March 31, 2006

Now American Flags Are Banned

Students threatened with suspension and arrest if they do not surrender their American flags. . .
Three videos on the subject, including the main news story, but also two additional videos, including a lengthy interview with students upset about the denial of their ability to display, carry, or wear American flags, plus some bloviating by the principal trying to justify the ban.

More video coverage here, including an interview with a student suspended for two days for displaying the flag.

Another story here, that disputes the claim of an "permanent" ban.

It does not get any crazier than this:

LONGMONT, Colo. -- More than two dozen students walked out of Skyline High School Friday morning to protest what they say is a ban that doesn't allow the American flag to be flown on school grounds.

The principal said that the ban isn't just on American flags -- it's on all flags.

Several students who walked out of class Friday said that they were upset that Mexican flags can be waved around but that American flags couldn't. They said that school officials confiscated their American flags because they have become inflammatory because of recent immigration issues.

"When the immigration laws came out we noticed that a lot of Hispanics were waving Mexican flags and what we were thinking to ourselves is like, isn't the immigration law to stay in the country? You want to stay in America, correct? So I said, for every Mexican flag, you should have an American flag right next to it. So a few people went out and started waving American flags, and that's where everything bridged out," said Skyline student R.J. Fogal. "That's when they started telling us that we can't wave American flags, there's going to be no flags today, or everyone is going to be suspended -- whoever carries a flag."
Uppity students wanting to show American pride and fly the country's flag? Can't have that now, can we?

"What we want to know is since when was it against the rules to have an American flag on a car, in a car, in your hands in a school?" said student William Cassity.
Since the left declared American flags to be contentious symbols of imperialism, racism, and unbridled capitalism.

Skyline Principal Tom Stumpf said that the school enacted a ban this week that prohibits students to display, wear or fly any flag -- American or Mexican.

"The (policy) evolved because the flags were being used, not as a symbol of cultural heritage, but the flags were being used as symbols of bigotry, a symbol of hostility. They were being used to inflame different groups and we're simply not going to tolerate that at Skyline High School," Stumpf said.
Not quite sure if he means that both sides were doing this, but from what other protests have shown, bigotry and hostility were not evident when American flags were flown, but where Mexican flags were displayed prominently.

"My paramount obligation, my solemn obligation at Skyline High School, is to provide a safe and secure environment and with the flags being used as a catalyst to stir up the students, to stir up the environment, I cannot condone that ... One flag was thrown into the face of another group and another flag was being brandished in front of another group and it was done to raise emotions, and we don't want that. We want respect -- that's our main goal at Skyline High School," he said.
Now comes the safety and security reason for blocking freedom of speech and expression, as these might create "tensions" and endanger a "safe and secure environment", while "stirring" up students. Students are apparently a threat if they "brandish" a flag?

The school has a diverse population and some students say there have been tensions between different ethnic groups because of the national immigration debate.

"I think our whole society is on different sides of the immigration issue and I can't control that. All I'm asking from our students is respect -- respect for one another, treating each other as they themselves want to be treated, treating each other decently, civilly," Stumpf said.

He said the students have a right to rally and those who walked out of class on Friday would not be punished.

Stop The ACLU Weekend Linkfest

More Photos From The Protests
FAQs on Illegal Immigration Answered
Mexican Flags Dominate Protests
Salazar's Bloviations On Immigration
Colorado Politicians Weigh In On Immigration
Colorado Immigration Bills, Debate
Tancredo Weighs In On Senate Collapse
Immigration Round 1
Illegal Immigrants And Supporters Rally In Denver


More Photos From The Protests

More photos to get your blood boiling here.

Of course, what would a protest be without El Che?

FAQs on Illegal Immigration Answered
Mexican Flags Dominate Protests
Salazar's Bloviations On Immigration
Colorado Politicians Weigh In On Immigration
Colorado Immigration Bills, Debate
Tancredo Weighs In On Senate Collapse
Immigration Round 1
Illegal Immigrants And Supporters Rally In Denver


FAQs on Illegal Immigration Answered

Right Wing News elaborates on thirteen key questions.


French Job Law Constitutional

Apparently, all that rioting in France was for nothing.


Local Islamic Scholars Disagree With Afghan Apostasy Charges

They believe that Islamic injunctions against apostasy are historically rooted, and should be illegal under current conditions.


Pro-Life Britney Statue With Bear-skin Rug

I'm sure the PETA people aren't happy about this either.

Britney Spears is an interesting choice as a pro-life model (not that she is necessarily pro-life, but the artist's intent clearly is), and the statue is doubtlessly ticking off the usual abortion suspects--NOW, NARAL, etc.

Words fail, though, even as someone who majored in art history. I don't even know where to begin. . .bear-skin rug? Not to mention the, um, position Britney seems to have taken. . .


Quick Hits 3/31

Colorado unemployment rate drops to 4.3 percent, half a percent lower than the national average.

Study fails to show healing power of prayer.

Denmark may move Little Mermaid to protect it from vandals.

Poland seeks Auschwitz renaming, to clarify the Nazi origins of the infamous concentration camp.

Italian PM Berlusconi warns against multiculturalism:
ROME - Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he does not want Italy to become a multiethnic, multicultural country, drawing plaudits from a right-wing ally and criticism from center-left opponents.

Berlusconi, a conservative, faces a stiff challenge in next month's national election, with opinion polls putting him behind his opponent, former premier Romano Prodi.

The poor economy, a main worry for voters in this election, has fed concerns about immigration by right-wing parties in Berlusconi's coalition, although the kind of work usually done by immigrants is shunned by many Italians. Surveys show that some Italians also perceive immigrants as being linked to crime.

"We don't want Italy to become a multiethnic, multicultural country. We are proud of our traditions," Berlusconi said Monday on state-run radio.

Berlusconi's government has put in place a tough immigration policy, including legislation cracking down on illegal immigration. The 2002 law allows only immigrants with job contracts to obtain residency permit.

"We want to open (our borders) to foreigners who flee countries where their lives or liberties are at risk," said Berlusconi, adding those who come to Italy to work also are welcome. "We don't want to welcome all those who come here to bring about damage and danger to Italian citizens."
PM Tony Blair gone by Christmas?


Mexican Flags Dominate Protests

As elsewhere across the country, American flags have been outnumbered by Mexican flags in Colorado protests:

Recent immigration rallies in Denver and elsewhere have displayed more green, white and red than red, white and blue.

The prominence of Mexican and other foreign flags at the demonstrations has in turn created a backlash among supporters of tougher immigration laws.

Demonstrators say they carry flags from their native countries to show pride in their heritage and unity with fellow immigrants.

But those calling for a crackdown on illegal immigrants see the flags as a symbol of aggression and evidence supporting their claim that foreigners are taking over the country.
Many in Denver are familiar with the gratuitous display of Mexican flags every Cinco De Mayo. It is one thing to celebrate one's heritage, as other ethnic groups do, but most of them fly the American flag simultaneously, and in the appropriate primary position.

State Rep. Dave Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs, a vocal proponent of deporting illegal immigrants, called the use of Mexican flags at the demonstrations "disrespectful to our country."

"It angers me and it makes me more resolved to fight this issue," he said. "I don't like in-your-face rebellion.

"We're not Mexico and we don't fly Mexican flags in this country. We fly American flags."
The story points out that among the protesters, some believe opposition to Mexican flags stems from racism, while others note that America deserves respect and understand why the flying of foreign flags rankles the average American:

Disc jockeys at local Spanish-language radio stations, including La Buena Onda (1150 AM), encouraged listeners to wear white as a symbol of peace and to bring a U.S. flag along with their native country banners.

"We need to respect this country," said Yeshabet Quesada.

Station owner Heberto Limas-Villers said, "We want Hispanics to become integral members of this society. We don't want to create two Americas."
This statements sums up the feeling of many of those Americans who view the flying of Mexican flags with contempt:

Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a Washington, D.C., group that advocates reduced immigration, said his organization has received a large number of e-mails and phone calls from people angered by the foreign flags.

"Americans want people to come to this country as immigrants . . . to love this country . . . and to have exclusive allegiance," Stein said. "They're not into this idea that Mexico apparently believes that they send people here, who become U.S. citizens and keep allegiance to Mexico."
It is not contempt for the national origin of immigrants, their religious affiliation, their native language, or the standard ad hominem attack of racism that is at the basis of American opposition to illegal immigration in general, or the flying of Mexican flags in particular. It offends because if we accept the argument that most immigrants are here with only good intentions to work and make a life for themselves, they should buy into the system that creates the jobs and embrace the culture of the country they make their new home.

If by "ownership society" one means that new immigrants take possession of the American ideal, support the Constitution, and participate in America as a political entity, then most Americans have no problem making room for the newest members of the American family. However, shunning American culture by refusing to learn at least basic English, maintaining allegiance to a country that has obviously failed them economically, while insisting on being given jobs, receiving benefits in the form of healthcare, housing, and education and still prominently displaying the flag of another country, is deeply offensive. This would be true if the immigrants were flying the flag of any other country as well. This is not an attack on Mexico, as not all illegal immigrants are even from that country.

Of course, some groups have an entirely different agenda altogether.

As always, Michael Ramirez's brilliant cartoon says it all:


Salazar's Bloviations On Immigration

Full text of Salazar's Senate speech here.

Some highlights:
I believe that comprehensive immigration reform legislation must be:

TOUGH at the border and on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants,

FAIR to those who agree to pay taxes and commit no crimes, and

PRACTICAL by providing solutions to today’s illegal immigration problems and addressing our future workforce needs. . .
No dispute there, amigo. No one would dispute any of those rather bland statements. But there are so many different points of contention that muddle up any thought of consensus on this issue for either side. Americans welcome immigrants from all over the world with open arms, provided they are here legally.
. . . I have also spoken with President Bush, and several Members of his Cabinet, about the need for changes to our immigration laws.

I share his belief that:

"Ours is a nation of law and ours is a nation of immigrants, we believe that we can have rational, important immigration policy that’s based upon law and reflects our deep desire to be a compassionate and decent nation."

Immigration is a vital component of our nation’s history. Our country has always been seen as a land of opportunity for immigrants who are willing to work hard for a chance at the American dream for their families.

Indeed, without the important contributions immigrants have made to our country, the United States would not exist as we know it today.

In my home state of Colorado, the first non-natives to explore our lands were the Spanish. They arrived nearly 500 years ago, and left their mark on the American Southwest and Colorado. Their presence is reflected in the names of my state and its cities, rivers, and mountains, and even in the food we eat.

More recently, immigrants came to Colorado to farm and ranch, to mine our state’s abundant natural resources, build the railroads, and forge steel. They came, and continue to come, out of desperation, but also out of hope—the hope of America.

In a recent local newspaper column, Bill Burnett, a former councilman of the little Colorado town of Minturn, summed up the sentiments of many Coloradans: "Without immigrants, we never would’ve built this place." The sentiment is echoed by many all across this great country of ours.

It can also be heard through the words of Emma Lazarus’ great poem, "The New Colossus," inscribed at the foot of the Statue Liberty,

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Yes, this country was built by immigrants, yearning to share a slice of the American dream, of being their own master, having control over their own lives, choosing their own religions, and living in peace. But these immigrants came with the intention of becoming American, of enjoying the American ideal, even at a time when certain immigrants were banned outright (Chinese) or suffered discrimination (Jews, Catholics, Southern and Eastern Europeans, etc.) To contemporary eyes, they received a raw deal, but compared to where they had come from, fleeing religious or political persecution, such slights must have seemed tolerable--an argument made to me by my grandparents to explain their own discrimination stories, when being Italian and Catholic might mean a visit from the Ku Klux Klan, who had quite a presence in 1920s Colorado. Other immigrants came for work, made money and then went back home. Those who stayed learned English, assimilated into the cultural stew that makes America great, and after nearly a century, like my family, still enjoy their cultural roots. But we are Americans first.
. . . But there is no question that our immigration laws are not working. We have broken borders in America today. We must fix the problem for the sake of the national security of our nation.

The level of illegal immigration on our borders is unacceptable and has to change. Our borders are undermanned and overwhelmed. We must get far better control of the border.

In the past decade, we have seen the number of undocumented immigrants residing in our country rise from 4 million in 1986 to 12 million in 2006.

While the vast majority of these individuals have come to our country to work and provide for their families, the fact that we have permitted millions to cross our borders illegally is unacceptable.

Enforcement of our immigration laws has certainly not kept pace with the flow of both legal and illegal immigration, and the laws that deal with those who crossed the border are enforced so rarely in recent years that they might as well not exist. .
Thanks Captain Obvious. I wonder why Salazar keeps flipping back and forth between "illegal immigration" and "undocumented immigrants". Having documents does not prove one's legal status, as many illegal immigrants have "documents", as Michelle Malkin demonstrates. Possessing forged documents and phony IDs simply means you are illegal and possessing illegal paper. Only legally issued documents proving one's legal status as a resident alien, citizen, or tourist (or any other official status) removes the "illegal" from "immigrant".
. . .Solving our nation’s illegal immigration problems is a matter of national security. . .
Democrats wishing to appear "tough" on immigration and national security will talk a great game, but there is little of substance to their message.
. . . Some would have preferred that we wall off our country along our southern border. To the proponents of building a wall, I ask—what would Ronald Reagan say? We should not repeat the example of the Berlin Wall, one of the most shameful symbols of anti-freedom and oppression ever designed by man, designed solely to keep people from opportunity, hope and freedom. It was President Reagan who told the Soviet leader, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall. . ."
Salazar makes the same erroneous historical reference that columnist George Will makes here. The Berlin Wall was built to keep people in, not prevent people from coming over to East Germany. The only people denied "opportunity, hope and freedom" were the East Germans suffering under the political oppression of Communism.
. . . I am pleased that the Judiciary Committee bill does not call for the construction of a massive wall along our border and does not make criminals out of millions of Americans who come into contact with undocumented immigrants.

But these security and enforcement efforts alone cannot be our sole means to confront this challenge.

In the past, Congress has focused exclusively on this critical component. Over the last decade, we have tripled the number of Border Patrol agents who spend eight times as many hours patrolling the border.

During this same period, the undocumented population was doubled in size, and the per-apprehension costs have skyrocketed nearly 500%.

The reality is regardless of how much money we dedicate to border and interior enforcement; there are economic forces that spur immigration.

Our country’s current workforce is continuing to age and our newer workers have become more educated and less interested in taking important jobs that our growing economy keeps creating. . .
At least Salazar acknowledges that the Democrats' canard about President Bush about losing jobs and ruining the economy is nothing but garbage. If the economy stank, there would be no jobs to risk life and limb, and suffer the economic depredations of the trafficking "coyotes". Too bad liberals despise the "McJobs" that our economy creates, attacking companies like Wal-Mart for providing substandard employment opportunities.
. . . Instead, I believe the way we deal with these realities is to create an orderly system requiring illegal immigrants to come forward, register, and pay a fine for their illegal conduct-- just as citizens are fined for unlawful activity.

In exchange for coming forward, these individuals will be given a temporary and conditional visa. After six years, if they meet numerous requirements, including proving they are integrating into our country by learning English, U.S. history and government, pay back taxes, commit no crimes, and pay more fines, they can get to the back of the line behind those who are currently waiting to become U.S. citizens.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, if our economy continues to grow by 3 percent, the economic growth will increase the number of U.S. jobs by 14.6 percent between 2002 and 2012. Moreover, because of turnover and retirement, BLS projects there will be 56 million job openings during this same time. There will be many Americans who are ready and willing to fill these jobs. Immigrants will play a critical role in bridging the gap between our labor force needs and available American workers.

The Judiciary Committee bill also establishes a new program that will provide our economy with an orderly and limited supply of worker visas. Under the bill’s provisions, businesses cannot hire foreign workers through this program unless they can prove to the U.S. Department of Labor that they actively recruited American workers and advertised jobs at fair wages, but still found no American workers. These "temporary workers" would have to undergo security checks before they would be allowed into the county. . .
Once again, Salazar notes the growing economy, and the projected job creations over the next decade. The citizenship requirements, including learning English and learning basic U. S. history and civics, should be mandatory. Unfortunately the plan still calls for basically amnesty with a catch, a waiting period and unenforceable fines. No doubt many illegal immigrants will hesitate to come forward, or simply deem it not worth the hassle, instead banking on some future Congressional amnesty under the Democrats.
. . . I want to today, in this period of morning business as we enter into this debate, to simply read from one of my favorite prayers from a person who understood importance of immigration especially in the context of this debate. That is Cesar Chavez.

He wrote this prayer and it's something that I think that all of us in this chamber should keep in mind as we move forward in this debate:

Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
So I will know my people's plight.
Free me to pray for others;
For you are present in every person.

Help me take responsibility for my own life;
So that I can be free at last.

Grant me courage to serve others;
For in service there is true life.

Give me honesty and patience;
So that I can work with others workers.

Bring forth song and celebration;
So that the Spirit will be alive among us.

Let the Spirit flourish and grow;
So that we will never tire of the struggle.

Let us remember those who have died for justice;
For they have given us life.

Help us love even those who hate us;
So we can change the world.
Interesting that Salazar would quote Chavez, considering he protested using illegal immigrants to replace native farm workers in the late 1960s.


Colorado Politicians Weigh In On Immigration

Colorado is a battleground state in the immigration crisis, and several of its key legislators took up their respective positions on the battlements in what appears to be a guaranteed fight. . .

Sen. Ken Salazar endorses Sen. Kennedy's proposal:
WASHINGTON - Coloradans appeared in starring roles Thursday as Congress kicked its immigration debate into high gear.

Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar opened the Senate's first full day of immigration debate by lending his centrist credentials to legislation being pushed by one of the Senate's most famous liberals, Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.

Salazar helped Kennedy defend his proposed guest worker plan from charges that it's nothing but "amnesty" for people who broke the law to get into the country.
Representatives Bob Beauprez, who is running for governor this year, and Tom Tancredo, also offered their opposition to the proposed remedies:
Nevertheless, the "amnesty" alarm rang through the U.S. Capitol only a few hours later.

At a standing-room-only news conference, Colorado Reps. Tom Tancredo and Bob Beauprez, both Republicans, warned that the guest worker plan working its way through the Senate would cause a Republican revolt in the House of Representatives, which has passed a tough, enforcement-only immigration bill.

Beauprez said if the guest worker plan becomes law, it will be like a "dinner bell," telling illegal immigrants "come one, come all."

"My fear is that if we continue down the path the Senate has established, we will create the greatest magnet ever" for illegal immigrants, said Beauprez, who is seeking the Republican nomination for Colorado governor. . .

. . ."Yeah, you can look at the streets and see people demonstrating . . . but most of them are here illegally," Tancredo said. "When John Q. Citizen looks out on the streets and sees hundreds of people waving Mexican flags, I don't think that plays well in Peoria."

That type of rhetoric has made Tancredo a hero in some circles.

"Now I know why some of my constituents have Tom Tancredo bumper stickers," said Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla., a member of Tancredo's Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus.


March 30, 2006

Painting The Map Red--The Contest

Buy this book:

Check out these submissions in Radio Blogger's new contest:


March 29, 2006

Colorado Immigration Bills, Debate

Michelle Malkin leads the national coverage with an excellent and comprehensive roundup.

A mixed bag in Colorado on immigration, as document fraud might see an increased penalty, but drivers trafficking illegal immigrants (and being illegal themselves) will face no penalties other than deportation. Also, the influence of churches on organizing the protests, and smaller student rallies across Colorado, complete with Mexican flags (outnumbering American flags, of course). Scroll for updates. . .

New report estimates cost of illegal immigrants for Colorado citizens of $1 billion. (video and tons of links on the page) More here.

Protests not spontaneous, but carefully orchestrated by Spanish media:

(AP) LOS ANGELES The marching orders were clear: Carry American flags and pack the kids, pick up your trash and wear white for peace and for effect.

Many of the 500,000 people who crammed downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to protest legislation that would make criminals out of illegal immigrants learned where, when and even how to demonstrate from the Spanish-language media.

For English-speaking America, the mass protests in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities over the past few days have been surprising for their size and seeming spontaneity.

But they were organized, promoted or publicized for weeks by Spanish-language radio hosts and TV anchors as a demonstration of Hispanic pride and power.
Senate bill to crack down on phony IDs and documents for illegal immigrants:
Anyone caught making phony green cards and Social Security documents to help illegal immigrants gain legal status would face a $50,000 fine under a bill that sailed through the state Senate Tuesday.

Senate Bill 110 is meant to crack down on those mass-producing forged documents by giving district attorneys and the Colorado attorney general theauthority to file civil suits to combat the illegal activity.

"The reason people do it is for the money, so let's hit them where it hurts - their pocketbook," said bill sponsor Sen. Tom Wiens, R-Castle Rock.

The Senate gave its initial approval to the bill, which would make creating false documents a civil offense, carrying a set fine of $50,000. . .

. . .Its swift passage comes as the state's focus on illegal immigration has sharpened in the wake of a series of rollover accidents last week that involved dozens of undocumented immigrants.

On Tuesday, both Republican and Democrat state lawmakers expressed dismay over a sweeping bipartisan bill passed by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Monday that could allow millions of illegal immigrants to seek citizenship.

"I'm never surprised when the federal government does anything that's counter to solving the problem," said Sen. Peter Groff, D-Denver, sponsor of two measures targeting the smuggling and trafficking of illegal immigrants.
But no charges for the drivers of the vans filled with illegal immigrants:

None of the drivers of vehicles packed with illegal immigrants that overturned on icy highways last week will face criminal prosecution, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday.

Immigration investigators determined "there was not enough evidence of criminal activity to present to the U.S. attorney," said spokesman Carl Rusnock.

Colorado State Patrol reports identified the drivers in at least three of the six accidents March 20 and 21 on Interstates 70 and 76. More than 100 illegal Mexican immigrants, a few of whom suffered minor injuries, were detained for one or two days and then flown home. . .

. . .From a different perspective, Fidel "Butch" Montoya, a former Denver manager of public safety, differentiated between drivers and so-called coyotes - the bosses of organized immigrant smuggling.

"I don't think there is any sympathy for anyone involved in human trafficking," said Montoya, who has taken up the banner of immigration. "If (ICE investigators) had determined they were coyotes, there probably would have been some charges."

The drivers may simply have been "providing taxi service" by driving for the coyotes, he said.

Instead of criminal charges, the drivers will face formal deportations beginning with appearances in Denver Immigration Court, Rusnock said.

Although six vans and SUVs wrecked, deportation proceedings are under way against only four drivers - all male, Mexican and illegal.

The driver of a fifth wrecked van was an immigrant father not linked to smuggling and the driver of a sixth vehicle, which was carrying illegal immigrants, could not be established because of contradictory statements to investigators, he said.

Formal deportations carry a potential federal prison term if a violator attempts to return to the United States within 10 years, or longer in some cases. In contrast, almost all the passengers qualified for voluntary return, which does not entail penalties.
Churches on local and national level jump in to support illegal immigrants:

A wide range of religious groups have been serving a critical role in recent efforts to push Congress to pass what they call humane immigration reforms.

More than 200 religious organizations, including those associated with Catholics, evangelicals, Mennonites, Muslims and Jews, have conducted letter-writing campaigns to President Bush and Congress and encouraged congregation members to attend huge pro-immigrant rallies in cities across the country.

One of the most visible organizations in the debate, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has been training clergy, parishioners and church employees on the religious principles of helping refugees and immigrants. Locally, members of the Denver Archdiocese have been conducting educational presentations on immigration reform about twice a week.
Local students protest here and here (video).


March 28, 2006

Pope Wants To Visit China reports:
Pope Benedict XVI told a delegation from Hong Kong he will visit China in what would be an extraordinary papal visit to the communist nation, but he said the trip's timing depends on "God's wish," media reports said Tuesday.

One of the Vatican's goals is to restart official relations with China, which forced its Roman Catholics to cut ties with the Holy See in 1951 after the officially atheist Communists took power. People can worship only in government-controlled churches.

But millions of Chinese belong to unofficial congregations loyal to Rome. They say they are frequently harassed, fined and sometimes sent to labor camps by authorities.

Pope John Paul II, the most-traveled pontiff in history, was unable to visit China during his 26-year papacy. Pope Paul VI made a three-hour stopover in Hong Kong in 1970 when it was a British colony.

No pope has ever visited mainland China.


Tancredo Weighs In On Senate Collapse

Tom Tancredo takes the Republican dominated Senate Judiciary Committee to task and vows that their version of the immigration will no pass Congressional muster in the House, and does not have broad support of the American public:

WASHINGTON - Immigration reform legislation is doomed to stall this year if the full U.S. Senate passes the type of guest worker bill that cleared a committee hurdle Monday, U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo said.

Tancredo, R-Colo., issued a statement lashing out at the Senate Judiciary Committee after it approved a bipartisan bill that could grant legal work status to millions of immigrants who entered the country illegally.

"No plan with amnesty and a massive increase in foreign workers will pass the House," said Tancredo, who leads the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus.

"Amnesty and foreign workers are fundamentally incompatible with the House's approach and, according to every recent poll, they are not what Americans want."
Tancredo has the cojones to take on not only the administration and critics within his own party, but those who level baseless and vitriolic charges of racism at his proposals. His single-issue focus, however, threatens to reduce him to the role of demagogue. Tancredo the man and Tancredo the politician are better than that, and he must steer clear of being reduced to the polarizing focal point of this debate, rather than the issue at hand. It is not about Tancredo, or Republicans, or even the impact on the economy that immigrant supporters claim incessantly.

Regardless of political and economic implications, it is ultimately about the legal status of those who are in the country, other than current U. S. citizens and excluding all those who are here for travel, on student or work visas, and have no intention of staying here. It is an issue whose outcome will surely disappoint the losing side, and become the point of contention the next time the issue resurfaces. This is not an issue likely to fade anytime soon, and will probably still be a large issue in the 2008 Presidential election, either as a smoldering unresolved leftover from this year, or used as a weapon to bash the opposition as a result of the still yet undecided outcome. Stay tuned.


Immigration Round 1

The explosion of the immigration issue, vaulting quickly to perhaps the most contentious and important issue not only for the country in general but the upcoming midterm election in particular, certainly has a Colorado dimension, beyond the 50000 or so who showed up to demonstrate in favor of amnesty for illegal immigrants this past weekend:
In Colorado, organizers of a ballot initiative to deny state services to illegal immigrants also claim to have received dozens of calls and e-mails from new supporters.

"The more brazen (the protests), the better it is for us," said Mike McGarry, acting director of the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform.

But a coalition of local and national immigrant rights groups points to the Monday passage of a friendlier immigration reform bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee as proof of the power of the massive protests, including the 50,000 people who marched in Denver and 500,000 in Los Angeles on Saturday.

The protests clearly have launched the illegal immigration debate to the top of the public agenda "for keeps," said John Straayer, a political science professor at Colorado State University.

The issue is now inescapable, Straayer said. "Even a year ago it didn't have the prominence it has now."

This won't be the end, either.

The protests are "a predictor of more to come," Straayer said.

A large coalition of pro-immigrant groups is planning a "Day of Action" April 10 across the country. Details of the Colorado event have not been decided.
That should be oodles of fun. Both sides are energized and galvanized and heading for a more tumultous clash either at the polls, or in the streets. This is an issue with legs, and will continue to be an issue for the country as long as it exists. Balancing the need and acceptance of immigrants with economic and legal concerns. No side advocates closing the borders, or inhumane treatment of anyone, even if they come to American illegally. The question is whether or not this behavior should be recognized or rewarded with guest worker status, amnesty, deportation, or citizenship.

The pro-immigration rights organizers were "stunned" by the turnout, and foresee a new "civil rights" movement:
Spanish-language radio and television exhorted listeners and viewers to participate.

The Catholic Church signed on as an official sponsor.

Yet, organizers admitted that they were shocked by the 50,000-plus people who rallied Saturday in Civic Center to defend the rights of immigrants.

"We were stunned by the outpouring for the rally," said Bill Vandenberg, of the Colorado Progressive Coalition. "It's an emerging civil rights movement. We're at a turning point in Colorado."
Not quite sure how people here illegally can stage a "civil rights" protest, beyond the basic human rights dignities that are already observed and are not even in contention. Most immigrants from areas other than Mexico, Central and South America are forced to undergo rigorous and time-consuming, not to mention intrusive, investigations and vetting in order to become a legal citizen through the proper channels. My future brother-in-law is a prime and immediate example. A citizen of the U. K., he and my sister have to tackle forms galore in pursuing their wish to be married, and my brother-in-law to become a U. S. citizen. Others too deserve such a chance, but should not be rewarded for violating laws and intruding without legal documents proving a legitimate status in their new country. Treated with respect and shown compassion and understanding? Absolutely. Given free reign to come and go as they please without obtaining any legal status while waiting for amnesty? Nope. Once again, all are welcome without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, primary language, religion, economic status, etc. etc. provided they come here with intentions to procure a legal standing and citizenship.


Colorado Joins Other States In Banning Smoking

The nanny-state creep has now overtaken Colorado, which joined the 12 other states in banning smoking indoors:
DENVER -- That's it. The last hurdle for getting the smoking ban into law has now been passed.

On Monday, Gov. Bill Owens signed legislation making Colorado the 13th state to enact a statewide smoking ban. The law takes effect July 1.

House Bill 1175, sponsored by Rep. Mike May (R-Parker) and Sen. Dan Grossman (D-Denver), prohibits smoking in bars, restaurants and most workplaces. The ban excludes casinos, cigar bars and the smoking lounge at Denver International Airport.

Casinos will be allowed to have smoking only in their gambling areas -- not their bars and restaurants.
A lame-duck Republican governor and a Republican co-sponsored bill spelled the death-knell for private enterprise choice in offering smoking areas to their patrons. Many have pointed out that the argument that a ban on smoking would hurt businesses is untrue, and that those establishments actually became more successful. So why not encourage businesses to ban smoking of their own accord, rather than legislating what each proprietor must do? Don't like smoking? Don't offer it to your customers, and don't frequent a place that offers it if you are a consumer. Instead, the government presumes to know what is best--like prohibition, except this seems doubtful to be overturned. What's next, taxing food deemed "unhealthy"--a "McTax?" Well, not so long ago it would have been beyond implausible to ever think that smoking would ever be banned in public either. . .


March 27, 2006

Horowitz, Churchill Are Two Of A Kind

"Dangerous" professor Oneida Meranto of Metro State has this to say over the upcoming "debates" between David Horowitz and Ward Churchill:
It would do well for all of us to recognize the David Horowitz and Ward Churchill debate for what it is: a dog and pony show. To take their advice on issues of higher education is like listening to Jack Abramoff on campaign reform initiatives.

Both Horowitz and Churchill do shoddy research that lacks scholarly integrity. Both are arrogant, ignorant and extreme. Both have created a cottage industry with their libelous writings and lecture series. Both have found a haven of support on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Both are white males, similar in age and inflammatory. Both said they had been part of the radical left. Both are misogynist. Both have called me dangerous for different reasons. Both do politics without having studied politics. Neither has a Ph.D., only M.A.s. Neither of them speaks for political science or Native American scholars of which I am both.

My alma mater gave an affirmative action hire to someone who was undeserving and unqualified, what's new? In the past no one cared that Churchill's research was shoddy because it was just about Indians. Only when Churchill critiqued the status quo did "patriots" suddenly demand truth.

The publications and shenanigans of these two continue to poison the well of expressive freedom. And yet while it pains me greatly to support their freedom of speech I will; because freedom isn't only for those people who agree with you. Most academics would like nothing more than for these two to go away and set up house together.

Oneida J. Meranto Professor of Political Science
Director of Native American Studies Program
Metropolitan State College
Why the "debate" is for show, and nothing more.


Return To Monasticism

Could a resurgence in monastic life presage a general reawakening of faith in Europe? Or, as the author alludes, merely an anomaly that obscures the deepening chasm between contemporary Europe and its Christian faith? Certainly a provocative thesis, although given present conditions, a greater amount of clear evidence pointing to increased vocations and a general return of Christian adherents in terms of church attendance would allow more confidence in this argument (though this is clearly a good start):
IT IS BY NOW a commonplace that the state of Europe hovers between dire and grave. Sclerotic economies, plummeting birthrates, and moribund militaries all appear symptomatic of imminent collapse. Exacerbating its condition is the widespread decline of the continent's ancestral faith. Europe, it seems, has lost its faith, and with it, its will to live. But lest early drafts of the continent's obituary prove premature, it is worth noting the occasional indication of European renewal.

Italy, for instance, is often viewed as a case study in secularization. Yet across the peninsula, weekly attendance at Catholic Mass has been steadily climbing for two decades. In 1980, roughly 35 percent of Italians regularly attended the Mass; by 2000 that figure had climbed to nearly 50 percent.

But even more pregnant with possible significance is Italy's sudden surge in new monastic vocations. A recent conference organized by the Vicariate of Rome and the Unione Superiore Maggiori D'Italia revealed that in the last year, no fewer than 550 women entered cloistered convents--up from 350 two years earlier. In contrast to recent trends, the new candidates were predominantly native-born and college-educated Italians. Similar gains are said to have occurred among male monastics. The Italian village of Nursia, for example, recently welcomed a small group of American monks to rehabilitate a monastery built at the birthplace of St. Benedict, the great patriarch of western monasticism. Last year, for the first time since its suppression by Napoleonic edict, the community celebrated a Benedictine
ordination. Though many monasteries continue to close, new houses are beginning to open, suggesting--perhaps--that a corner has been turned.

WHAT, then, is one to make of Italy's renewed interest in monasticism? It may very well be a statistical anomaly, influenced, perhaps, by the new pope's special devotion to St. Benedict. But monasticism's utility as a leading social indicator should not be underestimated. "The monastic turn," writes historian Bernard McGinn, "was the great religious innovation of late antiquity, and monastic institutions and values have continued to affect the history of Christianity to the present." The possibility exists that a contemporary monastic risorgimento may likewise presage something more profound. . .

. . .Again, Italy's spike in new monastic vocations may be nothing more than a statistical outlier. But nobody should be altogether dismayed if in fact it foreshadows something deeper. Monasticism seems to prosper in moments of great tumult and confusion. One may fear with Gibbon that its revival suggests another long, dark night of the European soul. One may, of course, equally hope with Benedict that its resurgence portends for the continent a new and glorious dawn.


A Threat To All The People On Earth

Mark Steyn (add to your blogroll or daily reads), the brilliant columnist whose insight is matchless, has another extraordinary insight into the implications of Islamofascism (and Islam in general):
I can understand why the president and the secretary of state would rather deal with this through back-channels, private assurances from their Afghan counterparts, etc. But the public rhetoric is critical, too. At some point we have to face down a culture in which not only the mob in the street but the highest judges and academics talk like crazies.

Rahman embodies the question at the heart of this struggle: If Islam is a religion one can only convert to not from, then in the long run it is a threat to every free person on the planet. What can we do? Should governments with troops in Afghanistan pass joint emergency legislation conferring their citizenship on this poor man and declaring him, as much as Karzai, under their protection?

In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" -- the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. General Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

''You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows.You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

India today is better off without suttee. If we shrink from the logic of that, then in Afghanistan and many places far closer to home the implications are, as the Prince of Wales would say, "ghastly."


March 26, 2006

Illegal Immigrants And Supporters Rally In Denver

Not undocumented.

Denver Post has story and photos. Also some raw video footage of the crowds disrupting traffic:
An estimated 50,000 people marched in front of the state Capitol on Saturday and packed Civic Center, waving Mexican flags and signs urging Congress to defeat a bill that would make illegal immigration a federal felony.

With prompting from speakers using microphones, the crowd chanted "Sí, se puede," or "Yes, we can," a saying popularized by César Chávez, the late human-rights activist and farm labor leader.

"It's just incredible," yelled rally participant Polly Baca, a former state legislator, as a large Mexican band played music at "The Time Is Now Rally."

"You can see that a day without these people working would be devastating for Colorado's economy," she said.
Colorado's businesses and economy, however, managed to get through Saturday without a problem. Much more nonsense about "undocumented workers" doing jobs that Americans won't do, and the difficulty for farmers who need day laborers.

9NEWS has video.
CBS4 has video.

Michelle Malkin has a national roundup, and WELCOME TO RECONQUISTA.
Instapundit has a roundup as well.

Plus, more on last week's illegal immigrant trafficking story:
WIGGINS - The traffic in illegal immigrants and northeastern Colorado's resident Hispanics, some of whom may be illegal immigrants themselves, blend together into one population in the eyes of people who live and work along Interstate 76 in Morgan County. . .

. . .The interstate's role as a conduit for illegal immigrants was highlighted last week when four vehicles carrying Mexican workers crashed near Brush, on the east side of the rural county 90 miles from Denver. Two other wrecks involving illegal immigrants, who were quickly flown back to Mexico at taxpayers' expense, occurred in eastern Colorado in the aftermath of the same storm, which turned roads dangerous to drivers inexperienced in driving on snow and ice.

Law enforcement officials and local residents regularly see vehicles that they suspect are ferrying illegal immigrants to points east and west.

"With the need for agricultural workers beginning to increase, there will be more travelers in the next few weeks," Morgan County Sheriff Jim Crone said. "If we went out and focused on the interstate, I think we could get two or three loads of people a day, with anywhere from 10 to 25 people in a load. And that would overtax our jail."

The vehicles usually used for human transport are late-model vans, SUVs and extended-bed pickup trucks with camper shells, the sheriff said. They are usually white, silver or another neutral color. Sometimes, the windows are tinted. The vans usually have no pinstriping, custom wheel covers or anything else that would make them distinctive.
Information on the crashes here and here and the legislation appearing in Colorado to deal with some aspects of illegal immigration and trafficking:
Meanwhile, two bills concerning illegal immigration passed out of committee on Monday. The bills would substantially increase penalties for smuggling and trafficking illegal immigrants.

Sen. Peter Groff, D-Denver, said he wants to make human smuggling a violation of state law (Senate Bill 206) because he said federal immigration authorities haven't been enforcing the federal law against it.

Another measure (Senate Bill 207) would make human trafficking a violation of state law. That's when people are sold or forced into indentured servitude or sex. Currently, only children are protected from that under state law; Groff's proposal would add anyone 16 and older.

Each week state troopers came across more than 500 illegal immigrants during their patrols. That includes an average of four vanloads of immigrants smuggled into and across this country, according to a recent survey by the State Patrol that was released last week by Senate Democrats.

The measures are aimed at the smugglers and the traffickers themselves, not the immigrants they profit from. However, another proposal (Senate Bill 90) from Sen. Tom Wiens, R-Sedalia, would require that law enforcement agencies notify federal immigration officials about any illegal immigrants they arrest.

Just going after and imprisoning six smugglers a year has an estimated pricetag of $2.6 million over five years. State law requires that any new crime has to carry with it a five-year plan for building and operating new prison beds. Legislative analysts base their estimates on two people being convicted under the new law and four others charged with other crimes also being charged and eventually convicted of smuggling.

Groff said the aim is to make smugglers afraid to cross Colorado.

"If anyone thinks this is going to solve the problem of illegal immigration, they'll be disappointed. But certainly it's going to make a substantive impact," Groff said.
Four accidents and two traffic stops, in one day, yielded 70 illegal immigrants. This is but a sliver of the 500 state patrol encounters per week--probably less than a quarter of the total number--that pass through Colorado each day. Their reward? A free plane ride back to Mexico. . .


March 25, 2006

What The Rahman Case Is Really About

Cam Edwards explains the situation forcefully to a group of MSM morons trying to politicize the issue--Age of Hooper has the video. (via Expose the Left)


Eco-Alarmist Ads Exploit Children, Have GOP "Support"

Some "prominent" Republicans are co-sponsoring an Ad Council campaign against "global warming"--though the "prominent" GOP members are not mentioned, aside from a former staffer:
Some prominent Republicans have joined the crusade against global warming, teaming up with the advocacy group Environmental Defense and the Ad Council to launch a series of public service announcements today about the threat climate change poses to Americans' future.

GOP pollster Whit Ayres conducted a major poll for the initiative, in which he found 70 percent of respondents believe global warming is happening and more than half think it stems from human activity. Tucker Eskew, former deputy communications director at the Bush White House, is also advising the campaign, which includes a series of edgy television and radio commercials along with a consumer conservation guide on the Web called "The Low Carbon Diet."

Environmental Defense President Fred Krupp said the ad campaign "is a wake-up call about the urgency of the problem, and a public service."
Here, apparently, is the result (from Greenwire, a subscription only site):
The image is stark: A middle-aged man stands on a set of train tracks as a locomotive barrels toward him.

"Global warming," he says, as the train's whistle grows louder. "Some say irreversible consequences are 30 years away. Thirty years? That won't affect me."

Then, with the train just feet away, the man steps off the tracks -- revealing a young girl who stands mute in the engine's path. The camera zooms in tightly on her unhappy face before a Web site address flashes on the screen:

The commercial is part of a national ad campaign launched today by a coalition of nonprofit groups that urges Americans to fight global warming by reducing their carbon emissions.
Here are four of the rather annoying ads, exploiting fear and using children to press home the urgency--while upping the "blame" factor:

Tick (video)

Train (video)

The Question (audio)

The Gift (audio)

David Roberts over at the Grist Blog already has a suggestion for his own "global warming" ad.


Scientist Alleging Bush Censorship Helped Gore, Kerry

Global warming "expert" and Bush basher James Hansen not only has political ties to both Gore and Kerry, but a history of alleging censorship under Republican presidents:
The scientist touted by CBS News' "60 Minutes" as arguably the "world's leading researcher on global warming" and spotlighted as a victim of the Bush administration's censorship on the issue, publicly endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president and received a $250,000 grant from the charitable foundation headed by Kerry's wife.

Scientist James Hansen has also admitted that he contributed to two recent Democratic presidential campaigns. Furthermore, he acted as a consultant in February to former Vice President Al Gore's slide show presentations on "global warming," which Gore presented around the country.

But Scott Pelley, the "60 Minutes" reporter who profiled Hansen and detailed his accusations of censorship on the March 19, edition of the newsmagazine, made no mention of Hansen's links to Kerry and Gore and none to the fact that Kerry's wife--Teresa Heinz Kerry--had been one of Hansen's benefactors.

Pelley's "Rewriting the Science" segment focused on Hansen's allegations that the Bush administration was preventing his views from becoming publicized because it did not like his conclusions. Hansen's complaints were first publicized in January.

"In my more than three decades in the government, I've never witnessed such restrictions on the ability of scientists to communicate with the public," Hansen told Pelley.

But Hansen had made similar claims of another Republican White House allegedly censoring his views. In 1989, Hansen claimed that President Bush's father - then-President George H. W. Bush - was censoring his climate research. Kerry and about a dozen other senators eventually co-signed a letter written by Gore, who was also a senator at the time, demanding an explanation for the alleged censorship.


March 24, 2006

More Proof Islam Is A "Religion Of Peace"

Beg forgiveness, or we kill you:
Increasing international pressure over the case of Christian convert Abdul Rahman is forcing the Afghan government to play a careful balancing act between its Western allies and religious conservatives at home.

Under the interpretation of Islamic Sharia law on which Afghanistan's constitution is based, Mr Rahman faces the death penalty unless he reconverts to Islam.

"The Prophet Muhammad has said several times that those who convert from Islam should be killed if they refuse to come back," says Ansarullah Mawlafizada, the trial judge.

"Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance, kindness and integrity. That is why we have told him if he regrets what he did, then we will forgive him," he told the BBC News website.
Mohammed commands it!


Muslim Cartoon Conference

Once again, the cartoons are symbolic of a "war" waged against Islam:

Some 300 Muslim scholars have begun meeting in Bahrain to discuss the row over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

The conference follows a wave of demonstrations in which at least 50 people died in the wake of the images' publication in Denmark and elsewhere.

The scholars are hoping to come up with a strategy to mobilise Muslims in defence of the Prophet.

One leading hardline cleric, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, told delegates that a war was being waged against Islam.
A strategy to mobilize Muslims that does not include general chaos, riots, burning embassies, killing people, and threatening even more violence? There's a plan we'd like to see. . .

Also, Gateway Pundit says that fatwas have been issued against depictions of Jesus. . .


March 23, 2006

WBC Protestors Invade Denver

**Update**Sunday church protests fizzle

Chris Schneider © News Margie Phelps, daughter of the Rev. Fred Phelps, of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., kicks a U.S. flag outside the state Capitol in Denver on Thursday to stir up the crowd. The demonstrators, mostly relatives of Phelps, went to the Capitol to oppose proposed legislation inspired by their latest protest target - funerals of American troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Remaining photos by Slapstick Politics.

Legislation ("Rest in Peace Act") introduced to stop protestors drew the WBC protestors to Denver, where they disgraced the state capitol with their disgusting views.

Local media was there as well CBS4 (video), 7 NEWS (video), 9NEWS (video).

The local papers were there as well Rocky Mountain News (great slideshow) capturing this WBC gem:
"Give me an I," she yelled.

"Give me an E."

"Give me a D."

"What does it spell?"

"Dead soldiers!" shouted the protesters.

Giving the WBC a warm Colorado welcome:



Tancredo For Senate

Instead of president, if current Colorado Senator Wayne Allard does not run for reelection in 2008 (text and video):
Washington - Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo will run for the U.S. Senate in 2008 if Republican Sen. Wayne Allard does not seek re-election, the Littleton Republican said Wednesday.

Known nationally for his unyielding stance on illegal immigration, Tancredo said he'd have more power to push that cause in the Senate, "where one person can be a lot more effective on an issue than one person in the House."

Tancredo confirmed his interest in the Senate to The Denver Post after he made a similar acknowledgment in a taped television interview.

When KBDI-Channel 12 interviewer Aaron Harber asked him, "If Wayne Allard were to not run for re-election, would you run for the Senate?" Tancredo replied, "Yeah, sure."
He could face Gov. Bill Owens in a primary race, and Rep. Mark Udall in the general election, where his single issue mentality could face wome withering criticism and opposition.


March 22, 2006

Know Your History Before You Blab

Senate Minority blowhard Harry Reid gets his facts a little wrong:
I think, as we, as Senator Levin has said so many times, we have to get the political structure of Iraq together. America can not do that alone. We’ve been in Iraq longer than we were in World War II.
Expose the Left has the video.

Democrats aren't the only victims of historical ignorance, as this poll showed. World War II began much earlier than December 7, 1941 and lasted past its conclusion in September, 1945. With the fall of the "Iron Curtain" within months of the conclusion of the "hot" war, the Cold War and its military engagements continued for the next fifty years. Iraq, just one theater in the GWOT, is but the beginning. It may take just as long, if not longer to defeat the Islamofascists.


Fred Phelps And His Slimebuckets To Invade Denver

Oh goody, the Whackjob Bastard Crew is coming to the Rocky Mountains--and nope, we won't link to them. Spreading their unique Love Crusades hate-fests across the country, this time depositing their filth at the state capitol and U.S. Senator Ken Salazar's Denver office:
WBC to picket the pandering, demagogic, unfaithful Colorado Taliban masquerading as a Legislature - at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, Mar. 23, at the Statehouse, 200 E. Colfax, Denver - in religious protest & warning: "God is not mocked!" God Hates Fags! & Fag-Enablers! Ergo, God hates the Colorado Legislature traitorously plotting to criminalize WBC's anti-gay Gospel preaching at Military funerals. WBC will also simultaneously picket U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar at his official, tax-funded Denver office at 2300 15th St. - to peacefully assemble and petition our government for a redress of grievances: Their abominable policies have brought down the wrath of God upon us. "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind." Hos. 8:7.
Not sure if the Patriot Guard Riders will be there (**apparently they will, see below), but the best option for all concerned--including the state legislators currently considering legislation to ban funeral protests--is to ignore their hatemongering rather than encouraging their hostile actions by giving them physical affirmation through counter-protests or legal recourse via the ACLU and constant publicity.

However, a good counter-demonstration would provide the necessary "welcome" to this refuse of society, and people of all religious and political affiliations should be encouraged to give them the Mile High Salute (the middle-finger kind).

Rocky Mountain News has more information on today's protests, and the sordid history of the WBC Phelps founded.


She's Real Fine, My 409

Nothing like a caucus last night to get the election juices flowing--and as the new committeeman and delegate for precinct 409 in the good ol' city and county of Denver, I say bring on Election 2006.


Horowitz Vs. Churchill

As Michelle Malkin notes, this should be good:
Author David Horowitz will debate the University of Colorado professor he listed among America's worst academics.
Horowitz and ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill said Tuesday in separate interviews that the idea came from Churchill.

Horowitz has called Churchill's views "absurd on their face" and listed him in a book on professors who he says allow their opinions to dominate their lectures.

But Horowitz also said in a talk at CU that Churchill should not be fired for expressing controversial views.

The debate is scheduled for April 6 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Horowitz said. It will be sponsored by Horowitz's Center for the Study of Popular Culture and Young America's Foundation, which bills itself as a conservative group.
Here's a different take on the "battle royale".

Unfortunately, the "debate" will probably consist of humorous asides, as each talks past the other to gain points with their supporters, and perhaps a good deal of snide comments with smirky tongue-in-cheek derision. If any substantive criticism does take place, neither is likely to concede anything. Having seen the exchange between Horowitz (as a speaker) and Churchill (as an audience member) about five years ago at the University of Colorado at Boulder, nothing but antagonism and name-calling characterized the exchange. Since both men are self-promoting (and neither side's supporters can deny as much), this appears to be nothing more than a carefully crafted publicity stunt with little educational value.


David Horowitz Targets Bennish

David Horowitz seeks to highlight the Colorado teacher's left-wing agenda in print ads:
A California activist who targets what he considers left-wing college professors is turning his attention to Overland High School geography teacher Jay Bennish.

In a bulk e-mail to supporters Tuesday, David Horowitz of the Los Angeles-based Center for the Study of Popular Culture sought contributions to pay for ads criticizing Bennish that he wants to run in the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post.

The ads would help spotlight the problem of left-wing teaching in public schools, Horowitz said in a telephone interview.

Horowitz backs a student "bill of rights" that would bar teachers from infusing lessons with their political views. . .

. . .Horowitz said Bennish should have been suspended without pay after the first incident.

"A year's suspension would have been merciful," Horowitz said.

In his e-mail, Horowitz wrote that he is trying to raise $28,000 in 72 hours to pay for the ads.

"As the Jay Bennish episode demonstrates, our children are abused daily by teachers who routinely and selfishly ignore their primary job, that is, to educate young people so they can survive in the world," Horowitz wrote.


Magnificent Michelangelo

From an exhibit of the master's drawings on display at the British Museum.


Celebrity Endorsement

(h/t Barcepundit):

Have good old Al write what you want here.


March 21, 2006

Helen Thomas, Flat Wrong

What is most impressive is the decisive nature of the President's answers to the predictable and redundant (and no doubt annoying) assertion that the reason for going to Iraq amounts to nothing more than a pile of lies. The President has always been criticized for his speaking style and his mangling of the English language, but this excerpt shows that he is much more than up to the task of taking on unscripted questions from the viper in the first row. Not only that, he wasn't willing to concede to Thomas' constant interruptions and simply declares her to be "flat wrong."

Expose the Left has video of President Bush handing it to the liberal curmudgeon still posing as a "journalist" (transcript via Drudge):
Q I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet -- your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth -- what was your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil -- quest for oil, it hasn't been Israel, or anything else. What was it?

THE PRESIDENT: I think your premise -- in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist -- is that -- I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect --

Q Everything --

THE PRESIDENT: Hold on for a second, please.

Q -- everything I've heard --

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, excuse me. No President wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true. My attitude about the defense of this country changed on September the 11th. We -- when we got attacked, I vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people. Our foreign policy changed on that day, Helen. You know, we used to think we were secure because of oceans and previous diplomacy. But we realized on September the 11th, 2001, that killers could destroy innocent life. And I'm never going to forget it. And I'm never going to forget the vow I made to the American people that we will do everything in our power to protect our people.

Part of that meant to make sure that we didn't allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy. And that's why I went into Iraq -- hold on for a second --

Q They didn't do anything to you, or to our country.

THE PRESIDENT: Look -- excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where al Qaeda trained --

Q I'm talking about Iraq --

THE PRESIDENT: Helen, excuse me. That's where -- Afghanistan provided safe haven for al Qaeda. That's where they trained. That's where they plotted. That's where they planned the attacks that killed thousands of innocent Americans.

I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That's why I went to the Security Council; that's why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences --

Q -- go to war --

THE PRESIDENT: -- and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.


Las Fallas Avoids Mohammed

The great cartoon upheaval of 2006 (or whatever it can be called) stifled free expression in the annual Las Fallas festival, recently concluded in Valencia, Spain:

An annual festival of satire in Valencia has fallen foul of censorship after more than four centuries following the furore over Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

In the Fallas festival, giant sculptures of the high and mighty are placed in the streets for the public to mock before being destroyed in an orgy of gunpowder and flames. It has survived attacks by the Roman Catholic church, various puritanical rulers and the Franco dictatorship.

This year's figures will include President George W Bush, several of the Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and the Prince of Wales dancing, in Highland dress, with the Duchess of Cornwall. But self-censorship has seen Muslim and Arab figures modified to avoid offence.

The Fallas season is now underway until March 19 but as it approached, Valencians watched global protests against newspaper cartoons of Mohammed with growing alarm. Last month, the mayor, Rita Barberá, urged artists to "temper freedom with a sense of responsibility" when referring to religious subjects.
So even the evil, fascist, Franco regime or the infamous Spanish Inquisition were not powerful enough to temper the satirical thrust of this centuries-old event, but a few Muslim protestors sent the Spanish running away from freedom of expression? These sculptures, however, passed scrutiny and displayed that "tempered" freedom the mayor of Valencia advocated:


Less Democracy Is Better?

That's what this Kostard seems to think:
There are so many things rotten to the core in this Bush-Republican crew that it's challenging to isolate a single rancid item out of the ideological compost. The motives, the rationale, the conduct of team GOP is all swirled together into a corrupt morass that grows more loathsome everyday. But one particularly blighted refrain, dutifully trotted out when Bush is stumping for his war, is the implication that "Democracies are peaceful", or "Democracies don't attack one another".

And like so many neocon soundbites it's comically inaccurate, even when applied to the US: The Union and the Confederacy in the US Civil War were both democracies; The US and Britain overthrew a democratically elected government and installed the Shah of Iran in 1953; The US funded the contras as an insurgency against the democratic sovereign nation of Nicaragua. Not only do democracies attack each other from time-to-time, there can be a rationale for why it's in their interests to do so, regardless if one accepts that rationale or not.

More over, democracies are intended to be representative governments; the leaders are elected by the people and ostensibly the elected leaders then carry out the wishes of same. If a significant percentage of the electorate happens to hate our guts or are distrustful of the US, then perhaps we shouldn't be caught off guard if they elect leaders that hate our guts and/or are distrustful of the US. And that outcome won't be changed by more elections; you could have elections every damn month, with jubilant voters waving purple fingers to the cameras, and you'd just have more people elected who hate our guts. Kick the Germans out of France in 1945 and you get a friendly democracy. Kick the Saudi Royal Family out of power in modern day Saudi Arabia and set up a free democracy, and the people might just elect Osama bin Laden.

The 'democracy is on the march' refrain is simply a meme designed to take the heat off of the WH for making the biggest, costliest, bloodiest, foreign policy blunder in almost half a century. But taking the heat off over here won't solve the problems over there. Because wars are not won with rhetoric, no matter how catchy it may be.
The same could be said for the opposition, that catchy slogans, empty phrases, and rhyming platitudes--not to mention bumper sticker logic combined with redundant chanting--hardly constitute a kernel of an idea of a notion that this war is illegal, immoral, or illegitimate (the whole lies canard). Democracy is messy, and sometimes we get undesirable results, like Hitler's parliamentary victory. However, what is the alternative to democratically elected representative governments? Surely this commenter doesn't support dictatorships of any kind--unless perhaps they are socialist dictatorships where benevolent autocrats enact the "will of the people (see Cuba, Venezuela).


United Nitwits Smear Lego, Denmark

From Michelle Malkin:

Nice touch. Perhaps, instead of Legos, they could create an image out of the beheaded bodies, burning embassies, and hateful posters produced by the "religion of peace" recently.

From the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights:
“We must combat all forms of intolerance by celebrating the diversity and the differences that enrich the human family. But we must work to reduce the differences that are imposed, rather than chosen, that speak of deprivation rather than fulfilment and that fuel the xenophobic discourse about the relative merit and desert of individuals based on stereotypical attributes attached to their race, religion or ethnicity.”
Louise Arbour
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Nope, no xenophobia here:

A typical Muslim anti-Israeli cartoon.

Agora has another smear of the Danes by the U.N.


Dislike Bush? Blame "Manliness"

Blame Bush? Blame it on "Manliness":
I have a new theory about what's behind everything that's wrong with the Bush administration: manliness.

"Manliness" is the unapologetic title of a new book by Harvey C. Mansfield, a conservative professor of government at Harvard University, which makes him a species as rare as a dissenting voice in the Bush White House. Mansfield's thesis is that manliness, which he sums up as "confidence in the face of risk," is a misunderstood and unappreciated attribute.

Manliness, he writes, "seeks and welcomes drama and prefers times of war, conflict, and risk." It entails assertiveness, even stubbornness, and craves power and action. It explains why men, naturally inclined to assert that "our policy, our party, our regime is superior," dominate in the political sphere.

Though manliness is "the quality mostly of one sex," Mansfield allows that women can be manly, too, though the sole example he can seem to come up with, and deploys time and again, is Margaret Thatcher. "Is it possible to teach women manliness and thus to become more assertive?" he wonders, but not really. "Or is that like teaching a cat to bark?" Me-ow!

"The problem of manliness is not that it does not exist," Mansfield concludes. "It does exist, but it is unemployed." Well, um, excuse me, but I think -- it's just my opinion, now, maybe you disagree, and I'm sure we could work it out -- Mansfield has it exactly backward. Manliness does exist. The problem is that it's overemployed -- nowhere more than in this administration. . .

. . .Mansfield writes that he wants to "convince skeptical readers -- above all, educated women" -- that "irrational manliness deserves to be endorsed by reason." Sorry, professor: You lose. What this country could use is a little less manliness -- and a little more of what you would describe as womanly qualities: restraint, introspection, a desire for consensus, maybe even a touch of self-doubt.


Socialist Narcissism

Speaking of the recent mass demonstrations in France against anti-Semitism Muslim extremism being fired from one's job, columnist Dennis Prager offers this analysis:
What these massive demonstrations reveal is the narcissism, laziness and irresponsibility inculcated by socialist societies.

Enough generations of socialist policies have now passed for us to judge their effects. They are bleak. Socialism undermines the character of a nation and of its citizens. In simpler words, socialism makes people worse.
Not to mention economically unsustainable, without massive importations of cheap labor to maintain giant social welfare schemes.


Colorado Mom Honors Her Fallen Son

Thomas Slocum

In contrast to the pathetic turnouts this weekend in anticipation of the third anniversary of the beginning of the war, Terry Cooper, mother of fallen Marine Thomas Slocum, honors her son and helps other grieving Colorado families by attending funerals and offering support/counseling (with touching video):

"Some days you wake up and just start thinking about him," Terry Cooper, Slocum's mother said. "And he's in your thoughts all day long."

Slocum was killed 4 days after the war started. Since then, Cooper and her husband have been helping other families who've lost a son or daughter to the war in any way they can.

"So I figured it'd be better to be more positive and be active with other vets and other memorials and other families than to sit there and hide, hiding doesn't do anything," Cooper said.
Regardless of Cooper's political beliefs or thoughts about the war, she remains steadfast in support of her son by remembering his sacrifice rather than exploiting it for political capital, book deals, and speaking tours. Instead, she makes the rounds helping other families deal with their loss and by remembering what they fought for, ensures that their ordeal will not only be measured for the amount of talking points, canned video, and catchy soundbites that Mother Sheehan and her contingency have produced.