Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Westboro Baptist Church loses big: It's a win for the separation of Church and Stupid

westboro baptist church losersGod wouldn't smite these world class attention whores so a federal jury in Baltimore did the job and awarded nearly $11 million dollars to the family of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, whose funeral was desecrated by their shameful antics.

The weeklong trial pitted the moral and ethical rights of the family to a quiet funeral against the first amendment rights of the misbegotten spawn of Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, whose 71-member congregation is largely made up of his relatives. The suit named the church, Phelps, and his two daughters as defendants. The Phelps family did not apologize for their conduct.

This is, of course, a free speech case. Partly in response to WBC protests, at least 22 states enacted or proposed laws to limit the rights of protesters at funerals. Church members stretch first amendment protection to the breaking point, exercising tactics of calculated brinksmanship while hiding behind the constitution of what they refer to as The United States of Sodom. They've paraded with inflammatory messages on garish signs at reportedly more than 30,000 protests, including hundreds of military funerals. Check out the upside-down flag that appears in the address line of your browser next to their URL. The site spews classic hate.

If an appeals court reverses the judgement on grounds of protected speech these losers will, after checking to be sure the cameras are rolling, offer extravagant thanks to God for justifying their stand. This is no different than the homicide bomber who shouts to Allah as he blows a cafe full of innocents to hamburger; both varieties of idiot look outside reality for validation without fear of contradiction. God's characteristically mum. This was Baltimore's week to take the garbage to the curb.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

No headscarves? Get Back In There and Burn to Death

Faith is fine until it replaces reason; this is what happens when believers substitute religion for reality.

BBC News reports that Saudi Arabia's powerful “mutaween” religious police, the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, prevented fifteen schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress, headscarves and black robes, according to Saudi newspapers. The girls died in the fire.

The girls were locked in the school at the time of the fire, a common practice intended to ensure segregation of the sexes. The watchman refused to open the gates to let the girls out. Firefighters confronted the police and may have prevented even greater tragedy. The mutaween stopped men who tried to help the girls and warned "it is a sinful to approach them". Saudi parents and news media are incensed. Apparently it's OK to segregate them, stifle them, and treat them like second class citizens, but they draw the line at burning them to death.

It's difficult for the rest of the world to take Islam seriously when this kind of foolishness is a matter of official policy. The kingdom uses Islam to keep its rulers in power and its people under control. The mutaween are widely feared as a kind of religious stormtrooper. They roam the streets enforcing dress codes and sex segregation and ensuring prayers are performed on time. Those who refuse to obey their orders are often beaten and sometimes put in jail.

We in the West seldom see a dramatic clash between common sense and religion. Here the mainstream religions have been tamed and have learned to stay safely, irrefutably unreal. Preachers leave their predictions of religious manifestation- miracles, the end of the world- comfortably far in the future. They won't tell you the second coming will happen next Tuesday at 11:30 AM EST because those who've tried that have been disappointed. The rest of them caught on and dummied up quickly, not wanting to blow a cushy gig. Our remaining examples of sheer dogmatic idiocy are the occasional Jonestown or Heaven's Gate tragedy, Scientology, or the Westboro Baptist Church, wolves who have found some of the sheep that are always with us. Islam is state-sanctioned; none of the western sideshows are. This is why we separate church and state.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hillary Turns her Back

Hillary turns tailToday's Guardian interview of Hillary Clinton illuminates her stance on terrorism. This is a flattering interview. Guardian America's editor Michael Tomasky seems to have one foot in Hillary's pocket. Even so, this excerpt is terribly telling. Clinton's tuning her rhetoric to suit her political needs- to distance herself from the stance of the current administration- at the expense of speaking clearly against terror. As the interviewer says, the president and current administration officials have said repeatedly that terrorists hate us for our freedoms. Clinton clearly takes a different view:

"Well, I believe that terrorism is a tool that has been utilised throughout history to achieve certain objectives. Some have been ideological, others territorial... And I think we've got to do a much better job of clarifying what are the motivations, the raisons d'etre of terrorists."

"I think one of our mistakes has been painting with such a broad brush, which has not been particularly helpful in understanding what it is we were up against when it comes to those who pursue terrorism for whichever ends they're seeking."

So it's not, I asked, helpful to America's fight to say they hate us for our freedoms? "Well, some do," Clinton said. "But is that a diagnosis? I don't think it's proven to be an effective one."

Ms. Clinton, that brush is indeed broad. It has had to be, to paint the USS Cole, three airliners, embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the Khobar Towers, the Pentagon, and the World Trade Center, twice. Those terrorists' masterpieces hang in our own national gallery. The brush is wider now, world-wide, well loaded and dripping with the terrorists' favorite shade of crimson, and ready to paint again.

There's adequate proof that Islamofascist terrorists hate and fear our freedoms. We know how they feel about freedom of speech in film, print, and even cartoons. Ask Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or Theo Van Gogh- well, you can't ask him, they killed him, you see- if you have doubts. We know how they feel about freedom of religion- ask apostates who want nothing more than to leave Islam and can only do so under a death threat. Worldwide Islam is more about denying freedoms than ensuring them. Women suffer virtual enslavement under their ideals, according to female authors. It's odd that you, one of the few females in a bully pulpit, are unmoved by this and feel no responsibility to speak out.

Ms. Clinton had nothing to say about a strong response to terror. What does she think might be a more effective diagnosis? She's clear about that.

"One of the lessons that I think we all should take out of the last six-and-a-half years is that ideologically driven foreign policy that is not rooted in a realistic assessment of the world as we find it today is not likely to result in any positive outcome."

The terrorists' policies, foreign and domestic, are driven by ideology. Apologists for terror and even those who merely turn away are helping to make the terrorists' assessment of the world a realistic and rewarding one. The outcome will not be positive.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

No electricity. Not yours.

Jayhawks and Downeasters linked arms in energy solidarity this month, rejecting proposals for two wildly different generating plants; wind turbines five miles offshore from Cape Cod and a coal-fired plant in Holcomb, Kansas.

"It's irresponsible to ignore the contribution of greenhouse gases to climate change and the potential harm to our environment and health," said Rod Bremby, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the organization that rejected Sunflower Electric Power's planned expansion of their existing generating plant.

"It's a watershed moment," said Bruce Niles, head of the Sierra Club's effort to cripple national electrical capacity. "Kansas joins Florida and California and other states to stake out a clean energy future based on renewable resources and rejects coal."

Dorothy Galesky, founder of the Kansas Statewide neo-Luddites and Gaians (SLaGs), attributes the KDHE's reaction to their awareness of a burgeoning environmental consciousness. “We've come to realize that we are the root cause of pollution. Utility companies wouldn't build these plants if consumers didn't expect to have electricity available whenever we plug in. Profiteers have conditioned us to think power should always be available, like tap water. It's time to rethink that paradigm. We're not in Kansas anymore. Just look.”

She waved her hand at the mall parking lot behind her, where, in the gathering darkness, a mob of enthusiastic locals hurled appliances and consumer electronics from the backs of SUVs onto a growing pile. Torches lit the scene with a lurid gleam.

“Electricity is overrated. They're discarding CD players in favor of making their own music- with flutes, guitars- acoustic guitars- , banjos, dulcimers and zithers. Look at all the TV's in that heap! Who needs television when we have community theater? Forget electric leaf blowers. Leaf rakes are selling like hotcakes at the hardware store. And this,” she held up an old Forgecraft chef's knife, “can do anything that food processor can do. I've been using mine for a month and just look at these guns!” she said, flexing her right forearm into a bulbous knot that would make Popeye proud.

Across the country, The Cape Cod Commission denied Cape Wind's application to bury electric cables to connect its proposed 420-megawatt offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound to the state power grid. Cape residents might see some of the proposed 130 wind turbines on a clear day if they squinted or used binoculars. They, and environmental groups concerned about disrupting the patterns of migratory birds, oppose the project.

Maria Kopeck, Cape resident, spoke at a protest in Boston. “Let's not call wind a renewable resource without recognizing its tragic costs. I heard that somebody near a wind farm somewhere in California saw a seagull so confused by a turbine he dropped a rotten taco he was carrying and flew away hungry. That's just sad. We don't want that happening here.” She blotted tears of anticipatory hypothetical remorse from her ruddy cheeks with an organic hemp pocket handkerchief. “We know we've created the runaway power market by using more and more electricity. We've vowed to live in the dark from now on to atone for our profligate energy use.”

Residents of her Cape community do their best. “We go to bed when the sun goes down now, unless we have whale oil lamps, even though that makes for short days in the winter. It's so romantic, and good for the optometrists, too! We've removed streetlights and yard lights, and the increase in crime hasn't been that bad. We find stores at night just fine using our headlights. And don't get me started on traffic signals! We don't miss that monotonous red, green, and amber tyranny! The best thing of all is that we're free of the glare from the Chatham, Nauset and Highland lighthouses. We've been able to discard our windowshades entirely!”

The two activists plan to meet halfway, in Columbus, Ohio, next month to share power-free lifestyle hints and plan future protests against their latest casus belli, the washing of hands. “Contributions to public health aside, PETA has pointed out that some hand soaps are made from animal products,” Mary and Dorothy agreed. “This has been keeping us up at night.”

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Jackson, Sharpton, and now Farrakhan. Sigh.

sharpton, jackson, farrakhan, larry, moe, and curlyThe third peg leg of a classic American comedy tripod, Brother Louis, joins Cousin Jesse and Uncle Al for a new taste of the limelight. Black Separatist Louis Farrakhan spoke in Atlanta Tuesday night. Jesse and Al thump bibles. Louis thumps a Koran. Lou says...

"...the Koran says that those who live easy lives have to be careful, because a life of ease sometimes make you forget struggle.” He's chronically out of touch- his grasp on reality has always been loose- but Islam doesn't sell well in the US. Not even fake Islam.

Farrakhan is as “muslim” as I am Irish; that is, as much as it suits him to be. Muslims reject his Nation of Islam because several of the NOI's teachings conflict with the Koran. One key point is that Islam asserts the existence of one God who has never appeared in physical form; Farrakhan's bunch teaches that God appeared in 1930 in the human form of its founder, W. Fard Muhammad. No, really. W. Fard made a very comfortable living off this scam. So did Elijah Muhammed and so does Louis Farrakhan- excuse me, Louis Eugene Wolcott. Fake religion; fake name. It's a marketing thing.

Though he lives very well, he's inclined to take shots at other prominent blacks who've made a excellent living at honest work instead of as a con artist and who, by the way, don't buy into his fantasies. He's a separatist, so anyone black who's a success in the US under current conditions must be guilty of something.

He pointed out Tuesday that although Oprah Winfrey is one of the richest women in the world, 37 million people live in poverty and a third of them are black. He claimed that although Barack Obama is a presidential front-runner, blacks still lose their right to vote because of voter identification laws. "Diddy might have his own clothing line and a Manhattan address, but blacks are moving into prison at four times the rate of blacks in South Africa during the apartheid era. Tiger Woods' face might be on every billboard, but 340,000 blacks are homeless in America on any given night." It's not like the first half of each of those statements has anything to do with the second half, you're just supposed to be deeply moved by their juxtaposition. Feel moved? No, neither did I. Oprah, Obama, Diddy, and Tiger each made something of themselves, didn't they. I don't think anyone handed them anything, I think they earned it. Clarence Thomas did. Thomas Sowell did. Clarence Page did.

Louis needs enemies and goes out of his way to manufacture them. In his words (hit this link for truly amazing quotations and sources), whites are blue-eyed devils, the anti-Christ; Jews are leeches; theocracy is preferable to democracy; and "A decree of death has been passed on America. The judgment of God has been rendered and she must be destroyed..."

No more inclined to miss a desperate swipe at relevance than Jesse or Al, Louis said the anemic rally in Jena last month was a wake-up call. "We should let the world know that we're tired," he said. I'm tired too. Tired of your dated hate speech.

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Five Cops, one dog, citizen with vid cam- Taser Time!

cam cop not yoursThe more Tasers there are, the more unjustified tasings there will be. Have we built enough momentum to keep the Taser News pace at one per day? Portland cops have done their best to keep the streak going. From The Oregonian Monday:

Frank Waterhouse is suing for unlawful seizure with excessive force, alleging that police fired a Taser and bean bag rounds at him on May 27, 2006 because he was videotaping their search of a friend's property. Police followed their dog onto the property during a search for a fleeing suspect. The dog keyed on a car and officers broke out a window. Frank videotaped the search.

Police yelled at him to "put it (the camera) down." Officers report that (he) ran off, they chased and then bean-bagged and Tasered him. One officer wrote, "He... refused to drop the camera which could be used as a weapon." Waterhouse was arrested and accused of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. A jury acquitted him of all charges.

So, police run onto private property, smash the window of a car, discover they're being filmed, chase the cameraman down, and force him to stop filming. One unarmed guy, four or five thug cops and a dog. Nice odds! The camera wasn't being used as a weapon, but it could have been. You know, like a loaf of bread could have been. The cops responded to this huge threat with a beanbag gun and a Taser. If they have them, they'll use them.

The jury didn't agree that this guy had an NFL- class passing game and could nail a cop with a camera while running away, so the “weapon” claim is nonsense. It's just cops protecting their technological turf. One example is radar speed measurement (and jamming), another is videotape, and the cops' argument comes down to this.

We can use radar to measure your speed, but you can't try to fool our radar. We can film you, but you can't film us. We can use technology against you, but you can't use it to protect yourself.

Their reaction is predictable. Cops have enough trouble with their own dash cams catching them in acts of brutality. They like it even less when citizens hold the camera.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

TwoFer Taser Newsday- Zap the baby! Zap the foreign traveler!

taser the babyI've posted before about Taser abuse- see the post about Heidi Gill in Warren, Ohio. Cops are the usual shooters; now bounty hunters and the RCMP want in on the headlines.

In Oklahoma City last Friday night a bounty hunter fired a Taser into a vehicle, missing his intended target and striking an infant. Only one of the darts pierced the baby's skin, so the gun delivered no electric shock. Emergency responders were called to remove the dart from the baby's flesh.

Police think this is all just fine, because the bounty hunter thought it was necessary, and claim the woman used the child as a shield. Maybe so, the only witnesses were the bounty hunter himself and his quarry. Who do you suppose the law will believe? Bounty Hunters are widely known for their excellent judgment and immunity to adrenaline rush. Ask Domino Harvey. Ask Duane “Dog” Chapman. Pillars of the community. Paragons of restraint and reason. Valued Taser Customers!

I wonder whether the Taser's manufacturer is disappointed that the second dart didn't find its target. They insist the guns are not lethal. I don't suppose they have any data on the way an infant's nervous system reacts to a fifty thousand volt shock. Yet.

Bounty Hunters may be suspect but certainly Mounties are good guys. In Richmond, British Columbia, a 40 year old man died after being tased by the RCMP shortly after arrival on an international flight at 1:30 AM Sunday morning. He was pounding on windows and throwing chairs and computer equipment for unknown reasons. He was not speaking English; a flight from Poland had landed about an hour before the incident. The RCMP was unable to calm him using gestures, so tased him and handcuffed him. He appeared to go into cardiac arrest and was soon pronounced dead. Would he be alive now if he'd been able to speak English?

Airport security is fine with this. International arrivals were rerouted but there were no delays in flight schedules. Thank goodness, Eh? More Taser fun to come, count on it.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Rabid Dogma, Christian and Muslim

Muslim Dogma billboardThis billboard has appeared in Madison, Wisconsin. It's a timely warning, and quite ecumenical. It doesn't say Christian dogma. It's tuned, or rather YOU are- you resonate in tune with your beliefs when plucked by a sign like this. It's a nice contrast to billboards for the opposing point of view, brought to us by the nation's largest group of atheists and agnostics, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who are unfortunately silent about current NON- Christian religious transgressions.

Since 1988 we've seen Christian-themed billboards along the road (We need to talk. Don't make Me come down there. You think it's hot here? One nation under Me.) “signed” by God. The billboards' sponsors believe strongly enough that they're speaking for god to sign his name without power of attorney.

The anonymous donor who paid for the original three-month run did, anyway. Then the Outdoor Advertising Association of America used the sayings in a national public service campaign. Catchy one-liners appeared on ten thousand billboards. The OAAA valued donated space at $15 million, and no doubt took tax deductions for this... “gift to the community. It is a positive way to get people thinking about spirituality and increase the numbers of those who are going to church. It makes you believe in divine intervention.”

The cynical are more inclined to believe in the intervention of marketing execs and accountants chasing write-offs. Let's give them a pass on their estimates of effectiveness. We don't know whether more people attended church as a result. We don't even know if those who began thinking spiritually outnumbered those who were merely annoyed.

Let's say simply that the FFRF is more correct than the OAAA, or at least not as driven by advertising revenues. Dogma IS bad for you, simply because it's a seductive substitute for reason. Bertrand Russel said:

...the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so-called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion.

...every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

Bertrand Russell lived and died in an overwhelmingly Christian world and never knew the barbarian chaos that is Islamic dogma. We have a new and unfortunate familiarity with the youngest of the three middle-eastern monotheistic religions. This is partly because its dogmatic insistence on jihad found believers with the cash to follow through, and partly because articulate critics of that religion who have experienced its dogma as believers have survived to tell the tale. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has this to say in a recent interview with Reason magazine:

Reason: But do you feel at all uncomfortable with that heavy emphasis on religion in American public life?

Hirsi Ali: Yes. And the good thing is—and that’s what I’ve tried to tell all my European friends—I’m allowed to say so.

I think that it’s a great mistake for this country to reject a very good atheist. I mean, when you have two candidates, and one is an atheist and the other is a religious person and the atheist would make the better public official, it’s a great loss not to elect him. Anyway, atheists here can forward their agenda and fight back safely without risking violence.

I accept that there are multitudes seeking God, seeking meaning, and so on... where I come from, in Islam, the only concept of God is you submit to Him and you obey His commands, no quarreling allowed. Quarreling or even asking questions means you raise yourself to the same level as Him, and in Islam that’s the worst sin you can commit.

The FFRF needs to re-tune their instrument to more than one pitch. I couldn't find a reference to any religion but Christianity on their website. I believe that sponsoring any religion, not just the one to which FRFF reacts, threatens our secular freedoms. I agree that monuments to the ten commandments in a county courthouse, Christian ministries in public schools, and subsidies for religious schools all deserve challenge. Why not challenge similar trespasses on the part of Islam?

The adhan, five-times-daily calls to prayer, are broadcast over loudspeakers from mosques in the United States, formerly if not currently in Dearborn, MI, Hamtramck, MI, and Michigan City, IN. This isn't the same as ringing church bells. It praises one god as the only god - I bear witness there is no deity but Allah - and can only do so with the approval of local city councils. Does their sanction of this declaration of faith violate the separation of church and state? Does FFRF know, or care? Do they consider the encroachment of Islam into American public life a threat? Hirsi Ali does:

In a tribal mind-set, if I’m allowed to take something and get away with it, I’ll come back and take some more. In fact, I’ll come and take the whole place, especially since it’s my holy obligation to spread Islam to the outskirts of the earth and I know I’ll be rewarded in heaven.

That's some pit-bull-class dogma. Beware of the Dogma, indeed, especially if he bites, has bitten, and states his intention to bite again.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

There's another Book Lover reading this Blog!

Quebec 1830 GuilletTo my surprise, a websurfer from Montreal, Quebec found my blog by searching Google for the term Great Migration, Guillet- one of the books I list on my bookshelf. Great to see!

I have a copy in apologetic condition of The Great Migration – The Atlantic crossing by Sailing-ship Since 1770 by Edwin C. Guillet, published by Thomas Nelson and Sons in 1937. Here's the first paragraph of the preface:

“History records three great migrations: the Barbarians who swept over Europe and captured Rome; the Mongols under Genghis Khan; and the Atlantic Migration to the new world. Anglo-Saxon colonization made its most spectacular growth between 1770 and 1890, when eleven million people came from the British Isles to North America, and this book tells the story of the transition.”

The period covers the immigration of my own ancestors, some to Canada, from Gloucester, Glasgow, and Bedfordshire. The book is illustrated with contemporary prints like the one included here.

It's a wonderful read. I found mine at a library discard sale in Ohio over twenty years ago. Copies can still be found in used bookstores, and online. Abe Books lists 16 copies today, from the 1963 second edition at $14.77, to a very good condition copy of the 1937 edition at $80.00, to a copy of a 1962 edition signed by the author, inscribed by his grandchildren, and including two new diaries- a steal and a great gift at $300.00. I've bought online from Abe Books several times and have always been very pleased with my purchases.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Radical Islam and the West: No Common Ground

Islam and the West no common groundThere's news today that 138 prominent Muslim scholars have written an open letter of invitation to Christian leaders “to unite with Muslims over the most essential aspects of their respective faiths - the principles of love of one God and love of the neighbour.”

The letter from the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, a non-governmental organization based in Jordan, says in part, "It is hoped that the recognition of common ground will provide the followers of both faiths with a shared understanding that will serve to defuse tensions around the world."

Well, that will be difficult. We believe that you are lying through your teeth. We haven't come to this belief by listening to the propaganda of warmongers. We know you by your works, and we are appalled.

We have read the Koran verses that adjure Muslims to seek world domination by the sword. We have read your hadith.

We have heard your Imams call your faithful to jihad and violence. We have heard your fatwas.

We have seen your faithful worldwide take strength from your writings and proclamations and stone women to death, destroy religious shrines, murder skyscrapers and airplanes full of innocents, publicly behead helpless captives, murder filmmakers, issue death threats against apostates and intellectuals, and blow children to bloody tatters in the street. We've watched them dance in glee and celebrate these atrocities.

We also know many Muslims who don't approve of radical Islam. Some of them have been our countrymen and good neighbors for years. The problem is that they have been too quiet for too long. Here's what your grand muftis must do if you want your letter to be taken seriously:

Repudiate all teachings in the Koran and hadith- anywhere- that justify violence and barbarity. The era of conquest by the sword is over.

Renounce coercion in faith. Let seekers choose to come and go as they please. Your faith must survive in a global marketplace of ideas, or die a natural death. Your religion will be stronger for it.

Rebuke your most violent members. Call for an immediate end to all violence. Punish those who persist. Declare invalid all historical grievances.

Rein in your most disruptive imams. We know that Islam isn't uniform. We know that some mosques preach a far more radical brand of Islam than others. Strive for an orthodoxy that will wither noxious weeds before they take root.

Reform your religion. Christianity did. The world is a better place for it. Listen to your own faithful who seek reform, instead of killing them. Reformers are often the most devout, the most faithful of all.

Separate your religion and your politics. Conjoined temporal and spiritual power has never worked well. It's failing for you, and miserably.

Resign yourself to coexistence and the fact that Islam will never homogenize the world. You're welcome to your faith. We don't want it.

Until these things happen, we're simply heading in opposite directions. There is no common ground wide enough to stand upon. The best the West can do is return your letter, postage due.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Empire State Building Plans Massive Ramadan Insult

Empire State RamadanBreitbart reports that in deliberate insult to the memory of those slaughtered in the 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center by teams of Muslim hijackers, the proprietors of the Empire State Building will light that icon in green from this Friday until Sunday to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan. The light show may be timed to begin, like the holiday, when the new moon is sighted.

This is more than just a building. It's sacred- a monument to capitalism and the American spirit. Celebrating this holiday like this is blasphemy. Do you think they'd light up the Kaaba for us a mere six years after - if our beliefs ran as strongly to barbarism as theirs, thank God they don't - we flattened the Al-Aqsa mosque?

This act of dhimmitude will offset nicely the twin columns of light seen in so many touching photos after three thousand unarmed civilian New Yorkers died in the cowardly attack. The Empire State Building has its own website, of course, and an easy way to contact the owners by email.

One presumes that high-profile New Yorkers Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Mayor Bloomberg, former mayor and presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, and the entire NYPD and NYFD are in support of this outrage. If they're not, maybe they'll have something to say. Does anyone care to bet on that? Here is the link to send email to the Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

GM and OnStar- Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Spying

OnStar in the spy businessThe AP reports that GM will equip nearly two million of their 2009 OnStar equipped vehicles to be remotely disabled on the request of law enforcement. They claim that this will not be done without the owner's permission, for example, in the case of vehicle theft. Will OnStar resist a police request or a court order? I suppose we're all confident that the police would never abuse this capability- you know, the guys with the tasers, Heidi Gill's best friends. Guess again, sheeple, the law has already abused the system, and OnStar helped. Visit for details.

An OnStar system can listen to you without your permission or knowledge. The FBI has already used one to eavesdrop on vehicle occupants in a simple criminal case- not a national security case, nothing needed to thwart terrorism, just a criminal case. OnStar helped, and then filed a protest lawsuit. It took nearly two years to work its way through the courts and didn't stop the spying. The 9th Circuit eventually ruled in favor of OnStar, but only because the passive listening feature disables the emergency signal. The Court didn't care that the FBI was spying, and as soon as the passive listening feature can be used without disabling the emergency features, it's open season on OnStar customers. Note that this ruling applies only within the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Outside of Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, the ruling doesn't protect you- but all you Cadillac drivers in the Northern Mariana Islands can continue your seditious conversations.

Now you have a reason to shun Cadillacs besides their inflated price and gas-sucking habits. If you're happy with being spied on by your own government and paying for the privilege, go buy a GM vehicle equipped with OnStar.

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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Obama completely off the rails

barack loses itApparently impressed with just how well theocracy works in the cesspool of the middle east, Barack Hussein Obama's looking for an alignment with his own personal Jebus. Speaking outside an evangelical church in Greenville, South Carolina, where he attended services this weekend, he said:

I just want all of you to pray that I can be an instrument of God... I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth."

Wonderful. The democrats have crypto-socialist Hillary on one hand and this religious nutbar on the other. We had too many years of the Moral Majority, a belly full of Jerry Falwells, the Oral Roberts scandal is gathering like thunderclouds on the horizon, and now, whether you are serious or simply vote-whoring in one of the early-voting states, you've joined that parade.

We are a secular nation. That is our strength. If you don't understand that you don't belong in our government. We are Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Mormon, Pagan, Agnostic, Atheist, and too many others to name, and we don't want your religious kingdom.

Consider this verse from Kipling's MacDonough's Song:

Whether The People be led by the Lord, or lured by the loudest throat:

If it be quicker to die by the sword, or cheaper to die by vote

These are the things we have dealt with once, (and they will not rise from their grave)

For Holy People, however it runs, endeth in wholly Slave.

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Like tasers? Wait until cops have microwave weapons.

Casual use of tasers by domestic police forces may be a sign of worse to come. When nonlethal military weapons become commonplace- think of tear gas- they are adapted for domestic use against civilian targets. Law enforcement shows a trend toward weapons designed for indiscriminate use by relatively untrained personnel. Recent taser abuse reminded me of something I read long ago. Once I recalled a phrase- "Victor Pirolo and his leetle lights”- I was able to track it down.

It's from a story by Rudyard Kipling. Unfortunately he's known to most only as the author of The Jungle Book upon which the Disney movie of the same name is based. He was a prolific writer. In 1905 he wrote With the Night Mail and followed it in 1912 with As Easy as A.B.C., tales as prophetic and imaginative as any modern science fiction.

The latter story describes the suppression of an insurrection in Illinois in the year 2065. World government forces use nonlethal weapons of light and sound to crush the resurgence of democracy in an apathetic society. The weapons resemble enormous airborne versions of the directed sound, light, and microwave weapons in use today.

The LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) projects sound at volumes loud enough to cause excruciating pain. It was deployed for use against American citizens corralled in the Superdome after hurricane Katrina in 2005 and used by New York City police during protests at the 2004 Republican National Convention. The Israeli army has used a similar weapon nicknamed Tze'aka (The Scream) that uses directed sound at frequencies and intensities that disrupt the inner ear, creating dizziness and nausea.

The ADS (Active Denial System) uses directed microwaves to heat the top layer of skin, causing intolerable pain in under 5 seconds. As of this summer, the Pentagon was delaying deployment of this weapon in Iraq, apparently fearing public opinion. Development hasn't stopped. Tests are underway on a system for use from an airborne platform like the C-130. Raytheon has developed a civilian version of ADS and is marketing it as the “Silent Guardian” to law enforcement agencies and security providers.

I predict we'll see directed energy weapons abused by domestic law enforcement like tasers are today within 5 years. I don't have a crystal ball. Kipling didn't have one either. He lived when men were first awakening to the possible uses and abuses of technology and was an unflinching witness of the depredations of empire.

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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Muslim prisoner sues Missouri jail over Ramadan PBJ

chuck colson muslim jailhouse scamA Muslim prisoner is suing a Missouri jail, claiming administrators fed him food products containing pork. It sounds like he's mistaken- he thought jelly was thickened with an animal product, gelatin, instead of pectin, a vegetable product.

I'll bet he isn't getting a lot of sympathy from the local mosque. Odell M. Edwards is probably as Muslim as Charles Colson is Christian. His non-middle-eastern name makes me suspect a jailhouse conversion. I wonder if this is the same person caught bringing forty gallons of PCP and twelve keys of coke into Missouri in 2006.

Despite the lawsuit, it seems that the jail tries to accomodate Muslims. The linked article says that for years, the jail has catered to those who wish to participate in the Ramadan fast. Administrators consult with a Muslim spiritual advisor, offer approved foods, and arrange for jail personnel to prepare after-hours meals. The special meals — requested by 10 inmates this year — are usually the jail's only deviation in food service due to religion, but the jail compromises with inmates on other religious matters. For instance, Muslims are provided towels to use as prayer mats.

"We try to use the least- restrictive means," the jail director said, noting that some requests can't be granted. "It all goes back to the safety and security of the facility."

The Sheriff says inmates would have a great deal more choice if they didn't run afoul of the law. He's less diplomatic than the director. "If they want to eat what they want to eat, they should stay out of jail."

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Musicians fishing in Jena come home hungry

Mos Def DummyTo put the incident in Jena in the same league as those who were murdered in the 1960s cheapens their sacrifice and insults their memory.... Jena Mayor Murphy R. McMillin
Itinerant preachers Jesse and Al aren't the only ones trying to cash in on events in Jena. Musicians want some love, too. Hit-hungry John Mellencamp released a song and video about Jena so deliriously devoid of facts that the mayor calls it “...inflammatory, so defamatory, that a line has been crossed and enough is enough." The video attempts- unsuccessfully- with old news footage to somehow put today's issues on a par with the civil rights movement of the 1960's.

You Tube carries CNN video of mumbling, inarticulate rapper Mos Def rambling on live in Jena. This guy later called for an enormously ignored October 1 nationwide walkout in public schools in support of the thugs who stomped a fellow student unconscious. Speaking of the prosecutor, Mos Def said:

If someone in a position of public trust like that cannot see that the responsible thing for them to do, is the fair thing to do and the right thing to do as opposed to the legal thing to do, then that person doesn't need to hold that position. These are positions of public trust, they're not positions where people can use them as their own personal platform to push their own ideas and sentiments... it has to be dealt with in the right and humane way, not just in terms of what is legally acceptable...

Presumably he'd prefer that the prosecutor push a personal platform which involves rewriting the law on the fly to suit the ideas and sentiments hip-hop musicians want to impose on the community.

Meanwhile Jena plugs along just fine on its own, working quietly toward a solution. The Town Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to create an interracial committee to study racial relations and suggest solutions to any problems. Read the Whole Post (opens in a new tab or window)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Ayaan Hirsi Ali should move to Oak Lawn, Illinois

freedom fighter Ayaan Hirsi AliSpiegel Online comments on the return of Dutch citizen and former MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali to the Netherlands after a prolonged stay in the US. While here, the Dutch government provided extraordinary protection because as a foreign national she's not entitled to that from our own government. This arrangement expired October first. She returned home because, in the words of Der Spiegel, without protection she doesn't have a day left to live. The author asks a spokesman in favor of canceling her Dutch protection:

How many days will he give Ayaan? Another week to live? A month? And then it would be time for the butchers of fundamentalist Islam to move in?

Ayaan is one of six people granted protection by the Dutch government. She has reason to be fearful; she grew up female in an Islamic environment. After her escape to the west she began receiving threats when, as a Dutch citizen and member of the parliament, she spoke out critically against political Islam. Muslims posted her home address on the Internet accompanied by calls for her death. Her friend, filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, was murdered by a Muslim after they co-produced the ten minute film Submission to liberate the minds of Muslim men and women conditioned to obedience.

Islam responds with cowardice because it fears freedom of thought and speech. It fears comparison of its values to those of the west. It fears most of all the loss of power that must result when people can choose to throw off its chains because it knows they are and they will, and in droves. Islamic leaders desire most of all submission, not to the will of Allah, but to their morally bankrupt seventh century political ideal.

In Oak Lawn, Illinois, Christian and Muslim parents are learning to cooperate about things as basic as holiday celebrations in their children's elementary schools- See the post below. In an open society where radical Islamists have free movement, a noted author, parliamentarian, and fighter for freedom of faith, speech, and thought must fear for her life. Radical Islam fears the freedoms of Oak Lawn. Read the Whole Post (opens in a new tab or window)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Multi-Culti Grinch rampage in Chicagoland

multi culti holiday manipulationCBS reports that a southwest suburban Chicago school district will discard traditional holidays in response to the wishes of a single Muslim parent. Ridgeland School District 122 will celebrate fall festival instead of Halloween and winter festival instead of Christmas. The decision affects four elementary schools in Oak Lawn and one junior high school in Bridgeview.

The district population is 30 percent Arab-American. Some of them practice Islam. Superintendent Tom Smyth says the change in tradition comes after one parent wanted Ramadan decorations put up inside Columbus Manor Elementary. They were taken down.

The article quotes parents without clarifying which are Muslim and which are not, but let's guess, based on last names.

One Muslim parent said, "To take away Halloween and Christmas from little kids is very wrong." Another said, "That does not represent all Muslims, all Arabs at that school. We celebrate the holidays and traditions here, but we do have the right to be Muslims as well." Muslim children are allowed to pray at lunch time during Ramadan. Seems fair to me.

Many non-Muslim parents are upset. One said, "It's not fair to our kids. This is America and that's an American tradition." Another said, "They get to pray in our schools. That is religion in a public school." In my opinion, any prayer at lunchtime is OK unless it involves animal sacrifice. That might confuse cafeteria workers.

The Superintendent's response? "I go back to our policy which says that public schools are to remain neutral in this respect." This isn't neutral. This promotes one viewpoint at the expense of another, long established. Let traditional holidays remain.

The odd thing is that this seems to be a step backward for Ridgeland. The calendar on the district's own website lists the following holidays: Yom Kippur, Eid al-Fitr, Halloween, Veterans' Day, Hanukkah, Eid al-Adha, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Muharram, Martin Luther King Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Valentine's Day, Casimir Pulaski Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, and Memorial Day. That looks pretty inclusive to me, especially if a little time is spent in class explaining each one. Shame on them for forgetting paczki day.

The district's families have a better grip on the reality of life in multicultural neighborhoods than the superintendent does. Judging from the cash-strapped condition of the district after a failed referendum last April, he should worry less about which holidays to promote and more about winning the confidence of the taxpayers on whom his job depends. Oh, and thanks to Chuck Jones and Warner Brothers for the Grinch- another enduring American tradition.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Jena- fodder for child abuse

lynching granddaughter“The history of almost 400 years of racist violence... is alive today in Jena, Louisiana”. Well, at least it is down the road a bit in Grambling.

While townspeople in Jena sort things out together, teachers at an elementary school at Grambling State University indoctrinate kindergarteners in hate. Children provided with chains and shackles were led in a march around the schoolground and a little girl was hoisted into the air so that a noose fastened to a tree could be strung around her neck- by her grandmother. Photos and an article about the event were published on the university's website, The Gramblinite, claiming it was staged to teach the children about racism and events surrounding arrests in Jena. You have to wonder how honest the lesson was. University President Horace Judson immediately ordered the photos removed from the site and is starting a full investigation. Read the press release here.

I guess he can be proud that his teachers are on the cutting edge of liberal doctrine. The Teacher Activist Group has published a resource guide, Revealing Racist Roots: the 3 R’s for Addressing the Jena 6 in the Classroom, to help pump this sludge into more little brains. The group, which includes the intellectual beacons New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE), Chicago based Teachers for Social Justice (TSJ), and the San Francisco based Teachers 4 Social Justice (T4SJ) desperately wants events in Jena to be seen as equivalent to Jim Crow law and “crystalliz(ation of) the pervasive racist police violence, everyday discrimination, and criminalization faced by African American and other youth of color – on the streets and in their schools.”

What better way to prepare youth for a bright future than to portray them as perpetual victims? What better way to prepare a gullible electorate? Kindergarteners can't understand the struggles this country still has, sadly, with racism, but they won't forget the day their playmate was strung up. You can be confident that they'll never see this anywhere but in a history book again- until grandma or the teacher's union needs another photo op.

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