Donít the Red Chinese know that the market for communist-oriented news is already saturated by MSNBC and CNN?
China's biggest national news agency announced plans Friday to launch its global, English-language television news network this week, part of efforts to expand the communist government's media influence abroad. Starting Saturday, China Xinhua News Network Corp. (CNC) will begin trial broadcasts of its English TV service around the clock, including news segments, feature stories, weather updates and special bulletins, the official Xinhua News agency said. The channel is officially set to launch on July 1. The agency did not immediately say what countries would receive the channel.
But, of course, we arenít Ė despite the facts fitting such a sabotage scenario much better than was the case with the 9/11 Truthers (or Trig Truthers like Andrew Sullivan)..
I think this explains it all.
All the Tea Partiers have done is avail themselves of the same rights as every American: the right to free and open expression of ideas that may or may not jibe with those of the current administration. The Left certainly exploited its free speech rights during the Bush Administration, filling the streets and airwaves with vile, foul-mouthed denunciations of all things Bush while lecturing us that ďdissent is the highest form of patriotism.Ē Maybe they meant dissent is patriotic except when itís aimed at Barack Obama and other liberals.
Hereís why they disparage the Tea Parties. They wonít admit it, but they look at rally attendees and see ordinary, typical Americans. The homeowner whose property taxes have skyrocketed. The doctor who is considering leaving the profession because of the crushing mandates about to come down via ObamaCare. The family on the brink of losing its home because of inability to pay the mortgage. The mortgage company employee about to lose his job because failed mortgages are pushing his company into insolvency. The entrepreneur who is putting plans for a small business on hold because of the economyís tenuous state. The parents who are nearing panic about paying for their kidsí college education.
The Tea Party haters recognize all that when they look out over the vibrant rallies, but they see something else that terrifies them. They see citizens stirred to action by a sense that the America they knew is rapidly disappearing... and they canít wait to vote in November.
Thatís what the Tea Party haters really hate.
Letís be honest here Ė the Left has long considered mass movements and protests in the streets to be the sole province of the Left. The Right, according to this point of view, was simply to cower in its boots and finally cave to the inevitable Ė or fruitlessly object to Leftist-defined ďprogressĒ. But today (as for much of the last three decades) the real spirit of America is found on the Right, and it is those on the Right who seek to use these time-honored methods and constitutionally protected rights to see that their agenda (the American agenda, if the truth be told) is enacted into law and reflected in government policy. Hence the constant effort to delegitimize the Tea Party Ė their success is ultimately the failure of the ďprogressiveĒ effort to overturn those things about America that the majority wishes to conserve and preserve.
Liberals know that knowledge in the hands of the people is a dangerous thing, which is why they spend so much time lying about the new Arizona statute regarding illegal immigration.
Whatís more, that cuts across all parts of the political landscape.
And letís be clear Ė this is not ďanti-immigrantĒ sentiment being expressed here. In all the discussion of this law by supporters, Iíve heard not a single suggestion that immigrants are unwelcome. Rather, their opposition is to ILLEGAL immigrants, those who have broken our nationís laws, that is in operation here. That there are those who seem to think that following the law is optional, and that enforcing the laws is somehow improper, is offensive to a majority of Americans. That is what is being expressed by the people of Arizona and those who support the new law there.
Yesterday, I got lambasted by a liberal for suggesting that those of us in the southwestern part of the United States are ďon the firing lineĒ when it comes to illegal immigration. After being called a racist and a warmonger (how dare I use such militaristic language!), I noted that we do have a lot of issues with crime committed by illegal immigrants Ė and was accused of defaming these ďlaw-abidingĒ violators of our immigration laws.
Well, eat this one, liberals.
While the correlation between illegal immigrants and crime is almost impossible to quantify precisely, the available numbers indicate that Arizona -- as well as California and Texas -- are dealing with increased crime as a result of high illegal immigrant populations and activity.
Part of this is because some of those immigrants are being arrested based on immigration-related charges. A Pew Hispanic Center report last year said "increased enforcement" of immigration laws accounts for part of the trend.
But there are other crimes, many of which are drug-related. Furthermore, illegal immigrants and smuggling organizations have been linked to some specific violent crimes in Arizona. Local officials frequently cite the rash of kidnappings in their state in defending the new law. The Department of Justice's latest National Drug Threat Assessment says there were 267 kidnappings in Phoenix last year and 299 in 2008. The report said the victims usually have a connection to immigrant smuggling groups or drug traffickers.
The report also showed that assaults against U.S. law enforcement on the southwestern border are on the rise. The report found that the number of attacks on Border Patrol agents increased 46 percent to 1,097 incidents in fiscal 2008. The report said the assaults were mostly related to immigrant smuggling.
In other words, the criminal aliens are HERE Ė and our national government is not doing a damned thing to protect us. That is why Arizona has acted Ė and why Texas needs to act, even if our weak-kneed faux-conservative governor does not want to.
Over at the Houston Chronicle, they just don't have a clue.
The law aims to prevent undocumented immigrants from any type of gainful work by criminalizing applying for a job, soliciting work in public or performing labor for anyone. Applied in Houston, it would deny the vast majority of law-abiding, hardworking undocumented immigrants any constructive, legal way to make a living. It would drive the immigrant community further underground while criminalizing the simple act of working to support one's family. Denying people the ability to earn a lawful living may well foster criminal behavior.
Frankly, I'm flabbergasted.
By definition, these individuals are not "law-abiding". By virtue of their "undocumented" status, their mere presence in the United States is a violation of the laws that the Houston Chronicle claims they are abiding by. Under existing federal law, there is already no legal way for these individuals to engage in "the simple act of working to support one's family" because it is illegal for a foreigner to work in this country without having completed the proper paperwork, paid the proper fees, and received the appropriate visa.
Now I'll be among the first to concede that our immigration laws need revamping -- after all, we have clearly lost control of our nation's borders and do not know who is coming and going from the United States. Any solution must start with increased border security and more stringent enforcement of laws designed to make sure that the Houston Chronicle's "law-abiding undocumented immigrants" are not working here illegally. Only than ought we consider increasing the number of immigrants admitted legally, so that we can be sure that those here and working are, in fact, abiding by our nation's immigration laws.
The man with no fidelity to GOP principles jumps ship when those with fidelity to those principles reject him as their standard bearer.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's decision to bolt the Republican Party and run for the U.S. Senate as an independent promises to transform the state into battleground for competing electoral themes that are likely to echo nationwide. The three-way fight will pit conservative principles against anti-Washington sentiment, and the outcome could influence the near-term fortunes of the GOP.
I don't know that I agree with this, but the following sentence does raise a very important point.
It remains a question whether Crist will be able to raise enough money to sustain a viable campaign through the summer. . .
And that is precisely why Crist failed as a GOP candidate. He could not raise money or garner support among the GOP faithful who preferred the message of a young, conservative son of immigrants, Marco Rubio, to the one put forth by the wishy-washy politico backed by the Washington establishment. Indeed, he was able to sustain his campaign only because of an early and unwise endorsement of his candidacy by the NRSC. This is yet another example of why such support is unwise prior to the selection of a candidate by the people -- there is no way to now recover the money that was spent on Crist's behalf or donated to him in the belief that he was a true Republican.
I mean, I do think at a certain point youíve made enough money.
I mean, I do think at a certain point you prove yourself to be an incompetent president who ranks down with Millard Fillmore and James Buchanan, not merely Jimmy Carter.
Democratic activist Barry Bendar plans to challenge Rep. John Adler in this year's House primary, the Cherry Hill Courier-Post reports. Bendar, the chairman of the Lacey Township Democratic Municipal Committee, pointed to Adler's vote against the health care reform law to argue that the freshman lawmaker has "abandoned his constituency for the sake of re-election."
Now could you explain to me how "abandoning [one's] constituency" would help get an incumbent reelected. Seems to me that "abandoning [one's] constituency" would have precisely teh opposite effect. What Barry Bendar really seems miffed about is that Rep. John Adler voted the will of his constituents for the sake of reelection -- and objects to the fact that something as unimportant as the will of the people might influence an elected Democrat.
Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland's "Is your mother a prostitute?" question to receiver Dez Bryant is indefensible. It's a felony worthy of rebuke, probation and financial penalty.
For lack of a better analogy, Ireland crashed his motorcycle without a helmet, making him the front-office version of Ben Roethlisberger. Ireland is one more allegation away from being sent to Principal Goodell's office for extended banishment.
While at least one prominent blogger thinks the question was legitimate, I beg to differ. Whatever the circumstances of Dez Bryant's birth, that is irrelevant to his skills and his potential as a player, and to his personal character.
And besides, if it is racist to ask to see the President's original birth certificate or question his mother's judgment for entering a bigamous marriage, it seems that this one ranks much higher on the racism scale.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Wednesday approved the nation's first offshore wind farm, signing off on a project that has bitterly divided Cape Cod over the last nine years.
The 130 turbines are to be located several miles from the Massachusetts shore in the iconic waters of Nantucket Sound. The interior secretary said Cape Wind, as the project is known, is the start of a "new energy frontier."
"The United States is leading a clean energy revolution that is reshaping our future," Salazar told reporters in Boston. "Cape Wind is an opening of a new chapter in that future, and we are all part of that history."
"Cape Wind will be the nation's first offshore wind farm, supplying clean power to homes and businesses in Massachusetts, plus creating good jobs here in America," he said. "This will be the first of many projects up and down the Atlantic coast."
Of course, this has led to the invocation of the newest member of the Dead Kennedys by the NIMBY crowd.
The late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy would be saddened if Cape Wind gets the green light this week from Uncle Sam
ď(Kennedy) was opposed to Cape Wind for a number of reasons, and I know he would be disappointedĒ if the U.S. Interior Department OKs the project, former U.S. Sen. Paul Kirk told the Herald last night prior to a Boston speech.
Drive another wooden stake into Treasonous Teddyís heart.
At a press conference just before Republicans successfully filibustered consideration of a Wall Street reform bill for the third straight day, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called their actions ďAnti-Senate and anti-American.Ē
I continue to be amazed by the change in things over the last few years. It was not long ago that the filibuster was declared an essential element of American democracy and its use to be a proper check on majority power. And questioning the patriotism of political opponents was labeled as evil. Of course, that was when Democrats needed the filibuster to stop Republican proposals, and when those whose patriotism was suspect were liberals opposing the crusade to stop jihadi terror. But now the use of the filibuster to stop the consideration of legislation regarding the financial industry (legislation that is not yet fully written or available for consideration by the Senators) is deemed to be an assault upon the nation and its institutions.
I guess that we did get change with the election of Barack Obama. Ė but the hypocrisy of the Democrats is not one of those things.
But, of course, the MSM NEVER promotes racism Ė that is the province of the evil ďteabaggersĒ.
A Republican Texas lawmaker plans to introduce a tough immigration measure similar to the new law in Arizona, a move state Democrats say would be a mistake.
Rep. Debbie Riddle of Tomball said she will push for the law in the January legislative session, according to Wednesday's editions of the San Antonio Express-News and Houston Chronicle.
"The first priority for any elected official is to make sure that the safety and security of Texans is well-established," said Riddle, who introduced a similar measure in 2009 that didn't get out of committee. "If our federal government did their job, then Arizona wouldn't have to take this action, and neither would Texas."
The Arizona law would require local and state law enforcement to question people about their immigration status Ė and make it a crime for immigrants to lack registration documents.
I realize that those who object to treating those engaged in illegal activity as criminals wonít like this, but the reality is that they are. No amount of sophistry from the open borders crowd can change that. Whatís more, such legislation requires that inquiries be pursuant to other law enforcement contacts (no stopping someone because of their race or ethnicity) and the existence of a reasonable suspicion of an immigration offense (reasonable suspicion is already well-defined under the laws of this country, such as ďstop-&-friskĒ cases decided by the Supreme Court. Whatís more, since the requirement that aliens carry proof of legal status is already a component of federal law, it imposes no new burden upon any individual legally in the country (and the Arizona statute includes a valid Arizona driverís license or state ID as proof of citizenship Ė Texas law could do the same). So there is really no untoward burden being placed upon any individual legally in the country.
-- The Mexican government will bar foreigners if they upset "the equilibrium of the national demographics." How's that for racial and ethnic profiling?
-- If outsiders do not enhance the country's "economic or national interests" or are "not found to be physically or mentally healthy," they are not welcome. Neither are those who show "contempt against national sovereignty or security." They must not be economic burdens on society and must have clean criminal histories. Those seeking to obtain Mexican citizenship must show a birth certificate, provide a bank statement proving economic independence, pass an exam and prove they can provide their own health care.
-- Illegal entry into the country is equivalent to a felony punishable by two years' imprisonment. Document fraud is subject to fine and imprisonment; so is alien marriage fraud. Evading deportation is a serious crime; illegal re-entry after deportation is punishable by ten years' imprisonment. Foreigners may be kicked out of the country without due process and the endless bites at the litigation apple that illegal aliens are afforded in our country (see, for example, President Obama's illegal alien aunt -- a fugitive from deportation for eight years who is awaiting a second decision on her previously rejected asylum claim).
-- Law enforcement officials at all levels -- by national mandate -- must cooperate to enforce immigration laws, including illegal alien arrests and deportations. The Mexican military is also required to assist in immigration enforcement operations. Native-born Mexicans are empowered to make citizens' arrests of illegal aliens and turn them in to authorities.
-- Ready to show your papers? Mexico's National Catalog of Foreigners tracks all outside tourists and foreign nationals. A National Population Registry tracks and verifies the identity of every member of the population, who must carry a citizens' identity card. Visitors who do not possess proper documents and identification are subject to arrest as illegal aliens.
So those who complain about the hardships placed upon Mexicans who have slipped across the border in to the United States in violation of our nationís laws and sovereignty need to realize that the requirements under the Arizona law (and the Texas proposal) are significantly less burdensome that those imposed upon aliens Ė and Mexican citizens Ė in Mexico. Of course, the REAL burden that the supporters of immigration criminals really object to are the ones that they have brought upon themselves by breaking the law in the first place Ė bad employment prospects and fear of arrest and deportation. But since when do lawbreakers have the right to escape detection by the authorities?
And while the slightest hint of racism or sexism will bring down the whole weight of the federal government on a college or university, active anti-Semitism tolerated by school officials will simply be ignored by the Feds.
The federal government, too, has chosen to turn its back on Jewish students. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education has refused to afford Jewish students the same protections against harassment and intimidation as it grants to every African-American, Latino, and Arab student. According to Kenneth Marcus, former director of the OCR: "Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali indicated that the Obama administration would not pursue cases of harassment against Jewish students."
There was a time, not long ago and within my lifetime, when decent men and women said ďNever Again:Ē when it came to the toleration of anti-Semitism. Calls for the completion of Hitlerís genocidal schemes were rejected as unacceptable by society as a whole. Now those who make such demands are declared to be a protected class by government officials, and those who they attack and persecute are directed to the back of the bus Ė and, in time, will no doubt be shown the path to the ďshowersĒ and the ovens if the student groups engaged in this hateful speech are permitted to continue spewing their bile without opposition.
Because, after all, parents arenít fit to decide what their children eat without the help of the government.
The latest target in the battle over fast food is something you shouldn't even put in your mouth.
Convinced that Happy Meals and other food promotions aimed at children could make kids fat as well as happy, county officials in Silicon Valley are poised to outlaw the little toys that often come with high-calorie offerings.
The proposed ban is the latest in a growing string of efforts to change the types of foods aimed at youngsters and the way they are cooked and sold. Across the nation, cities, states and school boards have taken aim at excessive sugar, salt and certain types of fats.
Believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, the proposal would forbid the inclusion of a toy in any restaurant meal that has more than 485 calories, more than 600 mg of salt or high amounts of sugar or fat. In the case of McDonald's, the limits would include all of the chain's Happy Meals ó even those that include apple sticks instead of French fries.
Am I against healthy food? No, of course not. But, ultimately, is it the place of government to decide what we eat and how it is marketed? Are elected officials our betters, who get to tell us how to feed our children? By what right does mere government make such decisions on our behalf?
Oh, this is where they get the right.
"We're responsible for paying for healthcare in the whole county," Yeager said. "We pay close to $2 billion annually on healthcare, and the costs have done nothing but rise." A big part of the increase, he said, is costs related to obesity.
Yeah, thatís right Ė once we let government take over the healthcare system, it gets to make all sorts of decisions ďfor our own goodĒ. After all, with government cash comes government control over our lives Ė that despite the fact that it is really our money and government has no legitimate power that we do not grant to it.
So do you want another reason to do away with ObamaCare? Here it is, writ large, about a seemingly small matter, for all of us to see.
Yeah, weíve heard these stories before, but never with much documentation. Does this expedition actually have photos and video to back up their claim?
A group of Chinese and Turkish evangelical explorers say wooden remains they have discovered on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey are the remains of Noah's Ark.
The group claims that carbon dating proves the relics are 4,800 years old, meaning they date to around the same time the ark was said to be afloat. Mt. Ararat has long been suspected as the final resting place of the craft by evangelicals and literalists hoping to validate biblical stories.
Yeung Wing-Cheung, from the Noah's Ark Ministries International research team that made the discovery, said: "It's not 100 percent that it is Noah's Ark, but we think it is 99.9 percent that this is it."
There have been several reported discoveries of the remains of Noah's Ark over the years, most notably a find by archaeologist Ron Wyatt in 1987. At the time, the Turkish government officially declared a national park around his find, a boat-shaped object stretched across the mountains of Ararat.
Nevertheless, the evangelical ministry remains convinced that the current find is in fact more likely to be the actual artifact, calling upon Dutch Ark researcher Gerrit Aalten to verify its legitimacy.
The question is, what have they been able to verify to be of that age? And will there be some sort of examination of the site for independent verification of its existence? Also, will the determination of age necessarily be able to lead us to a determination that this is a boat? It almost certainly will not lead to a determination that the story of the Flood is true, absent some sort of additional evidence that goes with it.
TAKS stands for the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, but my understanding is that that was not the original acronym.
Without further ado, here are The Top Ten Rejected Meanings of TAKS:
10) Texas Accepts Kidsí Suffering
9) That Aggravating Kidney Stone
8) Teachers against Knuckle Sandwiches
7) This Ainít Kansas, Scarecrow
6) Talking About Kama Sutra
5) Testing All Kids Simultaneously
4) Throw Away Knowledge, Sonny
3) Think Again, Kindergarten Students
2) Take Another Kidís Sanity
1) This Assessment Kinda Sucks
The torture of students, teachers, and administrators that is the TAKS begins tomorrow. Pray for us.
Imagine that! A law that makes illegal activity a crime. What will they think of next?
And let's not forget this absurd scenario put forward as a bad thing by Contessa Brewer.
Essentially, I mean the question is, does this lead to a situation where neighbors are turning in neighbors or families turning against families?
One would hope so -- after all, don't we hope that neighbors will turn in neighbors who are committing crimes, and that family members will do the same with criminal family members? Indeed, isn't it the responsibility of every member of society to report crimes to the authority and assist in their prosecution, even if the law-breakers are their neighbors and family members?
If this were a GOP candidate, wouldnít the press be calling this corrupt cronyism instead of lionizing the candidate?
Defense contractors, local business officers and lobbyists that relied on earmarked federal contracts from Murtha (D-Pa.) recently chipped in $142,400 to elect Mark Critz, an analysis by The Washington Post shows. Those donations made up more than 52 percent of the individual contributions that Critz raised in the first-quarter of 2010 as he seeks to replace his late boss, new campaign records reveal.
Critz is a friendly face to many defense industry officers who had donated to Murtha's campaigns. He served as local district director for Murtha's office in Johnstown, Pa., and helped recommend to Murtha which companies should get earmarked contracts when Murtha chaired the powerful House defense appropriations subcommittee.
Murtha, who was considered one of the most influential members of Congress after four decades in office, died on Feb. 8 at 77 from complications of gall bladder surgery. With the widely popular lion no longer on the ballot, Republicans find that they have a shot at winning a House seat they had previously given up trying to seize.
On top of the individual checks Critz received, global defense contractors such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics and other defense companies gave $21,400 through their political action committees.
Four former lobbyists of the PMA Group, a once-powerful lobbying shop, also chipped in to elect Critz. Murtha arranged for his spending panel to steer hundreds of millions of earmarked contracts to PMA clients. The firm shut its doors amid a criminal investigation scrutinizing more than $1 million dollars in campaign contributions it gave to Murtha and other subcommittee members.
Critz's money came as well from top officers of companies that were longtime beneficiaries of Murtha's largess in doling out military contracts: Argon ST, Progeny Systems, Concurrent Technologies Corporation, Advanced Acoustic Concepts and Mountaintop Technologies.
He steered your tax dollars to them, now they steer their corporate dollars to him. Pretty cozy, donít you think?
Seems to me that stuff like this is even more reason to send a contribution or offer help to Tim Burns, the GOP candidate for Congress in the special election. Let's have a real American in that seat, not a tool of the special interests.
Two state representatives called on Gov. Pat Quinn Sunday to deploy the Illinois National Guard to safeguard Chicago's streets.
Chicago Democrats John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford said they want Quinn, Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis to allow guardsmen to patrol streets and help quell violence. Weis said he did not support the idea because the military and police operate under different rules.
"Is this a drastic call to action? Of course it is," Fritchey said. "Is it warranted when we are losing residents to gun violence at such an alarming rate? Without question. We are not talking about rolling tanks down the street or having armed guards on each corner."
* * *
So far this year, 113 people have been killed across Chicago, the same number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined in the same period, Fritchey said.
While Fritchey and Ford are arguing that the deployment of Illinois National Guard troops in Iraq and Afghanistan makes the deployment of more of them in Chicago a reasonable suggestion, I reject that notion. Aside from the fact that fighting Islamic terrorists is much more essential to preserving our national security than using troops to clean up gang-bangers, there is also the question of the imposition of martial law in a major city during peace time.
Also, Iíd like to correct Fritchey and Ford on a point. The problem is not ďgun violenceĒ -- it is ďgang violenceĒ. The guns themselves commit no act, but the gang-bangers do.
Could be, as people the free peoples of the world continue a trend of rejecting the Left.
A YouGov Plc poll of 1,466 people in todayís Sun newspaper put David Cameronís Conservatives at 34 percent, the Liberal Democrats at 30 percent and Labour at 28 percent. No margin of error was given.
Unfortunately, this might not be enough to give the Conservatives the most seats in Parliament, meaning that a coalition with the Liberal Democrats (who stand to the right of Labour) may be necessary for the Conservatives to form a government under David Cameron's leadership. This seems likely after Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg's statement that it would be preposterous for Labour to head the next government if it finished third in the polls. The probability that the Liberal Democrats will end up with only about 15% of the seats in Parliament despite a projected second place finish, with the Conservatives and Labour each projected to garner over 40% of the seats in Parliament (with Labour likely to edge the Conservatives by a handful of seats) despite the strong showing of the Liberal Democrats. makes it virtually impossible for Clegg to form a government.
Over the last couple of years, I've been blessed to become friends with Rob AKA Freedom Fighter over at JoshuaPundit.
Some weeks back, he had a heart attack and emergency surgery, with more to come at a future date.
Well, today is the future date.
So please take a moment to offer up some a prayer or two for one of the genuinely good guys of the blogosphere, that all may go well and that the may make a full and speedy recovery.
More great posts, more fine winners and runner-s up!
Congratulations to all -- and I'm looking forward to the next batch!
Why? Because everybody has a right to exercise freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion, even if doing so offends the religious sensitivities of the more barbaric followers of a religious faith that revels in terrorism and is itself nothing but a hodge-podge of blasphemous heresies against Christianity and Judaism.
Oh, you mean ďWhy NOW?Ē Well, because of the current South Park fiasco, of course, in which Comedy Central has cravenly capitulated to the terroristic threats of those fine, upstanding followers of the cult of MuHAMmad at Revolution Muslim. While they are quite free to do so, those of us who disagree with the cowardly corporate clowns who have done so are equally free to excoriate the ball-less broadcast buffoons and the backwards, basement-dwelling boy-lovers to whom they surrendered without a shot being fired.
To any and all Muslims who read these words and are offended, let me be perfectly clear Ė offending you and violating your religious strictures is exactly what I am doing, because I know it offends you, and because I have every moral and legal right to do so. In doing so, I cause you no harm whatsoever. I take no property that belongs to you, I inflict no physical harm upon you, I interfere with no right that you have. I simply express thought and beliefs that you do not like, something that you have no right to stop or interfere with. After all, I am not bound by Islamic law or the religious taboos of a faith I reject.
Donít like what I have done, said, or believe? POUND SAND! Better yet, spend your time actively stopping the jihadi scum who commit terrorist deeds in your name, the e-hadi slime who spew threats on the internet, and the host of mullahs, imams, ayatollahs and other assorted religious leaders who claim that there is a right to engage in violence to spread your faith and silence those of us who do not accept your religious claims. But know that I will take every threat of violence Ė explicit or implicit Ė directed against me or my family with the utmost seriousness. And also know that any effort to at physical intimidation or assault will be met with an exponentially disproportionate use of force in responseÖ
Look -- a Facebook Group!
Iím with the folks over at HotAir Ė itís a good thing that these signs didnít appear at a Tea party Rally, but were instead directed at Sarah Palin. After all, if conservatives had such signs at their rally, it would be a clear sign of extreme theocratic eliminationist hate speech bordering on sedition. Instead, what we have here is mainstream secular love speech by American patriots who just want their political opponents to shut up and die.
I am particularly amused by the G.T.F.O. sign (on the right) Ė have liberals now adopted a variation on an old theme as their standard for patriotism? Iím waiting for the bumper stickers that read AMERICA Ė LOVE OBAMA OR LEAVE IT!
I somehow doubt that he was telling his fellow liberals to shut up.
Rep. Tom Chabin, D-Flagstaff, pleaded with his colleagues to oppose the birth certificate measure Wednesday. "When you undermine the sitting president of the United States, you undermine our nation, and it makes us look very ugly," Chabin said Thursday.
I have no indication that Chabin ever spoke out to condemn those who questioned the legitimacy of George W. Bushís 2000 election as president, of those who accused Bush of being a war criminal or those who accused him of being complicit in the 9/11 attack. I guess he believed that those things were perfectly acceptable. Yet somehow, daring to insist that a presidential candidate prove his eligibility for the office is an effort to ďundermine our nationĒ! Dare I suggest that Tom Chabin is a hypocrite?
The only explanation is misogyny and political bias -- and the absence of attractive Democrat women on the national stage.
LARRY KING, HOST: We can't leave without asking you, my producers say I must ask you. Sarah Palin, what do you think? Sarah Palin? I got to say her name because we have to say it every night.
Sarah Palin. What do you say?
SARAH SILVERMAN: Oh, about what? Her posing in "Playboy"? I think she should go for it.
KING: Agreed. Thank you, Sarah.
SILVERMAN: Thank you.
Could you imagine the uproar if a conservative radio or television host and guest were to have such an exchange about a prominent Democrat woman Ė perhaps Michelle Obama? There would be Hell to pay! Why, then, does this sort of thing remain acceptable Ė and where are the angry feminists?
After all, the best way to make sure that the "rights" of illegal alien Mexicans arenít violated here in the US is to make sure they are not here.
The Mexican government criticized Wednesday a tough immigration law approved this week by Arizona legislators, saying it could result in rights violations and racial profiling and affect cross-border relations. Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said in a statement relayed through Mexico's U.S. embassy that it viewed the measure with great concern and said it "could have potentially serious effects on the civil rights" of Mexican nationals. "Mexico views with concern the possible negative effects the measure could have, if approved, on the development of the ties of friendship, culture, commerce and tourism that have characterized Mexico's relations with Arizona for generations," according to the statement.
The truly infuriating thing here is that the Mexican government has been encouraging and colluding in the massive violation of the southern border of the US by its citizens for as long as I can remember. Now, when American citizens rise up and cry ďNO MORE!Ē, the corrupt regime in that failed nation has the audacity to tell Americans how they conduct their affairs on their own soil? I donít think so Ė and Iíd like to remind any offended Mexican citizen who does not like our response to illegal immigration that the friendly folks from the Border Patrol will do absolutely nothing to disrupt their transit southward.
That is not to say that I necessarily believe the law adopted in Arizona to necessarily be the best solution to the problem of the wholesale violation of our southern border, much less that it is beyond criticism. But as far as i am concerned that is a matter for American citizens and aliens legally in this country to hash out -- and those who have a complaint to make should blame the Mexican government and those who jump our borders illegally for the perceived necessity of such legislation.
One can argue about whether or not the speaker was appropriate and whether parents ought to have been notified so they could opt their kids out of the assembly, but it is the response of the principal to a parent complaint that really strikes me as outrageous.
What happened? A Georgia middle school brought in the rapper T.I as a motivational speaker. Now T.I is just out of prison on federal weapons charges, and has a long record of negative interactions with the criminal justice system, and one parent wrote to complain. Now I can see the parentís point, but donít necessarily disagree with the notion that T.I. might have something of value to say to kids, having just done a year in the slammer and lost a bushel full of cash during that time. But he was brought in to speak even before his time in a halfway house was finished!!
Principal Terry Oatts responded with the following in one of his emails to the parent.
In e-mails obtained by 11Alive News, Oatts replied in his e-mail, "I thought about asking a guy who snorted cocaine and got arrested for DUI when he was 30 to come and speak to our kids, but President George W. Bush was not available."
Whoa! Not appropriate. Set aside the fact that this was a case of using oneís professional position to engage in a political attack, the reality is that one of those accusations is completely discredited outside of the ranks of partisans who still accept the claim made in a political hit-piece. But given the activities and accomplishments of the intervening three decades after the drunk driving incident, it is pretty clear that the relative standing of the two men in question is not at all similar. And before anyone asks, Iíd have the same reaction if such a slam had been made against the pot-smoking, blow-snorting incompetent currently residing in the White House by a school official writing in his/her official capacity.
When it was a few states, we were told it was nothing but a political stunt by a few opportunistic office-holders filing a frivolous suit. What now, as we approach half of the states in the union?
Oklahoma became the 22nd state to file a lawsuit seeking to overturn the government-run health care bill President Barack Obama signed into law that funds abortions. Because state Attorney General Drew Edmondson refused to file suit, the Oklahoma legislature took it upon itself to do so.
Edmondson said he would join a lawsuit if the legislature passed a resolution requiring him to do so, but legislative leaders worried he would put up a lackluster effort.
House Speaker Chris Benge and Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, both Republicans, said Tuesday they will file suit to prevent the law from going into effect.
"Our concern is that the attorney general's effort would be lackluster, at best. We have an obligation to our citizens to challenge this unconstitutional bill," Benge said.
ďWhy would we want to retain an attorney to represent our case when he doesn't believe in it?Ē Coffee asked.
Some 20 other states have already joined or planned to do so the main lawsuit filed by Florida on March 23. The suit claims the new health care scheme violates state rights and will cause economic problems.
Florida's Attorney General Bill McCollum indicated Tuesday that Alaska officials became the 20th state to get on board and, separately, Virginia has filed its own lawsuit to become the 21st.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed a lawsuit challenging the mandate based on a specific state law barring the government from requiring that Virginians buy health insurance.
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington have joined the lawsuit against the pro-abortion health care bill.
Conservative columnist Connie Hair says the number of states filing lawsuits shows the problems with the bill Congress passed and Obama signed.
"The count is quickly closing in on half of the states poised to challenge the new law. The unprecedented size and scope of the challenge by the states virtually guarantees that eventually the Supreme Court will decide the matter," she said.
Ideally, we need to get the number over 50% -- and better yet, high enough to meet the burden necessary to ratify a constitutional amendment to overturn ObamaCare definitively.
Iíve made no bones about the fact that I think Birtherism is absurd, and that the weight of the evidence clearly shows that Barack Obama was born in the United States and is a natural born citizen as a result. That said, I fully support this legislation.
The Arizona House on Monday voted for a provision that would require President Barack Obama to show his birth certificate if he hopes to be on the state's ballot when he runs for reelection.
The House voted 31-22 to add the provision to a separate bill. The measure still faces a formal vote.
It would require U.S. presidential candidates who want to appear on the ballot in Arizona to submit documents proving they meet the constitutional requirements to be president.
What a revolutionary concept Ė requiring candidates for office to affirmatively prove that they are, in fact, constitutionally eligible for the office they seek. Personally, it just seems to be common sense, and no less reasonable than most other filing requirements.
It is only totalitarian nations that push reporters back from anti-government protests that might embarrass the corrupt regime.
Comamdante Zero doesn't like free speech that goes against the Obama Regime, so he is more than willing to have the jack-booted thugs shut out the citizenry and the press from areas that traditionally have been open to both freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
This is, indeed, outrageous. When will they break out the truncheons and teargas?
Heil Obama! Sieg Heil!
The reality of Che is much different.
You know -- back when the Swift Boat Vets dared question the recollections and heroism of their fellow Swift Boat vet, John Kerry?
Where is the outrage over this attack on the honorable service of a veteran?
Sen. Arlen Specter is up with an aggressive attack ad targeting his Democratic primary opponent, Rep. Joe Sestak, for his congressional voting record and questioning Sestak's leadership in the Navy.
"Joe Sestak, relieved of duty in the Navy for creating a poor command climate," says the ad's narrator. "Joe Sestak, the worst attendance of any Pennsylvania congressman. ... Let's say no to No Show Joe."
Specter campaign manager Chris Nicholas declined to specify the size of the ad buy but said the commercial was in wide distribution across the state.
The ad comes as Sestak, a former vice admiral, is beginning to spend funds on a first round of upbeat, biographical television commercials.
I've noted a remarkable silence on the part of the pro-military Left on this attack on Sestak. Sad, isn't it, that their love for the military does not extend to protecting a decorated veteran of their own party from the attacks of a guy whose whose active duty military record consists of one stateside office tour.
After all, if Goldman Sachs is so evil and corrupt, how can Barack Obama keep the nearly $1 million in donations that came to his campaign from that company?
Gay rights protesters interrupted President Barack Obama's speech at a fundraiser for California Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) Monday night in Los Angeles.
Activists from a group called GetEQUAL began shouting at Obama while he was speaking at the podium. They expressed frustration over the slow progress of repealing the ban on openly gay people serving in the military.
The protests brought the speech to a halt, and the protesters did not lower their voices after others in the crowd urged them to end their shouting.
A couple of observations.
My guess -- as Comandante Zero becomes less and less popular with the American public at large for breaking his mainstream promises, and continues to try to tack to the center by breaking his left-wing promises, you can expect to see the worst president of my lifetime face as many protests from within his old coalition as he gets from outside of it.
Iíve always heard that any journey to Mars would require a long trip. Does Franklin Chang-Diaz, a former NASA astronaut, have the means of getting humans there in less than six weeks? He claims he does, by using a rocket that converts hydrogen to plasma.
Between flight training he built a research team to begin work on a plasma rocket, drawing upon NASA engineers and scientists from across the country.
At their essence, rockets are simple: the higher the temperature of the gas shot out the back, the faster the gas and rocket go. Plasmas get hotter than conventional chemical rocket fuel, allowing plasma rockets to go faster on much less fuel.
Over the past three decades, Change-Diaz's group worked on a rocket that could convert hydrogen to a plasma, confine it with a magnetic field and then heat it with radio waves. From 1993 to 2005 he did so as director of the Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center.
After the focus turned to conventional rockets for the Constellation program, Chang-Diaz went private with his ideas. Now that Constellation appears dead, it may be that Chang-Diaz holds the key to success in the newly privatized space program. He expects to begin testing his new engine in only four years, which would put him years ahead of where NASA will be. For those of us who love the space program and who have friends and loved ones involved in it, it may mean that the future of space exploration is not quite so bleak as it was left by Obamaís announced plan to make America a third-tier space program (like he's out to make the US a thid-tier everything else) by mid century.
It is always a pleasant thing to see news like this.
Iraqi intelligence officers have located and killed Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced on Monday.
Mr. Maliki said the intelligence team also killed Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the leader of an affiliated group, the Islamic State of Iraq, in an operation that was backed by American forces.
United States military officials confirmed that Iraqi security forces had killed the two men. ďThe death of these two terrorists is a potentially devastating blow to Al Qaeda in Iraq,Ē the American command said in a statement.
By now theyíve found out that the only virgins waiting for them are demons Ė and that they are all male. Hope they are prepared for an eternity of ďtaking it like a man.Ē
You know, back before the rise of the unicorn-riding demigod who must be worshiped by those who wish to be considered loyal Americans?
Well, we know that Dissent, we so often heard, was the highest form of patriotism. But apparently the CHANGE we got on January 20, 2009 included that antiquated notion, and so those of us who dare to disagree can only HOPE that the First Amendment will remain in force long enough for us to drive the Democrats from power.
"I did a little bit of research just before this show - it's on this little napkin here. I looked up the definition of sedition which is conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state. And a lot of these statements, especially the ones coming from people like Glenn Beck and to a certain extent Sarah Palin, rub right up close to being seditious." -- Time magazine's Joe Klein.
Another member of the effete-elite media, New York magazineís John Heilemann, went beyond Klein's slander and included Rush Limbaugh in the accusation as well.
Interesting, isn't it, that speech against the OBAMA REGIME (there, I said it -- now you can declare me guilty of sedition, too, you DemocRAT-BASTARDS) is now declared seditious despite the fact that it falls well within the parameters of what was declared acceptable by their peers during the presidency of George W. Bush. And interesting, too, is the fact that the racheting up of such charges comes as the 2010 electoral prospects of the Democrats are looking worse, meaning the likely victory of the very views opposed by Klein, Heilemann, and other Obama-fellating media personalities THROUGH LEGITIMATE CONSTITUTIONAL MEANS AT THE BALLOT BOX.
So let's see -- journalists are now declaring anti-Obama speech to be seditious. A former president of the United States who is married to a high-ranking member of the OBAMA REGIME has declared opposition to the OBAMA REGIME to be akin to an incitement of terrorism, only to be echoed by the latest faux-conservative icon anointed to be the "voice of reason on the Right" by the opponents of the Right.
Maybe the need to be more worried about the rhetoric coming from their own side instead.
I've often wondered why the group T'Pau didn't catch on -- but here is their big hit, "Heart and Soul," for your listening pleasure.
Not bad for a band named for a Vulcan.
About five years ago, I wrote the following in response to a Houston Chronicle editorial lamenting the failure of my school district to run a "free feed" program for children in the school district during part of the summer.
Maybe the editorial is right. Children need to be fed year-round, and parents are clearly not up to the task.
But what about other school breaks and holidays? These children should not be left to fend for themselves for a week or two at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Spring Break! Clearly, the cafeterias must remain open during those times off as well.
And what about the irresponsible practice of sending children home on Friday afternoon and closing the cafeterias over the weekend? It seems absurd that we would expect children to survive through a Saturday and a Sunday without a hot breakfast and lunch. School districts need to keep the cafeterias open on the weekend as well, to avoid subjecting our nation's children to two whole days without nutrition.
I've also got a solution to what I see as the "dinner problem". By extending the school day by two or three hours, we can make sure that each student gets a hot dinner, ensuring three square meals a day. The interim time could be devoted to additional instructional time, though I certainly see the objections of those who see the extra classroom time as educators over-emphasizing academics.
But what I've not managed to solve is how to guarantee that every child gets a bowl of ice cream and a kiss on the forehead before bed. What do you think -- are parents up to such a task?
I was in my best sarcastic form, satirizing the position of the ever-bleeding heats at the local rag. After all, no one in their right mind would ever suggest making schools responsible for feeding kids over the weekend, would they?
My words immediately jumped back into my head today when I received an email from a friend linking to this editorial from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It seems that Rep. Dina Titus wants to do precisely that.
[W]hat if Americans come to realize the giant jobs program they're financing under the rubric of the "public schools" is no longer mostly about "schooling," at all, but has instead morphed into a huge archipelago of food banks and full-service welfare agencies?
More than 19 million American schoolchildren are already provided free or reduced-cost meals during the week when they're at school, according to Feeding America, a national network of charities. In Clark County, roughly 148,000 children qualify for the free or tax-subsidized meals -- not because they are all necessarily poor, but because they live in areas where a certain percentage of the populace is statistically "poor," and no one wants to embarrass a child by making him or her assert individual poverty in order to qualify.
But that's not enough, according to Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., who introduced a bill Tuesday that would allow the schoolchildren to head back to their schools on the weekends to pick up tax-funded food handouts, as well -- or else carry home backpacks full of canned meats and fruits on Fridays.
The Weekends Without Hunger Act would allocate $10 million per year for a five-year federal "pilot program," giving away food for schools and local anti-hunger groups to distribute.
"With 45 percent of Clark County schoolchildren relying on the free and reduced-price lunch program, more than 140,000 students in Southern Nevada are facing hunger at home, and many depend on school meals as their main source of food throughout the week," Rep. Titus said.
I'm astounded. What was once beyond the realm of serious consideration now appears to be just a partisan floor vote away from becoming the law of the land. Will wonders never cease? There really are people who believe that, after feeding kids free meals for 10 out of the 21 meals ordinarily eaten in a normal week, schools ought to be the source of at least four more during the non-school days of the week. Can the "free/reduced dinner" program I sarcastically proposed above be far behind?
I guess that in the era of Hope'N'Change, parental responsibility for meeting even the most basic needs for children will be subsumed by yet another comprehensive government program. How long until someone proposes making all public schools year-round residential facilities for all children between the ages of 4 and 18?
I know he has tagged it as humor, but it certainly doesn't seem to be particularly humorous to me. After all, it suggests a way in which a citizen might legally bring a shotgun into the Texas State Capitol for purposes of shooting representatives of institutions and organizations that the blogger has railed against frequently on his blog and other websites -- and ends with a comment that "this might be a good time to buy a shotgun."
You can take a shot gun to a hearing in the Capitol. Maybe you can carry a shotgun when the lobbyists for the insurance industry testifies on how low homeowners insurance rates are. Or when the electricity resellers say how low our rates are. Or when the heads of Texas University tries to justify their bloated college rates. The list could go on and on.
Whatever hearing you want to attend, just remember, you have the right to carry a shotgun into a hearing just as long as it is "carried openly, in a non-threatening way". And since we don't have enough money to police each hearing, gun toters could have a clear and easy target.
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Hum....I guess this might be a good time to buy a shotgun.
This would be troubling regardless of who wrote it, but given John's history of threatening/urging violence against political opponents, as well as his record of racist, sexist, and classist hate speech, I'm starting to wonder if being "troubled" is a sufficient response.
One of my fellow members of the Watcher's Council noted that this week had a particularly fine selection of posts in both the Council and Non-Council categories. I certainly have to agree with him in that regard. Just look at the outcome of this week's contest, and the quality of the posts found from top to bottom in both categories.
I strongly encourage you to take the time to read the winners and the various runners-up.
I didn't blog on the "Crash the Tea Party" website, even when I found out it was the project of a teacher in Oregon. After all, others had beat me to it, and it is just the sort of slimy action that we can expect from the Left. And besides, I reasoned, it was protected speech, and so even the educator angle did not enter into it.
An Oregon teacher who announced his intention to "dismantle and demolish the Tea Party" has been placed on administrative leave until his school district finishes its investigation into whether his political activity crossed the line.
The state's Teacher Standards & Practices Commission is also conducting an investigation into Jason Levin, a media teacher at Conestoga Middle School in Beaverton.
"Jason is on paid administrative leave," Maureen Wheeler, the school district's spokeswoman, told FoxNews.com. She described the suspension as "standard practice during an internal investigation."
Levin has come under fire for saying he'd do anything short of throwing rocks to bring down the Tea Party. In the last two days, the Beaverton School District has received thousands of e-mails and phone calls from people across the country who said they were outraged at his behavior.
The school district is defending Levin's right to free speech, but it's investigating whether he used district computers to spread his political message or worked on his "Crash the Tea Party" Web site during school hours.
As far as this teacher is concerned, that ought to be as far as it goes. Did he use school time or equipment to foster his political activities? If so, punish him like I said should happen with this teacher. The content, of his speech as far as I'm concerned, is irrelevant.
Unfortunately, that may not be the end of it either. It appears that the content of his speech is also at issue.
Now, the source said, parents have become outraged by the severity of his political activism, and many have told the school board members that it has no place in a public school system.
Parents supported teachers who wore Obama buttons during the 2008 presidential election, the source said. But they say Levin has crossed the line.
I call bullshit on that one. The content of Levin's speech -- and may I suggest even his political extremism -- ought not even be an issue in regards to his employment and certification. If public employees -- and we public school employees are public employees -- can be fired for our political beliefs, statements, activities, and associations, then the First Amendment will have been utterly eviscerated for each and every American citizen. As someone who has been targeted in the past for my political activity outside of school and my political speech on this website, I find it frightening that the mere fact that some element of the community disagrees with a teacher's politics might be the basis for professional sanctions.
Indeed, the ONLY part of Levin's political activism that strikes me as warranting a close look is his call to collect personal information on participants in the Tea Party movement in order to "cause mayhem with it." But even that, absent some further evidence of specific criminal intent, seems to be a reach.
So let's find out if this clown has engage in activities that are illegal, and take him down if he did. But if he hasn't, a conservative respect for the Constitution would require that we permit him to follow his chosen profession and respect his right to engage in political activities on his own time -- lest our own freedoms be diminished in our haste to punish him for the exercise of the liberties he sought to deny us.
In the wake of all the news about the Icelandic volcano, this may be my favorite story. I bet Apple execs love it, too, and that the advertising department is trying to figure out how to use this for international marketing.
Running a country? There's an app for that.
When Norway's prime minister found himself stuck in New York as a volcanic cloud grounded flights to Europe, he fired up his new Apple iPad and did the job remotely.
In what could be a first for the new gadget, Jens Stoltenberg told CNN he used the iPad to manage the situation at home as Norway closed its airspace under threat from the ash.
A photograph of Stoltenberg using the device was posted on the Internet by Norwegian officials under the title "The prime minister is working at the airport.
Iím sure that Appleís lawyers will require the following disclaimer if there are any ads Ė ďNATO member nation sold separately.Ē
U.S. Sen. Harry Reid must pick up far more support from crossover Republicans and independents to win re-election, according to a new poll that shows him losing to the GOP front-runner in a full-ballot election with eight contenders and a "none of these candidates" option.
The survey of Nevada voters commissioned by the Review-Journal shows Reid getting 37 percent of the vote compared with 47 percent for Republican Sue Lowden, who would win if the election were today, while the slate of third-party and nonpartisan candidates would get slim to no backing.
The latest Mason-Dixon poll for the first time measured Reid's and Lowden's support in a full general election test instead of in a head-to-head or three-way matchup to see how much of the vote the record number of Senate candidates on the Nov. 2 ballot would siphon off from the Democratic incumbent and the top GOP challenger, pollster Brad Coker said.
The truly amusing thing is that Harry Reidís spokesdrone seems to believe that his boss actually has a chance of winning. Doesnít he know that the common man is revolting against out-of-touch politicians like his boss?
Immigrant-rights groups sought to tap some of the "tea party" thunder Thursday by using the anti-tax-and-spending movement's nationwide protests to argue illegal immigrants must be legalized because they are eager to pay their full taxes.
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"Here there are people who don't want to pay taxes, and we're saying there are all these people who want to carry the load and we don't allow them to," said Mary Moreno, a spokeswoman for the Center for Community Change. She led a delegation that delivered five boxes of blank tax forms to a Capitol Hill office as a symbol of all the tax money left uncollected because illegal immigrants have not been legalized.
Well, letís offer a compromise. To prove that they really want to start paying taxes, letís create a special tax just for them. Call it the ďIllegal Alien Tax StampĒ Ė you know, sort of like the ďMarijuana Tax StampĒ that exists in some states. Set the fee for the IA Tax Stamp at $5000 annually on the federal level Ė and allow the states to offer their own at $2500 annually. See how many of these border-jumping immigration criminals step up to the plate and actually pay the fees for these tax stamps. Iím guessing that the number will be quite small.
For that matter, such taxes will also settle the question of allowing state and local officials to deal with illegal immigration Ė failure to have the annual stamp will be tax evasion, an offense that can undeniably be dealt with by state and local authorities.
Somebody here is going to jail (maybe several somebodies) and there will be a bunch of kids who see their college funds significantly increased courtesy of the taxpayers of this school district.
The system that Lower Merion school officials used to track lost and stolen laptops wound up secretly capturing thousands of images, including photographs of students in their homes, Web sites they visited, and excerpts of their online chats, says a new motion filed in a suit against the district.
More than once, the motion asserts, the camera on Robbins' school-issued laptop took photos of Robbins as he slept in his bed. Each time, it fired the images off to network servers at the school district.
Back at district offices, the Robbins motion says, employees with access to the images marveled at the tracking software. It was like a window into "a little LMSD soap opera," a staffer is quoted as saying in an e-mail to Carol Cafiero, the administrator running the program.
"I know, I love it," she is quoted as having replied.
And want to know where this gets really creepy?
According to the latest filing by the Robbinses, officials first activated the tracking software on a school-issued Apple MacBook that Robbins took home on Oct. 20.
Hundreds of times in the next two weeks, the filing says, the program did its job each time it was turned on: A tiny camera atop the laptop snapped a photo, software inside copied the laptop screen image, and a locating device recorded the Internet address - something that could help district technicians pinpoint where the machine was.
The system was designed to take a new picture every 15 minutes until it was turned off.
The material disclosed by the district contains hundreds of photos of Robbins and his family members - "including pictures of Blake partially undressed and of Blake sleeping," the motion states.
This stuff has gone beyond outrageous, well past creepy, and in
to the criminally invasive. Forget the Fourth Amendment Ė this violates every expectation of privacy that we can possibly have, and every bit of professional ethics as a teacher. Iím outraged.
And Iím also willing to bet that some of the surreptitiously snapped images of scantily-clad students will be found on home computers of Carol Cafiero and at least one other district employee. After all, the ďsoap operaĒ email makes it clear that she was sharing the images with someone else Ė and Iím sure that includes the juicy stuff.
I was struck by this anecdote in a CNN report about traveling with the Tea Party Express.
The bus was hard to miss, wrapped full-on in a Tea Party advertisement. Apparently, just the sight of it made the man angry. As he rushed us, shouting all the way, the bus driver cautiously slid open his window. "This country is at war," the man screamed into the slightly opened window. The driver quickly slammed it shut.
No one on the bus, including me, could understand what point the man was trying to make. The activists dismissed him as a drunk. But one thing was very clear: The Tea Party had once again attracted attention from one of its many critics.
With all due respect to Shannon Travis (who has provided pretty good coverage of this grassroots political phenomenon), I donít doubt that everyone on the bus, including Casey the dog, knew exactly what the point of the outburst was. Indeed, I suspect that, if pressed, Shannon would admit exactly what it meant Ė the left in this country, after eight years of hollering that ďdissent is the highest form of patriotismĒ as they sought to undermine President Bush and the War on Jihadi Terrorists, have now decreed any criticism of the unicorn-riding demigod in the White House to be not-merely unpatriotic, not even just un-American, but an act of treason. Because, of course, criticizing the spending policies of the Democrats and the unpopular ObamaCare legislation jammed down the throats of the American people by partisan Democrats does much more to give aid and comfort to the enemy than declaring the war lost and the president a war-criminal ever did.
You know, that 47% of Americans pay no income tax Ė or even get a refund larger than the amount that was withheld from their pay Ė and 45% of Americans think that the amount of income tax they pay is just about right.
Just a point to ponder.
Chief Justice John Marshall, perhaps the greatest leader of the US Supreme Court and certainly its most influential, wrote in the case of McCulloch v. Maryland that ďthe power to tax involves the power to destroy.Ē Iíve therefore always struggled with the notion that government can make any claim to have a right to tax a church, or to limit the speech of churches and their leaders as a condition of their being exempt from taxation. After all, how could such a position stand up against the right to freely exercise oneís religion, and of the right of individuals and groups to speak freely, if the government could financially crush a congregation that dared to express views beyond what the government decides are proper for a church?
Of course, for most of our nationís history, such restrictions were not in place. It was only in the 1950s, when Lyndon Johnson got the speech of all 501 (c) (3) organizations restricted in an effort to silence a political opponent, that such a restriction was inadvertently applied to churches. And while certain organizations hostile to religious expression claim that such limits serve to ďprotectĒ churches and worshippers from unscrupulous politicians who hijack churches for their own political purposes by maintaining some sort of religious purity. Setting aside the fact that it is not the place of government to decide whether or not the message of a religious organization is ďpureĒ, it may be that there are valid reasons for a congregation, or a pastor, to engage in explicitly religious speech (even speech for or against a candidate for office) as a part of the duty to guide the flock.
Now such a notion may be shocking to some, but it should not be. After all, there are certainly those who seek public office who are evil, and of whom it is perfectly reasonable for a clergyperson to say Ė even from the pulpit Ė that it would be immoral to cast a vote in their favor. Consider, for example, the race for governor run some years ago by KKK leader David Duke. I would argue that no Christian with a well-formed conscience could have legitimately cast a vote for that vile individual, and the overwhelming majority of Christians would certainly agree. Unfortunately, under the tax laws that existed then and continue to exist today, a pastor who dared to speak such words from the pulpit, or a congregation that decided to use its marquee board to communicate such a message (or send a letter to congregants expressing that view) would lose the congregation its tax exemption. The result, of course, is the suppression of the Gospel message of love of neighbor Ė and far from protecting religious institutions and worshippers, the prohibition has harmed them by stopping the expression of a message that religious leaders view as a proper one for them to communicate with their congregants. Indeed, I recall one classmate with whom I was in the seminary at the time sharing with some of us a letter sent by his bishop to the parishes of the diocese, reminding the pastors and parish councils of the legal prohibition against such pastorally appropriate actions. Other than the arch-racist seeking the highest office in the state, who was ďprotectedĒ by that government interference with the message of the church?
Situations like that one are why I support the Alliance Defense Fundís Pulpit Initiative, in which a group of pastors are challenging the federal governmentís restrictions in an act of civil disobedience. The goal is to get this ban on speech by pastors and religious organizations overturned on the constitutional grounds that it is inconsistent with the First Amendment. Barring that, it is hopes that the challenge will lead to the reconsideration of this ill-advised restriction on the ability of houses of worship and their religious leaders to fully and freely apply the truths of their religion to the real world and so instruct their followers about the real world application of those teachings. Does this mean that I want to see our nationís houses of worship devote a significant portion of their ministry to political activity? Hardly Ė and I doubt that many would take such stances on a regular basis. That said, I would prefer risking that outcome to preserving the status quo under which government agents serve as the religious speech purity police.
Several weeks ago, the State Board of Education adopted a draft proposal of Social Studies standards for the state of Texas. When the final standards are adopted, they will be the basis for teaching in Social Studies classes statewide here in Texas, as well as the textbooks adopted here (and, indirectly, nationwide due to the size of the Texas book market). I refrained from commenting on the standards at the time because I wanted to read them before expressing an opinion Ė after all, I teach my students to use primary sources, so I chose to wait until this primary source (rather than newspaper articles and blogs) became available for my consideration.
The revised standards have been posted (scroll down to the bottom of the page to find them), and a public comment period of 30 days has opened for the public to submit comments and suggested changes to the standards adopted. I urge everyone (especially Texans and even more especially Social Studies teachers Ė most especially Texas Social Studies teachers) to examine the draft document and submit well-reasoned responses and proposed changes to the SBOE during this time. If you have a special interest or expertise related to these standards, please mention it prominently at the beginning of your comments Ė Iím told the responses of Texas Social Studies teachers will be given particular consideration, but Social Studies teachers from other states and the parents of Texas public school students are also likely to get serious consideration. Make sure that the comments are relevant, professional, and submitted in a timely fashion. So if you have concerns and suggestions, act NOW to make them known.
Also, the final public hearing on the Social Studies TEKS will be on May 19, a final committee vote will be held on May 20, and the final vote of the full SBOE is scheduled for May 21.
Iím going to start my examination of the proposed new TEKS for grades 8-12 in the next day or so, and will post my comments on them before sending them off to the SBOE. I encourage other bloggers with an interest in this matter to do likewise.
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., has cancelled a hearing intended to grill CEOs who took a charge against profits because of the health care reform bill.
The cancellation came after they realized what everyone already knew - that the companies were required to do what they did because of accounting rules. Waxman and others had reacted with outrage and accused the companies of doing it - in essence, to make health care reform look bad.
* * *
The Democratic memo cancelling the hearing notes, "These one-time charges were required by applicable accounting rules. Under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles as determined by the FASB, companies are required to take a noncash charge against current earnings to recognize a tax liability for the estimated future tax effects of a new law."
It goes on to read, ďThis noncash charge must reflect the entire present value of the loss of future tax deductions on the subsidy, and it must be taken in the period in which the law is enacted. Moreover, if the level of the impact is deemed "material" under SEC regulations, the company must file the report promptly following the triggering event, in this case the enactment of the law."
I wonder Ė when will Waxmanís follies be the subject of late-night comedy mocking his stupidity? Or is that reserved only for attractive female conservative politicians who dare to go against the liberal grain?
Now Iíve made it clear that I have little patience for the arguments of the birther crowd, and that I fully believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States and is a US citizen. At the same time, Iíve been critical of Obama for his failure to settle the matter definitively by requesting the release of the original ďvault copyĒ of his birth certificate that was created at the time of his birth in Hawaii in 1961.
I wonder if this could force the issue in a way that no other method of approaching it could.
U.S. military officials tell NBC News that the U.S. Army will court martial a lieutenant colonel who refuses to deploy to Afghanistan because he considers orders from President Obama to be "illegal."
Army doctor Lt. Col. Terry Lakin believes Obama does not meet the constitutional requirements to be president and commander-in-chief, because he believes (incorrectly) that Obama wasn't born in the United States.
Lakin refused this week to report to Fort Campbell, KY for deployment to Afghanistan, but instead showed up at the Pentagon, where he was confronted by his brigade Commander Col. Gordon Roberts, a Vietnam Medal of Honor recipient.
Lakin was informed by Roberts that he would face court martial, and his Pentagon building pass and government laptop computer were seized.
Of course, I consider Lakin and his ilk to be a bit loony. Still, he will now have the right to offer a robust defense against the charges Ė including the right to subpoena evidence. Might that evidence include the ďvault copyĒ of the birth certificate? I certainly hope so.
And if and when it is produced, I fully expect it to show Obama to be a natural born US citizen, fully eligible to be President of the United States. But I do wonder what embarrassing information it will disclose about his parents, if any Ė because that is the only reason I can see for not having produced it earlier to make the entire controversy die.
This is a very Democratic district which Obama and John Kerry both won with 66 percent of the vote. Wexler never won less than 66 percent. Democrat Ted Deutch won with 62 percent, a slight drop-off despite outraising Republican Ed Lynch $1.35 million to $103,000. This was never a winnable race for Republicans.
There are races in Pennsylvania and Hawaii which might be more of a precursor of what will happen this fall in the wake of ObamaCare, but this race really did not fall into that category.
Gov. Bobby Jindalís chief campaign fundraiser is recovering from injuries she suffered in a French Quarter altercation Friday night, the governorís office confirmed Monday.
Allee Bautsch suffered a broken leg and her boyfriend suffered a concussion and a fractured nose and jaw in the incident, according to the governorís press secretary Kyle Plotkin.
The incident, which involved a group of people, happened after a Louisiana Republican Party fundraising event at Brennanís Restaurant.
Jindalís office has coyly refrained from blaming protesters outside the event for the vicious assault on the couple for expressing their political views, but evidence is already surfacing that it was, at least according to some sources.
Two people at the Brennanís event have now confirmed that the protest had largely broken up by the time it ended, but we also understand from someone who visited Allee Bautsch in the hospital Saturday morning that she and Brown were followed and attacked expressly because they had Palin pins on (she heard one of the attackers say ďLetís get them, they have Palin pins onĒ Ė so the attack WAS politically motivated as its victims understood it. It was not a mugging, it was not an argument gone wrong and it was not a bar fight.
Given that there have been a number of assaults on conservatives by deranged liberals over the last year because of their political speech, this strikes me as quite possible. After all there was the attack on Kenneth Gladney, the biting of a tea party participantís finger by a liberal counter-protester, the egging of Tea Party participants by Harry Reidís SEIU thugs a couple of weekends ago, and now this. Why would this cowardly attack be any different?
And there is another question as well Ė why did New Orleans media not report this story for THREE DAYS? Why wasnít an attack upon a senior staffer for the governorís campaign, an attack with probable political motive, reported sooner? Why hasnít the story gone national? Is this the same sort of coverage we could expect if the victim was the chief fundraiser for a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and the apparent attackers were affiliated with the Tea Party movement?
Taxpayers earning less than $200,000 a year will pay roughly $3.9 billion more in taxes ó in 2019 alone ó due to healthcare reform, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress's official scorekeeper. The new law raises $15.2 billion over 10 years by limiting the medical expense deduction, a provision widely used by taxpayers who either have a serious illness or are older.
Taxpayers can currently deduct medical expenses in excess of 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income. Starting in 2013, most taxpayers will only be able to deduct expenses greater than 10 percent of AGI. Older taxpayers are hit by this threshold increase in 2017.
Once the law is fully implemented in 2019, the JCT estimates the deduction limitation will affect 14.8 million taxpayers ó 14.7 million of them will earn less than $200,000 a year. These taxpayers are single and joint filers, as well as heads of households.
"Loss of this deduction will mean higher taxes for 14.7 million individuals and families making under $200,000 a year in 2019," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told The Hill. "The new subsidy for health insurance would not be available to offset this tax increase for most of these households."
Good grief Ė we blow past that 7.5% mark every year just by purchasing my wifeís medication. That does not include doctors, medical equipment (weíre looking to replace her wheelchair in the next few months), dental care or other medical expenses. Nor does that include MY medical expenses Ė my diabetes medication and supplies are not nearly such a burden financially, but do add up when included with visits to the doctors, lab work, or other medical care. Medical expenses of 10% are a minimum each year Ė and 15% is not unheard of in years when there is a hospitalization or surgery. Given some things that I expect to see come our way between now and the end of 2010, I would not be surprised to see the figure for the year reach 20%, or even a bit higher. And when one considers that we are already going to get hit with higher taxes because of limits on our medical flexible savings account, I count two increases in my taxes under the legislation Ė and depending on whether or not I am deemed to have a ďCadillac planĒ (what a joke!), I could get a third one despite making significantly less than $200K a year. And that doesnít include the higher insurance rates and higher medical costs that every analyst has already said are inevitable for most Americans under ObamaCare.
Aintít it great to know how wonderful ObamaCare will be for those of us in the working middle class? Less health care, more taxes. Oh happy day!
Not content with prayers for the death of the governor, the New Jersey Education Association has also opposed sacrifices on the part of teachers to help balance the budgets of their respective school districts. So New Jerseyís governor and his surrogates now have made two very important points, one of which I agree with whole-heartedly and one of which I am a bit less sanguine about.
"I just donít see how citizens should want to support a budget where their teachers have not wanted to be part of the shared sacrifice," said Christie, whose proposed $820 million cut in school aid has districts planning layoffs and program cuts.
Local school budgets are up for a vote a week from Tuesday. Of the stateís almost 600 districts, 141 have implemented a wage freeze or pay cut of some sort ó but only 20 of those involve teachers, according to the governorís office.
If spending is being cut or frozen in the districts, I fail to see how teacher salaries cannot be a part of that. After all, those salaries are often the biggest line-item in a districtís budget, or close to it. And if the non-teaching employees of the district Ė the secretaries, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers who make significantly less than teachers Ė are seeing their pay frozen or cut, then it strikes me as only proper that the teachers bite the bullet as well. And I say that as a teacher.
But the second point is one that Iím more ambiguous about, for a couple of reasons Ė the call for the firing of those responsible for the ďdeath prayerĒ directed against Chris Christie by officials of one union local.
The Republican governor accepted her apology for the memo sent by union officials in Bergen County last week, Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said. But Keshishian would not agree to force out Joe Coppola, president of the Bergen County Education Association who signed the memo, which effectively ended the meeting, Drewniak said.
"What would happen to a student in any of these schools ... if they had sent out an e-mail like that? In all likelihood, that student would be suspended, maybe expelled, subject to court action," Drewniak said. "If the NJEA canít as an organization accept that this was egregious conduct and take disciplinary action, I donít know how we could move forward without that happening."
Now I agree with Christie that Joe Coppola Ė at a minimum Ė should be fired for that memo. Indeed, I question whether NJEA head Barbara Keshishian is fit to remain in a position of leadership in the organization given her weak response to the controversy. Indeed, the only thing that I find objectionable is that the justification for the getting rid of Coppola is what would happen to a student who wrote such a thing about a teacher. Such a punishment for a kid would be an overreaction Ė but Coppola is not a kid, and he ought to be held to a higher standard of conduct than any student is, not the lower one imposed by the NJEA.
I first saw this little bit of science news yesterday in the NY Times.
Left to nature, the element temporarily called ďununseptiumĒ for its place on the periodic table of the elements ó Latin, roughly, for ď117-nessĒ ó would never have materialized. But then along came a team of scientists working at the Dubna cyclotron, north of Moscow. According to a paper recently accepted for publication by the journal Physical Review Letters, they have been able to create six atoms of ununseptium by colliding isotopes of calcium (20 on the periodic table) and berkelium (97), which exists only in minute quantities. Add the protons, which is what gives elements their atomic number, and you get 117, never mind how hard it is to do the addition in real life.
Of course, they also need to come up with a permanent name for the new element Ė something that can take a while, based upon past experience.
But why need it take so long? There is an obvious solution.
Hey, he got a Nobel Peace Prize without any contribution to the furthering of world peace Ė why not his own personal element with no actual contribution to science?
A measure to repeal Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative, has failed to qualify for the November ballot.
John Henning, who heads a group that sponsored the repeal effort, declined to say how many signatures had been gathered since the all-volunteer campaign got underway in late November. He said 694,000 valid signatures were required by Monday.
"There comes a point where the intake of signatures isn't rapid enough to make up your deficit," Henning said. "We started to realize last week that we weren't going to make it."
Given the extensive efforts of same sex marriage proponents to overturn the ban, including legal action and harassment of those who supported Prop 8, one would have thought that they could easily find enough folks to sign the petition. That they could not do so may tell you a great deal more about the state of public opinion in California than all the words that have come from the mouths and pens of people on either side of the issue.
Iíve made it clear that I despise the Phelps Phamily Phreaks of Westboro Baptist ďChurchĒ. I think their message is one to be despised. That said, I still support and respect their rights under the First Amendment, something that has put me at odds with a number of my fellow conservatives (and even some liberals) when it comes to the actions of the appeals court in the Snyder case.
I came across an article today that I think makes the point all the more clear about how, from a legal and constitutional standpoint, Fred Phelps and his morally retarded family cult are legally and constitutionally in the right in this case.
Westboro contacted police before its protest, which was conducted in a designated area on public land ó 1,000 feet from the church where the Mass was held in Westminster, Md. The protesters ó Phelps and six family members ó broke no laws. Snyder knew they were present, but he did not see their signs or hear their statements until he turned on the news at his son's wake.
This protest didnít happen outside the church door or at the graveside. It did not involve trespassing. Moreover, it happened at t time and place designated by the authorities for the group to assemble and protest a couple of blocks away from the funeral. Whatís more, the Snyder family was only exposed to the groupís message when they made the choice to watch the news, rather than being confronted by angry protesters blocking their path too and from the church. So while we may despise the Phucking Phelps Phreaks, it is impossible to conclude anything other than that they complied with every expectation that a free society could legitimately demand of them, no matter how despicable their message.
Now interestingly enough, the one place where Snyder might be able to succeed is in a suit for libel and slander against the group for statements made directly about him and his wife Ė though even that is questionable, given the religious nature of the assertion that they had taught their son to ďdefy their creatorĒ.
I'm a teacher.
I'm also political (in case you hadn't noticed before now).
But I know that there is a line that you don't cross when it comes to your job and your politics.
An e-mail sent out by a Rochester public school teacher calling on others to protest the Rochester Tea Party Patriots' rally on Thursday is drawing sharp criticism from Tea Party members.
The e-mail was sent out to all teachers in the school district and states that "if you are interested in combating the lies and ignorance of the Tea Party movement" to meet for a counter-rally at 5:30 p.m. at Soldiers Field. The teacher who sent out the e-mail says he will have an air horn and some signs. Rochester Tea Party Patriot Chairwoman Cindy Maves contacted School Board Chairman Jim Pittenger to protest the teacher's use of district e-mail for the political message.
"I am not surprised that there would be a counter-protest. I am just surprised they used the district e-mail," Maves said.
In an e-mail sent to Maves, Pittenger said that the e-mail might be a violation of district policy, and Superintendent Romain Dallemand plans to investigate the matter. Rochester Public Schools' spokeswoman Rachel Hicks could not be reached this morning for comment on the matter.
Whoa! Let's overlook the arrogance of assuming that everybody in the district agrees with your politics and wants to participate in your interference with the free speech rights of your fellow Americans.
I see a couple of other big no-nos here.
Frankly, I don't know what this teacher was thinking. Down here in Texas it might actually result in criminal charges, but even if Minnesota doesn't have such strict laws, it would certainly get you in deep crap with the district. And abusing the email to spam the entire district will ALWAYS get you in serious trouble, especially if it is not about district business.
My big disappointment here? No mention of the teacher's name. It should have been disclosed in the article.
Sen. Orrin Hatch says he's heard Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's name mentioned in connection with the Supreme Court vacancy brought about by the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens. Hatch didn't elaborate in an interview Monday. Appearing with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy on NBC's "Today" show, the Utah Republican said only, "I heard Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's name today and that would be an interesting person in the mix."
What would the benefits be?
Of course, there are a few obstacles to confirmation.
Do I think that Hillary will be the nominee? I donít know Ė it depends upon the political calculus of Barack Obama and the Democrats. Still, there have been worse nominations in US history Ė and love her or hate her, there is no denying that Hillary Clinton is a woman of incredible talent and ambition. Why not score a trifecta by becoming the first First Lady to serve at the highest level of all three branches of government?
UPDATE: Apparently not.
Hereís ANOTHER ONE that the NYT reporters and editors have let slip by as an isolated local case, while going hard after the Catholic Church over decades old abuse cases and their handling.
Former middle school teacher Stephanie Ragusa was teary-eyed Monday as she pleaded guilty to having sex with two underage students.
Ragusa, 31, faces up to 10 years in prison when she is sentenced June 15.
The former middle school teacher pleaded guilty to three counts of lewd and lascivious battery in a March 2008 case involving a 14-year-old boy.
She also pleaded guilty to two counts of having unlawful sex with a minor in an April 2008 case involving a 16-year-old student.
What is it with the epidemic of abuse of kids by educators? And why wonít the media treat these stories with the seriousness they deserve. After all, speaking as a teacher, I know that teachers have infinitely more access to kids in terms of time and opportunity than virtually any priest does (I know Ė Iím a former Catholic seminarian who completed parish internships during my training).
When will there be appropriate coverage of the epidemic of school-based abuse of our nationís students?
When will we the media press the heads of major school systems about how such abuse can occur on their watch?
And when will the celebtards who attack the Catholic as not being a safe place for children go on television and suggest that only unfit parents allow their kids to go to school?
If, of course, those who express such concern regarding the Catholic Church are really concerned about kids at all.
You've got to love this song and this video from Danny Gokey, whose personal story is one that could lead to a significantly less optimistic outlook on life than is found in the song.
The New York Times has yet another "gotcha" story about how particular cases regarding child abusing priests were handled in decades past. Unfortunately, they fail to consider three points.
1) At the time in question, then-Cardinal Ratzinger was not yet pope, and was merely implementing the policies of the current pontiff regarding the speed with which priestly vows were dispensed.
2) The Catholic Church has a centuries-old ecclesiastical legal system which grants rights and due process, just like the United States does. Not only must the forms be respected in such cases, but also the substance. Having taken a couple of courses in canon law, I'm aware of that -- and was even a part of one long discussion with my canon law prof on just that point when I suggested that bishops ought to simply be allowed to summarily dismiss men from the priesthood in abuse cases. Just as such individuals may avail themselves to every right under civil and criminal law, depriving them of their canonical rights would be equally unjust.
3) There is a legitimate argument for REFUSING to defrock abusers and dispense them from their vows. After all, a bishop has a certain measure of control over his priests, who are under obedience to him. Yes, it is an outrage that the faithful might find themselves paying to support an ordained abuser who has been placed in a monastery, retreat house, or treatment center and placed under restriction as to leaving that residence -- but a part of me finds that infinitely preferable to a defrocked abuser being set at liberty, especially if he is not a convicted sex offender who is subject to the limits placed upon such folks under the law.
It's really simple, you see, for someone to opine on decisions made years ago -- especially if they don't look at the intricacies of the case and possible reasons for making decisions that, at first glance, seem outrageous.
UPDATE: At least the NYT is willing to look at the other side of the argument. It fits well with my post above.
William A. Jacobson has this one pegged -- "Tragedy upon Tragedy".
Poland's president, his wife and some of the country's most prominent military and civilian leaders died this morning when their plane crashed while coming in for a landing in thick fog in western Russia.
Russian and Polish officials gave differing death tolls but agreed there were no survivors.
President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria were heading to Russia's Smolensk region to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, where Soviet secret police killed thousands of Polish officers during World War II.
There were apparently multiple landing attempts made before the crash. And so that God-accursed corner of Russia again claims so many of the best that Poland saw rise to leadership out of a sense of love for their country.
The crash came as a stunning blow to Poland, killing many of the countryís top leaders and reviving, for some, the horror of the Katyn massacre.
ďIt is a damned place,Ē former president Aleksander Kwasíniewski told TVN24. ďIt sends shivers down my spine. First the flower of the Second Polish Republic is murdered in the forests around Smolensk, now the intellectual elite of the Third Polish Republic die in this tragic plane crash when approaching Smolensk airport.Ē
Todayís loss is devastating to Poland, to the United States, and to the world. President Kaczynski was a distinguished statesman who played a key role in the Solidarity movement, and he was widely admired in the United States as a leader dedicated to advancing freedom and human dignity. With him were many of Polandís most distinguished civilian and military leaders who have helped to shape Polandís inspiring democratic transformation. We join all the people of Poland in mourning their passing.
I'm with Bruce Kessler on this one -- given his deeds undercutting the defense of Poland, I think that any reasonable person can agree that he really doesn't give a damn about Poland and its people at all.
Kaczynski was strongly anti-Communist and had a view of history that led him to a healthy distrust of Russia and its intentions towards the free peoples of Eastern Europe -- things that the American president has no comprehension of, given his policies of appeasing America's enemies and turning his back on America's friends. May the Polish people choose wisely as they select a new leader, and pick one whose wisdom and love of freedom are the equal of Lech Kaczynski.
As usual, some pretty great bits of thought and analysis ended up in this week's contest -- and one of the most superb responses to liberal libels of conservative opponents of the Obamunist agenda was the overwhelming choice of my fellow Council members and I in the Council Submissions category -- it is a must-read for everyone. Some interesting pieces received votes in the Non-Council category as well.
Do you remember last fall, when the Left in this country got all in an uproar over the decision of some Christians to make use of a single verse of Scripture to pray that Obama would be a one-term president? You know, back when the Left declared Christians who would make such use of a biblical text were guilty of treason, and that we were inciting the assassination of the unicorn-riding demigod in the White House?
Apparently, the latest thing in "Debasing The Institutions You Pretend To Hold Dear In Order To Suggest That President Barack Obama Should Be Murdered Without Actually Coming Right Out And Saying So" goes by a shorter name: Psalm 109:8.
And Psalm 109:8 is just straight up memetastic, appearing on bumper stickers and T-shirts, all of which carry the benign sounding message, "Pray For Obama." But, as Gawker's John Cook points out, this is just one more in a "long line of cheekily coded Obama death threats." The verse in question reads: "May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership." That leads fairly naturally into the Psalm 109:9, "May his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow." You know, in case you miss the point.
Of course, nothing in these words -- carefully removed from a context in which they might reasonably be seen as a prayer for Obama's death -- actually constituted a call for Comandante Zero's murder. But that didn't matter to the unhinged Left, which ultimately was able to coerce CafePress and other online merchandising companies to remove merchandise with the verse from their sites and ban any future use of the verse.
Well, apparently prayers for the death of elected officials don't bother such folks nearly so much (read that "at all") when issued by a public employee union against a conservative Republican governor.
Bergen County representatives of the state teachers union have ratcheted up the campaign against Governor Christie's agenda in a fiery memo that encourages members to "get some dirt" and "go public," and adds the education commissioner to the "attack list."
But it's the memo's closing "prayer" that is sure to ignite controversy:
"Dear Lord Ö this year you have taken away my favorite actor, Patrick Swayze, my favorite actress, Farrah Fawcett, my favorite singer, Michael Jackson, and my favorite salesman, Billy Mays. Ö I just wanted to let you know that Chris Christie is my favorite governor."
Now let's look at this. Where the single verse, Psalm 109:8, was excised from its original context to strip it of any hint of a desire that Barack Obama come to any harm, this "prayer" makes it very clear what is desired -- the death of Gov. Christie. And yet the union and its apologists are trying to pass this one off as a joke, avoiding the sort of outrage expressed when Christians dared to make use of the Bible to find words to pray in opposition to a man they find to be unfit for the office to which he has been elected.
Of course, we know how violent those Bible-toting church folks are -- and it isn't like there would ever be violence connected to an unhappy labor union -- and certainly not in New Jersey!
The response of the left-wing bloggers who only a few months ago roundly condemned the "eliminationist" prayers against Obama? Here are the comments of those I could reach about this current situation.
So, in light of the level of outrage shown in the Left-o-sphere, I post this graphic in their honor.
Maybe I'll reconsider when the folks who were so outraged by the prayers of Christians show the same sort of outrage over the prayers of union thugs.
My dear Mr. President:
Having concluded that it would be in the best interests of the Court to have my successor appointed and confirmed well in advance of the commencement of the Court's next term, I shall retire from regular active service as an Associate Justice, under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 371 (b), effective the next day after the Court rises for the summer recess this year.
Most respectfully yours,
John Paul Stevens
My take on the this?
Speaking from a personal point of view, I will be sorry to see John Paul Stevens ride off into the sunset. He was and is a man of principle, integrity, and intellect. One does not have to agree with him to make that assessment. He has become an anchor on a court that has faced serious ideological divisions over the years, and that role Ė if it is to be filled at all Ė now falls to Justice Kennedy, if he has the temperament to take it.
Weíll look at possible candidates for the Supreme Court in a future post.
The Catholic sex-abuse stories emerging every day suggest that Catholics have a much bigger problem with child molestation than other denominations and the general population. Many point to peculiarities of the Catholic Church (its celibacy rules for priests, its insular hierarchy, its exclusion of women) to infer that thereís something particularly pernicious about Catholic clerics that predisposes them to these horrific acts. Itís no wonder that, back in 2002ówhen the last Catholic sex-abuse scandal was making headlinesóa Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll found that 64 percent of those queried thought Catholic priests ďfrequentlyĒ abused children.
Yet experts say thereís simply no data to support the claim at all. No formal comparative study has ever broken down child sexual abuse by denomination, and only the Catholic Church has released detailed data about its own. But based on the surveys and studies conducted by different denominations over the past 30 years, experts who study child abuse say they see little reason to conclude that sexual abuse is mostly a Catholic issue. ďWe donít see the Catholic Church as a hotbed of this or a place that has a bigger problem than anyone else,Ē said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. ďI can tell you without hesitation that we have seen cases in many religious settings, from traveling evangelists to mainstream ministers to rabbis and others.Ē
Since the mid-1980s, insurance companies have offered sexual misconduct coverage as a rider on liability insurance, and their own studies indicate that Catholic churches are not higher risk than other congregations. Insurance companies that cover all denominations, such as Guide One Center for Risk Management, which has more than 40,000 church clients, does not charge Catholic churches higher premiums. ďWe donít see vast difference in the incidence rate between one denomination and another,Ē says Sarah Buckley, assistant vice president of corporate communications. ďItís pretty even across the denominations.Ē Itís been that way for decades.
Got that, people? NO SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE! So why stay focused on the Catholic Church and what happened at the past? Why present every priest as a potential molester when there are, proportionally, just as many ministers, rabbis, and other religious leaders doing the same thing? For that reason, why not focus on the failings of our schools in this regards Ė after all, most of the reported instances of clerical abuse happened long ago, while the abuse cases by teachers tend to be current incidents.
Lamentably, the voters of this nation made Barack Obama President of the United States. As such, he has certain constitutionally defined functions and powers. But the last time I checked, these do not include deciding what is and is not acceptable in public proclamations issued by state governments.
President Barack Obama says Virginia's governor made "an unacceptable omission" when he proclaimed it Confederate History Month without mentioning slavery.
Given Obamaís dropping approval ratings, I think I can fairly say that I speak for a majority of Americans when I say the following Ė ďWe donít care what you think, Barry! Confine yourself to your proper Ė and limited Ė role under the US Constitution.Ē
My esteemed fellow Watcher's Council member at Wolf Howling makes an interesting observation.
Just How Bad Do You Have To Be For The KKK to repudiate you?
This from the Ku Klux Klan, LLC website:News Release. . . . you really have to be off the chart nuts for the KKK to issue a press release disclaiming any relation . . . and, I might add, Westboro Baptist Church is led by Fred Phelps, a lifelong Democrat. Funny that they don't disclaim him.
NOTE: The Ku Klux Klan, LLC. has not or EVER will have ANY connection with The "Westboro Baptist Church". We absolutely repudiate their activities.
The Ku Klux Klan, LLC.
(H/T Rocket Surgery)
You know, for all that the Kluxers are a bunch of disgusting racist creeps whose philosophical underpinnings and hate-mongering rhetoric is out of step with both the proper understanding of American values and fundamental moral decency, it is good to know that even there are some anti-American evils that even they are prepared to denounce as unacceptable.
Hereís a neat idea that may just catch on.
At the bottom of a luxury condominium high-rise, across from the Just a Dollar Budget Food Store, a few steps off the rail line, there is a sign hanging from a new downtown restaurant on Main near Walker that sums up the kind of city Houston has become.
ďBombay Pizza Co.,Ē it says, announcing the name of owner Viral Patel's strange, brave fusion concept that's right at home in our megalopolis melting pot.
(Yes, he's putting cumin and coriander in the marinara, and cilantro and tandoori chicken on the pie. And it's delicious.)
Just below the name, it reads: ďThe Original.Ē
Right now, it's the only. But Patel, like thousands of other moms and pops across this entrepreneurial haven, has big dreams: ďThis is the first of 3,000 to come,Ē he likes to say. Judging by the rave reviews and returning customers, Patel just might be right.
ďThe minute we walked in here, I thought, ĎThis is what you'd expect in New York City,' Ē said Suman Annambhotla, a 31-year-old medical resident who was waiting on a takeout order over lunch.
He and his wife, Pallavi, 30, both Indian-Americans, said they appreciate the fresh take on the cuisine, and the fact that they don't have to drive to Hillcroft or the suburbs to get it. But it represents more than a good place to eat: ďIt opens the doors now, lets people see Indian food and culture in a different way,Ē Pallavi says.
Pizzas, just one option on the extensive menu, range from ďThe Slumbog,Ē a rowdy mix of meats, onions and jalapeŮos, and the all-vegetarian saag paneer with greens and goat cheese. Patel has named dishes for family and friends, including one who bought him the business plan software in 2004 that got him thinking about starting his own business.
An Indian/Italian fusion restaurant? Only in America, my friends!
I think I may have to make my way to 914 Main Street in Houston some afternoon and give it a try.
I have, time and again, been confronted with precisely that question in recent days. Looking back at the events of the past, there are those who wish to judge individuals and their actions based upon the morality of 2010, as if those standards are universal and eternal. Little consideration is given to the fact that moral standards have changed Ė that which was deemed morally licit or legally just might not be viewed as such today.
Consider the recent dust-up over the Virginia declaration of Confederate History Month. Now I have no problem commemoration of the Civil War Ė indeed, as a social studies teacher I would like to see a greater focus on historical study and commemoration of historical events because of the historical illiteracy that afflicts our society. Personally, Iíd prefer that April be declared Civil War History Month rather than Confederate History month, to honor and commemorate those on both sides who fought (and often died) in defense of their principles and their conception of our nationís founding principles as contained in the Declaration of Independence. But for Virginia Ė home of the Confederate capital and site of most of the major battles of the conflict Ė to focus on the Confederate side does not offend me. But some have taken grave offense at the commemoration, based both upon the defense of slavery that was a part of the Confederate cause and the assertion that the Confederate cause was one of ďsedition and treasonĒ. And yet most Americans in the immediate aftermath of the war recognized that those who fought for the Confederacy did so for reasons that transcended slavery and that both the Union and the Confederacy were espousing legitimate views on the nature of the American experiment. After all, the Declaration of Independence itself is premised on the right of ďone people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another.Ē Yet to the modern sensibilities of a certain segment of the American populace, one which usually argues against an ethnocentric imposition of contemporary American values on other cultures, there is a peculiar desire to re-judge that earlier era by todayís standards and declare any different interpretation to be evil rather than simply incorrect. After all, those who fought on the Confederate side were, by the lights of the time in which they lived, patriots.
A similar revision takes place today regarding sexual abuse that took place within the Catholic Church in decades past. Such abuse was often not reported to authorities for a variety of reasons. Indeed, many families were reluctant to call the police in such instances because of the stigma that attached to the victims of sex crimes in that earlier age Ė especially teenage boys who had been sexually involved with adult men. In addition, the consensus position of the psychological professions was that those who had committed such deeds could be successfully treated with therapeutic counseling. Bishops, acting on the best advice available to them at the time, removed perpetrators from the scene of the crime, put them through counseling, and then placed them again in ministerial settings where boundaries were violated and more children were victimized. It is easy to say today that the decisions were objectively wrong Ė but were the motives venal or good? But to ask that question makes one an apologist for child abuse in the eyes of some, living as we do in a society where zero tolerance for child sexual abuse has become the norm. Todayís standard is the only one that can be used, even if it was not so in an earlier age.
All this puts me in mind of a controversy in the closing days of the 2000 election. On an evening shortly before the election, a document drop by the Democrats disclosed that George W. Bush had been cited for a DUI a quarter century before, had entered a guilty plea and paid a small fine. Serious judgments were made by some, ignoring that the event happened at a time when the prodigious consumption of alcohol was more accepted and a DUI was seen as a lesser offense than it had become in the intervening years. Lost in the hail of words and judgments was the reality that a great societal shift had taken place, and the need to contextualize the incident in terms of when it happened.
All of which leads me to a conclusion that I, in my Social Studies teacher hat, often find myself repeating again and again to students in my classrooms. It is a good thing to have standards and values, and one should not lightly abandon them. But one must recognize that those values, even those which we might hold to be universal in application, are not universally held. It is therefore important to make judgments of people and events not merely based upon our own standards and values, but to also judge them by the standards and values in that held in their proper time and space. To do otherwise is to a grave injustice to the people and things we judge outside of their proper context.
Tax Day is a dreaded deadline for millions, but for nearly half of U.S. households it's simply somebody else's problem.
About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That's according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization.
Not only that, but some folks actually make a profit on their tax returns, getting refunds for tax credits! I wonder Ė how many of these people who are paying no taxes (or less than that!) would be so hot for ObamaCare and other federal giveaway programs if it meant that they had to start contributing to cover the cost of those programs?
Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz will be a consultant on a third effort to get incarcerated businessman R. Allen Stanford freed before his January 2010 trial.
This would appear to be an effort doomed to failure, given that it is currently April of 2010. So either the defense team is utterly incompetent, or they need to do more careful editing at the Houston Chronicle.
How can we figure out which it is?
Perhaps by doing a little checking and discovering that the trial is scheduled to begin in January 2011.
It isnít the Tea Party folks who attack black liberals Ė it is the liberals who attack African-Americans for supporting the Tea Party.
"I've been told I hate myself. I've been called an Uncle Tom. I've been told I'm a spook at the door," said Timothy F. Johnson, chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a group of black conservatives who support free market principles and limited government.
"Black Republicans find themselves always having to prove who they are. Because the assumption is the Republican Party is for whites and the Democratic Party is for blacks," he said.
ďUncle TomĒ? ďSpook at the doorĒ? Could you imagine if a conservative used those terms for a black liberal? Therre would be hell to pay.
But hey, liberals get a pass on their racism because, after all, theyíre good people with good ideas and so they know who has evil lurking in their hearts. At least that is what the liberals tell us.
Here's a bit more proof for you -- straight from a black conservative.
With Barack Obama having run up more debt than any president in US history in significantly less time than any president, it is no surprise that one of Obamaís advisers is publicly calling for the abandonment of the ďno tax increase for anyone making less than $250,000Ē pledge made by candidate Obama in 2008.
The United States should consider raising taxes to help bring deficits under control and may need to consider a European-style value-added tax, White House adviser Paul Volcker said on Tuesday.
Volcker, answering a question from the audience at a New York Historical Society event, said the value-added tax "was not as toxic an idea" as it has been in the past and also said a carbon or other energy-related tax may become necessary.
Though he acknowledged that both were still unpopular ideas, he said getting entitlement costs and the U.S. budget deficit under control may require such moves. "If at the end of the day we need to raise taxes, we should raise taxes," he said.
Got that Ė because cutting spending just isnít an option for doctrinaire liberals who believe the government should control every aspect of your life.
In light of the order to kill al-Qaeda terrorist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was born in America and is therefore presumably an American citizen, we currently have a truly odd policy towards the jihadi Muslims who are waging war against us in the name of Islamic extremism (oops Ė Obama says I canít describe our nations enemies with those terms, even though they are all accurate, for fear of offending them). Consider this strange new reality.
So here is the Obama Left's position. If an alien enemy combatant, such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mass-murders 3000 Americans and is then captured outside the U.S. in wartime, we need to bring him to the United States and give him a civilian trial with all attendant due process rights. If an alien enemy combatant is sending emails from outside the U.S. to an al Qaeda cell inside the U.S., the commander-in-chief needs a judge's permission (on a showing of probable cause) to intercept those communications. If an American citizen terrorist outside the United States ó say, Awlaki in Yemen ó is calling or emailing the United States (or anyplace else), the commander-in-chief needs a judge's permission to intercept those communications. If we capture an alien enemy combatant conducting war operations against the U.S. overseas, we should give him Miranda warnings, a judicial right to challenge his detention as a war prisoner, and (quite likely) a civilian trial. But, if the commander-in-chief decides to short-circuit the whole menu of civil rights by killing an American citizen, that's fine ó no due process, no interference by a judge, no Miranda, no nothing. He is a proven threat because ... the president says so.
On the one hand, non-Americans caught abroad engaging in acts of war are subject to arrest and civilian trial, as are infiltrators caught in the planning stages of their jihad. On the other hand, Americans believed to be collaborating are subject to assassination by any means necessary, just because the president says so. Why do we treat our own citizens, even those objectively guilty of Islam-based treason, worse than identically situated foreigners? Shouldn't the goal for al-Awlaki be indictment, arrest, and trial in the US before being sent to a comfy Club Fed prison, rather than an extra-judicial execution at the order of the president, without so much as an ounce of due process for our fellow American? And if it isn't, does than not point out the hypocrisy of the Obama Regime in the issue of terrorism?
No due process is accorded. No charges or trials are necessary. No evidence is offered, nor any opportunity for him to deny these accusations (which he has done vehemently through his family). None of that.
Instead, in Barack Obamaís America, the way guilt is determined for American citizens ó and a death penalty imposed ó is that the President, like the King he thinks he is, secretly decrees someoneís guilt as a Terrorist. He then dispatches his aides to run to Americaís newspapers ó cowardly hiding behind the shield of anonymity which theyíre granted ó to proclaim that the Guilty One shall be killed on sight because the Leader has decreed him to be a Terrorist.
Powers also notes that, in the Hopey-Changey world of Comandante Zero, it may be necessary to renounce one's American citizenship in order to avail oneself of the rights that the Obama Regime insists are guaranteed to terrorists under the US Constitution. And I do join with Powers in being concerned that the Obamunist horde has labeled their fellow citizens who participate in Tea Party rallies as "terrorists".
I wonder if could be that we on the right need to prepare to defend ourselves from a coming Reign of Terror at the hands of our own government for daring to exercise the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment as long as Obama and his supporters are in control. Will we Americans need to follow the example of the brave people of Kyrzygstan?Continue to be enlightened while reading "How Bizarre!" ¬Ľ
Of course I support taking out Anwar al-Awlaki, any time, any place, by any means necessary. I simply find it bizarre that the US government is taking this approach at a time when the policy seems to be to treat jihadi scum as having rights under the Constitution instead of treating them as prisoners of war subject to imprisonment until the cessation of hostilities, as we would do with any other enemy. For that matter, I personally support a presidential finding of guilt on the part of each and every one of these jihadis, followed by their immediate execution via firing squad, on live television, using bullets dipped in bacon grease in front of the cameras immediately prior to their use.
¬ę All done with "How Bizarre!"?
The country's chief tax collector pushed back Monday against assertions that working for the Internal Revenue Service has become more dangerous as a result of growing anti-government sentiment and the recent passage of President Obama's health care plan.
"No, the risk has not increased," IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman said. "There has been a lot of stuff in the press about increased threats, which is actually inaccurate."
Fears that IRS employees could be targets soared after a Feb. 18 incident in which a disgruntled Texas software engineer flew a small plane into the side of an IRS facility in Austin. One longtime agency employee was killed in the attack.
Yeah, the liberals in the media and the screamers in the left-o-sphere tried to delegitimize political speech objecting to big government and high taxes as an incitement to violence. But now we find that the deeds of a lone crazy were indicative of absolutely nothing according to the head of the agency that was supposedly the focus of all that ďanti-governmentĒ speech.
*Tie broken by the Watcher.
At least that is the approach taken by the Congressional Black Caucusís official blogger in an interview with Doug Ross.
Doug Ross: There are more than a dozen videos of various portions of the walk both to and from the Capitol, and no one has been able to pinpoint any racial epithets. Even Rep. Jackson seemed to be videotaping. Do you think itís concerning there is no evidence of the allegations in an age where virtually every second in public is taped?
Lauren Victoria Burke: What I think about recording in this situationÖ I really donít know if the sound any particular sound would be picked up. Remember, a lot of these are flip-phones or small digital cameras, not exactly heavy-duty professional microphones. One thing that doesnít come across is how loud it was out there.
A unidirectional mike wouldnít necessarily capture it. It was a wall of sound and, while some of the tapes Iíve heard are better than others, Iím not that impressed by the theory advanced by Mr. Hannity and Mr. Breitbart that it had to be recorded to have happenedÖ
In other words, we donít have to have proof of our charges for us to declare our political enemies guilty of offenses that no one can document Ė we can blame our shoddy equipment for not catching the slurs that no one except us heard hurled, and thereby convict our enemies of the offense charged despite all their evidence to the contrary.
I hereby christen Ms. Burke the Queen of Heart Ė after all, she seems to have adopted that storybook characterís ďOff with their heads!Ē philosophy.
More than a quarter of Americans describe themselves as supporters of the Tea Party movement, and the demographics of this group generally mirror the demographics of the national population, according to a USA Today/Gallup Poll.
From March 26-28, Gallup asked 1,033 adults this question: ďDo you consider yourself to be--[a supporter of the Tea Party movement, an opponent of the Tea Party movement] or neither?
Twenty-eight percent said they considered themselves to be a supporter of the Tea Party movement. A smaller percentage, 26%, said they were opponents of the Tea Party movement. Thirty-eight percent said they were neither, and 8 percent had no opinion.
ďIn several other respects, however--their age, educational background, employment status, and race--Tea Partiers are quite representative of the public at large,Ē Gallupís Lydia Saad wrote in an analysis of the poll.
According to Gallup, 75 percent of the U.S. population is non-Hispanic White, while 11 percent are non-Hispanic black, and 15 percent belong to other races. Meanwhile, 79% of Tea Party movement supporters are non-Hispanic white, while 6 percent are non-Hispanic black, and 15 percent belong to other races.
A little more white, a little less black, but otherwise quite reflective of America at large. But this should not be surprising, given that the African-American population tends to be a bit more liberal (or at least a bit more Democrat) than the rest of the American public And that the disparity appears to be about 4.5% is not at all surprising to those who actually know about the Tea Party movement.
But what is particularly striking to me is what is found on this chart.
Yeah, thatís right Ė independents are part of the Tea Party movement at about the same rate as they are found in the public as a whole. So while the movement does skew Republican (not surprising Ė it is a conservative movement), its membership again reflects America as a whole.
And then, of course, there are the similarities.
In most regards, the Tea Party movement looks EXACTLY like America.
Iím curious, though Ė will the press report these statistics in a way that fairly represents this new conservative movement? Or will it continue to pretend that it is an astroturfed movement of ignorant Kluxers?
24:1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.
2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.
3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.
5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, ďWhy do you seek the living among the dead?
6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee,
7 saying, ĎThe Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.íĒ
8 And they remembered His words.
9 Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles.
11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.
12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
13 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles
14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.
16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.
17 And He said to them, ďWhat kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?Ē
18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, ďAre You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?Ē
19 And He said to them, ďWhat things?Ē So they said to Him, ďThe things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,
20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him.
21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.
22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us.
23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive.
24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.Ē
25 Then He said to them, ďO foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?Ē
27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther.
29 But they constrained Him, saying, ďAbide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.Ē And He went in to stay with them.
30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.
31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.
32 And they said to one another, ďDid not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?Ē
33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,
34 saying, ďThe Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!Ē
35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.
36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, ďPeace to you.Ē
37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.
38 And He said to them, ďWhy are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?
39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.Ē
40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.
41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, ďHave you any food here?Ē
42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.
43 And He took it and ate in their presence.
44 Then He said to them, ďThese are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.Ē
45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
46 Then He said to them, ďThus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48 And you are witnesses of these things.
49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.Ē
50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.
51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.
Over the years, I've defended one particular Democrat in Congress from racist and anti-Semitic attacks by some in his district. I've described his opponents as unChristian and unAmerican, not to mention racist, in those defenses.
As much as I hate to say it, I'm done with doing that.
Because Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) has shown that he is just another left-wing lowlife ready to sling slurs at those with whom he disagrees, just like the opponents I've criticized in the past.
Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis teed off on the Tea Party movement in a Thursday night radio interview attracting national attention.
The two-term Democratic congressman said the Tea Party ó "without hoods and robes" ó has shown an angry, hardcore side of America that's against any type of diversity.
ďWe saw opposition to African-Americans, hostility toward gays, hostility to anybody who wasnít just, you know, a clone of George Wallaceís fan club,Ē he said on The Young Turks, an Internet and satellite radio talk show.
"And I'm afraid they've taken over the Republican Party."
Cohen also mocked John McCain's time as a prisoner of war in the interview
Does this mean that I consider racism and anti-Semitism acceptable? No, it doesn't, and I will state for the record that I oppose both. But what it does mean is that I no longer give a damn if those twin evils are unleashed on Steve Cohen by his fellow Democrats, because I would not want to sully him with support or defense from someone like me who he believes to be a modern-day Kluxer even as he has to battle against those who actually share the values of that old paramilitary terrorist wing of the Democrat party.
Karma's a bitch, Steve -- hope to see you defeated in the primary due to the racism and anti-Semitism that is rife in your own party, and the victor in that primary goes down to defeat at the hands of a Republican who stands for American values and against racism, anti-Semitism, and ObamaCare.
I understand atheists.
Really -- I do.
Had you met me when I was in my late teens and early 20s, you would have found me practically in their camp. I had no faith, I knew all the arguments against the existence of God, and I was well on my way to developing sneering contempt for those who did believe. Of course, I wasn't completely there -- in retrospect, I was really more of an agnostic -- and I still had a small nagging voice within myself that called out for me to embrace God. So I flitted into churches every now and again, looking for something that might move me -- and didn't find it. I immersed myself in a study of Mormonism which went nowhere. I read the Quran from cover to cover as a parallel to a course on Islamic history and found nothing but a spiritual dead end.
Of course, the fact that I was willing to do those things set me apart from the true hardcore atheists I knew. They looked at my efforts as silly at best and contemptible at worst. But then why should I be surprised -- most of them were bitter folks who held religious belief and religious believers in contempt. Indeed, I recall one young woman, so very pretty on the outside but so filled with rage on the inside, telling me that she refused to believe in God because a loved one decided to forgo another fruitless round of chemo and died a few months later after saying she had resigned herself to God's will. The words of her declaration were stark -- "I refuse to believe in God because he took my aunt away!"
These thoughts all ran through my mind the other day when I ran across this article on a sermon given in Australia that stirred up a lot of controversy.
RELIGIOUS leaders have used their Easter sermons and messages to condemn the rise of atheism, with Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen describing the philosophy as an "assault on God".
A day after Sydney Catholic Archbishop Cardinal George Pell criticised non-believers, Dr Jensen said in his Good Friday sermon at Sydney's St Andrew's Cathedral that atheism was a form idolatry.
"As we can see by the sheer passion and virulence of the atheist - they seem to hate the Christian God - we are not dealing here with cool philosophy up against faith without a brain," Dr Jensen told worshippers.
"Atheism is every bit of a religious commitment as Christianity itself.
"It represents the latest version of the human assault on God, born out of resentment that we do not in fact rule the world and that God calls on us to submit our lives to him.
"It is a form of idolatry in which we worship ourselves."
Indeed, Jensen's words resonated with me because they were quite in line with what I know to be the case from my own experience. It is interesting that virtually every atheist I have ever encountered comes back to rejecting some tenet of moral theology as a key element of their rejection of God, or that they express outrage that God has not organized the world more to their liking and therefore conclude that God cannot exist. And what's more, in demanding tolerance and respect for their beliefs, we time and again find that their conception of those things does not extend to include reciprocity towards believers. Indeed, we get the world's Michael Newdows who not only wish to be free to reject God without repercussions while at the same time insisting that this means that no one else may publicly express a contrary view within his hearing. Atheism is, then, quite often a system of beliefs that is every bit as narrow-minded and intolerant as the atheists claim religious believers to be.
Of course, Aussie atheists are outraged -- and respond by doing what they do best, namely attack and insult Christianity because Christians are not perfect. Why? Because they know that they must undermine what they know to be true in their hearts in order to justify their continued rejection of it.
The public is increasingly skeptical of the health care reform bill signed into law last week, a new CBS News poll shows.
More Americans now disapprove of the legislation, and many expect their costs to rise and the quality of their care to worsen; few expect the reforms to help them.
Fifty-three percent of Americans say they disapprove of the new reforms, including 39 percent who say they disapprove strongly. In the days before the bill passed the House, 37 percent said they approved and 48 percent disapproved.
Republicans and independents remain opposed to the reforms, and support has dropped some among Democrats. Now 52 percent of Democrats approve of the new reforms, a drop from 60 percent just before the bill was passed by Congress.
And less than one in five Americans thinks the new health care reforms will help them personally - unchanged since before the vote in Congress. Thirty-six percent think the new reforms will hurt them, while 39 percent think they will have little effect.
So, President Obama -- how is that whole "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed" thing going? Pretty bad, according to the American people.
For those of you who have been following the news, you would of course be aware of serious flooding in Rhode Island over the last several days, creating a crisis for the people of that state.
I've not written on the subject -- because I have been concerned about family members out there. My mother, you see, is a native of Cranston -- and much of her extended family still lives there. And Cranston seems to be the hardest-hit location.
Fortunately, family is all safe, though some of them have had a fair bit of damage to parts of their homes.
But one of them, my mom's cousin and a fellow teacher, included this tidbit in an email sent last night.
Here's the kicker. That freaking Obama was at a FUNDRAISER!!! 43 miles away in Framingham, Mass.last night and would not or could not be BOTHRED to take a run down to RI (43 minutes... highway all the way) and just say he was sorry. He is a JERK.
Doesn't that remind you of Obama's response to the deadly storms in Kentucky shortly after his inaguration -- stay home, have a Super Bowl party, and ignore the human suffering. This time he was so close to the site of a natural disaster and could not be troubled to take time out of political fundraising to act like he is the President of the United States or something.
Given that Barack Obama is supposedly the most intelligent man to occupy the White House since Jefferson -- indeed, nothing less than a unicorn-riding demigod gracing we mere mortals with his superior leadership -- surely he recognizes the historical echoes that resonate in his description of his political opponents.
Asked by Smith whether heís ďaware of the level of enmity that crosses the airwaves and that people have made part of their daily conversationĒ about him, Mr. Obama replied, ďWell ó I mean, I think that ó when youíve listened to Rush Limbaugh or Glen (sic) Beck itís ÖĒ
ďItís beyond that,Ē Smith interjected.
ďItís pretty Ė apparent,Ē the president continued, ďand ó itís troublesome. . . . ď [EMPHASIS ADDED]
Hmmm. . . "troublesome". I know what event from history was immediately brought to mind by that choice of words to describe those who stir up opposition to the policies of Barack Obama.
Yes, Henry II's angry cry -- "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?" -- resulted in a troop of his followers murdering Archbishop Thomas ŗ Becket, his great opponent, in the Canterbury Cathedral.
Barack Obama is an educated man. Surely he knows the the historical precedent he invoked with his choice of the word "troublesome" to describe political opponents. Will Obama -- personally, directly, and publicly -- renounce any intent to provoke acts of violent with his irresponsible, inflammatory word choice? Will he reaffirm his commitment to the US Constitution that he swore to "preserve, protect and defend" at his inauguration? Or will he be responsible for every threatening word, any act of violence, directed against Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or any other radio or television host who speaks out against the policies of the Obama Regime?
I'm a fan of Michael Fumento's writing. Today at NRO, he has an article for everyone who believes in the beauty of the miracle of Easter -- a reminder that after the shock and horror that is Good Friday comes incredible joy only days later.
For those who hate maudlin parables, please know that the story is true. For those who do not accept the Christian teaching on the Resurrection, please know that the story is not one that preaches -- nor is it even overtly religious. And most importantly, it is a story of hope, joy, and love that every person of every faith (or none at all) can relate to if they have so much as scintilla of contact with their heart.
Good Friday, April 17, 1992: Iíd just started a great job at Investorís Business Daily in Los Angeles, and two weeks earlier Iíd purchased the car of my dreams, a beautiful, blue Toyota MR2 Turbo. To me, at least, it looked like a small Ferrari. It was fast and sleek. I was taking my girlfriend, Mary, who had just recently followed me out from Denver, where weíd met, to see a city sheíd always dreamed of visiting: San Francisco.
But we were in no hurry, and I wanted her to see the majestic beauty of the central California coastline. That meant taking the Pacific Coast Highway. Cut into the cliffs and filled with sharp, winding turns, it can make for a white-knuckle ride in many parts. As the driver, you take quick glances at the scenery and then shoot your eyes back to the road. A front-page article in the Monterey County Herald would later be aptly titled ďThe Beauty and Danger of Highway 1.Ē An accompanying piece: ďRocks and Surf below Highway Become Tomb for Some.Ē
Those articles would be about us.
The author promises more pictures at his website later on.
UPDATE: Here they are.
Jews are forbidden to pray on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Judaism's holiest site, lest they desecrate what Muslims consider to be sacred ground. Hagia Sophia, the great cathedral of Byzantine Christianity in
Istanbul Constantinople was desecrated by Muslim conquerors in the 15th century and converted into a mosque -- now a museum -- and Christians were forbidden to use its sacred precincts for worship. So who do these Islamic interlopers think they are causing this Holy Week confrontation in Spain?
Two Muslim tourists were arrested when they tried to pray inside Cůrdobaís famous former mosque, breaking a ban imposed by the Roman Catholic Church.
Half a dozen Austrian Muslims knelt to pray at the same time in the vast marble building, which was converted to a cathedral in the 13th century after Muslims were driven from Spain.
Security guards stepped in and ďinvited them to continue with their tour or leave the buildingĒ, according to cathedral authorities.
When two refused a scuffle broke out and police were called. Two security guards were seriously injured. Spanish media, citing police sources, said that one of the Muslims arrested had been carrying a knife.
Maybe I'll have some sympathy when the restrictions and prohibitions mentioned above are lifted by Muslim authorities -- and when Christians are free to build churches in Mecca and worship freely throughout the Islamic world.
In the mean time, I'll leave you with this reminder of how Spain is viewed in the mind of Muslims.
One of my dear friends on the Watcher's Council is the ever insightful (and sometimes inciteful) Bookworm over at Bookworm Room. So many times she writes things that have been rooting around in my brain for some time -- and in a manner so much more beautifully than I could ever begin to do.
Our mutually shared notion is that one of the great scandals of contemporary politics is that supporters of Barack Obama have decreed that failure to support our "post-racial" president's policies is a form of racism. But for that to be the case, it requires that we look at racism in a whole new way. And so I present you with a long excerpt of her post on how we on the Right need to stop rejecting the charge that we are racist and instead embrace it -- with a twist.
Since we canít seem to escape the term ďracist,Ē I suggest that we embrace the term, and let other Americans understand what a conservative racist is:
Iím a racist because I believe that blacks are fully capable human beings who are perpetually demeaned by the liberal theory holding that blacks cannot function without handouts from condescending, rich white people.
Iím a racist because believe that blacks are just as academically capable as any other people in America, but that they are having their abilities systematically squished when condescending, rich white people assure them that they canít make it without assistance ó a heinous approach predicated on the liberalís implicit assumption that blacks are inherently stupid, ill-informed and ill-suited for intellectual effort.
Iím a racist because I believe that vigorous (but still constitutional) law enforcement benefits blacks, who are disproportionately the victims of crimes by other blacks.
Iím a racist because I believe that excusing harmful behaviors in the black community (whether academic failures, teen pregnancies, drug use or crime), on the ground that blacks cannot help themselves because whites have essentially ruined them, is the ultimate insult to blacks, reducing them to the level of animals without intelligence, self-discipline, moral fiber, ambition or ordinary human decency.
Iím a racist because I think liberals have sold blacks a bill of goods by convincing them that, because slavery was work, all work is slavery.
Iím a racist because I believe that a rising tide lifts all boats ó which means that I believe that social programs that destroy the economy will not raise up minorities, but will ensure that everyone wallows in poverty.
Iím a racist because, in San Francisco in the 1960s and 1970s, I saw non-English speaking Asians fresh from the Killing Fields of Cambodia, the prisons of Vietnam, and the horror of the Great Leap forward all arrive in America and immediately begin working and studying, so that their children could enjoy the American dream ó and I believe that only liberal condescension and paralyzing social programs stand in the way of both blacks and Hispanics making the same strides.
Iím a racist because I believe that black men who have a deep commitment to their nuclear families are incredibly important for the health of the black community, but that the combination of government handouts and excuses for black crime erases black men from the picture, to everyoneís detriment.
Iím a racist because I hate the rap music that celebrates crime and demeans women ó music that is disseminated by rich white Hollywood types who, vampire-like, feed off and encourage this ďartisticĒ dysfunction, something that doesnít harm those white music executives, but that perpetuates terrible stereotypes within the black community itself.
Iím a racist because it drives me bonkers that blacks continue to align themselves with the Democratic party, even though that party does not see blacks as sentient, moral, intelligent, self-directed human beings, but instead views them as helpless, immoral, vaguely animal-like creatures who can function only by and through a vast government enterprise that mires them in slums in exchange for their votes.
Iím a racist because, no matter what color Obama is, Iíd hate his fierce drive to expand government into every area of our lives, his hostility to Israel, his appeasement approach to radical Islam, and his personal rudeness to his political foes.
Iím a racist because I welcome with open arms any person, black, white, yellow, brown, gay, straight, rich, poor, young, old, abled or disabled, who believes in the fundamental principles of American liberal, principles that I think are set out very beautifully in the Mt. Vernon statement. These principles do not distinguish human beings by any factors other than their commitment to limited government, freedom and self-determination. In this, they are completely distinct from the articles of the Left, which routinely seek to slice and dice Americans into ever smaller groups of colors, abilities, races, and religions...
So yes, I think I may have follow my good friend's suggestion that we conservatives embrace the charge of racism wholeheartedly, since the Left and the press will insist that opposition to their mutual agenda is racism. After all, as I and so many others have pointed out, Obama and his supporters have drained "racist" and "racism" of all meaning by defining it down to nothing more than failure to support the Obama agenda. And since we have been repeatedly told that "dissent is the highest form of patriotism", then it only stands to reason that racism is the highest form of patriotism.
And if one considers the definition of racist that Bookworm has extrapolated from the accusations of racism directed against those of us who dare to disagree, it seems to me that America needs more racists, not fewer.
Why is it that Congress is imposing a transparency requirement upon the corporations that it won't impose upon itself?
The ironic part of Waxman's abuse of power is that he also demands that CEOs show up with "any documents, including e-mail messages, sent to or prepared or reviewed by senior company officials related to the projected impact of health care reform."
Would it not be helpful for Congress to first provide taxpayers with any and all documents -- including e-mail messages sent to or prepared or reviewed by elected officials -- regarding this historic health care reform bill?
Maybe if Congress applied a fraction of the transparency it demands from corporate America to its own dealings, it wouldn't have to rely on pompous bullies like Waxman to stifle free speech.
Seems to me that the time has come for some of these corporate leaders to tell Congress that no, they will not comply with these subpoenas and that Congress will be required to send the FBI to make arrests and the US military to seize the material requested. In this instance the subpoenas -- and the hearings -- serve no legitimate purpose under either federal law or the US Constitution.
Oh, yeah -- and the fact that the write-downs that have so angered the Obama Regime and the Obamunists in Congress are based upon long-standing Security and Exchange Commission regulations.
But Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow and economist at the nonpartisan Hudson Institute, said Locke is really criticizing the SEC, because the companies are merely following federal regulations that have long been in place. ďItís not Ďirresponsible,í because if they donít report it, the SEC is going to come down on these companies like a ton of bricks,Ē she told CNSNews.com. ďTheyíre required to file by SEC regulation when something in their earnings path changes.Ē
The administration position is untenable, according to Furchtgott-Roth..
ďYou canít have the Secretary of Commerce saying that the SEC rules donít make sense. You canít have one department contradicting another.Ē
I agree with all but that last sentence -- we have government agencies, regulations, and laws contradicting all the time. That is the beauty of out-of-control government -- it can get you coming or going!
Because after all, they haven't done nearly enough to raise your taxes with the health care scheme.
The Obama Era has become a protracted, nightmarish Whack-A-Mole game of tax increases and bureaucratic self-enlargement. In sector after sector of American life, another scheme to expand government and wrench more earnings from Americans' pockets pops up.
Its next targeted sector? The Internet.
Take a look at the following introduction of a nationwide tax upon Internet goods and services, inserted within page 58 of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) National Broadband Plan released this week:
Digital Goods and Services Taxation
RECOMMENDATION 4.20: The federal government should investigate establishing a national framework for digital goods and services taxation.
Yeah, that's right -- taxation of "digital goods and services". You know -- a national sales tax on internet sales, maybe even a tax on your emails (why not -- we have to keep the Postal Service afloat somehow) all in the name of "efficiency". And we all know how efficient the federal government is, right.
And that isn't the only tax included in the plan -- they want to tax you more to pay for internet service for those who don't have it. Yeah, that's right -- you get to pay someone else's bill along with your own each month! Doesn't that sound familiar?
For more information, read this piece from the Washington Times.
he activist who gunned down a Kansas doctor who was one of the few in the U.S. to perform late-term abortions has never shown remorse, insisting the killing was justified to save the lives of unborn children.
Scott Roeder now faces a mandatory life sentence for the slaying of Dr. George Tiller, who was shot last May in the foyer of the Wichita church where the doctor was serving as an usher. Roeder, who admitted killing Tiller on the witness stand during his trial, is expected to testify again at Thursday's sentencing hearing and speak freely about his beliefs.
Sorry, but a ďmandatory life sentenceĒ is not sufficient. This guy walked into a church and gunned down an individual in cold blood. I donít care how reprehensible a man George Tiller was Ė that is the very definition of capital murder. The proper penalty involves a swiftly inflicted sentence of death, no matter how contemptible the victim. Indeed, in Roeder is no better than Tiller, and arguably a great deal worse.
And I say that as someone who opposes abortion.
Article V of the US Constituion offers the United States two ways to change the Constitution.
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the CongressÖ
Now as one long fascinated by the operation of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and the various constitutional conventions of the several states since that time, Iím intrigued by the possibility of such a convention. Indeed, I appear to not be alone, as a number of states have petitioned Congress for such a convention, and popular sentiment for reform of the federal government make it likely that calls for wholesale revision of the US Constitution may be unavoidable. But is it a good idea? That is part of what Ashby Jones explores over at WSJís Law Blog. Jones seems to be an agnostic on the matter, while citing writers on both sides of the issue.
On the positive side, such a convention would have the effect of getting needed structural changes made to a document that has been around for over two centuries in an age where partisan factionalism in Congress makes the passage of all but an innocuous (and therefore unneeded) amendment impossible. A Constitutional Convention, then would arguably have the ability to propose amendments for consideration by the states that would not otherwise have gotten out of the House and Senate. For example, there is little likelihood of an amendment restricting the Commerce Clause or eminent domain ever reaching the states. The same would be true of a balanced budget amendment or one overturning the Seventeenth Amendment. And while one could debate the wisdom or efficacy of any of these proposals, there is a substantial body of the people who think that just such reforms might be worth debating and considering for inclusion in the Constitution.
On the other hand, there are some negatives that go with this sort of move. Consider these issues raised in a comment on Jonesí piece.
1) Who gets to appoint delegates?
2) What criteria will be used to appoint them?>br> 3) Why is it assumed that delegatons will be chosen by the states? Article V makes no such specification.
4) Just like the first Con Con, there is already a plan waiting in the wings- the Newstates Constitution; It is a nightmare of assumption of federal power and elimination of state governments.
5) Why not just repeal the 17th amendment and give state governments the representation they had in the national legislature before 1913?
6) What makes everyone assume the ratification procedure will protect things from going too far? The ratification procedure for the Articles of Confederation were bypassed in ratifying the Constitution of 1787.
7) Why would anyone believe that a ďcontrolledĒ convention called ďonly to amend the Constitution not change it completelyĒ in light of the history of the first Con Con which was called expressly to amend and only to amend the commerce portion of the Articles of Confederation?
8) How would a ďlimitedĒ convention be controlled? Former Chief Justice Warren Burger made it clear that once called a Con Con was completely in the hands of delegates who can do what they please as they did in 1787, including violating their chartered limits of authority.
Some of the issues here are rather daunting from a practical and/or historical point of view. I do not recall where I saw or heard it, but some commentator suggested that in a ďworst of all worlds scenarioĒ, Pelosi and Reid could simply corral a simple majority of each house of Congress into passing a resolution declaring a joint session of Congress to be the required convention. In such an instance, would the amendments which came from that convention really reflect the will of the states or the people? And given the historical precedent set in 1787 and 1788 (what I have, while teaching my college-level government class, referred to as ďAmericaís first coup díetatĒ), it would be quite possible for such a convention to circumvent the requirements of Article V in terms of the means and method of ratification.
However, I do not believe that the people would stand for such a subterfuge Ė especially in the current political environment. After all, 2010 is not 1787. Rather than an unstable confederation of independent states with no effective central government, we have a long-established tradition of government that includes general respect for the existing terms of the Constitution. Similarly, an appropriately written call might allow for immediate consideration of any action by the convention to determine whether such actions are valid under its charter and the Constitution itself. And while George Washington and the rest might have been able to shut the doors and windows of Independence Hall in 1787, American practice and tradition regarding open government is such that the American people would not stand for any closed-door shenanigans of that sort, nor would the evolution of media and technology over the last two-and-a-quarter centuries allow for the sort of vow of secrecy that the delegates in 1787 made Ė in an age of instant internet access, the secrecy would be unlikely to survive.
What of the possibility that ďextreme amendmentsĒ might come out of the convention Ė requiring school prayer, or mandating racial quotas in education and government contracting? That is where we would have to trust that the states (or their conventions) would reject anything unwise. I consider the repeal of the First Amendment Ė often a bugaboo of convention opponents Ė to be unlikely.
In the end, I understand the concerns expressed by Chief Justice Burger in his letter to Phyllis Schlafly, when he warned that [a] new convention could plunge our Nation into constitutional confusion and confrontation at every turn, with no assurance that focus would be on the subjects needing attention. That said, I believe that the dangers are overstated, and the wisdom of the legislatures of the several states is such that any unwise proposal would be rejected out of hand. For that reason, I lean strongly towards an Article V convention.
Iíve often been critical of Islam, though I hold many individual Muslims in high esteem. Here is an article from todayís Washington Post, though, that does a great job of highlighting some of the problems with Islam in America Ė and the sort of person who might be able to help the Muslim community in this country become more modern and more American. The young man in question is Adeel Zeb, and he sounds like the sort of individual I would like to see in the pulpit of most faiths.
His theology is upbeat. He emphasizes what he sees as Islam's wisdom, the successes of Muslim Americans in sports and politics, and the need to boost Muslim self-esteem in a time of increased prejudice. A favorite topic is interfaith relations, in particular the importance of Muslim Americans being ambassadors to other communities.
Zeb prefers the middle ground in most disputes, focusing on cultural context and not on orthodoxies about who keeps more halal or whether online chatting with someone of the opposite sex is ever acceptable.
"Find an imam you trust, and if what they say is in accordance with what your heart thinks is right, go with that," he tells students. "But don't try to find someone who will please your desires."
But Zeb's tolerance has limits. Preaching to Georgetown students in mid-February, he tells them not to celebrate the holidays of other faiths. During a Koran study session a few weeks later at American, he walks a fine line when a student asks: Can non-Muslims be righteous? Are they doomed to hell?
"It's God's choice," Zeb says after circling the question a bit. "There can be non-Muslims who go to heaven and Muslims who go to hell. It's an individualistic thing. Every person has to account to God."
The problem, though, is that his age is an obstacle to getting hired by most mosques, and he has not memorized the Quran from start to finish and is not fluent in Arabic. And since there is no sort of central body for training and placing imams in this country, it remains hard for native-born Muslims of his generation to get hired in a mosque.
But interestingly enough, Zeb may have the sort of vision to do something about that.
Zeb's future remains unsettled. Although he's pursuing interviews with mosques across the country, he's exploring alternatives, including opening a center to train Muslim chaplains for universities. He's open to politics. Or being a professor and spiritual motivational speaker.
For now, he says, those might be more viable options than becoming a full-time, home-grown imam.
I like that suggestion about training Muslim chaplains. That is the sort of project that could get Zeb and his brand of American Islam a way in to American mosques as the younger generation of native-born Muslims rises in influence in that faith. Whatís more, it could be that such a project would be the basis for creating that central body for training and placing American imams in this country And much like a younger generation of American evangelicals have made that brand of Christianity more relevant to life in modern America without compromising the essential truths and wisdom of two millennia of Christianity, it seems that Zeb may be the very force that does the same within the Islamic community Ė for the betterment of both his faith community and the United States.