Thursday, June 30, 2005

Thomas Paine's Common Sense

Back when I only taught fourth and fifth graders I used to offer an "A" for the whole year in Social Studies if anyone could explain what Mr. Paine meant in his opening paragraphs:
SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. 1
Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. Wherefore, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows that whatever form thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expence and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.
No one ever got the "A" but we had great discussions.

Today I finally read the whole thing, and ya know what? I agree with Mr. Paine. I think we should declare our independence from Great Britain.

But seriously, I think COMMON SENSE should be required reading in all high school government classes. This, of course, will never happen because Mr. Paine is not politically correct, and he does depend on scripture to advance the early part of his argument. We wouldn't want to offend anyone by mentioning the Bible in the classroom. It's much better to reamain ignorant.

Other, but certainly not all important points include:
I draw my idea of the form of government from a principle in nature, which no art can overturn, viz. that the more simple any thing is, the less liable it is to be disordered, and the easier repaired when disordered;
O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia, and Africa, have long expelled her.—Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.
Here it is, the plan for the United States to be the last best hope of mankind. Read the whole thing. It's only about 60 pages, and it's well worth the time to indulge in a careful reading. After all, it's up to each generation to make sure the U.S. remains mankind's best hope.

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Three More Buddists Murdered in Thailand

This is the latest attack on Buddists in Thailand by - dare I say it? - Muslims. Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs has been linking to almost daily reports of Muslim attackers shooting and beheading Buddists in a local terror campaign.
Chicken trader Tonkui Saephoo, 72, was shot dead at a food market in Yaring district of Pattani province by unidentified gunmen, police said, adding that investigators were still at the scene.

In the same province, 52-year-old Thanat Nilvisut, a janitor at Pattani Technical College, was shot dead as he traveled to work.

More than 720 people have died in near-daily attacks or clashes with security forces since January 2004, when a bloody raid on a weapons depot triggered an uprising in the three majority-Muslim southern provinces bordering Malaysia.

In Narathiwat province, suspected Islamic insurgents spray gunfire at teachers' homes, resulting in at least one teacher being shot in the arm.
According to yesterday's news,
Suspected Muslim insurgents shot and then beheaded a local official in southern Thailand on Wednesday in an attack believed to be part of ongoing sectarian violence in the area, police said.

Surin Somchit, an employee of the community water authority, was shot and wounded by four bullets fired near his office in Narathiwat province's Rangae district, police Capt. Songphol Juimanee said.

The as yet unknown number of attackers then cut off their victim's head with a machete and dumped it by the roadside, he said.

According to witnesses, Surin was supervising more than 10 workers laying a water pipe in a rubber plantation, when two gunman arrived on motorcycle and shouted at them in Yawi _ a dialect of Malay spoken mainly by local Muslims _ to run for their lives before they opened fire.

"It seems that the attackers targeted him as a Buddhist, that's why they shout in Yawi," Songphol said. Buddhist Thais generally do not speak much Yawi.

Songphol said police suspect the attackers were Islamic insurgents who are seeking to separate the Muslim-dominated south from the rest of Thailand.

The insurgents launched a campaign of violence at the beginning of last year that has met with a sharp response from authorities and claimed more than 880 lives in Thailand's three southernmost provinces, Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.

The beheading was the sixth carried out this month and the second to take place in daylight hours. Only three other beheadings have taken place in the 18-month wave of violence, one in May last year in Narathiwat, and two others in November.

All of the victims who have been beheaded, including the one on Wednesday, were Buddhists, and Thai officials believe the attacks are an attempt to terrorize Buddhists in the south into leaving the area.

In another incident Wednesday, a gunman on the back of a motorcycle shot and killed a roadside vendor in another area of Narathiwat, police said. On Tuesday, suspected Islamic insurgents fatally shot four people.

Drive-by shootings and bombings have become near daily occurrences in the three southernmost provinces.

The escalation in violence has been attributed to the return of a decades-old separatist movement thought to have disappeared after a government amnesty in the 1980s.

Southern Thai Muslims have long complained of unfair treatment by the central government, mainly in jobs and education, and have expressed dissatisfaction at heavy-handed government efforts to quash the latest violence.
I've got two questions, first, the obvious: How is it that Muslims are complaining of mistreatment as they murder and desecrate the bodies of people of other religions?
Second, why is it that the only time I've read about the murders in Thailand was when Thai officials were accused of abusing Muslim suspects a few months ago? In our politically correct news reporting, have Buddists become as expendable as Jews and the truth? Let's face it - Muslims do not work and play well with others. Eventually the MSM has to admit to that fact no matter how much it enrages Muslims.

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For 5 months 'I stayed in the box'

Senator Durbin and his apologists should read this op-ed from the Washington Times by James H. Warner. If that's too hard, they should have it read to them. This piece was written especially for Sen. Durbin.
As a Marine Corps officer, I spent five years and five months in a prisoner of war camp in North Vietnam. I believe this gives me a benchmark against which to measure the treatment which Sen. Richard Durbin, Illinois Democrat, complained of at the Camp of Detention for Islamo-fascists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The senator's argument is silly. If he believes what he has said his judgment is so poor that his countrymen, assuming, of course, that he considers us his countrymen, have no reason not to dismiss him as a witless boob. On the other hand, if he does not believe what he said, the other members of the Senate may wish to consider censure.
Consider nutrition. I have severe peripheral neuropathy in both legs as a residual of beriberi. I am fortunate. Some of my comrades suffer partial blindness or ischemic heart disease as a result of beriberi, a degenerate disease of peripheral nerves caused by a lack of thiamin, vitamin B-1. It is easily treated but is extremely painful.
Read the whole thing.

Moral equivalence being what it is these days on the left, torture commited by communists against Americans might not count. What about it, Senator Durbin?

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Is Al-Jazeera More Honest Than American Main Stream Media?

According to Jack Kelly,
Suicide bombings continue, as the news media make sure you know. But they haven't slowed recruitment for the Iraqi army or police, and have turned even most Sunni Muslims against the "insurgents." The blowback is so fierce that al Jazeera has stopped referring to the terrorists as "the resistance," and is now calling them "gunmen" or "suicide bombers."

"The fact that Iraqi civilians are the main victims of attacks is increasingly being stressed," reported the BBC in an analysis of broadcasts by al Jazeera and another Arab network, al Arabiya.
And yet, according to today's Associated Press report headlined, Sunni fighters unite in political group;
A Sunni Arab politician who brokered secret talks between U.S. officials and insurgents said Wednesday he has formed a group to give political voice to Iraqi fighters, and he demanded a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal.

That marked the most serious effort to date to draw disenfranchised Sunnis into the political process.

Former cabinet member Ayham al-Samarie, a dual Iraq-U.S. citizen, is thought to have tribal links throughout the Sunni triangle, where the Sunni branch of the insurgency is concentrated.

He said the new political front, the National Council for Unity and Construction of Iraq, is representing resistance fighters who have not carried out attacks against civilians.

The insurgents al-Samarie represents want U.S. troops to leave Iraq in one to three years and military campaigns against Iraqi cities and towns to end, al-Samarie said.

They won't put down their arms unless their goals are met, he added.
Other Iraqis aren't fooled.
But at least one prominent Shi'ite legislator dismissed al-Samarie's effort.

"The general terrorist program is to attack electricity plants, water and oil pipelines, mosques, churches and to target the innocents, police and the army. These are terrorist acts, and cannot be represented as acts of resistance," said the legislator, Saad Jawad Qandil.
OUCH! The T word, the one the American press is afraid to use. Newsweek, of course still refers to "the insurgency" but does mention "foreign terrorists". On page 22 of the print edition, there is the line, "Jihadist Web sites teach followers how to use car bombings to influence public opinion." That should be changed to reflect how car bombings turn reporters into hysterical Chicken Littles who then try to scare Americans into thinking we're losing the war.

Does our MSM need to take lessons in honesty from Al-Jazeera?

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Invade Mexico?

My brother passed this one on to me. I don't know where he got it. I do know that he leans left, hates G. W. Bush, and refers to those f***ing conservatives/Republicans. And yet, we can still find common ground.


- Enter Mexico illegally. Never mind immigration quotas, visas,
international law, or any of that nonsense.

- Once there, demand that the local government provide free
medical care for you and your entire family.

- Demand bilingual nurses and doctors.

- Demand free bilingual local government forms, bulletins, etc......
- Procreate abundantly.

- Deflect any criticism of this allegedly irresponsible reproductive
behavior with, "It is a cultural United States thing. You would not
understand, pal."

- Keep your American identity strong. Fly Old Glory from your
rooftop, or proudly display it in your front window or on your car

- Speak only English at home and in public and insist that your
children do likewise.

- Demand classes on American culture in the Mexican school system.

- Demand a local Mexican driver license. This will afford other legal
rights and will go far to legitimize your unauthorized, illegal,
presence in Mexico.

- Insist that local Mexican law enforcement teach English to all its

Good luck! You'll be demanding for the rest of time or soon dead.

Because it will never happen. It will not happen in Mexico or any
other country in the world... Except right here... Land of the naive.

If you agree, pass it on.
If you don't, go ahead and try the above in Mexico.

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Al-Jazeera Reports on Senator Durbin's Derogatory Remarks

You would think that Al-Jazeera would try to fan the flame, but after reading this article from Al-Jazeera's in English June 16th posting, it seems at least as balanced, if not more balanced than some of the reporting found in Newsweek.
A US senator has refused to apologize for comparing the actions of US soldiers at Guantanamo Bay to those of Nazis, while others have decried or defended the mandate and method used to hold prisoners there.

US Senator Dick Durbin on Wednesday refused to apologise for comments he made on the Senate floor referring to Nazis, Soviet gulags and a "mad regime" like Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Illinois Republican party chairman Andy McKenna had demanded he apologise.

"Senator Durbin's comments come as a great disservice to our military personnel in Guantanamo," he said.

"They are also a great disservice to all US soldiers and veterans who have fought, and continue to fight, to overcome evil regimes and spread democracy around the world."

Durbin did not plan to apologise for the comments, spokesman Joe Shoemaker said.

"This administration should apologise to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions and authorising torture techniques that put our troops at risk and make Americans less secure," Durbin had said in a statement on Wednesday evening.
But this is the English version. I have no idea what they're reporting in Arabic.

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It didn't happen

It's a good thing I didn't make a predication in last night's post on the President's speech. The Detroit Free Press didn't have any interviews with area Muslims. I will continue to wonder.

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Bias at UPI?

Here's the article from UPI, reprinted in full:
Israel seize arms on Gaza-Egypt border
GAZA | June 28, 2005 5:11:35 PM IST

Israeli border guards Tuesday seized arms that Palestinians had allegedly tried to smuggle to Gaza through the border with Egypt, the Israeli army said.

An army statement said the guards spotted six people crossing the border before dawn Tuesday, prompting them to conduct a search in the area where they discovered six bags containing a total of 38 Russian-made Kalashnikov automatic rifles.

There was no word on what happened to the apparent smugglers.

Witnesses said the Israeli troops were searching the area for more arms.

Israel has repeatedly accused the Palestinians of smuggling weapons through tunnels dug along the Egyptian border.

In the meantime, an Israeli woman was wounded south of Gaza when Palestinians hurled stones at a group of extremist settlers protesting Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
Am I being too sensitive or is there a vicious anti-Israel bias here so thick you can cut it with a knife?

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The President's Speech

He made his case to the American people. The left, I'm sure, from the first words out of the President's mouth, began picking his speech apart. All the critiques will be all of the newspapers tomorrow. John Stewart will make fun of it on The Daily Show tonight. Ho hum.

I'm wondering (I don't like to predict) if my beloved(?!) Detroit Free Press will gather reactions from this country's largest Arab-Muslim community, since it just happens to be right here in Dearborn Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Will the Detriot News offer Imam Elahi a column this Saturday so he can give one of his usual fair, non-biased, even-handed editorials? Muslims must be given a chance to respond, you understand. To not give them a forum might bring down charges of "Islamophobia".

Now the president, even though he spoke at length about the terrorist threat, terrorists, and the War on Terror, never said the words, "Muslim" or "Arab". Some folks are sensitive when it comes to talking about terrorists because well, let's face it. Who have the terrorists been?

I will post tomorrow as to whether any Muslim leaders are interviewed.


Monday, June 27, 2005

How religious right, left can work together

The News ran a Washington Post story about how the religious left and religious right are working together on some issues, such as a hunger convocation in Washington. The following are comments by two Faith and Policy columnists and another contributor:
That's how Saturday's debate in the Detroit News began.

According to Rabbi Aaron Bergman,
. . .If religious leaders on the right and religious leaders on the left cannot work together on important projects, they are not religious leaders or servants of God. They are political hacks, no better than the most blatantly self-interested politician. . .

According to Jordan J. Ballor,
. . .On any number of issues, partisan politicking and loyalty has trumped theological and ecclesiastical unity. And with the increasing politicization of churches, oftentimes prudential policy issues become a new "shibboleth." Demonization of the religious opposition obscures the agreement of intent that often exists, overemphasizing the discord over how that good intention is to be actualized. . .

According to Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi,
. . . Interfaith participants should be true to their traditional identities and not bargain on their principles, but avoid exploiting religion for political purposes. Traditional Christian-Jewish interfaith groups have often silenced criticism over issues like Israeli-Palestinian conflict. . .
The Imam is certainly being true to one of his major principles; blame the Jews and Christians, but especially the Jews for all of the pathologies of Islam. As for "exploiting religion for political purposes", isn't that another principle of Islam? Didn't he just indulge in it?

Yes, we can all work together, if we are truly willing to do so.

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Why Read My Local Newspaper?

The only reason for reading my local paper is being able to read the comics with my morning cereal. Or at least some of the comics. Too many of them are crap. The worst are some of the new ones that attempt political commentary without any understanding of politics. A hatred of G. W. Bush and the Right are credentials enough to offer opinion on the comics page today.

Some strips are consistantly funny. This is a good Get Fuzzy from last Thursday. And it's politically astute. Today's Pearls Before Swine was good for a twisted laugh.

If you haven't read these anti-hysteria posts (which I was directed to by Michelle Malkin) yet, go to for a sober look at why people are NOT losing the war against germs.

For the latest on that other purveyor of phony documentaries, Morgan Spurlock, go to The Shape of Days. Articles like this don't show up in my local paper. That's why it took me 15 minutes to read my morning paper, not including the comics, but I've just spent an hour blogging. I'll blog again later in the day. I'm done with the paper.

And yet, having my morning paper is so ingrained in my psyche, I can't summon the will to cancel my subscription. My wife and kids do read parts of it, so there's another rationalization for continuing the subscription.

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Rage and the Pride

I just finished reading The Rage and the Pride by Oriana Fallaci. This little book was her reaction to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. She's an Italian journalist who was living in NYC at the time. She has a lot to say. The rage comes through, but so does the pride. The rage though . . . I was going to copy some excerpts from the book, but the good ones would have been really long. She comes down hard on people who deserve it. When she writes about what a malicious thug, and vile human being Arafat was, she knows him better than we do. She met and interviewed him.
I find it shameful that many Italians and many Europeans have chosen as
their standard-bearer the gentleman (or so it is polite to say) Arafat. This
nonentity who thanks to the money of the Saudi Royal Family plays the
Mussolini ad perpetuum and in his megalomania believes he will pass into
History as the George Washington of Palestine. This ungrammatical wretch who
when I interviewed him was unable even to put together a complete sentence,
to make articulate conversation. So that to put it all together, write it,
publish it, cost me a tremendous effort and I concluded that compared to him
even Ghaddafi sounds like Leonardo da Vinci. This false warrior who always
goes around in uniform like Pinochet, never putting on civilian garb, and
yet despite this has never participated in a battle. War is something he
sends, has always sent, others to do for him. That is, the poor souls who
believe in him. This pompous incompetent who playing the part of Head of
State caused the failure of the Camp David negotiations, Clinton's
mediation. No-no-I-want-Jerusalem-all-to-myself. This eternal liar who has a
flash of sincerity only when (in private) he denies Israel's right to exist,
and who as I say in my book contradicts himself every five minutes. He
always plays the double-cross, lies even if you ask him what time it is, so
that you can never trust him. Never! With him you will always wind up
systematically betrayed. This eternal terrorist who knows only how to be a
terrorist (while keeping himself safe) and who during the Seventies, that is
when I interviewed him, even trained the terrorists of Baader-Meinhof. With
them, children ten years of age. Poor children. (Now he trains them to
become suicide bombers. A hundred baby suicide bombers are in the works: a
hundred!). This weathercock who keeps his wife at Paris, served and revered
like a queen, and keeps his people down in the shit. He takes them out of
the shit only to send them to die, to kill and to die, like the
eighteen-year-old girls who in order to earn equality with men have to strap
on explosives and disintegrate with their victims. And yet many Italians
love him, yes. Just like they loved Mussolini. And many other Europeans do
the same.
That quote while partialy the same as she wrote in her book comes from this article. She has unkind words to say about others because of their evil or their cowardice. Writing about her journalistic experiences in Vietnam allows her a blast at Jane Fonda, even though, Jane is not mentioned by name. Ms. Fallaci holds back nothing as she describes the waves of Muslim immigrants (invaders) destroying her beloved Italy, and being allowed to literally urinate and defecate on Italian Christianity thanks to the craven, politically correct politicians who are afraid of being labeled "racist". She slams all of Europe for giving in to the Muslims, who demand respect for their religion, but openly scorn native Europeans, their religion, and their society.

Of course, if you give in to the jihadi Muslim demands, if you allow them to lord over you, if you cower in their presence out of the fear of being called a racist, or an islamophobe, you probably deserve what you get. Oriana Fallaci is not afraid. She's been marked for death by members of the "Religion of Peace" and is currently be sued in an Italian court for "defaming Islam."

You can find out more about Oriana Fallaci here. A more elaborate article is here. There's a good interview with her here.

That being said, after having read Oriana Fallaci, Eric Hoffer before that, and Victor Hanson before that, it's time for something a bit lighter. I found a book called Inter Ice Age 4 by Kobe Abe at a garage sale recently. I enjoyed the other books I read by him. He's got a unique sensibility.

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Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester and Raven 42 - The Whole Story

From the Washington Post comes this story about Leigh Ann Hester, and the rest of her squad from the battle where she and others earned commendations.
The squad, called Raven 42, presents a vivid portrait of the diverse American fighting force in
Iraq. The squad includes not only women, but also African American and Hispanic soldiers, and others who are nearly twice the age of their comrades.

The military awarded three Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars and two army commendation medals to the squad last week. Receiving the Silver Star, along with Hester and Nein, was a platoon medic, Spec. Jason Mike, a 5-foot-9, 250-pound former fullback at Jacksonville University in Florida.

In the middle of the battle, Mike, 22, fired two weapons in opposite directions after three of the four soldiers traveling in his Humvee were struck by bullets, he and other members of the squad recounted.

A Bronze Star was awarded to Spec. Ashley Pullen, a 5-foot-2 ½-inch Humvee driver from Edmonton, Ky.

Pullen, 21, smiles constantly, occasionally paints her toenails pink and tilts her head back to see over the dashboard of her vehicle. As bullets pelted her Humvee's armored skin that day, Pullen backed up the truck to provide cover for Sgt. Joseph Rivera, 39, who lay bleeding with a stomach wound. Pullen then helped treat Rivera while still under enemy fire.

Capt. Todd Lindner, who commands the 617th Military Police Company, which includes Raven 42, said Hester and Pullen "shouldn't be held up as showpieces for why there should be women in combat. They should be held up as examples of why it's irrelevant."
Read the article and be thankful we have people like this in our armed forces.

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Mark Steyn on Flag Burning

Read this article by Mark Steyn as to why the Flag Desecration Amendment is a bad idea.
In other words, if the objection to flag desecration is that it's distasteful, tough. Like those apocryphal Victorian matrons who discreetly covered the curved legs of their pianos, the culture already goes to astonishing lengths to veil the excesses of those who are admirably straightforward in their hostility.

If people feel that way, why protect them with a law that will make it harder for the rest of us to see them as they are? One thing I've learned in the last four years is that it's very difficult to talk honestly about the issues that confront us. A brave and outspoken journalist, Oriana Fallaci, is currently being prosecuted for ''vilification of religion,'' which is a crime in Italy; a Christian pastor has been ordered by an Australian court to apologize for his comments on Islam. In the European Union, ''xenophobia'' is against the law. A flag-burning amendment is the American equivalent of the rest of the West's ever more coercive constraints on free expression. The problem is not that some people burn flags; the problem is that the world view of which flag-burning is a mere ritual is so entrenched at the highest levels of Western culture.

Banning flag desecration flatters the desecrators and suggests that the flag of this great republic is a wee delicate bloom that has to be protected. It's not. It gets burned because it's strong.
Even in these troubled times, outlawing the desecration of the flag is a bad idea.

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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Stories my local newspapers didn't report

I linked to this story called, "Are Arab Professors masterminding terror?" by way of Dr. Sanity
It has been called “the most significant terrorism trial” since 9-11: the first time alleged leaders of Islamic Jihad, self-confessed killers of more than 100 Israelis and two Americans, are being tried in an American court; the first time the controversial Patriot Act has lassoed jihadists of this magnitude; and the first time that Arab professors in an American university who have claimed “academic freedom” for their pro-Palestinians views have been indicted for using their university offices to direct and finance terrorist activity.

Yet most New Yorkers are oblivious to this case because The New York Times, let alone most other northern newspapers, has decided not to cover the extraordinary testimony being heard now in a Tampa, Fla., courtroom.

Charged with racketeering, conspiracy, materially aiding terrorists and running the American office of Palestinian Islamic Jihad are Kuwaiti-born Palestinian Sami Al-Arian, former professor at the University of South Florida; Sameeh Hammoudeh, a former instructor at the university; and two Islamic activists, Hatim Fariz and Ghassan Ballut.

Also mentioned in the indictment is Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, who was an adjunct professor of Middle Eastern studies at USF before returning to Syria when he was appointed leader of Islamic Jihad in 1995. Shallah came to the United States on a visa sponsored by Al-Arian.

Government prosecutor Walter Furr declared to the jury that Al-Arian at one point from his Tampa office was the most powerful man in all of Islamic Jihad.

There have been other remarkable trials this month. The Times ran Michael Jackson’s acquittal in a multi-column banner across the front page, and provided daily coverage to the trial of Edgar Ray Killen, the former Klansman convicted of manslaughter in the deaths of three civil rights workers in Mississippi 41 years ago.

Clearly the Mississippi trial warranted that coverage, but one can make the case that Islamic Jihad is to the 21st century what the Klan was to the 20th and that the trial of Al-Arian is every bit analogous to Killen’s.

The Times, however, after three stories covering the opening of the Al-Arian trial has decided to take it off the daily beat.

Eric Lichtblau, the Times reporter on the case, wrote in an e-mail to The Jewish Week, “It’s uncertain when I’ll be back in Tampa, but we’ll be monitoring the trial and probably doing occasional stories along the way on key witnesses, the start of the defense, closings and the verdict. That’s the norm for a case of interest like this one. There are very few trials that we or other national media cover on a day-to-day or even weekly basis, and the slow start for the prosecution in Al-Arian didn’t suggest there would be enough to warrant frequent coverage. But if you hear of something interesting on it, let me know.”
It's a fascinating article both because of the subject and because of what it demonstrates about our Mainstream Media. Neither this article nor the next one are mentioned in my own Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. I looked. They aren't there.

The second story, "History's largest WMD Trial Begins", I linked to by way of Little Green Footballs. It's posted here at Gateway Pundit.
The largest terrorist WMD trial in history is opening in Jordan. 13 Al-Qaida and Al-Zarqawi loyalists are being tried for an attempted and nearly succcessful catastrophic chemical weapons attack on Jordan.

* Defendents throw shoes in court!
* Defendents chant "Allahu akbar" for over a half an hour to disrupt the court
* Defendent, Al-Jayouzi threatens tribunal with "Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi will chop off your heads and stuff it up your mouths!"
* The terrorists communicated with "secret ink"!

"Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi will chop off your heads and stuff it up your mouths, you God’s enemies!" Al-Jayouzi threatened during initital proceedings in May.

Ten of the captured Al-Qaida terrorists on trial in Jordan for attempting to explode roughly 20 tons of chemical weapons with explosives. Authorities captured the weapons coming into Jordan through Syria.

The most dangerous terrorist plot ever foiled and brought to trial is being prosecuted right now in Jorddan. Al-Jayouzi, a follower of Al-Zarqawi, is on trial for planning and attempting to execute a Chemical Weapons attack in Jordan that could have killed as many as 80,000 civilians:

Al-Jayousi, identified as the head of a Jordanian terror cell, said he first met al-Zarqawi in Afghanistan, where al-Jayousi said he studied explosives, "before Afghanistan fell."

He said he later met al-Zarqawi in neighboring Iraq to plan the attacks, but was not specific about when.

"I have pledged loyalty to Abu-Musab to fully be obedient and listen to him without discussion," al-Jayousi said in the 20-minute videotape.

The commentator on the tape, who wasn't further identified, said the plotters targeted Jordan's secret service, its prime minister's office and the U.S. Embassy.

"At least 80,000 people would have been killed," the commentator said. Al-Zarqawi "is the terrorist" who plotted this operation."
This article is pasted together from many sources, but it gives quite a picture of the destruction and slaughter these psychos are willing to commit. It also shows quite clearly that they have no morals, that they are evil, and that they deserve no sympathy. Those who excuse their crimes and attemted crimes are as twisted as the perpetrators.

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Amending the Constitution

I'm not one to suggest a constitutional amendment every time I see a problem that needs a solution, but we've just been handed a big problem. No, I'm not talking about the anti flag desecration nonsense. I'm talking about protecting our property rights, you know, an amendment to insure a right that we all thought we already had.

Sure, the fifth amendment says that our property can't be taken without due process of law, and private property can't be taken for public use without just compensation, but according to the Supreme Court, it can be taken for private use.

Call me a property rights extremist if you wish, but I think we need an amendment stating that the government may not take private property from one owner to give it (or sell it) to another private owner without the un-coerced consent of the first owner.

Thumbing through the Bill of Rights, I notice that the most popular amendments (the ones that seem to be quoted the most) are the ones that limit the power of the government. Wasn't that the intention of the framers? A limited government?

On the other hand, if the Constitution is a "living document" it can metamorphose into anything the current Supreme Court decides to mold it in to. This would include creating a government that's grown into an uncontrollable monstrosity and is free to trample over our rights. In this vein, I notice that the least popular amendments are the ones that hand the government more power; the eighteenth which created Prohibition was so unpopular, it was overturned by twenty-first. Many of us wish the sixteenth (which infliced the income tax upon us) could be repealed.

The flag amendment would give the government more power, and you know if it passed, a Koran desecration amendment would be demanded soon after.

Let's get our property rights back!

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Friday, June 24, 2005

Eternal vigilance? You're not kidding!

According to Wendell Phillips, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

Winston Churchill said, during the dark hours of WWII, "We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields, and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender!"

Neither one of these gentlemen were kidding. The new battleground in our eternal battle to keep our freedom is our libraries. According to this article in Reform Judaism Magazine books are being written and distributed to our libraries either demeaning Israel or telling outright lies. These are books put out by reputable publishing houses, but filled with misinformation (or as we simple folk like to refer to it, lies)
# In The Six-Day War by Matthew Broyles (2004), one of The Rosen Publishing Group's new series of books on the Middle East wars, Broyles states that the 1917 Balfour Declaration proposed to divide Palestine between Jews and Arabs and make Jerusalem an international city. Actually, these proposals were not in the Balfour Declaration, but in the UN partition resolution of twenty years later; the Balfour Declaration declared that the British government favors "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." Broyles goes on to say that the Jews "boldly" declared their state in May of 1948, then "war began." The author makes no mention of the UN partition resolution; instead, he writes, "the home of the Palestinians was now the home of the Jews," and so the homeless Palestinians fled. Here, as in many other books, the entire Arab-Israeli conflict is portrayed as one long frustrated Palestinian attempt to achieve statehood, rather than as Arab resistance to the State of Israel.
# In A Historical Atlas of Israel (Rosen Publishing Group, 2003), Amy Romano does mention the 1947 UN partition resolution but editorializes: "Although the Jews accepted the decree, they had no intention of honoring it."
# In Virginia Brackett's biography, Menachem Begin (Chelsea House, 2003), Brackett relates how the Arab-Israeli conflict came before the UN in 1947, but she omits the fact that the UN passed a partition resolution calling for a Jewish and an Arab state, which the Jews accepted and the Arabs rejected. By her account, the sequence was as follows: In April of 1948, Jews killed Arabs at Deir Yassin, Arabs fled the land, David Ben Gurion declared the new State of Israel in May, and the British departed immediately. Thus was the State of Israel born.
# In The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Abdo and Daughters, 2004), Cory Gunderson asserts that "the Israeli military killed hundreds of Palestinians living in refugee camps in Lebanon." In fact, it was Lebanese Christian militiamen who committed the killings in the camps.
# In Tracey Boraas' generally accurate book Israel (Capstone Press, 2003), she asserts that the 2000 Camp David talks collapsed because "both Israel and the Palestinian Authority insisted on control of East Jerusalem." In fact, the Israelis agreed to cede control of Arab East Jerusalem to the Palestinian side. Since the Palestinian delegation walked out of Camp David without presenting a counterproposal, it is impossible to pin the collapse of the talks on any one issue.
As they do to Israel, they will do to the United States. It's a very worthwhile article. The author, Andrea Rapp, reminds us that the war against radical Islam is taking place off the battlefield too. This article is followed by one giving a list of truthful books about Israel, but it ends with this quote:
Bernard Lewis warns that we live in times when "great efforts are being made to falsify the record of the past and to make history a tool of propaganda." We can see this process at work in our children's library books and textbooks about Israel and the Middle East, and it's time we act to stop it.

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Students Who Make it and Students Who Don't

I teach elementary school in a small "urban" district. You may read about these kids but I work with them. I meet their families, such as they are, and deal with their pathologies. Some of these kids raise themselves out of their circumstances. Some don't. Some come from solid families. Some come from situations that make you wonder how a child made it to elementary school age.

This is on my mind because I recently heard that the brother of a former student was murdered by his girlfriend. He was in high school. Some of his friends had t-shirts made in his memory. His best friend was a tutoring student of mine, a big tough football player who looks like nothing can hurt him. This hurt him.

A few months ago I ran into a student who went to my school but wasn't in my class. She was working at a local Quizno's. She was in the class across the hall and was sent to my room when she was bad, which as she tells it, was regularly. She told me about a former student of mine, still in high school, who died when he wrapped the car he had stolen around a tree in his attempted getaway. I remember this kid. He was a member of my "class from Hell." He wasn't one of the troublesome kids. At worst, he was a goof. He was friends with some of the rough kids. He may have fallen in with that "bad crowd" we hear so much about. There's another kid from that class, that I do see every once in a while. He was one of the troublesome kids. He's come around since then and is doing well in high school.

A few years ago, I was having a parent-teacher conference with the mother of a student who was doing very well. Then I asked about the older brother, also a former student. This mother's eyes teared up and she managed to choke out a few words. He'd be out of jail soon. He had plans to straigten out his life. He did. The last I heard, he was managing a MacDonald's.

Another mom at another parent-teacher conference broke into tears as she recounted the story of her absent father. She was desperately trying to avoid having her son grow up without a father or grandfather. She wasn't succeeding.

Other former students who "fell in with a bad crowd" have been in and out of jail. Some surprised me, but others didn't.

I had a very bright student once who spent his days wandering around the class. He sometimes caused trouble, but he wrote well, and did well on tests. Things got worse as the year went on though. One day the adoptive father came in to talk to me. His family had also adopted the boy's sister. They were going to keep her but they were sending him back. Both children had been taken from their natural family. The boy was taught by his natural parents to beg on the street and to steal. He was causing trouble at the adoptive home and exposing himself to other children. I last saw the sister before she went off to college. She stopped by to give me her graduation picture. She said her brother was doing well. I don't know if she was telling the truth. I want to believe that she was.

Another adopted student I recently had also was troubled with light fingers. He was bright (as so many of these kids are) but spaced out regularly into his Pokemon/Yu-Gi-Oh world. I couldn't send him to the bathroom by himself because he would wander the school looking for things to steal. Sometimes he found them. The adoptive family was trying to give him back. I would like to know what happened to him to make him into what he was.

One little girl had been adopted by her foster family. She wasn't an easy student. The adoptive mom filled me in on the details of the sexual abuse the child had suffered from an earlier family prior to fourth grade. Mom went into more detail than I wanted to hear, and did it in front of her own young children. The girl was in counseling, but began shoplifting in middle school. The last I saw of her she had just been caught and almost injured trying to escape a heist.

I ran into one former student who was happy because he had just been hired as a hospital custodian. I remembered him as a nice kid, but he struggled mightily in class. He had a tough time reading. This was before I knew how to teach reading phonetically. Now, I could teach him to read. He wouldn't have to struggle. Around that same time I found out from someone else that the mother that I'd been encouraging to help her children by reading to them and with them every day, and don't waste money for books on tape, was illiterate herself. She was too embarrassed to admit it to me.

On the other hand-

I was invited to the graduation of a former student. She now has her master's degree in architecture. Other students have gotten their business degrees and are working. Sometimes I see them in their spiffy business-wear.

One former student enlisted in the army so he could get medical training on his way to being a doctor.

One day I was in the office when a substitute teacher was filling our her paperwork for the day. She looked familiar. She was a former student. She's married and working on her teaching certificate.

On the day of our last presidential election, there was a huge line of voters at our school. I recognized the mom and dad of a brother and sister whom I had taught. The woman in front of them said hi to me. She looked familiar, probably the mother of a student I thought. Of course when I asked the parents how their daughter was, the laugh was on me. Their daughter had just said hi to me. She was in law school. I don't remember what her brother was doing, but it was something good.

My first year teaching, there was a fourth grader across the hall. He was a trouble maker. He was also the biggest, toughest kid in the grade. He cried like a baby when his father cancelled a promise weekend visit. He excited all of the teachers when he showed up years later after deciding to get his act together.

The football player I mentioned earlier had a very rough time in elementary school. He's now an all-city and all-state football player and going to college. He still might need help, but he's determined to get an education.

What does all of this mean? I don't know. I do know that all children can get the education they need if teachers are trained correctly (but they're not) and if parents send their students to school ready to learn (which they don't). I also know that proper teacher training can overcome parental attitude. This is made clear in the book, Marva Collin's Way by Marva Collins and Civia Tamarkin. Children want to learn, and if we can cultivate that willingness, and lead them to success, we've got them.

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We didn't come this far because we're made of sugar candy.

I rarely have the radio on during the day, but as I was driving today, I heard an inspiring piece by Paul Harvey. He quotes Winston Churchill in an exhortation to stay the course in Iraq, as painful as that may be.

Follow the above link. Click on Thursday - Noon. When your Windows Media Player begins playing, skip ahead to 11:00 minutes into the broadcast. Listen to the whole thing.

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Time to Riot?

Go here for a photo of Koran desecration that neither Muslims nor the main stream media will bother mentioning.

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Muslim Mayhem in Madison Heights Michigan

This article from yesterday's Detroit News, and posted at Little Green Footballs, Parents of son charged in beating may lose girl, is a harbringer of things to come.
MADISON HEIGHTS -- The Oakland County Prosecutor's Office on Thursday will attempt to permanently end the parental rights of a Madison Heights couple who police say neglected to seek medical help for their daughter after her older brother allegedly beat her over her relationship with a non-Muslim boy.

The 15-year-old girl, who is a Madison Heights Lamphere High junior, suffered a broken back in the beating, according to court documents. The trial to determine whether parental custody rights should be terminated is set for Thursday before Oakland Circuit Judge Joan Young.

The girl's brother, Ahmad Abdelmomen, 21, is charged with aggravated assault in the April 29 incident at their home in Madison Heights.
As more unassimilated Muslims populate the United States, we are hearing more and more about crimes like this. In a Muslim country, it would remain a family matter. As they work to turn our country in a Muslim theocracy, with help from the multi-cultural, anti-capitalist left and the anti-American press, some Muslims are trying to keep attacks like this one a secret. They refused to give their daughter medical attention and made her lie about the incident.

The most disturbing part is this is only a few miles from my house. Sometimes I see Muslims at my local Sam's Club. The women always have their heads covered, and sometimes there is the very obedient Burka-clad wife with her husband. I often think of walking up to them with a hearty "Shalom!" and offer to shake the husband's hand. Then I think: Would they shake hands with a Jew? Are they terrorists, or merely terror supporters? If they had the chance, would they murder me and my family because we are Jews?

These thoughts probably make me a racist and an "islamophobe" in the eyes of some. So what. I'm a realist as far as I'm concerned. I don't like having these kinds of thoughts. I never had thoughts like this before September 11, 2001. Something must have happened that day to change the way I think. I wish I could remember what.

I know many Muslims in the U.S. just want to be free to raise their families, and left alone to live the American Dream. They aren't the ones driving the debate though. They'll get caught in the crossfire if we allow our country to follow in the footsteps of Europe.

By the way, I couldn't find this story in the further left leaning Detroit Free Press. Maybe they didn't want to stir up negative feelings against our Muslim neighbors, just because one Muslim family did something vile and abhorrent to a disobedient daughter.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Macbeth for Kids - Part 2

My fourth graders finished reading Macbeth a few weeks ago. I posted previously about this subject here. I can't say everyone enjoyed reading Shakespeare, but I can say that they all got something out of their reading, and that the majority of the class did like it. I even started reading Hamlet with a group of four because they begged me. The leader of that group had been one of my biggest trouble makers for the past two years. She was also one of the smartest and most perceptive students in the class, but was, shall we say, foul-tempered, especially when she didn't get her way. The rest of the class was memorizing the witches'speech from act 4. Some were brave enough to recite what they had memorized in front of the class and for visitors.

After we finished the play, we watched the movie version by Orson Wells. My other choice was the Roman Polanski version. It was produced by Hugh Hefner and Playboy Magazine, so it really wasn't a choice. Whenever we show current movies to classes in school, the students are noisy and obnoxious. In this case, even though the movie was in black and white with lousy sound, they watched. They pointed out to me the places Mr. Wells took liberties with the script. I hadn't seen this kind of attention paid to a movie since I showed a group of fifth graders Romeo and Juliet after they had read that play.

The point here, as we can see, is that if children are taught to read properly, they can read, understand, and enjoy anything we put in front of them. We don't have to bring Shakespeare "down to their level". We don't have to patronize our "urban" and minority students to make great literature palatable to them. It's so much better for our students when we raise them up to meet the great voices from the past.

In his book, The Western Canon, Harold Bloom says something to the effect that reading the great books gives us something to think about when we're alone. I also know from years of teaching that the more a student brings with them when they read a piece of literature, the more understanding they will get from it. These students will bring with them more than most fourth graders.

A final point. We read some things after Macbeth. Students were much more fluent than before Macbeth. The ease of reading "normal" books surprised them.

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World Refugee Day? Then why no cards?

My thanks go to Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs for yesterday's reminder that it was World Refugee Day. Somehow it competely slipped my mind.

World Refugee Day? I too, at first, thought it was just another Hallmark Holiday designed by those greedy capitalist cardmakers to force us to purchase more cards. But no, it's sponsored by those crafty anti-semites at the U.N. in order to remind us once again that those poor Palestinians, after 57 years, are still wasting away in squalid refugee camps. Oh, wait, they're not wasting away, they're reproducing like rabbits, busily creating the next generation of homicide bombers. But let's face it. They are supposed to garner our sympathy.

I have no sympathy for them. At the same time Palestinians were fleeing their homes so that five Arab armies would have the room they needed to rain death and destruction on the newly born nation of Israel, Jewish refugees were being driven out of their homes all over the Arab world. Where there used to be almost a million Jews in the Arab world, now it's close to being Juden-free.

And yet 57 years later, when the number of Palestian "refugees" has tripled, there are no Jewish refugees. What happened to all of those Jewish refugees? We know the answer to that. They created a vibrant democratic society smack dab in the middle of a bunch of festering theocratic dictatorships. And what do they get for their troubles? Decades of villification from foreign governments, protests from brainless, terror-supporting leftists, and war from their jealous neighbors.

How dare a bunch of Jews create wealth in the middle of poverty! How dare they make the desert bloom! How dare they create industry, agriculture, educational opportunity, and military superiority amongst the most repressive, fascistic cultures on Earth! How dare they create real ecomomic opportunity (jobs) for Palestinians! How dare they show the Muslim world that Jews do NOT have to bow down to them in order to thrive! How dare the Jews not come crawling to the World Body as victims, like the Palestinians are doing now.

Nobody is doing the Palestinians any favors by allowing them their self-conferred victim status. It's way past time for them to stop trying to destroy Israel, stop whining about how they've been wronged, and start building a real society.

World Refugee Day? I think not! John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. I think so.

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Monday, June 20, 2005

Have Your Cake, Eat Your Cake, and Have Someone Else Buy Your Cake For You

According to an article running in today's Detroit Free Press,
Palestinians are also concerned about the future of Gaza's economy when the Israelis withdraw, particularly Israeli-owned agricultural businesses. Among matters stil being negotiated are the disposition of Israeli greenhouses - which employ 3,500 Palestinians alone - and other enterprises owned by Israelis, and Palestinian plans for a seaport, an airport and open border crossings.
So the Palestinians in Gaza are, with the blessings of the entire world, going to realize their dream of a Juden-free Gaza. But they still want the fruits of Jewish labor. Which European society of the 1930s and 1940s does that remind you of? Hint: They started WWII. The U.S. fought against them. Another hint: Israel is often compared to them by the brain dead on the left.

The title of the article is, "Land plan is middle ground." I quoted from the print version, which is from the NY Times. The on-line version, though is from The Associated Press. One quote from that article:
Israeli-Palestinian violence has dropped sharply since Sharon and Abbas declared a cease-fire in February, but sporadic fighting has continued.

In an attack Sunday, Palestinian militants ambushed Israeli soldiers along the Gaza-Egypt border. One soldier died and an attacker was killed, the Israeli army said.
They forgot to mention the reason violence has dropped sharply; because of constant vigilance of the IDF.

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Sunday, June 19, 2005

For Father's Day - Palestinian Family Values

Posted by Hello I found this lovely, heartwarming family photo over at Little Green Footballs a few days ago. It certainly gives me the warm fuzzies as I contemplate how the Palestinians demonstrate their overwhelming overtures of peace toward the Israelis.

Uh oh! I hope no members of the American anti-gun crowd get a load of this photo! They will be outraged!

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Senator Robert Byrd - Comes Clean?

According to this article in the Washington Post (found over at Michelle Malkin's blog) ex-Klansman Robert Byrd:
Byrd says he viewed the Klan as a useful platform from which to launch his political career. He described it essentially as a fraternal group of elites -- doctors, lawyers, clergy, judges and other "upstanding people" who at no time engaged in or preached violence against blacks, Jews or Catholics, who historically were targets of the Klan.
And Islam is the religion of peace, God didn't make little green apples, and it don't snow in Indianapolis in the summertime.

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Sandra Bernhard Opens her Mouth

There was an article about Sandra Bernhard that ran in the June 9th edition of The Detroit Jewish News, written by Naomi Pferrerman for the Jewish Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. In it, Sandra, who thinks she knows much more than she actually does, has this to say about Condoleeza Rice.
It's more about how much almost compassion I have for her, being trapped in that world, being a black woman, to be so self-loathing.
My first thought was, well, she's a comedian, maybe she's kidding.

But then, while trying unsuccessfully, to find the link to the article, I found this article from December 16, 2003, HOWARD'S HATEFEST by Deborah Orin.
Rice seems to drive liberal woman comics especially nuts. Sandra Bernhard insulted her in racial terms with a “Yes Massa” accent at another Dean fundraiser the same night. Perhaps the pro-Dean comics find it unbearable that the most powerful black woman in U.S. history, close friend to the president and his wife - and a brilliant classical pianist to boot - dares to be a Republican.
Now I'm no expert on what or if Sandra Bernhard is thinking, but between those two quotes, it sounds like Sandra wants Condoleeza to remain "in her place." To say that an accompished woman like Condoleeza Rice is "self-loathing" and "trapped" because she's a black woman working for a republican president is entering the same realm of idiocy claimed by Senator Richard Durbin. I think Sandra Bernhard has the problem with self-loathing. She thinks she can solve her problems by tying a red string around her wrist.

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Mark Steyn Nails it Again

Here's a brilliant column by Mark Steyn on Sen. Durbin's stupid, slanderous, self-serving Gitmo = Gulag remarks. My favorite line is:
Had Durbin said, "Why, these atrocities are so terrible you would almost believe it was an account of the activities of my distinguished colleague Robert C. Byrd's fellow Klansmen," that would have been a little closer to the ballpark but still way out.
The rest of the piece is worth reading too.

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A Fisking of Juan Cole

Over at Martin Kramer's weblog, and at Across the Bay Newsweek's favorite Middle East "expert", Juan Cole's recollection of his own past statements is examined and handed back to him. Professor Cole had better stick to keeping track of the body count in Iraq.

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Friday, June 17, 2005

What's Really Important vs. What's Only a Little Important

Today's Detroit Free Press devotes almost a full page to the war in Iraq. All of that page except for about five column inches is devoted to: declining support for the war, demands for an exit strategy, the deaths of U.S. troops; and almost another full page to the story of the accidental shooting of an Iraqi civilian by U.S. troops. There's even a photo of Michigan's contribution to the now-forming Dhimmi party, John Conyers "boldly" demanding more information from the White House on pre-war intelligence.

Buried in one of the articles about "everything going wrong in Iraq", there are three short paragraphs about the capture of Mohammed Khalaf, Zarqawi's main man in Mosul. In a separate but short article (five paragraphs) there is a bare bones story of Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester,
the first female soldier to receive the Silver Star - the nation's third-highest medal for valor - since World War II . . . She killed at least three insurgents with her M4 rifle, according to her award citation.
The full story of the firefight is here at Black Five.

At the risk of holding myself up to ridicule for exposing my naivete, why isn't her whole story being splashed on the front page? OK, maybe not the front page, after all, the Pistons did win last night, tying the series at two all, but at least tell her whole story. Have any women's groups demanded more exposure of her heroics? Or are they still too busy fawning over other brave and bold roll models for our daughters like Jane Fonda?

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

I'm Glad He's on Our Side

Remember Marine Lt. General Jim Mattis? He got in trouble a few months ago for comments like these, reported by CNN:
Actually it's quite fun to fight them, you know. It's a hell of a hoot," Mattis said, prompting laughter from some military members in the audience. "It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up there with you. I like brawling.

"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil," Mattis said. "You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."
Maybe I'm just not sensitive enough, but after reading about him back then, I was glad he's on our side.

After linking to this editorial in the Washington Times, by Robert H. Scales, from Black Five I'm even more impressed with him.
For those of you who might have the image of a knuckle-dragging troglodyte, let me assure you that he is one of the most urbane and polished men I have known. He can quote Homer as well as Sun Tzu and has over 7,000 books in his personal library.
Jim is the product of three decades of schooling and practice in the art of war. No one on active duty knows more about the subject. He is an infantryman, a close-combat Marine. He is one of those very few who willingly practices the art of what social scientists term "intimate killing." Those of us who have engaged in the act understand what he was trying to explain to an audience of defense technologists and contractors.
Intimate killing is a primal aspect of warfare unchanged since the beginning of civilization. It involves a clash of two warriors, one on one, armed with virtually identical weapons. The decision goes to the soldier with the right stuff, the one with the greater cunning, strength, guile, ruthlessness and will to win.

He reminds me of Victor Davis Hanson's description of General George S. Patton in his book, THE SOUL OF BATTLE. Both men were/are terrors on the battlefield because they not only have the warrior spirit, but they're great readers who've studied military history and tactics. They know the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of war. These are the type of men we want leading our armed forces.


Real Torture

Any idiot with the nerve or stupidity to claim what's going on at Guantanamo Bay is torture, really needs to take a look at these photos posted at The Jawa Report. Some were taken at Abu Ghraib when it was under the old management group of real sadists, you know, Saddam and his team of psychopaths. Others are from other scenes of desecrations of living human beings in Saddam's Iraq. They're pretty grisly. Don't look if you're squeamish. Do look if you're Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin, Jon Stewart, Michael Moore, a lover of The Daily Kos, a member of the Democratic Underground, or any other leftist lunatic who truly believes that the accidental mishandling of a Koran, or the playing of Christina Aguilera music to an unwilling listener constitutes inhumane treatment, and that non-uniformed enemy combatants are entitled to lawyers.

Read the whole post. I was directed there by Baldilocks

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

An American Hero

This was recently emailed to me, photo and all. I don't know who wrote it, otherwise I'd give them credit.

An American Hero Posted by Hello
Marine Capt. Brian R. Chontosh received the Navy Cross Medal from the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, Gen. Michael W. Hagee, during an awards ceremony Thursday at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Training Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. Photo by: Cpl. Jeremy Vought

This will make you proud!

Those of you who might not know, the man on the left is the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and he is proud to know the man on the right.

Maybe you'd like to hear about a real American, somebody who honored the uniform he wears.
Meet Brian Chontosh.
Churchville-Chili Central School class of 1991.
Proud graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Husband and about-to-be father. First lieutenant (now Captain) in the United States Marine Corps.
And a genuine hero.
The secretary of the Navy said so yesterday.
At 29 Palms in California Brian Chontosh was presented with the Navy Cross, the second highest award for combat bravery the United States can bestow. That's a big deal.
But you won't see it on the network news tonight, and all you read in Brian's hometown newspaper was two paragraphs of nothing.
The odd fact about the American media in this war is that it's not covering the American military.
The most plugged-in nation in the world is receiving virtually no true information about what its warriors are doing. Oh, sure, there's a body count. We know how many Americans have fallen.
And we see those same casket pictures day in and day out. And we're almost on a first-name basis with the jerks who abused the Iraqi prisoners.
And we know all about improvised explosive devices and how we lost Fallujah and what Arab public-opinion polls say about us and how the world hates us. We get a non-stop feed of gloom and doom.
But we don't hear about the heroes. The incredibly brave GIs who honorably do their duty. The ones our grandparents would have carried on their shoulders down Fifth Avenue. The ones we completely ignore. Like Brian Chontosh.
It was a year ago on the march into Baghdad. Brian Chontosh was a platoon leader rolling up Highway 1 in a humvee. When all hell broke loose. Ambush city. The young Marines were being cut to ribbons. Mortars, machine guns, rocket propelled grenades. And the kid out of Churchville was in charge. It was do or die and it was up to him. So he moved to the side of his column, looking for a way to lead his men to safety. As he tried to poke a hole through the Iraqi line his humvee came under direct enemy machine gun fire. It was fish in a barrel and the Marines were the fish. And Brian Chontosh gave the order to attack.
He told his driver to floor the humvee directly at the machine gun emplacement that was firing at them. And he had the guy on top with the 50 cal unload on them. Within moments there were Iraqis slumped across the machine gun and Chontosh was still advancing, ordering his driver now to take the humvee directly into the Iraqi trench that was attacking his Marines. Over into the battlement the humvee went and out the door Brian Chontosh bailed, carrying an M16 and a Beretta and 228 years of Marine Corps pride. And he ran down the trench.
With its mortars and riflemen, machineguns and grenadiers. And he killed them all. He fought with the M16 until it was out of ammo. Then he fought with the Beretta until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up a dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up another dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo.

At one point he even fired a discarded Iraqi RPG into an enemy cluster, sending attackers flying with its grenade explosion. When he was done Brian Chontosh had cleared 200 yards of entrenched Iraqis from his platoon's flank. He had killed more than 20 and wounded at least as many more. But that's probably not how he would tell it. He would probably merely say that his Marines were in trouble, and he got them out of trouble. Hoo-ah, and drive on.
"By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, 1st Lt. Chontosh reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service."

That's what the citation says. And that's what nobody will hear. That's what doesn't seem to be making the evening news. Accounts of American valor are dismissed by the press as propaganda, yet accounts of American difficulties are heralded as objectivity. It makes you wonder if the role of the media is to inform or to depress - to report or to deride. To tell the truth, or to feed us lies. But I guess it doesn't matter. We're going to turn out all right. As long as men like Brian Chontosh wear our uniform. If you are as proud of this Marine as I am, then send this to EVERYONE YOU KNOW !!

"He is smartest who knows he isn't"

author unknown

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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Daniel Schorr

This morning, on NPR, news analyst Daniel Schorr couldn't figure out who to believe in the Guantanamo Bay mishandled Koran controversey. Is the Pentagon telling the truth? Or the Jihadis captured in Afghanistan? Dan admitted, he may never know.

Personally I think he's much too excited to think about anything other than the revealing of Deep Throat. This gave him another opportunity to remind us that he was on Nixon's enemy list. Like many journalists of his pedigree, this was their golden age. Nothing will ever compare to bringing down a sitting president.

He didn't retell the anecdote about Nixon "offering him a job", a story that proves Nixon had a better sense of humor than Mr. Schorr, but I'm sure he has repeated it at other opportunities. In honor of Dandy Daniel Schorr, I humbly offer this poem:

'Twas Nixon that joked with Dan Schorr,
Though Nixon did Dan Schorr abhor,
Retelling old stories,
Of enemy list glories,
Dan Schorr has become quite a bore.

On the other hand, Ben Stein offers a contrary opinion on Deep Throat here. You should read it. It's short.

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Is Amnesty International Listening?

I found the link to this ariticle by Nicholas D. Kristoff over at Little Green Footballs. It's called A Policy of Rape. It's about conditions in Sudan, which if you read the piece, you may agree, are much worse than in the "gulag" at Gitmo. You have to wonder if the dopes at AI pay attention to situations like this. Or are they so upset that Israel and The United States aren't perfect according to their standards, that they can't focus on the real human rights abuses in the world.

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Thursday, June 02, 2005


There are blogs I have to read every day for insight into what's really going on in the world. One of the best is Melanie Phillips. Usually it's depressing reading because the growing and accepted anti-semitism in England does not bode well for Jews, Christians, or the west. Don't forget what happened the last time virulent anti-semitism of that magnitude was allowed to take hold in Europe. I'll keep on reading her though. She reports on important events and trends, and she's a fine writer.

Tonight's cure for depression is, Dexter Gordon - Manhattan Symphonie. I'm listening to side 2 right now . . . oh yeah, it's a record, you know, vinyl; flat, black, and circular. When this was recorded (in 1977, I believe, I could search the web and find out exactly, but it's not that important right now) Dexter Gordon had just returned from a lengthy self-imposed European exile and was treated as an elder-jazz-statesman. He deserved it.

He's backed by George Cables on piano, Rufus Reid on bass, and Eddie Gladden on drums; all young guys, but man, they can play. The four of them coalesce nicely as a group. This album, along with "Homecoming", which features the severely underrated Woody Shaw on Trumpet (also on vinyl, but I may get the CD some day as it has some of those treasured "unreleased bonus tracks") are my favorites from this period in Dexter Gordon's recording career.

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Double-Teaming against Education

First, we teachers had NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND thrust upon us. Good idea, bad bill. I'll tell you why in another post. It did encourage school districts to try harder to reach and teach our students, but most teachers have no idea how to, because, as I've said before, teachers aren't properly trained to teach. Now, some teacher colleges are atively trying to make things even worse.
From Atlas Shrugs I was led to this article by Jacob Gershman in the New York Sun.
Brooklyn College's School of Education has begun to base evaluations of aspiring teachers in part on their commitment to social justice, raising fears that the college is screening students for their political views.
The School of Education at the CUNY campus initiated last fall a new method of judging teacher candidates based on their "dispositions," a vogue in teacher training across the country that focuses on evaluating teachers' values, apart from their classroom performance.
Further into the article it gets even scarier:
To drive home the notion that education schools ought to evaluate teacher candidates on such parameters as attitude toward social justice, the council issued a revision of its accrediting policies in 2002 in a Board of Examiners Update. It encouraged schools to tailor their assessments of dispositions to the schools' guiding principles, which are known in the field as "conceptual frameworks." The council's policies say that if an education school "has described its vision for teacher preparation as 'Teachers as agents of change' and has indicated that a commitment to social justice is one disposition it expects of teachers who can become agents of change, then it is expected that unit assessments include some measure of a candidate's commitment to social justice."

Brooklyn College's School of Education, which is the only academic unit at the college with the status of school, is among dozens of education schools across the country that incorporate the notion of "social justice" in their guiding principles. At Brooklyn, "social justice" is one of the four main principles in its conceptual framework. The school's conceptual framework states that it develops in its students "a deeper understanding of the quest for social justice." In its explanation of that mission, the school states: "We educate teacher candidates and other school personnel about issues of social injustice such as institutionalized racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism."

So in order to become accepted as a teacher, political correctness and multiculturalism trump skills and content knowledge.

In this interview with Pamela R. Winnick by Bill Steigerwald on textbooks, we're told,
We get this ridiculous situation where there are all kinds of politically correct things made in the name of science. In one of the textbooks, for example, there's an emphasis on Native Americans. In the chapter that's supposed to be on the science of climate, they spend several pages talking about an Algonquin myth about how when the crows return that means it's spring. It takes several pages before they actually get to the science of why climate changes — the rotation of the Earth and so forth.
And that's only some of the stupidity that teachers are supposed to translate into knowledge.

When teachers are only allowed to teach multicultualism and political correctness, will standardized tests be changed to reflect this teaching? Will they be as devoid of content as the textbooks?

In the district I teach, most teachers are forced to use some textbooks containing misinformation. I've pointed out some of the distortions to administrators and they politely ignored me. The problem is, teachers are still held accountable. The consultants from the textbook companies insist that their product works, it's "research based". Except for me (because I've done the research), the teachers don't know enough to dispute the consultants, and everyone is tired of listening to me.

Because I taught my fourth graders phonetically this year, we were able to read, discuss, and do lots of writing on Macbeth. Now they are memorizing portions of the play and some of them are begging to read Hamlet. We may read part of it, but there isn't much time left in the school year. We did read Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut. We had an interesting discussion. They understand more than I thought.

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They'll Never be Satisfied

According to the article Israel has released another 400 Palestinian criminals. The Palestinians have a strange way of saying thank you:
But Palestinians dismissed the latest prisoner release as a public relations stunt that would do little to raise Abbas's popular stature, saying Israel had refused to give them a say in who of some 8,000 inmates in total would be freed.

Palestinian officials have called for a more sweeping release of long-serving security prisoners, including militant leaders, whom many Palestinians regard as fighters for freedom from Israeli occupation.
Meanwhile, Abbas and his cronies have made no attempt to fulfill their requirements under the latest "peace" plan.

So why do so many Israeli and American officials put faith in Abbas again?

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