Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Do They Know It's Christmas?

Don Babwin over at the Associated Press reports from Chicago:

A public Christmas festival is no place for the Christmas story, the city says. Officials have asked organizers of a downtown Christmas festival, the German Christkindlmarket, to reconsider using a movie studio as a sponsor because it is worried ads for its film "The Nativity Story" might offend non-Christians.

"The last time I checked, the first six letters of Christmas still spell out Christ," said Paul Braoudakis, spokesman for the Barrington, Ill.-based Willow Creek Association, a group of more than 11,000 churches of various denominations.
"It's tantamount to celebrating Lincoln's birthday without talking about Abraham Lincoln."

The city does not want to appear to endorse one religion over another, said Cindy Gatziolis, a spokeswoman for the Mayor's Office of Special Events.

"Our guidance was that this very prominently placed advertisement would ... be insensitive to the many people of different faiths who come to enjoy the market for its food and unique gifts," Jim Law, executive director of the office, said in a statement.

It seems to me that there is something about Christmas which brings out the absolute worst in "politically correct" officials around the country. Can you imagine any mayor or government representative suggesting we purposely block mention of Islam and the meaning of fasting during the month of Ramadan?

Or how about a city official demanding that we prohibit discussing that Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the Jewish New Year?

How about prohibiting all mention of Mexico and the heritage of Hispanic American's during Cinco de Mayo. After all, if we even mention the story Mexican Independence, it might somehow offend anglos who are just there to "enjoy the market for its food and unique gifts."

The city of Chicago has certainly offended me.



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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Darwin the Terrorist

Talk about intelligent design! The plot of this story isn't just intelligent, it's simply brilliant. It's clean, logical and easily understood.

The authors have created a villain so evil, so cunning, so underhanded that everyone understands the need for his defeat. Good must triumph over evil!

And the heroes are common, ordinary, good folks. They are your friends and they are your neighbors. And they are fighting to save all mankind. Plus, God is on their side. They cannot, they must not, lose.

Save the cheerleader. Save the world.

Well, maybe not. In this story, the villain is not the creation of Hollywood, but the creation of the military leaders in ISTANBUL! Yep, Istanbul, Turkey.

The villain? None other than Charles Darwin!

When the right wing military coup took place in Turkey in 1980, the new leadership needed to redirect the left leaning population's attention away from the lure of communism. They needed an enemy for the average citizen to blame for their woes. And they found one right in the bookstores. He looked a lot like Karl Marx. He could almost be Marx's twin.

On the bookstore shelves was
Darwin's Origin of Species.

On the surface it was tough for the military junta to blame Marx for anything. Ahhh, but Darwin. That was another matter. Darwin's teaching were a direct affront to the teachings of the Qur'an (Koran).

The early verses of the Qur'an are nearly identical to the Bible. Allah created the world in just six days. God created Adam from the dust of the earth. The teachings of the Qur'an must not be denied or insulted. And Darwin looked like Marx. It was a plot made in Heaven. Literally.

"It looked like Marx and Darwin were together, two long-bearded guys spreading ideas that make people lose their faith," said Istanbul journalist Mustafa Akyol.

But like a lot of well laid plans, this plot took on a life of it's own.

All the military leaders did was to insert a paragraph on creationism as an alternative to evolution was added to high school science textbooks. Oh, and they had a conservative Christian book "Scientific Creationism" translated into Turkish.

But you cannot unring a bell. The plot worked too well. The Muslims were quick to condemn Darwin. And fundamentalist Christians, seeing a new ally in their war on Evolution, quickly streamed to Turkey to assist in the fight against their old (well, long dead) enemy.

By the early 1990s, leading U.S. creationists traveled to Turkey to speak at several anti-evolution conferences in Turkey.

But things were bound to get ugly. And they have. A home-grown strain of anti-Darwinist books has developed with a clearly political message.

"Atlas of Creation" offers over 500 pages of splendid images comparing fossils with present-day animals to argue that Allah created all life as it is and evolution never took place.

Then comes a book-length essay arguing that Darwinism, by stressing the "survival of the fittest," has inspired racism, Nazism, communism and terrorism.

"The root of the terrorism that plagues our planet is not any of the divine religions, but atheism, and the expression of atheism in our times (is) Darwinism and materialism," it says.

Today we have Islamic creationism, a movement with deep financial pockets with its roots in the Muslim population of Turkey.

Creationism is so widely accepted in Turkey that, in a recent 34 country survey concerning the acceptance of Darwin's Theory of Evolution, Turkey placed dead last! Of course, the United States was next to last.

"Darwinism is dead," said Kerim Balci of the Fethullah Gulen network, a moderate Islamic movement.

Sadly, Celal Sengor, a geology professor at Istanbul Technical University has said it all. "Science is hardly an issue in Turkey."

Creation Versus Darwin

AN ASIDE FROM THE WIZARD: Isn't it curious that the hit NBC television series HEROES, referred to above by their now very famous advertising tag line "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World," has, as its plot line, the next steps in man's EVOLUTION. My guess is that this series won't make it on Turkey's television stations.



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Islam, Conservatives, Liberals and Progressives

Appearing right above this essay later today (if time permits) or tomorrow will be a rather classic liberal look at one aspect of Islam, both Islamic religious teachings and the effect those teachings have on certain aspects of middle eastern societies.

That soon to be written essay will be critical and will apply the same perspectives I have already applied to nearly identical Christian teachings frequently here in this blog over the last ten years.

Of course, if you are reading these words on Monday, you've already read the essay, since it appears directly above this one. So reading down here is a lot like time travel. You've traveled back in time, before the above essay was ever written. But I digress.

As a long time, traditional liberal who fought for human rights in Afghanistan long before anyone outside of Texas heard or cared about George W. Bush, I find the silence of the left on issues of Islamic teachings and practices very disturbing.

The Huffington Post rails mightily every day about women's rights, racism, the rights of hispanic immigrants, gay marriage, the rights of homosexuals, bisexuals and transexuals, daily outbreaks of Christian hypocrisy, prayer in school, global warming and evolution versus creationism. But you'll virtually never find a single blog about the failings of Islam or the Islamic world on these very same topics.

To be certain it's easier and more fun to attack Kansas than Teheran, However, the left wing hypocrisy is glaring and, to my mind, maddening.

Years ago I fought against the evils of the Taliban along side these same Hollywood liberals as we pleaded for the UN to intercede on behalf of women in Afghanistan. Now the silence from the left is deafening.

Meanwhile the right is on a unified campaign to point out nearly every Islamic evil. If a day goes by without a good enough (errr.... bad enough) example, the right dreams one up or relives some past evils.

Right wing bloggers like
Michelle Malkin and Little Green Footballs are on a crusade against Islam.... and, absolutely, the pun was intended.

What's really interesting is that the right is generally using the exact same arguments traditionally used by the old school left: women's rights, racism, the rights of homosexuals, bisexuals and transexuals, daily outbreaks of Islamic hypocrisy, prayer in school, global warming and evolution versus creationism.

Read Michelle Malkin today and you could be reading Susan Sarandon ten years ago. Now that is a disturbing thought.

Why is this happening? I have three observations.

First, the left today has two rather diverse movements, liberals on one hand and so-called progressives on the other. Progressives are not liberals. In fact many hold very traditional conservative goals. They tend to be isolationist, against free trade, and against open borders. This crowd includes many who fight against big corporations, fear international institutions and want a stronger, bigger U.S. government with socialist overtones.

Talk about a big tent. This crowd includes everyone from
Keith Olbermann to Pat Buchanan to Alex Jones.

Progressives unite in one critical area: they hate George Bush and they hate the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They want the troops home now and they want Bush humiliated and controlled, if not impeached and imprisoned. Nothing can be accomplished until Bush is removed from effective power. No time to criticize Islam until the greatest evil in history is removed from the world stage.

Once Bush is gone (and their campaign can only last two more years, at most), this coalition can turn to other issues. A few might become objectively critical of Islam. Others will not. Many will continue to strictly confine their observations to things within the sphere of US influence. They will never be critical of anything but the United States, it's policies and practices.

Second, we liberals do often suffer from terminal, if highly selective, political correctness. We are rightfully sensitive to the feelings of millions of Muslims worldwide, and especially those living in the West. We want to draw a line between valid criticism and an attack on an entire religion.

With the right labeling Islam the "religion of perpetual intolerance," or "the religion of perpetual outrage," we liberals are careful to actually protect the religion and people being so unfairly attacked. We delay or curb our criticism of Islam for fear of being accused of "piling on."

Worse yet, if we attack any aspect of Muslim life, we might get lumped into a basket with Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity.

We can safely attack the foilbles of Christianity because Hannity, Coulter and Limbaugh will defend the Christians. We are prevented from similar criticism of Islam because it puts us on the wrong side of the "liberal versus conservative" dichotomy.

I know that is stupid, but you know I'm right.

Finally (third), I'm embarrassed to tell you the left is withholding criticism of Islam out of fear. How many liberal free speech advocates openly defended the Danish cartoonists? How many reprinted the cartoons? Damn few. Once again, liberals had to look toward leaders like Michelle Malkin to carry the water for them. Sarcasm fully intended.

Around the world written criticism or even minor insults to Islam lead directly to beatings, torture, imprisonment and death. And it is scary. Here is a
short capsule of recent brutality (courtesy once again of the great liberal leader, Michelle Malkin).

Conservatives are fearless and stupid. Just ask George "Bring it on" Bush. Malkin, Coulter and others are actually baiting Muslims. "Go ahead, make my day!"

Liberals need a little more courage. And so I begin the essay that will appear above this one later today or tomorrow.



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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Free Speech? Only if it's not controversial

******* UPDATE BELOW *******

Adam Brodsky writes in the New York Post:


November 19, 2006 --
MUSLIMS are often accused of not speaking out sufficiently against terrorism. Nonie Darwish knows one reason why: Their fellow Muslims won't let them.

Darwish, who comes from Egypt and was born and raised a Muslim, was set to tell students at Brown University about the twisted hatred and radicalism she grew to despise in her own culture. A campus Jewish group, Hillel, had contacted her to speak there Thursday.

But the event was just called off.

Muslim students had complained that Darwish was "too controversial." They insisted she be denied a platform at Brown, and after contentious debate Hillel agreed.

Weird: No one had said boo about such Brown events as a patently anti-Israel "Palestinian Solidarity Week." But Hillel said her "offensive" statements about Islam "alarmed" the Muslim Student Association, and Hillel didn't want to upset its "beautiful relationship" with the Muslim community.

Plus, Brown's women's center backed out of co-sponsoring the event, even though it shares Darwish's concerns about the treatment of women. Reportedly, part of the problem was that Darwish had no plans to condemn Israel for shooting Arab women used by terrorists as human shields, or for insufficiently protecting Israeli Arab wives from their husbands.

In plugging their ears to Darwish, Brown's Muslim students proved her very point: Muslims who attempt constructive self-criticism are quickly and soundly squelched - by other Muslims.

"Speaking out for human rights, women's rights, equality or even peace with Israel is a taboo that can have serious consequences" in the Arab world, Darwish says.

Isn't it a wonderful thing that our finest centers of liberal education no longer allow controversy! It's so annoying. And it almost always interferes with indoctrination.

UPDATE (11/22/2006): Talk Show Host Michael Graham has announced that Brown University itself has re-invited Nonie Darwish to speak on campus. I don't have a date or time as yet.

Graham believes this is a victory for talk shows and the blogosphere. I hardly think so. First of all, Graham himself tried unsuccessfully to get former Iraninan leader Mohammed Khatemi banned from speaking at Harvard. He is no friend of free speech, but simply hides his personal bias and prejudices behind his radio host "aura" of free speech.

No, I believe it is simply Brown University doing it's job and realizing a great wrong had been done here. When it comes to protecting free speech, I trust Brown Universtiy a whole lot more than I trust Michael Graham.

See also:

  • There Can Be No Compromise. Period.
  • It's 1, 2, 3, What Are We Fighting For?



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    Sunday, November 19, 2006

    Can One Small Voice Change the World?

    One Small Voice
    as performed by Myra, Camille Winbush and Taylor Momsen
    From the CD, NO WAY! It's Like So CHRISTMAS

    Music and Lyrics by J. Brooks and A. Kasha
    St. Nicholas Music Inc. (ASCAP)

    One small voice can change the world
    One small voice can still be heard
    In the darkest place on earth
    He hears every word

    One small voice, a way to start
    Words of truth, straight from the heart
    Man or woman, boy or girl
    It starts out here and goes 'round the world

    Kumbaya, Kumbaya
    kumbaya, kumbaya
    It doesn't matter what the language only what we say
    Give us peace on earth this Christmas day

    One small voice in the endless night
    Full of fear and full of fright
    Why can't there be more love for all?

    What can I do, for I'm so small?

    repeat chorus

    One small voice, all it takes
    makes the world a better place
    One small voice, can be heard
    Around the world

    Repeat Chorus 2x

    One small voice can change the world
    One small voice can still be heard

    I was listening to
    Wizard Radio while reading the news on the Internet tonight.......
    Myra, a talented singer with a lovely voice, is especially popular among the early teen and pre-teen "Disney Radio" audience. This song is originally from the Public Television Series Sesame Street.

    And I was reading....

    Afghan women commit suicide by fire
    By ALISA TANG, Associated Press Writer
    Sat Nov 18, 6:04 PM ET
    Associated Press

    KABUL, Afghanistan - Blood dripped down the 16-year-old girl's face after another beating by her drug addict husband. Worn down by life's pain, she ran to the kitchen, doused herself with gas from a lamp and struck a match.

    Desperate to escape domestic violence, forced marriage and hardship, scores of women across Afghanistan each year are committing suicide by fire.
    While some gains have been made since the fall of the Taliban five years ago, life remains bleak for many Afghan women in the conservative and violence-plagued country, and suicide is a common escape.

    Young Gulsum survived to tell her story. Her pretty face and delicate feet were untouched by the flames, but beneath her red turtleneck sweater, floral skirt and white shawl, her skin is puffy and scarred.

    More than a month after her attempt, her gnarled hands still bleed.

    "It was my decision to die. I didn't want to be like this, with my hands and body like this," she said, sitting on a hospital bed in Kabul and hiding her deformed hands beneath her shawl.

    Reliable statistics on self-immolation nationwide are difficult to gauge. In Herat province, where the practice has been most reported and publicized, there were 93 cases last year and 54 so far this year. More than 70 percent of these women die.

    "It's all over the country. ... The trend is upward," said Ancil Adrian-Paul of Medica Mondiale, a nonprofit that supports women and girls in crisis zones.

    The group has seen girls as young as 9 and women as old as 40 set themselves on fire. But many incidents remain hidden, Adrian-Paul said.

    "A lot of self-immolation and suicide cases are not reported to police for religious reasons, for reasons of honor, shame, stigma. There is this collusion of silence," Adrian-Paul said on the sidelines of a conference this week in Kabul on self-immolation.

    Five years after the fall of the repressive Taliban regime, domestic violence affects "an overwhelming majority" of Afghan women and girls, according to a recent report from Womankind, an international women's rights groups.

    An estimated 60 to 80 percent of Afghan marriages are forced, the report said.
    More than half of Afghan women are married before they turn 16 and many young girls are married to men who are several decades older, the report said. The exchange of women and girls to resolve a crime, debt or household dispute is also common.

    Under the hard-line Taliban regime, women were unable to vote, receive education or be employed. In recent years, women have gained the right to cast ballots and female candidates have run for parliament, but women are often still regarded as second-class citizens.

    Is this acceptable? How should we act when faced with this reality?

    Do we say, "It's their country and it's none of our business how they treat their women?"

    Is the American (NATO or UN) presence actually preventing the country from making progress?

    Do we join the rapidly growing chorus of Democrat Leaders calling not only for a pull-out of Iraq but also a quick exit from Afghanistan?

    Were we right to overthrow the Taliban?

    Now the Taliban are returning with greater strength. Can the Afghan government stand against them if we leave?

    And what will happen to the women of Iraq if we pull out of that country?

    Is an American life really worth more.... much, much more.... than an Iraqi or Afghan life?

    What do we tell our daughters?

    Your comments and observations are most welcome.



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    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    No Wonder Liberal is a Dirty Word

    Often during the recent election one Republican or another tosses out the label "liberal" as a vile condemnation of their Democrat opponent.

    "She's just too Liberal for our state."

    "He's a Nancy Pelosi Liberal."

    "The good folks around here don't accept those left coast Liberal ideas."

    How did Liberal become such a dirty word?

    The problem isn't really the name calling of reactionary Republicans. There is ample name calling in every election cycle by both sides.

    And the problem really isn't that Liberals are tolerant and even open to new ideas. Or that liberals tend to support alternative concepts, beliefs or even lifestyles. I've learned that most people of all political leanings tend to be tolerant and understanding. Some conservatives actually are compassionate.

    The problem is there are a large bunch of tyrannical fascists parading around pretending to be liberals.

    I am, as my personal friends and long time readers here know, one of the dreaded Secular Humanists. I am a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church, one of the most liberal religious fellowships on earth. At most of our churches and fellowships, on any given Sunday, you'll find Wiccans, Hindus, Jews, Christians, Muslims, even far eastern metaphysical religious followers and all of us secular humanists gathered over coffee, donuts and some of the best soups ever created.

    We'll be discussing the upcoming wedding of two of our dear gay friends and the upcoming Christian baptism of our newest member.

    Over in the corner there will be a heated discussion about immigration, or Iraq or school uniforms.

    O.K., enough of the personal anecdotes. I have a point to make.

    Liberals are reviled not because of what they stand for, but because of what some people pretending to be liberal stand against!! Many pseudo-liberals practice so damn much hatred, intolerance, fear mongering and dictatorial control, it's no wonder liberals become hated.

    Bill O'Reilly is able to rant against what he calls the secular humanist "agenda" because he sees the constant and unceasing attacks on Christianity around the nation. And if my liberal friends think O'Reilly is just full of Christian paranoia, they need to open their eyes and look at what is really happening.

    A real liberal never, ever forbids or denies the open practice of Christianity. We do actually wish our Christian friends "Merry Christmas" and use the actual words.

    We accept Christianity as a worthy religion, equal to the world's other great religions (although not better or worse). We may rail against its flaws or disagree with some of its prejudices, but we welcome its followers as friends and companions on the very human journey through life.

    Let me finally get to my point.

    Today we have another, glaring example of dictatorial tyranny masquerading under the label of liberalism. The narrow minded, prejudiced, despots of the San Francisco School Board have decided to deny their students the option participating in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) program.

    From the
    San Francisco Chronicle:

    School board votes to dump JROTC program

    After 90 years in San Francisco high schools, the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps must go, the San Francisco school board decided Tuesday night.

    The Board of Education voted 4-2 to eliminate the popular program, phasing it out over two years.

    Dozens of JROTC cadets at the board meeting burst into tears or covered their faces after the votes were cast.

    "We're really shocked,'' said fourth-year Cadet Eric Chu, a senior at Lowell High School, his eyes filling with tears. "It provided me with a place to go."

    The board's decision was loudly applauded by opponents of the program.

    Their position was summed up by a former teacher, Nancy Mancias, who said,
    "We need to teach a curriculum of peace."

    Ann Coulter in her thought provoking (and very funny) book, Godless, talks about the "religion of liberalism" and how the left is forcing it upon America while denying competing religions.

    She is able to make that horrible accusation precisely because there are people operating under the guise of liberalism who want to prohibit competing ideas and concepts. They want to allow only the teaching of ideas that meet their strict moral code.

    Coulter gets away with calling liberalism a religion because some folks want it ramed down the throats of others like a over zealous religious prophet.

    What San Francisco has done is closer to the Sharia Schools of Saudi Arabia, than the teaching of good liberal schools in America.

    What the hell does the San Francisco School Board think a "liberal education is?" One that prohibits the open and free exchange of ideas? One that denies alternative lifestyles? One that prevents students from seeking structure, support and leadership training?

    Tyranny of the left is not liberalism. It's tyranny.



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    Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    The Cost of War

    As long as I'm directing my faithful readers to other blogger's websites for wisdom, I'd like to direct you all to read Vigilante's great entry from this morning, Almost Too Much to Grasp.

    It's only fair after directing you to conservative
    Michelle Malkin that I next direct you to progressive Vigilante's excellent blog, The Vigil.

    Vigilante introduces us to Michael White's
    Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, a site I'm embarrassed to admit I had never seen. White is considered my many to be the pre-eminent statistician on the real human costs of what Vigilante's has so aptly named the un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI).

    White keeps astonishingly accurate records of the soldiers who have died, and those seriously wounded in both Iraq and Afghanistan. His blog is completely non-political, but the facts and figures he chronicles speak louder than any pundit or politician.

    I think it's really important that each and every one of us keep a daily eye on Michaels blog. As the politicians debate the Iraq adventure on Capitol Hill this spring, we need to make certain we don't get lost in the rhetoric. Michael's site will always keep you grounded.

    Vigilante's own writing on this matter is excellent and the many replies and comments to his article are worth reading, too.



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    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    John Bolton

    O.K., I really, really, really wanted to write about Jane Harman and the 'new direction' of Nancy Pelosi's House. I even intended to add several comments about Pelosi's support of John Murtha for House Majority Leader. And for good measure I was going to add to my long list of compliments for Representative Charles Rangel by noting his very vocal support for Maryland Representative Steny Hoyer for the Majority Leader position.

    All in all, the article was going to be about the new spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship being exhibited by Nancy Pelosi. O.K., that is a joke.

    MEANWHILE: In reading my daily grouping of bloggers, I've noted that poor
    Michelle Malkin has really gone of the deep end. The "firecracker" of conservative bloggers, Malkin has gotten considerably more conservative and considerably more strident since the election.

    So that I would quote Malkin, let alone virtually copy her in entire blog entry today (in the spirit of plagiarism as an artform), comes as a surprise to me.

    But the decision of the Democrats to 'swiftboat' United Nations Ambassador John Bolton as their first real act of bipartisanship speaks volumes about the real world of politics over the next two years than any of the political payback appointments being made by our first Madame Speaker.

    Certainly a big part of my strong support of Bolton during his soon to fail bid for Senate confirmation has been his superb support for the people of Darfur. We simply couldn't ask for a stronger, more forceful or more eloquent defender of the people. Bolton has strong support among Darfur activists here and around the world.

    Since he is doomed, let's hope his successor will continue his fine efforts.

    Here is
    Malkin's blog entry, reformatted into my style with a few editorial changes. Thank you Michelle for allowing bloggers to reprint your work and your strong support of Internet Freedom.

    Blogging for Bolton

    The Democrats want John Bolton's

    This is a moment for conservatives to stand up to the Left's empty, vindictive obstructionism and support a strong voice for America's interests at the corrupted, soft-on-jihad offices of Turtle Bay.

    videoblogging for Bolton over at Hot Air.

    Call Congress and make your voice heard

    Editorial boards weighing in:
    The Chicago Sun-Times: "Confirm Bolton"

      Bolton has done an exemplary job at the U.N. He succeeded in getting resolutions to impose sanctions on North Korea; he brokered a Security Council resolution to end the war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

      If the Democrats are genuine about working in a collegial manner with the president, they will endorse Bolton: He has turned out to be far more co-operative than divisive. He is, in fact, an able diplomat.

    The Wall Street Journal:

      The opposition to Mr. Bolton is based on nothing save vindictiveness. Republican Lincoln Chafee, who would have lost his GOP primary without White House support and who finally did lose last week, now says he won't vote for Mr. Bolton though he had once supported him. Mr. Chafee is a mystery wrapped in a muddle even to himself. Democrats Chris Dodd and Joe Biden are trying to show that any political appointee who refuses to bend to their wishes can't be confirmed. They know other Democrats would vote to confirm Mr. Bolton if he made it to the Senate floor.

      Having had one recess appointment, Mr. Bolton can't get another one and be paid. But he could retain his position and be paid if Mr. Bush names him to a non-confirmable post at State and then assigns him to the U.N. Ambassador's duties. Now, that's a compromise.

    The New York Post:

      ...John Bolton has been too good an ambassador - at a time when America sorely needs an effective envoy at Turtle Bay - to be tossed on the scrap heap because of the Democrats' short-sightedness.

      * It was Bolton who recently organized the majority coalition that blocked Hugo Chavez's Venezuela from winning a seat on the Security Council.

      * It was Bolton who worked with France to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah (flawed as it was).

      * It was Bolton who took the lead in pressing for comprehensive reform of the U.N.'s rotting institutional infrastructure.

      * It is Bolton who has refused to play the game of diplomatic double-talk, refusing to participate in the new - and already discredited - Human Rights Council, which he memorably called a case of "putting lipstick on a caterpillar and calling it a butterfly."

      ...Last week, Tehran called Tueday's elections a victory for Iran, Chavez called for Bush's execution, al Qaeda in Iraq said it wouldn't rest until it blew up the White House, and former Gitmo detainees moved to bring criminal charges in Germany against top Bush administration officials.

      Much of this, of course, is little more than a postelection pile-on against a president seen as a powerless lame duck. But it may also represent a genuine belief that the Democrats, who campaigned against every aspect of Bush's foreign policy, will go soft in the War on Terror.

      Democrats have an obligation to demonstrate conclusively to America's enemies that they don't have allies on Capitol Hill. By moving so swiftly to torpedo John Bolton, they've sent precisely the opposite signal.

    If the White House were to proceed with a second recess appointment for Bolton, he would have to serve without pay. Claudia Rosett proposes a fund-raising drive to pay for Bolton's salary.

    Hugh Hewitt seconds that idea. Thirding it!

    I cannot stomach the idea of Beltway GOP elites cutting and running from Bolton. Make sure to
    make a call today.

    Pam at Atlas Shrugs has
    video of Sen. Norm Coleman supporting Bolton.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Reading the above entry by
    Michelle Malkin reminds me again why she is just about the finest blogger on the net from the standpoint of style and readability.

    But I also echo her remarks about Bolton. Sadly, I realize it is a failed effort.



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    Saturday, November 11, 2006

    Emergence Day

    Sunday, November 12, 2006, beginning at 12:01 am is Emergence Day.

    Emergence Day is (choose one):

    1. The day Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid "emerge" as the new leaders of the United States Congress.

    2. The day Osama Bin Laden and the leaders of Al Qaeda "emerge" from hiding and launch the next wave of terror.

    3. The day when the Locust Horde "emerge" from the ground to devour all mankind.

    Unless you knew the answer was Number 3, "the day when the Locust Horde 'emerge' from the ground to devour all mankind," you are sadly unaware of one of the greatest cultural events since the very creation of the Internet.

    I'm not joking.

    Beginning just a few minutes from right now tens of thousands of people all across North America will log onto the Internet, not in the conventional fashion using a PC or a Mac, but using Microsoft's XBox 360, to engage in a series of tournaments, contests, challenges and events all based around a new XBox 360 supergame called Gears of War.

    Wade Steel, writing for ign.com, gives the background:

    "Ever since the announcement of the Xbox 360, one game has consistently been held up as an early "must-have" for Microsoft's next-generation console -- Gears of War."

    "For nearly two years, gamers have watched as Epic Games' third-person shooter tempted and teased with its promise of a dark sci-fi plot, incredible graphics powered by Unreal Engine 3, and brutal, visceral combat."

    "Today, that wait comes to an end as Microsoft and Epic announce that "Emergence Day" -- the day Gears of War ships and gamers finally get to engage the terrifying Locusts -- is November 12, 2006."

    In addition to a quality of graphics, writing and direction that sets new standards for video games, Gears of War is unique in it's very design and purpose. The ign.com review states:

    "Gears of War is all about teamwork in a big way. All game modes, levels and scenarios are designed specifically to encourage co-operative play, whether it be with A.I. partners or human players (with A.I. teammates designed with specific strengths, weaknesses and personalities.) "

    "On top of that, voice recognition will be available for players, and obviously voice chat to discuss strategy with your friends. In addition to voice chat, gamers will be able to experience individualized matchmaking, view player statistics, earn player achievements, customize their games, and build and personalize their gamer profiles over Xbox Live."

    Among the wealth of events surrounding Emergence Day are the following:

    • A 24-Hour Leader board Tournament.
    • The tournament winner receives a one of a kind "Gears of War" branded guitar as well as an automatic bye to the finals of a Global "Gears of War" Tournament planned for 2007.
    • Hourly sweepstakes drawings and prize giveaways including the chance to win one of several Samsung HT-P29 Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound Systems
    • An exclusive free "Gears of War" Gamer pic and theme only available on Emergence Day
    • Game with Fame sessions with legendary heavy metal band and "Gears of War" fans Megadeth, the game's lead designer Cliff Bleszinski and other members of the Epic Games team
    • Never before seen videos including a special Emergence Day transmission from Cliff Bleszinski
    • An MTV "Gears of War: The Road to Launch" Sneak Preview
    If you read all this and think it's just some silly promotion from Bill Gates and Microsoft, you are clearly missing the entire point.

    This is a cultural event that transcends state and national borders, economic strata, age and gender groups, political parties or affiliations, religious affiliations, sexual orientation and any boundary that tends to separate humankind into different groups.

    Here we have an event that will tie together, in a massive number of people in tournament play, people from all across North America. The internet has removed any of the old boundaries of space or culture and allowed tens of thousands of people to gather together in a single, albeit cosmic, space and time.

    And to dismiss this all as a game also misses the point of what is happening today. The Internet has now reached a new level to bring people together at a single moment for a single purpose. Today that purpose is a tournament the like of which has never existed at any time before on the planet.

    Tomorrow it could be voting in elections, or actually making governmental or cultural decisions.

    The Internet, if properly protected and allowed to remain free, has more power than any invention in the history of mankind. That's precisely why some governments like Iran and China fear it so very much.

    And that's why is must be protected. Today the locusts, tomorrow the world.



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    Thursday, November 09, 2006


    Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) is about to become a lot more powerful. With the Democrats becoming the majority party in the House of Representatives, Rangel will become the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. That's easily the most powerful committee in the House, maybe in the entire Congress!

    Now you know Charlie Rangel. He's a frequent guest on all the cabel news networks. He's the go to guy in all political debates.

    Affable, smart and funny with a quick sarcastic wit, he always makes a good guest. He's likeable, intelligent, a dependable partisan and, most importantly, he's likely to leave a great sound bite.

    But today Charlie outdid himself. The target of his carefully aimed barb was the hapless state of Mississippi, my adopted home state.

      "It's not just committees - our influence within the House Democratic caucus will grow enormously," Mr. Rangel said in an interview.

      To that end, he sketched out an expansive federal agenda: Teaming up with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on gun control, passing new tax incentives for urban job programs, and redirecting federal money to New York in return for the outsize tax collections that the federal government makes here.

      "Mississippi gets more than their fair share back in federal money, but who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?" Mr. Rangel said.

    My elected representative, the Honorable Bennie Thompson (D-MS) was characteristically quiet. WAPT, Channel 16 in Jackson is all over this story. They believe Rangel's comments were an insult to Mississippi and the result of cultural stereotyping and prejudice. WAPT contacted Bennie. WAPT reported, "He didn’t want to comment."

    No way Bennie was going to criticize a fellow Democrat for merely insulting his state and all constituents who only days before had elected him to REPRESENT THEM in Congress.

    Representing constituents is not one of Bennie's strong suits.

    But Representative Charles Pickering (R-MS) was quick to pick up the gauntlet and issue a good natured response.
      "From the Coast to the Delta to the Pinebelt to the Hills and across Mississippi, there is beauty in every city, charity in every heart, love in every church, and majesty in every countryside. When I travel this state I see it in the resolute handshakes, the hospitable smiles, and the sincere prayers of our neighbors: we love Mississippi and we are proud and happy to live here," Pickering said.

      Pickering concluded, "Last year, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi Coast. We have been working hard not only to rebuild our own homes and communities, but also to repair and protect the network of refineries, pipelines, and transmission grids that supply energy, gas, and oil to the rest of the country, including New York."

      "If Mr. Rangel believes those efforts required more than our fair share of federal money, he is welcome to send that energy back to our state and find an alternative supply..."

    Let me be honest. It's simply not possible for anyone to stay mad at Charles Rangel. My hat's off to Chip Pickering. Let's hope all the debates in the next Congress can be this good natured.

    New York Times (registration required), Mississippi's Sun Herald, Michelle Malkin



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    Tuesday, November 07, 2006

    Anybody Seen the Baby?

    MSNBC has just projected that the Democrats will have a significant majority in the new U.S. House of Representatives. The early projection has the Democrats with 231 seats to the Republican's 204 seats. Nancy Pelosi will become the first woman to assume the position of the Speaker of the House.

    My congratulations to the Democrats and to Speaker Pelosi. It looks like my prediction of two weeks ago was almost exactly correct.

    It's still too early to predict the U.S. Senate, but it's clearly not the landslide we see in the House. Still, by the time the evening is over, I may still be correct in my Senate prediction, made back on October 23rd.

    I have great faith in the American public and the wisdom of their votes. This is very different from "bowing to the will of the people." Of course, we do that. The voters have spoken and they have made their decision.

    No, what I'm speaking of is much deeper. I have great faith in the wisdom of this vote. While we can all get into a heated argument with one person or another here in the blogosphere, the WISDOM comes from the combined votes of the millions. American's generally get it right.

    Now we need to see if the Democrats can rise to the occasion. Will we have endless confrontations? Or will we have a meaningful effort to solve the problems that America has so clearly identified tonight?

    Some legislation is simple. The minimum wage will be raised. Bush will sign it.

    Some legislation is meaningless and stupid. We will see the house pass a stem cell research bill. It's unnecessary and useless and designed only to illicit the expected Presidential veto. Such a bill is only designed to inflame the public.

    But will we see endless subpoenas and investigations into the events leading up to the war in Iraq? Will we spend the next two years looking backward?

    Let's hope not. We need to work today to solve this problem, not wait for another two years of death and destruction.

    Will we see the building of a case for impeachment, in spite of Nancy Pelosi's pledge not to allow this to happen?

    Frightening is the rumored move by Pelosi to remove Jane Harmon from her deserved Chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee and replace her with, of all people, Alcee Hastings. In 1989, Hastings was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives for corruption and perjury. So much for Pelosi's claim she will "drain the swamp."

    Tom Brokaw said tonight on MSNBC that he believes America DID NOT VOTE for subpoenas. Let's hope that Tom Brokaw's wisdom reaches Nancy Pelosi's ears.

    It is not time for a witch hunt. It's time for solutions and ideas on Iraq. The public now will demand the "fresh ideas" the Democrats promised, but never articulated.

    Chris Matthews did an amazing about face tonight, attacking the newly elected Democrats for failing to make any proposals, meaningful or otherwise, on Iraq. How quickly the press can turn on you.

    "The King is dead. Now let's kill the new King" is the mantra of the press and pundits.

    Will the Democrats take the steps necessary to maintain this superb economy? Will they, as promised, protect the tax breaks Bush really did give to the middle and working class?

    You can't have this type of wholesale change without risking "throwing out the baby with the bath water." Let's hope the Democrats keep their eye on the baby.


    On a personal note, the courageous Erik Fleming and Yvonne Brown went down in flames here in Mississippi.

    Erik, a Democrat, lost to Republican legend Trent Lott, but did manage to gather almost 35% of the vote without money, without any support from the Democrat Party and without even the passing interest from any media.

    Yvonne, a Republican, also managed to gather 35% of the vote in a district gerrymandered into overwhelming Democrat superiority. This is partially a "tribute" to the incredible arrogance and ignorance of the incumbent, Democrat Bennie Thompson, who shouldn't have the support of anybody.

    The Republican's should have given Yvonne money and support, but they didn't. To his credit, Trent Lott did give financial aid and moral support to Yvonne.

    Erik and Yvonne are victims of a political system designed to protect the incumbents.

    So I give my congratulations and thanks to Democrat Erik Fleming and Republican Yvonne Brown for their efforts to make democracy a reality. They are my heroes, even in defeat.



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