Monday, April 30, 2007

CAIR's Embarrassment

According to Vigilant Freedom/910 Group Blog, CAIR is having some trouble getting Muslims to report cases of discrimination and hate crimes.
Excerpt from the report at the above link:
It’s all about the numbers in the victimhood bullying game.

And Nihad Awad, executive director of CAIR, has problems getting the numbers he needs to prove that Muslims are subject to unusual discrimination. This could be a real embarrassment for Awad, because if Muslims are actually doing well in the U.S., maybe they don’t need CAIR. And that could mean all that fine Saudi and UAE money is going to the wrong group. Or maybe that most American Muslims don’t want their kids to be part of the future Muslim Brotherhood Caliphate after all....

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to Awad tell you about his problems with Muslims who just don’t understand how important those discrimination reports are to his career salary mission. We have the audio - Vigilant Freedom Center received a recording from the April 27, 2007 CAIR briefing on the 6 Imams, at the Muslim ADAMS Center in Virginia....
Written report and audio HERE.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/30/2007 07:15:00 PM  


Sunday, April 29, 2007

H.R. 1592

Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007

Here is a commentary from (emphases mine):

The House Judiciary Committee passed a "hate crimes" bill Wednesday night, all 23 Democrats in favor, all 17 Republicans opposed. Every Republican attempt to amend the bill was defeated. Critics call it a "thought crimes" bill.

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (H.R. 1592) would expand the federal definition of hate crimes to include violence against a person because of his or her "actual or perceived" sexual orientation or "gender identity."

Under the bill, people who attack others out of "hatred" for their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability would be committing a federal offense.

The bill is now headed to the full House for a vote, probably next week.

Supporters of the bill, including homosexual activists, have described "hate crimes" as a pervasive problem. "The intentional selection and beating or murder of an individual because of who they are terrorizes an entire community and sometimes the nation," the Human Rights Campaign says on its website.

But conservatives say the bill would punish "thought," since most crimes are motivated by hatred. They say it offers special protection for certain groups.

"Despite what its advocates say, this is not about crime -- it's about special treatment," said the Family Research Council. "HR 1592 would further carve out 'tiers' of victims, putting more importance on crimes committed against a Rosie O'Donnell than against her next-door neighbor."

Others object to the idea of putting homosexuality in the same category as race, an immutable characteristic.
Related articles: WorldNetDaily and the Washington Post.

[Hat-tip: The New Birdblog]

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/29/2007 12:40:00 PM  


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Even The WaPo Decries Pelosi!

Due to personal circumstances, I've barely been able to read the newspaper for the past two weeks. Shameful, I know. But real life comes first.

Today, now that I'm once again able to make blog rounds, I spotted this commentary about a recent editorial in the Washington Post. Excerpt from "The Erosion of Our Constitution":

Once in a while, the Washington Post doesn't align with the Democratic Party, as shown by the lead editorial in the April 27, 2007 edition. The subtitle of the editorial, a commentary on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's recent trip to Syria, sets the tone:

Having finished hosting U.S. politicians, Syria's dictator has returned to jailing dissidents and sponsoring terrorism.

Ostensibly, Ms. Pelosi visited Syria to stop the flow of terrorists from Syria into Iraq, to promote the release of political hostages, and to further the idea that the road to peace is through Damascus. A Pollyanna fantasy if there ever was one!

Read the rest at Praesidium Respublicae (Latin for "Guardians of the Republic").

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/28/2007 08:44:00 AM  


April 28: Blogoversary Number Two

(Moved to the top. Today is the day!)

On April 28, 2005, I entered the blogosphere as a team blogger at Northern Virginiastan.

Thanks to all of you who have made this venture successful and informative!

A special thanks to Mustang, my best cyberfriend, who encouraged me to "get the word out."



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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/28/2007 03:00:00 AM  


Friday, April 27, 2007

The Beak On The Weekly Radio Show: April 27!

Listen to The Gathering Storm Radio Show, of which I am cohost. The show broadcasts live every Friday for one hour at noon, Pacific Time.

The call-in number is (646) 915-9870.

Once again, this week's guest is someone with whom frequenters of this blog may be familiar!
Friday, April 27: This week's scheduled guest for the second half hour of the show is Beakerkin of The Beak Speaks.

If you are unable to listen to the radio show live, you can listen to recordings of the radio broadcasts later by CLICKING HERE.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/27/2007 04:00:00 PM  


Shari'a Banking In The UK

According to this article, which I spotted at Mark Alexander's web site:

The British government will announce on Monday [April 30?] that it is set to become the first western state to issue Islamic bonds, seeking to meet what it believes is a significant demand for this financial product both inside and outside the UK.

In what ministers believe will be an important gesture to Britain’s Muslim community, the Treasury will say Monday that it is paving the way for the launch of the first Sharia compliant UK government bonds by 2008.

The move, to be announced by Ed Balls, the City of London minister, is unprecedented by any western state.

Sharia compliant bonds have hitherto been issued by the governments of Pakistan and Malaysia and also by corporate issuers around the world, but never by a western state.

The UK will not only be looking to issue these government bonds on wholesale financial markets. It will also be looking at using Sharia compliant bonds to allow Muslims in Britain to invest in domestic National Savings products through banks and post offices....

So, the financial geniuses in the UK hopes to bolster their economic system. But what they are really doing is, as Mark put it, "capitulating" to Muslims who will not assimilate and giving those Muslims more financial power. In effect, this measure is a harbinger of the demise of a Western financial system.

How long before the United States does something similar?

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/27/2007 11:17:00 AM  


Thursday, April 26, 2007

$65 Million Pants

You have to read it to believe it!

Article from the April 26, 2007 edition of the Washington Post:
When the neighborhood dry cleaner misplaced Roy Pearson's pants, he took action. He complained. He demanded compensation. And then he sued. Man, did he sue.

Two years, thousands of pages of legal documents and many hundreds of hours of investigative work later, Pearson is seeking to make Custom Cleaners pay -- would you believe more than the payroll of the entire Washington Nationals roster?

He says he deserves millions for the damages he suffered by not getting his pants back, for his litigation costs, for "mental suffering, inconvenience and discomfort," for the value of the time he has spent on the lawsuit, for leasing a car every weekend for 10 years and for a replacement suit, according to court papers.

Pearson is demanding $65,462,500. The original alteration work on the pants cost $10.50.

By the way, Pearson is a lawyer. Okay, you probably figured that. But get this: He's a judge, too -- an administrative law judge for the District of Columbia.

I'm telling you, they need to start selling tickets down at the courthouse.
Read the rest. The part about Pearson's being paid for renting a car for the next ten years is not to be missed.

Let the lawyer jokes begin!

But, seriously, this case is more evidence of how litigation-mad America has begun. No pair of pants in this world is worth $65 million.

Doesn't a judge in the District of Columbia have something better to do?


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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/26/2007 07:17:00 AM  


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Can Someone Clarify Something?

After a full week of not having time to do more than skim the daily newspaper, last night I finally had time to sit down long enough to peruse the April 24, 2007 edition of the Washington Post. I found this in "Metro," the section with local news. In red font below is a portion about which I'd like more information:
Protest by Truckers May Hobble Beltway

Drivers on the Capital Beltway could find themselves in the middle of a protest by truckers today and tomorrow that might slow traffic.

Organizers of the event have called on truckers to take up all lanes of the Beltway and drive the speed limit. The protest was planned to last from early morning until 5 p.m. through tomorrow.

The action was organized to protest illegal immigration and the ability Mexican truckers will soon have to operate in the United States. It was timed to coincide with a four-day rally in Washington in favor of immigration restrictions.

There were no reports of organized protests yesterday, according to area transportation officials. One driver saw several trucks going slowly in a single lane on the outer loop near Springfield about 10:15 a.m., but it was unclear whether they were part of the demonstration.

Protest organizer Wanda Piety, a self-described "mom and small-business owner" from Sylmar, Calif., said she wanted to call attention to potential safety problems and U.S. job losses that could result from allowing Mexican truckers to operate in the United States.

"Truckers are the easiest way to get America to pay attention," Piety said.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform is holding a rally through tomorrow, but the group said in a statement that it has "played no part" in the trucker protest's "planning or execution."
Okay, fellow bloggers, what is this about "Mexican truckers"?

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/25/2007 07:14:00 AM  


Monday, April 23, 2007

A Fatwa In Pittsburgh

The president of the Johnstown Islamic Center really doesn't like Ayaan Hirsi Ali. He not only wants her to shut up; he wants her dead. Via Little Green Footballs, which cited this source:
Islamic leaders tried to block the lecture, which was sponsored through an endowment from the Frank J. and Sylvia T. Pasquerilla Lecture Series. They argued that Hirsi Ali’s attacks against the Muslim faith in her book, “Infidel,” and movie, “Submission,” are “poisonous and unjustified” and create dissension in their community.
Although university officials listened to Islamic leaders’ concerns, the lecture planned last year took place Tuesday evening under tight security, with no incidents.

Imam Fouad ElBayly, president of the Johnstown Islamic Center, was among those who objected to Hirsi Ali’s appearance.

“She has been identified as one who has defamed the faith. If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death,” said ElBayly, who came to the U.S. from Egypt in 1976. ...
But not to worry. ElBayle isn't publicly asking for likeminded Muslims to hunt down Hirsi Ali and kill her here in the States:
Although ElBayly believes a death sentence is warranted for Hirsi Ali, he stressed that America is not the jurisdiction where such a crime should be punished. Instead, Hirsi Ali should be judged in a Muslim country after being given a trial, he added.
See any similarities to what happened with Oriana Fallaci?

Additional reading on Fouad ElBayly

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/23/2007 10:11:00 AM  


Friday, April 20, 2007


(Each "Question of the Week," an idea which I gleaned from A Republic If You Can Keep It, will remain toward the top of the blog until the next question appears. The previous Questions of the Week are HERE. Please scroll down for recent postings)

Unless you've been completely cut off from the media this week, you couldn't have missed the story about the horrific story of what happened at Virginia Tech on Monday, April 16, when Cho Seung Hui, 23, went on a killing spree and murdered 32 students. All sorts of individuals, qualified and otherwise, have been opining on what went wrong in Cho's life.
The other day, I spoke with a school principal who told me that within two days of Cho's murder spree a gifted-and-talented sixth grader working on a math problem related to setting up a business decided to establish a pawn shop as his business. Upon being asked "Why did you choose a pawn shop?" his response indicated a direct relationship with having heard about Cho's purchase of one of his weapons from a pawn shop. But even before this principal told me the peculiar choice of a student who had never been in any trouble whatsoever and who by many standards was having the best of upbringings, I had started to wonder about what follows below. The tragedy at Virginia Tech is foremost in my mind, but I've thought about the same issue in relation to many other news stories as well.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK, in two parts:
(1) Why do the media take a sensational story and run with that story, to the near exclusion of other stories? (2) What effects does the media's saturation coverage of sensational stories have on our society?


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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/20/2007 09:00:00 AM  


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Crime On America's Campuses

Hat-tip to KuhnKat, who sent me this article via email. The article in its entirety (emphases mine):
Campus Crimes: Politicians Don't Like the Stats
Doug Wead
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What politician would dare favor covering up crime on university campuses? Answer? Almost all of them, Democrat and Republican. This was the startling fact I accidentally stumbled onto during my stint as a Special Assistant to the President in the White House of George Hebert Walker Bush. It all came rushing back as the Virginia Tech story unfolded this week.

It was 1989 and the so-called victim's rights activists were at the top of their game, trying to force a change. Specifically, they wanted universities to be required by law to report crimes on campus. The idea was that discerning parents would not shell out big bucks to send their sons and daughters to campuses that were unsafe. It would force the universities to hire security and install more cameras and put in place emergency measures that cost money. They would be in competition with each other to have safer campuses. A no brainer right? Who would be against that?

Well, the universities themselves were against it and shamelessly lobbied congress and the White House. The Democrats were intimidated. After all, the world of academia was their base for votes, ideas, money and eager student volunteers.

And the Republicans, always so strong against crime? Well, the liberal eggheads at the universities were no dummies. They appealed to the conservative instincts of Republican politicians arguing against "regulations and federal interference." In what has to be the height of liberal academic hypocrisy they pointed out that excessive regulation had strangled small businesses and shouldn't now be fostered onto them. Let the free market place sort out the problems. Government isn't needed. Hmmmm. Right.

In 1989 HR 3344 was introduced in congress, requiring universities to report their crime statistics. My boss, President George Herbert Walker Bush, I was told, was against it.

And then one day, into my White House office walked Frank Carrington, the so called father of victim's rights. He brought with him Howard and Connie Clery and they stood trembling, telling me the story of how their daughter Jeanne was raped and murdered at Lehigh University.

According to the Clery's the murderer was a fellow student, like the killer at Virginia Tech. In fact, most campus crime, I learned, comes from fellow students. There were no security patrols in the dorms. It was a zoo. Survival of the fittest. The Lehigh murderer reportedly had a violent past but was nevertheless awarded a scholarship by the University. All of this according to the Clery congressional testimony.

There was not much chance for the legislation. Only the relentless Frank Carrington and the Clery's cared. I listened to their story and felt their helplessness. And we all stood in my office and cried together as they talked about their daughter but what to do about it?

And then I had an idea. I was hosting a West Wing, Roosevelt Room meeting with the president and law enforcement leaders that week and told the Clery's to join us. A few days later I rehearsed them, telling them that I would be asking each person around the table to speak and when I got to them they should blurt out their story to the president. I knew my president. Statistics seldom moved him but personal experience never failed to touch his heart.

They blurted and he changed his position within days. But the bill that was finally passed and signed into law a year later was a significantly diluted piece of legislation.

I waited and watched for reports on which campuses were safe and which were not. Which one would be the murder capital of universities? But such reports never materialized. Magazines routinely listed universities according to academics but surely most discerning parents would sacrifice a level or two in favor of saving their child's life?

The fact was that the same forces that had so long resisted the passage of the bill in the first place were still at work. I would learn that the universities would routinely cheat on their numbers and the local police would often look the other way. The universities, with their hundreds of teachers all registered to vote, were powerful institutions with an enormous impact on local politics. They had a symbiotic relationship with the police whose loyalty was to the university administration, not to students passing through their town and their parents who lived far away.

And then finally, predictably, the paperwork was buried by a cumbersome, constipated complicit federal bureaucracy.

So what good did the bill really do? How can you stop something as pernicious as this? Might as well declare greed illegal. The fact is that no one has a reason to push for university accountability except for the occasional random victim like the Clerys who stood and clung to their daughter's picture as they wept in my White House office that day long ago.

And all of this came rushing back to me when the events unfolded at Virginia Tech. The delay to report the first murders. And the defensive account of why they delayed. The university and the police, standing side by side, each reinforcing the other lest someone dare say the unthinkable, that the reputation of the university was a factor. That the hope that the first murders could be contained or its impact diminished without too much harm. That the goal of being a top thirty research institution by 2010 would still be realized. That the danger of e-mails home to parents announcing the crime could be avoided if at all possible. The ugly word "public relations" was never mentioned. But no one needed to say it. Every university is only one lawsuit away from being thrown off budget.

The story of Virginia Tech is much different than the story of Columbine, a public school. The fact is that students live at a university and are even more vulnerable. And accountability can make a difference. HR 3344 [link], however anemic has had some modest impact. And maybe now this will be the catalyst for something with teeth. But there is no money behind it. Only people. Little people. Torn by their grief. Reluctant to fault the place they once trusted with their children's future, the place they cheered for on the gridiron. It is hard to let go of all of that and admit that anything more may be at work.

There was a real irony in the Howard and Connie Clery story. They had two sons who went to Tulane. And there had allegedly been several rapes near the campus. So at the brother's urging, the family opted for the peaceful, pastoral setting of Lehigh for their sister Jeanne. But what they didn't know and were never told was that there had been 38 violent crimes on campus between 1984 and 1986. Over 50 percent of these crimes were committed by Lehigh students, and that's a college of 4,000 undergraduates on an 800-acre campus.

So Jeanne Clery went to Lehigh University. And to her death. It was very close to home. But as it turned out that wasn't good enough. No place is safe. Not even home.
Has even a single news story over the past several days of saturation news-coverage mentioned any of what Doug Wead includes in the above essay? A lot of blame has been dished out over the past several days, but has any of that blame pointed to what Mr. Wead has written of in the above essay?

Now is the time for mourning the senseless loss of 32 murdered Virginia Tech students. We must take the time to grieve and to pay tribute to lives cut short. But when the days of immediate grief have passed, it's way past time to hold universities accountable for reporting crime statistics on and near their campuses. Requiring full disclosure of crime statistics on our nation's campuses should have nothing to do with party lines. Wallowing in news stories, recriminations, and finger-pointing won't get the job done.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/19/2007 07:17:00 AM  


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Not Like Christians I Know

Via Urban Infidel....Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, has stated their plans to demonstrate at the funerals of the Virginia Tech students who perished at the hands of a murderer on Monday, April 16, 2007:
WBC will preach at the funerals of the Virginia Tech students killed on campus during a shooting rampage April 16, 2007. You describe this as monumental horror, but you know nothing of horror -- yet. Your bloody tyrant Bush says he is 'horrified' by it all. You know nothing of horror -- yet. Your true horror is coming. 'They shall also gird themselves with sackloth, and horror shall cover them; and shame shall be upon all faces, and baldness upon all their heads' (Eze. 7:18).

Why did this happen, you ask? It's simple. Your military chose to shoot at the servants of God today, and all they got for their effort was terror. Then, the LORD your God sent a crazed madman to shoot at your children. Was God asleep while this took place? Was He on vacation? Of course not. He willed this to happen to punish you for assailing His servants.
Like Urban Infidel, I refuse to link to the church's web site.

Westboro is the same group of hate-mongers who claimed that the slaughter of the Amish schoolchildren was God's punishment for that community. The organization — I'm having trouble referring to it as a "church" — eventually decided not to demonstrate at the funerals of the Amish schoolgirls but, as far as I'm concerned, showed their true colors by even sugggesting such an atrocity.

Funerals are for the living. For the bereaved and for those offering heartfelt tributes. Mourners do not deserve the kind of abuse which Westboro dishes out in the name of God and in their perverted view of freedom of speech.

I publicly disavow any connection with this so-called Christian group.

Remember the victims and the bereaved in an appropriate way (graphic lifted from Raven's site):

I can't say it better than Raven did in "Those Who Lost The Most":
While the MSM and many others are focusing on the killer, let’s get to know the victims. For it is they who have lost the most- their lives. A life lost means nothing if it is not remembered.
Two links from the Virginia Tech web site:

Virginia Tech's tribute site

Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/18/2007 08:02:00 AM  


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Teacher A Hero At Virginia Tech

The man pictured here along with his wife was a survivor of the Holocaust. Yesterday, he again proved himself a hero.
From Fox News, via The Freedom Fighter's Journal blog:
JERUSALEM — A 76-year-old professor who survived the Holocaust was shot to death while saving his students from the Virginia Tech assailant, students said.

Liviu Librescu, an internationally respected aeronautics engineer who taught at Virginia Tech for 20 years, saved the lives of several students by barricading his classroom door before he was gunned down in the massacre, according to e-mail accounts sent by students to his wife.


"He should be recognized as a hero," Virginia Tech graduate student Philip Huffstetler said. "We should be in such great debt to his family for the rest of our lives."

"He is the reason that the student could not get inside and shoot more people," said Asal Arad, a Virginia Tech student. "Obviously, he is a hero."

Librescu had known hardship since childhood.

When Romania joined forces with Nazi Germany in World War II, he was first interned in a labor camp in Transnistria and then deported along with his family and thousands of other Jews to a central ghetto in the city of Focsani, his son said. According to a report compiled by the Romanian government in 2004, between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews were killed by Romania's Nazi-allied regime during the war.

As a successful engineer under the postwar Communist government, Librescu found work at Romania's aerospace agency. But his career was stymied in the 1970s because he refused to swear allegiance to the regime, his son said, and he was later fired when he requested permission to move to Israel.

After years of government refusal, according to his son, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin personally intervened to get the family an emigration permit. They moved to Israel in 1978.

Librescu left Israel for Virginia in 1985 for a sabbatical year, but eventually made the move permanent, said Joe Librescu, who himself studied at Virginia Tech from 1989 to 1994....
Liviu Librescu — a teacher and a hero. As the media focus right now on the killer of thirty-two students at Virginia Tech, may we remember Librescu.

And say a special prayer for the bereaved family and friends of those murdered yesterday at one of Virginia's finest universities — indeed, for the entire student body and faculty. My cousin's stepdaughter Rachel would've been at Tech yesterday except for the necessity of going to Iowa for her grandfather's funeral.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/17/2007 10:01:00 PM  



(Each "Question of the Week," an idea which I gleaned from A Republic If You Can Keep It, will remain toward the top of the blog until the next question appears. The previous Questions of the Week are HERE. Please scroll down for recent postings)

Since well before the November 2007 Elections, we've been inundated with news stories and editorials about the war in Iraq. And now, of course, every issue of every news periodical contains articles relating to the war and the proposed defunding thereof.

According to this article in the April 12, 2007 edition of the Washington Post, various of our elected representatives could not agree as to whether or not they agreed to meet:

The White House and Democratic congressional leaders agreed to meet next Wednesday to discuss the stalemated war funding bill -- but only after a day of dueling statements that left prospects for bipartisan cooperation remote. At one point, officials at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue could not even agree on whether they had agreed to have a meeting.

The dance started Tuesday, when President Bush invited congressional leaders to the White House to discuss the stalemate over a war funding measure....
Read the rest.

For the purposes of this discussion, I'd like to avoid whether or not the United States should have gone into Iraq in the first place. Regardless of that matter, our military forces are in Iraq now.

What do you propose for future U.S. involvement in Iraq? If you feel so inclined, along with stating your position, include the consequences you foresee were your solution to be implemented.


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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/17/2007 09:59:00 PM  


The Killer At Virginia Tech

Snippet from the Washington Post web site:
Law enforcement sources said that Cho died with the words "Ismail Ax" in red ink on one of his arms, but they were not sure what the words meant.
Definitions of "Ismail."



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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/17/2007 06:31:00 PM  


Sunday, April 15, 2007

"Muslims In Turmoil"

(All emphases in this long read are by Always On Watch)

So reads the teaser on the cover of the April 16, 2007 edition of U.S. News & World Report. The article itself is entitled "Fighting for the Soul of Islam." The article begins by emphasizing that the West has yet to recognize the significance of the struggle in which the world is presently engaged:
Americans have heard it repeatedly since September 11: The acts of terrorism inflicted on our shore were the murderous consequences of an ongoing struggle within Islam. At its most dramatic extremes, that conflict pits radical jihadists against moderate Muslims. But a quieter front in the struggle is probably of greater import. It involves the millions of Muslims who are being wooed by the proselytizers of a puritanical, and often highly politicized, strain of the faith. This volatile blend of Saudi Wahhabi Islam and political Islam-dubbed Islamism by one of its early-20th-century founders-is the assembly line of future jihadists, some experts hold, and its agents are busy indoctrinating young Muslims from Lahore to Los Angeles.

The outcome of this clash will bear directly on the course of the war on terrorism by answering the most fundamental question: Is mainstream Islam compatible with democracy and basic rights and freedoms established by international law?

While the stakes of this struggle are enormously high, American and European efforts to make sense of it have so far proved to be inadequate....
The article also contains a section for CAIR to whine about:
At least as significant as the meetings themselves [referring to the Secular Islam Summit and CAIR's conference — both meetings having been recently held on the same weekend in Florida], however, were the denunciations hurled back and forth by attendees of the separate events. Repeatedly, speakers in St. Petersburg denounced CAIR as typifying fellow-traveling Islamism. Absorbed with grievance-group politics and hypersensitive to any criticism of Muslims, it receives, various speakers noted, generous funding from Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. More disturbingly, as many in St. Petersburg pointed out, some CAIR officials have refused to denounce Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations, while others have been too quick to declare who is, or who is not, a true Muslim.

Playing to type, the executive director of the Tampa chapter of CAIR, Ahmed Bedier, dismissed the St. Petersburg crowd as a bunch of "atheists and non-Muslims" with no standing in the Muslim community....
Although the last portion of the article degenerates to Kumbaya Syndrome and tries to make the case for including Islamists as part of the solution to the clash of two antithetical ideologies, the middle section contains two portions which bear serious consideration. First, this:
[W]hat does this majority want? Well, for one,...the implementation of Islamic sharia law as the law of the land for Muslim countries and even the restricted use of sharia within some western countries....Muslims living in the West are unlikely to be fully integrated into their societies, while nations in the Muslim world are likely to be "much more Islamic than western."
This portion also cites Wafa Sultan, although with the caveat that her words play into the hands of CAIR:
[T]here is no difference between "radical Islam and regular Islam"...
Immediately following the above, the article contains a debunking of the hope that Islam can be reformed, although the article waffles later on and mentions Tariq Ramadan in a positive light. Still, the following excerpt should give every lover of Western civilization pause:
Take the seemingly simple matter of reform and reformation. Repeatedly called for by westerners, a reformation is precisely what Islam has been undergoing since the late 19th century, largely in response to the perceived causes and consequences of western domination of Islamic lands.

While this reformation has had many tendencies and fathers, the most militant of the reformers hope to reassert a dominant role for Islam in all areas of life and society, particularly the political. (This is one reason that liberal and secular Muslims say Islam needs an Enlightenment, not another Reformation.) Rejecting secularists like Turkey's Kemal Atatûrk and harking back to the age of the first caliphates, ideologues like India-born Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi, Egypt's Hassan al-Banna (founder of the Muslim Brotherhood), and fellow Egyptian Sayyid Qutb laid out the main lines of modern Islamist thought and action. Borrowing elements of European fascist ideology, they backed extensive social welfare programs while tirelessly promoting the idea of an Islamic state governed by Islamic sharia law. For some, the ultimate goal is the creation of a transnational community of believers, or umma, united under a new caliph. In addition to spawning organizations such as the Palestinians' Hamas and Jordan's Islamic Action Front, the Brotherhood has seen the emergence of rival groups boasting more militant, if not quite violent, programs. Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), nearly banned in Britain after the London subway bombing, is now active in more than 40 countries and openly boasts of its ambition. "The winner of this battle [the ideological struggle] will decide whether the future belongs to Islam or western secular liberalism," declares one official on the Australian HT website.

But the rise of Islamism is only part of what Columbia University historian Richard Bulliet calls, in a Wilson Quarterly article, "a crisis of authority that has been building within Islam for a century." The crisis, which grows out of the religion's decentralized and relatively weak authority structures, has undermined the power of the traditional ulema (the leading Muslim scholars), who once were able "to disqualify or overrule a man who does not speak-or act-for Islam."
The last page of the article provides an inset of definitions which every Westerner must know in order to understand what's happening in the world today:

Wahhabism: A puritanical strain of Islam set forth in the 18th century, now being spread by Saudi wealth.

Islamism: A variety of modern reform Islam that aims to "restore" the religion to political power.

Caliph: A successor to the Prophet Muhammad. Kemal Atatûrk abolished the Ottoman caliphate in 1924. Some Islamists hope to create a new, transnational caliphate.

Sharia: Islamic law. Understood by moderates as broad ethical principles; by puritans, as a set of narrow prohibitions and punishments.
Note that Saudi Arabia, now being hailed in some sectors as the new peace broker in the Middle East, doesn't get a pass in that first definition.

Overall, the article in U.S. News & World Report is worth reading in its entirety. I wish that such an article had been available when I first embarked on my quest to find out why were attacked on 9/11.

Yesterday, via a link at Right Truth, I found this posting. Lengthy excerpt:
Have you noticed that all the muslim marches and demonstrations have stopped? Hate rhetoric out of Iran has stilled since the 15 hostages were released. The Palestinian attacks on Israelis have stopped. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the other Arab nations are quiet. Little news is coming out of Afghanistan or Pakistan. Only in Iraq do we still get headlines of bombs and body counts.

All the “Islam will dominate” and “Israel must be destroyed” screaming has gone silent. France’s muslims are quiescent along with the rest of Europes muslims. What’s going on?

The Saudis, who have historically taken the lead in Arab diplomacy, have changed course away from outwardly supporting the United States and the West in general, and are now bending all efforts toward uniting the Arab world against the West.
Remember that Saudi Arabia is the heart of the most virulent form of Fundamentalist Islam, Wahabbism, which preaches death to all but “true believers”. The Saudis have in fact always been utterly against the West. In fact, most of the Jihadists infiltrating into Iraq were Saudi nationals.

Yet here we have King Abdullah being touted in the worlds presses, including the Arab press, as a “pro-active force for peace” and “a last best hope for the US as well as the Saudis” and the new Nassar. Does it seem to anyone besides me that the Islamists are now trying to appease us?

All this sudden muslim quietude may be just providential. Or it may be consensual. Which is most likely?

That King Abdullah has influence is undeniable, and some of this lull in activity is no doubt due to his efforts, which are aimed at keeping Iran from attack. Even though Iran is a threat to Saudi Arabia, an attack on them would open up a wider war and threaten the Ummah, or global muslim domination, that the Saudis have planned for decades. So the Saudis attack us in Iraq and supply the world with terror groups like Al Queda on the one hand while preaching peace and harmony on the other, all designed to ultimately spread the worst form of despotic cancer ever devised over us all.

This is the cause of part of the current relative peace. The Saudis fund nearly all the muslim movements worldwide. They pay for building the mosques in the West, pay for lawyers, pay student tuitions and so on. Thus they have a lot of clout and when they say “Shhhhh”, people shut up.

That’s only part of the reason, however. The fact remains that the various muslim sects hate each other and enjoy torturing and killing each other. The muslims greatest enemies are themselves. Their behavior has disgusted Western civilization and the backlash is growing. European anti-immigrant feeling is steadily increasing. In France, anti-immigrant Sarkozy looks to be the likely presidential election winner over the liberal opposition, for example. The muslims are losing their lawsuits for more special treatment. Anti-Islamic statements are becoming more common among government officials and the media.

Muslim causes have been losing on many fronts and they may simply be tiring.
That they’re re-grouping is definite.
There’s no chance at all that they’ve given up....
They're not giving up, although hudna has often been invoked. The West needs to understand that, since the very inception of Islam, Muslims longing for the caliphate have never given up. After all, they're convinced that they're doing Allah's will.

[Hat-tip to Debbie and to Islamanazi for some of the above material]

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/15/2007 08:18:00 AM  


Saturday, April 14, 2007

The (In)Signifance Of Don Imus

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

All week long, media mainstream and otherwise have weighed in as to the words uttered by shock-jock Don Imus. The following "analysis" by Jonathan Alter takes the prize for stupidity:
...[T]here has been such a negative reaction against President Bush's failure to apologize, failure to seem like he is being accountable to where the people are, that we've got more of a thirst for people apologizing when they screw up, and then changing their behavior as a result of having been called to account.
I don't know about you, but I don't have any such "thirst," and my quenched state has zero to do with President Bush. I'm worn out from listening to declarations of mea culpa coming from left, right, and center!

Linguist John McWhorter, author of Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America, has a take very different from that of Jonathan Alter:
[T]he quest for an America where no one ever makes passing observations that are less than respectful of minority groups is futile. And why are so many of us so obsessed with chasing that rainbow anyway? The truth is that black people who go to pieces whenever anyone says a little something are revealing that they are not too sure about themselves.

Imus hosts a radio show and a lot of people listen to it. During a few seconds last week he said something tacky. The show went on, as did life. Black people continued to constitute most new AIDS cases, black men continued to come out of prison unsupervised. And we're supposed to be most interested in Imus saying "nappy-headed ho's"?

What creates that hypersensitivity is a poor racial self-image. Where, after all, did Imus pick up the very terminology he used? Rap music and the language young black people use themselves on the street to refer to one another.

What Imus said is lowdown indeed, but so is the way blacks refer to each other. And life goes on.
For another sane commentary on Don Imus's career-sinking faux pas, see this essay by my friend Mustang. Excerpt:
...There continues to be too much racism in this land of ours. In Imus’ case, it wasn’t even about judging others – it was simply being obtuse. Unfortunately, Don Imus isn’t the only person who makes racist remarks, or acts inappropriately....
Read all of Mustang's commentary.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/14/2007 07:50:00 AM  


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bacon As A Hate Crime

Last time I checked, here in America the Koran, like the Bible or any other book considered holy by any particular group of followers, is legally considered just a book.

Sure, as a teacher, I tend to treat books with deference, if not respect. But I know that, legally speaking, defacing a book which I own is not a crime.

In Clarksville, Tennessee, the definition of "hate crime" is being extended — at the instigation of CAIR, of course. Excerpt from Christine's post at The 910 Group Blog, in which she cited a CAIR alert dated April 10, 2007:
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said worshipers at the Islamic Center of Clarksville found a defaced copy of the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, on the front steps of the mosque just before communal prayers (Jummah) on Friday. Two strips of bacon, which is prohibited for Muslims to eat, were smeared in the Quran. Local police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Here is some of what Christine had to say in her commentary, emphasis mine:
This is a clear example of how hate crime laws are being used to impose sharia law, in the guise of religious special accomodations, and in place of U.S. federal or state laws.


Writing in a book, including a Torah, New Testament, Bible, Lolita, The Pentagon Papers, the Yellow Pages or the Koran (again, just a book under any laws other than sharia) is permitted under the First Amendment. Writing an expletive in a book is permitted under the First Amendment....


Bacon is not illegal in Tennessee, and putting bacon in a book is not illegal in Tennessee....

Where was the underlying crime that must exist for this to be a “hate” crime, under U.S. or Tennessee laws? Or was the underlying crime one that exists only under sharia law, followed with meticulous political correctness by the Clarksville police in reporting it as a hate crime?...
Read all of Christine's posting.

As far as I can determine, nobody was threatened. Sure, the sensibilites of Muslims in Clarksville and in CAIR's offices were offended: the Koran was defaced with bacon, which is haram, and Mohammed was insulted, too, although he did consummate his marriage to nine-year-old Aisha.

According to the Leaf-Chronicle, Jerome Heath, representative of the Islamic Center of Clarksville, was particularly offended. He made the following statement:
"We're not going to tolerate it at all. This was small, but maybe next time it may be something physical."
"Not going to tolerate it"? Excuse me, Mr. Heath, but I perceive your words as a threat to First Amendment rights. You, sir, are intolerant of civil law.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/12/2007 07:10:00 AM  


Student's Short Story

Ninth grader I.B. wrote the following short story in response to the above picture-prompt, previously posted here, where several bloggers graciously offered their own interpretations in the Comments Section. I.B embedded in his story several beautiful photographs of a lighthouse, but I didn't include them here:

The Rhode Island Lighthouse

The sun’s ambient rays poured over the land as it rose. The warm beams gave light and comfort to almost all over whom they fell. But someone did not feel comforted that day – and for good reason. His face was wrinkled in frustration and sorrow. This was the face of Will Allen. His young face held none of its normal cheeriness, for he had received a terrible message.

Will was standing in front of the soon-to-be gone historic lighthouse of Rhode Island. Soon-to-be-gone, because the structure was to be torn down. It was a sad affair because the lighthouse had been standing since 1944. It had blared many a warning for boats coming ashore. Its light had shown the way for fifty years. And now, it would stand no later than a day.

Will had pleaded with the town council of Newport. He had reasoned with them that the lighthouse could be kept on as a historical showpiece. But the council had fired back that a mini-store would generate more revenue for Newport. “And, besides,” they said, “think of all the chips and sodas you can buy.”

But snacks were the least Will could think of when confronted with all his best memories associated with the lighthouse. Will thought, If the council won’t listen to me, maybe the people will. So he went around door to door asking if someone would please sign his petition and join his protest. He even persuaded his two friends, Bill Turner and Edgar Thatch, to come. Eventually he got enough people to sign, and he on the day after getting all the required signatures, announced that he and his group of preservationists would arrive at the lighthouse and keep the tractors from demolishing their “good ol’ lighthouse."

On the day of the protest, Will lay in bed and felt nervous. Would his plans work? Would the tower be saved? Well, he thought, if not, we’ll always have our memories.

Will began to reminisce. He remembered everything that had happened to him at the lighthouse. He remembered that time he had saved a boat from near destruction. when he had shone the bright light out and blared a horn so loudly it could have been heard a mile away if not for the ferocious storm. And the time he had had so much fun repainting it when it needed a fresh coat. Will sighed, and thought, there were good times and bad times. But they were all good memories.

He got out of his bed, and showered and dressed. When he looked out of his window to the clock tower, his pulse skipped a beat. The current time was 8:03 a.m. But the bulldozers had been scheduled to come at 7:00 a.m.! He quickly put on his shoes and dashed as fast as he could toward the lighthouse, or, as he soon found out, where the lighthouse had stood.

When Will reached the site, his dismay became fixed. Where the majestic lighthouse had stood, there was only empty air. He was too late! Too late for what? he thought. After all, a petition could not guarantee the safety of a historical monument. He rubbed his face angrily, though the tears would not leave.

“There goes a member of my family,” he muttered. He had loved the lighthouse, and now it was gone for good. He took one more look at the empty area. And from his eye a single tear fell onto the ground before him. Then he turned away and strode home, filled with sorrow. “Goodbye, old friend!” he called over his shoulder.

Six months later, Will still had not forgotten the lighthouse’s destruction. Just as the pain started to recede, he received a letter from the Newport Council, telling him to come to the old lighthouse site. Probably to show me their new mini-mart, he thought to himself exasperatedly.

Will strapped on his boots and headed over, thinking to himself, I wonder if they’re going to try to persuade me to buy something? When he arrived, once again he stopped dead in his tracks. Where there had been emptiness stood another lighthouse. Tears welled up in his eyes again, flowing down his face, though these were tears of joy.

Will espied something on the new lighthouse’s wall, and went over to see what it was. It was a note, which read, “Will, we saw how sad you were when we had decided to get rid of the previous lighthouse. We had a talk amongst ourselves and decided to build another lighthouse in place of the old one. We know this one will bring you as many memories as the last. Sincerely, The Newport Council.”

Memories! Will thought joyfully.
--Submitted by I.B.


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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/12/2007 04:01:00 AM  



(Each "Question of the Week," an idea which I gleaned from A Republic If You Can Keep It, will remain toward the top of the blog until the next question appears. The previous Questions of the Week are HERE)

On March 31, 2007, the Washington Post published an article entitled "A Debate for the Millenia: Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?" The article briefly presented two main views, one literal and one metaphoric. Despite the words of Apostle Paul in Corinthians ("If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain"), the debate between adherents of these two views of the Resurrection has been going on for some two millenia.


Excerpt from the article:
Gnostic ideas about bodiless resurrections refuse to die.

High-profile liberals like retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong of Newark dispute the idea that Jesus literally rose from the dead. In his book, "Jesus for the Non-Religious," Spong argues that "to literalize Easter has become the defining heresy of traditional Protestant and Catholic Christianity."

The Resurrection is profoundly real, Spong said in an interview. But it's a mistake to read Gospel accounts of a risen Jesus walking and eating literally, he said. "A human can't explain a God-experience any more than a horse can explain a human experience," Spong said. So the Gospel writers resorted to what they had in hand -- mythological language -- to describe the Resurrection, Spong said.

John Dominic Crossan, a Roman Catholic and a former professor at DePaul University, said the Resurrection is best understood as a metaphor, a belief that puts him at odds with his own church.

Saying the Resurrection "is a metaphor doesn't dismiss it," Crossan said. "I get the message, I get the challenge from the metaphor."

But a metaphor misses the mark, said Paul D. Molnar, a professor of theology at St. John's University in Queens, N.Y. Molnar, a Roman Catholic, recently completed a book on how prominent Christian theologians interpreted the Resurrection. To say Jesus's bodily resurrection is a metaphor "is to lose the reality of God in the world," Molnar said.

Where you stand on the Resurrection tends to mirror how you interpret the Bible, said Stephen T. Davis, a professor of philosophy at California's Claremont McKenna College....
According to the article, Easter is celebrated by some 2 billions Christians worldwide, and polls indicate that 65%-80% of Americans believe in the literal Resurrection of Jesus. In some churches, celebrants who do not believe in such a literal resurrection sit side-by-side with those who do, and many maintain that literal belief in the Resurrection still allows them to practice Christianity.

Does a metaphoric interpretation of the Resurrection of Jesus rob Christianity of its central message?


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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/12/2007 04:00:00 AM  


Monday, April 09, 2007

Georgetown University & Tariq Ramadan

The ad in the Sunday, April 8, 2007 edition of the Washington Post reads as follows:

Three Satellite Converstions with
Tariq Ramadan

The dates are April 10-12.

This web site is cited in the ad. A link there leads to the following:
Islam-West Relations
Three Satellite Conversations with Tariq Ramadan
April 10-12, 2007, 10:30am-12:00pm
Gaston Hall, Georgetown University
Open to the Public

Islam and Democracy (Tuesday, April 10)
Muslim Minorities in Western Europe (Wednesday, April 11)
Catholic-Muslim Relations (Thursday, April 12)

Behind the rhetoric of a "Clash of Civilizations" lies the real challenge of Islam-West relations: dialogue in a spirit of truth. Before we can agree or disagree, we have to listen to one another.

Tariq Ramadan, a fellow at St. Antony's College, Oxford, is one of the world's leading Muslim intellectuals. A Swiss citizen of Egyptian descent, he advocates a self-confident Islam that both engages and critiques Western ideas and institutions. For Time he is one of 100 “innovators” of the 21st century and “the leading Islamic thinker among Europe ’s second- and third-generation Muslim immigrants.” To his critics Ramadan is a dangerous fundamentalist. » Ramadan's homepage

The Visa Controversy. Since July 2004 Tariq Ramadan has been unable to enter the United States. Shortly before he was to assume a professorship at Notre Dame University, Ramadan's visa was revoked under the "ideological exclusion" provision of the Patriot Act. The visa denial is the subject of an ongoing legal challenge brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the American Academy of Religion, the American Association of University Professors, and PEN American Center.
» background on the Visa controversy

The Scholarly Controversy. Ramadan's views on Islam and the West are controversial within the academy. The Berkley Center has invited three leading American intellectuals to write essays in response to Ramadan -- Sherman Jackson (University of Michigan), Martha Nussbaum (University of Chicago), and George Weigel (Ethics and Public Policy Center). The essays and Ramadan's satellite presentations will be folded into a book with Georgetown University Press.

Gaston Hall is located within the Healy Building on the Georgetown Main Campus, 37th and O Streets, NW, Washington, DC.

» submit a question for Tariq Ramadan [Go to the web site to enable this link]
Additional information on Tariq Ramadan, an index of articles from Front Page Magazine. Snippet from one of those articles:
The most vocal advocate of Wahhabism in France is Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss philosophy teacher who happens to be the grandson of Hassan Al Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ramadan has been very active in France during the past ten years, spreading his extremist views and becoming the unofficial voice of French Islam. He has now become a "star," appearing constantly on French prime-time television. Ramadan symbolizes the view, as Jacques Jormier, a leading French expert on Islam, puts it, "that does not modernize Islam but Islamizes modernity." The extent to which Ramadan’s brand of totalitarian Islam has gained a strong foothold in France can be seen in the plight of French Muslim women.

In certain cases, French Muslim families are paid 500 Euros (around 600 USD) per trimester by Muslim organizations just to have their daughters wear the hijab....
More on Tariq Ramadan at Discover The Networks and at Little Green Footballs, the latter with an article entitled "Hirsi Ali Vs. Tariq Ramadan," including the following:
Mr Ramadan said it was wrong to suggest that Muslims were in Europe to proselytise, and wrong to say that Europe had a Judaeo-Christian past.

“Islam is a European religion. The Muslims came here after the first and second world wars to rebuild Europe, not to colonise....
This is the man with whom Georgetown is having a three-part discussion via satellite?

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/09/2007 09:59:00 AM  


Easter Bomb Hunt

(Bumped toward the top because today is the day)

Photo from the Washington Post
Isn't she cute? That little girl who so intently decorating an Easter egg in the photo to your left. She must be getting ready for the White House Egg Roll.

But wait! That's not an egg. What is it? A tennis ball, maybe?

The caption for the photo dispels the mystery: "Vineeta Hennessy, 6, makes a ball representing a cluster bomb that will be used in a hunt Monday."


Excerpt from this article in the April 6, 2007 edition of the Washington Post:
...As hundreds attend the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn, a smaller group will gather at the park on the north side for what is being billed as a "family-friendly Easter cluster-bomb hunt."

It used to be that an Easter egg hunt was just an Easter egg hunt. It had no message beyond cute kids playing with colored eggs. Now the venerable White House Easter Egg Roll, which dates to the 1870s, has become an occasion for at least two groups to make a statement that is as much about politics as it is about the spring holiday.

"Obviously, we're trying to spoof a little bit what will be happening on the South Lawn," said Brian Hennessey of the Vineeta Foundation, a local human rights group founded in 1995 that is the lead sponsor of the cluster-bomb hunt. "We're not trying to hit kids over the head with this; we want them to have fun. We also want to bring attention to the fact that our munitions cause a lot of death and destruction to civilians, especially children."


"This is supposed to be funny," he said about the hunt. "We're not trying to be confrontational. We're not going to be in anyone's face. People are welcome to reject what we say or think about it."


Hennessey said he got the idea for the Easter hunt at the March 17 antiwar rally at the Pentagon. As he stood on the stage and looked out at hundreds of like-minded protesters, "I realized we were preaching to the choir," he said.

He set about to organize the Lafayette Square event, hoping to draw participants from the 40,000 people the Park Service estimates will be in the immediate area Monday. Other peace groups, such as Code Pink and the Coalition for Justice and Accountability, came onboard.

"When you look at the message of Easter, it's about life and love and peace," said Linda Schade, executive director of Voters for Peace, another co-sponsor. "We're trying to emphasize how our actions are not in step with our values."

The event, which runs from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., the same hours as the White House Easter Egg Roll, will include a search for weapons of mass destruction for the adults. "They'll all come back looking confused five minutes later, saying they couldn't find anything," Hennessey said.

Another search, for Osama bin Laden, will turn up only photographs of Saddam Hussein, he said. A hulk of a large bomb will be filled with toy bombs, and a prize will be given to whoever guesses the number inside.
Maybe it's just me, but I find holding an "Easter bomb hunt" downright weird. Then again, leftist thinking is downright weird.


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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/09/2007 06:00:00 AM  


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Resurrection Day

Click here and here to read Benning's postings for today.

Animated e-card

Celebrate the risen Lord and Savior, and believe on Him!
It costs God nothing, so far as we know, to create nice things: but to convert rebellious wills cost him crucifixion... You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse... You can shut him up for fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. ---C.S. Lewis

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/08/2007 05:00:00 AM  


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Who Said...

"We have lured these people to this country with the promise of jobs in a full-employment economy"?
This is the voice of reason?

Read the story.

Watch the video:

YouTube Link

Excuse me, Geraldo, but Alfredo Ramos is an illegal invader. What "lured" him here was a higher standard of living. Since when is our higher standing of living "entrapment" akin to a sting operation?

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/07/2007 08:11:00 AM  


Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

He died for me.

Isaiah 53:3-5, 7-10, 12

3 He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; he was despised, and we esteemed Him not.

4 Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.

7 He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.

8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken.

9 And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.

10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

12 Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/06/2007 03:00:00 PM  


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Saturday, April 7: Protest In Philly

(This post stuck at the top until April 8)

Via this article at Maverick News Media:
Americans Against Hate (AAH) will be leading a protest against Traitor Joe Sestak’s appearance at the CAIR Fundraiser and Banquet in Philadelphia this Saturday. AAH is the group that was responsible for Senator Barbara Boxer rescinding an award from CAIR leader Basim Elkarra,

Joe Kaufman, the Chairman of AAH and founder of CAIR Watch, stated,
“Given CAIR’s ties to terrorism, it is beyond reprehensible that a sitting Congressman of the United States would seek to legitimize CAIR by speaking at one of its events.

We call on Congressman Sestak to cancel his speaking engagement and abandon his ties to CAIR.”
Currently, Congressman Sestak has working for him the former Office Manager and Communications Director of CAIR-Philadelphia, Adeeba Al-Zaman.


Saturday, April 7, 2007, 5:15 PM – 7:15 PM

Location: Outside the Hilton Philadelphia at 4200 City Ave.

There will be refreshments

Go to this! Support Joe Kaufman and Protest CAIR and Joe Sestak.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/05/2007 08:06:00 AM  


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Obama Christ?

CLICK HERE for the video and news story about the papier mache statue Blessing, complete with neon halo.

[Hat-tip to Brooke]

More information, from this source:
David Cordero, 24, made the sculpture for his senior show after noticing all the attention Obama has received since he first hinted he may run for the presidency.

"All of this is a response to what I've been witnessing and hearing, this idea that Barack is sort of a potential savior that might come and absolve the country of all its sins," Cordero said. "In a lot of ways it's about caution in assigning all these inflated expectations on one individual, and expecting them to change something that many hands have shaped."


Bruce Jenkins, dean of the art school's undergraduate program, said response to the piece -- part of a student exhibition -- has been mostly positive. He said people should take a close look at the sculpture and the context it was created in before judging it.

"When you see it, when you spend time it with it, you understand that it's not a provocative work at all," Jenkins said. "It opens a set of questions."
And those questions would be?

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/04/2007 08:19:00 AM  


Tuesday, April 03, 2007


(Each "Question of the Week," an idea which I gleaned from A Republic If You Can Keep It, will remain toward the top of the blog until the next question appears. The previous Questions of the Week are HERE. Please scroll down for recent postings)

The April 2, 2007 issue of Time Magazine carried this article as its feature story. The blurb at the beginning of the ariticle:
Should the Holy Book be taught in public schools? Yes. It's the bedrock of Western culture. And when taught right, it's even constitutional.
Among those favoring Bible courses: Chuck Colson, the National Association of Evangelicals, the American Jewish Committee, the Council on Islamic Education, People for the American Way.

Among those with reservations or opposed: John Hagee, Wendy Kaminer, Joe Conn and Rob Boston of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

Lengthy excerpt from the article (emphases mine):
Miss Kendrick came ready, with props. The day's topic was the Gospel of Matthew. "You can divide all the Beatitudes into two parts," Jennifer Kendrick explained to her teenage audience. "The 'Blessed are the whatevers,' like 'the meek,' and then the reward they will get. So I've made some puzzle pieces here." She passed out construction-paper sheets, each bearing either the name of a virtuous group or its reward, in black marker. "And you've got to find the person who has the other half. What's the first one in the Bible?"

"The poor in spirit," mumbled a crew-cut boy.

"O.K. What goes with the poor in spirit?"

A girl in the front of the room replied, reading from her sheet, "For they will see God."

"Nope," chirped Kendrick. "O.K., find the person that matches yours. I'll take the roll."

By which she meant an official attendance roll. Because the day was Thursday, not Sunday. And the location was not Oakwood Baptist Church, a mile down Texas State Highway 46, but New Braunfels High School, a public school that began offering a Bible-literacy class last fall. The class has its share of conservative Christians. Front-row center sat Rachel Williams, 18, whose mother does teach Sunday school at Oakwood. But not 20 ft. away sat a blond atheist who asked that her name not be used because she hasn't outed herself to her parents. Why take a Bible class? I asked her. "Some of my friends are Christian," she said, shrugging, "and they would argue about, like, whether you can be a Christian and believe in evolution, and I'm like, Okaaaay ... clueless." Williams signed up for a similar reason. "If somebody is going to carry on a sophisticated conversation with me, I would rather know what they're talking about than look like a moron or fight my way through it," she says. The class has "gotten a lot of positive feedback," she adds. "It's going to really rise in popularity."

The same might be said about public-school courses on the Bible nationwide. There aren't that many. But they're rising in popularity. Last year Georgia became the first state in memory to offer funds for high school electives on the Old and New Testaments using the Bible as the core text. Similar funding was discussed in several other legislatures, although the initiatives did not become law. Meanwhile, two privately produced curriculums crafted specifically to pass church-state muster are competing for use in individual schools nationwide. Combined, they are employed in 460 districts in at least 37 states. The numbers are modest, but their publishers expect them to soar. The smaller of the two went into operation just last year but is already into its second 10,000-copy printing, has expressions of interest from a thousand new districts this year and expects many more. The larger publisher claims to be roughly doubling the number of districts it adds each year. These new curriculums plus polls suggesting that over 60% of Americans favor secular teaching about the Bible suggest that a Miss Kendrick may soon be talking about Matthew in a school near you.


SIMPLY PUT, THE BIBLE IS THE MOST influential book ever written. Not only is the Bible the best-selling book of all time, it is the best-selling book of the year every year. In a 1992 survey of English teachers to determine the top-10 required "book-length works" in high school English classes, plays by Shakespeare occupied three spots and the Bible none. And yet, let's compare the two: Beauty of language: Shakespeare, by a nose. Depth of subject matter: toss-up. Breadth of subject matter: the Bible. Numbers published, translated etc: Bible. Number of people martyred for: Bible. Number of wars attributed to: Bible. Solace and hope provided to billions: you guessed it. And Shakespeare would almost surely have agreed. According to one estimate, he alludes to Scripture some 1,300 times. As for the rest of literature, when your seventh-grader reads The Old Man and the Sea, a teacher could tick off the references to Christ's Passion--the bleeding of the old man's palms, his stumbles while carrying his mast over his shoulder, his hat cutting his head--but wouldn't the thrill of recognition have been more satisfying on their/own?

If literature doesn't interest you, you also need the Bible to make sense of the ideas and rhetoric that have helped drive U.S. history. "The shining city on the hill"? That's Puritan leader John Winthrop quoting Matthew to describe his settlement's convenantal standing with God. In his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln noted sadly that both sides in the Civil War "read the same Bible" to bolster their opposing claims. When Martin Luther King Jr. talked of "Justice rolling down like waters" in his "I Have a Dream" speech, he was consciously enlisting the Old Testament prophet Amos, who first spoke those words. The Bible provided the argot--and theological underpinnings--of women's suffrage and prison-reform movements.

And then there is today's political rhetoric. For a while, secular liberals complained that when George W. Bush went all biblical, he was speaking in code. Recently, the Democratic Party seems to have come around to the realization that a lot of grass-roots Democrats welcome such use. Without the Bible and a few imposing secular sources, we face a numbing horizontality in our culture--blogs, political announcements, ads. The world is flat, sure. But Scripture is among our few means to make it deep.
The inset in the article mentions that certain Biblical allusions are necessary for understanding themes and nuances in the following list: Babel, Superman, Spamalot, The DaVinci Code, The Chronicles of Narnia, Pulp Fiction, One Tree Hill, The Matrix, and the Left Behind series.

The article concludes as follows:
[W]hat is required in teaching about the Bible in our public schools is patriotism: a belief that we live in a nation that understands the wisdom of its Constitution clearly enough to allow the most important book in its history to remain vibrantly accessible for everyone.
Read the rest of the article in Time Magazine.

Do you think that Bible should be taught as a course in the public schools? Why or why not?


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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/03/2007 03:00:00 PM  


Silence Is Golden

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One would think that a fellow as bright as Kiwi Camara, who skipped high school and earned his doctorate in law magna cum laude from Harvard Law School at the impressively young age of nineteen, would have known better than to commit to paper and to the Worldwide Web a racial epithet. From this article in the April 3, 2007 Washington Post:
During Camara's first year at Harvard Law School in 2002, he fueled a controversy when he wrote racist remarks in a voluminous summary of a 1948 Supreme Court decision that barred restrictive covenants based on race. He then posted the writing on a Web site designed to help other law students.

In the five years since he wrote the racist phrase, it has surfaced from campus to campus, job interview to job interview -- a predicament that raises a broader question perfectly fit for these Google times: What's the appropriate standard for judging a teenager years later?


At George Mason's law school, the faculty had authorized Polsby to hire Camara as an assistant professor, but the dean wanted to first see what students, alumni and others thought. He scheduled a town hall meeting for last night, but the meeting was nixed after Camara's application was withdrawn.

...Some wondered why Camara had made it as far as he did in the hiring process; others were more sympathetic to the fact that Camara cannot shake off something he did when he was not even 18.
Yes, Camar was not yet eighteen, but he was in Harvard Law School. Furthermore, according to the Washington Post, on his web site Camara invites his readers to "Google me!"

On a regular basis, the nightly news broadcasts stories about the foolish and dangerous activities in which teens participate on the Internet. Some young people, of course, place themselves in physical danger, particularly with regard to pedophiles trolling the Web.

But the Web holds other traps too. As the story of Kiwi Camara indicates, the relative permanency of what all of us write and publish on the Internet can impact professional careers several years later, even to the extent of "career suicide." The childhood chant "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is no longer true. We live in the Information Age, and technology can find us out.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/03/2007 08:44:00 AM  


Monday, April 02, 2007

CAIR Amends Law Suit

From this source, dated March 31, 2007:
A group of imams suing US Airways for discrimination amended their lawsuit this week to target only the "John Doe" passengers who they say are racist and falsely accused them of behaving suspiciously.

The six imams were removed from a flight in Minneapolis in November for disruptive behavior reported by passengers and members of the flight crew.


The lawsuit filed earlier this month targeted "passengers who contacted US Airways to report the alleged 'suspicious' behavior of plaintiffs performing their prayer at the airport terminal."

The amended lawsuit identifies possible John Does as individuals who "may have made false reports against plaintiffs solely with the intent to discriminate against them on the basis of their race, religion, ethnicity and national origin."

"The only individuals against whom suit may be raised in this litigation are those who may have knowingly made false reports against the imams with the intent to discriminate against them," Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a letter this week to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a public interest law firm. The Becket Fund had publicly condemned CAIR for supporting the case.

"The imams will not sue any passengers who reported suspicious activity in good faith, even when the 'suspicious' behavior included the imams' constitutionally protected right to practice their religion without fear or intimidation," Mr. Nihad said. "When a person makes a false report with the intent to discriminate, he or she is not acting in good faith."

The imams are being represented by New York lawyer Omar Mohammedi in the lawsuit, which has triggered an outcry among lawyers who say they will defend the "John Does" for free.

Becket Fund Chairman Kevin Hasson criticized the amended changes in a letter to CAIR on Thursday.

"There is no way Mr. Mohammedi can possibly determine whether the John Does 'knowingly made false reports' against his clients 'with the intent to discriminate against them' without taking their testimony under oath, at least during pretrial discovery," Mr. Hasson said.

"That prospect alone, of being dragged into court proceedings, will certainly provide a great disincentive for other citizens to come forward with their own suspicions," he said.

The case prompted House Republicans on Tuesday to insert a shield law for "John Does" into a rail safety bill. The legislation would protect passengers against lawsuits for reporting suspicious behavior that foreshadows a terrorist attack.

It is "unconscionable" that those who report suspicious activity could be "terrorized in our own court system in our own country," said Rep. Steve Pearce, New Mexico Republican, who introduced the measure.

"Religious liberty is not absolute," Mr. Hasson said. "It must yield before the government's legitimately compelling interests. And the prevention of terrorism aboard airlines is certainly such an interest."

The Becket Fund labeled the case "legal terrorism," which Mr. Awad said "only adds to the empty and sensationalistic rhetoric of those who seek to disparage and demonize a segment of our society."

"It was not meant as an insult," Mr. Hasson said. "I think the public outcry over the targeting of the John Does proves the point I was trying to make. That legal tactic is self-defeating."
See? Defying CAIR can have positive results! Don't be intimidated by the threat of litigation by CAIR.

List of pro bono attorneys who stand against CAIR


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posted by Always On Watch @ 4/02/2007 08:01:00 AM