Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Two items in the news right now cross the boundaries of “sensible” and enter into the realm of “dopiness.”

The first involves a young Jewish man, Stanislav Shmulevich, who as a college student became upset with a group of Muslim students who had made anti-Semitic remarks in a dispute between members of the two religions. You will not read what the Muslim students did in most news accounts, by the way. The Jewish student has been charged with hate crimes for putting the Quran in a toilet on two occasions.

I am opposed to hate crimes as a matter of principle, and this case is as good an illustration of why as any. Did Shmulevich commit acts of mischief? Absolutely. Should he be charged with some crime for what he did? Maybe. Is he guilty of a hate crime? Not by any reasonable standard.

No one was killed or even injured by the act of putting the Quran in a toilet, so whether it was “hate” or just “anger” that motivated Shulevich we can only guess.

But that is the problem with hate crimes: they punish thought by making the punishment for crimes more severe if the perpetrator hates the victim. In the United States I am free to love or hate anything or anyone I please. And if I commit a crime against someone I hate—for example, if I beat some guy senseless with a baseball bat—why is it a worse crime because I dislike him? It isn’t, of course. Whatever hate I may feel for the guy didn’t make his injuries worse, The fact is that I committed criminal assault, and that is all that matters. Hate crimes are one of the odious results of political correctness that belongs on the trash heap of history, and the sooner, the better.

We have all likely read or heard about the tragic story of the news crews that died when their helicopters crashed into each other while they were following a police chase in Phoenix, Arizona a few days ago. There is consideration of charging the man the police were chasing with manslaughter in the deaths of the news crew members.

Now, the guy should not have been eluding police, of course, and in doing so he certainly put at risk of death or injury those who had the misfortune to be in his path. But to assert that by running from police he is somehow responsible for the pilot error that most certainly caused the crash is absurd. No one forced those news crews to follow the police chase; news crews are not compelled by any authority to do that, and they certainly are not compelled to put themselves at risk to cover the news. That is a conscious decision of the pilots, the reporters and their editors.

These examples of over-reaching by our legal system represent the most serious threat to our individual freedoms, for if thought can be punished, and if people can be held responsible for the actions of others over whom they have no control, we are all at serious risk.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Blogs, Bloggers, Blogging

September 28, 2004 was the first post on Observations, at least on the Blogger version of Observations. It wasn’t quite my first post on a blog of my own, but the earliest effort was abandoned pretty quickly, and I’m certain there was a good reason for doing that, I just don’t remember what it was.

Being not too far from the third anniversary of my widely unread scribblings, I have begun thinking back over those years, going back and reviewing the early posts and how the site has evolved. I note that I posted three columns/articles on Day 1 and one on Day 2. I note further that no one commented on any of those. On October there were two comments on a short piece titled, “Terrorists Getting Desperate?” that were removed by me, indicating that they were SPAM comments. The first actual comment came the next day on a post titled, “The Debate – First Reactions,” as the election neared. The post was signed “Anonymous,” but I know the poster, and later on he began to use the pen name “The Windjammer.”

The next real comment came from someone who identified himself as “h~” that took issue with my position on Iraq war protests. After that I had comments from Conservative White Chick, Huston (with whom I established a decent, though short-lived blog relationship), Buffalo, Mr. Paw, Kenna Amos and JL Pagano before amassing a fairly long list of people that came and went, and a few that still visit, like Nuri, Brad, Steve, Lord Nazh, jules, Winfred Mann, the Kashmiri Nomad, Texas Fred, and a few others that drop by less often such as Kat, Leo.

I really look forward to comments and place a high value on the ones I receive, using that as a guage of how the blog is doing, although I know that some readers won’t leave a comment.

Of all of those commenters, as loyal as some were and are, the comment on October 16 by Buffalo is quite significant, for it was the start of a blogging relationship that endures to this day. Buff and I have little in common and agree on even less, but we have maintained a cordial and mutually respectful blogging friendship through the years.

Blogs are interesting things. Mine has evolved through various incarnations in appearance, with changes in type style and color, and some HTML modifications, the addition of photographs and an occasional video, and the putting up and removing of content items, like the photograph in the header taken from a mountain top overlooking my hometown. At one point I posted a thought for the week, which is a feature from my own weekly newspaper from a few years ago, and I also used to put up a weekly Bible verse, a feature of both my great grandfather’s daily newspaper, and my weekly.

I had Google AdSense ads on the site, hoping to maybe make a little money. I learned that it takes a lot more time and effort to produce a site that attracts enough readers to make money than I had available, however.

I replaced the Blogger comment feature with Haloscan’s, because it has more features and fewer problems, I added Technorati tags, and joined a few traffic-building activities along the way. I still keep playing with the code, adding links and such when the spirit moves me to do so, and I guess I always will.

Periodically I’ll post a list of places where readers call home. It’s truly amazing all the different countries that readers of Observations live in, like Australia, Britain, Ireland, Thailand, Canada, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Japan, Malaysia, Columbia, France, and, of course, the U.S., to name several.

Most of the folks that I met on Observations have moved on to other activities, having found blogging a temporary diversion. That’s too bad; if they’d hung around, I’d have a pretty healthy list of devoted readers (and commenters), but that’s the way it goes, I guess.

Like most of us, I have periods where the words just won’t come, or nothing moves me enough to write about it, and sometimes I get busy with life and abandon the site for a few days. But I plan to keep plugging away, hoping that a few people will like something they read here, or maybe learn something, or, best of all, be persuaded by something I have written.

Thanks to all of you who take the time to visit and participate in the discussion, and I hope you will continue to grace Observations with your presence.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Short Subjects

On Wars

Pope Benedict XVI recently called for an end to all wars, describing them as "useless slaughters" that bring hell to Earth, and harkening back some 90 years when his predecessor Pope Benedict XV urged a similar end to the World War I, then ravaging northern Italy.

"While this inhuman conflict raged,” Benedict XVI said, “the pope had the courage to affirm that it was a 'useless slaughter.' … "From this place of peace, where one still senses how unacceptable the horrors of 'useless slaughters' are, I renew the appeal to pursue the path of rights, to strongly refuse the recourse to weapons and refuse to confront new situations with old systems," he said. And he reminded us that God put man on Earth to take care of his "paradise," but that man sinned and began making war.

As wonderful as the world might be if wars were a thing of the past, expecting human beings to forego those motives that drive nations and factions to fight against one another is a pipe dream, without, as the Pope said, an allegiance to a higher power than mere mortal men. However, when believers in one deity think that wiping those who believe in a different deity from the face of the Earth, prospects for ending wars are dim at best.


Here is some apparent good news, courtesy of The New Zealand Press: “Popular support for suicide bombings has dropped sharply across the Muslim world in what could suggest a rejection of Islamist militant tactics among Muslims, a global survey released yesterday said.”

Nearly six years after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, the Pew organization found dwindling support for suicide bombings in seven of eight Muslim countries since 2002.

In Lebanon, the number of Muslims who say suicide attacks are often or sometimes justified fell from 74 per cent to 34 per cent. In Pakistan, support for suicide bombings dropped to 9 per cent from 33 per cent in 2002. Likewise, among Muslims in Bangladesh and Indonesia, support for suicide bombing as a tactic in defense of Islam is down by at least half. But support for suicide attacks remained at a high 70 per cent among Palestinians.

The 2007 Pew Global Attitudes survey, based on polling data from 47 countries, also showed waning confidence in al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden among Muslims. Confidence in bin Laden as a world leader was lower in seven Muslim countries, led by Jordan, where support for the al Qaeda leader dropped from 56 per cent in 2003 to 20 percent.

But, as if to remind us that the Muslim world is still a unique place, the poll results showed that the United States is viewed as the biggest threat by a majority of Muslims.

Well, you can’t expect everything all at once. If a majority of Muslims opposes suicide bombings, that’s enough for one week.

Media One-Sidedness on Economic Issues Continues

Since January the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up eight percent, and just roared through the historic 13,000 barrier recently. Further, the Dow is bumping up against 14,ooo, another historic mark, and not all that long after it crossed 13k.

That the U.S. has a strong economy is hardly worth debating, unless you are the mainstream American media, which is eternally pessimistic, and continually focused on negatives. You hear, read and see little about the good economy, but when the Dow Jones Industrials take a hit, everybody’s suddenly not just talking about it, it’s what keeps them alive.

In February the Dow lost 400 points, and just this week it has had two down days, one losing more than 300 points, and today dropping another 200. You might think the world was coming to an end, or that all those dire warnings of global catastrophe due to greenhouses were coming to be, if you paid attention to the media reports.

But it’s far less serious than you think. Consider it just on the numbers, and think about it as if the Dow Industrial Average was a dollar. When January began, your dollar was worth 100 cents. The 400-point drop put it down to about 97 cents. And two days ago it was worth 108 cents. Today, it still worth 104.4 cents. Hardly reason to get too upset.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy remains strong overall, despite some weakening in the housing market.

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Friday Rant

There is no political leader that I totally agree with, I’ve found, but there are some that I either agree with most of the time, or agree with generally and therefore support. George Bush is one in the latter category; I generally agree with him and support his presidency.

However, if things keep going the way they are, by the time his term ends I may not support him at all.

To start with, I support Mr. Bush on the war on terror, even on the warrant-less surveillance program, and I support going into Iraq, despite the valiant efforts of the history rewriters who try to make us believe that it really wasn’t the case that nearly everyone believed Saddam Hussein had WMD, and that widely held position was underscored by SH’s continual defiance of UN resolutions and inspections.

And, I support the President for commuting Lewis Libby’s jail sentence, as Libby most likely did nothing wrong at all, and if he did, it had no effect on anything. But this is where my support for Mr. Bush begins to slide. He should just pardon Libby, and let it be known that he won’t stand for politicizing the legal process and for witch hunting. Attention Mr. Bush: The next target is Alberto Gonzalez.

I have never bought into the “big government conservatism” concept, so here is one large area of disagreement. Conservatives believe that the smaller the government, and the less intrusive the government, the better. Far too much money is being spent on government, and it isn’t any more acceptable because a Republican/conservative is.

And I’m thoroughly disgusted with Bush administration’s idiotic position on illegal aliens and failing to strengthen border security, which is the second major area of disagreement, and right now is the most important one. That he hasn’t pardoned the two Border Patrol agents is only fuels an already smoldering fire.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Environmental Elitism

When you cook, travel, bathe, heat your home and a long list of everyday activities, you are contributing to the pollution of the atmosphere, we are told by the environmentalist nannies. Dumping leftovers from burning carbon-based fuels heats up Earth’s atmosphere to dangerous levels, and promises to unleash untold horrible future catastrophes that will make the planet uninhabitable.

If we accept this theory as fact, then what we ought to do is to stop burning carbon-based fuels as soon as possible; no more oil, gasoline or diesel; no more wood or coal; no more natural gas, et al. And, even though it doesn’t produce greenhouse gases like the foregoing sources do, no more nuclear, either. We should focus our intellect and money on developing non-polluting forms of energy such as wind, solar and hydropower.

And proponents of non-polluting energy sources, and opponents of fossil fuels and other pollution-causing forms of energy, should lead by example. Such climate experts as Sheryl Crowe, Madonna, Melissa Etheridge, Sting, Snoop Dog, and Al Gore, tell us how critical it is to stop dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as they live in their mansions and flit about the globe in their private jets “spreading the gospel” to the infidels who don’t want to abandon their lifestyle on the say-so of mere celebrities and an unsuccessful presidential candidate. By way of example, Gore’s Tennessee home devoured nearly 221,000 kWh in a single year—more than 20 times the national average, and more in one month than the average American home uses in a year.

But it’s okay for the high priests of environmentalism to live outside the boundaries they expect others to observe, because the work they do is so important, don’tcha know? And besides, even if they are responsible for greater-than-average energy consumption, it’s okay because they purchase carbon offsets.

Carbon offsets are a neat little cheat device that allows a person to continue their comfortable lifestyle by funding someone else to cut back on their polluting activities. You don’t cut back; someone else does, and that computes to an overall reduction in carbon emissions, as the story goes. All that is required is that the person who doesn’t want to cut his carbon usage pays a nominal fee for the privilege, which enables them to continue living with a clear conscience. “We’ll conserve so you don’t have to,” might be the motto of the carbon-offset industry.

George Monbiot, an English environmentalist and writer, disagrees with the principle of carbon offsets, and has compared this practice to purchasing indulgences during the Middle Ages, whereby people believed they could purchase forgiveness for their sins, instead of actually repenting and sinning no more. He also says that carbon offsets are an excuse for business as usual with regards to pollution.

And, a program on a local TV station in Britain entitled "The Great Green Smoke Screen" showed academics and environmentalists questioning the ethics and impact of offsetting - and suggested that offsetting schemes have not been effective as claimed. Others are concerned that using carbon offsets actually increases demand for polluting sources of power, since overall power consumption is not being reduced.

But, friends, the old maxim is still true today: What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. And the environmental elitists need to understand that if they are going to be taken seriously, they have lead by example.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Reviving the Fairness Doctrine

Originating in 1949 and formalized by the Federal Communications Commission in 1967, the Fairness Doctrine sought to assure that broadcast licensees controlling a limited number of broadcast stations presented a balanced view on important issues. Back in 1949, Americans got their news from newspapers, and a fair number of AM stations, but there was a limited number of TV stations and a handful of FM stations on the air, and since there was a limited number of broadcast entities, the federal government wanted to assure that there was a balance of views on the public’s airwaves. In 1949, and later in 1967, the relatively limited access to information from broadcast sources might have justified the Fairness Doctrine, however, things have changed dramatically since then.

Today we have more than 1,300 television broadcast stations; five thousand AM radio stations; more than four thousand FM radio stations, the vast majority of which didn’t exist in 1949 and were just developing and not in large numbers in 1967; we have abundant non-broadcast TV channels like MSNBC, CNN, CNBC and Fox; we have satellite radio, and we have the Internet. The number of available information sources has increased exponentially since the Fairness Doctrine sought to assure balance in broadcasting. With the profusion of information sources, whether broadcast sources present a balanced view today is far less important than it was 40 or 60 years ago.

Supporters of reinstating the Fairness Doctrine claim to want to assure balance, but curiously they aren’t concerned with restoring balance in television network news, where that is a decided and undeniable Leftward tilt. No, what they want is to balance talk radio, a medium that developed and evolved through a trial and error process that responded to market forces. When AM radio moved into the talk genre, listeners decided they prefer conservative hosts, so talk radio has become a conservative medium. So now liberals, who were unable to earn market share with hosts that the listening public wanted to hear, now want the FCC to dictate that talk radio stations provide as much air time to liberals, who don’t have advertiser support, as they provide to conservatives, who do have advertiser support. They want the government to do for them what they have been unable to do for themselves.

That is typical of liberals, who repeatedly want government to solve their problems for them, to give them what they are incapable of earning for them selves through honest means. Let us hope that there are enough fair-minded lawmakers in Congress that oppose this odious power grab, and save liberals from another humiliating display of government dependency.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

22 Ways To Be A Good Democrat

ere’s another of those unsolicited emails that is worth reading. Like most of the things like this, it isn’t totally accurate, but there is more than a grain of truth in it.

1. You are against capital punishment, but support abortion on demand.

2. You believe that businesses create depressions and governments create prosperity.

3. You believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than Nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Iranians and North Korean communists.

4. You believe that there was no art before Federal funding.

5. You believe that global temperatures are less affected by cyclical documented changes in the earth's climate and more affected by soccer moms driving SUV's.

6. You believe that gender roles are artificial but being homosexual is natural.

7. You believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding.

8. You believe that the same teacher who can't teach fourth graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.

9. You believe that hunters don't care about nature, but loony activists who have never been outside of San Francisco or Portland do.

10. You believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.

11. You believe that Mel Gibson spent $25 million of his own money to make "The Passion of the Christ" for financial gain only.

12. You believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.

13. You believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.

14. You believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, and A.G. Bell.

15. You believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not.

17. You believe that the only reason socialism hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried is because the right people haven't been in charge.

18. You believe conservatives telling the truth belong in jail, but a liar and a sex offender belonged in the White House.

19. You believe that homosexual parades displaying transvestites in drag and bestiality should be constitutionally protected, and manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal.

20. You believe that illegal Democrat Party funding by the Chinese

Government is somehow in the best interest to the United States.

21. You believe that this message is a part of a vast, right wing conspiracy.

22. You believe that it's okay to give Federal workers the day off on Christmas Day but it's not okay to say "Merry Christmas."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Terror Alert

There has been a lot of concern lately about the potential for a terrorist attack on U.S. soil in the near future, perhaps this summer. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has been criticized for the comment recently that he had a bad feeling about the potential for a terrorist attack before long, with critics complaining that he should not talk about “feelings” when national security is at stake. Others, however, have said that his comment was very effective at raising concerns without scaring people to death. Just a little research reveals a number of terrorism and national security authorities that believe an attack on the U.S. is likely, and that is reason enough for the rest of us to pay close attention to what these people are saying.

The rest of us must hope that opposition to the Bush administration’s efforts to discover terrorist plots before they are activated do not prevent the foiling of a terrorist act. However, we also should be thinking about how the U.S. will respond if terrorists succeed in killing innocent Americans.

The terrorists planning to attack us are savage Muslim barbarians, primarily from the Middle East, that are under the spell of the coward bin Laden, hiding in the hills and caves of the Middle East, and having brainwashed minions carry out his dirty work while he remains safe and warm. These miscreants are willing to kill innocent people, including fellow Muslims and themselves, in the name of Islam, or for their own narrow political purposes disguised as Islam.

We can’t just throw up our hands and say, “Oh, well, maybe we can stop them next time.” We cannot very well make a point against barbarians by complaining to the UN, or apologizing to al Qaeda and the Muslim extremists, can we? Playing fair against terrorists is an exercise in futility, foolhardiness and idiocy. So what do we do? Some who have not thought about it very much will renew the foolish and pointless call to withdraw from Iraq. But, that will not work, because Iraq it is not what has the savages wanting to kill us.

If terrorists succeed in setting off a small nuclear device, a dirty bomb, or a biological or chemical weapon in the U.S., the United States must use nuclear weapons to take out portions of three or four Middle Eastern nations that are home to terrorism. Maybe that would include more than four nations, so maybe we drop nuclear bombs on five, six, seven or more.

Is that a harsh prescription? Perhaps it is. But, ask yourself whether that is harsher than a nuclear or chemical or biological weapon being set off inside our borders? I don’t think so and, more importantly, I don’t care. I’ve had it with the U.S. being expected to treat murderers better than they treat their victims. Turning the other cheek hasn’t worked. It is not “humane”; it is not the “honorable” way. It is stupid, and does not gain us anything other than the scorn of the very enemies who want to kill us, and it will confirm to them that we are weak.

If the United States is going to be the target of barbaric murderers, the places those murderers and their families live are fair game. Maybe the fiery deaths of a few million Muslims will get the attention of bin Laden and the other cowards who head up the Islamic jihad movement. Maybe if they understand that the Middle East may become a giant fireball, that we are as indiscriminate in taking lives as they are, they will think twice about attacking us.

And if not, we will substantially reduce the number of potential Muslim terrorists.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Dirty Face of Immigration

Police in Tacoma Washington and FBI agents found the body of a 12-year-old girl who was snatched from an alley behind her house during a July 4 fireworks celebration.

Information provided by a man in custody on an immigration complaint led police and FBI agents to an undisclosed location where they found Zina Linnik's body.

Police now have a suspect in the death, and while the man is innocent until proved guilty in a court of law, circumstances certainly point to his guilt, as a vehicle fitting the description of the suspect’s van was spotted in the area at the time the girl was abducted, and girl’s undergarments were found where he was living.

The suspect is Terapon Adhahn, 42, and guess what? He is a Thai immigrant who was convicted of incest in 1990. He also has been charged with failing to register as a sex offender. The incest conviction makes Adhahn eligible for deportation. If convicted, Adhahn should be executed.

Not too long ago an illegal Mexican alien killed two teenaged girls in Virginia Beach, Virginia, when in a drunken stupor his car crashed into theirs. This bozo had been arrested numerous times for being drunk and other infractions. If convicted, he, too, should be executed.

So, friends, all of this begs the question: What is wrong in the United States when people who are in this country illegally are arrested numerous times and are allowed to remain here, and when a legal immigrant is convicted of a crime that should have resulted in his deportation is allowed to remain here? Another question: How do the defenders of our asinine policies regarding aliens/immigrants who break our laws justify allowing these miscreants to remain here to prey on our citizens?

These soft-headed people don’t apparently care who we let in to our country, or what horrible things they do.

And perhaps more on point, why does the federal government continue to shirk its responsibilities on immigration, which is one of only a few legitimate functions of the federal government.

We simply have got to demand changes, and we have to do it NOW. The local, state and federal officials who fail to jail and/or deport criminal immigrants, legal or not, should be prosecuted and put in jail. Maybe that would get the point across.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

You Worry Me

Isn’t email a fascinating thing? On the same day, right next to each other can be one email that is totally useless and one that if quite profound. One of those sent to me today by my cousin Mike fits into the latter category.

I don’t know if it was really written by an American Airlines pilot or not, as the message said it was; I can’t verify its authenticity. But it has been floating around since 2002, and the message is valid and worthy of a couple of minutes of your time. It expresses sentiments that many of us, perhaps most of us, have felt at least once in a while.

The newspaper stated today that some Muslim doctor is saying we are profiling him because he has been checked three times while getting on an airplane.

The following is a letter from a pilot. This well-spoken man, who is a pilot with American Airlines, says what is in his heart, beautifully.

"You Worry Me!"

By an American Airlines pilot

I've been trying to say this since 9-11, but you worry me. I wish you didn't. I wish when I walked down the streets of this country that I love, that your color and culture still blended with the beautiful human landscape we enjoy in this country.

But you don't blend in anymore. I notice you, and it worries me. I notice you because I can't help it anymore. People from your homelands, professing to be Muslims, have been attacking and killing my fellow citizens and our friends for more than 20 years now. I don't fully understand their grievances and hate, but I know that nothing can justify the inhumanity of their attacks.

On September 11, nineteen ARAB-MUSLIMS hijacked four jetliners in my country. They cut the throats of women in front of children and brutally stabbed to death others. They took control of those planes and crashed them into buildings killing thousands of proud fathers, loving sons, wise grandparents, elegant daughters, best friends, favorite coaches, fearless public servants, and children's mothers.

The Palestinians Celebrated, the Iraqis were overjoyed as was most of the Arab world. So, I notice you now. I don't want to be worried. I don't want to be consumed by the same rage and hate and prejudice that have destroyed the soul of these terrorists. But I need your help. As a rational American, trying to protect my country and family in an irrational and unsafe world, I must know how to tell the difference between you, and the Arab/Muslim terrorist.

How do I differentiate between the true Arab / Muslim-Americans and the Arab Muslim terrorists in our communities who are attending our schools, enjoying our parks, and living in OUR communities under the protection of OUR constitution, while they plot the next attack that will slaughter these same good neighbors and children?

The events of September 11th changed the answer. It is not my responsibility to determine which of you embraces our great country, with ALL of its religions, with ALL of its different citizens, with all of its faults. It is time for every Arab/Muslim in this country to determine it for me.

I want to know, I demand to know, and I have a right to know, whether or not you love America? Do you pledge allegiance to its flag? Do you proudly display it in front of your house, or on your car? Do you pray in your many daily prayers that Allah will bless this nation, that He will protect and prosper it? Or do you pray that Allah will destroy it in one of your Jihads? Are you thankful for the freedom that only this nation affords? A freedom that was paid for by the blood of hundreds of thousands of patriots who gave their lives for this country? Are you willing to preserve this freedom by also paying the ultimate sacrifice? Do you love America?

If this is your commitment, then I need YOU to start letting ME know about

it. Your Muslim leaders in this nation should be flooding the media at this time with hard facts on your faith, and what hard actions you are taking as a community and as a religion to protect the United States of America.

Please, no more benign overtures of regret for the death of the innocent because I worry about who you regard as innocent. No more benign overtures of condemnation for the unprovoked attacks because I worry about what is unprovoked to you. I am not interested in any more sympathy. I am only interested in action.

What will you do for America - our great country - at this time of crisis, at this time of war?

I want to see Arab-Muslims waving the AMERICAN flag in the streets. I want to hear you chanting "Allah Bless America " I want to see young Arab/Muslim men enlisting in the military. I want to see a commitment of money, time, and emotion to the victims of this butchering and to this nation as a whole.

The FBI has a list of over 400 people they want to talk to regarding the WTC attack. Many of these people live and socialize right now in Muslim communities. You know them. You know where they are. Hand them over to us, now! But I have seen little even approaching this sort of action. Instead I have seen an already closed and secretive community close even tighter. You have disappeared from the streets. You have posted armed security guards at your facilities. You have threatened lawsuits. You have screamed for protection from reprisals. The very few Arab/Muslim representatives that HAVE appeared in the media were defensive and equivocating.

They seemed more concerned with making sure that the United States proves who was responsible before taking action. They seemed more concerned with protecting their fellow Muslims from violence directed towards them in the United States and abroad than they did with supporting our country and denouncing "leaders" like Khadafi, Hussein, Farrakhan, and Arafat.

If the true teachings of Islam proclaim tolerance and peace and love for all people, then I want chapter and verse from the Koran and statements from popular Muslim leaders to back it up. What good is it if the teachings in the Koran are good, and pure, and true, when your "leaders" are teaching fanatical interpretations, terrorism, and intolerance?

It matters little how good Islam SHOULD BE if huge numbers of the world's Muslims interpret the teachings of Mohammed incorrectly and adhere to a degenerative form of the religion that has been demonstrated to us over and over again, a form whose structure is built upon a foundation of violence, death, and suicide and whose members are recruited from the prisons around the world. A form whose members (some as young as five years old) are seen day after day, week in and week out, year after a year, marching in the streets around the world, burning effigies of our presidents, burning the American flag, shooting weapons into the air. A form whose members convert from a peaceful religion, only to take up arms against the great United States of America, the country of their birth. A form whose rules are so twisted, that their traveling members refuse to show their faces at airport security checkpoints, in the name of Islam.

We will NEVER allow the attacks of September 11, or any others for that matter, to take away that which is so precious to us: Our rights under the greatest constitution in the world.

I want to know where every Arab Muslim in this country stands and I think it is my right and the right of every true citizen of this country to demand it. A right paid for by the blood of thousands of my brothers and sisters who died protecting the very constitution that is protecting you and your family. I am pleading with you to let me know.

I want you here as my brother, my neighbor, my friend, as a fellow American.

But there can be no gray areas or ambivalence regarding your allegiance and it is up to YOU, to show ME, where YOU stand. Until then, "YOU WORRY ME!"

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Walter Williams Sees Immigration Issue Clearly

Editor's Note: Columnist Walter Williams' latest column puts immigration in plain language, and that is a refreshing change.

President Bush and his pro-amnesty allies both in and out of Congress suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of the American people. Like any other public controversy, there are vested interests served on both sides of the amnesty issue, but I'd like to raise some ordinary non-rocket-science questions to the pro-amnesty crowd, many of whom are my libertarian friends.

Do people, anywhere in the world, have a right to enter the United States irrespective of our laws pertaining to immigration? Unless one wishes to obfuscate, there's a simple "yes" or "no" answer to that question. If a "yes" answer is given, then why should there be any immigration requirements, such as visas, passports and green cards, for anyone who wishes to visit or reside in our country? Why not abolish the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services?

If your answer is "no," one does not have a right to enter the U.S. irrespective of our laws, what does that make a person who does so? Most often we call a person whose behavior violates a law a criminal. If people commit criminal acts, should there be an effort to apprehend and punish them? In general, my answer is yes, with one important exception.

I was summoned for jury duty some years ago, and during voir dire, the attorney asked me whether I could obey the judge's instructions. I answered, "It all depends upon what those instructions are." Irritatingly, the judge asked me to explain myself. I explained that if I were on a jury back in the 1850s, and a person was on trial for violating the Fugitive Slave Act by assisting a runaway slave, I would vote for acquittal regardless of the judge's instructions. The reason is that slavery is unjust and any law supporting it is unjust. Needless to say, I was dismissed from jury duty. While our immigration laws are overly cumbersome and in urgent need of streamlining, they do not violate human rights and should be obeyed.

Many pro-amnesty supporters offer the canard that there are 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants in our country. We cannot keep every illegal immigrant out or expel the ones living here. That might be true, but it is also true that we can't prevent every rape and murder. Does that mean we shouldn't attempt to enforce the laws against rape and murder and try to prosecute the perpetrators?

In addition to greater efforts to secure our borders, there are several non-rocket-science steps we can take. People who are here illegally should be denied access to any social service such as Medicaid, public education and food assistance programs. An exception might be made for temporary emergency medical treatment. In some cities, such as Los Angeles, police are prohibited from asking people they stop about their immigration status. While state and local police shouldn't be turned into federal agents, they shouldn't knowingly conceal criminal acts.

The United States is a nation of immigrants from all over the world. The resulting ethnic mosaic goes a long way toward explaining our greatness as a nation. Immigration has always been a blessing for us, and it still is. But yesteryear's immigration and today's differ in several important respects. For the most part, yesteryear's immigrants came here legally. Because there was no welfare state, we were guaranteed that they'd work as opposed to living off the rest of us. Furthermore, they sought to assimilate and adopt our culture and become Americans. That's not so true today, where Hispanic activists seek to impose their language and culture on the rest of us. At some public schools, they've raised the Mexico flag atop the U.S. flag. They've announced that they seek to take back parts of the U.S. that were formerly Mexico.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Wisdom of Thomas Sowell

I have great admiration for Dr. Thomas Sowell. He is brilliant,

successful and has a way with words. He writes conventional columns most of the time, but occasionally he imparts his wisdom to us with “random thoughts on the passing scene,” excerpts from which follow:

Whenever I hear terrorists referred to in the media as "militants," it is a painful reminder that we have degenerated to the point where we no longer even have the courage to talk straight.

Does anybody seriously believe that "hate speech" prohibitions will be applied to Muslims demonizing Jews, to blacks demonizing whites, or to women demonizing men?

Few things are more scary than the number of people who rely on talking points, instead of weighing serious issues in a serious way.

The same people who think it was wonderful that the Warren Court forbad government to assign children to schools on the basis of race think it is terrible that the current Supreme Court has recently stopped local governments from assigning children to schools on the basis of race.

In politics, there are few skills more richly rewarded than the ability to misstate issues in a way that will sound plausible and attractive.

"Nations are like men in that they prefer a fuss made in their behalf to real services rendered." Although de Tocqueville said this back in the 19th century, it may help explain why the black vote today is so overwhelmingly for the Democrats, when Democrats have done so little good for blacks and so much harm.

In contrast with today's senators who try to get every Supreme Court nominee to pledge allegiance to Roe v. Wade, when Abraham Lincoln was considering nominees to that court, he said, "we cannot ask a man what he will do, and if we should, and he should answer us, we should despise him for it."

If the Democrats' presidential and vice-presidential candidates next year are Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, most of the mainstream media will just gush at the image and the rhetoric of a woman and a minority -- and specific issues and track records will fade into the background.

A month doesn't go by without several offers to lend me money arriving in the mail. Where were these people when I was broke?

Many people who have never held a firearm in their hands are nevertheless convinced that the police fired too many shots in a confrontation with a criminal.

Many people who have never run one business for one day are nevertheless confident that they know corporate CEOs are not worth as much as they are paid.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Is “Live Earth” and Similar Behavior Acutally Killing the Earth?

The recent series of environmental awareness concerts called “Live Earth” has generated a lot of interest. Supporters treat it as the Second Coming, while opponents think it is a great example of hypocrisy on the issues of global warming and energy conservation.

How,” opponents ask, “is it saving energy to fly musicians and other luminaries to concert locations all over the world in private jets to encourage people to use less environmentally harmful energy?” One common answer from those who flew around the world is that they “offset” their trip.

What the heck does that mean, anyway? Here is the explanation of “carbon offsetting” from

What Are Carbon Offsets

"Carbon offsets are relatively simple. We all are responsible for carbon dioxide emissions through the use of energy: driving, heating and cooling our homes, watching TV, etc.

“Carbon offsetting is the act of reducing an equal amount of carbon somewhere else to counterbalance the carbon emissions from your energy-using activities (called your ‘carbon footprint’).”

“While most people can reduce their energy use by improving the efficiency of their homes, buying cars that get better gas mileage and making other changes, which we strongly support, reducing it to zero through individual actions is nearly impossible. Carbon offsets are a cost effective way to reduce the remainder of one’s climate footprint.”

The site also offers this: “It’s good to see the world, but it’s also good to have a world left to see. Our flying is filling the wild blue yonder with more greenhouse gases everyday.

“A roundtrip flight from New York to Los Angeles emits more than 2, 000 lbs. of CO2 – about a third of the amount a hybrid car emits in an entire year! Offset your next flight today!” This you can accomplish for just $6.25. A longer trip of 100,000 miles, dumping 41,750 lbs. of CO2 into the air, can be offset for $104.50.

Okay, let’s review: You are concerned about the environment and you want to do your part to reduce CO2 emissions. But you also have a concert tour to Europe, then to Scandinavia, and then to South Africa, then to Japan and then return to New York, a trip of some 24,000 miles emitting about 18,000 lbs. of CO2 into the environment. You feel guilty about doing this, and you learn that for the additional cost of a measly $20.90 you can pay someone else to forego producing CO2 emissions for you, and you can gad about the globe just like you planned to, guilt free.

This is the sort of sacrifice that the supporters of and participants in “Live Earth” made in order to participate in the concert series. But guess what? There was virtually no “investment” by these participants; they essentially lived life normally, paid a few pennies to purchase carbon offsets, and claimed to be self-sacrificing environmentalists helping to reduce carbon emissions. They paid for someone else to cut back on their carbon usage so they don’t have to, and they get all the glory.

Ain’t liberalism grand?

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What Made Me Me

Long ago and far away,
In a land that time forgot,
Before the days of Dylan,
Or the dawn of Camelot.

There lived a race of innocents,
And they were you and me,
Long ago and far away
In the Land That Made Me Me.

Oh, there was truth and goodness
In that land where we were born,
Where navels were for oranges,
And Peyton Place was porn.

For Ike was in the White House,
And Hoss was on TV,
And God was in His heaven
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We learned to gut a muffler,
We washed our hair at dawn,
We spread our crinolines to dry
In circles on the lawn.

And they could hear us coming
All the way to Tennessee,
All starched and sprayed and rumbling
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We longed for love and romance,
And waited for the prince,
And Eddie Fisher married Liz,
And no one's seen him since.

We danced to "Little Darlin,'"
And sang to "Stagger Lee"
And cried for Buddy Holly
In the Land That Made Me Me.

Only girls wore earrings then,
And three was one too many,
And only boys wore flat-top cuts,
Except for Jean McKinney.

And only in our wildest dreams
Did we expect to see
A boy named George, with Lipstick
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We fell for Frankie Avalon,
Annette was oh, so nice,
And when they made a movie,
They never made it twice.

We didn't have a Star Trek Five,
Or Psycho Two and Three,
Or Rocky-Rambo Twenty
In the Land That Made Me Me.

Miss Kitty had a heart of gold,
And Chester had a limp,
And Reagan was a Democrat
Whose co-star was a chimp.

We had a Mr. Wizard,
But not a Mr. T,
And Oprah couldn't talk, yet
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We had our share of heroes,
We never thought they'd go,
At least not Bobby Darin,
Or Marilyn Monroe.

For youth was still eternal,
And life was yet to be,
And Elvis was forever,
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We'd never seen the rock band
That was Grateful to be Dead,
And Airplanes weren't named Jefferson ,
And Zeppelins weren't Led.

And Beatles lived in gardens then,
And Monkees in a tree,
Madonna was a virgin
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We'd never heard of microwaves,
Or telephones in cars,
And babies might be bottle-fed,
But they weren't grown in jars.

And pumping iron got wrinkles out,
And "gay" meant fancy-free,
And dorms were never co-Ed
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We hadn't seen enough of jets
To talk about the lag,
And microchips were what was left at
The bottom of the bag.

And hardware was a box of nails,
And bytes came from a flea,
And rocket ships were fiction
In the Land That Made Me Me.

Buicks came with portholes,
And side show came with freaks,
And bathing suits came big enough
To cover both your cheeks

And Coke came just in bottles,
And skirts came to the knee,
And Castro came to power
In the Land That Made Me Me.

We had no Crest with Fluoride,
We had no Hill Street Blues,
We all wore superstructure bras
Designed by Howard Hughes.

We had no patterned pantyhose
Or Lipton herbal tea
Or prime-time ads for condoms
In the Land That Made Me Me.

There were no golden arches,
No Perriers to chill,
And fish were not called Wanda,
And cats were not called Bill.

And middle-aged was thirty-five
And old was forty-three,
And ancient was our parents
In the Land That Made Me Me.

But all things have a season,
Or so we've heard them say,
And now instead of Maybelline
We swear by Retin-A.

And they send us invitations
To join AARP,
We've come a long way, baby,
From the Land That Made Me Me.

So now we face a brave new world
In slightly larger jeans,
And wonder why they're using
Smaller print in magazines.

And we tell our children's children
Of the way it used to be,
Long ago, and far away
In the Land That Made Me Me.

~Author unknown~

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Run Cindy, Run

The 2008 elections have held great promise ever since the presidential race got started a year early. For those enamored of the lure of raw politics it couldn’t get much better than an extra year of watching the political machinations of the presidential hopefuls, as they position themselves and batter each other. But hardly anyone, I’d venture, was anticipating this announcement:

Cindy Sheehan said Sunday that she plans to run against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unless Pelosi introduces articles of impeachment against President Bush in the next two weeks. Sheehan, the mother of Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, who was killed in Iraq after reenlisting for a second tour of duty, said she will oppose the San Francisco Democrat in 2008 as an independent if Pelosi does not seek to impeach Bush by July 23. She has been an avid anti-war protester and Bush critic since her son's death.

"Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership," she told The Associated Press. "We hired them to bring an end to the war. I'm not too far from San Francisco, so it wouldn't be too big of a move for me. I would give her a run for her money."

The fifty year-old Sheehan, who recently said that she was leaving the Democratic Party because it "caved" in to the president, said Bush should be impeached because she believes he misled the public about the reasons for going to war, violated the Geneva Convention by torturing detainees, and crossed the line by commuting the prison sentence of former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. She said other grounds for impeachment are the domestic spying program and the "inadequate and tragic" response to Hurricane Katrina.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Here, Here, Wesley

Hardly anyone says it better, and few say it as well as Wesley Pruden, the Washington Times Executive Editor and political columnist. I gave it a try on the same day as Mr. Purden, but fell well short of his mark.

Halfway toward righting a wrong
July 3, 2007
Wesley Pruden

One cheer, but no more than two, for George W. Bush.

He spared Scooter Libby from prison, as decency demanded, but left intact a $250,000 fine, which can only be regarded as tribute to the venality of a special prosecutor and the vanity of a federal judge (both lawyers, after all).

"I respect the jury's verdict," the president said, announcing the clemency. "But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby's sentence that required him to spend 30 months in prison."

What's excessive here is the president's caution. He said the expected things about respecting the jury's verdict and, by implication, the "need" for Mr. Libby to pay the fine and remain on probation. But if the prison sentence was excessive, so is the fine and the probation. The jury and even the court is entitled to respect, but its verdict is not. The verdict was wrong, harsh and vindictive, and in a perfect world the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago, would be cited for misfeasance of office and Judge Reggie Walton would be cited for excessive concern for the professional reputation of a prosecutor watching his ambition about to swirl down a particularly public toilet.

The commutation was all anyone should expect from a Republican president, afflicted, as Republicans invariably are, by extravagant indulgence of daintiness and delicacy. It's in the DNA. By saving Mr. Libby from prison but leaving in place the rest of a sentence reeking of rotten politics, the president enables the destruction of a reputation and the imposition of a cruel fine. If the president set out to redress a miscarriage of justice, the halfway measure of a commutation looks, as his Democratic critics are already saying, like cynical politics. The president's political advisers should have taken to heart the first rule of politicians and philandering husbands: If you're going to be hanged for stealing a goat, you might as well take a sheep.

The baying of the Democratic critics began at once. Barack Obama, decrying, as is his wont, partisanship and divisive politics, rushed out (as is another wont) to practice his talent for divisive partisanship. "This decision to commute the sentence of a man who compromised our national security cements the legacy of an administration characterized by a politics of cynicism and division."

This will be the Democratic mantra. Hillary won't be far behind, and as soon as he can mooch a quarter from the shampoo girl John Edwards will call from the beauty shop, eager to add a tinny voice to the chorus.

Mr. Obama has been having a little trouble lately keeping his stories straight, and unless he is deliberately trying to mislead he got this one wrong, too. If anyone compromised "national security" by "outing" Valerie Plame as Mata Hari, it was not Scooter Libby. The special prosecutor knew all along that it was Richard L. Armitage, another government functionary, who had "outed" Valerie at the CIA, except that she was not really a covert agent, anyway, and even if she had been the law protecting covert agents did not actually apply to her. (Nobody's perfect.)

After spending millions "investigating" a Washington fantasy and searching vainly for a crime, Mr. Fitzgerald had to have something to show. Scooter Libby was standing nearby. Rarely has Washington seen a more brazen railroad job. The judge could have derailed the train; naïve citizens no doubt imagine that such a derailment is a judge's sworn duty, but anyone who has ever spent as much as a day at a courthouse knows how lawyers take care of each other.

George W.'s commutation, and not a pardon, will be taken by the friends who have not deserted him as the work not of a stand-up guy, but a well-meaning halfway-up guy. Fred Thompson was the first to apply the needle. "I have long advocated a pardon," he said last night, "but I respect the president's decision."

Since he has nowhere to go but up, the commutation puts only the president's legacy at risk. With his 29 percent favorability rating George W. had been closing in on Harry Truman's 23 percent, a mark that has stood for more than a half-century. Eclipsing that mark is the only legacy available. Redressing a particularly odious miscarriage of justice, even reluctantly and timidly done, might lift him out of Mr. Truman's neighborhood. Too bad. He coulda been a contender.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bush Action on Libby Is A Positive Step

President Bush, on a long downward slide in the Observations universe for his ham-handed policy on illegal immigration and a few other anti-conservative positions, has rebounded a little by commuting the jail sentence for Louis “Scooter” Libby. Yes, Mr. Bush ought to have given Mr. Libby a clear and unequivocal pardon instead, but at this point in time, I’ll accept trashing the absurd jail term imposed by the trial judge, Reggie Walton, who lacked the grace and good judgment to allow Mr. Libby to remain free while his appeal works its way through the system, as even common thugs and punks and real criminals are most often allowed to. Louis Libby is not, after all, Sandy Burger.

Just to remind readers, Mr. Libby has the remarkable distinction of having been trapped into perjury and obstruction of justice charges in an investigation into a crime that didn’t happen by an over zealous Special Prosecutor determined to put someone in jail, even though no laws had been broken, in order to justify the investigation that cost taxpayers millions of dollars and produced nothing of substance. Yeah, I know: He was convicted by a jury of his peers, and all of that. But remember that just because you are convicted doesn’t mean you are guilty. And if you choose to argue that point, remember all those innocent people that get released from jail when it is finally determined that the prosecutors that charged them and the juries that convicted them were wrong.

And if that doesn’t convince you, if you still are moved by the political rhetoric of the likes of Harry Reid, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, with their righteous indignation, and sanctimonious oratorical drivel, try to objectively consider what Louis Libby actually did. Or didn’t do.

When you take the politics out of the Libby case, he did nothing to warrant even an indictment, let alone a trial, and not even a mention or a thought of a conviction and a sentence.

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