Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year!

(Please scroll down for my latest postings)

I'm posting my New Year's greeting a bit early because today, December 28, I got my library-reserved copy of Rhett Butler's People, currently on several bestsellers' lists. According to the blurb at the New York Times,
An authorized sequel to “Gone With the Wind” updates the character of Rhett Butler for the modern reader.
You can find additional reviews of Rhett Butler's People at


I'm going to start my reading of the book immediately. If the book lives up to the laudatory reviews (not all reviews are flattering), I expect to be immersed in reading this new work of fiction for several days. But I'll come up for air once in a while — to make blog rounds and to check comments — when my eyes get weary of reading hard copy.

Therefore, for now and not for long, I'll leave you with the following poem, which mirrors my thoughts about the new year:

At the Gate of the Year

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year
'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'

And he replied,
'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!'

So I went forth and finding the Hand of God
Trod gladly into the night
He led me towards the hills
And the breaking of day in the lone east.

So heart be still!
What need our human life to know
If God hath comprehension?

In all the dizzy strife of things
Both high and low,
God hideth his intention."

by Minnie Louise Harkins 1875-1957
Included in King George V1 broadcast 1939


Yes, I just had to use a pig in my New Year's greeting.


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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/30/2007 06:02:00 PM  


2007: The West's Year of Failure

[Cross-posted to THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS]

From this December 28, 2007 article in Spiegel Online International:
Ongoing difficulties in Iraq. A Taliban offensive in Afghanistan. And now the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. For the West, 2007 has been a year of failure and missteps.

There are three lessons to be learned from the strategy followed by the US to this point.

Lesson one: The conflict with radical Islam is not the hobby of a US president gone berserk. This will become all the more clear next November when American voters go to the polls. Bush, who cannot run for re-election due to term limitations, will go, but the conflict with Islam will remain. In fact, it is growing more intense. That, at least, is what the murder of this exceptionally brave woman in Pakistan has given to the West: a high degree of clarity. The radical Islamists will not tolerate any democrats, even if they come from their own countries. They are looking for a showdown, apparently at any price. They will even accept the failure of a country as big and proud as Pakistan.

Lesson two: Bush will not be in a position to do much to end this conflict. He is a war president and an unsuccessful one at that. Even if he talks about diplomacy, it sounds like preparation for war. His partners in Berlin, Paris and London will have to act cleverly in this difficult situation. Any belligerence or crowing must be avoided so as to not damage the Western position as a whole. As strange as it might sound, this beleaguered president must be ushered into retirement with dignity and civility.

Lesson three: The classic military intervention -- Bush's formula against the danger of terrorism -- has not been successful up to now and will not be so in the future. And the situation in nuclear-armed Pakistan is clearly not one where any sort of military operation should be considered....
The article, avoiding insofar as possible any reference to Islam, emphasizes the role of diplomacy (Even with "thugs"!), which has been, for the most part over the past fourteen centuries, an abject failure with any Islamic nation. The Spiegel article, overlooking the religious element and the emphasis which Islamic terrorism places on Islamic jihadi-martyrs' status in eternity, also attempts to draw fallacious comparisons between the present clash of civilizations and the Cold War:
A look back and the Cold War -- an era full of provocations on both sides -- provides a useful model. In 1953, construction workers building the great Stalin Allee in East Berlin, rebelled against their communist government. Many in the Soviet zone hoped that the West would support their fight against the East German communist dictatorship. In West Berlin, the US propaganda station RIAS became shriller -- but nothing more was done.

In Budapest in 1956 there was the same calm discipline. The armed Hungarian students (this writer's father among them) rebelled against the Moscow puppet regime. They were hoping for Western help, but that hope was in vain. The students saw this as a betrayal. For tens of thousands, my father included, there was nothing to do but flee from the Soviet tanks rolling in.

The West's abstention was painful; in fact, it was unbearable -- but it made political sense.

These provocations continued until the dismal high point -- the military putsch by General Wojciech Jaruzelski in Warsaw in 1981. The armies of the West stayed in their barracks. Soviet Communism broke apart all by itself a short time later.
Toward the end, however, the article also states the following, thus ending on a contradictory note:
The West has to protect itself and its people with everything modern technology has placed at its disposal....[T]here is an important role to be played by the military and by secret services -- but primarily in the service of targeted operations against terror camps and cells. While mass invasions have proven useless, pinprick operations continue to have an important place in the West's arsenal.
In my view, the article overlooks a necessary component of victory in this long, long war against Islamic expansionism: Stop whitewashing Islam by calling it "the religion of peace."

[Hat-tip to Mark Alexander, where I found the article from Spiegel Online International]

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/30/2007 08:54:00 AM  


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Video: Free the Women of Islam

I found the following video, about four minutes in length and set to the music and words of "You Don't Own Me," at this posting over at Atlas Shrugs:

YouTube link

Material in the video is based on the following cases:
Amandeep Singh Atwal [CBC News, Canada]

Samaira Aziz [BBC]

Aqsa Parvez [City News, Canada]

Fadime Sahindal [CNN]

Hina Saleem [BBC]

Heshu Yones [Telegraph]

Farrukh Saleem [Daily Times, Pakistan]

Where is the outcry from the women's groups and various humanitarian organizations? Oh, that's right. Mustn't commit the hate crime of Islamophobia.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/26/2007 08:03:00 PM  


Barney Frank's Mistake

According to this December 22, 2007 item in the "Religion" section of the Washington Post, Barney Frank regrets two of the votes he recently cast:
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) says he was wrong to vote different ways on House resolutions recognizing Christmas and Ramadan.

Instead of voting for the Muslim holiday and abstaining on the Christian one, Representative Frank says he should have abstained on Ramadan as well....
In my experience, politicians don't make such admissions unless constituents have applied some pressure. Of course, it is possible that Representative Frank realized all on his own that his differing votes evidenced a double standard.

Why do I have doubts about his revised view, just in time for Christmas? I've become highly skeptical about the integrity of all politicians — the result of my observing politicians' ambivalence and their lack of integrity as they jockey for power and votes.

Returning now to the remainder of the item in the Washington Post, Representative Frank further explained about his change of mind:
Frank says he's Jewish and doesn't observe either holiday, but adds that he wouldn't support a Yom Kippur resolution, either. He says Congress should stay out of religious matters and let Americans worship as they wish. In the future, Frank says he'll abstain on all such resolutions.
I've never quite understood why politicians abstain from voting — unless, of course, they aren't educated enough about a certain matter to vote responsibly. Isn't our elected representatives' job to make decisions?

Why do politicians abstain from a vote, anyway? I look forward to commenters helping me to understand why politicians take non-positions on issues before them.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/26/2007 05:56:00 AM  


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Weekly Radio Show: December 28

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

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

Callers welcome!

Friday, December 28: This week's guest for the entire hour will be Cassandra, author of the book Escape! From an Arab Marriage: Horror Stories of Women Who Fled from Abusive Muslim Husbands and of the blog site No Slaves of Allah in America. We'll be discussing with Cassandra the unseen treachery behind the terrorist focus on Israel and the Palestinians.
Note: If you are unable to listen live to the radio show, you can listen to recordings of the radio broadcasts later by CLICKING HERE.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/25/2007 11:59:00 PM  


Christmas 2007

(This posting is part of the 2007 Carnival of Christmas, hosted this year by CatHouse Chat. Please visit that site beginning on December 24 to read other entries.)

For as long as I can remember my favorite Christmas carol has been "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." It explains, in both words and melody, the spiritual significance of this Holy Season.

A Collection of Renaissance Nativity Scenes by Philip Scott Johnson (adapted by W. H. Cummings from Felix Mendelssohn's Festgesang for the Gutenberg Festival) uses my favorite Christmas carol in a choral arrangement as music for the slide show. I hope that you enjoy this rendition as much as I do!

YouTube link


Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.


Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.


The Lord of All took on human flesh and humbled Himself to be born in a manger for one purpose — to purchase our redemption through His blood, which covers our sins and gives us eternal life.

This Christmas, may you gaze upon the Light of the World and claim the Savior's promise:

...[Jesus] said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)


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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/25/2007 11:58:00 PM  


Sunday, December 23, 2007


(Each "Featured Question," 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 are HERE. Please scroll down for recent postings)

In my view, the run for the political parties' nominations for President of the United States began too early. At least, the media blitz began too far ahead of time. On the other hand, by the time the November 2008 elections take place, we voters will have had a long time to scrutinize the various Presidential hopefuls, a few of whom have already betrayed themselves with blatant pandering for votes. And we still have have several months to go before November 2008! No doubt, more "revelations" will be coming. The media will see to some of those revelations, the blogosphere to others.
On Christmas morning, one of our local channels mentioned the "2008 Presidential Candidate Selector," a series of questions offering more options than those just-for-fun online quizzes, including a forum for discussion. Having nothing better to do early on Christmas morning — Mr. AOW was sleeping in — I checked off the answers to the twenty-six questions to see which candidate SelectSmart determined was most in line with my own views.

FEATURED QUESTION, in two parts:
(1) According to the 2008 Presidential Candidate Selector, which candidate most falls in line with your own views? Note that you do not have to choose an answer to every question! 2. Do you think that "your candidate" has a chance of being a nominee?

In a few days, I'll be posting my results in the comments section.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/23/2007 01:00:00 PM  


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mocking The Birth Of Jesus

Via this posting by JR of THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS:

YouTube link, which provides this blurb summing up the commercial:
We open on the nativity scene as the 3 wise men place their gifts inside the manger. There's a pregnant pause. Suddenly, one by one, the gifts are thrown out of the manger. The wise men look on in disbelief. Joseph and Mary look to each other with a blank expression.
Would any advertising company dare to design a commercial mocking Muhammad? Can't you just see the outrage which would ensue?

As JR of THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS sardonically stated:
Christians worlwide have of course gone on a rampage, trashed all the firm's stores and called for the beheading of all staff of the advertising agency. And the political Left have defended them for doing so -- saying that their feelings had been hurt and it was all due to poverty anyway.
The news article about the commercial is HERE.

No, this is not my Christmas posting! It will go up tomorrow when I post as part of the Carnival of Christmas 2007, hosted next week by CatHouse Chat. Bloggers interested in participating can find the pertinent information HERE.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/20/2007 08:07:00 AM  


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Debt At All Levels

From Roxie of Independence Lost

Household finances are in a similar, sad shape. From this editorial by Mortimer Zuckerman, editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report:
Yes, there are weapons of mass destruction. They are "financial weapons of mass destruction," to quote the famous investor Warren Buffett as he surveyed the morning-after wreckage of the subprime mortgage lending crisis. The continuing destruction can now be called a credit crisis—a significant escalation because credit has been the high-octane fuel powering the American economy for the past half dozen years.


People and companies are trying to cope with the debt accumulated during several years of profligate lending and spending. The real danger from a credit crunch is that everyone, from banks to corporations to households, may retrench simultaneously.
Read the entire article,"The Credit Crisis Grows," in which Mr. Zuckerman explains the vicious cyle in which our nation is enmeshed.

What remedies can be applied? Mr. Zuckerman opines as follows:
What should our economic policy be? The Federal Reserve must get ahead of the curve. Its priority must be to maintain the viability of the credit system and the flow of credit; our postmodern economy is dependent on an ongoing flow of credit.
A start—and it is no more than that—is the proposed federal effort to help the mortgage industry deal with subprime mortgages....
I have a problem with the idea of bailing out in-trouble home buyers who should have read the fine print on the mortage documents they signed and had the financial wisdom to curtail their spending. Who's going to pick up the tab of this bailout? The banks? Such a move penalized savers by proxy. The government? The government has no money except for what the government takes from the taxpayers' pockets? Yes, I feel sorry for all those whose homes are on the line. But what about those of us who have been following sound economic policies in our financial lives? Does our frugality count for nothing?

A nation cannot continue to run in the red. Neither can a household. Nevertheless, Americans today seem to think that the most basic rules of finance don't apply and turn to the government to solve their problems for them. Mistake — huge mistake.

The time comes for insolvency. Living beyond one's means cannot continue forever. Furthermore, government intervention at the personal level of financial management will only serve to increase taxes and to promote nanny state.

At the end of his editorial, Mr. Zuckerman concludes with the following:
The collapse of values and the risks of the credit squeeze are the worst since the Great Depression. We are going to put the economy's resilience to a severe test.
As I see it, America may fail the test, thus no longer being a world leader in economic power. Then what?

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/19/2007 07:23:00 AM  


Monday, December 17, 2007

Of All Times!

Blogging will likely be lighter than usual this week.

My building-contractor cousin has a break in his schedule and is coming today to paint the living room. No doubt, the living room in this old house desperately needs a fresh coat of paint. Twenty-five years have passed since the room last saw sanders, paint, brushes and rollers!
We were going to put up the Christmas tree yesterday. Instead, I spent day finishing off the securing of wall paintings (especially the oil painting which my paternal grandmother did), light switches, throw-pillows, and small furnishings, as well as the washing of glassware. Oh, my achin' back!

Now we'll have to wait until my cousin finishes the southeast corner of the room before putting up the Christmas tree. This year will see one mad dash to Christmas now! Never have we had such a chaotic run-up to Christmas!

The greatest difficulty of the next few days? How to manage Sheba, who is used to sleeping on her mat in the living room. She and the other girls — Dusti, Mysti, and Cameo — will be confined to the basement while my cousin is working. But I can't leave them down in that cold cellar all the time.

Mr. AOW and I will love having a beautiful living room for the family's Christmas Eve luncheon and gift exchange. Still, the next several days are going to be a hassle.


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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/17/2007 06:15:00 AM  


Weekly Radio Show: December 21

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

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

Callers welcome!

Friday, December 21: This week's guest for most of the hour will be blogger The Merry Widow, my adopted-from-the-Internet "sister." We'll be discussing superior vs. inferior cultures as well as silencing the voices that ask questions.
Note: If you are unable to listen live to the radio show, you can listen to recordings of the radio broadcasts later by CLICKING HERE.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/17/2007 01:00:00 AM  


Sunday, December 16, 2007

If Looks Could Kill

This photo of one of Hillary Clinton's unguarded moments reveals a lot about the woman and, possibly, the present status of the campaign of "She Who Would Be King," a gem of a phrase I found at Leatherneck M13, who stated the following:
Hillary's campaign seems to have made a crucial error in primary politics... running "nationally" and relying on national polls and the ridiculous, televised "debates" instead of pressing the flesh, eating rubber chicken and speaking anywhere 10 or more people are gathered. Instead, she assumed as the early front-runner... she didn't have to actually run.

That... and her campaign didn't see Obama coming.

I think I can smell panic in her just-announced, state-wide blitz in a "Hill-a-copter". That's sillier than her "Hil-raisers" which frequently turn out to be Chinese scam artists headed for prison. This is not the sound of a tight, professional campaign, it's more like she's running for student body president.
In addition to glares fit to chill the blood, Hillary Clinton has another way of revealing herself —that derisive laugh of hers. In "C'mon, Get Happy," an article which appeared in the December 14, 2007 edition of the Washington Post, Dana Milbank states the following in reference to the final Presidential debate before the Iowa caucuses:
[The other Democratic Party candidates] giggled like teenagers when Clinton said that "we do need a farm bill, and Tom Harkin's been working like a Trojan to get done." And they sensed a major story when Clinton interrupted one of Obama's answers with a burst of laughter. When Obama was asked how he would "rely on" so many of former president Bill Clinton's advisers, his wife cackled, then blurted out, "I want to hear that!"

"Well, Hillary, I'm looking forward to you advising me as well," Obama replied, and Clinton laughed again.

The cackle was the talk of the spin room after the debate....
The woman's laugh puts me in mind of the Three Witches' Chorus in Shakespeare's Macbeth:
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
Attention, casting directors! If Hillary loses her front-runner status in Iowa, maybe you can audition her for a witch's part in Macbeth. What a casting coup that would be! She's sure to pack 'em in for the entire run of your theatre's version of Macbeth. Who knows? Maybe you can find a role for Bill, too!

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/16/2007 07:38:00 AM  


Thursday, December 13, 2007

On Borrowed Time

[Click on the photo for a larger image]
In every sense, Sheba is one old cat.

At almost nineteen and one-half years of age in human years, she is not nearly as magnificent looking now as the picture here shows. Her fur is a bit scruffy. She limps a bit when she walks and spends most of her time on her blanket by Mr. AOW's recliner.
For a few years now, Sheba has been showing signs of Feline Cognitive Disorder, also known as "Kitty Alzheimer's." When I look into her eyes, I see my grandmother's eyes — the look of senility mixed with a silent plea for undefined help. And, yes, Sheba is forgetful. She gets lost easily and even forgets she's just eaten (so eats some more). But she still recognizes Mr. AOW and me, and gives us adoring looks. She still plays when we drag a ribbon in front of her. She still purrs and licks our hands.

In the past several months, Mr. AOW and I have noticed a further decline in Sheba's physical condition. She has gone almost totally deaf. Because she's learned our improvised hand signals, however, her deafness doesn't trouble her much. Besides, her eyesight is as good as it's ever been, obvious nearsightedness, but the norm for her. Also, she's experienced an inexplicable loss of weight, some three pounds — not a bad thing because she had been carrying too much weight over a decade.

Last weekend, Mr. AOW and I took Sheba to the vet, not for a regularly scheduled visit. For a few days, she had been showing signs of urinary-tract problems, including inappropriate urination and bloody urine. In fact, on the morning of the appointment with the vet, she passed a blood clot, followed by a normal stream of urine.

Mr. AOW and I knew that our old girl was in trouble. We were hoping that her ailment was uncomplicated cystitis, something treatable and curable, a problem similar to the one she had in October 2006.

This time, the problem is different, neither treatable nor curable.

Sheba has bladder cancer.

The vet assures us that our old girl is not suffering and that we can keep her comfortable until we have to face that final decision, the inevitable day every pet lover dreads and the final responsibility of the commitment to love animals which are members of the family.

With proper care and palliative doses of medication, to which she is so far responding, we might have Sheba with us this Christmas. Maybe. The vet can offer no time frame. Just as with human beings, nobody knows how much time any of us have.

Right now, everything with Sheba is just as it's always been. Alert and happy, she's lying on her blanket and purring so loudly that I can hear her motor running all the way across the room. She's demanding to be fed at every turn. Sheba, malnourished when Mr. AOW rescued her as a kitten from an alley, took Scarlet O'Hara's vow: "As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again." That vow is standing her in good stead right now so that she doesn't lose too much weight.

We know that the bad day is coming. But the bad day is not today!

One last Christmas with Sheba — that's what we're hoping for — and even more borrowed time, if possible.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/13/2007 09:41:00 PM  



I'll probably be offline for much of the day. I have to finish my Christmas shopping!

I detest shopping, but the odious annual task has to be accomplished before the crowds and the traffic become impossible to deal with.

Carry on with the discussions and the dust-rolling! The most active threads are the post just below this one and, to a certain extent, this one.

I'll check comments and weigh in after I get home. Whatever time that is. Comment notification makes it easy for me to catch up.


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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/13/2007 09:01:00 AM  


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Weekly Radio Show: December 14

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

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

Callers welcome!

Friday, December 14: SPECIAL SHOW!
We're going to have a Blogger Slap Down, a type of debate suited to radio format. Three prominent bloggers who will give their opinionated responses to questions about what they see happening in Islam and the Left today.

Don't miss this show!

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

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


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dead Because Of A Hijab

Or, more accurately, because she wouldn't continue to wear her hijab, according to several news reports.

Recent photo of Aqsa Parvez:

According to the articles, sixteen-year-old Aqsa Parvez was choked to death. Police have arrested Muhammad Parvez, the girl's father, for her murder (the degree of the charge not yet determined) and her brother for obstructing the investigation.

From this source:
The 16-year-old Mississauga girl who was allegedly strangled by her father in a dispute over her refusal to wear the hijab has died.

Aqsa Parvez, a Grade 11 student at Applewood Heights, succumbed to her injuries late last night, Peel Regional Police said today.

The girl’s 57-year-old father, Muhammad Parvez, has been arrested for muder. Aqsa’s 26-year-old brother, Waqas Parvez, has been arrested for obstructing the police.

Friends believe Aqsa...was the victim of a dispute over the teenager's desire to be more western.

“She wanted to live her life the way she wanted to, not the way her parents wanted her to,” classmate Krista Garbhet told the Post this morning.

“She just wanted to be herself, honestly she just wanted to show her beauty, and not be pushed around by her parents telling her what she has to be like, what she has to do. Nobody would want to do that.”
According to this source,
Friends of the teenager...said she had been threatened by her strictly religious family before.

“She got threatened by her father and her brother,” said Dominiquia Holmes-Thompson, who had known Aqsa since they both started high school together. “He said that if she leaves, he would kill her.”

Ebonie Mitchell, 16, another friend of the victim, said the conflict with her father over wearing Islamic dress came to a head at the beginning of this school year. “She just wanted to dress like we do,” she said.

“Last year she wore like the Islamic stuff and everything, the hijab, and this year she’s all Western. She just wanted to look like everyone else. And I guess her dad had a problem with that.”

Ebonie said her friend had left home once before, in September, for about two weeks. She returned home, but the fights with her family over what she wore just got worse.

Dominiquia, 16, said her friend had been arguing with her father for more than a year over the restrictions he imposed on her, including demanding that she wear the hijab at all times. “She wanted to go out with her friends, hang out and just be like a normal person,” she said. “But he was always trying to control her ... he wouldn’t let her go out or do anything.”

The stricken girl’s friends said the fights with her father got so bad that she had left the family home to live with friends about a week ago. “She was going back, but just to get her stuff,” said friend Krista Garbutt. “She was scared to go home, but she had to get her clothes and stuff.”

Neighbours said as many as 11 people lived in the home, which was sealed off by crime scene tape and surrounded by police cars yesterday, all members of an extended Pakistani family. Const. Valade confirmed that there were other people in the home when the teenager was attacked.

“I didn’t really know any of them,” said one woman, who would not give her name. “There were a lot of them living in that house, always coming and going. They didn’t talk to me, maybe just to say hello once in a while. That’s all.”

The home where the teen was attacked is the listed address of Muhammad Parvez, a Mississauga cab driver. “He was Muslim and very devout, very observant,” said one of his fellow drivers at Mississauga’s Blue and White Taxi, who did not want his name used. “He was always stopping to take breaks and pray: three, four times a day.”

His eldest son, also named Muhammad, also worked as a cab driver and lived in the family home with his wife and at least one child, the driver said. Several people inside the home were questioned by police before being allowed to leave.

Neighbours said the family moved in just over a year ago.
Police have cautioned not to jump to conclusions about the case, even though Aqsa's father himself apparently made the 911 call stating that he had killed his daughter. It doesn't take much of a leap to figure out the father's motive. Aqsa was assimilating, as the children of immigrants will do, and defying her parents, as teenagers do. Her strict father could not abide her defiance.

Of course, Canadian Muslim groups have condemned the attack. Well, one would HOPE so! Aqsa Parvez was brutally murdered.

The problem with these after-the-fact condemnations is that Muslims do so much dissembling. As puts it:
[T]he concept of "al-Taqiyya" is an integral part of Islam...

The word "al-Taqiyya" literally means: "Concealing or disguising one's beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or strategies at a time of eminent danger, whether now or later in time, to save oneself from physical and/or mental injury."...
Taqiyya has such a way of casting doubt upon Muslims' condemnations. Are those condemnations sincere? Who would know?

[Hat-tip to Nanc, who sent me this link from Breitbart. The article is receiving lots of comments]

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/11/2007 08:33:00 PM  


Those Saudi Bucks

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An accounting of the Saudi bucks infused into various universities all around the world has not been forthcoming as to the specificity of the usage of those funds. Isn't it important to reveal just what impact those billions have had on curriculum and material presented to the next generation of our nation's leaders?

Read this December 10, 2007 article in the Washington Times. Note that those Saudi bucks may be getting spread around in more places than you've heard of! No doubt you've heard about Prince Alwaleed's gift of $20 million each to Georgetown and Harvard universities, but many other institutions have also received substantial amounts of money. Just how is that money being put to use? According to the article (emphases mine),
...Some call the Saudi gift Arab generosity and gratitude for the years American universities have educated the elite of the Arab world. Others say the sheer size of the donations amounts to buying influence and creating bastions of noncritical pro-Islamic scholarship within academia.

"There's a possibility these campuses aren't getting gifts, they're getting investments," said Clifford May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. "Departments on Middle Eastern studies tend to be dominated by professors tuned to the concerns of Arab and Muslim rulers. It's very difficult for scholars who don't follow this line to get jobs and tenure on college campuses.

"The relationship between these departments and the money that pours in is hard to establish, but like campaign finance reform, sometimes money is a bribe. Sometimes it's a tip."

The $40 million gift from the Saudi donor, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, was the latest in a tradition that started in the 1970s — Muslim donors pumping millions of dollars into American universities to fund Islamic studies, hire faculty specialists in Islam and fund books and seminars on the world's second-largest religion.


At Georgetown, [Prince Alwaleed's] money was funneled toward its Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, which was quickly renamed the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. The center, part of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, trains many of America's diplomats.

...The center's aim, according to its mission statement, is to "improve relations between the Muslim world and the West and enhance understanding of Muslims in the West."

The center's director, John Esposito, a prolific writer and praised by many as being a national authority on the religion, was severely criticized by several scholars for downplaying the threat of Islamic terrorism in the 1990s when he was a foreign affairs analyst for the State Department.

Mr. Esposito, "more than any other academic, contributed to American complacency prior to 9/11," Martin Kramer, a fellow at the Olin Institute at Harvard, wrote in a Jan. 2, 2006, commentary
on his blog,

"[Mr. Esposito has] proved that he's still a magnet for Arab and Muslim money," Mr. Kramer wrote. "Prince Alwaleed apparently decided that while Esposito's reputation may be dented, the professor still has some value in him."

Mr. Esposito declined to be interviewed for this article but did defend himself in several e-mails.


Mr. Esposito said the number of programs sponsored by his center went from 27 last year to 22 this semester alone. The first of three new faculty, Ibrahim Kalin, a scholar on Sufiism and Islamic philosophy, is slated to come on board next fall.

A month before the gift was publicly announced, Mr. Esposito was one of four persons flanking Prince Alwaleed before a photographer at the George V hotel in Paris. It was then that the prince told Georgetown officials of their $20 million windfall — and that Mr. Esposito would oversee how the money was spent.


"The prince knew very well Georgetown's in a milieu filled with lobbyists and opinion makers; thus any program of his will exert more influence there than at a university not in a power center like Washington," Mr. Meyers said. "The grant also gave Esposito a much bigger microphone. When you've got a $20 million institute, that amplifies your voice considerably."

The Saudi Embassy's press office did not respond to requests for comment on this article, and a spokeswoman for Prince Alwaleed said he was "too busy" to respond.


In 1979, Saudi Aramco World magazine published a list of recent Middle Eastern gifts, including...$750,000 from the Libyan government for a chair of Arab culture at Georgetown University; and $250,000 from the United Arab Emirates for a visiting professorship of Arab history, also at Georgetown.

In 1986, Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi donated $5 million toward a sports center to be named after him at American University....


There are 17 federally funded centers on American college campuses devoted solely to Middle Eastern studies centers and another 30 to 40 that do not receive federal aid, according to Amy Newhall, executive director of the Middle East Studies Association at the University of Arizona. Not counting several positions at Georgetown University, she estimated at least 10 chaired professorships currently funded by Saudis at major universities.

"With all the talk of the Israel lobby, no one talks about the Saudi lobby," Mr. Meyers said. "There is no counterweight to Saudi influence in American higher education."

Indeed, Ain-al-Yaqeen reported that King Fahd has spent "billions of Saudi riyals," around the world.

"In terms of Islamic institutions, the result is some 210 Islamic centers wholly or partly financed by Saudi Arabia, more than 1,500 mosques and 202 colleges and almost 2,000 schools for educating Muslim children in non-Islamic countries in Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia," the paper reported.


Mr. Kramer, also the author of "Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America," says American universities have allowed themselves to be purveyors of Saudi influence and opinion.

"Universities generate ideas, and [Prince Alwaleed] regards one idea — the 'clash of civilizations" — as positively dangerous to Arabs and Muslims," he wrote on his Web site, "So he has embarked on a grand giving spree, to create academic 'bridges" between Islam and the West, and specifically between the Arab world and the United States ...

"The mind boggles at the possibilities, when you think of the purchasing power of the world's fifth-richest man," Mr. Kramer continued. "Of course, this is why we can't ever expect to get the straight story on Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism and oil from people who operate within Middle Eastern studies. If you want a fabulously wealthy Saudi royal to drop out of the sky in his private jet and leave a few million, you had better watch what you say — which means you had better say nothing."

Prince Alwaleed, 52, — who slipped from the fifth richest person in 2005 to the 13th this year, according to Forbes magazine — is best known to some Americans as the man who offered $10 million to the victims of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. That money was rejected by Rudolph W. Giuliani, then the mayor, after the prince scolded the U.S. for favoring Israelis over Palestinians.


In 2002, [Prince Alawaleed] donated $500,000 to the George Herbert Walker Bush Scholarship Fund, established by the Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. In 2006, he donated $10 million to the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

He defends such gifts in interviews, saying that he has financed study programs about American culture overseas, including a $10 million gift to found a Center for American Studies at American University in Cairo and $5.2 million for a similar center at American University in Beirut.

Prince Alwaleed's Cairo and Beirut projects explain American culture, but according to their Web sites, offer no courses in Christianity — America's majority religion. Meanwhile, typical courses at the Georgetown center are "Islamic Theological Development" and "Islamic Religious Thought and Practice."


"Islamists such as the radical fundamentalists seen with the Saudi Wahhabis exploit American universal tolerance to provide a vehicle for the dissemination of their propaganda free of critique," [Zuhdi Jasser] said...
The interfaithing street seems to run one way, in Wahhabism's direction. So much for promoting understanding among various religions on university campuses around the world. Courtesy of the Saudis, of course.

Mark Alexander reminded me yesterday of this little saying: "He who pays the piper calls the tune." Prince Alawaleed certainly understands the meaning of that proverb, but Western ostriches refuse to pull their heads from the sand.

9/11 is fading into distant memory. We're lulled into complacency. Meanwhile, Islamification is proceeding quietly as the next generation is being turned into the generation of Islamophilia.

Remember the words of CAIR's Ibrahim Hooper:
"I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future...But I'm not going to do anything violent to promote that. I'm going to do it through education."
Saudi is using education as the sword of Islam. And petro-dollars are funding the process.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/11/2007 07:56:00 AM  


Monday, December 10, 2007


(Each "Featured Question," 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 are HERE. Please scroll down for recent postings. My Christmas post is HERE)

I grew up in a Christian family and all my life have celebrated this Holy Season on a faith basis. Yes, we had a Christmas tree and "hung our stockings at the chimney with care." Nevertheless, the focus of our Christmas decorating was the Nativity scene placed conspicuously on the living-room bookcase. I still have that Nativity scene, by the way, and I leave it set up year round in one of our glass-fronted cabinets.
When I was growing up, all families I knew included Santa Claus as part of their Christmas celebration. I caught on early that Santa was merely a fantasy. In fact, by the time I was four years old, I had cracked the Santa code because (1) I saw a different Santa at every shopping center and didn't buy into the Santa-has-lots-of-helpers nonsense and (2) the Santa who "visited" my house preferred oranges to cookies, just as did my father.

Even in those few years during which I believed in Santa, he was not an important part of the Holy Season. For one thing, my family celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve. Santa's Christmas-morning gifts were few and were of the type impossible to wrap, such as a tricycle, toy piano, or bicycle. Besides, I never got to thank the elusive Santa in person after he bestowed his few gifts; as a result, he never played a big role in my mind.

Today I know several families who never include Santa Claus as part of the Season. Instead, they focus exclusively on the Reason for the Season. Some of these families feel that our society's emphasis on Santa Claus detracts from the message they want their children to understand about Christmas.

Do you believe that promoting the story of Santa Claus undermines the true meaning of Christmas? Explain the reason(s) for your position.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/10/2007 12:59:00 PM  


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Silencing The Voices

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

Being sidelined has its benefits. I've had a lot of time to think.

What follows is another of my long reads and delineates more of the trend of whining Muslims as they continue to attempt even more erosion of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. At present, the information in this posting may not be directly affecting you. In my view, however, the curbing of speech and press WILL directly touch you.

Mark Steyn, author of America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, and a Canadian magazine have caught the attention of the Canadian Islamic Congress, Canada's largest non-profit Islamic organization, which is now seeking to silence Maclean's Magazine for publishing an excerpt from Steyn's book. The opening portion of Maclean's Magazine's introduction to the excerpt from Steyn's book:

The Muslim world has youth, numbers and global ambitions. The West is growing old and enfeebled, and lacks the will to rebuff those who would supplant it....
The following is the work of Mark Steyn and a short portion of the book excerpt entitled "The Future Belongs to Islam," published by Maclean's Magazine on October 20, 2006:

Sept. 11, 2001, was not "the day everything changed," but the day that revealed how much had already changed. On Sept. 10, how many journalists had the Council of American-Islamic Relations or the Canadian Islamic Congress or the Muslim Council of Britain in their Rolodexes? If you'd said that whether something does or does not cause offence to Muslims would be the early 21st century's principal political dynamic in Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, most folks would have thought you were crazy. Yet on that Tuesday morning the top of the iceberg bobbed up and toppled the Twin Towers.

This is about the seven-eighths below the surface -- the larger forces at play in the developed world that have left Europe too enfeebled to resist its remorseless transformation into Eurabia and that call into question the future of much of the rest of the world. The key factors are: demographic decline; the unsustainability of the social democratic state; and civilizational exhaustion.

Let's start with demography, because everything does....

Europe, like Japan, has catastrophic birth rates and a swollen pampered elderly class determined to live in defiance of economic reality. But the difference is that on the Continent the successor population is already in place and the only question is how bloody the transfer of real estate will be.

If America's "allies" failed to grasp the significance of 9/11, it's because Europe's home-grown terrorism problems had all taken place among notably static populations....

On the Continent and elsewhere in the West, native populations are aging and fading and being supplanted remorselessly by a young Muslim demographic. Time for the obligatory "of courses": of course, not all Muslims are terrorists -- though enough are hot for jihad to provide an impressive support network of mosques from Vienna to Stockholm to Toronto to Seattle. Of course, not all Muslims support terrorists -- though enough of them share their basic objectives (the wish to live under Islamic law in Europe and North America) to function wittingly or otherwise as the "good cop" end of an Islamic good cop/bad cop routine. But, at the very minimum, this fast-moving demographic transformation provides a huge comfort zone for the jihad to move around in....
Read the entire article.

Where is Mark Steyn incorrect? And even if he is mistaken, why should not his voice be heard? Wouldn't reasonable rebuttal be preferable to silencing the voice?

The CIC's objections are being filed a full year after the excerpt from Mark Steyn's America Alone appeared in Maclean's Magazine. Why now? What has emboldended the CIC? The pulping of Alms for Jihad by Cambridge University Press? Back in August 2007, I referred to that pulping as "Twenty-First Century Book-Burning," compared it to Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, and stated as an introduction to that posting:

What you're going to read here affects you and your posterity.
But even I, doomsayer that I am, did not expect the attempted muzzling of a North American periodical to be pushed for so quickly on this side of The Pond when a magazine published a book excerpt.

Maclean's Magazine details the Canadian Islamic Congress's attack on freedom of the press [Hat-tip to Little Green Footballs]:

...Complaints were submitted to Human Rights Commissions in B.C. and Ontario on the grounds that "the article subjects Canadian Muslims to hatred and contempt," according to a CIC press release. In the release, the CIC labels Steyn's article as "flagrantly Islamophobic."

Faisal Joseph is the CIC's legal counsel on the matter. "In Canada, we have 750,000 law-abiding Muslims," he says. "When you read that article, it sounds to some people [like] there’s an attack from the 'Muslim' world against the 'non-Muslim' world. We take real issue with that type of characterization and the implications of it."

In response, a Maclean's spokesperson provided the following statement: "Mark Steyn is a thoughtful and experienced journalist, and the piece was a commentary on important global political issues. It was not in any sense Islamophobic, and "Maclean’s" is confident that the Human Rights Commissions will find no merit in the complaints."

At this time, the B.C. Commission has accepted the complaint, Joseph said. He will argue the matter at the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearings from June 2 to 6.
As Stanley Kurtz points out in National Review Online: [Hat-tip to The DU d'RAT Review]:

...This is a big deal. The blogosphere has so far largely missed it, but this attack on Mark Steyn is very much our business. There may be an impulse to dismiss this assault on Steyn, on the assumption that it will fail, that Steyn is a big boy and can take care of himself, and that in any case this is crazy Canada, where political correctness rules, rather than the land of the free. That would be a mistake. The Canadian Islamic Congress’s war on Mark Steyn and Maclean’s is an attack on all of us....


The tiff over the excerpt from "America Alone" is only the tip of the iceberg....


American’s need to recognize the pattern here, and we also need to realize that it has already invaded the United States. American readers depend on international outlets. We often read our Steyn in Canadian publications. So an attack on Steyn in Canada is an attack on America. And recall the ongoing battle over "libel tourism," which resulted in attempts to use British law to pull "Alms for Jihad" from American library shelves. (Here’s the latest update on the libel tourism battle [Please also see this about Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, whom WC and I interviewed on "The Gathering Storm Radio Show" on November 23, 2007], and how the efforts of Saudi magnate bin Mahfouz threatens free speech, even in America.) And take a look at this list of Muslim libel cases in America. (Be sure to read the end of that account for an understanding of how enervating and intimidating these cases can be–especially for targets less well-placed than Steyn or Maclean’s.)


Connect the dots and you will see that the attack on Mark Steyn in Canada is part and parcel of a world-wide assault on free speech that has already reached well into America. This is our battle. It is essential that there be widespread public condemnation of the attack on Mark Steyn. Not only does this "human rights" complaint have to fail, it has to fail miserably and with embarrassment. Otherwise, whatever the formal result, the chilling effect will be one more victory for the forces trying to destroy our rights.
Read the entire article.

Interesting enough, in that August 2007 posting of mine, I cited this August 5, 2007 commentary by Mark Steyn, who commented on the pulping of Alms for Jihad and wrote the following toward the end of his essay:

We've gotten used to one-way multiculturalism: The world accepts that you can't open an Episcopal or Congregational church in Jeddah or Riyadh, but every week the Saudis can open radical mosques and madrassahs and pro-Saudi think-tanks in London and Toronto and Dearborn, Mich., and Falls Church, Va. And their global reach extends a little further day by day, inch by inch, in the lengthening shadows, as the lights go out one by one around the world.
As I see it, this recent action on the part of the Canadian Islamic Congress is another attempt to snuff out those lights.

The threat of silencing the voices which are sounding the alarm about the Islamic threat, both overt and covert, should alert the West as to the extent of the Islamic threat. But "should" doesn't mean that the necessary understanding exists or will be acted upon in a manner so as to stop the West's further slide into dhimmitude, cultural suicide, and the continued erosion of important freedoms.

The West, if it is to maintain freedoms long held dear, must refuse to continue down the path of catering to Muslim sensitivities at turn after turn. We must say with conviction, "This far and no further." And the West also must say with determination, "Grow up! Deal with the West's tradition of openness and outspokenness, even if you FEEL offended."

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/08/2007 01:08:00 PM  


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

OWEEEE — Again!

I am somewhat sidelined right now due to today's FOUR injections into my sacroiliac joint and the surrounding area.
Today's procedure was more extensive than the last one on November 19.

As a result, my blogging efforts will continue in slow motion for at least a few days.


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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/05/2007 05:00:00 PM  


Weekly Radio Show: December 7

(This posting stuck toward the top for a few days. Please scroll down)

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

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

Callers welcome!

Friday, December 7: Our guest at the bottom of the hour is Saleem Siddiqui of Hot Conflict: Looking at the Hottest issues in the News, Politics and PoP Culture, from inside the Muslim Mind. Read HERE about Mr. Siddiqui's efforts to promote the integration of Muslims in the United States of America and around the world.
Note: If you are unable to listen live to the radio show, you can listen to recordings of the radio broadcasts later by CLICKING HERE.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/05/2007 01:00:00 AM  


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Mohammed The Mole No More

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

Kes Gray's children's book Who's Poorly Too has been in publication for some eight years and has reported sales of over 40,000 copies. Not exactly a runaway bestseller. Now, because of the recent controversy over Muhammad the Bear, Mr. Gray, in an act termed by some as "self-censorship," will postpone the reprint of the children's book until the mole's name can be changed.
Via this posting at Little Green Footballs and according to this article in the Times of India,
LONDON: First there was Mohammed the Mole and Dipak the Dalmatian . Now there is Morgan the Mole and Dipak the Dalmatian . A British children's author who named his fictitious mole Mohammed and the dog Dipak in an attempt to promote multi-culturalism, has backed away from the first for fear of offending Muslims.

Author Kes Gray said he changed the mole's name after reading about the fate of British school teacher Gillian Gibbons who is in prison in Sudan for allowing her class to name a teddy bear Mohammed.

Gray told The Sunday Times , London that he "had no idea at all of the sensitivities of the name Mohammed until seeing this case in Sudan" and he added that the Hindu and Muslim names for his animals characters had merely been a way to "embrace other cultures...I had no idea it would backfire like this. I was in Egypt this year and everyone was called Mohammed. I just thought it was a popular name".
Apparently, teddy bears themselves don't seem to bother Muslims, particularly if the toys are named after a prophet other than Muhammad — or something like that — because the article in the Times of India concludes as follows:
...10,000 teddies, named Adam the Muslim Prayer Bear, were reportedly bought by Muslim families in Britain to raise money for Sudanese refugees. Adam bear's name is that of another prophet of Islam and at £ 15 a piece, he recites Assalam-o-alaikum when his paws are pressed.

The bears, marketed by the Islamic Society of Britain, to raise funds for charity, have not sparked unease or complaints in the three years they have been sold.
So far, these remain available at Cafe Press:

From Mujahideen Ryder, who has no problem with the naming of teddy bears:
Adam is the name of a Prophet (as), just like Muhammad is a name of the last Prophet (s)....I’d just like to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong in naming a teddy bear Muhammad. I do not agree with what the news is reporting about the incident and what they say the Sudanese protesters are saying. I also believe that there is more to the protests, because who in God’s name would care if a teddy bear was named Muhammad or Adam or Moses or Abraham or Jesus. I mean seriously! You got to be kidding me....

Comment 1 MT Akbar said:

This whole debacle pertaining to the teddy bear is just plain silly. This shows a real lack of confidence and a victim mentality with us Muslims. We jumpt at everything and see offence in every corner now.
I was really surprised when I heard about this and feel sad for the poor teacher. Muslims in UK should do something for her when she gets back there if the Sudanese do not straighten this out.

December 2nd, 2007 at 3:52 am |

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/02/2007 07:36:00 PM  


Looking Back: 1957

About two minutes in length:

HERE is an index to U.S. News & World Report's articles about 1957. Interesting stuff, if you're in a retro mood.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/02/2007 07:54:00 AM