Monday, March 31, 2008

"Fitna", the Film Depicting Islamofascism, Resurfaces

Liveleak, a video website similar to Youtube, took down this Dutch made video on Muslim atrocities after their staff received death threats. Today they reinstated the video and issued the following statement:

"On the 28th of March was left with no other choice but to remove the film "fitna" from our servers following serious threats to our staff and their families. Since that time we have worked constantly on upgrading all security measures thus offering better protection for our staff and families. With these measures in place we have decided to once more make this video live on our site. We will not be pressured into censoring material which is legal and within our rules. We apologise for the removal and the delay in getting it back, but when you run a website you don't consider that some people would be insecure enough to threaten our lives simply because they do not like the content of a video we neither produced nor endorsed but merely hosted."


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Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Destructive Operating Philosophy of the Democrats

Since President Kennedy’s term ended abruptly, it has continually been the operating philosophy of the Democratic Party to take from those who produce and give to those who don’t produce. In examining the economic programs of both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama, it is clear that this philosophy will be applied with a heavy hand should one of them be elected president. They plan to do away with the Bush tax cuts on earned income, reinstate the death tax and also greatly increase capital gains taxes on all of us who own common stocks and mutual funds, and who save for our retirement in this way.

This philosophy greatly appeals to people of no ambition and to others who have been led to believe that there is something evil about profits, capitalism and corporations - the engines that have led to the greatest prosperity mankind has ever known. Democratic politicians and their willing accomplices in the mainstream press constantly refer to conspiracies and corruption on the part of entrepreneurs and corporations, and show little understanding of what makes this country work and what made this country great. The common man here and in other developed countries have a standard of living today that was available in earlier times only to a few people of royalty, while most people lived wretched, short lives of incredible poverty and despair, and with this higher standard of living has also come a doubling of our life expectancy.

The Democratic Party is also filled with bitter people on the left who hate their country, having suffered some terrible trauma in their childhood that shaped their lives forever. They complain about Columbus Day; they complain about slavery; they complain about rich people (although many of them, in a marvel of inconsistency, are themselves quite wealthy); they complain about oil companies and the consumption of oil – the one precious commodity that is our lifeblood and without which none of the progress of the human condition would be or have been possible.

Some on the left claim AIDS is a government plot to wipe out black people; some claim that 9/11 was planned by Vice President Cheney or, alternately, that we deserved it. None on the left seem capable of understanding that Saddam Hussein and his thugs had to go in the interest of stability of the area of the world that sits on an ocean of cheap oil, and to stop him from continuing to provide funds, weapons and training support to those who would destroy us and Israel. There are many groups of Islamofascists besides Al Qaeda who have been terrorizing and murdering Americans and other westerners.

These conspiracy theories, class hatreds and lunatic ideas are the stuff of Democratic votes; that is why most Democrat politicians advance them and almost never deny even the most idiotic of these fantasies, and since the liberal left has taken over much of the media, including the NY Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and PBS, we seldom get a truthful account of anything from them.

The long series of lies by Hillary Clinton and the posturing, hate-America and ultra-left wing positions of Barack Obama should wake some people up. It is up to the rest of us, who have some understanding of how this country works, to keep reminding people of their true nature and objectives. It is also up to us Republicans to remind our party not to succumb also to the temptation to buy votes, which practice led to the disastrous defeat in 2006.

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage." -- Alexander Tyler

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Friday, March 28, 2008

The Anti-Muslim Film, "Fitna"

This video is all over the internet, but it is going to be a major source of discussion and fireworks, so I am also making it available to my readers.

Anti-Koran film goes live on Web
By Ab Zagt
March 27, 2008, The Hollywood Reporter

AMSTERDAM -- Dutch politician Geert Wilders' anti-Muslim short film "Fitna" is finally available on the Internet. Wilders' PVV political party put a link to the 15-minute-short on its Web site at 7 p.m. Thursday Dutch time. English- and Dutch-language versions of the film are offered at via a link to

Immediately after the news, the Dutch government went into a crisis meeting to discuss a reaction to the film. It is expected that Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende will give a response to Wilders' action later tonight.

"Fitna" contains images of the terror attack on the Twin Towers, the bombing of railway station Atocha in Madrid and the murder of director Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam. The film starts with a warning that it offers shocking images. The production, difficult to view because of many downloads, ends with a Danish cartoon of the prophet Muhammed hit apparently by a bomb. Wilders combines the images with various texts from the Koran, including quotes urging Muslims "to strike terror in the hearts of the enemies."

The Dutch politician said in an interview tonight on Dutch national television that his intention is to condemn the ideology of the Koran. "I do not hate the Muslim people," he stated. He also announced that his party will organize meetings in the future to start a dialogue with Muslims.

"Fitna" was originally to be presented at a March 28 press conference in the Hague, the Dutch center of politics. Due to extreme security costs, the event was cancelled.




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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Where the Past Is Loudly Present

Yesterday the Florida legislature unanimously passed a resolution that apologized to African-Americans for slavery. While I do not object to that, I must confess that I feel absolutely no more guilt for the practice of slavery by people 150 years ago than I do for their hanging of witches in Colonial times. Since I am the product of Italian and British immigrants who settled in New England, it is also very unlikely that any of my actual ancestors ever practiced this abominable custom, anyway.

What I am, though, is proud that my ancestors in the United States and in Great Britain were the first civilizations ever in recorded history voluntarily to outlaw slavery, which has been praciced in every country since mankind began and which still goes on in parts of Africa and the Middle East. I am also proud that my country endured the bloodiest war in its history over the question of slavery - a war that resulted in the ending of that barbarity.

It is also absurd to judge previous generations against the standards of today regarding slavery, colonialism, war or in any other matter. Whether you are black or white, drowning in a spittle of hatred is self-defeating and harms the hater more than anyone else. Get over it; get on with your lives and be glad and be proud that you live in a free country that tries for equal justice for everyone against a background that all human beings are fallible.

Where the Past Is Loudly Present

Speech highlights views about race that are different as black and white

March 26, 2008, Kathleen Parker,

WASHINGTON— Barack Obama's race speech didn't adequately answer the key question of his relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., but his comments were revelatory in important ways.

What Obama highlighted, if indirectly, is the dormant disconnect between much of black and white America. And what he revealed, if accidentally, is that he has contributed to that disconnect as a passive participant.

We need to talk, Obama says. So let's talk.

What has become clear in the days since Obama's speech in Philadelphia is that blacks and whites see things differently—in some cases, as different as black and white.

To the average white American, especially one who doesn't subscribe to the fire-and-brimstone school of religious expression, Wright is an unfamiliar character. He may be a Christian but his orientation is African and he speaks of white conspiracy.

What was jolting for many whites wasn't that Wright has a following—to each his own—but that Obama, a man who intends to lead an entire country, found a home among the pews of Wright's church. That Obama eventually distanced himself from some of Wright's rhetoric only raises the second question: What took so long?

How can anyone sit in a church where the minister says, for instance, that the U.S. government invented the AIDS virus to kill blacks? Obama may have been too young or too naive at some point along his 20-year relationship with Wright, but eventually, shouldn't the man who became an Illinois state senator and then a U.S. senator and then a presidential contender have spoken up before he was forced to

Those are reasonable questions, but they are mostly white questions. Blacks have others. Obama was correct when he said that Wright, though sometimes wrong, spoke to deep wounds and a history most whites don't like to examine too closely.

The historical experience of blacks and whites in this country couldn't be more different. Whites know it intellectually, but blacks feel it viscerally. No matter how many books we read or movies we watch, whites can never quite grasp what it is to be black or to be descended from people who were denied their humanity and enslaved by whites with the benign approval of the state.

But we didn't do it, we protest. Our children aren't guilty. When is enough enough? Why must preachers such as Wright insist on fanning those flames?

White Americans want to put race behind them, to move on. And many had hoped Obama was the man to make that happen. The big surprise was learning that he belongs to a church where the past is loudly present. Obama gave himself away when, in his speech, he paraphrased William Faulkner: "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past."

Black history, meanwhile, makes it possible for many to accept the theory advanced by Wright that white men invented the AIDS virus to destroy black populations. After all, the 40-year Tuskegee syphilis study, in which about 400 black men with syphilis were left untreated and uninformed as part of an experiment, was conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Public Health Service.

Given that history, the AIDS theory doesn't require much of a leap for many in the black community. The AIDS virus has hit African-Americans harder than any other group. For blacks in the United States, HIV/AIDS is a leading cause of death, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even though blacks account for about 13 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 49 percent of those who get HIV and AIDS. Whites account for 31 percent.

A white person might view these statistics on the CDC Web site and understand that blacks suffer more in part because of barriers such as poverty, sexually transmitted disease and cultural stigmas that put blacks at higher risk. Blacks—especially those under the spell of Wrighteousness—might view the same information and at least wonder if something else is going on.

So, yes, there is work to be done. Between a history of distrust born of painful experience—and people like Wright who keep that history alive and well-stoked—racial harmony will require more than hope. It will also require that people like Obama speak up and object to harmful rhetoric, sooner rather than later, even if it hurts the ones he loves.

There's a reason why it's lonely at the top.

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post.


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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Congress Pouts While Terrorists Plot

We are still without a new FISA law, passed by the Senate, but on hold by the House, as terrorists plot to destroy us. The eavesdropping techniques that intercepted and foiled the plot to blow up 10 jet airliners over the Atlantic Ocean are on hold as the Democrats in the House stall and pout. Their giant lobby of trial lawyers can't wait to sue the telecommunications companies that cooperated with the U.S. government to uncover Islamic terrorists, so the House keeps passing bills that do not include the immunity promised to these companies.

On the lower right of my website is a banner that allows quick and easy access to the e-mail address and telephone number of your representative. All you need to do is enter your zipcode. If your representative is a Democrat, please urge him or her to pass this bill with the immunity provisions intact.

'Any delay can be harmful'
March 25, 2008, Chicago Tribune

Last August, under the pressure of a looming vacation deadline, lawmakers passed what President Bush described as an urgent fix to the country's ability to secretly eavesdrop on suspected terrorists overseas. Many in Congress, particularly Democrats, feared the barrage of blame if they did nothing about the electronic surveillance law and terrorists attacked while lawmakers were working on their tans.

So they passed a temporary extension that expired in February, with the intention of permanently fixing the law before then.

Dream on.

In the intervening months, the Senate overwhelmingly passed an excellent bill to modernize the eavesdropping law. The president has urged Congress to send him that bill. But the House has balked. It passed its own version earlier this month. A major sticking point between the two: retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that helped the government after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The Senate bill grants the immunity; the House bill doesn't. The Senate's rationale: These companies were following patriotic impulses when they responded to pleas from the federal government. The House: The companies need to answer for any possible wrongdoing and they can't just blindly follow administration requests.

What's going on here? Well, for one thing, some Democratic House leaders are miffed at how the White House handled their requests for information about what the telecommunications companies did, at the government's behest, after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Unlike some of their colleagues in the Senate, House leaders didn't get access to information before the vote in August, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a recent visit to the Tribune editorial board. That, said Hoyer, was "an unacceptable position for the House of Representatives to be put in by any administration. To be told if you cooperate with us, we'll show you the documents on which we make our claim. But if you don't cooperate with us, we're not."

House leaders wanted info, and all they got was attitude. That got them riled. Is their reaction understandable? Or is their petty jealousy unbecoming? You make the call.

But that was last summer.

Hoyer and others have now seen the paper trail on what the companies did after Sept. 11. He says those papers don't settle the issue of whether the phone companies followed the law. He questions whether the companies exercised "due diligence" when acceding to administration requests—the implication being that they may have broken the law unintentionally.

Still, he added: "I see no malice in the acts of the phone companies. They had nothing to gain. They had no profit to receive. They weren't going to get any kudos from anybody for doing this."

Our point—and the Senate's—exactly. Whatever the companies did, they did because they were asked.

All the haggling over the new law won't immediately interrupt already approved wiretapping cases against terror targets. But the longer it continues, the greater potential for disrupting America's ability to spy on terrorists.

In a separate visit to the Tribune editorial board, FBI Director Robert Mueller recently warned of a prolonged congressional fight over a new surveillance law. "With no bill out there, there is uncertainty. There is concern with the communication carriers as to the extent to which and circumstances under which they can help us. And any uncertainty and concern are disincentives to cooperate with us. Any delay can be harmful."

So let's not delay anymore. Pass a law, with immunity. In a time of crisis, these companies stepped up to cooperate. They did what their government asked. Don't open them to liability for that.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Climate Facts To Warm To (Some Facts For a Change)

It isn’t very often that the world gets to validate within a reasonable time the failure of yet another inane liberal position, but the actual temperature readings over the last 10 years plus one of the coldest winters on record is putting finish to the theory of man-made global warming. Will Affirmative Action, AFDC Welfare, Political Correctness, Same-sex Marriage, Multiculturalism, America the Bad and/or Abortion On Demand Up Until The Moment Of Birth – be next?

Climate Facts To Warm To
Christopher Pearson, March 22, 2008, The Australian
CATASTROPHIC predictions of global warming usually conjure with the notion of a tipping point, a point of no return.

Last Monday - on ABC Radio National, of all places - there was a tipping point of a different kind in the debate on climate change. It was a remarkable interview involving the co-host of Counterpoint, Michael Duffy and Jennifer Marohasy, a biologist and senior fellow of Melbourne-based think tank the Institute of Public Affairs. Anyone in public life who takes a position on the greenhouse gas hypothesis will ignore it at their peril.

Duffy asked Marohasy: "Is the Earth stillwarming?"
She replied: "No, actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998 as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not what you'd expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years."

Duffy: "Is this a matter of any controversy?"
Marohasy:"Actually, no. The head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has actually acknowledged it. He talks about the apparent plateau in temperatures so far this century. So he recognises that in this century, over the past eight years, temperatures have plateaued ... This is not what you'd expect, as I said, because if carbon dioxide is driving temperature then you'd expect that, given carbon dioxide levels have been continuing to increase, temperatures should be going up ... So (it's) very unexpected, not something that's being discussed. It should be being discussed, though, because it's very significant."

Duffy: "It's not only that it's not discussed. We never hear it, do we? Whenever there's any sort of weather event that can be linked into the global warming orthodoxy, it's put on the front page. But a fact like that, which is that global warming stopped a decade ago, is virtually never reported, which is extraordinary

Duffy then turned to the question of how the proponents of the greenhouse gas hypothesis deal with data that doesn't support their case. "People like Kevin Rudd and Ross Garnaut are speaking as though the Earth is still warming at an alarming rate, but what is the argument from the other side? What would people associated with the IPCC say to explain the (temperature) dip?"

Marohasy: "Well, the head of the IPCC has suggested natural factors are compensating for the increasing carbon dioxide levels and I guess, to some extent, that's what sceptics have been saying for some time: that, yes, carbon dioxide will give you some warming but there are a whole lot of other factors that may compensate or that may augment the warming from elevated levels of carbon dioxide.

"There's been a lot of talk about the impact of the sun and that maybe we're going to go through or are entering a period of less intense solar activity and this could be contributing to the current cooling."

Duffy: "Can you tell us about NASA's Aqua satellite, because I understand some of the data we're now getting is quite important in our understanding of how climate works?"
Marohasy: "That's right. The satellite was only launched in 2002 and it enabled the collection of data, not just on temperature but also on cloud formation and water vapour. What all the climate models suggest is that, when you've got warming from additional carbon dioxide, this will result in increased water vapour, so you're going to get a positive feedback. That's what the models have been indicating. What this great data from the NASA Aqua satellite ... (is) actually showing is just the opposite, that with a little bit of warming, weather processes are compensating, so they're actually limiting the greenhouse effect and you're getting a negative rather than a positive feedback."

Duffy: "The climate is actually, in one way anyway, more robust than was assumed in the climate models?"
Marohasy: "That's right ... These findings actually aren't being disputed by the meteorological community. They're having trouble digesting the findings, they're acknowledging the findings, they're acknowledging that the data from NASA's Aqua satellite is not how the models predict, and I think they're about to recognise that the models really do need to be overhauled and that when they are overhauled they will probably show greatly reduced future warming projected as a consequence of carbon dioxide."

Duffy: "From what you're saying, it sounds like the implications of this could be considerable ..."
Marohasy: "That's right, very much so. The policy implications are enormous. The meteorological community at the moment is really just coming to terms with the output from this NASA Aqua satellite and (climate scientist) Roy Spencer's interpretation of them. His work is published, his work is accepted, but I think people are still in shock at this point."

If Marohasy is anywhere near right about the impending collapse of the global warming paradigm, life will suddenly become a whole lot more interesting.
A great many founts of authority, from the Royal Society to the UN, most heads of government along with countless captains of industry, learned professors, commentators and journalists will be profoundly embarrassed. Let us hope it is a prolonged and chastening experience.

With catastrophe off the agenda, for most people the fog of millennial gloom will lift, at least until attention turns to the prospect of the next ice age. Among the better educated, the sceptical cast of mind that is the basis of empiricism will once again be back in fashion. The delusion that by recycling and catching public transport we can help save the planet will quickly come to be seen for the childish nonsense it was all along.

The poorest Indians and Chinese will be left in peace to work their way towards prosperity, without being badgered about the size of their carbon footprint, a concept that for most of us will soon be one with Nineveh and Tyre, clean forgotten in six months.

The scores of town planners in Australia building empires out of regulating what can and can't be built on low-lying shorelines will have to come to terms with the fact inundation no longer impends and find something more plausible to do. The same is true of the bureaucrats planning to accommodate "climate refugees".

Penny Wong's climate mega-portfolio will suddenly be as ephemeral as the ministries for the year 2000 that state governments used to entrust to junior ministers.

Malcolm Turnbull will have to reinvent himself at vast speed as a climate change sceptic;,and the Prime Minister will have to kiss goodbye what he likes to call the great moral issue and policy challenge of our times.

It will all be vastly entertaining to watch.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Pope Baptizes Prominent Italian Muslim

Pope baptizes prominent Italian Muslim -- will Convert Rage follow?
March 23, 2008 Cross-posted from JihadWatch

Here's a good story for Holy Saturday as it edges into Easter for Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Catholics: Magdi Allam has been a trenchant critic of the jihad ideology and Islamic supremacism. Now he is exercising his freedom of conscience. Will he now have to live in fear for his life from those who take seriously Muhammad's dictum: "If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him"?

The Italian government should be poised to protect Magdi Allam, as the Dutch should be standing by Geert Wilders (producer of film criticizing Islam) and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (prominent feminist and former Muslim). It is not about them. It is about defending Western civilization.

"Pope to baptize prominent Muslim," by Nicole Winfield for Associated Press

VATICAN CITY - Italy's most prominent Muslim commentator, a journalist with iconoclastic views such as support for Israel, converted to Roman Catholicism Saturday when the pope baptized him at an Easter service.

As a choir sang, Pope Benedict XVI poured holy water over Magdi Allam's head and said a brief prayer in Latin.

"We no longer stand alongside or in opposition to one another," Benedict said in a homily reflecting on the meaning of baptism. "Thus faith is a force for peace and reconciliation in the world: distances between people are overcome, in the Lord we have become close."

Vatican television zoomed in on Allam, who sat in the front row of the basilica along with six other candidates for baptism.

An Egyptian-born, non-practicing Muslim who is married to a Catholic, Allam often writes on Muslim and Arab affairs and has infuriated some Muslims with his criticism of extremism and support for the Jewish state.

The deputy editor of the Corriere della Sera newspaper, Allam, 55, told the Il Giornale newspaper in a December interview that his criticism of Palestinian suicide bombing generated threats on his life in 2003, prompting the Italian government to provide him with a sizable security detail. [...]

The Union of Islamic Communities in Italy — which Allam has frequently criticized as having links to Hamas — said the baptism was his own decision.

"He is an adult, free to make his personal choice," the Apcom news agency quoted the group's spokesman, Issedin El Zir, as saying. [...]

Allam also explained his decision to entitle a recent book "Viva Israel" or "Long Live Israel," saying he wrote it after he received death threats from Hamas.

"Having been condemned to death, I have reflected a long time on the value of life. And I discovered that behind the origin of the ideology of hatred, violence and death is the discrimination against Israel. Everyone has the right to exist except for the Jewish state and its inhabitants," he said. "Today, Israel is the paradigm of the right to life." [...]

Yes. Congratulations, Magdi, and Viva Israel.

There is no overarching Muslim law on conversion. But under a widespread interpretation of Islamic legal doctrine, converting from Islam is apostasy and punishable by death — though killings are rare.

Egypt's highest Islamic cleric, the Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, wrote last year against the killing of apostates, saying there is no worldly retribution for Muslims who abandon their religion and that punishment would come in the afterlife....

Actually, all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence agree that apostates must be executed. But don't take my word for it. Here's the great Sheikh Al-Qaradawi, who has been praised by John Esposito as a "reformist":

That is why the Muslim jurists are unanimous that apostates must be punished, yet they differ as to determining the kind of punishment to be inflicted upon them. The majority of them, including the four main schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i, and Hanbali) as well as the other four schools of jurisprudence (the four Shiite schools of Az-Zaidiyyah, Al-Ithna-`ashriyyah, Al-Ja`fariyyah, and Az-Zaheriyyah) agree that apostates must be executed...

And what of Ali Gomaa? He didn't say quite what AP says he said here. He actually denied saying that Muslims could leave Islam without punishment.

Bottom line: All free people should stand now with Magdi Allam.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

A Republican Team More Liberal Than Clinton?

The McCain people have been floating the name of Governor Crist of Florida as a potential vice presidential candidate. I realize, of course, that promoting the names of several people in this way is a time-honored practice that gives them publicity and gains the support of people who have no chance of ending up as the vice presidential candidate.

As a conservative Republican, I have had to swallow hard to embrace Senator McCain for president, but at least I have always felt that his views, including some that were badly mistaken, were honestly held. Selecting a fellow RINO (Republican In Name Only), like Governor Crist, however, would clearly be a case of McCain’s thumbing his nose at conservatives, and would be the straw that broke my back. I would see little difference between a McCain administration and a Clinton administration, particularly on domestic issues.

Governor Crist is a fairly new governor and is quite popular – largely because people here in Florida have not yet figured out that his highly publicized programs to reduce insurance costs have actually driven many companies to leave the state and others to get out of the property damage business entirely, and has actually forced thousands of Floridians into the state pool at exorbitant rates. Governor Crist has fed upon the widely held, but erroneous, belief that someone else, other than those who live in Florida, will come along and pay for the huge damage caused by recent hurricanes in the state.

Those of us who are conservative also noticed that Governor Crist’s first acts as governor were to commit Florida resources to combat man-made global warming, and to give convicted felons the right to vote.

I implore Senator McCain to achieve some balance and select a conservative Republican as a vice presidential running mate. Let those of us who live in Florida deal eventually with Charlie Crist. Here is some evidence we are wising up.

Crist Defends Nomination Of Aide's Wife
The Tampa Tribune
Published: March 20, 2008

TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday defended his decision to hire the wife of his general counsel as chairwoman of the Public Employees Relations Commission at a salary of nearly $100,000.

Sara Gonzalez, 34, was an assistant for a dermatologist when chosen for the seat, which requires Senate confirmation. The commission hears complaints by state workers and the top post was held by a lawyer the previous 33 years. Gonzalez has a master's in physician assistant studies.


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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Real Agenda of Black Liberation Theology

Some say that guilt by association is unfair. I think a more appropriate saying is, “when you sleep with dogs you get fleas”, or “birds of a feather flock together”. I don’t remember Condoleezza Rice being associated with such hate speech as is Barack Obama, nor do I remember Colin Powell or Justices Clarence Thomas or Thurgood Marshall having this problem; so don’t tell me that this is a “black thing” I wouldn’t understand, and don’t tell me it has something to do with oppression. Both Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, who graduated from Princeton, attended Harvard Law School.

The Real Agenda of Black Liberation Theology
By Jeffrey Schmidt, March 19, 2008 American Thinker

Now, suddenly, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright is misunderstood. Suddenly, so-called black liberation theology is misunderstood.

Wright's successor at Trinity United Church of Christ, the Reverend Otis Moss III, won't bow to the wishes of "they" to shut up. It begs the question: "Who are they?" The larger white cultural? Or liberals and Democrats who see all this unfavorable publicity hurting the election chances of Barak Obama?

The sad truth is that neither the Reverend Wright nor black liberation theology is being misunderstood. Both, thanks to the candidacy of Barack Obama, are being exposed. God, in fact, works in mysterious ways. And unless it's the aforementioned liberals and Democrats who are trying to hush up Wright, Moss and others of their ilk, sensible Americans want to hear more, for knowledge is power, the power to combat hate.

And make no mistake, what Americans are hearing, they don't like. In the Rasmussen poll, 73% of voters find Wright's comments to be racially divisive. That's a broad cross section of voters, including 58% of black voters.

In an article in the Washington Post, unnamed ministers commented that black liberation theology "encourages a preacher to speak forcefully against the institutions of oppression..."

And what might these institutions be? They are not specified. But it is safe to say that they are not the welfare state or the Democratic Party. Given that black liberation theology is a product of the dreary leftist politics of the twentieth century, the very vehicles employed by the left to advance statism certainly can't be the culprits.

For the left, black liberation theology makes for close to a perfect faith. It is a political creed larded with religion. It serves not to reconcile and unite blacks with the larger cultural, but to keep them separate. Here, again, The Washington Post reports that "He [Wright] translated the Bible into lessons about...the misguided pursuit of ‘middle-classness.'"

Not very Martin Luther King-ish. Further, all the kooky talk about the government infecting blacks with HIV is a fine example of how the left will promote a lie to nurture alienation and grievance. To listen to Wright -- more an apostle of the left than the Christian church -- the model for blacks is alienation, deep resentment, separation and grievance. All of which leads to militancy. Militancy is important. It's the sword dangled over the head of society. Either fork over more tax dollars, government services and patronage or else. And unlike the Reverend Moss and his kindred, I'll specify the "else." Civil unrest. Disruptions in cities. Riot in the streets.

Keeping blacks who fall into the orbit of a Reverend Wright at a near-boil is a card used by leftist agitators to serve their ends: they want bigger and more pervasive government -- and they want badly to run it.

If any further proof is needed that black liberation theology has nothing to do with the vision of Martin Luther King -- with reconciliation, brotherhood and universality -- the words of James H. Cone, on faculty at New York's Union Theological Seminary, may persuade. Cone, not incidentally, originated the movement known as black liberation theology. He said to The Washington Post:

"The Christian faith has been interpreted largely by those who enslaved black people, and by the people who segregated them."

No mention of the Civil War involving the sacrifices of tens of thousands of lives; no abolition or civil rights movements. No Abraham Lincoln. No Harriet Beecher Stowe. No white civil rights workers who risked and, in some instances, lost their lives crusading in the south to end segregation. And since the civil rights movement, society hasn't opened up; blacks have no better access to jobs and housing; no greater opportunities. The federal government, led by a white liberal, Lyndon Johnson, did not pour billions of dollars into welfare programs and education targeted at inner cities in an attempt to right old wrongs. And still does so. A black man, Barak Obama, on the threshold of winning his party's nomination for president, has in no way done so with the help of white voters in communities across the land.

In the closed world of Cone, Wright and Moss, Jefferson Davis and Bull Connor are alive and well. Black victimhood is the doing of white society, not the doing of angry black leaders and leftists, who see advantage and profit in keeping too many people in black communities captive.

Barack Obama knows all this, as a seventeen year congregant at Wright's church, and as a liberal community activist prior to his election to the Illinois Senate. That he feigns innocence, or that he professes forbearance for some of Wright's words because of the goodness of others, is not the line one expects from a post-racial politician. It is what is expected from a man whose career is steeped in racial politics, a politics that does great harm to the very people it purports to serve.


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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Rush Limbaugh’s Plan Backfires

I can’t really complain because I thought at the time that Rush’s plan (Operation Chaos) was brilliant, and I was enjoying the resulting turmoil. With Hillary down, but a close second to Obama, and with the Republican race decided, his plan was to have Republicans cross over in Texas and Ohio and vote for Hillary. Keep the Democratic race close with no apparent winner and let the Democrats tear themselves apart at their convention this summer. Entice them into a repeat of their 1968 disaster that helped elect a Republican president.

Now that Obama’s candidacy is in such big trouble, Rush’s plan has backfired, and Republicans may have helped resurrect a monster.

How Rush Limbaugh outsmarted himself
March 18, 2008 World Net Daily

Now that the specter of a Barack Obama presidency seems like a fleeting nightmare, it's time to reconsider the wisdom of Republican crossover voting for Hillary Rodham Clinton in Texas.

As you may recall, Clinton was on the ropes at the time. She needed a big win in Texas just to stay in the race.

She got it – with a little help from her enemies.

I am absolutely persuaded the size of her victories in Texas and Ohio were swelled by national conservative talk-radio hosts who urged listeners to cast ballots for Hillary.

The idea was to keep Clinton's hopes alive so that the Democratic Party might self-destruct in a heated convention floor fight between Obama supporters and Hillary supporters.

I think it's safe to say this strategy may have backfired.

First, Barack Obama's candidacy is toast. His 20-year ties to an extremist, racist lunatic by the name of Jeremiah Wright did him in. There is no recovering from the damage done by Wright's hate speech, on full display for the nation in media coverage over the last week.

Second, Hillary's campaign has new life. She will win Pennsylvania and every other primary leading up to the convention and the nomination will be hers.

Whom should she thank? Rush Limbaugh.

I hate to say it. Rush is a friend. I love listening to him. He is one of the most entertaining people on the planet. But it was this crossover voting inspired by him and a few other talk-show hosts that kept Hillary's candidacy alive – positioning her for the collapse of the Obama campaign.

They outsmarted themselves.

I had a bad feeling about it at the time.

I recalled my own thoughts along the same lines years ago, when I lived in California. There were a number of Democrats running to be the nominee for governor at the time. There was only one Republican, Dan Lungren, vying for that party's nomination. So I decided to vote as a Democrat and to pick the least likely candidate to be able to win.

I picked a dull bureaucrat with no charisma, no accomplishments and no natural constituency. His name was Gray Davis.

Needless to say, he won the nomination and beat Lungren in the general election – inducing my family's hurried exodus from the Golden State, not to mention power failures, an economic crisis and an eventual recall election.
I outsmarted myself, too.

That's why I was suspicious of this effort to save Hillary's political career.
Just think where we would be had Obama won Texas.

Hillary would probably have quit the race. Everyone knew she had to win that state. Had she been defeated then, Obama would be the only Democratic candidate standing when Jeremiah Wright's sociopathic ramblings were played for the entire nation.

Essentially, the Democrats would be up the creek with no paddle – and wouldn't that be just too bad?

But that is not the case now.

Hillary is still hanging around. She just got the big break she needed – even if it did come from an unlikely ally. She is now nearly guaranteed to be the Democratic presidential nominee.

How do I feel about that?

I'm really kind of angry.

We could have been done with Hillary. We could have buried her.

Had she not been able to secure the nomination, her career in national politics was probably over. She has been given new life by people who should have known better.

Now we will get Hillary in 2008 and Obama will have four years to remake his image – outside the shadow of Jeremiah Wright.

I think we would have been better off allowing Democrats to mess things up by themselves. They were well on the way to choosing a candidate who could never have won the general election.

Now they just may have someone who is battle tested.

We conservatives should know better than to mess with Mother Nature, but I still love Rush.


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Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Strange Conflict Over Gun Rights in Bush Camp

D.C.'s Gun Ban Gets Day in Court
Justices' Decision May Set Precedent In Interpreting the 2nd Amendment
By Robert Barnes,Washington Post March 16, 2008 (Excerpt)

“Despite mountains of scholarly research, enough books to fill a library shelf and decades of political battles about gun control, the Supreme Court will have an opportunity this week that is almost unique for a modern court when it examines whether the District's handgun ban violates the Second Amendment.

The nine justices, none of whom has ever ruled directly on the amendment's meaning, will consider a part of the Bill of Rights that has existed without a definitive interpretation for more than 200 years.”

Earlier this year I published a post (What Is Bush Thinking? Ask Fred on 2nd Amend. Rights) that revealed that the Justice Department of the Bush Administration had applied a “friend of the court” request to the Washington, DC gun control case that had been taken up by the Supreme Court. For years, DC had banned gun ownership (leading to its position as the murder capitol of the USA), but a federal appeals court finally threw out the ban. The case was appealed by DC to the Supreme Court, and gun owners have been hoping and expecting that our 2nd Amendment rights would finally be clarified and affirmed for all time. The request by the Justice Department so muddied the waters on this issue that supporters of President Bush have been both perplexed and angered by the move. Now comes this story of conflict between Bush and his own Attorney General. What is going on?
The Administration's Gun Battle
By Robert Novak, March 13, 2008 RealClearPolitics

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Preparing to hear oral arguments Tuesday on the extent of gun rights guaranteed by the Constitution's Second Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court has before it a brief signed by Vice President Cheney opposing the Bush administration's stance. Even more remarkably, Cheney is faithfully reflecting the views of President George W. Bush.

The government position filed with the Supreme Court by U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement stunned gun advocates by opposing the breadth of an appellate court affirmation of individual ownership rights. The Justice Department, not the vice president, is out of order. But if Bush agrees with Cheney, why did the president not simply order Clement to revise his brief? The answers: disorganization and weakness in the eighth year of his presidency.

Consequently, a Republican administration finds itself aligned against the most popular tenet of social conservatism: gun rights that enjoy much wider support than opposition to abortion or gay marriage. Promises in two presidential elections are abandoned, and Bush finds himself left of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama.

The 1976 District of Columbia statute prohibiting ownership of all functional firearms a year ago was called unconstitutional in violation of the Second Amendment in an opinion by Senior Judge Laurence Silberman, a conservative who has served on the D.C. Circuit Court for 22 years. It was assumed Bush would fight Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty's appeal.

The president and his senior staff were stunned to learn, on the day it was issued, that Clement's petition called on the high court to return the case to the appeals court. The solicitor general argued that Silberman's opinion supporting individual gun rights was so broad that it would endanger existing federal gun control laws such as the bar on owning machine guns. The president could have ordered a revised brief by Clement. But under congressional Democratic pressure to keep hands off the Justice Department, Bush did not act.

Cheney did join 55 senators and 250 House members in signing a brief supporting the Silberman ruling. While this unprecedented vice presidential intervention was widely interpreted as a dramatic breakaway from the White House, longtime associates could not believe Cheney would defy the president. In fact, he did not. Bush approved what Cheney did in his constitutional legislative branch role as president of the Senate.

That has not lessened puzzlement over Clement, a 41-year-old conservative Washington lawyer who clerked for Silberman and later for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Clement has tried to explain his course to the White House by claiming he feared Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court's current swing vote, would join a liberal majority on gun rights if forced to rule on Silberman's opinion.

The more plausible explanation for Clement's stance is that he could not resist opposition to individual gun rights by career lawyers in the Justice Department's Criminal Division (who clashed with the Office of Legal Counsel in a heated internal struggle). Newly installed Attorney General Michael Mukasey, a neophyte at Justice, was unaware of the conflict and learned about Clement's position only after it had been locked in.

A majority of both houses in the Democratic-controlled Congress are on record against the District of Columbia's gun prohibition. So are 31 states, with only five (New York, Massachusetts Maryland, New Jersey and Hawaii) in support. Sen. Obama has weighed in against the D.C. law, asserting that the Constitution confers individual rights to bear arms -- not just collective authority to form militias.

This popular support for gun rights is not reflected by an advantage in Tuesday's oral arguments. Former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger, an old hand at arguing before the Supreme Court, will make the case for the gun prohibition. Opposing counsel Alan Gura, making his first high court appearance, does not have the confidence of gun-owner advocates (who tried to replace him with former Solicitor General Ted Olson).

The cause needs help from Clement in his 15 minute oral argument, but not if he reiterates his written brief. The word was passed in government circles this week that Clement would amend his position when he actually faces the justices -- an odd ending to bizarre behavior by the Justice Department.


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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Unfortunately, Obama’s Candidacy Is Over

I say “unfortunately” because, not being an Obama supporter, I have been enjoying the chaos as the Democrats try to choose a candidate, and neither candidate can put together a majority of delegates, and as the Florida and Michigan primary fiascos grow worse and worse, while the two candidates slime each other.

In a year that has looked like a Democratic lock on the presidency, I am sure that Howard Dean and the rest of the Democratic Leadership Council are working the phones feverishly trying to set up a scenario involving super-delegates and even pledged delegates wherein either Clinton or a third person will be given the nomination as the embarrassing Obama is edged out.

The reason for all of this, of course is the Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr., and the question Bill O’Reilly posed last night: “I wouldn’t sit in a church where a pastor said that. Would you? Why does Senator Obama? That’s a simple question.” “That” being charges uttered by Wright that white America invented aids to kill off the black population; that 9/11 was a government conspiracy; that white America feeds drugs to black males to put them all in prison; and many other lunatic charges.

Americans can now put together Obama’s defense of and 20 year association with the Reverend Wright with his (Obama’s) refusal to honor our flag and our anthem and with his wife, Michelle’s, formerly mysterious comments that suggested an anti-American bias. We don’t need and won’t have people who hate us running our country.

The story behind the story: Obama's pastor
By: Mike Allen
March 15, 2008 The Politico

Politicians know a troublesome story has “broken through” the Eastern media echo chamber when Jay Leno is laughing at them.

In the case of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., retiring pastor and outgoing spiritual adviser to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), it took less than 48 hours.

The fracas started Thursday morning, when ABC’s “Good Morning America” ran a Brian Ross expose on Wright that included old video of him saying: “The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God bless America’? No, no, no. Not God bless America. God [expletive] America.”

On Friday night, there was Leno on NBC’s “Tonight Show” joshing: “McCain was running so fast from President Bush, he ran into Barack Obama, who was running from his minister.”

The story had burst onto the radar screen of average Americans with as much velocity as any other story during the 2008 campaign.

Political reporters and editors were inundated with e-mails from red-state friends and relatives wanting to know why the brouhaha wasn’t getting more instant and constant coverage from every news outlet.

To reporters who had followed the campaign, it was an old, oft-written story. But this time it had video of Wright saying things like “U.S. of K.K.K.A.,” available on YouTube and played endlessly by cable news channels.

A key part of Obama’s case is electability – the notion that he can heal the nation’s red-blue divide by appealing to Republicans, or “Obamacans,” as he gleefully calls these crossover supporters.

The coverage of Wright's comments bolstered the effort by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to raise vague doubts about the judgment of her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.

And it revived conservative chatter about Obama’s patriotism that have been fueled by rumors he does not put his hand on his heart for the Pledge of Allegiance (false) and stopped wearing a flag lapel pin (true). See Note Below

Wright has been the minister to Obama for more than 20 years and gave him the title of his second bestseller, “The Audacity of Hope.” Wright married Obama and his wife, Michelle, and baptized their two daughters.

Wright is pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, which on its website calls itself “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian,” and lists “a non-negotiable commitment to Africa” among its “10-point Vision.”

The minister’s controversial history has been written about countless times throughout the campaign. Wright has ties to the Rev. Louis Farrakhan, the black supremacist leader of the Nation of Islam – a fact that has been noted in more than 100 news stories just in the past few months, according to the Nexis database of news coverage.

Opponents of Obama have constantly pushed reporters to write about the minister, which these critics have considered a ticking time bomb for his campaign.

On Feb. 20, after a fiery guest sermon by Wright in Little Rock, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ran an article that said: “On Tuesday, Wright criticized the U.S. invasion of Iraq and likened the insurgents to the Israelites under Babylonian rule.”

At 9:20 that morning, Obama opponents were already trying to get Politico to link to the story.

That’s why many news outlets – including Politico — did not initially pile on with rehashes after Brian Ross’s story on “Good Morning America.”

But that was a reminder that it’s possible for regulars on the trail to be too familiar with the material. With the video widely available in the heat of the race, readers and viewers were thirsty for coverage.

On “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly said Friday night: “I wouldn’t sit in a church where a pastor said that. Would you? Why does Senator Obama? That’s a simple question.”

O’Reilly went on: “On the press front, the corrupt left-wing media hates this story. The Chicago Sun-Times ignored it completely. The New York Times barely mentioned it. CBS and NBC news didn’t report it last night on their nightly programs.”

By Saturday, The New York Times had a 900-word article, “Obama Denounces His Pastor’s Statements,” on page A13.

Obama says he was unaware of the more extreme statements until he began his presidential campaign, and initially tried to brush them off. On the trail in Ohio, he referred to Wright as “an old uncle who sometimes will say things that I don't agree with.”

On Friday afternoon, recognizing a real crisis, the campaign went further. Obama released a blog post in his own name to Huffington Post:

“The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. … All of the statements that have been the subject of controversy are ones that I vehemently condemn. They in no way reflect my attitudes and directly contradict my profound love for this country.”

On Friday evening, the campaign announced that Wright was no longer serving on Obama’s “African American Religious Leadership Committee.”

Also on Friday night, Obama sat between an American flag and one of his “Change We Can Believe In” campaign posters as he gave lengthy damage-control interviews to MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Fox News’s Major Garrett.

“I would -- do not repudiate the man,” Obama told Olbermann. “[T]his is somebody who I have known for 17 years. He helped bring me to Jesus and helped bring me to church. … But I have to say that the comments that have been played are ones that are contrary to what I believe, what I think of this country, the love that I have for this country and, you know, are ones that anger and distress me.”

Later, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren: “In terms of Senator Obama, I think he has a credibility question.”

Gingrich continued: Does he honestly expect the nation to believe that for 20 years, longer than 20 years, according to his own testimony, … he didn't notice the anti-American rhetoric? I mean, does somebody seriously believe that in over 800 potential Sunday visits, it never once came up, no one ever mentioned it to him? I think that strains credibility.”

Except for an interruption to talk about a severe storm that had shattered windows at CNN Center in Atlanta (talk about a story breaking through), Anderson Cooper devoted his entire hour to the Wright story on Friday night, and the show repeated for the full hour after that.

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, told Cooper: “What we hear preached, what we hear taught, whether it's, you know, a year, two years or 20 years, has an influence upon our public policy.”

For Obama, such stories are like a leak under the basement. The damage is slow, and it’s not readily apparent. But it can be real.

Note: Unfortunately it appears that this author is incorrect and that Senator Obama does not honor the Pledge of Allegiance.


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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It's Up To Us Old Farts To Go Back to Work

Not too long ago, as part of a series of articles pointing out the disastrous effects of liberal philosophy on families, on young men and on young women in America, I presented an article entitled, "Bad Girls by Katherine Boswell". This report told of the pressures today on young women to have casual sexual encounters with men they hardly know. I received comments from liberal blog baiters that I was an "old fart" who couldn't adjust to the changes in society. The comments included personal insults to such an extent that they were deleted. Since our young people learn no history, no manners and no civics in today's politically-correct schools, and don’t understand that anything is wrong nor how to correct it, it is up to all of us old farts to come out of retirement and push for changes in education and in movies and television so we don't have to read reports like the one posted below:

1 in 4 Teen Girls Has Sexual Disease

Mar 11 2008

CHICAGO (AP) - At least one in four teenage girls nationwide has a sexually transmitted disease, or more than 3 million teens, according to the first study of its kind in this age group.

A virus that causes cervical cancer is by far the most common sexually transmitted infection in teen girls aged 14 to 19, while the highest overall prevalence is among black girls—nearly half the blacks studied had at least one STD. That rate compared with 20 percent among both whites and Mexican-American teens, the study from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

About half of the girls acknowledged ever having sex; among them, the rate was 40 percent. While some teens define sex as only intercourse, other types of intimate behavior including oral sex can spread some infections.

For many, the numbers likely seem "overwhelming because you're talking about nearly half of the sexually experienced teens at any one time having evidence of an STD," said Dr. Margaret Blythe, an adolescent medicine specialist at Indiana University School of Medicine and head of the American Academy of Pediatrics' committee on adolescence.

But the study highlights what many doctors who treat teens see every day, Blythe said.

Dr. John Douglas, director of the CDC's division of STD prevention, said the results are the first to examine the combined national prevalence of common sexually transmitted diseases among adolescent girls. He said the data, from 2003-04, likely reflect current rates of infection.

"High STD rates among young women, particularly African-American young women, are clear signs that we must continue developing ways to reach those most at risk," Douglas said.

The CDC's Dr. Kevin Fenton said given that STDs can cause infertility and cervical cancer in women, "screening, vaccination and other prevention strategies for sexually active women are among our highest public health priorities."

The study by CDC researcher Dr. Sara Forhan is an analysis of nationally representative data on 838 girls who participated in a government health survey.

Teens were tested for four infections: human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can cause cervical cancer and affected 18 percent of girls studied; chlamydia, which affected 4percent; trichomoniasis, 2.5 percent; and herpes simplex virus, 2 percent.

Blythe said the results are similar to previous studies examining rates of those diseases individually.

The results were prepared for release Tuesday at a CDC conference in Chicago on preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

HPV can cause genital warts but often has no symptoms. A vaccine targeting several HPV strains recently became available, but Douglas said it likely has not yet had much impact on HPV prevalence rates in teen girls.

Chlamydia and trichomoniasis can be treated with antibiotics. The CDC recommends annual chlamydia screening for all sexually active women under age 25. It also recommends the three-dose HPV vaccine for girls aged 11-12 years, and catch-up shots for females aged 13 to 26.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has similar recommendations.

Douglas said screening tests are underused in part because many teens don't think they're at risk, but also, some doctors mistakenly think, '"Sexually transmitted diseases don't happen to the kinds of patients I see.'"

Blythe said some doctors also are reluctant to discuss STDs with teen patients or offer screening because of confidentiality concerns, knowing parents would have to be told of the results.

The American Academy of Pediatrics supports confidential teen screening, she said.

The liberals who now control education at the public school level and control our colleges and universities will undoubtedly respond to this crisis by demanding that more condoms be handed out to teen age girls. Their philosophy and their policies have taken us down the path to destruction.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Finally, A Beginning to the End of Welfare

The corrosive effects of AFDC on America's families - especially African-American families whose incidence of unwed motherhood has tripled since President Lyndon Johnson greatly expanded welfare (the Great Society), will finally begin to end if RI Governor Carcieri's plan passes, and the idea spreads.

I have long advocated that AFDC should be an emergency program, with benefits ending after six months and eligibility denied for at least two years afterwards, as the way to help out families in crisis without creating the horrible system of dependence we have now. The welfare reform that occurred during the Clinton Administration was a significant step forward, but that program has so many loopholes it loses much of its reform features in many states.

Governor’s plan would limit welfare to 2 years

Tuesday, March 11, 2008, By Steve Peoples Providence Journal (Excerpt)

Journal State House Bureau
PROVIDENCE — "The future of Rhode Island’s welfare system rests with the General Assembly.

Lawmakers spent yesterday afternoon poring through Governor Carcieri’s 101-page plan that would dramatically cut benefits to the poor, while encouraging a “work-first” model and promoting “healthy marriages.”

The governor’s sweeping proposal, if adopted by the legislature in the coming months, would constitute the most significant shift in the state’s Family Independence Program, often referred to as welfare, in more than a decade. Carcieri has even created a new name: the Rhode Island Work First Program.

“Work first is exactly what it says. We would have people early in the game looking for a job,” Donalda Carlson, administrator of child and family support services at the Department of Human Services, told the House Finance Committee, as she and other Carcieri officials briefed lawmakers for nearly an hour.

Carcieri wants to push low-income Rhode Islanders into the work force immediately, while the current system allows for training and education first. He also wants to cut eligibility for cash assistance from 60 months to 24 months for new recipients beginning July 1.

The new limits wouldn’t apply to the existing 10,000 enrollees until July 2009.
The move, according to Carcieri’s proposal, is aimed at ending “the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage.”

Yvonne Freeman says that no one wants to be on public assistance. The 40-year-old Providence woman waited three hours yesterday among the government bureaucrats and poverty advocates before she was allowed to address the committee.

She spoke of being a homeless single mother more than a decade ago. She said she was desperate for a change in her life after her fourth child was born.

Using public assistance to cover living expenses, Freeman enrolled in a nursing program at Rhode Island College.

“I was extremely grateful to have had the FIP benefits as it allowed me to continue with school and feed my children and pay rent,” she testified. “It also helped me to focus on the end result, which was to be self-sufficient and not have to rely on the system as I had in the past.”

Today, Freeman is a full-time nurse.

Under Carcieri’s proposal, she would have been required to work 20 hours a week in order to go to college. And the higher education benefit would have ended after two years.

Advocates for the poor yesterday were not shy about their disdain for the governor’s plan.

“This proposal is just outrageous,” said Linda Katz, policy director for Rhode Island College’s Poverty Institute. “The way to help build more taxpayers out of the people who are on FIP is to give them the opportunities to build the skills they need to get stable jobs.”

She continued: “Given the governor’s comments about women on welfare, this bill is ideologically driven. It’s not driven by good policy. It’s not driven by research. It’s not driven by best practices in other states.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 28 states and the District of Columbia have 60-month time limits for cash assistance, which is the maximum benefit allowed under federal Medicaid rules. Massachusetts is one of two states that have no lifetime limit, but intermittent caps allowing 24 months of cash benefits during each 60-month period.

Carcieri’s plan also cuts benefits to legal immigrants in Rhode Island less than five years and blocks families from earning more money after the birth of a child. The benefit for a family of three is currently $554 a month, but families receive $80 per month for each additional child.

A total of 21 states have similar cap policies, according to the information distributed by the governor’s office yesterday.

Carcieri made headlines last fall when he said on talk radio, “Most of the people on our welfare programs are single women, unmarried with multiple children.”

Data collected by the DHS shows that the governor is largely correct: 93 percent of families that received cash assistance in Rhode Island in 2006 were led by a parent who is single, separated, widowed or divorced. And 92 percent of the families are headed by women.

Also, one third of the total Family Independence Program recipients “added a child to their household” while on welfare; 77 percent of all families in the program had one or two children.

The governor’s welfare plans would “prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies” and “encourage the formation of two-parent families

While there was virtually no detail included in the comprehensive plan about achieving those goals, Carlson, of DHS, testified that the administration would develop programs aimed at “family counseling, family interventions, and responsible decisions before getting married.”

Carcieri’s proposal includes partnering with faith-based organizations to “promote collaboration between state agencies and religious organizations to strengthen family relationships and connections…”

Overall, the welfare plans discussed yesterday would save an estimated $8 million in the fiscal year that begins in July; it is one the governor’s many cost-cutting proposals aimed at closing a budget deficit estimated at $384 million next year.
House Finance Committee Chairman Steven M. Costantino acknowledged that FIP enrollments have been declining steadily over the last decade."


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Monday, March 10, 2008

Possibly Some Good News on the War on Terror

If we haven’t already learned the lesson, Americans will soon come to realize that most Muslim countries, from Indonesia to Egypt to Iraq, will seemingly always experience some level of violence that is related only to their culture and to their way of settling religious differences. What this means for us in Iraq and Afghanistan is not to expect an environment where there are no bombings or mass killings; the best we can hope for is to reduce the violence to a low enough level that the population feels safe and can go about their business

Perhaps I’m looking too hard for some good news on the state of our battle with Islamic terrorism, but two reports came out this week that look like good news to me. The first report concerns some signs that Iraqi youth is turning off to the Muslim religion entirely. This is a religion that in many areas of the Muslim world teaches that Jews are pigs, and that persons who leave the Muslim religion should be killed. If enough Iraqi youth start believing that their mullahs are deceiving them, this brightens prospects for them and for all the rest of us.

The other report concerns Islamic terrorist activities in China, and the reaction of the Chinese government. Although political correctness must run rife in China, the Chinese don’t fool around with terrorists of any persuasion and would be welcome allies in the fight against worldwide Islamic fundamentalism. General Pershing would be proud. Rumor has it that he dealt very harshly with Islamists in the Philippines back in the 1930’s.

Violence Leaves Young Iraqis Doubting Clerics
By SABRINA TAVERNISE, March 4, 2008 New York Times (Excerpt)

BAGHDAD — “After almost five years of war, many young people in Iraq, exhausted by constant firsthand exposure to the violence of religious extremism, say they have grown disillusioned with religious leaders and skeptical of the faith that they preach.

In two months of interviews with 40 young people in five Iraqi cities, a pattern of disenchantment emerged, in which young Iraqis, both poor and middle class, blamed clerics for the violence and the restrictions that have narrowed their lives.

“I hate Islam and all the clerics because they limit our freedom every day and their instruction became heavy over us,” said Sara, a high school student in Basra. “Most of the girls in my high school hate that Islamic people control the authority because they don’t deserve to be rulers.”

Atheer, a 19-year-old from a poor, heavily Shiite neighborhood in southern Baghdad, said: “The religion men are liars. Young people don’t believe them. Guys my age are not interested in religion anymore.”

The shift in Iraq runs counter to trends of rising religious practice among young people across much of the Middle East, where religion has replaced nationalism as a unifying ideology.

While religious extremists are admired by a number of young people in other parts of the Arab world, Iraq offers a test case of what could happen when extremist theories are applied. Fingers caught in the act of smoking were broken. Long hair was cut and force-fed to its wearer. In that laboratory, disillusionment with Islamic leaders took hold.

It is far from clear whether the shift means a wholesale turn away from religion. A tremendous piety still predominates in the private lives of young Iraqis, and religious leaders, despite the increased skepticism, still wield tremendous power. Measuring religious adherence, furthermore, is a tricky business in Iraq, where access to cities and towns far from Baghdad is limited.

But a shift seems to be registering, at least anecdotally, in the choices some young Iraqis are making.

Professors reported difficulty in recruiting graduate students for religion classes. Attendance at weekly prayers appears to be down, even in areas where the violence has largely subsided, according to worshipers and imams in Baghdad and Falluja. In two visits to the weekly prayer session in Baghdad of the followers of the militant Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr this fall, vastly smaller crowds attended than had in 2004 or 2005.

Such patterns, if lasting, could lead to a weakening of the political power of religious leaders in Iraq. In a nod to those changing tastes, political parties are dropping overt references to religion.” New York Times (no less)

China thwarts attack on Olympics
Sun Mar 9, 2008 Yahoo News (Excerpt)

Suspected "terrorists" killed in a raid in northwest China's Muslim-dominated Xinjiang region earlier this year had been planning an attack on the Olympics, a top official said Sunday.

In separate comments, another high-level official from the same region said authorities had Friday foiled an attempted "terrorist attack" on a passenger jet flying from the regional capital Urumqi to Beijing.

They were speaking on the sidelines of the current national parliamentary session at a briefing reported by the state news agency Xinhua.

Two militants were killed and 15 arrested in the January 27 raid in Urumqi, capital of the vast region bordering several Central Asian republics, according to the official Chinese account.

China also says five police officers were wounded in the raid when three homemade grenades were thrown at them.

"Obviously, the gang had planned an attack targeting the Olympics," added Wang Lequan, Xinjiang's Communist Party chief, linking the raid for the first time to the August 8-24 Games being held in Beijing.

China's police chief had warned last year that terrorism posed the biggest threat to the Beijing Olympics but this is believed to be the first time the authorities have reported a specific threat against the Games.


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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Mark Steyn on The Ridiculous Aspects of the Democrat Race

Saturday, March 8, 2008
Mark Steyn: Torn between 2 white liberal guilts

Syndicated columnist,, Harch 8, 2008

Well, we will have Hillary Clinton to kick around some more, at least for another few weeks. The Mummy (as my radio pal Hugh Hewitt calls her) kicked open the sarcophagus door and, despite the rotting bandages dating back to Iowa, began staggering around, terrorizing folks all over again.

"She is a monster," Barack Obama adviser Samantha Power told a reporter from The Scotsman – and not a monster in a cute Loch Ness blurry, long-distance kind of way. "You just look at her and think, 'Ergh,'" continued Ms. Power, who subsequently resigned from the campaign.

The New York Times took a different line. The monster is you – yes, you, the American people. Surveying the Hillary-Barack death match, Maureen Dowd wrote: "People will have to choose which of America's sins are greater, and which stain will have to be removed first. Is misogyny worse than racism, or is racism worse than misogyny?"

Do even Democrats really talk like this? Apparently so. As Ali Gallagher, a white female (sorry, this identity-politics labeling is contagious) from Texas, told the Washington Post: "A friend of mine, a black man, said to me, 'My ancestors came to this country in chains; I'm voting for Barack.' I told him, 'Well, my sisters came here in chains and on their periods; I'm voting for Hillary.'"

When everybody's a victim, nobody's a victim. Poor Ms. Gallagher can't appreciate the distinction between purely metaphorical chains and real ones, or even how offensive it might be to assume blithely that there's no difference whatsoever.

On the other hand, Barack's ancestors didn't come here in chains, either: His mother was a white Kansan, so was presumably undergoing menstrual hell with the Gallagher gals, and his dad was a black man a long way away in colonial Kenya. Indeed, Obama would be the first son of a British subject to serve as president since those slaveholding types elected in the early days of the republic. As some aggrieved black activist sniffed snootily on TV, Barack isn't really an "African American" – unless by "African American," you mean somebody whose parentage is half-American and half-African, and let's face it, no one would come up with so cockamamie a definition as that.

As for victims, you have to feel sorry for John Edwards. He was born in a mill. He weighed 1.6 pounds and what did his dad get? Another day older and deeper in debt. John spent most of the 19th century as a spindly 7-year-old sweep with rickets, cleaning chimneys in Dickensian London until Fagin spotted him and trained him up as a trial lawyer. And it worked swell in the 2004 primary but it counted for nothing this time round because, even with all that soot on his face, he's still a white boy.

Bill Richardson was the first Hispanic candidate but nobody needs a Hispanic called "Bill Richardson." Hillary assumed she'd be the last identity-politician standing in a field of bouffant poseurs like Joe Biden, only to discover that by the time she got to the final round the Democratic primary process had descended to near-parody – or, as The New York Times headline put it, a "Duel Of Historical Guilts."

That's one "historical guilt" too many. If it's Historical Guilt vs. Joe Biden and John Edwards, bet on Historical Guilt, and the Democratic base uniting around Hillary and baying "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar." Instead, it's "I Am Woman, Hear Me Whine About The Unfairness Of It All," as the Clintonites go nuclear and accuse Obama, the ultimate cool black dude, of "imitating Ken Starr," the ultimate uptight squaresville honky.

Which may be a marginally less ineffective line of attack than Gloria Steinem complaining to the New York Observer that way too many Americans want "redemption for racism" but not enough want "redemption for the gynocide." Which may, in turn, be a marginally less fatal shot in the foot than former Carter administration honcho Andrew Young's perplexing boast that Bill Clinton has slept with more black women than Obama.

The Democratic primary season seems to have dwindled down into a psycho remake of "Driving Miss Daisy." The fading matriarch Mizz Hill'ry (Jessica Tandy) doesn't want to give up the keys to the Democratic Party vehicle but the dignified black chauffeur Hokey (Morgan Freeman) insists it'll be a much smoother ride with him in the driver's seat. Yet, just as he thinks the old biddy's resigned to a nomination as Best Supporting Actress, the backseat driver plunges her hat pin into his spine, wrests the wheel away and lurches across the median.

Is the Democratic presidential process a Karl Rove plot? Right now, neither Mizz Hill'ry nor Hokey can win without the votes of the superdelegates, whose disposition is apparently in flux. The gay superdelegates are apparently sticking to Hillary like the "Hello, Dolly!" waiters to Carol Channing. But others are said to be moving Barackwards.

Are they jumping to a stalled bandwagon? One Historical Guilt gives upscale white liberals a chance to demonstrate their progressive bona fides in unison. Two Historical Guilts shrivels from transformative feel-good fluffiness into sour tribalism. Like Hillary's "I Am Woman" routine, Obama's cult of narcissism – "We are the change we have been waiting for" – would have been a shoo-in against Biden, Dodd and Edwards. But the gaseous platitudes wafting up to Cloud Nine are suddenly very earthbound. "Yes, we can!" is an effective pitch if you're the new messiah, not so much when you're pulling in a very humdrum fortysomething percent against a divisive and strikingly inept campaigner.

Go back to that Maureen Dowd line: "People will have to choose which of America's sins are greater."

"People won't, Democrats will," the blogger Orrin Judd responded. "People will elect John McCain in November, demonstrating that we don't share their guilt."

Maybe. But a Democrat nominating process that's a self-torturing satire of upscale liberal guilt confusions will at least give us a laugh along the way.


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Friday, March 07, 2008

Congress Punishes American Oil and America

Do you remember watching President Jimmy Carter talking to us from the Oval Office in a sweater? Remember how the energy crisis disappeared when Ronald Reagan took office and removed some of the stupid regulations and the taxes? Here we go again. A few weeks ago I published a piece by a psychiatrist who thought modern liberalism was a form of mental illness. Well, a popular definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

I don't really think liberal Democrats are pushing us further and further into an energy crisis because of mental problems; I believe it is entirely driven by ideology and partisan politics:

1. They really don't want America to have access to more and cheaper oil. They want gasoline to become so expensive we will stop using our cars (read Gore's books). That this will also cause a depression like we had in the 1930's escapes them.

2. Every day you see letters to the editor from idiots who don't understand that oil is fungible and blame the price of gasoline and heating oil on the greedy, big oil companies. These conspiracy nuts form the nucleus of the Democrat constituency. Congressional Democrats are playing to their constituents.

3. Liberal Democrats are not interested in maintaining a sensible balance between environmental protection and jobs and growth. We have environmental wackos willing to do anything to fulfill their own vision of environmental activism. Just this week Briana Waters and four others were convicted of the 2001 arson at the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture, and several beautiful new homes were torched in the Seattle area by unbelievably arrogant environmentalist criminals. This is the same kind of thinking that is preventing us from drilling in ANWR and in the Gulf.

Congress Punishes American Oil
By Steve Forbes, March 07, 2008 RealClearPolitics

In a relentless resolve to craft national energy policy, House Democrats last week passed an energy tax bill for the third time and the bill is headed to the Senate.

With oil clearing the $100 benchmark and ongoing instability in key oil producing regions of the globe, politicians in Washington want credit for some form of energy legislation, even if it is wrong for the country. What Congress has really concocted is a transfer of wealth scheme that raises taxes on oil companies to provide subsidies to "alternative energy." The bottom line on their latest energy fiasco is that it raises taxes on select oil companies, spares foreign oil companies the same tax increases and hands over subsidies to some of the largest companies in the country who will benefit from the "renewable" tax credits.

This $18 billion tax increase concocted by Congress includes a provision that takes away a manufacturing tax credit - which companies across the board can use - from only the five largest oil companies. As bad as it is to raises taxes for the energy industry during an economic slowdown, a tax increase that's only aimed at specific companies undermines energy security by putting a handful companies at the mercy of competitors across the globe.

Even more outrageous, foreign oil companies, including Citgo, owned by the government of Venezuela, will not lose the deduction. In other words, foreign oil companies with US production will actually pay a lower tax rate than American companies. How can members of Congress support legislation that will reward companies such as Citgo, while placing U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage? In their zeal to punish "big oil" members of Congress have made a mockery of our energy policy.

If congressional leaders succeed in this approach, it will set a terrible precedent for greedy politicians to start targeting specific companies as their source of revenue. Energy policy is not a game of diplomatic dodge ball - the federal government can not pick and choose winners and losers.

The intent of these tax hikes is to promote "alternative energy." What few in Congress have talked about is that millions in subsidies will go to large and successful companies. These companies have been at the forefront of the lobbying campaign for this legislation. So despite all the talk of promoting renewable and alternatives, it's nothing more than another congressional debacle to transfer wealth to favored interests.

Reading some of the provisions of the energy legislation will invoke flashbacks to the gas lines and energy shortages experienced in the 1970's. All of these energy policies -windfall profits taxes and industry regulations - have been tried and failed. They increased our reliance on foreign oil, created shortages and hurt consumers. Despite their best attempt to repackage provisions, the latest energy bill pedaled by Democrats in Congress will revisit the mistakes of the 1970's.

With $100+ oil and blatant threats by key energy producing nations - like Venezuela - Democrats in Congress have reasoned that increasing taxes on the oil industry will miraculously lessen the burden on consumers. While it may be trendy to pick on "big oil", the reality is that America as a whole benefits from our oil companies having the resources to invest in more production and in alternative forms of energy.

Raising taxes on energy companies raises the cost of production, dampens investment, research and exploration, and ultimately leads to higher prices for consumers.

Though sound bytes from Capitol Hill continually profess support for "energy independence," the bill passed by the House last week does nothing to deliver additional energy for Americans. While we denounce our reliance on Hugo Chavez and Middle Eastern despots for our oil, how can we, in good conscience, refuse to tap the millions of barrels of oil right here in America?

Both houses of Congress want to show their constituents they are serious about energy. But at a time when our economy and our security are impacted by energy, sloppy energy policy designed to score political points in an election year will cause consumers demonstrable harm. Congress's latest energy bill will raise energy costs, make us more dependent on foreign oil and undermine our nation's energy security. Hugo Chavez is smiling.

Steve Forbes is editor-in-chief of Forbes Magazine.


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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Obama and Other Liberals Hoist on their Petard

For almost five years now we have been hearing from liberal Democrats that the Iraq War was a diversion from our efforts to destroy Al Qaeda, and that terrorism could only be overcome through diplomacy. Even now, with unmistakable evidence that President Bush’s strategy of fighting them in Iraq, rather than on our homeland, has proven brilliant, we keep hearing nonsense from Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. See video of Obama’s foolishness at end.

March 4, 2008, cross-posted from Powerline
Bad news for al Qaeda. . .and for liberal talking points

For years now, the American left has been arguing that the war in Iraq is a distraction from the "real" war against al Qaeda and is counter-productive because it's "creating" new terrorists. Apparently, it never occurred to these deep-thinkers that inflicting a defeat on al-Qaeda in Iraq -- a defeat made possible because a previously sympathetic population turned with our help against al Qaeda -- might constitute a devastating blow to al Qaeda's standing in the Arab world.

The idea that losing a war hurts one's standing may be a novel one for our sophisticated liberals. But Osama bin Laden has long grasped it, famously stating years ago that "when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse."

Our amazing progress in Iraq is demonstrating that, for now, al Qaeda rather than the U.S. is the weak horse in the very country that al Qaeda has identified as the key battleground in its struggle against us. Consequently, as Peter Wehner shows, the tide within the Islamic world is beginning to run strongly against al-Qaeda. For example, Sayyid Imam al-Sharif recently published a book -- Rationalizations on Jihad in Egypt and the World -- in which he argues that the use of violence to overthrow Islamic governments is religiously unlawful and practically harmful. He also recommends the formation of a special Islamic court to try bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s number two and its ideological leader. These words are significant, Wehner says, because Sharif was once a mentor to Zawahir and has been described by terrorism expert Jarret Brachman as “a living legend within the global jihadist movement.”

Similarly, Sheikh Abd Al-‘Aziz bin Abdallah Aal Al-Sheikh, the highest religious authority in Saudi Arabia, issued a fatwa late last year prohibiting Saudi youth from engaging in jihad abroad. It states: “I urge my brothers the ulama [the top class of Muslim clergy] to clarify the truth to the public . . . to warn [youth] of the consequences of being drawn to arbitrary opinions and [religious] zeal that is not based on religious knowledge.” Around the same time, Sheikh Salman al-Awdah, an influential Saudi cleric whom bin Laden once lionised, wrote an “open letter” condemning bin Laden. “Brother Osama, how much blood has been spilt? How many innocents among children, elderly, the weak, and women have been killed and made homeless in the name of al-Qaeda?” Sheikh Awdah wrote. “The ruin of an entire people, as is happening in Afghanistan and Iraq . . . cannot make Muslims happy.”

Public opinion polls seem to confirm al Qaeda's suddenly low standing in the Muslim world. Wehner points to a survey in Pakistan finding that in January less than a quarter of Pakistanis approved of bin Laden, compared with 46 per cent last August, while backing for al-Qaeda fell from 33 per cent to 18 per cent. And Pew reports that the percentage of Muslims saying suicide bombing is justified in the defense of Islam has declined in seven of the eight Arab countries where trend data are available. In Lebanon, for example, 34 per cent of Muslims say such suicide bombings are often or sometimes justified. In 2002, before the Iraq war began, 74 per cent expressed this view.

Wehner notes that, even in the face of evidence like this, Barack Obama declared in a recent debate that “we are seeing al-Qaeda stronger now than at any time since 2001.” This may reflect the counsel he's getting from Zbigniew Brzezinski, Lawrence Korb, and Samantha Power. However, with Sunnis in Iraq siding en masse siding with the American “infidel” and “occupying power” to purge al Qaeda and with prominent Islamic clerics throughout the region following suit, Obama's view bears no apparent relation to reality.

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