Precinct 333

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Will Freedom Of Speech And Religion Survive?

Is the prosecution of Sweden's Rev. Ake Green an indication of the direction things are headed in the United States?

One Sunday in the summer of 2003, the Rev. Ake Green, a Pentecostal pastor, stepped into the pulpit of his small church in the southern Swedish village of Borgholm. There, the 63-year-old clergyman delivered a sermon denouncing homosexuality as "a deep cancerous tumor in the entire society" and condemning Sweden's plan to allow gays to form legally recognized partnerships.

"Our country is facing a disaster of great proportions," he told the 75 parishioners at the service. "Sexually twisted people will rape animals," Green declared, and homosexuals "open the door to forbidden areas," such as pedophilia.

With these words, which the local newspaper published at his request, Green ran afoul of Sweden's strict laws against hate speech. He was indicted, convicted and sentenced to 30 days in jail. He remains free pending appeal.

I don't know that I completely agree with Green. i don't know that I would have preached that sermon. And I certainly don't think I would have sent it to the paper. But if I had, no government has any place questioning or punishing those words. And I hold that to be true as a matter of principle, regardless of whether we are talking about the US, Sweden, or any other country on Earth. It is an inalienable human right to hold to one's religious faith, to speak about it, and to write upon it.

Why am I writing about this case? Because I believe that there exist those within this country working to bring about such laws and prosecutions here. They are succeeding in stripping away the right of Christians to speak out against homosexuality in Canada. This will spread to the United States if not checked now. And I say that despite the protests to the contrary by some gay leaders.

Kevin Cathcart, executive director of the gay rights group Lambda Legal, said that religious conservatives in the United States were "trying to twist" the Green case to their advantage, but that it was "not relevant to any actual debate about gay civil rights or the role of religion in the United States."

U.S. gay rights groups "are not interested in forcing any churches to do anything they don't want to do theologically," Cathcart said. Evangelical Christians who think Green's case is what the future holds for them "may be right," he said, "but only if they move to Sweden."

Cathcart is exactly wrong. We've seen courts (including the Supreme COurt) begin to cite the paractices and laws of other countries in their decisions. Rather than relying on the clear words of the Constitution and the historic practices of the US, such decisions take a more expansive view by examining foreign trends when interpreting that document. One recent example, as Cathcart no doubt knows, was none other than Lawrence v. Texas, the sodomy case decided just two years ago, that overturned over two centuries of American laws and jurisprudence. Why should we not be concerned that some future court will see fit to apply the more "sensitive" views of post-Christian European socialism to sharply limit our rights under the First Amendment? We've already seen a prosecutor in Philadelphia argue that quoting Biblical condemnations of homosexuality in public constitutes hate speech as he argued against dismissing felony charges against Christians arrested while protesting a gay pride event.

So while I may not agree with Rev. Green, I support his right to speak out boldly in preaching the Word of God. If I don't, it will only be a matter of time before such restrictions spread to this country.


Over-Reaction To Klan Auction

My teaching field is history, so I know that there exists a lot of ugly history in the world. We need to remember it all. Some folks specialize in eras or regions or other sub-categories of history, and I don't necessarily hold that against them. My interests happen to run to the development of Christianity and the development of the US Constitution. Others are more interested in darker things, such as Hitler and the National Socialists, or racist groups. This focus might even extend to collecting materials related to their area of focus.

That's why today's auction in Howell, Michigan doesn't bother me. Auctioneer Gary Gray auctioned off Klan robes and otehr racist memorabilia.

Gary Gray says he will be auctioning off history Saturday when he sells seven Ku Klux Klan robes and other paraphernalia at his downtown business.

But the uniforms, knives, books and buttons are reminiscent of a past this small Michigan town would rather forget.

It's been 13 years since a notorious KKK leader who lived in the area died. But the auction has touched a nerve in a community that says it is a welcoming place to minorities, yet has very few living there.

"They want to make sure the image of Howell is not distorted," Gray, 51, said of community leaders opposed to the auction. "They're afraid it will be offensive to some people. But this is just a part of history we're selling."

Gray, a white man and owner of the Ole' Gray Nash Auction Gallery, says the auction is not about promoting racism. He says it's about education and business -- a potentially lucrative departure from his more standard auction fare of antiques, coins and books. None of those auctions, however, has stirred controversy like this one.

The NAACP branch in neighboring northern Oakland County, along with other civil rights groups in southeast Michigan, have blasted the auction as insensitive.

My wife and I travel over to Rosenberg, Texas from time to time. Shorty Yeaman and his lovely wife, Dianne, has a little auction house over there, and we pick up items for around the house. I've been there when he's sold Confederate banknotes, Nazi-related war relics, and even a Japanese battle flag (complete with bullet holes and blood). I have never thought anything of it, nor have I seen it as an endorsement of the ideologies that led to the creation of the items. If he were doing this auction, I'd probably even go over, just out of curiosity. I would seen no reason to object to it.

This auction was about racism's past. The folks who are concerned about it would do better to worry about the present and future.


Pol Demands Court Twart Will Of The People

People in Estes Park, Colorado are trying to recall trustee David Habecker. Why? Because he won't stand for or say the Pledge of Allegience before meetings. Now Habecker wants a federal court to stop the recall on grounds that it violates his rights under the US Constitution, since he is an agnostic.

Habecker's recall election is scheduled for Feb. 15. Several board members helped organize the recall committee, saying voters have lost confidence in Habecker's ability to represent patriotism and "common decency."

"He has his rights, and so do we," said committee member Dewey Shanks. "We're at war. And I don't think now is the time to be fighting over this. He shouldn't have brought it up at this time."

Habecker sued the recall committee, the town, the board of trustees and several officials in Estes Park, a town of about 5,500 residents about 60 miles northwest of Denver that is the eastern gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, asked a federal judge to stop the recall election until after the lawsuit is resolved.

The lawsuit says Habecker, who has served on the town board for 12 years, is patriotic and doesn't oppose the pledge's meaning.

The board began reciting the pledge in May. Habecker, 59, initially recited the pledge except for the words "under God," but he later decided to remain seated.

I understand the man's argument, and have a certain amount of sympathy with him. If this were the case of someone being fired from employent or being denied the right to run or take office because of his unwillingnes to say the Pledge, I would side with him.

But elected officials are supposed to represent the people. It seems clear that a fair number of people in town no longer are comfortable with his representation. They are pursuing an avenue available under law to remove him because they lack confidence in his representation. That is sufficient under Colorado law, which requires no reason be given for the recall.

You don't own that office, sir -- the people do. Let them speak.


Outrage As Cop-Killer Honored

My brother is a cop. But even if he weren't, I would find this to be reprehensible.

He was convicted in the death of a Jackson police officer nearly 25 years ago. Next week he will speak inside city hall. Imari Obadele was invited by Councilman Kenneth Stokes to speak at a black history program Tuesday, and his appearance is causing quite a stir.

The scene was chaotic on Lewis Street in August of 1971 hours after Jackson police officer William Louis Skinner was gunned down during a house raid on Lewis Street .

的 heard the shooting. I was there when skinner got shot," said former JPD chief Jim Black.

The 32-year veteran of the Jackson Police Department was in the hospital when Skinner died.

"It was very emotional for all the police officer that were there," Black said.

Police and FBI agents were serving an arrest warrant. Inside were members of the Republic of New Afrika , a separatist militant group. Twenty-six-year JPD vet Jimmy King was nearby.

"It was quiet all of a sudden; sounded like a small war going on," said King.

"You just didn't lose an officer like that. It was very traumatic," Black stated.

In 1972, RNA president Imari Obadele along with several others was found guilty in the killing of Skinner. He served nearly six years. On February 1, 2005, Obadele will stand inside Jackson City Hall in front of an audience to talk about the RNA eleven.

"I think it's an abomination a slam on the good black people of Jackson and the good white people of Jackson," expressed Black.

The speech is part of a black history program. His host is city Councilman Kenneth Stokes.

"To me this would be like promoting Byron De La Beckwith. It's just a travesty," stated King.

This is not a man -- this is a sub-human animal. That he has seen one day outside a prison -- in fact, that he was not executed -- is an outrage. That he would be invited to participate in a program offered by an elected official in city that Officer Skinner died protect is even worse. Councilman Kenneth Stokes is clearly as lacking in moral decency as Obadele

Officer Skinner's family still lives in the Jackson area.

WLBT received a statement from Skinner's son justice court judge Bill Skinner. He says quote: "For more than 33 years my family and I suffered the loss of my father. This is not a black and white issue; it is a right and wrong issue. The fact that the city would celebrate a convicted felon who murdered my father tells me this is not the best of the new south."

It is my hope that every law enforcement officer in the region will refuse any order to protect this event, and that the good people of Jackson will turn out to protest this offense against law enforcement officers. I encourage the people of Jackson to take every step to remove Councilman Stokes from office.


Friday, January 28, 2005

"Gay Pride Week" Satirized -- Gays Offended

Tired of gay rights activists going unanswered, College Republicans at University of Central Oklahoma have decided to hold a Straight Pride Week.

"The general gist is that if you are a straight student on campus be proud, be loud, this is your time to shine," said college Republican Kyle Houts.

The group has posted fliers on campus that read, "we're here, we're conservative, we're out."

Activists for the other side are, needless to say, are not amused.

Members of the Gay Alliance for Tolerance and Equality say they consider the College Republican's celebration an attack on gay and lesbian students.

"What is there to say about it, 'I'm proud, and I'm straight and I guess white,' I don't know?" said GATE member Jennifer Rodriguez. "I think they definitely are being discriminatory because there's probably a lot of gay Republicans out there."

Ms. Rodriguez clearly misses the point. Her heterophobic comments (combined with the additional racial slur direted at whites) make it very clear she needs to be subjected to mandatory sensitivity training. After all, how can she possibly object to the celebration of the identity and sexuality of members of the diverse community of her university? Why does she insist that straights, whites, and conservatives hide their pride?


Throw A Book, Go To Jail?

I didn't think we could get any more absurd than the kids arrested for drawing. I was wrong.

A 6-year-old boy was put in handcuffs and charged with felony battery after he hit his teacher and a police officer with books, authorities said. The 60-pound first grader appeared in court Thursday, a day after his arrest at Endeavour Elementary School.

The Rockledge boy told officers he was upset because ``someone's grandmother died,'' said Barbara Matthews, a spokeswoman for the Cocoa Police Department.

``He's a tiny, little kid, so when the two officers first went, they tried to give him benefit of the doubt,'' Matthews said. ``But he was also out of control. Once he struck the teacher, it became a battery.''

A police officer tried to talk with the child, but he was struck in the forehead with a book thrown from 8 feet away, Matthews said.

The boy, who was not named, was handcuffed after the teacher asked that he be prosecuted, Matthews said.

Wait a minute. You've got a kid who is upset and throwing things -- something that six-year-olds do with great frequency. There had been a death, and he wasn't dealing with it well. And for that, the cops arrested him and took him off in cuffs? More to the point, the teacher wanted the case prosecuted? Where was the common sense in this situation?

Fortunately, it looks like some sense may prevail in the case. The principal only suspended the boy for ten days, and the case is not being prosecuted at this time.

Prosecutors temporarily removed the boy's case from the court docket, said David Koenig, division chief of the state attorney's juvenile division.

``The focus now is to prevent him from self-destructing,'' Koenig said. ``We want to find a solution.''

Thank God for someone looking out for the needs of the kid -- maybe he won't be one that gets thrown away because of overly harsh, zero-tolerance policies that don't bother with the whole situation.


Snoop Dogg -- This "Bud's" For You

Talk about your unusual contract clauses.

Rapper SNOOP DOGG refuses to go on stage unless he is provided with strong marijuana, according to reports of his backstage rider.

The DROP IT LIKE IT'S HOT star allegedly ensures venues he performs at supply him with the finest cannabis on offer - unless he is dubious about the area's quality control.

Before performing in Park City, Utah, on Monday (24JAN05), "There were large amounts of pot flown in for Snoop and his friends because they didn't trust the quality of bud in Utah" - according to gossip site PAGESIX.COM.

Is it just me, or does there need to be a raid in every city where this guy performs?


Beer Can Save Your Life

Some stories are just too outrageous to be made up.

A Slovak man trapped in his car under an avalanche freed himself by drinking 60 bottles of beer and urinating on the snow to melt it.

Rescue teams found Richard Kral drunk and staggering along a mountain path four days after his Audi car was buried in the Slovak Tatra mountains.

He told them that after the avalanche, he had opened his car window and tried to dig his way out.

But as he dug with his hands, he realised the snow would fill his car before he managed to break through.

He had 60 half-litre bottles of beer in his car as he was going on holiday, and after cracking one open to think about the problem he realised he could urinate on the snow to melt it, local media reported.

Sounds like someone had a wild weekend planned -- and managed to find a good way to pass the time while trapped, too.

The survivor's comment on his unique method of escape?

He said: "I was scooping the snow from above me and packing it down below the window, and then I peed on it to melt it. It was hard and now my kidneys and liver hurt. But I'm glad the beer I took on holiday turned out to be useful and I managed to get out of there."

I'd be glad i took the beer, too -- and wouldn't worry about the liver and kidneys for a few days. After all, they got quite a workout.


Sh... Stuff Happens

And to think some folks just have to worry about piles of dog crap. This is incredible.

Urban dwellers who enjoy dining on filet mignon at five-star restaurants would probably just as soon not know about David Dickinson's dilemma.

Bad for the appetite, you know.

But Dickinson, who makes his living in the cattle business, has an environmental problem on his hands that is vexing state officials: a 2,000-ton pile of burning cow manure.

Dickinson owns and manages Midwest Feeding Co. about 20 miles west of Lincoln, which takes in as many as 12,000 cows at a time from farmers and ranchers and fattens them for market.

Byproducts from the massive operation resulted in a dung pile measuring 100 feet long, 30 feet high and 50 feet wide that began burning about two months ago and continues to smolder despite Herculean attempts to douse it.

This would definitely qualify as an UNATTRACTIVE nuisance.


Presidential Family Showdown In New York?

Nixon Administration v. Clinton Administration. Sounds interesting.

Edward Cox, a son-in-law of President Nixon, is considering a Senate run next year against Hillary Rodham Clinton, a longtime friend and adviser said Friday.

``To say he's running against Hillary Clinton is to way overstate it, but he's interested in it. He's testing the waters,'' said the adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity. ``We're meeting with people and sometime, probably in April or so, a decision will be made.''

Cox, 58, married Tricia Nixon at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden in 1971. He is a partner in a Manhattan law firm and a member of the State University of New York board of trustees, appointed by Gov. George Pataki.

The adviser said Cox, who has never run for public office, would not seek the Republican nomination if either Pataki or former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani decided to do so. Neither is expected to seek the Senate seat, and both are potential 2008 presidential candidates.

Still, I hope the GOP can find a stronger candidate.


No Clue Educators Cancel Spelling Bee

Now I have to tell you – I’ve always hated spelling bees. Maybe it has something to do with the order of the “e” & “s” in the word “does.” Back when I was a fifth grader in Mrs. Buchanan’s 5th grade class at Oak View Elementary School (this must have been 1973 or 1974). But I don’t see them as iniquitous. I certainly don’t find them to be antithetical to the mission of education.

Apparently they do in Lincoln, Rhode Island. School officials there have cancelled the annual spelling bee, a qualifying event for the national spelling bee, on the grounds that it is incompatible with the No Child Left Behind Act.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Linda Newman said the decision to scuttle the event was reached shortly after the January 2004 bee in a unanimous decision by herself and the district’s elementary school principals.

The administrators decided to eliminate the spelling bee, because they feel it runs afoul of the mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

"No Child Left Behind says all kids must reach high standards," Newman said. "It’s our responsibility to find as many ways as possible to accomplish this."

The administrators agreed, Newman said, that a spelling bee doesn’t meet the criteria of all children reaching high standards -- because there can only be one winner, leaving all other students behind.

"It’s about one kid winning, several making it to the top and leaving all others behind. That’s contrary to No Child Left Behind," Newman said.

A spelling bee, she continued, is about "some kids being winners, some kids being losers."

As a result, the spelling bee "sends a message that this isn’t an all-kids movement," Newman said.

Uh… yeah. Allowing a couple of kids to shine is a violation of the law? Competition is unhealthy because it means there are winners and losers? Competition doesn’t encourage excellence? Are you nuts? What on earth do you think is the point of sports?

Oh, that’s right – you believe in that quasi-communist viewpoint that letting people win is unfair because it hurts the self-esteem of others. Any success which allows one to rise above one’s peers must actively be discouraged.

Furthermore, professional organizations now frown on competition at the elementary school level and are urging participation in activities that avoid winners, Newman said. That’s why there are no sports teams at the elementary level, she said as an example.

The emphasis today, she said, is on building self-esteem in all students.

"You have to build positive self-esteem for all kids, so they believe they’re all winners," she said. "You want to build positive self-esteem so that all kids can get to where they want to go."

A spelling bee only benefits a few, not all, students, the elementary principals and Newman agreed, so it was canceled.

Incredible -- makes me ashamed to work in the same profession.


Thursday, January 27, 2005

India Honors Christian Missionary

Gladys Staines, who for three decades toiled as a missionary in India working with leprosy patients, was awarded the Padma Shri award by the Indian government.

When contacted in Australia, Staines, 54, told the Press Trust of India news agency she was “absolutely overwhelmed and stunned by the news. “But I am feeling very humbled at the same time. It’s a rare honour and a humbling experience.”

Staines and her husband Graham had spent more than 30 years working with leprosy patients in Baripada district in the eastern state of Orissa.

In January 1999 Graham and his two sons Philip, 10, and Timothy, eight, were burnt to death by a mob of Hindu fanatics who accused him of forcibly converting poor Hindus to Christianity. The three were asleep in their jeep when the attack took place. They tried to escape the flames but the mob - led by principal suspect Ravindra Pal, alias Dara Singh, and armed with axes - prevented them.

Despite the tragedy Staines stayed on in India with her daughter, overseeing the completion of a hospital for leprosy patients in Orissa. She left for Australia only last year. In September 2003 Singh and 17 others were sentenced to death by a local court. Immediately after the verdict Staines said she had forgiven the killers.

A kind gesture for one who has given so much, including her family, for love of the Gospel and the Indian people.

But the true reward is yet to come, having already been received by her husband and sons.


From The “Not What You Thought It Was About” Department

First SpongeBob, now this.

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Violent sex 'is killing the Tasmanian devil'

A disease that has devastated the Tasmanian devil population is probably being spread by the animal's boisterous sex life, Australian scientists believe.

The devil has been wiped out in many parts of the island over the past three years.

The number of "nature's janitor", as the animal is nicknamed, has fallen from about 150,000 to less than half that, with four out of every five dying in some areas.

Researchers believe that the animals' habit of fighting over decaying carrion and engaging in violent sexual foreplay accounts for the speed at which the disease has spread.

The illness, noticed about five years ago, causes hideous facial tumours that leave the devils unable to see or eat.

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Censorship In Houston

Let me begin with a disclaimer -- I don't know a thing about Jenna Jameson, her porn career, or her new book, How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale. I don't know whetehr it is appropriate to be out on the "Best Seller's" rack at the local libray, whether it belongs in the stacks, or whetehr it is inappropriate material for a public library.

What I do know is that I have a problem with a single politician being able to unilaterally censor materials in the library. That's why I object to Houston's Mayor Bill White ordering the book off the shelves of local branch libraries and into the closed stacks downtown, where it must be requested by a patron and retrieved by a librarian.

White recently ordered that the library's dozen copies of Jameson's best-selling How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale be removed from open shelves.

In making his decision, White sidestepped the committee process that Houston's libraries typically use to evaluate complaints about items in their collections.

"We're trying to take action quickly, and we didn't see a need to go through a long bureaucratic process," said White's spokesman, Frank Michel.

The mayor decreed that the books, which once were on prominent best seller displays at the central library and 11 branches, be locked in the closed stacks of Houston's central library downtown. Patrons must ask to view or check out the book, which contains Jameson's lurid confessions and a few of her nude photos.

Sandra Fernandez, a spokeswoman for the Houston Public Library, said all copies of Jameson's book now are checked out, and more than 20 people are on a waiting list for the book.

Michel said the mayor got involved because Councilwoman Pam Holm asked him to, and it didn't necessarily mean that White will take direct action on future complaints about library books.

Sorry, Mr. Mayor, that isn't good enough. There is a process in place for challenging books in the Houston Public Library system. It should have been used. That you simply stepped in and issued an order -- even one that might be the best choice for dealing with a book of this sort -- is inappropriate. Decisions to restrict the reading choices of library patrons should be made with wide public input, not by a single individual.

And even more dangerous is Councilwoman Holm's response to the mayor's action. She didn't, and still doesn't, know that there is a system in place to handle such issues.

And yes, I know and agree that not every book is in the library, nor does a library have the resources or obligation to stock everything. However, once the professionals hired to make such choices have put a book on the shelf, it is inappropriate to allow one or two individuals to decide (especially for political reasons) to override that decision. Maybe White's solution was the best one out there -- but it shouldn't have been imposed by decree based upon the complaint of one councilwoman.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Condi Confirmed!

There was never much doubt that the Senate would confirm Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State. However, I’m gratified to see the vote was 85-13. I guess that means that all the leftists who got so much face time in the media attacking Dr. Rice represented only a very small minority – despite the disproportionate coverage.

And I’ll give John McCain his due.

On the Senate floor today, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., suggested Democrats are sore losers. Rice had enough votes to win confirmation, as even her Democratic critics acknowledge, McCain said.

"So I wonder why we are starting this new Congress with a protracted debate about a foregone conclusion," McCain said. Since Rice is qualified for the job, he said, "I can only conclude that we are doing this for no other reason than because of lingering bitterness over the outcome of the election."

And let us not forget the list of shame. Racist anti-Americans must pay a price.

Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.
Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
John Kerry, D-Mass.
Carl Levin, D-Mich.
James Jeffords, I-Vt.
Jack Reed, D-R.I
Mark Dayton, D-Minn.
Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii
Evan Bayh, D-Ind.
Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.
Tom Harkin, D-Iowa
Richard Durbin, D-Ill.


Temple Coach Insults Bush

Some folks know how to prove they have no class. Temple basketball coach John Chaney is clearly one of these.

IT WAS intended to be a brief, gracious John Chaney acceptance speech for a "special achievement'' award (700 victories) at last night's 101st Philadelphia Sports Writers Dinner at the Cherry Hill Hyatt.

But you never know what you're going to get when you steer Chaney toward a microphone. In an unexpected and stunning first for the prestigious annual banquet, Temple's Hall of Fame coach made news as few can. After a good-natured jab at WIP fill-in Garry Cobb (a President Bush supporter), Chaney crossed the line by turning his time at the podium into a forum to rail against Bush and the war in Iraq. He expanded on his public scolding of Ohio voters, who were key in Bush's re-election, following the Owls' victory at Xavier on Saturday.

Audience members vocally objected to Chaney’s classless rant – leading him to challenge one to a fight and hurl insults at those who dared to use the same First Amendment as him to object to his comments.

Here’s hoping that he doesn’t get another victory – and better yet, that his players have the integrity to refuse to play for a man whose behavior shows he is not a fit role model.


Oregon – The Jihad State?

Well, at least they have chosen to live among Blue State liberals who support them.

The FBI knows of "jihadists" who have trained in terrorist camps in Afghanistan and are now living in Oregon, the agency's Oregon chief said in an interview with The Associated Press yesterday.

"We don't have an imminent threat that we're aware of. But I will say this: We have people here in Oregon that have trained in jihadist camps in bad areas. In the bad neighborhoods of the world," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Jordan.

Asked what he meant by "bad neighborhoods," he said Afghanistan, as well as several other countries he would not specify.

During the session with The AP, which lasted nearly two hours, Jordan discussed a wide range of themes — from his agents' participation in the Bush administration's war on terrorism to the upcoming opening of a Portland laboratory for forensic work on computers seized from suspects.

Jordan refused to say how many "jihadists" live in Oregon.

He said the FBI knows "they've trained overseas, taken oaths to kill Americans and engage in jihad," but the challenge is "to prove those things."

If you know this to be the case, why don’t you move with the evidence on hand?

And if you haven’t got them in custody yet, why are you alerting them this way?


Bin Laden Fails To Respond

One month after the fact, Osama bin Laden has yet to issue a public statement on the tsunami that killed so many of his co-religionists. He has offered no aid to those impacted by the disaster.

To date, no member of the elite media has stated that the al-Qaeda leader has been slow to respond to the tragedy.

No UN official has labeled him “stingy” for failing to offer aid to survivors.

It seems such criticisms are reserved only for generous non-Muslims. After all, we don't murder our critics.


Disciplinary Issue Or Criminal Conduct?

I've been quite clear that I have a problem with school violence, and that I believe kids who engage in violence at school need to be dealt with severely.

But that said, I've meant real, actual violence, not fantasy violence.

Goofiness like this Florida case is simply wrong. It is zero tolerance run wild.

Two boys were arrested for making pencil-and-crayon stick figure drawings depicting a 10-year-old classmate being stabbed and hung, police said. The children, charged with a felony, were taken from school in handcuffs.

The 9- and 10-year-old boys were arrested Monday and charged with making a written

One drawing showed the two boys standing on either side of the other boy and "holding knives pointed through" his body, according to a police report. The figures were identified by written names or initials.

Another drawing showed a stick figure hanging, tears falling from his eyes, with two other stick figures standing below him. Other pieces of scrap paper listed misspelled profanities and the initials of the boy who was allegedly threatened.

The boys' parents said they thought the children should be punished by the school and families, not the legal system.

Felony charges? You've got to be kidding me. This is a matter to be handled internally by a school disciplinary system, not by the juvenile justice system. What's the beef with the other kid, and why are they drawing the pictures. Is there an actual intent to do harm to the other child, or is it just the venting of some sort of frustration. Sounds to me like there is a need for counseling, not incarceration. Or maybe just a change of television and movie viewing habits.

But in this post-Columbine world, school kids who engage in normal, even age-appropriate, behavior (or in this case, misbehavior) are determined to be criminals.

And in this case the instruments of the crime are crayons and a few sheets of paper, not guns, knives and bombs.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Father's Rights/Mother's Rights/Baby's Best Interests

Cathy Young raises some really interesting points about adoption situations like the one I've discussed recently. While it seems like she ould agree with me on the current one (it is judicial child abuse), she does raise a father's rights argument that I have set aside due to the heinous nature of the case.

Biological paternity isn't everything; but it isn't nothing, either. Where is the sympathy for fathers who lose their children through no fault of theirs? Would we be more sympathetic if a woman's baby were taken away at the hospital and placed for adoption without her knowledge because the birth father signed the adoption papers?

The father in such a case faces a strong presumption of guilt. It is readily assumed that if the mother doesn't want him involved, he's either abusive or terminally irresponsible. In society's eyes, when a man doesn't want to marry his child's mother, he must be a cad; when a woman doesn't want to marry the father, he must be a creep.

People can believe that a man would wage a lengthy legal battle out of spite at his ex-girlfriend; yet many won't allow that a woman could want to deny her ex-boyfriend his child for equally base reasons. We stigmatize and prosecute men who refuse to support their children, but not women who willfully conspire to keep a father away from his child.

It's particularly bizarre to place the burden on the man to find out if the woman is pregnant, considering that she's the one with direct knowledge of her condition. Indeed, if a man took such steps after the woman had told him she wanted no further contact, he could be considered a stalker.

In the end, our society sends men quite a mixed message. If your partner gets pregnant and decides to keep the baby, you're liable for 18 years of child support, whether or not you want to be a father. If she doesn't want to be a mother, she can give your child to strangers and there isn't much you can do. Then we complain that men don't take parenthood seriously enough.

So we give women too much control in these situations? What are the proper rights of the father? And how do we protect them without doing harm to the child?


How Could They?

I grew up in Chicago listening to Steve Dahl and Garry meyer. They did great parody stuff -- but even they had their limits.

Not so this station in New York.

Hip-hop radio station HOT 97 has sparked outrage across the city by airing a twisted song that shockingly mocks the 200,000 victims of the South Asian tsunami.
The radio station, WQHT, was forced to air an apology yesterday after the insulting song - whose lyrics include racial epithets aimed at Asians - was played for four days last week by morning deejay Miss Jones.

"We are absolutely appalled, saddened, outraged and angered," said Kai Yu of Asian Media Watch.

The nasty parody, sung to the tune of "We Are the World," makes light of how the killer tsunami "washed your whole country away."

Some of the other tasteless lyrics refer jokingly to orphaned children being sold into slavery.

Hopefully this will do away with the famous "blacks can't be racist" lie that we have heard so many times. One of the station's on-air personalities is Asian, and she objected to the song. The response of her black colleague?

Before one airing of the song, the station's news reader, Miss Info, who is of Asian descent, objected to the song, only to be attacked by Jones and her cohorts.

"That song is really offensive to me, and I opted not to involve myself," Miss Info said.

Jones replied, "I know you feel you're superior because you're Asian, but you're not." Later, co-host Todd Lyn, incensed at Miss Info's criticism, said, "I'm going to start shooting Asians."

Strikes me that there is a need for new personnel at the station -- if not a new licensee.


Scouts In Schools Safe For Now

The “Only Atheists Have First Amendment Rights” Caucus lost another one in court recently, as it was held not to be a violation of the judicially-imposed extra-constitutional doctrine of “separation of church and state” to allow the Boy Scouts to recruit in schools.

A unanimous three-judge panel said the district’s policy was acceptable because the Boy Scouts received no special treatment or emphasis compared to other groups that visited the schools.

“It had a secular purpose and did not advance religion over non-religion,” Judge Bill Schuette wrote in Scalise v. Boy Scouts of America. “Simply because the Boy Scouts utilized the system does not itself create an Establishment Clause violation.”

As interpreted by the courts, the establishment clause has come to mean that government generally is prohibited from promoting or endorsing religion.

Now that seems like a pretty commonsense decision. Just because a group has a religious basis does not exclude it from the public square. And if a forum is open to non-religious groups, it must also be open to religious groups.

The losers in this case are furious, carrying on like leftists often do.

Timothy Taylor, the Scalises’ attorney, called the ruling the “most judicially corrupt and dishonest” he had seen.

“This was a political decision — not a legal one, and one in which the undisputed facts of the case were completely disregarded,” Taylor said.

He said his clients likely would file an appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court.
The Boy Scouts and school district, however, said they did nothing wrong.

“We were simply trying to provide boys with an opportunity to join scouting,” said Dale Holbrook, Scout executive for the Lake Huron Area Council. The council oversees 15,200 Boy Scouts in northeast and central Michigan, including Mount Pleasant.

Sadly, the Scouts don’t get to pass out literature at the schools in Mount Pleasant schools any longer, despite the victory. The schools had become so overwhelmed with material that it found it necessary to close the forum after finding itself bombarded with over 250,000 fliers each year.


Stupid Cop, Stupid Leftist

A current controversy in Denver revolves around a cop who ordered a woman to remove her “F--- Bush” bumper sticker from her car.

A Denver police sergeant is under investigation for allegedly threatening to arrest a woman Monday for displaying on her truck a derogatory bumper sticker about President Bush.

"He told her that this was a warning and that the next time he saw her truck, she was going to be arrested if she didn't remove the sticker," said Alinna Figueroa, 25, assistant manager of The UPS Store where the confrontation took place. "I couldn't believe it."

Denver police have initiated an investigation into the alleged incident, said Police Chief Gerry Whitman. He declined to comment further.

About 11 a.m., Shasta Bates, 26, was standing in the shopping center store in the 800 block of South Monaco Parkway when a man walked in and started arguing with her about a bumper sticker on the back of her truck that had "F--- Bush" in white letters on a black background.

"He was saying it was very sick and wrong and you shouldn't be doing that," Bates said. "He was very offended by it. I said, 'You didn't have to take it so personally.' "

The two argued for a few minutes, and then the man walked out of the store and stood behind Bates' truck. A few minutes later, the man flagged down police Sgt. Michael Karasek, who was patrolling the area.

Rocky Mountain News reporter Katie Kerwin McCrimmon, who happened to be at the store at the time, walked up to the two and asked what was going on.

The man pointed the bumper sticker out to McCrimmon, and then Karasek told her that it was illegal because it was profane, McCrimmon said.

Simply put, the sticker is constitutionally protected. Cohens v. California, decided some 25 years ago, holds that the use of profanity as a part of a political statement is legal. Absent a direct incitement of violence, or the effect of initiating sexual arousal, there is no constitutional basis for banning that particular word, civility notwithstanding.

On the other hand, I’m sure that Ms. Bates and her ilk will not take any offense whatsoever when I suggest that they can all “F--- off.” After all, President Bush has twice won elections for president, and this American is sick and tired of their whining.


Socialized Medicine Equals Socialized Child Abuse

Want a reason to oppose government financed and administered medicine? Here’s a case for you.

The family of a toddler with eight rotting teeth has been told he must wait up to five months for an operation to have them removed under a general anaesthetic.

Bailey Sargison, two, of Coalgate, 13km west of Darfield, had four teeth removed when he was 18 months old and now faces a second operation to extract eight more.

Mother Alannah May said her youngest son was having difficulty eating and sleeping and needed frequent doses of paracetamol to relieve pain.

A Darfield dentist, who saw Bailey in November, said he was clearly "in pain" and faxed an urgent referral to the hospital.

Bailey was seen by a specialist the next month who confirmed he would need eight teeth removed under general anaesthesia.

Children under five cannot safely be given the sedation or pain relief typically offered to adults during dental work.

The operation may not be until May. Christchurch hospital has a six-month waiting list - or 240 children aged 12 and under - waiting for dental treatment under a general anaesthetic.

On the other hand, if parents decided to wait six months for such treatment, they would undoubtedly be cited for abuse or neglect. In a free market system, such treatment is readily available.


Monday, January 24, 2005

Revisionist History – Boxer Style

Senator Barbara Boxer reached a whole new level of spin this weekend, when she portrayed herself as the victim of a mean-spirited attack by Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice.

"She turned and attacked me," the California Democrat told CNN's "Late Edition" in describing the confrontation during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

"I gave Dr. Rice many opportunities to address specific issues. Instead, she said I was impugning her integrity," Mrs. Boxer said.

Well, Senator, let’s take a look at that exchange.

"I personally believe — this is my personal view — that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell this war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth," Mrs. Boxer told Miss Rice, who has been President Bush's national security adviser since 2001.

Miss Rice responded that she "never, ever lost respect for the truth in the service of anything. It is not my nature. It is not my character."

"And I would hope that we can have this conversation and discuss what happened before and what went on before and what I said without impugning my credibility or my integrity," Miss Rice said.

Well, looks to me like you did impugn her integrity. What else would you call a statement that her loyalty to the president “overwhelmed [her] respect for the truth”? You clearly were saying that Dr. Rice is a liar. Quite frankly, you deserved to be slapped down.

And will somebody tell the folks over at the Washington Times that when referring to Condoleezza Rice it should use “Dr. Rice” rather than “Miss Rice,” since the woman does have an earned doctorate.


DemoThugs Indicted In Milwaukee

Five men, including the sons of two prominent Milwaukee Democrat politicians, were charged with felonies today for their role in a tire-slashing incident election morning. The five slashed 40 tires on 25 vans that the GOP had rented for use in its get-out-the-vote effort.

The five who were charged with felony criminal damage to property for slashing 40 tires on 25 vehicles are:

* Michael Pratt, 32, of the 400 block of N. 16th St., Milwaukee. Pratt is the son of former acting mayor Marvin Pratt.

* Sowande A. Omokunde, 25, of the 4000 block of N. 19th Place, Milwaukee. Omokunde is the son of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore.

* Lewis G. Caldwell, 28, of the 2900 block of N. Summit Ave., Milwaukee.

* Lavelle Mohammad, 35, of the 4700 block of W. Lloyd St., Milwaukee.

* Justin Howell, 20, of the 2400 block of N. Olive St., Racine.

The vans had been rented by the state Republican Party to transport voters to the polls on election day Nov. 2.

If convicted, each of the five faces up to a $10,00 fine and up to 3 1/2 years in prison. The crime met the $2,500 damage threshold as a felony because the slashed tires and towing costs totaled more than $5,300, according to the criminal complaint filed today. It says the men were caught after a security guard in the Republican Party headquarters parking lot saw the vandalism and wrote down the license-plate numbers of a fleeing car.

It seems to me that this was part of a conspiracy to violate the voting rights of Republicans. Why were more serious civil rights charges not brought against the five? And how high did advance knowledge of this criminal activity go in Democrat circles? Was it approved by party officials or office holders? One can only hope these questions will be examined.


Sunday, January 23, 2005

Wrong Focus In School Choice

It seems to me, speaking as a teacher, that the most important job of a school is educating it's students. Apparently they think differently on the matter down in Florida.

Pinellas County's school choice plan appears likely to fall short of its most important goal: preventing a return to racially segregated schools.

Though the plan is successfully integrating some schools, it has failed to work in many others, a Times analysis shows. Nearly three years into choice, large numbers of Pinellas families - white and black - have ignored the district's call to integrate voluntarily.

So the most important goal in Pinellas County is preserving an artificial racial mix, regardless of the wants and needs and desires of the students and their families. Rather than looking at schools as a social engineering program, the parents looked at it as an educational program designed to prepare their students for life. Rather than putting kids on a school bus for a trip across the county, they chose schools close to home. In other words, they made rational choices based upon family values, not upon some politically correct notion that kids of one race cannot learn to add or spell without kids of a different skin color sitting next to them.

If application trends hold true:

Several elementary schools in St. Petersburg would become predominantly black for the first time in more than 30 years.

More black students would attend Gibbs and Lakewood high schools, threatening to disrupt racial balances that have taken years to cultivate.

Two middle schools - Bay Point and John Hopkins - would face a similar challenge.

A number of elementary schools in south and mid Pinellas would become far less diverse. Some enrollments would go from majority white to almost exclusively white as black students continue to opt for schools closer to home. More than a dozen mid-county schools already have gone in that direction.

The choice plan prevents those changes from occurring now. A system of race ratios known as "controlled choice" keeps many schools artificially integrated. But those controls expire at the end of the 2006-07 school year.

After that, a powerful social dynamic will continue to work against diversity: Schools that get anywhere close to 50 percent black often become predominantly black because many white parents avoid schools where their children could be in the minority.

I find the analysis interesting. Black parents are opting "for schools close to home." White parents "avoid schools where their children would be in the minority." Upon what are these assertions based? Were parents interviewed to reach these conclusions? Or are they assumptions? Could it be that white parents who have seen their kids forced onto a school bus out of their neighborhood to achieve some artificial notion of equality would prefer that their kids be educated close to home? Might it be that black parents don't want their kids in the minority? Did you consider those possibilities when you wrote the article?

Under choice, schools try to entice families with "attractors," which are themes that run through the curriculum. Some attractors are proving far more marketable than others.

District officials acknowledge it is probably too late to prevent at least a temporary return to a school system with significant pockets of segregation.

The public's impulse to select schools close to home is simply too ingrained. And the district is approaching the end of a four-year phase-in period that was supposed to condition Pinellas families to look outside their neighborhoods for schools, thereby promoting integration.

imagine that. There is an "ingrained" preference for that which is close and convenient. I wonder, do folks who make such stupid statements travel cross-town for half an hour for an integrated grocery shopping experience, one where they will be exposed to a multi-cultural customer base? Or do they prefer going to the Krogers down the block, where they meet neighbors and can purchase the same products more conveniently? Don't answer -- we already know the common-sense answer to that question.

At least the superintendent Clayton Wilcox seems to be asking the correct questions.

He said it is time for Pinellas to ask fundamental questions about what is best for its schools.

Is it so bad for some schools to be nearly all-black if they get the same resources as predominantly white schools? Or is that heresy in a district that has worked for decades to stay racially integrated? What is Pinellas' definition of success when it comes to the racial makeup of schools?

Wilcox, who recently moved to Pinellas from a largely black district in Louisiana, wants to know.

He said he has talked to black people in Pinellas who say they wouldn't be bothered by segregated schools as long as they are equal in quality. He also has talked to people who insist that separate schools could never be equal.

Others argue that, in a diverse society, integrated schools have a value that goes far beyond ensuring equality.

"What do families want?" Wilcox asked.

Bostock said that will be "the big question" as the board struggles in the coming months to map a future for choice.

That seems to be the most important question. After all, those families are the consumers.

After all, some schools in majority black neighborhoods are drawing many white applicants. Why? Because they have strong programs that focus on the things the parents want. I'm not a Montessori fan, but I'm not surprised that a school with a Montessori has an application pool that is very white, even if it is located in a black neighborhood.

And don't forget that it has been black kids who have borne much of the burden of the desegregation program the county had for three decades. It was black kids who were most likely to be herded onto a bus bound for schools far from home. They were the chess pieces that got moved around in the game of integration. Parents who endured those rides now want neighborhood schools, something that they lacked. They see the irony that the result of Brown v. Board of Education (fought to let a black child go to the school closest to her home) eventually led to decisions that resulted in black kids being transported far away from the school nearest to their homes.


If You Don't Like The Amenities...

You can always go back to Ecuador. There is daily service from O'Hare, so getting a flight out won't be a problem. And take the kids with you.

As she watched her sons get free dental checkups Saturday, Sara Garcia said why she thinks many low-income Hispanics often don't go to the dentist.

"It's very expensive," said Garcia, who lives in Chicago but grew up in Ecuador. "It should be free, like in Ecuador."

I hate to tell you this, Sara, but it isn't the American taxpayer's job to pay for your kids' dental checkups. I spend enough on dental care for my wife and I without including your family on the tab.

And as for you, Lt. Gov. Quin, do you realize how stupid you sound? Did you really mean to sound like a stereotype of every "oh-so-sensitive" liberal Democrat.

Quinn said that the surgeon general found tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease -- five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever.

And bad teeth can cause children to smile less, damaging their self-esteem, Quinn said.


Paying Tribute To The Watcher's Council

As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.

Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.


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