The DSCC has canceled some ad reservations in Kentucky, a likely sign that the Democratic committee is re-evaluating whether it is worth spending money there this year.
A Republican source who monitors ad buys told Hotline On Call that the DSCC has canceled reservations there for next week. The DSCC had reserved about $292K worth of air time during that time span.
The move may indicate that Democrats view the race between AG Jack Conway (D) and ophthalmologist Rand Paul (R) as moving outside their grasp.
Now they still have plenty of ad time reserved in Kentucky, but the fact that they are beginning to cancel the ads a month before election day is certainly a clear sign that their polls show the next US Senator from Kentucky will be Rand paul.
On one level, it is reasonable to say that Carl Paladino crossed a line by getting in the face of a reporter for a New York paper Ė especially as regards the words used, which could be seen as a threat of violence. But on the other hand, there is something admirable about what he did. Letís look at those words.
"I want to know why you sent your goons after my daughter, Fred," Paladino demanded. "You send another goon to my daughter's house and I'll take you out, buddy!"
Weíve heard the argument over the years that the children of politicians are off-limits. Think Amy Carter. Think Chelsea Clinton. Think Malia and Sasha Obama. With those children told to give them space and respect their privacy because of their young age. Somehow, though, one newspaper decided to stake out the house of Carl Paladinoís daughter from an affair over a decade ago. That is simply inappropriate Ė sheís just a little girl, and she bears no responsibility for the circumstances of her conception or the fact that her father is running for high office. Why doesnít the Carter/Clinton/Obama standard apply?
Oh, thatís right Ė that standard gets applied only to the children of politicians with a D after their names. If you are the child of a Republican and they are seeking (or holding) public office, you are fair game. Call it the Palin Rule.
To treat the invited family of one of our nationís heroes this way.
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Family of Medal of Honor recipient Vernon Baker was denied access to the White House's West Wing on Saturday, a day after the World War II hero was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Baker's widow, Heidy, and grandson, Vernon Pawlik, 10, were denied entry because the boy was wearing shorts and a T-shirt. His shirt had a picture of his grandfather on it.
A White House Web site doesn't list a dress code, but the family had been invited to tour the West Wing, which houses the president's office and where casual dress is prohibited.
U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick's office says he's contacted the White House to express his disappointment.
Vernon Baker, of St. Maries, Idaho, was the last living black World War II Medal of Honor winner.
The White House didn't return a phone call seeking comment.
Wanna bet that an Obama shirt or one with the campaignís ďBig ZeroĒ logo would have gotten the kid and his grandma right in to the White House, no questions asked?
UPDATE: If you can believe it, the story is even worse -- they turned down a living Medal of Honor recipient who was with the family because he was not on the list. This is utterly shameful.
Just look at this report from Ohio.
A higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats in Ohio's three largest counties have asked for absentee ballots this year -- an ominous sign for the party hoping to repel GOP forces on Election Day.
Roughly three out of 10 registered Ohio voters live in Franklin, Hamilton and Cuyahoga counties.
With early voting under way this week, Republican voters in Franklin and Hamilton counties have requested more absentee ballots than their Democratic counterparts -- hard evidence of a much different environment than 2008 when an avalanche of Democratic absentee ballot requests dwarfed Republican requests in both counties.
And if words donít make it clear to you how the enthusiasm gap is breaking, consider this little graphic.
Yes, my friends, we are headed for a big Republican year. Once weíve won, letís hold their feet to the fire and make sure that the promises made are promises kept.
Read it and
weep laugh your @$$ off.
Former Bexar County Democratic Party Treasurer Dwayne Eugene Adams was indicted Wednesday on charges that he embezzled and misused about $202,000 of party funds.
Adams, 55, could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of theft between $100,000 and $200,000 and misapplication by a fiduciary between $100,000 and $200,000. Each charge is a second-degree felony.
Now some of this was spent on miscellaneous personal expenses Ė but other expenditures were not.
Prosecutors have alleged that Adams took the money between November 2008 and June 2009 through ďhundreds of transactionsĒ that appear to be for personal use, including purchases of gasoline and clothing. Another large chunk of the funds went to an inaugural ball fundraiser after Barack Obama's election that ended up losing money, Herberg said.
What this means, though, is that the Bexar County Democrats donít have the money to pay for the 2008 Democrat primary Ė the taxpayers are still owed $83,000 for that event more than two years after the fact. The article does not tell us if the 2010 primary has been paid for, or if the Democrats in Bexar County are continuing to live off the taxpayers while the GOP pays its bills. Seems to me that the proper solution is for the county to refuse to run a Democrat primary until the outstanding funds are paid, and to refuse to place any Democrat nominees on the ballot under the Democrat banner Ė indeed, they should all be required to follow the much more onerous process required of independent candidates until their party coughs up the cash.
Hereís a little tune for the crook and his deadbeat party.
I'll let the story of Coach Nathan Potts, a wounded veteran of the war in Iraq, stand on its own without commentary.
An interesting observation from former Australian PM, who thinks that we in the English-speaking world have gone too far in accommodating Islam (among other cultures not rooted in the British experience) in the name of tolerance and equality.
"This is a time not to apologize for our particular identity but rather to firmly and respectfully and robustly reassert it," Howard said at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank.
"I think one of the errors that some sections of the English-speaking world have made in the last few decades has been to confuse multiracialism and multiculturalism," Howard said.
Howard pointed in particular to Britain, whose Muslim community came under a spotlight after the 2005 bombings on the London transport system.
"I am a passionate believer in multiracialism. I believe that societies are enriched if they draw, as my country has done, from all parts of the world on a non-discriminatory basis and contribute, as the United States has done, to the building of a great society," he said.
"But when a nation draws people from other parts of the world, it draws them because of the magnetism of its own culture and its own way of life," Howard said.
"People want to live in the United States not because of some futuristic ideal of multiculturalism, but because of what they regard as the American way of life and American values," he said.
While in office, Howard faced criticism from his opponents that he aggravated anti-Islamic sentiment through tough anti-terrorism laws and tighter immigration controls, including a test on "Australian values."
There is something to be said for this analysis. People want to come to America because of the many positive social, political, cultural and economic features of our society -- and then they want to recreate their own societies here rather than adopting the very elements of American life that make America the sort of place that they wanted to come to in the first place. Consider, for example, the recent rows over freedom of expression when that involves speech that is not acceptable under Islamic religious rules -- the demand is that it be punished rather than tolerated like speech that offends the religious values of other groups of Americans.
Howard has it right -- immigrants of every racial and cultural background should be welcome, but it is American values that should triumph over whatever cultural baggage those immigrants seek to bring with them.
After all, how can an article with this title, published by a major liberal publication, possibly be viewed as racist?
White America Has Lost Its Mind
The white brain, beset with worries,
finally goes haywire in spectacular fashion
Nah, nothing racist in that, right?
Just like there would certainly be nothing racist about an article entitled "Black America Has Lost Its Mind" or "Muslim America Has Lost Its Mind" or anything similar.
Because after all, it is impossible to be racist against white people. Liberals tell us so.
The First World War will officially end on Sunday, 92 years after the guns fell silent, when Germany pays off the last chunk of reparations imposed on it by the Allies.
The final payment of £59.5 million, writes off the crippling debt that was the price for one world war and laid the foundations for another.
Germany was forced to pay the reparations at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 as compensation to the war-ravaged nations of Belgium and France and to pay the Allies some of the costs of waging what was then the bloodiest conflict in history, leaving nearly ten million soldiers dead.
The initial sum agreed upon for war damages in 1919 was 226 billion Reichsmarks, a sum later reduced to 132 billion, £22 billion at the time.
The bill would have been settled much earlier had Adolf Hitler not reneged on reparations during his reign.
Of course, the Versailles Treaty was the leading cause of the outbreak of WWII, so this is historic.
I can already hear the campus protests Ė ďhttp://www.nationalreview.com/phi-beta-cons/247786/cruel-and-unusual-punishment-candace-de-russyĒ
Drew University has ordained that students will no longer get free condoms, Gatorade, and ibuprofen.
Iím reliably informed that all of the above items are available at reasonable prices at the local drug store, grocery store, and Wal-Mart.
Thatís my take on matters, given that when the new Supreme Court term begins on Monday it will be vacant because of the failure of the president to nominate a replacement for the nationís top courtroom lawyer.
Or maybe it is something else.
If the White House were competentóand, yes, that assumption now seems clearly established as counterfactualóit would have been ready to nominate the new SG right after Kaganís confirmation to the Supreme Court on August 5. It could then have plausibly made the case that the Senate ought to act to confirm that nominee expeditiouslyóbefore the start of the Supreme Court term.
Yeah, maybe it is mere incompetence Ė and the reality is that the impending elections make it virtually impossible for any nominee made now to be confirmed before the end of the current Congress.
This isn't the case that has made such news, but a similar one. Notice how the different approach by the woman in question resulted in a different outcome.
Disney is allowing a Muslim employee at its Southern California park to wear a specially designed headscarf after initially objecting to her religious head covering.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Monday that 22-year-old Noor Abdallah was told she couldn't wear the hijab while working as a vacation planner at a Disneyland Resort Esplanade ticket booth. She declined to take another job away from the public.
Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown says the park worked with Abdallah to design a covering to match her costume and meet her religious needs. She's been wearing a blue scarf topped with a beret since early this month.
I've worked in a theme park, and a key rule was that you were always in costume when "on-stage". The costume fit with the theme of your particular area, and any deviation from it had to take into account fitting with that theme. In my case, I was dressed as a stylized nineteenth-century New Orleans dandy while my female colleagues all wore long skirts with petticoats. If you couldn't abide by that costume regulation, you didn't work -- and so even though I worked a register in a store selling baseball caps, I was never, ever permitted to don one while in costume.
This young woman was willing to work with her employer to meet with the theme requirement, and Disney was willing to accommodate her needs. It appears that in the other case at issue recently, the young woman was unwilling to accept any choice other than wearing her scarf her way. Since an employer is required to make REASONABLE accommodations of the religious needs of an employer, I think this outcome is great -- and shows that the company is not being unreasonable in its approach to the issue of hijabs on employees.
ďThe right to abortion creates an obligation for taxpayers to fund them.Ē
Clearly, Schakowsky does not understand the American system of government. Our rights are guaranteed from government interference, not guaranteed government support.
Consider the implications of Schakowskyís notion that government must fund rights.
I think you get the idea Ė and can see where Schakowskyís logic breaks down. That she cannot is evidence that she is not intelligent enough to serve in Congress.
UPDATE: Someone questioned me on the quote, so I tracked it back to the original source. Apparently, my original source decided to paraphrase the congresswoman and put it in quotes. The actual quote is as follows:
ďYou know, there are a number of things that are policies of the government in which many of us may disagree all over the map and, so, I would say that, you know, if as the Supreme Court did, decided that this is a right that women have, then we need to fulfill that obligation and make it accessible to all people,Ē said the congresswoman. ďChoice is about choice.Ē
Here's the video:
So while the words in my original post are not a direct quote, it would certainly be an accurate representation of Schakowsky's position on the issue, namely that because abortion is a right there is an obligation for the federal government to directly fund abortion using taxpayer dollars AND to require individual Americans to subsidize abortion even more directly through the forced purchase of insurance policies that cover abortion.
Be Speaker of the House in five weeks. Of course, five weeks from now isn't in question.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she still expects to have her job in five weeks after voters head to the polls.
Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House, whose job as speaker makes her third in line to the presidency, said she would retain that position.
ďI fully expect to be speaker of the House five weeks from now,Ē Pelosi said at a NBC/Universal women's forum in Manhattan, as reported by the New York Times.
What you should be worried about is whether or not you will be Speaker in 15 weeks, when the new Congress gathers. And the fact that you are delusional enough to claim to have great confidence in your candidates makes it pretty clear that you won't be.
>Pro football Hall of Famer George Blanda, who racked up more than 2,000 points in a record 26-year career, has died at age 83, the Oakland Raiders announced Monday.
A quarterback who doubled as a placekicker, Blanda retired in 1975 at age 48. During stints with the Raiders, the Chicago Bears, Baltimore Colts and the Houston Oilers, he scored a then-record 2,002 points, including 236 touchdown passes.
Blanda died after a brief illness, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced.
Blanda was the NFL Player of the Year in 1970, the season that a string of last-minute touchdown passes or field goals led to a string of Raiders wins and one tie in five straight games. Raiders owner Al Davis, a personal friend, once called him "the greatest clutch player the game of pro football has ever known."
Let's put things in perspective here -- the football card above was issued at the beginning of Blanda's 13th season in 1962 -- while my mother was pregnant with me. I remember watching Blanda's last game when only a month shy of my thirteenth birthday. And lest we forget, Blanda played in the era when players often played both offense and defense -- he began his career as a Bear in 1949 as a quarterback, kicker, and linebacker. He was still a threat as a kicker a quarter century later. If I were to make up my list of all-time NFL greats for a football version of "Field of Dreams", George Blanda would be the first player included on it. If you wonder why, consider this description of what the 43-year-old Blanda accomplished in 1970.
In 1970, Blanda was released during the preseason, but bounced back to establish his 21st professional season as one of the more dramatic comebacks in sports history. Beginning with the October 25 game at Pittsburgh, Blanda put together five straight clutch performances.
Against the Steelers, Blanda threw for three touchdowns in relief of an injured Daryle Lamonica. One week later, his 48-yard field goal with three seconds remaining salvaged a 17Ė17 tie with the Kansas City Chiefs. Repeating the thrilling finish on November 8, Blanda once again came off the bench to throw for a touchdown pass to tie the Cleveland Browns with 1:34 remaining, then kicked a 53-yard field goal with 0:03 left for the 23Ė20 win. In the team's next game, Blanda replaced Lamonica in the fourth quarter and connected with Fred Biletnikoff on a touchdown pass with 2:28 left in the game to defeat the Denver Broncos, 24Ė19. The incredible streak concluded one week later when Blanda's 16-yard field goal in the closing seconds defeated the San Diego Chargers, 20Ė17.
In the AFC title game against the Baltimore Colts, Blanda again relieved an injured Lamonica and had a superb performance, completing 17 of 32 passes for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns while also kicking a 48-yard field goal and two extra points, keeping the Raiders in the game until the final quarter, when he was intercepted twice. Aged 43, he became the oldest quarterback ever to play in a championship game and was one of the few remaining straight-ahead kickers in the NFL.
Blanda's eye-opening achievements resulted in his winning the Bert Bell Award. Chiefs' owner Lamar Hunt quipped, "Why, this George Blanda is as good as his father, who used to play for Houston." Although he never again played a major role at quarterback, Blanda would serve as the Raiders' kicker for five more seasons.
Blanda went on to play another five seasons for the Raiders after that -- so let's just say that Brett Favre has a way to go before he can even begin to claim to have eclipsed the Grand Old Man.
How does he stand up next to the other greats of the game?
Blanda holds the following Professional Football records:
- Passing TD's in a game: 7 (Tied with 4 others) November 19, 1961 vs. New York Titans
- Most seasons played: 26 (1949Ė58, 1960Ė75)
- Most seasons scoring a point: 26
- One of two players to play in 4 different decades: (40s, 50s, 60s, 70s) Ė Jeff Feagles being the other
- Most PATs made (943) and attempted (959)
- Most interceptions thrown, single season: 42 (1962)
- Held record of most pass attempts in a single game: 68 (37 completions, vs. New York Titans on 11/1/1961) until 1994 when Drew Bledsoe had 70
- Oldest person to play in an NFL game: &000000000000004800000048 years, &0000000000000109000000109 days
- First player ever to score over 2,000 points
- Oldest quarterback to start a title game
- 3rd Fewest receiving yards in a career: Ė 16
- Most total points accounted for (including TD passes) in a career: 3,418 (not an official stat)
That last stat isn't an official NFL stat -- but if you look at the list of most points scored by players in the league, you will find that he still ranks third despite playing in an era when seasons were shorter and scores were routinely lower than today.
So yes, I'm weeping a few tears as this childhood hero enters football's analog of Valhalla. My prayers are with Blanda's family and other loved ones, as (I am certain) are those of a host of other football fans over a certain age. I am certain that I will not be contradicted by anyone when I say that we will not see his like again.
Detaineesí diets at Guantanamo Bay have been a controversial issue for some time and now the U.S. prison is said to be rationing ice cream.
The frozen dessert is allegedly being tightly measured, with only one ice cream allowed for each of its 147 detainees.
Journalist for The Miami Herald, Carol Rosenberg, photographed a refrigerator at Guantanamo, with two signs reading ĎDETAINEE FOOD ONLYí and ĎOnly 1 Ice Cream For each detainee!í
Only one ice cream per terrorist?
That is an outrage!
Is this an Obama policy, or is it all Bush's fault?
After all, they don't have a problem with using our tax dollars to purchase an entire first run of a book in order to destroy them.
The Department of Defense recently purchased and destroyed thousands of copies of an Army Reserve officerís memoir in an effort to safeguard state secrets, a spokeswoman said Saturday.
ďDoD decided to purchase copies of the first printing because they contained information which could cause damage to national security,Ē Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. April Cunningham said.
In a statement to CNN, Cunningham said defense officials observed the September 20 destruction of about 9,500 copies of Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shafferís new memoir ďOperation Dark Heart.Ē
Shaffer says he was notified Friday about the Pentagonís purchase.
ďThe whole premise smacks of retaliation,Ē Shaffer told CNN on Saturday. ďSomeone buying 10,000 books to suppress a story in this digital age is ludicrous.Ē
Shafferís publisher, St. Martinís Press, released a second printing of the book that it said had incorporated some changes the government had sought ďwhile redacting other text he (Shaffer) was told was classified.Ē
From single words and names to entire paragraphs, blacked out lines appear throughout the bookís 299 pages.
Where are all the anti-Quran-burning activists who raised such a stink in the recent past? They are notably silent as the most transparent administration in history works to make our government a little bit more opaque.
I'll simply leave you with a comment I saw some weeks back regarding Terry Jones and his ilk -- "Those who burn books eventually burn bodies." And while that may have been hyperbole when referring to a powerless rube like Jones, let's not forget that this book-burner is named Barack Hussein Obama and he has a bit more power to work with.
It was a wonderful week of blogging excellence over at the Watcher of Weasels, with some fantastic posts competing for the accolade the Council. Here are the results:
My congratulations to the authors of the two top posts, and to all of those nominated for our festival of blogging excellence. Oh, and the rest of you -- GET READING!
Over at Colossus of Rhodey, Paul comments on speculation that the Democrats used this side-show geek as a distraction to limit coverage of the scandalous corruption of the Justice Department's so-called (under the Obama/Holder Regime) "Civil Rights" Division.
I'm not sure that's true. It's not like the media would be rushing to cover a scandal embarrassing to Obama, especially this close to an election. Still that leaves us with possibilities:
- The speculation is true and Congressional Democrats invited a fictional character to testify before Congress in an attempt to cover up politically damaging testimony of potentially illegal behavior by the administration.
- Democrats actually believed it would be a good use of time and money to have a fictional character come testify before Congress and attempt to enter pictures from his colonscopy into the record. (At least he understood how little respect the hearings deserved.)
Either way, the Democrats are continuing to show they're not up to the task of leadership.
I do believe that says it all.
Another reflection of the great job he did as Houston mayor. And now he wants us to make him governor?
The city may have to return tens of millions of dollars to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for errors it made in the use of federal funds dating back to 2001.
A HUD official said the agency remains in "evaluation" mode and is working with the city to resolve adverse findings, but declined to comment on any potential new problems being investigated.
City officials characterized HUD's challenges to its use of federal money as old news, but sources with knowledge of the matter say the city could be on the hook to pay back between $35 million and $45 million due to previous issues and newly identified problems. Those include questions about "Houston Hope" homes, a signature initiative of then-Mayor Bill White that sought to help low and middle-income individuals buy their own homes.
First the mass transit mess, and now the housing fiasco. It all adds up to millions of dollars wasted or lost by Bill White and his flunkies. Heís just not good enough for Texas.
One of the most popular singers of the 1950s, Eddie Fisher, has died. He was 82.
Fisher died of complications from hip surgery Wednesday, his family said.
Fisher was a talented singer who was better known for his marriages to Debbie Reynolds and Liz Taylor, as well as to Connie Stevens. His daughter, Carrie Fisher, was the subject of many teenage fantasies among young men of my generation. His surviving family, of course, has my deepest sympathy.
My position on Donít Ask, Donít Tell is simple Ė it is constitutional, but it is bad policy. For that reason, I applaud the decision to appeal a ruling that the policy is unconstitutional.
The White House moved Thursday night to head off criticism of a new Justice Department legal filing arguing for the military's right to continue discharging gay servicemembers under the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy that President Barack Obama campaigned against in 2008.
About an hour after Justice Department lawyers filed their arguments in connection with a lawsuit which prompted a federal judge in California to rule the policy unconstitutional earlier this month, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs issued a statement explaining why the administration is defending a policy the president opposes.
"This filing in no way diminishes the Presidentís firm commitment to achieve a legislative repeal of DADT Ė indeed, it clearly shows why Congress must act to end this misguided policy," Gibbs wrote. He said Obama "was disappiointed" with the Senate filibuster this week that blocked action on a bill containing a conditional repeal of DADT. However, Gibbs said the Justice Department was acting "as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged."
It is really a matter of principle Ė a bad policy does not necessarily violate the Constitution, and it is incumbent upon the government to uphold the prerogatives of the legislative and executive branches to make policy decisions on who may serve in the military and under what conditions even as there is serious effort made to change the policy in question because it is unwise. To allow a bad ruling to stand unchallenged is to permit the Constitution to be deformed to achieve a desired policy outcome is a dereliction of duty and an abrogation of the role of defending that all-important document.
In a move that hasnít happened for years, University of Illinois Board of Trustees voted to deny a professor emeritus status Thursday.
Chairman Chris Kennedy of Chicago, son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, said he would not vote for emeritus status for University of Illinois at Chicago Professor William Ayers.
The rest of the trustees agreed to vote no, without discussion.
Ayers, a former í60s radical, was one of four authors of a 1974 book, ďPrairie Fire,Ē a manifesto of the radical Weather Underground.
Ayers joined the UI Chicago faculty in 1987 as an education professor and retired this summer.
ďPrairie FireĒ is dedicated to, among other radical heroes, Sirhan Sirhan, the man who assassinated Kennedyís father.
There are some problems with this decision, from my perspective. That Ayers would dedicate a book to an assassin is troubling, but is at best a minor reason for opposing the granting of a special honor. That Bill Ayers is a confessed terrorist who engaged in warfare against the USA is a much more significant reason for opposing that honor Ė and ought to have been the basis for denying him a job (and certainly tenure) in the first place.
First, where was that "undetonated chemical bomb"? Why, it was under a car parked at a nearby restaurant!
Officers responded to Portland Street around 8:00 oíclock on Tuesday night after a homemade chemical bomb went off near the Islamic Society of Portland and the Back Bay Grill. Police then found a second device underneath a vehicle that was parked nearby, but they were able to disable it before it exploded.
Which of course leads one to ask why thee are no criminal charges pending, since charges were forthcoming when non-Muslim teens in town blew up some mailboxes with the same sort of devices.
Oh, and the head of that Islamic Center? He's a science teacher at a local high school. Coincidence? I don't know -- but it does seem mighty convenient that the leadership of the mosque were on hand to let the cops know what was going on? Was he engaged in bomb-making lessons there at the mosque? Frankly, that is something that needs to be looked at closely.
Is this part of a narrative trying to show all Muslims to be terrorists? No, it isn't -- but one does have to wonder how this would be covered if the bombs were made and detonated at St. Miscellaneous Catholic Church, or if the leaders of the Faith Explosion Christian Tabernacle were defending a kid who was planting bombs under cars at a local restaurant. Lots of questions are bubbling up to the surface -- let's see some answers.
Now we have the full context of the ďabsorb a terrorist attackĒ quote that set the blogosphere afire over the last day or so. It turns out that the quote takes just the position I was suggesting it did.
During my Oval Office interview with the President, Obama volunteers some extended thoughts about terrorism.
"I said very early on, as a Senator and continue to believe, as a presidential candidate and now as president, that we can absorb a terrorist attack. We will do everything we can to prevent it. but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever, that ever took place on our soil, we absorbed it, and we are stronger. This is a strong, powerful country that we live in, and our people are incredibly resilient."
Then he addressed his big concern. "A potential game changer would be a nuclear weapon in the hands of terrorists, blowing up a major American city. Or a weapon of mass destruction in a major American city. and so when I go down on the list of things I have to worry about all the time, that is at the top, because that's one area where you can't afford any mistakes. And so right away, coming in, we said, how are we going to start ramping up and putting that at the center of a lot of our national security discussion? Making sure that that occurence, even if remote, never happens."
Iíll resist the temptation to flippantly include Gloria Gaynor singing ďI Will SurviveĒ in the post, but that is Obamaís point Ė the US will survive another terrorist attack, and is even resilient enough to survive the a nuke or WMD. Stopping such attacks are, of course, a serious priority for any administration, and it appears from this that Obama is serious about that.
Be honest folks Ė as much as we despise what Barack Obama stands for, how many of us believe that he wants to see the United States fall under the weight of successive conventional, nuclear, chemical, or biological terrorist attacks on our homeland? I donít, and I believe that the number of Americans who believe such a thing to be small in number. Iíll go after Obama in many ways and for many things, but not on this one Ė until and unless there is concrete evidence to show me differently.
Hereís a true moderate voice from the Islamic community. Spread it far and wide, and insist that others identified by political and media elites as ďmoderate Muslim leadersĒ explicitly associate themselves with it of forfeit that title of moderate.
A DEFENSE OF FREE SPEECH BY AMERICAN AND CANADIAN MUSLIMS
We, the undersigned, unconditionally condemn any intimidation or threats of violence directed against any individual or group exercising the rights of freedom of religion and speech; even when that speech may be perceived as hurtful or reprehensible.
We are concerned and saddened by the recent wave of vitriolic anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiment that is being expressed across our nation.
We are even more concerned and saddened by threats that have been made against individual writers, cartoonists, and others by a minority of Muslims. We see these as a greater offense against Islam than any cartoon, Qurían burning, or other speech could ever be deemed.
We affirm the right of free speech for Molly Norris, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and all others including ourselves.
As Muslims, we must set an example of justice, patience, tolerance, respect, and forgiveness.
The Qurían enjoins Muslims to:
* bear witness to Islam through our good example (2:143);
* restrain anger and pardon people (3:133-134 and 24:22);
* remain patient in adversity (3186);
* stand firmly for justice (4:135);
* not let the hatred of others swerve us from justice (5:8);
* respect the sanctity of life (5:32);
* turn away from those who mock Islam (6:68 and 28:55);
* hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant (7:199);
* restrain ourselves from rash responses (16:125-128);
* pass by worthless talk with dignity (25:72); and
* repel evil with what is better (41:34).
Islam calls for vigorous condemnation of both hateful speech and hateful acts, but always within the boundaries of the law. It is of the utmost importance that we react, not out of reflexive emotion, but with dignity and intelligence, in accordance with both our religious precepts and the laws of our country.
We uphold the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Both protect freedom of religion and speech, because both protections are fundamental to defending minorities from the whims of the majority.
We therefore call on all Muslims in the United States, Canada and abroad to refrain from violence. We should see the challenges we face today as an opportunity to sideline the voices of hateónot reward them with further attentionóby engaging our communities in constructive dialogue about the true principles of Islam, and the true principles of democracy, both of which stress the importance of freedom of religion and tolerance.
Prof. Hassan Abbas, Quaid-i-Azam Chair, South Asia Institute, Columbia University
Ammar Abdulhamid, Executive Director, Tharwa Foundation
Imam Johari Abdul Malik, Director of Outreach, Dar-Al-Hijrah Islamic Center
Mehnaz M. Afridi, PhD, Adjunct Professor (Judaism, Islam & Genocide Studies) Antioch University
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, PhD, Director, Minaret of Freedom Foundation
Ahrar Ahmad, PhD, Professor of Political Science, Black Hills State University
Prof. Akbar S. Ahmed, PhD, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University
Prof. Parvez Ahmed, PhD, Fulbright Scholar & Assoc. Prof. University of North Florida
Barbara Al-Bayati, Co-Founder, Orphan Whispers
Wajahat Ali, playwright, journalist, and producer of ďDomestic CrusadersĒ
Sumbul Ali-Karamali, JD, LLM (Islamic Law), author of ďThe Muslim Next DoorĒ
Salam al-Marayati, Pres., Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
Shahed Amanullah, Editor-in-Chief, Altmuslim
M. Saud Anwar, Co-Chair, American Muslim Peace Initiative
Aref Assaf, PhD, President, American Arab Forum
Hazami Barmada, Pres, American Muslim Interactive Network (AMIN)
Victor Ghalib Begg, Senior Advisor, Chairman Emeritus, Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan
Farah Brelvi, Board of Directors, ACLU-NC
M. Ali Chaudry, PhD, President, Center for Understanding Islam (CUII)
Kamran Cheikh, Activist, Committee member, Muslims for Peace, Justice & Progress (MPJP), researcher for Deen Research Center (DRC)
Robert D. Crane, JD, author of numerous books
Prof Golam Dastagir, PhD, Visiting Research Scholar, New College, University of Toronto, Canada
Almoonir Dewji, blogger - ďThat We May Know Each OtherĒ
Lamia El-Sadek, political and human rights activitist
Mohamed Elsanousi, Director of Communications and Community Outreach for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
Mona Eltahawy, journalist
Aziz Enhaili, Political analyst, columnist for Tolerance.ca
Prof. Mohammad Fadel, PhD
Fatemeh Fakhraie, Editor-in-Chief, Muslimah Media Watch
Mike Ghouse, President, World Muslim Congress
Iftekhar Hai, President, UMA Interfaith Alliance
Rabia Terri Harris, Coordinator, Muslim Peace Fellowship
Hesham Hassaballa, M.D., author, journalist, blogger - ďGod, faith, and a penĒ
Amir Hussain, PhD, Professor of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymound University
Arsalan Iftikhar, author, human rights lawyer, blogger - ďThe Muslim GuyĒ
Jeffrey Imm, Director, Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.)
Ghazala Irshad, journalist, blogger - ďThe Floating LotusĒ
Nakia Jackson, writer
Safi Kaskas, President & CEO Strategic Edge
Prof. Muqtedar Khan, PhD, author of several books, Blogger - ďGlobalogĒ
Farah Kinani, Journalist, blogger - ďGlobal VoicesĒ
Shaikh Ahmad Kutty, Resident Senior Scholar, Islamic Institute of Toronto
Faisal Kutty, Visiting Asst. Prof. of law, Valparaiso University School of Law and Adjunct Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School (Toronto)
M. Junaid Levesque-Alam, writer, blogger - ďCrossing the CrescentĒ
David Liepert, M.D., blogger and author of ďMuslim, Christian AND JewĒ
Radwan A. Masmoudi, PhD, President, Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID)
Shelina Merani, community activist, artist, blogger ďMuslim PresenceĒ
Melody Moezzi, JD, MPH, writer and attorney
Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore, author of many books of poetry
Ebrahim Moosa, Assoc. Professor of Islamic Studies, Dept. of Religion, Duke University
Lt. Col. Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad, U.S. Army Chaplain
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, President Sound Vision
Sheila Musaji, Editor, The American Muslim (TAM)
Muneeb Nasir, President, Olive Tree Foundation, Editor IQRA Canada
Aziz H. Poonawalla, PhD, scientist and blogger - ďCity of BrassĒ on Beliefnet
M.Waheed-uz-Zaman Rana, Imam, Prof. Emeritus, Dept. of Surgery, Saint Louis University
Hasan Zillur Rahim, PhD, journalist
Prof. Hussein Rashid, PhD, blogger - ďReligion DispatchesĒ
Shafi Refai, President, United Muslims of America
Louay Safi, PhD, Common Word Fellow, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Christian Muslim Understanding, Georgetown University
Ghulam Abbas Sajan, Director Islamic Ahlul Bayt Assembly of Canada
Robert Salaam, blogger - ďThe American MuslimĒ
Raquel Evita Saraswati, activist, writer, blogger
Sarah Sayeed, President of One Blue
S. Abdallah Schleifer, Distinguished Professor, Dept. of Journalism & Mass Com, American University in Cairo
Jafar Siddiqui, blogger - ďPenjihadĒ
Prof. Laury Silvers, PhD
Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, PhD, Sr. Lecturer, Islamic Studies & African American Religion, University of Florida
Prof. Ibrahim B. Syed, PhD, President of Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc., author
J.Tayeb, MD, President, CAIR-MI, ISNA founders committee member, Vice chair, HUDA free Clinic, Detroit
Pamela Taylor, Co-founder Muslims for Progressive Values, Panelist for On Faith
Tayyibah Taylor, Editor, Azizah Magazine
Dr. Hashim El-Tinay, President, International Peace Quest Institute (IPQI)
Tarik Trad, writer, humorist, photographer, artist and activist
Asma T. Uddin, Attorney, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Editor, Altmuslimah
Wahida Valiante, President, Canadian Islamic Congress and Chair of Islamic History Month Canada
Jason van Boom, Host of ďIslam and AuthorsĒ, writer
Amina Wadud, PhD, consultant on Islam and gender, visiting scholar Starr King School for the Ministry
Svend White, blogger - ďAkramís RazorĒ, activist, writer
G. Willow Wilson, author of ďButterfly MosqueĒ and ďAirĒ graphic novel series
These are minimum values we have a right to expect of Muslims as they avail themselves of the freedoms and liberties that are deemed essential in our society. If Islam is to be a part of the fabric of America, its adherents must accept that every other person here is entitled to the full measure of those liberties, unlimited by the restrictions of sharia law. Those who do not accept that cannot be legitimately considered to be truly moderate or truly American in their outlook, and ought not be promoted by our nationís leaders as examples of moderate American Muslims.
Isnít it a courtís job to determine whether or not something is, in fact, constitutional?
No, Dahlia, it isnít. It is the job of all three branches of government to make such determinations, though the courts end up with the final word by virtue of how the system is structured in terms of judicial review. But that does not mean that there is no role for our elected officials in making such determinations.
Suppose a member of Congress introduced legislation reinstituting slavery. One would hope that members would take one look at the Thirteenth Amendment and say that the Constitution prohibits such a law, regardless of what arguments are made in favor of the bringing back ďthe peculiar institution.Ē Ditto legislation to create a Church of the United States, shut down state legislatures, or impose the death penalty for double parking, which violate the First Amendment, guarantee of a republican form of government, and Eighth Amendment respectively. A member of Congress is bound by oath to oppose any legislation he or she believes violates the constitutional limits on federal power.
The same is true of the President of the United States. One of the great criticisms I have of George W. Bush was his willingness to sign into law a campaign finance bill that he stated he believed was unconstitutional. In such a situation, it is his constitutional obligation to veto that bill Ė and Iíd argue a president commits an impeachable offense if he fails to do so.
The courts, on the other hand, get into the act only after the other two branches have signed off on a piece of legislation. They issue no advisory opinions, only decisions related to actual cases or controversies. Ideally, however, such cases should be few and far between because the other two branches act in a circumspect manner, holding themselves constrained by the text of the Constitution.
Thereís an excellent analysis of this issue over at Volokh Conspiracy.
Arenít you just terribly relieved that this was just a kid from the local Islamic Center ďexperimentingĒ with chemical explosives?
PORTLAND, ME (NEWS CENTER) -- Police say there were no injuries or damage caused by a chemical bomb that went off in a parking lot near the Islamic Society of Portland.
The bomb went off in the lot between the Islamic Society and Back Bay Grill around 8:00 PM Tuesday night. Portland Police say Islamic elders came forward to tell them that a 13 year old from the Society was experimenting and was responsible for the bomb. Another bomb was also found undetonated.
But donít be alarmed, folks. Iím sure this happens all the time in the parking lots of local churches and synagogues in your area Ė so often that it never even gets reported in the media. Just keep repeating over and over Ė ďIslam is a religion of peace Ė it has no connection to terrorismĒ until your heart rate slows and anxiety settles.
In common parlance, one uses the word ďallegedĒ to imply something shady, if not criminal, about the behavior of an individual. Most often, we use it when talking about someone actually accused of a crime, or otherwise facing court actions against them when the allegation is as yet unproved. So why, then, this use of the word in a headline that has to do with an individualís wealth and his political activity?
Bloomberg ousted as New York's richest by alleged Tea Party-backer billionaire David Koch
I guess we are supposed to presume that there is something shady about being involved with the most vigorous political movement in America today. Certainly no one sees anything at all shady about Bloomberg using his family fortune to buy his way into Gracie Mansion. But using the word ďallegedĒ in the headline functions as the equivalent of ďscare quotesĒ.
I wonder Ė what would be the reaction if I referred to Barack Obama as an ďalleged natural-born citizenĒ, an ďalleged MuslimĒ, or an ďalleged socialistĒ? Wanna bet it would be pretty ugly?
Could you imagine if a Tea Party activist -- or even a mainstream Republican -- complained that "the Vietnamese" -- or "the blacks" or "the Mexicans" -- were trying to steal a congressional seat that rightfully belongs to white people?
Democrat Representative Loretta Sanchez claims that "the Vietnamese" are trying to take a house seat that somehow belongs to Hispanics. Odd, i didn't realize tht we had racial proportional representation in this country, where one's right to run for office or be elected was determined by the color f one's skin or the ethnic origins of one's ancestors.
Even more amusing is the claim that the GOP candidate is anti-immigrant. Sanchez, you see, is a native Californian. Her Republican opponent, Van Tran, is an immigrant who was born in Vietnam and came to this country for freedom in the face of the advancing Communists in 1975. I guess this shows what a Democrat really means when they call someone "anti-immigrant" -- and it doesn't mean that they are opposed to immigration or those who follow America's laws to get here.
Could you imagine if a Tea party activist -- or even a mainstream Republican -- complained that "the blacks" or "the Mexicans" are trying to steal a seat that rightfully belongs to white people?
For decades, the world has looked at the sinking of the Titanic as a major event. There have been books and movies, art and museum exhibits, as the sinking of the ďunsinkableĒ ship caught the popular imagination. Is it any wonder, then, that there would be a couple of cruise lines offering Titanic-themed cruises for the centennial of that disaster?
The frigid waters of the North Atlantic aren't among the most prominent cruise destinations, but that may change as the world remembers one of the worst maritime disasters in history.
At least two cruises are planned in the spring of 2012 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, with both touting special activities, lectures and memorials to commemorate the tragic voyage.
Organizers insist it's a learning opportunity and a way to remember the victims, but some critics have called the trips tasteless and dubbed them "disaster voyeurism."
Sorry Ė if this is ďdisaster voyeurismĒ, then we blew past the limits of bad taste decades ago, and it is too late to put the genie back in the bottle. I donít see this as any more outrageous than traveling to every major league ball park, Civil War battlefields, or the graves of dead presidents, saints and celebrities. It is a no harm, no foul situation in my book.
I hope that everyone knows that I am not an Obama fan, but that I will play fair with the man when I think he has been wrongly jumped on by folks. This is one of those times.
Bob Woodward quotes Barack Obama as follows:
"We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger."
Now please note Ė Obama is not saying he wants another 9/11. In fact, he says he wants to avoid one and that every effort is being made to prevent one. But he is right Ė it is possible that, despite every effort, we will face a big terrorist attack. Weíve dodged the bullet a couple of times in the past year, but one of these days we wonít do so Ė that is just a common-sense reading of the odds. When we do get hit with another big one, we will absorb it and we will unite like after 9/11 and we will be stronger Ė and perhaps this time we will stay united. I believe that, just as Barack Obama believes that Ė and I believe that to be the case even in the event that the attack were to take out the sitting President and/or other senior leaders of our government.
And while I donít know that he would have phrased his answer in the same way, I believe that George W. Bush would have answered that question the same way. For that matter, I believe Ronald Reagan would have answered that question in a similar manner.
After all, we are America. Even when it seems weíve been dealt a knock-out blow, we get back up, we fight, and we win. And while many of my friends on the right might want to take issue with the quote, none of them believe differently about the resilience of our nation. I believe that this time they should take that quote at face value, and not read into it a willingness to sacrifice American citizens to terrorism.
And if it did not involve real matters of life and death for real people, this story would have all the elements necessary to be the sort of darkly humorous twist you would get on a sit-com. Instead, it simply leaves me very sad that an individual who was deeply committed to her state and community would lose her life so senselessly.
Natasha Pettigrew, a 30-year-old Maryland Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate, has died from injuries she received after she was hit by an SUV while riding her bike early Sunday morning, WUSA 9 reports.
Pettigrew was training to compete in a triathlon about 5:30 a.m. Sunday when she was struck by a Cadillac Escalade headed south on Route 202 near the intersection with Campus Way, said Cpl. Darryl Clark, the duty officer at the Maryland State Policeís Forestville barrack.
Condlolences, of course, to Pettigrew's family and loved ones -- and to her party and supporters as well. And know that I fervently hope for the vigorous prosecution of a driver so lacking in common decency and compassion as to drive home with the bike stuck under the vehicle because it was supposed that the vehicle had struck a deer, not a human being.
"If I come as an immigrant, you have the obligation to make me a citizen."
Yep, that is the president's aunt, explaining why America owes it to her to make her a citizen. It boils down to "I got here, so you owe me."
Expect to hear some variation on this theme from those who disrespect our laws over the coming months and years.
Maybe Barry Obimbo could publicly state "No, We Don't!"
Easy -- Harry Reid rejected a Republican offer that would have allowed full debate on that issue. Over at GayPatriot, there is this quote from the head of GOProud:
Just now on the floor of the Senate, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a consent agreement that would have allowed for a vote on Donít Ask, Donít Tell repeal and provided a fair framework for the debate. Unfortunately, Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rejected this offer Ė and as a result, Donít Ask, Donít Tell repeal has died in the Senate.
The defeat of Donít Ask, Donít Tell repeal lies solely with Harry Reid and the Democrat leadership. Harry Reid is playing political games with the lives of the brave gay men and women serving in our military. Itís clear now that Lady GaGa should have held her Donít Ask, Donít Tell repeal rally in Nevada instead of Maine.
As I've said in the past, I support the repeal of DADT. I think the policy, which once had a legitimate national security function, does not have such a function today given the relative low social stigma around homosexuality and the significant loss of skilled professionals that it entails. That is a conservative position, not a liberal one. But any repeal of the policy deserves full debate in both houses of Congress, with the opportunity to amend the repeal measure and to fully discuss the potential negative ramifications of repeal. Indeed, the repeal measure should stand on its own, not be stuck into a "must pass" bill in an attempt to force it through.
It isnít the moderates we have to worry about engaging in violence. Therefore these numbers are not necessarily relevant.
From his recent travels to the Persian Gulfósponsored and paid for by the State DepartmentóImam Faisal Abdul Rauf returned with a none-too-subtle threat. His project, the Ground Zero Mosque, would have to go on. Its cancellation would risk putting ďour soldiers, our troops, our embassies and citizens under attack in the Muslim world.Ē
Leave aside the attempt to make this project a matter of national security. The self-appointed bridge between America and the Arab-Islamic world is a false witness to the sentiments in Islamic lands.
The truth is that the trajectory of Islam in America (and Europe for that matter) is at variance with the play of things in Islamís main habitat. A survey by Elaph, the most respected electronic daily in the Arab world, gave a decided edge to those who objected to the building of this mosqueó58% saw it as a project of folly.
Elaph was at it again in the aftermath of Pastor Terry Jonesís threat to burn copies of the Quran: It queried its readers as to whether America was a ďtolerantĒ or a ďbigotedĒ society. The split was 63% to 37% in favor of those who accepted the good faith and pluralism of this country.
Most Muslims, you see, agree with the majority of Americans on the Ground Zero Mosque project. Most see America as a welcoming, tolerant place. But there is a percentage Ė say 10-20% -- that believes America to be the enemy and which will take any slight as grounds for violence, murder, and mayhem. And those are the ones who Imam Rauf speaks for when he insists that the Ground Zero Mosque be built and that Quran burning be stopped lest violence break out. That faux moderate will repeat their threats because he knows that ďtolerantĒ America will let him Ė and that every step he can make on the pathway to sharia will be brought by raising the specter of the violent minority.
So don't worry about the 60% of Muslims in this survey who take a moderate position -- or even the undecideds who are reasonable. What the American "moderates" demand is that we appease and capitulate to the most extreme, violent and hateful segment of Muslims -- because after all, they might get angry and do terrible things to America if we fail to submit. And that's not a threat, mind you -- that's just a "friendly warning" from a concerned citizen who thinks we need to understand why he mist always get his way.
The UKís tax collection agency is putting forth a proposal that all employers send employee paychecks to the government, after which the government would deduct what it deems as the appropriate tax and pay the employees by bank transfer.
The proposal by Her Majestyís Revenue and Customs (HMRC) stresses the need for employers to provide real-time information to the government so that it can monitor all payments and make a better assessment of whether the correct tax is being paid.
Currently employers withhold tax and pay the government, providing information at the end of the year, a system know as Pay as You Earn (PAYE). There is no option for those employees to refuse withholding and individually file a tax return at the end of the year.
If the real-time information plan works, it further proposes that employers hand over employee salaries to the government first.
Got that? The government will collect all private-sector wages and salaries and then decide what to let the serfs have out of it. That makes perfect sense in a system where the socialist paradigm has taken hold Ė after all, that money really doesnít belong to the people at all, government is merely being generous in allowing them to have a portion of their wages to dispose of as they see fit.
But then again, is this philosophically any different than arguing that a tax cut is depriving government of something that belongs to it by right? Maybe not quite so extreme, but certainly a spot along the same path.
Matt Schaub threw for 497 yards. Donovan McNabb threw for 426.
Needless to say, the last team to have the ball won the game.
Neil Rackers kicked a 35-yard field goal 11:36 into overtime, and Matt Schaubís 497 set a franchise record Sunday as the Texans improved to 2-0 with a 30-27 win over the Washington Redskins.
Schaub moved the Texans 41 yards in seven plays on the winning drive, with Joel Dreessen making a leaping, turnaround grab of a 28-yard pass to move the ball to the Washington 18 to set up Rackersí kick.
Why else would he intentionally leave out a key part of the Declaration of Independence from this speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus?
ďSo let me close by saying this. Long before America was even an idea, this land of plenty was home to many peoples. To British and French, to Dutch and Spanish, to Mexican ó (applause) ó to countless Indian tribes. We all shared the same land. We didnít always get along. But over the centuries, what eventually bound us together ó what made us all Americans ó was not a matter of blood, it wasnít a matter of birth. It was faith and fidelity to the shared values that we all hold so dear. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights: life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.Ē
It is pretty telling what he left out of our nation's founding document:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Shameful! Absolutely shameful!
If even the less orthodox religious believers among our Founders could make that acknowledgment of the source of all our liberties, why can't Obama? is it that he doesn't believe in God at all (despite his professed religious faith)? Or that he believes that government is the source of our rights, and that they can therefore be taken away by government fiat?
No matter what the reason, no American, regardless of faith or lack thereof, should be willing to accept the Kenyan's bastard son unilaterally rewriting Thomas Jefferson for his own purposes.
See the video here.
BILL MAHER, HOST: Isnít Obamaís big problem is that he does everything half-assed? Maybe itís because heís only half black. You know? Itís that, if he was a, if this, if he was fully black, Iím telling you, he would be a better president. Thereís a white man in him holding him back because everything is half-assed. The stimulus was half-assed, healthcare is half-assed, letís talk about Afghanistan.
How long will this racist liberal be allowed to spew his racial nonsense from a national platform? When will the folks who object to Rush Limbaugh for things he didn't even say start vocally objecting to Maher for the things that actually come out of his mouth? or is it all acceptable because Maher is a liberal?
And remember -- this is not the first time that Maher has engaged in such racist claptrap regarding Barack Obama.
A Texas high school football quarterback died Friday after collapsing during a football game, a hospital official said.
Reginald Garrett was rushed to Baptist Orange Hospital of Southeast Texas, but he did not survive, said Susan Courtney, a hospital spokeswoman.
Garrett, a senior at West Orange Stark High School, collapsed shortly after throwing his second touchdown of the night, CNN affiliate KBMT reported.
Courtney said Garrett wasn't just a football player, but "the star football player" and a straight-A student.
Cornel Thompson, one of the coaches of the football team, told KBMT players were devastated.
"I've coached this game for 40 years and football really isn't important, is it, when something like this happens?" he said. "You talk about a great kid, friend and teammate. These kids all followed him, you know. It's a shocker."
Not realizing the seriousness of what had happened on the field, the game continued as the stricken quarterback was taken to the hospital. West Orange Stark did win the game -- and only then found out about their even greater loss.
Football is king down here in Texas, it it is the glue that binds many communities together. I've been blessed to teach a number of boys who have gone on to greater things, including two who will be on the field playing football tomorrow for their respective NFL teams. The school where I now teach has a large then life photo of Howard Twilley, who went on to be a college and professional football standout after a spectacular career in high school, greeting people as they enter the building (a half-century after his graduation). And so the loss of a fine young man like Reginald Garrett must be absolutely devastating to folks in West Orange. May God comfort them now -- and may the team win the rest of the season in Garrett's honor.
To an Athlete Dying Young
The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.
To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.
Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields were glory does not stay
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.
Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:
Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.
So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.
And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's.
Another week, another Watcher's Council vote. Here are the results of this week's experiment in excellence:
Some of my fellow non-Jews of my generation might be more familiar with this version from a movie in our youth. The scene implicitly teaches about the true meaning of the prayer and the holy day that it is central to.
May the Almighty pour out his richest blessings upon you as you mark this sacred time -- and may he save a few for the rest of us as well.
I hadnít planned on writing anything about the trial I mentioned in an earlier post. Unfortunately, Iíve had such a strong reaction to an article I read about the case that I have to comment.
First, there is this bit of information about the scum-sucking murderer on trial, Steven Hayes, and his reaction to some of the evidence shown in the courtroom.
So horrific have these and other evidence pictures been that even the monster standing trial has found them literally sickening.
* * *
Yesterday, the lawyer for Hayes, who is being tried first in New Haven Superior Court, announced his client had suffered "seizure-like symptoms" and had "urinated all over himself" during a sleepless night in jail the night before.
"I believe it is attributed to what occurred yesterday afternoon," the lawyer, Thomas Ullmann, told the trial judge.
Well isnít that just TOO FRICKING BAD! It might have been nice for if the defendant and his partner had felt that sort of revulsion before breaking into the Petit home and engaging in a spree of robbery, assault, rape, and murder. And there is always a way available for him to be spared the horror of seeing the evidence and hearing the testimony Ė he can plead guilty and accept the death penalty that he and his partner inflicted on these innocents.
Then there is this.
Lawyers for Hayes are trying to avoid Connecticut's death penalty by claiming he is somehow less guilty than the break-in's alleged mastermind, Komisarjevsky.
Letís see Ė he was a full participant in the crime, including the rapes, murders and arson. How, precisely, can he be less guilty than the other participant? Frankly, that is a pretty scummy argument to even attempt to make, and one that any sane juror ought to be quick to reject. And while I have an online friend who tells me what a respected lawyer and decent man Thomas Ullmann is, I hope heíll excuse me if I state for the record that the defense strategy leads me to question the latter assertion.
Lastly, there is the issue of including some of the horrific photos of the crime scene in news articles and television reports of the trial. I understand that there is a desire to sell newspapers or get ratings, as well as to inform the public, but is there really the need to show photos the burned bed where a young girl was tied up and then burned? Doesnít basic human decency call for a little bit of editorial discretion when you know that the jurors and reporters at the trial were sickened by the evidence? Have you not shame, no decency, that you would feel a need to put such things on display outside the courtroom?
You just knew that this would happen when Benedict XVI visited Londinisatan.
Police have arrested five suspected Islamist terrorists planning to assassinate the Pope.
The men were arrested during raids at 5.45am at a business premises in central London based on an intelligence tip off received overnight.
The suspects, aged 26, 27, 36, 40 and 50 were arrested by officers from Scotland Yardís Counter Terrorism Command on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.
They are said to be from a variety of nationalities including a number of Algerian origin.
How could something like this have been so easily predicted?
Because of things like this.
You ainít gonna make it with his 45 million victims anyhow.
Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China, qualifies as the greatest mass murderer in world history, an expert who had unprecedented access to official Communist Party archives said yesterday.
Speaking at The Independent Woodstock Literary Festival, Frank DikŲtter, a Hong Kong-based historian, said he found that during the time that Mao was enforcing the Great Leap Forward in 1958, in an effort to catch up with the economy of the Western world, he was responsible for overseeing "one of the worst catastrophes the world has ever known".
Mr DikŲtter, who has been studying Chinese rural history from 1958 to 1962, when the nation was facing a famine, compared the systematic torture, brutality, starvation and killing of Chinese peasants to the Second World War in its magnitude. At least 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in China over these four years; the worldwide death toll of the Second World War was 55 million.
But you know what Ė if we would only try Communism again, we would get it right this time and usher in the workerís paradise.
After all, you canít judge communism by China.
Or North Korea.
First they wanted the prosecution of crimes that Congress just hadn't gotten around to passing laws to criminalize. Then they called for the creation of regulations specifically prohibited by statute. And now, having sought the vast expansion of government power into areas where there exists no authority to act, the editorial board of the New York Times is demanding that the federal government NOT enforce a law that actually is on the books.
President Obama and leaders of the military and of Congress have repeatedly said that they are committed to ending the policy by repealing the statute. The House approved a bill doing so in May. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, said he intends to bring a bill to the floor next week that would dovetail with the House measure.
Meanwhile, the prohibition remains on the books, endangering the careers of men and women in the military at a time of war. While the administration waits for Congress to repeal the statute, it should halt enforcement of ďdonít ask, donít tell.Ē
Now as I;ve said in the past, I think DADT is an outdated policy that fails to consider the reality that the gays and lesbians are much more accepted by society as a whole than at any time in the past and thet they no longer represent the security risk that they did at a time when the closet was the norm. I've also noted that I believe the policy is foolish insofar as it denies our nation access to the talents and skills of a segment of our population ready, willing, and able to assist in protecting our antional security. So I'm not a DADT fan.
But what the New York Times is suggesting here is nothing but the lawless creation of a society in which we are governed not by the rule of law buut by the whims of the power elite. As long as DADT is on the books, it should be enforced -- which s precisely the reason that the bipartisan consensus that has developed against the ban needs to be acknowledged and honored by the repeal of DADT. But in the mean time, it is inappropriate to set the precedent that the Executive Branch can simply ignore those laws that it does not like simly because its leaders think they know better than the branch tasked with making the law.
After a couple of weeks of waiting, we get the first report on what led to the fire. Here's what has been released to the public.
A pre-dawn fire that destroyed nearly all of Harris County's voting machines last month likely erupted in a rear section of the north Houston warehouse that was used as a classroom and storage area, authorities said on Wednesday.
Houston Fire Department arson dogs didn't find any accelerants, such as gasoline, at the scene of the Aug. 27 blaze at the Harris County Election Technology Center, 606 Canino.
"We don't have any reason to believe that ignitable liquids were used," HFD arson chief Gabe Cortez said.
Although arson investigators haven't ruled out the fire being intentionally set, Cortez acknowledged that most suspicious cases involve an accelerant.
The building's electrical system is being scrutinized as the investigation continues.
"We will examine some of the items that were recovered, microscopically and with X-rays, and have electrical engineers look at those," Cortez said.
So, let's sum up what has been disclosed thus far.
But how does the Houston Chronicle headline a story that makes it pretty clear that the investigators are looking at it being an electrical fire, not arson?
Good grief! That is certainly true, but isn't really an accurate representation of what the thrust of the story really is. Why not tell us instead that the focus of the investigation is upon a non-arson electrical fire, which is a pretty common occurrence? We know the answer -- it keeps the suspicions of political shennanigans going and makes for a sexier headline, which is more important than engaging in socially responsible reporting and editing.
Some are suggesting that this is the basis for firing Quran burner Derek Fenton.
NJ Transit's code of ethics states that employees must give notice to an ethics liaison officer before participating in political activities. Once that is done, it says, an employee can participate in political activities so long as state or federal law or agency rules don't explicitly prohibit them and so long as "the activity doesn't conflict with the employee's official duties." It's unknown whether Fenton submitted the paperwork.
But there is a problem with this particular ethical standard Ė what sort of political activity does it cover? Does an employee who signs a petition to put a candidate or referendum on the ballot without first submitting the paperwork commit a firing offense? Can an employee vote without filling out the required form? What about one who makes a legal campaign contribution or writes a letter to the editor on a political issue? Does attendance at a political event on oneís day off mandate the submission of the form, or is a speaking or organizing role necessary before it qualifies as political activity necessitating the filing of the paperwork? The vagueness of the rule and the possible breadth of its application could have a frighteningly chilling effect on the First Amendment activities and political participation of employees of New Jersey Transit who have no policymaking role. Whatís more, the stateís Uniform Code Of Ethics discusses politics only in terms of engaging in campaign work or soliciting donations, so it is difficult to imagine that political speech regarding the Ground Zero Mosque or the ties between Islam and terrorism are even covered by the ethical rules on political participation.
When a friend sent me the link to this article, I laughed at the headline, so I shared it with the kids in class.
Dwarf goat killed in drive-by
I found it funny, in a warped, ďNews of the WeirdĒ sort of way.
My students, on the other hand, had a different response, best summed up by one of the boys in the third row:
You know,mister, maybe the goat deserved it.
Well, Toto, I guess weíre not in Kansas anymore.
Because being a GLBT Democrat (heck, being any sort of Democrat) will get you a pass from the self-appointed ethics watchdog of the Houston area blogosphere.
City Councilwoman Sue Lovell was fined $2,000 by the Texas Ethics Commission for failing to properly fill out several of her campaign finance disclosures in recent years.
The commission faulted her for leaving out some information dealing with small donors and any loans outstanding in 2007, 2008 and 2009, using an incomplete name for a political action committee and failing to detail the use of some campaign expenses.
It also found insufficient evidence for allegations in a citizen complaint that she took illegal contributions and converted campaign cash for personal use.
Of course, i could be wrong why John won't cover this. I could be that there is no way to make jokes about erections, stripping, political assassination or physical handicaps by writing about Lovell. But more likely it is because John, for all his claims to be concerned about ethics (well, except his own) is really just a partisan hack.
I suppose that if there is such a great demand from the grassroots to fund this dog of a candidate, there ought to be some cash directed that way. John Cornyn is therefore making a move that is appropriate.
Let there be no mistake: The National Republican Senatorial Committee Ė and I personally as the committeeís chairman Ė strongly stand by all of our Republican nominees, including Christine OíDonnell in Delaware.
I reached out to Christine this morning, and as I have conveyed to all of our nominees, I offered her my personal congratulations and let her know that she has our support. This support includes a check for $42,000 Ė the maximum allowable donation that we have provided to all of our nominees Ė which the NRSC will send to her campaign today.
1) I guess someone made the calculation that the funding hit the NRSC would take would be bigger than $42K, and it was therefore the better part of valor to fund a woman whose resume makes Barack Obama look like a statesman of Churchillian stature who fully deserved his Nobel Peace Prize.
2) While the NRSC is giving her campaign the same donation every other nominee has received, it is significant what is not said -- there is no commitment to engage in any independent expenditures on Christine O'Donnell's behalf. That is as it should be, because at this point such expenditures appear to be throwing good money after bad in a losing cause.
Do i want Christien O'Donnell to win this election? I suppose so, as she is better than Chris Coons in terms of ideology and philosophy. But I say that reluctantly -- and I say it knowing that her nomination turned this from a seat that the GOP was sure to win (with a moderate candidate who would still have been better than Chris Coons from a conservative point of view) into a race that is virtually unwinnable by the GOP. And ultimately, that is what a political party is supposed to be about -- winning elections so that the party has the power to direct policy and control the operation of government. The nomination of Christine O'Donnell makes the prospect of achieving that objective less likely.
Apparently the Obamunists are more concerned about Arabs and Muslims than they are about the rest of us.
A senior civil rights official from the U.S. Department of Justice is to be in Dearborn today to visit the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn and meet with Arab-American and civil rights leaders.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, based in Washington D.C., is scheduled to meet with local community leaders to discuss civil rights concerns and other issues in meetings at the Dearborn museum and at the Detroit office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Rather than meeting with these folks, why doesnít he take the time to meet with Molly Norris, Derek Fenton, Brian Purcell, Georgene Stergalas, and the folks from Acts 17 Apologetics. Seems to me that they have much more serious civil rights concerns than the Arab and Muslim leaders being sucked up to by Eric Holder and his minions on behalf of the Kenyanís bastard child.
Beer was a staple in the Israelite diet, just as it was throughout the ancient Near East. Yet a search of most English translations of the Bible will produce few, if any, occurrences of the word "beer." Ancient Israel's affinity for beer has largely been ignored. I believe this is for three reasons: (1) confusion about the meaning of the Hebrew word shekhar (שכר), (2) a general snobbery in academia causing scholars to scorn beer drinking while celebrating wine culture, and (3) the unique challenges archaeologists have faced in finding (or identifying) beer remains in the Israelite material record.
Iíve wondered about such things, given that beer brewing is something documented since Biblical times in the areas surrounding ancient Israel. It seems to me that the beverageís presence in Israel ought to be presumed -- and that if it were consumed on the same basis as it appears to have been in those surrounding cultures, that there might be good reason to find merit in this argument.
Seems to me that this might be a good time for a little bit of music?
You may have noticed that Molly Norris' comic is not in the paper this week. That's because there is no more Molly.
The gifted artist is alive and well, thankfully. But on the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is, as they put it, "going ghost": moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity. She will no longer be publishing cartoons in our paper or in City Arts magazine, where she has been a regular contributor. She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection programóexcept, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab. It's all because of the appalling fatwa issued against her this summer, following her infamous "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" cartoon.
Iím curious Ė where is President Obama on this one? Iíve not heard him issue a public statement on Molly Norris and her right to freely draw and publish free from threats of violence? Iíve not heard Imam Rauf declare that doing Molly harm would be contrary to the tenets of Islam? Indeed, it appears that sheís been advised that today we live under a not-so-stealthy version of sharia in this country, and the ďunreasonable MuslimĒ now determines the limits of our rights and freedom.
Justice Breyer recently likened the burning of a Quran to shouting fire in a theater, indicating that he thinks such expressive conduct is not protected by the First Amendment. Given the violence that appears to be at epidemic proportions in the Muslim community, do you think that we can get a court to declare the practice or advocacy of Islam to be a similar imminent danger to the lives and safety of Americans and therefore similarly unprotected by the First Amendment?
Exercising the right to engage in free speech is apparently a firing offense if you work for New Jersey Transit.
[Derek Fenton, t]he protester who burned pages from the Koran outside a planned mosque near Ground Zero has been fired from NJTransit, sources and authorities said Tuesday....
ďMr. Fentonís public actions violated New Jersey Transitís code of ethics,Ē an agency statement said.
ďNJ Transit concluded that Mr. Fenton violated his trust as a state employee and therefore [he] was dismissed.Ē ...
Fenton was an assistant train-consist coordinator, sources said ó a job that entails ensuring there are enough train cars positioned to be put into service....
If Fenton was fired for burning the Koran while off-duty, his First Amendment rights probably were violated, Chris Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union said....
Now I did a little looking around, and the only ethics code that would appear to apply to New Jersey Transit that does not specifically involve contracting issues is this one Ė the stateís Uniform Code of Ethics. As I looked over that document, I see only a single standard (found on Page 5 of the above .pdf file) that could possibly be considered applicable to the case.
4. No State officer or employee or special State officer or employee should knowingly act in any way that might reasonably be expected to create an impression or suspicion among the public having knowledge of his/her acts that he/she may be engaged in conduct violative of his trust as a State officer or employee or special State officer or employee.
But letís be honest Ė to argue that burning a Quran ďmight reasonably be expected to create an impression or suspicion among the public having knowledge of his/her acts that he/she may be engaged in conduct violative of his trust as a State. . . employee. . . ď is quote a stretch. So where is the ethical violation that justified immediate termination of employment without any sort of due process hearing that he is legally entitled to under New Jersey law? Frankly, I donít see it.
Eugene Volokh sees this firing as nonsensical, unless we are going to allow something of an enhanced form of the ďhecklerís vetoĒ (may I suggest that we call it the ďterroristís vetoĒ) with regard to expression that offends Islamic values. Debbie Schlussel also notes the problem, and ties it to Justice Souterís recent speculation that burning the Quran is different from burning a flag because of the ďfire in a crowded theaterĒ danger it creates due to the violent tendencies of Muslims (though he didnít phrase it that way, that is in effect what he is proposing).
Frankly, Iím of the opinion that this case needs to be pursued in the courts, and I hope some organization concerned with civil liberties will take it up. Hey, ACLU, where are you?
In the mean time, Iíd suggest contacting New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on this one, and demand that Derek Fenton be reinstated at his job and that he issue an executive order reaffirming the First Amendment rights to freedom of expression on political and religious matters by public employees on their own time.
I stayed out of this one, believing that Delaware Republicans would choose a candidate who had a significant chance of winning the general election.
Sadly, they didn't -- they chose Christine O'Donnell instead.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee does not plan to spend money on its Delaware Senate nominee, Christine OíDonnell, an NRSC official said tonight.
OíDonnell, who defeated Republican stalwart Rep. Mike Castle in the stateís GOP Senate primary, surged in recent weeks amid donations from tea party groups and an endorsement from Sarah Palin. But she trails her general election opponent, Democrat Chris Coons, in most polls.
The official noted that if her position improves, the committee might reconsider its allocation of scarce resources.
Let's face it -- O'Donnell has only about $20K in campaign funds in her war chest -- putting her at a 45-1 disadvantage relative to her Democrat opponent. She has high negatives and low positives, with every poll of Delaware voters showing them rejecting her in November. Absent some significant showing of viability, the NRSC is absolutely right to allocate their campaign cash elsewhere.
Now I know that my position pisses people off -- including a number of bloggers who are my friends and others who I admire. But national campaign money gets distributed based upon where it can be effective -- and right now, it does not look like it can be effective in Delaware for Christine O'Donnell. For that reason, I'd rather see those dollars redirected to where they can make a difference for Republican senatorial candidates who can win -- Rubio, Blunt, Paul, Angle, Miller -- rather than on O'Donnell who is the least likely of our national GOP senatorial candidates to emerge victorious on election day. Call it the triage theory of campaign spending -- do you have your medical staff save the five patients who can be saved, or do you let their conditions become more critical with while the entire medical staff tries to save the patient whose condition is obviously unsurvivable? I know that is a harsh position to take, and not a popular one, but it unless Christine O'Donnell shows some bona fide signs of being able to pull off a win in Delaware, it is the only responsible one for those concerned with GOP victory.
And for those declaring that they will cut off the NRSC unless it gives full backing to Christine O'Donnell, may I suggest that you show the courage of your convictions and send your dollars directly to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee? After all, your strategy is one that directly aids and abets the Democrats.
Nearly three months after U.S. immigration officials dumped Luis Alberto Delgado in Mexico despite his insistence that he is a U.S. citizen, the 19-year-old was permitted to re-enter the country last weekend with the U.S. government's blessing.
Delgado said U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents cleared him to return to the United States on Friday, roughly 85 days after he was detained by immigration officials and pressured to sign papers that cleared the way for his removal to Mexico.
Steven Cribby, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, declined to comment on Delgado's case.
On Monday in Houston, Delgado said he was pondering a lawsuit against the U.S. government, calling his case "an injustice."
U.S. Border Patrol agents detained Delgado after a traffic stop in South Texas on June 17 and held him for eight hours, questioning him about his citizenship.
Delgado said he gave immigration agents a copy of his birth certificate showing he was born at Houston's Ben Taub Hospital, a state of Texas identification card and a Social Security card.
Oh, one minor detail Ė it happened in Texas, the cops detaining the US Citizen were US Border Patrol, and the deportation happened despite the presentation of evidence that would have, under Arizonaís SB 1070, constituted sufficient proof of citizenship.
In other words, this one is all on the federal government led by Barack Obama. I guess they just assume that every Arizona cop is as racist and incompetent as the Gestapo thugs employed by the current regime enforcing federal immigration laws.
County projects 80 percent voting machine supply
Harris County projects that it will replace more than 80 percent of the voting machines it had intended to use on Nov. 2 for this year's elections.
A fire destroyed nearly all of the county's voting machines on Aug. 27.
Hector de Leon, spokesman for the county clerk, said that before the fire, the county had planned to deploy 5,726 eSlate voting machines and disabled access units at the county's 736 polling stations.
The county has put in an order for 3,100 voting machines from vendor Hart InterCivic. That's as much as the vendor could produce on such short notice, County Clerk Beverly Kaufman has said. De Leon said other counties have pledged to lend Harris County an additional 1,637 machines.
The net effect is about 1.3 fewer machines per polling station. In addition, because of the fire, Kaufman is allowing voters to cast paper ballots at every polling place in efforts to prevent long lines on election day. She is also continuing to encourage people to vote early.
If we are talking every polling place being short by only a machine or two, then things might not be so bad on Election Day. After all, Iíve had one go bad (faulty plug, low battery, etc) and need to be shut down more than once, and it hardly even slowed down the pace of voting. With a little luck, there will be no significant delays anywhere in the county as a result of the loss of machines in the fire Ė meaning that the concerns expressed about the impact of the fire at the election services warehouse will have been dealt with.
Still, everyone, do your part to make the situation better -- VOTE EARLY!
I debated whether or not I should write this post. But after corresponding with some friends, and realizing that the blogger in question is unlikely to allow any response that calls him out on the matter, I think I must.
On a local Democrat blog, I commented on the issue of Quran burning, taking the same pro-liberty side that I have on this blog. Indeed, here is what I wrote.
Rhymes With Right said... I find it interesting that you are not taken aback by military leaders (and political leaders) trying to suppress the free speech rights of American citizens.
It was the response that surprised me.
9:51 PM, September 11, 2010 Hal said... Again Greg, we find ourselves at opposite ends of a social justice debate. You as a Jew find it interesting that our military takes sides when it comes to the lives of our soldiers in harm's way. Allowed to burn Qur'ans these nitwits invite others to attempt to kill our people.
This is not a free speech issue, Greg. It is all about doing something that assures the death of others. Your state, the state of Israel, explicitly forbids the burning of the holy scriptures of Islam, the Qur'an. They do that for a reason, Greg. They do that because they realize that people who lack good judgment should not be allowed to cravenly bring on the death of their fellow man. Just as a supreme court justice, so long ago, decided that someone did not have the right, under Free Speech, to yell "Fire" in a crowded theater.
I was stunned. ďYou as a JewÖĒ? I may be circumcised, but Iím not Jewish. And while I consider it to be a compliment to be presumed to be one of Godís Chosen People, please understand that I am most adamantly Christian and have been my entire life. But what would my religion have to do with my position on whether or not someone is allowed to engage in freedom of speech and free exercise of religion by destroying a copy of books he owns in order to express his contempt for the violence and false teachings promoted by that book? I was confused Ė until I got to the second paragraph.
ďYour state, the state of IsraelÖ.Ē Whoa! Apparently this blogger believes that a Jew cannot be an American Ė that his religion makes him loyal to another country more than to the United States. This blogger knows I live here in the Houston area just like him, has apparently decided that Jews are not real Americans, but are instead aliens among us who must be governed by and submissive to the laws of Israel. That, my friends, is the very essence of the old dual-loyalty slur that has been directed against Jews from time immemorial. It is profoundly anti-Semitic. And I am shocked to see it trotted out by a guy who is mouthing platitudes about ďsocial justiceĒ while perpetuating one of the oldest social injustices Ė and one of the most deadly Ė known to mankind. Nice going, Hal Ė youíve officially classed yourself with the neo-Nazis, skin-heads, and Pat Buchanan.
I hadnít plan on writing anything more (OK, much more) on the Quran burning controversy unless it flared back into public consciousness. But as I read a generally good column by Richard Cohen, I became disturbed by this assertion.
Barack Obama did as he had to. His first obligation is to protect American lives -- especially troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet, somehow in the back of his mind he must have acknowledged a competing obligation to protect American values and not, as too many people did with Rushdie and Westergaard, consent to ones antithetical to our own.
As I thought about it, I realized that Cohen has the matter exactly backwards. The first obligation of Barack Obama Ė or any other president Ė is not to protect American lives, not even those of our men and women in uniform. The primary obligation of the American president is summed up in the oath of office he takes on the day he is inaugurated.
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
The first obligation of the president, therefore, is not to defend the lives of American Ė it is to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. That is a very different thing. In this particular case, it means that Barack Obama should have been defending the rights of Terry Jones to express himself by burning a Quran as fully and forcefully as he defended the rights of Imam Rauf to build the Ground Zero Mosque. That is true even if, for example, the Islamist enemies of this country would engage in violence, including attacks on our troops that might result in the deaths of some of our soldiers. After all, the purpose of having the military is not just to defend our soil, but to defend our Constitution, which is the highest statement of our nationís values. As such, Barack Obama failed in his obligation as president when he and his administration went on the attack against Jones.
Because one can never let a good crisis go to waste -- but can use it to waste government funds to benefit oneself and one's allies.
The federal government hired a New Orleans man for $18,000 to appraise whether news stories about its actions in the Gulf oil spill were positive or negative for the Obama administration, which was keenly sensitive to comparisons between its response and former President George W. Bush's much-maligned reaction to Hurricane Katrina.
The government also spent $10,000 for just over three minutes of video showing a routine offshore rig inspection for news organizations but couldn't say whether any ran the footage. And it awarded a $216,625 no-bid contract for a survey of seabirds to an environmental group that has criticized what it calls the "extreme anti-conservation record" of Sarah Palin, a possible 2012 rival to President Barack Obama.
The contracts were among hundreds reviewed by The Associated Press as the government begins to provide an early glimpse at federal spending since the Gulf disaster in April. While most of the contracts don't raise alarms, some could provide ammunition for critics of government waste.
Why did the federal government need to monitor news stories for Barry Hussein? Why didn't that come out of his campaign funds? Why the no-bid bird contract to a liberal lobby group? Seem to just be feathering their nests.
But it is the Age of Obama -- Hope, Change, Corruption!
A British teenager who sent an email to the White House calling President Obama an obscenity was banned from America for life, The Sun reported Monday.
The FBI asked local cops to tell college student Luke Angel, 17, his drunken insult was "unacceptable."
Angel said he fired off a single email criticizing the U.S. government after seeing a TV program about the 9/11 attacks.
He said, "I don't remember exactly what I wrote as I was drunk. But I think I called Barack Obama a p***k. It was silly -- the sort of thing you do when you're a teenager and have had a few."
Angel, of Bedford, in central England, said it was "a bit extreme" for the FBI to act. "The police came and took my picture and told me I was banned from America forever. I don't really care but my parents aren't very happy."
As Michelle Malkin points out, he's waived bans for Islamists, so let's see if Obama has the balls to waive a ban for a kid whose only crime was calling him something that millions of Americans do daily.
A shirtless skateboarder is a local hero for stopping a Quran-burning in Amarillo over the weekend.
Inspired by the canceled plan that got national attention, Pastor David Grisham announced he'd burn a Quran in a public park, but was foiled by a guy who swiped the holy book from his hands.
"I snook up behind him and took his Quran. He said something about burning a Quran, and I said, 'Dude, you have no Quran!' and ran off," said 23-year-old Amarillo resident Jacob Isom, who protested the burning along with more than 200 others, most recruited by a local Unitarian Universalist congregation. The opposition toted signs promoting peace and tolerance between faiths.
Jacob Isom is no hero Ė indeed, his actions are morally and legally indefensible. Grisham, for all his actions may have been offensive to some, was engaging in legal activity when he set out to burn his own property. Isom, on the hand, stole property that Grisham owned in order to prevent him from using it as his religious beliefs told him to. What he did was no less than violate Grishamís civil rights. Hereís hoping that the authorities intervene and prosecute Isom accordingly.
In the 1970s, Congress established the EPA, giving it broad powers to regulate pollutants in the environment. In granting that authority, Congress made several specific exceptions to this authority. One of these forbade the agency to ban the use of lead shot by hunters and other ammunition.. This is why the EPA administrator recently decided to reject a petition calling for the EPA to ban lead shot for hunting Ė it lacks the legal authority to do so.
Which is why this part of a New York Times editorial is both amusing and frightening.
At the end of August, the Environmental Protection Agency turned down a petition to ban lead from the manufacture of hunting ammunition. According to the agency, it lacked the legal authority to regulate lead in that form.
But that conclusion is legally dubiousÖ.
It is amusing that, once again, the New York Times wants a government agency to substitute the decisions of bureaucrats for the restrictions imposed by Congress in enacting the law. But it is a more frightening thing to note that this is the second time in recent weeks that the New York Times has called for enforcing legal norms that do not exist. That, my friends, is a call for the Constitution to be set aside in favor of dictatorial control Ė and that is frightening.
UPDATE: If you want to do something to honor the victims of this senseless crime, I encourage you to visit the Petit Family Foundation website and make a donation.
A little over three years ago, a mother and her daughters were brutally murdered in a crime that transfixed a shocked nation. Over the last three years, there has been much prayer in our home for the surviving husband and father, for the parents and grandparents friends and family members whose lives were left with a void the size of three vibrant lives.
Tomorrow, the trial of one of the perpetrators begins.
They were a model family living in an affluent suburb. William Petit was a prominent doctor. His daughter was on her way to Dartmouth, hoping to follow in his footsteps. His wife had multiple sclerosis and the family was active in efforts to raise money to fight the disease.
But a chance encounter with a career criminal at a supermarket in July 2007 destroyed the family, authorities say. Joshua Komisarjevsky spotted Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters at the store and followed them home, then returned later with his friend Steven Hayes and together they severely beat Petit and killed his wife and daughters, authorities say.
The crime drew comparisons to "In Cold Blood," Truman Capote's chilling book about the 1959 murders of a Kansas family. It prompted a special session of the legislature and spurred more residents to buy guns.
Hayes heads to trial this week.
Both defendants have offered to plead guilty in exchange for life sentences, but prosecutors, seeking the death penalty for both, pushed for trials, defense attorneys said, forcing the state to revisit the unsettling crime and its lone survivor to relive it in the courtroom.
I turn to you and ask for prayer.
Again, for those family members and friends who will be reliving the horror of what happened. For the judge, jury, lawyers, and court personnel, that they may all do their jobs and do them well. And for our nation, that there will come a day when there will be no more such horrific crimes committed against the innocent.
Here are the results into this week's contest of blogospheric skill and excellence:
And with a curmudgeonly growl, let me not that for the third blasted week in a row it has been my vote that separated the winner from my own second-place entry! Curses, foiled again!
You might see non-Muslims attacked and assaulted as they seek to enter houses of worship, even in those countries where the most moderate forms of Islam are supposed to prevail.
Oh, wait. That is what happens in those countries.
BEKASI, Indonesia ó Police say assailants on motorcycles have stabbed a Christian worshipper in the stomach and pounded a minister in the head with a wooden plank near a former church outside Jakarta.
Neither of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.
No one has claimed responsibility for the Sunday's attacks. But suspicion immediately fell on Islamic hard-liners who have repeatedly warned members of the Batak Christian Protestant Church against worshipping on a field housing their now-shuttered church.
Local police Chief Imam Sugianto says Asia Sihombing, a worshipper, was on her way to the field when she was stabbed.
He says the Rev. Luspida Simanjuntak was beaten when she tried to come to Sihombing's aid.
Just remember -- these are the same people who will become violent if the Ground Zero Mosque isn't built. But then again, they will still be violent even if it is built -- and won't reciprocate by allowing non-Muslims to build their houses of worship. One would have thought Obama would have understand that, having spent his formative years living in Indonesia among the peaceful, non-violent Muslims like those in the article above.
I wonder what would happen if they were "provoked" the way Christians have been in this community? Want to bet it would not be confined to "we wish you wouldn't do that"?
Do they get fired? Run out of the profession?
Well, not the superintendent of THIS school district.
Most Chicago public schools earned a D or F grade on the districtís own evaluation, reveals the Chicago Tribune, which has printed the grades. The district didnít release the information, saying it lacks nuance. Someone leaked the info to the Trib.
As the graph shows, only 10 percent of elementary and middle schools and 4 percent of high schools received an A. Half of K-8 schools and two thirds of high schools were given a D or F.
The grades are based on attendance, dropout rates and test scores, with no attempt to measure studentsí progress. Not surprisingly, most of the A and B schools serve fewer low-income students than the district average. However, some high-poverty schools, such as Burnham Elementary, a nearly all-black magnet school, did well. Overall, charters schools were more likely to earn a passing grade.
Well, this particular superintnedent quit about 18 months ago.
No, not to hide in disgrace.
To become our nation's Secretary of Education.
I guess Obama wants Arne Duncan to do for America's schools what he did for schools in Chicago.
On this 9/11, why don't we recall these words published in the days after the jihadi attack on America, from a liberal voice in a liberal magazine.
The worst times, as we see, separate the civilized of the world from the uncivilized. This is the moment of clarity. Let the civilized toughen up, and let the uncivilized take their chances in the game they started.
A bit of what might have been had American leaders in the 1950s had simply shown the "courage" of today's leaders in dealing with the threatened burning of the Quran by a small group of cultists in Florida.
LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS (AP) -- A city, state, and nation rest more easily tonight after the parents of black children scheduled to enroll at all-white Little Rock Central High School announced their decision to decline to enroll their children at the school in response to pleas from national leaders. President Eisenhower, Cabinet-level federal officials, military leaders, law enforcement and leaders of moderate segregationist organizations repeatedly urged that the families not engage in actions that would inflame the passions of extremist segregationist groups like the KKK by sending their students to the school. The parents declared that they would not enroll their children -- "not now, not ever" -- at the school in response to fears that extremist leaders would use the enrollment of the children to whip-up segregationist violence across the South.
The decision was widely praised, with Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall joining with Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus to comment the parents for their patriotic decision to not further endanger American lives by insisting upon an unwise exercise of their constitutional rights.
In response to the news, crosses burned on hilltops across the South in celebration of the victory. in addition, several black churches were bombed and over a dozen Negroes were lynched, by Klan members still outraged by the original plans to enroll the children at the segregated school.
Personally, I prefer the courageous course taken by national leaders over a half-century ago to the cowardice displayed this week. American leaders defended American rights in the face of extremist threats of violence, rightly recognizing that capitulation to the evil extremist threats coming from the mouths of moderate leaders who secretly supported the them would only serve to undermine American values and embolden the enemies of those values.
We can debate whether or not burning a Quran is an act that benefits our society, and urge that it not be done. That said, what we have seen in the past week, as our nations leaders publicly and privately pressured a fringe group of Americans to refrain from acting on their freedoms gave America's foreign enemies and their fifth column in this country a propaganda victory much greater than they would have received had photos and videos of burning Qurans been sent speeding around the globe via the internet. They now know that we fear them so much that our nation's leaders will crack down on our distinctive liberties rather than fight our enemies -- a sign that the jihadis have already won, and that we have already lost.
Originally Posted on September 11, 2004 -- As is my custom, I repost it today.
So many died that horrible day.
One was my classmate at Washington and Lee University, Commander Robert Allan Schlegel.
I would love to tell you he and I were close. That would be a lie.
I would love to share stories of great times together. I don't have any.
What I can tell you is that I remember Rob Schlegel as a good guy, a friend of some friends. I remember him as being a bright guy, sitting a couple rows over and a couple seats back in a US History class. One of those classmates you later wish you had gotten to know when you had the chance.
Rest in Peace.
May all the victims of September 11 and the many men and women of our armed forces who have died fighting terrorism since that day rest in peace.
Under a bright Afghan moon, eight U.S. paratroopers trudged along a ridge in the Korengal Valley, unaware they were walking right into a trap. Less than 20 feet away, a band of Taliban fighters executed the ambush plan perfectly, enveloping the paratrooper squad in an explosion of bullets and grenades.
Army Spec. Salvatore Giunta, a 22-year-old from Hiawatha, Iowa, was knocked flat by the gunfire; luckily, a well-aimed round failed to penetrate his armored chest plate. As the paratroopers tried to gather their senses and scramble for a shred of cover, Giunta reacted instinctively, running straight into the teeth of the ambush to aid three wounded soldiers, one by one, who had been separated from the others.
Two paratroopers died in the Oct. 25, 2007, attack, and most of the others sustained serious wounds. But the toll would have been far higher if not for the bravery of Giunta, according to members of his unit and Army officials.
On Friday, the White House announced that President Obama decided to award Giunta, now a sergeant, the Medal of Honor.
He will become the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor who has served in any war since Vietnam.
Those who receive the Medal of Honor are a special breed.
Most do not survive their act of heroism. We must cherish those who do.
I thank God that Salvatore Giunta is alive today so that he can receive the thanks of a grateful nation, and serve as an honored example to our young men and women of what bravery and love of country look like.
Hereís what a report by former leaders of the 9/11 Commission have to say about the threat to America today.
The United States has failed to anticipate the danger from homegrown terrorists and now faces the most complex set of threats since the Sept. 11 attacks, analysts on an organization headed by the two 9/11 Commission co-chairmen warned Friday.
Unveiling a new report a day before the nation marks nine years since the 2001 attacks, members of the National Security Preparedness Group said Al Qaeda and other terror groups are increasingly turning to U.S. citizens to carry out attacks on the United States. Though the U.S. at one time may have thought its cultural "melting pot" would provide a "firewall" against radicalization from within, group member Bruce Hoffman said that assumption turned out to be false.
"The United States has failed to fundamentally understand and prepare for these threats," Hoffman said. "Terrorists may have found our Achilles' heel. We have no strategy to deal with this growing problem and emerging threat."
Part of the problem, of course, is that our nationís political, religious, and opinion leaders are so busy noting that most Muslims are not terrorists that they cannot bring themselves to note that most terrorists we are dealing with today are, sadly, Muslims Ė and that we need to act accordingly.
That might mean following something akin to the strategy outlined in this article, Handle Muslims just like we handle the neo-Nazis.
see no reason why our policies toward Islam in the West in general and America in particular should not be a mirror image of our policies toward the neo-Nazi movement.
Whatever steps we take in public education and law enforcement to reduce the threat of Aryan supremacists are the same steps we should take in reducing the threat Koranic Islam poses to the West.
Bottom line: whatever the FBI does to keep white supremacists in line is the same thing it ought to be doing to keep Islam in check.
For instance, according to Athan G. Theoharis in his book The FBI: A comprehensive reference guide (p. 32), FBI agents were ordered in 1964 to "frustrate any effort" by the KKK and other supremacist organizations "to recruit new or youthful adherents," and to miss no "opportunity" to expose the "devious maneuvers and duplicity" of white supremacist groups.
In other words, the goal was to make it unthinkable for America's youth to join a white supremacist group. A noble goal for today, I suggest. Our aim should be to make it as unthinkable for a resident of America to embrace Islam as we have made it to embrace Aryan Nations ideology. And for the same reasons.
That sounds eminently fair to me ó let's choke off violent, anti-semitic ideology and actions wherever we find them, whether in the meetings of skinheads or in the mosques of America. Anybody have a problem with that?
Does that mean we shut down every mosque in America? No, it doesnít, any more than we shut down every skinhead group in the country. We donít do that because some are non-violent and some are militantly anti-racist. But we can and do infiltrate those groups that encourage and commit violence, arresting leaders and members. And we include in our school curricula and mass media loud and frequent denunciations of the sorts of beliefs and attitudes (and, or course, actions) that the racist skinheads believe in.
With Islam, unfortunately, we do something differently. We tiptoe around the problem, and preach tolerance and understanding. Rather than trying to shut down the bad actors as we do among the skinhead crowd, we encourage navel-gazing contemplation about what we as a nation are doing to provoke the hatred and violence.
When the bad actors get offended Ė say by the burning of a Quran Ė we hear no less than the President of the United States insist that the First Amendment protected activity of the burners be stopped. Would that ever happen if a group of neo-Nazis threatened violence because a synagogue decided to symbolically burn a copy of Mein Kampf? Of course not Ė and we would all be outraged if it did. Letís treat the very real mosques where violence is preached and threatened over the Quran burning and weenie roast in Florida in the precisely the same manner we would treat the hypothetical neo-Nazi scum above Ė and continue that practice henceforward and forever.
Who knew? Terry Jones and Rush Limbaugh were high school classmates
Who cares? It is utterly insignificant.
Because after all, they would like to have the law on their side when they kill those who exercise their human rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion anywhere in the world.
Following the uproar over the threatened burning of the Quran by a small Florida church, a leading international Islamic body said Thursday that the United Nations should outlaw ďall forms of offense against religions.Ē
ďThe Florida Dove World Outreach Center Churchís plan to burn copies of the Holy Quran on September 11 Ö requires immediate action to outlaw all acts of defamation of religions and religious sanctities,Ē the Morocco-based Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) said in a communique.
ďIt is a blot on humanity that such discriminatory attack against Islam and Islamic holy sites is continuing in the absence of deterrent legal measures, local and international.Ē
Sorry, Mohammedan swine, but it appears to me that immediate action by the UN to outlaw Islam as a violation of human rights is much more in order. After all, burning a Quran hurts nothing except your feelings. Continuous threats and acts of Islamic terrorism and the application of sharia law kill and maim millions annually.
They say that the political spectrum isnít a line, but is instead a circle, with the extremes meeting full circle from the middle. MSNBC employees ďDouche-bag DonnieĒ Deutsch and ďPitchfork PatĒ Buchanan proved that on this morningís ďMorning JoeĒ.
Both Pat Buchanan and Donny Deutsch have advocated the arrest of Pastor Terry Jones to prevent his possible burning of Korans and the danger to US troops such act would threaten. The paleo-conservative and the New York liberal made common cause on today's Morning Joe. They were outnumbered by Mika Brzezinski, Dan Senor and John Heilemann, all of whom opposed the arrest-the-pastor proposal on First Amendment grounds. Buchanan and Deutsch expressed disregard for the First Amendment implications.
Like I said the other day Ė we seem to have reached the day when dissent against America is deemed the highest form of patriotism but dissent against Islam borders on treason. I therefore weep for my formerly free homeland.
You know, the things that we little people are forced, at the metaphorical point of a gun held by jack-booted thugs Ė to pay to the government as a condition of remaining at liberty in our society.
Capitol Hill employees owed $9.3 million in overdue taxes at the end of last year, a sliver of the $1 billion owed by federal workers nationwide but one with potential political ramifications for members of Congress.
The debt among Hill employees has risen at a faster rate than the overall tax debt on the governmentís books, according to Internal Revenue Service data. It comes at a time when some Republican members are pushing for the firings of government workers who owe the IRS and President Obama has urged a crackdown on delinquent government contractors.
The IRS information does not identify delinquent taxpayers by name, party affiliation or job title and does not indicate whether members of Congress are among the scofflaws. It shows that 638 employees, or about 4 percent, of the 18,000 Hill workers owe money.
The average unpaid tax bill is $12,787 among the Senateís delinquent taxpayers and $15,498 among those working in the House.
Do I necessarily think that there need to be firings of all federal employees who owe back taxes? No, I donít Ė I understand that there might be extenuating circumstances under which someone might enter into a payment agreement with the IRS. I also understand that tax errors can lead to some delinquencies. But look at those averages Ė they are somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 of my base salary as teacher. It looks like they are based upon large, multi-year delinquencies on taxes Ė or they are based upon large delinquencies by super-rich members of the House and Senate that skew the averages significantly. That is outrageous.
Iíd suggest that the White House take action, but that doesnít seem likely, given this information.
Along with the Capitol Hill totals, it shows that three employees at the Office of Government Ethics owed a combined $75,000. And 41 employees at the Executive Office of the President owed $831,000 altogether - about the same amount as during the last year of George W. Bush's administration.
Do the math on that set of employees working directly for Obama Ė it is an average of about $20K per delinquent.
The numbers are available Ė and are astounding. Take a look at them here.
Greensboro Rabbi Fred Guttman called into the Brad and Britt Show this morning and analogized that the Koran burning preacher might be a fair target to be shot for the greater good. He also suggested that the preacher be sued to prevent the Koran burning - something that would violate the First Amendment. Host Brad Krantz who has been among the liberal crowd attacking opponents of the mosque at Ground Zero (often citing the First Amendment) let Guttman's comments pass without challenge.
On [his] blog, Guttman again invoked the Jewish value of Pikuach Nefesh which means "the greater good". This was the same value Guttman raised on the Brad and Britt Show when he argued that sometimes it is necessary to take a life to preserve more lives- the "greater good". He used a war time analogy on the Brad & Britt Show about how shooting someone could be justified for the "greater good". He then stated something to the effect of "I'm not saying this pastor should be shot...maybe he should be".
Really? The assassination of American citizens who are exercising their First Amendment rights would be acceptable "for the greater good"? What tolernat expression by the liberal rabbi! I wonder -- has the FBI visited him about this, or launched a police investigation? Or are they treating the observation as nothing more than hyperbole, as the blogger at the Spag Report and most of his commenters are?
My response at Hube's place is pretty straightforward.
I wonder -- given Obama's hostility towards Israel, would it be an acceptable exercise of freedom of speech and freedom of religion for a rabbi to invoke the same principle regarding Barack Obama? You know, sort of a "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one" sort of thing, like the rabbi proposed here. You know, just in a hyperbolic sort of way, like the siteowner where this was posted and some of the commenters there insist was the case with the actual comment.
I think the good rabbi would be residing in a federal detention facility, awaiting trial for urging a presidential assassination -- and th radio station would be fighting to keep its license.
For that matter, imagine that the suggestion had been to target Al Sharpton, Cindy Sheehan, or some other prominent Lefty. There would be rallies in the streets in front of the station and the synagogue, and a call for the revocation of the station's license for even letting the rabbi on the air.
But when a compassionate, tolerant liberal calls for the murder of an American citizen for the content of his speech, its a "no harm, no foul" situation.
UPDATE: If you find my use of the Obama example extreme, consider this -- the first time most non-Jews in this country heard of the theological ideas used by the rabbi to justify murdering an American for exercising his First Amendment rights, they were given as the justification for murdering an Israeli prime minister for seeking peace with the Palestinians.
Well, Barry Hussein claims it does.
"If he's listening, I hope he understands that what he's proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans, that this country has been built on the notion of freedom and religious tolerance," Obama said.
Really, Mr. President? Explain this.
Military burns unsolicited Bibles sent to Afghanistan
Oh, I get it.
Burning Qurans is hateful, intolerant and un-American.
But it is in keeping with the values of Obamunist America to burn Bibles.
Seems to me that we have a serious double standard here over what constitutes proper American behavior Ė especially when the burning of sacred texts comes at the hands of our own government rather than those of a few crazy cultists.
I wonder what comes next?
Are we going to see a Christian jihad here, and a few beheadings -- maybe starting at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where the commander-in-chief lives, since he is the individual ultimately responsible for the order to so disrespectfully destroy sacred texts?
After all, isnít that what civilized people from great religions do in response to such sacrilege? Or is that only what Muslims do?
We know the answer to all those questions Ė and those answers should tell Americans all they need to know about both Islam and Barack Obama's vision of America.
If Bill White managed to do this for Houston, just imagine what heíll do for Texas.
Mayor Annise Parker and her new Metro leadership team prepared Wednesday to confront the daunting financial, legal and logistical challenges posed by a federal finding that the agency's rail car procurement violated federal laws.
"There's a path forward" to salvage Metro's light rail expansion plans, Parker said. "It's very rocky, it's steep, but we at the new Metro can get it done."
Earlier Wednesday, Peter Rogoff, the administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, hand-delivered a letter stating that to qualify for federal funds, the Metropolitan Transit Authority must cancel its contracts to buy 105 rail cars from a Spanish company and rebid the purchase.
A four-month investigation, Rogoff wrote, found that Metro's previous leaders had violated federal procurement law and "Buy America" rules intended to preserve American jobs.
Call this another mess that Bill White and his people left for Annise Parker to handle. It just goes to prove the level of incompetence and corruption that existed under the White Regime in Houston. I wonder if John from BayAreaHatemonger will be reporting on this one, or if heíll make another post containing curse words and juvenile sexual jokes about Republicans?
While we are on the subject of the Ground Zero Imam, Iíd like to note that Iím taken aback by this statement by Imam Rauf.
Rauf said he hopes the church reconsiders. "It is something that is not the right thing to do."
"With freedom comes responsibility," he said. "This is dangerous to our national security and is also the un-Christian thing to do. ... Jesus said to love your enemy. We are not your enemy."
Sorry, but since when is it his place to tell Christians how they may or may not practice their religion? After all, the cultic little church in question has its own interpretation of what Jesus wants them to do and how destroying a book of false teachings is, in fact, a loving thing to do. But more to the point, Rauf and his supporters declared it un-American to oppose the exercise of First Amendment rights inherent in the building of the Ground Zero Mosque Ė isnít it equally un-American for them to oppose the exercise of First Amendment rights by the Dove World Outreach cult?
Most Americans say the planned Muslim community center and place of worship should not be built in Lower Manhattan, with the sensitive locale being their overwhelming objection, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Two-thirds of those polled object to the prospective Cordoba House complex near the site of the former twin towers, including a slim majority who express strongly negative views. Eighty-two percent of those who oppose the construction say it's because of the location, although 14 percent (9 percent of all Americans) say they would oppose such building anywhere in the country.
Even when we are dealing with a religion we donít like Ė and the poll shows Americans have a pretty negative view of Islam Ė over 90% of Americans support the freedom of practitioners of that religion to build houses of worship and to practice their religion freely. But there is something about the particular location of this particular Islamic center that offends people, and the reason for that is obvious to anyone who is honest about it. And the case for placing it within the 9/11 debris field is not helped by Imam Rauf going on television and declaring that failure to build this Islamic center at that particular location will be legitimate grounds in Muslim eyes for further acts of Islamic terrorism. Indeed, such blatant blackmail tactics ought to raise legitimate questions as to the proper status of Islam under American law.
The unicorn-rding demigod rises again!
Courtesy of todayís Washington Post.
He may have appointed himself as the ethics/campaign finance watchdog of Harris County, but he somehow only manages to find cases involving Republicans, never Democrats. So let me focus on a current campaign in our own county.
The Texas Ethics Commission is investigating whether Gordon Quan, the Democratic candidate for county judge, has failed to report some campaign expenditures.
It is not clear from the commission's Aug. 25 letter to Quan which expenditures are in question. However, Quan has not reported any expenses connected to a Dec. 29 event at the Post Oak Grill, at which he formally announced his candidacy.
Quan did not return a call for comment Wednesday.
"We are in the process of completing our response to the TEC, and I have no doubt they will find in Mr. Quan's favor," said Mike Malaise, a consultant who works for Quan.
Earlier this year, Republican activist Mark McCaig of Katy filed an ethics complaint against Quan. The commission dismissed it on the grounds that it had not been filled out properly.
McCaig refiled his complaint last month, charging that Quan had raised and spent money on his campaign before appointing a treasurer, failed to file a semiannual report for the committee left over from his City Council tenure and did not disclose all spending on his county judge campaign finance reports. The commission dismissed the first two complaints but will take up the third.
John has always taken the position that an investigation is proof of guilt, that those accused must immediately resign office or withdraw from their campaign, and that all supporters of such politicians are ignorant rubes. I'm sure that we will see just such statements about Quan and his supporters over at BayAreaHatemonger, complete with juvenile sexual innuendos and statements about how stupid anyone would be for supporting or voting for Quan. Oh, wait -- Quan is a Democrat and John supports him, so all we'll get is crickets chirping -- or an attack on the person filing the ethics charge.
And it comes from a group that I really don't like, based upon the fact that it often acts the part of an anti-Christian hate group out to censor religious speech by military members rather than actually protect the religious freedom of those in the service.
That said, I admire someone for taking a constructive action to counteract the actions of cultic congregation in Florida.
Now my hat is off to you folks on this one. I might quibble with you over the wording of the ad (I don't think that the exercise of freedom of expression or freedom of religion is "un-American"), but it is the only response that moves beyond hysterical condemnation and into positive action that transcends mere condemnation of the expression of ideas with which you disagree.
It isn't a random hypothetical question, after a statement apparently made on Sean Hannity's show today by crazy cultist Pastor Terry Jones.
Today on the Sean Hannity Radio Show, Terry Jones, the pastor of the small church in Florida, that is planning to burn the Koran indicated his church would reconsider its plans to burn the Koran if Muslims back down from building the Ground Zero Mosque.
So, Muslims, how badly do you really want that mosque at Ground Zero? Badly enough to watch copies of your sacred book go up in smoke? Or does the Quran mean enough to you that you are willing to engage in "mutual disarmament" with someone whose actions are as offensive to you as building your mosque is to the overwhelming majority of Americans? Which matters more -- the books or the building?
Erick Erickson pegs this one Ė and, in the course of doing so, also pegs why the opinion elitists have condemned opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque project as an incitement to the Muslim world.
Ultimately, this issue is not about tolerance of Islam, but about fear of Islam.
The elite in this country have no problem with American flag burnings or Bible burnings. Heck, the American military burned a pile of Bibles lest proselytizing happen.
No Christians went out and beheaded troops or media talking heads. There were no riots in the streets of Washington, D.C. by aggrieved Christians.
Contrast that with the Islamic world. Show a cartoon of Mohammed, you die. Burn a Koran, you die. Reject the faith, you die.
Christians get told ďNoĒ all the time in this country.
No! You cannot have prayer in school.
No! You cannot enact laws banning gay marriage.
No! You cannot stop abortion Ė or even protest near abortion clinics
No! You cannot stop the display of a crucifix submerged in urine or a picture of the Virgin Mary daubed in feces.
No! You cannot ban disrespectful depictions and statements about Jesus and Christian religious leaders on the radio, on the television screen, or in motion pictures.
What happens when Christians are told ďNoĒ?
Christians donít run out into the streets and riot when that happens.
Christians do not behead those who oppose them.
Christians donít blow up innocent civilians.
Christians donít murder converts.
Unfortunately, there are Muslims (and Iím even willing to concede, for the sake of argument, that Iím talking about a small minority of Muslims) who regularly engage in such conduct when offended. As a result, any demand by any Muslim group or leader tends to receive special deference from our political and military leaders. But letís not lie and call that tolerance. No, letís call it by what it is Ė cold, craven, cowardly capitulation to the blackmail demands of the ďextremistĒ Muslims who engage in violence and the ďmoderateĒ Muslims who urge that we not provoke the violence by exercising our freedoms.
Oh, and as an aside Ė Pastor Terry Jones says the Quran burning is what God wants him and his congregation to do. I disagree. The government will not force either of us to comply with what the other believes Ė and wonít prohibit either of us from saying what we think is wrong with the otherís point of view on the matter. That is tolerance, not the namby-pamby ďdonít say anything bad about anyone elseís religious beliefsĒ approach insisted upon by too many government and religious leaders.
A couple years ago, I was among those opposing the building of a mosque in the Katy, Texas area, and supporting neighbors opposed to it. My reasons were very straight-forward Ė the group had bought the land and then tried to run off a neighboring businessman whose family had owned the property for over 160 years. The group also was placing structures on the property without proper permits. As such, I supported the neighbor who responded by running pig races and pork barbecues on his property in an effort to point out that his property rights were not compromised because Muslims had moved in next door.
Fast forward a few years, and consider the situation as it now exists.
In Katy, about 500 Muslim worshippers travel daily down the narrow black-topped road, past several affluent subdivisions, to pray in a portable building temporarily serving as a mosque, and 100 students attend an adjacent Islamic school in another portable. Katy's Muslim American Society, or MAS, needs more money to build the grand white structure with a gold dome and two towers that was originally envisioned.
At the same time, the 150-member group Preserving the Lifestyles and Neighborhoods of Katy, or PLANK, continues to be wary and ask questions. Group members complain about potential troubles with flooding, traffic, noise and light pollution.
But the president of Katy's Muslim society, Hesham Ebaid, said his organization has exceeded county planning standards and received a building permit. The Muslim organization already has installed two parking lots to ease traffic congestion and a pond with fountains to help contain floodwaters, he said.
"We are struggling to override misconceptions," said Ebaid, who immigrated here 22 years ago from Egypt and works as a petroleum engineer for Shell. "We have invited the whole neighborhood to share in iftar ó a dinner held during a break in our fast for Ramadan. So people will get to know us."
While there are still some concerns expressed about traffic on the road and flooding issues, the mosque is trying to proactively address those. When one neighbor complained that lights from the outdoor recreation facility on the site were shining into his home, the lights were quickly redirected to abate the nuisance. It seems reasonable to believe that issues regarding noise and traffic will be properly dealt with by both the mosque and the county so as to meet the needs of both the mosque and the community.
And perhaps most importantly in my book, the mosque officials reached out to make peace with the neighbor who they told to move his business because it was not compatible with their use of their property. Having offered an apology, the pig races and barbecues ended.
Iím a believer in the First Amendment Ė indeed, Iím all for religious groups locating their houses of worship in the vicinity of their believers. My objection at the time was related to the conduct of those leading the effort to build the mosque Ė and the show of good faith that they now appear to be making convinces me that they want to be good neighbors. I hope the residents of the area will join them in that effort Ė even as they remain vigilant about legitimate traffic, safety and flooding issues that are a part of any development of a rural or semi-rural area. Opposition to a mosque simply because it is a mosque, however, is simply wrong Ė this is not at all like placing a mosque so close to Ground Zero.
Speaking as the husband of a chronic pain patient, I unambiguously say not just ďNoĒ, but ďHELL NO!Ē
North Carolina sheriffs want access to state computer records that identify people with prescriptions for certain drugs, an idea that patient advocates oppose.
The state sheriff's association proposed the idea Tuesday to a legislative health care committee, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported. The sheriffs said they want access to state computer records identifying anyone with prescriptions for powerful painkillers and other controlled substances.
"We can better go after those who are abusing the system," said Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter.
Is there a problem with prescription drug abuse? Yes, there is Ė and Iím familiar with it because of the hurdles my wife and her doctor have to jump through in order for him to prescribe her the medications she needs. Iím aware of it because of the justifications we have to make to insurance companies and pharmacists for the medications she takes. The last thing that my wife and I want or need is for the cops to show up at our door to check on how much of her medications he has, who prescribed it, and other medical questions that are beyond their need to know in terms of both medical privacy and professional competence. Where is the ďprobable causeĒ for opening my wifeís medical records without a warrant, so that the cops can just fish around the prescription database to see if she, her doctor, or other patients are up to no good? After all, suffering from a chronic degenerative disease and seeking treatment for it is not a crime.
It seems hard to believe that it has been two years since Hurricane Ike threw the lives of so many of us into turmoil as the storm left its path of destruction across the Galveston-Houston area. One of the blessings for my wife and I was that our church was spared (indeed, we took shelter there for several weeks after our home was left unlivable) -- but not every religious congregation was so lucky, especially not those just a few miles away on Galveston Island.
It is therefore with great joy that I read of the return of one such community of believers to their sacred space.
For Congregation Beth Jacob on Galveston Island, Hurricane Ike was a force from God, ruining much of its building with floodwaters, but ó in the midst of destruction - renewing interest in the dying synagogue.
Ike hit just before the Jewish High Holy Days two years ago, and Beth Jacob, already down in membership, without a rabbi and on the verge of closing, had to cancel services for the first time in its 75-year history. Last year, they pulled together and made do with temporary room dividers and folding chairs to meet for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
With donations from across the community and a handful of new members, the conservative congregation will host about 150 in its sanctuary tonight, the start of the Jewish New Year. Beth Jacob members are looking toward another year of growth and blessings and no longer questioning their fate.
Just call it one more example of how the terrible events we in southeast Texas survived two years ago have called us all to recognize what is important in our lives and has therefore served as a blessing and source of renewal in our lives.
But we don't -- neither Obama nor Bush was ever willing to take a stand in favor of free speech when the false prophet's crew took offense.
Berlin: Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who in 2005 portrayed the Prophet Mohammed wearing a bomb in his turban, is to receive the M100 Media Prize in Germany on Wednesday, organisers said.
The prize is to be awarded for Westergaardís Ďunbending engagement for freedom of the press and freedom of opinion, and for his courage to defend these democratic values despite threats of death and violence,í the prize committee said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to deliver the keynote speech at the ceremony, held in the Sanssouci palace in Potsdam and attended by editors and publishers from Europeís top media companies.
Westergaardís cartoon, published along with other portrayals of Mohammed in the Jyllands-Posten in 2005, caused a storm of protest when they became known in the Arab and Muslim world. Many took offence at the personal and disrespectful portrayal of the prophet.
How long until the wailing ninnies who condemn both Quran burning and opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque start their condemnations of a world leader who recognizes that freedom to speak includes the freedom to offend, and that it is those who threaten and engage in violence who are the bad actors rather than those who speak?
I disagree with his support for building the Ground Zero Mosque and his less than charitable description of those who in good faith oppose its construction, but I respect his even-handedness.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended on Tuesday a Florida pastor's right to burn copies of the Quran during a public demonstration on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"In a strange way I'm here to defend his right to do that. I happen to think that it is distasteful. I don't think he would like it if somebody burnt a book that in his religion he thinks is holy," Mr. Bloomberg said during a news conference updating the public on the progress of rebuilding at the World Trade Center site.
"But the First Amendment protects everybody," Mr. Bloomberg said, "and you can't say that we're going to apply the First Amendment to only those cases where we are in agreement."
Quick -- somebody tell that to the president and his minions in the Obama Regime. They seem intent upon making support for Islam a sign of patriotism -- and dissent against Islam something close to treason. Bloomberg at least recognizes that love of Islam is not required for one to love America.
It is apparently an advertising gimmick for a sleazy sounding movie. I think I'll pass on the film -- but suggest that everyone make a few dozen toll-free calls, just to run up their bill.
An interesting reflection on what this lack of respect for virginity says about society can be found here.
Iíve already spoken on this issue once, noting that this little church has the clear right to make its point by burning the Quran. Iíve even been somewhat supportive of their doing so, on the same basis that I supported Draw Muhammad Day. I think it is important to stand firm and exercise oneís rights in the face of Islamic extremist threats, and to refuse to back down simply because the more savage members of the Religion of Peace are likely to engage in non-peaceful behavior in response.
The U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Monday criticized a Florida church's plan to burn copies of the Quran on September 11, warning the demonstration "could cause significant problems" for American troops overseas.
"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in
Afghanistan," Gen. David Petraeus said in a statement issued Monday.Ē
Why am I uncomfortable with this statement? Because I am concerned with the notion that our military commanders (and, equally, our civilian leaders) would seek to preempt our rights to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion by condemning certain exercises of those rights as harmful to the war effort (or some other significant public policy). Indeed, in this case the statement lends itself to accusations of disloyalty on the part of a group of citizens who have exercised those rights, and borders on accusing them of treason if they do exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms.
Iíve surfed the web these past couple days and seen many writers and commenters Ė some on the right and many on the left Ė becoming nearly hysterical as a result of Petraeusí words. When you boil them all down to their essence, you come up with something on the order of the confrontational words of CNN anchorette Kiran Chetry during an interview with the pastor of this tiny congregation.
I just want to ask you this: does it bother you that the military and the military leaders believe that by doing this, you are very likely putting the risk- the lives of U.S. soldiers at risk in Muslim countries? David Petraeus, the general- this is what he said: 'Their actions will in fact jeopardize the safety of young men and women who are serving in uniform over here, and also undermine the very mission that they're trying to accomplish.' Are you willing to have the blood of soldiers on your hands by this demonstration?
There you have it Ė exercising oneís constitutional rights in the face of Islamic outrage makes you guilty of the blood of the victims of Islamofascism. And coming from a member of the liberal media (and the liberal blogosphere), it is truly outrageous. After all, since 9/11 weíve seen a host of news stories and blog posts that undermine the war effort, serve as intelligence sources for the enemy, and provide propaganda for al Qaeda and the Taliban. Any suggestion by government officials that such reporting or commentating should cease in the name of protecting the troops or supporting the war effort would have been greeted with cries of ďcensorshipĒ and ďcreeping fascismĒ, and denials that the speakers and the writers bore any guilt for the lives lost because of the terrorist response to their words. Indeed, the New York Times and Washington Post, among others, ignored private entreaties to refrain from reporting information that was infinitely more harmful to the war effort than a tiny congregation and their pastor burning the Quran will ever be Ė and those efforts were rewarded with Pulitzer Prizes and book deals, not the opprobrium of ďblood on your handsĒ
Indeed, the very notion that Americans should refrain from speaking because their words might make Muslims mad has become a recurrent theme. We heard the same sort of rhetoric this past spring over Draw Muhammad Day. Weíve heard it again from politicians who support the Ground Zero Mosque as they seek to silence the supermajority of Americans who oppose the location. Now we hear it from those opposed disrespect for the Muslim holy book Ė ďShut up! Youíll piss off the Muslims and hurt the war effort!Ē
That sort of reaction disturbs me much more than burning the Quran does Ė despite my rather light-hearted support for burning the Quran in that earlier post, I do find the decision to do so to be somewhat disturbing Ė because it makes effectively makes the sharia-stoked sensitivities of Muslims the measuring stick of how far the First Amendment rights of America go. What next ? Official condemnation of anti-Islamist bloggers? Government press releases urging that books not be published or sold because their contents are offensive to Islam? Government censure over the content of church sermons that contradict articles of the Muslim faith? Maybe not Ė but I canít help but feel that the words of a general I highly respect and the reaction of the former First Amendment absolutists of the media and what used to be the ďdissent is patrioticĒ Left is but the first step down the path towards de facto imposition of sharia-based limitations on the American freedoms. And if that happens, then the terrorists really have won, no matter what happens on the battlefield in Afghanistan or Iraq.
UPDATE: The Obama White House, where they argue passionately for the right of Muslims to build the Ground Zero Mosque as an undisputed exercise of American rights under the First Amendment and argue opposition to building it is consequently un-American has now turned around and declared that it is un-American to burn a Quran EVEN THOUGH there is an indisputable First Amendment right to do so. Interesting, isn't it, how the Obama Regime believes that anything that is offensive to Muslims (especially those who hate us and want to kill us anyway) is "un-American" and that whatever Muslims do, say, or believe is to be regarded as the height of patriotism. I guess that Barack Obama believes that tolerance for the thoughts and beliefs we disagree with is a one-way street, and not required of Muslims. It therefore seems to be official that "dissent against Islam is unpatriotic".
UPDATE II: For the record, the folks at Dove World Outreach are pretty scummy individuals -- but as has often been the case, it is in defending the rights of scummy individuals that our own rights are protected from encroachment. They've aligned themselves with the Phelps Phamily Phreaks of the Westboro Baptist Cult -- but just as I defend the right of WBC to speak in ways that offend patriotic Americans, I defend the right of DWO to speak in a manner that offends America's enemies.
How do you have negotiations with someone who takes this position?
Abbas stressed that he would not make any concessions to Israel.
ďIf they demand concessions on the rights of the refugees or the 1967 borders, I will quit. I canít allow myself to make even one concession,Ē he said.
Quite frankly, the Israelis need to tell Mahmoud Abbas and his trained poodle, Barack Obama, that there will be no further meetings with the Terrorstinians until all factions agree to be bound by the final agreement AND there is a willingness on the Terrorstinian side to actually negotiate an agreement where both sides accept less than their starting position.
George Soros, the billionaire investor and philanthropist, plans to announce on Tuesday that he is giving $100 million to Human Rights Watch to expand the organizationís work globally. It is the largest gift he has made, the largest gift by far that Human Rights Watch has ever received, and only the second gift of $100 million or more made by an individual this year, according to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
It has been the policy of Human Rights Watch to damn Israel while backing the cause of the Terrorstinians at every turn, despite Terrorstinian targeting of Israeli civilians while accidental deaths of Arab civilians used as human shields by Terrorstinian organizations in violation of international law are laid at the feet of Israel instead of the cowards who hide behind innocent women and children for protection. Actions by Israel, no matter how carefully circumscribed to avoid harm to innocents, are never pure enough, while Terrorstinian actions, no matter how brutally and lawlessly attacks on noncombatants are carried out, are never so foul as to merit the sort of condemnation due to the Jews. So is it any wonder that Soros, who is so disassociated from his own heritage that he to this day expresses no remorse for his cooperation in Hitlerís genocidal project against his fellow Jews, today sides with those who engage in anti-Semitic against Israel as it seeks to maintain its existence in the face of attacks by those who admire and seek to emulate Hitler?
And what does this say about those on the American Left Ė whether left-wing organizations like Media Matters and MoveOn or liberal politicians like Barack Obama Ė who take tainted money from George Sorosí hands?
Letting illegal immigrants go free? Hard to believe but that could be the new federal mandate if a proposed ICE policy change is approved.
Hereís the idea: If authorities pull someone over for a traffic stop and discover they are in the country illegally, authorities would be forced to let the illegal immigrant go without calling federal agents unless the individual is a convicted felon.
Even officers opposed to SB 1070 say this would set a bad precedent.
Yeah Ė law enforcement being required to release known law-breakers who are detained in the course of a lawful stop is an awful precedent. It makes a mockery of our nationís immigration laws and border security Ė and amounts to the Obama Regime thumbing its nose at the Congress , the states, and the people of the United States. Indeed, what we are seeing is not the proper operation of the Executive Branch in a federal system Ė we are seeing another move towards tyrannical lawlessness.
Of course, this seems to be the tack that the Obama Regime will take once the American people reject the Democrats at the polls in November Ė the plan is to resort to executive agency regulations to accomplish ďlegislation by fiatĒ rather than following the Constitutional process, because Congress will be ďirrelevantĒ if it wonít rubber-stamp an Obama agenda that the American people have rejected.
If you can't stand the heat, Barry, get out of the friggin' kitchen!
They talk about me like a dog.
For the record, Mr. President, I would never talk about you like a dog. I have much more respect for dogs than I do for you. I love my two dogs and believe that either of them would do a significantly better job as president than you have done since your inauguration. My dogs and I therefore demand an apology from you for that scurrilous accusation.
This one comes straight out of Tinker v. Des Moines -- and every individual involved in setting a policy banning the American flag should find themselves held PERSONALLY liable for violating a student's rights by banning the display the American flag on his truck.
A high school student in Northglenn is upset that campus security told him to remove the large American flags flying from his pickup truck because it might make others uncomfortable.
Jeremy Stoppel told 7NEWS he got a ticket at Northglenn High School last Thursday for squealing his tires. He said he deserved that ticket and deserved having his parking lot pass suspended for two weeks.
But heís upset that campus security then told him he canít fly his 3 feet by 5 feet flags in the bed of his pickup truck anymore.
ďShe said I should take my flags down. She said this is a school that focuses on diversity and she doesnít want anyone to feel uncomfortable,Ē Stoppel said. ďHow do you suppose anyone would feel uncomfortable in America with an American flag? Thatís where Iím confused.Ē
He said he started flying his flags around school last week.
ďNow that I finally get to drive to school, I have a truck, thatís what I want to do. I want to fly my flags. September 11th is coming up so I wanted to fly them in honor of that,Ē said Stoppel, who said his cousin is serving in the Navy.
The reality is that schools generally are not permitted to ban speech that makes students uncomfortable. Under Tinker v. Des Moines, there has to be a material disruption of school activities -- and if that school has an American flag flying in front of it or anywhere in it, there is no way to argue that display of the American flag does so. And indeed, this would seem to also strike at the very heart of the notion put forward by Justice Jackson in the famous flag salute case, West Virginia v. Barnette:
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.
That in this case we have school officials seeking to prevent patriotic expression in the name of celebrating "diversity" makes the need to trot out that principle all the more ironic, given that they were originally intended to defend the right of religious dissenters to refuse to salute the American flag.
Fortunately, this case seems to involve overreaching by a single security officer rather than a matter of school or district policy. But that any member of the staff would think it was within their purview to ban the American flag from campus in the name of "diversity" is itself indicative of a need to train the staff about student rights.
And a note to the Stoppel family -- this sounds like a situation that could and would have been resolved by contacting the school or the district without going to the media about it. Yes, you are right and the security officer was dead wrong -- but your own school administration is backing you, and in all likelihood would have done so had they not been contacted by the media without giving the principal or superintendent the chance to resolve the situation first.
Just consider the murderous little piece of excrement's reason for shaking down the family of one of his victims.
"I wanted to get back at Natalee's family ó her parents have been making my life tough for five years," the paper quoted him as saying from prison in Peru. "When they offered to pay for the girl's location, I thought: 'Why not'?"
Sorry that the family wants their daughter's body after you killed her, you scumbag. Personally, I hope they get your head on a silver platter as well, Joran.
I don't agree with the level of alarmism found in this New York Times article about the acceptance of Muslims in America. But I was particularly struck by this observation, and would like to offer one of my own.
[Some American Muslims] liken their situation to that of other scapegoats in American history: Irish Roman Catholics before the nativist riots in the 1800s, the Japanese before they were put in internment camps during World War II.
Let's look at that.
First, let's consider the treatment of Catholics during the 1800s. Churches and convents were burned, with no efforts by government to stop, investigate, or punish the attacks. Laws were passed putting Catholic institutions under state supervision and subjecting them to special inspection -- when there were not actual efforts by government to close them. Denial of the right to practice religion in the workplace was common.
Second, let's consider the treatment of Japanese during the period before WWII. Foreign-born Japanese were denied the right to become US citizens, which therefore led to their inability to practice certain professions. They were also restricted in matters of owning and leasing land. And, of course, there was the internment policy that came at the hands of Franklin Delano Roosevelt during World War II.
Now let's consider Muslims in America today. They freely immigrate to this country, and are eligible for citizenship on equal basis with others. Their institutions operate freely, subject to the same laws as other religious and ethnic organizations. In the rare instances where criminal actions are taken against Muslim institutions, communities, and individuals, the government actively investigates and prosecutes the offenders. Muslims freely own property, and are successful business owners and respected members of elite professions. They were not, in the wake of 9/11, rounded up and interned, and have faced little in the way of actual restrictions despite the ongoing terrorist plots and activities that have happened in the ensuing nine years.
Yeah, it sounds like the situations of the three groups are nearly identical, doesn't it -- NOT!
How did Catholics and Japanese become accepted in America as fully American despite their differences? They integrated into American culture and showed themselves to be truly American. They served in the military became a part of political organizations, and showed themselves to be loyal, patriotic Americans. They denounced elements of their community who were not loyal to America, elements which were few and far between.
In time, Catholics and Japanese were accepted -- in large part because they made great efforts in order to adapt to become a part of America, rather than demanding that America change itself to accommodate itself to them. They did not, as groups, nurse grievances even when these grievances were real. While anti-Catholicism remained a force in American society into the middle part of the twentieth century (and some would argue is still an important part of liberal ideology today), Catholics are today an important part of the American body politic. In the wake of WWII, Japanese-Americans became a welcome part of American society -- indeed, I recall my family's Japanese-American neighbors as being proudly Japanese but even more proudly American less than a quarter century after the wrong-headed policy of internment that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor (indeed, I later learned that the father and mother had met and married as teenagers in one of the camps) .
What I hope I have shown is that there is a profound arrogance and dishonesty when Muslim leaders and organizations attempt to co-opt the experience of truly oppressed groups like Catholics and Japanese (or even more offensively, Jews in Germany on the eve of the Holocaust) to arouse sympathy for their community. The situations are quite different -- and difficulties are often born less of antipathy towards and ignorance of Islam by the rest of American than they are of the hypersensitivity and arrogance of a Muslim community that wants anti-Muslim speech criminalized, legitimate investigations of Muslim organizations and individuals curtailed, and the rights of other Americans limited in the name of accommodating Muslims in a manner unlike what has ever been done for any other group in American history. Rather than becoming a part of the American fabric, too many of the louder voices among Muslim leaders insist that the American fabric be adapted to fit with them. And that results in much of today's problem, as Americans who are willing to grant Islam the tolerance to which it is entitled under our Constitution (something rarely granted other faiths in Islamic nations) find themselves branded as unAmerican hate-mongers for refusing to go further in embracing Islam than the Constitution itself requires.
UPDATE: Here's an interesting piece from a Muslim perspective on the reality that Muslims really are not oppressed in America.
George Schwartz is the sort of guy who would be roundly excoriated by the Left if he were funding conservative causes -- but is beloved by the Left since he serves as an ATM for any number of of prominent liberal groups in the US and abroad.
George Schwartz was born in Hungary in 1930 ó not the luckiest time and place to be born a Jew.
Georgeís father Theodore tried to change the familyís fortunes by changing their name to something less Jewish-sounding. It didnít help. And soon war came.
When the Nazis took total control of Hungary in 1944, the Holocaust followed. In two months, 440,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to death camps.
To survive, George, then a teenager, collaborated with the Nazis.
First he worked for the Judenrat. That was the Jewish council set up by the Nazis to do their dirty work for them. Instead of the Nazis rounding up Jews every day for the trains, they delegated that murderous task to Jews who were willing to do it to survive another day at the expense of their neighbours.
Theodore hatched a better plan for his son. He bribed a non-Jewish official at the agriculture ministry to let George live with him. George helped the official confiscate property from Jews.
By collaborating with the Nazis, George survived the Holocaust. He turned on other Jews to spare himself.
George moved to London after the war and then to New York, where he became a stockbroker. Heís rich now. Forbes magazine says heís the 35th richest man in the world. Maybe youíve heard of him. He goes by the name his father invented: George Soros.
I've written on the matter before, but think it is always important to remind folks of the moral bankruptcy of the liberal bagman.
Now this moral leper is trying to silence ideological opponents in Canada -- as he has already tried here in the United States with his attacks on Fox News and conservative talk radio via front groups like Media Matters for America. I wonder how those "good liberals" feel about getting their paychecks from a Jew who betrayed his own people to the Nazis just to save his own worthless skin?
H/T Ezra Levant
Looks like we may have found the next case to expand freedom of political speech from overreaching campaign finance laws. And interestingly enough, it arises precisely on a point that was raised in oral argument 18 months ago in the Citizens United Case.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committeeís attorneys sent Simon & Schuster a letter Thursday, hinting that the publisher may have violated several campaign finance laws that prohibit in-kind contributions by corporations by posting on its website a promotional video for a book penned by three top House Republicans.
At issue: the publishing houseís promotion of ďYoung Guns: A New Generation of Conservative LeadersĒ by Reps. Eric Cantor of Virginia, Kevin McCarthy of California and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. The DCCCís attorneys at Perkins Coie sent the New York-based publisher a letter saying itís improper for a corporation to host a video on its website that directs viewers to a website that solicits contributions for Republican candidates for Congress.
Isn't this reminiscent of this argument made by the Obama Justice Department in March, 2009?
The Obama Administration claimed that BCRA allows the federal government to ban a 600-page book if it mentions a candidate's name only once, a 90-minute movie if it mentions a candidate's name once, or even a toy action figure of a candidate. If the organization uses a single dime of its general funds to produce, promote or distribute any such materials during the "blackout" periods, it becomes a federal crime.
The Obama Regime later backed off that claim when the case was re-argued by now-Justice Elena Kagan in her role as Solicitor General -- but the fact that this position is again being taken by powerful Democrats is disturbing. What is being said is that, regardless of the guarantees of the First Amendment, Congress can limit the very speech that the First Amendment was most intended to protect -- political speech that advocates for or against a candidate! Will this case lead to a reaffirmation of Citizens United, or will it result in a retrenchment that makes the protections of the First Amendment a little bit smaller for all of us?
An assertion like this one always makes my blood boil -- as it shows that too many of the African-American "intelligentsia" have forgotten that speech that Martin Luther King gave 47 years ago last week at the Lincoln Memorial, and that their alleged devotion to Martin's "Dream" is nothing but a damnable lie.
"The District is a multiracial and multicultural city that should have top public officials who reflect the city they govern."Presumably, then, Colbert I. King would also argue that a community that is overwhelmingly Caucasian should not hire any (or at least not many) minorities for senior positions because of the need to "reflect the city they govern."
No, I didn't think so.
Now I don't know enough about the situation in Washington, DC to make an informed comment about the mayoral race in the city -- but if it comes down to a choice between a color-blind mayor and a race-conscious challenger, I hope that the voters of the city identify with the non-racist King with the national holiday, not the racist King with a column in the Washington Post.