillary on the phone -- either directly or behind the scenes -- makes my blood run cold.

The answer is, of course, strikingly obvious.

John McCain for President in 2008.

H/T Malkin





|| Greg, 01:36 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Another Obama Win

But does Wyoming really matter?

Sen. Barack Obama captured the Wyoming Democratic caucuses Saturday, seizing a bit of momentum in the close, hard-fought race with rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for the party's presidential nomination.

Obama generally has outperformed Clinton in caucuses, which reward organization and voter passion more than do primaries. The Illinois senator has now won 13 caucuses to Clinton's three.

Obama has also shown strength in the Mountain West, winning Idaho, Utah, Colorado and now Wyoming. The two split Nevada, with Clinton winning the popular vote and Obama more delegates.

Let's be honest here. We are talking a 7-5 split in caususes in a state so red that it is impossible to imagine it going Democrat in the fall. Given Obama's general success in caucus states, it strikes me that what we really have here is something of a draw. Yes, Obama can claim a win, but it was hardly decisive. And while Hillary lost, she can claim a moral victory in keeping it so close in a caucus situation.

What will matter is Pennsylvania on April 22. Until then, expect the race to be nasty.





|| Greg, 01:32 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 08, 2008

Cattle Rustling Sure Has Changed

You would have thought that this crime is something relegated to the past -- but it appears that cattle rustling is alive and well in Idaho, with a twist.

Two guys and a four-door sedan.

That's all it took for cattle rustlers to relieve dairy owner Pete Wiersma of three valuable calves.

Once the province of outlaws and the bane of hardscrabble ranchers who grazed their cattle on the open range, cattle rustling has never gone away. Like the livestock industry, it's only gotten more efficient.

In general, cattle rustling tends to increase whenever beef prices are high, said Larry Hayhurst, head of the Idaho State Police Division of brands. Because the price of cattle feed has been relatively high this year — making the cattle more expensive to raise and lowering the potential profit — the theft reports should be on a downswing. But in rural dairy regions — where milk cows can nearly always fetch a high price and methamphetamine use is becoming as much a part of the landscape as grain silos and milking barns — the rustling reports seem to stay fairly constant.

The Idaho State Police gets between 300 and 500 reports of lost or missing cattle a year, Hayhurst said. The numbers have been consistent for about a decade.

* * *

"Rustling is alive and well everywhere in the West," said Jim Connelley, director of the Division of Livestock Investigation for Nevada's Department of Agriculture. "The gooseneck trailer and diesel pickup are probably the best piece of equipment to come to a rancher in many years and also the most useful equipment for a rustler."

A gooseneck trailer allows a pickup to haul a heavier load.

The pickings are even easier on many dairies. Investigators are still looking for the thieves who stole three of Wiersma's yearling heifers, valued at around $700 each, several weeks ago. Brown, the Twin Falls County sergeant, said the calves — which were unbranded — are probably long gone.

"The way that it happens is you drive your little Mazda into the dairy, in the back where the cameras don't pick it up," Brown said. "And you take four small calves out of the calf hutches and you put two in the trunk and two in the back seat and you drive off."

Two in the back seat and two in the trunk. If it weren't a serious property crime, I'd have a joke or two to make about frat boys or Aggies. But rustling is big business, with each calf worth about $700. That's a tidy profit for a rustler.

Maybe we need to go back to the old way of dealing with such folks -- hanging on the spot.





|| Greg, 08:40 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Liberal's Convention Fantasy

Eleanor Clift sees the Democrat convention needing more than one ballot to select a nominee -- and even proposes her own scenario regarding the outcome.

What happens if the superdelegates are just like the rest of the voters—i.e., they can't definitively decide between these two candidates? "What happens if they split the superdelegates?" asks an adviser to the Clinton campaign. The roughly 350 superdelegates who have not yet endorsed are all free agents. There's nothing that says they have to act in concert, and they'll work to avoid anything that fuels conspiracy theories. "My real worry is there is no back room," says this adviser. Clinton says she'll go all the way to the convention in August. If there's a stalemate, the superdelegates could decide to pass on the first ballot to test the candidates' strength at that juncture. We could then be way back to the future, the first time in the modern reform age that a candidate is not chosen on the first ballot.

If that happens, the convention could turn to a compromise candidate. Al Gore is the most obvious and perhaps the only contender who could head off a complete meltdown in the party. After all, he already won the popular vote for the presidency. It was only because of a fluke at the Supreme Court that he was denied his turn at the wheel. No one could deny that he's ready on day one to assume the presidency. "It's the rational choice if this turns into a goddamn mess, which it could," says the Clinton adviser, who doesn't want to be quoted seeming to waver about Clinton's chances of securing the nomination.

Really?

Al Gore?

The guy who has become a cartoon character over the last several years, with his promotion of the junk science of global warming?

Oh-please-oh-please-oh-please!!!!!!!!!!!!

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|| Greg, 02:31 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

George McGovern: Libertarian?

Good grief -- who would have ever thought I'd agree with McGovern on much of anything? But as Rick Sincere points out, the liberal icon makes a lot of sense from a libertarian, free market perspective in his column in the Wall Street Journal. After all, what else can you say about a call for both sides of the political spectrum to stop regulating behavior -- in particular, economic behavior -- because some individuals make bad economic choices?

Since leaving office I've written about public policy from a new perspective: outside looking in. I've come to realize that protecting freedom of choice in our everyday lives is essential to maintaining a healthy civil society.

Why do we think we are helping adult consumers by taking away their options? We don't take away cars because we don't like some people speeding. We allow state lotteries despite knowing some people are betting their grocery money. Everyone is exposed to economic risks of some kind. But we don't operate mindlessly in trying to smooth out every theoretical wrinkle in life.

The nature of freedom of choice is that some people will misuse their responsibility and hurt themselves in the process. We should do our best to educate them, but without diminishing choice for everyone else.

As McGovern points out, most folks who get payday loans and sub-prime mortgages do so with plenty of forethought and do not default on their loans. Why should the government limit or eliminate those options because of the few who do? Why should the government decide what health insurance options are available to the public, thereby pricing many folks out of the market completely (are you listening, Barack and Hillary -- McGovern sounds as if he likes the McCain plan)? Why doesn't the government trust the American people to make its own choices -- and allow those who make bad choices to suffer the consequences and learn from them?

MORE AT HotAir





|| Greg, 11:43 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

More Proof Ray Nagin Is An Idiot

This guy is a gift that keeps on giving, isn't he.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin says he is "a vagina-friendly Mayor."

Nagin made the remark while welcoming the author of the Vagina Monlogues, Eve Ensler to the city to promote the "V-Day" celebration in New Orleans next month.

* * *

Mayor Nagin began his comments at the news conference by saying, "How am I gonna stand up and say, I'm a 'vagina-friendly' Mayor to these cameras after 'Chocolate City' and some of the other stuff that I've done. But you know what? I'm in."

Unfortunately, though, Nagin is saying that in the context of endorsing a play that endorses sexual molestation of under-age girls as a liberating experience. Far from promoting the event, I'd argue that he should be condemning it. But that's just my opinion.

And let me offer this observation -- I'm no speech writer, but it seems to me that there are two sentences that should never be used together in the same paragraph.

"I'm a 'vagina-friendly' Mayor."

and

"I'm in."

And I say that as someone who is proud to be "vagina-friendly" (the friendlier the better, in my opinion).

H/T Michelle Malkin, Protein Wisdom


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|| Greg, 09:52 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Stupid Headline Alert

This headline seems to state something really obvious to me.

Family Massacre Casts Pall Over Town

One would think that this sort of brutal murder of a family -- perpetrated by a group of local teens, including one of the children of the family -- would have quite an impact on this small town. And certainly the article itself is beautifully written (unusual for the AP), I just can't get past that dumb headline.





|| Greg, 09:36 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 07, 2008

Watcher's Council Post

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Chicago Rules by Big Lizards, and Dissecting the 60 Minutes Scandal by Power Line.  Here are the full results of the vote:

VotesCouncil link
3  1/3Chicago Rules
Big Lizards
2  2/3The Rape of Rape On American Campuses
Cheat Seeking Missiles
2  2/3The Dershowitz Questions
Wolf Howling
1  2/3Exchange Student Woes
The Colossus of Rhodey
2/3Rape
Bookworm Room
1/3Ending the War in Iraq
The Glittering Eye
1/3The Terrorism Conundrum for Democrats
Right Wing Nut House
1/3The Fine Art of Flying (with the president)
Soccer Dad

VotesNon-council link
2  2/3Dissecting the 60 Minutes Scandal
Power Line
2Why Don't Jews Like the Christians Who Like Them?
City Journal
1  1/3Defending Against Terror Impossible In International Law
Elder of Ziyon
1  1/3Inside Iraqi politics -- Part 5. A Look At Legislative Progress: Sunnis’ and States’ Rights
The Long War Journal
1  1/3Think Happy Thoughts About People Who Want to Kill You!
Breath of the Beast
1Maybe in the Future Things Will Be Different?
Dr. Sanity
2/3Not to Complicate Matters, But...
The Chronicle of Higher Education
2/3Redeeming the Old Stereotypes
Classical Values
2/3Title: A Shot Across the Bow
Dodgeblogium
1/3Blogging While Female: 5 Conservative Women Bloggers Talk About Gender Issues and the Blogosphere
Right Wing News





|| Greg, 11:53 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 06, 2008

Franken Fails To Insure Employees – As Required By Law

But don’t worry – he wants to make sure that you cough up your own hard-earned cash to pay for a government insurance scheme that will give many Americans worse coverage than they already have.

New York state has fined the personal corporation of Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken $25,000 for not carrying workers'-compensation insurance for almost three years.

The New York Workers' Compensation Board levied the fine against Alan Franken Inc. in August 2006 for failure to carry the insurance from June 2002 to March 2005.

Brian Keegan, a board spokesman, said a number of notices were sent to the address the New York agency had listed for Franken. But the TV personality and liberal political commentator didn't become aware of the fine until Tuesday, said campaign spokesman Andy Barr.

Three years of failure to pay for the insurance, and 18 months of failing to pay the fine. Could you imagine the media outrage – and left-wing rants – if this were Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity? But the outcry of the MSM chatterers and liberal pols has been quite subdued. After all, it is one of their own who has been caught.





|| Greg, 03:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

“Douchbag” Case Back In The News

Avery Doninger’s case was just heard on appeal by the Second Circuit.

A teen who used vulgar slang in an Internet blog to complain about school administrators shouldn't have been punished by the school, her lawyer told a federal appeals court.

But a lawyer for the Burlington, Conn., school told the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday that administrators should be allowed to act if such comments are made on the Web.

Avery Doninger, 17, claims officials at Lewis S. Mills High School violated her free speech rights when they barred her from serving on the student council because of what she wrote from her home computer.

In her Internet journal, Doninger said officials were canceling the school's annual Jamfest, which is similar to a battle of the bands contest. The event, which she helped coordinate, was rescheduled.

According to the lawsuit, she wrote: "'Jamfest' is canceled due to douchebags in central office," and also referred to an administrator who was "pissed off."

After discovering the blog entry, school officials refused to allow Doninger to run for re-election as class secretary. Doninger won anyway with write-in votes, but was not allowed to serve.

A lower federal court had supported the school. U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz, denying Doninger's request for an injunction, said he believed she could be punished for writing in a blog because the blog addressed school issues and was likely to be read by other students.

Now I wrote extensively about this case some months ago, and really believe Kravitz dropped the ball here. After all, no one could plausibly argue that the school could impose this sort of ban on her had she appeared on a radio talk show or been interviewed for a television news show and made similar statements. The First Amendment would clearly apply in such a manner as to prohibit the district from taking action against Avery. Similarly, a blog post made from home on personal equipment outside of school hours cannot reasonably be seen as rising to the level of disruptiveness that could possibly justify allowing to school to reach out and punish Avery for a potential disruption of school – especially when the blog post was not discovered for several weeks after it was made and it could be clearly determined that there had been no disruption caused beyond district officials having to field a few extra phone calls and emails from members of the taxpaying public in regards to the operation of the district’s schools.

And most frightening, Judge Kravitz even acknowledged that what Avery had done was to engage in political speech seeking the redress of grievances – something protected explicitly by the Constitution.

My analysis from September still stands.

But let's consider the judge's opinion itself (34 pages long, yet miraculously issued a mere 45 minutes after closing arguments!).

In the opinion, Judge Kravitz states that the internet presents new challenges for school administrators, and that the courts have yet to fully shape the boundaries of school authority when it relates to the Internet. But in his recitation of the facts of the case, Judge Kravitz makes one important factual concession that shows his decision to be wrong.

Avery, J.E., P.A., and T.F. decided to send an email to various taxpayers, informing them of the situation and requesting that they contact the school superintendent, Paula Schwartz, in the LMHS central office to demand that Jamfest be held in the auditorium on April 28.

This email, which urges the public to contact public officials on a matter related to the operation of a public school, clearly qualifies as political speech. And given that Avery's later posting on her LiveJournal site reproduced the email in its entirety, it is virtually impossible to argue that the LiveJournal post does not similarly constitute political speech -- and it is that post which was used as the basis to prevent Avery from seeking reelection to her class officer position AND which later led the school to refuse to count write-in votes for her and to attempt to hide the ballots and the vote tally when repeated FOIA requests were made for them.

Now the judge conflates the standards found in the Morse and Fraser cases to argue that the school's action is justified in this case because the speech was disrespectful, uncivil, and potentially disruptive (despite the fact it took place away from school, the judge ruled that Internet speech can be treated as on-campus speech if any member of the school community can read it). But in doing so, he ignores Justice Alito's concurring opinion in the Morse case, which essentially controls and limits the reach of school authority in cases of political speech.

I join the opinion of the Court on the understanding that. . . (b) it provides no support for any restriction of speech that can plausibly be interpreted as commenting on any political or social issue. . . .

As such, the most recent Supreme Court decision regarding student speech, which Judge Kravitz uses to permit the school to take action against Avery Doninger, clearly prohibits the school from doing so. And given that the standard in Tinker requires the speech to cause a substantial disruption before it can be suppressed, A side-by-side reading of the two decisions must lead to the conclusion that the school's actions were wrong.

As for the application of the Fraser standard, it needs to be remembered that the lewd sexual language in that case occurred in a middle school auditorium, before a captive audience of students. No one can maintain that the facts here are even remotely similar. Calling an administrator a "douchbag" on a webpage might be uncivil, rude, and (arguably) inappropriate, but no one who does not voluntarily access the page is exposed to that message -- and it is possible to prevent any disruption caused by blocking the page from the school computers. The facts simply do not fit with the Fraser precedent.

In light of that analysis, I'd go further. Judge Kravitz cites a series of cases in which courts have held that students have no right to participate in extracurricular activities. While I am generally in agreement with him, I think the reasonable application of the Tinker and Morse standards is necessary here. If, in fact, students do not shed their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse gate, and if schools may not restrict political speech, then it is absurd to argue that a student might be banned from extracurricular activities for their speech on political or social issues. No rational legal scholar would argue, for example, that the Tinker children could not be suspended or expelled for the black armbands but could be denied a place in the school band, on an athletic team, or in student government for that same anti-war speech. No judge would rule that an administrator could bar a student who maintained a blog that commented against abortion or in favor of gay rights from membership on the debate team or the chess club. And more to the point, it would be seen as frighteningly un-American if a school district were to impose an extracurricular ban upon students who maintained a website opposing a school bond issue.

And quite frankly, the judge probably needs to consider the Supreme Court ruling in Cohens v. California as well. If the word "fuck" is protected speech in a political context, it is impossible to argue that "douchbag" (or its correctly spelled version) does not maintain similar protected status -- especially given that no action was taken against a student who posted a comment on the blog referring to the district superintendent BY NAME as a "dirty whore".

Another issue to consider is the fact that Judge Kravitz has ruled that speech on the Internet can be considered on-campus speech if it relates to school and students can see it at any time, including while at home using their privately-owned computers. This treats the Internet in a manner different from any other media, and essentially exempts it from First Amendment protection. I seriously doubt, for example, that Judge Kravitz would have ruled that Avery's use of the word "douchbag" on a picket picket-sign on a public sidewalk in front of the administration building during a protest of the cancellation of Jamfest could be treated as on-campus speech, even if students passing by on vehicles saw the sign. Similarly, were the protest covered by the news media, photos or video of such a sign in the press coverage could not convert her speech into an on-campus disruption of the educational process. Neither would placing signs in her yard, posters in public places, or an ad in the local newspaper. And were she to write a column on the issue that appeared in the press -- perhaps in a local alternative newspaper -- I cannot imagine any judge declaring her use of the word "douchbag" to be on-campus speech merely because a fellow student could read it. On what legitimate basis does the judge treat the Internet differently and place it beyond First Amendment protection under Tinker, Fraser, and Morse?

At this point, the only individuals directly harmed by this decision are Avery Doninger and the students who wrote her name in during the class election (incidentally, she won the office according to a tally of the ballots when they were eventually obtained under the states FOIA). And yet the speech of every student in her school is chilled by the decision allowing even a temporary victory to the officious administrative douchebags who chose to make an example out of her for her exercise of her First Amendment rights in her home using her own computer outside of school hours. But the potential for damage to the First Amendment rights of every American student is even greater. Judge Kravitz's decision must be overturned.

Indeed, I’d argue that the need to overturn the decision is even more critical now. The school board is now arguing that it has the right to regulate student speech on the Internet precisely because it is a larger forum and can be used more effectively by students to communicate with each other and the public! Rather than preparing students to be citizens of a free society, this district is inculcating the values of a totalitarian countries like Iran, Cuba, North Korea, or Red China which punish their enslaved subjects for speaking out against their dictatorial regimes.

The case has been covered extensively, exhaustively and comprehensively at The Cool Justice Report.

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|| Greg, 03:44 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dems Have Edge?

Well, according to this poll -- but is it relevant?

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) kicks off his general-election campaign trailing both potential Democratic nominees in hypothetical matchups, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) leads McCain, who captured the delegates needed to claim the Republican nomination Tuesday night, by 12 percentage points among all adults in the poll; Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) holds a six-point lead over the GOP nominee. Both Democrats are buoyed by moderates and independents when going head to head with McCain and benefit from sustained negative public assessments of President Bush and the war in Iraq.

The problem with this poll? First, it is eight months before the election. A lot can happen in that time, and will certainly include plenty of in-fighting among Democrats in this bitter race. Expect some of their supporters to peel away as that continues. Second, there will be the nomination of VP candidates, which can also blunt concerns about McCain's age while possibly exacerbating the Clinton/Obama split among Democrats. And then there is simply the tightening of the race that is inevitable as we see both sides get more balanced amounts of press coverage. So while i don't like these numbers, they don't necessarily frighten me.





|| Greg, 05:23 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Jihadi Sailor Convicted Of Terrorism Related Charges

Too bad we can't just execute this guy on national television as a warning to his fellow jihadis.

A former Navy sailor was convicted Wednesday of leaking details about ship movements to suspected terrorism supporters, an act that could have endangered his own crewmates. Jurors convicted Hassan Abu-Jihaad, 32, of Phoenix of providing material support to terrorists and disclosing classified national defense information on the second day of deliberations.

The American-born Muslim convert formerly known as Paul R. Hall faces up to 25 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in May. His attorney, Dan LaBelle, said an appeal was likely.

"We're disappointed with the verdict, but we respect the process. It was a close case," LaBelle said.

Reached by telephone Wednesday afternoon, a juror called the case "difficult" and said there was plenty of debate in two days of deliberations.

"It was a very, very difficult decision to make," said the juror, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the nature of the case. "It was not something that was clear cut. When we concluded, there was not a doubt in our mind."

There is a word for what this guy did. It is called treason -- giving aid and comfort to the enemy during time of war. There is simply no excuse for not charging him with that crime, and then imposing the proper penalty. The failure of the Bush Administration to seek treason charges against jihadis -- whether this piece of pig-crap or the American Taliban -- is really inexcusable. It undermines the reality that we are at war with the enemy we face by promoting the perception of something less.





|| Greg, 05:18 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bombing At Times Square Military Recruiter?

They are saying the explosion may come from a man-made device. If so, the word "TERRORISM" applies -- whether the attackers are jihadis out to hit symbolic targets or Berkeley-style lefties who view America a s a bigger threat to the world than the Islamists.

New York City police officers and firefighters cordoned off much of Times Square after an explosion — possibly set off by a human-made device — rocked the front of the Armed Forces Recruiting Station on the traffic island bounded by 43rd and 44th Streets, Seventh Avenue and Broadway around 4 a.m.

No injuries were immediately reported. A city official confirmed that the explosion occurred and that police had cordoned off the area as a precaution to ensure that there was no secondary device; the official emphasized that there was no reason to believe that any additional devices had been planted.

I just heard a TV report that someone was spotted riding away on a bicycle after throwing a device at the recruiting station. No arrests yet, but it will be interesting to see if there is a claim of responsibility. My personal thought is that this probably makes the perps "Code Pink types", since any self-respecting jihadi would have blown himself up during daylight hours to take out as many innocents as possible. The fact you have a coward fleeing the scene on an environmentally-friendly means of transportation when there was no one around makes it appear to be the tactics of the Left -- though still treasonous terrorism.





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

Swayze Ill

OK, I don't usually comment upon has-been actors, but I'll make the exception in this case for two reasons.

More on them later.

First the news.

Patrick Swayze’s doctor is “optimistic” about his prognosis for battling pancreatic cancer, and the “Dirty Dancing” actor’s upcoming cable pilot is still in contention to become a series.

With the writer’s strike over, the A&E pilot “The Beast,” starring Swayze as an unorthodox FBI agent, is being considered to be turned into a series by the cable network. If that happens, the “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost” star hopes to continue to be part of the show, his representative Annett Wolf told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Swayze has been undergoing treatment for the disease, Wolf confirmed in a statement. The National Cancer Institute estimates there will be 37,680 new cases of pancreatic cancer in 2008 with 34,290 deaths in the U.S.; only five percent of patients live more than five years after being diagnosed.

No, things do not look good for Swayze, though he certainly will have access to the best treatment. The reality, though, is that every person I've known with pancreatic cancer has been gone within a year. It is particularly virulent.

So why do i comment on the story? Two reasons.

1) While folks remember Ghost and Dirty Dancing when talking about Patrict Swayze, a pair of chick flicks, most guys remember him best in a favorite film of the Cold War era, Red Dawn. It is strange to watch the movie today, with the Russians no longer Communist and Castro gone from power in Cuba, but it still resonates. I wonder -- could a similar film about a post-Islamist takeover of America ever get made today?

2) I always have enjoyed the outrageous headlines of the NY Post, but they crossed a line with this one.

PATRICK SWAYZE GOING TO DIE

Come on, folks, isn't that a bit much? Have you no decency? And I won't point out the obvious truth that goes along with your headline.





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

March 05, 2008

The Pittsburgh Airport Incident

I mentioned the other day that my wife and I had an ugly incident in the airport in Pittsburgh while we were traveling last week. I indicated that I would have more to say about the matter in the days to come. Well, here it is at last.

On Monday, February 25, 2008, my wife and I were returning to Houston after visiting my wife’s hometown, where we were seeing to her mother, who is seriously ill and expected to pass away soon. It was a difficult time.

Because my wife, Paula, uses a wheelchair, we needed to access the private screening lane at approximately 10:00 a.m. As instructed by the TSA staff member at the podium at the head of the line, we placed our personal property on the lower shelf of the metal table so that I could push Paula down to the private screening room and then return to place these items on the x-ray belt. It was important to stay with these items because they included a wallet with approximately $100 in it, a personal laptop computer, a cellular phone, my wife’s purse and a carry-on bag containing a number of collector coins and some jewelry that Paula’s mother wished her to have, as well as both of our medications. We were carrying these latter items in the carry-on bag out of concern that they would disappear from checked baggage.

We first encountered the screener named Monique at this time. She was carrying a number of gray plastic crates to place in position for travelers to use. I told Monique that I did not want these items going through screening without me because of the valuables inside the bag, and that the previous TSA employee had told us that we could place the items there. Monique told us that we could not do so. When I reiterated my first statement, Monique said, "You're going to do it my way" and began to move the items to the x-ray conveyor and push the items through the x-ray without my permission. I was upset because this meant these items would have to sit at the end of the x-ray unattended until I could get my wife to the private screening room and then pass through the line myself.

During this time, Monique passed by Paula’s wheelchair several times, striking her in the back with the gray bins each time she passed. We at first assumed this was an accident but came to believe that this was intentional because of the repeated act of striking her in the back as she passed.

At this point Monique insisted Paula move her wheelchair. It is a motorized wheelchair, but no battery was connected because we considered the difficulty of traveling with them to outweigh the benefits. Paula could not move her wheelchair by herself because of her disability, so I needed to move the wheelchair for her to the screening room. Monique was angered by this, and was upset that my wife could not get out of her way fast enough to suit her or reach the screening room unattended. We were disturbed when we reached the private screening room and discovered it would be Monique who was to conduct Paula’s screening. According to Paula, Monique repeatedly kicked and hit her chair when she asked her to stop because the jarring of the chair caused her great pain due to chronic pain associated with her disability. Paula further states that another female screener was in the room when Monique conducted her screening and became so visibly upset by Monique actions and verbal abuse that the female screener left the room.

After screening was completed, Monique informed Paula that she needed to conduct a bag search on the bag containing the coins, jewelry, and medication. Monique was angry that Paula did not have the bag to the small padlock on the bag and continued to be very rude and abrupt. During the search, Monique’s rudeness continued in my presence, and inquired why we were carrying certain of the items. I stated, "Lady I don't know what your problem is," to which Monique responded, "I'm no lady." In reply, I said, "No you're not, but I'm not going to say what I think you are". At that point, Monique aggressively responded "You want to start calling names? You want to start calling names?" Her manner was unprofessional and of such an aggressive, confrontational nature, that I believed Monique was trying to provoke a fight in order to have me arrested. I would also like to state that I do not believe it was her business to ask why we had medication, coins and jewelry in our carry-on luggage.

Monique summoned a man named Ron, and Paula and I indicated that we wanted to file a complaint. Ron started to hand us two sheets of paper, but then gave us only one. The form Paula was given by Ron did not have a place to include our names and contact information, which left us concerned about follow through. Paula completed the form we were given in detail, and I then turned the information in at the podium, though I do not remember the name of the woman to whom it was given. We then headed to the gate for our flight.

After arriving at the gate, I went to one of the magazine stands to get a soda for Paula so that she could take her medication due to the pain caused by Monique’s jarring of the wheelchair and her back. A female TSA employee, who turned out to be the same woman who left the private screening room, approached me. She expressed her concern over the way Paula was treated and was aware that we were not provided with the Customer Service Representative's name and telephone number. She provided us with the Customer Service number and contact information. She stated that she had taken her break and followed us because the treatment we had received was not right, and that Monique constantly treats passengers this way but is never disciplined because someone seems to be either covering for her or afraid to take action, despite the fact that Monique is often rude and or brutal with passengers. She related that there have been past incidents that involved physical altercations with passengers, and no action taken, and she asked us to please follow up on our complaint, which was already our intent. She was quite concerned with having her anonymity concerned, however, because of the lack of action against Monique and fear that she would face retaliation (including possible termination) for assisting us in this way. I view her actions as being in the highest spirit of professionalism and to be commended rather than punished.

I have since been in contact with the Pittsburgh Customer Service Representative, and have initiated a complaint process through her, as well as with my elected representatives in Washington, DC.

I'll be the first to concede that airport security is important. That said, such treatment is not necessary, and is clearly an abuse of authority. I'll keep you folks posted on the outcome of the process I have initiated as it moves along.

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Bye Bye Brett

One of the greats of NFL history hangs it up.

Brett Favre told Green Bay Packers officials yesterday that he is walking away after a 17-year career in which he established himself as one of the most prolific and charismatic quarterbacks in NFL history.

Favre, 38, had pondered retirement in each of the last few offseasons but chose to continue a career that's sure to land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, even when it seemed as if his best days as a player might be behind him. He reversed the downward spiral in his play this past season, recapturing the exuberance and daring success of his younger days and leading the Packers to the doorstep of another Super Bowl appearance.

That resurgence on a youthful team created the expectation that he was likely to return next season. Instead, he informed Packers Coach Mike McCarthy by telephone Monday night that he would retire and reiterated that plan in a phone conversation yesterday morning with General Manager Ted Thompson.

Frankly, this is a good choice. The man doesn't feel ready to continue with the physically and mentally grueling effort that he needs to put out to excel. Better to allow a younger man to step in and lead the team to the next level than to pull the packers down by a halfhearted effort. We've all seen what happens when a great player over-stays his welcome. I'm glad Favre won't be a player remembered that way.





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

McCain Clinches GOP Nomination -- Hillary Rises From The Dead

John McCain clinched the GOP nomination with wins in Texas and Ohio yesterday. Mike Huckabee conceded that he was beaten following his mathematical elimination from the contest. That was no surprise to anyone paying attention to the dynamics of that race.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton turned the Democrat race for the White House upside down with her victories in both of the big jewels in yesterday's primaries, Texas and Ohio.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton defeated Senator Barack Obama in Ohio and Texas on Tuesday, ending a string of defeats and allowing her to soldier on in a Democratic presidential nomination race that now seems unlikely to end any time soon.

Mrs. Clinton also won Rhode Island, while Mr. Obama won in Vermont. But the results mean that Mrs. Clinton won the two states she most needed to keep her candidacy alive.

Her victory in Texas was razor thin and came only after most Americans had gone to bed. But by winning decisively in Ohio earlier in the evening, Mrs. Clinton was able to deliver a televised victory speech in time for the late-night news. And the result there allowed her to cast Tuesday as the beginning of a comeback even though she stood a good chance of gaining no ground against Mr. Obama in the hunt for delegates.

“No candidate in recent history — Democratic or Republican — has won the White House without winning the Ohio primary,” Mrs. Clinton, of New York, said at a rally in Columbus, Ohio. “We all know that if we want a Democratic president, we need a Democratic nominee who can win Democratic states just like Ohio.”

On the Republican side, Senator John McCain swept to victory in Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont and claimed his party’s nomination, capping a remarkable comeback in his second bid for the presidency.

Mr. McCain’s main remaining rival, Mike Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, announced he was dropping out minutes after the polls closed and pledged his cooperation to Mr. McCain. Aides to Mr. McCain said he would head Wednesday morning to Washington to go to the White House and accept the endorsement of President Bush, his one-time foe, and begin gathering his party around him.

Let's be clear about what this means -- Barack Obama just saw his cake walk to the nomination ended. Hillary CLinton now has a very realistic possibility of surviving all the way through to the Democrat convention, which is quite likely to be brokered. There is absolutely no telling what that will mean -- however, I'd have to say the institutional support the Clintons have makes it more likely that she will win the nomination through the decisions of the super delegates.

Expect increasingly bitter rhetoric from both Obama and Clinton over teh next few weeks -- and expect the eventual nominee to emerge from the process bloodied and an easier target for John McCain and the Republicans.





|| Greg, 05:11 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

March 03, 2008

About Those Health Care Plans

If you already are insured, you will probably get less -- especially if you are a senior citizen on Medicare or covered by Medicaid.

The two programs, for older Americans and low-income people, cost $627 billion last year and accounted for 23 percent of all federal spending. With no change in existing law, the Congressional Budget Office says, that cost will double in 10 years and the programs will account for more than 30 percent of the budget.

Economists and health policy experts say the federal health programs are unsustainable in their current form, because they are growing much faster than the economy or the revenues used to finance them. The Medicare program is especially endangered; its hospital insurance trust fund is expected to run out of money in 11 years.

But the need for cutbacks is not a popular theme for political candidates wooing voters who want more care at a lower cost.

The Democrats do not say, in any detail, how they would slow the growth of Medicare and Medicaid or what they think about the main policy options: rationing care, raising taxes, cutting payments to providers or requiring beneficiaries to pay more.

So, Hillary and Barack, what are you going to do to Grandma and Great-Uncle Sid? Provide them less care? Make them pay more of their fixed incomes for medical treatment? Raise everyone's directly taxes to pay for them? Cut payments to medical providers so that the rest of us pay a hidden tax in terms of increased fees when we see a doctor? And how will you prevent these same pitfalls from entering into your universal health care schemes, bringing us higher costs or rationed medical care?

After all, the American people deserve to know before you sell us a bill of goods.





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

Happiness Is Dead Terrorists!

More jihadi pigs sent off to their infernal reward in the realm of Satan.

A U.S. military helicopter fired a guided missile to kill a wanted al-Qaida in Iraq leader from Saudi Arabia who was responsible for the bombing deaths of five American soldiers, a spokesman said Sunday.

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Gregory Smith said Jar Allah, also known as Abu Yasir al-Saudi, and another Saudi known only as Hamdan, were both killed Wednesday in Mosul.

According to the military, al-Saudi conducted numerous attacks against Iraqi and U.S. forces, including a Jan. 28 bomb attack that killed the five U.S. soldiers.

In that attack, insurgents blasted a U.S. patrol with a roadside bomb and showered survivors with gunfire from a mosque. The soldiers died in the explosion, the deadliest on American forces since six soldiers perished Jan. 9 in a booby-trapped house north of Baghdad.

Intelligence gathered in the Mosul area led the U.S. military to al-Saudi, who was in a car with Hamdan. A precision helicopter strike killed both and destroyed their vehicle. U.S. forces then confirmed the men's identities.

Smith said their deaths brought to 142 the number of al-Qaida insurgents killed or captured in Mosul since the end of January.

Remember -- these are the Islamist swine who are murdering American servicemen in the name of Muhammad. They are making war on the United States, and so we have rightly given war right back to them -- so don't ask why we didn't simply capture them and put them on trial. The reality of war is that you kill the enemy, not arrest him and give him a lawyer.

Oh, and Senator Obama -- please note that al-Qaeda is in Iraq. Your proposed withdrawal of American troops would therefore violate your insistence that American troops would fight in Iraq if al-Qaeda was there.





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Chavez Provoking War With Colombia?

The mobilization of troops along the border between the two countries, combined with his open support for FARC rebels, would certainly make it appear that way.

Venezuela and Ecuador have ordered troops to their borders with Colombia, raising concerns of a broader conflict after Colombia killed a top rebel leader on Ecuadorean soil.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday promised Venezuela would respond militarily if Colombia violates its border, where he ordered tanks as well as thousands of troops. He also ordered closed Venezuela's embassy in Bogota.

Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, called for the troop deployment while also withdrawing his government's ambassador from Bogota and expelling Colombia's top diplomat.

''There is no justification,'' Correa said Sunday night, snubbing an earlier announcement from Colombia that it would apologize for the incursion by its military.

Chavez called the killing of rebel leader and spokesman Raul Reyes and 16 other rebels on Saturday an attack by a ''terrorist state.''

I can understand Ecuador's concerns -- except, of course, for the fact that Ecuador has provided safe haven for FARC for years, just like the Colombians. But Venezuela has been actively interfering in Colombia's internal affairs on behalf of the rebels for some time now. These same nations would certainly take action within Colombia were they under constant assault by rebels based there, so the level of hypocrisy is astounding.

For its own security, Colombia must crush FARC. If that requires tangling with the state-sponsors of terrorism on its borders, then that is justified. Here's hoping that Hugo Chavez has bitten off more than he can chew.

MORE AT HotAir





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March 02, 2008

Clinton Surrogate Denigrates McCain's Service, POW Experience

She said WHAT?

Un-FRIGGING-believable!

Steinem raised McCain’s Vietnam imprisonment as she sought to highlight an alleged gender-based media bias against Clinton.

“Suppose John McCain had been Joan McCain and Joan McCain had got captured, shot down and been a POW for eight years. [The media would ask], ‘What did you do wrong to get captured? What terrible things did you do while you were there as a captive for eight years?’” Steinem said, to laughter from the audience.

McCain was, in fact, a prisoner of war for around five-and-a-half years, during which time he was tortured repeatedly. Referring to his time in captivity, Steinem said with bewilderment, “I mean, hello? This is supposed to be a qualification to be president? I don’t think so.”

Let's set aside the fact that this malignant old bitch is wrong about the reaction of the media -- when we have had female POWs they have been treated with respect and adulation and their sacrifices have been honored.

And that this wrinkled old crone and her audience would find the respect given Senator McCain and the 5 1/2 years of torture he endured bewildering and funny (note the laughter) is indicative of how far in to the depths of anti-Americanism the Democrats have sunk. She certainly is not worthy of breathing the same air as John McCain.

But then again, why should we be surprised. She was one of those out on the front lines of the anti-war movement in the 1960s and 1970s, calling heroes like John McCain baby-killers and murderers. She is more supportive of America's jihadi enemies today than she is of the US, and she has more sympathy for the jihadis getting fat at Gitmo than she ever had for Americans starved and tortured by our nation's enemies. And she is a supporter of Hillary Clinton. -- one who indicates that she could be quite happy with Barack Obama because they are at least 90% the same on the issues.

The Clinton campaign has made a weak attempt to distance itself from Steinem's comments. The Obama campaign has remained shamefully silent. Those of us who love America and respect her men and women in uniform will remember this incident.

More at HolyCoast, Nick Ragone, Forum Politics, Shoe-Fly Pie, American Princess, Paxalles.

UPDATE: HotAir has more -- including Wes Clark's denigration of McCain's military service, in which he places time as First Lady ahead of time as a military officer in terms of preparation to lead the nation.

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|| Greg, 08:34 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

What If The Names Were DeLay And Abramoff?

I'm curious why this story gets so little play, and Democrats dismiss any reference to it as mud-slinging.

Tony Rezko was obviously in trouble. He was a defendant in at least a dozen lawsuits, federal investigators in Chicago were poking around, and his name was in newspaper articles about corruption and fraud.

None of that stopped Mr. Rezko, a politically connected developer, and Senator Barack Obama from completing real estate deals a few years ago that resulted in the Obamas obtaining their dream house and the Rezkos buying an empty lot next door.

Nearly three years later, fallout from Mr. Obama’s relationship with Mr. Rezko, who raised more than $150,000 for Mr. Obama’s campaigns, continue to dog Mr. Obama on the presidential campaign trail. That distraction promises to linger as Mr. Rezko goes on trial on corruption charges starting Monday.

Mr. Obama, a Democrat, is not part of the case against Mr. Rezko, who is accused of shaking down companies seeking business with the State of Illinois. Mr. Obama has conceded that it was a mistake to bring Mr. Rezko into his personal real estate dealings, although he has insisted that there was nothing unusual about the developer’s decision to buy a sought-after lot in an upscale neighborhood.

But a review of court records, including new details of Mr. Rezko’s finances that emerged recently, show that the lot purchase occurred as he was being pursued by creditors seeking more than $10 million, deepening the mystery of why he would plunge into a real estate investment whose biggest beneficiary appears to have been Mr. Obama.

As Mr. Obama and Mr. Rezko were completing the property purchases in June 2005, Mr. Rezko was fighting to keep lenders and investors at bay over defaulted loans and failing business ventures. But he side-stepped that financial dragnet by arranging for the land to be bought in his wife’s name, making it the only property she owned by herself, according to land records.

As a result, when the Obamas bought part of the land from Mrs. Rezko seven months later to widen their yard, the money they paid was beyond the reach of Mr. Rezko’s creditors, including one conducting a court-ordered hunt for his assets to recover a $3.5 million debt.

Politics of change? Yeah -- keeping a nice chunk of change in the hands of a corrupt crony and out of the hands of those he defrauded.

But this is Barack Obama -- he's young, he's hip, he's cute, and he's Democrat. We dare not look too closely at this deal between him and a corrupt businessman -- especially because we don't know what skeletons will come tumbling out of the closets back in Chicago, where corruption is the oil that keeps the Democrat machine rolling.

And so while the Daley Administration running Chicago and the Blagojevich Administration running Illinois are tarred by their associations with Rezko, we are somehow expected to believe that Barack Obama is the only politician who somehow remained above the sleaze, despite this sweetheart deal and the long association between the two.

All it requires is that one suspend rational thought until November.





|| Greg, 05:30 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Interesting Historical What-If

Imagine if this solution to the issue of slavery and Civil War had been tried. How different would our history have been?

Barely a year into the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln suggested buying slaves for $400 apiece under a "gradual emancipation" plan that would bring peace at less cost than several months of hostilities.

The proposal was outlined in one of 72 letters penned by Lincoln that ended up in the University of Rochester's archives, which are now online.

In a letter to Illinois Sen. James McDougall dated March 14, 1862, Lincoln laid out the cost to the nation's coffers of his "emancipation with compensation" proposal.

Paying slaveholders $400 for each of the 1,798 slaves in Delaware listed in the 1860 Census, he wrote, would come to $719,200 at a time when the war was soaking up $2 million a day. Buying the freedom of an estimated 432,622 slaves in Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri and Washington, D.C., would cost $173,048,800 — nearly equal to the estimated $174 million needed to wage war for 87 days, he added.

The idea never took root. Six months later, Lincoln issued the first of two executive orders known as the Emancipation Proclamation that declared an end to slavery.

This would have eliminated the need to pass the Thirteenth Amendment -- slavery would have been at an end in the territory controlled by the United States. Would the Confederacy have responded positively to this development and perhaps considered peace and a return to the Union? Or would the war have continued on?

Of course, it is important to note that none of what Lincoln proposed would have ended the peculiar institution for those enslaved in the bulk of the South. It would not have ended the Civil War. And instead of dollars, America paid a high price in blood to end an evil that had been allowed to infect the nation for too long.





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

A Non-Endorsement

One of the neat things about local publications is that those who write for them are often more blunt when they speak about local politicians and issues. That's what makes this piece about the race for the GOP nomination in CD22 so fun.

Southbelt-Ellington Leader
February 24, 2008


Publisher’s Opinion

It’s probably not necessary to remind our readers that election day is right around the corner, and everyone should vote.

There is plenty of information available to encourage you to vote for specific candidates. The Leader is not going to endorse candidates at this point.

But there is one candidate in a race, the congressional race for the 22nd District, for whom we are going to urge people not to vote for. That candidate is Pete Olson.

In May of 2007, he quit his job in Washington, D.C.

He left his $700,000 home to buy a house in Fort Bend for approximately $185,000 in August of 2007. At that time, he reported his mailing address as his home in Virginia.

When he filed with the Republican Party in December to run for the local congressional seat, he was asked how long he lived in the state, county and district.

Olson reported he lived in the state, county and district for four months.

Olson thinks he can use the big bucks he is getting from lobbyists to buy our congressional seat.

In his third campaign filing period, he reported receiving $175,000; with 90 percent of his funds coming from out of the state of Texas, most of it from well-known lobbyists.

He avoided his fellow opponents in the one televised debate, telling Channel 13, he was declining attending the event.

Let’s see, home base really in Virginia; living in Texas for a few months out of the last couple of decades and most of his campaign money being donated from out of state.

Seems clear to me.

If elected, when his constituents want something for the district, they are going to have to get behind the long line of out-of state lobbyists.

He can’t have, in such a short time, learned what he needs to know about representing this community.

Sorry, Mr. Olson, you must earn our vote, not buy it with out-of-state dollars from big lobbyists.

– Marie Flickinger

Well said, Marie. The problem with Olson is that his roots in the district are incredibly attenuated, and his position in the race is owed to those from outside of the area -- and the state -- who are financing his race. We deserve better.





|| Greg, 05:07 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are In A PC Nation, How Will The GOP Run? by Cheat Seeking Missiles, and To Die in Jerusalem, Part II by My Shrapnel.  Here are the full results of the vote:

VotesCouncil link
3In A PC Nation, How Will The GOP Run?
Cheat Seeking Missiles
2Find the Adjectives
Soccer Dad
2Obama (with links) & McCain's Petard
Wolf Howling
1  2/3Unforced Errors
The Glittering Eye
2/3The Pursuit of Happiness
Bookworm Room
2/3"I'd rather be with God against man than with man against God..."
Joshuapundit
2/3Still At Risk: The Shocking Ignorance of Our Young
Right Wing Nut House
1/3Packer on Iraq
Done With Mirrors

VotesNon-council link
2  2/3To Die in Jerusalem, Part II
My Shrapnel
2  1/3The Fierce Urgency of Lies
American Thinker
1  1/3Guns in the Desert
Michael J. Totten
1Bobby Kennedy and Why Obama Unnerves Me
Roger L. Simon
1Validating AGW Skepticism
The QandO Blog
2/3The Democrats' Collective Cognitive Catatonia
Dr. Sanity
2/3DoD News Briefing with Col. James from Iraq
GlobalSecurity.org
2/3Greece and Rome in Iraq
Kings of War
1/315 Years: The World Trade Center Bombing
Michelle Malkin
1/3Obama Logic Versus Racial Preferences
National Journal

I neither nominated nor voted this past week due to the recent family and health issues that I wrote about yesterday. Here's hoping that things remain settled enough in the days to come that I will be able to do both.





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March 01, 2008

But They Are Legal Tender

I really have to wonder if the school has a leg to stand on here. After all, there is certainly no rule prohibiting the use of legal tender to pay for one's lunch, is there?

Got pennies!

It's plastered on their shirts and these eighth graders wear it proudly because on Thursday they pulled a prank at the Readington Middle School, paying for their lunches entirely in pennies.

"At first it started out as a joke, then everyone else started saying we're protesting against like how short our lunch is," student Alyssa Concannon said.

Several lunch ladies who had to do the counting didn't think it was funny, even though some of the students put the coins in rolls. They're not authorized to put in their two cents but school officials say they felt disrespected and other students didn't get to eat lunch.

"There are ways to express yourself that are not disruptive to other kids and disrespectful to staff," said Readington Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jorden Schiff.

Eighth grader Jenny Hunt said in hindsight, the prank may have been a bad idea.

"Maybe we should have thought before we did it," Hunt said.

In fact, the penny prank has earned 29 students two days of detention.

Now I will grant that 5800 pennies is a bit of a nuisance -- but given that the pennies are legal tender, I don't know where a public school can refuse them in payment or punish their use. Especially since some of the students in question even brought them neatly rolled.

And I'm curious -- will the principal now dictate that all lunches be paid for with two crisp, non-sequential one dollar bills?





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

Where Have All The Male Teachers Gone?

Granted, my department is pretty testosterone-laden (only 1/3 female -- which is a 300% increase from a year ago), but I can attest that the number of female teachers significantly exceeds the number of male teachers, especially in the lower grades.

It is an odd, disquieting fact at times. After all, such a discrepancy in regard to any other demographic sub-group would be taken as prima facie evidence of invidious discrimination and mandate serious affirmative action remedies.

According to statistics recently released by the National Education Association (NEA), men made up just 24.4 percent of the total number of teachers in 2006. In fact, the number of male public school teachers in the U.S. has hit a record 40-year low. Arkansas, at 17.5 percent, and Mississippi, with 17.7 percent, have the lowest percentage of male teachers, while Kansas, at 33.3 percent, and Oregon, with 31.4 percent, boast the largest percentage of men leading the classroom.

Let's look at those numbers. Men are represented in the classroom at only 50% of their percentage in the general public nationwide -- and in some states the under-representation rises as high as 65%. Why would that be?

Why the downward trend in male teaching? According to Bryan Nelson, founder of MenTeach, a nonprofit organization dedicated to recruiting male teachers, research suggests three key reasons for the shortage of male teachers: low status and pay, the perception that teaching is "women's work," and the fear of accusation of child abuse.

You have that right, folks. Men are still expected to be the main breadwinner in this society, but we teachers are really not paid enough to do that. The perception of teaching as "women's work" is real -- and often fostered by female teachers and administrator in the lower grades, as well as female professors of education (and some of their neutered male colleagues) who seek to elevate "female" notions of cooperation and collaboration over "male" values like competition and individual achievement. And don't forget the minor detail that any man is presumed to be a sexual predator under modern notions of feminism.

What no one wants to look at is the reality that there actually is discrimination against men who want to go into education, especially in the lower grades.

For men thinking of heading into education, Nelson offered hard-won advice: Be persistent. Get practical experience first. Look for resources to help you get through school, and, when applying for a job, make sure you have thick skin.

"People will ask you inappropriate questions," he said, recalling a recent e-mail he received from an aspiring male teacher who was asked during a job interview, "Why would any healthy male want to work with kids?"

In such situations, Nelson suggests stressing the positive aspects of having a man in the classroom. "When kids see [a man] in front of them on a daily basis, it helps to contradict negative stereotypes," Nelson said.

The magnificent Dr. Helen sums up my reaction to that little bit of "wisdom" from an ADVOCATE for men in the classroom.

So men are told to get a thick skin, get used to handling "inappropriate questions," and learn to contradict negative sterotypes. In other words, if men are discriminated against, it is up to them to deal with the fall-out and to change negative steroptypes and to expect no help from other people. So men are guilty unless proven otherwise.

Dear God -- it is 2008! No one would dream of asking why a "normal" woman or minority would want to be a doctor, lawyer, or President of the United States. What is going on when we are getting the same sort of questions about the normalcy of a man who wants to work with children?

Personal experience on the matter? I've been on the receiving end of the anti-male discrimination. I can point to it 20 years ago. Having completed all but my comprehensive exams for my master's degrees, I found myself work at the start of a school year. A local Catholic school was advertising for a teacher's aide to help teach reading classes. I interviewed for the position -- and was turned down. Four weeks later I got a call from the school offering me the position. I later learned that two women without college degrees had been hired and let go before I, the sole remaining applicant (who was already certified in secondary education), was offered the job.

Shortly after Christmas, I began talking with the two teachers with whom I worked about seeking elementary education certification -- and was discouraged, despite the high praise they gave me for my work with our first and second grade students. After raising the issue a few more times over the next several weeks with some of the other teachers, I was summoned to the office of the principal and informed that I should give up my "silly notions" of teaching on the elementary level -- and that she would see to it that I received no positive recommendations for either the local university elementary education program or any elementary school because "men do not belong in an elementary classroom." A few days later I was informed that my position was to be eliminated at the end of the school year -- but interestingly enough, an identical position was created the following fall and given to a female parishioner without a college degree.

And I won't get into the question of sexual abuse allegations. I've ranted about that one in the past, about seeing male colleagues victimized by false accusations while actual female perpetrators are given light sentences because their actual misconduct is seen as not as severe as the same deeds committed by a man.

Having said all that, I want to mention one positive sign -- and one close to my heart. Last spring, I met up with a former student at the district administration building. I'd lost contact with this young man, an old favorite of mine, after he graduated from high school. I was pleasantly surprised to see he was wearing an ID card from one of the other schools in the district -- and that he was teaching fourth grade. Even better, that spring he was named the rookie teacher of the year at his school. I know it is a little thing, but that this young man made the choice to teach tells me that there are others out there who will follow if our society makes it clear that male teachers -- and teachers in general -- are something that we value.

By the way, kudos to Hube for noting that the media seems intent upon ignoring this story. And thanks to Soccer Dad for contacting us both about the issue.





|| Greg, 06:23 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Clinton Campaign Ad Asks The Crucial Campaign Question

But it gave the wrong answer.

Obama then got the answer just as colossally wrong.

Playing on anxieties about national security, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has produced a “red phone moment” advertisement that suggests she would be better able to respond to a crisis than Senator Barack Obama.

“It’s 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep,” says a narrator as threatening music surges over dark black-and-white images.

There’s a world crisis and the White House phone is ringing. “Your vote will decide who answers that call,” the narrator says. “Whether it’s someone who already knows the world’s leaders, knows the military — someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world.”

It ends with a photo of Mrs. Clinton wearing glasses and picking up the phone.
Mr. Obama, responding to the ad during a stop in Houston, said it raised “a perfectly legitimate question.”

But let's be honest here -- the presidential candidate who is best qualified to pick up that phone is not Hillary Clinton. It is Senator John McCain, whose experience in and knowledge of the United States military is head and shoulders superior to that of either Democrat.

McCain knows, from personal experience, the cost of an incorrect decision to use -- or not use -- military force in defense of the United States. Neither of the Democrats has such experience. Neither of them has children currently serving in the US military.

McCain knows those world leaders, too -- and has greater experience with and greater respect from those leaders. After all, he has been in a policymaking role for decades, not making good-will visits and hosting state dinners as First Lady or voting present in a state legislature.

Who do I want picking up that phone at 3 a.m.? Who should any American want taking that call?

A neophyte politician -- long on rhetorical skills but short on qualifications?

A woman who loathes the military and who is seeking high public office the old-fashioned way -- using her husband's coattails to obscure her own lack of accomplishments?

Or a bona fide military hero from a family that has served the nation in the United States military with distinction for generations?

The answer should be obvious -- and I respectfully question the wisdom of anyone who disagrees.

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A Minor Detail About Ethanol

The more we use, the higher food prices go.

Another reason for the sharp hike in food prices is the increasing demand for ethanol, which has driven up the price of corn – and at the same time created a shortage of wheat as farmers shift their crop to the more lucrative corn.

Yes, I know that the article is pointing to higher gas prices as the source of much of the price increases in foods like pizza, beer, hot dogs, and such things -- but imagine what will happen whe we start seeing a federal mandate for increased use of "renewable" ethanol as a fuel source More corn production will lead to less wheat production which will lead to higher prices for anything that uses flour -- you know stuff like bread.

Are the Greenies really sure that ethanol is a bright idea now? What will they say when they can't afford to buy a loaf of organic bread to make their staving children tofu and jelly sandwich?





|| Greg, 10:09 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Some Things Are More Important Than Money

One’s country is one of them, at least for this soldier.

After completing two tours in Iraq, Sgt. Wayne Leyde won $1 million from a scratch-and-win lotto ticket on Tuesday.

Now that he's won, Leyde, a 26-year-old member of the Washington National Guard, says he's still going to volunteer to go back to Iraq for a third tour and won't spend any of the money in the meantime.

* * *

Leyde couldn't believe it when he scratched a winning ticket, but he still plans to return to Iraq.

"It was a commitment I made about three months ago. I'm going to stick to it," Leyde said about his decision.

The sergeant says rents have gone sky high where he and his parents live in the Mount Spokane area of Washington and that, for now, he's not going to spend any of the money.

"For right now, I'm going to hold off [spending] and let reality sink back to earth. This is a true blessing. I'm going to turn it around and see if I can bless other people with this," Leyde said.

This soldier could possibly get out of the military at this point. He could almost certainly defer his deployment to a war zone. He is doing neither, as he views the mission in Iraq as important to our nation and to the Iraqi people. My hat is off to Sgt. Wayne Leyde.





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1-In-100 In Jail – Like That’s A Bad Thing

Doesn’t this make us safer?

For the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in 100 American adults is behind bars, according to a new report.

Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million. Another 723,000 people are in local jails. The number of American adults is about 230 million, meaning that one in every 99.1 adults is behind bars.

But wait. If these folks are, in fact, committing real crimes against real people, it strikes me that this is a good thing. I want the violent folks, the thieves, and the drunk drivers off the streets.

Don Surber pegs it.

Question: What does 1 in 100 Americans behind bars mean?

Answer: That the other 99 of us are safer. Look the reason so many black men are behind bars is that so many black people are beat up, raped or murdered by black men. When one-eighth of the population suffers nearly half the nation’s homicides, the problem is not that so many members of that eighth are behind bars, but that you suffer so many homicides.

The black men who should be saved are not the ones behind bars but the ones in coffins.

I’m tired of my students being crime victims. I’m tired of their relatives being crime victims. Let’s start worrying about the victims instead of the victimizers.





|| Greg, 09:25 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I Heard You Missed Me – I’m Back

Let’s see.

Last Thursday, we got serious medical news about my mother-in-law. We quickly arranged a flight to the east coast.

We flew east on Friday, and arrived to find my mother-in-law starting to rally.

Saturday, we celebrated her 82nd birthday, with her looking better than she had in months.

We spent much of Sunday at the hospital with her as well. I pulled a muscle in my back lifting my wife’s wheelchair out of the trunk.

Monday we flew home, my back aching. I was not a happy traveler. We also ran in to the TSA screener from Hell (more on her in another post).

Tuesday I saw the doctor. Pain pills and muscle relaxants left me pretty giddy after that visit.

Wednesday morning I was still hurting, so I played one more day of hooky from school.

I was really looking forward to school on Thursday – and made it through first period. That’s when I discovered that the back spasm had dislodged a kidney stone, which was taking that moment to work its way through the urinary tract. Back to the doctor. And for the morbidly curious, it passed late in the afternoon.

Finally, yesterday, after a good night's sleep, I went back to school. I have never been so happy to see a room full of kids in my life. After school, I took my darling wife to early vote in the Democrat primary here in Texas -- she couldn't stand in line for over an hour (and I'm not quite ready to lift that wheelchair yet), so needed me to do so in order to have the voting machine brought to her in the car. In the end I found myself so fatigued that I couldn't write.

But I'm back now. Let's see if I can get back into the normal flow of things.

OPEN TRACKBACKING ATOutside the Beltway, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, Rosemary's Thoughts, Nuke Gingrich, Faultline USA, Allie is Wired, Woman Honor Thyself, Right Truth, The World According to Carl, Shadowscope, Pirate's Cove, Celebrity Smack, The Pink Flamingo, Oblogatory Anecdotes, Leaning Straight Up, Cao's Blog, A Newt One, Conservative Cat, Right Voices, The Yankee Sailor, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





|| Greg, 09:00 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||
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NAME: Greg
AGE: 50-ish
SEX: Male
MARITAL STATUS: Married
OCCUPATION: Social Studies Teacher
LOCATION: Seabrook, TX
DISCLAIMER: All posts reflect my views alone, and not the view of my wife, my dogs, my employer, or anyone else. All comments reflect the view of the commenter, and permitting a comment to remain on this site in no way indicates my support for the ideas expressed in the comment.

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