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Third World problems...we've got them.

It is going to get worse and it may never get better, kiddies. Just watch for the reaction to come... GOP Rep. Steve Scalise shot at co...

"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Friday, July 08, 2005

U.S. Judge Won't Stop Fla. Abortion Law

A federal judge Thursday refused to stop enforcement of a new Florida law requiring doctors to notify parents 48 hours before performing an abortion on a patient under 18.

U.S. District Judge William Stafford, rejecting a temporary injunction against the parental notification law, said opponents failed to show they had a good chance of winning a constitutional challenge.

The lawsuit challenging the law - filed last month by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America - will be argued later.

We'll live to fight another day," said Janet Crepps, an attorney for the New York-based Center on Reproductive Rights.

Your victims won't, Babylon.

Anti-Abortion Extremist Gets 19 Years...

...babykillers get paid.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A man who once claimed to be on a mission from God to kill abortion providers was sentenced Thursday to 19 years in federal prison for mailing hundreds of letters with fake anthrax to women's clinics.

Clayton Lee Waagner, 48, was convicted in 2003 of mailing the letters and of posting a message on an anti-abortion Web site claiming he'd been following clinic employees and was "going to kill as many of them as I can."

At his trial, Waagner called himself a terrorist and said people who provide abortions deserved to be shot.

Town council's petits fascistes ban use of the word "Wal-Mart"!

YELM, Washington - The town council barred residents from mentioning Wal-Mart (search) at meetings, prompting a challenge by civil libertarians who said a "free and accountable" government depends on a citizen's ability to voice concerns openly.

The retailing giant has an application pending to build a superstore, spurring controversy in the small town about 15 miles southeast of Olympia.

In a letter to the council, American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Aaron H. Caplan said his group believes it is unconstitutional to ban any mention of Wal-Mart (WMT) at council meetings. The term "big-box stores" also is banned, as is "moratorium."

The ban began because council members were fed up with complaints about the proposed superstore and related demands for a moratorium on big-box stores, municipal attorney Brent Dille said. He said officials also didn't want to appear biased if the council ever hears appeals in the matter.
"It's the council's meeting. They can decide what they want to hear and what they're tired of hearing," Dille said. "You can understand if you're barraged for two months at meetings — the same people saying the same thing."

The policy has been increasingly restrictive over the past five months. No one who signs up to speak at a council meeting about big-box stores, much less Wal-Mart, is allowed to talk, and anyone who mentions either is told to sit down.

Properly Informed Consciences Trump Self Interest?; Cold Front Moves Toward Hell

I didn't even know there was such a thing as a pharmacists' union.

Between 120 and 200 of Walgreens' 1,200 Chicago area staff pharmacists resigned from their union rather than participate in a strike, as talks between the union and the drugstore chain stalled Thursday.

The resignations reflect "an alarming disconnect between union leadership and our in-store pharmacists," said Michael Polzin, a spokesman for the Deerfield-based company.

Walgreens pharmacists in northern Illinois and northwest Indiana walked off their jobs at 10 p.m. Wednesday, complaining of inadequate staffing levels and a lack of trained technicians.

Walgreens and the National Pharmacists Association negotiated with the help of a federal mediator Thursday afternoon, but they were unable to reach an agreement, and no further talks are scheduled.

The company and the union dispute how many pharmacists have crossed picket lines -- with the company saying the number is more than 200, and the union saying it's closer to 10 percent, or 120.

Union head Chuck Sauer said Walgreens management "continues to turn a deaf ear to the concerns of its pharmacists over patient safety."

"This is another example of a large company putting profits ahead of patients," said Sauer, who added that the company is trying to break the union.

Mayer Freed, a law professor from Northwestern University and an expert on employment law, noted that 200 out of 1,200 is "well less than a majority."

"I don't know that I would call that a mortal blow to the union's support," Freed said. "The question is over time whether that number will increase."
Walgreens is keeping all of its pharmacies open, but with reduced hours, during the strike.

Of its approximately 100 24-hour pharmacies in the affected area, 13 will now stay open around the clock during the strike, compared with seven before the union resignations, Polzin said.

Patients are asked to call their individual pharmacy for hours. The pharmacies are being staffed by pharmacy managers, who are not part of the union, and technicians.

Polzin said company pharmacists and technicians are expressing "grave disappointment in the way union leadership is distorting Walgreens leadership in pharmacy safety."

The union says the dispute is not over salary. Staff pharmacists have been offered a 20 percent pay raise over four years, with pay rising to more than $100,000 by the second year of the contract. (Thanks to the Chicago Sun-Times and CNSNews.)

I'd like to think those who resigned from the union did so because they think their patients are more important.

That's how you can tell I'm a sunshine and gumdrops optomist.

One small step toward fixing the moslem crackup.

Muslim Groups Seek to Distance Islam from London Bombings
(Thanks to CNSNews.com)

Muslim groups in Britain have condemned Thursday's terrorist bombings in London, saying they had nothing to do with Islam (There is the small step forward. - F.G.) and voicing concern that members of their community could face retaliatory attacks. Similar warnings came from Muslim organizations in the U.S.

(And the two steps back.)

"Religious precepts cannot be used to justify such crimes, which are completely contrary to our teaching and practice," the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said in a joint statement with church groups.

"We must and will be united in common determination that terror cannot succeed," said MCB secretary-general Iqbal Sacranie in a separate statement. "It is now the duty of all us Britons to be vigilant and actively support efforts to bring those responsible to justice."

"The perpetrators, whoever they turn out to be, carried out a callous crime which Islam and all human values disown," said another group, the Muslim Association of Britain.

Spokesman Anas Altikriti called on imams at mosques across Britain to dedicate Friday sermons to condemning the attack and calling for "peace and harmony."

The British branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamic political party which says it eschews violence, took a different stance.

"Despite the intense scrutiny that our community will find itself under after these attacks, it is imperative that the Muslim community is not silenced about the colonialism of Western governments," said the group's representative in Britain, Imran Waheed.

"It is lamentable that some politicians and commentators are apportioning blame for these attacks on Muslims, without evidence, as Muslims rightfully feel that they have far greater experience of being the victims rather than the perpetrators of terror," he said.

Blah blah blah.

Look here, Citizen Imam. Move to the USA. Preferably an enlightened part of the nation where a man may carry a gun to protect himself. If any Christian or Jew (or a Buddhist seeking revenge for that statue kerfuffle) starts killing you, just shoot him in the head. That's the freedom we're trying to give to your 7th century ass.

Remember the Cole! Remember the Cole?

Saved by the Cole

Remember the USS Cole? It is the American destroyer that was hit by an al Qaeda bomb in Yemen in October 2000, killing 17. Damaged but not destroyed, the Cole returned to service in December 2003. Columnist Michael Smerconish writes in the Philadelphia Daily News about the Cole's most recent mission:

Before arriving in Philadelphia, the Cole participated in the annual Baltic Sea operations, a joint exercise of 11 nations. But the Cole took an unexpected detour on the way here, for reasons that offer a symbolic story about the U.S. military, one which hasn't been told until now. Here is the way [Cmdr. Brian] Solo spelled out the itinerary in an e-mail to me:

"At 2300 hours on 27 June, COLE received word via the Coast Guard regarding a medical emergency aboard a civilian sailboat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean... more than 300 [nautical miles] to the southeast of COLE's position. The patient was initially reported to have appendicitis. Due in Philadelphia, COLE nevertheless turned and headed, at best speed (30+ knots) towards the position of the sailboat. Simultaneously, the merchant vessel CHIQUITA NEDERLAND, who was in the vicinity of the sailing vessel, took the patient, a 16-year-old French national, on board, and then headed at best speed to the northwest to meet COLE."

Yes, one of the Navy's finest--in the midst of the war on terror--changed course to save a French teenager. (This isn't a picture of the military the mainstream media is anxious to portray. It's far too sympathetic.)

Hey France, de rien.
(Thanks to Best of the Web Today.)

Taranto et al., on London's savage attacks.

Can We Get Serious Again, Please?

Today's atrocity could have occurred in New York--or in Washington, Chicago, San Francisco or any other major American city. Indeed, we shouldn't have to remind anyone that an attack on a much worse scale happened in the U.S. less than four years ago--though it often seems as though certain people don't remember.

After all, what were American politicians doing while the terrorists were planning this morning's attack? The House, led by self-described socialist Bernie Sanders, was voting to prevent terror investigators from looking at library records. Rep. Charles Rangel was likening the liberation of Iraq to the Holocaust. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, was urging the administration to treat al Qaeda terrorists as civilians and comparing American servicemen to Nazis.

Closer to London, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday that "a Belgian lawmaker's report calls for the United States to shut down its detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and send detainees to their home countries":

"We recommend terminating the Guantanamo detention facility," said the report's author, Anne Marie Lizin, who is also the Socialist president of the Belgian Senate. She said keeping the camp open was damaging the reputation of the United States and causing the "radicalization" of detainees.

As if al Qaeda was moderate before the Guantanamo camp opened.

Andrew Sullivan said it well back in January 2002:
The debate over whether to treat the al Qaeda terrorists and murderers at Camp X-Ray as prisoners of war seems to me a no-brainer. To be a prisoner of war requires that you observe the rules of war. A critical part of those rules is that you wear insignia clearly identifying you as a member of a particular army. Al Qaeda did no such thing. Another critical component is that you obey the laws of war. Among those rules, in Yale professor Ruth Wedgwood's words, are also: "never deliberately attack civilians, and never seek disproportionate damage to civilians in pursuit of another objective."

Al Qaeda, of course, massacred thousands of civilians as a deliberate act. These terrorists are not soldiers. They are beneath such an honorific. They are not even criminals. In that respect, Dick Cheney's and Donald Rumsfeld's contempt for the whines of those complaining about poor treatment is fully justified. And vast majorities of Britons and Americans agree with them.

National Review's Jonah Goldberg quotes a reader who points out that violence such as London saw this morning "is what the people in Gitmo would rather be doing." It shouldn't take another terrorist attack to remind us of that fact. (From Best of the Web Today.)

From The What The Hell Were They Thinking Department:

A couple pleaded guilty Thursday to hiring a stripper for their son's 16th birthday party and were sentenced to two years probation. Landon and Anette Pharris, who were charged with contributing the delinquency of a minor, also were ordered to take parenting classes.

The parents hired the stripper to perform at a September party attended by about a dozen young people.

Cassandra Joyce Park, 29, who police say used the stage name "Sassy," danced for a few hours before partygoers took up a collection and paid her $150 more to fully disrobe, Anette Pharris said.

The stripper and the man she was with were also granted probation.
Police were tipped off to the party by a photo developer at a drug store who saw pictures of the occasion.

Pharris said after being arrested that she tried to do something special for her son.

"We even had grandpa there," she said.
(From AP via Yahoo!News.)

Laura Ingraham chemotherapy update.

From Laura's site:

CHEMO CLUB MED--TWO DOWN, TWO TO GO!

It's always a good sign that a chemo session went well when you leave with one more chemo-buddy than you came in with. (see photo below, left) This time, the Posse included my good friend Patty Coleman (back by popular demand from Round 1), my old NBC friend Felicia Taylor, and my dear pal and producer Lee Habeeb (who supplied the sophisticated chemo cuisine of Subway sandwiches, chips and Coke). I am feeling a bit of the queasiness I didn't feel after the first Round (although that also could be related to the foot-long Italian Subway sandwich that Lee encouraged me to eat during chemo, which I followed by watching Brit peaceniks on the BBC blame the war on terror for creating the London terror attacks). Okay, heading off to the gym, planning my post-chemo trip to Alaska, and standing firm with our friends in England. I am sending my continued love gratitude to all of you for the emails, cards, letters and prayers. They mean the world to me. And you do, too.

And John Paul Stevens makes three.

There are rumors Justice John Paul Stevens will retire by the end of 2005.

THIS is why you were elected, BushMonkey!

DON'T blow this opportunity to start this country on the path back to the rule of law instead of the rule of men (fascism).

DON'T be remembered as a feckless, gutless fool like your pathetic father.

BE a man.

DO the right thing.

Krauthammer administers a beat down to ol' Sandy.

Sir Charles (from Townhall.com) shows that O'Connor was that most dangerous of critters, an idiot with power.

Perhaps the most telling moment of Sandra Day O'Connor's quarter century career on the Supreme Court came on her last day. In her opinion on the Kentucky Ten Commandments case, O'Connor wrote that, given religious strife raging around the world and America's success in resolving religious differences, why would we ``renegotiate the boundaries between church and state. ... Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?''

This is O'Connorism in its purest essence. She had not so much a judicial philosophy as a social philosophy. Unlike a principled conservative such as Antonin Scalia or a principled liberal such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, O'Connor had no stable ideas about constitutional interpretation. Her idea of jurisprudence was to decide whether legislation produced social ``systems'' that either worked or did not.

An important tangential point: Ginsburg is all wrong, but she is so consistently. She has her screwed up philodoxy (From Plato: Philodoxy is the love of opinion. As opposed to philosophy, the love of wisdom.) of life and she's sticking to it. People like O'Connor are scary. You never know what they will think next.

But that, of course, is the job of the elected branches of government. Legislatures negotiate social arrangements. Judges are supposed to look at their handiwork and decide one thing and one thing only: Whether the ``system'' the politicians produced comports with the Constitution. On what other grounds do judges have the authority to throw out legislation? Do they have superior wisdom about what works, superior capacity to decide which social boundaries require negotiation and which do not?

O'Connor says that America has negotiated church-state boundaries so successfully that we should not rock the boat. But we went 170 years allowing school prayer and other kinds of public religious expression. Then, from 1960 on, we changed course and systematically stripped religion from the public square. In neither era -- school prayer or post-school prayer -- was this country particularly given to jihad or pogroms. How then does history recommend one negotiated boundary over the other?

Yeah, Sandy baby. How about that?

Similarly in upholding Roe v. Wade. As the swing vote in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, O'Connor did not want to create yet another social revolution by overturning the blanket abortion right that had been in place for two decades. This is a reasonable social assessment. But equally reasonable is the contrary assessment, offered by Ginsburg (before she ascended to the Supreme Court) that Roe ``halted a political process that was moving in a reform direction and thereby ... deferred stable settlement of the issue.''

That is what made O'Connor so unpredictable. Sure, she was headed for what she judged to be socially a stable settlement. But you could never know what empirical judgments she would make to get there. Would she decide that the long-term stability introduced by returning abortion to the elected branches of government would outweigh the short-term instability it would produce? You could not be sure. What you could be sure was that she would come up with some ad hoc constitutional principle to justify her empirical judgment.

That compounded the problem. In the case of abortion, the result was the immortal proclamation that ``At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life'' -- a supremely infelicitous definition of the liberty clause that is not just comically cosmic but infinitely elastic.

Sobran: On flag burning.

(Note: The link above will take you to Joe's current on-line column. The archive is here. Not all of his past columns are available in the archive.)

Last year there were 141 incidents of flag-burning in the United States. A chilling statistic, you say?

But those are just the ones that were reported! We have no way of knowing how many other flags people burned in their basements. The real number, from coast to coast, may be twice that high.

While our brave men and women are defending our freedom overseas, hippies within our own borders are torching Old Glory and lighting their reefers from it! Right here in River City! We got trouble! Don’t it just make your blood boil? Well, I should say!

Such behavior sends a message, loud and clear, to terrorists everywhere: “Come and get us! We don’t have the guts to fight. All we care about is drugs and sex. We’re ready to be taken.”

But don’t worry. The U.S. House of Representatives has just voted to ratify a constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning. This would repair an inexplicable oversight of the Constitution’s Framers, who made no provision whatever for protecting the flag. How could such wise men have left us with such a gaping vulnerability?

Maybe they didn’t. Maybe they would say that burning a flag during wartime constitutes treason, giving aid and comfort to the enemy. And since we are pretty much perpetually at war, this should take care of the problem. Flag-burners can be tried for treason and shot.

One congressman said the proposed amendment would have pleased the people in the World Trade Center who perished on 9/11. If ever there was a cogent argument for amending the supreme law of the land, I guess that’s it.

Seriously, folks, the purpose of this amendment might as well be to prove to the world that this is still the country that passed Prohibition. The whole thing started in 1989 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that flag-burning is part of “the freedom of speech” protected by the First Amendment.

That was ridiculous, but so is the fury flag-burning provokes. It’s a bit like the Muslim outrage over “desecrations” of the Koran; thanks to the printing press, sacred texts are now mass-produced, hundreds of millions of them exist, and there is no way to protect them all from abuse.

Joe is waxing nostalgic for the good old days when the First Amendment was actually understood. It exists to protect political speech. You know, stuff like "King George is a rat fink." or "I'm going to spend all my money to elect Candidate X and John McCain can drop dead if he doesn't like it."

Mr. Sobran also proposes we use one of the constitutional ways to fix the problem:

It seems a rather tedious effort to amend the Constitution every time the Supreme Court makes an absurd ruling, which happens on average every week. Just this week it has more or less abolished property rights, a decision that may have more far-reaching effects than its merely silly 1989 decision about burning flags.

If you’ll read the Constitution in question, you’ll notice that it provides for impeachment. This was meant to be used — not rarely, but always. Every government official should be constantly aware that he can lose his job if he abuses his power, just as most people know they can be fired at any time for abusing their employers’ trust.

But impeachment has become a dead letter, like so much of the Constitution, and it happens so seldom that members of the Federal judiciary feel their jobs are safe, no matter what they do. Until Americans start insisting that overweening justices be canned for usurping power, we can expect them to go on treating the Constitution with contempt. Unlike flag-burners, they are a clear and present danger.

Ah, impeachment. Remember the heady days when King Goober II joined the ignoble ranks of the impeached beside that other victim of the vast you-know-what, Andrew Johnson?

If you think impeachment is too messy, encourage your friendly neighborhood President and Senators to do this.

But, if you are a thrill seeker who craves a bit of derring-do, you can scare the Supremes straight by helping to TAKE SOUTER'S HOUSE! TAKE SOUTER'S HOUSE!

Blacks fear black youth...

...or, Leaders actually start listening to the led.

Two days before the oldest and best-known U.S. civil rights group holds its yearly convention in Milwaukee, black leaders in the city say their community is being torn apart from the inside.

Civil rights leaders like 57-year-old Prentice McKinney, who fought to free Milwaukee's blacks from the ghetto, say gangs, drugs and violence have left those who still live in the nation's urban cores in fear of the next generation.

"Back then, the enemy was clear, it was white racists, and racist police officers," said McKinney, who was a black teen-age "commando" in the 1960s and now runs a tavern once frequented by fellow activists.

"It was a legalized system of segregation. And so, the challenge was between the white establishment and the African-American population. Today, the African-American population is being destroyed by its own youth ... an enemy from within."
(From My Way News via Drudge.)

Pack the court!

Thanks to Drudge for the heads upon this WP story.

The fascist tendencies of the Supreme Court make it necessary to fill all vacancies with judges who pass my litmus test.

Rehnquist has been acceptable. But a younger, more vigorous, and more intellectually forceful Chief Justice would do us a world of good.

Am I being too subtle here? It's Scalia!

BTW, has anyone else noticed the two Supreme Court justices (Scalia and Thomas) who consistently support the real Constitution, who interpret instead of legislate, the two justices who exhibit erudition, humor, and wisdom are the two good Catholic gentlemen on the Court?


A week after Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement, the White House and its allies are preparing for the possibility that Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist might soon follow suit, opening up a second vacancy to fill and scrambling the politics of this summer's brewing nomination battle.

Talk of a possible Rehnquist retirement has reached full boil again as Republican strategists mapped out plans for how to tackle a double nomination. Advisers inside and outside the White House are discussing how to select two potential nominees, how they might match or balance each other and how to sequence their confirmation hearings.

"We're prepared for every contingency," said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Rehnquist has made no announcement. "If it's multiple candidates, we'll be ready."

If Rehnquist decides to step down, President Bush will have the opportunity to put a decisive personal stamp on a closely divided Supreme Court that has seen no turnover for the past 11 years. Such a scenario would almost certainly escalate the high-decibel, high-dollar political showdown both sides already expect.

Twin vacancies would present Bush with an intriguing choice: Does he use the opportunity to appoint two reliable conservatives who would shift the court away from what he sees as improper judicial activism on divisive issues such as abortion, religion in public life and gay rights? Or does he try to balance competing impulses by filling one seat with a conservative who would strictly interpret the Constitution and the other with his friend, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, who is less favored by the right but would be the first Hispanic on the nation's highest court?

"If we get a second vacancy, then there's just a lot up for grabs," said Gary L. Bauer, a prominent Christian conservative leader who ran for president in 2000. "It would mean a tremendous battle."

For the moment, Rehnquist's intentions remain unclear. The chief justice has not informed the White House of his plans, according to administration officials, and predictions that he would retire at the end of the court's term last week proved unfounded, or at least premature.

Girls and boys, what time is it?

It's time to TAKE SOUTER'S HOUSE! TAKE SOUTER'S HOUSE!

I get mail...from unexpected places.

In regard to yesterday's post of a small piece of a story about vaudeville by Stefan Kanfer in the City Journal,

monokromatika said...
titi biriti la gota gotera chim pum fuera_!

To which I can only respond by saying it is nice to know there is at one teenage girl in Uruguay who seems to get it. (I cannot be certain, translation software being what it is.)

Saint of the Day and daily Mass readings.

Today we honor St. Kilian, Irish monk, Bishop, and missionary. Pray for us, all you angels and saints.

Today's reading is Genesis
46:1-7, 28-30 .
Today's Gospel reading is Matthew 10:16-23 .


Everyday links:

The Blessed Virgin Mary
The Rosary
Our Mother of Perpetual Help
Prayers from EWTN
National Coalition of Clergy and Laity (dedicated to action for a genuine Catholic Restoration)


Memorare

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession,was left unaided.Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful;O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy clemency hear and answer me. Amen.


St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse, pray for us.


Prayer to Saint Anthony, Martyr of Desire

Dear St. Anthony, you became a Franciscan with the hope of shedding your blood for Christ. In God's plan for you, your thirst for martyrdom was never to be satisfied. St. Anthony, Martyr of Desire, pray that I may become less afraid to stand up and be counted as a follower of the Lord Jesus. Intercede also for my other intentions. (Name them.)


PRAYER TO SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the divine power, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

From The Unknown History Department:

Vaudeville’s Brief, Shining Moment

By Stefan Kanfer

It was the most democratic popular art in American history. To get onstage, all you needed was chutzpah and moxie. If you had the right stuff, you picked up the dance steps, the vocal style, the comic timing that could make you a star—maybe even one of the Marx Brothers. No wonder their mother, Mimi, loved vaudeville. And millions of fans and thousands of performers agreed. Yet despite its profound influence on every facet of entertainment, from the musical to the television sitcom, American vaudeville had a trajectory as astonishingly brief—if sparkling—as a Roman candle.

The word “vaudeville” derives from the French vau-de-vire, referring to the Valley of the Vire in Normandy, where itinerant singers amused the crowds with double entendre–packed songs. The tradition soon crossed the pond and by the mid-nineteenth century had become even trashier. Coarse buffoons and loose women formed the customary fare. In Huckleberry Finn, those two wandering frauds, the King and the Duke, offer a typical act, the Royal Nonesuch. In big type, the handbill warns customers: women and children not admitted. “There,” says the Duke, admiring his handiwork. “If that line don’t fetch them, I don’t know Arkansaw!” The routine, Huck reports, features the King “a-prancing out on all fours, naked; and he was painted all over, ring-streaked-and-striped, all sorts of colors, as splendid as a rainbow. . . . Well, it would have made a cow laugh to see the shines that old idiot cut.”

Such travesties placed vaudeville performers at the bottom tier of show business, at a time when even legitimate theater folk drew suspicion. “Respectable” hotels and restaurants barred vaudevillians. The rooming houses and cafeterias that did admit them were always on the wrong side of the tracks. Even in more relaxed New York City, reformers began closing in during the last two decades of the nineteenth century.

Get your paws off my non-stick cookware, you neopagan dirt worshippers!

Last week, an Environmental Protection Agency scientific advisory panel expressed concern about the safety of a chemical, PFOA, used to make Teflon, the nonstick coating on everything from frying pans to clothing to pizza boxes.

The panel relied solely upon the fact high doses of PFOA cause cancer in mice and rats. Under the EPA definition of "cancer-causing agent," this is enough to classify the chemical as a "likely human carcinogen" -- though (a) there is not a shred of evidence either Teflon or PFOA poses a human cancer risk and (b) a full spectrum of naturally occurring chemicals also cause cancer in lab animals, just as PFOA does.

Radical environmental groups immediately seized upon the opportunity to move in for the kill. On Wednesday, Richard Wiles of the Environmental Working Group opined on NBC's "Nightly News" that "it has now been determined to be a likely human carcinogen. That ranks up there with DDT, PCBs, dioxin as a very serous hazard. It needs to be banned."(Apparently, Mr. Wiles is unaware the regulated, approved use of the three much-maligned chemicals he cited never made anyone sick.)

A ban on Teflon? Now that would be the ultimate environmentalist victory. Teflon, probably more than any industrial product, is the poster child of modern technology, one that has made our lives easier and more enjoyable.

Ever since DuPont's Dr. Roy J. Plunkett accidentally discovered Teflon in his lab in 1938, it has proven miraculously useful, first in machine and military applications in the 1940s -- and dramatically changed cooking and cleanup in the 1960s when first used as a nonstick surface for pots and pans.

In defense of the diminutive Mr. Cruise.

For whom does one root in a battle of wits between two irrational factions? Keith Hoeller opines.

While it's generally best not to get medical information from either Hollywood celebrities or the mainstream media, the recent debate between Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields illuminates two important First Amendment issues: freedom of religion and freedom of the press. For these two actors hew to two very different philosophical and religious views of human nature and the mainstream press has decided to support one view over the other.

While Mr. Cruise believes problems in living are not caused by "mental illnesses" cured by psychiatric drugs, Miss Shields believes the opposite. Unfortunately for Mr. Cruise, Miss Shields' views have in effect become America's state religion, which is widely supported by the mainstream media.

On NBC's "Today" show, Mr. Cruise said he had carefully studied the history of psychiatry, that it is a pseudoscience, that children are being put on psychiatric drugs against their will, without their parents knowing the side-effects, that Ritalin is a drug available on the street, that there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance, and that psychiatric drugs do not cure anything but merely mask the real problems.

All his statements went against the dominant ideology, as espoused by "Today" host Matt Lauer. To get his points across, Mr. Cruise had to interrupt Mr. Lauer, who kept framing the questions within the framework of psychiatry.

After his expression of a heretical view, the mental health movement's high priests promptly went into action. The American Psychiatric Association and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, both heavily funded by drug companies, assured the public Mr. Cruise was wrong and the mentally ill need and benefit from their daily psychiatric drugs.

The New York Times, which routinely publishes opinions favorable to psychiatry, promptly published an op-ed by actress Brooke Shields, who has just published a book blaming her loathing of motherhood on "postpartum depression" and crediting antidepressants with making her a happier mother.

However, neither the APA, nor NAMI, nor Miss Shields offered any credible scientific evidence to support their claims that depressed people have a bona fide chemical imbalance that is cured by antidepressant drugs.
For in fact psychiatrists have yet to conclusively prove any mental illness is caused by a chemical imbalance of any kind. They have yet to develop a single physical diagnostic test to prove anyone even has a mental illness. And yet everyday in America people are either forced, coerced or misled to take psychiatric drugs to solve their personal problems.

Oops! Part 2

E.J. Dionne Jr. , call your office.

The good news this week is the unexpected surge in federal tax revenues that is slashing the federal budget deficit by about $100 billion.

This is especially welcome news to supply-side tax-cutters who argued all along that lower tax rates spur stronger economic growth, which, in turn, creates more jobs that increases tax revenues. That is happening now.

It's embarrassing news for President Bush's diehard Democratic critics, who predicted his tax cuts would worsen the budget deficits and drive the government deeper into debt. They argued throughout last year's elections that the tax cuts failed to grow the economy, create jobs or improve fiscal health.

Surely, it has become quite clear they were wrong on all counts -- again. Indeed, it now appears new tax-receipt numbers at the Treasury are showing a sharp increase in individual, corporate and Social Security payments.

Treasury officials say, thus far, in fiscal 2005, which began last Oct. 1, they have taken in nearly $100 billion more than previously projected. Individual tax receipts were up an impressive 21 percent over last year. Business tax revenues rose a whopping 48 percent. They took in a record $61 billion on June 15 alone.

"The numbers are an eye-popping vindication of the Laffer curve [a theoretical correlation between tax rates and growth] and the Bush tax cut's real economic value," tax-cut crusader Stephen Moore wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

What this means is that, despite somewhat higher spending, "The federal deficit could come in at $325 billion to $350 billion, significantly better than the White House $427 billion projection, or the Congressional Budget Office's $400 billion forecast," writes The Washington Post's economics reporter Jonathan Weisman.

Oops! Part 1

One of the "great first principles of the social compact" is that a legislature can not "take property from A and give it to B." So said the Supreme Court just after our nation was founded.

"It is against all reason and justice," the court said in 1798, "for a people to entrust a legislature with such powers; and, therefore, it cannot be presumed that they have done so."

Well, so much for that 200-year old presumption.

(See title link for complete Todd Gaziano/Paul Rosenzweig column.)

From The Irony Mixed With Unintended Consequences Department:

For whom does one root in a contest between two groups of murderers?

Syria's recent clashes with militants have raised the prospect that the country -- under U.S. pressure to keep terrorists out of Iraq -- might be facing a resurgence of Islamic extremists within its own borders.

Long-dormant Islamic-based groups that oppose the Syrian regime appear to be taking advantage of the government's tight spot to reassert themselves, some political analysts and outside experts said.

"The more you weaken the regime, the more you give the chance for opposition groups, including Islamic extremists, to regroup," said Nizar Hamzeh, a political science professor at the American University of Beirut and an expert on Islamic political movements.

Syria has gone on the offensive recently, announcing measures to crack down on foreign fighters slipping into Iraq from its territory. The initiative appears to be an attempt to relieve some pressure from the U.S. and Iraq, which say Syria has not done enough to fight terrorism.

The series of recent clashes has also highlighted the extremist groups' longtime hostility toward the Syrian regime, too.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed, the general manager of Al Arabiya satellite channel, said the clashes show that al Qaeda "has indeed started its war against Syria."

Writing in the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper Monday, he noted the irony that the Syrian government and Islamic terrorists have cooperated in the past.

But such cooperation was only "a marriage of convenience" to achieve certain goals such as confronting U.S. troops in Iraq, and groups such as al Qaeda consider Syria to be an "infidel" regime that needs to be changed, he noted.

"They may have slept in the same bed to fight the Americans, but what's important for al Qaeda is that it has entered the bedroom and secured a foothold there," he wrote.

There is little question that the militants seem willing to fight the Syrian regime.

On Monday, the Syrian government said its security forces had clashed with a band of militants -- including that former bodyguards of toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein -- on a resort mountain overlooking the Syrian capital, Damascus.

During the clash, security forces captured Jordanian suspect Sharif Ayed Saeed al-Smady and the wife of his brother, said a Syrian official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, as officials here routinely require.

In an interview with Syrian television, the wife, Rihab Shahab, said the group was planning terror attacks in Syria and also was preparing to travel to Iraq using forged passports.
(From AP via The Washington Times.)

Scriptural Snippets.

Whom (or what) do you trust?

Jeremias 17:5-8

5
Thus saith the Lord: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.
6
For he shall be like tamaric in the desert, and he shall not see when good shall come: but he shall dwell in dryness in the desert in a salt land, and not inhabited.
7
Blessed be the man that trusteth in the Lord, and the Lord shall be his confidence.
8
And he shall be as a tree that is planted by the waters, that spreadeth out its roots towards moisture: and it shall not fear when the heat cometh. And the leaf thereof shall be green, and in the time of drought it shall not be solicitous, neither shall it cease at any time to bring forth fruit.

Defense weenie/wonk gasps at gaffe.

I don't know why I find stories like this interesting.

Ok, yes I do. This idiot has some power and once had a lot more. And people pay to hear what he thinks.

Former Democratic House staffer and current political consultant and newsletter editor Chris Nelson mistakenly distributed an e-mail copy of a special report he prepared for the South Korean Embassy on the "players" in the United States on North Korea policy issues.

Mr. Nelson is viewed by conservatives in the Bush administration and on Capitol Hill as the voice of the liberal foreign-policy establishment, and his special report shows why. He harshly criticizes "hardliners" in the Bush administration, including the president, vice president, secretary of state and defense secretary, for what he calls a failed North Korea policy.

Mr. Nelson stated that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld makes all the decisions on North Korea issues at what is called "the big table" of senior aides. It was here that the Pentagon recently decided to send 15 F-117 stealth fighters to South Korea, he said.

I am not stupid enough to contradict Bill Gertz on defense matters, but the F-117A is really an strike/attack aircraft, despite the "F" designation. To my (admittedly limited) knowledge it has no air-to-air combat capabilities.

A second "little table" of Rumsfeld advisers works on the specifics of policy issues that are then presented to the big-table advisers.

The big-table team includes the chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and key undersecretaries and assistant secretaries.

Mr. Nelson said Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita sits at both the big table and the little table.

The report noted that all the Pentagon key players "indulge, from time to time, with attempts to influence the press, particularly working through David Sanger of the New York Times, and Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post."

Mr. Nelson revealed that his Pentagon source for the Nelson Report, his weekly newsletter, is Bob Scher, a policy staffer who was "assigned to answer our questions."

Oops! No more free lunches at The Capital Grille for old Bobby Scher.

Mr. Nelson also criticized several reporters, including co-author of this column, Bill Gertz, who is described as "exceptionally dangerous" because he is anti-communist.

Uh, Chris? Yeah, the commies are the bad guys.

After the report was sent out, Mr. Nelson sent a second e-mail calling the mistake "the worst of my professional life."

"In a single moment of technical stupidity I have hurt and betrayed many who have tried so generously to help, and who share my deepest fears about Korea policy."

The apology e-mail helps explain why liberals tend to "blame America first," as former U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick once put it. Mr. Nelson did not fault North Koreans for failing to resolve the nuclear issues. Instead, he said "a major contributor has been the inability of the [South Korean] and U.S. governments to communicate in full frankness and sympathy."
(Thanks to The Washington Times and Inside the Ring.)

Santorum vs. Hitlery in 2008?

Senator Santorum has written a book he should have entitled It Takes a Village to Staff a Gestapo Unit . I'd sell it to him. Cheap, too.

Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, compares abortion to slavery in his new book, "It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good," which is being promoted as an alternative to the views of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat.

The book describes his evolution from a young politician uncomfortable with abortion to a major player in the pro-life movement, the Associated Press reports.

It tackles subjects ranging from home schooling to welfare reform and advocates family over what he describes as the big government village in Mrs. Clinton's 1996 book, "It Takes a Village."

"The African proverb says, 'It takes a village to raise a child,'?" Mr. Santorum writes. "The American version is 'It takes a village to raise a child -- if the village wants that child.'?"

Mr. Santorum makes the case that abortion puts the liberty rights of the mother before those of her child, just as the rights of slave owners were put before those of slaves.

"This was tried once before in America," Mr. Santorum writes. "But unlike abortion today, in most states even the slaveholder did not have the unlimited right to kill his slave."

Mr. Santorum questions why Mrs. Clinton and other liberals tout decreasing abortion numbers if abortion is OK.

"When you look at the politics she would change, her 'politics of meaning' boil down to little more than feel-good rhetoric masking a radical left agenda," Mr. Santorum said.

Don't wanna be a conservative on the Repansycan plantation no more.

The Legal Affairs Council is calling on conservative groups to stay home and not spend their money if President Bush appoints "a moderate or judge of questionable commitment" to fill retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's seat on the Supreme Court.

The right-wing group goes so far as to state that "conservatives are treated like the hired help by most Republican presidential candidates, on the theory that conservatives have nowhere else to go and would not want to see a Democrat like Al Gore elected instead of a Republican president.
(Thanks to Inside the Beltway.)
"And why? Mainly because conservatives fear a liberal 'President Al Gore' appointing the next Supreme Court justice. Now is the time when that difference matters," the council states. "Yet, inexplicably, conservatives are being expected to hold their nose and support President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court, even if the nominee is not a good choice in their view, such as Alberto Gonzales or some politically correct moderate judge."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan says Mr. Bush spent "a good couple of hours" on his flight to Denmark going over "comprehensive materials on potential nominees," who number a half-dozen or so.

"He's going to hone in on a handful of potential nominees over the next few weeks," said Mr. McClellan, adding that the president plans to consult with key White House staff and Capitol Hill lawmakers before making a final decision by the beginning of the next court term in October.
(Thanks to Inside the Beltway.)

Pruden: The Kleptocrats' Burden

Wesley Pruden, editor of The Washington Times, cuffs the bad guys around a bit, but falters when he assumes the G8 is run by grown-ups.

This must be Tuesday, because poverty in Africa ended Monday.

All it took were a few chords, a lot of screaming, several acres of dirty hair and a cloud cover of lethal body odor. When the last guitar strings snapped Saturday night at those Live 8 concerts across the world, promoter Bob Geldof's over-the-hill gang had the prescription: just stuff a few billion dollars down the bottomless holes on the Dark Continent.

"This is the greatest rock show in the history of the world," cried the announcer at the London concert. Gushed a disc jockey on XM Satellite Radio: "This is the single most important concert ever."

No one wanted to stop there. Shouted one of the "musicians" of a group called Coldplay: "This is the greatest thing that's ever been in the entire history of the world."

Since "the entire history of the world" includes the extinction of the dinosaurs, the eruption of Krakatoa, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the construction of the pyramids, the Resurrection of Christ and man's landing on the moon, Live 8 had to be impressive mush.

But this week the grown-ups take over, as grown-ups always must, when the G-8 economic summit commences in Scotland under the baton of Tony Blair, who not only wants to eliminate African poverty but to end global warming before Christmas.

The nations of the West must do something to ease the brutal pain of generations of unbridled greed, ignorant incompetence and rabid corruption in Africa. It's our Christian duty. But it will require discipline that is out of fashion in the 21st century, and it certainly isn't what the simple-minded noisemakers of Live 8 had in mind.

The example of Nigeria says it all. Figures released last month by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, as reported in the London Daily Telegraph, reveal that in the 45 years since Britain granted independence in 1960 a succession of despots squandered $387 billion (that's a "b," not an "m"), almost to the dollar the sum of all Western aid to all of Africa between 1960 and 1997. One of the despots, Gen. Sani Abacha, now safely dead, is believed to have looted Nigeria's vast oil reserves of more than $5 billion in just five years.

William Bellamy, the U.S. ambassador to neighboring Kenya, startled the guests at his Fourth of July garden party yesterday with just the kind of bluntness needed to keep African aid in realistic perspective. "Turning on the fire hose of international compassion and asking Kenya and other African nations to drink from it is not a serious strategy for promoting growth or ending poverty."

President Mwai Kibaki, the Kenyan president, was off at the African Union summit in Libya, helping other despots draw up their gimme list. In his absence, a deputy fired back at Ambassador Bellamy, complaining that Kenya had been singled out for criticism just because it doesn't take terrorism seriously. Aid for Africa, he told the ambassador, "should not get entangled with the politics of your dissatisfaction with a regime, unless you have decided on a regime change."

From The Irony Department:

Tree hugger gadgets slaughter birds by the thousands.
(Thanks to The Washington Times.)

When it comes to wind power, few places are more productive -- or more deadly to birds -- than this gusty stretch of rolling hills between the San Francisco Bay area and the San Joaquin Valley.

At a time when demand is rising for greener energy sources, the Altamont Pass has become one of the nation's leading producers of wind power, generating enough pollution-free electricity annually to power 120,000 homes for a year.

But the Altamont, where more than 5,000 windmills line the hilltops, also has become a death trap for thousands of migrating birds that get chopped up in rotating turbine blades as they fly through or hunt for prey.

An estimated 1,700 to 4,700 birds are killed each year in the 50-square-mile Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area. Of those fatalities, between 880 and 1,300 are federally protected raptors such as burrowing owls, red-tailed hawks and golden eagles, said a study released last year by the California Energy Commission.

"Altamont is killing more birds of prey than any other wind farm in North America," said Jeff Miller, a wildlife advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Incredible numbers of raptors are being killed there."
Environmentalists were once reluctant to take on an industry that provides an eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels blamed for air pollution and global warming. But the bird deaths have prompted wildlife advocates to sue nine wind farm operators and appeal Alameda County's decisions to renew their operating permits without requiring measures to reduce bird collisions.

A county judge this week allowed the lawsuit to move forward; the case could go to trial by late this year. The Board of Supervisors is expected to decide next week whether to force the operators to adopt measures to curb bird deaths.

"This industry has always wrapped itself in the mantle of green power and has sought to use the environmental benefits of wind power as an excuse for not doing anything about the environmental harms it causes," said Rick Wiebe, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs.

When some of the nation's first industrial windmills went up in the Altamont Pass more than two decades ago, few people thought seriously about the birds -- even though the region is a major migratory corridor and hunting ground for raptors that prey on its abundant squirrels, gophers and rabbits.

Industry officials point out that turbines are responsible for only a tiny portion of human-caused bird deaths, compared with buildings, plate-glass windows, automobiles, pesticides and house cats.

If only cats could fly...

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on dignity, suicide, capitalism, orgasms, marriage, and last but not least, Ariel Sharon.

I know it sounds horrendous, but he does make some sense.

Last week on my radio show, I asked the callers to give me the most acceptable definition of dignity. The winner would receive a copy of my most recently published book.

The answers came in fast and furious, until one man named Mark, sounding a bit angry and disgruntled, called in and defined dignity as something acquired through action in accordance with one's deepest convictions and conscience. It followed that losing one's dignity meant behaving in a manner that betrayed one's deepest moral understanding. It was an eloquent response and I announced that he had won the book.

That night, I received an e-mail from Mark, thanking me for the book and revealing that he had been listening to my show "sitting in my car, overlooking a 500-foot cliff, contemplating suicide." He said that he understood just how selfish his plan for self-immolation was – "How could I as a man leave four children and a beautiful wife alone to fight on their own?" – but that he was still planning to kill himself because he had:

... lost the will to fight this ever-increasing evil world. I had fallen into this trap that the world has set for us, that I did not have the fancy cars, the big house etc. I had accepted the world's commercial definition of success and saw myself as a failure. But when you started talking about what constitutes real dignity, I realized that I have far more self worth than I believed."

He said that he had decided to fight his depression by going for counseling.
This man may sound like an anomaly, but he is only so in the extremism of his response to what more and more men are feeling, namely, that they are losers and failures who have let their families down by not competing successfully with the Joneses.

Western capitalist society is structured like a pyramid at the top of which stand men like Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch, and at the bottom of which are people like you and me. Every time we open a business magazine profiling Warren Buffet or praising the genius of the founder of Wal-Mart, the message we get, with our basic struggles to simply afford a mortgage and an annual family vacation is that we amount to nothing. More and more men are responding to this feeling of failure with destructive addictions or, in the case of an increasing number, total self-destruction.

The addictions we all know about. There is the porn addiction where the man gets to feel he is valuable because of all the fantasy women who flash their bodies at him. But there is something much more basic at work in the addiction to pornography, which is that these men are not addicted to sex so much as to orgasm and the feeling of numbness that comes in the wake of the male orgasm. The French famously call the male orgasm 'le petite morde,' the little death, because these men are really gripped by a death wish, a desire to deaden themselves to all feeling, because when they do feel, all they feel is pain.

Tiny quibble. I believe it should be "la petite morte". To the French, Death is feminine.

Men have much, much higher rates of addiction to alcoholism and drugs than women, the purpose of which is to numb the pain and to get them to stop feeling. And unlike women, who in their friendships with one another talk about emotions and feelings endlessly, even close male friends almost never talk about things like pain and inner dissatisfaction together. Indeed, in friendship, men don't talk at all. Rather, they do things together that utterly snuffs out real talking, like watching sports, playing cards, or fishing. When they do talk, they talk impersonal subjects like cars and politics.

And here's what wives – who are forever complaining about how emotionally closed their husbands are, how they are couch potatoes who die nightly in front of the television – refuse to understand. Their husbands are afraid to feel because when they do feel all they feel is an all-consuming anguish. Everywhere they look the world tells them they are failures, that the friend who was smart enough to buy those condos in Florida and flip them is the one who is the real winner. But this guy, who cannot even afford his children's college tuition, is a letdown.

To be sure, many wives do understand their husband's pain and try their best to comfort them and get them to believe in themselves. But the reason they so often fail is tied into the original reason for their husband's depression. Subconsciously, he says to himself, "I am big zero, and therefore, the woman stupid enough to marry me is an even bigger zero." She is part of the whole loser package. So how can one insignificant person make another feel significant? Which is why so many husbands turn to other women to assuage their macerated egos, because the stranger – the mistress, the women who is specifically not married to him and is therefore not a loser – is the only one who can make him feel not like a worm, but a man.

If we in Western capitalist society – Israel included – do not begin to address the soul-lessness of a culture that weighs the worth of men by their net worth, then we will continue to have churn out broken men who are workaholics; who get their thrills from porn on the Internet, rather than their wives' naked bodies; who drink themselves into oblivion; who have tawdry affairs; and who use money as a currency to purchase self-esteem.

And herein lies the solution to the riddle that has so gripped the world Jewish community. Why has Arik Sharon, the great hawk and builder of Israel's settlements, unexpectedly decided to forego the political ideology that has guided him throughout life and give away Gaza? But the kind of bravado Sharon has shown throughout his long and distinguished military career shows that he is exactly the kind of man I describe above, namely, an insecure man who tries to prove that he is valuable.

There is a lot of wisdom in the Old Testament faith, of course.

But not quite enough, of course.

No, I did not forget.

TAKE SOUTER'S HOUSE! TAKE SOUTER'S HOUSE!

TAKE SOUTER'S HOUSE! TAKE SOUTER'S HOUSE!

TAKE SOUTER'S HOUSE! TAKE SOUTER'S HOUSE!

The Protracted Battle of the Church Militant.

From WorldNetDaily comes the story of the heroic Bishop of Zhengding.

China arrests bishop
Detained for 6th time in 18 months after 20 years in prison


A Catholic bishop who already has spent 20 years in prison was arrested by Chinese authorities for the sixth time in the past 18 months.

Monsignor Julius Jia Zhiguo, 70, underground Bishop of Zhengding in northern China was arrested outside his home Monday, according to the U.S.-based Cardinal Kung Foundation, a monitor of of Catholics in the communist country.

Government officials had warned the bishop in advance of the arrest, ordering him to tell people he was being taken away for medical tests.
But the Kung Foundation said Jia is not ill or in need of any medical treatment.

Because China restricts Catholic Church activity to a state-controlled organization, the Catholic Patriotic Association, Jia's ministry is illegal.
The repeated arrests and other forms of harassment are an attempt to convince him to join the the association, which does not recognize the Vatican.

Prior to important religious celebrations such as Christmas and Easter, Jia is taken into custody and forced to undergo indoctrination sessions, the Kung Foundation said.

At other times, such as during important party meetings or visits from foreign heads of state, he is taken to a secret location.

In 1999, to thwart his evangelization activities, police tried to close down an orphanage for abandoned and handicapped children. Authorities, however, had to backtrack on their intent, due to international pressure.
The bishop shares his home with about 100 disabled children he supports at his own expense.

The latest string of arrests began in January 2004. He was detained later that year, in April, when a government vehicle appeared outside his home and took him way without any explanation.

On that occasion, the Vatican protested, stating Jia's arrest was "not admissible in a lawful state which claims to guarantee religious freedom and to respect and preserve human rights."

The bishop was in custody from June 13 to 18 last year. He also was arrested in September and December last year and in January 2005, when he was locked up for three days in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province.

Nobody hurt or killed in abortion clinic blaze.

Thank goodness only property was lost. Can you imagine the pain and suffering that fire would have brought to any people who might have been inside that babytoir?

But I reiterate: Nobody was injured or killed in that particular charnel house on that day.

After the fire, that is.

And for the foreseeable future.

An abortion clinic that draws patients from all over Florida and beyond has closed after an Independence Day fire labeled by the group as an "act of terrorism."

The fire late Monday night at the Presidential Women's Center in West Palm Beach sent flames through the roof of the building. The incident was almost one year to the day after an arsonist set ablaze another women's center in Lake Worth, Fla., which remains closed, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Investigators said it's too early to comment on the cause of Monday's fire, though they have found evidence of a fire accelerant at the scene.
But the clinic has come to a quick conclusion.

"It was an act of terrorism, an act of arson that did a great deal of damage," said Lou Silber, the center's attorney. "This is not going to close us down. We are going to open up as soon as possible and provide women medical services."

The case has been turned over to the federal Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, he said.

The leader of a local pro-life group says abortion protesters undoubtedly will be blamed.

"It is tragic that it happened," said Frances Fitzgerald, president of the Palm Beach County Right to Life League. "You don't take care of violence with more violence."

It is easy to look like a tough guy at the National Press Club...

...but I wish them well.

Abandoning the strategy of democratic reform, the newly formed Syrian National Council Wednesday called for the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad's regime in Damascus.

"This is a regime that cannot be reformed," said Najib Alghadban, one of several members of the Syrian National Council holding a news conference at the National Press Club.

Although council members told reporters that they had already held meetings with Bush administration officials, State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack on Wednesday said he had never heard of the group and could not comment on their activities.

The Syrian National Council is an umbrella group of Syrians living in the U.S. and around the world who say they are fighting for human rights, repatriation of exiled Syrians and the formation of political parties in Syria. "We're trying to coordinate with all oppositional forces inside and outside Syria," said Alghadban.
(Thanks to CNSNews.com.)

Report at G8 Summit Promotes Abortion in Africa...

...or, The Black Child's Burden.

By Patrick Goodenough
CNSNews.com International Editor

July 07, 2005

(CNSNews.com) - A major report that forms the basis of G8 leaders' discussions on Africa at their summit in Scotland calls for wider access to "safe abortion" .

Ken Livingstone comes home to roost.

From CNSNews:

London Mayor Ken Livingstone's previous support of a Muslim cleric who advocates suicide bombings may cause him some embarrassment as he now must speak for the city in the wake of Thursday's terrorist bombings.

Despite Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi's support of suicide bombings and the targeting of American allies, Livingstone dubbed him a "man of peace" and a "moderate."

The mayor invited Al-Qaradawi to London's City Hall last year as an honored guest, and Livingstone appeared in a video shown at a solidarity conference for the sheikh on Feb. 17 of this year in Doha, Qatar. Livingstone has publicly defended the sheikh against critics in the media and various grassroots organizations.

Laying, dogs, fleas, et cetera.

Allen in 2008?

Noted funny man and baseball aficionado George Will contemplates Senator Allen on the non-stump stump.

Just 23 weeks after the second inauguration of the 43rd president, someone who aims to be the 44th came here for the annual luncheon of the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women. It was a target-rich environment for George Allen.

He has the same name as his father, the late Hall of Fame head coach of the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins who was, to say no more, tightly wound, as coaches tend to be. If the son is similarly driven -- and he must be to embark on this marathon -- he conceals it beneath a demeanor akin to Ronald Reagan's, which was once described as ``Aw, shucks, I just stepped on my sneaker laces.'' Except there are no laces on Allen's cowboy boots, which go with the smokeless tobacco in the circular can in his pocket.

One of his father's mantras was ``Hit hard and good things will happen.'' The son, who as a University of Virginia graduate headed Young Virginians for Reagan in the 1976 nomination contest with President Ford, has Reagan's knack for expressing strong views in an unthreatening manner.

By 2008 it will have been 48 years since the country chose a senator to be president, so the ideal candidate is not a senator, or if he is, he has been a governor, someone with an executive's temperament and experience. Allen served a single term as governor of Virginia, where the constitution forbids consecutive terms. He now is in the fifth year of his first term in the U.S. Senate, which prudence might tell Allen is enough, because full-time campaigning often wins presidential nominations. Asked if he enjoys the Senate, he pauses, then says: ``Every now and then. It's better being governor.''

This is how we lose.

Paul Weyrich shows us all how to be a Repansycan, call yourself a conservative, and still manage to sleep at night.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has been making the rounds of conservative groups in Washington lately, but key leaders remain opposed to putting him on the Supreme Court.

"If Mr. Gonzales is nominated, I will neither support nor oppose him," said Paul Weyrich, chairman of the conservative Free Congress Foundation. "I can't support him because of my constituency, and I can't oppose him because I can't hurt this presidency. I think it would be an unfortunate choice."

James Taranto explains the Roe effect...

...or, How many future Al Frankens have to be butchered like mad cow infected animals before the Democrasses get it?

(Thanks to OpinionJournal.)

Compounding the GOP advantage is what I call the Roe effect. It is a statement of fact, not a moral judgment, to observe that every pregnancy aborted today results in one fewer eligible voter 18 years from now. More than 40 million legal abortions have occurred in the United States since 1973, and these are not randomly distributed across the population. Black women, for example, have a higher abortion ratio (percentage of pregnancies aborted) than Hispanic women, whose abortion ratio in turn is higher than that of non-Hispanic whites. Since blacks vote Democratic in far greater proportions than Hispanics, and whites are more Republican than Hispanics or blacks, ethnic disparities in abortion ratios would be sufficient to give the GOP a significant boost--surely enough to account for George W. Bush's razor-thin Florida victory in 2000.

The Roe effect, however, refers specifically to the nexus between the practice of abortion and the politics of abortion. It seems self-evident that pro-choice women are more likely to have abortions than pro-life ones, and common sense suggests that children tend to gravitate toward their parents' values. This would seem to ensure that Americans born after Roe v. Wade have a greater propensity to vote for the pro-life party--that is, Republican--than they otherwise would have.

The Roe effect would have made itself felt before post-Roe children even reached voting age. Children, after all, are counted in the population figures that determine states' representation in Congress and the Electoral College. Thus, if the greater prevalence of abortion post-Roe affected statewide fertility patterns, the results would have begun showing up after the 1980 reapportionment--in the 1982 election for Congress, and the 1984 election for president.

The first post-Roe babies reached voting age in 1991, in time for the 1992 election. In 1992 the Roe effect would have been minimal, since it was limited to a small segment of the electorate (18- and 19-year-olds), who tend not to vote. The affected segment of the population grows with each election, ranging up to 23-year-olds in 1996, 27-year-olds in 2000, and 31-year-olds in 2004. The Roe effect is compounded over generations. Children who are never born do not have children or grandchildren.

Critics of the Roe effect hypothesis point out that abortion does not necessarily diminish a woman's lifetime fertility. A woman may, for example, have an abortion while in college, but later marry and bear children--children she might not have had, had she been forced to carry her collegiate pregnancy to term. Yet it is not clear how much this might mitigate the Roe effect. Some women do abort their final pregnancy, and delayed childbearing is one manifestation of the Roe effect. If a woman has a child at, say, age 30 rather than 20, one additional census passes before the child counts toward his state's congressional and electoral college apportionment, and two or three presidential elections pass before he reaches voting age. The compounding element applies here as well; if a woman has a daughter at 30 rather than 20, the daughter reaches childbearing age a decade later than she otherwise would have. Moreover, attitudes about abortion and politics are subject to change with age and experience, and usually in a conservative direction. Thus, some women who delay childbearing contribute to the Roe effect on both ends: by having abortions when they are young, single, and pro-choice, and by bearing children when they are older, married, and pro-life.

Has the Roe effect borne itself out in practice? The results are mixed. In terms of reapportionment, the trend is decidedly in favor of Republican states. The 30 states George W. Bush carried in 2000 had 271 electoral votes, a bare majority. Reapportionment after the 2000 census increased that number to 278. In the 1980s, they were worth only 267 electoral votes, not enough for a majority; in the 1970s, 260. The trend continues: Of the 10 fastest-growing states in 2003-04, Bush carried nine in 2004. (One of them, New Mexico, went for Al Gore four years earlier.)

But Roe effect doubters can point to 2004 exit-poll results that found 18- to 29-year-old voters--i.e., those born after 1975, who correspond closely with the post-Roe generation--were the only age cohort that supported John Kerry over Mr. Bush, by 54% to 45%. Yet caution is in order in interpreting these results. The Roe effect does not predict that younger voters will be more apt to vote Republican than older ones, only than they otherwise would be. Putting the Roe effect to a real test will require a longitudinal look at these voters. How will their voting pattern change, as they grow older and more settled? In any given year, the youngest age cohort will include a high proportion of lower-income and never-married voters, both traits that are highly correlated with voting Democratic. Marriage, in particular, tends to correspond with conservative attitudes on abortion and other social issues, and therefore with voting Republican. According to 2004 exit polls, Mr. Bush outpolled Mr. Kerry among married voters, 57% to 42%, while Mr. Kerry beat Mr. Bush among singletons, 58% to 40%.

Short, smart, and to the point analysis of the London bombings.

This is from James S. Robbins, writing at National Review Online.

This morning (July 7) "The Secret Cell of Al-Qa'ida of Jihad Group in Europe" (Jama'at al-Tanzim al-Sirri, Tanzim Qa'idat al-Jihad fi Urupa) posted a statement on the Fortress (al-Qal'ah) jihadist website claiming credit for the "blessed raid" on London. They claimed the attacks were "revenge from the British Zionist Crusader Government in retaliation for the massacres Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan." The poster stated that the attacks had been planned over a long period of time, and that the British government had been repeatedly warned that something like this could happen. "Britain is now burning with fear, terror, and panic in its northern, southern, eastern, and western quarters," the poster claimed, and warned that Denmark, Italy, and "all the Crusader governments" will face similar attacks if they do not pull out of Iraq or Afghanistan.

The London bombings are likely part of a wider al Qaeda summer offensive. A letter attributed to Osama bin Laden addressed to the Muslim community (ummah) surfaced in Pakistan on June 20, stating that he was "preparing for the next round of jihad." He wrote that "we want to give good news to the Muslim ummah that, with the blessings of Almighty Allah, we have been successful in reorganizing ourselves and are going to launch a jihadi program that is absolutely in accordance with the changed situation." He stated that new recruits were ready, and that they were armed with the weapons of the enemy (no indication what that means exactly). He also threatened the rulers of Muslim countries who have not signed onto his program (which is all of them, at least publicly). More foreign fighters have appeared and are active in Afghanistan and diplomats from Muslim countries are being systematically targeted in Iraq.

As major al Qaeda attacks go, this morning's in London resulted in fewer casualties than usual — or at least that is the impression at this writing. The London attacks mirror the March 11, 2004 attacks on commuter rail lines in Madrid that influenced the Spanish elections and helped lead to Spain's decision to pull out of Iraq. Over 1,800 people were wounded and 191 killed in that attack. The timing looks odd compared to Madrid, coming as it does shortly after the British parliamentary elections. It is also unusual timing given that Britain had just announced a planned troop draw-down in Iraq. There could be a tie-in to the trial in London of radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, perhaps to the G-8 summit, probably not to the announcement that London would host the 2012 Olympics.

It is doubtful that these attacks will influence British policy, at least in any way favorable to al Qaeda or its ideological allies. Londoners are no strangers to terror attacks. According to the MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base, there have been 126 terrorist incidents in London since the late Sixties, making it among the most targeted European capitals. (Note: There have been 309 attacks in Paris over the same period.) London has been attacked not only by the IRA, but also the Popular Front for the Liberation, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Abu Nidal Group, and now al Qaeda. Not to mention the Blitz during World War II. If Hitler's Luftwaffe could not break Britain's will, what chance do the terrorists have?

— James S. Robbins is senior fellow in national-security affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council and an NRO contributor.

Novak: Bush is biggest obstacle to a conservative court.

Bob Novak, in the Chicago Sun-Times, confirms my suspicions our president is quite the horse's ass.

Conservatives who have spent more than a decade planning for this moment to change the balance of power on the Supreme Court are reeling from blows delivered by two dissimilar political leaders: Edward M. Kennedy and George W. Bush. Sen. Kennedy has succeeded with the news media in establishing a new standard of ''mainstream conservatism'' for a justice. President Bush has put forth ''friendship'' as a qualification for being named to the high court.

Bush is by far the bigger obstacle in the way of a conservative court. While Kennedy's ploy presents a temporary problem, Bush's stance could be fatal. The right's morale was devastated by the president's comments in a USA Today telephone interview published on the newspaper's front page Tuesday: ''Al Gonzales is a great friend of mine. When a friend gets attacked, I don't like it.''

What are you, 12 years old? Be a man and choose a real man to fill this vacancy. Catholics don't want a traitor to The Faith on the court.

Bush is a stubborn man, who sounded like he might really nominate Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in the face of deep and broad opposition from the president's own political base.

Adding to the tension is word from court sources that ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist also will announce his retirement before the week is over. That would enable Bush to play this game: Name one justice no less conservative than Rehnquist, and name Gonzales, whose past record suggests he would replicate retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on abortion and possibly other social issues. Thus, the present ideological orientation of the court would be unchanged, which would suit the left just fine.

Kennedy and his allies were taken by surprise last Friday when O'Connor declared she was leaving. Democrats had expected Rehnquist to go first. Since Rehnquist's replacement by a conservative would not change the court's balance, Kennedy could keep his filibuster gun in the closet for now. O'Connor's bombshell raised the possibility of a conservative switch on the court, and Kennedy reacted to the new climate quickly.

''Justice O'Connor was a mainstream conservative,'' Kennedy said within hours of her announcement. ''I hope the president will select someone . . . that can bring the nation together as she did.'' Kennedy's description of O'Connor as a ''conservative'' was echoed by Democratic Senators Patrick Leahy, Chris Dodd, Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein -- who will lead any filibuster against O'Connor's successor. O'Connor was not considered a conservative when she was nominated 24 years ago, and the worst fears about her were realized by her consistently liberal positions on social issues. With Democrats now setting a new standard for conservatism, Republican senators could only bite their lips and praise her.

Part of me wants Bush to nominate a babykilling totalitarian. I want to rip this "conservative" lie to shreds once and for all. Not just Bush's lie. Everyone's.

It is time to begin taking down the Repansycan party. We start by dismantling their base. We'll take our evangelical (and other) allies and start a party based on shared beliefs, not convenience.

Nota bene: The Party of Blasphemy, Buggery, and 'Bortion is not relevant to any reasonable discussion of American politics and hasn't been since the death of Scoop Jackson.

The UCC crackup is nearly complete.

UCC votes in favor of divestment campaign against Israel

A day after the United Church of Christ (UCC) General Synod voted in favor of same-sex marriage, it decided to divest from companies that do business with Israel, in order to encourage the state to cave to Palestinian demands and to dismantle the security fence. The Simon Wiesenthal Center called the resolutions "functionally anti-Semitic," and accused the UCC -- which has 1.3 million members -- of holding Israel to a different moral standard.

Let's see...all they have left to do is endorse babykilling and the healthful benefits of eating fetus.

Just say no to token latino Supreme Court nominees.

(From the NYT via Human Events.)

About a year ago, I attended a meeting of almost 500 Conservative leaders. Judge Gonzales spoke to a general session, and I was able to ask him the following:

Q: Judge Gonzales, we’re hearing conflicting reports about your position on abortion. Can you tell us where you stand?

A: As a judge, I have to make judgments in conformity with the laws of our nation.

Q: Would you say that, regarding Roe vs. Wade, stare decisis would be governing here? (Note, stare decisis means that he would continue to uphold that decision because he would regard it as a binding precedent.)

A: Yes.

In response to this, there was a loud, spontaneous murmur across the entire auditorium of an “oooooh.” Rising above that were clearly audible “boos.”

Approximately two months later, I was privileged to be part of a smaller group of business executives at a meeting in the White House. One of the people who spoke to our group was Alberto Gonzales. I was again able to ask a question:

Q: Judge Gonzales, it’s well known that the Clinton administration had a very clear and consistent litmus test in regard to judicial nominations. If that person was not pro-abortion, they were not nominated. In light of this, do you ask your nominees what their position is on abortion?

A: No, we do not. We judge them on a very broad basis of conservatism and constitutional construction.

Q: Many of us feel that the Constitution does not speak to permissive abortion. Would you comment?

A: The Constitution is what the Supreme Court says it is. (Emphasis mine.)

That's all we need to hear from this fool. Let's throw him to the Abu Grab-u-ass wolves. He can better serve his country as a scapegoat. We've got enough Repansycan babykillers and their "conservative from the waist up" enablers as it is.

Ann Coulter delivers a mighty beat down to the legal thinking (??) of Justice O'Connor.

It turns out the nation's first token XX chromosome Supreme Court member wasn't conservative, moderate, liberal, originalist, or activist. She was just another moron with a law degree. Go figure.

The fundamental goal of the next Supreme Court justice should be to create a record that would not inspire Sen. Chuck Schumer to say, as he did of Justice O'Connor last week: "We hope the president chooses someone thoughtful, mainstream, pragmatic -- someone just like Sandra Day O'Connor." That's our litmus test: We will accept only judicial nominees violently opposed by Chuck Schumer.

Showing what a tough job it is to be president, when Bush announced O'Connor's resignation, he called her "a discerning and conscientious judge and a public servant of complete integrity." I assume he was reading from the script originally drafted for Justice Rehnquist's anticipated resignation, but still, he said it.

Cleverly, Bush also made a big point of noting that Reagan appointed O'Connor, reminding people that whatever mistakes Bush may have made, at least he didn't appoint O'Connor.

It's hard to say which of O'Connor's decisions was the worst. It's like asking people to name their favorite Beatle or favorite (unaborted) child.
Of course, it was often hard to say what her decision was, period. In lieu of clear rules, or what we used to call "law," O'Connor preferred conjuring up five-part balancing tests that settled nothing. That woman could never make up her mind!

In a quarter-century on the highest court in the land, O'Connor will have left no discernible mark on the law, other than littering the U.S. Reports with a lot of long-winded versions of the legal proposition: "It depends."
Some say her worst opinion was Grutter v. Bollinger, which introduced a constitutional rule with a "DO NOT USE AFTER XXXX DATE."

After delivering a four-part test for when universities are allowed to discriminate on the basis of race (a culturally biased test if ever there was one), O'Connor incomprehensibly added: "The Court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today."

So now constitutional rules come with expiration dates, bringing to mind the image of O'Connor proffering one of her written opinions to Justice Scalia and asking, "Does this smell bad to you?" Strangely enough, she failed to specify which month and day in the year 2028 that affirmative action would no longer be justifiable under the Constitution.

Others say her worst decisions came in the area of religion. In determining the constitutionality of religious displays on public property and government aid to religion, Justice O'Connor evidently decided she preferred her own words, "entanglement" and "endorsement," to the Constitution's word "establishment."

No one could ever understand O'Connor's special two-prong entanglement/endorsement test -- including Justice O'Connor. Over the years, she struggled to resuscitate her own test by continually adding more tines to the prongs.

Among the tines to the "endorsement" prong is the "outsider" test, requiring that the government not make a nonbeliever feel like an "outsider." But wait! There are spikes on those tines!

O'Connor discovered a spike off the Feelings tine of the Endorsement prong, which requires the court's evaluation of the feelings of the nonbeliever to be based on a "reasonable observer" who embodies "a community ideal of social judgment, as well as rational judgment."
It's often said that O'Connor's problem is that she is not a judge, but a legislator. On the basis of her bright idea to replace 10 blindingly clear words in the Constitution ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion") with a 40-page manual of flow charts and two-pronged, four-tined, six-spiked tests, she wouldn't have made much of legislator, either. O'Connor's real calling was as a schoolyard bully, maliciously making up rules willy-nilly as she went along.

Processing the religion cases through the meat grinder of her own multipart tests, O'Connor found it was unconstitutional for a Reform rabbi to give a nonsectarian prayer at a high school graduation. It was also unconstitutional for a courthouse in Kentucky to display a framed Ten Commandments along with other historical documents.

In the latter case, McCreary v. ACLU, O'Connor haughtily added this bit of advice to religious believers: Visionaries "held their faith 'with enough confidence to believe that what should be rendered to God does not need to be decided and collected by Caesar.'"

Religion may be able to get along without the government, but apparently sodomy and abortion cannot. Those, O'Connor found, were special rights protected by the Constitution.

O'Connor took sadistic glee in refusing to overturn Roe v. Wade in the face of the unending strife it has caused the nation. (And it hasn't been easy on 30 million aborted babies either.)

She co-authored the opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey which upheld Roe v. Wade, gloating: "(T)o overrule under fire in the absence of the most compelling reason ... would subvert the Court's legitimacy beyond any serious question." Yes, the court has really crowned itself in glory with those abortion decisions.

At least she would not overrule a precedent for something as trivial as a human life. Overruling a precedent would require a really, really compelling value like our right to sodomize one another.

Thus, in the recent sodomy case Lawrence v. Texas, which overruled an earlier case that had found no constitutional right to sodomy (risibly titled Bowers v. Hardwick), O'Connor specifically cited criticism of Bowers as a reason to overrule it. "(C)riticism of Bowers has been substantial and continuing," O'Connor explained in her concurrence. When "a case's foundations have sustained serious erosion, criticism from other sources is of greater significance."

Mercifully, O'Connor was concurring only in Lawrence, so there is no multipronged test for sodomy under the Constitution.

For all the blather about O'Connor's moderation and pragmatism and motherly instincts, Mommie Dearest signed on to the most monstrous opinion in the history of the court, Stenberg v. Carhart, which proclaimed a heretofore unnoticed constitutional right to puncture the skull of a half-delivered baby and suction its brains out -- just as the framers so clearly intended.

In her 2003 memoir, Miss Pragmatic-Consensus wrote, "Humility is the most difficult virtue," which perhaps explains why she never attempted it.
Every human being on the globe has heard the lachrymose tale of O'Connor being offered the job of secretary after her graduation from Stanford Law School. Bushmen in Africa weep at the unfairness of it all -- though not as bitterly as O'Connor does.

O'Connor spent the last quarter-century paying America back. With no offense intended to the nonbelievers who are "reasonable observers" embodying "a community ideal of social judgment, as well as rational judgment," thank God the punishment is finally over.

About Me

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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