Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas Lights

Hat Tip to Sister Toldjah for this neat set of lights synchronized to Santa Claus is coming to town


They must not know the real me

You Are an Angel

A truly giving soul, you understand the spirit of Christmas.

Hat tip to The Anchoress


Barr Quits GOP for Libertarians

BREITBART reported A former Georgia congressman who helped spark President Clinton's impeachment has quit the Republican Party to become a Libertarian, saying he is disillusioned with the GOP on issues such as spending and privacy.

I agree with him on spending, but the libertarians don't have any power. He should help us fix the Republican party. And on privacy, he needs to realise the threat the Islamofascists present. Dhimmis have no privacy.
Bob Barr, who served eight years as a Republican congressman before losing his seat in 2002, announced Friday that he is now a "proud, card-carrying Libertarian." And he encouraged others to join him.
In obscurity


Head of DNA lab says he and Nifong agreed not to report results

Newsobserver reported The head of a private DNA laboratory said under oath today that he and District Attorney Mike Nifong agreed not to report DNA results favorable to Duke lacrosse players charged with rape.

He may not fear a charge of Prosecutorial Misconduct, but Nifong should be very worried.
Brian Meehan, director of DNA Security of Burlington, said his lab found DNA from unidentified men in the underwear, pubic hair and rectum of the woman who said she was gang-raped at a lacrosse party in March. Nurses at Duke Hospital collected the samples a few hours after the alleged assault. Meehan said the DNA did not come from Reade Seligmann, David Evans, or Collin Finnerty, who have been charged with rape and sexual assault in the case.

Meehan struggled to say why he didn’t include the favorable evidence in a report dated May 12, almost a month after Seligmann and Finnerty had been indicted. He cited concerns about the privacy of the lacrosse players
Who were charged with rape, and who deserved the exculpitory evidence.
, his discussions at several meetings with Nifong,
Who needed the black vote to get elected
and the fact that he didn’t know whose DNA it was.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Hamas: Abbas declared war on Allah

Ynetnews reported Chairman of the Hamas faction in parliament Khalil al-Haya, told a crowd of tens of thousands at a Hamas rally in Gaza Friday that "(Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas has declared war on Allah and on the will of the Palestinian people."

That is the problem with many Arabs. Since they pretend to worship Allah, they think that anything they don't like is an attack on Allah. Even if what Abbas did was something Allah did not like, don't you think Allah is powerful enough to take care of the matter Himself?
"We warn before it's too late that we shall strike with an iron fist all those involved in hurting our leaders and members, and those responsible for the attempt to assassinate the prime minister," he added. Al-Haya accused the members of the Presidential Guard of launching the attack against Haniyeh, and referred to Abbas' anticipated speech Saturday: "We will fight with force for the voter's choice against those who want to bring about a coup." Abbas' speech has caused much turmoil in the PA, as the president is expected to announce the dismissal of the government, and holding a referendum or early elections. During the rally, Hamas speakers said that any proposal promoted by Abbas will be met with opposition.
Democracy, Arab style. Hamas never wanted to win control in the last election, because they knew they did not know how to govern, and they have proved that. They just wanted enough power to be able to influence things. Well now you have a chance. Let him call new elections, and maybe you won't win, and then maybe the Europeans will again start pouring money into Gaza. Or maybe you will figure out that if you agree to make peace with Israel the money will start pouring in again, and you can steal it rather than Fatah stealing it.


Arab attitudes toward American people

MSNBC reported A new survey shows , products and culture grew increasingly negative last year, a finding that underscores the need for a change in U.S. Mideast policy, a leading expert on the region said on Thursday.

How about the MidEast making some changes itself.
James Zogby, the head of the Arab American Institute, said the annual survey of opinion in five Arab countries found that U.S. policy toward Iraq
Would this be the Sunni countries that want us to stay there because they fear Iran will take over, and they will be next?
and the Palestinian conflict were the main issues driving deteriorating Arab opinion.
The Palestinian conflict was created by the authoritarian leaders who want their citizens to see that other Arabs are in worse condition, and that that, plus the way they treat their own citizens, is all the fault of the west.
“Our policies have not only had a worsening impact in terms of attitudes towards us but also in dampening confidence in the prospects for development and political stability and are therefore, I think, a real concern to countries in the region,” Zogby said.


Administration to Drop Effort to Track if Visitors Leave

NYT reported In a major blow to the Bush administration’s efforts to secure borders, domestic security officials have for now given up on plans to develop a facial or fingerprint recognition system to determine whether a vast majority of foreign visitors leave the country, officials say.

The know the Dems, who love illegal aliens because they think they can fool them into voting Democratic, will never properly fund it.
Domestic security officials had described the system, known as U.S. Visit, as critical to security and important in efforts to curb illegal immigration. Similarly, one-third of the overall total of illegal immigrants are believed to have overstayed their visas, a Congressional report says. Tracking visitors took on particular urgency after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when it became clear that some of the hijackers had remained in the country after their visas had expired.
The urgency still exists.
But in recent days, officials at the Homeland Security Department have conceded that they lack the financing and technology to meet their deadline to have exit-monitoring systems at the 50 busiest land border crossings by next December.
And they know that the Dems will not fund it.
A vast majority of foreign visitors enter and exit by land from Mexico
Many illegally
and Canada, and the policy shift means that officials will remain unable to track the departures.


A War Bush Wouldn't Pay For

E.J. Dionne wrote in WaPo Believe it or not, winning the war in Iraq was never the Bush administration's highest priority. Saving its tax cuts was more important. That was once spoken of as a moral problem. Now it's a practical barrier to a successful outcome.

Really? Do you think that the Sunnis will stop killing the Shia, and the Shia will stop killing the Sunnis, and that the insurgents will calm down and run for office, if the United States just increases taxes? If so, you are an idiot.
Until recently President Bush's refusal to scale back any of his tax cuts was discussed as the question of shared sacrifice: How could we ask so much from a courageous group of Americans fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan but not ask even the wealthiest of their fellow citizens to part with a few extra dollars to support an endeavor supposedly central to our nation's security?
And do you think the Media the Democrats, and the American People, would just get behind the war and insist that it be won, as long as GWB makes them pay more taxes?
On the contrary, even after we committed to war in Iraq, the administration pushed for yet more tax cuts in dividends and capital gains.


Delay and Danny

Tom did his first blogger interview with my good friend Danny Carlton of Welcome to the Blogsphere, Tom. Tom's blog is the first I have run across to have a mechanism for switching between Comments and Trackbacks. Forgive me for duplication, but I am going to post this both ways, to see the difference in the two.


General Says Army Will Need To Grow

WaPo reported Warning that the active-duty Army "will break" under the strain of today's war-zone rotations, the nation's top Army general yesterday called for expanding the force by 7,000 or more soldiers a year and lifting Pentagon restrictions on involuntary call-ups of Army National Guard and Army Reserve troops.

I support that, but let it grow intelligently. Add more Special Forces, and more people with the skill sets that the Army National Guard and Army Reserve troops called up had, which caused them to be needed, rather than taking Army units from Europe or Japan.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

The real purpose behind the imam publicity blitz

Star Tribune reported After the imams incident, it quoted Bray as saying Muslims want "new, broad-sweeping legislation that will extract even larger financial and civil penalties for any airline that participates in racial and religious profiling."

What we really need is legislation that would provide more penalties for people that threaten air travel.
The report is optimistic that Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, will lend his support to new legislation. Ellison, it says, has expressed his opposition to "such racial and religious profiling." Ellison, through a spokesman, declined to comment.

One piece of legislation in the works is the End Racial Profiling Act. It is an important priority of Rep. John Conyers of Michigan
Chief dhimmi in congress
, whose district includes one of the largest Muslim populations in the country. Conyers introduced the bill in 2004 and 2005, but it went nowhere.
Now the alignment of forces may be changing. Conyers will probably be chairman of the House Judiciary Committee when the new Democratic-controlled Congress convenes next month. Nancy Pelosi, who called herself a "proud" cosponsor of the Profiling Act in 2004, is the incoming House speaker. And in January, Ellison, who represents the district where the imams incident occurred, will take his seat in Congress.
Pelosi has already made a couple of stupid moves. Supporting this legislation would be one more.
The act, although it doesn't as yet impose large penalties, would bar any federal, state or local law enforcement agency from "relying, to any degree, on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion in selecting which individuals to subject to routine or spontaneous investigatory activities." That would include questioning, searches and seizures.
Totally ridiculous. Numerical profiling might not be the best plan, but they should certainly be able to rely on those factors in evaluating who to investigate. It does not make sense to search eldery ladies, when a robust Muslim is in line right behind her.
One of the act's central features is its definition of illegal profiling. Under it, if airport security personnel question passengers who are disproportionately Muslim or of Middle Eastern descent, this alone would constitute a presumptive violation of the law. Law enforcement agencies would bear the burden of proving that discrimination was not the cause.
Totally stupid
What would the effect of such a law be?
Another 9/11. The security raised since 9/11 has prevented additional attacks, and they feel they have the right to kill Americans, and it is very unfair of us to prevent that.
"A law that would compel security professionals to focus on keeping their statistics within certain norms rather than on their mission keeping airline travel safe would have a devastating effect on our ability to ensure airline safety," said Daniel Horan of the Los Angeles Police Department in an interview. He worked at the Los Angeles airport on profiling-related issues for 6 years.

In the past few weeks the public relations campaign for the Profiling Act has moved into high gear. On Tuesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations advised American Muslims to beware of the dangers of "flying while Muslim." In light of recent allegations of "airport profiling," it said, the council has set up a toll-free hotline for pilgrims traveling to Mecca for the hajj, or annual pilgrimage, who believe that their rights have been violated.
A better solution would be for CAIR to sponsor muslim only charters for the Hajj.
Allah blogged Doesn’t that actually make things more difficult for their Democratic allies in Congress? I can buy that CAIR would do this to raise their own profile; they probably are that stupid and it’s not like they have anything to lose in terms of reputation at this point. But they’ve got to know that this makes things considerably harder for Pelosi, Conyers, and Feingold in getting the bill passed. Not to mention the fact that grassroots pressure on Bush to veto the bill if it ever comes before him will be tremendous now, thanks in great part to this very incident.

CQ blogged It's no surprise that the Muslim Brotherhood and its American political arm wants an end to profiling in airport security. They do not want Muslims singled out for scrutiny. Given the Brotherhood's consideration of religious minorities in nations where they have political clout -- Egypt, Syria, and the like -- that stance is unlikely to spring from a sense of liberal altruism. The Brotherhood has a long history of supporting terrorism as a political tactic, and they would like nothing better than to leave American airliners vulnerable to exploitation.

And that's exactly what ERPA would do. It places the burden on the airlines and TSA to prove that they were not acting in a discriminatory fashion whenever they single anyone out for closer scrutiny in security checks. That means anyone can sue for discrimination and have the presumption of truth in court, a situation that would cripple flight security. With that environment, airlines and TSA would shrink from singling out anyone deemed suspicious unless their actions were so overt that they would overcome that presumption in court. It's a recipe for abject surrender on airline security, fueled by CAIR's new "flying while Muslim" hotline. Only trial lawyers and terrorists benefit from ERPA.

Dr Sanity blogged Victimhood is automatically conferred if you are a member of one or more of the following groups:
  • An underrepresented race (whoever is in the minority--the majority are barred from victimhood)
  • An underrepresented gender(males are prohibited from victimhood)
  • An underrepresented sexual orientation (heterosexuals are not allowed to be victims)
  • A nation without land (e.g., Palestinians; Note: The Kurds aren't considered victims because they aren't the right kind of victim--they admire the U.S. and aspire to democracy & freedom thus, disqualifying them)
  • Any nation the U.S. has a disagreement with
  • A religion stuck in the Middle Ages (e.g., Islam)
  • A person in jail (your crime is immaterial, but the worse the crime, the better)

Blue Crab blogged Conyers has been trying for years to force this legislation through. Up until now it has gone nowhere. Putting restrictions on security personnel would be disastrous. If they spend their time trying to meet arbitrary statistics rather than actually focusing on keeping people safe, sooner or later somebody will slip onto an airplane that should not. It is not just the six imams, either. There is a full court press going on here with other media outlets.

Sister Toldjah blogged What was the real reason behind the six imams publicity wave?


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Majority say history won't be kind to Bush

USATODAY reported History's view of George W. Bush will be harsh, Americans predict. In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday, a 54% majority says Bush will be judged as a below-average or poor president, more than double the negative rating given any of his five most recent predecessors.

Just wait until the first Islamofascist attack after the next president takes over. Bush will suddenly be realized to be much better than people think right now.


Byrd to give up W.Va. projects

Herald Dispatch reported Sen. Robert Byrd has built a reputation in Congress and in West Virginia using special interest funding to bring federal jobs and money home, but the king of pork said he's willing to give up his projects for 2007

Just for 2007, or will you kill earmarks for good? At 89, Byrd is the oldest member of Congress, and he was just reelected, and is unlikely to survive another 6 years, so he could afford to kill earmarks altogether.
to find a way out of the "fiscal chaos" left by the outgoing Republican-led Congress. Byrd, incoming chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and his House counterpart Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin outlined their plan late Monday to pass a yearlong stopgap spending bill to keep government programs and agencies functioning until Sept. 30, 2007. To expedite the process, Byrd and Obey said they would eliminate earmarks -- funding inserted into bills by lawmakers for projects in their district or states -- from the unfinished budget.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dems to Wipe Out Pet Projects in Bills

BREITBART reported Democrats tidying up a cluster of unfinished spending bills dumped on them by departing Republican leaders in Congress will start by removing billions of dollars in lawmakers' pet projects next month.

And replacing them with Democratic earmarks.
The move, orchestrated by the incoming chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations committees, could prove politically savvy even as it proves unpopular with other members of Congress, who as a group will lose thousands of so-called earmarks.

"There will be no congressional earmarks," Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., and Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.,
How many roads, bridges, and buildings in West Virginia are named after Byrd, the king of earmarks.
said Monday in a statement announcing their plans, which were quickly endorsed by incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D- Nev.

Earmarks are congressionally mandated projects such as grants for local governments, home-state universities and hospitals, roads, bridges and flood control construction, and economic development efforts not included in the president's spending proposals.

Often called "pork" by critics, their sponsors defend inserting the projects into spending bills by claiming that, as elected representatives, they know more about the needs of people in their states and government programs than the president or bureaucrats in the executive branch.
If your state needs them, it should pay for them.


Fear of Islam can be treated, cured

Dr. Adel Eldin wrote in St Petersburg Times Let the world know, American Muslims strongly condemn terrorism and all terrorists, whoever they are and wherever they may be. We love our country and are very proud to be American and Muslim.

If there is a conflict between the two, how do you resolve it?
Taking a scientific approach to the problem, first we should diagnosis it, then treat it.

The Diagnosis: The disease called Islamophobia (or fear of Islam and Muslims with the rise of terrorism). It has been perpetuated mostly by ignorance, and partly with deception and misinformation before and after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
What about the larger disease, Islam?
As much as terrorists hijacked our religion, extreme right-wing neoconservatives hijacked our administration,
They have not flown planes into any buildings, or strapped on explosive vests and blown themselves up to kill innocents, or set IEDs to blow up innocent passers-by.
and it seemed to every Muslim that America is at war with Islam the religion, not with the terrorists who have hurt us. As you, we wanted to bring terrorists to justice.
How many terrorists have you turned in? Do you report it to the authorities when radicals preach in your mosques that people should join the Jihad?
It seemed the facts did not matter anymore, as negative and false perceptions became the rule, not the exception, about Islam and Muslims.

Islam in the media is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism, and engaged in a clash of civilization (an idea put in Samuel Huntington's 1998 book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order).
Maybe the problem lies in the Quran: Surah 48:29 "Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. (Jesus preached kindness to all, not just those that believe as you do.) Thou wilt see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. On their faces are their marks, (being) the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Taurat; and their similitude in the Gospel is: like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight. (Is this supposedly a reference to The Parable of the Growing Seed in which Jesus says "He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.") As a result, it fills the Unbelievers with rage at them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds forgiveness, and a great Reward. "
Thus, anti-Muslim hostility is seen, which includes demonizing Islam and attacking our prophet and holy book (the Koran), and waging a smear campaign on radio talk shows, TV programs and the Internet.
Then why don't you have public debates with those you disagree with?
The treatment: I believe the therapy will include education and outreach and kindness. Ignorance constitutes 90 to 95 percent of the problem; the remaining 5 percent of the problem will need to be dealt with by law enforcement.

In Hernando County, for the past five years, there has been ongoing education about Islam and the prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), including a radio show aired at 12:40 p.m. every Friday on WWJB-AM 1450.

There also have been many visits to a large number of churches, clubs and businesses to educate, share views and establish dialogue. There is a Web site,, with all free materials in English and Spanish about Islam for those who are interested. Naturally, we have to stop inflaming the feelings of the Muslim world
If we are inflaming the Muslim world, then why have Sunni's and Shia been at each others throats since Muhammad died? Why does it matter whether Abu Bakr became the first Caliph (as the Sunnis wanted), or whether cousin Ali did (as the Shia wanted). These assholes hold a grudge for a LONG time, and it has nothing to do with our presence in Iraq or the existence of Israel.
  • Bringing our troops back home within six to 12 months and replacing them with a U.N.-led peacekeeping force, mostly from a very strong Muslim ally of the United States that also is a leading Arabic and Muslim country: Egypt.
    And how do you think that the Shia in Iran would take to that idea?
  • Becoming an even-handed broker in the Middle East conflict, especially if United States wants to maintain credibility as a broker in the peace process.
    Israel wants peace, and has exchanged land with those that would establish peace treaties with it. You should suggest to the Palestinians that they might give that a try.
  • Reviewing the parts of the Patriot Act that are damaging to our liberty and way of life, and makes us suspicious of each other.
    How about improving it to protect us even more.
  • Reviewing policies and holding hearings on policies that unfairly target the Muslim community, such as wiretapping and denial of visas to Muslim leaders who advocate peace and justice, such as Yusuf Islam (also known as Cat Stevens).
    If you are not saying things that you don't want us to hear, why do you fear wiretapping?
  • Establishing a special liaison between the U.S. State Department, the White House and American Muslims to discuss education, security and peaceful conflict resolution in the world.
    We are too close with organizations like CAIR now.
  • Reconnecting America to the Muslim world and re-establishing a healthy dialogue about mutual interests and the alliance of civilizations, not clash of civilizations. We need oil, which our lives and economy depend on, and which is found mostly in Muslim countries.
  • Following through on the 9/11 bipartisan commission's recommendation to bring hope through human development and improved living conditions, especially in Palestine and in Lebanon, where witnesses reported massacres of children. America alone vetoed the U.N. resolution that condemned those acts
    Only because it was one sided.
    and sided with Israel, a country that is given $200-million every day in U.S. tax money, part of which is used to kill innocent women and children. It makes our country look really bad in the eyes of the world.
Thus, we need the U.N. force monitoring the region while the peace process is being resuscitated and a final road map is being established to create two separate states living in peace and harmony and while attempts are made to replace extremism with moderation. This is the only way to bring sanity back to the world; clearly, wars will not achieve anything but destruction.

Finally, a very powerful treatment tool is to use the power of prayer to bring peace in this very special season, when our Christian friends and neighbors celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), along with their Muslim friends who celebrate Eid al-Adha, the feast of sacrifice, and with their Jewish friends who observe Hanukkah. All three religions have a common father: Abraham.
And you have hated the Jews ever since Abraham said to give his inheritance to Isaac, and not Ishmael.


The Big Lie About the Middle East

TIME reported No sensible person is against peacemaking in the Holy Land. Applause and hopefulness would seem the reasonable reaction to the Iraq Study Group's recommendation that the Bush Administration "act boldly" and "as soon as possible" to resolve the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. But as a front-row observer of similar efforts over the past 15 years, I could muster neither response. In lumping the Iraq mess in with the Palestinian problem--and suggesting the first could not be fixed unless the second was too--the Baker-Hamilton commission lent credibility to a corrosive myth: that the fundamental problem in the Arab world is the plight of the Palestinians.

And it shows out out of touch Baker and Hamilton both are.
It is a falsehood perpetuated not just by the likes of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, who came late to the slogan after their actual beefs--Saddam with his neighbors; bin Laden with the Saudi royals--gained insufficient traction in the Arab world. The mantra is also repeated like an axiom in the U.S.--in parts of the State Department, in various think tanks, by editorial writers and Sunday talk-show hosts.

Yes, it was a great disturbance in the Arab world in the 1940s when a Jewish state was born through a U.N. vote and a war that made refugees of many Palestinians.
The war really is not what made them refugees. The Arab states told them to withdraw to the camps so they could more easily attack Israel, and promised them not only their own land back but the Jewish land when they defeated the new Israeli state, and then they lost that war. They could have easily accomodated the Palestinians in other Arab countries (like Jordan), but they preferred forcing them to stay in the camps, suffering, so they could point to those suffering under their authoritarian rule, that the Palestinians had it worse, and it was all Israel's fault.
Then the 1967 war left Israel in control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and thus the Palestinians who lived there.
You should not start a war unless you are prepared to live with the situation if you lose the war. Israel made peace with some of its neighbors, and returned the land that had been taken from them, and was willing to make peace with the Palestinians in exchange for land, but they dont want a two state solution, they want to destroy Israel.
But the pan-Arabism that once made the Palestinian cause the region's cause is long dead, and the Arab countries have their own worries aplenty. In a decade of reporting in the region, I found it rarely took more than the arching of an eyebrow to get the most candid of Arab thinkers to acknowledge that the tears shed for the Palestinians today outside the West Bank and Gaza are of the crocodile variety. Palestinians know this best of all.

To promote the canard that the troubles of the Arab world are rooted in the Palestinians' misfortune does great harm. It encourages the Arabs to continue to avoid addressing their colossal societal and political ills by hiding behind their Great Excuse: it's all Israel's fault. Certainly, Israel has at times been an obnoxious neighbor,
Perhaps, but it could also be the best neighbor one could possibly have if people were willing to live side by side, in peace with Israel.
but God help the Arab leaders, propagandists and apologists if a day ever comes when the Arab-Israeli mess is unraveled. One wonders how they would then explain why in Egypt 4 of every 10 people are illiterate; Saudi Arabian Shi'ites (not to mention women) are second-class citizens; 11% of Syrians live below subsistence level; and Jordan's King can unilaterally dissolve Parliament, as he did in 2001. Or why no Middle Eastern government but Israel's and to some extent Lebanon's tolerates freedom of assembly or speech, or democratic institutions like a robust press or civic organizations with independence and clout--let alone unfettered competitive elections.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Iraqis Seek Coalition to Curb Cleric

NYT reported Following discussions with the Bush administration, several of Iraq’s major political parties are in talks to form a coalition whose aim is to break the powerful influence of the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr within the government, senior Iraqi officials say.

This is fantastic news.
The talks are taking place among the two main Kurdish groups, the most influential Sunni Arab party and an Iranian-backed Shiite party that has long sought to lead the government. They have invited Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to join them. But Mr. Maliki, a conservative Shiite who has close ties to Mr. Sadr, has held back for fear that the parties might be seeking to oust him, a Shiite legislator close to Mr. Maliki said.
They should tell Maliki that if he will abandon al Sadr, and lrt the Americans take al Sadr and his militia out, that he can remain in control. And they will learn how to form an alliance that croses religious boundaries.


Pakistani Islamists protest against pro-women law

Yahoo! News reported Thousands of Islamist protesters demonstrated in southern Pakistan on Sunday against a new law that reduces the burden of proof on rape victims by allowing them to seek justice without the need for four male witnesses. The Women Protection Bill, signed into law last month, was seen as a key test for President Pervez Musharraf's philosophy of "enlightened moderation" for his predominantly Muslim country. The protest in the country's biggest city of Karachi came a day after Musharraf ruled out any changes to the law despite calls from the Islamists. Some 10,000 supporters of the Islamist parties, most of them bearded, chanted slogans of "Down with Musharraf" and "Down with the Women Protection Law" at the rally and demanded the government scrap the law. The law takes the crime of rape out of the sphere of the religious laws, known as the Hudood Ordinances, and puts it under the penal code. Under the Hudood Ordinances, which were introduced by a military ruler in 1979, a rape victim had to produce four male witnesses to prove the crime, or face the possibility of prosecution for adultery.

The military ruler must have had a lot of trouble getting the ladies to sleep with him, to in effect make rape legal.
"We reject this law because it is unIslamic and also against women rights,"
It may be unislamic, since the men don't want to give women any power, but against women's rights? How does a woman profit from being able to be raped without the rapist worrying about being held responsible?
Fazal-ur-Rehman, a senior leader of the main Islamist alliance and opposition leader in the National Assembly, parliament's lower house, told the rally.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas trees removed from Sea-Tac

KING5 reported All of the Christmas trees inside the terminal at Sea-Tac have been removed in response to a complaint by a rabbi. A local rabbi wanted to install an 8-foot menorah and have a public lighting ceremony. He threatened to sue if the menorah wasn’t put up, and gave a two-day deadline to remove the trees.

A Christmas Tree is not a Christian symbol. A Menorah is a symbol of a minor Jewish holiday. I would have told him that we should be able to put up a Nativity Scene, and that the Jewish faith had an opportunity to either put up a menorah for Hannukah, or put up Jewish symbols on some more important Jewish holidays. If Christians get to put up decorations for one holiday, Christmas, then other faiths (with some minimum level of membership in the community) should be able to select one of their holidays and put up decorations for it as well. If we also get to put up decorations for Easter (and I mean a Cross, not some secular Easter Bunny), then they get to select a second Jewish holiday and decorate for it.
Sea-Tac public affairs manager Terri-Ann Betancourt said the trees that adorn the Sea-Tac upper and lower levels may not properly represent all cultures.
Christmas trees represent a secular version of Christmas. The only tie to religion would be to the Druid winter celebration.
She said that since this is their busiest time of year and they don't have time to add a fair representation of all cultures, her department decided to take down all of the decorations, review their policies, and decide if they need to make a change for next year.


Iran Ties Role in Iraq Talks to U.S. Exit

NYT Just days after the Iraq Study Group recommended opening a dialogue with Tehran, Iran’s foreign minister said his country would enter discussions on stabilizing Iraq only if the United States commits to a troop withdrawal.

Troop withdrawal is a good idea. We need the troops in Afganistan, so we should stage them along the eastern border of Iraq, to prevent any more Iranian arms from being moved into Iraq for the Shiite militias, and we should tell Iran we are going to move those forces into Afganistan. Of course that will mean moving through Iran, and we can take care of a few problems there on the way to Afganistan.
Speaking to a security conference in Manama, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran was open to dialogue as long as the United States “changes its attitude,” and he asserted that the Americans were “50 percent to blame” for Iraq’s violence.
That is foolish. Iran is responsible for 60%, Syria 30%.
In a defiant presentation, he also insisted that the United States stop campaigning against Iran’s nuclear program.
In that he has a point. We should stop campaigning against it, and just take it out.


Shiites Rout Sunni Families in Mixed Area of Baghdad

NYT reported Bands of armed Shiite militiamen stormed through a neighborhood in north-central Baghdad on Saturday, driving hundreds of Sunni Arabs from their homes in what a Sunni colonel in the Iraqi Army described as one of the most flagrant episodes of sectarian warfare yet unleashed in the capital.

It is the presence of the bands of armed Shiite militia, and also the bands of armed Sunni militias that are causing most of the problems, and the ISG thinking they can solve that problem by partitioning Iraq into three separate regions is foolish. We have got to take down both militias. There are many pushing for an immediate withdrawal of forces from Iraq. Bush should take advantage of that pressure, and tell Prime Minister Ayad Allawi that if he does not give us the greenlight to take out Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army, and also do the same with the Sunni Militias, then Bush is going to do what the Surrender Monkeys want, and Cut and Run. Allawi is reluctant to let him do that, because he needs Sadr's votes to stay in office, but Bush should tell Kurdish President: Jalal Talabani that he should make certain that all of the Kurdish factions back Allawi, at least in the short term. If Sadr's people want to pull out of the government, we should let them do that, and then distribute most of the 6 ministries they hold, and most of the 30 seats in Parliment to the Kurds, but give a few to the Sunnis to show them that they can gain more power by working with the other groups than by killing members of the other groups.
The officer, Lt. Col. Abdullah Ramadan al-Jabouri, said that more than 100 Sunni families, many with very young children, had left the Hurriya neighborhood aboard a convoy of trucks and cars under cover of the nightly curfew. Government officials tried to urge the families to return by promising army protection, but could not persuade them.
The army will not be able to protect them as long as the militias remain armed. Our troops are not good at policing a civil war, but if you turn them loose and let them kill the armed militias, then the Iraqi army and police can do their jobs.