Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Just When I Think I Like Blogger ...

I was making a minor modification to my "Friends" links this morning, and when I tried to save the new code, I couldn't get Blogger to accept the change. It just wouldn't do anything. So, when I went back this afternoon to try to save the changes, everything was a mess.

I have had to reselect the template, but all my modifications are gone, and if I can't find my code files, I have to start all over.

I apologize for the confusion, and hope to have things back the way I want them before long.

Monday, August 29, 2005

You Probably Haven't Heard This

How many of you know what that doofus Richard Reid’s sentence was? You remember Richard Reid, don’t you? He’s the guy that boarded a plane with explosives in his shoe and was prevented from setting it off when passengers stopped him from lighting the fuse. Richard Reid: the “shoe bomber.” How many remember hearing what the judge said to Reid when he sentenced him for his crimes?

Not many, I venture.

Apparently, U.S. District Court Judge William Young’s eloquent and forceful statement of January, 2003 was overlooked by the media.

Here’s the Judge’s statement:

January 30, 2003

United States vs. Reid.

Judge Young:

Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you. On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General. On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutive with the other. That's life plus 80 years. On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years consecutive to the 80 years just imposed. The Court imposes upon you each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 for the aggregate fine of $2 million. The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines. The Court imposes upon you the $800 special assessment.

The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences, so I need go no further.

This is the sentence that is provided for by our statues. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence. Let me explain this to you.

We are not afraid of any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here. And I say that to everyone with the utmost respect.

Here in this court, where we deal with individuals as individuals, and care for individuals as individuals, as human beings we reach out for justice. You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature. Whether it is the officers of government who do it, or your attorney who does it, or that happens to be your view, you are a terrorist.

And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not meet with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal guilty of multiple attempted murders.

In a very real sense Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody, and you wondered where the press and where the TV crews were, and he said:."You're no big deal."

You're no big deal.

What your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have, as honestly as I know how, tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today? I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing. And I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you. But as I search this entire record it comes as close to understanding as I know.

It seems to me you hate the one thing that is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose.

Here, in this society, the very winds carry freedom. They carry it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely.

It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf and have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges. We are about it. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms.

Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. Day after tomorrow it will be forgotten. But this, however, will long endure. Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, not war, but individual justice is in fact being done.

The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged, and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.

See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. You know it always will.

Mr. Custody Officer, stand him down.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Pat’s Flapdoodle

by The Windjammer

Everybody I listen to on a somewhat irregular basis on the idiotbox which some call television has had something to say, mostly derogatory, about Pat Robertson’s remarks regarding the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, who is a bit of a left winger hisownself..

As irrational as Pat sounded to some people, he was being entirely rational. I listened to the excerpts, as many as I could, and I interpreted his statements in a bit different light. I thought he was taking a stab at being funny and chose the wrong topic. It wasn’t exactly what us old-timers would call a kneeslapper, but he surely could not have been all that serious. I thought I detected a slight twitch of his lips as he said it.

The bigger problem is the treatment the remarks received from a left-handed press. Pat has been raked up and down and sideways for his remarks. If George Soros had run abreast of a streak of humor somewhere in his makeup and made the same statements, I suspect they would have gone almost unnoticed in the "free" press.

Almost anyone can laugh at a bit of raw humor unless he is the butt of the joke. That puts the shoe on the other mule, so to speak.

I’m old enough to recall when a former president of these dis-United States was alleged to have planned to assassinate a thorn in our side, Fidel Castro. That was just a short time after we had lent Fidel our support in his attempt (successful, I think) to overthrow another dictator. The big problem with Fidel turned out to be his infidelity. He cozied up to the Communists in Russia (another place where dictators were the new fashion rage) instead of to the neighbor just off his northern shore. P.S. There ain’t no need for you to run to the dictionary to look for "cozied." That word is one that some of my older-than-peers used when I was a boy and Webster never heard us talk.

That aborted attempt turned out to be disastrous. Of course that is a matter of opinion for some folks. I don’t believe that Castro hired Lee Harvey Oswald to do in JFK. I believe every word of the Warren report and I have never read it. That bit of tit for tat just goes to prove that the U.S. Senate is not the only bunch of Good Ol’ Boys in the world.

It is poor policy to go around telling every Jake, Jane and John that you want to do away with some guy who rubs you the wrong way, whether he is a leader in his own bailiwick or just one of the gofers.

The Third George tried to set Pat straight by saying that it is not the policy of this administration, never mind its forebears, to go around shooting presidents or dictators with a two-miler fifty caliber from behind a bunch of thick bushes. The Defense and State Departments echoed his sentiments and disavowed any connection by a former also-ran and the policies of the present administration. Rightly so. The press has added those remarks to their versions almost as an afterthought.

The part of Pat’s statement which impressed me was the economical aspect. I suspect that there are several people who would rather see a tyrant receive his euthanasia from one hidden sniper than to see a whole army placed in harm’s way in order to topple a regime. That surely must be a less expensive way.

The problem there is that regimes, dictatorial or otherwise, are usually a bit more than knee deep. When the kingpin is gone, there are at least three others trying to fit into the same slot. The substitutes, in many cases in my memory, were just as bad or worse than the originals.

There has been no concentrated official effort in the last 12 years to assassinate Usama. That ought to tell us something about the policy of the makers. There have been some minor efforts. I suspect that time will eventually take care of him, but it won’t stop the terrorists in the near future, even if he runs out of both time and money.

There are more dictatorial tyrants around the world than you can shake an olive branch at, but methodical assassination is not the right path.

Even if Pat Robertson did say so.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Friday, August 26, 2005

Grow Up and Get Over It!

On this page a while back was a column titled The Bill of Rights (You Don’t Have). One of those is this:

“ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone, no just you! Odds are that sometime someone will say or do something you don’t like. Learn to live with it.”

A woman in New Hampshire apparently never saw this column, or read about the rights you don’t have. Having been told by her doctor, Dr. Terry Bennett, who practices in Rochester, that she is morbidly obese, she has gotten her very sizable bloomers in a huge wad, and has, of all things, filed a complaint with the state Attorney General.

Dr. Bennett said he has "an obesity lecture for women" that tells it like it is, and is designed to get the attention of obese female patients. Obesity is one of the biggest killers in America, leading to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and some types of cancer. According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, “He said he tells obese women they most likely will outlive an obese spouse and will have a difficult time establishing a new relationship because studies show most males are completely negative to obese women. Bennett said he tells them their obesity will lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, gastroesophageal reflux and stroke.

Now, I know a lot of doctors. I used to recruit them when I served on the board of a local hospital. I used to work with them on hospital committees, and as Chair of the Quality Assessment and Improvement Committee, I sometimes had to discipline them.

Here are some facts about doctors: Some of them are very nice people. Some of them apparently never took, or got a failing grade in, Bedside Manner 101. Some of them are arrogant, and dismissive of people, including patients, who are not doctors. Some of them are rude.

However, those descriptions can be applied to any and every profession or line of work. Being arrogant and rude is not the private domain of doctors, although it may be the case that more of them possess those negative descriptors than in any other profession or line of work. Maybe we want our doctors to treat us with courtesy and respect, but isn’t it more important to get their best professional advice, regardless of how it is packaged?

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office wants Dr. Bennett to take a sensitivity course, which is the universal “treatment” for most cases of supposed insensitivity. He has refused.

Here’s some advice for the Attorney General: Leave Dr. Bennett alone and spend the taxpayer’s money on really serious problems.

Here’s some advice for the obese woman: Get over it. The man is trying to save your life, and help you become a more desirable companion for other people. Get yourself some help and lose weight.

One more thing we don’t need in this country is a politically correct requirement that impairs doctors in their duty to give their patients the best medical advice possible, even if they do it in a less-than-desirable manner.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Thursday, August 25, 2005

by The Windjammer


Most of us can rattle off the names of the Seven Dwarfs without so much as stammering. Some guy by the name of Disney made sure that Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy and Sneezy became household words at the same time that Snow White became an internationally known fictitious figure.

Some of us can even recall the Magnificent Seven, another group of fictional characters in a movie based on the Japanese film which the British and Americans dubbed "The Seven Samurai." It’s real title is difficult to pronounce, but it translates roughly "Shichinni no samurai." The Magnificent Seven, just in case your memory bank is too full of other trivia, were Chris (Yul Brynner), Vin (Steve McQueen), Chico (Horst Buchholz), Bernardo O’Reilly (Charles Bronson), Lee (Robert Vaughn), Harry Luck (Brad Dexter) and Britt (James Coburn).

That ought to tell us something. I’m not sure what.

There have been a few other notable sevens. You may not be as familiar with some of them, but there is one group with which everyone has a nodding acquaintance since all of us above the age of six has committed at least one and most of us have committed at least nine of them, some of them twice. They are the seven deadly sins: pride, lust, envy, anger, covetousness, gluttony and sloth. At this very moment, I may be guilty of that last one myownself.

There are seven liberal arts, further divided into a trivium and a quadrivium. If you are really interested in knowing which is which, the first three are the tri, the last four are the quad. How about that! Grammar, logic, rhetoric, geometry, astronomy, arithmetic and music. If you want to put them in alphabetical order, you’ll have to that yourself--I can’t spell.

Everyone has heard of the Seven Seas and the rugged men who sailed them. They are the North Atlantic, the South Atlantic, the North Pacific, the South Pacific, the Indian, the Arctic and the Antarctic Oceans. More recent usage has switched the meaning to include all of the navigable waters of the world, but that is a part of one of my pet peeves. I would much rather that people who want to describe either what they don’t understand or what they are doing find new words rather than mess around with my old ones which already had perfectly good meanings.

Only a true Roman or someone who imagines he is or was could tell you the names of the Seven Hills of (Ancient) Rome. They are Palatine, Caelian, Esquiline, Capitoline, Quirinal, Viminal and Aventine. I spent some of my wasted youth and several years of my wasted adult years in and around Fairmont, West Virginia. We had a sharp knob on the East Side (actually just a bit outside the East Side) called Palatine Knob. The only thing I can remember clearly about it was that it had Nick Fantasia’s radio station and two coveys of bobwhite quail. I never shot up the radio station, but I sure missed a lot of quail just around the hill from it.

Hardly anyone, even if he is Greek, remembers the Seven Against Thebes or how they came to be. They were heroes of Greek legend. Adrastus, Amphiaraus, Capaneus, Hippomedon, Parthenopaeus, Polynices and Tydeus were the original seven who rode together to try to restore the throne of Thebes to Polynices. It had been usurped by his brother, Eteocles. The expedition flopped, to put it briefly.

The Ancient Greeks also gave us the Seven Sages. Bias, Chilon, Cleobulus, Periander, Pittaeus, Solon and Thales. They were political philosophers and politicians. Solon is about the only one that people remember. I suspect that is because he was known as "the lawgiver."

The Seven Sisters (of academia) are the seven colleges which were once the hideouts of the feminine side of hoity-toity folk. They are Vassar, Radcliffe, Wellesley, Mt. Holyoke, Barnard, Sarah Lawrence and Smith.

The Seven Sisters (of the petroleum industry) are Chevron (Socol), Exxon, Standard Oil of California, Gulf, Mobil, British Petroleum and Texaco.

Seven Sisters is also another name for Joe Pye weed, if that tells you anything.

No list of sevens would be complete without a mention of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. They are listed here in no particular order. The Great Pyramids of Egypt, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Pharos (lighthouse) at Alexandria, the Temple of Diana at Ephesus, the Colossus at Rhodes and the Mausoleum of King Mausolos at Halicarnassus.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Origins of Intelligent Design, Scientific Intimidation, and The Big Question

It’s odd the way things happen, sometimes. Not too long ago on this site there was a simmering debate on Evolution vs. Intelligent Design. In a comment on a totally different subject the other day, i eat puppies furnished links to two articles addressing that subject, and then on the Faith page in the local paper was an article on that topic. It must be time to address this subject again.

The column in the local paper, by David Yount of the Scripps Howard News Service, entitled “Evolution and Intelligent Design,” the author explains that the concept of Intelligent Design predated Charles Darwin’s theory of Evolution, which was put forth in 1859, and is today offered by the scientific community as the explanation of how life developed on Earth. Yount tells us that Intelligent Design “was first proposed by an English clergyman, William Paley, who in 1802 offered the analogy of a watch found in a field. He believed that anyone finding such an intricate mechanism would dismiss any notion that it had been produced by mere chance, but would have had to be made by an intelligent being.” Paley thought the complexity and diversity of the known universe (at the time) was sufficient to educe the same response to the question: “where did we come from?”

Yount further explained that a survey by the Fordham Foundation in 2000 revealed that two-thirds of Americans believe humans were directly created by God, while only one in five Americans believe we "evolved from an earlier species." Out of one hundred Americans, 67 believe we were created by God, and only 20 believe in Darwin’s theory.

Thus, we have not only a solid majority of Americans that believe in something akin to Intelligent Design, but we also have a true dilemma with respect to addressing these subjects in our nation’s schools: How can a belief held by 67 percent of Americans be barred from presentation to students in favor of a theory that only 20 percent of Americans believe is true?

Doesn’t that violate the concept of majority rule? If substantially more people believe in a God-created universe than in a chance-created universe, should we not at the very least include the belief of the vast majority of Americans in our public curricula?

How would that square with the U.S. Constitution's much heralded, and largely misunderstood "separation between church and state?" Well, it would square just fine, given that the Constitution forbids only the creation and imposition of a state-sponsored religion, not the mere mention of religion or religious elements in schools, or the public display of religious symbols on public property.

One of the links furnished by i eat puppies led to the story of Richard Sternberg who made a fateful decision as editor of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. He published a paper making the case for Intelligent Design.

The Washington Post reported that "Within hours of publication, senior scientists at the Smithsonian Institution -- which has helped fund and run the journal -- lashed out at Sternberg as a shoddy scientist and a closet Bible thumper.

"'They were saying I accepted money under the table, that I was a crypto-priest, that I was a sleeper cell operative for the creationists,' said Steinberg, 42 , who is a Smithsonian research associate. 'I was basically run out of there.'

"An independent agency has come to the same conclusion, accusing top scientists at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History of retaliating against Sternberg by investigating his religion and smearing him as a 'creationist.'"

Don't you just love scientists? They are objective creatures, always looking for the truth, and aren't above smearing, slandering and defaming one of their own when his version doesn't match theirs.

And then, if you're into the lighthearted, the second link from i eat puppies led to a parody of the Intelligent Design concept, titled Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New "Intelligent Falling" Theory.

There is a lot of emotion on both sides of this issue. Yes, even fact-oriented, objective scientists become victims of emotion on this one. The religious proponents of Intelligent Design also become worked up over it, especially when their "faith" is ridiculed as a fairy tale. Two theories with large numbers of proponents, and neither of them can be proved or disproved.

But here's The Big Question: If there is a God responsible for our universe, where did he/she/it come from, and if there is no God, where did all the matter in the universe come from?

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Defending Islamic Terrorism

Talk show host Michael Graham was fired recently from his local station and ABC radio because he made statements on air that an Islamic organization didn’t like. Mr. Graham said in a Web-based column recently, “[o]n July 25th, the Council on American-Islamic Relations demanded that I be ‘punished’ for my on-air statements regarding Islam and its tragic connections to terrorism. Three days later, 630 WMAL and ABC Radio suspended me without pay for comments deemed ‘hate radio’ by CAIR.

“CAIR immediately announced that my punishment was insufficient and demanded I be fired. ABC Radio and 630 WMAL have now complied. I have now been fired for making the specific comments CAIR deemed ‘offensive,’ and for refusing to retract those statements in a management-mandated, on-air apology. ABC Radio further demanded that I agree to perform what they described as ‘additional outreach efforts’ to those people or groups who felt offended.

“I refused. And for that refusal, I have been fired.”

Mr. Graham makes a good point in his own defense, not that one is needed, as you will see when you read the comments that started this episode, which are printed below. “It appears that ABC Radio has caved to an organization that condemns talk radio hosts like me, but has never condemned Hamas, Hezbollah, and one that wouldn't specifically condemn Al Qaeda for three months after 9/11.”

Mr. Graham has called this an assault on free speech. CAIR is indeed trying to squelch this effort at free speech. However, both WMAL and ABC radio have the right to have whomever they choose on the air, or to not have whom they choose on the air. This is not censorship. What it is, though, is cowardly kowtowing; indulging in political correctness; and abandoning the responsibility of news media to present a broad range of information and ideas for Americans to digest and use to form their opinions.

Mr. Graham called it as he saw it. I agree with his analysis, and have said similar things on Observations.

After you read his commentary, you may want to act in his behalf. Here are links to
WMAL radio and ABC radio.

By Michael Graham

I take no pleasure in saying it. It pains me to think it. I could very well lose my job in talk radio over admitting it. But it is the plain truth:

Islam is a terror organization.

For years, I've been trying to give the world's Muslim community the benefit of the doubt, along with the benefit of my typical-American's complete disinterest in their faith. Before 9/11, I knew nothing about Islam except the greeting "asalaam alaikum," taught to me by a Pakistani friend in Chicago.

Immediately after 9/11, I nodded in ignorant agreement as President Bush assured me that "Islam is a religion of peace."

But nearly four years later, nobody can defend that statement. And I mean "nobody."

Certainly not the group of "moderate" Muslim clerics and imams who gathered in London last week to issue a statement on terrorism and their faith. When asked the question "Are suicide bombings always a violation of Islam," they could not answer "Yes. Always." Instead, these "moderate British Muslims" had to answer "It depends."

Precisely what it depends on, news reports did not say. Sadly, given our new knowledge of Islam from the past four years, it probably depends on whether or not you're killing Jews.

That is part of the state of modern Islam.

Another fact about the state of Islam is that a majority of Muslims in countries like Jordan continue to believe that suicide bombings are legitimate. Still another is the poll reported by a left-leaning British paper than only 73 percent of British Muslims would tell police if they knew about a planned terrorist attack.

The other 27 percent? They are a part of modern Islam, too.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is outraged that I would dare to connect the worldwide epidemic of terrorism with Islam. They put it down to bigotry, asserting that a lifetime of disinterest in Islam has suddenly become blind hatred. They couldn't be more wrong.

Not to be mean to the folks at CAIR, but I don't: Care, that is. I simply don't care about Islam, its theology, its history — I have no interest in it at all. All I care about is not getting blown to smithereens when I board a bus or ride a plane. I care about living in a world where terrorism and murder/suicide bombings are rejected by all.

And the reason Islam has itself become a terrorist organization is that it cannot address its own role in this violence. It cannot cast out the murderers from its members. I know it can't, because "moderate" Muslim imams keep telling me they can't. "We have no control over these radical young men," one London imam moaned to the local papers.

Can't kick 'em out of your faith? Can't excommunicate them? Apparently Islam does not allow it.

Islam cannot say that terrorism is forbidden to Muslims. I know this because when the world's Muslim nations gathered after 9/11 to state their position on terrorism, they couldn't even agree on what it was. How could they, when the world's largest terror sponsors at the time were Iran and Saudi Arabia — both governed by Islamic law.

If the Boy Scouts of America had 1,000 scout troops, and 10 of them practiced suicide bombings, then the BSA would be considered a terrorist organization. If the BSA refused to kick out those 10 troops, that would make the case even stronger. If people defending terror repeatedly turned to the Boy Scout handbook and found language that justified and defended murder — and the scoutmasters in charge simply said "Could be" — the Boy Scouts would have driven out of America long ago.

Today, Islam has entire sects and grand mosques that preach terror. Its theology is used as a source of inspiration by terrorist murderers. Millions of Islam's members give these killers support and comfort.

The question isn't how dare I call Islam a terrorist organization, but rather why more people do not.

As I've said many times, I have great sympathy for those Muslims of good will who want their faith to be a true "religion of peace." I believe that terrorism and murder do violate the sensibilities and inherent decency of the vast majority of the world's Muslims. I believe they want peace.

Sadly, the organization and fundamental theology of Islam as it is constituted today allows for hatreds most Muslims do not share to thrive, and for criminals they oppose to operate in the name of their faith.

Many Muslims, I believe, know this to be true and some are acting on it. Not the members of CAIR, unfortunately: As Middle East analyst and expert Daniel Pipes has reported, "two of CAIR's associates (Ghassan Elashi, Randall Royer) have been convicted on terrorism-related charges, one (Bassem Khafegi) convicted on fraud charges, two (Rabih Haddad, Bassem Khafegi) have been deported, and one (Siraj Wahhaj) remains at large."

But Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf admits what CAIR will not. He's called for a jihad against the jihadists. He's putting his life on the line (Islamists have tried to assassinate him three times) in the battle to reclaim Islam and its fundamental decency.

He remembers, I'm sure, that at a time when Western, Christian civilization was on the verge of collapse, the Muslim world was a bastion of rationalism and tolerance. That was a great moment in the history of Islam, a moment that helped save the West.

Let's hope Islam can now find the strength to save itself.

Source: Jewish World Review

Friday, August 19, 2005

Litigation Excess

The civil court system is designed to redress disputes of various sorts. It is supposed that these cases will be legitimate claims of damages or other similar grievances.

A lot of people think our society is plagued by too many people suing other people and businesses for little or no reason. I am one of them.

One result of this excessive litigation is a plethora of stupid warning labels, utilized in an attempt to thwart opportunistic consumers' efforts to get a lot of money for being stupid.

Here is one example:

  • A snowblower warns: “Do not use snowthrower on roof.”
Here is a column listing some truly absurd warnings. They would be funny, if it wasn't such a sad thing for our society that such idiocy is required for honest businesses to protect themselves.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Bin Laden going to Iraq?

Rumors that Osama bin Laden is headed to Iraq are floating around. He is needed there, some rumors say, to bolster the flagging command of Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Or, another version has it, there will be a Ramadan offensive that bin Laden should personally command. Or, still another says, he will be safer in Iraq than in Afghanistan.

I say the chances are slim to none that bin Laden will go to Iraq. It takes courage to go where the fighting is, and that is something ol’ bin L gets young, impressionable and gullible Muslim boys to do for him. Bin Laden stays as far away from the action as possible, lest he break a nail, or get his head blown off.

Here’s one version of the story.

What the Left is Doing to Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan, as everyone must know by now, is the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq. This earns her a lot of leeway when we consider the events of the day, because having lost a child in a war is an unimaginably painful thing.

Mrs. Sheehan opposed the war before her son Casey was killed. After his death, she met with President Bush, along with others who had lost a son or daughter in the war. All the parents seemed satisfied with the meeting at the time.

Today, she is camped out near President Bush’s Crawford, Texas ranch, demanding that he give her another meeting. More than a few people have joined her, some of whom have reasons for doing so other than sharing the grief of a mother who has lost a son.

However genuine her motives might have been initially, because of the nature of some of her associates, and because of Mrs. Sheehan’s own words and deeds, she has become more a political activist, and less a grieving mom. That is unfortunate.

She says that she wants to talk with President Bush one-on-one. But does she really want that? Some say she wants President Bush to just listen to her complaints about the war and other issues. She wants to lecture, not a discussion.

It is an important fact in this saga that Casey Sheehan knew he would be going to Iraq when he reenlisted. So, he volunteered for the Army, served his time, and knowing that he would be sent to war, reenlisted. Mrs. Sheehan said, “He re-enlisted in August of 2003 because he didn’t want his buddies to do the job by themselves.” Casey Sheehan thought fighting in Iraq was important enough to reenlist and go to war.

That, of course, does not lessen the grief Mrs. Sheehan feels over the loss of her son. But maybe it should. He voluntarily went to a war zone. It was his decision to risk his life for his country. That deliberate decision ought to count for something, ought to have a mitigating effect on Mrs. Sheehan’s feelings about her son’s death. But it doesn’t. All Cindy Sheehan thinks about is blaming George Bush for Casey’s death.

Mrs. Sheehan exhibits symptoms of the second stage of the grieving process: anger. During this stage, people are angry at what they perceive to be the unfairness of death and may project and displace their anger unto others. When given support, they eventually become less angry and are able to move into the next stage of grieving.

The recent activities of Cindy Sheehan, however, turn the anger of a grieving mother into political activism. CNN reported Sheehan arrived in Crawford aboard a bus painted red, white and blue and emblazoned with the words, "Impeachment Tour."

CNN reported that Mrs. Sheehan told reporters, "I want to ask the president, why did he kill my son?" …"We want our loved ones' sacrifices to be honored by bringing our nation's sons and daughters home from the travesty that is Iraq IMMEDIATELY, since this war is based on horrendous lies and deceptions.” Stage two: anger. We understand that being angry at the loss of a loved one is normal. We are sympathetic to the person’s pain. We are even tolerant of the sometimes-irrational rhetorical flourishes. To a point.

The entire five-step grieving process, counselors tell us, usually takes one to two years. Casey Sheehan died in April 4, 2004, sixteen months ago. While we are all different in the way we cope with grief, Mrs. Sheehan probably ought to be further along the path to recovery than she is. But there is a good reason why she is not further along: She has become a convenient tool of the radical Left in their obsession against George Bush and the Iraq war. She is being held prisoner in stage two.

An August 13th Washington Post story illustrates plainly political behavior, on the part of people there ostensibly to support Mrs. Sheehan, and by Mrs. Sheehan herself.

Joe Trippi, the political consultant behind former Vermont governor Howard Dean's early success in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary race, put Sheehan on a conference call with liberal Internet bloggers. Were these folks interested in Casey Sheehan’s death, or wanting to make a point about a war they don’t support?

Next, Mrs. Sheehan launched a TV ad campaign hoping to achieve what her roadside vigil so far has not: a second chance to directly tell Bush what she thinks about him and the war. Twenty bucks says she had professional help at no charge to her.

Predictably, as Mrs. Sheehan stepped onto the media stage, she has become the focus of scrutiny of high-stakes political combat. People wonder what is going on here. They have learned about her first meeting with Mr. Bush, and wonder why she’s changed her story.

The Post story said, “After the meeting, she was quoted by the newspaper in her hometown of Vacaville, Calif., as saying that the president seemed sympathetic. Subsequently, she has said that Bush treated her callously during the meeting.”

The Leftist groups that have attached themselves to Cindy Sheehan, like, Michael Moore, Code Pink, and others, are not interested in helping Mrs. Sheehan deal with her grief, or in the loss of Casey, they are interested in using her and him to advance their narrow political agenda. In doing so they are prolonging her state of anger, not helping her move past it. And by whipping up her anger, feeding it to produce rhetoric more befitting an irrational ranting shrew than a grieving mom, they are preventing her from getting what she says she wants, a meeting with the President.

So the Left, with the willing cooperation of Cindy Sheehan, has turned a situation that ought to be demanding our empathy into a cheap political exercise at the cost of her son’s memory.

That's just sad.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Study Details Bar at Center of Milky Way

By RYAN J. FOLEY, Associated Press Writer

After creating the most detailed analysis yet of what the Milky Way looks like, astronomers say a long bar of stars cuts on an angle through the center of the galaxy that includes the sun and planet Earth.

Some scientists have suspected the presence of the stellar bar, but the survey led by two Wisconsin astronomers shows the bar is far longer than previously believed, and at a specific angle.

The skinny bar is made up of old and red stars and is about 27,000 light years in length, about 7,000 light years longer than previously believed. The bar is at a 45 degree angle to the line between our Sun and the center of the galaxy and may put the Milky Way in a small class of galaxies with the unusual shape, researchers say.

"We're pretty certain the extent and orientation of this bar because we got more data than anybody else that has ever brought to bear on the problem by a long shot," said Ed Churchwell, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of astronomy who collaborated on the project.

The team of astronomers used NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to survey more than 30 million stars in the center of the Milky Way. The orbiting infrared telescope allowed the astronomers to see bright stars through clouds of interstellar dust to draw a vivid portrait of the center of the galaxy.

The new portrait will help astronomers understand how our galaxy looks from the outside and "how it forms together in the big picture," said lead study author Robert Benjamin, a UW-Whitewater professor of physics.

"The stronger the bar the more influence it has on everything going on in the galaxy," said Benjamin.

The study will appear in an upcoming edition of Astrophysical Journal Letters, a leading astronomy journal.

The study should put to rest the idea held by some astronomers that an ellipse is at the center of the galaxy's swirling arms, Churchwell said.

"We've largely been ignorant of this very major structure in our galaxy for all these years," he said.

The hardest work in the study was not observing the stars: the NASA orbiting telescope took about 400 hours of observations. Researchers spent five years preparing for the observation and almost one year making sense of all the data.

The telescope, launched two years ago, is the largest infrared telescope ever launched into space and is trailing the earth in an orbit around the sun. It uses infrared light to penetrate clouds of gas and dust that block astronomers' views from Earth.

The Milky Way is a large, spiral galaxy that contains the sun, solar system and billions of stars that make a luminous band as seen by the naked eye. Its precise size, shape and mass are still unknown.

Billions of galaxies make up the universe and are mostly spiral or elliptical in shape. Galaxies that have stellar bars cut through the center is rare, but not unheard of, scientists say.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005


P. Diddy is changing his name!


Now that’s news I just couldn’t do without.

A man with a perfectly good name, Sean Combs, becomes a rapper, and needs a new handle. “Puff Daddy” is born, and Sean Combs dies an undignified death.

Before long, “Puff Daddy” is no longer satisfactory, so Puffy becomes “P. Diddy.” Don’t ask for an explanation. It really doesn’t matter.

Now, “P. Diddy” has been deemed unsatisfactory also, so, “P.” is gone. It’s now just “Diddy.”

This monumental event was brought on because Sean/Puff/P thought he needed to simplify things. "Nobody knew what to call me," he explained.

Really? Two name changes were confusing, so let’s have one more to make it easy. So, as of this morning, the personality formerly known as Sean Combs, Puff Daddy, Puffy and P. Diddy wants to be called Diddy.

The world can now resume its former course and pace.

Experimental Hybrid Cars Get Up to 250 Mpg

Saturday, August 13, 2005

CORTE MADERA, Calif. — Politicians and automakers say a car that can both reduce greenhouse gases and free America from its reliance on foreign oil is years or even decades away. Ron Gremban says such a car is parked in his garage.

It looks like a typical Toyota Prius hybrid, but in the trunk sits an 80-miles-per-gallon secret — a stack of 18 brick-sized batteries that boosts the car's high mileage with an extra electrical charge so it can burn even less fuel.

Gremban, an electrical engineer and committed environmentalist, spent several months and $3,000 tinkering with his car.

Like all hybrids, his Prius increases fuel efficiency by harnessing small amounts of electricity generated during braking and coasting. The extra batteries let him store extra power by plugging the car into a wall outlet at his home in this San Francisco suburb — all for about a quarter.

He's part of a small but growing movement. "Plug-in" hybrids aren't yet cost-efficient, but some of the dozen known experimental models have gotten up to 250 mpg.

They have support not only from environmentalists but also from conservative foreign policy hawks who insist Americans fuel terrorism through their gas guzzling.

And while the technology has existed for three decades, automakers are beginning to take notice, too.


Would flying nude foil the terrorists?

By Wesley Pruden
Published August 16, 2005

The Transportation Security Administration, eager to fit everyone with an ever-tighter security belt, promises to ease the hassle at the airports.

The agency wants to eliminate the ban on razor blades and small knives and restrict intimate pat-downs. Some airport pat-down agents could teach honeymooners about up close and personal. Federal judges, congressmen, Cabinet ministers and governors -- just the people the rest of us are suspicious of -- would get aboard without a search.

Inspectors will continue to harass innocent passengers to avoid inconveniencing actual terrorism prospects. The Bush administration won't use profiling because it doesn't want to hurt the feelings of the fanatics who are determined to kill the rest of us. Government officials who ride to the airport in motorcades behind security agents armed with enough artillery to stop a Panzer division will continue not to be inconvenienced, of course.

This is infuriating, but one version of a multiple-choice questionnaire circulating on the Internet demonstrates just how difficult it is to find a common characteristic among terrorists. The next terrorist will no doubt be named Mohammed, but he might be your mother, your pastor or even the little girl from down the street peddling Girl Scout cookies.

The questionnaire reveals the government's dilemma:

1. In 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles by (a) Superman, (b) Jay Leno, (c) Harry Potter, or (d) a Muslim man between 17 and 40 years old.

2. In 1972, 11 Israeli athletes were kidnapped and killed at the Munich Olympics by (a) Olga Corbett, (b) Sitting Bull, (c) Arnold Schwarzenegger, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.

3. In 1979, the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was taken over and 90 Americans were held for 444 days by (a) Sen. Strom Thurmond, (b) Elvis, (c) a tour group of Minnesota grandmothers, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.

4. During the 1980s, several Americans were kidnapped in Beirut by (a) John Dillinger, (b) the king of Sweden, (c) the pope and a gang of Cardinals, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.

5. In 1983, the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon was blown up, killing 220 Marines, by (a) a Domino's Pizza delivery man, (b) the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, (c) Catherine Zeta-Jones, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.

6. In 1985, the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70-year-old American passenger thrown overboard in his wheelchair by (a) Davy Jones, (b) Brooks Robinson, (c) the Little Mermaid, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.

7. In 1985, TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens and a U.S. Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by (a) Captain Kangaroo, (b) William Jennings Bryan, (c) Mother Teresa, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.

8. In 1988, Pan American Flight 103 was destroyed by a bomb in midair by (a) Butch Cassidy, (b) the Sundance Kid, (c) the Tooth Fairy, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.

9. The World Trade Center was bombed the first time in 1993 by (a) Stonewall Jackson, (b) Michael Jordan, (c) Winston Churchill, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.

10. In 1998, U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by (a) Baby Snooks, (b) Hillary Clinton, (c) the World Wrestling Federation, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.

11. On September 11, 2001, airliners were hijacked to crash into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by (a) Bugs Bunny, (b) the Florida Supreme Court, (c) Lou Gehrig, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.

12. In 2002, Daniel Pearl of the Wall Street Journal was kidnapped and beheaded by (a) Bonnie and Clyde, (b) the chief rabbi of Jerusalem, (c) Billy Graham, or (d) Muslims between the ages of 17 and 40.

13. In July of this year, several targets were attacked in central London, killing 52 persons, by (a) the archbishop of Canterbury, (b) Margaret Thatcher, (c) Sen. John McCain, or (d) Muslims between 17 and 40.

There's clearly no constant on this list, so children in arms, nuns in habits, Medal of Honor winners, passengers in wheelchairs and with iron lungs must continue to submit to pat-downs, hugs, squeezes, chest X-rays, colonoscopies and other procedures as deemed necessary. Anyone who looks like a terrorist on his way to work is to be waved through at once.

Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Times.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Scientists' spirituality surprises

America's scientists are a surprisingly spiritual group, according to a survey in which almost 70 percent agreed "there are basic truths" in religion, and 68 percent classified themselves as a "spiritual person."

Overall, about a third said "I do not believe in God" in the analysis, which polled 1,646 scientists at 21 research universities across the nation.

The findings mirror a similar study of physicians released by the University of Chicago last month, which revealed 76 percent of the 2,000 doctors surveyed said they believed in God.

"Science is often perceived as incompatible with religion and spirituality, but few have asked how scientists themselves think about religion," said study director Elaine Howard Ecklund, a sociologist at Rice University in Houston.

Previous studies have indicated that as few as 7 percent of the nation's top scientists said they believed in God. However, change may be afoot.

"In general, those in the academy may not be as irreligious as some academic and popular commentators would like to think," Mrs. Ecklund writes in her study, "Religion Among Academic Scientists."

The analysis probed the spirituality of the ivory tower, questioning scientists in physics, chemistry, biology, sociology, economics, political science and psychology about God, the Bible, religion, church attendance and prayer.

The average respondent's age was about 50, eight out of 10 were married, 84 percent were men, and all had children. About two-thirds were full professors, and all had published books.

Blame it on an analytical background, perhaps, but the survey found fewer than 1 percent of the scientists took the Bible literally, while 25 percent thought it was "the inspired word of God" but not to be taken literally in its entirety. About 75 percent agreed the Bible "is an ancient book of fables recorded by men."

The disciplines had their differences, however.

Physicists and biologists were the least spiritual -- 41 percent in both groups said they did not believe in God. Among political scientists, the number was 27 percent -- the lowest in the bunch.

The social scientists were more devout: 30 percent said they prayed, compared with 22 percent of the natural scientists. Another 28 percent of the social scientists regularly read a "sacred text," compared with 20 percent of the natural scientists.

"Based on previous research, we thought that social scientists would be less likely to practice religion than natural scientists are, but our data showed just the opposite," Mrs. Ecklund said.

She presented her findings yesterday before the Association for the Sociology of Religion in Philadelphia and plans to expand on the research.

University of Chicago researchers were equally enthusiastic about their survey. They found that 59 percent believed in an afterlife, 90 percent attended religious services, and 55 percent said their religious beliefs influenced how they practiced medicine.

"We did not think physicians were nearly this religious," said study author Dr. Farr Curlin.

Copyright © 2005 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

It must be August

Here is an excellent article about the Cindy Sheehan issue.

Kathleen Parker
August 13, 2005

It is unseemly to critique how people express their personal grief, especially when it comes to those who've lost children to war.

So if Cindy Sheehan wants to camp outside President George W. Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch in the name of her son - Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, who was killed last year in a Baghdad ambush - then she deserves only cool drinks and soft shade.

As for those glomming onto her tragedy - whether for political posturing or personal profiling - gloves off. As these grief hounds bask in the kliegs of temporary fame, even the dogs of "dogs days" skulk in shame.

Yes, of course, it is August.

With no shark bites in weeks and Natalee Holloway still missing after more than two months; with the Supreme Court confirmation hearings still weeks away and already stale, and the shuttle crew safely landed, what's a ravenous news horde to do?

Why, stake out the president and the mother who mourns her son.

Speaking as a mother and fellow citizen, my heart goes out to Cindy Sheehan and all other parents of lost sons and daughters. One can only imagine their grief and pain. Thus, my first thought upon hearing her plea for an audience with Bush was that he should run, not walk, and greet her with a warm embrace.

I wanted him to hug her and to say how deeply sorry he is for her loss. I wanted him to face the cameras and, choking back emotion, to tell the world how much he cares for every single son and daughter serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And then I wanted him to be Tony Blair and say all the right things in just the right way so that Cindy Sheehan could return home to Vacaville, Calif., and begin to heal.

But, Bush is not Tony Blair, as intelligent design would have it. And he's not coming out because he can't, though he might have in that first instant, before the crowds arrived. He probably wishes he had. Then again, he did meet with Sheehan on another occasion, in private with other military parents, but Sheehan wasn't satisfied.

She wants more. But what, and how much? What exactly would satisfy her and her entourage? For Cindy Sheehan is no longer just a grieving mother. She's a media extravaganza, a political pawn and a rallying icon - the Rosa Parks of the anti-war movement, as she has been dubbed. There's now a "Camp Casey," the Crawford gathering place for Sheehan supporters, as well as a been there/done that T-shirt: "BUSH . Talk to Cindy! Moms and Vets Will Stop The War!" offered Sheehan media expertise, while Democratic consultant Joe Trippi organized a conference call for bloggers and Sheehan.

At this point, Sheehan's demands have become impossibly problematic for Bush. Just as intended? By declining to see her, he seems cruel and out of touch with others' suffering. But by seeing her, he puts himself - and potentially the security of others - at great risk.

Why can't he come out?

He can't because he's the president of the United States, because we're at war, and because every move he makes causes ripples around the world. Ripples that, depending on other circumstances, can get other sons and daughters killed before Joe Trippi can say, "That's a wrap."

He can't because what Sheehan's anti-war supporters want is neither a hug nor a few words of comfort. They want a confrontation - a wrenching, sobbing, high-noon showdown - soon to be a Democratic political ad and Al Jazeera headline for the foreseeable future.

Sheehan, who opposed the war before her son died, belongs to the movement now. And Bush, regardless of what he personally might wish to do, has responsibilities that far exceed the crowd gathering beyond his Prairie Chapel Ranch.

Once he allows himself to be captured in a video clip or a photograph, recoiling from the agony of a bereaved mother, the world is in greater danger. Democrats might be delighted to freeze that image in political time, but so would insurgents planning their next Baghdad ambush.

Whatever Sheehan hoped for in the beginning of her watch is irrelevant now. She and her cause have been usurped and distorted by the phenomenon of which she is the center. Her healing will have to wait until the next big story breaks and the media circus moves on.

Where is Jaws when you need him?

©2005 Tribune Media Services


Thursday, August 11, 2005

NFL: Tell Jagger to Take a Hike

The Rolling Stones' upcoming album contains a song seemingly critical of President Bush, but Mick Jagger denies it's directed at him.

Jagger and his band have a lucrative contract with the NFL. The Rolling Stones will help kick off the 2005 season from their "A Bigger Bang" world tour with footage from their concert in Detroit as part of "NFL Opening Kickoff 2005" -- a one-hour pre-game special.

ABC also will feature music and video footage of The Rolling Stones throughout the 2005 season in its Monday Night Football promotional campaigns and in-game highlight and tease packages.

Here’s some advice for the NFL: Give the Stones the boot.

You can’t prevent entertainers from wandering into political territory. Their egos are too big, and their common sense is often too small. So people like Jagger, Linda Ronstadt, Ted Danson, Alec Baldwin, Al Franken, etc., are going to bring politics into their work, or use their inflated status and overblown egos to justify inserting their ideas into the political arena. This is America: People are free to be stupid if they want to. Politics seems to bring the stupid entertainers out of the woodwork.

But the NFL is a different proposition. It is an American institution. It has always represented an American ideal, and promoted an American character. The Rolling Stones' new song is sharply at odds with the traditions of the NFL.

Besides, why settle for an over-the-hill bunch of geriatric rockers who have little real musical talent? The Stones are quite average, as musicians go. Their music is popular with a particular segment of the population, but it isn’t special from an objective musical point of view.

The NFL would do well if it canned Jagger.

The Left's Farcical Claim of Prisoner Abuse

When the uproar at the “abuses” of terrorists at the Abu Ghraib facility in Iraq were swirling, and America's enemies at home and abroad were condemning the U.S. for those “abuses,” I roundly ridiculed the criticism as foolish. It seemed absurd to compare, as Senator Dick Durbin did, what the U.S. did with the true perpetrators of torture.

Last night on the History Channel I saw programs about the Bataan Death March and the prisoners of Cabanatuan. Beside the horrors of the treatment of American and Filipino soldiers at the hands of the barbarians of the Japanese forces, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay are luxury resorts.

Having watched these accounts of real torture and inhumanity, my reaction to the truly stupid comparisons of America’s enemies has grown geometrically.

Those who try to equate Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo with the Japanese treatment of POWs need a good lesson in history, and a strong dose of attitude adjustment.

Virginia's Pledge law sustained

By Larry O'Dell
August 11, 2005

RICHMOND -- A federal appeals court yesterday upheld a Virginia law requiring public schools to lead a daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Edward Myers of Sterling, a father of three, claimed the reference to "one nation under God" in the Pledge was an unconstitutional promotion of religion.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling that the Pledge is a patriotic exercise, not an affirmation of religion similar to a prayer.

"Undoubtedly, the pledge contains a religious phrase, and it is demeaning to persons of any faith to assert that the words 'under God' contain no religious significance," Judge Karen Williams wrote. "The inclusion of those two words, however, does not alter the nature of the pledge as a patriotic activity."

Source: The Washington Times

Friday, August 05, 2005

Creationism vs. Evolution

The Supreme Court ruled in 1987 that creationism, the belief that God created the universe as explained in the Bible, is a religious belief — not science — and may not be taught in public schools along with evolution. However, debates are ongoing in various places around the nation over whether creationism should be taught in public schools. In the news recently were items on that subject from Virginia, Kansas, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Kansas and Pennsylvania are debating whether or not to reinstitute creationism (or intelligent design) as subject matter. That debate will be going on for some time.

In Virginia, however, at issue is the actual discussion of creationism in a classroom. A biology teacher has been talking about creationism in his science classroom for 15 years, much to the dismay of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and the school superintendent. "Creationism is not biology and has no place in a biology class," declared the executive director of the ACLUV. The superintendent of Washington County, Virginia schools said, "[The teacher] must teach evolution exclusively — observable scientific fact, not beliefs or religion."

The message from the school superintendent and the ACLU is that religion and science should not, must not, be mixed.

The ACLU official declared that creationism isn’t biology. Fair enough. Creationism is not biology. But when it comes to explaining how the universe began, biology and evolution do not provide the answer, either. The “Big Bang” theory, not evolution, is the accepted scientific explanation of the beginning of the universe. Evolution deals with what happened after creation, by whatever “mechanism” creation happened to have come about. Biology and creationism are like lug nuts and milk duds: totally unrelated in this context. However, the argument has been framed as evolution vs. creationism, science vs. religion.

In Georgia, 34,452 stickers placed on science textbooks across Cobb County some time ago have been removed, as classes are about to start up for the fall semester. A federal judge ordered the stickers removed after six parents filed a suit saying the disclaimers violated the principle of the separation of church and state. The stickers read: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered."

Nothing in that statement relates to religion. It is only a disclaimer noting the theoretical nature of evolution as the explanation for how it all began, and the advice to keep one’s mind open on the subject. How can that be offensive to anyone?

Many scientists assert that the theory of evolution is THE explanation for how it all began. Yet the theory of evolution contains gaps that science cannot fill with fact. As leading evolutionist and paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould stated: "All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups are characteristically abrupt. The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life's history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study."

Mr. Gould is one scientist who will shoot straight about the uncertainty of this particular scientific theory, but more than a few do not shoot straight. Scientists like to consider scientific matters in a science vacuum. That is to say that anything that is not science is not allowed in a discussion of science. Thus, even though science has been unable to fill in the gaps in its theory of the origin of the universe, creationism cannot be part of that discussion because it is not a legitimate scientific subject. Having so handily disposed of the only other broadly accepted hypothesis for how it all began, scientists then crow that evolution is, indeed, the true story.

Some evolutionists get apoplectic when it is pointed out to them that because science has not been able to conclusively prove its case on “evolution,” evolution and creationism are equally possible: Neither can be absolutely proven; neither can be absolutely disproved. The scientific community is unable to conceive that science, despite its failure to close these gaps with provable evidence, could be wrong. Arrogance replaces searching for answers.

So, while it is true that creationism is not a science, the story that science peddles is riddled with holes. How the universe began is a legitimate and important area of study for public school students. Why, then, do we allow one “theory” on that subject to be taught, but not the other? Why do we teach as truth a theory than can’t be proven?

It's a day to thank Harry Truman again

by Wesley Pruden

August 5, 2005

Sixty years ago tomorrow "the Enola Gay," a shiny new B-29 with a bomb named Little Boy in its bay, lifted off the runway on tiny Tinian island and settled on a course for Hiroshima. History wrote finis to its most destructive war with the dawn of the nuclear age six hours later.

Hundreds of thousands of American soldiers, sailors and Marines, along with millions of their wives, parents, sons and daughters back home, celebrated their great, good and unexpected fortune at having cheated death, the appointment in Samarra, lying in wait on the beaches of the Japanese home islands.

A second bomb for Nagasaki three days later sealed victory for civilization.

But before anyone could beat a sword into a plowshare the euphoria of triumph and the hymns of gratitude gave way to voices of doubt, shame and guilt. The Japanese warlords and the men and women who followed them to a national grave became the innocents, the victims of the war they imposed on the world. The Americans of Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and the Bataan Death March were rendered evil. This would be the message for the next half century from the faculty lounges, the churches of the empty pews and the preachers with nothing to say, the newsrooms of the elite media and the covens of the degenerate left, ever eager for an occasion to despise themselves.

"Most writers have looked to the ashes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to find the answers for the use of those atomic weapons," Col. Paul Tibbets, who commanded Enola Gay, recalled 50 years later when the Smithsonian proposed to observe the anniversary with a malignantly goofy exhibit of manufactured history. "The real answers lay in thousands of graves, from Pearl Harbor around the world to Normandy, and back again."

A Gallup Poll taken on the occasion of that anniversary a decade ago found that Americans who had lived through the war agreed that President Truman, a decisive man who never imagined he was dealing with a religion of peace, only did what he had to do. He never looked back; 20 years on he said he would do it again. Ironically (though the irony went largely unappreciated), only young Americans, many of whom would never have been born if he hadn't dropped the bomb, said the 32nd president made the "wrong," even "immoral," decision.

The academic critics call the Truman decision wrong, or worse, on three counts: that Japan was already beaten, that Japan was trying to surrender by late summer of 1945, and that Mr. Truman knew all this and dropped the bomb anyway to intimidate the Russians. These arguments were made at the time, and Harry Truman, never a shrinking flower when someone accused him of bad judgment, curiously never defended his decision.

Now, six decades later, we know why. Newly opened archives of radio intercepts of messages between Tokyo and its diplomats abroad, which President Truman was sworn never to talk about, ever, reveal that the Japanese generals and their emperor did not consider themselves defeated. Some of these intercepts were conversations between Tokyo and diplomatic officials of U.S. allies. They reveal that even if Washington agreed to preserve the emperor that Japan regarded as "divine" there was no likelihood that Japan was ready to cry uncle.

The conversations between President Truman and his service chiefs further reveal, as historian Richard B. Frank writes in the current Weekly Standard magazine, that the Army and Navy were at bitter odds over whether the Japanese home islands should or could be invaded. The Army said yes. The Navy, having taken casualties at Okinawa in April and May that exceeded those in the Normandy landings, said no, a naval blockade and ship-to-shore bombardment was the way to go.

"Finally," he writes, "thanks to radio intelligence, American leaders, far from knowing that peace was at hand, understood ... that 'until the Japanese leaders realize that an invasion [of the home islands] can not be repelled, there is little likelihood that they will accept any peace terms satisfactory to the Allies.'?"

We were a different America then. No one apologized for a survival strategy of "whatever it takes." It's difficult to imagine Harry Truman bothering to argue with aides over what to name the war. Little Boy was the inevitable answer to the Axis challenge: "You want a war? We'll give you one." We can thank the man from Missouri for that.

Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Times.