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April 30, 2008

More On The Heroism Of John McCain

Here’s one of those stories I hadn’t heard before – one which reveals a great deal about John McCain.

[Ret. Col. Bud] Day relayed to me one of the stories Americans should hear. It involves what happened to him after escaping from a North Vietnamese prison during the war. When he was recaptured, a Vietnamese captor broke his arm and said, "I told you I would make you a cripple."

The break was designed to shatter Mr. Day's will. He had survived in prison on the hope that one day he would return to the United States and be able to fly again. To kill that hope, the Vietnamese left part of a bone sticking out of his arm, and put him in a misshapen cast. This was done so that the arm would heal at "a goofy angle," as Mr. Day explained. Had it done so, he never would have flown again.

But it didn't heal that way because of John McCain. Risking severe punishment, Messrs. McCain and Day collected pieces of bamboo in the prison courtyard to use as a splint. Mr. McCain put Mr. Day on the floor of their cell and, using his foot, jerked the broken bone into place. Then, using strips from the bandage on his own wounded leg and the bamboo, he put Mr. Day's splint in place.
Years later, Air Force surgeons examined Mr. Day and complemented the treatment he'd gotten from his captors. Mr. Day corrected them. It was Dr. McCain who deserved the credit. Mr. Day went on to fly again.

McCain himself had been tortured and suffered grievous injuries after his capture by the North Vietnamese. They wanted to use him for propaganda purposes, but when he refused they made him suffer. Yet when he found one of his fellow prisoners suffering and in danger of being permanently maimed due to the sadism of their captors, McCain acted in the best tradition of our country by placing himself in danger to prevent that outcome.

There is more, much more, to this article – including the beautiful story of how the McCains came to adopt their daughter Bridget. I would only add to it that there was, in fact, a second baby girl who Cindy McCain brought back to the US for medical treatment – and the couple found another family to adopt that child as well. After reading this article, tell me that John and Cindy McCain, two decent people despite their past flaws and past mistakes, would not be the sort of First Couple who would make America proud.

H/T NRO's Campaing Spot, Hot Air

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Outside the Beltway, The Virtuous Republic, Rosemary's Thoughts, third world county, Faultline USA, Right Truth, The World According to Carl, Shadowscope, The Pink Flamingo, Cao's Blog, , Democrat=Socialist, Conservative Cat, Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





|| Greg, 04:48 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Two “Random Attacks”, Two Victims Of The Same Minority Religion

But apparently not enough to even consider the possibility that it might be a hate crime.

A north London man is to appear in court charged with assault after two Orthodox Jews were stabbed in two random street attacks.

Mohamed Jama Ahmed, 37, of North Circular Road, will appear at Hendon Magistrates` Court charged with two counts of grievous bodily harm.

The two victims, both men, were attacked within minutes of each other on Friday evening, but police say the incidents are not being treated as hate crimes.

I guess that when a member of the Religion of Peace commits a couple of violent assaults upon a couple of Jews on a city street for no apparent reason, there is no basis for treating the matter as a hate crime.

After all, we never hear violent anti-Semitic rhetoric out of Muslim communities here in the western world.

And Muslims rarely if ever engage in random violent attacks against innocent Jews just going about their daily lives anywhere in the world.

So it mustn’t be a hate crime.





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

Is It A Recession If The Economy Is Growing?

And I’m not just asking an idle question.

The bruised economy limped through the first quarter, growing at just a 0.6 percent pace as housing and credit problems forced people and businesses alike to hunker down.

The country's economic growth during January through March was the same as in the final three months of last year, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. The statistic did not meet what economists consider the classic definition of a recession, which is a retraction of the economy. This means that although the economy is stuck in a rut, it is still managing to grow, even if modestly.

Many analysts were predicting that the gross domestic product (GDP) would weaken a bit more—to a pace of just 0.5 percent—in the first quarter. Earlier this year, some economists thought the economy would actually lurch into reverse during the opening quarter. Now, they say they believe that will likely happen during the current April-to-June period.

"The economy is weak but not collapsing," said Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Bank of America's Investment Strategies Group. "A recession can't be ruled out, although the stars are not lined up at this point to definitively say one way or the other."

Which makes us wonder – liberals have been telling us for months that we are in the throes of a recession. Economists, however, find that not to be the case and question if we are actually entering one. Could the recessionary claims all be partisan smoke designed to obscure the weakness of the Democrats running for the presidency and Congress? Are the Democrats willing to trash America’s economy – like they trash our military and the war effort – in order to improve their chances of electoral victory?

Great additional commentary on the non-recessionary recession at Don Surber, Right on the Left Coast and Blogs for Victory.





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

Al Franken -- Tax Cheat

If you or I were to scam multiple states out of over $70K in taxes, we would likely go to jail.

Liberal Democrat and (alleged) funnyman Al Franken gets to run for US Senate instead.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken, front-runner in the race to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, said on Tuesday that he has paid $70,000 in back taxes and penalties owed in 17 states, going back to 2003.

Franken, who has earned income across the country for celebrity appearances and speeches, blamed his accountant of 18 years for failing to pay the appropriate taxes owed in each state.

The accountant, Allen Chanzis of New York, "just made a basic kind of error that had a lot of ramifications," Franken said.

Franken said that he paid federal and state taxes on all of his income, but that the accountant had failed to properly distribute the tax payments.

Yeah, that-'s it -- blame it on the accountants.

At best, it is an indication that Franken is out of touch with the realities of everyday life for real Americans -- and that he lacks the judgment to hire competent professionals to do his taxes or to make sure they are paid in a proper, timely fashion.

Still, Democrats are going to try t elect him to the US Senate in Minnesota.

If he were a Republican, they'd be demanding a special prosecutor and jail time in each of the 17 defrauded states.





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

An Inspiring Tale Of Faith From Auschwitz

A Torah survived the camp at Auschwitz due to the dedication of the doomed Jews of Oswiecim.

It is the story of a sexton in the synagogue in the Polish city of Oswiecim who buried most of the sacred scroll before the Germans stormed in and later renamed the city Auschwitz. It is the story of Jewish prisoners who sneaked the rest of it — four carefully chosen panels — into the concentration camp.

It is the story of a Polish Catholic priest to whom they entrusted the four panels before their deaths. It is the story of a Maryland rabbi who went looking for it with a metal detector. And it is the story of how a hunch by the rabbi’s 13-year-old son helped lead him to it.

This Torah, more than most, “is such an extraordinary symbol of rebirth,” said Peter J. Rubinstein, the rabbi of Central Synagogue. “As one who has gone to the camps and assimilates into my being the horror of the Holocaust, this gives meaning to Jewish survival.”

If you want a story of faith and devotion in the face of absolute evil, this is it. If you want a story of dedication to the sacred that will put a lump in your throat, here it is. And if you want the story of a mystery solved after decades, this is the story for you.

May it inspire you as the words of the Torah inspired those faithful Jews who were responsible for safeguarding it even when they could not safeguard their own lives.





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

Another European Trend Not To Follow

As a teacher, I already have enough to do just to teach my students history and engage in the day-to-day minutiae of managing a classroom. I don't need to be monitoring these additional factors that the Brits are going to impose upon schools (and ultimately, upon teachers) in the very near future.

Schools will be made to keep records of teenage pregnancy rates, pupils' drug problems, criminal records and obesity levels under government plans to give parents a true picture of children's lives.

The ideas, set out in a discussion document from the Department for Children, Schools and Families, suggest schools would become accountable for 18 new targets, from bullying and neglect, to what happens to pupils after they leave school. Sources said the 10-page document, entitled Indicators of schools' performance in contributing to pupil wellbeing, calls for Ofsted inspectors to judge schools on the wide range of measures in addition to existing criteria such as exam results and exclusion rates. The measures could be implemented by Ofsted from 2009, and suggest that schools would become broadly responsible for children's safety, enjoyment and happiness.

So let's see here -- now teachers are going to be somehow held responsible for student "extra-curricular activities" like their sex lives, drug use, and off-campus diet. Schools will be rated not just upon academic indicators, but also upon these "indicators of pupil well-being" -- in other words, based upon criteria that are realistically beyond the control of school officials.

Take that teen pregnancy one. My experience is that most students do not become pregnant at school. We can teach abstinence (our current method here in texas) or supply socialized birth control on top of extensive sex education (the British method), but we cannot stop teenagers from "putting Tab A into Slot B". We are not in control of the diet of students outside of a school setting, or whether or not they do drugs away from school.

Indeed, many of these indicators are less related to school factors than they are to socio-economic or cultural ones. Why make tracking and remedying them the responsibility of relatively low-paid teachers -- most of whom are not trained to remedy them in the first place?

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Outside the Beltway, The Virtuous Republic, Rosemary's Thoughts, third world county, Faultline USA, Right Truth, The World According to Carl, Shadowscope, The Pink Flamingo, Cao's Blog, , Democrat=Socialist, Conservative Cat, Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





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

Housing Bubble Bursts

Well, consumer confidence is down -- in large part because of a decrease in housing prices.

Much of the damage has stemmed from a slump in the housing market, where prices are nearly 15 percent off their high in July 2006.

In the 12 months ended in February, the Case-Shiller home price index, which measures the value of single-family homes in 10 major metropolitan regions, fell 13.6 percent, the biggest decline since records began in 1987. A broader 20-city index dropped 12.7 percent.

Of course, there is a reason that we have seen housing prices drop so precipitously -- the last several years have been a part of what analysts were calling a housing bubble. You know, as in the prices of residential real estate was significantly inflated beyond its actual value. And I certainly recall experts saying that in some metropolitan areas we were seeing prices exceed the real value of the property, and the ability of many consumers to afford to make real estate purchases. Not only that, but we were assured that we were headed for a fall wehn the bubble burst.

Well, folks, the bubble has burst. We have experienced what on the stock market is euphemistically called "a correction".

In other words, housing prices are adjusting to a more realistic level, below the highly speculative levels that they reached in the recent past.

Am I saying that the current situation in the housing market is a good one? Not necessarily. But it is interesting to note that the drop in home prices will put a house within the reach of folks who one year ago could not afford to buy one a year ago. These individuals, who acted responsibly and lived within their means, will now be able to make the purchase that they deferred as out of their price range. Shouldn't we be celebrating these responsible purchasers rather than rewarding the irresponsible ones who exceeded their means by giving them a government mandated (and maybe financed) bail-out?





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

April 29, 2008

It's Too Late To Turn Back Now

Like it or not, Barack Obama is permanently tied to the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and nothing he said today did anything to sever that link -- nor, as I pointed out this morning, could it have.

Here's the heart of the statement from the press conference this afternoon.

You know, I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ since 1992. I have known Reverend Wright for almost 20 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church.

They certainly don't portray accurately my values and beliefs. And if Reverend Wright thinks that that's political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn't know me very well. And based on his remarks yesterday, well, I may not know him as well as I thought, either.

Now, I've already denounced the comments that had appeared in these previous sermons. As I said, I had not heard them before. And I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my speech in Philadelphia, explaining that he has done enormous good in the church. He's built a wonderful congregation. The people of Trinity are wonderful people. And what attracted me has always been their ministry's reach beyond the church walls.

But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS, when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century, when he equates the United States wartime efforts with terrorism, then there are no excuses. They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. And they should be denounced. And that's what I'm doing very clearly and unequivocally here today.

Unfortunately for Obama, none of that matters.

After all, Barack Obama is the guy who six weeks ago the speech">told us this about Jeremiah Wright.

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.

Crazy Uncle Jeremiah is a part of Barack Obama -- and if he could not disown Rev. Wright six weeks ago, I don't see how we can accept the denunciation today. After all, nothing has changed from six weeks ago. The pastor has said nothing new. Unless, as Wright pointed out over the weekend, Barack Obama is just another politician doing what politicians have to do to get elected -- and in this case lying to the American public trying to save his opportunity to be president.

But I think that Barack Obama might have revealed his real reason for speaking out today. Referring to Wright's most NPC speech, he said, "It was a show of disprespect to me."

Yes, there we have it. This isn't about principle, this is about his own ego. He's lashing out at Wright out of personal pique, rather than principle.

Anyone else need evidence that Barack Obama is simply unfit to serve as President of the United States?

By the way, I think I've found a new theme song for the Obama campaign.

H/T Malikn, Hot Air





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Do Islamists Rule Our Cities?

Yesterday I commented on a situation in New York – today I am drawn to London.

* * * * *

“Stop being crusader.”

That was the directive of British police to a Christian convert from Islam in the UK. His unacceptable conduct? Seeking police intervention after his life was threatened and a vacant house next to his was burned. Rather than protect his fundamental human rights, the police lamed the victim and suggested that he move to a new neighborhood.

A British citizen who converted to Christianity from Islam and then complained to police when locals threatened to burn his house down was told by officers to “stop being a crusader”, according to a new report.

Nissar Hussein, 43, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, who was born and raised in Britain, converted from Islam to Christianity with his wife, Qubra, in 1996. The report says that he was subjected to a number of attacks and, after being told that his house would be burnt down if he did not repent and return to Islam, reported the threat to the police. It says he was told that such threats were rarely carried out and the police officer told him to “stop being a crusader and move to another place”. A few days later the unoccupied house next door was set on fire.

Shocking – but not surprising any more.

Sadly, this happened in the kand that gave birth to any of the concepts that undergird out notion of unalienable rights. Today a higher value is placed upon not offending Muslim sensisbilities than upon the human rights of the rest of society.

And I cannot help but be struck by the word choice of the directive by the police.

"Crusader."

That is the word of choice for Islamists in justifying their attacks upon the civilized world. We are “crusaders” when they fly airplanes into buildings, “crusaders” when they set IEDs to maim and kill our soldiers, “crusaders’ when they behead their hostages in the name of Allah. For the police to dare to use that word to describe a victim of Islamist threats is disgusting.

And let us be clear – now they are threatening us with violence and death in our own cities for the crime of worshipping the one who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life instead of following Muhammad’s path of darkness. But somehow we who acknowledge this conflict is based upon the fundamental incompatibility of Islam with Western Civilization are presented as the bad buys by those who claim to be forces of tolerance.





|| Greg, 02:47 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

DNA Test To Solve Booth Riddle?

History records that nearly a century and a half ago the sixteenth president of the United States was murdered by a treasonous actor (they had them back then, too) who was killed some days later in a Virginia barn.

But is history wrong? Did Abraham Lincoln’s killer escape justice? Did Union troops kill an innocent man in a tragic case of mistaken identity? Those questions are periodically raised by assassination buffs and conspiracy theorists alike. And now it may be possible to lay the question to rest once and for all.

Sometime after 2 a.m. on a cool, cloudy Wednesday, a group of detectives and blue-clad troopers cornered a murderous fugitive in a tobacco barn on the Garrett family farm near Port Royal, Va.

"Draw up your men before the door and I'll come out and fight the whole command," called a voice from the barn. "Well, my brave boys, prepare a stretcher for me!"

A soldier lit a tuft of hay, threw it inside and spied the silhouette of a man on crutches, a carbine on his hip.

Pop! A shot was fired and, 143 years ago today, John Wilkes Booth - assassin of Abraham Lincoln - collapsed to the ground, mortally wounded in the neck.
That's what history says.

But two local Booth family descendants - Joanne Hulme of Philadelphia's Kensington section, and her sister, Virginia Kline of Warminster - aren't convinced.

They think that another man was killed and that Booth, who they believe was the president's assassin, lived to a ripe old age.

Aided by Booth historians, researchers and scientists, the sisters may now be on the threshold of proving their theory through DNA tests.

Results of the tests will be revealed on television this fall.

Personally, I place myself among the traditionalists. That said, I am open to evidence that I am wrong to accept the official story. And given that there have been multiple individuals who claimed to be John Wilkes Booth years after he was supposedly killed at Port Royal, perhaps the evidence from these tests will substantiate or refute those claim as well.





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

Too Late For Obama To Distance Himself From Wright

Barack Obama had his chance to distance himself from Jeremiah Wright back in March. After spinning through three different and contradictory reactions to his pastor's outrageous and anti-American sermons in the space of about five days, he settled on embracing the man even while disagreeing with him. Many of us rightly saw the whole process as indicative of a lack of integrity on his part.

But what it also did was inescapably bind Obama to Wright -- but as long as Wright remained in the background, there was hope that the controversy might go away.

After this past weekend, it won't. Between his Bill Moyers interview, Dalas Sermon, Detroit NAACP address, and National Press Club session, Jeremiah Wright is going to be a serious issue at least through the Democrat Convention -- and up to November, if Obama still wins the nomination.

Some, like Andrew Sullivan, are advising Obama to dump Wright completely.

But Wright's cooptation of Obama for his own agenda - his assertion that Obama's distancing from him is insincere - requires, in fact demands a response from Obama.

Obama needs not just to distance himself from Wright's views; he needs to
disown him at this point. Wright himself, it seems to
me, has become part of what Obama is fighting against: the boomer,
Vietnam era's obsession with its red-blue, white-black, pro and
anti-America fixations. That is not what this election needs to be
about; and Wright's massive, racially divisive and, yes, bitter provocation
requires a proportionate response.

We need a speech or statement from Obama in which he utterly repudiates this
poison, however personally difficult that may be, however damaging the
impact will be. The statement today will not do it. This is no longer about cynics trying to associate one
man's politics with another. It is  now about Wright attempting to
associate himself and some of his noxious, stupid, rancid views with the likely
Democratic nominee. Wright has given Obama no choice - and he has also
given him another opportunity. He needs to
seize it.

I respectfully disagree.

Barack Obama had his chance to denounce, renounce, and repudiate Jeremiah Wright. Unfortunately for him, that opportunity was some six or seven weeks ago, when he made his overly-hyped speech on race. And I stated at the time, his failure to quit Trinity UCC and sever his relationship with Jeremiah Wright was a profound error. To do so now would be to prove Wright's words in the Moyers interview, that Obama is nothing but a politician doing what politicians do to get elected. As such, Barack Obama is permanetly -- and perhaps fatally -- damaged as a presidential candidate.





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A Correct Decision In Voter ID Case

During most elections in my precinct, I run a polling place that serves about 3000 registered voters. Depending upon the election, I've had a turnout as low 8% on election day (this year's GOP runoff) to as high as 40% (2004 presidential election). And let me be honest about it -- I do not know every single registered voter in my precinct, and neither do my election clerks. Presentation of some sort of identification is a necessity for us to be sure that the person voting is the person registered.

Now Texas law allows for the presentation of the voter registration card, which lacks a picture. As per that statute, I accept it, but I always have this niggling doubt in the back of my mind -- what if this has been stolen from someone's mailbox? I believe that a sstate-issued photo ID would be preferrable.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that nothing in the US Constitution forbids a state from requiring one for voting purposes.

States can require voters to produce photo identification, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, upholding a Republican-inspired law that Democrats say will keep some poor, older and minority voters from casting ballots.

Twenty-five states require some form of ID, and the court's 6-3 decision rejecting a challenge to Indiana's strict voter ID law could encourage others to adopt their own measures. Oklahoma legislators said the decision should help them get a version approved.

The ruling means the ID requirement will be in effect for next week's presidential primary in Indiana, where a significant number of new voters are expected to turn out for the Democratic contest between Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

The basis for the decision is a very straightforward one, and comes from one of the members of the more liberal bloc on the Supreme Court.

"The application of the statute to the vast majority of Indiana voters is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process," he wrote. His opinion was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who is normally on the right, and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who is often considered a swing vote.

The opinion left open the possibility that voters who had proof that they were adversely affected by such laws could petition the courts, but made it clear that it would be difficult for them to prevail.

In other words, the state has a legitimate interest in preventing voter fraud -- but the controlling opinion in this case allows for additional consideration of the question depending upon some showing of actual harm or disparate impact. By any stretch of all but the most fevered imagination, that is a reasonable standard to impose when one looks at a law that is neutral on its face and designed to safeguard something so fundamental as the integrity of elections.

Which only serves to prove that there are three members of the High Court whose hyperactive imaginations make it impossible for them to be taken seriously on this (or most other) issues.

Justices David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer dissented. Justice Souter, in an opinion joined by Justice Ginsburg, said the Indiana law, which calls for a government-issued photo identification, like a driver’s license or passport, “threatens to impose nontrivial burdens on the voting rights of tens of thousands of the state’s citizens.”

The so-called "nontrivial burdens" being the acquisition of a free state-issued identification card and presenting it on election day -- or within 10 days afterwards if they do not have it on election day.

Am I insensitive to the concerns of those who brought this challenge? No, I am not -- and agree with the Washington Post that the impact of such laws should be monitored to make sure that there is in practice no undue burden placed upon the exercise of the right to vote.

On the other hand, I am not at all in sympathy with the impotent attempt of the New York Times to overrule the nation's top court in today's editorial, in which it uncritically accepts all the arguments of those who challenged the law. But even those speculative claims fall victim to one of the undeniable realities of this case -- one of the plaintiffs in the case was found to be a fraudulent voter, and this law is likely to stop even more.





|| Greg, 04:17 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 28, 2008

Brooklyn Shocker!

Are the authorities in New York City aware that a religious group is unlawfully abducting citizens from public streets and holding them hostage for engaging in legal activity? And would anyone care to guess the “peaceful religion” engaged in this activity?

Don’t snap a photo of the Masjid At-Taqwa in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn unless you want to be hauled away by a group of angry Muslims in Islamic attire to the basement of the facility where a group of twenty “security guards” in karate suits will interrogate you. This might sound preposterous.

But it happened on Saturday, April 24, at 3:00 in the afternoon.

Ali Kareem, the head of security for Siraj Wahaj’s mosque, conducted the grilling. A small, muscular man with a wispy black beard that has been dyed red with henna, Kareem demanded to know the reason why a trio of kafirs had dared to photograph the building on a public street without securing his permission.

He further insisted on securing our identities and obtaining our motives for such a violation of Islamic space.

Being surrounded by a group of militant guards in a mosque basement from which there is no means of escape is not a comforting place to be for a Wall Street financier.

We tried to explain that we found the neighborhood with its halal meat vendors and food stores; Islamic dress shops, featuring the latest styles in burqas and hijabs; Muslim souvenir outlets, replete with bumper stickers stating “Don’t Be Caught Dead Without Islam”; and Middle Eastern restaurants offering a variety of goat dishes to be rather quaint and interesting.

This explanation was not sufficient.

Kareem was impatient and did not want a detailed explanation of the reason for our excursion (simple sight-seeing) or a graphic account of the sights we had seen and photographed.

“I ask the questions here,” he said, “and you provide the answers.”

Realizing that we were in a bit of a pickle, my companion explained that we were interested in various religions and knew Siraj Wahaj, the imam of the mosque, was a prominent Muslim figure whom we would like to interview for a news outlet.

This didn’t work too well since we could not produce a business card from a wacko blog, let alone credentials from a national publication.

At last, we blurted out that we were admirers of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) and wanted to obtain information about conversion. We were even knowledgeable enough to blurt out “Salaam” and “Allahu akbar.”

The last utterance seemed to be the “Open Sesame” that got us out of the basement and back to Bedford Street, where we managed to take a picture of the mosque before hailing a cab and making a getaway.

The experience was disconcerting. Surely, anyone who takes a picture of St. Patrick’s Cathedral or the Riverside Church is not hauled off to a basement for questioning by a threatening figure in a karate uniform and a band of Ninjas.

What we have here is CRIMINAL ACTIVITY being conducted by representatives/employees of the mosque in question. Being that this is the United States, any person of any religion is permitted to be on a public sidewalk in any neighborhood. They are even permitted to take photographs on a public street under virtually all circumstances.

But apparently the folks of Masjid At-Taqwa don’t think that they are in America – or that the rights of citizens in this country rank somewhere below their Islamic sensibilities. After all, what legal authority did Ali Kareem and his band of 20 kidnappers have to detain Bos Smith and Paul Williams? What legal authority did they have to question them, demanding identification and the justification for their legal actions on a city street? Could you imagine the outrage if a local synagogue or church did this to a group of Muslims or ethnic minorities? The forces of tolerance and multi-culturalism would be waxing hysterical about the hate crime that had been committed!

I appreciate Smith and Williams being willing to document this crime. I’d like to encourage them to report the offenses in question to the New York Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation – and to take their story to the local and national media.

After all, a bias crime is a bias crime, isn’t it?

H/T Jawa Report





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Some Thoughts On Jeremiah Wright

Talk about a guy with an inflated opinion of himself!

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright says criticism surrounding his fiery sermons is an attack on the black church.

Barack Obama's longtime pastor says he hopes the controversy will have a positive outcome and spark an honest dialogue about race in America. Wright says black church traditions are still "invisible" to many Americans, as they have been throughout the country's history.

Excuse me, but I’d like to take issue with the contention that criticism of Wright constitutes an attack on the African-American religious tradition.

Unless, of course, the African-American religious tradition is built upon lies and hatred.

Like claims that the government invented AIDS to wipe out black people (he implicitly reaffirmed his support for that patently false theory today) and supplied drugs to the ghetto as a means of keeping the black man down.

Like such deep contempt for one’s country that shouts of “God Damn America” are mainstream and claims that America and the Klan are one and the same.

Wright claims to be quoted out of context, and from only one or two sermons. Yet Trinity UCC took down all links to his sermons, and quit selling all of them through their bookstore, as soon as these “out of context” excerpts became controversial. Why? What more is there to hide? Why not make them more widely available. To prove the “attacks” are scurrilous in nature?

And then there is the association with “black liberation theology” (a topic I was introduced to 15-20 years ago during my seminary days), a controversial school of thought that goes beyond merely interpreting the Christian faith from a black perspective and instead teaches something else. Today Wright embraced both the theology and its originator in their entirety.

But what does that theological construct teach? That whites are intrinsically racist and evil and that “whiteness” must be rejected and destroyed. It is, indeed, a separatist creed every bit as much as the racist ideology of Christian Identity – and as such needs to be equally rejected by Christians who accept Paul’s declaration in Galatians 3:28.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

Now Jeremiah Wright is perfectly welcome to claim to be a Christian while rejecting the clear voice of Scripture by embracing Black Liberation Theology – but those of us who cling to the Bible and our faith are also entitled to critique the theological construct that he preaches from his pulpit. After all, Wright does not have a corner on what it means to be a Christian, nor does he have the exclusive franchise on calling for repentance and returning to fidelity to Christ.

To the degree that our doing so means repeating over and over again that there are elements of Black Liberation Theology that are fundamentally at odds with Scripture, then we must say that and that its purveyors are false teachers who tickle the ears of their hearers with false doctrine – and if saying it constitutes, as Wright claims, an attack on the black church, then such an attack is our duty as Christians. But the reality is that Wright, Cone, and other Black Liberation theologians are not the black church -- and that today's claim by Wright is nothing more than the playing of the race card by one more hate-mongering race-baiter of the Jackson-Sharpton-Farrakhan school orf racial division..





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Ever Wonder Why

I don't blog about school, and generally limit myself to speech on social and political issues that merit the highest level of First Amendment protection? Here's why.

It's almost like Googling someone: Log on to Facebook. Join the Washington, D.C., network. Search the Web site for your favorite school system. And then watch the public profiles of 20-something teachers unfurl like gift wrap on the screen, revealing a sense of humor that can be overtly sarcastic or unintentionally unprofessional -- or both.

One Montgomery County special education teacher displayed a poster that depicts talking sperm and invokes a slang term for oral sex. One woman who identified herself as a Prince William County kindergarten teacher posted a satiric shampoo commercial with a half-naked man having an orgasm in the shower. A D.C. public schools educator offered this tip on her page: "Teaching in DCPS -- Lesson #1: Don't smoke crack while pregnant."

Just to be clear, these are not teenagers, the typical Internet scofflaws and sources of ceaseless discussion about cyber-bullying, sexual predators and so on. These are adults, many in their 20s, who are behaving, for the most part, like young adults.

But the crudeness of some Facebook or MySpace teacher profiles, which are far, far away from sanitized Web sites ending in ".edu," prompts questions emblematic of our times: Do the risque pages matter if teacher performance is not hindered and if students, parents and school officials don't see them? At what point are these young teachers judged by the standards for public officials?

In states including Florida, Colorado, Tennessee and Massachusetts, teachers have been removed or suspended for MySpace postings, and some teachers unions have begun warning members about racy personal Web sites. But as Facebook, with 70 million members, and other social networking sites continue to grow, scrutiny will no doubt spread locally.

The annals of teachers-gone-wild-on-the-Web include once-anonymous people who've done something outlandish with a blog or online video. Many people, especially in the Richmond area, remember high school art teacher Stephen Murmer, fired last year for painting canvasses with his buttocks in images on YouTube.

Of course, many of the tens of thousands of Washington area teachers put social networking sites or personal Web pages to constructive uses. Others push the limits.

I suffer from serious mixed emotions on such web pages. I'm a strong supporter of freedom of speech. However, I also recognize that we teachers are in a public role where our outside conduct can have an impact in our classrooms and schools.

Early on in my career, a colleague gave me some advice. It amounted to the following -- don't do anything where your students of their parents will find out about it if you don't want to explain it to your principal. Now this crusty old fellow was talking about patronizing the numerous bars and strip clubs that were to be found in one of the communities served by my school (something I didn't do -- but which had gotten a young ale teacher fired the previous year). But it was good advice -- and is even better advice in a day when all it takes is a few key-strokes and mouse-clicks to have activities exposed to the world.





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McCain Calls Obama Insensitive, Out Of Touch

The Arizona Senator limits his words to the poor -- but I'd include the middle class among those Obama doesn't understand or care about, too.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Sunday called Democratic rival Barack Obama insensitive to poor people and out of touch on economic issues.

The GOP nominee-in-waiting rapped his Democratic rival for opposing his idea to suspend the tax on fuel during the summer, a proposal that McCain believes will particularly help low-income people who usually have older cars that guzzle more gas.

"I noticed again today that Sen. Obama repeated his opposition to giving low-income Americans a tax break, a little bit of relief so they can travel a little further and a little longer, and maybe have a little bit of money left over to enjoy some other things in their lives," McCain said. "Obviously Sen. Obama does not understand that this would be a nice thing for Americans, and the special interests should not be dictating this policy."

Remember - it isn't just the poor who spend a large amount of money on gas -- the middle class does as well, between work and recreattional activities.

And Obama's plan to support a tax increase on all Americans who pay income taxes -- not to mention the reimposition of income tax on lower middle class Americans whose tax liability was reduced to zero under the Bush tax cuts -- constitutes one more example of his lack of connection with the economic realities of average Americans.

But then again, this is the same Barack Obama who couldn't get by on the $58,000 salary from his part-time job, and whose wife has indicated how hard it is to live on between a quarter-million and half-million dollars a year. If you need a clue as to how far out of contact with the economic realities of most Americans Obama really is, that should do it.





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

Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin Laid To Rest

At long last, Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin is home. He was laid to rest with full military honors this weekend, after having been captured by jihadis and then murdered by them in disregard for the protections of the very Geneva Conventions they claim protection from when they fall into the hands of Americans.

Thousands walked past Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin's casket during a daylong visitation at a civic center in Clermont County, east of Cincinnati, where he grew up. Many of them headed to Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds, for an afternoon memorial service.

The crowd occupied the lower portion of the 42,000-seat stadium, behind home plate, stretching from first base to third.

Maupin's flag-draped casket was on a platform in the area of the pitcher's mound. The only people on the field were members of the 338th Army band and about 100 family members, military representatives and dignitaries.

This weekend was a long time coming for Maupin's family. He was captured on April 9, 2004, and executed a short time thereafter. His body was recovered this spring.

May the sacrifice of Matt Maupin, and of all soldiers in the war against jihadi terrorism, not be in vain.





|| Greg, 04:23 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 27, 2008

Poor-Mouthing Obama

For all that Barack Obama and his wife try to paint themselves as "just ordinary people", I think this little detail tells us a lot about him.

After an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2000, Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama faced serious financial pressure: numerous debts, limited cash and a law practice he had neglected for a year. Help arrived in early 2001 from a significant new legal client -- a longtime political supporter.

Chicago entrepreneur Robert Blackwell Jr. paid Obama an $8,000-a-month retainer to give legal advice to his growing technology firm, Electronic Knowledge Interchange. It allowed Obama to supplement his $58,000 part-time state Senate salary for over a year with regular payments from Blackwell's firm that eventually totaled $112,000.

Hold on here for just a moment. Let's set aside the possible corruption angle here for a moment. Let's temporarily ignore the fact that Barack Obama was on the payroll of a campaign contributor for whom he was soliciting grant money from the state, and who made a campaign contribution once he got the grant. Let's just look at the part of the story I put in bold-faced type.

For his part-time job, Barack Obama was making $58,000 a year in taxpayer money -- and he could not not get by on that paltry amount. Never mind that he was making roughly twice the per capita income in his district (as a former Chicagoan, I'm well-aware of the area he represents and the poverty there). Never mind that the salary from his part time job put him above the average salary for teachers in the state of Illinois at that time by more than $10,000. And never mind that Michelle Obama was bringing home over $100,000 a year at the same time working in the corporate world that she now tells the little people to shun. He still needed to supplement the salary from his part-time job -- by taking cash from a political insider to use his office to get that contributor (eventually) over $320,000.

Barack Obama tries to present himself to us as the common man. He wants us all to believe that that he understands us and our struggles. This story proves that it isn't true. If you and your family can't make it on over $160,000 a year without supplementing your salary through a shady deal with a campaign contributor, you clearly aren't a man of the people -- and are instead a charlatan trying to fool the American people.

But no doubt we will hear from the Obama campaign that there is nothing wrong with Barack Obama's conduct here -- just like they continue to tell us about his financial dealings with Tony Rezko. But I think it is becoming obvious that Obama's character is a real issue from which his campaign desperately wants to distract the American people.

H/T Hot Air, Sister Toldjah

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Tomb Of Antony & Cleopatra To Be Explored

Their love story is one of the most intriguing of the ancient world, and has been chronicled again and again -- even by the likes of Shakespeare himself.

But the tomb of Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and her lover, the Roman Consul Mark Antony, has never been examined by modern archaeologists -- because its location was lost in the mists of time.

Modern research seems to have found it -- and the site has now been made accessible. Archaeological work will start soon.

Archaeologists have revealed plans to uncover the 2000 year-old tomb of ancient Egypt's most famous lovers, Cleopatra and the Roman general Mark Antony later this year.

Zahi Hawass, prominent archaeologist and director of Egypt's superior council for antiquities announced a proposal to test the theory that the couple were buried together.

He discussed the project in Cairo at a media conference about the ancient pharaohs.

Hawass said that the remains of the legendary Egyptian queen and her Roman lover, Mark Antony, were inside a temple called Tabusiris Magna, 30 kilometres from the port city of Alexandria in northern Egypt.

Until recently access to the tomb has been hindered because it is under water, but archaeologists plan to drain the site so they can begin excavation in November.

Among the clues to suggest that the temple may contain Cleopatra's remains is the discovery of numerous coins with the face of the queen.

According to Hawas, Egyptologists have also uncovered a 120-metre-long underground tunnel with many rooms, some of which could contain more details about Cleopatra.

Given that the tomb has spent centuries under water, the question of whether or not the remains of the queen and the general survive is an important one. I am unsure as to whether Cleopatra was mummified, or whether Antony was cremated as was Roman custom at the time. And what treasures are there, given the great quantity of treasure taken back to Rome in triumph by Octavian (soon to be Caesar Augustus)?

Still, there s potential to illuminate the end of Ptolomaic Egypt, and with it one of the most storied women of the ancient world.





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Fouad Free!

After four months in a Saudi prison with no charges against him -- all for daring to blog about the the corrupt government of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia's most popular blogger was released Saturday after serving four months in prison without charge.

Fouad al-Farhan, 33, was detained Dec. 10 after authorities warned him about his online support of an activist group. At the time of his arrest, the Interior Ministry said only that his violations were not related to state security.

Farhan had used his blog to criticize corruption and call for political reform in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy.

In a telephone interview Saturday, Farhan said he was happy to be free and described his time behind bars as "a unique experience." He said he had been "fairly treated" but would not comment on the specifics of his case.

"I will be blogging soon," he said.

This should highlight one point very clearly for most Americans.

Saudi Arabia is not much of an ally to America and shares little in values with our country, given that its sharia-enforcing fundamentalist Islamic government is little better than the fundamentalist Islamists against whom we Americans are fighting.

My earlier report is here.





|| Greg, 08:00 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Oppressive Speech Regulation

There is nothing so fundamentally American as citizens exercising their rights under the Constitution to speak, write, assemble and petition their government for the redress of grievances -- or to do the same for purposes of supporting or opposing ballot initiatives or candidates for office.

Yet somehow the practice in this country in recent decades has been to treat the participation of Americans in such activities as a threat to "good government" -- and burdensome campaign finance regulations have been imposed upon Americans which have the effect of criminalizing activities that our Founding Fathers would have recognized as clearly within the scope of the First Amendment.

George Will chronicles one of these cases -- a brutal act under color of law designed to suppress the speech of a band of neighbors concerned about the future of their neighborhood in Colorado.

Parker North is a cluster of about 300 houses close to the town of Parker. When two residents proposed a vote on annexation of their subdivision to Parker, six others began trying to persuade the rest to oppose annexation. They printed lawn signs and fliers, started an online discussion group and canvassed neighbors, little knowing that they were provoking Colorado's speech police.

One proponent of annexation sued them. This tactic -- wielding campaign finance regulations to suppress opponents' speech -- is common in the America of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. The complaint did not just threaten the Parker Six for any "illegal activities." It also said that anyone who had contacted them or received a lawn sign might be subjected to "investigation, scrutinization and sanctions for campaign finance violations."

The First Amendment guarantees freedom of association, "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." The exercise of this right often annoys governments, and the Parker Six did not know that Colorado's government, perhaps to discourage annoyances, stipulates that when two or more people associate to advocate a political position, and spend more than $200 in doing so, they become an "issue committee."

Got that? Two people spending just $200 dollars together to participate in the electoral process constitutes a violation of the law unless they spend more to fill out and file paperwork registering them with the state and disclose incredible amounts of private information to the general public. What sort of information?

...they must report to the government the names and addresses of all persons who contribute more than $20; they must also report the employers of plutocrats who contribute more than $100; they must report non-cash contributions such as lemons used for lemonade, and marker pens and wooden dowels for yard signs.

Got that? For giving a mere $20 out of a sense of civic obligation, your name and address and political associations become a matter of public record. And if one gives the princely sum of $100, your employer will be disclosed to the general public. Gone are the days when good citizens at a community meeting can "pass the hat" and collect money to speak out on public issues -- reporting laws make those who conduct the meeting and the guy who owns the hat criminal.

Today's practices and laws are, dare I say it, unAmerican.

Let's look at the practices of our Founding Fathers.

Many of them wrote anonymous pamphlets published by anonymous supporters to advocate independence, the adoption of the Constitution, support for (or opposition to) the Jay Treaty, and the election/defeat of either Thomas Jefferson or John Adams in our first contested election.

I'll take their model of free speech above the regulated, domesticated and eviscerated counterfeit that the advocates of "campaign finance reform" and "public disclosure" advocate. The former is the free exercise of an unalienable right by a people fully possessing their liberty -- the latter the feckless submission of serfs to a to a ruling class that treats freedom as a revocable privilege. Would that this year's presidential race had a serious candidate who embraced the vision of the Founders regarding the First Amendment.

More At From On High.

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|| Greg, 07:44 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 26, 2008

Undermining Democracy In Zimbabwe

Can't win the election? Arrest your opponents and the independent vote monitors!

Truckloads of heavily armed police officers rounded up hundreds of people at the headquarters of Zimbabwe’s opposition party on Friday as plainclothes investigators descended on independent monitors of the nation’s disputed elections last month, according to opposition officials, witnesses and the police.

Friday’s raid on the opposition’s nerve center and the election monitors signaled a sharp and very public escalation of the country’s deepening and increasingly violent political crisis, one that has been concentrated to date in far less visible rural areas.

Both raids began around 11 a.m. in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. Harvest House, the rundown, six-story headquarters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, was still cordoned off by the police at midafternoon. Computers and documents were seized.

The opposition’s offices had become an informal refugee camp for party supporters, some visibly wounded, who had fled what human rights groups describe as political repression in the countryside. Witnesses said they had watched as the police herded more than 200 of these bedraggled people, including pregnant women and children, onto buses.

At the same time, a smaller contingent of police investigators raided the offices of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, an alliance of civic groups that enraged the government by analyzing polling data and projecting that the opposition had won the March 29 election, perhaps by enough to avoid a runoff in the race for president. Its findings were cited Thursday by the top American diplomat for Africa as the best evidence that the opposition was the clear victor.

What is really most shocking to me is that there is such silence here in this country about the goings on in Zimbabwe.

Celebrities rightly protest the actions of China in Tibet, but can't spare a word for the people of Zimbabwe. We have a candidate for president who says he is all about change who is unable to find a word to say about the suppression of the desire for change in another country expressed by its people at the ballot box. We have a news media that has done a pretty weak job of reporting on the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe.

Personally, I think what we are seeing here is the same thing that we have seen for years in the treatment of Darfur -- benign neglect. And interestingly enough, I think the cause is the same -- Africa, especially black Africa, is simply not a priority for the elite in America.





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April 25, 2008

Wright On One Thing

Jeremiah Wright may be dead wrong on his claims that the US government supplies drugs to the ghetto, invented AIDS to kill blacks, or in any way deserved to be attacked on 9/11, but he nailed one point in his Bill Moyers interview.

BILL MOYERS: In the 20 years that you've been his pastor, have you ever heard him repeat any of your controversial statements as his opinion?

REVEREND WRIGHT:
No. No. No. Absolutely not.

I don't talk to him about politics. And so he had a political event, he goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician. I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of God about the things of God.

Yep, Jeremiah Wright has Barack Obama so neatly pegged – he’s just another politician who will do or say what he has to do to get elected, not a “new type of politician”. Maybe Wright should have preached more about “Thou shalt not bear false witness” than “God damn America” – it was certainly more needed by at least one of his parishioners.





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Citizen, Blogger, Journalist

In an age when anyone can quickly create their own website and report the news, is there really a distinction any longer between citizen and journalist? What’s more, is there really any basis for a distinction – in practice or in law?

The recent “bitter-gate” flap involving on-the-record remarks by Barack Obama at a “no press” event in San Francisco is instructive. A HuffPo blogger – and maxed-out Obama contributor -- recorded Obama’s remarks and then wrote about them on her blog. While some in the Leftosphere objected, even the Obama campaign acknowledges that they fully expected the remarks would become public. We therefore don’t need to consider the question of whether an event news because a candidate or celebrity or public official says it is news, or because it really is information to which the public is entitled.

The reaction to Fowler's blog post then is just another bump in the inexorable sorting out of what the First Amendment means in a society where every person with Internet access has his or her own global broadcasting and publishing facility. The issue is less the distinction between "citizen" and "journalist" and more whether the Founding Fathers ever contemplated such a distinction in the first place.

A close reading of the First Amendment and centuries of legal precedent says "no."

Somewhere along the way, America developed this notion of the “journalist” as some sort of royal priesthood, entitled to special rights and consideration that the ordinary rabble did not enjoy. That was, in large part, because of the practical obstacles to publishing a newspaper – much less in broadcasting over the airwaves.

Technology has now changed the paradigm. Each and every one of us has the ability to become the publisher of our own electronic newspaper or commentary magazine. Indeed, many of us, right, left, and center, have become latter-day versions of Benjamin Franklin Bache of the American Aurora, John Fenno of the Gazette of the United States or Philip Freneau of the National Gazette. Indeed, the pseudonymous semi-anonymity that many of us choose harks back to the practices of many of the Founders who published pseudonymous works within the pages of those newspapers of the 1790s. For that reason alone, Robert Cox of the Media Bloggers Association is quite right in the above quote with his recognition that there is nothing in the First Amendment – nor in the understanding of the framers – that justifies relegating bloggers (or the bulk of the citizenry) to some status below that of “The Press” in the eyes of the law and society. Or perhaps more accurately, there is nothing in those sources that justifies the elevation of "working journalists" above ordinary citizens in the eyes of the law.

UPDATE: Fellow teacher Darren at Right on the Left Coast brings up a similar point brought up by a different commentary from a different source. Drop by and check it out.

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

Just A Bad Idea

I’ve never been a fan of the specialty license plates that so many states offer. I didn’t like it when alumni associations began selling them. I was disturbed when sports teams and special events got to market them. And all of the “special funds” that benefit just seem to be a bit silly.

But this one disturbs me in a special way.

Florida drivers can order more than 100 specialty license plates celebrating everything from manatees to the Miami Heat, but one now under consideration would be the first in the nation to explicitly promote a specific religion.

The Florida Legislature is considering a specialty plate with a design that includes a Christian cross, a stained-glass window and the words "I Believe."

Rep. Edward Bullard, the plate's sponsor, said people who "believe in their college or university" or "believe in their football team" already have license plates they can buy. The new design is a chance for others to put a tag on their cars with "something they believe in," he said.

If the plate is approved, Florida would become the first state to have a license plate featuring a religious symbol that's not part of a college logo. Approval would almost certainly face a court challenge.

The problem with the state manufacturing the plate is that it "sends a message that Florida is essentially a Christian state" and, second, gives the "appearance that the state is endorsing a particular religious preference," said Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.

Now I don’t necessarily agree with the reasoning behind the ACLU’s opposition – but I agree with their opposition. There is just no need to put a crosses and stained glass on a license plate to display your faith.

Get a bumper sticker. Put a couple of the silver “fish” logos on your trunk. Have the vehicle painted up like the Sistine Chapel for all I care. Just not this.





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

And The Money Came Rolling In…

To the tune of $10 million in a single day!

Winning in Pennsylvania has been good for Hillary Rodham Clinton's flagging finances.

Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said Wednesday that the campaign was on track to raise $10 million through the Internet in the 24 hours since the candidate appealed for money in her victory speech Tuesday night. That would more than double her cash on hand.

Clinton fundraisers said they are seeing a new wave of interest from people wanting to help.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook," said Patricia Edington, an Alabama antiques appraiser and "Hillraiser," as Clinton calls those who pledge to collect $100,000 or more. "It was sort of drying up in south Alabama. I had turned over lots of rocks down here. But people have been calling this morning."

Let’s see – she’s won more popular votes than Obama (if you REALLY believe in counting all the votes), and states with enough electoral votes to win the presidency? Why shouldn’t people be giving her money, given that she is showing greater strength than Barack Obama?





|| Greg, 03:38 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Email From Europe

Felix over at Colossus of Rhodey got a rather interesting email from a friend in Denmark. It sort of puts some perspective on the 2008 presidential race. Enjoy!





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What Is It With Houston Democrats?

If it isn't being a slumlord, it is gun violence -- the second indictment on such charges against a local Democrat politician this month.

Local criminal defense attorney and former U.S. Congressman Craig Washington was indicted Thursday on a charge of aggravated assault in connection with a New Year's Day shooting incident outside his law office.

Washington, who was out of town when the indictment was unsealed, is accused of firing at Taylor Brooks, an 18-year-old senior at Cy-Fair High School. Bail was set at $30,000. An initial hearing will be scheduled once Washington surrenders and posts bail.

According to the police report on the incident, Brooks told officers Washington confronted him in the parking lot at the attorney's office in Midtown about 8:30 p.m.

As Brooks tried to drive away, Washington is alleged to have fired at his 2002 Chevrolet Camaro, with three bullets striking the passenger side. Brooks' friend, Evan McAnulty, 18, also was in the car at the time.

Brooks and McAnulty, a senior at Cy-Falls High School, declined to comment on the advice of lawyers.

Washington did not return a message left on his cell phone. An associate at his law office said the well-known local political and legal figure would not comment.

The charge in the indictment, handed up by a Harris County grand jury, is a second-degree felony punishable by a prison term of two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Washington, a Democrat, represented the 18th Congressional District for five years before being ousted by Sheila Jackson Lee in 1994. Jackson Lee accused him of losing touch with his district. He also was hurt by adverse publicity concerning his financial affairs and a tax debt.

Personally, I don't know what is scarier -- the fact that this guy has a gun, that it took so long for the indictment to come down, or that the people of the 18th District thought he was even worse than Sheila Jackson Lee.

But this does help explain why Democrats are so in favor of gun control -- it isn't that they are afraid of what ordinary people of ordinary judgment will do. They are instead afraid of what unstable persons like themselves will do, and believe that the only way of keeping themselves from engaging in reckless, dangerous activity that threatens the lives of others is to ban handguns.

I wonder -- will the local Leftosphere again remain silent about misdeeds by one of their own?

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

Will Vo Be Next?

That is the question that readily springs to mind as we learn about record fines for a Houston slumlord.

A landlord whose north Houston apartment complex was closed by city inspectors over unsafe conditions last year has paid a $100,000 fine, officials said Thursday.

The one-time owner of the Carter's Grove Apartments at 3405 North Shepherd, identified as Samuel Pinter of New York, settled more than 240 Municipal Court citations as a deadline approached last week.

Chief Prosecutor Randy Zamora said the fine was the largest against a single defendant in recent memory. The deal came after negotiations with Pinter's attorney.

"When you've got someone who is truly ignoring the laws of the city of Houston, and he is one of the worst of the worst, that's when we do everything we can to make them comply or suffer the penalty," he said.

Pinter and his attorney, Brian Cweren of Houston, could not be reached for comment Thursday. A spokesman for Pinter previously had blamed the city's enforcement on "gentrification" in the neighborhood, where new homes have sprouted up nearby.

Pinter's complex, which recently was sold to a Phoenix company that rehabilitates troubled properties, had so many unresolved electrical, plumbing and nuisance violations that city officials took the unprecedented step last year of closing the property and helping residents move.

Gee -- sounds just like the sort of problems we've seen at the multiple properties owned by Democrat State Representative Hubert Vo. Will the city of Houston be as diligent in prosecuting Vo for the multiple violations on his properties -- especially after he attempted to use his official position to intimidate those charged with enforcing the housing code? Or will Vo's political clout be sufficient to keep him from court?





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Moving Towards Schism

This will certainly not do any good in healing the divisions within the Episcopal Church -- or the worldwide Anglican community.

Bishop Gene Robinson, the openly gay Episcopal prelate whose consecration led conservatives to split from the church, said in an interview on Thursday that he and his partner of 20 years were planning a civil union ceremony to be held in his home church in the diocese of New Hampshire in June.

Bishop Robinson said that by scheduling the ceremony for June, he did not intend to further inflame conservatives just before the Anglican Communion gathers in August in Cambridge, England, for the Lambeth Conference, which happens only once every 10 years.

He planned his civil union for June, he said, because he wanted to provide some legal protection to his partner and his children before he left for England for the conference. Bishop Robinson has received death threats, and he wore a bulletproof vest under his vestments at his consecration in 2003.

“We could have, I suppose, just gone to the town clerk and had that signed,” he said, “but, you know, I’m a religious person, and every major event in my life has been marked with some kind of liturgy and giving thanks to God.”

Robinson, whose selection as bishop despite living in flagrant disregard of biblical standards of morality, has been a key flash-point in the conflict between traditionalists and modernists within Anglicanism -- to the point that the Archbishop of Canterbury excluded Robinson from the gathering of Anglican bishops this summer. This deliberately provocative move on Robinson's part -- having what amounts to a gay marriage ceremony in one of his churches -- will only serve to bring that issue to a head. It certainly serves a a sign that the Episcopal Church is out of step with the overwhelming consensus of worldwide Anglicanism. Will it be the cause of the final separation of the two?





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

Telling It Like It Is

I applaud Israel's ambassador to the UN for daring to speak the truth about former President Neville Carter.

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations on Thursday called former President Jimmy Carter "a bigot" for meeting with the leader of the militant Hamas movement in Syria.

Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, "went to the region with soiled hands and came back with bloody hands after shaking the hand of Khaled Mashaal, the leader of Hamas," Ambassador Dan Gillerman told a luncheon briefing for reporters.

The diplomat was questioned about problems facing his country during a wide-ranging discussion with reporters lasting more than an hour. The briefing was sponsored by The Israel Project, a Washington-based, media-oriented advocacy group.

The ambassador's harsh words for Carter came days after the ex-president met with Mashaal for seven hours in Damascus to negotiate a cease-fire with Gaza's Hamas rulers. Carter then called Mashaal on Monday to try to get him to agree to a one-month truce without conditions, but the Hamas leader rejected the idea.

The ambassador called last weekend's encounter "a very sad episode in American history."

He said it was "a shame" to see Carter, who had done "good things" as a former president, "turn into what I believe to be a bigot."

I do disagree with the ambassador on one point -- it isn't the meeting which turned Carter into a bigot. He demonstrated his anti-Semitism some time back, in his book about the Israel-Terrorstinian conflict. The meeting with terrorists and the one-sided agreement that was nothing but a plan for the dismantling of Israel one piece at a time in return for nothing of substance is nothing but the fruit of Carter's embrace of the forces of Jew-hatred.





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

I Guess Nobody Told the Sunnis

You know, that the Maliki government is a failure which has failed to make any concrete steps towards reconciliation.

After all, the Democrats and the press keep telling us those things -- they must be true, right? Why on earth would the Sunnis throw their lot in with such a failed government?

Iraq’s largest Sunni bloc has agreed to return to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s cabinet after a boycott that lasted nearly a year, several Sunni leaders said on Thursday, citing a recently passed amnesty law and the Maliki government’s crackdown on Shiite militias as reasons for the move.

* * *

“Our conditions were very clear, and the government achieved some of them,” said Adnan al-Duleimi, the head of Tawafiq, the largest Sunni bloc in the government. Mr. Duleimi said the achievements included “the general amnesty, chasing down the militias and disbanding them and curbing the outlaws.”

The recently passed amnesty law has already led to the release of many Sunni prisoners, encouraging Sunni parties that the government is serious about enforcing it. And the attacks on Shiite militias have apparently begun to assuage longstanding complaints that only Sunni groups blamed for the insurgency have been the targets of American and Iraqi security forces.

So let's get this straight -- from the point of view of the Iraqis (who are the folks who really count), the Maliki government is making great strides towards uniting the country and accomplishing important goals necessary to heal the wounds left by the Hussein years. What a different picture from what the forces of defeat in this country tell us. Could it be that, unlike the Left and the Media (two ways of saying the same thing, I know), the Iraqi people want victory over terrorism and a stable, democratic government in Iraq?





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

April 24, 2008

The Dean, Pelosi and Reid Railroad

Not content to allow the rules of the Democrat Party to determine the timetable and the outcome of the race for the Democrat nomination for President, Harry Reid has indicated that he, Nancy Pelosi, and Howard Dean are going to attempt to circumvent the rules in a clear attempt to steer the nomination to the candidate of their choice -- Barack Obama.

Reid said he would consider writing a joint letter with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) demanding that superdelegates make their endorsements public.

“The three of us, we may write a joint letter [to superdelegates],” said Reid. “We might do individual letters. We are in contact with each other.”

Reid's comments suggest that the party’s top three officials are contemplating a high-level intervention if the primary season concludes in June without a nominee and many superdelegates still undecided.

Now let's get this straight. The DNC has a set of rules which allows superdelegates to decide their choice at any time. (For that matter, the rules allow any regular delegate to change their candidate preference at any time.) The only requirement is that they cast their vote at the convention.

But that isn't good enough for these leading Democrats. They are going to make a demand of these elected Democrats that is not contemplated by the party rules. What happens if, between the date of capitulation to the demand and the date of the convention, if a superdelegate (or a majority of superdelegates) has a change of heart? Will they then attempt to bind them to their June choice? Or will they instead create an even bigger problem when their anointed winner loses the vote for the nomination -- either to the other remaining primary contender or a drafted wild card like Al Gore?

These folks have screwed up the Democrat nomination process at every turn. Do you really think they are competent to run the country?

More At Hot Air





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

Mexican Official Steals White House Staff Blackberries

This is simply incredible.

Whether he was up to no good or simply desperate to play BrickBreaker, a Mexican press attache was caught on camera by Secret Service pocketing several White House BlackBerries during a recent meeting in New Orleans, FOX News has learned.

Sources with knowledge of the incident said the official, whose first name is Rafael, took six or seven of the handheld devices from a table outside a special room in the hotel where the Mexican delegation was meeting with President Bush.

Everyone entering the room was required to leave their cell phones, BlackBerries and other such devices on the table, a commonplace practice when high-level meetings are held. American officials discovered their missing belongings when they were leaving the session.

It didn't take long before Secret Service officials reviewed videotape taken by a surveillance camera and found footage showing "Rafael" absconding with the BlackBerries.

Sources said "Rafael" made it all the way to the airport, where the Mexican president was preparing to leave New Orleans, before Secret Service officers caught up with him. He was forced to return the BlackBerries.

Sources said the man claimed to have taken the devices accidentally. The sources said they believe no further actions were taken against him by American authorities, though it is unclear what disciplinary measures, if any, await him in Mexico.

What seems to have been discounted here is the possibility that this was actually a case of espionage. After all, during the Cold War, "press attache" often meant "CIA operative" in countries behind the Iron Curtain. I suppose that they could have been seeking classified information of some sort.

I'm curious -- did "Rafael" have time to do a data dump of the information from the Blackberries? And whose devices did he steal? Many more questions than answers.

UPDATE: More info from Malkin. The thief/spy is Quintero Curiel -- and he claimed diplomatic immunity and was allowed to leave the country despite his crimes. Why hasn't the US media done more with this story? Afraid of the patriotic reaction of real Americans, and afraid to offend the undocumented ones?





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

Petraeus Promotion

Having been the architect of success in iraq following the troop surge, General David Petraeus will be promoted to head the US Central Command -- giving him operational control over the entire Middle East.

Gen. David Petraeus has been tapped to become the next commander of U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations from the Middle East to Central Asia and directs the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced his decision Wednesday at a press conference in Washington, saying President Bush would send Petraeus' nomination to the Senate soon.

"I recommended him to the president because he is absolutely the best man to do the job. The conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan are very much characterized by asymmetric warfare and I don't know anyone better prepared to deal with that," Gates said of Petraeus, speaking to reporters.

Petraeus issued a statement shortly afterward.

"I am honored to be nominated for this position and to have an opportunity to continue to serve with America's soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coastguardsmen, and civilians," Petraeus said.

The strategy designed and implemented by Petraeus has led to decreased violence and increased security in Iraq -- things that are positives for anyone who is interested in seeing an American victory over terrorism.

Interestingly enough, Harry Reid has indicated that the Democrats are going to use the summer hearings on this promotion and several related changes to play politics with the military command structure and the Iraq war in the run-up to the election. While such actions are disgusting, they are not unexpected. The only positive I see in this probability is that it will remind the American people of the fundamental unfitness of the Democrats to control our national defense.

H/T Hot Air, Malkin





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

The Democrat Race Problem

I'm sorry -- when your a party whose entire history is tied to the exploitation of race and racism as wedge issues, it is no surprise that your voters might hesitate to be color blind when they go to the polls.

It is the question that has hung over Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and it loomed large on Tuesday night after his loss to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in Pennsylvania: Why has he been unable to win over enough working-class and white voters to wrap up the Democratic nomination?

Lurking behind that question is another: Is the Democratic Party hesitating about race as it moves to the brink of nominating an African-American to be president?

No one, of course, is willing to note that the Deocrats have made identity politics their stock-in-trade for decades. And after appealing to blacks as blacks, Hispanics as Hispanics, gays as gays, and women as women, is it any surprise that white Democrats might decide that similar ethnic solidarity is a legitimate thing for them to embrace? After all, no one is daring to suggest hat there is anything wrong with a 92% black turnout for Barack Obama, is there?

And let's not forget that the Democrats have never managed to unite their party around a set of fundamentals that are universally embraced After all, it embraces race-baiting charlatans like Al Sharpton and Kluxers like Robert Byrd. It embraces the radical feminists and their pro-abortion agenda, but still has a sizable pro-life vote among Catholics. And as polls have shown time after time, a great many white voters reject affirmative action -- whether in college admissions, employment, or the nomination of under-qualified presidential candidates like Barack Obama.





|| Greg, 04:11 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

SCOTUS Hears Term's Last Arguments, Hands Down Decisions

Now that all the oral arguments are over, we begin the waiting for the opinions in the cases the justices have heard this year.

The most significant decision handed down yesterday dealt with search and seizure issues.

The Supreme Court affirmed Wednesday that police have the power to conduct searches and seize evidence, even when done during an arrest that turns out to have violated state law.

The unanimous decision comes in a case from Portsmouth, Va., where city detectives seized crack cocaine from a motorist after arresting him for a traffic ticket offense.

David Lee Moore was pulled over for driving on a suspended license. The violation is a minor crime in Virginia and calls for police to issue a court summons and let the driver go.

Instead, city detectives arrested Moore and prosecutors say that drugs taken from him in a subsequent search can be used against him as evidence.

"We reaffirm against a novel challenge what we have signaled for half a century," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote.

Scalia said that when officers have probable cause to believe a person has committed a crime in their presence, the Fourth Amendment permits them to make an arrest and to search the suspect in order to safeguard evidence and ensure their own safety.

Now this gets into the whole issue of whether actions taken in good faith by police, even when there was an error, violate the Constitution. After all, the search was standard procedure pursuant to an arrest, and it appears from my reading o this somewhat vague wire service report that the officers did not realize that an arrest under the circumstances was a violation of the standards set by the state. A string of cases dating back to the early 1980s made this result no surprise -- after all, police officers cannot be expected to be fortune tellers regarding future appeals court decisions.

And before our friends on the left start intoning the usual rhetoric about fascist police states, please notice that even Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the ACLU's mouthpiece on the Supreme Court, ruled that there was no problem with the search.





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

April 23, 2008

Something Is Terribly Wrong With This

I understand that you can turn almost anything into a commercial.

But there is something about this that is wrong on so many levels.

Meat loaf?

Doing a cell phone commercial?

Utterly destroying a cultural icon in the process.





|| Greg, 09:47 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Palin’s Choice

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin gave birth to her fifth child on Friday, a boy named Trig. In the announcement, she spoke of challenges that the baby would face, but gave no details. The family has now made public that Trig has Down Syndrome.

Gov. Sarah Palin was back at work Monday in Anchorage, holding a meeting on the proposed natural gas pipeline three days after giving birth to her fifth child.

She and her husband, Todd, showed their new baby, Trig Paxson Van Palin, to a few reporters and photographers and answered questions about his condition and the sooner-than-expected delivery.

Trig has Down syndrome, a genetic abnormality that affects a child's intellectual and physical development, the governor confirmed.

"When we first heard, it was kind of confusing," Palin, 44, said. She called the revelation "very, very challenging" and said she initially felt sad.

But the family has worked through that. Palin said she and Todd feel blessed and chosen by God. With a big family including four older kids, grandparents, aunts and uncles, Palin said, they will have lots of support for what's ahead. In their eyes, she said, "he's absolutely perfect."

The oldest Palin kid, Track, is in the Army and texted his mother after learning the news with something to the effect of "This is just so cool -- I finally got my brother."

In a letter she e-mailed to relatives and close friends Friday after giving birth, Palin wrote, "Many people will express sympathy, but you don't want or need that, because Trig will be a joy. You will have to trust me on this." She wrote it in the voice of and signed it as "Trig's Creator, Your Heavenly Father."

"Children are the most precious and promising ingredient in this mixed-up world you live in down there on Earth. Trig is no different, except he has one extra chromosome," Palin wrote.

As for people who think a baby like Trig shouldn't even be born, look around, the governor wrote. Who is perfect or even normal?

trig4634_bg2[1].jpg

Indeed, all too many folks are willing to abstractly argue that a child like Trig Palin should have been aborted. One look at the baby picture that appeared in the press last week should be sufficient to dispel the notion that he is somehow less deserving of life than any other human being. And having worked for a time with Down Syndrome adults, I can tell you that their worth is no less than any other student I have taught or person I have known – indeed, I learned every bit as much from those clients as I did from many of my college professors, and cherish their memories in my heart so many years later.

This birth also raises an interesting issue. Sarah Palin has been mentioned by many Republicans as a possible pick for Vice President. Does the birth of a child – especially a special needs child – mitigate against her selection? Or does it increase her chances, given the impact that she would have upon many voters as a relatively young career woman who made a choice for life? An interesting question indeed.

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Rosemary's Thoughts, Faultline USA, A Newt One- help us catch a monster, Adam's Blog, Maggie's Notebook, Right Truth, The Pink Flamingo, The Amboy Times, , Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





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

Obama – Old School Politics, Not New

And here I thought Barack said he was above all of this sort of stuff.

Unable once again to score a knockout, Sen. Barack Obama is likely to make his new negative tone even more negative -- with a sharp eye on trying to end the Democratic presidential nomination fight after the May 6 primaries in Indiana and North Carolina.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's victory yesterday in Pennsylvania has only accentuated the quandary that Obama faces: Stay negative and he risks undermining the premise of his candidacy. Stay aloof and he underscores Clinton's argument that he will not be able to beat a "Republican attack machine" sure to greet him this summer.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe indicated last night which of those options they would take. "We've done a lot of counterpunching. We've been swift and effective," he said. "For Democrats judging how we're going to perform as the nominee, we have been relentless."

Obama himself took up the cudgel after Clinton delivered a victory speech in Philadelphia devoid of attack lines. Without naming Clinton, he suggested in Evansville, Ind., that she is a captive to the oil, pharmaceutical and insurance lobbies, that she "says and does whatever it takes to win the next election," and that she exploits division for political gain.

"In the end, this election is still our best chance to solve the problems we've been talking about for decades -- as one nation, as one people," Obama said.

So for all the claims that he is a new type of politician, it looks like he is delivering the same old politics to the American people. But then again, who really believed that there was anything new or different about this inexperienced political hack? When the going gets tough, Obama acts like everybody else.





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

Shameful Questions By LA Times

This has to be a new low in coverage of John McCain.

Sen. John McCain has long said he is in robust health and is strong enough to hike the Grand Canyon, but he also is receiving what his staff Monday termed a "disability pension" from the Navy.

When McCain released his tax return for 2007 on Friday, he separately disclosed that he received a pension of $58,358 that was not listed as income on his return.

On Monday, McCain's staff identified the retirement benefit as a "disability pension" and said that McCain "was retired as disabled because of his limited body movements due to injuries as a POW."

McCain campaign strategist Mark Salter said Monday night that McCain was technically disabled. "Tortured for his country -- that is how he acquired his disability," Salter said.

Certain types of military and veterans pensions are either partially or completely tax-exempt, depending on the seriousness of the disability. In McCain's case, the exemption is 100%.

But the LA Times (sister to the NY Times) is able to turn what is a pretty sick attack about taxes (McCain is following the law as passed by Congress before he was ever elected to office) on a pension received due to the horrific injuries he received while serving his country into something even more disgusting.

The fact that he is legally designated with a disability pension may raise further questions.

"It is a legitimate question to ask about the commander in chief: Is he fit to serve," said Robert Schriebman, a senior Pentagon tax advisor and tax attorney who recently retired as a judge advocate for a unit of the California National Guard.

So now we are getting an attack on the disabled -- especially disabled veterans. So much for supporting the troops.

And so much for the memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who led this country through the Depression and WWII in steel leg braces and a wheel chair. After all, neither he nor McCain has a disability that impacts the most essential part of the anatomy necessary to serve as president -- the brain.

Democrats have already begun a series of low-blow attacks upon John McCain and his military service. Now the press has done so as well. It strikes me as incumbent upon Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama -- not to mention every patriotic American -- to denounce these shameful efforts and instead honor John McCain for his service and dedication to this country.

A PERSONAL ASIDE: Growing up as a Navy brat, I had the good fortune to know one of the heroes who shared a cell with John McCain in Vietnam. I've heard some of the stories, and read others in the book written about his experiences. I've seen the scars that got shown in public, and heard about the ones that didn't from his sons. This hero of my youth is backing John McCain for President, as are an overwhelming number of their fellow POWs. It's testimonial enough for me.

H/T Hot Air

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Rosemary's Thoughts, Faultline USA, A Newt One- help us catch a monster, Adam's Blog, Maggie's Notebook, Right Truth, The Pink Flamingo, The Amboy Times, , Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





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When Muslims Convert -- UK Edition

Remember -- religious tolerance only runs one way when it comes to Islam.

Muslims converting to Christianity is a thorny issue almost anywhere in the world, but recently U.K. media attention has focused in on the persecution of former Muslims not in foreign land but in its own backyard.

Former Muslims who convert to Christianity are threatened with disownment and violence at the hands of their own family members – much like in parts of the Middle East. But the difference is these families don’t reside in a theocratic society, but in a western country that upholds religious freedom – including the right to convert to another faith.

BBC, U.K.’s leading news network, featured several stories and programs in recent months devoted to the issue of persecution of Christian converts from Islam. In its latest feature on Monday, it highlighted real cases of England-based Muslims who convert to Christianity and the consequences that follow.

Sophia (not her real name) is from a Pakistani background but lives in east London. Her family has put extreme pressure on her to return to Islam since she converted to Christianity.

“They kept saying, ‘The punishment is death, do you know the punishment is death?” she recalled to BBC.

She ended up running away from home, but her mother found her and showed up at her baptism.

“I got up to get baptized, that’s when my mother got up, ran to the front and tried to pull me out of the water,” Sophia said.

“My brother was really angry. He reacted and phoned me on my mobile and just said, ‘I’m coming down to burn that church,’” she remembered.

Physical assault -- threats of arson and murder. Not in one of the third world backwaters that constitutes the bulk of the Islamic world, but in a civilized country like Great Britain.

I'd love to know -- were Sophia's family members charged or convicted over any of these offenses? After all, terroristic threats and the assault during her baptism are crimes. Or do Muslims get a pass when these are directed against someone who leaves the falsehood of Islam for the truth of Christianity?

But in the end, the answer to that question is not nearly so relevant as the truth revealed by Sophia's story. Religious persecution of Christians continues today -- outside the Christian world and within it -- and it is incumbent upon us to pray for those who take fearlessly take that step into the light of Christ.





|| Greg, 04:33 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Mississippi Runoff To Pit Republican Against Might-As-Well-Be Republican

So much for the argument that the people want a sharp break with the past.

A closely fought Congressional contest over a Republican stronghold here was apparently left hanging on Tuesday, with the two top candidates likely to face a runoff next month.

A conservative Democrat, Travis W. Childers, was seeking to wrest the open seat in the First Congressional District in northern Mississippi from Republicans who have held it since 1994. But Mr. Childers appeared to fall short, getting only 49 percent of the vote, according to The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson. The special election was to fill the unexpired term of Roger Wicker, who moved on to the Senate.

Mr. Childers’s leading opponent, Greg Davis, the Republican mayor of Southaven, a Memphis suburb, got 46 percent. Four other people were on the ballot.

A runoff will be held May 13 if official tallies show no candidate won more than half the vote. After that, Mr. Childers and Mr. Davis are running against each other again in the November general election.

Mr. Childers, who differed little on social issues from his Republican opponent, exemplified the Democrats’ strategy of running conservatives in red districts, a tactic that proved successful in the 2006 midterm elections. Its potential was underscored here on Tuesday with a strong showing by Mr. Childers, a veteran courthouse official, in a conservative area that gave 62 percent of its vote to President Bush in 2004.

What does this tell us? Mainly, it says that the Democrats really don't have a message or a platform that can appeal to Americans nationally. Rather than run a Democrat who espouses the values of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (and there really isn's a dime's worth of difference between them), they continue to run candidates who espouse the GOP platform in conservative districts, making the issue one strictly of personalities.

The problem with this strategy is that if voters select such chameleons they empower not those who hold to their own core values, but those who oppose them. It would behoove voters in Mississippi (and elsewhere, like my own CD22 here in Texas) to pay attention to the party labels and vote accordingly.





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

Double Digits

But only just barely.

Hillary Clinton did manage to win by 10% in Pennsylvania -- but only after being up by 20 points in the polls as recently as two weeks ago.

Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary Tuesday, buoyed by support from women and blue-collar voters and pushing her duel with Barack Obama on to Indiana and North Carolina on May 6.

Amid brisk turnout, Clinton won a victory that many polls had predicted and which the New York senator had to have. The ultimate margin hovered around double digits — Clinton led 55 percent to 45 percent with nearly 80 percent of the vote counted — but no matter the numbers, her campaign insisted that a victory was a victory, particularly amid a spending onslaught by a more financially more robust Obama campaign.

"Some counted me out and said to drop out," Clinton told cheering supporters. "But the American people don't quit. And they deserve a president who doesn't quit, either."

"Because of you, the tide is turning."

As a practical matter, this means that the Democrats will be battling for at least two more weeks, into Indiana and North Carolina on May 6. It means more time beating and battering each other rather John McCain -- doing for us Republicans some of the work that we will need to do in the fall. And most importantly, it takes the edge off of the Obama inevitability arguments that have been laid out.

And hillary has made it clear that she is fighting to the bitter end -- saying that the race isn't over until the status of the Michigan and Florida delegates is decided, something that won't happen until the convention under most scenarios.

Not that all the Democrat-leaning media likes yesterday's outcome.

The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.

Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.

If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race. It is true that Senator Barack Obama outspent her 2-to-1. But Mrs. Clinton and her advisers should mainly blame themselves, because, as the political operatives say, they went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part of what was once a 20-point lead.

Oddly enough, I have to both agree and disagree with the NY Times. I agree this campaign style is hurting the Dems -- but I'm not tired of it at all, and am rather enjoying it.

And the hypocrisy of the NY Times over the issue of negativity is rather striking, because the paper has engaged in just such substanceless attacks on John McCain several times in recent weeks. You would think the so-called "paper of record" would take its responsibility to real with issues rather than mean, vacuous stories that contribute nothing to the campaign.





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April 22, 2008

Judgment Call

Andrew McCarthy offers this fantasy discussion as a frame of reverence by which to judge Barack Obama’s lack of candor regarding his relationship with unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers and his terrorist wife, Bernadine Dohrn.

Who is El Sayyid Nosair?

Well, I know him. I spent an awful lot of time around him. I know all about his background. So what if, upon being asked that question, I told you, “Oh, Sayyid — yeah, he’s an engineering student from Egypt who became a mechanic for the New York State courts.”

You might respond, “Wait a second. Wasn’t he the guy who murdered Meir Kahane (founder of the Jewish Defense League) in front of a room full of people at some hotel in Manhattan?”

“Oh, that. Yeah, well — but that was nearly 20 years ago.”

“And didn’t he, like, shoot a 70-year-old man who tried to block him from getting away?”

“I suppose.”

“… And then shoot it out on the street with a cop while about a thousand people buzzed around?”

“Technically speaking, it was a postal police officer, but I take your point.”

“Wasn’t Nosair pals with that big red-headed Egyptian guy whose picture they used to show on TV all the time?”

“Sure, Mahmud Abouhalima. He was a cabdriver from Brooklyn.”

“A cabdriver from Brooklyn? Wait a second. I remember this now. This Mahmud guy was here on some immigration scam, right?”

“Well, ‘scam’ is such a divisive term. He was legally in our country: he had a work permit under the Agricultural Workers Program.”

“Agricultural worker? In Brooklyn?”

“Er, yes, okay, but that just underscores that we have to do something to bring these people out of the shadows — ”

“Hold on. Didn’t Mahmud end up bombing the World Trade Center? Didn’t he work for that blind sheikh who kept telling everyone to kill all the Americans?”

“You mean Omar Abdel Rahman. Well, actually, he was a doctor of Islamic jurisprudence graduated from one of the world’s great universities — became a professor and a renowned expert in Muslim law. I don’t know why you keep dwelling on ancient history that distracts us from the real issues …”

Such inanity is not far from last week’s Philadelphia debate, when ABC’s George Stephanopoulos displayed the audacity of hope that Barack Obama might try to explain his friendly relationship with Bill Ayers, a terrorist.

Now let’s be really honest here. No one would accept such a line of argument regarding Muslim terrorists like this motley cast of murderers discussed above. No politician would dare to attempt such an argument. And yet Barack Obama has the audacity to make such an attempt to do so in order to defend a long chain of personal, professional, and political associations with the “respected English professor who lives in my neighborhood.” It ought to be sufficient for any decent person to declare Obama unfit – after all, it isn’t like Ayers’ was living underground under an assumed name – he openly bragged about his terrorist acts, and the only contrition he showed was his regret that he failed to set off more bombs and do more damage. Obama is therefore incapable of arguing that Ayers was a changed man, the way that one can look at Watergate conspirator Chuck Colson and see a change of heart and break with past misdeeds.

And then there is these little details – ones which have nagged me from the back of my mind for some time now, and which I have resisted writing out of a desire not to engage in what some would call harsh, extremist rhetoric.

Ayers bombed the Capitol, Pentagon, and NYC Police headquarters. He was involved in a plan to bomb Fort Dix, seeking to blow up the officer’s club during a dance for officers and their wives – one that was averted when some of his co-conspirators accidentally detonated the nail-packed bomb (designed to inflict maximum human casualties) before it could be planted.

What was his motivation? Primarily, it was opposition to the Vietnam War and a desire to bring about its end by undermining the US war effort.

When one considers these facts, they add up to something much bigger than terrorism. Indeed, they add up to a singular offense, the only crime defined as such by the US Constitution itself.

Article III Section 3 Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

William Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, and the rest of their Weather Underground colleagues were engaged in nothing less than treason against the United States of America. Their acts cannot be defined as anything other than levying war against the United States in an attempt to give aid and comfort to America’s enemies in Vietnam. That isn’t me making some sort of half-assed leap to tar a political opponent – that is the only legitimate interpretation of the words and deeds of Ayers, Dohrn, and the rest of the Weather Underground.

Which again takes us back to the question of judgment on the part of the junior Senator from Illinois -- having maintained a long cordial relationship with an unrepentant avowed terrorist who he knew (or should have known) committed treason against the United States, is Barack Obama fit to be President of the United States and Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces?

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|| Greg, 04:48 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Fire This Professor

For abuse of her position to politically indoctrinate her students and push her agenda of getting Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas disinvited as a graduation speaker at University of Georgia.

Associate professor Janet Frick said she was using her two psychology lectures Monday to educate students about the history of Thomas' appointment to the Supreme Court.

"They were barely born when this was going on," Frick said. "They don't know some of this history. We would do our students a favor to educate them on what took place and on each side. It would be doing our job as an institution to examine these issues more fully."

Excuse me, but what on earth is a professor of psychology doing lecturing on US history and political science? Doesn’t she, as a part of her professional obligation to her students, need to be teaching her students about (dare I suggest it) psychology and not her own political agenda? Frick is, of course, more than welcome to speak all she wants about Clarence Thomas and the false charges made by Anita Hill – but not during class time when she is being paid to speak about psychology. But to do so in the classroom is nothing short of propagandizing a captive audience in a Maoist fashion.

H/T NRO’s Phi Beta Cons





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

Headline Follies

This is what showed up in the headline.

Fish Tales: Former President George H.W. Bush Catches a Mammoth in the Keys

Given that mammoth have been extinct for a few millennia, I was curious, so I dropped by for a quick look -- especially since the Florida Keys doesn't have a climate conducive to mammoth, either.

Here’s the ACTUAL story – with a picture.

Former President George H. W. Bush caught a mammoth tarpon Saturday while fishing off the Florida Keys near Islamorada, Fla., according to the Florida Keys News Agency.

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Bush chose to release the giant with an estimated weight of around 135 pounds -- the largest tarpon the 84-year-old ex-president has ever caught, the agency reported.

I don’t know about you, but somehow the story doesn’t seem so interesting when you drop the word “tarpon” from the headline.





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

Muslims Insist It Is "Time" To Submit To Islam

Starting with how we all tell time and measure our position on the planet.

Muslim scientists and clerics have called for the adoption of Mecca time to replace GMT, arguing that the Saudi city is the true centre of the Earth.

Mecca is the direction all Muslims face when they perform their daily prayers.

The call was issued at a conference held in the Gulf state of Qatar under the title: Mecca, the Centre of the Earth, Theory and Practice.

And we then get some of the most absurd claims -- Mecca is the only place on earth perfectly aligned with true north, and that all scientific truths are contained in the Qu'ran. Oh, yeah -- there was the obligatory swipe at Western imperialism because the British (who perfected the method of measuring longitude) for setting the prime meridian through their country and imposing it on the rest of the world.

So instead Islam once again seeks to impose itself on the rest of the world instead.

Setting aside the arrogance of the claims and demands put forward at the conference, there is no need to make the change. The prime meridian is an arbitrary concept, and making the change demanded would be every bit as expensive as it is silly.

But that such a demand would be made is one more sign of Islam's ultimate goal of imposing itself on the rest of the world -- whether we want it or not.

H/T Malkin, Snapped Shot





|| Greg, 04:40 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Just Say No

Victims of terrorism and their families must not be sacrificed in the interest of securing contracts with current and former state sponsors of terrorism.

One by one, top executives of American oil companies met privately over the last year with Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, often in his signature Bedouin tent, as they lined up contracts allowing them to tap into the country’s oil reserves.

But now, the new allies are working Capitol Hill, trying to weaken a law that threatens those deals. The Libyan government, once a pariah, and the American oil industry have hired high-profile lobbyists, buttonholed lawmakers and enlisted help from the Bush administration, all in an effort to win an exemption from a law that Congress passed in January that is intended to ensure that victims of terrorist attacks are compensated.

The law allows victims of state-sponsored terrorism to collect court judgments by seizing foreign assets in the United States or money from those governments held by American companies doing business with them. If Libya loses a half-dozen court cases still pending, $3 billion to $6 billion could be at stake, according to lawyers’ estimates.

The US has shamefully sacrificed the rights of such victims of state terrorism before. Whether it was Carter's renunciation of the right of hostages to sue Iran or the Bush administrations opposition to awards of damages to families of victims, blocking such awards blocks justice. Given Libya's history of state-sponsored terrorism, allowing Qaddafi to walk away from his misdeeds witha pocket full of cash while his victims get noting is a moral obscenity -- and another bad precedent.





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

McCain To Take Public Financing

Frankly, I don't see where McCain has any choice.

First, he is the champion of such schemes, having long been involved in imposing such political speech limitation schemes upon candidates for office and their supporters.

Second, he is behind in the race for money and this option will give him a big financial boost in the final two months of the campaign.

John McCain is abandoning any hope of catching the Democrats in fundraising.

Based on new financial disclosure reports released Sunday, and interviews with his finance team, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee will instead accept taxpayer money to finance his general election and share other costs with the Republican National Committee.

The strategy will allow McCain to stretch his campaign dollars by splitting the cost of television advertising and other campaign activity with the RNC.

But the decision also puts the Arizona senator at risk of being badly outspent – even with RNC help – by a Democratic nominee who will be allowed to spend as much as he or she can raise on the November race.

But there is also another advantage to doing this. Barack Obama stated early in the campaign that he would take public financing and accept the related spending limits in the event his Republican opponent did so. The Illinois Senator must now decide whether or not he will abide by that vow, or whether he will break his word tot he American people -- opening himself up to all sorts of questions regarding his integrity and trustworthiness.





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

Neville Carter Shills For Hamas

Former President Neville Carter has announced that he has brokered an agreement for peace in our times with the terrorists of Hamas prepared to promise to stop attacking Israel (but only for 10 years) but refusing to recognize the right of Israel to exist.

Oh, by the way -- all Israel has to do is give Hamas EVERYTHING the Palestinians have been demanding.

The leader of Hamas said Monday that his Palestinian militant group would offer Israel a 10-year "hudna," or truce, as implicit proof of recognition of Israel if it withdrew from all lands it seized in the 1967 Middle East War.

Khaled Mashaal told The Associated Press that he made the offer to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in talks on Saturday. "We have offered a truce if Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, a truce of 10 years as a proof of recognition," Mashaal said.

In his comments Monday, Mashaal used the Arabic word "hudna," meaning truce, which is more concrete than "tahdiya" — a period of calm — which Hamas often uses to describe a simple cease-fire.

Two points.

1) If Israel is only going to get temporary peace in return for the permanent renunciation of all territory won in wars against Arab aggression, what will it have left to negotiate with in a decade?

2) Given that Hamas has never bothered to abide by a cease fire agreement in the past, why should anyone expect them to d so now?

Well, Neville Carter may be willing to be the butt-boy for Palestinian terrorists, given his past anti-Semitic rantings against Israel, but let us hope that Israel is willing to put its trust in its own strong defenses and the promises of God to the Land of Israel.





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

April 21, 2008

About That March In DC

I was completely unaware of this event over the weekend.

Having read about it, I have three observations to make.

1) Nazis and white supremacists are scum, and merit nothing but contempt from decent Americans of every political stripe.

2) Even when they are more or less on the right side of an issue, it is incumbent upon decent Americans to denounce and repudiate them.

3) The greater danger to American freedom comes not from such scum, but instead from ignorant Americans willing to limit their rights under the Constitution.

A march by a busload of neo-Nazi activists on Constitution Avenue yesterday wreaked havoc on a balmy afternoon in the capital, bringing traffic to a halt, filling the streets with hundreds of police and provoking an ugly confrontation on the sidelines that resulted in at least three arrests.

About 30 marchers from the Michigan-based National Socialist Movement, waving red swastika flags and shouting "Sieg Heil," emerged about 2:30 p.m. from a bus one block from the White House and strode toward the Capitol, flanked by thick cordons of police who walked the route in riot gear and hundreds of officers on horseback, bicycles and motorcycles.

The marchers said their purpose was to denounce illegal immigration and to offer white Americans an alternative to the two-party political system. Many wore black storm trooper uniforms, boots and armbands.

The march itself was peaceful, and U.S. Park Police said the organizers had a permit. But the atmosphere was tense, and before the event started, a clash broke out between march supporters and local demonstrators who came to condemn the message.

I hate to say it, but according to this report the scumbags behaved better than their opponents. After all, it wasn’t the racist scum who engaged in violence – they engaged in political speech (though political speech of the most repulsive kind). And while I understand the impulse to kick the living dog crap out of anyone sporting a swastika (or a hammer and sickle, for that matter), everything they did was within the law and protected by the First Amendment.

Unfortunately, this march has harmed a good cause. Illegal immigration is a problem in this country, and we need to deal with it by acting to limit illegal access to this country, sanction employers, and deport aliens who are here illegally. But let me speak clearly – if the only way to accomplish those ends were to accept the assistance of scum like the National Socialist (bowel) Movement, I’d prefer that our country were overrun with undocumented border jumpers. Secure borders are important – but stopping the ideological heirs of Hitler from gaining any legitimacy is more important.

But most disturbing are some quotes from the opponents of the wannabe stormtroopers.

"People marching in brown shirts and swastikas is a tool of intimidation and terrorism. We came out here to oppose them so they won't feel they can do it safely," said Dan Peterson, 23, a D.C. resident who was arrested.

No, it is not a tool of intimidation or terrorism. It is free speech, pure and simple, guaranteed by the Constitution. Indeed, Mr. Peterson, your actions are much more reminiscent of the terrorist intimidation tactics of the Nazis than anything these mental defectives said or did.

Or this observer.

"I support the right to free speech, but when it disrupts the city this much and costs this much, there have to be limits," said John Thiry, 38, from Lancaster, Pa.

I’m curious – would Thiry have applied this same reasoning to many of the great marches of the past? You know, Dr. King’s March on Washington, for example? Does Thiry believe that threats of violent opposition to First Amendment protected activity should be used to limit unpopular speech through a heckler’s veto?

Scum like the National Socialist (bowel) Movement are not a threat to liberty in our society. They are rightly held in contempt by the overwhelming majority of Americans. It is instead those who consider it their patriotic duty to silence such folks who are the greater threat to liberty – for with every restriction on political speech, no matter how disgusting the speech limited, the rights of every other American are equally limited.

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|| Greg, 02:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Shock Of Recognition

I often fuss back and forth with one of our local Democrat bloggers. I think he’s wrong much of the time, but my personal dealings with him have led me to recognize that he is, at his core, not a bad guy. And since he’s a federal employee, I was thinking of sending him a link to this article from the Washington Post regarding the Hatch Act.

It's so easy. A friend sends an e-mail about the presidential campaign and you forward it to an office buddy.

With that click of the mouse, you are at risk of being fired. For a Hatch Act violation.

E-mails, blogs and campaign Web sites can be cyber-traps for federal employees, especially those accustomed to using their government computer for personal matters, such as trading messages with children or sharing jokes with friends.

The Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency that investigates and prosecutes allegations of improper political activities by government employees, is getting calls these days from federal workers who are confused about the rules or worried they may have committed an "e-Hatch" violation, said Ana Galindo-Marrone, chief of the Hatch Act Unit at the OSC.

After all, I razzed him last year about some concerns I had related to precisely such issues, wanting to see him avoid running afoul with the law – one I’ve though overly broad since the days when I worked at the base PX and had to limit my activities with the College Republicans accordingly.

And then I saw this bit at the end of the story.

In recent months, Galindo-Marrone has been touring federal agencies, explaining that technology is increasing the ways that employees can get into trouble at their office desks.

That is what happened to a NASA employee in Houston.

An OSC investigation found that in 2006 and 2007, the employee used his government e-mail account to coordinate and plan activities for a political group and to assist a candidate running for state representative while at his NASA office. He also made blog postings from work to promote campaigns of several candidates, and, at least twice in 2006, urged blog readers to make political contributions.

As a result, the OSC found him in violation of the Hatch Act. The employee was suspended for 180 days without pay.

The shock of recognition hit.

These were, in fact, the very issues I raised with my esteemed nemesis (and I do hold him in high personal regard).

To the degree that these efforts happened in the office, some action should have been taken. But the mere solicitation of political contributions on his blog on his own time should not be a violation of any law – it should be regarded as First Amendment protected political activity, as should every act of soliciting and donating of campaign contributions by individuals, subject to no limitation whatsoever by the government. I respectfully urge Congress to restore the right to freely participate in the political process to all federal employees.


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|| Greg, 02:47 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Whiny Muslims Demand Obfuscation By McCain

John McCain forthrightly refers to Islamic terrorism. Some Muslim groups are offended and want him to stop.

A coalition of American Muslim groups is demanding that Sen. John McCain stop using the adjective "Islamic" to describe terrorists and extremist enemies of the United States.

Muneer Fareed, who heads the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), told The Washington Times that his group is beginning a campaign to persuade Mr. McCain to rephrase his descriptions of the enemy.

"We've tried to contact his office, contact his spokesperson to have them rethink word usage that is more acceptable to the Muslim community," Mr. Fareed said. "If it's not our intent to paint everyone with the same brush, then certainly we should think seriously about just characterizing them as criminals, because that is what they are."

McCain spokespeople have made it clear that he is not going to drop the word -- mainly because it is an accurate description of the enemy we fight.

Steve Schmidt, a former Bush White House aide who is now a McCain media strategist, told The Times that the use of the word is appropriate and that the candidate will continue to define the enemy that way.

"Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda represent a perverted strain of Islam at odds with the great many peaceful Muslims who practice their great faith peacefully," Mr. Schmidt said. "But the reality is, the hateful ideology which underpins bin Ladenism is properly described as radical Islamic extremism. Senator McCain refers to it that way because that is what it is."

McCain understands who our enemy is, and is willing to give credence to their own description of themselves and their motives. And given that their actions are in keeping with the long history of violence by Islam, dating back to the days of Muhammad himself, there is no reason to drop the word Islamic from the description of terrorism -- especially given the high level of support for such terrorism within Muslim communities around the world, including in civilized nations like the UK and US.





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

The Silliest Papal Coverage

Gee -- they made arrangements for people to be able to eat in before the papal mass at Yankee Stadium.

Can I get fries with that Mass?

One of the oddest sites inside the grungy concourses at Yankee Stadium was the long concession stand lines of priests and nuns, teenagers and adults waiting to buy chicken fingers, French fries, soda, hot chocolate, popcorn and hotdogs before Mass.

Just imagine how she would have responded to the site at World Youth Day in Denver back in 1993 -- McDonald's was the official food supplier for the event, and had booths set up all around the site of the final mass by Pope John Paul II. Those of us there were making purchases of food and water while we were there -- for some 18 hours before the mass began.

Of course, we did camp out overnight at the mass site, too.

But then again, maybe Jessica Fargen was expecting Benedict CVI to perform a repeat of the miracle of the loaves and fishes.





|| Greg, 04:33 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Before Runoff, Political Violence By Mugabe's Thugs

If you can't steal an election fair and square, start murdering the opposition voters and forcing others to flee for their lives.

When a shallow, glassy river and a few coils of razor wire are the only things separating one of Africa’s most developed countries from one of its most miserable, the inevitable result is millions of illegal border jumpers. But South African and Zimbabwean human rights groups say that the flow of people into South Africa has been surging in the three weeks since Zimbabwe’s disputed election and during the violent crackdown that followed. One Zimbabwean named Washington, who goes back and forth across the border ferrying Super Sure cake flour and Blazing Beef potato snacks, said the government was now using food as a weapon and channeling much of the United Nations-donated grain to supporters of the ruling party.“As we speak,” he said, “people are starving.”

He seemed more defeated than anything else. “People hate the government,” he said. “But they are too scared to fight it.”

Commercials are now running on Zimbabwean TV showing grainy images of captives from the liberation war in the 1970s and reminding citizens not to disobey their leaders, recent arrivals said.

Mugabe, of course, has always been a murderous thug. He has held onto power via thuggish tactics. And now, while the whole world watches, he is using tohse same tactics to hold on to power.

Where are his neighbors? Where is the OAU? Where is the UN? Will no one stop him?





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

School Bombing Plot

These stories always concern me. After all, this kid seemd pretty normal and well-adjusted, and was doing well in school.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (AP) -- A high school senior collected enough supplies to carry out a bomb attack on his school and detailed the plot in a hate-filled diary that included maps of the building and admiring notations about the Columbine killers, authorities said Sunday.

Ryan Schallenberger, 18, was arrested Saturday after his parents called police when 10 pounds of ammonium nitrate was delivered to their home in Chesterfield and they discovered the journal, said the town's police chief, Randall Lear.

The teen planned to make several bombs and had all the supplies needed to kill dozens at Chesterfield High School, depending on where the devices were placed and whether they included shrapnel, Lear said. Ammonium nitrate was used in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 that killed 168 people.

"The only thing left was delivering the bombs," the police chief said.

Schallenberger kept a journal for more than a year that detailed his plans for a suicide attack and included maps of the school, police said. The writings did not include a specific time for the attack or the intended targets.

He also left an audio tape to be played after he died explaining why he wanted to bomb his school. Lear wouldn't detail what was on the tape except to say Schallenberger was an angry young man.

"He seemed to hate the world. He hated people different from him -- the rich boys with good-looking girlfriends," Lear said.

Clearly there was something up with this kid. How was it missed? Thank God his parents kept close enough tabs on him to discover the plan in time and report them to the police.

On a related note, I wonder if Obama and his supporters rush to the defense of this young man for engaging in activities that will simply be an embarrassment at middle age? Or does THIS bomber merit their condemnation?





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

What Moves The Superdelegates

Strangely enough, it isn't delegate totals or popular vote counts -- it is who they believe can win in November.

Many of the Democratic superdelegates who are still undecided say the most important factor in their decision is simple — they just want a winner in November.

Problem is, after nearly four months of primaries and caucuses in 46 states, territories and the District of Columbia, they still aren't sure who that is, don't seem be in any hurry to make up their minds and aren't interested in any artificial process that might force them to choose between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Most of the more than 100 undecided superdelegates who discussed their decision-making with The Associated Press in the past two weeks agreed that the primaries and caucuses do matter — whether it's who has the most national delegates or the candidate who won their state or congressional district. But few said the primaries will be the biggest factor in their decision.

"I think it's really important that we keep our eye on the prize, and the prize is the win in November," said Gail Rasmussen, an undecided superdelegate from Oregon.

Indeed, Rasmussen is articulating precisely the rationale that led the Democrats to create the superdelegates -- the notion that party officials and elected officials should serve as a brake upon primary voters whose enthusiasm for a candidate saying the right left thing in a way that attracts the party faithful but not the general public. One can argue whether such a brake upon popular will is appropriate (after all, listen to Dems rail against the electoral college), but it is how the system is designed to work. These undecided superdelegates should therefore be praised for taking their role so seriously.





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

April 20, 2008

Withdraw Now

From Chicago!

After all, it looks like it is more dangerous to be an American in Barack Obama's hometown than it is to be an American in Iraq. (H/T Urban Grounds)

A violent and deadly weekend continues in Chicago. At least 12 people have been shot, two of them killed, since Saturday morning. Two others were stabbed in a home invasion. This comes after at least 20 people were shot, four of them killed, from Friday night through early Saturday.

If this sort of carnage is still going on, it is clear that the American policy for pacifying Chicago has failed. I want to know the exit strategies proposed by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton -- and I want to know them now!

US OUT OF CHICAGO NOW!





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

THIS DAY IN HISTORY: Republicans Act To Crush Democrat Terrorist Organization

On this day in history, the GOP-controlled Congress and a Republican President of the United States acted to end the threat to civil rights posed by the paramilitary terrorist wing of the Democrat Party.

On this day in 1871, the Republican-controlled 42nd Congress passed and the Republican President, Ulysses Grant, signed into law the Ku Klux Klan Act. The law banned the KKK and other Democrat terrorist organizations. President Grant then deployed federal troops to crush a Klan uprising in South Carolina.

Let me remind my readers that every major piece of federal legislation protecting the civil rights of Americans has been passed with the overwhelming support of Republicans. Every effort to ban lynching introduced by Republicans was thwarted by Democrats. The only member of the KKK to serve on the Supreme Court was appointed by and confirmed by Democrats, despite their full knowledge of his involvement in that organization.

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And today, the only living member of the US Senate to have been a member of Klan is labeled as the "conscience of the Senate" by his fellow Democrats -- and sits three heartbeats from the Oval Office because his fellow Democrats made him president pro tempore of the Senate.

H/T Grand Old Partisan

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|| Greg, 09:26 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A BLAST FROM THE PAST: The Enemies Of All Mankind

Given the discussion about pirates below, I feel like this piece deserves to see the light of day again.

Here’s a neat idea for dealing with Osama and every other terrorist on the planet. They are hostis humani generis -- the enemies of all mankind.

TO UNDERSTAND THE POTENTIAL OF DEFINING TERRORISM as a species of piracy, consider the words of the 16th-century jurist Alberico Gentili's De jure belli: "Pirates are common enemies, and they are attacked with impunity by all, because they are without the pale of the law. They are scorners of the law of nations; hence they find no protection in that law." Gentili, and many people who came after him, recognized piracy as a threat, not merely to the state but to the idea of statehood itself. All states were equally obligated to stamp out this menace, whether or not they had been a victim of piracy. This was codified explicitly in the 1856 Declaration of Paris, and it has been reiterated as a guiding principle of piracy law ever since. Ironically, it is the very effectiveness of this criminalization that has marginalized piracy and made it seem an arcane and almost romantic offense. Pirates no longer terrorize the seas because a concerted effort among the European states in the 19th century almost eradicated them. It is just such a concerted effort that all states must now undertake against terrorists, until the crime of terrorism becomes as remote and obsolete as piracy.

What would be the impact of classifying terrorism along with piracy?

If the war on terror becomes akin to war against the pirates, however, the situation would change. First, the crime of terrorism would be defined and proscribed internationally, and terrorists would be properly understood as enemies of all states. This legal status carries significant advantages, chief among them the possibility of universal jurisdiction. Terrorists, as hostis humani generis, could be captured wherever they were found, by anyone who found them. Pirates are currently the only form of criminals subject to this special jurisdiction.

Second, this definition would deter states from harboring terrorists on the grounds that they are "freedom fighters" by providing an objective distinction in law between legitimate insurgency and outright terrorism. This same objective definition could, conversely, also deter states from cracking down on political dissidents as "terrorists," as both Russia and China have done against their dissidents.

Recall the U.N. definition of piracy as acts of "depredation [committed] for private ends." Just as international piracy is viewed as transcending domestic criminal law, so too must the crime of international terrorism be defined as distinct from domestic homicide or, alternately, revolutionary activities. If a group directs its attacks on military or civilian targets within its own state, it may still fall within domestic criminal law. Yet once it directs those attacks on property or civilians belonging to another state, it exceeds both domestic law and the traditional right of self-determination, and becomes akin to a pirate band.

Third, and perhaps most important, nations that now balk at assisting the United States in the war on terror might have fewer reservations if terrorism were defined as an international crime that could be prosecuted before the International Criminal Court.

I encourage you to read the article by Douglas R. Burgess Jr., “The Dread Pirate Bin Laden”. It may come out of the Legal Affairs, but it is incredibly approachable.





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

Shocking -- French Tougher Than Brits

At least with regards to those who international law has long defined as "enemies of all humanity".

ON April 11, French commandos went in with guns blazing and captured a gang of pirates who days earlier had hijacked a luxury cruise ship, the Ponant, and held the crew for ransom. This was the French solution to a crime wave that has threatened international shipping off Somalia; those of us who have been on the business end of a pirate’s gun can only applaud their action.

The British government on the other hand, to the incredulity of many in the maritime industry, has taken a curiously pathetic approach to piracy. While the French were flying six of the captured pirates to Paris to face trial, the British Foreign Office issued a directive to the once vaunted Royal Navy not to detain any pirates, because doing so could violate their human rights. British warships patrolling the pirate-infested waters off Somalia were advised that captured pirates could claim asylum in Britain and that those who were returned to Somalia faced beheading for murder or a hand chopped off for theft under Islamic law.

Excuse me! Piracy has been recognized as beyond the bounds of civilized behavior for millennia. No less than Julius Caesar led an expedition against pirates in his youth, punishing those captured as the criminals that they were -- and which their professional descendants remain. Indeed, traditional international law allows for nations to track down pirates anywhere and to dispense justice in a summary fashion -- tough more contemporary views require trial in regular courts rather than drumhead courts marital.

That the British have now adopted a policy of letting pirates go rather than risk nonsensical claims for asylum being granted under the nations absurdly liberal asylum laws is a sign of how far down the pike the Brits have gone in terms of coddling foreign criminals. Indeed, the concern that Muslim pirates might face penalties under Muslim laws in their Muslim country of origin seems equally absurd -- especially as powerful figures in Britain suggest that incorporation of sharia law into the UK legal system would be a positive step.

Who would have ever believed it -- the French are standing tough and the UK is waving the white flag in the war on piracy!

AND SPEAKING OF PIRATES AND THE LAW...





|| Greg, 08:40 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Not Just Youthful Indiscretions

Liberty Pundit points to this outrageous quote regarding Obama buddies William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

During the 1996 Democratic convention in Chicago, Ayers and his wife, Weather Underground alumna Bernardine Dohrn, hosted a fundraiser at their Chicago home for Democrats Online.

Lytel said Friday that no one from the Clinton White House showed up for the 1996 event.

He added, “I’m a Clinton supporter, but I think it’s the absolute height of stupidity” and “preposterous” for her to try to use the Ayers connection as a weapon against Obama. “This is an insane way for her to try to define her opponent.”

“I have no reason to think that Ayers is anything other than smart, skeptical American,” Lytel said. “He’s like anyone else who has activities in his past that might be embarrassing to them as a middle-aged person.”

Now hold on here one moment -- "activities in his past that might be embarrassing to them as a middle-aged person"?

We are talking about setting off bombs in the United States Capitol, the Pentagon, and New York City Police Headquarters. In other words, acts of terrorism, not youthful hijinks that cause one to blush and shake one's head in dismay over having been so foolish.

Am I willing to excuse Ayers and Dohrn for their advocacy of the oppressive Marxist-Leninist ideology that has killed more people than Nazism? Sure -- just as I hope folks are willing to forgive me for my youthful flirtation with the notion that we should adopt a socialized medical system like the ones that deliver substandard medical care in Canada and the UK. Young people sometimes adopt crazy ideas which they later recognize to be flawed.

But let's draw a distinction about activities. I had a string of relationships -- some meaningful, some not -- in which I rather callously broke hearts. I'm embarrassed by those. I have several nights when I had way too much to drink -- and which would be fodder for YouTube if they were to have happened today. There are things I said then which I would take back in a heartbeat if I could, because time has taught me lessons that I needed in my youth.

But for all my youthful follies, I didn't commit acts of violence in the furtherance of political goals. I may have picketed outside of abortion clinics, but I didn't blow them up. I may have objected to the methods of the police chief in our college town and appealed to the city council to fire him, but I didn't plant a bomb in the offices of the police department. I may have objected to Jimmy Carter's restoration of draft registration, but I did not attempt to destroy the building where the registration forms were processed -- even though it was around the corner from my place of employment.

Why didn't I do any of those things? Was it fear of embarrassment? No -- it was recognition that such actions would not have merely been criminal, they also would have been fundamentally immoral.

And to this day, Ayers and Dohrn remain unrepentant.

And are embraced by the political and social elite of Chicago, and by presidential candidate.

And let's be clear -- William Ayers is not embarrassed by his terrorist activities. If anything, he only repents his failure to commit more and bigger acts of terrorism.

“I don’t regret setting bombs,” Ayers told the Times. “I feel we didn’t do enough.”

'Nuff said.

UPDATE: Bravo, Senator McCain!

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Rosemary's Thoughts, The Random Yak, 123beta, Maggie's Notebook, Right Truth, Shadowscope, Oblogatory Anecdotes, Cao's Blog, The Amboy Times, Phastidio.net, D equals S, Chuck's Place, Nuke Gingrich, Wake Up America, Woman Honor Thyself, McCain Blogs, The World According to Carl, Blue Star Chronicles, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, , Right Voices, and OTB Sports, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





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

April 19, 2008

"Liberty Is Not The Gift Of The State, And Its Defense Cannot Be Outsourced Exclusively To The Government"

If we were to ever allow someone not born an American to become President of the United States, I'd argue that Mark Steyn would be the perfect candidate.

His current column int he Orange County Register includes the above assertion in a fuller form -- and bears frequent repetition.

As for "gun-totin'," large numbers of Americans tote guns because they're assertive, self-reliant citizens, not docile subjects of a permanent governing class. The Second Amendment is philosophically consistent with the First Amendment, for which I've become more grateful since the Canadian Islamic Congress decided to sue me for "hate speech" up north. Both amendments embody the American view that liberty is not the gift of the state, and its defense cannot be outsourced exclusively to the government.

Indeed, Steyn pegs it. A government that is viewed as the source of liberty is one which can claim the authority to revoke those liberties as unnecessary. A government that is the sole defender of liberty is one which also assumes the right to squash those same liberties in the name of a greater interest. On this day, the 233rd anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, we find ourselves reminded that it was the attempt by the British government to seize the colonists' means of self-defense -- their guns, shot, and powder -- that brought about a Revolution.

Steyn's timely reminder fits well with the words chosen by a group of patriots the following summer -- words which have inspired those seeking freedom for over two centuries and in every corner of our world.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Endowed by our Creator.

Certain unalienable rights.

Let us not forget.

H/T Malkin

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Rosemary's Thoughts, The Random Yak, 123beta, Maggie's Notebook, Right Truth, Oblogatory Anecdotes, Cao's Blog, The Amboy Times, Phastidio.net, D equals S, Chuck's Place, Nuke Gingrich, Wake Up America, Woman Honor Thyself, McCain Blogs, The World According to Carl, Blue Star Chronicles, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, , Right Voices, and OTB Sports, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





|| Greg, 06:46 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Getting Better In Basra

Shhhhhh!

Don't tell the Democrats. It might upset their entire worldview.

CD shops sell love songs again. Some women emerge from their homes without veils, and alcohol sellers are coming out of hiding in the southern city of Basra — where religious vigilantes have long enforced strict Islamic codes.

The changes in recent weeks mark a surprising show of government sway — at least for now — after an Iraqi-led military crackdown that was plagued by desertions, ragged planning and ended in a virtual stalemate with Shiite militias in Iraq's second-largest city.

But it's unclear whether the new tone in parts of Basra represents a permanent tilt toward the Iraqi government or just a temporary retreat of Shiite hard-liners challenging the current Baghdad leadership.

During five days of heavy fighting last month, Iraqi troops struggled against militiamen, particularly the Mahdi Army loyal to anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The military was plagued by desertions and poor organization — and, in the end, the offensive was inconclusive with Iran helping mediate a truce.

Still, the crackdown appears to have succeeded in giving some sense of government control in Basra.

In other words, as expected, the surge and subsequent efforts of the Iraqi government and military have been a success. Now I'll admit that the Democrats have to continue to hope and pray for more setbacks and the ultimate defeat of American and its Iraqi allies if they are to win in November -- but this is good news for the rest of America, and for Iraq.





|| Greg, 12:32 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why The ABC Debate Questions Were Appropriate

They are precisely the sort of questions that need to be asked to get past the "Obamessiah" image that Barack Obama and his campaign have created. Americans need to see beneath the facade.

And it would appear that asking questions that do that raises the hackles of Obama supporters.

The political fallout from the Philadelphia faceoff between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton was all but eclipsed yesterday by a fierce debate about Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos.

The ABC moderators found themselves under fire for focusing on campaign gaffes and training most of their ammunition on Obama. Huffington Post blogger Jason Linkins called the debate "utterly asinine." Washington Post television critic Tom Shales called the duo's performance "despicable." Philadelphia Daily News columnist Will Bunch said the moderators "disgraced the American voters, and in fact even disgraced democracy itself."

Tough crowd out there.

"I think the questions were certainly pointed -- tough at times, as they should be in a presidential debate -- but not inappropriate or irrelevant at all," Stephanopoulos said yesterday. "The questions have been part of this campaign and in the news. We did our job. You're not going to satisfy everyone."

In the first 40 minutes of Wednesday's two-hour Democratic debate, the moderators asked Obama about his remarks that small-town residents bitterly cling to guns and religion; the inflammatory sermons of Rev. Jeremiah Wright (Stephanopoulos followup: "Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?"); why Obama doesn't wear an American flag pin; and his relationship with William Ayers, a former Weather Underground radical who has acknowledged involvement in several bombings in the 1970s.

In the only comparably aggressive question directed at Clinton, Stephanopoulos cited an ABC/Washington Post poll challenging her honesty and tied it to her false tale of having once come under sniper fire in Bosnia.

The reality is that Americans know all about Hillary, and don't like her. They know all about John McCain, and do like him. But Obama? He remains an unknown, and as such those debate questions were appropriate in terms of helping America take the measure of the man.

My guess? They won't like what they see.

And I pose this question to you -- if Obama were a white man, would he be given a pass after attending Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church for two decades? Would he not be questioned if he were friends with Olympic/abortion clinic/gay bar bomber Eric Rudolph? Wouldn't either of those associations be a deal breaker for most of the American public -- and for the American media?





|| Greg, 12:24 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are The Next Moves In An Existential Chess Match by Wolf Howling, and It's the "White" Church that Obama's Talking About (UPDATED) by Baldilocks.  Here are the full results of the vote:

VotesCouncil link
5The Next Moves In An Existential Chess Match
Wolf Howling
1  2/3Does America Need a New Enemy? One Brit Thinks So...
Hillbilly White Trash
1  1/3Elitism and the Elitist Elites Who Think They're the Elite
Right Wing Nut House
2/3Bullshit!
Done With Mirrors
2/3Bedtime For Bonzo? The Clinton Eclipse
Joshuapundit
2/3The Candidates on the Economy: Taxes
The Glittering Eye
1/3Further Proof That the Western P.C. Left Is Akin to the Societies They Admire
The Colossus of Rhodey
1/3Warmie Psychic: Global Headache Coming!
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1/3Painting?
Soccer Dad

VotesNon-council link
3  1/3It's the "White" Church that Obama's Talking About (UPDATED)
Baldilocks
2  1/3Zombie Chronicles the Olympic Torch Relay in SF
Pajamas Media
1  2/3'This Is How We Lost to the White Man'
The Atlantic
1  2/3Hope for Iraq’s Meanest City
City Journal
1  1/3The War of Ideas
Family Security Matters
2/3McCain's Electoral College Math
American Thinker
1/3If You Disagree With Me, You've Either Been Hoodwinked, Or Else You're a Hoodwinker!
Classical Values
1/3The Rich and Their Taxes
Real Clear Markets
1/3"Universal Health Care"
Eternity Road





|| Greg, 10:37 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 18, 2008

A Note On The Pope, Tom Tancredo, And Howard Dean

Congressman Tom Tancredo gave a rather interesting speech on the Pope and immigration. It has caused a stir, mainly due to certain ill-considered suggestions in the latter half of the speech which should not have been made -- but the first half appears to me to be dead on. Watching the video, you'll see where he strays outside the realm of polite criticism into the sort of speculation that is not helpful to the discussion and which clearly obscures his larger, much more important point.

Like I said, part of the speech obscures the much more revealing information that precedes and follows it.

And so the Democrats are trying to make political hay out of Tancredo's less than diplomatic insinuations.

As John McCain attends the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington today, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean called on the Republican nominee to denounce insulting comments made by one of his campaign surrogates, Rep. Tom Tancredo. Tancredo issued a press release yesterday attacking the "Pope's comments regarding U.S. immigration policy" and accusing his position of stemming from an interest in "recruiting new members." Dean issued the following statement:

"If John McCain is serious in his pledge to run a respectful campaign, he should immediately denounce Tom Tancredo's insulting remarks about Pope Benedict XVI.

It is, all-in-all, a dishonest statement on the part of the Democrats, beginning with the headline calling Tancredo a McCain surrogate -- despite the fact that the comments in question were made as a member of the House of Representatives on the floor of the House. I guess that for Democrats, the speech and debate clause protects hiding evidence of bribes in one's office, but not actual speech and debate. But I digress.

Since Tancredo was not speaking as a surrogate for John McCain, I see no obligation to denounce or repudiate anything. And given the regular strident attacks on the Catholic Church and various popes on the issue of abortion by more Democrats than I can count, I don't see where Howard Dean can insist upon respect for this pronouncement without engaging in hypocrisy of the rankest sort.

But I decided I would go to an authoritative source on what the Catholic Church teaches about immigration. Indeed, I found it in the most authoritative of teaching documents -- The Catechism of the Catholic Church.

2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

Well, let's consider this bit by bit.

The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin.

As Tancredo clearly points out, we already do this. We take more immigrants than any country on the planet -- legally. One can argue about how many are enough, but no one can legitimately dispute that the US complies with Catholic teaching here. And given the current economic climate, it is legitimate to question if we are ABLE to legalize those currently here without further damaging our economy, much less admit even more hoping legally while absorbing the next wave awaiting the next amnesty.

Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

Again, we do that . We educate the children. We give whole families medical care at government expense while our own citizens are forced to provide such care for themselves. We legally protect the rights of workers to be paid even if they have no legal rights to work, and we prosecute crimes against illegal immigrants. But I would remind the Holly Father that guests enter through the front door at the invitation of the host -- those who do otherwise are trespassers and, dare I say it, invaders whose uninvited presence does not merit a generous welcome.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption.

Oh, it seems that the Holy Father and so many others have ignored this little element of Catholic teaching on immigration. Doesn't the duty of immigrants towards the United States include FOLLOWING THE LAW by entering in an orderly fashion, with all required paperwork completed? Doesn't that include the right of the host country to set reasonable limits upon who can enter and when -- and how long they are permitted to stay? After all, the official compendium of Catholic teachings does not call for open borders here.

Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.

Yeah, there is is -- immigrants are required to obey the laws. You know, like not entering the country illegally or working illegally. If they cannot do that much, everything else the Pope calls for is irrelevant. Under the teachings of the Church itself, the US has no obligation to accept or keep illegal aliens.

Indeed, I'd like to go back to that quote from Cardinal Giacomo Biffi that Tancredo quotes -- "There is no such thing to a right of invasion." Orderly, controlled immigration is a right -- pell-mell rushes for the border in order to unlawfully enter a country to illegally seek employment or government benefits in another country is not.

But I do have a suggestion for Benedict XVI, if he really wishes to help out some of those illegal immigrants.

Why not load up a few thousand on specially chartered Alitalia flights and take them home to the Vatican with you. Between the Holy See itself and your summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, you can find a place for them all. Give them Vatican passports and offer them Vatican citizenship -- pay their medical bills, feed them, clothe them, and educate their children.

In other words, put your money where your mouth is -- and if you won't, I respectfully suggest that you shut it on this issue, because the US government and US taxpayer are already doing more on behalf of illegal immigrants in a manner consistent with Catholic teaching than you are.

And as for Howard Dean, until the Democrats add a plank to their platform calling for a ban on abortion, he should shut his mouth as well.

H/T Hot Air, Michelle Malkin

UPDATE: Now criticizing the Pope's comments on immigration is being declared "anti-Catholic".

OPEN TRACKBACKING AT Rosemary's Thoughts, The Random Yak, 123beta, Maggie's Notebook, Right Truth, Oblogatory Anecdotes, Cao's Blog, The Amboy Times, Phastidio.net, D equals S, Chuck's Place, Nuke Gingrich, Wake Up America, Woman Honor Thyself, McCain Blogs, The World According to Carl, Blue Star Chronicles, Pirate's Cove, The Pink Flamingo, , Right Voices, and OTB Sports, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.





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

Dem Leaders Declare Failure In Iraq

The assessment by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Jack Murtha was really grim at yesterday's press conference.

They argued that the President's delay in troop withdrawals was "covering a policy of failure. Indeed, Hillary had this to say.

"If the American forces leave, they will lose everything. And if they stay, they will bleed to death."

Obama gave this assessment.

"Iraq nowadays is the most important battlefield on which our mujahedeen are waging a war against the forces of the Zionist-Christian Crusade," al-Zawahri said. "Therefore, supporting the mujahideen in Iraq and especially the Islamic State of Iraq is a most important duty."

Yeah, yeah, yeah -- I know, Barack Obama isn't a Muslim or a terrorist. He's just supported by them.

And no, this isn't Democrat leaders speaking -- it is Ayman al-Zawahri, number two to Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

But it is telling, isn't it, that the position he takes on Iraq is the same as is taken by the "loyal opposition" here in the United States.

The al-Zawahri tape does make it clear, though, that Americans have a stark choice this fall.

Republican or Democrat.

Victory or defeat.

You decide.





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

SUBJECT: Please Call 911 For Me

Finding that in my email inbox would freak me out.

But it really happened on Capitol Hill recently.

At 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, Lee Pitts, the spokesman for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), saw an unusual e-mail message pop up on the corner of his computer screen: “Please call 911 for me,” the subject line said.

Less than an hour earlier, Herman Wang had been transcribing interviews in the Washington bureau of the Chattanooga Times Free Press — which happens to be on the second floor of his house, since Wang is the Washington bureau of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Wearing headphones and re-listening to Tennessee pols speculate on whom they would prefer as vice presidential candidates, Wang didn’t hear his basement door kicked in. He did hear, however, a man’s footsteps on the stairs.

Wang met the intruder in the hallway. “I’m just looking for — ” said the man, who didn’t finish the sentence but instead rushed at Wang and beat him in the face as the reporter tried to defend himself.

* * *

Wang crawled to the master bedroom, hid behind the bed and tried to think of who might have a BlackBerry on hand. The obvious answer: a Hill staffer like Pitts.

“I was just robbed at home by two burglars,” reads the e-mail Wang got off. “Laptop, phones and wallet all taken. They missed my wife's laptop. I dont' [sic] know if they're still around the house. Please call 911 and ask them to send police.”

“Calling now,” wrote Pitts at 4:16 p.m., a minute after Wang’s e-mail came in.

“Thanks, I am in upstairs bedroom,” Wang wrote at 4:18.

If you read one story today that isn't "hard news", this is the one you should look at. it is a great story of kindness and decency -- and reminds us that some things transcend rivalries and adversarial relationships.

A hearty "attaboy" to Lee Pitts -- and best wishes to Herman Wang.





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

McCain Pulling In American Voters

It took a little bit of time, but John McCain is getting the base -- and more -- to rally behind him. Anyone want to talk about this being the Democrat's year?

Republicans are no longer underdogs in the race for the White House. To pull that off, John McCain has attracted disgruntled GOP voters, independents and even some moderate Democrats who shunned his party last fall.

Partly thanks to an increasingly likable image, the Republican presidential candidate has pulled even with the two Democrats still brawling for their party's nomination, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo! News poll released Thursday. Just five months ago — before either party had winnowed its field — the survey showed people preferred sending an unnamed Democrat over a Republican to the White House by 13 percentage points.

Also helping the Arizona senator close the gap: Peoples' opinions of Hillary Rodham Clinton have soured slightly, while their views of Barack Obama have improved though less impressively than McCain's.

The survey suggests that those switching to McCain are largely attuned to his personal qualities and McCain may be benefiting as the two Democrats snipe at each other during their prolonged nomination fight.

I think this voter sums up the reality of the situation quite well -- and demonstrates exactly what is happening among Democrats and those who earlier leaned that way.

"You can't trust Hillary and Obama's too young," said Pauline Holsinger, 60, a janitorial worker in Pensacola, Fla., now backing McCain who preferred an unnamed Democrat last fall. "I like him better, he's more knowledgeable about the war" in Iraq.

And let's face it -- Hillary remains a Clinton, and Obama remains an untested political neophyte who lacks the experience and seasoning necessary to be an effective president. What was the word a cycle or two back? Gravitas. Obama lacks it, while McCain has it in spades. When will that be a topic of discussion in the MSM -- or will it, since it hurts their anointed candidate?





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

Obama: Americans Don't Need To Hear More

After getting his butt handed to him on national television, Barack Obama has decided to go sulk in the corner -- and he isn't going to debate any more.

Sen. Barack Obama on Thursday suggested he doesn’t see any point in having another debate with Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Clinton has agreed to a debate next week, but Obama has not yet accepted the invitation.

At an appearance in Raleigh, North Carolina, Obama said he has a lot of campaigning to do in a limited amount of time.

Obama said he had agreed to an earlier debate, but Clinton declined that one.

“I’ll be honest with you, we’ve now had 21,” he said. “It’s not as if we don’t know how to do these things. I could deliver Sen. Clinton’s lines; she could, I’m sure, deliver mine.”

Gee, Senator, it is tough being the leading candidate for the nomination -- it means the candidate behind you has you in her sites.

Plus it must be a real shock to have journalists start asking you tough questions, not the sort of softballs you've fielded up until now.

Just wait until John McCain starts to hammer you on substance later on this year. You'll wilt like a week-old lettuce leaf in Death Valley, dude.

Maybe you can get William Ayers to blow something up for you -- just to distract from how weak and unqualified a candidate you really are.

H/T Hot Air, STACLU





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

April 17, 2008

Not Again, Rick

I will not support this candidacy. Indeed, I will aceively work against it.

Gov. Rick Perry said today he will seek re-election in 2010, but an aide said nothing will be final about that decision until after next year's legislative session.

Perry has been hinting that he will seek another term of office since even before he won re-election in 2006 with 39 percent of the vote. But his statements to reporters in Dallas today were the strongest to date, saying flatly that he will be a candidate.

As Perry exited a news conference at the Republican Governor's Association meeting in Grapevine, a reporter asked him if the 2010 Republican gubernatorial field would include him as well as U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

''I don't know about them, but it will be Perry in 2010,'' Perry responded, according to The Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"I don't know about the other two. You need to ask them."

Asked whether he will run, Perry said, "Yes."

My personal inclination at this point is to support Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, but I would like to see how the field shapes up before making a commitment -- talk to me next spring for a firmer commitment. After all, I'm hearing at least one other candidate besides Perry, Dewhurst, and Hutchison will be seeking the office -- a Houston area state senator -- and I suspect that we could have more.

Why am I opposed to Perry? Weak efforts at tax reform that have saved no one money. His quick post-election flip-flop on border issues. His attempt to assume dictatorial powers to make law and appropriate money so that he could play doctor with every eleven-year-old girl in the state by mandating Gardasil on his say-so alone.

I think Rick Perry really doesn't understand the depth of the opposition to him and his pathetic efforts since the 2006 election.





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

An Entirely Different Issue

The New York Times gets one right in this editorial regarding yesterday's death penalty decision.

Justice Stevens, in a welcome surprise, said that he had come to the conclusion that the death penalty carries such high risks of error and discrimination, while doing so little good, that it is unconstitutional. He voted to uphold Kentucky’s procedures because he believed precedent required it, but he said it is time for the court and legislatures to take a hard look at whether the death penalty’s substantial costs outweigh its benefits.

Wednesday’s ruling clears the way for states that had put their executions on hold to resume them. Lawyers for death-row inmates insist, however, that the legal test the Roberts decision used gives them a basis for more challenges to lethal injection. That means more fights over how much needless pain is too much.

The better course would be for the nation to undertake Justice Stevens’s hard look at capital punishment — and leave it behind.

Now I disagree with the "leave it behind" conclusion, but at least the editors are constitutionally honest here. They know that the death penalty is unambiguously constitutional, and that any decision that declared otherwise would be an abrogation of the language of the Constitution itself.

On the other hand, I've no problem with a discussion of the death penalty -- indeed, I have already made clear the preferred, relatively painless method of execution that I believe would meet the Robert's test. The Texas Moratorium Network has continued to allow its heart to bleed over the poor murderers rather than their innocent victims.

Let the discussion over capital punishment (not capital rehabilitation or capital deterrence -- capital PUNISHMENT) continue. If the democratic process leads to its repeal, then so be it. but i believe most folks recognize that there are crimes for which the ultimate penalty is the only appropriate one.





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

More Islamo-Whiners

Seems that some Muslims are still stewing over the pontiff's decision to use an apropos quote about Islam in a speech in 2006 -- and don't seem very willing to consider that the problem is their's not Pope Benedict's.

At the time, the pope’s remarks prompted violence and expressions of outrage from Muslims abroad. Reactions in the United States were muted, but many Muslims today — even those closely connected to a Roman Catholic institution — remain troubled by the remarks. Their feelings are often complicated, a mixture of respect for the church and wariness about this pope, who will meet with Muslim and other religious leaders in Washington on Thursday.

While many say they continue to feel welcome at Catholic schools and hospitals, the pope’s speech has left an indelible, often negative impression.

“It reflects on him as an intolerant person at that moment,” said Dr. Yusuf Mamdani of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., who is affiliated with St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan. “The pope should be beyond these things. I believe a person should respect me.”

Sorry, Dr. Mamdani, but you've got it dead wrong.

The role of the pope is to speak the truth of the Christian faith. He did that, even if that truth makes you uncomfortable.

And if you want to talk about indelible negative impressions, there is a hole in the ground in New York City that I'd like to call your attention to -- as well as a host of other terrorist-related artifacts -- that have left an indelible negative impression of Islam in a way much more striking than the Holy Father's use of an old quote.

And let's remind everybody exactly what was said.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

Seems to me that this is a legitimate point of view for those of us who reject Islam as a religious innovation not inspired by God.

To the degree that the false scriptures of the false prophet Muhammad lifted long-venerated teachings of Judaism and Christianity and incorporated them into his new faith, there is good contained in Islam. To the degree that Muhammad taught conquest by the sword and violence against non-Muslims, his teachings were undeniably evil and inhuman -- and are indeed properly labeled as Satanic.

Unless, of course, you want to praise 9/11, car bombs, and suicide vests.

In which case we really have nothing further to talk about.





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

The Teacher's Bible

Here's an interesting church-state issue.

An Ohio middle school teacher says he won't obey an order to remove a Bible from view of students.

John Freshwater said Wednesday he agreed to remove a collage from his classroom that included the Ten Commandments, but that asking him to remove the Bible on his desk goes too far.

Officials with the Mount Vernon School District say they don't oppose religion but are required by the U.S. Constitution not to promote or favor any set of religious beliefs.

Freshwater says being forced to keep the Bible out of sight would infringe on his rights.

Since I started teaching, there has always been a Bible in my classroom Indeed, it has been a necessary part of my teaching material. Back when I taught English, it was a useful tool for bringing in literary references and linguistic choices made by authors who were raising biblical imagery. Teaching history, I ind it useful to refer to certain elements of the Old and New Testaments when relating back to issues in Middle Eastern history (especially the ancient period) and the Christianization of the Roman Empire.

And yes, I do read it at times during my personal time during the day.

But I don't know how I feel about placing it front and center on a teacher's desk by itself, rather than on a book shelf or amongst other books. And this story doesn't give a whole lot of details about the situation and why its presence has become a problem.

Any reaction from readers?





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

April 16, 2008

Terrorist Bitches Receive Top Terrorstinian Award During Carter Visit

Yeah, these are the people that Jimmy Carter is visiting and the Bush Administration is funding with our tax dollars as a part of the "peace process". Now they are giving awards to those who actively participated in what is unambiguously terrorist activity.

If reports that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to present two female terrorists with a medal of honor are found to be true, it will be a grave development, the consequences of which Israel will need to consider, senior government officials told Israel Radio on Wednesday.

However, the unnamed officials said the accuracy of the reports had not yet been confirmed.

The radio station reported earlier in the day that the Al Kuds Mark of Honor, the PLO's highest medal, would be given to two female terrorists who helped kill Israelis.

The two were Ahlam Tamimi, a Hamas affiliate serving a life sentence for driving the suicide bomber who exploded himself in the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem, killing at least half a dozen people, and Amra Muna, who seduced Ophir Rahum over the Internet and then lured him to Ramallah where he was murdered.

So let's make it clear who the Terrorstinian Anarchy authorities are giving their highest honor -- a pair of accomplices to murder. After all, people peacefully eating pizza in a restaurant and guys surfing the web for love and romance are such threats to the so-called "legitimate aspirations" of the Terrorstinians for a state.

If these awards are given, that should definitively end any and all US aid to the Terrorstinian Anarchy -- and Israel should end any and all cooperation with those who insist upon any form of "peace process" that contemplates the establishment of a state of Palestine.

My buddy Freedom Fighter at Joshuapundit puts it quite well.

You can tell a lot about a given group of people by looking at what they honor. It takes a very special category of human being - and I use the term loosely - to honor people like this. And this is by no means a unique instance of this sort of thing.

Just say NO to coddling the terrorist scum who infest Gaza and the West Bank.

UPDATE: Honors revoked -- but only because the terrorist Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) who leads the Terrorstinian Anarchy got caught.





|| Greg, 08:24 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

SCOTUS Rules For Lethal Injection

Once again, the opponents of the death penalty get stung by the fact that the Constitution explicitly permits capital punishment and there is not constitutional mandate that executions be pain free. It is punishment, after all.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the most common method of lethal injection executions, likely clearing the way to resume executions that have been on hold for nearly 7 months.

The justices, by a 7-2 vote, turned back a constitutional challenge to the procedures in place in Kentucky, which uses three drugs to sedate, paralyze and kill inmates. Similar methods are used by roughly three dozen states.

''We ... agree that petitioners have not carried their burden of showing that the risk of pain from maladministration of a concededly humane lethal injection protocol, and the failure to adopt untried and untested alternatives, constitute cruel and unusual punishment,'' Chief Justice John Roberts said in an opinion that garnered only three votes. Four other justices, however, agreed with the outcome.

Roberts' opinion did leave open subsequent challenges to lethal injection practices if a state refused to adopt an alternative method that significantly reduced the risk of severe pain.

The reality, though, is that the opponents are likely to never meet that burden of proof. How does on determine that there is severe pain? What constitutes a significant reduction of risk? The terms are so vague as to be meaningless.

I still want states to adopt my alternative form of lethal injection – 9mm of lead to the base of the skull delivered at high velocity. Quick, efficient, and relatively painless.

And if we want to be sporting about it, give the condemned a choice of 10 pistols – one of which will be unloaded. An empty chamber results in an automatic commutation to life without parole – but only after the condemned has felt the muzzle to the head and heard the click of the trigger, giving them instant empathy with their innocent victim who was not even offered that much mercy.





|| Greg, 05:39 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Mr. Vo's Neighborhood

The local Democrat bloggers still remain silent on this situation.

But the realities of Mr. Vo's Neighborhood are pretty wretched indeed, as documented by this commercial offering.

Interestingly enough, it isn't just the local bloggers who are silent. I've yet to read or hear a single word from a single Democrat in office here in Houston -- not even Mayor Bill White, whose police force Vo attempted to bully with a letter on official House stationery. Nice support for the boys in blue, Mr. Mayor!

But then again, you know the Democrat's position on such things.

H/T LST

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|| Greg, 05:16 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Specter Ill Again

Damn!

Damn damn damn!

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter's cancer has returned. The five-term Republican said in a statement released by his office Tuesday that he was diagnosed with an early recurrence of Hodgkin's disease, which is a cancer of the lymph system.

Specter, 78, underwent treatment for the same type of cancer in 2005 and was later given a clean bill of health. The statement said that the cancer was revealed in a medical scan but that he has no symptoms.

"I was surprised by the PET scan findings because I have been feeling so good," Specter said in the statement. "I consider this just another bump on the road to a successful recovery from Hodgkin's, from which I've been symptom free for three years."

In his recent book, "Never Give In: Battling Cancer in the Senate," Specter credited hard work with getting him through the cancer treatments.

"An illness like Hodgkin's serves as a reminder that we have a limited time _ and how our time can end when we least expect it," Specter wrote. "Moreover, the event of death could never eclipse what is most important, which is how we spend the time we have."

The statement released by his office said tests showed cancer in lymph nodes in his chest. A follow-up biopsy of one of the chest lymph nodes was positive for recurrence.

I've not always been a fan of Arlen Specter. indeed, i've supported his opponents more than once. But I do respect him as a man of honor and integrity -- and high personal decency. I rejoiced in his beating cancer before, and am saddened by this recurrence.

You are in my prayers, Senator -- because I truly believe that political differences don't matter when put up against the fight you are facing.





|| Greg, 04:24 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

NY Times Misses The Point

In their editorial attacking Hillary for critiquing Obama's anti-White, anti-middle America comments.

Mr. Obama is not a hapless victim. His comments made for just the sort of rookie error that the Illinois senator is prone to make, and they have reinforced a feeling that he can be too aloof, or, yes, elitist. His attempts to explain himself have fallen flat, as have his insulting Annie Oakley jokes and demands to see pictures of Mrs. Clinton in a duck blind. Sexist jabs are as offensive as racist jabs.

Yeah, these are rookie mistakes.

And that is the problem. Obama is an unseasoned, unqualified rookie.

If he keeps saying and doing stupid stuff like this, it is clear that he is not qualified to sit in the Oval Office.

The Democrats are on the verge of offering us an untested neophyte. At least Hillary Clinton knows her ass from a whole in the ground. Barack Obama doesn't even have that going for him.

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

"You Can Never Be Too Thin" -- Now A Crime In France

Because France doesn't have any real problems -- like rioting Muslim youth -- for the government to deal with.

The French parliament's lower house adopted a groundbreaking bill Tuesday that would make it illegal for anyone — including fashion magazines, advertisers and Web sites — to publicly incite extreme thinness.

The National Assembly approved the bill in a series of votes Tuesday, after the legislation won unanimous support from the ruling conservative UMP party. It goes to the Senate in the coming weeks.

Fashion industry experts said that, if passed, the law would be the strongest of its kind anywhere. Leaders in French couture are opposed to the idea of legal boundaries on beauty standards

Now I'll grant that I prefer my women with a little meat on their bones rather than bird-boned with ribs sticking out like a Darfur refugee or concentration camp survivor (which describes most fashion models). But that isn't a matter for the government to legislate on. And if the legislative branch has time to debate such a measure, it is time for them to go into recess until serious problems face France for them to deal with.


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

McCain Offers Tax Solution

The way to make sure that people have enough money to pay for housing, gas, food, etc is to have the government STOP TAKING THEIR MONEY AWAY FROM THEM.

Senator John McCain offered the broadest look yet at his economic policies in a speech here Tuesday, calling for tax cuts, a freeze of discretionary spending for a year, higher premiums for better-off Medicare recipients and elimination of federal gas taxes this summer to reinvigorate the sagging economy.

Mr. McCain, who made no mention of his previous pledge to balance the budget by the end of his first term, outlined a long list of tax cuts he favored in the speech, which was delivered on the deadline for filing taxes. He called once again for making the Bush tax cuts, which he voted against, permanent, and for cutting corporate taxes, phasing out the alternative minimum tax and doubling the value of exemptions for each dependent to $7,000 from $3,500. He also proposed giving people the option of using a simpler, shorter tax form.

One of Mr. McCain’s tax proposals would take effect even before the Republican Convention: he called on Congress to suspend the 18.4 cent a gallon federal gas tax from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Mr. McCain said that doing so would provide “an immediate economic stimulus,” but some environmentalists said that the change might encourage more people to use their cars, while Mr. McCain has made combating global warming central to his campaign.

Given that both leading contenders for the presidency propose to tax the American people into prosperity by letting the Bush tax cuts for every American expire, we have an amazing dichotomy. And given the calls of Democrats to lower the cost of gasoline, the opportunity to bring about a 5% decrease in gas prices without government interfering with the market, every Democrat should be on board with that gas tax proposal -- if they really believe that lowering gas prices is a good thing. After all, gas taxes are highly regressive and hit the working poor hardest.





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

April 15, 2008

More Democrat Elitism

I love it when Democrat leaders tell the world what they really think of "the common people" they claim to represent.

Take this example from one of our local Dem bloggers, who is also a head of a local Democrat organization and a close personal friend of our not-for-long Congressman, Nick Lampson.

John Coby said...

If voters could think, McLame wouldnt have a chance.
6:30 PM

Now we'll let the insulting nickname for a dedicated public servant and war hero go, because Democrats don't believe in things like respect for veterans. It is the disrespect for the voters -- apparently he doesn't believe that most Americans are very smart, so they have to be ruled by their betters, folks like himself and Obama.

So remember, Americans -- and especially Texans -- what Democrats really think about you. They think you are stupid if you vote against them -- and hope you are stupid enough to vote for them.





|| Greg, 08:01 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

More Sluttification Of Pre-Teens

Coming soon to America?

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco was slammed yesterday for selling a padded plunge bra for girls as young as SEVEN.

The £4 “bust-booster” is being sold alongside vests in the seven to eight-year-old age range.

Fashion lecturer David Morris attacked the bra as “salacious”.

He said: “I can imagine women being upset about their daughters buying these ‘pocket money bras’ without their mums knowing.

“The bra is modelled on a plunge style — it has a very low bridge connecting the cups. It means the shape and position is lower to expose the breast tissue.”

Parent and teacher groups called for the Cherokee range to be removed from the shelves.

What does a seven-year-old need with a low-cut, padded push-up bra? These are children, for God's sake! Do we really need to be sexualizing them any more than has already been done?

Let's be honest -- padded bras, push-up bras, and low-cut bras are all designed with one purpose in mind, the enhancement of sex appeal. When a 27-year-old woman wears such things, that is an adult choice. When a 17-year-old comes to my class in them, I'm troubled by the message it sends. But when folks are now pushing this stuff into second and third grade, society has descended into a deeper moral abyss than I had imagined.





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

She's Out!

Sounds like a definitive statement to me. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will not be a candidate for Vice President in 2008.

“I do not want to be, don’t intend to be, won’t be on [McCain’s] ticket,” she told the Associated Press in an interview in Alabama today where she received an honorary degree from Air University at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base.

“It’s time for me to do something else,” she added, saying she would return to Stanford University after the Bush administration leaves office next January.

Rice praised Sen. McCain, of Arizonia, as “an amazing man” with “great intellect” but said the last time she spoke with him was last month after his passport file had been breached…

“We’ll see in a few year’s what I do. But I — this is not the time for me,” she told the AP.

I would have liked to see her on the ticket, but I don't know that she would balance out McCain's policy strengths, though she would bring ethnic, gender, and age differences to the ticket that cannot be ignored. But would her more moderate social credentials have harmed her candidacy?

Interestingly enough, though, the statement does leave open some interesting possibilities for 2012...

H/T Hot Air





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

Red Chinese Sympathizers Protest Dalai Lama

Another example of the brazenness of those who embrace the evil of communism.

n a showing of pro-Chinese support, hundreds of demonstrators protested outside a college arena Monday as the Dalai Lama spoke to students on solving problems through dialogue.

Thousands of people have flocked to Seattle to hear the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader speak since he arrived Thursday for a five-day conference on compassion, but the city's Chinese community had remained largely silent until Monday.

Demonstrators held signs alleging media bias and protesting the violence from rioting by Tibetan monks.

Some echoed Beijing's stand that the Dalai Lama is behind the recent uprising against five decades of Chinese rule. Signs called the Dalai Lama a liar and a "CIA-funded militant." Many people waved large Chinese flags.

"I think that people are misinformed. They have media discrimination," demonstrator Jiange Li said. "Tibet was freed _ 50 years ago."

I love that quote, don't you? Tibet was freed 50 years ago? Really? You mean when the Chinese Army overran a peaceful neighbor and began actively disrupting its culture, forcing many of its people into exile? Some definition of freedom.

And interestingly enough, these apologists for Red Chinese evil are permitted to stand in teh streets of an American city and spread their poison -- while those who support the Dalai Lala a e arrested, beaten, and killed if they try to protest in the streets of China.

That dichotomy says all that needs be said about that "freedom" proclaimed by the supporters of the butcher of Beijing.





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

Islamists Murder Teachers

The forces of ignorance are always most threatened by those who carry the torch of knowledge. It should be clear which side is which in this story.

Daud Hassan Ali had an unusual dream for his native Somalia. He was a nomad’s son who lived in Britain for years, but he recently returned to his troubled homeland to teach English. Early Monday, he paid for it with his life.

Witnesses said that Mr. Daud and three foreign teachers, a Briton and two Kenyans, were killed by Islamist insurgents during a midnight raid on one of the few English-language schools in south-central Somalia.

A spokesman for the Shabab militant Islamist group said the teachers were killed by accident after they were caught in cross-fire. But several residents of Beledweyne, the town where the attack happened, said Mr. Daud and the other teachers might have been singled out because they were suspected of preaching Christianity.

When I go to school this morning, I'm likely to face nothing more than a couple of smart-mouthed wannabe thugs trying to disrupt my class. I'm unlikely to find myself in danger of being injured, much less killed, for trying to teach my class.

Not so for teachers in areas of the world where Islamism hold sway. Interesting, isn't it, that those who bring new ideas and new knowledge just happened to be the "accidental" victims, when teachers are killed every week by Islamists who accuse them of contradicting some aspect of Islam. And given the comments about their preaching Christianity, that is simply more evidence of the desire of the dark forces of the most backwards form of Islam attempting to put out the True Light -- a goal which they can never achieve.

انه لا إله إلا الله ، ويسوع هو الابن انجب له

There is no God but God, and Jesus is his only begotten son.





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

Bad Rivets Sank Titanic

Or at least that is the latest theory.

Researchers have discovered that the builder of the Titanic struggled for years to obtain enough good rivets and riveters and ultimately settled on faulty materials that doomed the ship, which sank 96 years ago Tuesday.

The builder’s own archives, two scientists say, harbor evidence of a deadly mix of low quality rivets and lofty ambition as the builder labored to construct the three biggest ships in the world at once — the Titanic and two sisters, the Olympic and the Britannic.

For a decade, the scientists have argued that the storied liner went down fast after hitting an iceberg because the ship’s builder used substandard rivets that popped their heads and let tons of icy seawater rush in. More than 1,500 people died.

When the safety of the rivets was first questioned 10 years ago, the builder ignored the accusation and said it did not have an archivist who could address the issue.

Now, historians say new evidence uncovered in the archive of the builder, Harland and Wolff, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, settles the argument and finally solves the riddle of one of the most famous sinkings of all time. The company says the findings are deeply flawed.

The interesting bit of information from my point of view was that the builder had begun to switch to steel rivets, which are stronger. They used them on the central part of the hull, but not at the bow or stern, because they expected the most stress to be in that central zone. Unfortunately, a close encounter with an iceberg resulted in stress in the area with the sub-standard iron rivets, and it seems that they gave way and led to a catastrophic incident that would not have otherwise occurred.

And the rest is history.





|| Greg, 03:36 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Houston Dem Legislator Indicted -- Leftosphere Silent

corrupt_liberals[1].jpg

Interesting, isn't it, that the local lefties are so silent when it is one of their own who is facing tie in jail -- and for engaging in gun violence, no less.

Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!

State Rep. Borris Miles was indicted Monday on two counts of deadly conduct stemming from complaints he brandished a pistol and made threats at a pair of parties last December.

Miles, D-Houston, is expected to turn himself in this week, prosecutor Paul Doyle said. Bail has been set at $2,000. If convicted, each count of the Class A misdemeanor carries a punishment range of up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Ben Hall, an attorney for one of the people who accused Miles of threatening him, said the two counts stem from two incidents.

In the first, Miles is accused of showing a pistol and threatening TSU regent Willard Jackson and his wife during a Rockets/Mavericks game at the Toyota Center, Hall said.

He said the second count is connected to an incident later that night in which Miles is accused of displaying a pistol and forcibly kissing another man's wife while crashing a party at a St. Regis Hotel ballroom.

Hall said his client, party host David Harris, decided to press charges after a drunken Miles shocked guests with loud, profane language, grabbed his face and planted a Godfather-style "kiss of death" on his cheeks. Harris also said Miles handed him a pistol and declared, "You don't know what I'm capable of doing."

Harris said he thought the grand jury made the right decision but said it was not a happy day for anyone involved.

Fortunately this clown lost in the primary, but a number of our local liberal bloggers actually endorsed his reelection, despite the fact that Miles' behavior was already public knowledge. Seems they didn't like the other candidate, who had shown a willingness to work with the GOP leadership of the Texas House -- proving once again that when a liberal says they support "bipartisanship" they really mean "Republicans surrendering to Democrats".

But imagine the uproar if Miles had been a Republican. I'm quite sure that the Houston leftosphere would be in rare form, denouncing the behavior of a "bitter Republican gun nut" and talking about the arrogance of power. Considering how upset they got over Chuck Rosenthal's dirty emails, you'd hope they might have a few words over the indictment of a legislator who made terroristic threats to political opponents.

I guess not -- it's apparently not a problem when Dems do it.





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

Sports Talk Boards

I love discussing sports with friends, both online and in the real world. As I've been looking towards the upcoming NFL draft, I found this site devoted to sports talk on things like NFL picks, fantasy sports leagues, and other sports related topics. If sports is an interest, you really need to check them out.





|| Greg, 01:31 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 14, 2008

John Kerry Slap-Down!

This may be one of the funniest videos directed at a politician I have ever seen.

Talk about an ineffective, incompetent Senator! Here's hoping that he draws a challenger on the GOP side.

Shout it with me, folks:

RUN, MITT, RUN!

H/T The Corner & Hot Air





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

Will Obama Return Bundled Donations From Code Pink?

Barack Obama wants to be President of the United States, which would make him commander-in-chief of the US Military. Why, then, is he taking donations from Code Pink, an organization known for committing acts of harassment and vandalism against military recruiters and their offices in an effort to impede the recruiting efforts of the armed forces and undermine their readiness to defend the country? Why would he accept money funneled through an organization that stands outside veteran’s hospitals mocking wounded soldiers?

The co-founder of the radical anti-war group Code Pink has “bundled” more than $50,000 for Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and pro-troops groups are demanding that he return the money.

Jodie Evans, a Code Pink leader, gathered at least $50,000 from friends and associates and donated it to Obama’s presidential campaign, according to information compiled by the nonpartisan watchdog group, Public Citizen.
Evans and her son, a student who lives at her Southern California address, each also gave the maximum individual allowable donation of $2,300 to Obama’s campaign.

The donations have raised questions about Obama’s association with the more radical elements of his base. Code Pink has harassed, vandalized and impeded military recruiters across the United States in a campaign it calls “counter-recruitment.” The group also gave $600,000 to the families of Iraqi terrorists in Fallujah, whom it called “insurgents” fighting for their homes.

The Code Pinkos have, of course, a right to participate in the political process. However, Barack Obama has a responsibility to disassociate his campaign from those who attack our military – unless he supports those efforts.

After all, if he wants to argue that he is fit to be the commander-in-chief of our brave men and women in uniform, he can prove it by rejecting those who major political activity is undermining the troops.

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|| Greg, 03:00 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Israel Gets It Right On Carter

Bravo to Shin Bet for refusing to provide anti-Semitic terrorist apologist Jimmy Carter with any security assistance during his trip to provide succor to Hamas.

Israel's secret service has declined to assist U.S. agents guarding former U.S. President Jimmy Carter during a visit in which Israeli leaders have shunned him, U.S. sources close to the matter said on Monday.

* * *

American sources close to the matter said the Shin Bet security service, which helps protect visiting dignitaries and is overseen by Olmert's office, declined to meet the head of Carter's Secret Service security detail or provide his team with assistance as is customary during such visits.
"They're not getting support from local security," an American source said.

Indeed, I’d like to know why the United States is providing this useless idiot with Secret Service protection as he walks into the lair of terrorists. There will be good men and women with him providing security – it would be just awful if one of them were to suffer harm protecting his worthless @SS from the very sort of terrorists he is traveling to meet.

Indeed, this raises the tangentially related question of whether or not Carter really needs Secret Service protection nearly three decades after the voters ejected the buffoon from office for incompetence. Is there not a reasonable point at which such protection should be cut off – reviewable on a case-by-case basis – following the end of a president’s term. After all, we cut the Secret Service protection of vice presidents immediately.

H/T Hot Air





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

Execute Child Rapists?

It seems to at society’s “evolving standard of decency” mandates that we kill these scumbags like the dangerous beasts they really are.

Ever since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty more than 30 years ago, justices have been finding ways to limit it.

In the intervening years, they have employed their interpretations of society's "evolving standards of decency" to remove juvenile and mentally retarded killers from death row.

Before that, they excluded kidnappers who did not kill and even some accomplices to murder. In 1977 the court also concluded that a state could not execute a man who raped an adult woman.

But on Wednesday the court will consider whether a person who rapes a child is different. Louisiana prosecutors will argue that the same societal mores that have persuaded justices to spare certain categories of criminals lead in the opposite direction when it comes to child rapists, demanding an expansion of capital punishment, not a retrenchment.

And herein lies the problem with the “evolving standard of decency” argument used by the Supreme Court. If it is, in fact, based upon what society holds is acceptable, then there is no fixed standard of what is or is not constitutional in the realm of the death penalty, which produces a degree of constitutional uncertainty which is unacceptable in a society that operates based upon the dictates of law rather than men. Unless, of course, the argument is that this evolution can move in only one direction, a liberal one, then the position taken by the justices is inherently flawed and illegitimate from a constitutional perspective because there is no language in the Constitution to support such a position. Indeed, I’d argue that most of the death penalty jurisprudence of the last three decades suffers from such flaws, all of which come back to the underlying problem that the justices have been substituting personal opinion and non-constitutional sources for the Constitution itself.

As for the question of the constitutionality of executing child rapists, an originalist reading of the Constitution certainly allows for it. Indeed, it would also allow for the execution of those under 18, based upon the practices in place at the time the Bill of Rights was adopted. One can question the wisdom of the law in question – but striking a law down as unwise is not the province of the Supreme Court under our system of government.





|| Greg, 02:57 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Wright’s Eulogy For Black Fascist Parishioner

Just a quick note on The Wrong Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his oft-quoted eulogy for a Chicago judge over the weekend. Look at how the Racist Reverend characterized the faith of Judge R. Eugene Pincham.

Reflecting on the late Pincham, Wright said his faith “was not the jingoistic, chauvinistic ‘you’re either with us or against us’ demonizing kind of faith.” Wright said Pincham was friends with “Jews, Muslims, rabbis, imams, fathers in the Catholic church and [Louis] Farrakhan in the Islamic faith.”

Well let’s consider how that faith was lived out. I seem to recall this little incident from the past.

[Pincham] won seats on the circuit and appellate courts in Chicago and was not afraid of controversy, such as the time he suggested that anyone south of Madison Street who did not support Mayor Harold Washington should be hanged.

Did you get that, folks – failure to vote for the correct candidate should be grounds for lynching. Interestingly enough, the Illinois Courts did not consider that grounds to deem him unfit to serve as a judge – but I wonder if they would have ruled the same way if he had been a white man.

You see, it is no wonder that a short time later that Pincham joined Wright’s church – after all, he came from the same violent, hate-mongering mind-set as the pastor. Seems to me that there is a pattern here – especially as we hear more and more racist comments come out of the mouth of another member of Trinity UCC, Senator Barack Hussein Obama.

Birds of a feather flock together.





|| Greg, 02:56 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Interesting Study -- But What Does It Mean

I'm always glad when the New York Times covers the Supreme Court, even when it does so with a liberal bias. And I am pleased that they have noted this interesting study of confirmation hearings, but am somewhat taken aback by the interpretation of the testimony and behavior of certain justices.

The study — with the unwieldy title “An Empirical Analysis of the Confirmation Hearings of the Justices of the Rehnquist Natural Court” —published in Constitutional Commentary, looked at how nine long-serving justices answered Senate questions, and how they then voted on the court. While it does not say that any nominee was intentionally misleading, it still found a wide gap.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, for example, told the Senate that they had strong respect for Supreme Court precedents. On the court they were the justices most likely to vote to overturn those precedents. Justice David Souter deferred more to precedent than his Senate testimony suggested he would.

Here's the problem with the analysis - justices take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, not the precedents of the Supreme Court. Their obligation when they find a precedent which they believe was wrongly decided is to make a decision that conforms with the Constitution, not the seemingly erroneous precedent. After all, it is the Constitution that is the highest law of the land, not the decisions of the Supreme Court.

Of course, the Warren Court also made short shrift of many earlier precedents. I don't see any objections to their work. But then again, that was a liberal court full of liberal justices, so I doubt that we will ever hear much criticism (explicit or implicit) out of the NY Times editorial board.





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

Three Firsts For Papal Visit To White House

This is an interesting preview of the papal visit, which will mark the second time a pope has visited the White House. Two of the firsts are rather interesting.

The leader of the world's 1 billion Roman Catholics has been to the White House only once in history. That changes this week, and President Bush is pulling out all the stops: driving out to a suburban military base to meet Pope Benedict XVI's plane, bringing a giant audience to the South Lawn and hosting a fancy East Room dinner.

These are all firsts.

Bush has never before given a visiting leader the honor of picking him up at the airport. In fact, no president has done so at Andrews Air Force Base, the typical landing spot for modern leaders.

A crowd of up to 12,000 is due at the White House on Wednesday morning for the pope's official, pomp-filled arrival ceremony. It will feature the U.S. and Holy See anthems, a 21-gun salute, and the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. Both men will make remarks before their Oval Office meeting and a send-off for his popemobile down Pennsylvania Avenue.

The White House crowd will be the largest of Bush's presidency. It even beats the audience last spring for Queen Elizabeth II, which numbered about 7,000.

Interesting so far, but what about the third? Well, this one is sort of weird.

The evening festivities will mark the first time the Bushes have put on a high-profile meal in honor of someone who isn't even a guest. Wednesday is the pontiff's 81st birthday, and the menu celebrates his German heritage with Bavarian-style food.

But Benedict's prayer service that evening with U.S. bishops at a famed Washington basilica preclude him from coming to the dinner, according to the White House. Catholic leaders will be there instead.

Am I the only one struck by the absurdity of having a big gathering to honor a man who will be across town at another event? Why schedule what ought to be a state dinner when the other head of state can't be there? Whose goofy idea was that?





|| Greg, 04:23 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Now Here's A Scary Revelation

Rebecca Traister of Salon.com writes an interesting piece on how the anti-Hillary rhetoric of (male) Obama supporters is beginning to turn off fmale Obama supporters.

OK, it is an interesting hypothesis, one that I'd love to see backed by more than anecdotal data.

But the scary thing is Traister's revelation about herself -- and what it tells us about the institutional mindset at Salon.

I began reporting this story in part because, as a 32-year-old woman who is more liberal than either candidate, and who was quite torn until Super Tuesday, I had found myself increasingly defensive of Clinton in the face of the Obama worship that rules the mostly white, liberal, well-educated circles in which I work and travel.

MORE LIBERAL than Obama, who is rated as one of the most liberal members of the US Senate by liberal groups? More liberal than Hillary, who is not far behind him in those ratings? That certainly explains the absurd biases we see at Salon.com!

And interestingly enough, we discover just how lacking in diversity Salon.com and the circles liberal opinion leaders travel in really are, with the description of her co-workers and friends as "mostly white, liberal, well-educated" -- and clearly out of touch with large segments of the American people.

Many of us involved in the conservative movement count among our colleagues, friends, and loved ones a great many individuals who hold different political views from us, are of different ethnicities, with different educational levels. Yet somehow we are teh ones tagged as enemies of diversity. maybe we need to look much more closely at the liberal opinion leaders instead, and call them on their lack fo commitment to diversity in their day-to-day lives.





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

April 13, 2008

Just A Typical Day At The Local Hamas-que -- UPDATED

As the imam preaches a typical sermon of love, peace and tolerance to the followers of the Religion of Peace.

Following are excerpts from an address by Hamas MP and cleric Yunis Al-Astal, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on April 11, 2008.

Yunis Al-Astal: Allah has chosen you for Himself and for His religion, so that you will serve as the engine pulling this nation to the phase of succession, security, and consolidation of power, and even to conquests thorough da'wa and military conquests of the capitals of the entire world. Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our Prophet Muhammad. Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam – this capital of theirs will be an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, and even Eastern Europe.

I believe that our children or our grandchildren will inherit our Jihad and our sacrifices, and Allah willing, the commanders of the conquest will come from among them. Today, we instill these good tidings in their souls, and by means of the mosques and the Koran books, and the history of our Prophets, his companions, and the great leaders, we prepare them for the mission of saving humanity from the hellfire on the brink of which they stand.

And let me remind you about the conquest of Constantinople. The many people sold into slavery -- men, women, and children. The churches, including the beautiful Hagia Sophia, desecrated and turned into mosques. The second-class citizenship imposed upon non-Muslims. All in the name of the same Religion of Peace preached by this latter-day jihadi.

When will we in the West declare that the threats and violence in the name of Islam must stop? When will we declare that further attacks upon the civilized world in the name of Islam will result in massive retaliation in response? In other words, when will we finally open our eyes and recognize that we are fighting a war unlike any we have fought in modern times, against an enemy that will not respond to our normal overtures for peace? If we do not win, we in the civilized world will die or (in the words of Star Trek's Borg) be assimilated. The survival of civilization as we know it depends upon our victory.

H/T Jawa Report, Israel Matzav

UPDATE -- 4/142008, 6;25 CDT: Looks like maybe this effort is beginning.

ISN Security Watch reports: "Bosnia and Herzegovina's Federation Anti-Terror Unit on 20 March arrested five men: Rijad Rustempasic, Muhamed Meco, Abdulah Handzic and Edis Velic, all in their early thirties and from Sarajevo, along with Muhamed Ficer, from the central Bosnian city of Bugojno, who was released from custody after questioning.

"The four arrested in Sarajevo were members of the local Wahhabi movement -- the Saudi-based and financed order following a strict interpretation of Islam. Some of the suspects were already well known to the police for their radical activities. The group had been under surveillance for several months by the Federation Anti-Terror Unit and the State Prosecutor's Office.

"Federation Anti-Terror Unit and the State Prosecutor's Office have strong evidence that Rustempasic's group was planning attacks on Catholic Churches and international forces within the country during the Easter holidays." (LINK 1)

The ISN report includes several details that are hugely important:

the suspects were very well armed, having "anti-tank mines, laser sights, electronic equipment, topographic maps and bomb-making manuals".

Gotta love the the boys from the Religion of Blow Your Enemies to Pieces.

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Red China Slanders Dalai Lama

Well, communist dictatorships have always been quite shameless in their words and deeds. But this one is over the top even for the butchers in Beijing.

Chinese media denounced the Dalai Lama and his supporters as "anti-human rights," and slammed top U.S. politician Nancy Pelosi as "the least popular person in China" for her stance on Tibet, in editorials on Sunday.

The belligerent commentaries by the official Xinhua news agency came the day after Beijing announced the arrest of nine Buddhist monks for bombing a government building in Tibet.

A Tibetan source with strong contacts in its capital, Lhasa, said the city was also swirling with rumours of fresh clashes between monks and security forces at the important Drepung monastery. No one at the monastery or the local police station could be reached for comment.

China has gone on the offensive in the face of mounting international criticism of its handling of violent riots in Tibet and a subsequent crackdown, which is clouding the run-up to the Olympic Games in August.

Of course, the Chinese have air-tight evidence of all these crimes -- because like every dictatorial state, they are experts at forging evidence. Indeed, the recent sentencing of a human rights lawyer to jail for effectively representing his clients is evidence of that.

Interestingly enough, the Red Chinese tyrants have also attacked Nancy Pelosi for one of the few things she has done right as Speaker of the House.

Xinhua also targeted Pelosi, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, after she backed a resolution urging dialogue with the Dalai Lama, the end of a crackdown on nonviolent protesters and a halt to repression in the region.

The People's Daily accused the California Democrat of cynical double standards and said she would likely top any Chinese poll to find "the most disgusting figure."

"Pelosi would remain the least popular person for China if she stiff-neckedly clings to her double standards and an anti-China stance," the commentary said.

"The Chinese are fully justified to call her 'a protector of mobsters, arsonists and murderers'. Why doesn't she give a thought to Iraq?" it added, an apparent reference to U.S. policy in Iraq, of which Pelosi has in fact been a strong critic.

I'll agree that Pelosi is a protector of mobsters, arsonists, and murderers -- look at her opposition to the Iraq War and her willingness to let the terrorists win. That said, her support for human rights in Tibet is a laudable stand in which I gladly join.

But at least the red Chinese have Ron Paul on their side on this issue -- I'm sure his supporters can whip up some cool YouTube videos justifying the repression in Tibet since their hero won't condemn it.





|| Greg, 07:40 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Maryland Acts To Stop Renewable Energy Development

Because Marylanders have cried out "Not In My Back Yard!"

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) announced yesterday morning that he will bar commercial wind turbines from state-owned land, satisfying Western Maryland opponents of the turbines but disappointing supporters of the wind energy industry.

Speaking at a scenic overlook in the Savage River State Forest in Garrett County, O'Malley said the state remains committed to exploring renewable energy sources but said the wind energy industry should look to other land for large-scale wind farms.

"While we must continue to explore and make progress on creating a more sustainable and independent energy future for Maryland, we will not do so at the expense of the special land we hold in the public trust," he said.

The decision primarily affects one project, a proposal by Pennsylvania-based U.S. Wind Force to build 100 wind turbines, each 400 feet tall, in two state forests in Garrett County. The company had asked to lease state land for the project.

Clean, renewable energy is what liberals cry for -- until it might inconvenience them by cluttering their view. Energy independence is a burden for someone else to bear, they argue, because it will require building roads to get to the best available sites. In one case, Ted Kennedy and his fellow fat-cats got a project side-tracked for years because they might be able to see the towers from their vacation homes -- as a smudge on the horizon five miles away.

Just wait -- next they'll be looking to ban the projects on private lands on the argument that the turbines make noise, kill birds, or are unsightly. Those have been the tactics of the anti-wind NIMBYs elsewhere.





|| Greg, 07:17 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Serving America, Seeking Citizenship

There is something beautiful about this story -- and the story of every service member who is seeking American citizenship. After all, they recognize the special nature of America in a way that we who were born here likely never will.

Evan Eskharia fled Iraq in 1990 when he was 9 years old, crossing into Turkey on foot one night with his parents and siblings.

On Saturday morning, Eskharia, now a U.S. Marine, strode into a palace built for the man his family had fled and recited the oath of citizenship.

He was among 159 service members who obtained U.S. citizenship during the largest overseas naturalization ceremony in history.

"When they called my name, I looked down and said: 'It happened! It's done!' " Eskharia said, standing under a grand chandelier that lights up the main hall of the Al Faw Palace, built as a retreat for Saddam Hussein. "It's ironic that I fled this country from a dictator and came back to get my citizenship here."

The numbers and the stories are staggering -- and heart-warming.

Since 2004, when Bush signed into law the new regulations that streamlined the citizenship process for service members, more than 5,000 soldiers have become U.S. citizens. Roughly 20,000 active service members are eligible to apply, according to immigration officials.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 140 foreign-born U.S. soldiers have died while on active duty. Some have been naturalized posthumously.

The new rules allowed Army Spec. Sheikh Qaisar, 34, of Houston to become a citizen less than two years after he moved to the United States.

"I joined the Army the same month," said Qaisar, who was born in Pakistan and has been stationed in the city of Mosul since November. "I wanted to learn about the U.S. culture and system."

U.S. Army Spec. Myakol Mayom, 35, of Sioux Falls, S.D., who fled southern Sudan in 2001, said U.S. support for the people of his region, which was embroiled in a years-long civil war, allowed him to escape.

"When I came to the United States, I never felt like a refugee," said Mayom, holding a folded U.S. flag. "The U.S. saved my life. If I die tomorrow, I would die smiling because I did the right thing."

From time to time I have been accused of being anti-immigrant. I'm not, and attempt to clearly make the distinction between those who come to America legally and those who do not. And growing up in a military family, it was my privilege to know men (and a few women) who served this country while seeking citizenship -- and heard from my father that they were often the finest soldiers and sailors in terms of character and devotion to duty.

And so I honor these men and women who serve our country and who through that service seek citizenship. They are always welcome here as the exemplary Americans they are.


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First They Whine About Gitmo

Now they whine about returning prisoners to their home country for trial.

When will the apologists for terror admit that they just want the terrorists given a cookie, a green card and an AK-47 so they can go out and kill more Americans?

Afghan detainees held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are being transferred home to face closed-door trials in which they are often denied access to defense attorneys and the U.S. evidence being used against them, according to Afghan officials, lawyers and international rights groups.

Since October 2006, the United States has transferred approximately 50 detainees out of Guantanamo to the custody of the Afghan government, part of a policy aimed at reducing the prison population and ultimately closing the facility. Once home, many of the Afghans have been left in a legal limbo not unlike the one they confronted while in U.S. custody.

"These people have been thrown into a deeply flawed process that convicts people on inadequate evidence and breaks numerous procedural rules of Afghan law and human rights standards," said Jonathan Horowitz, an investigator at One World Research, a public interest investigation firm that works with attorneys and advocacy groups on human rights cases and has monitored some of the detainees' trials.

We could, of course, have kept these murderous bastards at Gitmo, where they got fat on American cooking and received medical care unavailable in Afghanistan. However, that was not good enough -- even though the US could have held them until the end of the War on Terror under the terms of the geneva convention simply by declaring them to be POWs, which would have meant they were entitle to no trial at all. And since the War on Terror is going to take a generation to fight, that would have constituted a life sentence.

Instead we heard demands for repatriation from the "blame America first" crowd -- but now that the prisoners have been repatriated, the complaint is that Afghanistan's legal system doesn't afford them the same rights that America's legal system would have -- even though the Geneva Conventions would not have allowed them (and would have probably banned) any access to the US legal system at all!





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

April 12, 2008

A Quick Question On Obama's Latest Elitist Gaffe

My darling wife, a Democrat, and I were both seized with the same thought when we heard the latest bit of inanity to come out of the mouth of Barack Obama (and his attempts to justify and explain his words) -- much of what he has to say describes himself more than your average small town American.

You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. . . . And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Why do I say that he is describing himself (I won't speak for my wife here)? Let's look at what he said.

Clinging to religion? You mean like refusing to dissociate yourself from a string of ministers -- including your own pastor -- when it is disclosed that they frequently make racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, and anti-American comments from the pulpit and in their speeches and writings?

Antipathy to people who aren't like them? You mean like the comments preached from the pulpit of your very own church while you lacked the testicular fortitude to denounce them or go elsewhere?

Anti-trade? Like opposing NAFTA or the free trade agreement with Columbia?

Anti-immigrant? Like opposing Asian business owners who open stores in black neighborhoods?

Indeed, the only thing that doesn't describe Barack Obama, his wife, and his closest associates is the comment about clinging to guns -- but then again, they really don't give a damn that this has been an American characteristic since the founding of our country, and that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual liberty enshrined in the Bill of Rights itself. So except for fidelity to the Constitution itself and exercising the rights guaranteed by that august document, the candidate and those closest to him display every one of the pathologies he diagnosed "small town" Americans as suffering from.

Oh, and by the way -- since it seems implicit in the context of this comment that he is referring to small town WHITE Americans, this would make it simply another example of the bigotry that Obama has publicly espoused in the weeks since his infamous "race speech"

This leads me to ask an important question.

Will the Democrats return to their roots in 2008, nominating yet another racist for President, this time one named Barack Hussein Obama

H/T The Caucus Blog, Michelle Malkin, Hot Air (multiple times), Stop the ACLU

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|| Greg, 07:14 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Silence Of The Dems On Their Slumlord Legislator

corrupt_liberals[1].jpg

Incredible, isn't it, that the local Democrat bloggers have remained so silent about this story. Could it be that they are trying to cover up the evil and corruption in their midst? After all, the saga started on April 2, with this article in the Houston Chronicle.

City building inspectors on Wednesday issued several safety citations against an East End apartment complex owned by state Rep. Hubert Vo.

The citations to the Courtyard Apartments on Villa de Matel allege eight structural and electrical problems, including rotting wood, missing balcony railings, loose boards and broken windows, city officials said.

"There were the kinds of things you'd see in a building that has not been well-maintained," said Susan McMillian, a senior staff analyst in the city's Public Works and Engineering Department. "It needed more intense maintenance than what had been done."

Homeowners in the nearby County Club neighborhood have complained about the property for years, calling it a visual blight and a magnet for crime.

"It's really a deplorable situation, and the sad thing is that people are actually living there," said Charles Mayfield, a member of the area's Super Neighborhood Council. "It's really disheartening to see, and surprising, to say the least, that anybody — no matter who they are — would let the property get into such a condition."

Vo, a Democrat running for re-election to his southwest Houston seat in the Texas House, has owned the four-building, $2.8 million property under one of his companies, Newlink Investments, Inc., since 2002.

His campaign issued a statement late Wednesday:

"At the property in question, work was started a month ago to correct items the city has concerns about," the statement read.

"The city understands I will make all the necessary repairs because I want my properties to be a safe place for my tenants and an asset to the neighborhood."

Interesting, isn't it, how one four-building complex could get so bad, especially with an "upstanding citizen" like Vo -- a Democrat lawmaker and all that -- as teh owner. After all, he would certainly be quite concerned about the welfare of the "little people" who live in his property, wouldn't he? After all, he's part of the so-called party of the little guy, standing against all of us mean-spirited Republicans. Certainly he couldn't be a slumlord.

But then the story went a little bit further earlier this week, when it came out that it isn't just one complex -- it would appear to be many of the apartment complexes owned by the Houston Democrat.

Residents in local apartments owned by state Rep. Hubert Vo live in conditions that appear to violate numerous health and building standards, a Houston Chronicle review of the properties has found.

In recent days, the Houston Chronicle documented exposed electrical wires, rotting wood, broken and boarded-up windows and other potential violations of the city's "minimum standards" for occupied buildings.

After seeing the Chronicle's photographs, inspectors from two city departments pledged investigations into properties owned by Vo, D-Houston, saying the conditions could lead to misdemeanor criminal citations.

"There was nothing in those pictures that wasn't a violation," said Jodi Silva, a spokeswoman for the Houston Police Department's neighborhood protection division. "You have to keep your property to certain minimum standards, and that's what these are falling under."

The Chronicle's inquiry began last week after city inspectors, acting on complaints, cited Vo for conditions at an apartment complex he owns in the East End. There, inspectors found open electrical boxes, loose wiring and inadequate balcony railings — all misdemeanor violations.

Vo's other properties, in varying degrees, showed similar problems, though one complex was outside the city limits and not subject to post-construction inspections.

Among other potential city violations at three complexes were overflowing Dumpsters, damaged parking lots and an algae-filled swimming pool — all conditions that could prompt criminal fines.

Vo, who has owned the properties for years, took blame for the problems Wednesday, saying he had not done enough to ensure the complexes were maintained. He said he would improve the conditions, pledging personal inspections of individual units, cooperation with city officials and outreach to residents to encourage them to report concerns.

"It's not my intention to have those apartments like that," said Vo, a 51-year-old Vietnamese immigrant who founded a computing business and became a millionaire before seeking public office. "I don't want to blame anybody. I take full responsibility."

Now please note that quote that I highlighted. "It's not my intention to have those apartments like that." He did, of course, have them like that and profit off them like that for years -- including his entire tenure in the Texas House of Representatives. But he's getting them fixed up, don't you know - so that makes it all better, right. But somehow it doesn't explain how most of his properties unintentionally became slum properties that are unsafe and unfit for human habitation. Any explanation for that, Hubert? Nah -- I didn't think so.

And the city took even more action against Vo the next day.

City inspectors on Thursday ordered structural and electrical repairs at an apartment complex owned by state Rep. Hubert Vo, the latest action against his properties in recent days.

The city issued a notice giving Vo a month to make the changes, except for a few electrical issues that must be fixed immediately, said Tony Balay, a code enforcement chief inspector.

Vo, who had one of his East End complexes cited last week for similar issues, hired contractors to address the problems, many of which were documented Wednesday in the Houston Chronicle.

Misdemeanor citations could result if the work is not completed, but Balay said Vo appeared serious about the work.

"I'm convinced Mr. Vo is trying to get this done," he said. "To me, he's working in good faith."

Vo, who is seeking re-election to a third term this fall, could not be reached for comment on Thursday, but his campaign issued a written statement.

"I have talked to the city officials, and we are working to correct all the issues they pointed out," the statement said.

Vo, D-Houston, has owned the property, the Northpoint Apartments on Lyerly, since 1996. Residents interviewed by the Chronicle said poor conditions have been a chronic problem.

"Working to correct all the issues." That is great -- though the properties should never have gotten into that condition in the first place. And city officials are even being very careful to indicate that Vo has been cooperative with these efforts. That's good -- after all, one would hope that a lawmaker would make a good-faith effort to stop being a lawbreaker, especially when his violations of the law jeopardize the lives and safety of his tenants. Never mind the possibility that management of one of Vo's complexes appear to have engaged in retaliation against one of those who complained about the problems -- another violation of the law, I might add.

So what we have is Hubert Vo, a Democrat elected official, unaware for years that his properties were a shambles and that he was making profits while endangering his tenants -- but he's going to make everything right. After all, now that he knows about the problem he is on the case.

Not so fast. Read this letter from Vo -- written weeks ago, on his official legislative letterhead, seeking to intimidate the Houston Police Department for harassing the management of one of his complexes over non-structural violations of city ordinances!

A month before complaints about problems at his apartments were disclosed publicly, state Rep. Hubert Vo used his government letterhead to complain to Houston police commanders about the department's scrutiny and accuse officers of harassment.

"What I am concerned with is the appearance that the NPC officers are using their authority to harass and issue tickets instead of working with the apartment managers to remedy any deficiencies," he wrote in the Feb. 25 letter to Assistant Chief Dorothy Edwards, who heads the Houston Police Department's Neighborhood Protection Corps.

"The word 'harass' is a very strong word and I use it very cautiously, but the conduct of the officers involved in this situation leads me to no other conclusion."

The three-page letter, which goes on to complain that the manager at the Villa De Matel apartments was not treated fairly and "taunted," was obtained from HPD by the Houston Chronicle late Friday under the Texas Public Information Act.

Vo's campaign manager, Karen Loper, said he was not available for comment.

A spokeswoman for the corps, which issues citations for blight such as illegal trash dumping, graffiti and nuisances on private property, but not structural problems handled by city code inspectors, denied any mistreatment.

Interesting, isn't it, that "Mr. Responsibility" is unavailable for comment when he has been caught trying to avoid responsibility for the conditions of his apartment complexes? Especially when he is engaged in what is clearly unethical behavior in using his official position to cover his personal ass in this manner.

So what do we have here? A Democrat slumlord seeking reelection using his office to get preferential treatment form those charged with enforcing the laws that protect his tenants. And interestingly enough, the local Democrats are all notoriously silent about this situation. Could it be that they are more interested in holding on to the legislative seat in question than the protection of the residents of Hubert Vo's personal ghettos?

Oh, and there are a couple of questions I'd like the Houston Chronicle to report on:

1) What percentage of the resident's of these properties are receiving federal housing aid (Section 8) to pay for their apartments, and how much money has Hubert Vo been paid over the years from these programs?

2) Given the amount of government assistance given to our permanent guests from New Orleans , how much money has Hubert Vo received for housing victims of Hurricane Katrina in his slum properties?

After all, if Hubert Vo is willing to rip-off and endanger his tenants by renting them apartments in such deficient properties, doesn't it also stand to reason that he would have no scruples against ripping off the taxpayers while doing so?

UPDATE: I just found one Democrat blogger who dares to speak out on this issue -- and even he notes his own silence and that of his fellow Democrats.

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Of All The Stupidity

Why on earth would anyone give the original "story" any credence whatsoever?

he Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese and the Illinois-shaped corn flake appear to have new competition for webbies' fascination: Dick Cheney's mysterious sunglasses.

An undated photo of the vice president on the White House Web site has caused a stir on the Internet, causing some people to wonder if he's in eyeshot of an unclad female.

The White House says it's just someone holding an innocuous fishing rod (the veep -- allegedly -- is fly fishing in Idaho).

Image analysis of the photo shows that the image is, in fact -- a hand holding a fishing rod.

Just one more example of deranged Cheney-haters wanting to find something -- anything -- nefarious in the deeds of the VP.

I'm curious, though -- given the Left's defense of Bill Clinton and his lies regarding Monica Lewinski, why would Cheney looking at a nude woman even be a matter for public concern?





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Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie"... Accommodating Islam by Joshuapundit, and Creating a European Indigenous People's Movement by The Brussels Journal.  Here is a link to the full results of the vote and the full tallies of all votes cast:

VotesCouncil link
2  1/3"If You Give A Mouse A Cookie"... Accommodating Islam
Joshuapundit
2The Wizard of Ooze
Bookworm Room
1  1/3Assumptions & Conclusions About Sadr, Maliki and the Basra Offensive
Wolf Howling
1The Judgment Thing
The Glittering Eye
2/3Starts Well, Ends Badly
Hillbilly White Trash
2/3In Honor of the Final Season of "Battlestar Galactica" ...
The Colossus of Rhodey
2/3Air Hypocrisy Radio Suspends Randi Rhodes
Rhymes With Right
2/3Black, White, Grey
Soccer Dad
1/3Progress In Iraq a Tough Sell for Petreaus
Right Wing Nut House

VotesNon-council link
3  2/3Creating a European Indigenous People's Movement
The Brussels Journal
1  2/3Your federal Government At Work... For Palestinians
Boker tov, Boulder!
1Put On Your Helmets, We're Talking About Abortion.
Rachel Lucas
1Is Wright Wrong? Part 2
Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Daniels
2/3Rev. Wright Former Muslim, Apparently Quit that Religion as Not Being Hardcore Enough
Ace of Spades HQ
2/3A Look At Operation Knights' Assault
The Long War Journal
2/3Complaint Against Fero A Wake Up Call For Blogger Rights And Protections
Capitol Annex
1/3Peace Piece by Piece Now's 30th anniversary
Israel Matzav
1/3Iraq: Persian Proxie
Seraphic Secret
1/3Failing Faiths
Eternity Road
1/3Another Day, Another Obama Lie
Red State

Overall, I'd have to say we had some really good choices here. I would like to call your attention to my nominee for non-council post, Complaint Against Fero A Wake Up Call For Blogger Rights And Protections from Capitol Annex -- a liberal blog here in Texas. It serves as a wakeup call to bloggers about how tenuous our status as citizen-journalists really is.





|| Greg, 09:55 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 11, 2008

Confessed Liar To Run Liberal Attack On McCain

I've always been struck by the credulous nature of the left-wing extremists who embraced David Brock following his conversion to their side of the political divide.

After all, how can you trust a man whose main credential to bolster his credibility s his own admission that he is a political/journalistic whore who is willing to lie for the highest bidder?

And now left-winger George Soros, a Jewish collaborator with the Nazis during WWII and convicted financial swindler, is putting Brock in charge of his high-dollar smear campaign against John McCain -- an American hero and the Republican nominee for President.

Wealthy Democrats are preparing a four-month, $40 million media campaign centered on attacks on Sen. John McCain. And it will be led by David Brock, the former investigative reporter who first gained fame in the 1990s as a right-wing, anti-Clinton journalist.

The planned campaign is the product of a shakeup in the top ranks of the struggling independent Democratic groups. Brock, now best known as the ex-conservative founder of the liberal group Media Matters, last month quietly assumed the chairmanship of what's expected to be the main vehicle for independent Democratic attacks on McCain, now called Progressive Media USA.

The move comes after the groups that had been expected to spearhead attacks on McCain — the Fund for America and Progressive Media USA's previous incarnation, the Campaign to Defend America — failed to raise the money needed to dent McCain's armor.

"We're a little behind where we need to be," he said.

But after a dinner Tuesday night at the Manhattan apartment of liberal megadonor George Soros, at which Brock and consultant Paul Begala laid out the group's plans, Brock said his group now has commitments worth $7.5 million — almost twice what the Fund for America is expected to report raising in the first quarter of this year. He said the group would begin running ads before it meets its $40 million goal.

So let's see -- we have the uniting of two of the greatest scumbags of the Left in an effort to destroy a man of high moral character who has served the country well for over half a century. A confessed liar and a larcenous kapo teaming up to destroy a war hero. That the Left will stand by and support this effort after attacking those who served honorably with John Kerry for daring to speak out against him shows how unfit the Democrats are for any elective office in this country.





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

McCain And Obama -- Tied!

Yes, I know.

It is still early.

It is only a snapshot of now.

And the only poll that counts happens in November.

But for McCain to close the gap on the singularly unqualified junior senator from Illinois is a good sign that the GOP may retain the White house this year.

Republican Sen. John McCain has erased Sen. Barack Obama's 10-point advantage in a head-to-head matchup, leaving him essentially tied with both Democratic candidates in an Associated Press-Ipsos national poll released Thursday.

The survey showed the extended Democratic primary campaign creating divisions among supporters of Obama and rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and suggests a tight race for the presidency in November no matter which Democrat becomes the nominee.

And with plenty of time for the Democrats to continue bloodying each other -- and an increasing number of embarrassing revelations about Obama, his associates, and his absurd stances on the issues -- this trend is likely to continue.

The Dems may find, once they wake up with a hangover, that they have entered into the political equivalent of a drunken Vegas wedding in selecting the Obama over Hillary Clinton.





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

Ron Paul Votes To Support Red Chinese Oppression Of Tibet

I guess he really doesn’t give a rat’s ass about human rights after all – you know, like a true believer in freedom and liberty would.

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution Wednesday calling on China to end its crackdown on Tibet and release Tibetans imprisoned for "nonviolent" demonstrations.

The vote was 413-1. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who recently dropped out of the presidential race, was the lone congressman voting against it.

I guess that the disgrace from CD14 is of the belief that Jefferson got it wrong, and that the people of Tibet were not endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. After all, upon what basis – constitutionally or morally – could one oppose a resolution calling upon the Communist slave masters of Red China to respect the human rights of the people of occupied Tibet?

H/T Hot Air





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I Didn’t Know She Still Had A Job

Much less that any network would actually consider hiring her for an hour-long news show.

After two years of record-low ratings, both CBS News executives and people close to Katie Couric say that the "CBS Evening News" anchor is likely to leave the network well before her contract expires in 2011 -- possibly soon after the presidential inauguration early next year.

* * *

One possible new job for Ms. Couric: succeeding Larry King at CNN. Mr. King, who is 74 years old, has a contract with the network into 2009. CNN President Jon Klein, a CBS veteran with close ties to some at the network, has expressed admiration for Ms. Couric's work, and the two are friends. They had lunch in late January, and the anchor attended Mr. Klein's birthday party in March. Time Warner Inc.'s CNN said, "Larry King is a great talent who consistently delivers the highest profile guests, and we have no plans to make a change." Through a publicist, Mr. King declined to comment.

Personally, I think it is simply a matter of Couric trying to find another husband – isn’t it about time for old Larry to trade his current wife in on a newer model? Granted, the old gray mare ain’t what she used to be (if she ever was), but then again, neither is Larry without pharmaceutical intervention.





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

UN Appoints 9/11 Truther, Israel Foe To Investigate Israel

And to prove his enmity to Jews, Richard Falk has called for an investigation of “neoconservatives” (translation – “the JOOOOoooossss!) for their responsibility for 9/11.

A new U.N. Human Rights Council official assigned to monitor Israel is calling for an official commission to study the role neoconservatives may have played in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. On March 26, Richard Falk, Milbank professor of international law emeritus at Princeton University, was named by unanimous vote to a newly created position to report on human rights in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. While Mr. Falk's specialty is human rights and international law, since the attacks in 2001, he has devoted some of his time to challenging what he calls the "9-11 official version."

On March 24 in an interview with a radio host and former University of Wisconsin instructor, Kevin Barrett, Mr. Falk said, "It is possibly true that especially the neoconservatives thought there was a situation in the country and in the world where something had to happen to wake up the American people. Whether they are innocent about the contention that they made that something happen or not, I don't think we can answer definitively at this point. All we can say is there is a lot of grounds for suspicion, there should be an official investigation of the sort the 9/11 commission did not engage in and that the failure to do these things is cheating the American people and in some sense the people of the world of a greater confidence in what really happened than they presently possess."

Oh.

My.

God!

Can you believe this crap!

The evidence is incontrovertible – as is the claim of responsibility by no less than Osama bin Laden himself.

That this piece of Ivy League excrement insists upon blaming America first – and, in particular, blaming American Jews for the murder of so many thousands of Americans – is un-freakin’-beliveable. That a UN body would appoint him to anything related to Israel – or any position at all – is proof of the moral bankruptcy of the UN and the importance of the United States and all civilized countries abandoning the organization as beyond redemption.





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

Six Word Memoir

Robbie at Urban Grounds tagged me for this meme.

The Rules: 1. Write your own six word memoir. 2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want. 3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere. 4. Tag at least five more blogs with links. 5. Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play…

How about a quick paraphrase of Chaucer from The Canterbury Tales?

“Gladly would he learn and teach”

02335_IllinoisStateUniersitySeal[1].JPG

(Original quote: "And gladly would he learn and gladly teach.")

It was a great motto for my alma mater, and fits my outlook on life quite well.

I’ll tag the following folks:

Hube at Colossus of Rhodey
Soccer Dad
Freedom Fighter at JoshuaPundit
Laer at CheatSeekingMissles
Darren at Right on the Left Coast





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

April 10, 2008

News Flash: Mumps Vaccine Not 100% Effective

I could have told you that.

Most of the college students who got the mumps in a big outbreak in 2006 had received the recommended two vaccine shots, according to a study that raises questions about whether a new vaccine or another booster shot is needed. The outbreak was the biggest in the U.S. since shortly before states began requiring a second shot for youngsters in 1990.

Nearly 6,600 people became sick with the mumps, mostly in eight Midwest states, and the hardest-hit group was college students ages 18 to 24. Of those in that group who knew whether they had been vaccinated, 84 percent had had two mumps shots, according to the study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments.

That "two-dose vaccine failure" startled public health experts, who hadn't expected immunity to wane so soon — if at all.

Part of the problem was a new strain of the vaccine that these young people hadn't been vaccinated against.

But beyond that is the fact that the vaccine does not confer lifetime immunity.

And i speak from experience.

You see, i was one of the test subjects for the vaccine back in the 1960s. My family lived in Maryland at the time, and my brother and I were a part of one of the trials of the new vaccine.in late 1965 or early 1966. Several years later, around 1972 or 1973, I got mumps. Since we were now in northern Virginia, my parents took me back to the Naval Hospital at Bethesda -- and in the middle of the night I had a dozen doctors in lab coats standing around me, poking, prodding, and drawing blood. They were members of the original research team from NIH (also located in Bethesda), and having me on site let them check out how much immunity the vaccine conferred and whether it reduced the severity or durration of the disease. It didn't.

i don't know what changes were made over the years, but to hear that the immunity was not entirely effective sure doesn't surprise me.





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

AP's Terrorist Photog Receives Amnesty -- Supporters Lie

Bilal Hussein actively coordinated his work for AP with the terrorists whose attacks on Americans he photographed. he was duly and properly arrested for his misdeeds. But a new Iraqi law granting amnesty to those charged with terrorism related offenses applies to him as well as to other terrorists, and so charges were dropped by an Iraqi court yesterday.

An Iraqi judicial committee has dismissed terrorism-related allegations against Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein and ordered him released nearly two years after he was detained by the U.S. military.

Hussein, 36, remained in custody Wednesday at Camp Cropper, a U.S. detention facility near Baghdad's airport.

A decision by a four-judge panel said Hussein's case falls under a new amnesty law. It ordered Iraqi courts to "cease legal proceedings" and ruled that Hussein should be "immediately" released unless other accusations are pending.

The ruling is dated Monday but AP's lawyers were not able to thoroughly review it until Wednesday. It was unclear, however, whether Hussein would still face further obstacles to release.

U.S. military authorities have said a U.N. Security Council mandate allows them to retain custody of a detainee they believe is a security risk even if an Iraqi judicial body has ordered that prisoner freed. The U.N. mandate is due to expire at the end of this year.

Also, the amnesty committee's ruling on Hussein may not cover a separate allegation that has been raised in connection with the case.

Now notice -- this does not clear Hussein of the charges against him. Instead, it simply notes that the law places the offenses out of reach of the courts as a part of the healing and reconciliation process. And that law was one of the "benchmarks" to show "progress" by the iraqi government -- so the Left ought to be crowing about that progress.

But that isn't what the lying supporters of Bilal Hussein are claiming.

AP Photographer Bilal Hussein has been in American detention since April 2006. As the second anniversary of his captivity approaches, Bilal has achieved a major breakthrough. Yesterday in Baghdad, an Iraqi Judicial Commission reviewing his case took ten days to reach a conclusion: No basis existed for the terrorism-related charges which had been brought against him. The conclusion was a sweeping repudiation of accusations U.S. military figures have brought against him, backed by no evidence, but by a handful of strangely motivated American wingnut bloggers.

Oddly enough, this claim by terrorist apologist Scott Horton is not only at odds with reality, but also with AP's own news story above. You would think that if the commission had ACTUALLY determined that there was no basis for the charges, Hussein's employers might have mentioned it in their own story. The fact that it is missing proves the mendacious nature of Scott Horton, and anyone who makes a similar claim.

H/T Malkin, Hot Air





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

Iraq Tours Cut To 12 Months

The leftists will no doubt remain dissatisfied.

President Bush plans to announce today that he will cut Army combat tours in Iraq from 15 months to 12 months, returning rotations to where they were before last year's troop buildup in an effort to alleviate the tremendous stress on the military, administration officials said.

The move is in response to intense pressure from service commanders who have expressed anxiety about the toll of long deployments on their soldiers and, more broadly, about the U.S. military's ability to confront unanticipated threats. Bush will announce the decision during a national speech, in which aides said he will also embrace Army Gen. David H. Petraeus's plan to indefinitely suspend a drawdown of forces.

Interestingly enough, this is being done even as the phased withdrawal of troops is underway -- and also under criticism from the anti-war crew because it is being conducted in a way consistent with preserving the security gains of the last year. They still are interested in a pell-mell cut-and-run strategy that would have every American out by next Thursday -- even though their false messiah Barack Obama is committed to leaving 60,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely, much like John McCain is (and much like we did in Germany, Japan, and Korea, those ongoing quagmires in progress for the last five or six decades).





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

April 09, 2008

Higher Costs, Longer Construction Times, Lower Quality – But At Least There Will be Diversity!

Why would any person with a lick of sense support the implementation of this program?

After all, it is designed to cost the taxpayer more money, slow down construction projects, and likely result in shoddier work.

Mayor Daley's plan to bolster minority participation by changing the way the city awards construction contracts got the go-ahead from a City Council committee Tuesday despite concerns it could increase costs and slow the building process.

Ald. Ginger Rugai (19th) told Chief Procurement Officer Montel Gayles she has waited "an inordinate amount of time" -- seven years and counting -- to get a new fire station in her Far Southwest Side ward.

"Hopefully, the contract changes you're recommending don't delay projects" any further, Rugai said during a Budget Committee hearing.

Ald. Bernard Stone (50th) said the decision to break up contracts into "bite-sized chunks" that minority businesses can more easily swallow could "make it more costly" and "harder for management to monitor."

* * *

Instead of hiring an architect to design a project, then awarding the construction contract to the lowest bidder, City Hall would do it all in one fell swoop. A request for proposals would be issued and price would not be the only factor. Selection would be based on qualifications and levels of participation by minorities and women.

Don’t you love that part that says “price would not be the only factor”? That is Chigagoese for “The city will pay the contractors more so the right pols will get their kickbacks.” And rather than getting the best for the least, what we’ll see Chicago get is a rainbow coalition of contractors – and the taxpayer get the shaft.

Reminds me of the court ruling 25 years ago in the Chicago area in which a judge actually held that holding minority contractors to the same performance standards was a violation of the Constitution because such businesses cannot perform at the same level of quality as those owned by white men. Fortunately, a higher court struck that one down – and hopefully another will declare this blatant racial and gender-based favoritism to be unconstitutional – and a violation of the fiduciary duty of elected officials to taxpayers.





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

A Welcoming Community

And so tolerant!

A primary school in Amsterdam wished to provide its pupils with an understanding for other cultures. But during a visit to a mosque, the children were told they were dogs.

With a view to developing understanding and respect for other cultures among children, primary school De Horizon regularly organises outings to various religious organisations. The chairman of the El Mouchidine mosque told the children from group 7 (aged 10) and their chaperones however that non-Muslims are dogs.

In a letter to the children's parents, the school expresses its regret at the incident: "We are shocked that during the guided tour, the mosque's chairman told the children and chaperoning parents that non believers were dogs. We consider this statement as unacceptable since we allow our children to partake in this project to develop respect for freedom of religious choice".

I have regularly stated that most Muslims are wonderful, decent people.

I have also stated that some, on the other hand, are nothing more than Islamist swine.

I think it is pretty clear which sort are in charge at the El Mouchidine mosque in Amsterdam.





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

So Much For Religious Dialogue

I’d encourage he Pope to make sure that he has plenty of bodyguards when he has that interreligious dialogue with Muslims at the Vatican.

Otherwise he might have a problem with an incident like this one.

KARACHI: Dozens of Muslim workers at a factory in Karachi beat to death a Hindu colleague on Tuesday for alleged blasphemy, officials said.

Jagdish Kumar, 25, was tortured and killed at the garments factory after a debate on religion became heated, police and hospital officials said.

“About 1,500 workers at the factory in the Korangi industrial area beat to death the Hindu worker over [allegations of] blasphemy,” police superintendent Farrukh Bashir said.

And of course, we all know that the appropriate response to someone challenging your religious beliefs is to torture and kill them.

So be careful, anyone who tries to have a debate or discussion with Muslims – you could really lose your head if they lose theirs!





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

Campaign Gaffe By WV Senator

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV really betrayed the contempt with which he views our men and women in uniform. I don't think this apology really cuts it.

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV personally apologized to Senator John McCain of Arizona on Tuesday after remarking in an interview that Mr. McCain’s years as a Navy fighter pilot would not have given him an understanding of everyday issues faced by Americans.

In an interview in his home state, West Virginia, on Monday, Mr. Rockefeller, a Democrat, told The Charleston Gazette that Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, could not relate to the everyday concerns of people on issues like health care.

According to the article, Mr. Rockefeller said: “McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they get to the ground? He doesn’t know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues.”

Could you imagine the outrage if McCain were a Democrat and a GOP senator had made such a comment? Why the relatively low-key response from the Dems and the press. After all, when John Kerry's own fellow officers -- men who served with him in the same unit at the same time -- questioned the nature of his service and his fitness for office (based in large part on his anti-American actions after returning home), it was condemned by the Democrats and their media surrogates. When will they do the same in this instance -- not simply take the approach of Barack Obama and issue a milquetoast statement saying "I disagree with Senator Rockefeller"?

Probably never -- it would require them to have some integrity, and some actual respect for our military.

H/T Hot Air





|| Greg, 04:49 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

New View Of Race; Same As The Old View

Looks like the Obama campaign isn't interested in new tones and dialogue about race -- as witnessed by the bum's rush given to one of its delegates over a trivial matter.

An Illinois delegate for Democratic Sen. Barack Obama resigned after using the word "monkeys" to describe black children playing in a tree, the Obama campaign said Tuesday.

Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski, a trustee in the Chicago suburb of Carpentersville, was issued a $75 ticket for disorderly conduct after neighbors complained to police. She says the word wasn't meant racially and she will fight the ticket.

"Given the incident, Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski is stepping down as a delegate and will be replaced," said Obama spokeswoman Amy Brundage.

The incident occurred Saturday, when two children were playing in a tree next door to Ramirez-Sliwinski's house.

She said the parents were outside supervising the children, but she went over and told them to get out of the tree because she was concerned about the boys' safety and because the small magnolia tree was being damaged.

The father of one of the boys told her it was none of her business, she told the Chicago Tribune, and "I calmly said the tree is not there for them to be climbing in there like monkeys."

The mother of one boy called police.

Cmdr. Michael Kilbourne said Tuesday a ticket was issued because the ordinance bans conduct that disturbs or alarms people. One of the boys told police he was scared by her comment and a mother said she was disturbed, he said.

Now, let's make a couple of points.

1) It wasn't any of Ramirez-Sliwinski's business what was going on in the neighbor's yard -- especially with the parents there.

2) One the parent -- who presumably owns the tree -- said they didn't have a problem with the kids playing there, Ramirez-Sliwinski should have backed off.

3) If Ramirez-Sliwinski was concerned about the safety of the children, she should have called the police and let them sort it out.

That said, the reaction of the parents -- and the cops -- was absurd.

Disorderly conduct? For saying "monkey" in a context where it clearly didn't have a racial context? Just because a racial grievance-monger didn't like it? You have got to be kidding!

And after all the talk of a "new tone" and "discussion" on race, the Obama campaign didn't waste any time in caving in to those who follow the old paradigm -- that a shout of "racism" by a black person is a scarlet letter that cannot be removed, and that common sense cannot be allowed to enter into the analysis of the events leading to the claim or the motives of those making it.

Nice speech, Senator -- too bad your own campaign won't even try to live up to it.





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

Mini-Laptops For Kids

One problem with getting laptops into the hands of students -- especially younger students -- has been the size and weight of the equipment. After all, there is a certain difficulty associated with giving a child a piece of equipment that is over 10% of their weight and 1/3 their height. But now HP is looking to solve that problem.

One more of the world's biggest technology companies is clamoring to enter the growing market for pint-sized computers targeted mainly for pint-sized customers. Hewlett-Packard Co., the No. 1 seller of personal computers worldwide, said Tuesday it's throwing its weight behind a new class of miniaturized laptops, a fledgling market already populated with products from Intel Corp., the world's largest semiconductor company, and Asustek Computers Inc., the world's largest maker of computer motherboards.

The machines are so new the industry hasn't settled on a name for low-cost and scaled-down laptops used primarily for surfing the Internet and performing other basic functions like word processing.

Intel has labeled them "netbooks," and it expects more than 50 million netbooks to be in circulation by 2011.

HP executives say their new machines, which go on sale later this month, are an important piece of the Palo Alto-based company's effort to build market share in schools, where machines had to be smaller and cheaper without losing too many functions.

This will, of course, lead us back to the push for using computers instead of textbooks -- a development I would support. After all, the ability to upload and download various assignments, along with the ability to update texts with new information, would be great for educators and students alike. If we can only get past the cost issue, I think it is doable. And with students currently being issued as much as $500 worth of textbooks every semester, is the cost of a laptop really any more outrageous?





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

April 08, 2008

CBS News Cuts May Lead To Outsourcing

Yea, how the mighty have fallen!

CBSNews used to be the gold standard for television reporting.

Now it is cut so far that the network is on the verge of cutting a deal to have CNN do its reporting instead.

CBS, the home of the most celebrated news division in broadcasting, has been in discussions with Time Warner about a deal to outsource some of its news-gathering operations to CNN, two executives briefed on the matter said Monday.

Over the last decade, CNN has held intermittent talks with both ABC News and CBS News about various joint ventures. But during the last several months, talks with CBS have been revived and lately intensified, according to the executives who asked for anonymity because of the confidential nature of the negotiations.

Broadly speaking, the executives described conversations about reducing CBS’s news-gathering capacity while keeping its frontline personalities, like Katie Couric, the CBS Evening News anchor, and paying a fee to CNN to buy the cable network’s news feeds.

Another possibility, these people said, would be for CBS to keep its correspondents in certain regions but pair them with CNN crews.

I wonder -- will the folks at CBS be reporting this as another example of a greedy corporation cutting loose employees in order to make a profit? Or will it instead present this as a strengthening of the news division, especially if the news crews are cut and the high-profile reporters are the only employees kept?

I think we all know the answer -- which chows one more example of CBSNews and its willingness to spin the truth to reach the result it wants.





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

NBC Seeks To Stop Runway Runaway

My wife loves Project Runway -- and I'll concede that watching it with her is something of a guilty pleasure on my part. I really don't care about the clothes -- the show is simply funny.

NBC knows that they've got a great ratings grabber with their Bravo hit -- which is why they are headed to court to make sure they keep the show.

NBC Universal, the parent company of Bravo network, has gone to court to try to keep “Project Runway,” one of the biggest hits in cable television, from moving to Lifetime this fall.

In a lawsuit filed Monday in state court in Manhattan, NBC accused the owner of “Project Runway,” the Weinstein Company, of violating its rights by making the deal with Lifetime.

The suit asserts Harvey Weinstein, the chief executive of the Weinstein Company, promised NBC that it would have an opportunity to match any offer to the rights of “Project Runway” and that instead, Mr. Weinstein concluded a deal with Lifetime on Feb. 7, even though he continued to negotiate with NBC Universal for two more months.

In a statement, NBC said “NBC Universal has continuing rights related to ‘Project Runway,’ including a right of first refusal to future cycles of the series, which the Weinstein Company unfortunately has refused to honor.”

The Weinsteins, through their lawyer (Al Gore's dishonest shyster, David Boies), claims that there is nothing to the NBC suit -- but that strikes me as a bit of a stretch. Assuming the claim of a February agreement with Lifetime followed by two months of sham negotiations with NBC is an accurate one, it is clear that the Weinsteins were not acting in good faith.

Besides -- I'd rather see this show move off the boutique channels and run on NBC itself.





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

Don't Cancel The Torch Relay -- Cancel The Olympic Games

2007-11-12-handcuff-olympic-symbol[1].jpg

If holding the torch relay is impossible due to international outrage, how can you possibly hold the Olympics in the brutally oppressive Communist dictatorship which has set off the protests by its abominable deeds?

The IOC will consider ending the international leg of the Beijing Olympic torch relay as a result of the anti-Chinese protests.

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge says the issue will be discussed by the organization's executive board on Friday.

Rogge told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he is "deeply saddened" by the violent protests in London and Paris and concerned about the upcoming torch relay in San Francisco.

He says the issue must be discussed by the ruling executive board.

The greatest stain upon the Olympic movement has undoubtedly been the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which Hitler used to promote is despicable racial theories. Today, the Red Chinese promote genocide in Darfur and the continued oppression of the Tibetan people. -- as well as other acts of repression at home. The world is disgusted by the notion that such a regime will be allowed to host the Olympics, and a few brave souls are engaging in civil disobedience to disrupt the torch relay. And America will have a shining moment on behalf of human rights soon, when the torch relay reaches San Francisco and its activists disrupt the relay there as well.

When will the IOC recognize that the only viable solution is to cancel the Beijing Games?

2007-11-12-handcuff-olympic-symbol[1].jpg

UPDATE: A reminder of what Red China does to those who dare to oppose Beijing's policies.





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

Watcher's Council Results

The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Black Liberation Theology by Joshuapundit, and 5 Years, 1 year by Acute Politics.  Here are the full results of the vote:

VotesCouncil link
VotesCouncil link
2  1/3Black Liberation Theology
Joshuapundit
2Another UN Obscenity (Updated)
Wolf Howling
1  1/3The Messiah-Shtick
Bookworm Room
1  1/3Can We Just Walk Away From Iraq?
Right Wing Nut House
1  1/3Sticks and Stones
Soccer Dad
2/3CD22 Runoff -- Shelly Sekula Gibbs Vs. Pete Olson
Rhymes With Right
2/3The Moral Blindness of the Left
Hillbilly White Trash
2/3Answering Yasmine
Cheat Seeking Missiles
1/3Interpreting the Events In Basra
The Glittering Eye
1/3Or Not
Done With Mirrors

VotesNon-council link
25 Years, 1 year
Acute Politics
1  2/3NY Times Reporters Try To Defend Grave Mistake -- Of Course Fail
The Strata-Sphere
1  1/3Preventing Nuclear Terrorism
Oliver Kamm
1  1/3Safe at Home Interviews Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser
Family Security Matters
1  1/3Disgrace: UN Human Rights Council Endorses Ban On Religious Defamation
Hot Air
1Avian Chorus
The Paragraph Farmer
2/3Tribalism
Classical Values
2/3Marash Quits English al Jazeera Over the (British) Anti-Americanism
Augean Stables
2/3Thoughts About This Article From The Observer
Abu Muqawama
1/3If You Can't Beat Them, Threaten to Behead Them...
Immodest Proposals





|| Greg, 03:13 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 07, 2008

Trashing The Troops – USAToday Style

Highlight the seemingly negative news, bury the positive.

The percentage of recruits requiring a waiver to join the Army because of a criminal record or other past misconduct has more than doubled since 2004 to one for every eight new soldiers.

The increase reflects the difficulties the Army faces in attracting young men and women into the military at a time of war. "Each month is a struggle, for the Army in particular," said Bill Carr, a top military personnel official.

The percentage of active and Reserve Army recruits granted "conduct" waivers for misdemeanor or felony charges increased to 11% last fiscal year from 4.6% in fiscal 2004, according to Army Recruiting Command statistics. So far this fiscal year, which began last October, 13% of recruits have entered the Army with conduct waivers.

Most waivers involve misdemeanors. The Army has granted 4,676 conduct waivers among the 36,047 recruited from October through late February. The waivers have helped the Army meet its active and Reserve recruitment goals of about 100,000 people a year for the past several years.

Obviously this constitutes a degradation of our military, right.

Well, maybe not.

Indeed, certainly not.

Recruits who have come in with waivers generally perform better than peers who haven't needed special permission to join the Army, Carr said. "When you have people volunteering that have made some mistakes in their life, you give them fair consideration," said Frank Shaffery, deputy director of the Army's Recruiting Command.

Interesting how the fact that these soldiers out-perform their peers gets buried at the very end of the story. You don’t suppose it could be based upon a subconscious desire to bad talk the troops, do you?





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Condi Seeking VP Slot?

Maybe.

Or maybe not.

If she is, it is news to John McCain.

Is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice campaigning to be John McCain’s running mate? If so, Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said on Sunday that he had not noticed.

“I missed those signals,” Mr. McCain told reporters on his campaign plane en route to Kansas City.

Nonetheless, Mr. McCain took a few moments to compliment Ms. Rice. “I think she’s a great American, I think there’s very little that I can say that isn’t anything but the utmost praise for a great American citizen, who served as a role model to so many millions of people in this country and around the world,” Mr. McCain said, adding that “her overall record is very, very meritorious.”

Frankly, I think that Condoleezza Rice would be a superb choice. She is a well-qualified, acomplished woman who has served this nation well.

But while I have the opportunity, let me take the NY Times to task about what Ihope is an unintentional slight of the Secretary of State.

To refer to her as "Ms. Rice" is incorrect.

Given her office, Secretary Rice would be appropriate.

Given her academic accomplishments and earned degrees, Dr. Rice would be appropriate.

I'm sure the slight is unintentional, but the editors of the paper should know better.





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

The Unintended Counsequences of Law

It is all well and good to try to undo historical wrongs. However, doing so can have unintended consequences if one is not careful.

In this case, it could upset the entire line of succession to the British throne, and even lead to the replacement of Elizabeth II by an extremely distant German cousin.

Gordon Brown is considering repealing the 1701 Act of Settlement as a way of healing a historic injustice by ending the prohibition against Catholics taking the throne.

But doing so would have the unforeseen consequence of making a 74-year-old German aristocrat the new King of England and Scotland.

Without the Act, Franz Herzog von Bayern, the current Duke of Bavaria, would be the rightful heir to the British Crown under the Stuart line.

The bachelor, who lives alone in the vast Nymphenberg Palace in Munich, is the blood descendant of the 17th-century King Charles I.

"If it [the Act] goes then the whole Catholic line is reinstated," said Prof Daniel Szechi, a lecturer in early modern history at the University of Manchester.

"Franz becomes the rightful claimant to the throne. We would just exchange one German family for another one."

The law in question dates back to the era following the Glorious Revolution, when efforts to keep the Catholic descendants of the deposed King James II from regaining the throne resulted in the selection of the House of Hanover to replace the House of Stuart. Could a change in the law result in a restoration of the claims of the Stuart Clan?

Indeed, the Act of Succession ought to be amended to remove the bar on Catholics from the line of succession or the throne. However, a better vehicle than that currently under consideration obviously needs to be found.





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

The Dalai Lama Speaks To the Tibetan People

There are few individuals in the world who speak with the level of moral authority accorded the Dalai Lama. And as the continued oppression of the Tibetan people by the Red Chinese continues, he has taken the opportunity to speak to Tibetans everywhere about the current crisis.

Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to All Tibetans

While extending my warm greetings to all the Tibetans in Tibet, I would like to share some of my thoughts.

1. Since March 10 this year, we have witnessed protests and demonstrations in almost all parts of Tibet, even in a few cities in Mainland China by students, which are the outburst of long pent-up physical and mental anguish of the Tibetans and the feeling of deep resentment against the suppression of the rights of Tibetan people, lack of religious freedom and for trying to distort the truth at every occasion, such as saying that Tibetans look towards the Chinese Communist Party as the "Living Buddha", is an ultra leftist statement and smacks of Han chauvinism. I am very much saddened and concerned by the use of arms to suppress the peaceful demonstrations of Tibetan people's aspirations that have resulted in unrest in Tibet, causing many deaths, and much more causalities, detention, and injury. Such suppression and suffering are very unfortunate and tragic which will reduce any compassionate person to tears. I, however, feel helpless in the face of these tragic incidents.

2. I pray for all the Tibetans as well as Chinese who have lost their lives during the current crisis.

3. The recent protests all over Tibet have not only contradicted but also shattered the People Republic of China’s propaganda that except for a few "reactionaries", the majority of Tibetans enjoy a prosperous and contented life. These protests have made it very clear that Tibetans in the three provinces of Tibet, U-tsang, Kham and Amdo, harbor the same aspirations and hopes. These protests have also conveyed to the world that the Tibet issue can no longer be neglected. These protests highlight the need to find a way to resolve the issue through "finding truth from facts". The courage and determination of those Tibetans who have, for the greater interests of Tibetan people, demonstrated their deep anguish and hopes by risking everything is very commendable as the world community has acknowledged and supported the spirit of these Tibetans.

4. I deeply appreciate the acts of many Tibetan government employees and Communist Party cadres who have, without losing their Tibetan identity, shown grit and sense of what is right during the present crisis. In future, I would appeal to the Tibetan Party cadres and government employees not to look always for their personal benefit, but to work for safeguarding the larger interests of Tibet by reporting the real sentiments of the Tibetan people to their superiors in the Party and try to give unbiased guidance to the Tibetan people.

5. Presidents, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, Nobel Laureates, Parliamentarians, and concerned citizens from every part of the world have been sending clear and strong messages to the Chinese leadership to stop the present ongoing harsh crackdown against the Tibetan people. They have all been encouraging the Chinese government to follow a path where a mutually beneficial solution could be reached. We should create an opportunity for their efforts to bring out positive results. I know you are being provoked at every level but it is important to stick to our non-violent practice.

6. The Chinese authorities have been making false allegations against myself and the Central Tibetan Administration for instigating and orchestrating the recent events in Tibet. These allegations are totally untrue. I have made repeated appeals for an independent and respected international body to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter. I am sure this independent body will uncover the truth. If the People’s Republic of China has any basis and proof of evidence to back their allegations, they need to disclose these to the world. Just making allegations is not enough.

7. For the future of Tibet, I have decided to find a solution within the framework of the People's Republic of China. Since 1974, I have sincerely remained steadfast to the mutually beneficial Middle-Way Approach. The whole world knows this. The Middle-Way Approach means that all Tibetans must be governed by similar administration that enjoys meaningful National Regional Autonomy and all the provisions in it, self-rule and full decision-making, except for matters concerning foreign relations and national defense. However, I have said it from the beginning that the Tibetans in Tibet have the right to make the final decision for the future of Tibet.

8. The hosting of the Olympic games this year is a matter of great pride to the 1.2 billion Chinese people. I have from the very beginning supported the holding of these Games in Beijing. My position on this remains unchanged. I feel the Tibetans should not cause any hindrance to the Games. It is the legitimate right of every Tibetan to struggle for their freedoms and rights. On the other hand, it will be futile and not helpful to anyone if we do something that will create hatred in the minds of the Chinese people. On the contrary, we need to foster trust and respect in our hearts in order to create a harmonious society, as this cannot be built on the basis of force and intimidation.

9. Our struggle is with a few in the leadership of the People's Republic of China and not with the Chinese people. Therefore we should never cause misunderstanding or do something that will hurt the Chinese people. Even during this difficult situation, many Chinese intellectuals, writers and lawyers in Mainland China and other parts of the world have sympathized and shown us their solidarity by issuing statements, writing articles and offering pledges of support that is overwhelming. I have recently issued an appeal to the Chinese people all over the world on 28th March, which I hope you will hear and read.

10. If the present situation in Tibet continues, I am very much concerned that the Chinese government will unleash more force and increase the suppression of Tibetan people. Because of my moral obligation and responsibility to the Tibetan people, I have repeatedly asked the concerned leadership of the PRC to immediately stop their suppression in all parts of Tibet and withdraw its armed police and troops. If this brings result, I would also advise the Tibetans to stop all the current protests.

11. I want to urge my fellow Tibetans who live in freedom outside Tibet to be extra vigilant as they voice their feelings on the developments in Tibet. We should not engage in any action that could be even remotely interpreted as violent. Even under the most provocative of situations we must not allow our most precious and deeply held values to be compromised. I firmly believe that we will achieve success through our non-violent path. We must be wise to understand where the unprecedented affection and support for our cause stems from.

12. As Tibet is currently virtually closed and no international media is allowed there, I doubt my message will reach the Tibetans in Tibet. But I hope through media and by word of mouth, it will be passed on to the majority of you.

13. Finally, I want to reiterate and appeal once again to Tibetans to practice non-violence and not waver from this path, however serious the situation might be.

The Dalai Lama

Dharamsala
April 6, 2008


I may not agree with everything in this statement, but I certainly recognize it as the words of a wise and decent man. I repeat it here in the hopes that these words may, as the Dalai Lama has expressed his hope, reach the oppressed and enslved people of Tibet who remain loyal to him.





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

A Disgusting Act Worthy Of Condemnation

Whatever theological, cultural and political issues I may have with Islam, I can never countenance the desecration of the graves of war heroes.

Vandals desecrated 148 graves in the Muslim section of a military cemetery in northern France, hanging a pig's head on one of the headstones, police said on Sunday.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the attack "a hateful act" and around 100 police were sent to the Notre-Dame de Lorette cemetery near Arras to hunt for clues.

State prosecutor Jean-Pierre Valensi said the vandals struck overnight, daubing insults on the graves.

"They directly referred to Islam and there were also insults directed at the justice minister," Valensi said, referring to Rachida Dati, whose parents came from North Africa.

The desecration came almost exactly a year after youths daubed Nazi inscriptions and swastikas on Muslim tombs in the same cemetery in Ablain Saint-Nazaire.

The role of Muslims in France's military is one often overlooked. During World War I, more than 10% of all Muslim colonial troops who served gave their lives in defense of France. For anyone -- especially any Frenchman -- to now desecrate their graves over current tensions is to dishonor their sacrifice and the history of France.





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

Moses Enters The Promised Land

Charlton Heston -- 1923-1958

charlton_heston_plays_moses[1].jpg

Few faces or voices were as easily recognizable in cinema during the first half of my lifetime. If not the voice of God, Charlton Heston was certainly the voice of God's messenger, Moses. I won't begin to list his many great roles, except to mention his well-loved performances in Ben-Hur, The Agony and the Ecstasy, and Planet of the Apes.

Heston was an ardent believer in America and the rights of Americans -- leading him to both march for civil rights with Dr. Martin Luther King and to head America's largest civil rights organization, the National Rifle Association.

And now the voice is stilled forever.





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

April 05, 2008

Quote From A Cold-Hearted, Racist Conservative

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for supplying it.

“People who should get in, get in; people who should not enter are kept out; and people who are deportable should be required to leave.”

How evil.

How hateful.

How racist.

How true.

Now only if it were original to Malkin herself.

It isn't.

It comes from the report of a commission on immigration reform led by Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX), one of the greatest figures to walk the halls of Congress in the last half of the twentieth century -- and a liberal African-American woman. Would that the Democrats could find a few more of her type in their midst -- the party might be worth something again.





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Me, Too!

A Letter to the Editor in today's Houston Chronicle captures the sentiments of this teacher and every other teacher I know.

Tired of being scapegoat

The March 29 editorial article "Back to school" is another example of placing the blame for failing students entirely on teachers instead of dealing with the social issues that are the actual cause. I was highly insulted by the statement that "all students will benefit when educators drop the racial, ethnic and class biases" that we supposedly have, thus causing us to lower our expectations for students. That is utter nonsense. I have been teaching disadvantaged students of various races and ethnicity for six years, and I have never expected less of them than I would of students who are Anglo or more affluent. The same is true of my colleagues.

I am tired of being the scapegoat for those who do not have the fortitude to take on the real issues! The only students I, and other teachers, fail are those who choose to fail. The real truth is that many students are not motivated to learn and do not value education. Teachers continually offer after-school tutorials for failing students, but few attend. Also, teachers spend a fair amount of time waking up students and attempting to get them back on task. When I question students about their sleepiness, the usual response is that they stayed up until 1 a.m. or later. Is that my fault?

Teachers are evaluated on the basis of the TAKS scores and failure rates of their students, so it is absurd to believe that teachers would allow students to fail simply because of their race or ethnicity. The statement that teachers have class biases is even more ridiculous. If checked, the editorial board would find that many teachers, because of their low pay, are economically disadvantaged as well! All of the teachers I know, or have ever known, want their students to be successful in school.

Our tax dollars would be better spent on programs that help students realize how valuable education is, that deal with the teen drug problem and help struggling parents with their children. Teachers are caring, giving people who want the best for all children.

SHERRY LLOYD
Houston

I might quibble about some of the policy suggestions at the end, but not much. The rest of the letter, though reflects my attitude on the matter exactly.





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

Scottish Sharia Speeding Loophole!

Has the West allowed accommodation of Islam to go so far that common sense is out the window? I'd have to argue that this case shows that it has.

When it comes to avoiding a ban for speeding, the courts hear every excuse in the book.

But yesterday one motorist offered what must be a unique reason why he should keep his licence.

Mohammed Anwar said a ban would make it difficult to commute between his two wives and fulfil his matrimonial duties.

His lawyer told a Scottish court the Muslim restaurant owner has one wife in Motherwell and another in Glasgow - he is allowed up to four under his religion - and sleeps with them on alternate nights.

He also needed his driving licence to run his restaurant in Falkirk, Stirlingshire.

Airdrie Sheriff Court had heard that Anwar was caught driving at 64mph in a 30mph zone in Glasgow, fast enough to qualify for instant disqualification.

Anwar admitted the offence, but Sheriff John C. Morris accepted his plea not to be banned and allowed him to keep his licence.

Instead, he was fined £200 and given six penalty points.

In other words, Scotland's speeding laws do not apply to Muslims -- provided they are going to take advantage of marital prerogatives of a marriage that would be illegal for a non-Muslim.

Will the courts be so accommodating of a non-Muslim business-owner who is headed home to shag his wife on his lunch break? What about someone who is going to get a quickie from his mistress?

One would think that speeding laws would be the last place that islamic exceptionalism would intrude -- but I guess not.





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Another Hillary "Misspeaking"

What the rest of the world calls a LIE.

Over the last five weeks, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has featured in her campaign stump speeches the story of a health care horror: an uninsured pregnant woman who lost her baby and died herself after being denied care by an Ohio hospital because she could not come up with a $100 fee.

The woman, Trina Bachtel, did die last August, two weeks after her baby boy was stillborn at O’Bleness Memorial Hospital in Athens, Ohio. But hospital administrators said Friday that Ms. Bachtel was under the care of an obstetrics practice affiliated with the hospital, that she was never refused treatment and that she was, in fact, insured.

“We implore the Clinton campaign to immediately desist from repeating this story,” said Rick Castrop, chief executive officer of the O’Bleness Health System.

Interestingly enough, the Clinton campaign freely admits that it didn't even bother to find out if the story in question was true -- that they simply began including it in speeches and Hillary Clinton began using it.

A Clinton spokesman, Mo Elleithee, said candidates would frequently retell stories relayed to them, vetting them when possible. “In this case, we did try but were not able to fully vet it,” Mr. Elleithee said. “If the hospital claims it did not happen that way, we respect that.”

If they "were not able to fully vet it", I'd like to know what parts they did check out in regard t the story? My guess -- that Trina Bachtel and her baby both died last summer. All the rest were irrelevant details to them, once they had a putative victim (since the baby was unborn, Clinton would not consider it a person or a victim -- Roe v. Wade, don't you know).

After all, they didn't need to check out the insurance question -- after all, that would have ruined the story. Ditto the refusal to treat question -- especially since federal law would probably have required treatment of a pregnant woman in distress at any emergency room regardless of insurance or ability to pay, and there are usually signs posted in the lobby of every hospital to that effect.

No, the story was just too good to check out closely -- and so they didn't.

Time for the Hillary Campaign Theme Song again!

UPDATE: Over at Hot Air, AllahPundit supplies us with the video of Hillary lying to the American people again.

AP also reminds us of other problems the junior Senator from new York has had with those pesky facts.

I particularly like the comment from a nurse that backs up my statement above.

As a nurse who worked in hospitals and with Insurance companies (and Medicare), I’m so sick of people saying that they’re refused care because they don’t have insurance. Those morons clearly don’t know about the anti-dumping laws that have been in place for years now to insure that people get care regardless of their insurance. If they are refused care based on their lack of insurance, one word: Lawyer. Other words - Hospitals can get shut down for that crap.

What is it with the Clintons and the truth?





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

About Those Clinton Tax Returns

When I first heard that the couple had an income of $109 million since leaving the White House, I wasn't shocked. Even though book deals are illicit when entered into by Republicans, the Clintons made a bunch of book royalties. Ditto speaking fees -- the first president Bush was lambasted for giving expensive speeches, but it is clear that the draft-dodging Bill Clinton has shown WWII hero Bush to be a piker in that regard.

But at least, I thought, the couple gave nearly 10% to charity.

Well, sort of.

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign released their tax forms from 2000-2007 Thursday, which showed the Clintons earned more than $100 million in that time period and donated $10 million of that to their own charity.

The Clinton campaign reports donating $10,256,741 to the CFF between 2000 and 2006. During that time, CFF dispersed $2,530,100 in money to other charities and causes.

The names of other persons who donated to the CFF are not required to be disclosed.

Over the years, the CFF gave $80,000 to the Clinton Birthplace Foundation Inc., $20,000 to the Shakespeare Theatre, $40,000 to the School of the American Ballet, $5,000 to the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard, $10,000 to Amnesty International.

The CFF also donated money to the Immanuel Baptist Church in Shackelford, Arkansas, Georgetown and Yale each year.

CFF lost a significant amount of money in the last two tax reporting years. CFF claimed $4.3 million assets on their 2005 IRS 990 forms. CFF reported much less, $255,890, on their most recent 2006 tax forms. It is not immediately clear from reading the forms where the money went or why assets were lost.

Now for those who are wondering, the CFF is the Clinton Family Foundation -- and the New York Times notes this regarding that "charity".

During that time, the Clintons paid $33.8 million in federal taxes and claimed deductions for $10.2 million in charitable contributions. The contributions went to a family foundation run by the Clintons that has given away only about half of the money they put into it, and most of that was last year, after Mrs. Clinton declared her candidacy.

Only given away half the money? Where did the organization get the where withal to do that if they had depleted their assets so low that in 2006 they had only $250K in assets? And why wait until after Hillary Clinton started campaigning to give it away? I think there is clearly something there that needs to be looked at -- is the Clinton Family Foundation actually a tax-free slush-fund for Hillary's campaign?

And am I alone in being disturbed that the charitable giving -- which, in the end, only amounts to, at most, half of the amount of their claimed contributions -- was to a fund that the Clintons controlled?

UPDATE: A Commenter on the Amanda Carpenter piece makes the following comments. Anyone with an accounting or tax background want to comment upon the issue?

Greg writes: Saturday, April, 05, 2008 9:16 AM

Carpenter (and Tinsldr2) are WRONG

We have a new "urban legend" here! Carpenter's facts are wrong. The 2006 Form 990-PF for the Clinton Family Foundation shows $4.3 million in assets at the end of the year. There is NO payment to Gloria Clinton -- or anyone else. And Tinslder2 is wrong on his facts, too. The CFF, as a private foundation, is only required to distribute 5% of its assets each year. There are lots of things to criticize the Clintons about, but this foundation is entirely legit.

**********

Greg writes: Saturday, April, 05, 2008 9:24 AM

here's the link for the 2006 return:

copy-and-paste the following link into your browser, then click the "2006" link near the bottom of the page, under "990-PF" --

http://dynamodata.fdncenter.org/990s/990search/ffindershow. cgi?id=CLIN040

I'd rather be factually right here -- though the timing issue is STILL rather interesting, even if my source on the assets issue is wrong.





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April 04, 2008

Will The NFL Act?

In response to the profane, racist rant of one of its players – even though he is black.

A Jacksonville, Fla., television station has obtained documents detailing Jaguars cornerback Brian Williams’ racist rant to police the night he was arrested in September 2006 on suspicion of DUI, News 4 Jax reported.

The police officer involved wrote in a report that Williams called him "Honky mother (expletive)," and said, "I (expletive) your momma ... I (expletive) your wife twice." Williams allegedly went on to say he would do something to the officer’s daughter, News 4 Jax reported.

Williams apologized for his actions after the initial arrest, but recently withdrew the guilty plea he submitted after the 2006 incident.

That withdrawal allowed the arresting officer’s notes to be made public. The officer said at the time of the arrest he did not know Williams had recently signed a multimillion dollar deal with the Jaguars, News 4 Jax reported.

Now I have to ask this question – had this racist rant come from a white player towards a black cop, would it have been swept under the rug like this? Wouldn’t we have quickly seen leaked police reports on the arrest, complete with the slurs and profanity, as well as any video of the incident?

Could we be looking at one more double standard here on race relations that we need to dialogue about?

This goes along pretty well with one of the points from John Hawkins’ superb column today on race and racism.

Blacks are, on average, more racist than whites: As we've seen in the Democratic primary this year, black Americans are much more likely to vote for a person based on his skin color than white Americans. Also, most black Americans tend to think it's ok to belong to race-based organizations like the NAACP, while white Americans hold race-based groups like the KKK in disdain. Moreover, percentage wise, there are pretty clearly a lot more black Americans who dislike white Americans based on their skin color than vice-versa. Maybe that's understandable given the shameful treatment black Americans once had to endure in this country, but it's still the truth -- and don't even get me started on black Americans actually defending criminal scum like O.J. Simpson, Mike Tyson, and the L.A. rioters because they're black.

Now in defense of the NAACP, its Jacksonville chapter president did condemn Williams’ language as divisive and harmful. But I can’t help but wonder whether a similarly despicable rant from a white player would have produced the same measured response – or a nuclear meltdown with demands for sensitivity training for the entire NFL and race-based kickbacks to black organizations and minority contractors with the appropriate political patrons.

In the end, though, I hope that the best punishment in this case comes from those of us who are NFL ticket holders. We need to make life very uncomfortable for this racist scumbag – with boos, jeers, and general expressions of contempt. He’ll get that from me when the Jags play here in Houston this fall.





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Time To Resign, Darrell

And if he won’t, it is time for all Republicans to throw money at his Democrat challenger in the fall.

The California congressman who called the Sept. 11 attacks "simply" a plane crash ran for cover Wednesday under a barrage of ridicule from fellow Republicans, first responders and victims' families.

San Diego GOP Rep. Darrell Issa was under siege for suggesting the federal government had already done enough to help New York cope with "a fire" that "simply was an aircraft" hitting the World Trade Center.

"That is a pretty distorted view of things," said Frank Fraone, a Menlo Park, Calif., fire chief who led a 67-man crew at Ground Zero. "Whether they're a couple of planes or a couple of missiles, they still did the same damage."

"New York was attacked by Al Qaeda. It doesn't have to be attacked by Congress," added Long Island Rep. Pete King, a Republican.

"I'm really surprised by Darrell Issa," King added. "It showed such a cavalier dismissal of what happened to New York. It's wrong and inexcusable."

Now I might give Issa a pass for having simply having made his point in an inelegant fashion were it not for his past statements on behalf of Hezbollah and assorted Arab dictators and supporters of terrorism. He is a disgrace to the GOP and the nation, and needs to be urged to get out of Congress by every Republican in a position of political prominence. As Debbie Schlussel points out on her site today, we disassociated our party from racist scumbags like David Duke (interesting, isn’t it, that the Democrats still keep reelecting a mummified Kluxer like Robert Byrd) – it is now time to do the same with a terrorist shill like Issa.





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America Safe!

Edwards preemptively declines vice presidency.

Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said on Thursday he would not accept the nomination for U.S. vice president as he did four years ago.

Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina, dropped out of the 2008 race that is still being contested by the two remaining Democrats, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, to see who represents the party in the November 4 general election.

Edwards was picked as running mate with Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry in 2004 but the two were defeated when President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were re-elected.

After his keynote speech at CTIA, the annual U.S. wireless industry showcase, Edwards was asked in a question-and-answer session if he would accept the nomination for vice president.

"No," said Edwards, who also declined to say whether he would endorse Clinton or Obama.

John Edwards, a whacked-out, pretty-boy ambulance chaser with only a single term in the US Senate, was among the least qualified candidates to make a national ticket in my lifetime – even more than Jimmy Carter. Heck, he makes Barack Obama look qualified for the presidency, which is a neat trick given his thin resume. To know that he will not be on the Democrat ticket this year is therefore comforting to me.





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Zellweger: I Don’t Want To Be A Mama

Remember when Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney split up after their very brief marriage? Well, there was a ton of speculation about her wanting kids and him not being interested – or even gay (given the “fraud” grounds for annulment)? Looks like that wasn’t it.

Hollywood singleton Renee Zellweger, who turns 39 this month, has revealed she harbours no plans to be a parent.

The actress, who showed off her stylish new look as she arrived for an appearance the Late Show with David Letterman in New York City, has said: “Motherhood has never been an ambition. I don't think like that.”

So much for that tabloid rumor.





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Retired? Maybe Not!

Is it a Brett Favre comeback?

Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, who announced his retirement last month after 17 seasons, reportedly could be weighing a comeback with another team.

Favre's agent has quietly inquired with teams about their interest in trading for the three-time NFL most valuable player, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

Favre, 38, has yet to give written notice of his retirement to the league or the players' union. According to the Times, it's also not uncommon for players to delay in doing so, particularly if they are not in immediate need of their pension money.

Favre's agent denies he is interested in playing for another team -- but that could be a ploy to deflect speculation. But in the end, I doubt we'll see the comeback happen -- after all, would any team really be willing to give up what the packers would want for one of the greatest quarterbacks of the last two decades?





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

Members Of Congress Have Diversified Blue-Chip Portfolios

Including, in many cases, defense related stocks.

And some observers want to raise conflict-of-interest issues regarding that.

Members of Congress have as much as $196 million collectively invested in companies doing business with the Defense Department, earning millions since the onset of the Iraq war, according to a study by a nonpartisan research group.

Not all the companies in which lawmakers invested are typical defense contractors. Corporations such as PepsiCo, IBM, Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson have at one point received defense-related contracts, notes the report by the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.

The center's review of lawmakers' 2006 financial disclosure statements suggests that members' holdings could pose a conflict of interest as they decide the fate of Iraq war spending. Several members earning money from these contractors have plum committee or leadership assignments, including Democratic Sen. John Kerry, independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman and House Republican Whip Roy Blunt.

The study found that more Republicans than Democrats hold stock in defense companies, but that the Democrats who are invested had significantly more money at stake. In 2006, for example, Democrats held at least $3.7 million in military-related investments, compared to Republican investments of $577,500.

Overall, 151 members hold investments worth $78.7 million to $195.5 million in companies that receive defense contracts that are worth at least $5 million. These investments earned them anywhere between $15.8 million and $62 million between 2004 and 2006, the center concludes.

Frankly, I'm less troubled by this than the authors of this study want me to be. In 2008, how do you avoid investing in Microsoft if you have a large portfolio? Good grief -- it is one of the most reliable stocks for someone to put their money in -- and there is no question that Microsoft does business with the government. Ditto PepsiCo -- heck, I would imagine that the procurement folks at the Pentagon buy quite a bit of bottled water and soft drinks for troops. And as is later noted regarding Hillary Clinton, Honeywell, Boeing and Raytheon are all stocks often found in a diversified portfolio -- though the questions she raised about the recent Airbus contract could be spun by a cynic into a sinister attempt to safeguard her investment.

In other words, nothing to see here -- despite efforts to create a story.





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

Fossil Record Finds Earlier Humans In America

And we have this fossil record because, dare I say it, sh!t happened.

The discovery was one for the pages of an archaeology classic, something with a title like “Gods, Graves and Scat.”

Some people, coming into new country long ago, stopped at a cave for years perhaps, or only a day’s rest. Time enough, in any event, for them to relieve themselves — you know, answer nature’s call, if they bothered with euphemism. The cave was their in-house outhouse.

Exploring Paisley Caves in the Cascade Range of Oregon, archaeologists have found a scattering of human coprolites, or fossil feces. The specimens preserved 14,000-year-old human protein and DNA, which the discoverers said was the strongest evidence yet of the earliest people living in North America.

Other archaeologists agreed that the findings established more firmly than before the presence of people on the continent at least 1,000 years before the well-known Clovis people, previously thought to be the first Americans. Recent research at sites in Florida and Wisconsin also appears to support the earlier arrivals, and a campsite in Chile indicates migration deep into South America by 14,600 years ago.

The find was published online Thursday by the journal Science, www.sciencexpress.org.

That serves as a reminder that not every piece of the fossil record is something glamorous, and not every aspect of the anthropologists work involves findings of something glorious.

A bunch of humans stopped in a cave and set up a privy. Now, thousands of years later, that privy is the most significant piece of evidence we have for their existence, a millennium before any other humans came to the Americas.

Amazing, isn't it, what becomes scientifically significant?





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

April 03, 2008

Air Hypocrisy Radio Suspends Randi Rhodes

For using insulting language towards an elected official.

Air America host Randi Rhodes called both Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton "whores" in a recent appearance, seen below. Rhodes, who hosts a weekday radio show on Air America, said to the cheering crowd, "What a whore Geraldine Ferraro is! She's such a fucking whore!" She then proceeded to say, "Hillary is a big fucking whore, too" to a mixed audience reaction. "You know why she's a big fucking whore? Because her deal is always, 'Read the fine print, asshole!'"

The network’s reasoning?

Air America has suspended on-air host Randi Rhodes for making inappropriate statements about prominent figures, including Senator Hillary Clinton, at a recent public appearance on behalf of Air America in San Francisco which was sponsored by an Air America affiliate station.

"Air America encourages strong opinions about public affairs but does not condone such abusive, ad hominem language by our Hosts," said chair Charlie Kireker.

Uhhhhhhhhh……

Yeah.

Right.

Sure.

Especially when one considers history.

Randi Rhodes, the leftist talk-radio host who found herself in hot water yesterday for airing a skit that warned President Bush with gunfire, has joked about assassinating the commander in chief before.

Last May, Rhodes, who hosts a show on the struggling Air America network, imitated the sound of gunfire while saying somebody ought to take the president fishing and then shoot him.

On May 12, New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin wrote a piece criticizing Air America, saying he had listened to the liberal radio network one day for 10 hours.

"The queen of venom, Randi Rhodes, followed [Al] Franken in the host slot," Goodwin wrote. "Her imitation of a cracker military type telling a soldier to 'insert this fluorescent light bulb into that man's buttocks' was revolting. She compared U.S. prisons in Iraq to the 'Nazi gulag' and said, 'The day I say thank you to Rumsfeld is the same day I'll say thank you to the 12 people who raped me.'
Goodwin then notes Rhodes compared Bush and his family to the Corleones in the "Godfather" saga.

A review of the show's recording reveals Rhodes said the following in a discussion with a caller:

"The Fredo of the family is the president of the United States, so why doesn't his father or his brother … take him out for a little fishing, and let him say some Hail Marys – he loves God so much. … You know, Hail Mary, full of grace, God is with thee – pow [gunshot sound] – works for me."

Now let’s see here. You can revile the troops and compare them to soldiers of Adolf Hitler, one of the three most murderous left-wing dictators of the twentieth century. You can suggest the murder of the President of the United States REPEATEDLY on your show. None of this will get you suspended, or even disciplined – even if you do them on the air.

On the other hand, direct a couple of curse words towards a liberal politician off-air event and you will be suspended. But then again, maybe Air Hypocrisy executives are a little bit touchy about whores at the moment

So much for the notion that Air Hypocrisy has a consistently applied policy on ad hominem insulting language – and as such, this (well-deserved) suspension of Rhodes is an act of gross hypocrisy on the part of the failing radio network. Indeed, the only way for Air Hypocrisy to redeem itself in this instance is to immediately reinstate Randi Rhodes with an abject apology to her – or else fire her for her cumulative record of repeat violations of the policy for which she has been suspended, and put the rest of the network’s on-air “talent” on notice that they will face sanctions for similar offenses in the future.

But we won’t see either happen – after all, Air Hypocrisy is in the tank for the Democrats.

H/T Hot Air, The Caucus





|| Greg, 05:23 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

What A Frightening Picture

I always visit the Washington Post over lunch, just to check the headlines

Today I found myself frightened by what I saw.

I then thought, “Did they unwrap a mummy at the Smithsonian?”

“Or maybe there's an exhibit of one of those ancient Celts they pull out of the peat bogs?”

“Could it be an Andean mummy from the Inca Empire?”

Continue to be enlightened while reading "What A Frightening Picture" »




|| Greg, 05:11 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Do You Really Need That Water?

Probably not.

The idea that drinking eight glasses of water a day is good for your health has been dismissed as a myth.

Scientists say there is no evidence drinking large amounts of water is beneficial for the average healthy person, and do not even know how this widely held belief came about.

Specialists in kidney conditions in America reviewed research on claims eight 8oz glasses of water help flush toxins from the body, preventing weight gain and improving skin tone.

Dr Dan Negoianu and Dr Stanley Goldfarb, of the Renal, Electrolyte and Hypertension Division at the University of Pennsylvania, said no single study indicated average healthy people needed to drink this amount of water - a total of 3.3 pints - each day.

"Indeed, it is unclear where this recommendation came from," they say in a review in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

In other words, drinking all that water does nothing for you – well, other than make you pee.

Will this impact bottled water sales, further fueling the recession?

And will Democrats blame George Bush?





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

Just In Time For The Beijing Olympics

More human rights oppression!

Hu Jia, a persistent human rights campaigner in custody since December, was convicted Thursday of subverting the Chinese government through his online writings and sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison, his lawyer announced.

The conviction, widely expected since Hu's 3 1/2 -hour trial March 18, was denounced by the human rights group Amnesty International as a betrayal of China's commitments in winning the role as host of the 2008 Summer Olympics in August.

"The manipulations that led to this guilty verdict are a blatant perversion of justice," T. Kumar, Amnesty's Asia advocacy director, said in a statement. "It is deeply disturbing that officials would so openly turn their backs on commitments to improve human rights in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics. Hu Jia must be released immediately and unconditionally."

Writing and speaking on political topics is a human right long recognized by the United nations. China has promised to improve its human rights policies, but has notoriously failed to do so. So while I agree with T. Kumar's statement above, I know that won't happen -- and so again repeat my call for the IOC to simply cancel the 2008 Games as a show of support for human rights and as a way of avoiding an abuse of the Games similar to what happened with the Berlin Olympics in 1936.

2007-11-12-handcuff-olympic-symbol[1].jpg





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

Another Wild-Ass Guess On Hurricanes

We have, after all, heard alarmist predictions each year since 2005. Neither of those predictions has panned out. I'll remain a skeptic on this one.

The noted Colorado State University forecast team expects an above-average Atlantic hurricane season and may raise its prediction of 13 tropical storms and seven hurricanes when it updates its outlook next week, the team's founder Bill Gray said Wednesday.

La Nina cool-water conditions in the Pacific and higher sea surface temperatures in the eastern Atlantic are contributing to enhanced conditions for hurricane activity, Gray told Reuters at the U.S. National Hurricane Conference.

"We're expecting an above average season," Gray said. "The big question we have is, are we going to raise the numbers from our December forecast? We might."

This is the same "noted forecast team" that has made the alarmist predictions each of the last two years -- and which under-predicted 2005. It strikes me that they are noted because the are great at hyping themselves, not because they are accurate.





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

Genetic Link To Cancer, Smoking?

Having recently buried my mother-in-law following an extended illness caused by her smoking, this story interests me to no end.

Scientists say they have pinpointed a genetic link that makes people more likely to get hooked on tobacco, causing them to smoke more cigarettes, making it harder to quit, and leading more often to deadly lung cancer.

The discovery by three separate teams of scientists makes the strongest case so far for the biological underpinnings of the addiction of smoking and sheds light on how genetics and cigarettes join forces to cause cancer, experts said. The findings also lay the groundwork for more tailored quit-smoking treatments.

"This is kind of a double whammy gene,'' said Christopher Amos, a professor of epidemiology at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and author of one of the studies. "It also makes you more likely to be dependent on smoking and less likely to quit smoking.''

I lost my grandfather to such an illness four decades ago, and so avoided smoking out of fear that i would follow in my footsteps. A good move, in my eyes, as my mothers siblings who smoked were both dead before sixty -- while my mother is still going strong in great health in her mid-70s. had i started smoking, I'm sure I would already be gravely ill -- likely because of this gene. Fortunately, free will does come into play on the initial decision to smoke.

And I already see some of my teenage students smoking -- hooked on that nicotine -- in the tenth grade, which has made m wonder to what degree there was a genetic link rather than a social one. How many will die young because of the impact of this gene?





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

JPII And Sainthood

The path to recognizing someone as a saint can take decades of centuries, but the cause of John Paul II is well underway three years after his death -- and even his successor seems to have a soft spot for it, as the text of his sermon at yesterday's memorial mass would seem to indicate.

Catholics around the world on Wednesday marked the third anniversary of Pope John Paul's death and Vatican officials said they were receiving a steady stream of pleas from the faithful convinced he was a saint.

Pope Benedict, John Paul's successor, presided at a solemn Mass before tens of thousands of people in St Peter's Square, from the same spot on the steps of the basilica where John Paul's simple wooden coffin lay three years ago.

"For many days, the Vatican basilica and this very square were really the heart of the world," Benedict said in his sermon as members in the crowd waved flags of the late pope's Polish homeland and banners bearing his image.

Benedict did not use the word "saint" in his sermon but said John Paul had "many human and supernatural qualities" and was a mystic endowed with exceptional spiritual sensitivities.

Why the rush on sainthood for the late pontiff? Partly because there is a sense of the faithful on this one -- a general belief among Catholics that the holiness with which the man lived out his life and ministry demonstrates the sanctity of his life. A second reason is the fact that John Paul II lived out his pontificate in the public spotlight like none of his predecessors. It seems his every word and deed was somehow recorded, and so doing the sort of research on those areas is relatively easy compared to looking at the life of some seventeenth century nun in a convent in South America or a missionary in Africa during the 1800s.

I expect we will see his canonization in my lifetime -- a quick response to the call of Santo Subito that arose at his funeral.





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

April 02, 2008

Heroic Child, Moronic Authorities

Why is there even a question about charges in this case?

The 12-year-old boy had finished his homework and was playing a video game when he heard his mother cry out. Rushing to her aid, he found her on the kitchen floor, straddled by a fellow resident of their Prince George's County boarding house, the man's hands wrapped tightly around her neck, the boy said yesterday.

"I kept saying, 'Stop! Stop! Stop!' " the boy said, describing the events of Monday night. "But he just ignored me. He didn't stop. He just kept hurting her."

The boy said he grabbed a knife and swung, slashing 64-year-old Salomon Noubissie across the neck and opening an artery. Noubissie was fatally wounded.
The mother, Cheryl Stamp, said she did not immediately understand what had happened. "What did you do?" she said she asked her son.

"He didn't say anything," she said. "But I knew when I looked in his eyes. I said, 'Oh, Lord.' "

The shocking thing is that the cops are still trying to decide whether or not to file charges against this young hero. What is a person to do in that situation, especially when that person is a 12-year-old? Grab the nearest available weapon and use it to defend the victim of the attack, that’s what!

Sadly, though, this story strikes way too close to home for me.

My first year of teaching here in Houston, I gave a writing assignment to my English students on the topic “A Moment That Changed My Life”. I was stunned the next day when a polite young man turned in a paper entitled “The Night I Killed A Man”, all about his having stabbed and killed a man who had broken into his house and was beating up his father, who had gone downstairs to check on a noise.

That afternoon I went to my principal to show her the paper and express my rather serious concern over what I had read. Was the boy mentally disturbed and in need of psychological help? Was the story true, and did I need to inform the police? It was then I was told that this student had, in fact done exactly what was described in the paper a few months before – and that he was attending our school because of threats against his life by some of the dead robber’s associates.

I got to know this student quite well during that year. He was haunted by what he had done, even though he knew that using that butcher knife to protect his father was exactly the right thing to do. I’ve lost tack of him over the years, but I still remember him expressing his amazement with how fragile life was and how he was bothered by the fact that there was nothing he could ever do to undo the taking of a life, no matter how justified it was. It serves as one more reminder that we teachers learn from our students every bit as much as they learn from us – and sometimes even more.





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

More Racism, Less Outrage

I’m glad to see the arrests made, but I wonder if you notice what is missing here.

Four men in Orlando were charged with a hate crime after they pummeled a 62-year-old woman and her two mentally-challenged companions at a public park after they didn't pay a "fee" for being white, police said.

Investigators said the victims were walking into a Kaley Park when they were confronted by Christopher Colbert, Erick Golden, Willie Pritts and Antoniette Boone.

Police said the victims were told that since they are white, they had to pay a fee to be in the park.

What don’t you see? How about marches and speeches led by outraged foes of racism? I guess that they just can’t muster the outrage necessary to protest when the victims are white and the perps are black.

But rest assured that if the races were reversed, they would be there extorting a little something out of the public coffers.

And I’m curious – why hasn’t the media been all over this one nationally? After all, it would be a great case to use in a dialogue on race and racism, don’t you think?





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

NASA Layoffs Coming

Not good news for the local community, where the main drag is NASA Parkway and many employers are somehow related to Johnson Space Center.

As many as 2,300 people, most of them contractors, could lose their jobs at Johnson Space Center as the shuttle fleet nears retirement in two years, NASA officials predicted Tuesday.

In the first report of its kind to Congress about the expected drawdown in the space agency's work force, the officials said the reductions would come mostly from the ranks of contractors. The number of permanent civil servants would essentially remain flat.

The officials did not predict the timing of the cuts across the space agency but said that they may begin near the end of the current fiscal year, which ends in September. Between 5,800 and 7,300 workers throughout the agency would lose their jobs over the next three years.

The losses at the space agency's Clear Lake complex could amount to as few as 400 jobs through 2011 if work quickly picks up on the Constellation program, the initiative to build a successor to the shuttle for missions to the moon and Mars. That would depend on an increase in congressional funding and support by the next president.

Of course, this number does not include the possibility of retirements offsetting some of the job losses.

This really is a concern around here. Many friends from church, as well as at least one local political blogger, are NASA employees. I've got friends working on the Constellation program, helping to prepare the next generation spacecraft. Moving the Ares program to the Marshall Space Center in Huntsville could mean transfers for some of them, assuming their positions are not eliminated. Will they be back, or will the jobs permanently shift to Alabama?

But there will be AT LEAST a five-year gap in manned space flight following the shuttle's retirement. I agree with Nick Lampson on this one. We need to shorten that gap -- both for economic reasons and for scientific ones.





|| Greg, 04:26 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Vytorin Study Raises Questions

This raises more questions than it answers.

The news keeps getting worse for two heavily promoted cholesterol drugs, Vytorin and Zetia. These drugs were supposed to offer a valuable alternative to the older cholesterol-lowering agents known as statins, a class that includes Lipitor, Zocor and other drugs that not only reduce cholesterol but also reduce the risk of heart attacks. In clinical trial results released this week, the newer drugs failed to reach their main goal: slowing the growth of artery-clogging plaques — a suggestion that they might not help ward off heart attacks.

* * *

In the clinical trial, 720 European patients with genes that cause abnormally high cholesterol levels were given either Vytorin, a combination pill that contains both Zetia and Zocor, or simply Zocor alone. As expected, the combination pill proved better than the statin alone at reducing the level of bad cholesterol. But to everyone’s surprise, Vytorin failed to slow the growth of fatty plaques in the arteries, and it may have even allowed greater growth than the statin did.

It seems clear that there is an issue with Zocor. But is Zetia as flawed a drug? I asked one doctor that question yesterday, only to be told that her reading of the study is that the problem is with Zocor itself, because of the lack of a sample with Zetia being given alone. And given that the drug is effective with its primary purpose, Zetia remains a good drug for those who have difficulties with the statin drugs.

I suspect we will hear more in the not terribly distant future about other studies. But one would have hoped that this would have been vetted during the approval process.





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

Who Has More Substantive Accomplishments?

Hillary or Obama?

According to one email making th rounds, Obama.

According to FactCheck.org, Hillary by a hair.

A misleading e-mail has been making the rounds, alleging that Clinton has fewer legislative accomplishments than Obama, and that they are less substantive. We've had questions about it from a number of readers, and blogs have jumped into the fray. So what's the real story on the Senate careers of the Democratic presidential candidates?

We find that the e-mail is false in almost every particular:

It sets up a face-off between apples and, well, broccoli, comparing only the Clinton-sponsored bills that became law with all bills sponsored or cosponsored by Obama, whether they were signed into law or not.

It includes legislation Obama sponsored in the Illinois state Senate, a very different legislative body.

It tells us that Obama has sponsored more legislation than Clinton, when in fact he has sponsored less.

It implies that Obama has passed more bills into law than Clinton, when the opposite is true.

Contrary to the e-mail's assertions, Clinton's and Obama's contributions are not qualitatively different, and quantitatively, Clinton has the edge.

What would be really interesting, though, would be to add John McCain to the mix. The results would be a heavy advantage to the GOP nominee. After all, he has made more substantive contributions legislatively than both of the Pants Suit and the Empty Suit combined.





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

April 01, 2008

And Whose Fault is This?

Is it the fault of the oil company executives who control the companies? Or the Congress, which is responsible for passing and changing the tax code?

Lawmakers grilled executives from the world's five largest publicly traded oil companies Tuesday, criticizing them for taking tax subsidies and not investing in renewable resources amid record prices for oil and gasoline.

"Americans are hoping that the top executives from the five largest oil companies will tell us that these soaring gas prices are just part of some elaborate hoax," said Ed Markey, D-Mass, chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. "Unfortunately, it's not a joke."

Markey slammed executives from Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA), BP (BP), Chevron (CVX, Fortune 500), and ConocoPhillips (COP, Fortune 500) for their opposition to eliminating about $18 billion in tax breaks over a ten year period amid record profits for the industry.

"Last year these companies alone made over $123 billion in profit," said Markey. "What is the oil industry doing with all this profit? Unfortunately, it goes as much to financial engineering as to renewable engineering."

Some members of Congress want to take away the tax breaks. That is their prerogative. Of course, that may very well increase consumer prices as the oil companies pass the increased tax burden along to the consumers in the form of higher prices – just as they have passed the increased cost of a barrel of crude oil along to the consumer.

After all – these executives have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to manage their money in the most prudent manner. That includes taking tax breaks authorized by the tax code – or pricing products accordingly if their tax burden increases.

There is, however, one option that none of these lawmakers have suggested for lowering gas prices – doing away with the 18.4 cent a gallon federal gas tax. Not that such a thing would ever be considered while the Democrats control congress.

Interestingly enough, CNN sticks this little tidbit, similar to something I posted some time ago, near the end of the article.

The industry has argued they need to be big to compete with large state-owned oil companies from places like Russia and China. They also say that while the raw numbers are high, their profit margin - at around 9 percent - is roughly in line with other industries.

Is it truly the contention of these members of Congress that a 9% profit is extortionate? Will we next see laws setting a maximum permitted return on investment -- AKA profit -- for American companies?

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

Domestic Terrorists Win A Round

Using the tactics of the Islamists, no less.

Citing threats of violence by animal rights activists, the San Francisco Art Institute said Saturday that it is canceling a controversial exhibition that included video clips of animals being bludgeoned to death, as well as a public forum it had scheduled to address the controversy.

"We've gotten dozens of threatening phone calls that targeted specific staff people with death threats, threats of violence and threats of sexual assaults," said Art Institute President Chris Bratton. "We remain committed to freedom of speech as fundamental to this institution, but we have to take people's safety very seriously."

The exhibit that sparked the controversy was a one-person show by Paris artist Adel Abdessemed called "Don't Trust Me," which opened March 19.

And the threats were pretty specific.

Abdessemed's show, one of about a dozen public exhibitions that the 650-student school hosts each year, had opened fairly quietly. But as word spread among animal rights groups, more than 8,000 people sent e-mails to the institute slamming the show. Institute officials temporarily closed the show Wednesday and scheduled a public forum for Monday.

But then the tone of some of the e-mails turned violent, Bratton said, with threats against individual staff members, such as, "We're going to gather up your children and bludgeon their heads." Officials decided to shutter the exhibition permanently, the first time in the institute's 137-year history that a show was closed for safety reasons. They also canceled the forum.

"Some of the people who said the most threatening things said they would be present at the forum," Bratton said.

Well, friends, there we have it. The violent animal rights folks – putting animal lives above human lives – have been permitted to put their values and ideology above those of every other American. The artistic establishment has made it clear that they will give in – and no doubt other groups will follow their lead.





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

I Agree With Pelosi

Actually, that isn’t quite true – I don’t think she goes far enough.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Bush should consider boycotting the opening ceremony of the Olympics Games in Beijing this summer to protest China's human rights record.

"I think boycotting the opening ceremony, which really gives respect to the Chinese government, is something that should be kept on the table," Pelosi told "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts in an interview to air Tuesday morning, according to the ABC News Web site. "I think the president might want to rethink this later, depending on what other heads of state do."

Pelosi said she does not think U.S. athletes should boycott the games themselves.

"I believe a boycott of the Beijing Olympics would unfairly harm our athletes who have worked so hard to prepare for the competition," she said in a statement last week.

I see no good coming in allowing the Chinese a propaganda victory via a presidential visit – especially as we are seeing allies choose not to attend. Indeed, I have stated that the IOC should consider canceling or moving the games due to the ongoing human rights violations in China.

The 1936 Berlin Olympics were a low point in Olympic history, as Hitler used the games to promote his shameful ideology. Is it too much to ask that the same mistake not be made in 2008?

2007-11-12-handcuff-olympic-symbol[1].jpg





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

The Worst Kept Secret in Texas

Kay Bailey Hutchison is almost certainly to be a candidate for Governor in 2010.

More reports that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is running for governor. It's not like the senior senator has tried to tamp down speculation or anything. On an airplane with John McCain this month traveling between Houston and Austin, Hutchison came back to chat.

I greeted her with, "Governor, good to see you."

"I like the sound of that," she said, smiling broadly.

There was speculation she would run in 2006 – and I urged against it. I’ve come to regret that position, given the particular lousy performance of Rick Perry as governor over the last 18 months. If he were my available choice, I’d be inclined to vote for Kinky Friedman, just for the entertainment value – after all, the singer/author/funnyman actually intends to make a fool out of himself much of the time – Perry does so unintentionally.

Which leads us to other possible candidates. Other than the possibility of Perry himself running, we could see Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst seek the office after biding his time for the last decade. I can’t see him sparking much more enthusiasm than Perry, though, among the GOP base, most of whom at least like Hutchison even when we disagree with her. On the other hand, there are frequent rumors about a hard-right bid from State Senator (and radio personality) Dan Patrick, given his available media footprint that covers close to half of the state’s population.

And if Hutchison runs and resigns from the Senate (not a requirement, but a strong possibility), who would replace her?

Mentioned as the top front-runners are Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (who also has indicated that he plans to run for governor), former Secretary of State Roger Williams, Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Michael Williams and, if he so chooses, Perry himself.

Now Perry states he isn’t interested in a national position – but if his option is having his head handed to him by Hutchison in the primary, I could see naming himself as a real possibility. I sort of like the Michael Williams possibility myself.

Am I ready to slap a KBH bumper sticker on my car? Not yet – but at this point, I don’t see anyone on the gubernatorial horizon who I believe is better situated to win on 2010.

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|| Greg, 06:10 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Carrying The Guns Americans Won't Carry?

Not only are they here in violation of our laws, border, and sovereignty (three ways of saying the same thing), they are then violating laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

More than 30 illegal immigrants who work as security guards face weapons charges, Dallas police said. Police teamed up with state and federal agents for the joint operation, which aimed to identify armed and unarmed security officers who were in the country illegally.

The people arrested face weapons charges, because it is illegal for non-citizens to carry or own guns.

The investigation targeted 26 Dallas-based businesses, most of which were nightclubs.

Now I am not sure what the laws are in this state for security guards, but I know that ARMED security guards have required licenses (and not just carry permits) in other states where i have lived. Part of that has required weapons testing by local law enforcement personnel at a law enforcement firing range. If anything remotely similar is the case here in Texas, it strikes me that we have a much bigger problem than armed illegals -- we may have local law enforcement granting licenses to violate the law to illegal immigrants. This matter needs a much closer look.

H/T Malkin





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

Hamas Slanders Jews

And yet the world expects Israel to negotiate with these terrorist anti-Semites?

In the Katib Wilayat mosque one recent Friday, the imam was discussing the wiliness of the Jew.

“Jews are a people who cannot be trusted,” Imam Yousif al-Zahar of Hamas told the faithful. “They have been traitors to all agreements — go back to history. Their fate is their vanishing. Look what they are doing to us.”

At Al Omari mosque, the imam cursed the Jews and the “Crusaders,” or Christians, and the Danes, for reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. He referred to Jews as “the brothers of apes and pigs,” while the Hamas television station, Al Aksa, praises suicide bombing and holy war until Palestine is free of Jewish control.

Its videos praise fighters and rocket-launching teams; its broadcasts insult the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, for talking to Israel and the United States; its children’s programs praise “martyrdom,” teach what it calls the perfidy of the Jews and the need to end Israeli occupation over Palestinian land, meaning any part of the state of Israel.

Yeah -- these folks sound like real partners for peace, don't they.

But the Israelis are expected to make concessions to them and abide by those concessions.

Despite the fact that one of the concessions made by the Palestinians at Oslo 15 years ago was the elimination of such anti-Semitic incitement in the media and mosques under control of the Palestinian Authority. Like most of the concessions made by the Palestinians in negotiations, it has been ignored in practice.

Hamas -- and much of the Palestinian people -- will not be happy until the blood of the Jews of Israel flows like a river through the streets. Until that attitude changes, why should Israel negotiate at all?





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

Theft In Progress In Zimbabwe

Looks like Mugabe is going to do it again.

Zimbabwe's ruling party edged ahead of the main opposition on Tuesday with over half of parliamentary election results released and concerns grew that President Robert Mugabe was trying to rig the vote.

Riot police in armored carriers patrolled two of Harare's opposition strongholds overnight and residents were told to stay off the normally bustling streets.

Three days after the most important vote since independence, only 109 out of 210 parliamentary constituencies had been declared, showing the ruling ZANU-PF two seats ahead of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

No results have been announced for the presidential vote, in which Mugabe faces the most formidable political challenge of his 28 years in power -- from old rival Morgan Tsvangirai and ruling party defector Simba Makoni.

The opposition MDC says it won according to its own tally and has accused the veteran leader of delaying the issuing of the results in a bid to steal the election, which Zimbabweans hoped would ease daily hardships.

It is that presidential total that is the real key here. If one accepts the unofficial tallies released at polling places, Morgan Tsvangirai won decisively. That we are now three days out from the election and no results have been released can only lead to a single conclusion -- that there is an attempt to cook the books in favor of the nation's long-time dictator.

What action will the international community take in this thwarting of the will of the people of Zimbabwe?





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