Christian Bias in Military?

Soldier alleges military pattern of Christian bias

An atheist soldier suing over prayers at military formations claims a larger pattern of religious discrimination exists in the military, citing attempts to convert Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan and an evangelical bias in a suicide prevention manual.

The expanded lawsuit filed Monday by Spc. Dustin Chalker and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation in U.S. District Court in Kansas City also claims the military doesn't take complaints of religious discrimination seriously enough.

The Defense Department has identified fewer than 50 complaints about alleged violations of religious freedoms during the past three years, with 1.4 million personnel in uniform, spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said.

She declined to comment on a pending lawsuit but noted that the military has policies against endorsing any religious view.

The revised lawsuit criticizes the Army's 2008 manual on suicide prevention, quoting it as promoting "religiosity" as a necessary part of prevention and describing "connectivity to the divine" as "fundamental."

The lawsuit cites comments from a chaplain and a second soldier in Christian missionary publications about attempts to convert Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the two soldiers' desire to distribute Bibles.

The lawsuit also notes that in 2007, the Air Force sponsored "Team Faith," which performs motocross stunt shows to "lead extreme sports athletes to Christ."

The original lawsuit filed in September alleged Chalker had to attend events at Fort Riley where Christian prayers were given. Foundation president Mikey Weinstein said Chalker tried to pursue his complaints within the Army but was told they were "unfounded."

On the Net:

U.S. District Court, Kansas

Military Religious Freedom Foundation

Department of Defense

What will these crazy Christians think of next?



"All for Jesus. All for Jesus. All for Jesus. All for Jesus" Republican Candidate Sam Brownback's stump speech in Iowa.

"Between science and God, I'll stick with God if the two are in conflict." Republican Candidate Mike Huckabee

"Freedom requires religion." Republican Candidate Mitt Romney

"I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation." John McCain

"Just before us is a nuclear countdown with Iran, followed by the final battle: the battle of Armageddon . . . . The end of the world as we know it is rapidly approaching. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad. The best is yet to be." Televangelist and McCain endorser John Hagee

"Americans must be 'Christocrats' -- citizens of both their country and the Kingdom of God"; "And that is not a democracy; that is a theocracy"; "That means God is in control, and you are not." Televangelist and McCain supporter Rod Parsley

March 13, 2008 - Sam Brownback (R-KS) introduced S. Res. 483, a resolution "recognizing the first weekend of May 2008 as 'Ten Commandments Weekend,'" which has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The resolution has one co-sponsor -- Joe Lieberman. "The Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation" John McCain, September 2007

"Our national leaders, are sending soldiers out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan." Sarah Palin, on the Iraq war

If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier -- so long as I'm the dictator. George W. Bush, Dec. 19, 2000

"I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!" Rev. Jerry Falwell

"Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith.... We need believing people." Adolf Hitler, April 26, 1933

"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society." D. James Kennedy, Coral Ridge Ministries and Bush advisor.

"The really dangerous American fascist... is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power... They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective, toward which all their deceit is directed, is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection." U.S. Vice President Henry A. Wallace, quoted in the New York Times, April 9, 1944

"What did the Fascist regimes in Italy, Germany, and Spain have in common? They consisted of a highly militarized state, backed by corporation and a wealthy elite, that rose to power through a false populism that exploited the public's fear of foreigners and 'moral degenerates'. This precisely defines the formula that Karl Rove designed to consolidate the Bush administration's power in the recent election." Sean Donahue, Nov. 2004

"I've heard the call. I believe God wants me to run for president." George W. Bush, quoted in George Magazine, September, 2000

"I would like to thank Providence and the Almighty for choosing me of all people to be allowed to wage this battle for Germany." Adolf Hitler

"A person who is guided by God will never be misguided by anyone." Osama Bin Laden

"We're being guided by God." Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson

"George Bush was not elected by a majority of the voters in the United States. He was appointed by God." Lt. Gen. William Boykin, the defense undersecretary in charge of hunting down top terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan

"Nothing [Bush] does can be challenged on moral grounds, however unethical or evil it might appear, because all of his actions are directed by God. He can twist the truth, oppress the poor, exalt the rich, despoil the earth, ignore the law--and murder children--without the slightest compunction, the briefest moment of doubt or self-reflection, because he believes, he truly believes, that God squats in his brainpan and tells him what to do." Chris Floyd, CounterPunch, 7/30/03

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God." George Bush Sr., to a reporter in 1988

"A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider to be God-fearing and pious." Aristotle, 343 B.C.

"He [God] is using me, all the time, everywhere, to stand up for a biblical worldview in everything that I do and everywhere I am." House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

"If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier -- so long as I'm the dictator." George W. Bush, Dec. 19, 2000

"Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. Why is he there? And I tell you this morning that he's in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this." Lt Gen William Boykin, speaking of G. W. Bush, New York Times, 17 October 2003

"He [Rumsfeld] leads in a way that the Good Lord tells him is best for our country." Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

"God gave the savior to the German people. We have faith, deep and unshakeable faith, that he was sent to us by God to save Germany." Hermann Goering, speaking of Hitler

"Government authorities, police and the military = God's Ministers" Frank Bussey, director of Military Ministry at Fort Jackson

"Our purpose for Campus Crusade for Christ at the Air Force Academy is to make Jesus Christ the issue at the Air Force Academy and around the world. They're government paid missionaries when they leave here." Scot Blom, Campus Crusade for Christ director assigned to work at the Air Force Academy

"...bring lost soldiers closer to Christ, build them in their faith and send them out into the world as Government paid missionaries." Military Ministry, a subsidiary of the Campus Crusade for Christ

Thanks to Ray for showing me this


Vatican rehabilitates Galileo Five Hundred Years Too Late

Vatican rehabilitating Galileo

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer Nicole Winfield, Associated Press Writer Tue Dec 23, 2:45 pm ET

VATICAN CITY – Galileo Galilei is going from heretic to hero.

The Vatican is recasting the most famous victim of its Inquisition as a man of faith, just in time for the 400th anniversary of Galileo's telescope and the U.N.-designated International Year of Astronomy next year.

Pope Benedict XVI paid tribute to the Italian astronomer and physicist Sunday, saying he and other scientists had helped the faithful better understand and "contemplate with gratitude the Lord's works."

In May, several Vatican officials will participate in an international conference to re-examine the Galileo affair, and top Vatican officials are now saying Galileo should be named the "patron" of the dialogue between faith and reason.

It's quite a reversal of fortune for Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), who made the first complete astronomical telescope and used it to gather evidence that the Earth revolved around the sun. Church teaching at the time placed Earth at the center of the universe.

The church denounced Galileo's theory as dangerous to the faith, but Galileo defied its warnings. Tried as a heretic in 1633 and forced to recant, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, later changed to house arrest.

The Church has for years been striving to shed its reputation for being hostile to science, in part by producing top-notch research out of its own telescope.

In 1992, Pope John Paul II declared that the ruling against Galileo was an error resulting from "tragic mutual incomprehension."

But that apparently wasn't enough. In January, Benedict canceled a speech at Rome's La Sapienza University after a group of professors, citing the Galileo episode and depicting Benedict as a religious figure opposed to science, argued that he shouldn't speak at a public university.

The Galileo anniversary appears to be giving the Vatican new impetus to put the matter to rest. In doing so, Vatican officials are stressing Galileo's faith as well as his science, to show the two are not mutually exclusive.

At a Vatican conference last month entitled "Science 400 Years after Galileo Galilei," the Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said Galileo was an astronomer, but one who "lovingly cultivated his faith and his profound religious conviction."

"Galileo Galilei was a man of faith who saw nature as a book authored by God," Bertone said.

The head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture, which co-sponsored the conference, went further. Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi told Vatican Radio that Galileo "could become for some the ideal patron for a dialogue between science and faith."

He said Galileo's writings offered a "path" to explore how faith and reason were not incompatible.

The Rev. John Padberg, a church historian and the director of the Institute of Jesuit Sources at St. Louis University, said he suspected the Vatican's new emphasis on Galileo's faith came from the pope himself.

"Pope Benedict XVI is ardently convinced of the congruence of faith and reason, and he is concerned, especially in the present circumstances, of giving reason its due place in the whole scheme of things," he said.

While it is widely accepted that Galileo was a convinced Catholic, Padberg questioned whether he could ever be accepted as some kind of a poster child for the faith and reason debate. "That's going to be a long shot for an awful lot of people, on both sides, by the way," he said.

Benedict, a theologian, has made exploring the faith-reason relationship a key aspect of his papacy, and has directed his daily newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, in particular, to take up the charge.

On Monday, the newspaper published a piece on the possibility of alien life on other planets as well as one on the popes who were "friendly" to astronomy.

Benedict clearly is: In his Sunday blessing, he noted that the Vatican itself has its own meridian — an obelisk in St. Peter's Square — and that astronomy had long been used to signal prayer times for the faithful.

But the Vatican's embrace of Galileo only goes so far.

There were plans earlier this year to give Galileo a permanent place of honor in the Vatican to mark the anniversary of his telescope: a statue, to be located inside the Vatican gardens, donated by the Italian aerospace giant Finmeccanica SpA.

The plans were suspended after some Vatican officials voiced "problems" with the initiative, said Nicola Cabibbo, the president of the Pontifical Council for Science. He declined to elaborate.

Finmeccanica spokesman Roberto Alatri said the Galileo statue was just an idea that never got off the ground.

Italian news reports suggested the Vatican simply didn't want to draw so much permanent attention to the Galileo episode, which 400 years on, still rankles some.

"The dramatic clash between Galileo and some men of the Church left wounds that are still open today," the Vatican's chief astronomer, the Rev. Jose Funes, wrote recently in Osservatore. "The Church in some ways has recognized its errors.

"Maybe it could do better. One can always do better," he wrote.


On the Web:

International congress "The Galileo Affair: A historical, philosophical and theological re-examination" is at http://www.stensen.it

Vatican Observatory is at http://www.vaticanobservatory.org

Now,if the Vatican could just undo all the damage it did to the "heretics" it burned at the stake (alive and dead), tortured, imprisoned, from whom it took all property, even doing so posthumously by appropriating the "heretic"'s survivors. In our mind, the RCC has still got a lot of 'splainin' to do ... and apologizing and atoning and ...


Democracy flowers in Iraq, thanks to US Presence

December 22, 2008

Iraqi Journalist Who Threw Shoes at Bush Was Tortured in Jail, His Brother Says


BAGHDAD — The television reporter who threw his shoes at President Bush was burned by a cigarette in the hours after his arrest on Dec. 14 and was beaten so badly by Iraqi security personnel that one of his teeth was knocked out, the reporter’s brother said Sunday after a visit to the jail.

The reporter, Muntader al-Zaidi, 29, has been jailed since hurling his shoes at Mr. Bush during a news conference here last week. Mr. Zaidi has not been formally charged, but he faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of the crime of aggression against a foreign leader during an official visit.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki did not return phone calls seeking comment on Sunday about the allegations, but the Maliki government previously denied that Mr. Zaidi had been mistreated while in custody.

It was Mr. Maliki’s security detail that detained Mr. Zaidi after he hurled his shoes. Mr. Zaidi was seen being beaten before he was pulled from the room where the news conference by Mr. Bush and Mr. Maliki was held.

On Sunday before the torture allegations were made public, Mr. Maliki said that he had received a letter from Mr. Zaidi saying that a terrorist had persuaded him to throw the shoes.

“A person urged him to commit this act, and this person is known to us as a person who beheads people,” Mr. Maliki said, without divulging the person’s name.

Mr. Zaidi’s family has maintained that he was acting out of his own frustration with the American invasion.

The visit by one of Mr. Zaidi’s brothers was the first by either a relative or a lawyer that the reporter had been allowed since being jailed. He has not been seen publicly since his arrest.

During an interview broadcast Sunday on Al Baghdadia, the Cairo-based satellite television network for which Mr. Zaidi works, his brother Uday, 33, said that Mr. Zaidi had been stripped to his underwear before being placed in a cell and tortured during the 24-hour period after his arrest.

“He told me he was sleeping on the floor of the cell when a very large man came in and dumped cold water on him and began hitting him with a thick cable,” Uday al-Zaidi said in the TV interview.

He said his brother had told him that he was brutally beaten by several men and burned on his right ear by a cigarette. Uday al-Zaidi said that on Sunday his brother had bruises on his face, stitches on the bridge of his nose and swelling in his legs, arms and hands.

His jailers had periodically demanded that he state in a videotaped confession that he had been ordered to commit the act by enemies of the prime minister, Uday al-Zaidi said his brother had told him.

Uday al-Zaidi said his brother had said: “After the torture and the cold-water shower, I told them to bring me a blank sheet of paper and I would sign it, and they could write whatever they wanted. I am ready to say I am a terrorist or whatever you want.”

But Muntader al-Zaidi told his brother that the men had stopped beating him and did not force him to write or sign anything. The journalist said that a letter to the prime minister written by him from jail expressing regret for the attack had not been coerced, his brother said. It was unclear if this was the same letter Mr. Maliki referred to.

Uday al-Zaidi said his brother told him that he had bought the shoes — used — at a market in Cairo.

For THIS we liberated Iraq? How many Americans and Iraqis and "coalition troops" have died so that this great democracy can flourish?


The Line Between Contraception and Abortion

We're having fun over at the Washington Post this afternoon, participating in a discussion of "The Line Between Contraception and Abortion". Feel free to stop by and join in the discussion!

Bristol-Levi Update

We know that our reader has been on the edge of his/her seat recently, wondering how things are going for the lovely damsel Bristol Palin and her handsome knight Levi Johnson. We are therefore mightily pleased to be able to bring you this item from the Anchorage Daily News:

Levi Johnston's mother hit with drug charges
Arrested: her son was in the spotlight as father of Bristol Palin's baby.


WASILLA -- A 42-year-old Wasilla woman was arrested Thursday at her home by Alaska State Troopers with a search warrant in an undercover drug investigation. Sherry L. Johnston was charged with six felony counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance.

Johnston is the mother of Levi Johnston, the Wasilla 18-year-old who received international attention in September when Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, announced their teenage daughter was pregnant and he was the father. Bristol Palin, 18, is due on Saturday, according to a recent interview with the governor's father, Chuck Heath.

Troopers served the warrant at Johnston's home at the "conclusion of an undercover narcotics investigation," said a statement issued Thursday by the troopers as part of the normal daily summary of activity around the state.

Troopers charged Johnston with second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance -- generally manufacturing or delivering drugs -- as well as fourth-degree misconduct involving controlled substances, or possession.

Troopers released no other information, including the kind or amount of drugs, because details could jeopardize an ongoing investigation, spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

Asked how long the investigation had proceeded before Johnston's arrest, Peters would only say "a while."

The Palmer District Attorney's office had no comment.

Sherry Johnston was arrested around noon and booked at Mat-Su Pretrial Facility, according to a booking officer there. She was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond just after 2 p.m.

No charging documents had been filed at Palmer courthouse by the end of the day, a clerk said.

Levi Johnston sat with Bristol and the rest of the Palin family in St. Paul, Minn., during Gov. Palin's speech to the Republican National Convention, and he joined the family on the stage afterwards.

When asked about the arrest, Palin's spokesman, Bill McAllister, issued the following statement by e-mail: "This is not a state government matter. Therefore the governor's communications staff will not be providing comment or scheduling interview opportunities."

Johnston didn't come to the door of her home on Caribou Loop Road outside Wasilla on Thursday afternoon. A teenage boy who answered the door said he couldn't provide any information.

A commentator at the Anchorage Daily News offers this comment:

"And this is news why? Oh, wait, it's because her son knocked up the governor's daughter. What a sorry excuse for a news story. If this was anyone else, it would be a small blurb in the police blotter."

All true. And yet, some say that apples don't fall far from the tree .... We're just worried that Sherry may not be out of the slammer in time to attend Bristol's and Levi's wedding - now that would be a tragedy, the Johnsons and the Palins bein' all jiggy with family values, n' stuff.

Come to think of it, when is that wedding? The baby is apparently due tomorrow, Saturday, December 20, 2008 ... and the kid's parents aren't even living under the same roof, let alone married? I'm sure, however, that all their friends on the "right" will be rushing to give them a hand (not a hand-out) to get on their feet. We expected it to be four feet, rather than two, however. Surely, the Johnsons and the Palins won't disappoint.


Biblical Marriage

Talking Points for the Religious Right's efforts to legislate "Biblical Marriage", with references to the textual support found in the Bible:

A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5)

B. Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21)

C. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21)

D. Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden. (Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30)

E. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9)

F. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)

G. In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your town, it is required that you get your dad drunk and have sex with him (even if he had previously offered you up as a sex toy to men young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of course, this rule applies only if you are female. (Gen 19:31-36)

Thanks to "inbox_blues" in comments to Joe Solmonese's piece "Obama's Inaugural Mistake" in today's Washington Post.

I am the Walrus

Iraq officials arrested for reviving Baath party

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Twenty-three officers from Iraq's Interior Ministry have been arrested on suspicion of trying to rebuild former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's Baath party, a ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

Major-General Abdul Karim Khalaf said the officers were arrested under suspicion of being part of the al-Awda ("Return") party, seen as a new incarnation of the once omnipotent Baath party that was outlawed following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

"They are now being interrogated under the supervision of the Iraqi judiciary," Khalaf told Reuters. He said being a member of al-Awda was equivalent to being a Baath member.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that an elite counterterrorism force, reporting directly to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, arrested up to 35 officials, some of whom were accused of plotting a coup against the government.

Asked whether those arrested were suspected of plotting a coup, Khalaf repeated they were suspected of being members of the al-Awda party.

Read the rest here.

Coup coup ka joo.


Bipartisan Report: Rumsfeld Responsible for Detainee Abuse

Senate Committee Finds Officials Made Decisions That Led to Offenses Against Prisoners

A bipartisan Senate report released today says that former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials are directly responsible for abuses of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and charges that decisions by those officials led to serious offenses against prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere.
The Senate Armed Services Committee report accuses Rumsfeld and his deputies of being the principal architects of the plan to use harsh interrogation techniques on captured fighters and terrorism suspects, rejecting the Bush administration's contention that the policies originated lower down the command chain.

Read the rest of the WaPo story here.

We're not holding our breath waiting for those credulous sycophants for the military to apologize for their knee-jerk commentaries that it really was a few bad apples who were responsible for this.


So-Called Christians Come to the Defense Of Alleged Torturers Of Teen

TRACY, Calif. — A Girl Scout leader and her husband were arrested after an emaciated, terrified and nearly naked 17-year-old showed up at a gym with a chain locked to his ankle, saying he had just fled his captors, authorities said Tuesday.

Police were also seeking a third suspect and had an outstanding felony warrant against her for an earlier alleged assault against the teen.

The boy, who authorities said ran away from a Sacramento foster home last year, came into the In-Shape Sports Club in Tracy on Monday wearing only boxer briefs and covered in what appeared to be soot, gym manager Chuck Ellis said. Tracy is about 70 miles south of Sacramento.

Ellis said the teen was scared someone was going to come after him and asked to be hidden.

"He said, 'Don't let them get me, don't let them get me,'" Ellis said. "He was totally terrified."

The boy said he had been held captive for nearly a year, said Ellis, adding that he looked as if he was only 10 to 12 years old.

Authorities said they believe the boy had been chained to a car seat but picked up a dropped key, unlocked himself and fled when the car stopped.

Police arrested Kelly Layne Lau, 30, and Michael Schumacher, 34, late Monday after questioning the couple. A subsequent search of their nearby home found further evidence implicating them, said Tracy police spokesman Matt Robinson, who would not describe what officers found.

Read the rest here.

We here at HSD are investigating rumors that the Moron Church, the primary proponent of California's recent Proposition H8, as well as Focus on the Family, The Family Research Council are pooling their resources to mount a publicity campaign arguing that custody of the boy should be restored to Kelly Layne Lau and Michael Schumacher rather than run the risk that a homosexual couple might be seen as better guardians for the boy than Lau and Schumacher or 43-year-old Caren Ramirez, suspected of being the boy's aunt.her


You know the end of the world is near ...

... when there is a Bob Marley Resort in the Caribbean with rooms that start at $450 per night.


Swan song for losers in the marketplace of ideas

Predictably, the nattering nabobs of right-wing nut-job-dom are bloviating all over the ether about voter fraud.

Grim is doing it. Cassandra is doing it. Fred Flintstone is doing it. The “yidwithlid” is doing it, and doing it. Kenneth R. Timmerman is doing it (whoever the hell that is). Diamond Tiger is doing it. Susan Duclos is doing it. Zebulon Pike is doing it. John Boner is doing it. Faultline is doing it. The NY Post is doing it. My Aisling is doing it.

We can understand how the right’s reactionary wheels might be coming off, seein’s how it looks at this point as if BHO and Joe will get the gold next Tuesday, but all this hysteria about voter fraud is just the swan song for a philosophy which is NOT winning in the marketplace of ideas.


to be continued ...


Batter my heart, three-person'd God

Our surfing tonight has taken us a ways afield from our usual haunts for this page ... but since we've gone there, we offer this:

by John Donne

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town to'another due,
Labor to'admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly'I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
Divorce me,'untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you'enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

from Poetry Foundation

Night Fantasies: works of Crumb, Ligeti, Debussy, Carter, Berg, Schumann, Messiaen, and others

Night Fantasies from The Chamber Music Society on Vimeo.

In November, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will present an imaginatively programmed festival entitled Night Fantasies: works of Crumb, Ligeti, Debussy, Carter, Berg, Schumann, Messiaen, and various others, on a nocturnal theme. Klaus Lauer, of the Römerbad festival in Germany, serves as guest curator. To spread word, CMS has created a striking short video of musicians in Manhattan at night. The soundtrack is the "God-music" from Crumb's Black Angels, with a slight admixture of Chopin and Ligeti.

Opening at ISSUE Project Room in Brooklyn tomorrow: Darmstadt's Essential Repertoire festival, celebrating American experimental and minimalist music of the postwar era.

We found this at The Rest Is Noise. This doesn't have anything to do with hypocrisy, but we like it anyway.

Dear Red States

Dear Red States:

If you manage to steal this election too, we've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us.

In case you aren't aware, that includes California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all the Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly:

You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood. We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom. We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss. We get 85% of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama. We get two-thirds of the tax revenue. You get to make the red states pay their fair share.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22% lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.

Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq, and hope that the WMDs turn up, but we're not willing to spend our resources in Bush's Quagmire.

With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80% of the country's fresh water, more than 90% of the pineapple and lettuce, 92% of the nation's fresh fruit, 95% of America's quality wines, 90% of all cheese, 90% of the high tech industry, 95% of the corn and soybeans (thanks Iowa!), most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools plus Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88% of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92% of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100% of the tornadoes, 90% of the hurricanes, 99% of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100% of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.

We get Hollywood and Yosemite too, thank you.

Additionally, 38% of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62% believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the war, the death penalty or gun laws, 44% say that evolution is only a theory, 53% that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61% of you believe you are people with higher morals than we lefties.

Finally, we're taking the good pot, too. You can have that dirt weed they grow in Mexico.

Peace out,

Blue States

One of our friends sent this along today. Although we have seen things like it before, we found this one so amusing and the timing seemed right, so we thought we'd share it with our reader. We just want to go on the record, however, as stating that we do not use pot or weed (though we did give it a try 30-odd years ago or so, and at that time we did inhale).


More GOP socialism for the little guy ...

The U.S. government is considering direct financial assistance to facilitate a possible merger between General Motors Corp (GM.N) and Chrysler LLC, a private sector source familiar with Treasury discussions told Reuters on Monday

The South Will Rise Again

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Law enforcement arrested two men in Tennessee who had plans to rob a gun dealer to shoot Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and "as many non-Caucasians" as possible, an official said on Monday.

An official from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said police found the men in the Jackson, Tennessee area with a number of guns, including a sawed-off shotgun, in their car.

"They wanted to go to a place where they could shoot as many non-Caucasian as they could," the official said, noting that the men first planned to rob a gun dealer. "They also had a plot to assassinate Sen. Obama."

Obama, who would be the first black U.S. president, is leading Republican John McCain in opinion polls ahead of the November 4 election.



US drops charges against 5 Guantanamo prisoners

The Pentagon said Tuesday it has dropped war-crimes charges against five Guantanamo Bay detainees after the former prosecutor in their cases complained that the military was withholding evidence helpful to the defense.

None of the men will be freed, and the military said it could reinstate charges later.

Can someone please explain to me how this is anything different than what Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, the Shah of Iran, the Taliban did and are doing?


Ya' just can't make this shit up ...

Lyle Denniston reports on Scotusblog: "The Justice Department, in a new plea Thursday for the courts to keep 17 Guantanamo Bay prisoners out of the country, said that those detainees pose a risk 'distinct to this Nation'" by virtue of "the fact that the U.S. is the country that has been holding them captive for six years."

In other words, blogs Marty Lederman, the government is saying: "These detainees would not be a threat to U.S. persons -- except that the Pentagon has unlawfully detained them at Guantanamo, incommunicado and without any justification, for more than half a decade . . . and so they naturally would be inclined to harm Americans in retaliation for such unjust treatment."

From Dan Froomkin's column in WaPo today.

Duh - what did Dubya and his co-conspirators THINK would be the result of all this? Oh yea - forgot - they DIDN'T think.


Repubs Reward McCain Contributor With Lucrative Contracts

Top Republican fund-raiser, Harry Sargeant III, has made tens of millions of dollars in profits over the last four years because his contracting company vastly overcharged for deliveries of fuel to American air bases in Iraq. Read the sordid details here. War has always been good for business.


John McCain Associates With Domestic Terrorists Too

Does John McCain "pal around with terrorists?"

Certainly McCain's continuing "association" and relationship with the convicted Watergate burglar and domestic terrorist G. Gordon Liddy might suggest that is the case, if we are to apply the standards drawn by the McCain campaign.

In 1998, Liddy gave a fundraiser in his Scottsdale, Arizona home for McCain's senatorial re-election campaign -- the two posed for photographs together; and as recently as May, 2007, as a presidential candidate, McCain was a guest on Liddy's syndicated radio show. Inexplicably, McCain heaped praise on his host's values. During the segment, McCain said he was "proud" of Liddy, and praised Liddy's "adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great." From the program:

LIDDY: Your experience in the Hanoi Hilton is remarkable. I mean, I put in five years in a prison [for masterminding the Watergate burglary, and associated crimes], but it was here in the United States, and they didn't torture - the only torture that I had was being forced to listen to rap music from time to time.

McCAIN: Well, you know, I'm proud of you. I'm proud of your family. I'm proud to know your son, Tom, who's a great and wonderful guy. And it's always a pleasure for me to come on your program, Gordon. And congratulations on your continued success and adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great.

Which of Liddy's "principles and philosophies" was McCain referring to? Liddy's advocacy of break-ins? Firebombings? Assassinations? Kidnappings? Taking target practice with figures nicknamed Bill and Hillary?

During the same period that Bill Ayers was a member of the Weather Underground, Gordon Liddy was making plans to firebomb a Washington think tank, assassinate a prominent journalist, undertake the Watergate burglary, break into the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist, and kidnap anti-war protesters at the 1972 Republican convention.

Thanks to Carl Bernstein for sharing this; read the whole thing here. No word yet on whether McCain and Liddy were sleeping together, as Palin has been doing with HER favorite domestic terrorist.

Oy Gevalt! Hypocrite of the Day Award to John McCain

Sigh: McCain and his friends at…ACORN
By Michelle Malkin • October 13, 2008 01:14 PM

If you want to know why see-sawing John McCain has had to be goaded, prodded, begged, and dragged into spotlighting Barack Obama’s radical ACORN roots, here’s your answer:

Turns out John McCain had no problem calling ACORN members his friends during his ill-fated illegal alien shamnesty crusade.


Here’s a February 2006 press release trumpeting McCain’s appearance at a pro-shamnesty rally organized by a coalition led by ACORN. As the release notes, he made a second appearance for the group in NYC. Read it and gag:


Major Rally in Miami to Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Senator John McCain and many others to speak at the rally at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus

Miami, Florida – February 20, 2006 ― Leaders from a diverse array of sectors will hold a rally in Miami on Thursday, February 23, 2006, in support of comprehensive immigration reform in an effort to keep immigration reform at the forefront of the public debate. Leaders from both political parties, immigrant communities, labor, business, and religious organizations will gather to call on Washington to enact workable reform.

The rally will feature Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as the headline speaker along with elected officials, immigrants and key local and national leaders. Sen. McCain is one of the chief sponsors of the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act; bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform legislation introduced last Congress and scheduled for consideration by the Senate in the coming weeks. A similar rally with Sen. McCain is planned for New York City on February 27.

WHO: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL), Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL.), and immigrant, religious, community, business and labor leaders.

WHAT: Comprehensive Immigration Reform Rally

WHEN: Thursday, February 23, at 6:00 p.m.

WHERE: Miami Dade College – Wolfson Campus

Chapman Conference Center
Bldg 3000
300 NE 2nd Avenue

EDITOR’S NOTE: Miami Press Availability: Sen. McCain will be available for interviews starting at 4:15 p.m. on location, Feb. 23.

The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act was introduced in the Senate by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ) and in the House by Representatives Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL). It addresses border security and illegal immigration while bringing the 11 million undocumented immigrants out from the shadows and onto a path to legal permanent status; setting up legal channels and realistic caps for workers and family members to enter in the future; providing for tough enforcement; and enabling more immigrants to learn English and prepare for citizenship.

The rally in Miami is being sponsored by the New American Opportunity campaign (NAOC) in partnership with ACORN, Catholic Legal Services - Archdiocese of Miami, Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Miami Dade College, People for the American Way/Mi Familia Vota en Acción, Service Employees International Union, and UNITE HERE.

We won't bother to provide the last bit of Malkin's item today, because we don't agree with her (surprise surprise) but we will give you the link, out of simple fairness and thanks that she is bringing this up!


" ... a dry laundry list of previously announced government actions, punctuated by listless platitudes ..."

President Bush Discusses the Economy
Rose Garden

10:25 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Over the past few days, we have witnessed a startling drop in the stock market -- much of it driven by uncertainty and fear. This has been a deeply unsettling period for the American people. Many of our citizens have serious concerns about their retirement accounts, their investments, and their economic well-being.

President George W. Bush addresses his remarks on the economy Friday morning, Oct. 10, 2008, in the Rose Garden at the White House. President Bush said that he understands that the startling drop in the stock market over the past few days has been a deeply unsettling period for the American people, but they need to know that the United States government is acting, and will continue to act to resolve this crisis and restore stability to our markets. White House photo by David Bohrer Here's what the American people need to know: that the United States government is acting; we will continue to act to resolve this crisis and restore stability to our markets. We are a prosperous nation with immense resources and a wide range of tools at our disposal. We're using these tools aggressively.

The fundamental problem is this: As the housing market has declined, banks holding assets related to home mortgages have suffered serious losses. As a result of these losses, many banks lack the capital or the confidence in each other to make new loans. In turn, our system of credit has frozen, which is keeping American businesses from financing their daily transactions -- and creating uncertainty throughout our economy.

This uncertainty has led to anxiety among our people. And that is understandable -- that anxiety can feed anxiety, and that can make it hard to see all that is being done to solve the problem. The federal government has a comprehensive strategy and the tools necessary to address the challenges in our economy. Fellow citizens: We can solve this crisis -- and we will.

Here are the problems we face and the steps we are taking:

First, key markets are not functioning because there's a lack of liquidity -- the grease necessary to keep the gears of our financial system turning. So the Federal Reserve has injected hundreds of billions of dollars into the system. The Fed has joined with central banks around the world to coordinate a cut in interest rates. This rate cut will allow banks to borrow money more affordably -- and it should help free up additional credit necessary to create jobs, and finance college educations, and help American families meet their daily needs. The Fed has also announced a new program to provide support for the commercial paper market, which is freezing up. As the new program kicks in over the next week or so, it will help revive a key source of short-term financing for American businesses and financial institutions.

Second, some Americans are concerned about whether their money is safe. So the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the National Credit Union Administration have significantly expanded the amount of money insured in savings accounts, and checking accounts, and certificates of deposit. That means that if you have up to $250,000 in one of these insured accounts, every penny of that money is safe. The Treasury Department has also acted to restore confidence in a key element of America's financial system by offering government insurance for money market mutual funds.

Thirdly, we are concerned that some investors could take advantage of the crisis to illegally manipulate the stock market. So the Securities and Exchange Commission has launched rigorous enforcement actions to detect fraud and manipulation in the market. The SEC is focused on preventing abusive practices, such as putting out false information to drive down particular stocks for personal gain. Anyone caught engaging in illegal financial activities will be prosecuted.

Fourth, the decline in the housing market has left many Americans struggling to meet their mortgages and are concerned about losing their homes. My administration has launched two initiatives to help responsible borrowers keep their homes. One is called HOPE NOW, and it brings together homeowners and lenders and mortgage servicers, and others to find ways to prevent foreclosure. The other initiative is aimed at making it easier for responsible homeowners to refinance into affordable mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration. So far, these programs have helped more than 2 million Americans stay in their home. And the point is this: If you are struggling to meet your mortgage, there are ways that you can get help.

With these actions to help to prevent foreclosures, we're addressing a key problem in the housing market: The supply of homes now exceeds demand. And as a result, home values have declined. Once supply and demand balance out, our housing market will be able to recover -- and that will help our broader economy begin to grow.

Fifth, we've seen that problems in the financial system are not isolated to the United States. They're also affecting other nations around the globe. So we're working closely with partners around the world to ensure that our actions are coordinated and effective. Tomorrow, I'll meet with the finance ministers from our partners in the G7 and the heads of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Secretary Paulson will also meet with finance ministers from the world's 20 leading economies. Through these efforts, the world is sending an unmistakable signal: We're in this together, and we'll come through this together.

And finally, American businesses and consumers are struggling to obtain credit, because banks do not have sufficient capital to make loans. So my administration worked with Congress to quickly pass a $700 billion financial rescue package. This new law authorizes the Treasury Department to use a variety of measures to help bank [sic] rebuild capital -- including buying or insuring troubled assets and purchasing equity of financial institutions. The Department will implement measures that have maximum impact as quickly as possible. Seven hundred billion dollars is a significant amount of money. And as we act, we will do it in a way that is effective.

The plan we are executing is aggressive. It is the right plan. It will take time to have its full impact. It is flexible enough to adapt as the situation changes. And it is big enough to work.

The federal government will continue to take the actions necessary to restore stability to our financial markets and growth to our economy. We have an outstanding economic team carrying out this effort, led by Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, SEC Chairman Chris Cox, and FDIC Chair Sheila Bair. I thank them and their dedicated teams for their service during this important moment in our country's history.

This is an anxious time, but the American people can be confident in our economic future. We know what the problems are, we have the tools we need to fix them, and we're working swiftly to do so. Our economy is innovative, industrious and resilient because the American people who make up our economy are innovative, industrious and resilient. We all share a determination to solve this problem -- and that is exactly what we're going to do. May God bless you.

END 10:33 A.M. EDT

About this, WaPo's Dan Froomkin said:

"The president seems checked out. His approval ratings are in the toilet. His credibility is shot. He's arguably responsible for this mess in the first place. And his presence and his words have led to more fear and panic, not less. Bush still seems to be operating in a fantasy world where people look to him for direction. His eight-minute speech in a sunny Rose Garden this morning consisted of a dry laundry list of previously announced government actions, punctuated by listless platitudes."

... some sobering stats on reading in the USA ...

Over at my LAFQ pages, there is a discussion today of reading stimulated by the award yesterday to French writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature. In searching for some facts to back up a statement I made there, I came across a site with some sobering stats on reading in the USA, which I offer here for your entertainment (to those of you, at least, who can read).

Education Statistics

Five to six year olds have a vocabulary of 2,500-5,000 words.

33% of children in California will not finish high school.

Disadvantaged students in the first grade have a vocabulary that is approximately half that of an advantaged student (2,900 and 5,800 respectively).

The average student learns about 3,000 words per year in the early school years (8 words per day).

The educational careers of 25 to 40 percent of American children are imperiled because they don't read well enough, quickly enough, or easily enough.

14% of all individuals have a learning disability.

54 percent of all teachers have limited English proficient (LEP) students in their classrooms, yet only one-fifth of teachers feel very prepared to serve them.

It is estimated that more than $2 billion is spent each year on students who repeat a grade because they have reading problems.

Since 1983, more than 10 million Americans reached the 12th grade without having learned to read at a basic level. In the same period, more than 6 million Americans dropped out of high school altogether.

Literacy Statistics

Over 50% of NASA employees are dyslexic. They are deliberately sought after because they have superb problem solving skills and excellent 3D and spatial awareness.

Over one million children drop out of school each year, costing the nation over $240 billion in lost earnings, forgone tax revenues, and expenditures for social services.

More than 20 percent of adults read at or below a fifth-grade level - far below the level needed to earn a living wage.

More than three out of four of those on welfare, 85% of unwed mothers and 68% of those arrested are illiterate. About three in five of America's prison inmates are illiterate.

Approximately 50 percent of the nation's unemployed youth age 16-21 are functional illiterate, with virtually no prospects of obtaining good jobs.

44 million adults in the U.S. can't read well enough to read a simple story to a child.

It is estimated that the cost of illiteracy to business and the taxpayer is $20 billion per year.

Dyslexia affects one out of every five children - ten million in America alone.

Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are 3 - 4 times more likely to drop out in later years.

60 percent of America's prison inmates are illiterate and 85% of all juvenile offenders have reading problems.

U.S. adults ranked 12th among 20 high income countries in composite (document, prose, and quantitative) literacy.

21 million Americans can't read at all, 45 million are marginally illiterate and one-fifth of high school graduates can't read their diplomas.

Nearly half of America's adults are poor readers, or "functionally illiterate." They can't carry out simply tasks like balancing check books, reading drug labels or writing essays for a job.

To participate fully in society and the workplace in 2020, citizens will need powerful literacy abilities that until now have been achieved by only a small percentage of the population.

Reading Statistics

46% of American adults cannot understand the label on their prescription medicine.

15% of all 4th graders read no faster than 74 words per minute, a pace at which it would be difficult to keep track of ideas as they are developing within the sentence and across the page.

It is estimated that as many as 15 percent of American students may be dyslexic. (but check out the factoid above about NASA employees!)

One-third of 500,000 = 22? There are almost half a million words in our English Language - the largest language on earth, incidentally - but a third of all our writing is made up of only twenty-two words.

56 percent of young people say they read more than 10 books a year, with middle school students reading the most. Some 70 percent of middle school students read more than 10 books a year, compared with only 49 percent of high school students.

15 percent of the population has specific reading disorders. Of these 15 percent as many as 1/3 may show change in the brain structure.

50 percent of American adults are unable to read an eighth grade level book.

The average reader spends about 1/6th of the time they spend reading actually rereading words.

In a class of 20 students, few if any teachers can find even 5 minutes of time in a day to devote to reading with each student.

Students who reported having all four types of reading materials (books, magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias) in their home scored, on average, higher than those who reporter having fewer reading materials.

In 1999, only 53 percent of children aged 3 to 5 were read to daily by a family member. Children in families with incomes below the poverty line are less likely to be read aloud to everyday than are children in families with incomes at or above the poverty line.

Good readers in 5th grade may read 10 times as many words as poor readers over a school year.

Forty-four percent of American 4th grade students cannot read fluently, even when they read grade-level stories aloud under supportive testing conditions.

When the State of Arizona projects how many prison beds it will need, it factors in the number of kids who read well in fourth grade.

Out-of-school reading habits of students has shown that even 15 minutes a day of independent reading can expose students to more than a million words of text in a year.

According to the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 37 percent of fourth graders and 26 percent of eighth graders cannot read at the basic level; and on the 2002 NAEP 26 percent of twelfth graders cannot read at the basic level. That is, when reading grade appropriate text these students cannot extract the general meaning or make obvious connections between the text and their own experiences or make simple inferences from the text. In other words, they cannot understand what they have read.

First grade children with good word recognition skills were exposed to almost twice as many words in their basal readers as were children who had poor word recognition skills.

* * *

It's been a while since I posted notes on what I've been reading lately (over the last 6 months or so). I'll try to get a reading list together, for my own entertainment as well as yours (the one person out there who stops by here from time to time, usually at his father's urging) to see what I've posted.

In the meantime, my comment over at LAFQ on the best gift we can give our kids ...

Vous qui avez de rejetons ... le meilleur cadeau que vous puissiez leur offrir ce n'est pas le X-Box 360, ni le Wii, c'est plutôt la faculté de lecture, le temps ... une vingtaine de minutes chaque nuit à lire qqch qu'ils aimeront ... ce sera un cadeau qui enrichira leurs vies à jamais ... qui leur donnera un choix futur plus étendu de boulots, l'appréciation et le goût des divertissements approfondis d'à travers tout le monde ... une vie plus riche, quoi ... et qui parmi nous ne voudrions pas vouloir donner la meilleur vie possible à nos gosses si dûment adorés?

Actually, there are a few important gifts we can give our kids ... but that will have to be a discussion for another day.

While we're talking about reading and Nobel Prizes, check out this fun page at the Nobel site that asks Nobel Laureates what THEY read when they were young. I plan to get into this when I have a moment, to see what looks interesting to me!

It's the Second Coming!!!

Scientists have confirmed the second case of a "virgin birth" in a shark

In a study reported Friday in the Journal of Fish Biology, scientists said DNA testing proved that a pup carried by a female Atlantic blacktip shark in the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center contained no genetic material from a male.

The first documented case of asexual reproduction, or parthenogenesis, among sharks involved a pup born to a hammerhead at an Omaha, Neb., zoo.

"This first case was no fluke," Demian Chapman, a shark scientist and lead author of the second study, said in a statement. "It is quite possible that this is something female sharks of many species can do on occasion."

The aquarium sharks that reproduced without mates each carried only one pup, while some shark species can produce litters numbering in the dozen or more. The scientists cautioned that the rare asexual births should not be viewed as a possible solution to declining global shark populations.

Read the rest here.

We'd better watch out for the Messiah's teeth if this is for real.


Danger in Islam creeping into American life ...

An expert on terrorism is warning the United States should be fighting Islamization, which she believes already is under way. And author Brigitte Gabriel should know: She watched it happen in her native Lebanon.

"Lebanon used to be the only majority Christian country in the Middle East," Gabriel told radio talk show host Andrea Shea King in a recent hour-long interview. "Most people today do not know that. We were the majority, the Muslims were the minority, but as the years went by, the Muslims became the majority because of their birth rate, but also because of our open-border policy.

"We welcomed everyone into our country," Gabriel said, and people didn't realize that the "minority," the Muslims in the society, "was not tolerant" and "did not believe all people were equal."

"They tried to impose their way of thinking on us, and they succeeded," she said.

The result, Gabriel said, was that a radical terrorist organization tied to Islam, Hezbollah, now rules in Lebanon.

As WND reported, Gabriel is fearful that terrorists believe now is the time to strike at America, while it is distracted by financial tension and election turmoil. She expressed the concerns during an interview with KSFO's Barbara Simpson, when she also discussed her new book, "They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It."

Read the entire article at Monkey In The Middle.

Sarah Palin in long-term sexual relationship with member of domestic terrorist group

In 2004, America's malleable mainstream media allowed itself to be manipulated by artful Republican operatives into devoting weeks of broadcast attention and drums of ink to unfairly desecrating John Kerry's genuine Vietnam heroics while obligingly muzzling serious discussion of George W. Bush's shameful wartime record of evasion and cowardice.

Last week found the American media once again boarding Republican swift boats against this season's Democratic candidate armed with unfair and hypocritical attacks artfully designed by GOP strategists to distract attention from the cataclysmic outcomes of Republican governance. Vice Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin has taken to faulting Senator Barack Obama for his casual acquaintance with a respected Illinois educator Bill Ayers, who forty years ago was a member of the Weathermen, a movement active when Obama was eight and which he has denounced as "detestable." Palin argues that the relationship proves that Obama sees "America as being so imperfect that he is palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."

The Times dedicated a page one article to Obama's relations with Ayers and CNN's Anderson Cooper obliged Palin by rewarding her reckless accusations about Obama's patriotism with a major investigative report. Fox, meanwhile, is still riveting its audience with wall to wall coverage of this pressing irrelevancy.

But if McCarthy-era guilt-by-association is once again a valid political consideration, Palin, it would seem, has more to lose than Obama. Palin, it could be argued, following her own logic, thinks so little of America's perfection that she continues to "pal around" with a man--her husband, actually--who only recently terminated his seven-year membership in the Alaskan Independence Party. Putting plunder above patriotism, the members of this treasonous cabal aim to break our country into pieces and walk away with Alaska's rich federal oil fields and one-fifth of America's land base--an area three-fourths the size of the Civil War Confederacy.

AIP's charter commits the party "to the ultimate independence of Alaska," from the United States which it refers to as "the colonial bureaucracy in Washington." It proclaims Alaska's 1959 induction as a state "as illegal and in violation of the United Nations charter and international law."

AIP's creation was inspired by the rabidly violent anti-Americanism of its founding father Joe Vogler, "I'm an Alaskan, not an American," reads a favorite Vogler quote on AIP's current website, "I've got no use for America or her damned institutions." According to Vogler AIP's central purpose was to drive Alaska's secession from the United States. Alaska, says current Chairwoman Lynette Clark, "should be an independent nation."

Vogler was murdered in 1993 during an illegal sale of plastic explosives that went bad. The prior year, he had renounced his allegiance to the United States explaining that, "The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government." He cursed the stars and stripes, promising, "I won't be buried under their damned flag...when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home." Palin has never denounced Vogler or his detestable anti-Americanism.

Palin's husband Todd remained an AIP party member from 1995 to 2002. Sarah can be described in McCarthy-era palaver as a "fellow traveler." While retaining her Republican registration, she attended the AIP's 1994 convention where the party called for a draft constitution to secede from the United States and create an independent nation of Alaska. The McCain Campaign has reluctantly acknowledged that she also attended AIP's 2000 Convention. She apparently found the experience so inspiring that she agreed to give a keynote address at the AIP's 2006 convention and she recorded a video greeting for this year's 2008 convention. In other words, this is not something that happened when she was eight!

So when Palin accuses Barack of "not seeing the same America as you and me," maybe she is referring to an America without Alaska. In any case, isn't it time the media start giving equal time to Palin's buddy list of anti-American bombers and other radical associates?

Sarah Palin is an f'ing hypocrite as well as a MILF.

Military sees a future with Obama, only an aging past with McCain ...

QUANTICO, Va. -- One of the largest U.S. marine bases in the world is located in Quantico, a tidy town with scant election fanfare. Everyone who lives here just assumes Republicans have a lock on the military vote. And so when Obama signs began to appear, tongues began to wag.

"At first I was worried about how my neighbors would view it," said former marine corporal Dawn Jennings, 31, who bravely put an Obama sign in the center of her front yard. Jennings told OffTheBus that Quantico is the "kind of place where they'll ask you to remove an Obama bumper sticker from your car."

Barack Obama is promising to make college affordable for all Americans, and this appeals to Jennings. "I can't imagine telling my two kids, "No college for you, because I voted for McCain." She emailed all of her military friends, encouraging them to register two new voters. "It's time to take a stand," said the marine vet. "I want us to be like Michigan -- I'd love to see John McCain quit campaigning in Virginia, too."

Jennings isn't the only Obama supporter in Quantico -- not by a long shot -- and this should raise a red flag for the McCain camp. In hotly contested states with large military populations, these voters can make an impact because they turn out to vote in higher percentages (79/64) than the general public, according to a Rand study.

John McCain assumes he has the military vote -- but does he?

Military Voter Surveys Can Be Misleading

The Military Times recently released its annual survey of subscribers, which shows McCain-Palin enjoying a commanding lead over Obama-Biden (68/23 percent). But this is not a random sample, by any stretch of the imagination. Military Times subscribers are significantly older than the active military population. Nearly half of those surveyed are retirees, and minorities are under-represented.

"Everyone I talk to wants change but on base you can't say certain things. At a bar or a party, everyone tells me they're voting for Obama," said Thomas Singleton, 27, a former military telecommunications specialist who was speaking to OffTheBus outside the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Perched on a hill in Quantico, the museum's stunning roof line can be seen for miles. Its design -- a 200-foot tilted mast atop a huge glass atrium -- was inspired by the famous Iwo Jima flag raising of World War II.

"My military friends are tired of being lied to," said Singleton. "They're told to deploy for six months, but it ends up being a year. And when they come home, they can't find a job. One of my friends is staying in the Army only because he can't find a civilian job."

The genuine patriotism these young people feel is complicated by events in Iraq, and grumblings about military miscalculations. "I was proud to go to Iraq, but when I got there all we did for weeks was play cards. We were unprepared. We had the wrong supplies," said Skye Spann, 27, a former medical specialist. "It didn't seem like we had a clear mission."

Read the rest here to find out about deployed troops giving four times the money to Obama than to McSame

Of course, some of our "friends" on the "right" will begin bloviating that the personnel quoted are not representative. Blah blah blah ... if it makes you feel better, go ahead - but don't hold your breath waiting to be correct ... on second thought, maybe you should hold your breath.

Voter purges in 6 states may violate law

NEW YORK - Tens of thousands of eligible voters have been removed from rolls or blocked from registering in at least six swing states, and the voters' exclusion appears to violate federal law, according to a published report.

The New York Times based its findings on reviews of state records and Social Security data.

The Times said voters appear to have been purged by mistake and not because of any intentional violations by election officials or coordinated efforts by any party.

States have been trying to follow the Help America Vote Act of 2002 by removing the names of voters who should no longer be listed. But for every voter added to the rolls in the past two months in some states, election officials have removed two, a review of the records shows.

Read the rest here.

The article says that neither Democrats or Republicans are particularly to blame in this. What the hell - I'm so damned accustomed to the Republicans blaming Democrats for everything that I think I'll go ahead and blame the damned Republicans for this - after all, as Karl Rove (or was it Leon Trotzky) said "A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth". F**k 'em - whether or NOT they can take a joke.


David Brooks on Sarah Palin: a "fatal cancer to the Republican party"

"[Sarah Palin] represents a fatal cancer to the Republican party. When I first started in journalism, I worked at the National Review for Bill Buckley. And Buckley famously said he'd rather be ruled by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard faculty. But he didn't think those were the only two options. He thought it was important to have people on the conservative side who celebrated ideas, who celebrated learning. And his whole life was based on that, and that was also true for a lot of the other conservatives in the Reagan era. Reagan had an immense faith in the power of ideas. But there has been a counter, more populist tradition, which is not only to scorn liberal ideas but to scorn ideas entirely. And I'm afraid that Sarah Palin has those prejudices. I think President Bush has those prejudices.

"Obama has the great intellect. I was interviewing Obama a couple years ago, and I'm getting nowhere with the interview, it's late in the night, he's on the phone, walking off the Senate floor, he's cranky. Out of the blue I say, 'Ever read a guy named Reinhold Niebuhr?' And he says, 'Yeah.' So i say, 'What did Niebuhr mean to you?' For the next 20 minutes, he gave me a perfect description of Reinhold Niebuhr's thought, which is a very subtle thought process based on the idea that you have to use power while it corrupts you. And I was dazzled, I felt the tingle up my knee as Chris Matthews would say.

"And the other thing that does separate Obama from just a pure intellectual: he has tremendous powers of social perception. And this is why he's a politician, not an academic. A couple of years ago, I was writing columns attacking the Republican congress for spending too much money. And I throw in a few sentences attacking the Democrats to make myself feel better. And one morning I get an email from Obama saying, 'David, if you wanna attack us, fine, but you're only throwing in those sentences to make yourself feel better.' And it was a perfect description of what was going through my mind. And everybody who knows Obama all have these stories to tell about his capacity for social perception.

Brooks predicted an Obama victory by nine points, and said that although he found Obama to be "a very mediocre senator," he was is surrounded by what Brooks called "by far the most impressive people in the Democratic party."

"He's phenomenally good at surrounding himself with a team," Brooks said. "I disagree with them on most issues, but I am given a lot of comfort by the fact that the people he's chosen are exactly the people I think most of us would want to choose if we were in his shoes. So again, I have doubts about him just because he was such a mediocre senator, but his capacity to pick staff is impressive."

sometimes "cute" isn't enough; for those times, there's Master Flow Chart ...


ah .. the hypocrisy ...

Media Gives Palin a Pass
By Richard Cohen

Reading William Kristol's column in The New York Times, I discover that Sarah Palin and I have something in common. Kristol, who was once Dan Quayle's chief of staff and therefore, shall we say, has a Mister Rogers approach to certain politicians, got Palin on the phone and reported Monday that she does not "have a very high opinion of the mainstream media." This is where we are in agreement. On account of Palin, neither do I.

In the debate, she mischaracterized Barack Obama's tax plan and his offer to meet with foreign adversaries. She found whole new powers for the vice president by misreading the Constitution, if she ever read it at all. She called one moment for the federal government to virtually disappear and a moment later lamented the lack of its oversight of the financial markets. She asserted that she "may not answer the questions the way that either the moderator or you (Biden) want to hear" because, apparently, the rules don't apply to her on account of her being a soccer mom. Fer sure.

Not enough? OK. Palin also said that she "and others in the legislature" called for the state of Alaska to divest itself of investments in companies that do business with Sudan. But, as the indefatigable truth-hunter at The Washington Post found out, the divestiture effort was not led by Palin. In fact, her administration opposed the initiative and Palin herself only came around to it after the bill had died.

In spite of it all, much of the media saw a credible performance. I could quote the hosannas of some of my colleagues, but I spare them the infamy that will surely follow them to their graves. (The debate's moderator, Gwen Ifill, used the occasion to catch up on some sleep.) Many of them judged Palin simply as a performer and inferred that this would go over well in homes with aboveground swimming pools.

A perfect example is The Wall Street Journal, a paper whose (conservative) editorial page has been absolutely fixated on a strict (Scalian) reading of the Constitution. Did it wonder what in the world Palin meant by the authority she found in the Constitution to increase the role of "the vice president if that vice president so chose to exert it in working with the Senate"? What? Oh, never mind. The Journal chivalrously never brought up the matter. Palin is excused from knowing the limits of the office she seeks.

In effect, columnists, bloggers, talk-show hosts and digital lamplighters everywhere have adopted the ethic of the political consultant: what works, works. It did not matter what Palin said. It only mattered how she said it -- all those doggones, references to her working-class status (net worth in excess of $2 million), promiscuous use of the word "maverick," repeated mentions of "greed and corruption on Wall Street" (Who? Be specific. Give examples. Didn't anyone here go to school?) and, of course, that manic good cheer. Palin knows that the standard is not right or wrong, truth or lie, but the graph that ran under both debaters on CNN, measuring approval, disapproval or, maybe, the blood sugar levels of certain people in their focus group. Things have changed. Might used to make right. Now a wink does.

Since I began with the Times' conservative columnist of the moment, I will end with its conservative columnist of years past -- the estimable William Safire. Back in 1996, he called Hillary Clinton "a congenital liar." It was a head-snapping characterization that, alas for Clinton, has defined her for the ages and which she stubbornly vindicates from time to time.

But what about Palin? Can you imagine the reaction of the press corps if Clinton had given the audience a hi-ya-sailor wink? Can you imagine the feverish blogging across the political spectrum if Clinton had claimed credit for stopping a bridge that, in fact, had set her heart aflutter? What if she showed she didn't know squat about the Constitution, if she could not tell Katie Couric what newspapers or magazines she reads or if she claimed intimacy with foreign relations based on sighting Russia through binoculars?

Ah, but the scorn, approbation and ridicule that would have descended on Clinton -- I can just imagine the Journal editorial -- have been spared Palin. Much of the mainstream media, grading on a curve suitable for a parrot -- "greed and corruption, greed and corruption, greed and corruption " -- gave her a passing grade or better. I agree with Palin. It's the mainstream media that flunked.

Don't these Republicans realize that they don't deserve to be taken seriously until they 'fess up to being hypocrites? What a bunch of losers.


Turdblossom Speaks ...

... and he says that Obama today has enough electoral college votes to be the next president of the US of A. He's no less the dick for it, however.


speaking ill of the dead?

Someone said one should not speak ill of the dead. Presumably that admonition does not apply when it is the truth one speaks.

William F. Buckley was a cheap, hypocritical bastard: he expressly disinherited an undisputed grandson his son Christopher sired out of wedlock. As one commentator on the page I'm linking to asked: "would WFB have preferred that his son's paramour had aborted the child?"


Ah the "rich" - giving the rich, and Catholics, a bad name every chance they get. "Rest in peace" or "good riddance"? You decide.

maybe there's something to racial profiling after all

Bill Maher comments on white people:

And finally, New Rule: A candidate for president should not be judged by the color of his skin. And to - and to anyone who thinks differently, I say, please do not reject John McCain just because he's white. I think the recent news from Wall Street has made us all less tolerant, and only reinforced the stereotype that white people are shiftless, thieving welfare queens.

Now, take a look at these pictures. Here are the CEO's of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG and the Lehman Brothers. I know the first thing that jumps out about these faces is they all happen to be white, and they all happen to be responsible for stealing. But, what you have to understand is that these whites are a product of a society that made them that way.

It was the neighborhoods and the schools they went to: Harvard, Yale, the Wharton School of Business.

They never learned the value of doing real, actual work. And the first step to fixing that is better role models so kids growing up white today don't think the only way out of Westchester is corporate crime.

Or a government handout. Or sailing.

So, I get it. The temptation is to look at McCain and vote against him because you don't see an individual; you just see another typical welfare "whitey."

And it's true. He spent his entire life shuffling from one low-paying government job to another. Well, except those years he spent in prison. Typical. And, between you and me, he's not very articulate.

Oh, he may have some street smarts, but he's not what you'd call an "educated" man. He freely admits he's ignorant about the economy. And apparently the only thing his white running mate knows how to do is crank out one baby after another.

And now, of course, her teenage is pregnant out of wedlock, because she learns it at home!

But, that doesn't mean we should assume all white people are like that just because so many of them are. I believe there is hope. I believe even the stupidest, greediest, laziest whites can break the cycle of dependence, like this November when we finally move George Bush out of public housing.

Political correctness be damned ...!


Capitalism sure is fragile if subprime borrowers can ruin it

The GOP Blames the Victim

Two weeks ago, I wrote that the breakdown of the nation's financial industry was undeniably a self-induced injury; that it would finally force conservatives to own up to the wrongheadedness of their deregulatory project; that they couldn't possibly blame the disaster on any of their traditional bogeymen.

But I had forgotten about conservatives' extraordinary instincts for blame-evasion. This is a movement, after all, that blandly recasts its greatest idols as traitors once their popularity has crashed; that routinely sloughs off responsibility for . . . well . . . anything since, by its logic, conservatism has never really been tried in the first place. Consider in this respect Mitt Romney's remarkable speech to the Republican convention a few weeks ago, in which he rallied his party against Washington -- a place his party has controlled, to one degree or another, for nearly three decades -- by listing the city's various institutions and crying, "It's liberal!"

Or consider the way the House Republicans torpedoed the bailout bill a few days ago. The real reason they did it was almost certainly to evade responsibility for an unpopular measure but the announced reason seemed designed to convince the nation's 7-year-olds -- because Nancy Pelosi said something mean.

On economic questions the standard exculpatory maneuver is even simpler. When some free-market scheme blows up, one needs only find an institution of government in close proximity to the wreckage and commence accusing.

Thus we hear from some on the right that the disaster on Wall Street was the handiwork not of those with unbridled pecuniary motives but of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were government-sponsored enterprises and therefore partially exempt from market discipline and of theoretical necessity the sole culprits.

THOMAS FRANK of the WSJ points out a few problems with the GOP blame-game over the sub-prime mortgage melt-down.

read the whole thing here



we just can't resist wallowing in sublime BDS-ecstasy - we just can't!!!