Thursday, December 30, 2004

As Frank (Zappa) once said ...

Headline on an Associated Press story via Fox News:

"France: We're the No. 1 Aid Donor"

Fine print: not in actual dollars (or euros), only as a percentage of national GDP. And only if you do not count the millions upon millions of private charitable contributions of American individuals and companies not funneled through the government.

But if it makes the Frogs any happier, and spurs them to greater charity:

"Go, Frenchy!"

U.N. has no moral authority

It's a beautiful thing to see globalists spinning their mental wheels in frustration.

Witness one
Clare Short, former International Development secretary for the U.N., bad-mouthing the news that America is joining with Australia, Japan and India to "coordinate" their own relief efforts. This lefty Brit gal told the BBC:
“I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up. ... It is the only body that has the moral authority."

Moral authority? Based, pray tell, on what?

To have moral authority you must be able to show that your actions a) have been sanctioned by a higher moral authority, or b) your outfit must be that highest moral authority, and c) your actions have consistently been of a moral quality that it is recognized that "only" you have that moral authority thing going for you.

The United Nations meets none of the three conditions, especially the last one. In the wake of the Oil-for-Food scandal where billions of dollars were siphoned off by participating nations, private companies, and U.N. personnel (all under the U.N.'s "watchful" eye) you'd have to be crazy to trust another half-billion to this outfit. Which is why President Bush's announcement that the U.S. would join at least three other sane international partners in distributing our own aid is a praise-worthy action.

But Ms. Short was not merely content to laud the impeccable credentials of the United Nations, she hurled a verbal fist against history by declaring:
(She) said the coalition countries did not have good records on responding to international disasters. She said the US was “very bad at coordinating with anyone” and India had its own problems to deal with.

Dear Ms. Short: The U.N. could not coordinate its way out of a wet paper bag. The United States, on the other hand, has been successfully doling out disaster relief for more than a hundred years. You also said the U.N. could only do its job well "if it is backed up by the authority of the great powers." How does it follow that the U.S. does not have moral authority, but the U.N. can't exercise its moral authority without the backing of the U.S.?

Cannot. Follow. Logic. Danger. Overload. Circuits. Fusing!

Now that we're better, let's take note of one final Short remark:
“I don’t know what that is about but it sounds very much, I am afraid, like the US trying to have a separate operation and not work with the rest of the world through the UN system,” she added.

Whatever it takes to get the job done, dear Ms. Short. Whatever it takes.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Sumatran Tsunami

It's difficult to summarize the horror of an event that has killed at least 100,000 -- and counting -- across the shores of the Indian Ocean. We've been putting off commentary for a couple of days. Oh, why not admit it, we've been on "holiday" for longer than that, but the 9.2 quake and tsunami caused more delay ... what to say? Prayer seemed the better answer.

There are reasons why all citizens on this planet should contemplate this disaster and its physical, geopolitical and spiritual ramifications. First, the obvious:

Americans will respond in charity and kindness to the great physical needs of the victims of the region. We always have and there is no reason to believe that we will not do so again. The idiot director of disaster relief for the U.N. (we'll kindly not mention his name) has no clue as to the American character, the American system, or the American anger he has triggered. We believe the U.S. people will not take their anger out on the victims but in due course will deal with the excreble United Nations as is merited.

We are pleased that President Bush has created the nucleus of a disaster response coalition, including Australia, India and Japan, that will see that our governmental aid efforts are not siphoned off by the thieves in the rathole known as the U.N. Of course he will be accused of "uni-lateralism" (strangely enough) by the one-worlders at home and abroad. So what? Let the U.N. salvage something of its integrity by showing us how it spends the donations of other nations on this disaster, if it can. Let it prove itself worthy in one final crucial test, but with other people's money. Let our aid go where it is needed.

Before discussing the spiritual aspects of this world crisis, consider that:
  • This Christmas Quake/Tsunami event comes one year to the hour of the deadly quake in Bam, Iran. There is a difference of 58 minutes.
  • This event comes forty years after the Good Friday Quake/Tsunami in Alaska in 1964.
  • Sri Lankan officials are reporting that very few animals were killed by the walls of waves that killed tens of thousands of people.

These observations could, of course, be coincidences. But in the light of certain private prophecies and revelations reported over the past 15 years there exists one possibility that you will not see in the mainstream media: the Sumatran quake/tsunami could be part of a larger event of natural disasters that is increasing in strength and frequency as part of a spiritual transition time for humanity. Could it be that a chastisement of modern humanity is beginning, a temporal punishment that is the result of an ever increasing distance between the world at large and the precepts of God?

"We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now," Saint Paul wrote to the Roman Christians of his time (Romans 8:22), explaining that creation itself awaits a time of fulfillment and cleansing from corruption, a restoration of the divine order.

The late Maria Esperanza of Betania, Venezuela, a Catholic visionary who foresaw the events of 9-11 and other dramatic occurrences, warned before her death last August that the earth's core "is not in balance." She saw 2004 as the start of a series of events that, though horrific, will eventually lead to greater spiritual harmony and human happiness. She died just as Florida was subjected to a record four hurricanes. (For more information you should visit author Michael Brown's commentary on his website Spirit Daily.)

Last night LA County experienced a tornado alert. The United States saw a new record for tornados this year. Mount Saint Helens is under a category 2 alert as the lava dome ominously continues to build. The geothermal undercurrents of Yellowstone, itself on a massive supervolcano, continue to get warmer and warmer, puzzling scientists. Strange as-yet-unexplained "booms" frazzle the nerves of residents in parts of West Virginia and Ohio. Sunspot activity -- which should've been on the decrease -- inexplicably shot up to record levels in October, favoring the planet with magnificent displays of the aurora borealis. New reports from scientists show that global warming may largely be due to increased solar thermal output, not from human activity.

All this is noted. Also noted is that cloning experiments advance world-wide. Barely a dent is made in the abortion rate. The euthanasia debate is being lost by the pro-life movement as the culture of death refuses to wait on courts and legislatures to rule. Gay marriage has gained a solid foothold in parts of the world and traditional marriage is under attack in the West. Pornography remains one of the top exports of American culture, and all of this earns the emnity of fundamentalist Muslims who already fear and resent "the great Satan" of the West.

Israel is isolated as never before in the world community with but a handful of nations, America foremost among them, still claiming her as a friend. Yet within the U.S. there are those who are pushing our government to reverse course, to turn away from Israel. Meanwhile we attempt to build a democracy in Iraq, an effort that serves as a lightning rod to attract the anti-American, anti-democratic cream of the Islamic terrorist crop. This could be a brilliant strategy to draw our enemies into the open where we can let our professionals deal with them, rather than our civilians at home (and this is our personal view). It may also be a campaign so dangerously frought with unanticipated consequences that the American people may lose the will to continue, especially with the liberal left and MSM allied against the policy. In truth it is both.

The prudent man or woman must weigh all these events and conditions carefully and prayerfully. The world seems to be at a time pregnant with possibilities, and from the point of view of traditional morality, the possibilities are not generally not welcome ones. If you believe that prayer is a greater weapon for good than the mightiest of armies and the most forceful of government policies, then by all means this is a time that calls for prayer.

Other than contributing to disaster relief, it is the only true solution available.

Consistently anti-American

Guess who signed on as an American lawyer for Saddam Hussein?

Ramsey Clarke, a former Attorney General of the United States who, since leaving the LBJ Administration nearly forty years ago has done little except attack and belittle his own country. At least we can give him points for consistency: consistently anti-American. He's also done legal work for Slobodan Milosevic.

According to Al Jazeera, no doubt its editors ecstatic as they trumpeted the news, Clarke believes that the Iraqi court in which the trial will be held is "illegal" under international law. Their report included this foretaste of legal lunacies to come:
Clark also said the US itself must be tried for the November assault on Falluja, destruction of houses, torture in prisons and its role in the deaths of thousands of Iraqis in the war.

Ramsey Clarke. Disgusting, to the last.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Happier with no help?

No good deed goes unpunished.

Under the current administration more direct assistance to combat AIDS than ever before has been sent to African countries. AIDS in Africa is an equal opportunity disease for men and women thanks to a well entrenched culture of promiscuity. That means that the next generations are lucky if they make it out of the womb without already being infected.

That being the case, the United States tried a new drug designed to prevent the transmission of AIDS from infected mothers to their unborn children. By all accounts the drug works. The side effects, we are now learning, is that in some cases it may render the mother unable to be successfully treated for AIDS later.

Naturally the "hate America first" crowd is out for blood on this (count among these the Marxist-oriented African National Congress and the opportunistic Rev. Jesse Jackson). According to
The Associated Press, the ANC Journal Online says the American doctor in charge of the program "was happy that the peoples of Africa should be used as guinea pigs , given a drug he knew very well should not be prescribed," the article said. "In other words, they entered into a conspiracy with a pharmaceutical company to tell lies to promote the sales of nevirapine in Africa, with absolutely no consideration of the health impact of those lies on the lives of millions of Africans."

That would make more sense if nevirapine was being sold in Africa instead of being given out in a humanitarian effort to fight AIDS. Making sense, however, is not required for any of the AIDS program critics. Jesse Jackson calls the U.S. effort a "crime against humanity."

In the United States, the Rev. Jesse Jackson called for a U.S. congressional investigation and demanded nevirapine no longer be distributed in Africa.

"This was not a thoughtful and reasonable decision, but a crime against humanity," Jackson said Thursday in Chicago. "Research standards and drug quality that are unacceptable in the U.S. and other Western countries must never be pushed onto Africa."

Would Mr. Jackson be happier if nothing was done? Or if nothing had been tried? Has Mr. Jackson ever actually tried to investigate matters (on anything) before he shoots off his mouth?

An internal review reportedly has cleared the director of the program of any blame in the matter, and many health experts are now worried that the drug will be pulled, thus condemning thousands, if not millions, of new Africans to shortened and disease-ridden lives.

We ask: Who are the real villains in this story?

Guess who's against baseball?

Drudge carries today a link to a fascinating radio report out of Washington, D.C. spotlighting who is putting up the money to campaign against the new baseball stadium in the Anacostia riverfront district. Turns out this guy doesn't care whether it's public or private money funding a home for the Washington Nationals. He doesn't want to lose his sex club businesses.

Yeah, businesses plural.

WTOP Radio has learned up to 20 percent of the $50,000 came from Robert Siegel, an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner whose business would have to move to make way for the stadium. Siegel is a major landowner on the South Capitol stadium site, an area that Siegel calls "D.C.'s unofficial Red Light district."

He owns 11 properties, several of which house gay nightclubs. He also owns a gay porn shop and adult theaters. He says he's spent $20,000 of his own money to keep from being displaced by a new stadium. The funding includes other efforts he undertook to keep out baseball, including neighborhood signs and lawyer fees. Some of the money went toward posters and radio ads, including one that ran on WTOP Radio.

Siegel says he's staying in the background because he doesn't want to cloud the issue of baseball with sex.

For the record, we are not big fans of public financing of sports arenas, but the very fact that a new baseball stadium would displace this man's sleaze industry is the best argument we've ever heard for the taxpayers picking up the bill. Siegel is too cute by half in insisting he wants to remain in the background to avoid clouding the baseball issue with "sex." Wrong word. Substitute sleaze and you have it just right.

There is much that is beautiful about Washington, D.C., and for anyone who has been there and traveled even a block or so off the beaten path, there is much that isn't, and that's a shame. The city ought to be a complete showcase for the best of America, but ensconced liberalism in the local politics has much of the city looking like a war zone.

Our nation's capital is one place that could use some incentives for capitalistic renovation. The D.C. mayor seems to understand this but much of the D.C. City Council does not. What the city does not need is to protect the old red light industries that merely prey upon the worst inclinations of humanity.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

EU: No Christian need apply

Not only have the new Euromasters succeeded in keeping any mention of Christianity, or Europe's Christian history, out of its new constitution, but they show themselves to be adept at keeping the religious from the halls of power. This isn't a new trend or even surprising information, but we were reminded today when Zenit reprinted a George Weigel column from the Denver Register on the Rocco Buttiglione affair.

Buttiglione is a conservative, orthodox Catholic professor of philosophy, a distinguished former member of the Italian government, friend of Pope John Paul II, and a good family man. These qualities did not endear him to the EU decision makers when it came to determining whether Buttiglione would make a good Minister of Justice.
One parliamentarian informed Buttiglione that Rocco's conviction that homosexual relations were morally disordered was "in direct contradiction of European law." Buttiglione, ever the professor, reminded his inquisitor of Kant's distinction between morality and law and made clear his conviction that many things considered immoral should not be criminalized. The inquisitor wasn't impressed. Another parliamentarian asked what Buttiglione intended to do as justice minister to be "pro-active" in promoting "protection of homosexuals." Buttiglione replied that he was firmly against discrimination against anyone, but that the civil rights of homosexuals "should be defended on the same basis as the rights of all other European citizens," not through some "pro-active" agenda.
When incoming E.C. president Durao Barroso then presented his entire commission slate to the European Parliament (which had to vote "yea" or "nay" on the slate as a whole), gridlock ensued. Two days after the signing of the European constitutional treaty, Rocco Buttiglione withdrew his nomination so that the process of forming the new European Commission could be completed.

To which Weigel asks the question:
What kind of polity is it that doesn't want a man like Rocco Buttiglione looking after the administration of justice and the protection of human rights? A polity in which too many people believe that the God of the Bible is the enemy of human freedom. A polity in which too many people believe that freedom is license. A polity in which "anti-discrimination" has become the excuse for active discrimination against Catholics and others whose moral convictions ill-fit the relativist-secularist opinion mainstream. A polity, in other words, like the new Europe. The demographers tell us that Europe is dying, physically. The Buttiglione affair tells us that Europe is now on life-support, morally and culturally.

File away but do not forget.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Another Border Bio-threat?

At first glance the Rutherford Institute report "Ticking Time Bomb: Diseases That Cross American Borders" is a major pre-Christmas "Do I feel like I have a fever?" downer. It's not bad enough to allow millions of illegals into the country every year, along with who knows how many Islamic terrorists and Hispanic gang members, while the powers-that-be cluck merrily along singing "It's a Small World, After All." It looks like our leaky border is also conducive to bad health.

But on second thought it's possible that this is the issue that might prompt a public outcry and a reasonable response from the federal government because it has the advantage of being a humanitarian response. We'll explain in a moment, but first get a taste of the report:

Further details can be found in a report entitled “Immigration’s Silent Invasion, Deadly Consequences” where the authors state: “The invasion of illegal aliens pouring over the borders of the United States is taking an ominous turn.

They are not alone! Their bodies may carry Hepatitis A, B & C, tuberculosis, leprosy and Chagas Disease. Chagas is a nasty parasitic bug common in Latin America where 18 million people are infected and 50,000 deaths occur annually.”Illegal aliens, by avoiding health screenings at U.S. borders, carry TB, the most serious being MDR, a multi-drug resistant tuberculosis with a higher death rate than cancer. According to the New York Academy of Sciences, Update, January 2002, “TB bacteria readily fly through the air, as when an afflicted person coughs. It’s estimated that each victim will infect 10, 20 or more people—in whom the disease will likely remain latent, creating the potential ‘time bomb’ effect.”To make matters worse, in excess of 7,000 new cases of leprosy have been diagnosed in the U.S. in the past three years. ...

Chagas, called the kissing bug disease because the parasite favors the face as a route of infection, comes in acute and chronic forms, which can damage your heart and intestines. This parasite now threatens our blood supply, yet no means to test the blood is currently available. Ironically, the public health community has been aware of this danger for years. “Hundreds of blood recipients may be silently infected,” writes Donald G. McNeil, Jr. in the New York Times (November 18, 2003), “and there is no effective treatment for them. After a decade, 10 to 30 percent of them will die when their hearts or intestines, weakened by the disease, explode.”

Three people received Chagas infected organs in 2001, the first such cases ever reported in the United States. Two of those three died. Moreover, “Dengue Fever, reports of polio, and now, the first case of malaria in Texas trickle into the United States as the invasion of illegal aliens increases in numbers.”

Are you feeling light-headed yet? A little nauseous perhaps?

To be fair, you don't have to wait for an immigrant to bring the disease to you. You can always go visit, as the
Arizona Republic reports today:

Phoenix's chief financial officer was the consummate professional, a straight-laced and quiet man who was a genius with numbers.That's why the bizarre manner in which Kevin Keogh died Wednesday - apparently by climbing out the window of his moving Mercedes-Benz on a crowded
Scottsdale street - left many not only grieving, but shaking their heads in disbelief. Keogh's last moments were so completely uncharacteristic of his day-to-day persona that only an equally strange explanation seemed to bring some kind of sense to his death.

City officials say they believe that their finance director was suffering from brain damage caused by a rare parasite that he picked up while traveling in Mexico a few years ago. The damage impairs a person's social decision-making abilities. The city was not aware of Keogh's illness until Wednesday, when Keogh's wife, Karlene, informed them that the parasite had affected his brain and other parts of his body.

... Dr. Christina Kwasnica, director of brain injury rehabilitation at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, said in rare cases a parasite, called cystercosis, can cause frontal lobe disinhibition, which can make people do crazy things.

How frequent or rare cystercosis may be the article does not tell us, but the message comes through loud and clear. There are serious maladies in the world with which we are neither familiar nor prepared. Americans are complacent about health issues and the government is asleep at the wheel on controlling illegal immigration. It's a bad combination.

A better combination would combine realistic border controls with health screenings. We are sympathetic to immigration arguments citing the economic aspirations of our neighbors to the south. Let's let a good number of them immigrate, legally. Let's also screen their health. To do so would be humane.

If Vincente Fox wants to accept American help, let's come up with a joint U.S.-Mexican program to improve health care south of the border. Put the ball in his court and see if for once Mexico can operate a program that gets results instead of produces graft and corruption. At the same time let's make sure that the people who cross over into the United States are bringing nothing more dangerous than their aspirations for the future. For decades we have screen livestock for diseases like brucellosis and anthrax. People are so much more important than cattle.

Our complacency must end. Will it take an epidemic to spur us into action? Think about it and get involved. It's time to let our congressmen know that they must take invasive threats seriously: all of them. If you need just a wee bit more convincing, we'll leave you with this paragraph from the Rutherford Report:
As the “Silent Invasion” report concludes: “It means your children are at risk when attending school or going to the movies. It means that when a classmate from a foreign country sneezes or coughs, your child may be at risk for any number of diseases. If you eat at a fast food restaurant, a person infected with hepatitis could prepare your food. If you need a blood transfusion, the blood could be infected with Chagas Disease.”

Sleep well tonight.

A Must Read: DFW's Khomeini Fest

National Review Online contributor Rod Dreher is on top of a festival in Dallas featuring a controversial (and perhaps dangerous) D.C. imam that is paying "tribute" to the memory of our old pal, the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran. Dreher is rightfully complaining that coverage of this event ought to be a national priority for the MSM (fat chance). This may have something to do with our failing ability as a nation to remember anything longer than six months. Our run-in with Khomeini took place 25 years ago.

So that a new generation can appreciate "the Great Islamic Visionary" who became the model for so many radical Islamic clerics (and even Osama bin Laden), Dreher has linked to an article by Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, at but includes the following text for the perpetually lazy (you know who you are ... please read this much):

As Khomeini himself put it: "Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world....But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world." The goal of this conquest would be to establish the hegemony of Islamic law. As Khomeini put it: "What is the good of us [i.e., the mullahs] asking for the hand of a thief to be severed or an adulteress to be stoned to death when all we can do is recommend such punishments, having no power to implement them?"
What good, indeed? As horrible as it sounds, you have to admire the straightforward logic of such thinking. There isn't much westernized "nuance" to get in the way. The new Islam does not want to be an advisory body to modern governments. It seeks real political power to reshape societies and eliminate those pesky infidels (i.e., us). But wait, there's more:
Khomeini accordingly delivered notorious rebuke to the Islam-is-a-religion-of-peace crowd: "Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that
Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill them, put them to the sword and scatter [their armies].... Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for the Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other [Qur'anic] psalms and Hadiths [sayings of the Prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all this mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim."

True, old AK isn't doing much spitting these days, but there are plenty of followers in his blood-thirsty footsteps who don't mind spitting for him, so in a sense the projectile saliva of the late great Ayatollah still flows. Sad to say, much of it is directed at foolish Americans who fit the description: There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Take the log out of your own eyes by reading both articles, please.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Insecure Faith of ACLU

How in the name of Free Inquiry can the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) justify filing a lawsuit against a school district requiring to be taught, as an alternative theory to straight up evolution, that the universe seems to have developed according to an intelligent design?

Evolution, after all, is only a theory. Highly popular, no doubt. Often taught as the gospel truth. (Just try to help your kids with their science homework and you will soon learn just how passionately their instructors have passed on this evolutionary "faith".)

When we last heard from the self-annointed heroes of the ACLU there was an assumption that they merely wish to allow each and every student to have the facts presented to them in school. Theories, by definition, are suspected facts not yet proven. Theories await further discoveries that will either consign them to the ashheap of history or to the highest pantheon of science fact.

Intelligent design is not a theory. It is the description of what observing scientists have found at every macro and micro level of the universe. You can call it order, design, symmetry, logic, beauty, regularity, predictability, repetition of theme, mathematical precision, balance of design, complexity, functionality, inter-relatedness ... but it all boils down to the easily perceived notion: whatever you think of the possibility of a Grand Designer, the universe sure looks like it was crafted by One super intellect who enjoys unity within diversity.

Intelligent design does not kill the theory of evolution, although it does heavily testify against random chance being purely responsible for the beginning and modification of things. As has been said by many philosophers, order does not arise out of chaos without some force acting upon it in a manner of design. Then the problem is that you have to decide whether the design of the force is accidental or intentional. Intelligent design facts argue for a directed evolution of the universe, and that is not contrary to the revealed truth of Judaism or Christianity. Only without intelligent design facts can you argue for designer-free (or God-less) evolution.

By choosing to support Theory over Fact, the ACLU is serving notice (doubtlessly without a thought) that it no longer supports unfettered free inquiry for students but requires public schools to avoid facts that can threaten godless evolution theory. By supporting Theory over Fact, the ACLU is demonstrating that it has greater Faith in godless evolution, and that any Doubt seeded by Intelligent Design facts must be avoided at all costs.

Sounds an awful lot like a religious position to us.

If the ACLU wishes to maintain its religious pogrom against the Intelligent Design heresy, it will certainly be kept busy. The movement is catching on, and the news that science's foremost atheist has apostacized and accepted God
("Famous Atheist Now Believes in God") will not help its crusade. We speak of British scientist Antony Flew who has capitulated to the facts and logic of intelligent design:

Flew told The Associated Press his current ideas have some similarity with American ``intelligent design'' theorists, who see evidence for a guiding force in the construction of the universe. He accepts Darwinian evolution but doubts it can explain the ultimate origins of life.

... but if his belief upsets people, well ``that's too bad,'' Flew said. ``My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato's Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads.''

That is not the position of the ACLU and their pals at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. As noted by The Associated Press:
The ACLU has said intelligent design is a more secular form of creationism, a Biblical-based view that credits the origin of species to God, and may violate the constitutional separation of church and state.
Or, as we imagine them saying in the back room, "Never mind the facts, boys. We gotta defend our godless universe."

Monday, December 13, 2004

Seasonal foolishness

Our tech problems last week prevented us from commenting on the furor in Mustang, a small town near Oklahoma City, where the Superintendent of Schools Karl Springer preemptively "cleaned up" the Christmas pageant of the song "Silent Night" and any other references to the holiday observed by over 90 percent of Oklahoma citizens. This, he said, to comply "with the law" separating church and state.

Oddly enough, the superintendent did not think references to Kwanzaa or Hanukah violated this "law" of separation.

Oddly too, no one had issued any complaint or threatened any protest of the Christmas program. Springer undertook the action on his own initiative after determining that a clear and present danger to the wall of separation existed. To hell with tradition, the preferences of the local taxpayers, parents and voters, and such time honored logic as "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Springer sprung into action.

Today there is good news to report: "Silent Night" made it back into the program thanks to a lot of publicity and protest, though the onstage Nativity scene was cut:

On Thursday, Springer told The Associated Press that he does not approve of students playing the Biblical roles of Mary, Joseph and the three wise men, which was planned as part of the original version of the play.

We suspect that Supt. Springer would have made a good Rudolph after the incident became an national embarrassment. What we do not know is whether anyone has informed him that there is no actual law establishing a wall of separation between religion and government. You sure won't find it in the U.S. Constitution.

Springer has promised to meet with the Mustang Ministerial Alliance to devise rules to govern future pageants. We hope they do their homework and educate the unfortunate superintendent as to the prevailing law, and regardless of his position, that they have the courage to insist that the rights of the Christian community be protected, as well as those of the ancient Kwanzans.

Finally, the incident only goes to show that you don't have to live in a blue state to encounter liberal woes. Eternal vigilance for everybody, we must sadly conclude.

Our first & last Word on Peterson

Scott Peterson has been found guilty of first degree murder of his wife and second degree murder of his unborn son.

We have no problem with either verdict.

The jury today found Scott Peterson deserving of the death penalty for killing his wife.

We have no problem with that either, other than to say that it is a shame that it likely will take a decade for the appeals process to run its course. This is not justice. It is not a system that makes sense. It is a mockery designed to enrich lawyers and muck up the lawbooks with extraneous appellate chatter. If Lacy Peterson even had an opportunity to plead for her life, it probably did not last long. In fairness, we'd give Scott more time than that to appeal his death sentence. Three months ought to be enough time for a couple of high priced lawyers and a judge to sort through the transcripts and make sure that no glaring errors convicted Peterson erroneously. It also would give Peterson time to get right with God, if he is so inclined.

That's about all that needs said.

Delusions of Grandeur

... or how the Dems still pretend they're the majority in the Senate.
At last count the American voting public has limited Democrats to only 44 of the 100 Senate seats (and it could've been worse but some folks weren't up for re-election this year), but the Dems still act like they are
running the show .

Washington, DC, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. Senate Democrats Monday signaled they would continue to try and unofficially oversee the Bush administration.

Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, D-N.D., and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced several oversight hearings on a range of subjects next year.

That's the bad news. The good news is that their ability to do much of anything is limited to hot air. With a friendly liberal press willing to assist them, that's enough. The Dems have no subpoena power.

Why do they have any ability whatsoever to conduct "hearings"? Don't seem to remember the GOP conducting their own congressional hearings back when they were the minority party. It all seems rather silly. Oh, yeah, we're talking the Democratic Party. Silly is job one.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Dutch Islamo-Terror Update

The incomparable Victor Davis Hanson, in an article in National Review Online, states what should by now be obvious but is not:
The radical Muslim world of the madrassas hates the United States because it is liberal and powerful; but it utterly despises Europe because it is even more liberal and far weaker, earning the continent not fear, but contempt.
Another report out of the Netherlands today shows how tolerance of libertine sex provides an inviting target for Islamics bent on showing their disapproval. Apparently terrorists intended to target Amsterdam's infamous red light district.
Expatica News reports:

The pizza-delivery courier allegedly conducted reconnaissance of the capital's prostitution zone while riding through the area during work hours on his scooter. He was arrested on 5 November. Newspaper De Telegraaf described him as a "radical Moroccan pizza deliverer".

The National Detectives Unit was alerted to the supposed attack plan by three anonymous emails, the first of which was received on 14 September. Emails dated 27 September and 11 October gave further details of the suspects and addresses. The emails warned that "terrorists in Amsterdam East" were plotting an attack on the Wallen area in Amsterdam, De Telegraaf reported. Muslim extremists, the paper said, were allegedly furious at the lack of morals in the prostitution zone.

This isn't going to settle already jangled nerves, as VDH suggests:
Only now are Europeans discovering the disturbing nature of radical Islamic extremism, which thrives not on real grievance but on perceived hurts — and the appeasement of its purported oppressors. How odd that tens of millions of Muslims flocked to Europe for its material consumption, superior standard of living, and freedom and tolerance — and then chose not merely to remain in enclaves but to romanticize all the old pathologies that they had fled from in the first place. It is almost as if the killers in Amsterdam said, "I want your cell phones, unfettered Internet access, and free-spirited girls, but hate the very system that alone can create them all. So please let me stay here to destroy what I want."

Do read all of Hanson's piece, and recommend it to all your liberal friends who fail to see that the a flaunted loosening of morality in public paints a bigger target for radical Islam than anything else we Americans could think to do.

Creative mayhem

Martha Stewart isn't the only one who can cook up special surprises behind bars.

The Smoking reports that Oklahoma prison inmate Ernesto Hernandez-Rosales:
"... has been charged with the pork chop assault of a fellow resident of the Lexington Correctional Center. According to investigators, Hernandez-Rosales (pictured at right) tried last month to settle a beef by stabbing Jermaine Portillo, 21, in the eye with a "sharpened pork chop bone."

Ernesto is doing time for marijuana distribution.
Guess that's what is meant when one says, "I've got a bone to pick with you."

When 7 of 10 say 'no'

This is good news: Fewer Teens Engaging in Sex, Study Finds

WASHINGTON (AP) - Fewer teens are engaging in sexual activity than in the past, and those that do are more likely to use contraceptives, the government said Friday.

The National Center for Health Statistics said that for girls aged 15 to 17 the percentage who had ever had intercourse declined from 38 percent in 1995 to 30 percent in 2002. For boys, the agency said, the decline was 43 percent to 31 percent.

Notice that 7 of 10 of both boys and girls between 15 and 17 are saying "no." The word for that, reviled in some quarters but not here, is abstinence. And it works. As the outgoing Secretary for Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson, said:
"More teenagers are avoiding or postponing sexual activity, which can lead to sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy or emotional and societal responsibilities for which they are not

The numbers are still higher than they should be, but the trend is the right direction.

Not necessarily good news

Why does the report that Colin Powell plans to become a political commentator in the day ahead not fill us with maximum joy and gladness?
Powell, who has been close-mouthed about his future plans after announcing his resignation as the top US diplomat last month, said he expected to be "speaking out on the issues of the day" when he returns to private life.

Powell told Agency Press France that while he has rejected thoughts of entering "political" life, that does not mean public life.
Colin Powell was a fine soldier, ran a good war back in 1991, and has a personal story that is inspiring. Yet he has shown signs of wanting to prove his "moderation". Hope we're wrong but we have a funny feeling Powell was more useful as a Secretary of State. You rarely heard from him there.

Spoken too soon

King Priam has nothing on us.

It turns out that our technical difficulties were the result of a nasty little Trojan horse of a virus that, while it did not do all the damage it wanted, did kill enough code to eliminate MS Word and the Oklahomily printer. Happily both are back in service, new additional precautions have been added, and our impulsive daughter who borrowed the computer for a little online research is now instructed to accept no gifts from Greeks or geeks from any web source not approved by Dad.

The silver lining in the incident was discovering the incredible amount of information now available online to help a medium-to-fair techie diagnose and fix these sorts of problem. The power of the good internet people can overcome the powers of darkness when we join forces.

Always good to remember.

When truth is not enough

The sad story of Dennis Edwards reminds us of how small the world has become, and what dangers that poses for those for whom the truth isn't quite good enough. The Boston Globe online carries the report today:

When Army Sergeant Dennis Edwards spoke at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School last month, 100 students listened in rapt silence as he told chilling tales of battlefield horror in Iraq and criticized President Bush's motives for going to war.

Edwards, 23, a Barnstable High School graduate, said he and two other soldiers shot and killed a 10-year-old boy in Iraq who pretended to be wounded and suddenly fired an AK-47 rifle. The boy was found to have explosives attached to his body, Edwards told the stunned audience.

Now, Edwards has admitted to his superiors in the elite 82d Airborne Division that the story about the shooting was a lie, Army officials yesterday. As a result, the veteran of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan could be charged with making false statements, face a court-martial, and be stripped of his rank.

We have no doubt that Sgt. Edwards had interesting stories to tell without embellishment (or resorting to Bush bashing), and in another time his tale would've flown under the radar of the national news establishment. He likely would have been one of those handful of "windy" former soldiers in every age whose stories get better with each repeat.

That is not to excuse him. The war is ongoing and the American public -- even elementary students -- deserve the facts, not the fiction, while men and women are still in harm's way. There will be time for tall tales after the war is over.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Whither Euro-Islam?

Strange times, indeed!

Watching Europe's turmoil over domestic Islamic unrest, and the backlash against it, is a political scientist's dream although it is a potential nightmare in development. Since the killing of Dutch filmmaker by a man identified as a radical Islamist a few weeks ago, tensions are rising among those who genuinely fear for the future of freedom in Europe and those who for philosophical reasons believe the problem is not enough "tolerance."

In Britain the Parliament is debating a proposed law that would target
"incitement to religious hatred". Its advocates say it would not curtail free speech but others aren't so sure. The bill's author, David Blunkett, says:

... a new law targeting "incitement to religious hatred" will not curtail free speech. He said the measure "will not criminalise material just because it stirs up ridicule, prejudice, dislike, contempt or anger".

The plans have come under fire from comedian Rowan Atkinson who is worried that the powers will stop him telling jokes and satirising people's beliefs.

The Tories oppose the plan and the Lib Dems have "serious doubts" over it.

They should have doubts. This is the nose of the camel under the tent of Britain's civil society. Free speech and free press rights are already shaky enough in the UK without a new law that will provide incentive for jihadist-minded Islamists to cry "hate speech" at every opportunity. Blunkett's rationale is so much touchy-feely, new-age garbage that Brits ought to be barfing in disgust:

Mr Blunkett told MPs it was to protect people who "feel threatened ... and feel society is not embracing them".

He said: "We are trying to stop groups of people who are prepared verbally, in writing and through the internet, to incite others to hate because of someone's faith not because of the argument about their faith."

Earth to Blunkett: Society is not embracing some people because they do not wish to be embraced. You cannot buy peace, at home or abroad, by surrendering an individual's right to raise concerns and ask questions. Blunkett, like many others, does not wish to admit that such a thing as a dangerous religious divide exists. There are serious issues at stake; sweeping them under the rug by clamping a lid on religious speech will not change that. Finally:

He (Blunkett) added that it would not stop people from making jokes about religion.

Oh, if only there were some way of getting lawmakers to stop making a joke of the law.

Meanwhile, ABC worries about Islamophobia

The defenders of political correctness also get a boost from ABC News in a length article published today:
"There is definitely a rise in Islamophobia across Europe," said Liz Fekete, deputy director of the London-based Institute of Race Relations. "Muslims collectively are being blamed for the attacks on the World Trade Center, and there is a general punitive climate toward Muslims. This has manifested itself in a variety of ways. On the ground, there has been a rise in racial violence on Muslim targets across Europe. And the biggest problem is that the scale of the problem has not been acknowledged," Fekete said.

ABC quotes several "concerned" voices of the liberal left like this one, and then summarizes the situation thusly:

Since the end of World War II, Western Europe has been widely viewed as a bastion of internationalism, moderation and social progressiveness — a haven of affluent, eco-conscious citizens in stark contrast to the perceived unilateralism and parochialism of the United States.

But across Western Europe, immigrant and civil rights experts say a xenophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim wave appears to be gripping a region once famed for its tolerance.

Oh, yes. Europe the "bastion" of all that is progressive and good "in stark contrast" to the big bad USA, is experiencing a wave of xenophobic intolerance. Of course this is just awful and unwarranted, right? There surely wouldn't be a reason for this, would there?

Is it just possible that the people of Europe have awakened to the fact that decades of tolerant indifference to immigration from Islamic countries now threatens the culture they cherish and the future of the freedoms they have taken for granted? Are they not permitted to defend their culture from further erosion, or are Islamics the only ones with a right to carry on with the culture they carried with them from afar?

The ABC report is so blatantly biased against the defense of western cultural values in general, and the United States in particular, that it is hard to read without reverting to a bit of media hate speech.

If you have any doubts that the squishy minded among the media elites are working for the other side, observe:
Allegations of discrimination against Muslims are not exclusive to Europe. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the United States has come under heavy criticism for alleged civil rights infringements under the controversial Patriot Act. Rights groups have also recorded a dramatic increase in profiling complaints and backlash attacks against American Muslims. And like Europe, immigration is at the front line of the anti-Muslim assault in the United States, where thousands of illegal immigrants have been indefinitely detained without criminal charges and summarily deported without access to lawyers.

Exaggeration and numbers inflation. Who were those several million Arab-American citizens of the US who voted in the recent elections, and where were they voting from? Not prison cells, not concentration camps. ABC should be ashamed for such a mis-representation and such one-sided reporting.

At one point European countries are taken to task because few Islamic lawmakers have been elected.
Experts warn that the lack of political representation, coupled with a growing intolerance of Islamic culture, increases the risk of increasing extremism among Europe's young Muslim population.

What are they supposed to do, ignore election results and appoint a few Islamic hotheads to the various parliaments? Yeah, that oughta work ...

There is more but our patience is running thin. Read for yourself.

End of the hiatus, we hope

For those who check in regularly, our apologies for the absences. Various technical problems and a few personal surprises have kept the Oklahomilist on the sidelines for the better part of a week. In the meantime we have groaned with dismay as so much has happened and we had so much we wanted to say.

Yet the world has not ended and no one seems much the worse for wear.

As yet.