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It seems Pope Francis needs to brush up on his Tertullian!

It has been reported (in The ChristLast Media, I must note) that the current Pope does not like the phrase "lead us not into temptation...

"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, December 09, 2005

From The Worshipping At The Altar Of The Pollster Department:

From Human Events Online and The Washington Times comes the totally surprising news that pollster John Zogby is a greedy fraudster who can't really read our minds.

The Washington Times carries a column today by Joel Mowbray about John Zogby’s poll last week about Americans’ negative feelings toward Wal-Mart. After reading Mowbray’s column, it’s clear Zogby is no fan of Wal-Mart and, therefore, had no problem helping an anti-Wal-Mart group circulate the Wal-Mart-bashing poll.

Mowbray reveals: “In recent years, Mr. Zogby has pocketed roughly $90,000 to serve as an expert witness for individuals suing Wal-Mart, according to testimony he gave in a deposition last year in an Arizona case. Nowhere is Mr. Zogby’s prior work on behalf of plaintiffs mentioned in the press release announcing the poll results.”

But even setting aside Mowbray’s excellent reporting, readers should be reminded of Zogby’s flubs, and there was perhaps none bigger than his call of the 2004 presidential election for John Kerry. I still don’t know how Zogby could have called Virginia for Kerry.

Other Zogby errors: He predicted then-Rep. Rick Lazio would defeat Hillary Clinton in the New York Senate race in 2000, and he foresaw Rep. Tom DeLay’s defeat in 2002.

As much as I admire Zogby for keeping his business based in Utica, N.Y., giving my hometown some much-needed jobs and publicity, I’m losing faith in the man who in 1996 “was the only pollster to call the presidential election to the exact percentage point.”

The petite Ann Coulter smacks down that weenie Ronnie Earle.

The babe so devastatingly right the totalitarians can only shout her down (ok, so that's all they ever due when confronted by ideas better than their own) makes mincemeat of the Delaypot Dome scandal.

Democrat prosecutor Ronnie Earle's conspiracy charge against Tom DeLay was thrown out this week, which came as a surprise to people who think it's normal for a prosecutor to have to empanel six grand juries in order to get an indictment on simple fund-raising violations. Mr. Earle will presumably assemble a seventh grand jury as soon as he locates someone in the county who hasn't served on a previous one.

It probably goes without saying that it is extraordinary for criminal charges to be thrown out by a judge before any jury ever hears the evidence. Juries decide guilt or innocence in this country. For the judge to dismiss an indictment before trial, it means he concluded that -- even if the jury finds everything Ronnie Earle alleges to be true -- no crime was committed.

Obviously, this was a huge victory for DeLay and, as the Washington Post put it, "a slap at Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle." (More bad news for Ronnie Earle: Today President Bush said the embattled Texas D.A. was doing "a heck of a job.")

Or, in the words of CNN's Bill Schneider on what this means for Tom DeLay: "Not good." In the expert analysis of Schneider, it was "not good" for DeLay to have charges thrown out because it would have been even better if all the charges had been thrown out. It also would have been better if the judge had dismissed the conspiracy charges and given DeLay an ice cream cone.

But that doesn't mean having criminal charges against you dismissed is, I quote, "not good." And they think Fox News has twice CNN's ratings just because it's fair and balanced. The accountants at Fox could give a more penetrating legal analysis.

In the past few years, all TV news has become less biased due to the salubrious influence of Fox News. But Bill Schneider isn't backing off one inch! Watching Schneider is like entering a time machine and seeing how news was reported in the '80s. CNN ought to start broadcasting Schneider's appearances only in black and white.

According to Schneider, the judge's failure to dismiss the money laundering charges proves "obviously, on at least one charge the judge disagreed" with DeLay's claim that the prosecutor was politically motivated. Schneider's entire understanding of criminal law was apparently shaped during the Ally McBeal years.

Schneider would have said more, but he had to run off to file a story about how 4.3 percent growth, 215,000 new jobs, record productivity gains and continued growth in real estate prices were "not good" news for the economy.

In fact, all we know as a result of the judge's ruling on Monday is that the remaining charge against DeLay, if proved, would at least constitute a crime.

To repeat what you might already have heard in third grade: In America, the validity of criminal charges is determined by the trier of fact after a trial. A judge is not authorized to dismiss a criminal indictment handed up by a grand jury just because the prosecutor is a political hack.

This is true even if the prosecutor had to spend three years and empanel six grand juries to get an indictment.

It is true even if the same prosecutor also indicted Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison days after she was elected to the U.S. Senate, but after spending a year holding press conferences in which he called Hutchinson a criminal, still had no evidence and folded his hand.

It is true even if the prosecutor is participating in a documentary about a brave liberal prosecutor (Ronnie Earle) exposing a black-hearted Republican (Tom DeLay) -- which wouldn't make much of a movie if no charges were ever brought.

Thus, for example, Earle's baseless charges against Hutchison -- like the remaining charges against DeLay -- were not dismissed before trial. What happened was, the trial date came and Earle had no evidence. The judge ordered the jury to acquit.

Earle never admitted he had no evidence against Hutchison. Instead, he made a preposterous request of the judge. He asked the judge to issue a pre-emptive ruling declaring all documents that Earle planned to admit throughout the trial admissible -- without allowing the judge to know what those documents were or allowing the defense an opportunity to object. Obviously, the judge said he would have to see the documents first and decide admissibility on a case-by-case basis.

So now and forevermore, Earle claims his case against Hutchison was watertight, but because the judge ruled against him, he was prevented from presenting his "evidence" to the jury. Remember that when liberals call Bill O'Reilly a "liar" because he won a Polk award, but one time he got confused and called it a Peabody award.

Right-wing Smile of the Day.


The DRUDGE REPORT has learned from a top GOP operative that the Republican National Committee will provide state parties with a web video prior to release tomorrow afternoon that shows a white flag waving over images of Democrat leaders making anti-war remarks.

Ho-hum. Another Iraqi election next Thursday. When will those people learn they're being opressed?

So saith our moral and intellectual superiors of the press, academia, and left-fascist politics.

Meanwhile, every man in the Middle East is willing to trade his left date nut for the chance to vote in free elections. And you know how highly valued those are, don't you kiddies?

While he's no friend of Mr. Bush's war in Iraq, Pat Buchanan takes one look at the Democrasses and shudders.

All my life, said Voltaire, "I have never made but one prayer ... 'Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it."

(To prevent this post from degenerating into a dismemberment of ol' Voltaire, I'll let that pass.)

George Bush must have been praying the same way lately.

In his "Plan for Victory" address to the Naval Academy, the president declared: "Against this adversary, there is only one effective response: We will never back down. We will never give in. And we will never accept anything less than complete victory."

This is what one expects of a commander in chief in wartime, speaking to the patriotic young midshipmen, who roared approval.

The alternative?

To which Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean instantly retorted, "The idea that we're going to win this war ... is just plain wrong."

Gee, Pat, what does Senator War Criminal think?

Sunday on "Face the Nation," John Kerry said to Bob Schieffer: "There is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking ... the historical customs, religious customs ... Iraqis should be doing that."

How about a distaff opinion?

After Bush went before the Council of Foreign Relations to report some progress in the war, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi headed for the cameras to sneer: "Just because he says things are improving doesn't make it so ... The president says the security situation on the ground is better. It is not."

How's that for a morale booster?

She's so cute. Like a serial killer with power.

Rep. Jack Murtha added, "Bush's plan is to stay the course and hope."

But, surely, hope is superior to this remorseless despair and defeatism oozing out of the Democratic Party. One wonders what Jack Murtha's old Marine buddies think when they hear him – day in, day out – wail that all is lost and the U.S. Army is "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth."

Oh, yeah. How could I forget Pennsylvania's best and brightest, "The Johnstown Crud" himself?

And here's Mr. Buchanan's bottom line on the defeatist, dysfunctional, and dimwitted Democrasses:

"They have a right to criticize who have a heart to help," said Lincoln. Listening to Democrats, it is hard to discern any of the later, outside of Sen. Joe Lieberman. Whatever one thinks of the war, the party is revealing itself to be so steeped in pessimism that it is unfit to lead the nation. Who could vote for such a party?

Democrats are again courting a perception that they are not really a loyal opposition at all, but a party of defeat and retreat, whose worst nightmare would be to see George Bush emerge as a victorious president in a war they said we could not win. This is precisely the perception Democrats created in the last days of Vietnam – and they paid a hellish price for it.
(Thanks to WND for the heads up.)

The first review of Señor Spielbergo's* latest film is in!


by Leon Wieseltier
Post date 12.09.05 Issue date 12.19.05

A few days before I read in Time that Steven Spielberg's new movie is so significant that there would be no advance screenings of it, (That means they're afraid of bad reviews. - F.G.) I went to an advance screening of it. The fakery is everywhere, isn't it, though in this instance it nicely captures the self-importance of this pseudo-controversial film. The makers of Munich seem to think that it is itself an intervention in the historical conflict that it portrays. For this reason, perhaps, they have devised a movie that wishes to be shocking and inoffensive at the same time. It tells the story of the Israeli retaliation for the massacre at the Munich Olympics in 1972--specifically, of the nasty adventures of a team of five Israelis that is dispatched to Europe to destroy eleven Palestinians. The film is powerful, in the hollow way that many of Spielberg's films are powerful. (OMG! YES! - F.G.) He is a master of vacant intensities, of slick searings. Whatever the theme, he must ravish the viewer. Munich is aesthetically no different from War of the Worlds, (Ouch! - F.G.) and never mind that one treats questions of ethical and historical consequence and the other is stupid. (Double ouch! - F.G.) Spielberg knows how to overwhelm. But I am tired of being overwhelmed. Why should I admire somebody for his ability to manipulate me? In other realms of life, this talent is known as demagoguery. There are better reasons to turn to art, better reasons to go to the movies, than to be blown away.... (Thanks to Drudge for the heads up.)

*Señor Spielbergo está aquí.

Mitt Romney now appears to be seeking the nomination of The Party of Blasphemy, Buggery, and 'Bortion.

I figured Massachusetts could not be counted among even the occasionally child-friendly for long, but this is ridiculous.

Governor Mitt Romney reversed course on the state's new emergency contraception law yesterday, saying that all hospitals in the state will be obligated to provide the morning-after pill to rape victims.

The decision overturns a ruling made public this week by the state Department of Public Health that privately run hospitals could opt out of the requirement if they objected on moral or religious grounds.

Romney had initially supported that interpretation, but he said yesterday that he had changed direction after his legal counsel, Mark D. Nielsen, concluded Wednesday that the new law supersedes a preexisting statute that says private hospitals cannot be forced to provide abortions or contraception.

''And on that basis, I have instructed the Department of Public Health to follow the conclusion of my own legal counsel and to adopt that sounder view," Romney said at the State House after signing a bill on capital gains taxes.

The unexpected decision revived an awkward political situation for Romney, who has staked out more conservative positions on social issues as he gears up for a possible presidential run in 2008. After vetoing the emergency contraception bill this summer, he declared himself firmly ''prolife" and faulted the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Yesterday, abortion opponents, who see the morning-after pill as a form of abortion, predicted a court battle over the issue, while reproductive rights advocates expressed surprise at the change of heart. Democrats accused the governor of a ''flip-flop."

Romney made his announcement a week before the controversial law takes effect. His decision resolves, for now, a debate that has raged since the Department of Public Health disclosed its position Monday. The department had said that the existing statute allowed private hospitals to sidestep the new requirement if they wished. Massachusetts is one of eight states that require all hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape victims. (Thanks to boston.com and CNSNews.com for the heads up.)

Yeah? Well just wait until the permanent moon base is built...

Iranian President Wants Israel Moved to Europe
(CNSNews.com) - Israel says the international community must "wake up" to the threat posed by Iran after its president once again called for the destruction of the Jewish State. Full Story

Bill Clinton, an eskimo, and global warming walk into a bar together...

Bill Clinton Heats Up UN Climate Conference
(CNSNews.com) - Former President Bill Clinton is expected to address the U.N. Climate Change Conference on Friday, the final day, after the Sierra Club reportedly raised the money to pay for Clinton's trip. Full Story

Warm Homes Causing Arctic Ice Melt, Eskimo Charges
(CNSNews.com) - An Arctic Inuit representative said the lower 48 states have a mild climate, and therefore Americans should have no problem turning down their thermostats this winter to stop Arctic ice from melting. Full Story

Americans Told to Bypass Govt. in 'Global Warming' Fight (CNSNews.com) - As many industrialized nations continue struggling to comply with the greenhouse-gas-limiting Kyoto Protocol, American citizens are being told to bypass the Bush administration and support a grassroots "ratification" of the treaty. Full Story

The punch line is: Bill Clinton goes home with the fat chick with low self esteem because eskimos and global warming are fictional characters. And because he can.


Disney's (boo! hisssssss!) version of C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe opens today.

Do everyone a favor by avoiding the movie and buying your children the books. You'll deny those Disney weasels some cash and the kids will love you even more.

Fyodor's Pro Football Picks of the Week.

1) The guys who set the lines are professionals. Their job is to make each game look as attractive as possible to everyone. That way they even out the amount of money bet on each side.
Instant translation: The house wins no matter who wins. That's why people get into the gambling business.

2) I am just a fan. I won't even keep track of these picks week to week if it gets too embarrassing.

3) There is no such thing as "inside information". Especially in the pros.

4) If those idiot touts on tv and in the paper were any good, they wouldn't go public with their genius. They'd sit at Harrah's sports book from open to close and then go out and buy $2,000 an hour hookers who dress like high school girls.

5) Gambling is stupid. You cannot win.

That being said, here are my NFL picks for this week.

Sunday 12/11

Chicago (+6) at Pittsburgh
Bears D is for real. A must win for the Steelers. Take Chicago and the points.
FINAL: Steelers 21 Bears 9 - Fyodor loses! (Memo To Mr. Urlacher: If you play in the street, you're gonna get run over by The Bus.

Cleveland (+12.5) at Cincinnati
Take the red hot Bengals to cover.
FINAL: Bengals 23 Browns 20 - Fyodor loses! (Put that trophy down, boys.)

Houston (+6.5) at Tennessee
The Crummy Game of the Week. Take the Titans at home.
FINAL: Titans 13 Texans 10 - Fyodor loses!

Indianapolis (-9) at Jacksonville
Colts keep on winning. And covering.
FINAL: Colts 26 Jaguars 18 - Fyodor loses! (Ack!)

New England (-4) at Buffalo
The Patriots are down, but not out. The Bills are both. Pick New England.
FINAL: Patriots 35 Bills 7 - Fyodor wins!

Oakland (-3) at NY Jets
Another really bad game. But always remember, kiddies, "fan" comes from "fanatic". For the rest of us, that's why we invented gambling. Take the Raiders.
FINAL: Jets 26 Raiders 10 - Fyodor loses! (I really hate the Raiders.)

St. Louis (+7) at Minnesota
Rams have QB trouble and the Vikes are hot. Take Minnesota.
FINAL: Vikings 27 Rams 13 - Fyodor wins!

Tampa Bay (+6) at Carolina
Panthers have been struggling and the Bucs are just what they need. Take Carolina to cover at home.
FINAL: Bucs 20 Panthers 10 - Fyodor loses! (Big road win for Tampa.)

NY Giants (-9.5) at Philadelphia
Since the Eagles quit last week, I'm tempted to go with the Giants. But the number is too big. Take Philly and the points.
FINAL: Giants 26 Eagles 23 - Fyodor wins!

San Francisco (+16.5) at Seattle
Seattle can feel it. (Almost meaningless sports jargon.) They will cover the big number easily.
FINAL: Seahawks 41 49ers 3 - Fyodor wins!

Washington (-4) at Arizona
Redskins need this win, but I'll take Arizona and the points.
FINAL: Redskins 17 Cardinals 13 - PUSH!

Baltimore (+14.5) at Denver
Pay attention to this one, kiddies, because there aren't too many games left in the Brian Billick era. Pick the Broncos.
FINAL: Broncos 12 Ravens 10 - Fyodor loses! (Is Jake Plummer reverting to form?)

Kansas City (+3) at Dallas
My Steelers could use a Chiefs loss, but Dallas is played out. Take Kansas City.
FINAL: Cowboys 31 Chiefs 28 - Fyodor loses! (Exciting finish of the week!)

Miami (+14) at San Diego
Pick Miami. They'll keep it close.
FINAL: Dolphins 23 Chargers 21 - Fyodor wins! (What got into Miami? The Chargers are not as good as they think.)

Detroit (+6) at Green Bay
More crumminess. I'll take the Packers.
FINAL: Packers 16 Lions 13 - Fyodor loses! (That's why they call it gambling.)

Monday 12/12

New Orleans (+10.5) at Atlanta
Time for an up week for the Falcons. Pick Atlanta.
FINAL: Falcons 36 Saints 17 - Fyodor wins!

Saint of the Day and daily Mass readings.

LEFT: St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Today is the Feast of St. Juan Diego, who was blessed by one of the most famous of Our Lady's apparitions. Pray for us, all you angels and saints.

Today's reading is Isaiah 48:17-19.
Today's Gospel reading is
Matthew 11:16-19.

[Links to the readings will be from the NAB until I can find another chapter and verse searchable Douay-Rheims Bible on-line.]

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)
The Catholic Calendar Page for Today

Just in case you are wondering what exactly Catholics believe, here is

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.


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 St. 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.)


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, December 08, 2005

Learning to fight the fight this time.

Waging war in Iraq is different, not impossible. Read and learn, kiddies, from The Washington Times' Inside The Ring column.

IED update
Countering homemade bombs and other explosives in Iraq remains the top priority of U.S. and allied forces.

The devices have been used with deadly effect to kill and maim U.S. forces. To deal with the problem, the Pentagon has set up an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Task Force to figure out ways to defeat roadside and other bombs. The budget is more than $1 billion.

"IEDs are the most lethal threat we face here," one senior officer in Baghdad said. "This is very much a battle we're fighting every day."

According to military officials in Baghdad, the terrorists are using at least three types of triggers for IEDs, including infrared-signaled garage-door openers, infrared automobile car-lock openers and hard-wired bombs. All are set off when vehicles move through a target area.

To counter the threat, the military has been using broadband radio-signal jammers. But the jammers create other problems; namely, they also disrupt communications used by military forces.

Navy Capt. Chris Field, commander of the Pacific Fleet's electronic attack wing, said in a speech Oct. 24 that EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare jets are being used in Iraq to disrupt IED signals, along with other terrorist communications.

Learning lessons
British historian Nigel West said yesterday that the U.S. military in Iraq could learn a lot from British military counterintelligence operations in Northern Ireland against the terrorist campaign of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

British intelligence scored impressive successes that led to the defeat of the IRA's terrorist campaign through the use of a combination of technology and human intelligence operations, said Mr. West, a counterintelligence specialist.

As a result, about 85 percent of IRA terrorist bombings and killings were stopped in advance, and 40 percent of the group's leaders were identified or jailed.

"This is a rate of attrition that no terrorist organization can take," Mr. West said in a breakfast speech before the American Bar Association. "It is effective. It takes a long time to develop the kind of skills that are required. But the truth is the West has acquired so much technology and knowledge against Soviet targets, it is perfectly possible to beat and penetrate the terrorist target."

One key lesson for Iraq, Mr. West said, is for U.S. troops to limit the time they set up vehicle checkpoints to no longer than 20 minutes. The Brits learned that IRA terrorists could locate a military checkpoint in 10 minutes and then take 10 to 15 minutes to get their weapons and explosives and launch an attack.

The rule is to set up a checkpoint, based on intelligence that terrorists may be passing through, and then move to another site quickly.

Here's a surprise. Judge Alito is a racist.

Well, if he isn't, why would The all-Democrat Congressional Black Caucus, which includes 42 House members, plans to announce its opposition to Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. today.

They can tell. They're the descendants of slaves, you know.

Editorial Excerpts

Europe preens

"It has been quite the spectacle this week, with Condoleezza Rice touring Europe amid mock dismay over the fact that the CIA may have detained terrorists in European jails. If the secretary of state weren't so diplomatic, she'd cancel her tour and say she won't come back until the Continent's politicians decide to grow up," the Wall Street Journal said yesterday in an editorial.

"One of Europe's moral conceits is to fret constantly about the looming outbreak of fascism in America, even though it is on the Continent itself where the dictators seem to pop up every couple of decades. Then Europe dials 911, and Washington dutifully rides to the rescue. The last time was just a few years ago, as U.S. firepower stopped Slobodan Milosevic, who had bedeviled Europe for years," the newspaper said.

"In return, it would be nice if once in a while Europe decided to help America with its security problem, especially since Islamic terrorism is also Europe's security problem. But instead the U.S. secretary of state has to put up with lectures about the phony issue of 'secret' prisons housing terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans."

Embracing defeat

"The good news for the Democrats is that their leadership has settled on an electoral strategy for 2006. The bad news is that they have cribbed their game plan from one of the most disastrous campaigns in their history," Edward Morrissey writes at the Weekly Standard's Web site, www.weeklystandard.com.

"When was the last time that an entire political party stood for backpedaling the way the Democrats have in the past two weeks? Since Rep. John [P.] Murtha made his supposedly stunning announcement that he wanted an immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq, the Democrats have embraced surrender.

"Not even during the Vietnam War did a major American party position itself to support abject retreat as a wartime political platform. For that, one has to go back to the Civil War, when the Democrats demanded a negotiated peace with the Confederate States of America and a withdrawal from the South.

I'm not so sure about that. There were a heck of a lot of Democrasses doing their best Frenchmen impressions back in 1972.

"Celebrating the popularity of former General George McClellan, who had come from the battlefield to represent a party whose platform demanded a negotiated settlement (which McClellan later disavowed), the Confederates assumed that the war could be over within days of McClellan's presumed victory over the controversial and hated Abraham Lincoln. Even some Republicans began to question whether Lincoln should stand for re-election -- until Sherman took Atlanta and exposed McClellan as a defeatist and an incompetent of the first order.

"Murtha's demand for a pullout gave the party's leadership a chance to openly embrace defeatism, much as McClellan did for Northern Democrats in 1864, using McClellan's field experience for the credibility to argue that the American Army could not hope to defeat the enemy it faced."
(Thanks to The Washington Times for the heads up.)

Eco, shmeco.

From The Washington Times' Inside the Beltway column by John McCaslin:

Hot and cold

Eco-doom-mongers, as they're called, don't know what to make of word, first reported by the scientific periodical Nature, that planet Earth is experiencing its first signs of a "new ice age."

Mark Steyn of the London Daily Telegraph quotes Steven Guilbeault of Greenpeace as explaining: "Global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter, that's what we're dealing with."

"Got that?" Mr. Steyn asks. "If it's hot, that's a sign of global warming, and, if it's cold, that's a sign of global warming."

Well, Bolton, it isn't exactly the smell of scorched earth, but it will do for now.

From The Washington Times:

GOP supports Bolton threat

Congressional Republicans said they support Ambassador John R. Bolton's threat to block the U.N. budget unless it adopts reforms, and they are ready to back him up if changes aren't made.

In vitro, no one can hear you scream...

The University of Pittsburgh this week launched a preliminary inquiry to silence doubts about whether researchers involved in landmark stem-cell experiments engaged in scientific misconduct.

The university's Office of Research Integrity will conduct the inquiry to show there was no wrongdoing associated with high-profile articles published by Pitt reproductive sciences professor Gerald Schatten and his former colleague, embattled cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-Suk in South Korea, said Dr. Arthur Levine, Pitt's senior vice chancellor for health sciences and medical school dean.

"This is a somewhat unprecedented inquiry," Levine said. "Essentially, it's being done to reassure the public, and not because anyone of substance has alleged misconduct."

Saith the employee of the public university. I guess taxpayers and citizens of the Commonwealth have no substance. They're just ATMs used to finance whatever Frankenclone old Doc Levine and his buddies want to whip up.

Last month, Schatten publicly severed ties with Hwang after the South Korean scientist acknowledged that two junior workers in his lab donated their eggs for research and a hospital doctor paid other women for their eggs. Neither practice was illegal at the time, but Hwang long had denied engaging in what many scientists consider unethical.

Let me get this straight. Buying unfertilized eggs is bad, but killing people (Oops! Forgive me, my moral and intellectual superiors. "Fertilized eggs" is the phrase you prefer because it helps you sleep at night.) is okey-dokey.

The egg specimens acquired in this manner were used by Hwang's team in the historic cloning of a human embryo. These data were published with the help of Schatten in 2004 in Science, the leading American research journal.

In a breakthrough that received international attention last year, Hwang and Schatten also announced they had become the first to grow human embryonic stem cells from cloned embryos. This is the first step toward therapeutic cloning, which is the theorized process of repairing patients with their own tissues.

Wow. Talk about spin! How about the "theorized process of repairing (Huh?) patients by bringing new people into the world and then killing them for their parts"?

Maybe I'm over-reacting. Perhaps their research is funded by the Soylent Corporation.

Emergency Penguins Update.

Good news:

Lemieux released from hospital

Pittsburgh Penguins owner-captain Mario Lemieux was discharged from a hospital Thursday after being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that can be treated with medication and should not affect his career.

Lemieux, 40, was admitted to an undisclosed Pittsburgh hospital after practice Wednesday, after complaining of an irregular heartbeat -- a condition team general manager Craig Patrick said Lemieux has experienced several times in recent weeks.

After being evaluated overnight, doctors diagnosed the problem and told Lemieux he should rest and go on medication. He is expected to take it easy for a week to 10 days, after which the team will determine when he can resume play.

Patrick said the condition should not affect Lemieux's life in any way and that the Hall of Famer should be able to return to the Penguins' lineup relatively soon. Patrick said Lemieux can start on the medication immediately and doctors do not expect any ill effects from it.

"We expect that he will be able to begin exercising in a matter of days and return to the lineup in a brief period of time," Patrick said at the team's practice Thursday morning.

Patrick said doctors aren't sure what brought on the condition, but that a number of factors can trigger it, including stress.

Old news:

Lemieux hospitalized

(Thanks to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for the heads up.)

HOLY CRAP! Former condom advocate from Harvard embraces abstinence and fidelity.

Well, well, well...A Harvard scientist who changed his mind after looking at the evidence and realizing he had been wrong. Will wonders never cease?

A senior research scientist with the Harvard Center for Population and
Development Studies once advocated the use of condoms and clean needles for the prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS. Now, after evaluating the ABC Model of AIDS prevention championed in Uganda, Edward Green says promoting the values of fidelity and abstinence is far more effective than just promoting correct condom use.

Green shared his insights during a “Rethinking AIDS Prevention” portion of the “Disturbing Voices” HIV/AIDS conference Nov. 29-30 at Saddleback Church in Southern California.

With more than 30 years of experience in public health in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean in family planning and reproductive health, Green has focused on AIDS prevention since the emergence of the pandemic. He has evaluated AIDS prevention efforts in Uganda and was perhaps the first researcher to make Uganda’s ABC program known to the rest of the world.

According to his report, “A Primer on the ABC Model of AIDS Prevention,” the “A” stands for Abstaining from sex or delay of sexual debut; “B” stands for Being faithful or reducing the number of sexual partners; and “C” stands for correct and consistent use of Condoms.

“Advocates of the ABCs often use the term to mean a primary emphasis on abstinence/delay of sexual debut and faithfulness/partner reduction, with condom use being a secondary but necessary strategy for those who do not or cannot practice abstinence or fidelity,” he wrote.

Noting that Uganda provides the clearest case study of a successful ABC approach, he stated, “HIV prevalence peaked in Uganda at 15 percent in 1991, and fell to 5 percent by 2001. During this period, abstinence increased among youth and condom use increased somewhat. Most critically, ‘B’ behaviors (fidelity and reduction in the number of sexual partners) increased dramatically.” (Note: Although the Ugandan government sometimes reports that prevalence peaked at 30 percent nationally in 1990, Green’s evidence substantiates that is true only for its capital city, Kampala, and perhaps one rural district of Uganda.)

“The ‘B’ [behavior] is most important,” Green told the Saddleback conference. “The ‘A’ is important, but most Africans are not abstaining. Most are married and faithful, contrary to Western perception. We think that Africans have wilder and crazier sex than Americans, but they don’t.”


Oh, that must be what racist liberals think.

He went on to say that all the elements of the ABC approach are necessary, “although the emphasis placed on individual elements needs to vary according to the target population.” (Thanks to Baptist Press - huh?- and WND for the heads up.)

Former Catholic Paul Mirecki Update.

This is a crying shame. Professor Paul is a shining example of left-fascist enlightenment and tolerance. He should be given his own prime time tv show and a three book deal with Random House so he can really be heard.

Embattled religious studies professor Paul Mirecki has stepped down as chairman of the University of Kansas’ Department of Religious Studies.
Mirecki remains a tenured professor at the department. No successor has been named.

In a written statement, Barbara Romzek, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas, said she accepted Mirecki’s resignation today.

“Professor Mirecki said he thought it appropriate to step down and did so on the recommendation of his colleagues in the department and I have accepted his resignation,” Romzek said. “This allows the department to focus on what’s most important — teaching, research and service — and to minimize the distractions of the last couple of weeks.”

Hmm...Distractions, eh? She means the bad publicity might distract parents from sending their little ones to KU.

Mirecki came under fire after e-mails were uncovered in which he mocked aspects of Christianity. He initially attracted attention when he announced he would teach a class this spring about intelligent design and creationism. That sparked immediate criticism from conservatives who supported the Kansas Board of Education’s recent move to insert criticism of evolution into state science standards. (Thanks to The Kansas City Star and WND for the heads up.)

Religion of Peace and Love Update.

From The Daily Star via WND:

King Abdullah Signs His Own Death Warrant

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah appealed to Muslim leaders on Wednesday to unite and tackle extremists who he said have hijacked their religion. At a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) - the world's biggest Muslim body - in the holy city of Mecca, Abdullah said the world's 1 billion Muslims were weak and divided, a description echoed by other leaders.

"It bleeds the heart of a believer to see how this glorious civilization has fallen from the height of glory to the ravine of frailty and how its thoughts were hijacked by devilish and criminal gangs that spread havoc on earth," Abdullah said.

As far as it goes, it does seem to make some sense.

U.S. critics have blamed the kingdom's strict Wahhabi school of Islam for fostering extremism but Saudi officials say they are tackling the militants through a tough security crackdown and a campaign to win over militant sympathizers.

Instant translation: Talk is cheap.

The two-day summit, convened on Wednesday to address what Abdullah said were grave dangers facing the Muslim nation.

Hoohoo! There's a problem right there, king old boy. You've got to stop living in the thirteenth century. There is no such thing as the "moslem nation". There are nations (collectives) and there are moslems (individuals).

He called upon the Islamic jurisprudence arm of the OIC to "fulfill its historic role of combating extremism."

Abdullah called for greater educational efforts to promote tolerance. "Developing the curriculum is essential to building a tolerant Muslim identity ... and to having a society that rejects isolation," he said.

Pardon me, but it sounds like you need free market economics and representative democracy. Again, I'm sorry your majesty, but those don't seem to be in my copy of the koran. Yours?

"We don't have the luxury of blaming others for our own problems," OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddine Ihsanoglu said in a speech which also portrayed the Muslim world confronting one of "the most critical eras of its history".

"We should fight terrorism by dealing with its roots and causes, whether committed by individuals, groups or states," Ihsanoglu said. "Terrorism is a crime that every Muslim should fight."

"The future of humanity depends on this part of the world," Ihsanoglu said. "What is going on in the Islamic world has dire consequences elsewhere." "Lack of moderation is one of the main sources of instability and chaos in the modern world," the OIC secretary general said.

He stressed the need to combat poverty, illiteracy and corruption in the Muslim world, saying that "when these issues are not addressed properly by legitimate means, they are used as an excuse to push for extreme agendas."

Are you sure that's not Howie Spleen wearing his bedsheet from the Four Seasons saying that tripe?

They think they know, but they don't know...

From WND comes the story of a bunch of religious people who seem to think helping the bad guys in their propaganda war is the best way to bring peace to the earth.

May God have mercy on their souls.

Here's the pitch...

The captors, who have identified themselves as the "Swords of Righteousness Brigade," threatened to kill the men unless the U.S. and Iraqi governments release all prisoners held in detention centers by today, according to a videotape and statement broadcast by the Arab satellite news network Al-Jazeera last week.

Katherine Fox told ABC's "Nightline" Tuesday she wanted to remind the kidnappers her father was there to help Iraqi detainees and their families and that he opposed the "U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Oooohh! Swing and a miss! Strike one.

"And that the work that he is there to do is the same work that they would like to see done," she said. "And that I do not think a loss of his life benefits their cause."

Fouled down the line. Strike two.

Tom Fox, 54, is being held with Norman Kember, 74, of London; and James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, of Canada.

Katherine Fox said her father would oppose using violent force to free him.

"Before he left, he wrote a very concise, precise statement of conscience and conviction that if he were ever to be taken hostage that he does not support violent means to come in and to potentially release, to rescue him," she said.

Ouch! Caught looking at a fastball down the middle. Strike three, you're out.


LEFT: Michael Brown, mayor of Riviera Beach, Fla. (Sorry, Mike, the Find the Fattest Mayor Contest was last summer. But there is always the Find the Fattest Totalitarian Contest next March.)

Eminent-domain mayor: We're rescuing residents
Riviera Beach chief calling for 'personal sacrifice;

The new Ground Zero in the rekindled war over eminent domain is Riviera Beach, Fla., whose mayor says the potential relocation of as many as 6,000 residents is "necessary to rescue and save the remainder of the people of Riviera Beach."


"We are going to rescue and relocate individuals and we will put them in a better position than they're living in now," Mayor Michael Brown told Sean Hannity of the Fox News Channel tonight. "They are not thrown out into the streets, they are compensated. ... It's no different than building a courthouse or a hospital or anything else."

That's not your decision to make, you ignorant thief. Property is not theft, theft is theft. Property is freedom.

The predominantly black city of Riviera Beach, located just north of the more affluent municipalities of Palm Beach and West Palm Beach, is looking to revitalize an area some consider an example of urban blight.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an eminent-domain ruling in a Connecticut case, giving governments the power to transfer private property from one private party to another. The decision ignited a firestorm of outrage across the political spectrum.


During the broadcast of "Hannity & Colmes," a number of residents in the redevelopment zone voiced dismay at what they believe is a government-sanctioned land grab benefiting wealthy citizens and private developers.
"We just can't believe that this can happen in America. Anywhere else, but not in America," said longtime resident Princess Wells. "We have so many kids that are losing their lives to keep America safe ... and to know they're going and taking people's property here while we have young kids dying to protect us is really very sad."

Amen to that, Sister.

"Is that the America we want to live in where you take a person's home?" Hannity asked Mayor Brown.

"The America we want to live in is one that talks about personal sacrifices that you and that your colleagues talk about every night," Brown said.

"Sounds like the Soviet Union," responded Hannity.


"This is a redevelopment plan which includes restaurants and condos," said Brown. "The overall plan is designed to train people, get them better jobs so they can have a living wage and not a minimum wage so we can increase our tax base so that we can pay for fire, police, so we can provide basic services."


"The city is absolutely doing the right thing," a 13-year resident of Palm Beach County told WorldNetDaily. "Riviera Beach is currently a ghetto. It's unsafe. Everyone around the whole area knows to stay out of Riviera Beach. If Sean Hannity were a true conservative, he'd leave it up to the ballot box to get rid of the mayor. But the truth of the matter is, the majority of people in Riviera Beach want the new development."


One state lawmaker has called the situation a "reverse Robin Hood," suggesting the city's poor are being robbed of their possessions to give to the rich.

With the city having a history of financial difficulties, the Palm Beach Post newspaper has suggested a thorough examination of the city's books, stating in an editorial, "It strains credulity to imagine that Riviera Beach officials who can't manage a water park or cemetery project will negotiate a deal at the public beach that serves residents better than the developer."
Residents are now banding together and have created a website to draw national attention to the matter to thwart the city's plan.

"We got a good group here and we are gonna fight," one woman vowed to Hannity. "They're not going to take us." (Thanks to WND for the heads up.)

More from the front lines of the war against Christmas.

Thanks to World Net Daily for these links.

'Merry Christmas' school-lunch menus recalled
District prints replacements with 'Happy Holidays' at cost of $494 --WND
University calls Christmas tree 'Union tree'
Purdue tries again – last year's renaming fueled student backlash --Associated Press

'Silent Night' secularized
School changes Christmas carol to 'Cold in the Night' with all new lyrics --WND

Library backs down, welcomes holy family
Local mayor asks officials to allow 'inappropriate' figures into nativity --WND

Attorney: 'War on Christmas' boiling over
Asserts anti-Christian hostility has 'been under the surface for years' --Agape Press

McClellan: Bush not comparing Jesus, Santa
Spokesman says president 'was changing topics' in tree-lighting speech --WND

Never give up folks. These people are nothing but bullies. Stand up to them and they will back down. (Unless they have a federal judge behind them.)

Non-Specific Holiday Greetings from Repansycan Central!

White House defends Christmas-less card
'It's a time when we welcome all different faiths'

The card features a snowy scene of the South Portico by artist Jamie Wyeth, a quotation from Psalm 28, and the message: "With best wishes for a holiday season of hope and happiness 2005."

"Junk mail," said Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative Web site WorldNetDaily.com, who added that he tossed his White House card into the trash. "The Bushes have been tiptoeing around Christmas for five years. It's nothing new."
What bothers many conservatives is the creeping sense that Christ is no longer welcome at Christmas in America. "Bush is falling victim to a cultural phenomenon," Mr. Farah said.

Not so, says the White House.

"It's a time when we welcome all different faiths," said Susan Whitson, press secretary to Mrs. Bush. "The president has an obligation to acknowledge that."

No, he does not. If he wants to send Ramadan greetings at Ramadan, that's fine and dandy. But Christmas is not a non-denominational buying season designed to help merchants. It is the celebration of The Word Incarnate, the beginning of the redemption and salvation of the human race by the One, True God.

All politicians are just politicians, kiddies. They can't help but be weenies. It's the only way they can win.

Pittsburgh Brewing Company Files For Chapter 11.

It's a sad day in the Steel City, kiddies.

Pittsburgh Brewing Company is seeking bankruptcy protection after the city's water authority was about to shut off its water supply.

“Well, I'm a little shocked, upset,” said Tim Sauro, of Brentwood. “I mean I've been here for approaching 20 years. Any employee would be upset.”

More than 200 workers at Pittsburgh Brewing got the word that their company is filing chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal court.

“We needed to do what we had to do to protect the 200-plus workers here, not to interrupt the operations,” said Joe Piccirilli, of Pittsburgh Brewing Company. “We are running, people are working and we are going to do that as normal course of business.”

Piccirilli said the company had no alternative but to seek court protection.

The city water and sewer authority -- owed $2.3 million by the brewery -- was poised to shut off the water needed to make beer.

“We could sit back and play chicken and wonder whether they would do it or not, but I have to look at the welfare of 200 people here,” Piccirilli said. “We have ongoing operations. In the event the water would have been shut off, it could have been detrimental to what we're doing, could have affected our boiler house, and when you're running a boiler house at high temperatures, you could have had a meltdown in less than hour.”

Rather than risk a shut-down, Pittsburgh Brewing filed chapter 11 that allows them to keep running while they pay off creditors.

However, bankruptcy may not protect all the jobs. (Thanks to WJLA for the heads up.)

Bud Carson, Requiescat in pace.

Bud Carson, the innovative architect of Pittsburgh's "Steel Curtain" defense who later coached the Cleveland Browns, died Wednesday. He was 75.

Carson, who had been ill with emphysema, died at his home.

Carson was the Steelers' defensive coordinator from 1972-77, and shaped a defense led by Joe Greene, Jack Ham and Jack Lambert into one of the best in NFL history. During that time, the Steelers won two Super Bowl titles under coach Chuck Noll and would go on to win another two after Carson left.

He then became defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams, who lost to the Steelers in the Super Bowl after the 1979 season. He coached the Browns in 1989-90, posting a 11-13-1 record in 1½ seasons.

"He was a great, great coach here," Steelers chairman Dan Rooney said Wednesday. "In fact, I might say he coached the best defense that ever played in the National Football League -- and I told him that one time after he left. They were a phenomenal team.

"The Steelers didn't win the Super Bowl in 1976, but Carson's defense had a sustained run that may never be equaled. After quarterback Terry Bradshaw was injured during a 1-4 start, the Steelers had five shutouts -- three in a row -- and allowed only 28 points while winning their final nine games.

"That was quite a feat," Rooney said.

That 1976 team failed to win a third consecutive Super Bowl after its two 1,000-yard running backs, Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier, were hurt in a 40-14 playoff rout of Baltimore and couldn't play in an AFC title game loss in Oakland.

After Carson became a head coach, Cleveland won the AFC Central in his first season, beating Buffalo 34-30 in the playoffs before losing to Denver 37-21 in the AFC championship game. He was fired the next year when the team got off to a 2-7 start.

"Bud was an eccentric guy that we respected very much and as a result we played hard because we liked Bud," said former Browns wide receiver Brian Brennan. "We had an older team and Bud treated us like men, and because of that he got the most out of us."

Colts coach Tony Dungy, a Steelers rookie defensive back under Carson in 1977, recalls marveling at how Carson could make major adjustments in personnel and strategy in the middle of a game or a season.

Dungy believes that the widely copied Cover 2 defense, in which a cornerback hands off coverage of a receiver to a safety, came from Carson.

"We're still doing stuff that he was doing 30 years later and everyone thinks it's innovative," Dungy said.

Carson also coached Georgia Tech from 1967-71, posting a 27-27 record, including a win in the 1970 Sun Bowl and was defensive coordinator for the New York Jets from 1985-88.

"You look at what he established when he was with Pittsburgh, the style of defense they played in the championship they won," said Marty Lyons, a defensive tackle with the Jets during Carson's tenure there. "Wherever he went, he always had that aggressive style. He didn't want to let the offense feel like they had an upper hand on the defense. It was always an attack mode."

Carson had some of the best defensive players in NFL history in Pittsburgh, but he didn't hesitate to motivate them. He pulled future Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Blount from the AFC championship game against Oakland in January 1975 because he felt Blount wasn't playing up to his ability.

The Steelers were so uncertain about Blount's future after that, they drafted defensive back Dave Brown of Michigan in the first round and put him at Blount's position.

Blount responded by making 11 interceptions in 1975 and winning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, and Brown wound up with the expansion Seattle Seahawks.

"He would take guys and mold them into really good players," said Dungy, who said news of Carson's death "hit me hard."

Carson's work in Pittsburgh was praised even after he left the Steelers, which rankled some holdover members of Noll's staff. Woody Widenhofer, who became the Steelers' defensive coordinator in 1979, said the defense was better after Carson left because it was more complex and relied more on blitzing.

"This isn't that little architect's defense," Widenhofer said. "He didn't know anything about defense until he got with Chuck Noll.

"Still, the Steelers were so concerned about Carson's knowledge of their defense before the Super Bowl in January 1980 that they rotated linebackers Loren Toews and Robin Cole on every play so Carson couldn't steal their defensive play calls from the sidelines. The Steelers won 31-19 for their fourth and final Super Bowl victory.

Carson was a defensive back at North Carolina from 1949-51 before spending two years in the Marines.

Carson is survived by his wife, Linda; daughters Dana and Cathi; a son, Clifford; a stepson, Gary Ford; three brothers, Guy, Harry and Gib, and two grandchildren.

Visitation will be Monday night at Toale Brothers Funeral Home in Sarasota with services Tuesday at First United Methodist Church.
(Thanks to ESPN.com for this obituary.)

Saint of the Day and daily Mass readings.

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a Holy Day of Obligation. We celebrate God's creation of our Saviour's mother without the taint of sin. Pray for us, Blessed Mother.

Today's first reading is
Genesis 3:9-15, 20.
Today's second reading is
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12.
Today's Gospel reading is
Luke 1:26-38.

[Links to the readings will be from the NAB until I can find another chapter and verse searchable Douay-Rheims Bible on-line.]

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)
The Catholic Calendar Page for Today

Just in case you are wondering what exactly Catholics believe, here is

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.


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 St. 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.)


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.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The UN cracks down on sexual harassment now?

John Bolton smells a rat in Turtle Bay. And that's good enough for me.

Top UN election official vows to fight dismissal, sexual harassment charges

Monday, before the dismissal was officially announced, US ambassador to the UN John Bolton questioned the timing of Annan's decision on the Perelli case, less than two weeks before Iraq's legislative polls.

"I think the role of the United Nations in elections is something that we have emphasized, and when the head of the office responsible for the UN's role in the elections is being subjected to press reports about her removal has to lead you to ask the question: What effect it will have on the ground in Iraq," Bolton said.

"So if you are going to make a decision, make it at a time when it doesn't disrupt your programs, why make the decision now?" the US envoy said, noting that she had been under investigation for a year.

May God bless and protect Amir Abbas Fakhravar and kindred spirits wherever they may be.

Message from Underground
A conversation with Amir Abbas Fakhravar.
By Jason Lee Steorts of National Review Online

Iranian Amir Abbas Fakhravar is a hunted man. A former medical student and journalist for the now-banned reform newspapers Moshareka and Khordad, Fakhravar came to prominence with the publication of his book This Place Is Not a Ditch, in which he criticized Iran’s rulers and called on the Iranian people to reject the mullahs’ regime. For doing so, he was sentenced in 2002 to eight years in prison. His status as a political prisoner and his mistreatment while incarcerated — he was reportedly denied medical care, and suffered frequent physical attacks — brought international attention and demands for his release. The mullahs proved less than accommodating, but they did allow Fakhravar occasional prison leaves in order to visit his family and take his university exams. In May of this year, while on such a leave, he decided he had had enough, and ran. He has been a fugitive ever since, and moves about Iran in an effort to escape the authorities.

Fakhravar’s decision to run and his pesky refusal to keep quiet have put his life in danger. An Iranian tribunal informed his sister earlier this year that Iran’s anti-riot police have a standing order to shoot him on sight. But the threat of death appears not to have intimidated him, and he continues to devote his energies to the cause of Iranian democracy.

He does this by communicating with Iranian students, whom he characterizes as deeply hostile to the rulers in Tehran. It is a strange commentary on the extent to which Iranian speech is suppressed — and on the peculiarities of the Internet age — that among the best ways for Fakhravar to reach his audience is by speaking with American journalists whose work finds its way to the Iranian underground.

Fakhravar wants to talk to National Review Online in order to encourage Iranians to mark their country’s student day — this Wednesday, December 7 — by protesting the appointment of Amid Zanjani, a hardline cleric famous for his work as a religious prosecutor, to the chancellorship of Tehran University. “This man has never been in a university,” Fakhravar says of Zanjani. “Students are very agitated that he has been appointed to head a university with a very sophisticated academic society . . .”

Here, our telephone connection crashes. This will become a frequent occurrence throughout the interview, and Fakhravar will rarely be able to answer more than a single question in a continuous stretch of conversation. At first I am inclined to take these difficulties as a manifestation of Iran’s poor telecommunications infrastructure, but our interpreter doesn’t think so. “This happens all the time when Amir Abbas talks to journalists,” she says. “The government cuts him off. They don’t want him to talk.”

When we succeed in calling Fakhravar back, the conversation moves beyond Zanjani and turns to the character of the Iranian people. Fakhravar is eager to convey what he perceives to be Iranian goodwill toward the United States. “Over two decades ago, the students of Iran were giving Iran a bad name following the seizure of the U.S. embassy. We don’t want the world to think of us like that.” He emphasizes that this is the view of a majority of “all sectors of the population,” not just the student community.

Fakhravar believes the theocracy has failed in its efforts to inspire hatred of the United States and Israel: “For two decades, they have been teaching us that the U.S. and Israel are our enemies. But we think the people who live in these countries are our brothers and sisters, and if they try to do anything in Iran in the near future, we know it is solely to help us get rid of this regime.”

That is a striking characterization of a people whose government sponsors terrorists, pursues a clandestine nuclear-weapons program, and threatens — in the words of its president — to wipe Israel off the map. It has become something of a commonplace that Iran’s rulers are more hostile toward the U.S., and more traditionalist in their conception of Islam’s role in society, than the people they rule. But Fakhravar crystallizes the point. If his words are correct, Iran is indisputably a place where democracy promotion serves our interests, no matter what can be said about other Middle Eastern states whose peoples may be less favorably disposed toward us.

At times, Fakhravar’s plea for aid becomes explicit. “Iran’s situation is like [the former] Yugloslavia’s,” he tells me. “Europe tried to help and couldn’t achieve anything, and finally the U.S. came to rescue Yugoslavia from a horrible regime. We are now asking the help of the United States so we can get rid of our regime.” Fakhravar is not opposed in principle to the idea of military intervention: “Every sector of the population believes, as Bush has stated, that all options should be on the table — because we all absolutely hate this regime.”

Oh, please. Mr. Fakhravar, you and your college student friends are going to have to buy some guns and take your freedom back the old fashioned way. My hopes and prayers are with you.

But he is optimistic that change could come at a lower cost. Opposition to the theocracy is so intense, he feels, that “it is going to be much easier and cheaper and involve fewer casualties if the U.S. supports democratic movements in Iran. The way to do that could be a lot of things, from financial aid to support for communication from the outside”(a reference to pro-democracy satellite T.V. broadcasts from Iranian émigrés).

I come away from the conversation with a sense of Fakhravar’s irresistible optimism. This optimism is in part an expression of his personal aims: He will continue, he vows, “to reorganize and strengthen the infrastructure of the student movement” and to be the voice of his “friends and opposition leaders who have been captured.” But he also voices a kind of national optimism, a sense that the world is not indifferent to the plight of his countrymen. “Until a few years ago, the forces of the Western world were not stationed around our country. Iran was forgotten. Now we are hopeful that Iran is not so isolated.”

We too should hope — both that Fakhravar is right, and that America and her allies will keep his voice from being silenced.

Kathryn Jean Lopez drives another stake into the commie butcher who refuses to die, mass murderer Che Guevara.

A Zardoz* t-shirt would be muy cool, kiddies. Ask Santa for one.

Is a Che t-shirt on the Christmas wish list of someone you love? If you love truth, justice and basic human rights don't fulfill that request. Give your loved one a quick history lesson instead.

It might not sound familiar, but you've probably seen it. Ernesto "Che" Guevara is probably at your local mall, his mug likely on a t-shirt — an idiotic fashion statement.

According to the founder of a company that sells Che products: "Che's image has a rock 'n' roll edge to it that we're looking for." Che is chic for the sophisticated baby — actresses Jennifer Connelly and Kate Hudson reportedly dress their little ones in Guevara. One mom told The New York Observer that one in ten kids in her New York City neighborhood probably own a Che shirt. "Some people probably think it's an icon of what's cool."

If only it was just Hollyweird and New Yak...

Quick quiz for Jennifer, Kate, and other Che customers: Who said this? "Hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective and cold-blooded killing machine. This is what our soldiers must become ..." Can you say, El Che.

Well, at least he was more honest than our totalitarians of the middle.

The henchman of Fidel Castro's "Cuban Revolution," is a romantic cult hero once described by the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sarte as "not only an intellectual, but also the most complete human being of our age." In a just world, however, a complete Che Guevara portrait would include an executioner's soundtrack. As a biographer wrote: "... Che, as supreme prosecutor, took to his task with a singular determination, and the old walls of the fort rang out nightly with the fusillades of the firing squads."

Everyone should read a snippet of Sartre everyday, just to be reminded how profoundly ignorant an intellectualoid can be.

Instead, we are gagged with Che, the young, handsome doctor, whose only fault seems to be having been born with asthma. Che Guevara was killed 38 years ago and, in death, his history has been turned into a myth that culminated in the 2004 Motorcycle Diaries, executive produced by Robert Redford. The movie was an ode to the young Che's South American journeys as a 20-something idealist. Never mind who he was to become. As writer Anthony Daniels has noted, "It is as if someone were to make a film about Adolf Hitler by portraying him as a vegetarian who loved animals and was against unemployment. This would be true, but ... rather beside the point."


Che Guevara attracts the same undeserved hero worship as "Uncle Fidel" Castro, who Hollywood also adores. The cult of Che only promises to grow when Oscar-winner Benicio del Toro plays him in an upcoming Steven Soderbergh movie, set to start filming in the new year.

*Even though Zardoz (also here and here and...oh, just use the search tool...'cause Zardoz is everywhere!) was edged out of the role of "Hemorrhoid #2" in Motorcycle Diaries, he is a personal friend of Citizen Soderbergh and has been clean and sober for over 72 hours now. He also speaks fluent Hollyweird Spanglish.

Unfortunately, Che chic isn't a meaningless fad. It's not nothing to those who suffered or died under Che's hand. And it's not harmless when you consider those citing Che today. A presidential candidate in Bolivia — a country where "only images of the Virgin Mary are more ubiquitous, and even then it's a close-run thing" — recently told The New York Times Magazine, "I like Che because he fought for equality, for justice. He did not just care for ordinary people; he made their struggle his own."

Pray for us, Blessed Mother. (That's the most subversive thing you'll read this month, kiddies.)

Any reference to Che and "struggle" should include the labor camps and executions he inflicted on the Cuban people, and the tyranny he helped establish to oppress them. Something got severely lost in translation from firing squads to T-shirts and the Oscars.

Some people won't be fooled, though. There's a slowly growing anti-Che market out there (one that makes much more sense than fans of Marxist Che going capitalist). Hollywood even gets into the backlash a bit, with a light hand. In the January-release comedy Grandma's Boy (which has nothing to do with politics or revolutions), the main character is seen sporting a Che-with-Mickey-Mouse-ears t-shirt. Other Che-parody shirts on the market include one with a fake Che quote: "My ultimate goal as a socialist revolutionary was to have my face plastered on the t-shirts of rich white kids" and another with a Ronald Reagan mug in Che's place. You know, the guy who helped take down Communism instead of an avowed Communist. Counter-Che-ism, though, is still but a shadow of the pro-Che market, but it's out there.

Some smart Argentines reportedly have a saying: "Tengo una remera del Che y no se por que," or "I have a Che T-shirt and I don't know why." Next time you're at the mall, get into a discussion about why you — or your kid — are without one. (Thanks to National Review Online for the heads up.)

Heehee! Trouble in The Party Of Blasphemy, Buggery, and 'Bortion.

Are we cowardly cut and run traitors or are we pragmatic politicians who will cut and run in a cowardly and traitorous manner when we regain enough power? Oooohhh! America is fascinated by this struggle for the soul of the souless party! Give us more, oh wise and powerful media!

Strong antiwar comments in recent days by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean have opened anew a party rift over Iraq, with some lawmakers warning that the leaders' rhetorical blasts could harm efforts to win control of Congress next year.

Several Democrats joined President Bush yesterday in rebuking Dean's declaration to a San Antonio radio station Monday that "the idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong."

Howie Spleen Rulz!

The critics said that comment could reinforce popular perceptions that the party is weak on military matters (Emphasis mine.) and divert attention from the president's growing political problems on the war and other issues. "Dean's take on Iraq makes even less sense than the scream in Iowa: Both are uninformed and unhelpful," said Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), recalling Dean's famous election-night roar after stumbling in Iowa during his 2004 presidential bid.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.), the second-ranking House Democratic leader, have told colleagues that Pelosi's recent endorsement of a speedy withdrawal, combined with her claim that more than half of House Democrats support her position, could backfire on the party, congressional sources said.

These sources said the two leaders have expressed worry that Pelosi is playing into Bush's hands by suggesting Democrats are the party of a quick pullout -- an unpopular position in many of the most competitive House races.

"What I want Democrats to be discussing is what the president's policies have led to," Emanuel said. He added that once discussion turns to a formal timeline for troop withdrawals, "the how and when gets buried" and many voters take away only an impression that Democrats favor retreat.

First, Rahm, (if that is your real name) that's a losing strategy. You clowns must come up with something you're for. (Something you can mention publicly, that is.)

Second, you guys do favor retreat.

Another muderous little bastard who won't go away.

Michael Schiavo Launching Political Action Committee

Salon.com reports that Michael Schiavo plans to launch a new political action committee, called Terri PAC, (He thinks he's funny. - F.G.) with the intent of defeating the (conservative Republican) politicians who tried to intervene in the life-or-death legal battle over his severely brain-damaged wife. Terri Schiavo died of court-ordered dehydration at Michael's request last March 31. "For 15 years, I have been watching the politicians working their ways into my case. I felt I needed to do something when this was all said and done," Schiavo told Salon on Tuesday.

Gratuitous Stroll Down Memory Lane of the Day.

Heidi Klum as I remember her.

Gisele Bundchen used to be cute and fun.

Once upon a time, Tyra Banks had all-timer talent.

Adriana Lima is still getting it done, but it is just a matter of time.

Q: How do you make Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum ugly?

A: Dress them in "fashions" you'd have a hard time convincing a $10 whore to wear. (Ok, so Tyra doesn't look good in anything anymore. I'll give you that. She can expect a call from Hustler any minute now.)

Even Adriana Lima, one of the most exquisite women in the world today was unwatchable in last night's horrific Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Allegedly a "holiday" -themed show, this waste of time, money, and beautiful women should be classified as a crime against humanity and its producers jailed. All people of good will hope and pray this will be the last year this nonsense afflicts the airwaves.

Memo To Victoria's Secret: Lose the lame wings. They are so over.

P.S. Boys, if any of you were aroused by this atrocity, you need to see a therapist. Or two.

Animal Flesh Recipe Recipe of the Day.

Another Christmas recipe from the Food Network featuring our friend, the duck, with a pinch of robber baron capitalism added for good measure.

Vanderbilt Traditional Christmas Duck
Recipe courtesy Sarah Thomas, Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

1 (3 to 5-pound) duck, giblets removed
1 orange
1 sprig fresh thyme, chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
3 Earl Grey tea bags
3 cups water
2 tablespoons molasses

Place duck in a medium glass bowl breast side up. Use your fingers separate the skin from the meat without tearing it. Cut the orange in half and squeeze over the duck, then place the rinds in the cavity.

In a small bowl, mix together the thyme, rosemary, 1 tablespoon salt and the pepper. Sprinkle mixture all over the duck. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, rotating the duck after 2 hours so the breast side is down.

In the bottom of a pot with a steamer insert, combine the sugar, tea bags, and water and bring to a simmer. Place marinated duck in steamer legs down and cover. Steam for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Preheat rotisserie to 275 degrees F.
In a medium glass bowl, mix together remaining salt and the molasses. Rub the mixture over the steamed duck. Place the duck on the spit. Cook duck for 1 hour or until meat is cooked through and skin is crispy. Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

[This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.]

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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