Linda Chavez put forward this proposal in a column to in contrast to the proposal floated by the Democrats.
Why not give every man, woman, and child in the United States $3,000 to spend on pretty much anything they choose. The price tag would be about $900 billion, barely more than what is in the House package now. But unlike the Democrats' plan, which has government making the decision about how the money should be spent, people would get to decide for themselves.
There'd be no limits on who could receive the money -- a rich man would get the same three grand that a poor woman or child received. The program isn't intended to redistribute wealth, but to infuse the economy with cash. The only rule that would apply is that the money would have to be spent within a certain period of time, say 18 months. In addition, most of the money would have to be spent on buying things: payment toward a new or used car, down payment on a home, some new appliances, home remodeling, clothes, electronics, or even a vacation. Hey, you could even use it to put solar panels on your roof or erect a windmill in your background if that's what you wanted. But only a portion of the money could go to paying down credit card or current mortgage debt -- say, a third -- and then only if the person was already two months in arrears in their payments.
In order to keep this cash distribution about as simple as possible but still allow the money to be tracked so that we know that people are actually buying stuff not hording the money in their bank accounts, the government would disperse it in the form of debit cards linked to the individual's Social Security number. The government could surely subcontract this out to one of the large credit card companies for a small administrative fee charged to the cardholder, similar to what some companies charge now for gift cards. And recipients would receive a statement that they would have to submit with their tax return within the time period to ensure they played by the rules.
While I prefer this idea of putting money in the hands of the people, I donít know that I like the idea of a government bureaucracy tracking our spending and telling us how we can spend money that is, essentially, our money. But the idea did get me to thinking, and I have an idea that just might work Ė and would have the advantage of bailing out both banks AND people, while putting money in the hands of people to spend.
What, you may ask, is the idea? Well, it came to me when I encountered this statistic quite by chance.
Revolving credit in November stood at approximately $973.5 billion and was falling at a 3.4 percent annual rate. Bank credit card debt, except from credit cards from gas stations and stores, comprised 85 percent of total revolving credit, or $830 billion.
My proposal? Pay off all that consumer debt. After all, the total is approximately the amount that was to be spent under the stimulus plan. Instead of sending it to various special constituencies for projects that wonít be implemented for months or years, spend every penny of it right now. What would the result be? In effect, putting the total amount of individual monthly credit card payments in the pockets of real people immediately, and for every foreseeable month. After all, many Americans would find themselves with an extra $300 or more in disposable income EVERY MONTH.
Now some might argue that this unfairly rewards those who spent too much and incurred debt while doing nothing for those who remained debt free. Iíll agree that there is a disparity Ė but is it any less fair than giving cash to businesses and groups that were unwise in their business practices or are politically well-connected? And more to the point, a direct bailout of average Americans does two things Ė it not only allows the Americans whose spending is most encumbered to spend, but it has the effect of putting more money in the hands of financial institutions to lend by taking nearly $1 trillion off in loans off the books of banks, freeing that money up for loans to business and consumers. That would further encourage spending, which would require additional production and additional jobs.
Mind you, I donít like bailouts as a matter of principal. I donít favor government give-aways. But if we are going to have one, letís have one that directly benefits the average American and which will have the added benefit of working to stimulate economic growth immediately.
An essential part of liberty is the right of freedom of association, which carries with it the right to not associate. The right to freely associate is a part of the basis for the existence of labor unions and for legislation which requires that businesses negotiate with labor unions formed by their employees. But workers do have the right to choose to not unionize, or to decertify a union which they feel no longer represents their best interests.
Former President George W. Bush had done a great service to workers unhappy with union representation by issuing an executive order which interpreted labor law as permitting employers to tell workers that they had that right. Union bosses, needless to say, did not like that, because it meant that they actually had to give a damn if their members (often forced to join due to union shop regulations) were happy with the representation or not. Overturning that regulation was among their high priorities Ė and today they got Barry Hussein to silence employers so that employees remain ignorant to their rights under federal law.
President Obama plans Friday to reverse an executive order allowing unionized companies to post signs alerting employees that they are allowed to leave unions.
Critics of the order said that while unionized shops were allowed to let workers know they could de-unionize, non-unionized shops were not required to post information telling employees they could unionize.
Now Iíve got a real problem with this move by Obama, and it boils down to this. The Bush order permitted, but did not require, employers to engage in true speech regarding the legal rights of employees, while this new action prohibits such true speech based upon the objection of labor bosses that the old order did not compel (not permit, require) employer speech about the right to unionize. This seems to fly in the face of the First Amendment, as government is regulating the content of speech about activities that are legal. If this regulation were to ban false speech, Iíd argue for it Ė but even Obama and the union bosses acknowledge that the speech which is now banned was not false, not coercive, and not encouraging illegal activity. Rather, it is an explicit attempt to tip the scale in favor of one side of the business/labor equation. As such, Iíd argue that the new policy is not merely unconstitutional
Ed Morrissey also makes this observation about the regulation:
Remember when Barack Obama and his administration tried excusing the rescinding of the Mexico City policy on the basis of free speech and keeping women well informed of their medical choices? Apparently, Obama has less concern over American workers than foreign women.
* * *
So American workers should not know that they have the right to de-unionize? Obama wants to keep Americans in closed shops ignorant of their choices? Keep Ďem barefoot and enlslaved to the Union Boss Bills of the world?
In other words, Obama is pro-choice on abortion and no-choice on unions. Or, from another perspective, he wants as much money extracted from the paychecks of productive Americans as he can manage in order to pay for favored liberal causes (abortion, unionism) Ė even if those made to pay donít believe in or want the ďserviceĒ provided in the name of liberalism.
Gateway Pundit has a neat story up about Kurt and Brenda Warner Ė but unfortunately it is not accurate. Hereís his original.
In a supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy, was busily working when a new voice came over the loud speaker asking for a carry out at register 4. Kurtis was almost finished, and wanted to get some fresh air, and decided to answer the call. As he approached the check-out stand a distant smile caught his eye, the new check-out girl was beautiful. She was an older woman (maybe 26, and he was only 22) and he fell in love.Continue to be enlightened while reading "An All-American Love Ė And Success Ė Story" ¬Ľ
Later that day, after his shift was over, he waited by the punch clock to find out her name. She came into the break room, smiled softly at him, took her card and punched out, then left. &nbs p; He looked at her card, BRENDA. He walked out only to see her start walking up the road. Next day, he waited outside as she left the supermarket, and offered her a ride home. He looked harmless enough, and she accepted. When he dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of work. She simply said it wasn't possible.
He pressed and she explained she had two children and she couldn't afford a baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter. Reluctantly she accepted his offer for a date for the following Saturday. That Saturday night he arrived at her door only to have her tell him that she was unable to go with him. The baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis simply said, "Well, let's take the kids with us."
She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but again not taking no for an answer, he pressed. Finally Brenda, brought him inside to meet her children. She had an older daughter who was just as cute as a bug, Kurtis thought, then Brenda brought out her son, in a wheelchair. He was born a paraplegic with Down Syndrome.
Kurtis asked Brenda, "I still don't understand why the kids can't come with us?" Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman with two kids, especially if one had disabilities - just like her first husband and father of her children had done. Kurtis was not ordinary--- he had a different mindset.
That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and the movies. When her son needed anything Kurtis would take care of him. When he needed to use the restroom, he picked him up out of his wheelchair, took him and brought him back. The kids loved Kurtis. At the end of the evening, Brenda knew this was the man she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life with.
A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children. Since then they have added five more kids.
So what happened to Kurtis the stock boy and Brenda the check-out girl? Well, Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in Arizona , where he is currently employed as the quarterback of the National Football League Arizona Cardinals and has his Cardinals are in the Super Bowl. Is this a surprise ending or could you have guessed that he was not an ordinary person.
It should be noted that he also quarterbacked the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.
He has also been the NLF's Most Valuable Player twice and the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player.
Snopes.com debunks the story Ė but supplies the real story that is an even more inpiring tale of love and overcoming adversity.
Kurt and Brenda did not meet while both were working in a grocery store, so you can throw out all that bit about his mooning over her timecard. They met in 1992 at a country bar while he was Northern Iowa's starting quarterback. (After being cut by the Green Bay Packers in 1994, Kurt did find employment in a grocery store, though: He stocked shelves at a
Hy-Veein Cedar Falls for $5.50 an hour.) The next morning Kurt brought Brenda roses and wanted to meet her youngsters. She'd told Kurt about her children the night before, so there was no dramatic surprise when she introduced her disabled son.
The Warners' was a lengthy courtship. They married in 1997 after meeting in 1992 (not "a year later," as the
Brenda (who is four years older than Kurt) had two children by a previous marriage; however, the
Zachary Warner (born in 1989) does indeed have serious physical infirmities, but how he came by them is far more of a story than the Internet fiction lets on. He was a perfectly healthy infant, not a Down Syndrome child. When he was four months old, his father dropped him, and in the blink of an eye, this previously healthy baby was suddenly clinging to life, his grip slipping fast. He suffered severe brain damage, and both of his retinas were ruptured. At the time, few thought Zachary would live, and fewer still held out any hope he would ever see, sit up, read, walk, or talk.
Zachary's recovery has been long and arduous, but he now walks and talks. Though still legally blind, he can make out colors and shapes. No longer strictly a special-needs student, he is integrated for half-days in a regular high school classroom.
Kurt adopted Zachary and Jesse after his wedding to Brenda in 1997. The Warners have since added five more children to their brood: Kade in 1998, Jada in 2001, Elijah in 2003, and twins Sienna and Sierra in 2005.
As for what sort of lad Zachary is and what kind of relationship he enjoys with his adoptive father, this anecdote should say it all: After the Rams victory in the NFC Championship game in 2000,
10-year-oldZachary presented Kurt with a homemade card done in Rams blue and gold. Inside, in childlike scrawl, it read: "You're as good a dad as you are a quarterback!"
Zachary's birth dad could hardly be described in similar fashion. An inability to come to terms with the injuries he'd visited upon his son led to the breakup of his marriage to Brenda. He left her when she was eight months pregnant with Jesse.
Over and above the numerous inaccuracies, the worst offense this particular
e-mailedglurge is guilty of is omission. Not content with recasting the details of the Warners' lives (and the reality had the fiction beat, remember), it leaves by the wayside horrendously large chunks of a truly thrilling story of the sort one usually pays $9.00 to see at the movies:
- All the heartbreak Kurt endured trying to get into the NFL, and the many setbacks he had to weather along the way. So many of our gridiron heroes go in as highly touted draft picks it's sometimes hard to realize some take a tortuous path to the pigskin paradise of the NFL. Kurt presented as a free agent to the Green Bay Packers in 1994, was signed, then cut by them that same year. In 1997 he had a tryout scheduled with the Chicago Bears which fell through when an injury sustained during his honeymoon rendered him hors de combat. (A venomous spider had bitten him on his throwing elbow.) He had to muck about in the Arena and European leagues before finally being taken on by the Rams in 1997 as their third-string quarterback. In 1999 he stepped in during the preseason in place of injured Trent Green and began almost immediately to rewrite Rams' history.
- Brenda's battle to make a life for herself and her two children after her first husband deserted her. This former Marine had to return to her parents' home when she was eight months pregnant with her second child and with a brain-damaged child already in tow. She completed her nursing training during this period, getting by with the help of food stamps and student loans.
- The death of Brenda's parents in Mountain View, Arkansas, in a tornado in 1996. They'd retired there just a year earlier.
- Kurt's embracing of Christianity in 1996. (Although he was raised a Catholic, he dates his spiritual awakening to those dark days in the wake of the deaths of Brenda's parents.)
- Kurt's throwing for a record 414 yards in his
23-16Super Bowl XXXIVvictory over the Tennessee Titans and being named that contest's Most Valuable Player. This new mark topped the previous record of 357 yardsset by San Francisco's Joe Montana in Super Bowl XXIIIand capped an astounding 4,353-yard, 41-touchdownregular season that won him league MVP honors.
As you can see, falling in love with and then marrying a gal who had two children, one of them a special needs child, was just part of this most remarkable story.
See Ė the truth is even more inspiring than the fiction.
Iíd like to add a note to this.
My darling wife found Kurt and Brenda Warner quite grating when he was quarterback of the St. Louis Rams, due to their very public religiosity (please note Ė my wife is a Christian minister and former pastor, just not of the Warnerís evangelical brand of Christianity), though she and I did respect their faith. But this year, as Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals have progressed through the playoffs, she has wished that the press would focus more on Brenda Warner and the Warner family. Why the change? Because over the last several years we have seen the media obsess on Tony Romoís pair of musical girlfriends and whether they would attend games, as well as Tom Bradyís girlfriend and baby situation. Where, she asks, is the focus on the players with great family values whose families turn out faithfully to lend them support? Kurt and Brenda Warner are the model for that sort of relationship, one that should be highlighted rather than the dysfunctional romantic attachments of those other two star quarterbacks. After all Ė it is the sort of love story lived out by the Warners, not the sexual antics of the other two, that ought to be held up to young people as the model to be emulated.
¬ę All done with "An All-American Love Ė And Success Ė Story"?
Since 1997, Harold Nicholson has been locked in a federal prison in Oregon, the highest-ranking officer of the Central Intelligence Agency ever convicted of espionage.
But even as federal inmate No. 49535-083, Mr. Nicholson never really retired as a Russian spy, federal prosecutors say. In an indictment unsealed Thursday, Mr. Nicholson and his 24-year-old son, Nathan, were charged with using jailhouse visits, coded letters and clandestine overseas meetings to sell more secrets to the Russians over the last three years, in a scheme Mr. Nicholson hatched from his prison cell.
ďYou have been brave enough to step into this new unseen world that is sometimes dangerous but always fascinating,Ē Harold Nicholson wrote to his son last July, the indictment says, in what was apparently an reference to the scheme.
The Nicholsons pleaded not guilty on Thursday in federal court in Portland, Ore., and the public defenderís office was appointed to represent them.
The elder Mr. Nicholson pleaded guilty in 1997 to selling the Russians identities of fellow C.I.A. officers. Prosecutors said he ďtrained and taskedĒ his son in spycraft from his cell beginning in 2006, and helped the son meet Russian handlers in Mexico, Peru and Cyprus to pass on information intended to help Russian agents evade detection, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Nathan Nicholson, a former Army paratrooper, had returned from his visits with the Russians with at least $35,000 in cash, some of it in a PlayStation video game case. The money was intended in part to settle a ďpensionĒ that Harold Nicholson said was owed him from his days as a C.I.A. spy for the Russians before his arrest in 1996, the prosecutors said.
The elder Nicholson should have gotten a life sentence the first time around, not a plea bargain that netted him only 23 years. The time is here now to lock both father and son in the deepest, darkest hole in the US prison system (if not Gitmo) forever. Too bad we canít apply the Rosenberg treatment to them, as I believe should be done with all Americans who betray the US by engaging in espionage against our country.
And may I make a special note for those who have speciously accused me of anti-Semitism for opposing a pardon for the spy Jonathon Pollard Ė I apply the exact same standard to these two Christian traitors who sold-out to Russia as I apply to the Jewish traitor Pollard who sold-out to Israel.
Looks like Barry Hussein is a moron -- if we apply the same standard to him that was applied to his predecessor.
Remember -- George W. Bush was labeled an idiot when he attempted to open a locked door (the unlocked door was on the other side of the stage) -- how much dumber must Comrade Hope'N'Change be if he can't tell the difference between a door and a window?
And how "in the tank" is the MSM for not giving this story the same sort of play they gave the door story? Gateway Pundit notes it is somewhere around a factor of 10,000-to-1.
My question -- why didn't Obamessiah simply use his miraculous powers to turn the window into a door?
That would be my reaction to this sign.
It is real Ė the result of hackers.
Transportation officials in Texas are scrambling to prevent hackers from changing messages on digital road signs after one sign in Austin was altered to read, "Zombies Ahead."
Chris Lippincott, director of media relations for the Texas Department of Transportation, confirmed that a portable traffic sign at Lamar Boulevard and West 15th Street, near the University of Texas at Austin, was hacked into during the early hours of Jan. 19.
"It was clever, kind of cute, but not what it was intended for," said Lippincott, who saw the sign during his morning commute. "Those signs are deployed for a reason ó to improve traffic conditions, let folks know there's a road closure."
"It's sort of amusing, but not at all helpful," he told FOXNews.com.
So yes, it was a hoax Ė not the herd of HopeíNíChange addicts in search of the Obamessiah.
The census comes in 2010 Ė and will be followed by reapportionment and redistricting in time for the 2012 elections. That may bode well for the GOP, as it is red states that will be gaining seats and blue that lose.
The 2010 census could add multiple House seats to red-leaning states ó as many as four districts to Texas and two each to Arizona and Florida. And it could subtract seats from blue-trending states like Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Most of the states slated to gain seats in reapportionment next cycle feature Republican-controlled state legislatures and governorís mansions ó the powerhouses that decide how to allocate congressional districts.
Now letís be honest Ė there is no way that all of the seats gained in Texas will be GOP seats. Iíd expect at least one to be solidly Democrat. But the reality is that that this seat will be created by peeling Democrat voters from some marginally Democrat districts Ė making them more competitive for the GOP. And since the GOP is likely to maintain control of both the legislature and the governorís mansion in 2010, it will be Republicans who will be in the driverís seat for drawing the new districts. Something similar will be true in Arizona and Florida.
The New York Times today illustrates one of the more dishonest tactics used in any discussion of issues of civil rights today Ė indeed, a dishonest tactic that has long been used to discredit opponents of a given piece of legislation by so-called supporters of civil rights. In this case, the tactic is used with regard to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck fairness Act. Hereís how.
The new president can play a useful role in helping to rally Senate Democrats not to rest on their Ledbetter laurels and to persuade Republicans to come on board. In the House, only three Republicans voted in favor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. In the Senate, five did. By now, Republican opposition to civil rights and pay equity is not surprising. That makes it all the sadder.
Do you see it? It is right there in the second-to-last sentence. The editorial writer has defined opposition to a particular piece of legislation as opposition to civil rights and fairness. And that, my friends, is an act of unfairness and dishonesty.
After all, is animus towards civil rights and fairness the only possible reason for opposing these particular pieces of legislation? Could it be that there are flaws in the well-intentioned pieces of legislation that make some question whether their adoption is wise if those flaws are not corrected? Could it be that there are other pieces of legislation that might address the issue in a way that particular legislators prefer? In such cases, might not a negative vote represent service of the public interest rather than opposition to civil rights and fair pay? After all, the mere tagging of a piece of legislation with the words ďcivil rightsĒ or ďfairnessĒ does not necessarily make it the only vehicle for advancing those agendas..
Normally I prefer to see a federalist solution to most problems, with issues resolved on the state level. However, some issues are, by their nature, federal questions because of their serious impact upon interstate commerce. Thatís why I fundamentally disagree with the Houston Chronicleís Nick Andersonís position in this editorial cartoon.
Hereís the problem Ė the automobile industry is not one that operates on the local level. It is clearly a national industry, and automobiles both move in interstate commerce and are regularly transported between states. The result of allowing environmental standards to be set on the state level is that the auto industry will have 50 different standards to deal with, potentially necessitating 50 different versions of each and every car due to the need to meet the emissions standards of each state. It is not feasible, and would undermine the already troubled auto industry even further. On the other hand, we could also see the standard of one state become the de facto national standard. Should Vermont or Rhode Island or California, for example, dictate the environmental standards for all 50 states, effectively giving them control over what products may be offered nationwide Ė a clear matter impacting interstate commerce? For that reason, the matter of automobile emissions standards is one that should be dealt with on the national level rather than the state level Ė it isnít a question of rejecting federalism, but rather one of understanding which level a question is most properly handled upon. The Neophyte-In-Chief should have understood and not undone the Bush Administration policy on the matter.
And I'm not alone in this -- just ask Michigan's liberal Democrat Senator Carl Levin.
When a prosecution witness and a juror are doing the horizontal mambo, it seems to me that you there exists a significant reason for a do-over. And if it is an investigator and a witness? Well, the conflict is different, but it certainly provides enough of a taint to warrant overturning a conviction.
Attorneys for former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) have accused an FBI agent involved in the Stevens corruption investigation of having an inappropriate relationship with a key witness in the case.
Based on a complaint by an FBI whistleblower, Agent Chad Joy, the Stevens defense team claims that Mary Beth Kepner, the lead FBI agent on the case, had a personal relationship with Bill Allen, the CEO of an Alaska oil services firm and a witness against Stevens.
Stevensí lawyers state that Joyís memo ďstrongly suggests that the inappropriate relationship was sexual.Ē Joy stated that Kepner ďwore a skirt for AllenĒ on a day that he was to testify in the case.
Joy also charges that Kepner may have provided secret grand jury information to Allen about other ongoing federal investigations.
I agree with Ed Morrissey on this one:
The affair may be the lesser of the concerns prosecutors have over this motion. Joy informed the prosecution of the relationship on or before December 2nd, but did not reveal it to the court on that day. That could represent prosecutorial misconduct if the judge rules that the information was relevant and germane to the defense ó and itís hard to argue that a sexual relationship between a key witness and an FBI agent wouldnít go to credibility.
The entire Stevens case was marked with assorted irregularities by the prosecution. Justice is a good thing Ė but Iím starting to wonder if what was done in this case was not justice.
Over the weekend, I made my first purchase from Circuit City in over three years. The prices were OK Ė but not the sort of bargains that so many folks seem to be expecting. I bought a camera for my computer at just a couple bucks less than what I would have paid across the street, and a game program that was enough of a bargain that I was willing to drop some cash on it. But otherwise, my wife and I simply walked away feeling the same way described in this article.
As Circuit City fades into history, the electronics chain is teaching shoppers that a liquidation sale does not necessarily translate to bargains. Thereís no question the shelves are emptying, but some shoppers have been walking out empty-handed.
ďI wanted to see what the sales were like,Ē said David Woods, a power plant operator, who left the Galleria-area store without buying anything. The discounts, mostly 10 percent to 30 percent off, didnít impress him.
ďYou can get that online,Ē he said.
The problem, in my book, is that Circuit City rarely had prices that were competitive with the other places I shop. Therefore the discounts just are not that impressive.
Too early to tell if the numbers are in free-fall -- but this is a mighty significant drop in less than six days.
BARACK Obamaís approval ratings have nosedived by 15 points after only six days in office, according to a new poll.
The Gallup poll shows that reality is setting in for the new US President after the euphoria that greeted his inauguration last Tuesday.
But his ratings still stand at an impressive 68 per cent despite the fall.
Granted, 68% is nothing to sneeze at, but it is not the 80+ points of a week ago. And while nobody expected the numbers to stay so high, I don't think anyone thought there would be such a precipitous fall.
All part of the African version of the Taliban, out to stir up more Islamist terror.
Eleven youths suspected of being trained with the hardline Islamist group of Al-Shabaab in the south-central Somalia were arrested. The youths reportedly arrived from Mogadishu to Hargeisaand had lived in the United States.
Somaliland security forces arrested five people after they raided a house in Hargeisa. The suspects consist of four men who are said to be from the United States and a woman from Mogadishu, all five suspects were taken into custody yesterday.
Local newspapers reported today that the woman who came from Mogadishu rented a villa in Hargeisa days before the four men arrived from the US. Members of the security forces had received a tip about the terrorist suspects and were ready to move in and arrest them.
Seems to me that we have a terrorist problem right here at home. What does the Obama Administration intend to do about it?
A member of the Lords intended to invite her colleagues to a private meeting in a conference room in the House of Lords to meet the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, an elected member of the Dutch parliament, to watch his controversial movie Fitna and discuss the movie and Mr. Wildersí opinions with him.
Barely had the invitation been sent to all the members of the House when Lord Ahmed raised hell. He threatened to mobilize 10,000 Muslims to prevent Mr. Wilders from entering the House and threatened to take the colleague who was organizing the event to court. The result is that the event, which should have taken place next Thursday was cancelled.
Seems to me that what you have here is that a Muslim has been allowed to impose his values on what other members of the House of Lords may discuss and who they may meet with. Seems to me that this is antithetical to the values that Great Britain used to stand for Ė but then again, maybe allowing so many Muslims into the UK has weakened the sterner stuff of which the British were once made, resulting in a Britain that is significantly less great than in former days.
On a related note, Geert Wilders and Robert Spencer have a great piece in National Review on the threat to freedom of speech from those who, like Lord Ahmed, would suppress free speech when it is critical of Islam.
If Geert Wilders is silenced, all those who oppose attempts to impose Islamic legal norms upon the West will be silenced also. European nations and the United States should stop appeasing Islam and start fighting together against the rapidly increasing Islamization of Europe. This is a struggle for human rights and human dignity, and for the great heritage of Western civilization that has given so many things to the world, yet whose children and heirs seem curiously embarrassed and reluctant to defend it.
Enough is enough. We must defend our freedom, or we will most certainly lose it.
I encourage you to read the whole thing.
Apparently the nationís cartoonists are having a hard time drawing our new president.
During the presidential campaign, cartoonists frequently homed in on Obama's measured temperament, with more critical strips caricaturing him as cold and aloof. More often than not, though, drawings were complimentary. One showed him mending a Constitution shredded by Bush, and another depicted him as a symbol of 1960s civil rights struggles. Cartoons regularly portrayed Obama as rail-thin with big ears or playing basketball (one of his passions) or placed him in a pantheon with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln.
Oliphant complained that Obama's physical features don't naturally lend themselves to caricature.
"With Bush, you had that general vacuity -- those blanked-out eyes and those goofy expressions. As for Obama, Thank God for his ears. A good-looking president isn't good for cartooning."
Actually, I see two problems.
First, these guys are generally for Obama Ė they really donít want to make him an object of ridicule, despite their claims that they are not going to go easy on him. After all, there is plenty to caricature in the ďnose-in-the-air, superior-to-you-in-every-wayĒ pose that he so often takes.
But beyond that, these guys have to be careful. If they get too tough on him, we know the usual response Ė RRRRAAAACCCCIIIISSSSMMMM!!!!
Here are the most recent winners.
This time it is un-funny faux intellectual Jon Stewart, who spent the last several years making money off of rooting for George W. Bush to fail.
So let's get this straight -- opposing Comrade Hope'N'Change and his moves toward socialism is "arguably treasonous", but engaging in 9/11Trutherism and hoping that anti-American terrorists defeat US troops in the field is patriotic. I don't know about you, but I'm sure confused, especially since I know what the Constitution says about treason.
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.
Limbaugh has done nothing of the sort. Can the same be said of Code pink and much of the rest of the anti-war left?
You know, I love a good burger -- but this might just be taking the idea a little bit too far.
An 8,000 calorie burger? My arteries are hardening just considering the concept! Still, let's be honest -- it does look REALLY good.
So, if you ever find yourself in Chandler, Arizona, this might just be the place to drop in for a bite.
(And are there any restaurant entrepreneurs interested in bringing this concept to Houston?)
H/T Debbie Schlussel
During Israel's incursion into Gaza to stop missile attacks on civilians, we heard a lot of reports that made it sound as if not one stone was being left upon another in Gaza. Indeed, one of the worst perpetrators was the New York Times. That's why I find this little tidbit in an article today to be fascinating.
Most of Gaza, especially the capital, Gaza City, remains largely intact. This is not Grozny after the Chechen war or Dresden after World War II. The hospitals are coping; shops are reopening; traffic is becoming a problem once again. Israel has tripled the amount of goods flowing in here since before the war.
In other words, Israel went to great lengths to avoid areas that were not being used by Hamas for military purposes. Israel did not engage in indiscriminate attacks upon the whole of Gaza. And only now, after shilling for the terrorists, does the new York Times bother to tell us that. Sure doesn't sound like Nazi-style genocide to me.
Those who knowingly hire illegal aliens are as guilty as the illegals themselves. That's why I fully support moves like this.
Seven executives and managers at IFCO, a Houston-based pallet company, were charged Friday with conspiring between 2003 and 2006 to harbor illegal immigrants.
In April 2006, immigration agents raided 40 IFCO pallet plants in 26 states and detained 1,182 undocumented workers. Two of the seven officials charged Friday were Spring residents Christopher Tiesman, 40, the senior vice president of finance and accounting; and Kenneth Gines Jr., 51, controller for pallet services.
Tiesman and Gines, along with two other top-level IFCO executives, are charged ďin a related conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration by submitting false payroll-related information to those agencies, and to facilitate the misuse of Social Security numbers by IFCO employees,Ē said a statement from the U.S. Attorneyís Office in Albany, N.Y.
It being the Age of Obama, the notion that "dissent is the highest form of patriotism" is now out of fashion on the Left. First Chris Matthews, and now Leonard Pitts have gone so far as to declare Rush Limbaugh unpatriotic over his statement that he hopes Obama fails as president.
"I hope he fails.''
Do you ever say that about your president if you are an American who loves your country? Would you say it about George W. Bush, who was disastrous; about Bill Clinton, who was slimy; about Jimmy Carter, who was inept; about Richard Nixon, who was crooked? You may think he's going to fail, yes. You may warn he's going to fail, yes.
But do you ever hope he fails? Knowing his failure is the country's failure? Isn't that, well . . . disloyal?
The irony is that Limbaugh and the other clowns would have you believe they are bedrock defenders of this country, that they love it more than the rest of us, more than anything.
That's a lie. Limbaugh just told us so, emphatically.
Excuse me, Leonard, but where have you been for the last eight years? I've not heard so much as a peep of outrage from you as your fellow denizens of the Left have questioned the legitimacy of George W. Bush as president, peddled conspiracy theories involving him, spewed endless accusations against him, and even stated that America deserved anything it got from terrorists. You never once questioned their loyalty -- indeed, you joined them in attacking President Bush at every opportunity, reveling in the notion that your dissent was indeed patriotic.
Now, however, the shoe is on the other foot, and you see fit to question the patriotism of Rush Limbaugh for hoping that Barack Obama fails after being a willing part of the movement that sought to make George W. Bush fail. Dare I point to the hypocrisy of your words, sir? Dare you own that hypocrisy?
Need a house? Well, in many ways this is a great time to be buying, if you are economically secure. That said, looking for a new place can be daunting, especially if you are looking to relocate to a new city. That is where the internet can be your best ally. For example, if you are moving to Austin, there is a great website called HomeCity that offers you the ability to check out some of the many great real estate offerings in the capital of Texas. Their site is well organized and user friendly. So for help buying Austin real estate, make sure you check out HomeCity!
This product is simply creepy -- in a Cultural Revolution sort of way.
Printed in a size that easily fits into pocket or purse, this book is an anthology of quotations borrowed from Barack Obama's speeches and writings. POCKET OBAMA serves as a reminder of the amazing power of oratory and the remarkable ability of this man to move people with his words. His superb and captivating oratory style has earned comparisons to John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and this collection presents words that catapulted his remarkable rise to the American Presidency. Includes themes of democracy, politics, war, terrorism, race, community, jurisprudence, faith, personal responsibility, national identity, and above all, his hoped-for vision of a new America. This book is truly a primer for readers who want to examine the substance of his thought and reflect on the next great chapter in the American story. It is an unofficial requirement for every citizen to own, to read, and to carry this book at all times.
What next -- are those of us who don't fall down and worship going to be carried off to labor camps for reeducation and self-criticism sessions? And when will we be expected to get the Mark of Dear Leader on our hand or forehead?
H/T Say Anything
Everybody knows that John Wilkes Booth murdered Abraham Lincoln. But studies of an old letter have now shown that his father, well-known Shakespearean actor Junius Brutus Booth, had written a letter threatening to assassinate President Andrew Jackson years before!
Dismissed for 175 years as a fake, a letter threatening the assassination of President Andrew Jackson has been found to be authentic. And, says the director of the Andrew Jackson Papers Project at the University of Tennessee, the writer was none other than Junius Brutus Booth, father of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth.
Dan Feller and his staff solved the mystery of the July 4, 1835, letter to Jackson. The story of their investigation will be featured this summer on PBS' "History Detectives."
The letter, which addressed Old Hickory as "You damn'd old Scoundrel," demanded that Jackson pardon two prisoners named De Ruiz and De Soto who had been sentenced to death for piracy in a high-profile trial of the day.
Interestingly enough, no one has ever taken the letter seriously. Even Jackson's staff filed the letter as an anonymous threat, assuming that such a well-known figure as the elder Booth would not have written it. That shows you how differently matters of presidential security were taken in the early days of the republic.
Given that Jackson had chased down and subdued a would-be assassin earlier that year, I'd argue that an attempt to slit his throat in his sleep would not have been a wise move from the standpoint of personal safety. But the letter does go to show that the instability of the son may well have been a hereditary family trait.
H/T Protein Wisdom
It is always nice to see children dressed well in fashionable outfits. After all, there are times when dressing up is absolutely right for children -- but unfortunately, sometimes it is difficult to afford nice outfits for children or to find them locally. But it is possible to dress children well in the latest childrens fancy dress outfits for reasonable prices.
How can you do that? Where do you go for these bargains? Well, you can find them any time, day or night, just by logging on to your computer and searching the right sites. One good choice can be found at www.rsavenue.com. There you will find the latest in children's fashions for the girl or boy you are seeking to outfit, available at reasonable prices The site is quite user friendly and allows you to search by size, sex, or other features. And the variety of clothing you will find there is simply astounding, from more traditional looks to the latest trends for your child.
Best of all, rsavenue.com is a site that you can recommend to friends and family. You can even send gift certificates as gifts so that the parents of children you want to buy for can make the appropriate selections online, eliminating the concerns you may have about picking the right sizes. After all, I have friends and family members whose children I would love to buy for, but I don't always know the right sizes, so that solves a lot of my problem right there.
Because the perpetrators are not Jews, of course.
In the West Bank, Fatah officials said at least 19 of its members have been executed and many more brutally tortured. Gaza residents say Hamas is using schools and other public buildings in Gaza City, and the towns of Khan Yunis and Rafah as detention centers to interrogate members of Fatah, their political rivals. They said three men have been blinded during questioning and more than 60 have been shot in the legs as punishment.
"They are committing human rights violations in a very brutal manner," Mahmoud Habbash, Palestinian Authority minister of social welfare said in Ramallah.
Yeah, you get the obligatory slam at Israel -- but it hasn't been Israel that engaged in this sort of barbarism. What it comes down to, though, is that even when Israel engages in activities permitted under international law to protect itself, it will be condemned. But brutality by the Palestinians against anyone -- Jew, Christian, or Muslim -- will be overlooked and excused by the world community. Which leads us back to the issue which has been raised often in the last few weeks -- are we allowed to call it anti-Semitism yet?
I'm not a Mormon. Indeed, I've made any number of criticisms of Mormon theology and the flawed historical claims of the LDS Church. But never would I argue that Mormons, as a whole, are anything less than exemplary Americans (indeed, as a rule they are exemplary human beings).
On the other hand, Hollywood luminary Tom Hanks recently did exactly that -- based upon the overwhelming support for traditional marriage by Mormons during the election contest over California's Proposition 8.
Here's his statement.
Last week, I labeled members of the Mormon church who supported California's Proposition 8 as "un-American." I believe Proposition 8 is counter to the promise of our Constitution; it is codified discrimination. But everyone has a right to vote their conscience ó nothing could be more American. To say members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who contributed to Proposition 8 are "un-American" creates more division when the time calls for respectful disagreement. No one should use "un- American" lightly or in haste. I did. I should not have.
Let's break that down.
Last week, I labeled members of the Mormon church who supported California's Proposition 8 as "un-American."
Yes, you did -- and in the process singled out members of a relatively small religion as the guilty parties in the passing of that amendment to the California Constitution. You know, sort of like Hitler blamed the Jews for Germany's defeat in the First World War.
I believe Proposition 8 is counter to the promise of our Constitution; it is codified discrimination.
Interestingly enough, the overwhelming majority of Americans and courts appear to disagree with you, Tom. Not that the fact you are in such a small minority makes you un-American or anything -- merely out of step with the American people like most of your Hollywood liberal clique.
But everyone has a right to vote their conscience ó nothing could be more American.
Thank you, Tom Hanks, for acknowledging that the exercise of a fundamental right under our system of government is not un-American.
To say members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who contributed to Proposition 8 are "un-American" creates more division when the time calls for respectful disagreement.
Yeah, it does create more division -- and it is also indicative of the degree of contempt you really have for Mormons, the same contempt you show by making the television series Big Love, with its distorted view of the LDS faithful.
No one should use "un- American" lightly or in haste. I did.
Sorry, Tom, I don't think you are being honest here. Your words seemed to be a rather deliberate, intentional shot at "those people".
I should not have.
You are correct -- you should not have.
Sincerely? I don't think so. After all, your "apology" fails to actually apologize for having defamed our fellow citizens of the LDS faith. You don't say that your statement was incorrect, false, and defamatory -- you merely say that now was not the time for people to cast such aspersions. At no time do you actually say that you were incorrect when you made that statement, and express regret for stirring defaming the many fine Americans who are Mormons.
So friends, don't be fooled by reports that Tom Hanks has apologized to Mormons -- because the only apology offered is for the words he chose, not the essential meaning of those words.
Let's see -- Pakistan has never attacked the United States. So why is Barry Hussein denying alleged jihadis there the right to 3 hots and a cot in the USA and a trial before a civilian court? Why use deadly military force instead of sending a couple of beat cops to make the appropriate arrests?
ďMissiles fired from suspected US drones killed at least 15 people inside Pakistan today, the first such strikes since Barack Obama became president. . . .
* * *
Security officials said the strikes, which saw up to five missiles slam into houses in separate villages, killed seven ďforeignersĒ - a term that usually means al-Qaeda - but locals also said that three children lost their lives. Ē
Yeah, I know -- this is the same policy as we had under George W, Bush. But this is the era of Hope'N'Change, when we are supposed to adopt a kinder, gentler approach towards terrorists in the name of cultivating a more positive world opinion. Since this policy is one of those things that the anti-war apologists for jihadi terror have long argued should be the basis for the impeachment of the recently departed 43rd president, shouldn't there be an uproar over the continuation of the policy by number 44?
The silence is deafening.
Next thing you know, the Obama Administration will be defending warrantless wiretaps and surveillance programs against American citizens.
Oh, yeah -- they've already done that, too.
Where are those rallies and call for impeachment, lefties? Where is Dennis Kucinich and his articles of impeachment when we really need him?
Remember how our new president talked about ending partisanship, reaching across the aisle and getting an 80% margin on any stimulus plan.
President Obama listened to Republican gripes about his stimulus package during a meeting with congressional leaders Friday morning - but he also left no doubt about who's in charge of these negotiations. "I won," Obama noted matter-of-factly, according to sources familiar with the conversation.
Yeah, you may have won Ė but so did the Republicans in the House and Senate. They were elected by their constituents to push for certain principles, and you would do well to remember that. After all, your position is that of President, not Fuhrer, Duce, or Caudillo Ė and you would do well to remember there is no requirement that everyone fall in line with your policy preferences.
H/T Hot Air
Iíll agree that not everyone who opposes some aspect of Israeli policy is an anti-Semite. However, those who oppose Israelís right to defend itself from terrorism Ė and its right to exist at all Ė usually anti-Semitism lies at the heart of the issue.
Take, for example, this situation from Canada.
Re: Anti-Zionism Is Not Anti-Semitism, letters to the editor, Jan. 21.
Why don't your letter writers come and tell their analytical garbage to my son's 20-year-old friend, who last week ended up in hospital after being beaten up in Toronto? His "crime"? He was wearing a Magen David (the Jewish, not Zionist, Star of David). As he fell to numerous blows, his attackers shouted, "Jewish [not Zionist] scum. Let's see how strong you are without your army now!"
The police were most helpful: "We will lay charges only if we know who they are."
Now a couple of observations here.
1) This was a hate crime. The attack was upon a man wearing the symbol of his religious faith, and had epithets hurled at him based upon his religion. The scum who attacked him had no way of knowing what his position on Israel or the war in Gaza were Ė they simply picked out a convenient Jew to assault simply because he was a Jew. They make no distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism Ė why should we in this instance?
2) The Canadian police and media seem quite unwilling to give this hate crime the treatment it deserves. Maybe that is because they donít see the difference between Jews and Zionists either. Would the incident have been treated the same way if it were a Muslim attacked for wearing some symbol of his/her faith, and insulted with anti-Muslim slurs during the attack? Or would the incident have been a priority for both as an example of the ďgrowing intoleranceĒ against Muslims?
3) Of course, we donít see incidents like the hypothetical I proposed above. Maybe that is because Jews, Zionists or otherwise, and those of us who are supportive of Israel are motivated by something other than the hatred that underlies the anti-Semitic ideology of all too many of Israelís opponents. Thatís why in every instance of violence surrounding rallies and demonstration the associated acts of violence were committed not by the supporters of Israel, but rather by the ďpeace-lovingĒ supporters of the terrorists of Hamas. Similarly, Jews, not Muslims, are regularly the victims of these sorts of incidents Ė in which the targets of ďanti-ZionistĒ hate are targets because they are Jews, not because they are Zionists..
Now are you sure that you really want to try to argue that antipathy towards Jews as Jews isnít the underlying motivation behind a significant part of the ďanti-ZionistĒ activity we are assured is not anti-Semitism?
One of the ongoing talking points of the Left is that those of us who seek to have our borders secured and our immigration laws respected are simply hate-mongers who hold Hispanics (especially Mexicans) in contempt. That we may have a reasonable basis for our positions is simply unfathomable to them. Perhaps they need to consider some of the information in this New York Times article and ask themselves whose position, theirs or ours, makes more sense.
JuŠrez and El Paso are divided only by the narrow Rio Grande and a couple of border checkpoints that have done little over the years to stop the steady back and forth of trade and family visits.
The two cities are so close that the mayor of El Paso can look out his office window to view downtown JuŠrez.
But in other ways the two cities are worlds apart these days.
El Paso still enjoys its status as one of the safest cities in the United States, while JuŠrez, a city of 1.5 million that has always been rough, has become a battleground for drug cartels. More than 1,550 people were killed there in drug wars last year.
Worse, other violent crimes ó carjacking, extortion, armed robbery ó have surged as the beleaguered authorities struggle to respond to daily gun battles.
ďItís strange to be the third-safest city in the United States right next to a war zone,Ē said Mayor John Cook of El Paso, as he gazed at the ramshackle neighborhoods of JuŠrez.
The reality is that Mexico is a troubled country today. It is completely dysfunctional. Failure to appropriately secure our border can only result in those problems crossing that border and infiltrating our own cities. We have seen some of this with gangs like the Central American MS-13 gang Ė do we need the ongoing epidemic of abductions and murders to take root in the United States before the supporters of open borders admit that there may be bona fide reasons of public safety at the heart of the positions taken by those of us?
Apparently even true statements that are arguably true can result in criminal convictions in Europe if they insult Islam.
Austrian far-right parliamentarian Susanne Winter was convicted Thursday of incitement because of her anti-Muslim statements, including the claim that Islam's prophet Mohammed was a paedophile. A court in Winter's home town of Graz also found the 51-year-old politician guilty of humiliating a religion. She was sentenced to a fine of 24,000 euros (31,000 dollars) euros and a suspended prison term of three months, Austrian news agency APA reported.
The politician, who took a seat in parliament last fall for the Freedom Party (FPOe), made the anti-Islamic remarks in January 2008.
Now I have said in the past that I do not necessarily accept the validity of the claim that Muhammad was a pedophile. While Muslim sources do indicate that he did consummate a marriage with a 9-year-old, Iím not willing to go so far as to pass judgment on his psychological health Ė instead I prefer to simply condemn as evil a man who in his 50s foists himself sexually upon a pre-pubescent girl. If Islam is ďhumiliatedĒ by such things, Iíd argue that the source of that humiliation is the moral degeneracy of its false prophet, not commentary upon that deviancy by non-Muslims.
Following close on the heels of the decision of a Dutch court to order the prosecution of Geert Wilders for daring to speak out against some of the evils committed in the name of Islam based upon the precise language of the Quran, I think it is now safe to say that the spirit of the Enlightenment is being smothered by those who would impose Islamic censorship upon non-Muslims in the name of ďtoleranceĒ and ďsensitivityĒ. Should they succeed (as they appear to be doing), how long will the light of freedom be permitted to burn here in America before some future majority of the Supreme Court decides to reinterpret the First Amendmentís guarantees in light of ďcontemporary world standardsĒ using the judgments of foreign courts to radically alter our liberties forever?
Israel screwed up by not rooting out every last vestige of Hamas from Gaza Ė so says the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.
"It was a big mistake to end the war this way," the official said. "The fact that Hamas is still in power is bad for all."
The PA leadership had decided to take draconian measures to thwart any attempt by Hamas to stir unrest in the West Bank, the official also said.
"There's no room for these Hamas thugs in the West Bank," he said. "We won't allow Hamas to turn the West Bank into another Islamic republic."
Now I remain skeptical regarding how much faith may be placed in the Fatah-led PA Ė but it is certainly more likely to be a cooperative peace partner than Hamas will ever be.
On a side note, the PA has implemented a crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank without so much as a whisper from the world community Ė while at the same time we are hearing absolute silence from the world community about the wave of violence directed by Hamas against the supporters of Fatah. Apparently the lives and safety of Palestinians is only of concern to the world community when they are harmed by Jews.
In other words, he isn't REALLY banning torture, despite his claims to the contrary.
[Obama's new executive orders] will also prohibit the C.I.A. from using coercive interrogation methods, requiring the agency to follow the same rules used by the military in interrogating terrorism suspects, government officials said.
But the orders leave unresolved complex questions surrounding the closing of the GuantŠnamo prison, including whether, where and how many of the detainees are to be prosecuted. They could also allow Mr. Obama to reinstate the C.I.A.ís detention and interrogation operations in the future, by presidential order, as some have argued would be appropriate if Osama bin Laden or another top-level leader of Al Qaeda were captured.
In other words, Obama just signed an order that said "I'm banning what I call torture until I decide that I want to un-ban it. It's not illegal or unethical or contrary to American values if I'm the president who orders it."
This does, however, make it pretty clear that there will be no criminal prosecutions of those who were authorized to use harsh techniques against jihadi swine during the Bush Administration. After all, Obama doesn't want a legal precedent that would bind his hands when and if he decides that those same methods were a good idea after all.
Declaring the principles of the Enlightenment to be in violation of contemporary legal and social norms in Europe, a Dutch court has ordered that Geert Wilders stand trial for daring to speak in a contemptuous fashion regarding Islam and the Quran.
MP Geert Wilders, who leads the anti-immigration PVV party, should be prosecuted for discrimination and inciting racial hatred, Amsterdam's appeal court ruled on Wednesday.
'This is a black day for me and for freedom of speech,' Wilders told the Telegraaf on Wednesday. 'I had not expected it [this ruling].'
The public prosecution department has received dozens of complaints about Wilders' anti-Islam film Fitna and his statements in the media over the past few years.
But at the end of June last year, the department said it did not have enough grounds to prosecute him and that a healthy legal system should allow plenty of leeway to people involved in political debate.
The appeal court said that while freedom of speech was important, there were limits to that freedom.
Several of the complaints relate to articles or letters by Wilders which were published in the Volkskrant newspaper. For example, in August 2007 he called for the Koran to be banned. 'I have had enough of Islam in the Netherlands: no more Muslim immigrants,' the MP wrote. He also compared the Koran to Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf.
Lawyer Haroon Raza, one of those who asked the court of appeal for its position, points to the 'massive social unrest' which Wilders has generated and says this is why he should be prosecuted.
Wilders' refusal to debate the issues with Muslims themselves means that those who feel insulted by his comments cannot counter the claims he makes, Raza told the Volkskrant.
In other words, the outrage of Muslims is grounds for suppressing the speech of non-Muslims -- and a refusal to engage in debate with those one views as evil renders one's speech criminal.
Here is Wilders' great offense -- Fitna. In the name of the inalienable right to speak freely, I post it here and challenge any person to try to force me to take it down.
I wonder -- will President Obama have the balls to stand up for human rights when they are being violated by an ally like the Netherlands? Will he stand up to members of the Religion of Terror whose own violence and intolerance leads the government of a nation that was once one of the major centers of Enlightenment thought to repudiate one of its fundamental principles by engaging in a prosecution of one who dares to speak out against what he views as the dangerous nature of the backwards teachings of a false religion? Or will he remain mute, in effect according to the religion of his father and step-father (and, according to Islamic law, his own religion by virtue of his parentage and his public recitation of the shahadah) a level of protection that he would reject if it were accorded to any other faith?
(NOTE TO ILLITERATE LIBERALS -- No, I did not say Obama is a Muslim. I accept his statement that he is a Christian, but do feel it necessary to note his status under sharia. For more info on my position, read these earlier posts.)
UPDATE: Ezra Levant, a crusader for free speech rights in Canada who has been repeatedly targeted by the Islamic Censorship Machine, fisks the ruling of the court.
Confirming just what has always been known by those who are not shills for terrorists.
What really is behind the numbers reported on the number of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip? Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera reported Thursday that a doctor working in Gaza's Shifa Hospital claimed that Hamas has intentionally inflated the number of casualties resulting from Israel's Operation Cast Lead. "The number of deceased stands at no more than 500 to 600. Most of them are youths between the ages of 17 to 23 who were recruited to the ranks of Hamas, who sent them to the slaughter," according to the newspaper article.
In other words, their tactics are not dissimilar to those practiced by the Nazis in the last days of WWII, when they armed members of the Hitler Youth (remember, membership was not voluntary) and placed them in harm's way in a last ditch effort to protect that malign regime from its well-deserved defeat. That is appropriate, given that the Hamas program of anti-Semitism and genocide bears much in common with that espoused by the Nazi Party -- which a number of Hamas' spiritual and political ancestors adhered to during that time.
And it has appeared in various publications worldwide today.
I have a vision of Chirac writhng on the floor screaming out France's national motto -- "Je capitule ŗ vous!"
It seems like it wasnít long ago that we on the conservative side were told that questioning the patriotism of those who claimed America deserved the 9/11 attacks, who insulted the troops and urged them to kill their officers, who leaked and published classified material damaging to national security, sought more legal protection for terrorists than are granted American soldiers or who otherwise gave aid and comfort to the enemy during time of war was somehow unacceptable. Indeed, we were regularly told that dissent Ė even dissent that seditious, treasonous dissent like that mentioned above Ė was the highest form of patriotism and that we were somehow fascists if we dared to be critical of those who engaged in the most vile of insults against President Bush.
Apparently, though, those days ended at noon on January 20. Failure to support President Obama blindly and give oneís assent to his agenda is now defined as hatred of America by the mainstream media.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Up next, does Rush Limbaugh hate this country? Wait till you hear what he said about the new president. He wants him to fail. What an amazing. I've never heard anybody say they wanted a new president to fail. Usually you want the new president to succeed and then later on you argue the politics of what he or she does. But to want them to fail at the outset? What's that about?
* * *
MATTHEWS: But it turns out that not everyone has warm wishes for the new president. On Friday radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh said he was asked by a major print organization to offer 400 words on his hope for the Obama presidency. Here's what Rush had to say just days before the Inauguration.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: I disagree fervently with the people on our side of the aisle who have caved and who say, "Well I hope he succeeds. We've got to give him a chance." So I'm thinking of replying to the guy, okay I'll send you a response but I don't need 400 words. I need four. I hope he fails.
MATTHEWS: Well Rush must have a lot of acorns squirreled away not to share everyone else's hopes that the economy does come back.
Yeah, the partisan Mr. ďThrill-up-my-legĒ has questioned Rush Limbaughís patriotism. Apparently he has become the arbiter of how and when and over what other Americans may dissent. Will the same leftist activists and media talking-heads (in reality, the same thing) call him to account for questioning the patriotism of this dissenter? Will they remain silent as Matthews labels a dissenting political commentator as un-American Ė or worse yet, will they pile on along with him? In short, do the standards set by the Left during the Bush administration still apply in the Age of Obama Ė or is the new ďthou shalt not dissentĒ standard one of the changes wrought by the dawning of the Age of Obama?
For what it is worth, I disagree with how Limbaugh expressed his position. I hope Obama is a success as a President Ė but I believe that for him to succeed he must repudiate the positions he took during the campaign. To the degree that he does not, I also hope that he fails in his efforts to bring to fruition the most of the proposed policies of his administration, policies which I believe will harm this nation. That is, as I understand him, exactly what Limbaugh was saying in the quote above Ė and that, my dear readers, is precisely the sort of dissent that is truly the highest form of patriotism.
I fully support Californiaís Proposition 8. I believe it to have been a proper action of the people of California to amend their state constitution to define the institution of marriage as they see fit. And I view as illegitimate most of the tactics engage in by its foes to intimidate supporters and prevent the results at the ballot box from being the law of the land.
On the other hand, I applaud the efforts being made by these folks Ė even as I oppose the measures they are proposing.
Angered by the passage of Proposition 8, grass-roots activists are working to place measures on the ballot to reverse California's ban on same-sex unions.
The sparsely financed groups are acting independently of the No on 8 Campaign, which is challenging the measure in the state Supreme Court. They plan to use the Internet to collect the nearly 700,000 signatures of registered voters needed to get on the ballot.
Two groups took the first step toward qualifying a ballot measure last week with the state Attorney General's Office, asking for an official title and summary. A third group is expected to follow suit this week.
"Our logic is that we should not put all our eggs in one basket and wait for the Supreme Court," said Charles Lowe, who after campaigning against Proposition 8 founded a Davis-based group called Yes! on Equality. "By doing so, we lose anywhere from 8 to 12 months."
His proposed constitutional amendment would repeal Proposition 8, which holds that "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California."
Meanwhile, two heterosexual Southern California college students Ė Ali Shams and Kaelan Housewright Ė want to take the state out of the marriage business.
Their proposed measure calls for the term "marriage" to be removed from state laws and replaced with "domestic partnerships."
Shams maintains the measure would provide equality to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation, while preserving marriage as a religious and social ceremony.
"This is a compromise," Shams said. "It says 'Get rid of marriage as a state institution. Make it a religious institution, keep politics out of it and stop the fighting.'"
Stephen Stapleton of Sacramento said he plans to file a third ballot measure request this week. Like the Yes! on Equality proposal, it would repeal Proposition 8.
The people have spoken on the issue of homosexual marriage in California -- twice in the last decade. There is nothing, however, to keep them from reconsidering their choice and possibly reversing course. It is my belief that they should not Ė but if popular sovereignty is to mean anything in this country, then giving these measures a chance to qualify for the ballot and possibly be adopted by Californians is both necessary and proper. And even if I disagree with those pushing these repeal proposals, I would like to express my admiration for their decision to take the high road. Too bad the rest of their movement have instead engaged in tactics similar to those used by the KKK during the 1950s and 1960s.
Well, I guess that is what ďHope & ChangeĒ means in the Age of Obama.
"I am concerned, as I'm sure many of you are, that these jobs [hopefully being created by government spending] not simply go to high skilled people who are already professionals or to white male construction workers."
Got that? Obama recovery point man Robert Reich is concerned that government spending might actually benefit white people Ė and wants to make sure that this does not happen.
No doubt this means that we will see race-based qualifications for beneficiaries of these programs, with disproportionate minority participation goals resulting in the exclusion of ďexcess white menĒ from the program.
Could you imagine if an official of a Republican administration expressed a concern that government spending not disproportionately benefit African-Americans? But this sort of racial discrimination is the politically correct kind, so the opinion elite wonít take note of it. After all, in the two weeks since the statement was made, we've heard not one peep out of the media. So much for the press protecting our right to know -- what they truly believe in is our right to drink the liberal Kool-Aid they dispense.
And here we had hoped that this post-racial presidency might result in an end to the sordid practice of sorting our citizens by skin color in the awarding of benefits and burdens. Instead, we have seen a stake driven through the heart of Dr. King's vision of a color-blind society by the administration of the American who most benefited from it.
UPDATE: Over at Hot Air, they have the video. Where is the MSM on this one?
Do we need a special prosecutor to investigate the Obama Administration's conspiracy to deprive whites of the rights under the Fourteenth Amendment? At a bare minimum, it is clear from this video that Barry Hussein and his merry band of socialists are on their way to be the administration which has shown the least respect for civil rights since that of Democrat President Woodrow Wilson -- if not that of Confederate Jefferson Davis (D-Mississippi).
UPDATE 2: Darleen Click offers this pointed commentary.
We have heard from the Left for eight years that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. My friends on the Right and I are nothing if not patriots -- and will dissent from the policies of Barack Obama with more class and dignity than those on the Left showed for the last eight years. And we will work to ensure a rebirth of liberty in four years.
So to my fellow Americans I offer up the prize on which we must focus our eyes.
At noon today, Barack Hussein Obama became the 44th President of the United States.
I did not vote for him.
I cannot imagine any circumstance under which I will ever vote for him.
But he is still my president for the next four years, for good or ill.
Let me close with these words I posted the day after President Obama's election in November.
I commit to offering to Barack Obama my support and respect after his inauguration -- and not the same level of support and respect that the Left showed George W. Bush. I will support Obama when he is right, but fiercely oppose him when he is wrong -- something I suspect will be more often than not. But as I said in 1993 when Bill Clinton was inaugurated, my prayer is that Barack Obama leaves this country better than it was at the beginning of his term, and am fully prepared to be pleasantly surprised if he does. After all, my country is more important to me than my party -- as it should be.
History will be kinder to you than your critics have been.
Here's an interesting article on why college costs have been skyrocketing in recent years.
Why has college tuition been rising so high and fast? Will college costs ever drop back to more affordable levels?
Those questions have been frustrating parents and students for years. A new report provides some surprising answers that will, unfortunately, probably only frustrate and anger them even more. At public colleges, tuition has generally been driven up by rising spending on administrators, student support services, and the need to make up for reductions in government subsidies, according to a report issued by the Delta Cost Project, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.
In some cases, such as at community colleges (which educate about half of the nation's college students), tuition has risen while spending on classroom instruction has actually fallen. At public colleges especially, the current economic troubles will likely only accelerate the trend of rising prices and classroom cutbacks, says Jane Wellman, the author of the report. After analyzing income and spending statistics that nearly 2,000 colleges reported to the federal government, Wellman concludes: "Students are paying more and, arguably, getting less in the classroom."
There is one particularly interesting statistic that comes out of the article -- the one related to spending on administration. It seems that the a huge chunk of the spending is for non-classroom purposes like administration, maintenance, and "student services" -- $4000 a year, to the $8700 spent in the classroom. Knowing that colleges are like school districts, I know that there is plenty of room for cuts in one of those categories -- administration. For that matter, I wonder how much cutting could be made in "support services", much of which is fluff.
It isnít just that we once again find members of the ersatz ďReligion of PeaceĒ ready to engage in acts of murder mayhem, and jihad against the United States. Rather it is a tiny detail overlooked by other commenters on the matter.
Two cousins from the Chicago area have pleaded guilty in Ohio to taking part in a plot to recruit and train terrorists to kill American soldiers. Federal prosecutors say the men had been training and planning to go overseas so that they could kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Authorities say the men were recruited by three Toledo men organizing the plot. All three were convicted last summer and are awaiting sentencing.
Khaleel Ahmed of Chicago and Zubair Ahmed of suburban North Chicago both pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
Each faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Prosecutors say the two men received training in firearms and counter-surveillance so they could join the insurgency against U.S. troops.
They were alleged to be planning to go abroad Ė but that little bit that I bolded makes me wonder about a potential problem closer to home.
Iíve been to North Chicago. Indeed, I went to school there and worked there when I was from the time I was 13 until I was 21.
North Chicago, you see, is the community that abuts Naval Station, Great Lakes, where my father was stationed for many years. It is home to the US Navyís only boot camp, as well as a great many advanced training programs for enlisted personnel in critical specialties. Here's hoping that federal authorities are looking closely at this connection -- and making sure that there is not a cell of terrorists preparing to strike at the heart of our national defense.
No, not Islam Ė even though we have been under terrorist assault by Muslims for years.
Tom Hanks, Executive Producer for HBOís controversial polygamist series ďBig Love,Ē made his feelings toward the Mormon Churchís involvement in California's Prop 8 (which prohibits gay marriage) very clear at the showís premiere party on Wednesday night.
ďThe truth is this takes place in Utah, the truth is these people are some bizarre offshoot of the Mormon Church, and the truth is a lot of Mormons gave a lot of money to the church to make Prop-8 happen,Ē he told Tarts. ďThere are a lot of people who feel that is un-American, and I am one of them.
So letís make this really clear Ė Tom Hanks (and many of his Hollywood buddies) believe that participation in the democratic process by members of the LDS Church is un-American. On the other hand, he would be among the first to accuse those who question the loyalty and patriotism of members of Americaís Muslim community of profiling and engaging in religious bigotry, despite the fact that there have been multiple terrorism convictions of American Muslims.
And of course, Tom Hanks would have been one of those who reacted in outrage to even the mildest questions about the loyalty of those who failed to embrace Americaís defensive war against the jihadi swine who have repeatedly indicated their desire to destroy this nation. But now he denigrates the Americanism of one of those with whom he disagrees on a question of public policy and engage in legal, constitutionally protected activities to further their policy goals. Dare I suggest that Hanksí position on the matter is the epitome of unAmericanism?
Interestingly enough, by the way, Hanks (and many of his fellow travelers on the gay marriage issue) is quick to blame a religious minority that accounts for no more than 2% of the population of California for the passage of Prop 8. Could it be that he realizes that an attack upon the Catholic Church and the many black churches that actively supported Prop 8 would do grave harm to his career, while an attack upon Mormonism would do him no harm and might even increase the revenues he makes on his religiously bigoted anti-Mormon television series, Big Love?
Israeli spokesman Mark Regev has this to say about calls for Israel to declare a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza.
"I don't believe that there's a logical expectation in the international community that Israel unilaterally cease fire while Hamas would continue to target cities, trying to kill our people."
How true. However, such calls are not based upon logic or common sense. They are based upon a malignant belief that Israel has no right to peace and security, that it lacks the right to self-defense that every other nation has Ė and that Arabs who would murder Jews are never to be held accountable for their murderous actions.
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama skipped his soon-to-be predecessorís final address to the nation on Thursday in favor of dining out.
At roughly 8 p.m. in Washington, about the time President George W. Bush began his televised speech, Obama left his new temporary residence across from the White House to go out for dinner in a restaurant a few blocks away.
A couple of observations.
1) In America, no one is required to watch a presidential address.
2) Obama had to eat sometime.
3) There is this remarkable invention called ďTivoĒ that allows one to record something off of the television to watch later Ė and there are also older bits of technology like VCRs and DVDs that do the same thing.
4) Like the White House hadnít already forward Obama a copy of the speech before it was given?
So come on, folks Ė this is a non-issue.
One more sign that this man is unfit for the office of Attorney General Ė or any other public trust under the United States.
Mr. Holder was forced to defend his record as deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration as Republicans pressed him during a daylong confirmation hearing about his role in controversial pardons issued by President Bill Clinton and on other issues.
Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, led the attack, pointedly suggesting that Mr. Holder had given political cover to then-Vice President Al Gore by refusing to seek an independent counsel to investigate accusations that Mr. Gore had violated campaign finance laws in a 1996 fund-raiser.
For the only time in more than seven hours of testimony, Mr. Holder abandoned his calm, stoic demeanor. ďYouíre getting close to questioning my integrity, and thatís not appropriate,Ē he responded. ďThatís not fair, and I will not accept that.Ē
Excuse me, Mr. Holder, but you are being considered for the top position in the Department of Justice, and will have great authority over the investigation of criminal matters and the prosecution of those cases. Given that you supported the questionable pardon of a wanted fugitive (Marc Rich), the unsolicited pardon of a group of unrepentant terrorists to enhance Hillary Clintonís Senate campaign, and refused to investigate illegal campaign activity by a high ranking member of the administration in which you served, I think there is plenty of room to question both your judgment and integrity. It is fair, it is appropriate, and if you canít accept it then you have absolutely no business seeking confirmation for a cabinet position. Indeed, there is but one appropriate action for you in this case Ė WITHDRAW! After all, if you canít stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
And if Eric Holder will now withdraw, here an essay by the son of one of the victims of the FALN terrorists whose words quite eloquently explain why those pardoned terrorists should never have been permitted another day of freedom.
All passengers and crew present and accounted for -- alive.
After all, this bus ad by a Muslim group engages in an explicit act of blasphemy against both Judaism and Christianity. Yet unlike the sort of weíve seen when someone dares speak less than deferentially about Islam or Muhammad, this is the most outrage shown by folks who object to Muslim blasphemy against these two great faiths.
There's a new front in the conflict between Jew and Muslim: Broward County buses.
Fifty of the county's 290-bus fleet have been chugging around area streets for the past several weeks with a message that might seem more oblique than inflammatory. Black letters on a white backdrop proclaim, "ISLAM: The Way of Life of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad."
The $60,000 ad was paid for by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
"We owe it to our fellow Americans to let them know that Islam stands for peace," said Altaf Ali, director of CAIR's South Florida chapter. "Muslims are here and Muslims are part and parcel of the United States."
Well, weíll set aside the fact that Altaf Ali, spokesman for the terrorist front group sponsoring the ad, is lying about the nature of Islam. Weíve seen enough of what Islam really stands for over the last couple of decades to know precisely how false his statement is.
But more to the point, Jesus was not a Muslim. Neither was Moses. And as for Abraham, the closest that Muslims can get to making their claim about him is that the Bible does indicate that he was the father of Ishmael Ė of whom it is written in Genesis that his hand would be raised against every man, a tradition which the spiritual descendants of Ishmael continue to this day with their acts of terror. And given that the Quran repeatedly contradicts the teachings of both the Old and New Testaments, it becomes impossible for any Christian or Jew who gives the matter serious consideration to accept the notion that the faith which grows from Muhammadís book is truly kindred to ours.
But be that as it may, there is a bigger question. Broward County officials claim that the ad ďdidn't violate guidelines against ads that demean religionsĒ. Really? I wonder, then Ė would Broward County allow for ads which Muslims found blasphemous, or would county officials determine that the offense taken by Muslims was sufficient to merit shutting down such a message? Maybe someone should consider trying to place an ad containing one of the Danish Muhammad cartoons on the buses to see exactly how open that open forum really is.
Yesterday I was willing to give Timothy Geithner the benefit of the doubt. After all, tax errors happen. Even the fact that he was willing to take advantage of the statute of limitations on what appeared to be an honest error was something I could accept. But this development makes him unacceptable Ė because he is clearly dishonest.
Although it has been dismissed by some observers as a ďhiccupĒ in an otherwise smooth confirmation process, treasury secretary-designate Timothy Geithnerís failure to pay self-employment taxes during the years he worked at the International Monetary Fund is causing some Republicans on Capitol Hill to ask serious questions about his actions. First among those questions is why he accepted payment from the IMF as restitution for taxes that he had not, in fact, paid.
Yeah, you read that right Ė the IMF gave Geithner the money to pay the taxes Ė and while he accepted the cash, he didnít pay the tax. Here are the details.
The IMF did not withhold state and federal income taxes or self-employment taxes ó Social Security and Medicare ó from its employeesí paychecks. But the IMF took great care to explain to those employees, in detail and frequently, what their tax responsibilities were. First, each employee was given the IMF Employee Tax Manual. Then, employees were given quarterly wage statements for the specific purpose of calculating taxes. Then, they were given year-end wage statements. And then, each IMF employee was required to file what was known as an Annual Tax Allowance Request. Geithner received all those documents.
The tax allowance has turned out to be a key part of the Geithner situation. This is how it worked. IMF employees were expected to pay their taxes out of their own money. But the IMF then gave them an extra allowance, known as a ďgross-up,Ē to cover those tax payments. This was done in the Annual Tax Allowance Request, in which the employee filled out some basic information ó marital status, dependent children, etc. ó and the IMF then estimated the amount of taxes the employee would owe and gave the employee a corresponding allowance.
At the end of the tax allowance form were the words, ďI hereby certify that all the information contained herein is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and that I will pay the taxes for which I have received tax allowance payments from the Fund.Ē Geithner signed the form. He accepted the allowance payment. He didnít pay the tax. For several years in a row.
According to an analysis released by the Senate Finance Committee, Geithner ďwrote contemporaneous checks to the IRS and the State of Maryland for estimated [income] tax paymentsĒ that jibed exactly with his IMF statements. But he didnít write checks for the self-employment tax allowance. Then, according to the committee analysis, ďhe filled out, signed and submitted an annual tax allowance request worksheet with the IMF that states, ĎI wish to apply for tax allowance of U.S. Federal and State income taxes and the difference between the ďself-employedĒ and ďemployedĒ obligation of the U.S. Social Security tax which I will pay on my Fund income.Ē
This isnít a question of an error Ė or even taking advantage of a loophole. At this point it becomes a question of intentional fraud and willful tax evasion. As such, there can be no question of actually allowing Geithner to serve in the cabinet. Indeed, it may be that the first thing that we need to start the Obama Administration with the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate this matter (as well as the questionable actions of several other nominees) and other matters noted in a New York Times editorial today.
Except it is ďpro-freedomĒ Democrats who want to implement a program of involuntary servitude for young Americans.
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) likely will introduce his controversial legislation to reinstate the draft again this year, but he will wait until after the economic stimulus package is passed.
Asked if he plans to introduce the legislation again in 2009, Rangel last week said, ďProbably Ö yes. I donít want to do anything this early to distract from the issue of the economic stimulus.Ē
Rangelís military draft bill did create a distraction for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) soon after Democrats won control of Congress after the 2006 election.
Rangel, of course, wants it to be clear that his goal is to undermine the military capability of the US by making it difficult for the US to fight a war, even after we are attacked on our own soil by a foreign enemy.
Frankly, I donít see how the Democrats can oppose the Rangel plan Ė after all, Barackís proposed mandatory volunteer national service program (call it the ďObama YouthĒ) already proposes involuntary servitude for young Americans. Why would Rangelís bill create a ďdistractionĒ if it does, in fact, seek to fulfill one of Obamaís own proposals?
The choice of a buffoon like Joe Biden as vice president may have been a wise move by Barack Obama Ė after all, anything the new president says will look like sage wisdom by comparison to the sorts of things that regularly drip from the new veepís mouth. But what is really scary is that Biden holds such an inflated opinion of himself, as demonstrated by his words here.
"I know as much or more than Cheney. I'm the most experienced vice president since anybody."
Now letís consider this for just a moment.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Does Biden really want to argue that he is more experienced or prepared than two of the most important Founders?
But then again, maybe we get some insight into the workings of Bidenís mind when we recognize that he does concede that one many may have been better prepared Ė Lyndon Johnson (who went on to be one of the worst presidents in history). What do they have in common? An extended tenure in the Senate Ė with Johnson having also been Senate Majority Leader and therefore having a greater breadth of experience.
Aside from being a rather narrow definition of ďexperienceĒ, Bidenís criteria would also argue that he was not the best qualified choice for VP Ė and I therefore urge him to step aside and allow Obama to appoint Senator Robert Byrd, a former majority leader, president pro tem and KKK Kleagle, as vice president.
Call it ďExperience We Can Believe In.Ē
Whatever will the liberals do now that their criticism of the wiretapping of foreign calls has been upheld by the courts as constitutional.
A federal intelligence court, in a rare public opinion, is expected to issue a major ruling validating the power of the president and Congress to wiretap international phone calls and intercept e-mail messages without a court order, even when Americansí private communications may be involved.
The court decision is expected to be disclosed as early as Thursday in an unclassified, redacted form. It was made in December by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, which has issued only two prior rulings in its 30-year history.
The decision marks the first time since the disclosure of the National Security Agencyís warrantless eavesdropping program three years ago that an appellate court has addressed the constitutionality of the federal governmentís wiretapping powers. In validating the governmentís wide authority to collect foreign intelligence, it may offer legal credence to the Bush administrationís repeated assertions that the president has constitutional authority to act without specific court approval in ordering national security eavesdropping.
What this means, of course, is that the Bush Administration was right when it implemented a program of listening in on suspected terrorist phone calls. Whatís more, it also bodes well for any challenge to the constitutionality of other warrantless surveillance programs related to national security, including those treasonously disclosed by the New York Times Ė programs that did nothing more or less than was done by the Roosevelt Administration during WWII.
Congratulations to athe winners and all vote-getters -- for that matter to all teh nominees
Shouldn't that be "have"? Good thing these folks don't write for a living. Oh, yeah -- they do.
Wonder if they will sweep the error down the memory hole.
It certainly looks that way to me. After all, rather than make arrests disperse a crowd of anti-Semites seeking to create a new Kristallnacht, they instead chose to suppress the free speech of residents of an apartment who dared to display an Israeli flag in their window.
Yeah, that's right -- rather than actually take action against the criminals, the police instead kicked down the door of someone's home to silence the legal speech law-abiding supporters of Israel.
Today, 10.000 people demonstrated against Israel here in my hometown Duisburg (Germany) and to express their solidarity with Hamas. So, my girlfriend and me put two Israel flags out of the windows of our flat in the 3rd floor. During the demonstration which went through our street the police broke into our flat and removed the flag of Israel. The statement of the police was to de-escalate the situation, because many youth demonstrators were on the brink of breaking into our apartment house. Before this they threw snowballs, knifes and stones against our windows and the complete building. We both were standing on the other side of the street and were shocked by seeing a police officer standing in our bedroom and opening the window to get the flag. The picture illustrate this situation. The police acquiesced in the demands of the mob.
Have these people already forgotten the lessons of the Hitler era? Where is the world condemnation of this act? Heck -- where are the press reports? Seems to me that German authorities once again have sided with those who seek the death of Jews over Jews and their supporters. This video documents the assault on freedom to appease Jew-haters.
Of course, it isn't just Germany where we are seeing assaults on Jews and their institutions. In England there are calls for the beheading of Jews in response to Israel's defensive measures in Gaza. Pro-Hamas hatemongers (a redundant term, I know) have vandalized and attempted to burn multiple synagogues in Chicago. Pro-Hamas rallies worldwide have featured calls for the completion of the Holocaust.
How quickly that commitment has lost its force when the world is confronted with radical Islam and its fellow-travelers.
UPDATE: This report from one of Germany's most prestigious newspapers shows that this incident is worse than first reported -- and that it is causing quit a stir in Germany.
Police in the western German city of Duisburg have admitted they removed flags a student had hung in his apartment in support of Israel during a pro-Palestinian protest march in the city. Officers broke down his door and removed the flags. The city's police chief has issued an apology, but outrage is spreading.
* * *
P. said he was "shocked" by the incident. Afraid to return to his apartment, he first went to a friend's place nearby. Around two hours later he returned with his girlfriend and an acquaintance -- but he claims youths were still throwing things at the house.
He said he didn't return to the apartment until they had left. A police car passed by and P. asked the officers to come to his apartment. The officers warned that P. and his girlfriend should stay away from the window and that police would watch the house for a few hours.
"I was beside myself," P. said, "I was afraid." Two hours passed without any incident. Then P.'s acquaintance, also in the apartment, went out to the balcony for a smoke and claims he was immediately cursed as a "shit jew".
Two minutes later, the police returned to P.'s door -- and for the second time they did something unexpected. They ordered the acquaintance to leave the apartment.
So let's be clear -- not only did these cops violate the rights of the occupants of the apartment by suppressing their freedom of speech, they also made them virtual prisoners in their home, effectively placing them under house arrest and denying them the the free use of their home.
Here's a novel concept -- instead of going after the non-criminals, why don't cops start arresting the criminals and terrorists who practice the Religion of barbarism.
Here in Harris County, pretty bad.
Hurricane Ike damaged almost half the homes in Harris County and left more than 18,000 dwellings uninhabitable, according to a detailed assessment by the Harris County Housing Authority.
Hardest hit was the small Galveston Bay community of Shoreacres, an all-residential town where 58.6 percent of the homes were destroyed or suffered greater than 50 percent damage, according to the assessment provided to the Houston Chronicle Tuesday.
The report, based on inspections of 774,000 of the countyís 994,000 residential units from Sept. 23 through Nov. 13, is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the destruction caused by Ike, although itís limited to residential damage in Harris County.
As someone still out of my house due to the storm, I know how true this really is. My house stayed in the ďminor damageĒ category Ė but that means that we were less than 50% damaged by the storm. Put my home at about 40-45% damaged Ė but a good number of my neighbors were not as lucky.
El Lago, a southeast Harris County town of about 4,100 people, was a distant second to Shoreacres in major damage, with 12.6 percent of its homes destroyed or sustaining greater than 50 percent damage. Next were Seabrook, 11.4 percent, and Nassau Bay, 10.1 percent.
I see that every day as I go by the house to check out the progress of my contractor on getting us back in Ė hopefully about 5 weeks from now. And since we share a zip code with El Lago, you can imagine what the damage to the area is really like. But the recurrent theme you hear around the area is "we will be back, better than ever."
If he really does believe this, he must be Ė and would almost certainly be the only Texan to hold that belief.
Gov. Rick Perry expressed doubts Tuesday that U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will enter the 2010 Republican primary race against him and said Texans want a leader like him with "big ideas."
Perry, after addressing lawmakers on opening day of the Texas Legislature, talked about his record as governor and his ideas for the future in a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press. The state's longest-serving governor, Perry said he wants to run next year for a third full term in office.
Hutchison has formed an exploratory committee to run for governor in 2010.
Perry noted that she hasn't formally jumped into the race and, when asked whether he has doubts that she will, Perry said: "Oh yeah. I mean, there's plenty of time for the senator to think that it's not in her best interest, Texas' best interest or the country's best interest to leave the United States Senate and come run for governor. But that's, again, that's her call.
"I'm running," Perry added. "I've announced, I'm in, I'm here and I'm enjoying continuing to move Texas forward."
For all of his ďnot in the best interests of TexasĒ rhetoric, what he really means is that it is not in the best interests of Rick Perry for Senator Hutchison to seek the governorship. The best interests of Texas are best served by getting him out of that office.
I wonder if this will clue him in that there are folks who hate the US and every American just because we are.
Iranian demonstrators burned photographs of Barack Obama today as they protested against Americaís inaction over Gaza.
Dozens of people gathered in Tehran waving Palestinian flags and defacing and setting fire to images of the President-elect.
Iranian demonstrators have often burned effigies or pictures of US presidents in the past but this appeared to be the first time Mr Obamaís picture had been defaced, a week before his inauguration as president.
Yo, Barry, you had better get used to this reality Ė YOU have become the face of the Great Satan. You are the enemy now Ė and Americaís implacable foes arenít going to buy into any Hopey-Changey agenda.
Why on earth will the US government not grant immigrant status to the widow of a Marine killed in action as part of our ongoing war against jihadi scum Ė especially when his family is requesting it so that their new child, an American citizen and son of a hero, can be raised in the land for which his father paid the ultimate price?
Frankly, the question asked at Wizbang says it all.
What kind of fucked up immigration system do we have in this country? The wife of a fallen marine has to fight to gain entry to this country.
Iím not a big fan of special legislation to grant relief from the hardships of the immigration process Ė but if ever such legislation was needed, this is it. Letís bombard our representatives and senators with calls and letters about this case so that Hotaru Ferschke can be guaranteed the ability to live in this country with her son and her husbandís family.
This story is the sort that produces mixed emotions for me as a teacher. On the one level, it is good to know that the criminal justice system works, even in these sorts of cases. But on the other hand, it points out the vulnerability that teachers Ė especially male teachers Ė have to these sorts of allegations. And it makes me ask the question with which I titled this piece Ė because I wonder if there is any way that Eric Foster will ever be able to recover his good name and his profession.
A former Conroe High School teacher has been found not guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.
Eric Foster went to trial last month in Montgomery Countyís 410th state District Court on three counts of indecency with a child and one count of sexual assault of a child. The jury cleared him of the charges.
The alleged victim was not a student in the Conroe Independent School District.
Foster, who was an algebra teacher, resigned shortly after his February indictment. He had worked for the district since 2000, school officials said.
Some have asked why Foster would quit if he was not guilty. Simple Ė in this state, we donít have tenure here in Texas and so the district could have refused to renew his contract, which would have effectively made him unemployable in education (not that this accusation does not have the same effect). This way he can at least honestly state that he was not fired. In addition, as long as he remained employed by the district but suspended, the district would have been able to restrict his movement and activities during work hours in such a way as to make it difficult to work with his attorney to prepare his own defense.
But what happens now? The article about the initial accusation and indictment was longer and more prominently placed than the news of his acquittal. Too bad the media that tore him down doesnít feel the responsibility to help restore his name. In addition, there are all too many who insist upon presuming his guilt even in the face of the jury verdict to the contrary Ė would any school be able to hire him and take the heat from the local public?
And what of the girl, whose identity remains protected, who made this all too public accusation. Will there be consequences for her? And doesnít the outcome here raise the question of the disparate treatment of accuser and accused in these cases? If we are to protect accusers because of the alleged stigma attached to these crimes, do we need to consider the greater stigma attached to an unsubstantiated/unproved accusation and consider withholding the identity of the accused?
Just some questions that cross my mind as I consider how this fellow educator recovers in the wake of an all too public accusation.
This is a sensible action by the New Jersey Supreme Court in response to an absurd ruling by an appellate court. Hopefully this is the prelude to that ruling that overturns a decision that would expose newspapers (and others) to civil liability for repeating information found in public records and court filings.
The New Jersey Supreme Court has suspended a state appellate court ruling that said a newspaper can be sued for libel for reporting allegations from a lawsuit before any court proceedings have taken place.
The one-page order issued yesterday puts a hold on the November 2008 decision by the appeals panel, but does not reverse it.
The appeals court decision stemmed from a March 2006 story in The Record of Bergen County. It reported a federal bankruptcy court complaint alleging that Thomas John Salzano misappropriated money from a now-defunct Newark telecommunications company.
Salzano filed suit against the newspaper, saying the allegations in the complaint were unfounded.
The appeals court decision reversed a lower court ruling that dismissed the libel claim.
This goes right to the heart of the First Amendment and the right of the people to know what is going on in the courts. After all, court filings are public documents related to the administration of justice Ė and if a report about the allegations in a lawsuit (or criminal complaint) are accurate, it is really irrelevant whether or not the underlying allegation is true. After all, could you imagine, for example, OJ Simpson suing after his acquittal on murder charges on the basis that news reports defamed him? That is precisely what the appellate ruling would permit Ė making reporting on the courts a dangerous proposition for the press.
Now I can accept that a paperwork snafu led to immigration issues for a domestic employee. And I can accept that even the brightest guy can make a tax mistake Ė those IRS rules are confusing, and the one he broke more than most. But when you get pinged for a violation on one return that you know you made in other years but choose not to correct since you didnít get caught, doesnít that raise a serious character issue that needs to be considered?
Timothy Geithner didn't pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for several years while he worked for the International Monetary Fund, and he employed an immigrant housekeeper who briefly lacked proper work papers.
* * *
At the closed-door meeting, Mr. Geithner was contrite, several participants said. He told senators the mistakes weren't intentional, but that he should have known better. The Internal Revenue Service makes up by far the largest piece of the Treasury's budget.
Mr. Geithner declined to comment on any matters as he left the closed-door meeting Tuesday.
The tax issue relates to Mr. Geithner's work for the International Monetary Fund between 2001 and 2004. As an American citizen working for the IMF, Mr. Geithner was technically considered self-employed and was required to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for himself as both an employer and an employee.
* * *
In 2006, the IRS audited Mr. Geithner's 2003 and 2004 taxes and concluded he owed taxes and interest totaling $17,230, according to documents released by the Senate Finance Committee. The IRS waived the related penalties.
During the vetting of Mr. Geithner late last year, the Obama transition team discovered the nominee had failed to pay the same taxes for 2001 and 2002. "Upon learning of this error on Nov. 21, 2008, Mr. Geithner immediately submitted payment for tax that would have been due in those years, plus interest," a transition aide said. The sum totaled $25,970.
And therein lies the problem Ė Geithner DID know about the issue after the 2006 audit. He knew that he did his taxes the same way in 2001 and 2002 that he did in the years for which he was audited Ė but did nothing to correct the problem. THAT is troubling Ė but whether it is a sufficient question regarding his integrity to merit the denial of confirmation is one we have to consider.
I used to play bingo a lot when I was younger -- there was this girl, and she used to go play with her grandmother and I would tag along for fun. I'll be honest -- I reallly grew to enjoy the game, though I'll concede that there was more than a little bit of enjoying the presence of the young lady. And since my girl and her grandmother played a couple of nights a week, I spent more than a little time playing.
Well now that we are in the internet age, you can play online in your spare time. There are lots of sites where you can play, and others where you can learn about places to play the game. Take, for example bestoffersbingo.co.uk. It has a good listing of online sites that will allow a person to play bingo. They also offer a comparison of those bingo sites as well.Best of all, the bingo sites that are listed have been checked out and are safe to use.
The site is broken down into various categories, including a list of top 10 bingo sites with information given on each one. There are also sections on the free bingo site of the month, the best bingo site of the month, as well as a section devoted to more unusual sites.
You will also find a ningo site search engine as well as some blog articles offering news and reviews about various sites. All of this together makes the site valuable for those interested in online bingo.
If this were a white athlete accused of such conduct by a black employee, wouldnít we be hearing howls of outrage from the usual suspects Ė and demands for action by the appropriate league officials? So tell me, where is the similar outcry in this case?
Knick center Eddy Curry was slapped with a shocking sexual-harassment suit yesterday by his former driver, who claims the 6-foot-11 hoopster tried to solicit gay sex from him.
Stunning court papers charge that Curry, a married father of several kids, repeatedly approached chauffeur David Kuchinsky "in the nude," saying, "Look at me, Dave, look" and, "Come and touch it, Dave."
Curry, 26, also made Kuchinsky perform "humiliating tasks outside the scope of his employment, such as cleaning up and removing dirty towels [into which Curry had ejaculated] so that his wife would not see them," the Manhattan federal court suit says.
Kuchinsky, 36, who is straight and Jewish, also alleges racism, saying Curry hurled slurs at him, including "f- - - ing Jew," "cracker," "white slave," "white devil" and "grandmaster of the KKK."
Now for what it is worth, I donít know if the accusations here are true or not. Curry denies them Ė but then again, could you imagine anyone actually admitting to them even if they were true? But I find it interesting that the charges of racism and anti-Semitism have not been the fodder for the sort of media frenzy that we see with charges of racism made against white celebrities. Sort of an interesting double standard, donít you think?
Donít we constantly hear that sexual orientation (and the associated sexual behavior) is an immutable quality and not a choice? If that is so, then explain this.
If the lipstick lesbian was the gay icon of the nineties, these days sheís been replaced by her more controversial counterpart, the hasbian: a woman who used to date women but now dates men. Though Anne Heche is the most prominent example, many hasbians (sometimes called LUGS: lesbians until graduation) are by-products of nineties liberal-arts educations. Caught up in the gay scene at school, they came out at 20 or 21 and now, five or ten years later, are finding themselves in the odd position of coming out all over againóas heterosexuals.
Some hasbians identify as bisexual, while others say theyíre straight and describe their lesbianism as a meaningful but finite phase of their lives. . . .
Just a phase? Really? No wonder such women are considered such a threat by the gay community Ė their very existence undermines a major argument that is made to justify a host of legal and social changes. But if sexual orientation is fluid rather than hard-wired, doesnít the main line of offense for gay rights activists weaken significantly as the issue becomes one of choice and conduct rather than immutable status?
Why should Israel let it through when it wonít get to the innocents for whom it is intended Ė but will instead be diverted by Hamas and sold at a profit?
Hamas on Monday raided some 100 aid trucks that Israel had allowed into Gaza, stole their contents and sold them to the highest bidders.
The IDF said that since terminal activity is coordinated with UNRWA and the Red Cross, Israel could do nothing to prevent such raids, Israel Radio reported.
Between 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the army had ceased all military activity in Gaza and once again established a "humanitarian corridor" to help facilitate the transfer of the supplies.
Funny, the anti-Semites with UNRWA havenít offered a word of condemnation of this Hamas misdeed. After all, since those involved are not Jews, there is nothing to condemn.
Why did five pirates making off with the ransom for their hijacked tanker die?
"Other pirates on the shore wanted a tip from the pirates on the Sirius Star, so they started to fire in the air as our people approached the land," Libaan Jaama told CNN. "When our pirates heard the shots, they thought they would be robbed, so they tried to return to the tanker. In that quick turn the boat capsized."
What? Thereís no honor among thieves? Shocking!
H/T Jawa Report
Hey, liberals Ė in an effort to guarantee those who would destroy your liberties and murder you in your beds get rights accorded to no enemy captured in time of war anywhere in history, are you willing to volunteer YOUR town as a new home for the most dangerous of the illegal combatants capture during the Islamofascist jihad against the modern world and its freedoms? After all, Barry Hussein is going to order the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed even though he has no idea where to put these terrorists.
Advisers to President-elect Barack Obama say one of his first duties in office will be to order the closing of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
That executive order is expected during Obama's first week on the job ó and possibly on his first day, according to two transition team advisers. Both spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Obama's order will direct his administration to figure out what to do with the estimated 250 al-Qaida and Taliban suspects and potential witnesses who are being held at Guantanamo.
So come on, liberals, become a national hero by helping the Obamateur make his first major policy decision related to terrorism Ė importing terrorists into the territory of the United States.
The Roland Burris saga is over, as Democratic Senate leaders have accepted his credentials, clearing the way for him to be sworn in as the junior senator from Illinois by the end of this week.
The decision ends an embarrassing chapter in Democratic politics and allows the Senate to move on after the Burris spectacle dominated the opening week of the 111th Congress
In a statement issued after a 45-minute meeting between Senate officials and Burrisí lawyers, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said Burris is the senator-designate from Illinois now that the secretary of the Senate has approved his latest credentials.
ďAccordingly, barring objections from Senate Republicans, we expect Senator-designee Burris to be sworn in and formally seated later this week,Ē the statement said. ďWe are working with him and the office of the vice president to determine the date and time of the swearing-in.Ē
Remember Ė this is the same appointee that these same Democrat ďleadersĒ declared would never be seated due to the ďtaintĒ of being appointed by the indicted Illinois governor. Well, I guess the best legal advice they could find told them what anyone who is familiar with the Constitution could have told them Ė the Senate really had no option but to seat Burris because he was properly appointed under the US Constitution and the laws of the state of Illinois. Thus the leadership of the Senate starts out with a big black eye, having been shown to be impotent blowhards.
One more reason I love Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal:
"We should genuinely want him to succeed. Our country is facing not only an economic challenge, but also international threats. ... I want our country to thrive under his administration. Clearly I will have philosophical disagreements with him. He deserves a chance to hit the ground running. He hasn't proposed his first bill. Republicans make a mistake in Congress if they simply go there and say their mission in life is to say 'no' to every proposal. I think we should look for opportunities to work with him. I also think we should be proactive if we don't agree with him and offer (alternative) solutions."
After watching the Democrats spend eight years trying to destroy George W. Bush, it is tempting to do the same to Barack Obama, a many who is uniquely underqualified for the office to which he has been elected. Love of country, though, mandates that I follow the path suggested by Jindal Ė which is a more eloquent statement of something Iíve been saying since election day. Country trumps party Ė and the good of the United States is more important than the good of the GOP.
When the biggest thing an NAACP chapter has to complain about is a racially diverse group of young women wearing vaguely antebellum hoop skirts with sun hats, then the organization needs to close up shop and go out of business.
They're part of a long standing tradition that will soon become a part of Presidential history.
The head of the Alabama NAACP, however, wants Mobile's Azalea Trail Maids to stay home on Inauguration Day, claiming the group reminds him of slavery.
"These are not just regular costumes. These are the costumes that remind someone of the plantation in Gone with the Wind," Edward Vaughn said in a phone interview.
Now I think the group looks rather silly Ė but not because of a connection to slavery, but rather because the outfits are almost a parody of what women actually wore in the mid-1800s. That said, I donít see a need for them to consigned to the dust-bin of history.
Besides, what more modern icon would Vaughn have them replaced with? Perhaps a crew of idiocy-spewing race hustlers like himself Ė which I would argue demonstrates a shameful present much more offensive than anything that the Maids might represent of a ďshameful pastĒ?
I am always taken aback when I see articles and commentaries about how certain groups donít have enough representation in elected bodies because those bodies donít have the right proportion of those ethnic minorities filling the seats. But as is typical of many liberals, Houston City Councilman James Rodriguez gives us another one lamenting the ďunderrepresentationĒ of Hispanics on the Houston City Council.
In 1991, Ben Reyes was the lone Latino serving on the 15-member Houston City Council. By 1996, four Latino council members served on Council: Gracie Saenz, Felix Fraga, Orlando Sanchez and John Castillo. Today, 17 years later, there is once again a lone Latino council member. As the only Latino serving on City Council, I take this as an opportunity to challenge my fellow Latino leaders across our great city to intensify our efforts to help create a stronger political voice for the growing Latino community.
Latinos are the city's fastest growing population group, a fact that is not reflected on our City Council.
Houston is home to nearly a million Latinos, almost half of this city's population, and appropriate representation for the community needs to be addressed through engagement in the political process.
I challenge myself and the local Latino leadership to invest in the premise of a nonpartisan political engagement strategy involving a united Latino community.
Therefore, I have taken the initiative, along with many of my elected colleagues, to organize the inaugural Houston Area Latino Summit for Saturday, Feb. 14.
Now there are a number of things which should be noted here.
First, the reason Rodriguez is the only Latino on the council is that the other one was just elected county sheriff and so resigned his seat on the city.
Second, those four members of the city council in 1996 were term-limited out after three terms Ė even though it is reasonably certain that any of the four could have been comfortably reelected (and likely could be today).
Third, one major reason for the underrepresentation is turnout Ė which in turn is (in part) a factor of citizenship. As long as Houstonís Hispanic community remains heavily composed of first-generation immigrants (legal and illegal) who are not citizens, there will always be a smaller turnout than one would expect at first glance. Indeed, Iíd argue that this will continue for at least another decade or two. Even after the districts are redrawn to include two additional seats, it is unlikely that we will see the balance shift dramatically Ė indeed, I suspect that the outcome will be one additional Latino member of the council and one African-American. At-large seats will continue to favor white and African-American candidates due to turnout and citizenship issues.
The real question, though, is whether or not the interests of any given community are represented on the City Council. Interestingly enough, Rodriguez does not address that issue. Is he really arguing for more of the same race-based politics? Moreover, does he really want to argue that only an individual with the right skin color can represent a particular group only one week before our majority white nation inaugurates its first black president?
Or the notion that a university is supposed to be a place of intellectual ferment where competing points of view may be aired and debated.
In their current war against Hamas, the Israelis recently bombed buildings at the Islamic University of Gaza. As reported in the Chronicle, an Israeli army spokeswoman said the facilities had been used as "a research and development center for Hamas weapons."
In response to the bombing, the Canadian Union of Public Employees in Ontario, the largest labor union representing staff members at the province's universities, announced its plan to introduce a resolution at its forthcoming conference to ban Israeli academics from all schoolarly activity at Ontario universities if they do not first condemn Israeli operations in Gaza.
There is, of course, the obligatory anti-Semitic quote from the head union thug comparing Israelís defensive war to the policies of the Nazis, so we know what the REAL motive of the boycott is. But letís pretend that CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan isnít a raving Jew-hater and apologist for terrorism for just a moment, and consider this proposal more objectively. What he is, in effect, demanding is that a political orthodoxy be imposed before scholars are permitted to engage in scholarly activity at universities in Ontario. That would appear to fly in the face of the very notions of academic freedom that are usually demanded by the faculty of institutions of higher education. Where is the outcry against this effort to undermine academic freedom Ė especially when this litmus test is being imposed upon academe by a non-academic and would be voted upon by a union which is composed primarily of those outside of academia?
Iíll be honest Ė Iím not sure whether the court ought to uphold or strike down the part of the Voting Rights Act that is being challenged in this case. On the one hand, I consider the statute as written to be terribly flawed Ė but on the other, I donít believe that a statutory flaw is necessarily constitutes ground for a finding of unconstitutionality. After all, an unwise enactment is not necessarily unconstitutional. Still, the argument made in this case is intriguing Ė namely the fact that the preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act is based upon findings of discrimination that occurred four decades ago while ignoring current realities constitutes a flaw of constitutional proportions.
Of course, I wrote about this very issue at the time this provision was renewed Ė so while I wonít offer an opinion on what the Supreme Court ought to decide, I will remind you of why I was troubled by the renewal.
VRA Renewal: Solving The Problems Of 1964 Until 2032
In 2032 I will, God willing, turn 69. The data used to determine which states need special monitoring for racial discrimination in voting will turn 68 -- making it more than old enough to collect social security if that program still exists.
That is why today's knee-jerk renewal of certain provisions of that law is an absurd act of political cowardice by the House of Representatives.
The House yesterday easily approved an extension of key provisions of the landmark Voting Rights Act, after GOP leaders quelled a rebellion within the party's Southern ranks that threatened to become a political embarrassment.
Before the 390 to 33 vote to extend the measure for a quarter-century, the House defeated four amendments that would have diluted two expiring provisions and possibly derailed final passage before the November congressional elections. With the House hurdle now cleared, Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said he hoped to bring the extension to the Senate floor before the August recess.
The act's temporary provisions do not expire until next year, but Republican leaders had hoped that early action would earn goodwill from minority voters as members of Congress head into a brutally competitive fall campaign season.
"Today, Republicans and Democrats have united in a historic vote to preserve and protect one of America's most important fundamental rights -- the right to vote," said House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).
Wrong, Mr. Speaker. Democrats and Republicans have become a sleuth of pander-bears. These provisions were meant to expire in 1970, and use data that is woefully outdated to limit the effective coverage of the act to aonly a few states.
It seems clear that some members of Congress have been in hibernation for the last four decades.
In urging adoption of the act, Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia, recalled marching on Bloody Sunday, a turning point in the movement for black voting rights in 1965, when the police in Selma, Ala., beat 600 civil rights demonstrators.
"I gave blood," Mr. Lewis said, his voice rising, as he stood alongside photographs of the clash. "Some of my colleagues gave their very lives."
"Yes, we've made some progress; we have come a distance," he added. "The sad truth is, discrimination still exists. That's why we still need the Voting Rights Act, and we must not go back to the dark past."
Fine, I can accept some sort of renewal of these provisions of the VRA. But none of these provisions is about turning the clock back four decades. Indeed, one of the defeated amendments (opposed by Democrats as a killer amendment) would have targeted voting issues as they exist TODAY, not back when I was still an infant.
A second amendment, offered by Rep. Charles Whitlow Norwood Jr. (R-Ga.), would have made every district potentially subject to the pre-clearance requirement, by including any jurisdiction where voter turnout fell below 50 percent in a presidential election. It would have eased the pre-clearance requirement for jurisdictions with voter turnout above 50 percent in three consecutive presidential elections, presuming that no court had found that discriminatory voting practices were employed. The measure failed 318 to 96.
Wow -- considering voter turnout in elections taking place TODAY was labeled as being against civil right. Applying the law to what happened in 2004 and what will happen in 2008 is not as important as correcting what happened in the election when Lyndon Johnson beat Barry Goldwater. Good grief -- would you accept the advice of a doctor who shunned MRIs and CAT scans and stuck strictly to old-fashioned x-rays because that was what he learned in medical school back in the 1960s? Of course not! Then why engage in the illogically absurd practice of using antiquated measures to determine racial discrimination -- and demand that they continue to be used for another quarter century?
Even suggesting that the renewal be done for a decade rather than a quarter century was labeled as a poison pill. Never mind that those who wrote these provisions thought it sufficient that they expire after five years -- now, four decades later, anything less than an extension of 25 years is tantamount to repealing the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution.
I've expressed my frustration over this issue a number of times in the past. I'm not persuaded by anything I've read today. Far from being a profile in courage, the blind renewal of these provisions of the VRA is a profile in political and moral cowardice.
Here's hoping the Senate has the backbone either to make the Voting Rights Act relevant to the problems that exist today or to allow these provisions to expire as their authors intended them to do.
You know, as a part of their advise and consent function regarding Hillaryís nomination as Secretary of State.
While Mr. Clinton's fundraising has been an appearance of a conflict waiting to happen with his wife a senator, it will only get worse and more troublesome once Ms. Clinton is confirmed as secretary of state. Per the agreement with Mr. Obama, a list of who is bankrolling the foundation will be released once a year. Only new donations from foreign governments will be examined by government ethics officials. And there is no prior review of donations from foreign companies or individuals or those in the United States with interests overseas. Mr. Clinton's continued globetrotting while collecting checks along the way could embarrass the administration on multiple, sensitive and dangerous fronts.
When the Washington Post remarks how much this conflict of interest stinks, you know that there is a real problem. And just imagine how much louder (and widespread) the howls of outrage would be if this were a Republican administration.
And that Tavis Smalley thinks that I (and the rest of AmericaĒ) ought to is rather troubling Ė after all, he is merely president.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: [Reid] says he doesn't work for Barack Obama. I think he's wrong.
TAVIS SMILEY: Harry Reid, put down the crack pipe. You don't work for Barack Obama? We're all working for Barack Obama.
Tavis, maybe you need to put down the crack pipe.
First, aren't journalists supposed to be objective?
Second, Obama isnít a dictator, monarch, or demigod Ė and there is no requirement that any American to goose-step along with his agenda if they oppose any or all of it.
However, I will note that Barack Obamaís inability to get the leadership of his own party in Congress to follow him may be an indication of how pathetic he will be as president.
This is what Hamas and its supporters believe is ďhumanitarian aidĒ.
As for the coverage: One of my contacts with The Israeli Army called me today and said ďYou gotta see this.Ē Hidden in one of the emergency aid shipments supposed to go into the Gaza strip during the 3 hour lull in fighting, were 38 pallets of camo uniforms, green military sweaters and black fatigues.
This is one of the emergency shipments intended to bring medical supplies and food to the people who need it so badly. Half the trucks bringing the stuff in are UN. Half the trucks are private. Iím not certain which trucks were hauling the uniforms. They had been off loaded when I got there. The whole thing is under investigation.
Sounds like humanitarian aid to me Ė if by ďhumanitarian aidĒ you mean ďmilitary suppliesĒ.
Iím really starting to think that we need to see a ďDeuteronomy 7:1-2Ē type solution imposed with regard to the residents of Gaza.
ďWhen the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, and when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them.Ē
After all, weíve seen what good negotiations and agreements with the Palestinians are. Perhaps it is time to utterly smite them.
Yeah, the Pyramid isnít in great shape, the tomb was looted and the mummy damanged. But still, a neat bit of Egyptology in my book.
Egyptologists have discovered the remains of a mummy thought to belong to a queen who ruled 4,300 years ago, Egypt's antiquities chief has said.
The body of Queen Seshestet was found in a recently-discovered pyramid in Saqqara, Zahi Hawass announced.
She was mother of King Teti, founder of the Sixth Dynasty of pharaonic Egypt. Her name was not found but "all the signs indicate that she is Seshestet".
Such old royal mummies are rare. Most date from dynasties after 1800 BC.
Historians believe Queen Seshestet ruled Egypt for 11 years - making her one a small number of women pharaohs.
Letís be honest Ė usually the only female pharaoh we hear about is Hatshepsut. That there were actually eleven of them is news to me Ė and the fact that one was so early is even more surprising. Indeed, a little research showed ruling queens as early as the First Dynasty.
Donít call them ďfishĒ. Call them ďsea kittensĒ.
RADICAL international animal rights group PETA has launched its most bizarre campaign yet, demanding fish be renamed "sea kittens". PETA - People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals - believes calling fish sea kittens will make sea food less appealing.
It wants to change the image of fish as slimy and slithery creatures by claiming they are similar to cuter, more popular animals. "Would people think twice about ordering fish sticks if they were called sea kitten sticks?" PETA asked on its website.
Of course, it doesnít matter to the ideologues (or is that ďidiot-loguesĒ) at PETA that fish really are slimy and slippery Ė they are so opposed to the consumption of anything with a spinal column that they are willing to engage in absurd word tricks and shameless stunts (and sometimes acts of violence) to force others to conform to their standards.
In a related story, the leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and the Taliban are seeking to replace the word ďterroristĒ. On their website they ask the question ďWould people think twice about opposing the world domination of radical Islam and the murder of Jews, Christians and other infidels if our noble jihadis were called sand kittens?Ē
But we can apparently hear space roaring!
Space is typically thought of as a very quiet place. But one team of astronomers has found a strange cosmic noise that booms six times louder than expected.
The roar is from the distant cosmos. Nobody knows what causes it.
I donít know about you, but I have my guess as to the cause of this roar Ė it is the dying screams of the trillions of souls whose planets have been destroyed by Galactus!
(What the heck Ė it seems as good as any explanation in the article!)
Like many other protests of Israel's campaign in Gaza, this one ended badly ó police had to cool an ugly fight between supporters of Israel and Gaza, breaking up the warring sides as their screaming and chanting threatened to turn into something worse.
But some protesters at this rally in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., took their rhetoric a step further, calling for the extermination of Israel ó and of Jews.
* * *
But as the protest continued and crowds grew, one woman in a hijab began to shout curses and slurs that shocked Jewish activists in the city, which has a sizable Jewish population.
"Go back to the oven," she shouted, calling for the counter-protesters to die in the manner that the Nazis used to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust.
"You need a big oven, that's what you need," she yelled.
And when the spokesman for the organizing group was contacted about such shouts, he couldnít bring himself to condemn anti-Semitism or the genocidal rantings of some of the protesters Ė but he could certainly condemn Israel.
The protest organizers, asked to comment on the woman's overt call for Jewish extermination, said she was "insensitive" but refused to condemn her statement.
"She does not represent the opinions of the vast majority of people who were there," said Emmanuel Lopez, who helped plan the event, one of many sponsored nationwide on Dec. 30 by the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism ) Coalition.
Lopez, a state coordinator for ANSWER, admitted there is a problem with anti-Semitism within his organization's ranks. But then he went on to call the supporters of Israel across the street "barbaric, racist" Zionist terrorists.
"Zionism in general is a barbaric, racist movement that really is the cause of the situation in the entire Middle East," Lopez said.
Letís see Ė 2000 rockets were launched from Gaza by Hamas during 2008, but it is Israel that is condemned by these folks as ďbarbaricĒ and ďterroristsĒ? Seems to me that Lopez is implicitly supporting the calls for genocide with his non-condemnation. But why should that surprise us Ė Hamas itself has called for the murder of Jews.
A Long Island surgeon embroiled in a nearly four-year divorce proceeding wants his estranged wife to return the kidney he donated to her, although he says heíll settle for $1.5 million in compensation.
Dr. Richard Batista, a surgeon at Nassau University Medical Center, told reporters at his lawyerís Long Island office Wednesday that he decided to go public with his demand for kidney compensation because he has grown frustrated with the negotiations with his estranged wife. Ö
He said he gave his kidney to Dawnell Batista, now 44, in June 2001. She filed for divorce in July 2005, although he claims she began having an extramarital affair 18 months to two years after receiving the kidney transplant, his attorney, Dominick Barbara said.
As a physician, DOCTOR Richard Batista knows that to repossess the kidney he DONATED would be to cause Dawnell Batista irreparable physical harm Ė possibly including her death. So much for his Hyppocratic Oath!
And there is this minor detail, noted by Hot Airís Ed Morrissey.
We have plenty of experience with transplants. The First Mate has had four transplants (three kidneys and a pancreas), two of which came from live donors. For the first, I planned on donating one of my kidneys, but a cadaver donor became available before I finished my tests. During the planning, it was made clear that this gift was non-refundable and non-negotiable, and in fact I signed paperwork acknowledging that, as did the two friends who later did donate live kidneys to the FM over the last five years.
Dr. Batista would have had to sign similar forms as well Ė so he knows that this demand is not merely unethical but also unenforceable. And then there is the minor detail that he is effectively asking for payment of $1.5 million for the organ Ė a violation of American law which makes the sale of human organs for transplantation illegal. Perhaps the loss of his medical license is not the only thing that needs to happen here Ė perhaps he needs a bit of jail time as well.
Why on earth the Washington Post would publish a piece by this disgrace is beyond me Ė his is the worst presidency (for either foreign or domestic policy) of my lifetime. And given Jimmy Carterís clear history of anti-Semitism when it comes to dealing with Israel, I would think that rational folks would consider him effectively discredited on the matter.
His conclusion Ė the entire conflict is Israelís fault for failing to give into all of Hamasí demands.
If the KKK had tried this tactic to protect ďwhite votesĒ, there would have been howls of outrage in the mainstream press. Thank God that the Justice Department is willing to seek justice on a race-neutral basis by going after this group of armed thugs.
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit under the Voting Rights Act against the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and three of its members alleging that the defendants intimidated voters and those aiding them during the Nov. 4, 2008, general election.
The complaint, filed in the United States District Court in Philadelphia, alleges that, during the election, Minister King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson were deployed at the entrance to a Philadelphia polling location wearing the uniform of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and that Samir Shabazz repeatedly brandished a police-style baton weapon.
ďIntimidation outside of a polling place is contrary to the democratic process,Ē said Acting Assistant Attorney General Grace Chung Becker. ďThe Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed to protect the fundamental right to vote and the Department takes allegations of voter intimidation seriously.Ē
Remember Ė this is a violent, anti-white, anti-Semitic hate group. They need to be confronted whenever they engage in such illegal acts -- just like their white cousins in the Klan. Now the question is Ė will the Obama Justice Department continue to pursue this case?
It isnít that an additional interstate in Texas is a bad idea Ė but the project was frightfully flawed from the beginning.
The ambitious proposal to create the Trans-Texas Corridor network has been dropped in response to public outcry and will be replaced with a plan to carry out road projects at an incremental, modest pace, state officials said Tuesday.
"The Trans-Texas Corridor, as a single-project concept, is not the choice of Texans, so we decided to put the name to rest," said Amadeo Saenz Jr., executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, at the agency's annual Texas Transportation Forum in Austin. "To be clear, the Trans-Texas Corridor as it is known, no longer exists."
The state will move forward with a series of individual projects that had been considered part of the Trans-Texas Corridor plan, he said. Among those is the Interstate 69 project, which, as proposed, would run from Texarkana to Laredo or the Rio Grande Valley.
Saenz said overwhelming public response was a key factor in the agency's decision to abandon the plan, and he pledged that the agency would rely heavily on input from Texans through more town hall meetings and an updated Web site.
"One practical lesson we've taken away from this experience is, we need to do a better job of communicating," he said. "We need to do a better job of listening."
And listening was the problem Ė Texans woke up one day to find that the state had approved a massive highway project that would involve the use of eminent domain for a for-profit highway that would benefit a foreign company, but not the Texas taxpayer. Whatís more, the access to the highway would be so limited that the highway would essentially bypass the cities and towns of Texas Ė vehicles would essentially get on at the border with Mexico and exit at the northern border of the state, with few exits or entrances in between.
Once again, we have Watcher's Council Results!
When I first started my original blog, I really didnít know what to do or what my options were. That's why I went with the leading free host and followed their cookie-cutter directions on how to make a rather generic site. Over time, I found the limits to be rather, well, limiting. That is when I decided to look into a moving to a paid host. After all, my site had become a small business for me as well.
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Israel is acting to stop a continuous stream of war crimes by Hamas. The Hamas official, on the other hand, has made it very clear that he wants to see war crimes stepped up to include genocide and the intentional murder of children.
[Hamas spokesman Mahmoud Az-Zahar] called to murder Israelis and Jews worldwide, including children. ďThe Israelis have sentenced their children to death... They have legitimized the killing of their people all over the world,Ē he said. Hamas' platform calls for all Jews to convert to Islam or be killed, based on an Islamic saying (Hadith), and the group has not refrained from targeting children in the past.
Now letís see how long the anti-Semitic advocates of moral equivalence take to agree with him.
But on the other hand, Zahar has indicated that Hamas will consider a ceasefire provided that Israel refrain from defending its people from terrorism and Hamas is allowed to openly import the weapons used to commit its war crimes against Israeli civilians by sea and freely send terrorists into Israel by land without fear of discovery by IDF checkpoints.
And lest you think that the Zahar is alone in his views, consider the views of one Hamas leader recently dispatched to Hell by the IDF.
There is no chance that true Islam would ever allow a Jewish state to survive in the Muslim Middle East. Israel is an impossibility. It is an offense against God.ď (H/T Founding Bloggers)
So if you think that this is a case of Israel crating terrorists with its policies, think again Ė these jihadi swine seek the destruction of Israel and the murder of its people based upon their sense of religious duty growing out of Islam.
That seems to be the proposal of former UN Ambassador John Bolton Ė return Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan because the two-state solution has failed.
nstead, we should look to a "three-state" approach, where Gaza is returned to Egyptian control and the West Bank in some configuration reverts to Jordanian sovereignty. Among many anomalies, today's conflict lies within the boundaries of three states nominally at peace. Having the two Arab states re-extend their prior political authority is an authentic way to extend the zone of peace and, more important, build on governments that are providing peace and stability in their own countries. "International observers" or the like cannot come close to what is necessary; we need real states with real security forces.
Of course, neither government wants to deal with the Terrorstinians that the Arab world spent the last six decades radicalizing with a visceral hatred of Israel (not that the residents of the region were not frighteningly anti-Semitic before there even was an Israel Ė anti-Zionist Arab leaders were even funded by the Third Reich before and during the Second World War). Thus, I donít believe the three-state solution is viable.
Maybe Israel ought to expel every Palestinian from Gaza and the West Bank in precisely the same way that Arab states expelled their Jewish populations following the creation of Israel in 1948. Call it the one-state solution -- the least desirable option, to be sure, but could it really be any worse than the stated policy of Hamas?
After all, only enemies of public education want the predominantly minority students of the District of Columbia to be able to escape the cityís failing schools.
We have seen the enemy -- and he is Obama.
It remains awfully difficult to catch a glimpse of First Kids-to-Be Malia and Sasha Obama, but at least we can say for certain where they are this morning: getting to know their new classmates at the Sidwell Friends campuses in upper Northwest Washington and Bethesda.
The president-elect moved his transition operation to Washington yesterday in order to be with his girls as they started at their new school. Obama, who will meet with congressional leaders today to discuss an economic stimulus package, did not accompany his daughters to school this morning. But transition officials released these photos of him saying good-bye to them at their hotel suite.
Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, left the Hay-Adams Hotel with their mother, Michelle Obama, at 7:10 a.m. Their motorcade emerged from a security tent that has been erected outside the posh hotel, and they drove off with nary a wave to the throngs of cameras or the waiting crowds.
Malia, a fifth-grader, arrived at Sidwell's middle school in the 3800 block of Wisconsin Avenue at 7:30 a.m., a full half-hour before the school day began. The motorcade bypassed the main entrance to the underground garage at Wisconsin Avenue and Rodman Street NW, opting instead for a side entrance adjacent to Fannie Mae's James A. Johnson Housing and Community Development Center.
Whatever Michelle Obama did to settle Malia into her class, it didn't take long. At 7:41, the motorcade exited another driveway slightly to the north, adjacent to the Friendship Post Office.
Only the best for the First Kids Ė but neither hope nor change for children stuck in the public schools in the District of Columbia. Instead, Obama stands in the schoolhouse door to make sure that his little darlings donít have to mix with the masses.
But we shouldn't be surprised -- the Chicago Public Schools run by his new Secretary of education weren't good enough for the little Obamalings.
Iíve been peripherally aware of Brandon Darby over the last three years as a liberal activist who was scathingly critical of the Bush Administration and its policies. I disagree with him on many of those points. However, I applaud him for having the courage to act as an FBI informant in cases involving planned acts of domestic terrorism at the 2008 GOP convention. Indeed, any American with any sort of functioning moral compass should do the same.
Which is why the response of liberal activists to Darbyís acknowledgment of his role in preventing terrorist acts by a pair of terrorist-wannabes is quite telling.
When The St. Paul Pioneer Press published an article in October that cited an unidentified source who named Mr. Darby as an informant in the case against Mr. Crowder and Mr. McKay, a co-founder of Common Ground, Scott Crow, defended Mr. Darby publicly and warned against ďrumors, conjecture and innuendo.Ē
ďI put it all on the line to defend him when accusations first came out,Ē Mr. Crow said. ďBrandon Darby is somebody I had entrusted with my life in New Orleans, and now I feel endangered by him.Ē
Endangered? By daring to assist law enforcement in preventing acts of political violence in the streets of America? Exactly where do your loyalties (and those of your fellow ďactivistsĒ) lie, Mr. Crow?
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, chosen by President-elect Barack Obama to be commerce secretary, withdrew from consideration yesterday, citing an ongoing federal "pay-to-play" investigation involving one of his political donors as a significant obstacle to his confirmation.
Richardson, 61, who competed unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination last year, becomes the first political casualty in Obama's Cabinet, and his withdrawal marked the first visible crack in what had been one of the smoothest presidential transitions in modern history.
Yep Ė another political ally into pay-to-play. What is it about these dirty Dem governors? And given the ties between Obama, his Chicago crew, and Gov. Blagojevich in Illinois, how can anyone call this transition ďsmoothĒ. Hell, it already appears that there is serious need for a special prosecutor to investigate the Obama administration two weeks before the man even takes office.
And then there might be another dirty Dem in the prospective Cabinet Ė the nominee for Secretary of State, Senator Hillary Clinton.
A developer in New York state donated $100,000 to former President Bill Clintonís foundation in November 2004, around the same time that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton helped secure millions of dollars in federal assistance for the businessmanís mall project.
Hillary Clinton helped enact legislation allowing the developer, Robert Congel, to use tax-exempt bonds to help finance the construction of the Destiny USA entertainment and shopping complex, an expansion of the Carousel Center in Syracuse.
She also helped secure a provision in a highway bill that set aside $5 million for Destiny USA roadway construction.
The bill with the tax-free bonds provision became law in October 2004, weeks before the donation, and the highway bill with the set-aside became law in August 2005, about nine months after the donation.
Mighty suspicious timing, donít you think. Hereís hoping the Senate takes the time to look at this before confirming her Ė assuming that she isnít as dirty as she appears here. Remember the old standard of the Democrats Ė the appearance of impropriety is itself an impropriety.
And, of course, there is Attorney General nominee Eric Holder, whose involvement with the Marc Rich pardon and the unsolicited pardon of a gang of Puerto Rican terrorists is already predicted to be the source of fireworks during his confirmation hearings.
All of which leads me to ask Ė is it possible that the incoming Obama administration did as poor a job vetting cabinet nominees as the press did vetting their candidate during the campaign.
After all, she is seeking to implement rules that effectively bar full participation of Republican lawmakers in the business of the House of Representatives. Fortunately, the GOP is standing up to her.
In reaction, the House Republican leadership is sending a letter today to Pelosi to object to changes to House Rules this week that would bar Republicans from offering alternative bills, amendments to Democrat bills or even the guarantee of open debate accessible by motions to recommit for any piece of legislation during the entire 111th Congress.
Will President-elect Obama speak out against these moves towards legislative tyranny? Or is this the sort of change we are supposed to believe in as a part of the new tone in Washington?
Let's put this into perspective -- these are the areas of Israel that the Terrorstinians can now attack from Gaza. That range, 40 km, is the equivalent about 25 miles -- and some 1/8 of Israel's population lives within the attack zone, which is within the internationally-recognized pre-1967 borders of Israel.
And the word is that Hamas may have bought missiles from Iran that give the Terrorstinians the possibility of targeting even more civilians in the rest of Israel.
It is dreadful that Gaza, one of the most densely populated places on earth, is under heavy aerial bombardment from Israel. Yet Hamas, the governing entity in Gaza, has been lobbing shrapnel-filled missiles into Israel on a regular basis for months. Two weeks ago, Hamas arbitrarily broke its six-month ceasefire with Israel, and the danger to Israeli life and property has gotten worse. How many missiles is Israel to suffer before it is warranted to defend its territory and its people?
Now that word "disproportional" is being raised among foreign policy elites. Israeli air strikes since Saturday have killed several hundred Palestinians and injured several thousand. So we are hearing that the Israeli actions are "disproportional."
* * *
I have no idea how many Hamas strikes against civilians warrant how many Israeli acts of retribution. Frankly, such calculations seem to me as beside the point. The real question is how many Israeli strikes are needed to close down Hamas? That is what is necessary. The Israelis have at their border a violent, unprincipled enemy that has vowed to destroy Israel. Hamas not only vows to destroy Israel, it bombards Israel and expects the world to object when Israel counterattacks.
Now let me begin by noting that the very concept of proportionality in warfare is absurd. Following Pearl Harbor, the US was not limited to a "proportional response" against Japan and its Axis partners. Following 9/11, no one expected the US to stop fighting al-Qaeda and the Taliban after we inflicted three thousand enemy casualties (and no one tried to calculate the military equivalent of four hijacked jetliners so that we didn't exceed the force initially used against us).
Besides, Tyrrell is correct in noting that he (and, by implication, we) do not know what a proportional response is. Indeed, it would appear that the Terorstinian leadership of Hamas is the only group that does know what a proportional response is -- for when it is reached, Hamas will stop firing missiles into Israel, indiscriminately hitting homes, schools, and shops with no military significance. Given that Hamas continues to attack despite over 400 dead this week, it is clear that Israel has yet to inflict sufficient damage for the response to be proportional to the goal -- the end of Terrorstinian rocket attacks on civilians. It may be that the proper proportion is 100, or even 1000, dead Terrostinians for every dead Israeli -- but it is only Hamas that can set the figure, not Israel or the international community.
From our future president, Bobby Jindal:
"Some think the job of government is simply to collect taxes and spend money. I do not subscribe to that view."
Thank God we still have some in public office who recognize that the purpose of government is to provide ESSENTIAL services that we cannot provide for ourselves, not provide all services while socializing the costs through ever-higher taxation and spending.
In one move, Jindal wiped out nearly half of this year's budget deficit (due to falling oil prices) by ordering spending cuts. He also recommended cuts that will eliminate the rest of that deficit if Louisiana's legislature goes along with them. Here's hoping that his actions will be noted in Washington -- and that they will serve as an example to other public officials on how to govern in a fiscally responsible manner.
H/T American Thinker
Well, it is that time of year again. The district switched our health insurance company again, moving us to yet another company (the fifth in the last ten years) in an attempt to save the district money even if it ends up costing the employees even more. Actually, I think we may come out ahead on this one, even if I am paying a bit more every month. Given that we have two diabetics in the house, and my darling wife's medical issues, we need insurance to keep us out of the poor house.
Frankly, I'm not sure what we would do without the insurance that we have. I suppose that we would have to try to find Affordable Health Insurance for the two of us. It is available, too, even for individuals, through various insurance companies if you take the time and look. For example, if you look for Health Insurance at Online-Health-Insurance.com , you will be able to find some good quotes on health insurance, as well as links to many articles that will help you determine what your health insurance needs are and how to maximize your health insurance dollar. And given the state of the economy as w enter this new year, that is important -- who knows how many folks employed today will find themselves without a job -- or health insurance -- over the coming weeks and months. So be prudent and examine your health insurance options today.
Want to know what makes their food taste good? Salt and fat.
THE woman given the job of promoting McDonald's has revealed the secret of the fast-food chain's success Ė salt and fat.
In what some might see as a slightly-too-honest appraisal of her company's products, Jill McDonald, chief marketing officer for McDonald's UK, admitted that if the firm removed unhealthy ingredients, consumers would vote with their feet and eat elsewhere.
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Ms McDonald said the core market remained burgers because that was what the public wanted Ė along with the salt and fat which came with them.
"Although we are very clear we are a burger business Ė that is why primarily people come to us Ė our customers are more aware of the need to follow a balanced diet and we needed to move in line with what customers wanted," she said.
"But fat and salt makes food taste good. There is no point taking all the fat and salt out of your food because people won't like it and they will eat with someone else. We have to make small steps to help people improve their diet."
Let's be honest -- she's right. Salt helps bring out the flavor of food -- that is the reason it is such a common ingredient in the foods we buy. And the fat in meat we eat provides both texture and flavor -- what do you think is the major component of that juice in that oozes from a juicy burger or steak. Eliminate the fat and salt and you get a dry, tasteless piece of meat with the texture and flavor of a hockey puck.
When any sort of vandalism occurs at or near a mosque, it is major news indicative of "Islamophobia". But where is the outcry over this assault on a synagogue?
A Molotov cocktail thrown early today against the wall of one of Chicago's oldest synagogues caused minimal physical damage but worried local Jewish officials, who said the incident could be a response to the latest fighting in the Middle East.
"I can't help but think there's a relationship," said Roger Rudich, president of Temple Sholom of Chicago, 3480 N. Lake Shore Drive.
No one was hurt in the arson that police are investigating as a hate crime. Bomb and arson detectives were at the scene Monday afternoon and the investigation was ongoing, said Chicago police officer Daniel O'Brien.
O'Brien said the fire "extinguished itself, nothing ever caught fire." No suspect was in custody as of Monday afternoon, he said.
"The offender drove off and made a derogatory statement" to a witness, and police were working to obtain and review surveillance equipment in the area, said O'Brien.
How has the media responded? With fewer than 40 news reports nationwide -- and most of the reports local ones.
I guess anti-Semitism is no longer high on the priority list for the media -- or maybe they just think the Jews are getting what they have coming to them, and that hate only counts as hate if it involves the "right" victims.
H/T Debbie Schlussel
This is a proposal that only the most hard-core advocate of open borders could argue with. We need to deport those who, after having already disregarded our nation's immigration laws, turn around and break our criminal laws as well.
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire wants illegal immigrants serving time in state jails deported, a move intended to save the state more than $9 million in the next two-year budget.
The deportation proposal is modeled after a program in Arizona that has saved the state more than $18.5 million since 2005, said Eldon Vail, Secretary of the state Department of Corrections.
"It's not an ideal choice, if revenue was there, I'd say have them do their time," Vail said. "Is justice better served? It's a tough question to wrestle with when you don't have resources."
New York and Arizona are already working with ICE to do this. Other states ought to consider it.
But more to the point, we need to start getting rid of those who have so little respect for America's laws that they cross our border illegally. After all, every illegal immigrant is a law-breaker, and therefore an undesirable alien.
After doing a pretty good job of serving as a mouthpiece for Hamas for the last week, it is good to see the Washington Post start 2009 with some information about the current Israeli military action in Gaza that provides a bit of balance. Bet of all, Professor Robert Lieber of Georgetown points out some important details about the reasons for the Israeli attacks and how they have been conducted.
Let's break down his main points.
First, despite the tragic deaths of civilians, Israeli's airstrikes have been precisely aimed at Hamas fighters, installations and rocket launchers. Inevitably, the use of force causes injury and death to innocents, but from initial figures announced by U.N. personnel, it appears that more than 80 percent of those killed were Hamas security personnel or other militants -- a ratio that might compare favorably with the use of force by U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. In view of Hamas's practice of deliberately placing missile launchers and other weapons in the midst of densely populated areas, the precision is remarkable. It also reflects the fact that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) seek to minimize civilian deaths, while Hamas deliberately targets civilians.
Indeed, one of the reasons that Israel has shown extreme forbearance is because of the concern abut civilian casualties. However, the decision of Hamas to unilaterally end the six month truce with Israel and to step up attacks on Israeli civilians led Israel to act -- while still seeking to minimize civilian deaths.
And then there is this important consideration.
Second, what we are witnessing is not a "cycle" of violence. The IDF airstrikes are a reaction to the unrelenting rocket and mortar attacks against the Jewish state. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 in the hope that the Palestinians would use the opportunity to prepare for an eventual agreement and a two-state solution in which they would live side by side in peace with Israel. Since then, there have been more than 3,500 such attacks aimed at areas of southern Israel, including over 200 launches since Dec. 19, after Hamas chose not to extend a six-month truce. The expanding range of these missiles now covers an area populated by as many as 700,000 Israelis.
That's right -- Gaza is as Judenrein (translation: clean of Jews) as Hitler's ideal Germany would have been (the only Jew in Gaza is kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad_Shalit). Israel forcibly removed the last recalcitrant Jewish residents of Gaza (which had had a continuous Jewish presence for the previous three millennia) and turned it over to the avowed enemies of Israel in 2005 in a vain and foolish attempt to implement a so-called "two-state solution" to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Since that time, there have been regular attacks from Gaza. And while Leiber says that there have been 200 launches since December 19, I'd like to suggest that the number is higher -- I've received text-message updates in the last two days indicating that at nearly that many rockets have been fired into Israel in the last 48 hours.
Lieber also makes another point -- Hamas rejects any two-state solution to the current conflict. As long as it maintains a hold on power, there can be no peace. Israel has acted in good faith to bring an end to six decades of instability in the region -- some of us would argue recklessly and foolishly so -- while having never had an actual partner for peace willing to act to actually bring about peace. Only by completely undermining Hamas might Israel create a situation in which the two-state solution might work -- and then only if Fatah is prepared to finally step up and act as a government rather than a terrorist organization or criminal gang.
Maybe the outcome of this military action will, finally, be peace.
If Islam is the "Religion of Peace", why was the mosque a munitions dump and a site for rocket launches?
On Wednesday, The IAF reported that it had hit 25 terror-related targets including the offices of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and a mosque in the city of Gaza where Hamas activists were hiding, and which had been used as a weapons storehouse.
Rockets had also been fired at Israel from the mosque.
Shin Bet security service officials said that over the last few days, Palestinian militants have been seen carrying Katyusha and Qassam rockets, as well as a large supply of other weapons, around the vicinity of the mosque. The Shin Bet said that these weapons were destroyed in the IAF strike.
We Christians do not use our churches as storehouses for weapons to be used in terrorist attacks. Jews do not use their synagogues that way. Indeed, most religions practiced in the world today treat their houses of worship as demilitarized zones, and international law tends to recognize them as such. But when such houses of worship are used for military purposes, they lose any legitimate claim of protection they might have. And when we see members of the same faith using their houses of worship for purposes of military and terrorist attacks time and again, it does lead one to question whether it is legitimate to call it a religion of peace.
How do we know?
The army official said the rocket that struck the school in Beersheba was manufactured in China, is heavier than the Qassam and can "potentially cause much greater damage." He said the rocket contains metal pallets that can spread out across a radius of up to 100 meters (about 328 feet) from the point of impact.
Now for those of you who are confused, let me explain the purpose of those metal pellets. They are an anti-personnel feature designed to cause maximum human casualties in the area around the impact site, up to the length of a football field in all directions from the point of impact.
In other words, this weapon was sent into the middle of a civilian area -- a school where there would usually be children present -- with the goal of killing and wounding as many non-combatants as possible. Unlike the Israelis, who have made great efforts to avoid civilian casualties in the recent fighting, the Terrorstinians made an intentional effort to kill and maim as many children as possible.
Will the world hold China accountable for supplying weapons to terrorists who will use them in violation of international law? Or are only the US and Israel subject to condemnation by the international community when the Jewish state exercises its legitimate right to self-defense?
Debbie Schlussel has more on this matter -- including information and photos from relatives whose children attend the damaged school and who would likely have been among the victims of this war crime.
I teach in a school here in America -- and as I look through the gaping hole into that classroom, I see a sight that could be my own classroom. I praise God that I don't have to worry about things like this happening on a daily basis, and I pray that God will consign those who willfully and intentionally perpetrate such deeds to the deepest bowels of Hell (along with those who aid and abet them).
One more sign that the US has acted as a liberator in Iraq rather than an occupier or colonizer.
The walls of the majestic Republican Palace in Baghdad's Green Zone have been stripped bare. The vaults that secured American cash and classified documents are gone, and the cement blast walls that protected the front entrance were taken down this week. The U.S. military dining facility inside what was once the American Embassy served its last meal New Year's Eve.
"This is the end of the world as we know it," said Sgt. 1st Class Patrick McDonald, 47, who co-authored a guide to historic sites in the Green Zone. "It's not like everyone is shredding documents and fleeing Saigon. But we are stepping away from a building."
Saddam Hussein had the palace compound's main building decorated with giant busts of himself to demonstrate his hold over Iraq. After the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, the palace came to symbolize the American role in the country, first as the headquarters of the U.S. occupation authority and later the U.S. Embassy. American civilians and troops held "salsa night" dances around the pool behind the palace before retiring to trailers sheathed in sandbags.
When the clock struck midnight on Wednesday, the U.S. returned the palace to the Iraqi government and relinquished formal control over the Green Zone, a heavily fortified six-square-mile enclave on the Tigris River where key U.S. and Iraqi bureaucracies are situated.
This move is as it should be -- it was never teh goal of teh United States to stay in Iraq indefinitely. Since the invasion, it was always American policy to place control of all of Iraq in the hands of the Iraqis. This is simply one more step in the process -- one that has seen millions of Iraqis freed from the yoke of Saddamite tyranny.