Because he doesnít get that the problem with the Ground Zero Mosque is not about extreme views per se, but about the fact that those particular views are connected with the terrorist acts that brought the Twin Towers down.
A bigoted pastor who has assailed gays and Muslims is launching the "9-11 Christian Center at Ground Zero" a mere two blocks from the World Trade Center site this Sunday, but so far the project hasn't drawn a peep of protest from those who are outraged by the "ground zero mosque."
Pastor Bill Keller of Florida said today he will begin preaching Sunday at the Marriott at 85 West Street (see proximity to ground zero here). A weekly service is planned at the hotel until the $8 million 9/11 Christian Center finds a permanent space. (Fundraising is going well, Keller told Salon today.)
And my reaction is ďSo what?Ē -- even after reading all of the allegedly damning evidence about Keller and his proposed 9/11 Christian Center.
Because I remember 9/11.
And it is a certainty that that any one who was calling on the name of Jesus as those two planes hit fell into the category of ďvictimĒ or ďwitnessĒ. On the other hand, we can be fairly certain that the words ďAllahu akbar!Ē were among the final thoughts of each and every one of Osamaís murderous henchmen who committed mass murder in the name of their religious faith. Like it or not, that is a difference that makes all the difference between the placement of the Ground Zero Mosque and the placement of Kellerís project.
And Iíll get around to condemning the placement of strip joints and bars in the neighborhood (most of which pre-date the events of 9/11) when I get documentation of the terrorists pouring the passengers drinks or ďtaking it all offĒ for their captivesí entertainment.
In the mean time, I cannot help but be struck by the fact that Justin Elliott either cannot see the faith of the hijackers is what makes placing the mosque on the site of a building damaged by debris from the attack offensive, or that he is so hostile to any point of view contrary to his own that he intentionally misrepresents the views of those of us objecting to the Ground Zero Mosque.
And besides Ė by his standards, it is un-American for him to even suggest that there can be a moral objection to the location of any religious entity in the area around Ground Zero, and his doing so constitutes an attack on the Constitution. In other words, even writing the article Ė or objecting to Kellerís planned 9/11 Christian Center in any way Ė constitutes an act of massive hypocrisy on his party.
A group of Saudis has launched a video plea to US President Barack Obama to free a Saudi man sentenced to 28 years in jail in Colorado for abusing an Indonesian housemaid.
The five-minute video, in Arabic with English subtitles, was made public on Monday.
It features conservative and liberal Saudi figures asking Obama to pardon Humaidan al-Turki, who was convicted by a Colorado court in 2006 for imprisoning and sexually abusing the maid while he was a doctoral student.
They cite numerous pardons by US presidents of men convicted of ostensibly more serious crimes, such as arms and drug smuggling.
"We, as the Saudi public, ask Obama to look at Humaidan al-Turki's issue, using the same eyes" that previous presidents used in granting pardons, it says.
Pardon him? Release him? You must be joking! But then again, this is a country and a religion that views the physical abuse of domestic servants by the upper classes as acceptable behavior, not a violation of the rights and dignity of human beings.
Sorry, folks, but your privileged slaveholder doesnít get a pass in this country.
Or maybe he will.
After all, Obama is not the descendant of slaves Ė but he is the descendant of slave owners. And given his sensitivity to all things Muslim, perhaps he will bow to the wishes of the Saudi upper class.
Iím encouraged that the Mexican government might actually have some plan to protect those being exploited and killed by the criminals who have taken over large parts of the country.
Mexico's government will present a new strategy for preventing the kidnapping of migrants Tuesday, the nation's interior ministry said. The announcement comes a week after the bodies of 72 slain migrants from Central and South America were found in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas.
It's a fate that officials say befalls thousands of Central and South Americans every year as Mexico's organized crime networks expand their reach.
If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion, the best option available is for the Mexican government to quit encouraging the violation of US immigration laws, and to make it more difficult for folks to cross from the Mexican side. That means that the time has come for the Mexican government to quit distributing information about how to cross the border safely. That means it is time to enact policies that discourage the flow of money from ďel NorteĒ into Mexico by imposing a tax on money transfers from the United States. That means it is time to quit issuing the ďmatricula consularĒ illegal alien ID card to ďundocumentedĒ Mexicans in the US. In other words, the time has come for the Mexican government to quit facilitating the human trafficking that is resulting in such carnage.
He is too stupid to realize that he did so, but that is the logical extension of his racist attack upon non-leftists who dared to hold a rally at the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of the 1963 ďI Have A DreamĒ Speech.
Funny me, I always thought Martin Luther King's greatness rested on the idea that his vision was transcendent. We were not black and white Americans, we were Americans, period. Nothing epitomized this more than King's vision of a future in which people would "not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character." Apparently Al Sharpton didn't get the message. "We're not giving them this day. This is our day, and we ain't giving it away," said Sharpton. To what was he referring? Glenn Beck's "Restore Honor" rally which took place on the same date and at the same Lincoln Memorial location as MLK's 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech.
The Sharpton argument for repeal of the MLK holiday rests on two separate prongs, either of which is sufficient to support repeal.
1) If, in fact, Martin Luther King was not the apostle of racial unity that he has been claimed to be by civil rights groups, but was instead a racial huckster of Sharptonís ilk, does he merit any commemoration by any government entity in a nation which is supposed to be colorblind under our Constitution?
2) If King is the exclusive property of African-Americans and not the American people as a whole, doesnít a holiday honoring him constitutes the same sort of theft of a black icon that Sharpton thinks is taking place when white people invoke his memory on the anniversary of one of his speeches?
So we are confronted with a choice in this country Ė denounce Al Sharpton as the racist clown that he is and reject the vision put forward by he and his followers (including folks like NAACP President Ben Jealous and Education Secretary Arne Duncan), or renounce the Dr. King as an inappropriate role model for America to follow. Failure to do one or the other constitutes a failure to acknowledge Kingís true legacy Ė and consequently a rejection of that legacy.
One has to wonder whether Rick Sanchez is off the wagon again after this comment and explanation.
Could you imagine the outrage if this sort of comment had come from the mouth of a Fox anchor? And would the speaker's explanation that he had southern roots have been accepted if it had been a conservative who used the phrase?
Iíll admit that two years ago I believed her to be a good pick for VP. Whatís more, I still think that the choice of Sarah Palin by John McCain was an acceptable one. That said, I am definitely in the majority on this poll result.
Almost three out of five Americans believe former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) would not be an effective president, a new poll found Monday.
59 percent of U.S. adults said they don't think Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate and potential 2012 candidate, would be an effective president of the United States.
26 percent of adults, by contrast, said they believe Palin would be effective, according to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll conducted earlier this August.
Why donít I think she would be an effective president? Because of everything that has happened in the two years since her selection as the nominee.
The media immediately defined away much of her credibility as it adopted the narrative of Sarah Palin being some sort of country bumpkin with weird religious views. Like it or not, that image would make it hard for her to lead.
The bizarre Levi & Bristol saga has turned her family life into a soap opera.
The resignation as governor, while not unreasonable, undermined her image of toughness.
Two years of books and speeches have not served to make her appear to be more of a serious political figure.
As a result, Iíd argue a Palin presidency would make the Bush years look like a time of harmony between the White House and the media Ė and between a GOP president and a Democrat Congress.
The proponents of the mosque know that Americans will not and cannot betray our constitutional liberties. Knowing that we would not rip the foundation from the more than 200 years of our history that it underpins, they may imagine that they have achieved a kind of checkmate.
Their knowledge of the Constitution, however, does not penetrate very far, and perhaps they are not as clever as they think. The Constitution is a marvelous document, and a reasonable interpretation of it means as well that no American can be forced to pour concrete. No American can be forced to deliver materials. No American can be forced to bid on a contract, to run conduit, dig a foundation, or join steel.
And a reasonable interpretation of the Constitution means that the firemen's, police, and restaurant workers' unions, among others, and the families of the September 11th dead, and anyone who would protect, sympathize with and honor them, are free to assemble, protest and picket at the site of the mosque that under the Constitution is free to be built.
A Texas Department of Public Safety investigation has led to charges against five men in connection with a fake ID ring, according to arrest affidavits.
The men, Arturo Faz, 51, Alberto Quiroz Cabrera, 29, Michael Robles Nunez, 25, Omar Arreola Giron, 23 and Dorian Hernandez Alcantara, 21, face charges of tampering with a government record and engaging in organized crime, according to the affidavits, filed Friday.
DPS conducted a sting operation that led to the men and a North Austin home in the 9400 block of Meadow Vale near Rundberg Lane, where fake Social Security cards and resident cards were discovered, the affidavit said. A search of a vehicle turned up an empty box of driver's license laminating pouches and a ledger of names, the affidavit said.
Yeah, thatís right Ė fake documents for the ďundocumentedĒ. Just another reminder that all illegal immigrants are, ultimately, criminals.
H/T Urban Grounds
After all, it is usually a good idea to have evidence of who is guilty before making a condemnation of a particular individual or group as being guilty. And that is the proper response to this case of arson in Tennessee.
Supporters from across the country have called to give encouragement to a suburban Nashville mosque where a fire was the latest setback for a planned new building, officials said Sunday.
Authorities told mosque officials that four pieces of heavy construction equipment on the site were doused with an accelerant and one set ablaze, said Camie Ayash, spokeswoman for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. Federal investigators have not ruled it arson, saying only that the fire was being probed and asked the public to call in tips. Earlier, Ayash said that gasoline was poured on the equipment but later backed off that statement.
"No threats, not at all," since the fire, Ayash told The Associated Press. "We've had a tremendous amount of calls of support."
American Muslim leaders say the furor over the building of a mosque near ground zero has emboldened opposition groups to resist new mosques elsewhere.
Some say they oppose them because of infrastructure and traffic problems. Others have implied that the mosque would be a haven for terrorists.
I don't know the zoning, infrastructure, and traffic issues involved in this case, or whether they are significant enough to block this mosque. I hope the same standards are applied here that are applied for any other house of worship. That means if the site would be acceptable for Baptists, it will be approved for Muslims -- but that no special consideration will be given to Muslims that would not be given for any Christian (or other) house of worship. The terrorism issue is simply one that should not be a consideration -- though if there is some sort of terrorist connection, I hope the sponsors of this project are under investigation by the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
That said, it will be interesting to see who actually torched the equipment -- especially given that many recent incidents involving violence and vandalism against mosques have turned out to be committed by Muslims themselves. I don't know if that is the case here, or if some misguided opponent acted wrongly against the site -- let's wait and see before assigning blame.
And while even one hate crime is one to many, it is interesting to note that in this country there are only about 100 such incidents a year, and are exceeded by hate crimes against both Jews and Christians -- according to the FBI, not some conservative think-tank.
So while I obviously condemn this act of arson, I'm waiting until the evidence is in before making a more specific condemnation. After all, the last two supposed incidents of "anti-Ground Zero Mosque inspired violence" have turned out to be something significantly less, so it is better to refrain from jumping the gun on assigning a motive for this incident.
The Houston Texans organization has, since day one, encouraged a "tailgate" culture out in the parking lot. I'm not kidding -- they don't just allow tailgating, but they have built a lot of the Texans experience around the various events out in the parking lots.
But this has created a problem -- when the game begins, there are still a whole bunch of fans in the lots and not in the stadium. That leaves those of us who believe that missing opening kick-off is akin to walking in late to church somewhat disturbed -- and has led to some folks believing that Texans fans just don't care about the game. So let me join in this "Call to Football" as we approach the opening kick-off for the first home pre-season game.
I always thought it was perverse that people would shell out hundreds of dollars for tickets to a football game then hang around the parking lot drinking beer and cussing Obama instead of actually going in the stadium.
Oh sure, they'd wander over by the end of the first quarter, stay an hour or two, and then get back to the parking lot for more drinking and cussing.
It seemed like the ultimate insult to the football team that people would buy tickets and then not care enough to show up for kickoff. Different strokes for different folks.
It was embarrassing for the Texans. Here we are in the heart of football county, and this big, beautiful stadium would have acres of empty seats for a large chunk of the game. My big-shot media friendsólet's face it, I know people who know peopleówould come down to my spot on the 50-yard line and say something like, ''Did they stay home to watch the Cowboys, or is Luby's running a special on fish sticks?''
* * *
The Texans are taking the small, subtle step of suggesting you try watching the opening kickoff for a change. You've got all week to drink and cuss Obama. Can't you spend a little time with your football team?
OK, maybe they're not being subtle. Beginning Saturday, the Texans are going to blow a big horn 30 minutes before kickoff and again 15 minutes before kickoff. That's their way of telling you, ''Luther, haul your sorry, no-account butt out of the parking lot and watch a little football. Obama is going to be president six more years, so you'll have plenty of time to cuss him.''
While I'll disagree with that last bit (though I hope he at least makes it through January 20, 2013 -- the thought of Slow Joe Biden as president is enough to make me wish Obama good health and no impeachment until then), the point is important -- the most important point of the game day experience is the GAME, not the venison, fried turkey, and shrimp on the barbie.
I want to offer my whole-hearted endorsement of this post from over at Red Ink: Texas.
Ladies and gents, I'm taking my partisan hack hat off for a moment and putting my election judge hat on.
This is a very important announcement to ALL voters in Harris County!
Early this morning every election machine in Harris County's inventory, all 10,000 of them, burned to the ground. Early voting starts on Oct. 2, and election day is Nov. 2, it is August 27th. we have 37 days until early voting and 67 days until election day. This is not a whole lot of time to replace these machines, frankly I don't think we can. Harris County plans to borrow machines from Montgomery and Ft Bend and other surrounding counties that use the Hart Intercivic E-Slate system for use during early voting, and this is probably doable since not as many machines will be needed for this. But this election cycle is going to be huge and well it should be. The electorate are not happy about the status quo and they are primed to take their wrath out on their elected representatives. This means that a LOT of people are going to want to vote and we will have a shortage of machines to vote them with. For those whose knee-jerk reaction is to revert to paper ballots, sorry but that is simply not an option. All of that equipment got chucked years ago.
So we face a dilemma, one that quite frankly I do not really look forward to dealing with, but I must. I am an Election Judge and I took an oath that I must do everything I humanly can to ensure that every legal ballot counts and that nobody is turned away without just cause. So what I am about to say might sound like I am violating that oath, but I'm not, I'm actually trying to facilitate it.
DO NOT VOTE ON ELECTION DAY, PLEASE!
PLEASE VOTE EARLY instead. The lines will be shorter (but maybe not by lots.), we will have enough voting machines to handle the onslaught, and the process will flow more smoothly. And besides, you can vote early at any early voting location, you do not have to go to a specific polling location during early voting. And if you have moved and haven't updated your voter's registration (which you still have 16 days to do!) with your new address, you can vote early, give them your new address and it will be updated for you the next time around. If you show up at my polling location and are not on my precinct's voter rolls, I will be forced to tell you to either go to the correct precinct, or you will be allowed to vote provisionally but that the odds are that it will not count. And all this will do is make an already hectic day for me even more hectic and will slow down processing for everyone else in line. So please, I'm begging you, if you can't get your residency squared away by the deadline, PLEASE go vote early. I will thank you, everyone in line behind you will thank you, and your vote WILL count. And ultimately that is the most important reason of all.
Please vote early, folks -- this year it is even more important than usual given yesterday's fire.
What can I say -- once again, I voted for the post that beat me! But then again, it was a post that truly deserved to win, given its timeliness and insightfulness. And the winning non-council submission is one that truly resonated with me as a social studies teacher, and reminded me of the danger of historical ignorance among our young.
Here are the full results:
Iím horrified that such thinking has not been relegated to the Paleolithic Era where it belongs.
If youíre black and a student at one public middle school in Mississippi, you canít run for president Ė only whites need apply.
Nettleton Middle School in Nettleton, Miss., has segregated its elected class positions by race, according to a memo sent home with children at the school last week that was obtained by NBC News.
Iím just shocked that no one has made a stink about this before. It appears that this policy will soon disappear Ė if not voluntarily, then under the order of a judge.
Now, if we can only get rid of racial-based affirmative action, we might actually see some more progress towards eliminating racism.
Rev. Walter Fauntroy, who represented the District of Columbia from 1971 to 1991 as a non-voting delegate and was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said at a press conference at the National Press Club that the monikers Tea Party and KKK were to be used interchangeably.
ďWe are going to take on the barbarism of war, the decadence of racism, and the scourge of poverty, that the Ku Klux ó I mean to say the Tea Party,Ē Fauntroy said to laughter. ďYou all have to forgive me, but I ó you have to use them interchangeably.Ē
Letís see, Walter (I refuse to dignify you with the honorific ďReverendĒ, because you have forfeited the right that term of respect) Ė your Congressional Black Caucus refuses to accept white members who represent majority black districts, while the Tea party accepts blacks, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, etc. Your political party owed its political dominance to the paramilitary terrorist activity of the KKK Ė the Tea Party is a loose amalgamation of independent American citizens who are expressing their contempt for the business-as-usual politics that folks like you represent. So to compare the Tea Party to the KKK is a moral obscenity.
When I became the precinct chair and election judge in my precinct in 2002, I had the privilege of helping voters get used to the new eSlate machines that Harris County had acquired.
Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman this morning said she is confident of timely, clean elections in November, even as a fire that destroyed the county's entire inventory of 10,000 electronic voting machines still burned.
Kaufman urged voters to cast their ballots early to help the county cope with a possible shortage of equipment on election day.
"Because I donít expect to have 10,000 pieces to work with, no matter what we do, Iím sure that weíre going to be putting on a full court press urging people to vote early," Kaufman said.
Kaufman said she expected that the fire in a county warehouse in the 600 block of Canino, in north Houston, has destroyed $30 million worth of equipment and caused another $10 million in damage to the building.
Kaufman hopes to cobble together a collection of voting machines through loans from other counties and replacement equipment from its vendor, she said. All five members of Commissioners Court contacted her this morning to pledge their support in helping her with the resources needed to stage a successful election in which early voting begins in just 52 days, she said.
While everybody is speculating about the hows and whys of the fire, I donít really care about them. My one and only question is what I, my alternate judge, and my clerks are going to be expected to do in November, and what sort of equipment we will have in the precinct.
Hereís how it works: When 19 Muslim terrorists fly planes into buildings and murder thousands of people, itís not a reflection on all Muslims. Or any Muslims besides those 19, for that matter. But when a drunk A-hole in the same neighborhood yells ďAs-salaam alaikum! Consider this a checkpoint!Ē and stabs a Muslim cabbie, itís a reflection on all opponents of the Ground Zero Mosque.
The key here is this Ė collective guilt is a bad thing unless liberals are ascribing it to their opponents. Then the opponents are fair game. So when Muslims take mainstream interpretations of Islam and use them to justify acts of terrorism, it isnít a reflection on Islam or Muslims. But peaceful political protests against a mosque near the site of the most significant terrorist attack in US history are somehow responsible for acts of violence against Muslims, even though nobody has even suggested such things are appropriate.
It is sort of like the question of books. If a guy who read Al Goreís book on the environment writes an environmentalist manifesto that fairly accurately espouses Goreís ideas and then proceeds to blow up people over the course of years, that is no reflection on Gore or his ideas. On the other hand, if someone reads a book by Bill OíReilly, Glenn Beck, or Sean Hannity, writes a note that is reflective of some weird misunderstanding of their political philosophy and then engages in a violent act, those commentators are fully responsible for the ďclimate of hateĒ their books created.
Gotta love those liberal double standards.
This is shocking, even for this lawless bunch.
With the fall hunting season fast approaching, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Lisa Jackson, who was responsible for banning bear hunting in New Jersey, is now considering a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) Ė a leading anti-hunting organization Ė to ban all traditional ammunition under the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976, a law in which Congress expressly exempted ammunition. If the EPA approves the petition, the result will be a total ban on all ammunition containing lead-core components, including hunting and target-shooting rounds. The EPA must decide to accept or reject this petition by November 1, 2010, the day before the midterm elections.
They are considering a regulation that is specifically banned under federal law? Either EPA chief Lisa Jackson must reject the CBDís petition IMMEDIATELY, or Congress needs to call her in for a serious investigation of her contempt for federal law.
H/T Q and O
Of course, so is most of the prime time lineup at MSNBC. But Schultz is even more dangerously unstable than most.
MSNBC talk show screamer Ed Schultz had a meltdown in the network's 30 Rock newsroom, shouting at staff, "I'm going to torch this [bleep]ing place."
The hot-tempered anchor of "The Ed Show" lost it during a phone call in the packed studio and slammed down the phone before exploding.
As astonished MSNBC staff members fell silent, Schultz glared around the room and yelled, "[Bleep]ers!"
A witness told us, "Ed was furious the network was running election-night promos and he wasn't in them. He'd been arguing on the phone with marketing, then he slammed down the phone and exploded.
Could you imagine what would happen if Glenn Beck, Bill OíReilly or Sean Hannity did something like that? It would be major news Ė and result in demands that offender be fired. But MSNBC is just shaking it off, despite the fact that he made a terroristic threat to commit an act of arson.
But then again, liberals are just good-hearted people Ė even when they are threatening to engage in workplace terrorism because things havenít gone their way.
UPDATE: There's an interesting video at Hot Air that does tend to confirm that the incident happened as claimed.
I know nothing of its theology or the radicalism/moderation if its leadership, but I will condemn the denial of a special use permit for a mosque in the West Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.
It sounds a bit like the controversy over the proposed mosque in New York near where the Twin Towers fell. Perhaps at first glance, but not when you scratch beneath the surface.
We're hearing from the local chamber of commerce and alderman's office that the city has denied a special use permit that would allow a mosque to replace a shut down hot dog grill.
It's based on the need to generate tax revenue on the former site of the original Fluky's and later U Lucky Dawg, at 6821 N. Western Ave.
It is really simple. There is an empty site that is large enough and has enough parking for a mosque to operate without causing a disruption in the area. The city is denying the permit only because of the tax revenue issue. That is not a sufficient reason to prevent a vacant building from becoming the home of a religious croup of any faith. Iím hoping those behind this mosque take the city to court and win the right to situate their mosque there.
And Iím also curious Ė will Barack Obama come out in favor of this mosque in his own city?
And then only when it is exercised by Muslims.
A New York cab driver who was allegedly stabbed after a passenger learned he was Muslim will address the media Thursday afternoon at a news conference on the steps of City Hall.
Shortly before the event, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to meet with the driver, Ahmed Sharif, according to the mayor's schedule.
"I feel very sad," Sharif said in a statement released by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. "I have been here more than 25 years. I have been driving a taxi more than 15 years. All my four kids were born here. I never [felt] this hopeless and insecure before."
At the news conference, Sharif will call for an end to anti-Muslim rhetoric that has followed the proposed construction of an Islamic cultural center and mosque.
Hold it -- there is going to be a press conference calling on people to refrain from exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of speech? How unAmerican! Certainly as unAmerican as telling a group of Muslims that their preferred mosque site is offensive to the majority of Americans and they would do better to move it to a location that was not damaged by debris from a plane flown into the Twin Towers by "Allahu Akbar!" shouting Muslim terrorists. After all, the First Amendment protects the right of Americans to speak freely wherever they want, just as it protects the right of Americans to worship where they want (well, at least if they are Muslims -- Christians can be blocked from worshiping, praying, or even saying "God" or "Jesus" in public places by the non-existent "separation of church and state" clause).
Besides, don't Ahmad Sharif and Michael Bloomberg read the newspaper? The guy who did the stabbing was a left-winger employed by a "progressive" group that supports building the mosque at Ground Zero, which makes it unlikely that "anti-Muslim" rhetoric is responsible for the attack. What is going on here is Alinskyite scapegoating of political enemies by liberals who cannot sell their ideas on their merits and who therefore resort to lying about their opponents.
Ken Mehlman, President Bush's campaign manager in 2004 and a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, has told family and associates that he is gay.
We on the right all knew it or suspected it years ago -- and did not particularly care then. I expect that most on the right will care even less now. And speaking for myself, his announcement will change my position on gays and gay issues not at all -- and will not impact the views of many others, either.We'll go on loving our gay friends and family members, respecting our fellow gay conservatives, and holding to the same position we had (either pro or anti) regarding gay marriage that we did before this story broke.
Oops -- looks pretty multi-ethnic to me, and supportive of protecting homosexuals from being murdered by the real religious hatemongers. I guess we don't see these pictures in the media because they disrupt the liberal narrative.
Why make that point? Because of crap like this from a "respected voice" of the Left.
ED SCHULTZ (10:14): You have a diverse crowd over here and you have a bunch of frustrated whiteys over here and that's what they are! It is an Aryan crowd, is it not? I mean, it's a Caucasian crowd over there so concerned about the mosque!
SCHULTZ (11:05): Now we've got a bunch of folks out there scared that the Islamic Islam [yes, the 'Islamic Islam'] is taking over America and we all have to worry about it.
ED SCHULTZ (51:57): Don't they have the wrong target? Shouldn't they be more concerned about bringing people to justice? Shouldn't they be more concerned about Obama and his lieutenants running around the hills of Afghanistan, that we just can't seem to 'cuff the guy?
Well, much like Obama, New Yorkís Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to suck-up to Muslims at an official, government-sponsored iftar dinner. We wonít get into the issue of government money going to put on a strictly religious celebration Ė that is pretty minor in my book. It is his comments at the dinner that deserve some serious scrutiny.
America is a nation of immigrants, and no place opens its doors more widely to the world than New York City. America is the land of opportunity, and no place offers its residents more opportunity to pursue their dreams than New York City. America is beacon of freedom, and no place defends those freedoms more fervently, or has been attacked for those freedoms more ferociously, than New York City.
All well and good, Mr. Mayor Ė though one does have to wonder why the city continues to thwart churches that wish to be treated equally to non-religious organizations when it comes to renting schools after hours, especially when the city has lost on the issue in federal court. Why donít you start ďdefending those freedoms. . . ferventlyĒ by directing those under your control to start following the law instead of thwarting the freedom to worship within your city.
In recent weeks, a debate has arisen that I believe cuts to the core of who we are as a city and a country. The proposal to build a mosque and community center in Lower Manhattan has created a national conversation on religion in America, and since Ramadan offers a time for reflection, I'd like to take a few minutes to reflect on the subject.
There are people of good will on both sides of the debate, and I would hope that everyone can carry on the dialogue in a civil and respectful way. In fact, I think most people now agree on two fundamental issues: First, that Muslims have a constitutional right to build a mosque in Lower Manhattan, and second, that the site of the World Trade Center is hallowed ground. The only question we face is: how do we honor that hallowed ground?
Actually, Mikey, almost no one has ever disagreed about the right to build mosques in lower Manhattan. What has been raised is the propriety of doing so on the site of a building rendered unusable by debris from one of the planes slammed into the Twin Towers on that horrible day nine years ago as terrorists shouted ďAllahu AkbarĒ. A majority of Americans see that as unseemly and insensitive.
The wounds of 9/11 are still very much with us. And I know that is true for Talat Hamdani, who is here with us tonight, and who lost her son, Salman Hamdani, on 9/11. There will always be a hole in our hearts for the men and women who perished that day.
After the attacks, some argued -- including some of those who lost loved ones -- that the entire site should be reserved for a memorial. But we decided -- together, as a city -- that the best way to honor all those we lost, and to repudiate our enemies, was to build a moving memorial and to rebuild the site.
Except, of course, you have failed to do so nine years later. At this point, it appears that the mosque in question will be there years before the memorial and replacement building has seen significant progress.
We wanted the site to be an inspiring reminder to the world that this city will never forget our dead and never stop living. We vowed to bring Lower Manhattan back -- stronger than ever -- as a symbol of our defiance, and we have. Today, it is more of a community neighborhood than ever before, with more people than ever living, working, playing and praying there.
But if we say that a mosque and community center should not be built near the perimeter of the World Trade Center site, we would compromise our commitment to fighting terror with freedom.
What a non-sequitur! This isnít some random site ďon the perimeterĒ. It is a part of the site, by virtue of it being a building damaged by the 9/11 attack.
Saying that the location is the wrong place for this particular project in no way undermines our fight against terrorism or our commitment to freedom Ė it simply recognizes that even if we concede that that the builders and developers have great intentions, it cannot help but be perceived by most Americans as disrespectful of the nature of what happened that day.
We would undercut the values and principles that so many heroes died protecting. We would feed the false impressions that some Americans have about Muslims. We would send a signal around the world that Muslim Americans may be equal in the eyes of the law, but separate in the eyes of their countrymen. And we would hand a valuable propaganda tool to terrorist recruiters, who spread the fallacy that America is at war with Islam.
Actually, Mikey, no matter what we o there will be a propaganda victory for the terrorists. Yes, as you say, failure to build there will be used by the terrorists Ė but building it there will be seen as the establishment of a symbol of victory for Islam, and that Americans have surrendered by letting a mosque stand on the site.
Islam did not attack the World Trade Center -- al Qaeda did. To implicate all of Islam for the actions of a few who twisted a great religion is unfair and un-American. Today we are not at war with Islam -- we are at war with al Qaeda and other extremists who hate freedom.
We can argue how representative of Islam al Qaeda is Ė but we cannot forget that in many parts of the Muslim world there was dancing in the streets to celebrate the attack, nor that there is a continuous terrorist threat coming from the Muslim community in the US and around the world.
At this very moment, there are young Americans -- some of them Muslim -- standing freedom's watch in Iraq and Afghanistan, and around the world. A couple here tonight, Sakibeh and Asaad Mustafa, has children who have served our country overseas and after 9/11, one of them aided in the recovery efforts at Ground Zero. I'd like to ask them to stand, so we can show our appreciation. Thank you.
The members of our military are men and women at arms -- battling for hearts and minds. And their greatest weapon in that fight is the strength of our American values, which have always inspired people around the world. But if we do not practice here at home what we preach abroad -- if we do not lead by example -- we undermine our soldiers. We undermine our foreign-policy objectives. And we undermine our national security.
Shame, Mr. Mayor! Shame! Youíve just questioned the patriotism of your fellow Americans for daring to dissent from your orthodoxy. I thought that was absolutely forbidden, and that dissent constituted a higher form of patriotism. I guess that only counts when the dissent is in opposition to the beliefs of most Americans, not when most Americans do the dissenting.
In a different era, with different international challenges facing the country, President Kennedy's secretary of state, Dean Rusk, explained to Congress why it is so important for us to live up to our ideals here at home. He said, "The United States is widely regarded as the home of democracy and the leader of the struggle for freedom, for human rights, for human dignity. We are expected to be the model."
We are expected to be the model. Nearly a half-century later, his words remain true. In battling our enemies, we cannot rely entirely on the courage of our soldiers or the competence of our diplomats. All of us must do our part.
Just as we fought communism by showing the world the power of free markets and free elections, so must we fight terrorism by showing the world the power of religious freedom and cultural tolerance. Freedom and tolerance will always defeat tyranny and terrorism -- that is the great lesson of the 20th century, and we must not abandon it here in the 21st.
Well, except when it comes to religious freedom for Christians in New York City schools, where Christian religious symbols of Christmas are banned while Muslim and Jewish symbols for Hanukah and Ramadan are welcome.
I understand the impulse to find another location for the mosque and community center. I understand the pain of those who are motivated by loss too terrible to contemplate. And there are people of every faith -- including, perhaps, some in this room -- who are hoping that a compromise will end the debate.
No, you donít understand the pain of those motivated by loss Ė youíve joined up with those who not only question the right of opponents to disagree with the location, but who have also labeled those opponents racists and bigots.
But it won't. The question will then become, how big should the 'no-mosque zone' around the World Trade Center be? There is already a mosque four blocks away. Should it, too, be moved?
The question of how far is open to discussion Ė but it certainly should not be a towering edifice located on the site of a building damaged in the attack. And as for that other mosque, it predates the attack and is of course welcome Ė would that St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, destroyed in the attack, were so strongly supported by you and your administration. But they canít even get started on their work, while you want to rush this project so it can open on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack of 9/11.
This is a test of our commitment to American values. We must have the courage of our convictions. We must do what is right, not what is easy. And we must put our faith in the freedoms that have sustained our great country for more than 200 years.
At the cost of silencing Americans who object to the location as you railroad the project through Ė sacrificing the notions of self-government and free speech in the process. I mean, let's be honest-- if being critical of the location of the mosque and urging its relocation is an attack on religious freedom, then urging that opponents stop saying that the mosque location is inappropriate is an attack on freedom of the speech and of the press.
I know that many in this room are disturbed and dispirited by the debate. But it is worth keeping some perspective on the matter. The first colonial settlers came to these shores seeking religious liberty and the founding fathers wrote a constitution that guaranteed it. They made sure that in this country the government would not be permitted to choose between religions or favor one over another.
And that is not what this debate is over Ė and you are notoriously dishonest in framing it as such.
Nonetheless, it was not so long ago that Jews and Catholics had to overcome stereotypes and build bridges to those who viewed them with suspicion and less than fully American. In 1960, many Americans feared that John F. Kennedy would impose papal law on America. But through his example, he taught us that piety to a minority religion is no obstacle to patriotism. It is a lesson that needs updating today, and it is our responsibility to accept the challenge.
And they did so by being model Americans who supported American values, not by seeking to raise their religious values over American values. And letís not forget Ė those Catholics had to fight in the streets to protect their institutions from violent mobs, while the only violence in this situation came from Muslims on September 11 Ė the protests against the Ground Zero Mosque have been peaceful and conducted with words, not fists, fire, or fusillades.
Before closing, let me just add one final thought: Imam Rauf, who is now overseas promoting America and American values, has been put under a media microscope. Each of us may strongly agree or strongly disagree with particular statements he has made. And that's how it should be -- this is New York.
And while a few of his statements have received a lot of attention, I would like to read you something that he said that you may not have heard. At an interfaith memorial service for the martyred journalist Daniel Pearl, Imam Rauf said, "If to be a Jew means to say with all one's heart, mind and soul: 'Shma Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ehad; Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One,' not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one. If to be a Christian is to love the Lord our God with all of my heart, mind and soul, and to love for my fellow human being what I love for myself, then not only am I a Christian, but I have always been one."
In other words, your one quote should trump everything else the man has said, and the sentiments of all Americans. So much for encouraging the American value of debate and discussion Ė you want to silence and delegitimize the opposition. That the opposition includes Daniel Pearl's father makes your use of this quote -- and your failure to address the many offensive statements made by Imama Rauf-- makes your use of the Imam's words at the Pearl memorial disingenuous and offensive.
In that spirit, let me declare that we in New York are Jews and Christians and Muslims, and we always have been. And above all of that, we are Americans, each with an equal right to worship and pray where we choose. There is nowhere in the five boroughs that is off limits to any religion.
By affirming that basic idea, we will honor America's values, and we will keep New York the most open, diverse, tolerant and free city in the world.
No place off limits? Well, except, those schools that are denied to Christian congregations in violation of the First Amendment, the old site of St. Nicholas Church where building has been blocked, etc. But then again, you wonít tolerate open expression of any diverse opinions on this matter by any of the free people of the city, state, or nation, so why should we be surprised by the hypocrisy of your comments at the iftar dinner?
Nearly 3,000 years after Odysseus returned from his journey, the team from the University of Ioannina said they found the remains of an extensive three-storey building, with steps carved out of rock and fragments of pottery. The complex also features and a well from the 8th century BC, roughly the period in which Odysseus is believed to have been king of Ithaca.
The location "fits like a glove" with Homer's description of the view from the fabled palace, the archaeologists claim.
The layout of the complex, where Professor Thanassis Papadopoulos and his team have been digging for 16 years, is very similar to palaces discovered at Mycenae, Pylos and other ancient sites.
The presence of the palace does not, however, confirm that Odysseus was a real person, or that the details found in Homer are true. But it does confirm for us that Homerís works preserve a memory of the ďsomethingĒ that was Mycenaean Greece, even though that civilization disappeared before the advent of the Greek Dark Age.
So limited, in fact, that it seems that it applies ONLY to mosques.
In the drowsy month of August no less, New Yorkís City Council is poised to make one of the most important decisions in years about Manhattanís skyline. Council members will decide today whether to allow developers to build a skyscraper almost as tall as the Empire State Building ó 900 feet west on the site of the current Hotel Pennsylvania, on Seventh Avenue. For many people looking from the western part of Manhattan and New Jersey, the iconic tower would no longer be visible.
This is no ordinary development issue. The Empire State is central to this cityís image. Any decision to alter the skyline so radically deserves more time and more public consideration.
But wait. Isnít the right of property owners to build objectionable structures on their property what America is all about? Or is that only the case when Muslims want to build mosques at Ground Zero, where other Muslims radically altered the New York skyline in the name of Allah on 9/11?
Whatís wrong with the description of this group?
A group of religious leaders representing different faiths have signed an open letter in support of the controversial Park51 Islamic community center and mosque scheduled to be built in Lower Manhattan, calling political opposition to the center a ďtransgression of the worst order.Ē
Iíd argue that the phrase ďrepresenting different faithsĒ is false. Instead, Iíd suggest that they are merely purporting to represent different faiths. Why? Because polling has shown that majorities of every religious group except Muslims opposes the location of the Ground Zero Mosque. Seems to me that they are therefore not representative of the communities of belief that they claim to represent.
Whatís more, they also are not very good representatives of their faith traditions Ė after all, they are describing opposition to the location of the mosque as a ďwar on prayerĒ. That constitutes the bearing of false witness, because the overwhelming majority of those objecting to the location are quite open to Muslims practicing their religion freely, but simply object to putting a mosque on the site of a building rendered unusable by a murderous attack committed by Muslims in the name of advancing Islam. We question the site chosen for this project, not the purpose of the project itself. That these so-called ďreligious leadersĒ would premise their campaign on a slanderous lie is itself a shameful ďtransgression of the worst orderĒ.
And it is called free speech Ė but if you plan to burn some Qurans, you need a permit which can be denied by a government official.
The city of Gainesville has denied Dove World Outreach Center's application for a burn permit to set fire to copies of the Quran on Sept. 11, but the church says it plans to burn the holy books anyway.
Gene Prince, interim chief of Gainesville Fire Rescue, said Wednesday that under the city's fire prevention ordinance, an open burning of books is not allowed.
The thing is, the ordinance apparently does not prohibit the open burning of books. It actually bans the burning of newspaper, corrugated cardboard, container board or office paper. As such, the effort to burn the Muslim holy books are not against the law. There is therefore not a truly valid reason for denying the permit. Iíd therefore encourage the church to proceed without a permit, invoking the First Amendment protections of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Odd, isnít it, that the Barack Obama cannot bring himself to speak out in favor of the exercise of these core First Amendment freedoms. But since the rights involved are those of Christians, not Muslims, why should we be surprised?
One jihadist website vowed to conduct suicide bombings in Florida to avenge the Koran burning, while others predicted an increase in terrorist recruits as a result of such actions.
"By Allah, the wars are heated and you Americans are the ones who...enflamed it," says one such posting. "By Allah you will be the first to taste its flames."
One would think that such threats of violence would make it even more important that the event go on for those who believe that religious expression trumps offense by others.
Personally, I'll just suggest a different approach.
After all, adding the right to keep and bear arms to the right to free expression and the right to freedom of religion ought to make the event "bullet-proof" from a Constitutional standpoint -- and in the eyes of those who claim objections to the Ground Zero Mosque constitute a threat to our liberties.
It seems that there may have been racial overtones to some incidents outside the Iowa State Fair.
"We don't know if this was juveniles fighting or a group of kids singling out white citizens leaving the fairgrounds," Sgt. Lori Lavorato said. "It's all under investigation, but it's very possible it has racial overtones."
* * *
Sgt. David Murillo stated in a report on Friday night, "On-duty officers at the fairgrounds advise there was a group of 30 to 40 individuals roaming the fairgrounds openly calling it 'beat whitey night.' "
Of course, one of the local race-baiters has this take on the matter.
State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, D-Des Moines, who has worked to fight gang-related violence, said he doesn't have enough information to decide if the fights were racially motivated. He said police comments that race was involved could miss other factors, such as nonracial taunting.
What to bet that this Ako Abdul-Samad would not be so cautious in drawing a conclusion if the perps were white and talking about it being ďbeat darkie nightĒ. And Iím sure that there would be serious efforts to get federal intervention to ďsend a message about racismĒ if there were.
Eric Holder, however, is unlikely to try to engage in a courageous conversation on race in this case.
I love the US Constitution. I regularly defend it here and elsewhere. But it isnít a perfect document, and it is one that its authors recognized would need modification from time to time. Thatís why they included a process for amending the Constitution right in its text Ė to provide an orderly method for making changes. Following that process (as the first generation of American leaders did no less than 12 times in the first quarter-century after its adoption) constitutes faith in and fidelity towards the blueprint for our nationís government, not cold feelings towards it.
Unless, of course, you write for the Associated Press.
Republican Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia won his seat in Congress campaigning as a strict defender of the Constitution. He carries a copy in his pocket and is particularly fond of invoking the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
But it turns out there are parts of the document he doesn't care for ó lots of them. He wants to get rid of the language about birthright citizenship, federal income taxes and direct election of senators, among others. He would add plenty of stuff, including explicitly authorizing castration as punishment for child rapists.
This hot-and-cold take on the Constitution is surprisingly common within the GOP, particularly among those like Broun who portray themselves as strict Constitutionalists and who frequently accuse Democrats of twisting the document to serve political aims.
Now I donít agree with all of the 42 amendments proposed by various Republicans at this time Ė or with the 27 proposed by Democrats Ė but at least following the process defined in Article V is strict constitutionalism, as opposed to the nebulous changes wrought by advocates of a living Constitution that morphs before our eyes in ways that explicitly contradict the plain language of the document.
What changes would I support? Well, Iíd ditch both the Seventeenth and Twenty-second Amendments, which would mean a return to the practice of state legislatures selecting Senators and an end to term limits for presidents. Iíd be supportive of a marriage amendment of some sort, and reconsideration of the notion of birthright citizenship as regards the children of undocumented and non-resident aliens. But does a willingness to see those changes constitute a lack of fidelity to the document I profess to respect? Hardly! Indeed, the willingness to see ratification of amendments to the Constitution that would implement these ideas is part and parcel of making the document relevant to the modern age while remaining faithful to the text.
Remember this -- most of the amendments to the Constitution have passed in a series of bursts Ė the Bill of Rights within a few years of the adoption of the Constitution. Three amendments passed within five years of the end of the Civil War. Amendments 16 through 19 ratified in a mere 7 years in the early part of the twentieth century, while Amendments 23 through 26 became a part of the Constitution in the span of a decade between 1961 and 1971. The gap between the spurts of amendments has tended to be a mere four or five decades Ė meaning that the United States stands ready to make another series of changes appropriate to the beliefs of the American people and the realities they face today.
Elizabeth Scalia Ė The Anchoress Ė shares an observation that neatly encapsulates why so many Americans of different political stripes miss George W. Bush.
One of my husbandís friendsĖhated Bush, loved Obama and defended him vociferously for the first year, less passionately the secondĖtold him over lunch this week that heís done with Obama and ďI never thought Iíd say this but I miss Bush. We knew that he said what he meant, even if we didnít want to hear it. We knew who he was, even if we didnít like him. And we never had to wonder whether he liked us. He always did.Ē
And that is it, in a nutshell. Bush is missable, because we miss having a president whose affection for his country and its peopleĖeven the ones who hated himĖwas never in doubt.
We miss Bush because he never lectured us or harangued us, and when people disagreed with him, they were not immediately called names in an attempt to simply shut up debate.
I agree. There was never any question in our minds that George W. Bush loved America more than he loved himself. That, my friends, is why no one can credibly call George W. Bush anything other than a patriot Ė and what is sadly lacking in the current occupant of the Oval Office.
Mike Adams uses the following quote as the starting point for todayís column.
ďIf you want to lead you have to read.Ē
It is from David A. ďDocĒ Noebel, President of Summit Ministries (www.Summit.org). I think Iíll be sharing it with my students
I addressed this issue a long time back, but I guess I have to address it again.
Barack Obama is not a Muslim. He has publicly stated he is a Christian -- though we can certainly question the theological orthodoxy of the one church with which he has ever publicly identified himself and the one minister he has ever publicly embraced as his pastor. Some might question how good and faithful a Christian Barack Obama really is, but that is a discussion I do not find to be appropriate -- that matter is between him and God.
However, I do want to highlight this quote by Franklin Graham, and defend it.
ďI think the presidentís problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim,the seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother,he was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name,
Now itís obvious that the president has renounced the prophet Mohammed and he has renounced Islam and he has accepted Jesus Christ. Thatís what he says he has done, I cannot say that he hasnít. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has saidĒ
Franklin Graham is correct on all points here. Under Islamic law, the son of a Muslim father is automatically a Muslim. the elder Barack Obama was the son of a Muslim and, at least at times in his life, practiced Islam. This means that Barack Obama is, according to sharia law, a Muslim. Add to that what appears to be Barack Obama's adoption by another Muslim when his mother remarried, school paperwork from Indonesia that identifies the young Obama (Barry Soetoro in the school's records) as a Muslim, statements in Obama's books and in interviews that show him to have had something of a Muslim upbringing, and a series of actions as president that show Barack Obama to be more favorably disposed to Muslims and Islam than towards Christianity or Judaism, and it is easy to understand why some might leap to the conclusion that Obama is a "secret Muslim", but Franklin Graham's conclusion -- that we must accept what President Obama has said about the faith he professes -- is spot on.
And for what it is worth, I cannot help but be very respectful on the issue of "professed faith" vs. "legalistically ascribed faith". My parents are both Catholic. I was baptized Catholic and raised in that faith. Under the Code of Canon Law, I am Catholic -- despite the fact that I parted company with the Catholic Church in 1998, identify with another Christian denomination, and serve as a deacon in my local congregation. Absent a willingness to jump through certain canonical hoops which are spiritually irrelevant to me, the Catholic Church will continue to consider me a Catholic regardless what I personally say on the matter. It would therefore not be inaccurate for someone to describe me as being Catholic under a purely legalistic Catholic definition, just as some might take a look at the common understanding of sharia and declare Obama to be, from a legalistic Islamic point of view, Muslim.
But let's say it again. Whatever one might conclude about Barack Obama's background and upbringing, as an adult he has publicly stated he is a Christian. Absent some strong evidence to the contrary, we have to accept that declaration as the defining word on the subject. Any assessment to the contrary is simply incorrect, and based on either ignorance or malice.
Pretty stupid, it seems. After all, stuff like this makes it into print on the editorial page.
Mr. DeLay, the Texas Republican who had been the House majority leader, crowed that he had been ďfound innocent.Ē But many of Mr. DeLayís actions remain legal only because lawmakers have chosen not to criminalize them.
Which would, of course, explain why several years spent investigating DeLay resulted in no federal criminal charges -- the man didn't violate the law. Why, then, make it sound like prosecutors are guilty of some sort of dereliction of duty for not bringing charges against DeLay for engaging in legal conduct that the editorial goes on to note is engaged in by none other than Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi? Why, then label DeLay as "unethical" while not making the same statement about Pelosi and other Democrat political leaders?
I've pointed to various outrages committed by one local Democrat activist and blogger a number of times in recent months. But now he has gone out of his way to malign a political opponent by deceptively associating that candidate with a racist paramilitary terrorist organization.
Of course, that Governor Perry has not been endorsed by the KKK. He has been endorsed by the Texas Poultry Federation. If John wanted to make all his crude and juvenile jokes about "peckers" and "pecker heads", he could have done that without the picture of a "sheet head". The only reason for using that picture is to imply that Rick Perry is the candidate of the KKK -- something that is completely untrue, given the history of that evil organization.
After all, the KKK is rejected by the GOP since the day it was founded by Democrats. On the other hand, KKK members have always been Democrat leaders who have been embraced by other Democrats -- just look at the sob-fest the Democrats held on the passing of Robert Byrd, a KKK leader who Democrats liked to call "the conscience of the Senate".
Here are the results of this week's exercise in blogging excellence:
We've always suspected that foreign money was paying for this mosque. The developers now confirm it.
The developers behind the Islamic center planned for a site near Ground Zero won't rule out accepting financing from the Mideast -- including from Saudi Arabia and Iran -- as they begin searching for $100 million needed to build the project.
I'm curious -- will Rauf and the rest at least commit to not taking funds from any source connected with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudi government or the Iranian regime? Will they commit to taking no money from any organization or individual identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in any terrorism or terrorist-fundraising case? And most importantly, will they commit to not taking money from the bin Laden family, their businesses, and any organization they control?
Bravo, David, for saying what I've been trying to say, and encapsulating it so much better than I've managed!
There are those who continue to make the facile claim that any protest over Park51 is a display in un-American intolerance and contempt for the Constitution. This position treats criticism of faith -- religious institutions and symbols included -- as tantamount to "bigotry."
Given that there remains overwhelming opposition to the ground zero mosque, this viewpoint would mean that 70 percent of Americans are impulsively hostile to freedom of religion and irrationally narrow-minded.
Could be. Or maybe a few of these folks believe the First Amendment features more than one clause. Even a newfound reverence for religious liberty on the left does not negate our right to protest and criticize the philosophical disposition of others. And applying public pressure in an effort to shut down a project is as American as protesting the arrival of a new Walmart. Religious institutions, as far as I can tell, are not exempted from these disputes.
It is simple.
You have the right to believe and worship (with a relatively few exceptions) as you choose.
I have the right to criticize what you believe and how you worship.
You have the right (consistent with relevant laws on property usage) to build and use your house of worship.
I have a right to question whether the location is appropriate, and the right to argue that there is something legally or morally wrong with the location.
Remember -- your religious freedom does not trump my freedom of speech. Not even if your co-religionists are noted for their violent, murderous response to even a hint of disrespect for your faith.
A federal judge has dismissed claims by Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols that prison officials violated his constitutional rights by depriving him of a diet he requested for health and religious reasons.
U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello said in a ruling issued Monday that Nichols didn't support his claims that a diet insufficient in whole grains, fiber and raw fruits and vegetables amounts to cruel and unusual punishment and violates his right to free exercise of religion.
Nichols is serving life for conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter in the 1995 federal building bombing that killed 168 people. Timothy McVeigh was convicted of murder and executed.
He should count himself lucky that he is still among the breathing -- though I would argue that he and McVeigh were even more contemptible than the 9/11 terrorists, who at least were willing to die for their cause.
I've not seen this statistic in the American press.
Afghanistan was dubbed ĎObamaís Warí last night after it was revealed that as many American soldiers have died in the conflict during his presidency as during George Bushís entire time in office.
According to the latest death tally, 575 U.S. troops have lost their lives in Afghanistan in the 20 months since Barack Obama took office in January last year.
That is the same number of fatalities the U.S. military suffered under Mr Bush, who launched the Afghan invasion nine years ago in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
With his White House honeymoon well and truly over, Mr Obama is no longer able to blame his countryís travails on the previous administration.
Highlighting this statistic is neither an indictment nor an endorsement of Obama's policies in Afghanistan or Iraq. It is merely an observation about things that we don't see in the American press.
One has to be amused by this lede to an article from Seattle.
The state's most conservative Supreme Court justice, James Johnson, won re-election to a second term with 63 percent of the vote Tuesday night, despite a heavily financed effort by unions and other progressive groups to defeat him.
His opponent, Tacoma attorney Stan Rumbaugh, who portrayed himself as a more liberal choice and was backed by labor and gay-rights advocates, trailed with 37 percent of the vote.
Now I don't know about you, but I hardly think a candidate who wins nearly 2/3 of the vote is "controversial". Indeed, one might argue that such an individual is "mainstream", and opposed by the political fringe. And that such a "controversial" candidate, opposed by the very heart of the left-wing constituency in as liberal a place as Washington state, can garner such high numbers in his reelection bid tells me that he is not, in fact, all that controversial or outside the mainstream. What Justice Johnson apparently is would best be characterized by the words "conservative", "experienced", and "Well-qualified".
I guess that only the First Amendment rights of Muslims are sacred to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi -- not the rights of the 65-70% of Americans who find placing a mosque on the site of a building rendered unoccupiable by debris from the 9/11 attacks to be insensitive and inappropriate.
Few of us who object to the mosque deny that the developers have the property rights to build and the group has the First Amendment rights to gather and worship at the location -- we question the propriety of their doing so, especially in light of the clear failure of doing so to promote their alleged goal of bringing about healing, reconciliation, and understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims. So for Pelosi to demand that between two-thirds and three-quarters of Americans be investigated is both laughable and frightening at the same time -- and one more good reason for loyal Americans to vote out the Democrats this fall.
I love my wife, but one of her bad habits is that whenever we get into the car, she immediately starts looking for Dr. Laura Schlesinger on the radio. No, not because she is a fan, but because listening to her show is like watching slow-motion instant replays of fatal auto accidents or the "Faces of Death" series of videos -- it is something that is so fascinating that it overcomes the rational voice of one's conscience that says you are doing something wrong.
Indeed, my reaction to much of what Dr. Laura says is to mock the host and her callers -- and there is much to mock.
The longtime AM radio fixture says that she will pull the plug on The Dr. Laura Program at the end of the year, a week after repeatedly using the N-word while taking a call on the air from a black woman who wanted to discuss her interracial marriage.
The made the announcement during an appearance on Larry King Live.
Hereís her rationale:
ďMy contract is up for my radio show at the end of the year and Iíve made the decision not to do radio anymore,Ē Schlessinger told King, who also happens to be on his way out this year (for less incendiary reasons).
ďThe reason is I want to regain my First Amendment rights. I want to be able to say whatís on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. Iím sort of done with that.Ē
Sheís not retiring or quitting, she added, but rather, hopes to be ďstronger and freer to say the things that I believe need to be said for people in this country.Ē
Lady, that has to be one of the dumbest things I've ever heard -- if blasting your opinions over the airwaves isn't evidence that you have had full and unfettered access to your First Amendment rights, then I don't know what is. After all, freedom to speak free of government sanction is not freedom to speak free of criticism from those who disagree with you, dislike you, or just plain think you are the counseling equivalent of snake-oil. So I won't be joining my fellow conservatives who are lamenting her departure -- I just don't think this shrill, dysfunctional hypocrite (a working mother who objected to working mothers, a prude moralist who posed for nude pictures, an advocate of family values who left her mother to die alone, a professional critic of the words and actions of others who had little tolerance for criticism of herself) is worth defending.
So hasta la vista, Laura -- you will not be missed by this conservative.
And while we are at it, let's look at a third such issue.
Missouri's tight restrictions on protests and picketing outside military funerals were tossed out by a federal judge Monday, over free speech concerns.
A small Kansas church had brought suit over its claimed right to loudly march outside the burials and memorial services of those killed in overseas conflicts. The state legislature had passed a law to keep members of the Topeka-based Westboro Baptist Church from demonstrating within 300 feet of such private services.
Church members, led by pastor Fred Phelps, believe God is punishing the United States for "the sin of homosexuality" through events including soldiers' deaths. Members have traveled the country, shouting at grieving family members at funerals and displaying such signs as "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," "God Blew Up the Troops" and "AIDS Cures Fags."
The First Amendment clearly supports the right of the Phelps Phamily Phreaks to speak their vile message free from government interference. On the other hand, no person with an ounce of moral decency thinks the Krazy Kult Klan ought to exercise that right in the way that they do. Again, what is legally right and what is morally right conflict -- and as in the previous two posts, the better choice is to leave off the talk of "its my right" in favor of saying "I'll do what's right".
But as in the previous two cases, I somehow expect that those with the power to make that choice will take the lower road rather than the higher one.
And while we are at it, there is mixed news on the Ground Zero Mosque front.
After weeks of heated debate over plans for an Islamic community center near Ground Zero Ė the site of the 9/11 attacks on New York ó it seems Muslim leaders will soon back down, agreeing to move to a new site. The decision follows a high-profile campaign against the project that included advertisements on New York buses showing images of the burning Twin Towers, an iconic landmark razed when al-Qaida terrorists flew packed passenger planes into them in 2001. The New York Republican party is also said to be planning a hostile television campaign.
As I've said a number of times, the problem for me (and for most opponents) of this project is not the mosque itself, but is location so near to the site of the largest terrorist attack in American history, on the site of a building rendered unusable by the attack, and in a way that would overshadow the Ground Zero site itself. I've argued that this is not a question of legal and constitutional rights (I'll stipulate that the developers have the right to build based upon both those criteria), but that it is insensitive to the sentiments of most Americans. Not only that, but terrorists and other Islamists see the establishment of this mosque to be a mark of triumph -- and I think proponents of the building might want to consider whether the fact that they are opposed by 65-70% of Americans but supported by Hamas as a sign that the issue of location is one that cannot be swept away by appeals to the First Amendment.
Do those behind the mosque project have the right to build their building and put a mosque in it, even though it is offensive and hurtful to an overwhelming majority of Americans (including many Muslims)? Yes, they do -- and absent some compelling evidence to the contrary regarding property or zoning issues, I would never argue otherwise. But that does not make it the right choice -- and if this report is true, I'll be glad to speak out in support of establishing the mosque a reasonable distance away (perhaps 10 blocks from the site, not two), in a location that does not have an association with the events of 9/11, especially since that decision would be more in keeping with the goal of healing, reconciliation, and dialogue that its proponents claim at the heart of the project.
Of course, it appears that the report of a move is not true, as this anti-Semitic tweet from the developers makes clear.
Is it any wonder that so many Americans question the motives and the sincerity of those behind the Ground Zero Mosque? That sort of statement hardly appears to be the sort of thing that those seeking healing, reconciliation, and dialogue would engage in.
I'm not necessarily a fan of some deed restrictions in subdivisions, but I acknowledge that they are generally enforceable -- especially when they limit land uses to keeping a residential neighborhood residential. After all, they are voluntary contractual agreements entered into voluntarily. And it is certainly the right of a community (or residents of the community) to sue to enforce those restrictions -- but is it always right?
A Texas appellate-court ruling that a newly built Sikh temple near Austin must be razed or moved has sparked an international outcry from members of the religious group, some of whom claim discrimination is at the heart of the case.
The dispute began when a couple in the neighborhood filed a lawsuit on the grounds that the temple violated the subdivision's rules restricting construction to single-family dwellings.
Frankly, the court is correct in this case -- the Sikhs violated the terms of the deed restrictions, and legally must remove the non-conforming structure. That said, should those who brought the litigation (or the community association as a whole) insist upon enforcing the legal right in this case, or does enforcing it constitute doing something that is not morally right? I'd be inclined to argue for the latter position -- indeed, an agreement with the Sikhs to grant a single narrowly tailored exception to the deed restrictions seems to me to be the most appropriate course of action, even though the Sikhs are in the wrong legally and those seeking to enforce the deed restriction are legally right.
This is, I'd argue, the flip side of the Ground Zero Mosque controversy. In that case, I've acknowledged the right of the Muslim group in question to establish a mosque in a setting where it may be legally (and certainly constitutionally) permissible, but where the exercise of the right does a greater harm to the community and the nation, as well as the stated purpose of the project. Here, the project seems to be causing no harm and no offense to any of the other neighbors -- and, indeed, the Sikhs seem to have been, generally, good neighbors along the way.
I rarely have anything positive to say about Michigan Senator Carl Levin, with who I disagree on many issues. But even though he is a political opponent, I am against his being assaulted for his stand on a particular issue (which, I will grant you I actually do agree with him on).
U.S. Sen. Carl Levin got an apple pie Ė no whipped cream or ice cream on top either Ė in the face this morning during a question-and-answer session for the Mecosta County Democrats at a Big Rapids deli after being criticized by a young man for his stance on foreign policy and defense of Israel.
Witnesses at Pepperís Cafť and Deli said as the Detroit Democrat who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee asked the audience to let the man have his say, a young woman circled behind him and squashed a pie into the 76-year-old Levinís face.
ÖBig Rapids police said the woman, 22-year-old Ahlam Mohsen of Coldwater was arrested not far from the deli and charged with assault and disorderly conduct. It was not immediately clear this afternoon if she was still being held.
Nico Rubello, a reporter for the Big Rapids Pioneer, said Levin stuck around and answered more questions after the incident. His newspaper reported that the man who asked the question was Max Kantar, 23, of Big Rapids. It also quoted Mohsen as saying, ďWe wanted to target Levin today to send a message that liberals and Democrats are just as implicated in the violence (of war) as the Republicans.Ē
Fine, if you want to target political opponents with verbal salvos and electoral assaults, go right ahead. But when you go out and engage in physical assault on that opponent, you have crossed a line.
Now I'm curious -- will all anti-war and anti-Israel activists be tarred as violent thugs by the media, the way the media have attempted to atr all Tea party activists with the alleged offenses of a mere handful of participants (many of which cannot even be documented or which may have been committed by provocateurs from the Left)? Or will they ignore the story or paint it as the actions of a couple of isolated loons.
By the way, here is a picture of the assailant who bravely attacked an old man (he is the same age as my parents -- in his mid 70s). Care to engage in a little speculation about her?
I guess we can be thankful it was only a pie, not a knife, gun, or explosive suicide vest.
I'm not a big fan of Ross Douhat, but he seems to have hit one out of the park with today's NY Times column. In it he notes that there are two distinct Americas -- one which embraces a diverse vision of legal and constitutional equality and freedom, and another which defines itself as having certain cultural traits that make it a single people distinct from all others. Most difficult to reconcile, however, is that they are the same America. Which leads, he argues, to the Muslim problem in America today, especially as crystallized in the dispute over the Ground Zero mosque.
The first America is correct to insist on Muslimsí absolute right to build and worship where they wish. But the second America is right to press for something more from Muslim Americans ó particularly from figures like Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the mosque ó than simple protestations of good faith.
Too often, American Muslim institutions have turned out to be entangled with ideas and groups that most Americans rightly consider beyond the pale. Too often, American Muslim leaders strike ambiguous notes when asked to disassociate themselves completely from illiberal causes.
By global standards, Rauf may be the model of a ďmoderate Muslim.Ē But global standards and American standards are different. For Muslim Americans to integrate fully into our national life, theyíll need leaders who donít describe America as ďan accessory to the crimeĒ of 9/11 (as Rauf did shortly after the 2001 attacks), or duck questions about whether groups like Hamas count as terrorist organizations (as Rauf did in a radio interview in June). And theyíll need leaders whose antennas are sensitive enough to recognize that the quest for inter-religious dialogue is ill served by throwing up a high-profile mosque two blocks from the site of a mass murder committed in the name of Islam.
Theyíll need leaders, in other words, who understand that while the ideals of the first America protect the e pluribus, itís the demands the second America makes of new arrivals that help create the unum.
It is there that we have the conflict. Most Americans, myself included, have no objections to Muslims in this country, and want to see that community as a vibrant part of the American tapestry. For that to work, however, this same Islamic community needs to recognize that there is a need for "good Muslims" to also be "good Americans" for this to work. Sadly, that has not always happened, whether we are talking about the repeated discovery of terrorist plots centered on local mosques, efforts to claim rights (to stop the work on a factory floor for prayer time, to refuse to carry handicapped passengers with guide dogs or passengers carrying liquor in Muslim-operated cabs, or to impose sharia-based restrictions on non-Muslim speech) at odds with American values, and an increasing resistance to the sort of assimilation that has helped to incorporate previous generations of immigrants into our society. And in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, this sort of Muslim ambiguity towards America has made it harder for the rest of America to welcome the Muslim community.
And like it or not, the military conflicts of the last nine years do have the characteristics of a war against Islam, given that our enemies so often use Islam as a the basis of their ideology. Unlike during World War II, when a Japanese minority that was treated much less fairly under the law before the war found many of its members interned without trial during the war, Muslims in America have found themselves to face few (if any) real restrictions placed upon them that have not been shared by other Americans. Yet unlike the Japanese, who even when interned showed great devotion and loyalty to this country, we instead find in the Islamic community sentiments like the following ruling made by Muslim jurists in America:
Question: Is a Muslim who owns a moving company permitted to transport supplies from the distributor's warehouse to the port, knowing that the supplies are to be sent to soldiers operating in Islamic countries as part of NATO forces?
Response: Help one another in goodness and piety, and do not help another in sin and aggression...If somebody commits a crime and conspires against [Muslims] you must not abet him anywhere on earth, whether he is a civilian or belongs to the military. ..."
Question: Is it permissible [for] a Muslim, to enlist in the U.S. Navy, in light of the possibility that [one] might be sent to serve in a Muslim country. ... [Would] enlisting in the Navy be considered 'loyalty to the infidels and leaving the fold [of Islam].'
Response: One third of all Muslims today live as minorities in non-Islamic countries, and most of the remaining two-thirds live in the shadow of non-Islamic regimes, even if they live in Islamic lands. The two groups are subject to man-made laws, which Islamic (sharia) does not recognize, either fully or in part. ...
In other words, Islam itself would forbid giving one's loyalty to America, even though we are told that the terrorists are not good Muslims and they "hijacked Islam" along with the planes used to attack America on 9/11. And until Muslims in this country resolve this tension in a manner that makes it clear that they are a part of our nation rather than an enemy within, it is impossible for them to meet the demands of Douhat's second America -- which in turn makes many of us wonder just how operative the values of the first can truly be with regard to Islam.
Provenge, a vaccine to treat the recurrence of prostate cancer, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Ö Medicare usually covers the cost of FDA-approved anti-cancer therapies. However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is still reviewing whether it will cover Provenge, and at what rate.
The CMS statute states that Medicare must cover therapies that are reasonable and necessary, while the FDA is instructed to approve drugs that are safe and effective. Because of the conflicting Federal coverage and approval requirements, there are some non-FDA approved drugs (called off-label drugs) that are paid for by CMS. However, with respect to Provenge, it appears that CMS is arguing that while the treatment is safe and effective, it may not be reasonable and necessary. For the first time, an FDA approved anti-cancer therapy may not be covered by Medicare.
Just imagine what YOUR medical care will look like when ObamaCare goes into effect.
He'll take a firm stand on the question with the obvious answer -- but lacks the balls to come out and say what he thinks on the hard question.
Speaking to reporters today, President Obama drew a sharp line under his comments last night, insisting that his defense of the right to build a mosque does not mean he supports the project.
"I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding," he said.
Come on, Barry, you can say it. Either "The developers of the mosque acted stupidly in choosing the site of a building rendered unusable by the 9/11 attacks for their mosque;" or "The opponents of the mosque are acting stupidly in opposing a mosque on the site of a building rendered unusable by the 9/11 attacks."
Heck, you could hold the equivalent of the famous Beer Summit (yes, I know Muslims aren't supposed to drink alcohol) to promote reconciliation -- bring in the mosque developers and the imam for a meeting with Pam Geller, Robert Spencer, Newt Gingrich and other representatives of the 65-70% of Americans who find the location of the project offensive and see if you can hammer out a compromise. This one isn't above your pay grade. You've got a Nobel Peace Prize, after all, you ought to be able to whip out a settlement in no time flat!
Oh, that's right -- you've got some serious vacationing to do, followed by a few more rounds of golf.
Recently, attention has been focused on the construction of mosques in certain communities - particularly in New York. Now, we must all recognize and respect the sensitivities surrounding the development of lower Manhattan. The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country. The pain and suffering experienced by those who lost loved ones is unimaginable. So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.
But let me be clear: as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure.
There are some beautiful sentiments in there -- sentiments that I agree with, but sentiments that none the less miss what may be the major point in this whole controversy. Would that Obama had nuanced his position to reflect the bigger issue, and the one on which there ought to be real discussion.
There is undeniably a legal and constitutional right for Muslims to build and worship in that general area (though questions can and should be raised regarding ownership of the property and whether there are valid reasons for declaring the site worthy of historical preservation). That is a clear Constitutional question, and the answer is obvious. I make that assertion on the same basis that I would assert the right of a band of Nazis to march through a Jewish neighborhood, or for the KKK to hold an event in a predominantly black town.
No, the issue upon which so many of us object is whether having the right to build means that it is right for this mosque complex to be built. After all, the right to do something does not make doing something right, as my two examples in the previous paragraph are designed to show. In this case, the insensitivity of the decision to the feelings of the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers (and Americans) should lead those behind the project to question whether building it advances their professed cause of healing and reconciliation, or whether it harms that cause by tearing open wounds and offending the sense of propriety of so many of those with whom they claim to want dialogue and understanding. In that sense, it seems that exercising the right is the wrong thing to do, and a relocation of the project a further distance away from the site of two terrorist attacks in Islam's name would be the wiser choice, and more in keeping with the stated aim.
All of which assumes, of course, that the stated aim of promoting healing reconciliation, and understanding between Muslims and other Americans is, in fact, the actual aim of the project...
AND ON A RELATED NOTE -- If, as this son and stepson of Muslims seems to imply, he is all about religious freedom, why didn't he take the opportunity to also come out in favor of religious freedom in the Muslim world? You know, like the repeal of blasphemy laws that are used to suppress the speech of non-Muslims, the right of non-Muslims to build houses of worship on the same basis that Muslims may build mosques, and the freedom of non-Muslims to worship publicly, as well as the freedom on Muslims to exercise their human right to leave that faith and embrace another (or none at all).
Q: Who are these members of 111th Congress? A: See the listing below
Hon. Raķl M. Grijalva (AZ-07)
Hon. Lynn Woolsey (CA-06)
Hon. Diane Watson (CA-33)
Hon. Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18)
Hon. Mazie Hirono (HI-02)
Hon. Dennis Kucinich (OH-10)
Hon. Bernie Sanders (VT)
Hon. Neil Abercrombie (HI-01)
Hon. Tammy Baldwin (WI-02)
Hon. Xavier Becerra (CA-31)
Hon. Madeleine Bordallo (GU-AL)
Hon. Robert Brady (PA-01)
Hon. Corrine Brown (FL-03)
Hon. Michael Capuano (MA-08)
Hon. Andrť Carson (IN-07)
Hon. Donna Christensen (VI-AL)
Hon. Yvette Clarke (NY-11)
Hon. William ďLacyĒ Clay (MO-01)
Hon. Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
Hon. Steve Cohen (TN-09)
Hon. John Conyers (MI-14)
Hon. Elijah Cummings (MD-07)
Hon. Danny Davis (IL-07)
Hon. Peter DeFazio (OR-04)
Hon. Rosa DeLauro (CT-03)
Rep. Donna F. Edwards (MD-04)
Hon. Keith Ellison (MN-05)
Hon. Sam Farr (CA-17)
Hon. Chaka Fattah (PA-02)
Hon. Bob Filner (CA-51)
Hon. Barney Frank (MA-04)
Hon. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11)
Hon. Alan Grayson (FL-08)
Hon. Luis Gutierrez (IL-04)
Hon. John Hall (NY-19)
Hon. Phil Hare (IL-17)
Hon. Maurice Hinchey (NY-22)
Hon. Michael Honda (CA-15)
Hon. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL-02)
Hon. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30)
Hon. Hank Johnson (GA-04)
Hon. Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)
Hon. Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI-13)
Hon. Barbara Lee (CA-09)
Hon. John Lewis (GA-05)
Hon. David Loebsack (IA-02)
Hon. Ben R. Lujan (NM-3)
Hon. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14)
Hon. Ed Markey (MA-07)
Hon. Jim McDermott (WA-07)
Hon. James McGovern (MA-03)
Hon. George Miller (CA-07)
Hon. Gwen Moore (WI-04)
Hon. Jerrold Nadler (NY-08)
Hon. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (DC-AL)
Hon. John Olver (MA-01)
Hon. Ed Pastor (AZ-04)
Hon. Donald Payne (NJ-10)
Hon. Chellie Pingree (ME-01)
Hon. Charles Rangel (NY-15)
Hon. Laura Richardson (CA-37)
Hon. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34)
Hon. Bobby Rush (IL-01)
Hon. Linda SŠnchez (CA-47)
Hon. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)
Hon. Josť Serrano (NY-16)
Hon. Louise Slaughter (NY-28)
Hon. Pete Stark (CA-13)
Hon. Bennie Thompson (MS-02)
Hon. John Tierney (MA-06)
Hon. Nydia Velazquez (NY-12)
Hon. Maxine Waters (CA-35)
Hon. Mel Watt (NC-12)
Hon. Henry Waxman (CA-30)
Hon. Peter Welch (VT-AL)
Hon. Robert Wexler (FL-19)
Will any of them disavow this, or does their silence constitute acknowledgment of it as truth? And why won't the media raise this issue instead of dismissing the use of the word "socialist" as a scare tactic instead of the starting point for legitimate debate?
Here are the full results for this week:
Well done, my friends -- well done one and all!
AURORA, Colo. - A man who agreed to donate part of his liver to help save his brother died just four days after the transplant procedure at The University of Colorado Hospital.
It's the first death of a living liver donor in Colorado and only the fourth in the U.S.
The death has led to a temporary halt of all live donor liver transplants at The University of Colorado Hospital. The hospital has also launched an investigation into what went wrong.
It has reported the death to the Colorado Department of Public Health, which is conducting its own investigation.
Ryan Arnold, 34, of Watertown, South Dakota died on August 2nd, just four days after his brother, Chad, 38, of Castle Rock, received part of his liver. Chad Arnold invited FOX31 to document their story, when it took a devastating turn.
This is their story friendship, faith and the ultimate sacrifice.
The story is here -- I can say nothing that adds to the words in the video.
May God bless and comfort the Arnold family in this time of joy and sadness, as one brother is saved and the other is lost, as the situation they are living is one that is doubtless beyond human understanding for anyone on this side of the gates of Heaven.
According to the American public, the GOP is mainstream, while the Democrats are extremists.
Most U.S. voters believe the Democratic congressional agenda is extreme, while a plurality describe the Republican agenda as mainstream.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters think the agenda of Democrats in Congress is extreme. Thirty-four percent (34%) say it is more accurate to describe the Democratic agenda as mainstream.
Voters are more narrowly divided when it comes to the agenda of congressional Republicans. Forty-five percent (45%) of voters view the GOP agenda as mainstream, but nearly as many (40%) say itís more accurate to call it extreme. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.
When one breaks out the average voter from the political class, the difference is even more telling.
The Political Class, however, has dramatically different views of the agendas of the two parties from what Mainstream voters think. Ninety-one percent (91%) of the Political Class say the Democratic agenda in Congress is in the mainstream, but 70% of Mainstream voters see that agenda as extreme.
While 53% of Mainstream voters see the Republican congressional agenda as in the mainstream, 81% of Political Class voters regard it as extreme.
Of course, the Political Class controls the lap-dog media that continually paints the opposite picture, so you are unlikely to see the views of the American people reflected in the news accounts and the choice of descriptive words used to describe the two sides of the political divide.
Given the weakness of the Democrat record of accomplishments in this state and in the United States as a whole, I can understand that Texas gubernatorial candidate Bill White has nothing to recommend his own candidacy and qualifications for office. Such candidates naturally find themselves drawn to negative campaigning against their opponents, and I don't have a problem with that -- after all, an opponent's record is open to criticism and critique, and i have certainly been critical of Rick Perry over the years. That said, there are places that no candidate should go without ample evidence to support their contention -- and I therefore hope that all decent men and women of all political persuasions will join in condemning Bill White's descent into the muck and mire of race baiting to undermine Perry's candidacy.
"I'm here on a job interview," White said at the forum sponsored by state Rep. Barbara Mallory Caraway and The Elite News. "We need a governor who's a servant, as opposed to Rick Perry, who wants to be treated as master."
Now there can be no question of that word being used innocently by Bill White. It is shameful and despicable, especially given the history of racism that runs deep in the Texas Democrat Party that Bill White used to run and which he represents as a candidate. As such, I don't want to see any sort of apology. What I'd like to see is Bill White's withdrawal from the campaign in disgrace. But since the Democrat candidate has no shame, I don't really expect either of those alternatives to come to pass. But I do hope for loud condemnations from others in public life, and the media, of the irresponsible and baseless use of such inflammatory language.
An estimated 340,000 of the 4.3 million babies born in the United States in 2008 were the offspring of unauthorized immigrants, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center.
Unauthorized immigrants comprise slightly more than 4% of the adult population of the U.S., but because they are relatively young and have high birthrates, their children make up a much larger share of both the newborn population (8%) and the child population (7% of those younger than age 18) in this country.
These figures are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureauís March 2009 Current Population Survey, augmented with the Pew Hispanic Centerís analysis of the demographic characteristics of the unauthorized immigrant population using a "residual estimation methodology" it has employed for the past five years.
The new Pew Hispanic analysis finds that nearly four-in-five (79%) of the 5.1 million children (younger than age 18) of unauthorized immigrants were born in this country and therefore are U.S. citizens. In total, 4 million U.S.-born children of unauthorized immigrant parents resided in this country in 2009, alongside 1.1 million foreign-born children of unauthorized immigrant parents.
Now let's break the statistics down a little more, shall we?
Every year, the failed border, immigration, and deportation policies of this country result in an additional 340,000 children whose parents have no legal right to be in this country. These children are then used as the basis for the parents being permitted to stay in this country and, eventually, receiving legal status. That is 340.000 additional families who are then able to scoot their relatives to the head of the line for immigration purposes, further clogging the immigration pipeline in a way that prevents those who follow the rules from coming to America legally. What's more, these children are immediately eligible for all sorts of government benefits which add to our out-of-control social spending -- and serve to make continued violation of our nation's immigration laws by their parents economically feasible. Is it any wonder, for example, that there are 60,000 such births in Texas annually?
I don't hate people who want to come to this country, looking for a better life. I don't hate any subgroup of that population based upon their ethnicity. But I do see a problem, and I resent being told that wanting to do something about that problem constitutes racism and bigotry of the rankest sort. Anyone with an ounce of common sense should be able to see that these birth figures are evidence of a problem that needs to be solved, and that border enforcement and and illegal alien deportation-- and even a frank, honest, and fearless discussion of the issue of birthright citizenship -- before any sort of "comprehensive immigration reform" can be a viable option.
Now let's set aside that it is racist and imbecilic -- we all know that both of those words apply to Harry Reid and most Democrat elected officials. After all, why else would they be members of the Party of the KKK and have gone to such lengths to honor a former KKK leader as the "Conscience of the Senate" upon his recent death? And the racist character of that statement is most clear when one considers what the pandemonium that would ensue if some GOP leader suggested that it is incomprehensible for a white person to vote Democrat. So I'm simply going to ignore the racism and stupidity of the Senate Majority leader as having been put on display for all to see, and comment no further.
No, the really scary comment is this older one, from back in April, which so many have overlooked:
"We're going to do immigration reform just like we did health care reform."
Got that? Harry Reid is planning to do "immigration reform" just like he did health care -- by getting his members to pass a bill they never read, containing provisions no one was told about, loaded with special provisions written as part of corrupt back room deals, and over the objection of an American electorate that is vehemently opposed to the entire legislative initiative in the first place. Oh, yeah -- and the Democrats are going to bankrupt the country in the process by adding even more crippling debt and deficits for future generations to pay. After all, all that is how they did health care reform.
There are many of us on the Republican side who are prepared to consider reasonable efforts to fix an immigration system that is broken. But we recognize that any "immigration reform" is a sham until the borders are secured and serious efforts are underway to expedite the removal of those who have already shown contempt for this nation by violating our immigration laws. We've learned the lessons taught by the failure of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, because we've seen that "amnesty before enforcement" proposals ultimately become "amnesty without enforcement" policies and only result in an exponential jump in illegal immigration.
Oh, and if Harry Reid wants to know how a Hispanic can vote Republican, he might want to talk to Brian Sandoval -- the guy who is on track to trounce Rory Reid (Harry's son) in the race for Governor of Nevada. Or Susana Martinez, who is going to be the next governor of New Mexico. Or John Sanchez, Maldonado's running mate for lieutenant governor. Or Marco Rubio. Or Raul Labrador. Or Abel Maldonado. Or any of the many other Hispanic candidate nominated by Republican primary voters around the country because of the content of their character and the quality of their ideas, not their ethnic heritage.
Did you know that US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker overruled the US Supreme Court in the decision handed down last week?
This was a strange ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1971 that an identical challenge to the traditional definition of marriage was meritless. Nor has the Supreme Court ever suggested that its 1971 decision was wrong.
Well, a little correction here -- the Minnesota Supreme Court case in question was in 1971. The US Supreme Court in this instance issued the holding that the Fourteenth Amendment does not contain a right to gay marriage in 1972. But that is a minor error in the great scheme of things.
Now last time I checked, a US Supreme Court precedent trumps the personal preferences of a district court judge, even when he disguises those opinions by putting them in a section of the decision that he labels as unassailable facts. How did Judge Vaughn Walker deal with the precedent setting case, Baker v. Nelson. 409 U.S. 810 (1972), in his decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger? Easy -- he ignored the precedent and blithely issued a decision as if this was the first time the issue had ever been brought to a federal court!
What did the Supreme Court do in 1972 in Baker v. Nelson? It dismissed a mandatory appeal from the Minnesota Supreme Court regarding the gay marriage and the Fourteenth Amendment "for want of a substantial federal question." This constitutes a holding on the merits with precedent value because of the way in which the decision reached the Supreme Court and the reason for the dismissal of the appeal. The Supreme Court has not overruled that decision, and has not gone so far as to question the precedent in any other case. It is therefore clear that not only was Judge Walker wrong in his holding, but he was openly contemptuous of the Supreme Court by ignoring the controlling precedent from that court. That should lead even the Ninth Circuit to overrule the Walker's decision.
This should go over really well with Texas voters.
Oh, yeah, it isn't like the Democrats stand a snowball's chance of hell in Texas anyway. But he's at least supposed to pretend he is the president of all the people.
Gov. Rick Perry's meeting at the Austin airport with President Barack Obama on border security lasted a mere 34 seconds, and Perry had to hand a letter on the issue to presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett because Obama declined to personally accept it.
I do think this says everything that Barack Obama was more than willing to accept a book from the hands of banana republic dictator Hugo Chavez -- but he won't accept a letter from the hands of the governor of one of our own states.
Just remember, Barry -- Texas will have more electoral votes in 2012 than it did in 2008, and they will likely come at the expense of blue states that gave their votes to you. And by the way, all vacations and golf games after January 20, 2013 are on your dime, not ours.
Here's the latest, this one from Missouri, as a videographer from the Missouri GOP documenting an appearance by Democrat senatorial candidate Robin Carnahan is assaulted by a Democrat elected official headed to the event.
For those of you who want to know who the violent, profane thug is, let me clue you in.
Public official. Public place. Public record.
In a phone interview Monday, Skaggs ó Kansas Cityís mayor pro tem ó did not apologize for the incident, although he said he did regret the use of a vulgarity.
The camera operator was ďuninvited and belligerent,Ē Skaggs said. ďIíd do the same to any bureaucrat acting that way.Ē
So apparently Skaggs has an anger problem and believes that he is not only permitted to assault political opponents, but also public employees. Don't you feel the love and the civility? Especially since the videographer does nothing here except for point the camera at an elected official in a public place -- something that such folks ought to expect. The only belligerence here is from the profanity spewing Demo-thug.
I'm not sure what the laws are in Missouri, but down here in Texas the city would likely be down one public official and the videographer would not be facing any charges after fending off the unprovoked attack.
I wonder -- will any Democrats decide to condemn this thuggish behavior? Or is this political civility in the Age of Obama?
After all, the logic of the case is equally compelling in regards to relationships of more than two consenting adults.
1) The only rational basis for limiting marriage to two people was the existence of two sexes and their necessity for reproduction/traditional sex roles. As Judge Walker declared it to be a ďfactĒ (actually, it is his personal opinion, but he says in his opinion that it is a fact) that neither of those is relevant to the nature of marriage or a rational basis for limiting marriage to one man and one woman, the basis for limiting marriage to two people only also falls by the wayside as irrational.
2) If allowing two men or two women to marry in no way harms or prejudices the marriages of straight married couples, the same logic would have to apply to the distinct lack of harm of polygamous marriages to those in monogamous marriages. After all, how are you and your marriage harmed by the state allowing 3, 4, or 15 people to enter into a marriage?
3) Failure to recognize polygamous marriages harms the participants in polygamous marriages and their children in precisely the same way that denying recognition to homosexual marriages does to the participants in those relationships and their children.
The door is open -- when will someone be filing suit quoting whole sections of Judge Walker's opinion?
And when will Congress, recognizing the will of the American people as expressed in the passage of ballot propositions in the overwhelming majority of states, sent a Federal Marriage Amendment to the states for consideration?
Set aside the stupid reason for this protest. I find this criminal charges rather disturbing.
Police have arrested a pastor in Georgia for protesting outside a high school against its demon mascot.
Police spokeswoman Tabitha Pugh said 36-year-old Donald Crosby was arrested Monday in the central Georgia city of Warner Robins.
Crosby and supporters picked the opening day of classes to protest against the pitchfork-wielding mascot. Crosby, of Kingdom Builders Church of Jesus Christ, says his son attends the school and he doesn't want him exposed to the name's devilish connotations.
Crosby was charged with picketing without a license and disorderly conduct. He was released on bond. He did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.
"Picketing without a license"? I thought this was America, and that such things as engaging in public protest on public property was protected by the First Amendment.
Look, I think this is, and as far as the Missouri vote, you get 70 percent inside an echo chamber of older white people, no not in St. Louis not in Kansas City...
Could you imagine anyone suggesting that the votes of Kansas City and St. Louis (or anywhere else in the country) should be disregarded because that is where the minorities are, so they really don't count? We know what word would be applied to such a contention -- and rightly so. So how come the overwhelming vote of the racial majority should be disregarded, Juan, and why is it acceptable to suggest they should be?
Of course, maybe I and everyone else are misunderstanding this statement. Maybe what he is trying to say is that the votes of white voters -- or at least white voters who fail to bow down before the unicorn-riding demigod in the White House -- don't count. I could certainly find that believable.
By the way, just a reminder of whose votes don't count, according to Juan Williams.
Some weeks back, our church's youth pastor began her children's sermon with the words "Happy Easter. Now the kids were confused, given that it was several weekends past the annual festival of colored eggs and chocolate bunnies that is so often confused with the actual celebration of Christ's Resurrection by the young and the unchatechized. She went on to offer the pointed reminder that for Christians, every day is about the Resurrection, for we are the Easter people whose whole reason for being is that joyous event and its celebration.
That reflection popped into my mind recently as certain liberal propagandists tried to argue that conservative sites and commentators are trying to instigate violent rebellion against the American government. The claims are as amusing as they are false -- thought they have caught on among the mind-numbed repeaters of talking points on the left. And sadly, they ignore the fundamental reality that just as Christians are defined by Easter, Americans are defined by revolution in pursuit of liberty and self-government.
Want proof? Consider this little blurb from one Thomas Jefferson in a document generally referred to as the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that. . . Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ó That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. . . [W]hen a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
American patriots, of course, recognize these words as an essential element of the American view of government, and that they are no less true today than they were in 1776 when Jefferson put pen to paper to declare the causes for which the thirteen colonies declared themselves to be sovereign and independent states that were no longer under the jurisdiction of the British crown and Parliament. Liberals such as those noted above, on the other hand, view those who would dare to put stock in those words today as nothing more than treasonous, anti-American, racist, secession-mongering neo-Confederate terrorists who needs to be arrested and shipped to Gitmo once the innocent Muslims persecuted and imprisoned by George W. Bush are released with profound apologies.
But a willingness -- even a preparedness -- to rise up against a government which has strayed beyond its proper bounds is precisely what Jefferson envisions as the proper attitude of a free people. Aside from the words of the Declaration itself, one of the most famous Jefferson quotes is this one.
"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.... And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."
In other words, the revolutionary spirit is necessary in each generation, with a willingness to overturn the existing order by means peaceable or otherwise an essential element of maintaining a free society. Who, then, is the more loyal American -- those who speak dissenting words declaring the need of the people to resist unrestrained government, or those who declare such words to be treasonous by virtue of their very utterance?
Are there any here among us who wish to see violent revolution in America, and the blood of friends and family running in the streets? I will dare to say that the answer must be acknowledged to be that there are not. But the reality is that we find ourselves faced with a train of abuses and usurpations akin to those facing the founders in 1776, and a disconnect between the people and those who rule over them. At RedState, Erick Erickson notes the following disconnects between the American people and the political ruling class.
Consider the Rasmussen surveys of late:
- 86% of voters believe there should b ďlimits on what the federal government can do.Ē 54% of the political class1 disagrees.
- 84% of mainstream voters think the country is headed in the wrong direction. 67% of the political class think the country is headed in the right direction.
- 75% of mainstream voters believe the free market works better than government at regulating the economy. 44% of the political class prefer government control.
- 56% of mainstream voters want Obamacare repealed. 97% of the political class want it kept.
- 52% of mainstream voters believe increased government spending is bad for the economy. A majority of the political class disagrees.
Then consider gay marriage. More than three-quarters of the states and a majority of the people in each of those states have prohibited gay marriage. But one judge in California has, through his own ďfact findingĒ decided gender no longer, after 5000 years, plays any role in marriage.
There is a great and growing divide between those who govern and those who are governed. But those who govern are forgetting that they only govern by the consent of those who are governed. That consent is being revoked.
Erickson then notes the possibility of an Article V Constitutional convention to further bind the federal government within its proper limits as set by the will and consent of the governed. Yet I am pessimistic that such a solution -- that a peaceful, Constitutional revolution, if you will -- is likely to come to pass. Given the entrenched nature of the political class, will mere electoral victory be sufficient to allow for the American system to be put back on a proper course? Will the political class allow for an Article V convention that might make substantial changes to the COnstitution that would weaken its grip on power? Has the accumulation of precedential decisions decreed by unelected judges based upon their own policy preferences rather than the text or history of the provisions they purport to interpret so deformed our Constitution that an electoral strategy and tinkering around the margins through amendment are insufficient to the task of fixing a system that is broken and seemingly unanswerable to the people? I dare to say that it is.
Indeed, I'll take it a step further. Any effort by latter day framers of a new Constitution to follow the example of the great men who exceeded their mandate when they assembled at Philadelphia in 1787 by authoring a new document with a novel ratification scheme would be struck down by that same entrenched political class as illegitimate, even if the document itself clearly represented the interests and desires of a majority of the American people. At such a point, only a repetition of scenes like those in Manila in 1986, Moscow in 1991, or Bucharest in 1989 would be options for the American people, the Revolution people, to retain their liberty -- either that, or it will become the tragedy of the American people betraying their heritage of revolution and to continue in submission to the long train of abuses and usurpations that herald a descent into despotism.
Yet the glimmer of hope is there. The possibility of electoral success by those favoring smaller government with limited powers does exist. The possibility of an Article V convention does exist. And so we, the Revolution people, must continue to push for revolution by peaceful, democratic means. Therein lies our first, best hope of returning America to its proper path, without resorting to the sad and tragic course of watering the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Here are the full results of this week's competition:
The big story this year ó the enthusiasm gap between the parties ó is in part a reflection of the grassroots activism of members of the tea party movement, many of whom are Republicans. But the biggest shift this year has been among independents who supported Obama and have now turned hard against both him and the Democrats in Congress. That shift appears to reflect, above all, economic anxiety as well as concern over rapidly rising federal spending, huge deficits, enormous new government regulatory powers, and an unemployment rate that seems stuck near double figures. These fears are shared by members of the tea party movement, which is why the GOP will likely do very well this year.
But, my friends, that "enthusiasm gap" is one we have to nurse and maintain. The Obamunists are going to go out of their way to scare voters with tales of racist, extremist Republicans -- after all, Howard Dean recently said that if the election becomes a referendum on Obama and his party, the GOP wins. It is therefore up to us to work like we are 10 points down not 10 points up in the polling, lest overconfidence kills us. I've seen it happen before -- in 1982, in Illinois, Gov. Jim Thompson was ahead in the polls. His supporters did not get the vote out, and everyone was prepping for the victory parties. Adlai Stevenson III and his campaign were working hard in the last days, and on Election Day itself. Between that get-out-the-vote effort and the fraudulent votes in Chicago, Stevenson was able to bring himself to within 0.15% of winning the election. We must not take things for granted this fall, or we will lose where we should win.
Really, there is no other conclusion to be drawn from this one.
MICHELLE OBAMA has had enough of JILL BIDENís lack of R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
The claws are out in the White House as First Lady Michelle Obama feuds with Vice President Joe Bidenís wife Jill, sources say.
ďMichelle is furious at Jill for what she sees as her increasing behind-the-scenes lack of respect toward her,Ē a political source in the nationís capital told The ENQUIRER.
ďTo Michelle, itís insulting that Jill and Joe are always so casual around Americaís first family.
ďMichelle believes Jill doesnít respect her. Whatís got her seething is that Jill doesnít seem to treat Michelle with the reverence the first lady expects.
ďAnd it drives Michelle crazy!Ē
I wouldn't credit this sort of story from a source like the Enquirer were it not for the fact that it is in keeping with the haughty attitude shown by MicHELLe Obama in other circumstances. Moreover, it is contrary to the attitude shown by most of the Republican First Ladies during my lifetime (Pat Nixon was a bit of a prig, by most reports, but Betty Ford, Barbara Bush, and Laura Bush were reported to be quite approachable -- and even Nancy Reagan, for all her airs, was reported to be a kindly lady). And while I may have lots of political complaints about Joe Biden and his family, they are real people with real accomplishments to their credit, something that cannot be said about any member of the Obama family beyond Barry's few electoral successes.
Besides, given the fact that the National Enquirer has in recent years done a better job of reporting on the foibles of the Democrats than the lap-dog media has, we do have to give this story some credibility.
This seems simple enough to me.
After a year of fighting Chryslerís decision to cast aside his dealership, Jim Bickford expected to be back running Westminster Dodge, the only Chrysler franchise in Boston. '
An arbitrator last month declared the dealership ďa proven performer, with an experienced, enthusiastic and competent management team, which has earned the right to continue.Ē
In other words, the closure of the dealership was arbitrary, capricious, and Bickford gets his dealership back, right?
Well, that was how it was supposed to work.
But Mr. Bickford is still not sure whether he will be able to return to selling new cars and trucks. Chrysler is offering to bring Westminster Dodge back aboard only if it meets a list of restrictions, undertakes immediate renovations ó and if no nearby dealer objects.
In other words, Bickford won -- but the same folks who screwed him once are now screwing him again in order to avoid complying with the terms of the arbitration.
And Bickford is not alone.
Dozens of Chrysler dealers who have won arbitration rulings against the carmaker are back in the hands of the same people who wanted them gone in the first place. And many of the dealers say Chrysler is not only refusing to extend a welcoming hand, but is imposing requirements more rigorous than many existing dealers must follow.
Why is that? Because the same folks who set up the process that arbitrarily and capriciously closed dealerships in the first place (Congress and Barack Obama) set up a process that makes it virtually impossible for winners at arbitration to be made whole.
Chrysler says it is complying with the law passed in December by Congress that set up the arbitration process. A spokesman, Mike Palese, said the company could subject former dealers to the same terms imposed on first-time applicants because Chrysler was a new company after emerging last year from government-aided bankruptcy.
ďThere are expectations by these dealers that they should get what they had, but that is not what the law stipulates,Ē Mr. Palese said. ďWeíre just trying to follow the law and also account for our business needs. We have a responsibility to the owners and to the U.S. taxpayers to create a viable company.Ē
In other words, the federal government did not create a process that allows these dealers to be made whole after creating an initial system that interfered with their contractual rights and franchise agreements. I cannot wait for the lawsuits to fly over these issues.
Oh, wait, let me guess -- did Congress immunize both the government-owned car companies and the government from civil suits? That is not clear from the article, but I would not be surprised if it did. However, there is the constitutional question as to whether the terms and conditions of both laws did not constitute a taking of private property by the government (notice the justification in the new law for the new conditions) that requires compensation of the wronged dealers -- especially given that studies have shown the closures were arbitrary, capricious, not economically necessary and, at times, based upon considerations of race, ethnicity, and political connections on the part of dealers who were allowed to stay open while more successful dealers were closed.
I was impressed by this guy the first time I heard him on the radio, talking to Bill Bennett. This profile of him shows that he is the real deal -- the sort of candidate who Republicans support not because of (or in spite of) his race, but because of his authenticity. And to think it all started with Chick-fil-A fries.
High school freshman Tim Scott could not afford Chick-fil-A sandwiches back in 1981, but the French fries were good and inexpensive. Eating those fries made him a success, a conservative and an odds-on favorite to be the next congressman from Charleston, S.C.
Mr. Scott has been garnering attention because he is a black Republican who won a primary over the son of the late one-time segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond. South Carolina acquaintances, though, are coming out of the woodwork to say Mr. Scott bears watching not because he is black but because he's the real deal: industrious, principled, consistent, thoughtful. In a word, authentic.
But to hear him tell it, it all began with the fries.
Mr. Scott's parents were split - his father was in the Air Force in Colorado - and his mother, he said, worked two eight-hour shifts daily. "She was a nurse's assistant cleaning up other people's feces," he said. "That's nobody's definition of fun." Despite her example of hard work, though, his own schoolwork showed no signs of similar dedication. "I literally failed four subjects at once: world geography, civics, Spanish and English. Those last two subjects showed I wasn't bilingual, I was bi-ignorant."
Young Mr. Scott did, however, hold down a part-time job taking tickets at a movie theater. The Chick-fil-A was next door. He bought fries there regularly. The restaurant's proprietor, a guy named John Moniz - a "Christian conservative white Republican, although I didn't know it at the time," Mr. Scott said - "just started recognizing me, and one day he came up and sat down next to me and started talking."
Moniz (now deceased) somehow struck a chord with the young customer. Moniz talked about the virtues of discipline and concentration. They talked often and built a cross-generational friendship. Something clicked. Young Scott started applying himself to his studies. He earned a partial football scholarship to Presbyterian College, transferred (leaving football behind) to Charleston Southern University, and earned a degree in political science.
"My mother taught me how to shoot for the stars, but [Moniz] taught me how to think it through," Mr. Scott told me. "It's about thinking your way out of poverty."
This is the guy who members of the "racist" Tea Party movement from around the country supported with their words, their prayers, and their dollars so that the people of his district would be able to support him with their votes. It warmed my heart to see him take down Strom's kid -- and will warm my heart to see him as a Congressman representing a majority white district after receiving the votes of a majority of white voters.He is a man of quality and character, so we don't need to hide him in a race-based district in order to get him into office -- and I suspect that before too long he will be answering not to Congressman, but to Senator, Vice President, or maybe. . .
I wasn't even going to write about this case. Hey, she got busted, got arrested, and charged like anyone else, right?
Except it now appears that she wasn't.
There was no special treatment for former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's daughter after she was busted for allegedly stealing makeup from a trendy Upper East Side cosmetics store, police said.
In fact, law-enforcement sources said yesterday, Caroline Giuliani had it tougher than a typical shoplifter, especially considering the East 86th Street Sephora she allegedly looted didn't even want to press charges.
Cops typically leave it up to the store, but in this case they pulled out all the stops -- including putting Caroline in cuffs from behind, placing her in the 19th Precinct station-house holding cell and making her exit past a cavalcade of media cameras.
* * *
The store declined to press charges after learning her identity, but with a duty captain on the scene, police decided to leave it up to the Manhattan DA's Office.
Cops then slapped her with cuffs and hauled her to the station house, where she stewed in a cell before getting a desk-appearance ticket on a petit-larceny charge and a future court date.
She was released to a crowd of waiting reporters and photographers out the front door, instead of being given the option to have a car pull around back and slip her out.
You know, it pisses me off when the celebrities, politicians, and their kids get lenient treatment because of who they are. But just as it is wrong for them to receive favorable treatment, it is equally offensive when they receive extra-harsh treatment for the same reason. This should have been done when the store said it wasn't interested in pressing charges -- that is standard operating procedure. The decision to "make an example" of her or to engage in a little CYA by being extra harsh in her handling is a case of unequal justice, just as surely as if someone with the police said to let her go because she is Rudy's kid.
So much for dissent being the highest form of patriotism. Ed Schultz thinks it is akin to murdering the president.
"Now I'm putting my cards on the table tonight as I do every night. The Republican party is on a mission to politically assassinate the president's agenda across the board. They want to shoot down everything."
Maybe his next move will be to call for the arrest of those of us who dissent from Obamunism as potential assassins.
Over the last several years, the American people (when permitted to speak directly on the issue) have overwhelmingly voted that marriage shall consist of only one man and one woman. One may certainly make an argument that such a position is wrong, that marriage ought to be opened to same-sex couples (or to groupings of more than two people), but the reality is that there is a clear national consensus on the issue. Where gay marriage has been created, it has almost always been by judicial fiat, back-door executive order, or, in a single solitary instance, by a legislative enactment marked by back-room political dealing. Poll after poll after poll of the American people has shown that Americans still hold to the traditional form of marriage. But yesterday, the only vote that matters was cast by a single homosexual judge, as he issued a ruling that effectively struck down not just California's Proposition 8, but also the marriage laws and voter approved constitutional amendment of over 85% of the states.
Now let's look at a number of things about this case that ought to make your blood boil.
1) The judge in the case had an actual conflict of interest. After all, as a gay man in a long-term relationship living in California, striking down Prop 8 benefits him personally, as it allows him to marry that partner if he chooses and thereby accrue the benefits of marriage otherwise unavailable to him. In short, he had a personal interest in the outcome of this case that went beyond the mere question of "do I agree or disagree with Prop 8?" The equivalent would be a black judge with school-aged kids living in Topeka deciding Brown v. Board of Education. Even if his reasoning in the decision were unassailable, his personal situation would be loaded down with personal interests at odds with those of one side of the case -- and the appearance would be so improper as to argue against his presiding in the case even if he were a paragon of judicial impartiality capable of setting aside those personal interests.
2) The judge in the case acted with prejudice against the supporters of Prop 8 from day one. Including his little game with cameras in the courtroom, designed to allow harassment of Prop 8 supporters. Even the liberal Ninth Circuit slapped him down for repeatedly granting motions made by Prop 8 opponents that were unsupported by the law or by operative rules within his circuit. Walker ought to have been removed from the case for that reason alone.
3) The decision in this case overturns a couple of centuries of American jurisprudence on the nature of marriage. With rare exceptions, every American court has taken as a given that marriage is, in our society, a relationship between one man and one woman. Virtually every policy decision by the states and the federal government (even in recent years) has been based upon that understanding of the institution of marriage. Judge Walker has substituted his opinion for that of the American people as expressed through their votes and the actions of their elected representatives. This is not the proper role of a judge.
4) Once again, a federal court takes the "living and evolving constitution" approach to the law to make a liberal decision that goes against the will of the American people. What's more, in this case there is not even the fig leaf of "an evolving national consensus" with which to cover the raw judicial activism in reshaping the Constitution from the historical understanding of the document into something new. As pointed out, when permitted to speak, the American people have made it clear that they are opposed to the redefinition of marriage and are intent upon keeping the traditional definition. The national consensus here is clear -- but it is irrelevant. Apparently national consensus only matters when it supports the liberal side of the argument.
Given that Judge Walker has now taken the definition of marriage out of the hands of the states and placed it in the US Constitution, the time has come for Congress to send the Federal Marriage Amendment to the states for ratification. Judge Walker has flaunted the will of the American people, and so it is appropriate for that amendment to be sent out for ratification by state conventions called for that purpose rather than by state legislatures. The American people must be permitted to speak, and to speak loudly and clearly, on the nature of marriage, and to undo the damage done yesterday by Judge Walker.
You know -- they even got a good likeness of Bill White in the video.
H/T Blue Dot Blues
One irony of the tax increase that arrives on January 1 is that the it will hit residents of high-income, Democratic-leaning states like California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York the hardest. This is a problem for pro-tax Democrats.
Enter New York Representative Jerrold Nadler, who wants to exempt his own six-figure constituents from the tax hike he supports. Mr. Nadler's bill would "require the IRS to adjust tax brackets proportionally in regions where the average cost of living is higher than the national average."
In other words, the various tax brackets would apply to residents in certain regions at higher income levels versus other parts of the country. A family with an income of $50,000 or even $1 million in Manhattan would pay less federal income tax than a family with the same earnings in Omaha. The bill is called the Tax Equity Act, but a more accurate title would be the Blue State Tax Preference Act.
In other words, two Americans living in two different states (or maybe even in two different regions of the same state) with identical incomes and identical adjustments will have two different tax tables -- and they call THAT equity?
A special note to my Darling Democrat.
It was our first dance as a married couple, fifteen years ago. I love you, my love, and would gladly do it all again -- for better or for worse, in good times and in bad, you have always been the best thing that ever happened to me...
Put simply, the best thing that those seeking to place a mosque at Ground Zero can do to prove that they are not all that their opponents say they are is to recognizing that asserting the legal right to build at that location does nothing to promote the healing that they claim is their goal -- and that the right thing for the promoters to do to do is relocate the facility out of a recognition that the planned location is the wrong place for such a project and now is the wrong time for it, because treading on the feelings of others does nothing to promote the healing and understanding that they claim to want to promote.
In other words, everybody needs to step back and quit arguing who is right, who has rights, and what is historically and theologically right -- instead look at what is right from a practical stand point, just as John Paul II did a quarter century ago.
Not only is a vehicle that cannot even make the home-to-work round trip for most Americans an absolutely absurd concept, so is this asinine dance routine.
Now they are railing against "legal isolationism" and "xenophobia" by (of course) conservatives when it comes to objections to considering international law in court decisions. The grand finale is here.
In 2002, the Supreme Court prohibited the execution of those mentally retarded, noting that the practice is overwhelmingly disapproved around the world. In 2003, it struck down prohibitions on gay sex, which it called ďan integral part of human freedom in many other countries.Ē In 2005, the court prohibited the execution of minors, again noting global opinion. ďIt does not lessen our fidelity to the Constitution or our pride in its origins,Ē Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in that case, to acknowledge ďthe express affirmation of certain fundamental rights by other nations and peoples.Ē
The reasoning in those cases was greeted with catcalls from legal isolationists, as no doubt will be Justice Ginsburgís brave speech. Foreign law will undoubtedly be cited this week as a reason why many Republicans will vote against Ms. Kaganís confirmation. They might want to re-read James Madisonís description in the Federalist Papers of the ideal legislator: ďHe ought not to be altogether ignorant of the law of nations.Ē
But therein lies the flaw of their argument -- it is great for a LEGISLATOR to look to the laws of other nations for ideas that might be beneficial to the Republic to the degree to which they fit within the framework of our Constitution, but it is decidedly NOT the province of the JUDGE to do so unless there is a direct connection between a particular element of foreign law and the American statute or constitutional provision being interpreted and applied. Thus the British common law is often relevant, but the latest enactments of Hugo Chavez are rarely so.
Consider the three cases cited above. I'll agree that execution of the mentally retarded is rarely appropriate. I tend to disagree with the notion that consensual sexual activity between adults in private ought ever be subject to government regulation. And while I disagree with the notion that there is anything wrong with executing at least some minors, I'll concede it is a legitimate policy position. That said, I fundamentally disagree with the notion that any of the laws and practices of foreign nations ought to have any bearing on the CONSTITUTIONALITY of the laws that were overturned. These were policy decisions that belonged in the hands of legislators, not judges deciding that the interpretation of the US Constitution should be governed by the legal codes of Sweden, Sri Lanka, and Uruguay.
But of course, the New York Times accepts neither the notion of American exceptionalism nor the principle of separation of powers when it comes to limits on the judicial branch, so they once again reach a conclusion 180 degrees from what our system of government -- and the American people as a whole -- expect of our courts.
During most of my career, I have taught in communities where at least a part of my clientele came from some of the "dicier" elements of society. I've had students show me their bullet scars, seen some buried due to gang violence, and watched as others have had family members go to jail for trafficking in drugs or other illegal activities.
It is this latter situation that leads me to comment here, and to draw an analogy that hit me early this morning.
Several years ago, one of my students was outraged that the government was going to seize his grandmother's home because of his uncle's drug-dealing conviction. How, he asked, could the government take his grandmother's home just because his uncle had bought and paid for it? After all, he had given it to her and it was hers now, not his. That raised the issue of how the profits of a criminal enterprise cannot generally be conferred upon and kept by a third party. I pointed out how when I was a kid, my best friend's father had bought a car advertised in the classified ads of the Washington Post -- and had lost both the car and the cash when he went to register it and found out that it had been stolen in another state. His innocence did not allow him to keep the proceeds of the crime that had been committed. My student understood that -- not particularly liking it -- and recognized that there was both logic and justice in the policy, even if it meant that his grandmother would lose her home.
Which leads us to the issue at hand -- citizenship for the children of illegal aliens. There is discussion now over the Fourteenth Amendment, and whether the policy of granting birthright citizenship to the children of illegal aliens needs to be changed by statute, court decision, or Constitutional amendment. Some will obviously try to make this into a question of racism or xenophobia because the bulk of those illegally in this country (and consequently, the bulk of the children to whom this change would apply are ethnically) are from Mexico or the rest of Latin America. But the question here seems very clear to me -- if my student's grandmother could not keep her house because it was the proceeds of a crime, and if my friend's dad could not keep the car even though he was innocent of the theft, on what moral basis ought the children of illegal aliens be permitted to profit from their parent's crime by receiving the "proceed" of American citizenship? And if there is no moral basis for allowing them to do so, is it not appropriate to change our laws -- indeed, our Constitution -- to reflect that moral reality? This is not an easy question to ask or answer -- but it is one that I think ought to cause folks to pause and think about the issue from a new perspective.
Over the weekend, a commentary appeared on the prospect for a second American Revolution. Now I don't know that I find that idea to be all that palatable, but when I see and hear stuff http://sistertoldjah.com/archives/2010/08/03/debatediscuss-does-the-14th-amendment-need-review/">like this, I can certainly understand why some might think it is.
That is Congressman Pete Stark (D-ickhead), staing that "The federal government can do most anything in this country." That, my friends, is a position that is fundamentally antithetical to any legitimate reading of the US Constitution. What you have there is the arrogance of power laid bare by an entrenched liberal incumbent who does not believe in the values at the heart of the document that created the institution in which he serves.
Contrast that view with the words of Alexander Hamilton:
All the authority of the legislature is delegated to them under the constitution; their rights and powers are there defined; if they exceed them, 'tis a treasonable usurpation upon the power and majesty of the people; and by the same rule that they may take away from a single individual the rights he claims under the constitution, they may erect themselves into perpetual dictators.
Would Hamilton, one of the key architects of the Constitution and proponents of its ratification, agree that the powers of the federal government are so vast that "the federal government can do almost anything"? Or would he argue that such a position is morally treasonous and worthy of the penalty that such a crime warrants? What would Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Washington, Henry, and the other greats who were a part of that establishment of our independence and the structuring of our government have to say on the matter -- would they stand with Hamilton or Stark? It takes but little search of the historical record to know that they would condemn the view articulated by the California congressman as those of a man who was intent upon tyranny and desirous of dictatorship.
Should a second Revolution come, it seems clear to me that there are those in government (member of both parties) whose deeds would properly earn them a place before a firing squad for their offenses against American liberty. Stark has demonstrated here that he would certainly belong among them.
AsI drive to school each morning and return in the evening, giants arise before me, slogging towards destiny. They are the men and women who won independence for the Republic of Texas at the Battle of San Jacinto, where the Mexican Army under Santa Anna was crushed by Sam Houston's forces.
Now you may ask how I see such a thing, over 170 years after the fact. The answer is easy -- the gallery of epic art that has been placed on the sides of oil storage tanks that line Highway 225 in Deer Park and Pasadena. They point the way to the sacred ground where the battle was fought.
The San Jacinto Texas Historic District is seeking a grant to create more of these murals. You can help by clicking below and voting for the project, since only the top two will eventually receive funding.
Please vote for this project, to help highlight and preserve the heritage that is Texas history.
This should get a chuckle from the kids in my geography classes.
So it was during the historic snowstorms in December and February that folks trapped indoors searched for ways to relieve the boredom. Nearly nine months later, the things some residents did seem to be breeding results.
Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring is boosting its staff to handle the more than 800 mothers-to-be who have registered to deliver there for each of the next three months. That's up to 75 more deliveries per month than in the same period over the past two years, said Ann Burke, the hospital's medical director of obstetrics and gynecology.
"It seems to be that when people stay home, they find ways to entertain themselves," she said.
My students have an experience with something similar in their own lives. They all went through Hurricane Ike two years ago, and they were able to list off female relatives and classmates (not good -- they were in 8th grade when the storm hit) who ended up with an unplanned "Ike baby" because of the lack of other outlets for entertainment or amusement during the days/weeks without electricity following the storm. That discussion then served as a springboard into a discussion of what factors might lead to longer term increases or decreases in the birthrate in a given region. I use old news reports from natural disasters and heatwaves to show something similar with deaths. News stories can get the kids hooked into a discussion much better than dry statistics ever can -- and provide you with a hook that allows those statistics to be brought into the discussion in a much more interesting way.
* You know, except for the political kind that the First Amendment was intended to protect.
The New York Times has come out praising John Roberts for his stalwart defense of the right to freedom of speech that is found in the First Amendment. For opposing bans on "crush videos" depicting animal cruelty.
Historically, the Supreme Court has recognized only a small handful of exceptions to free speech. As Justice Roberts explained in his opinion in April, the court has long held that government can ban obscenity, defamation, fraud, incitement and speech integral to criminal conduct, a category that includes child pornography. When Congress tried to add depiction of animal cruelty to this list, the court balked.
Justice Roberts said the court cannot create a new exception to free speech by simply balancing the value of the speech against its harm to society. The First Amendment ďreflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the Government outweigh the costs,Ē he wrote. ďOur Constitution forecloses any attempt to revise that judgment simply on the basis that some speech is not worth it.Ē
The editorial then goes on to discuss the fragility of the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech, and how carving exceptions to it ultimately undermines the entire framwork of liberty. A position I can generally agree with, to be strictly honest. Too bad the New York Times does not agree with it. After all, consider this editorial from less than one week ago, regarding the speech restricting DISCLOSE Act, which would ban effectively prohibit the sort of anonymous and pseudonymous speech engaged in by folks like Madison, Hamilton and Jay in the Federalist Papers.
[B]y blocking the bill on Tuesday, opponents made clear that their real problem was disclosure itself. They want the right to poison the political atmosphere without being held accountable for their speech. During the coming onslaught, Tuesdayís vote will be worth remembering.
You see, the editors of the New York Times want an exception carved from the First Amendment for those engaging in too much political speech -- especially by corporations (well, not all corporations -- media corporations like the New York Times and its anonymous editorial page would be exempt) -- despite the fact that such political speech was precisely the sort of thing that the Founders sought to protect from bans and limitations.
So the editorial position of the moribund Gray Lady might well be summed up as "Give me your profane, your violent, your vapid, your videos depicting the pointless deaths of small animals yearning to be free -- but don't you dare try to engage in political speech without being burdened by government regulation."