Read this story and then tell me I'm wrong.
Rep. William Jefferson (D-La) caught on tape accepting a $100,000 bribe. [click to enlarge]
An elementary school principal chose to omit the words "In God We Trust" from an oversize coin depicted on the school's yearbook cover for fear of offending anyone. I've got a great idea. Stop paying all the ACLU lawyers with American money so as not to risk offending them. In light of their stance on illegal immigration, I'd suggest pesos.
It's good to hear that at least the Germans are reading the writing on the wall. Of course, is there any sensible reason to NOT reach these conclusions?
The EU has suggested that the U.S. sell airliners to Iran as part of a package of incentives to abandon its nuclear weapons related activities.
Why is it (please excuse the Andy Rooney-ness) that the left in America and elsewhere has no trouble concluding that President Bush wanted a war with Iraq so did and said whatever was necessary to get one, but will not entertain the notion that Iran's Ahmadinejad may want a war with the West?
All kidding aside, I'd like to hear from our cultural relativists (not to mention feminists) for an explanation why this is just another, equally valid and to be respected aspect of a different culture no better or worse than how things are done here, or anywhere else. [HT: Dhimmi Watch]
According to Ahmadinejad, the new Islamic uniforms will establish "visual equality" for Iranians as they prepare for the return of the Hidden Imam. Religious minorities would have their own colour schemes. They will also have to wear special insignia, known as zonnar, to indicate their non-Islamic faiths. Jews would be marked out with a yellow strip of cloth sewn in front of their clothes while Christians will be assigned the colour red. Zoroastrians end up with Persian blue as the colour of their zonnar. And we're not supposed to worry if this guy gets his hands on a nuke? Allow me a moment to editorialize and say: What a screwed up culture and society, and that is not morally equivalent to that of the West.
Follow me closely here. To qualify for Social Security benefits, a worker must have registered 10 years of work. Most likely unknown to many of us, the law of the land is that an illegal immigrant who obtains legal status can use his/her previous illegal work status to qualify for Social Security benefits. Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) introduced an amendment to the pending immigration bill that would reverse this law and prevent law-breakers from being rewarded. The amendment was defeated 50-49. Eleven Republicans voted to defeat the amendment including McCain and Specter. What is going on here? Social Security is poised to go bankrupt. We are (well, some of us anyway) are trying to get control over illegal immigration. So what is the response of our elected representatives? They fail to eliminate another dangling carrot to illegal immigration. Pass me the bourbon...I need a shot.
We have become a nation of whiners. Of children. A definition of emotional immaturity (a condition formerly associated with just those still developing) is wanting without paying. As a child you crave certain things but have no conception or desire to pay the price or do the work. Its reward without risk. Success without effort. Gratification without deferral. We will go on and on about the exorbitant price of gasoline and that someone, somewhere had better do something about it. But when confronted with an opportunity to help ourselves what do we do? The House of Representatives votes overwhelmingly to extend the 25 year ban on offshore drilling. At the same time, China's state-owned petroleum company is entering into an agreement with Cuba to drill for oil off the Cuban coast (i.e. in the waters between Havana and the Florida Keys!) We don't want to recover oil off our own shores. We don't want to bespoil a tiny section of the ANWR with drill rigs. We don't want to build any new refineries. We don't want to commission any new nuclear power plants. Yet we complain about the high cost of gasoline, heating oil and natural gas. This reflects the mind of a child. If we don't want to take the action necessary to actually do something tangible to solve our self-defined problem, we should just shut the heck up and get ready to pay $8.00/gallon for gasoline. You can't have it both ways.
Have we come so "far" as a civilization that abortion may soon be considered an international human right?
A number of religious leaders have called the movie "The DaVinci Code" a "real danger" to the Catholic faith. This is where I move off the plantation. If one of the world's great religions (and I was raised a Roman Catholic) can be endangered by a Hollywood movie then it has major problems. Those that have little or no historical or ecclesiastical knowledge of the faith, and who might be prone to buy into the fictions in the movie, were no friends of the Church to begin with. Those that know better will not be swayed. Just like the Mohammed cartoons posed no danger to Islam (but the reaction by Muslims spoke volumes), the same principle applies here. It's not the "blasphemy" that matters but the reaction of the faithful to it.
Time magazine's Massimo Calabrese asks whether racism is fueling the immigration debate. As evidence he points to various statements of concern over America becoming some alarmingly large percentage Hispanic, or simply largely ethnic. While undoubtedly some of the debate is fueled by nativist sentiment, it is a very small part. The main reason for the concern over unchecked immigration is multiculturalism. There was a time when it was fully expected by all sides that newcomers to this country would ultimately assimilate into the larger culture. My grandparents emigrated here from Italy, and likely remained "Italian" to their dying day. Nothing wrong or particularly shocking about that. However, I'm an American even though there's only one generation between me and southern Italy. The fear many have is that the premise underlying the deal is no longer in play. Rather than encouraging "Americanization" and discouraging Balkanization, the opposite takes place with multiculturalists urging immigrants to maintain their culture, traditions and language in lieu of adopting those of their chosen new home. That's why we see thousands of American born Hispanics waving Mexican flags and demanding rights they could never expect to see in their "home country."
If anyone is interested in truly understanding what the Posse Comitatus Act (passed in 1878) is really about, rather than the ACLU-distorted explanation being used to argue against National Guard troops at the border, read here.
Congressman John Murtha has already tried and convicted Marines of killing Iraqi civilians in cold blood during an action on 11/19/05 in Haditha, Iraq. An investigation is ongoing but that doesn't stop this excreble former Marine (if you're in the military, you'll know what I mean) suffering from advanced stages of BDS from going on national news programs to tear down our military for political gain. Note his parsing of words. He mentions the "tremendous pressure" our Marines are under every day in Iraq. This is code for President Bush's war is crushing the psyche and humanity of our fighting men and women, and must be stopped. Another sad and pathetic display by the opposition party. UPDATE: Great bloggers think alike.
On July 4th, 2006 Wide Awakes Radio goes online with its inaugural broadcast. Listen to many of your favorite conservative bloggers take to the "airwaves" including the intrepid host of Release The Hounds! [Note: that would be me]
Read this piece by Navy Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of the Joint Task Force at Guantanamo Bay, describing the conditions there. Compare that to the anguished, hand-wringing by the ACLU. The truth, if you care, is often quite enlightening.
Just a couple of observations re the debate over the NSA's "data-mining" of phone records: 1. First and foremost, it does NOT violate the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure. The Supreme Court, in 1979, made clear in a case called Smith v Maryland that phone records are not protected. 2. Your identity and address is not part of the information provided to the NSA, therefore you remain anonymous. All that is being provided is the phone number, duration and the date of already made calls. Conversations are not being monitored.
An attorney in Ankara, Turkey opens fire on Turkish judges at a daily meeting. What drove this presumably educated, urbane man to such an extreme? Why of course it was the ban on employees and teachers wearing headscarves while at work. Remind me again how it is only a "very small minority" of Muslims who act out this way.
The EU is planning on offering Iran a light-water reactor in exchange for stopping its enrichment program. My understanding is that a light-water reactor cannot be used to create the precursors to the weapons grade plutonium necessary for a bomb. The obvious conclusions to be drawn is that this is another appeasement first, second and forever effort by the spineless Euroweenies, and what guarantee is there that the mullahs would honor any such agreement anyway. However, there is a bright side. If Iran does not accept the offer (which it won't) the stated desire for simply a peaceful nuclear program designed to provide much needed energy (to a country floating upon some of the world's largest crude oil reserves) should be seen as a flat out lie at least to those that are not blinded by their agendas. At that point will anyone do anything?
All you need know can be found in two recent developments. The first is the ruling by a northern California Superior Court judge striking down the high school exit exam because...not everyone can pass it. For those not following this story, the exam is pegged at 10th grade level math and English, requires 55% and 60% correct answers respectively to pass, and can be taken up to seven times. The second is that, while any effort at insuring that we graduate even semi-literates is stymied by the forces of liberal, feel-goodism, the California Legislature has passed a bill (now waiting for the Governor's signature) mandating that textbooks used in California schools include discussion of the the "historical contributions of gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals and transgendered people."
I did not have the opportunity to listen to or watch in real-time the President's speech on immigration, but have read excepts and commentary. Let me say this. There are two essential elements to any real immigration policy and without which any proposal is simply seasonal window dressing. There must be actual, tangible and permanent border barriers in place and not temporary, but politically expedient, fixes like National Guard deployment. There must be a tamper-proof system of identification that prospective employers can be required to rely upon to confirm the legal status of employees coupled with more than "slap-on-the-wrist" penalties for hiring illegal aliens.
The letter sent by the president of Iran to President Bush was allegedly inspired by Allah. The president of Venezuela expresses solidarity with Iran. Anyone who has read RTH! for any length of time (both of you!) knows I have said on more than one occasion that people get the governments/leaders they deserve. In other words, there is a significant degree of responsibility that the governed bear for the nature of its governors, and therefore accountability. Diana West at the Washington Times makes the same point.
Look here for more evidence that we are actually winning the GWOT. [Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt]
Alla Abdel Fatah, a prominent Egyptian blogger, has been arrested while demonstrating in support of an independent Egyptian judiciary. The reports are that the government has handpicked those it wants to silence. Please go to the link to learn more and what you can do to help.
I had posted a few days ago about the Moussaoui sentencing and opined that the life sentence was in some ways justifiable. I stand corrected. Moussaoui and his attorneys have already started working the system and challenging the verdict. He should be dead.
Lest anyone forget about the California legislature's (read: liberal Democrat) ability to stir up any of its heretofore moribund opponents in an election year, look no further. Far left state Senator Sheila Keuhl (D-Santa Monica) has introduced a bill which would require the public school social science curricula to recognize the contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. I guess my daughter's freshman American literature text may, next year, read something like: "Walt Whitman, one of this country's greatest poets and, coincidentally, practitioner of manly love..."
...on energy and the gasoline "crisis": If the price of baking flour reached an all time high, would anyone be surprised if the price of bread did the same? So why is it that when the price of crude oil skyrockets from about $25/barrel in 2002 to over $70/barrel today, there is shock, outrage and calls for government investigation when a gallon of gas reaches it's all time high? What energy sources do Democrats actually get behind? We know they are against any further oil exploration in Alaska as well as against any further offshore drilling. They are against construction of any more nuclear power plants. They are against the burning of coal. They would certainly be against cutting down trees for firewood. So realistically what else is there? This is just another example of the Democrats having no solutions, just criticisms.
A very sober and thoughtful view of the Moussaoui verdict from across the Atlantic. I have mixed emotions about the sentence. On a visceral level, I wanted (and still want) him dead. I'm also concerned that one day we will be confronted with a video showing a group of innocent Americans threatened with beheading if Moussaoui is not released. A scenario that would obviously be out of play if the jury had sentenced him to death. On the other hand, the period of time from a death sentence through its actual implementation (i.e. the time spent on appeals) would have been a jihadi circus played out nightly on al-Jazeera. Not something that would be in our best interests and which would truly make this bastard the martyr he aches to be. I do also agree with the sentiment that because he was "only" a co-conspirator and not actually one who carried out any murderous acts, life in essentially solitary confinement is an appropriate sentence. So I say let him rot and lets move on the the next one. [Note: My self-imposed hiatus is just about over]