Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hagia Sofia, Christendom's Lost Church

Not lost, like a sock, or Atlantis. I mean lost, in the sense that it is missing from the parade of the world's great restored and FUNCTIONING Christian Churches of old.

This Turkish Church is a sad story. It functioned as a church for 900 years, till the Muslim conquest of Constantinople in 1453. It was then converted into a Mosque, stripped of it's Christian artwork, it's murals covered over with plaster. Minaret towers were added at various times.

Centuries later, prior to the recognition of Ataturk's republic by Europe, was a demand that Hagia Sofia be restored as a Christian Church. Ataturk refused, but compromised by turning it into a Museum in 1935.

Joshua Trevino at the Brussel's Journal reports on the state of this grand old church today:

The Shell of the Great Church
The Hagia Sophia is a tragedy in being.

At the center of old Constantinople stood the Church of the Holy Wisdom -- the Hagia Sophia. Where the great cathedrals of the West took decades or centuries to erect, the Hellenized Romans of the eastern Empire built the largest house of worship in Christendom in just five years. And they did so in the depths of the Dark Ages -- and it is still the largest free-standing domed church on the planet. [...]

The article goes on to give some of the historical background, leading up to it's transformation into a mosque. When it eventually becomes a museum, some of the old Christian artwork is uncovered, but unfortunately little effort is made to preserve it:

[...] Of especial note is the once-glorious mosaic of the Virgin, Christ, and John the Baptist on the upper level. When the Turkish Republic stripped the Ottoman whitewash in the 1920s, it was found preserved whole. Eighty years later, nearly two-thirds of it is gone, its tesserae ripped from the walls by looters and souvenir-seekers. A pathetic little photograph is now pasted to the wall beside its remains: this is what it used to look like, before it was victimized not by time, but by carelessness and apathy.

The Great Church is a dead shell. One enters it, and one is struck by its immensity and antiquity. But then, as one walks about it, one is struck by something else: its stasis. The house of God has no God in it, no worshippers of any kind, and no future to complement its past. The other great churches of Christendom are at the least well-preserved, and most even have active congregations. Aggressively secular Paris manages to find congregants -- and funds -- for Notre Dame. The Basilica of St Peter retains an active glory. St Mark's in Venice, nearest to the Hagia Sophia in decor and form, is yet alive with something more than tourists. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is patrolled by prickly monks of various denominations. With the exception of St Peter's, I have been to all of these, and now, this morning, to the Hagia Sophia. I have seen the great spaces of Christianity. And among them, only the Hagia Sophia is dead. It is a metaphor and a warning -- of the Ecumenical Patriarchate under the Turks, and of Christianity under Islam. [...]

(bold emphasis mine) I find it ironic that Muslims the world over claim intolerance is being aimed at their religion, while they are themselves so actively intolerant of other faiths. The dead Hagia Sophia is a monument to this. And the fact that it is in Turkey, considered the most modern and secular of Muslim nations, makes it even more sad.

If you like history and old churches, read the rest of the article, which has a link to more photos by Joshua Trevino. The are links below also offer more photos and history as well.

Here are some photos of some of the restoration work that has been done:

There has been controversy over the restoration work, because in order to uncover the Christian artwork, it would be necessary to destroy Muslim artwork that was put over it.

These two photos came from the Wikipedia page, via the link below. Visit there to see even more photos of the artwork of Hagia Sophia, and to read more about the Christian/Muslim artwork controversy.

Related Links:

Wikipedia: Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia, the Mother Church

Byzantine Catholic Culture

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

US Air Imams; a political publicity stunt?

Tammy Bruce presents the case that they did exactly that. Some excerpts:

Did the US Air Imams Provoke Their Ouster?
Apparently so. Now the details emerge of exactly what these Islamists did on that US Airways flight, and it looks like they deliberately provoked their ouster from the plane. Why? Because victimhood and supposed oppression provide political power and clout in this country. [...]

It goes on about the dispute about the behavior witnesses say they saw, and the claims of Islamophobia made by the Imams. Tammy, a former leftist activist, maintains the Imams are using old tactics the left has been using for years:
[...] You must view Islamists as you do Leftists--the only way those parasitic groups are able to gain any political power and position is through guilt and intimidation.

And coming from a 'conference.' What do parasites like this do at a conference when the like-minded get together? They plan on how to cause trouble. How do I know? Because I've attended my share of leftist 'conferences' and that's exactly what we did--confer on how to get attention, how to gain control, how to push our agenda. This usually involved actions meant to provoke arrests and/or receive press attention on our issues. The core of these plans always relied upon, as did our very identities, the reinforcement of victimhood which guaranteed special social status, increased funding from the base, and last but not least, political power.[...]

(bold emphasis mine) Tammy calls them on other tactics as well, it's worth reading the whole thing.

This reminds me of another article I read. In Laura Mansfield's series Jihad in Small Town America: Part I of a Series, Laura visits an American Mosque. She arrives and hour early, before an English language introductory session. She asks if she can stay and wait, and do some reading till the English session begins. The Imam doesn't know she can speak and understand Arabic, and allows her to sit at the back of the room for the Arabic session. Part of what she overhears is thus:

[...] One of the men said, in Arabic “Blonde Americans are good for something!” Another man advised him to be cautious, since there was an American woman in the room. The Imam spoke up and told everyone that I didn’t speak Arabic.

At that point another student took the podium. His name was Khaled, and he began to recount his recent trip to New York City. Khaled and three of his companions had gone to New York for several days in January. He told of how uncomfortable his trip up to NYC had been. He felt like he was being watched, and thought he was the victim of racial profiling.

Khaled and his friends were pretty unhappy about it, and while in New York, they came up with a plan to “teach a lesson” to the passengers and crew. You can imagine the story Khaled told. He described how he and his friends whispered to each other on the flight, made simultaneous visits to the restroom, and generally tried to “spook” the other passengers. He laughed when he described how several women were in tears, and one man sitting near him was praying.

The others in the room thought the story was quite amusing, judging from the laughter. The Imam stood up and told the group that this was a kind of peaceful civil disobedience that should be encouraged, and commended Khaled and his friends for their efforts.

He pointed out that it was through this kind of civil disobedience that ethnic profiling would fail.

(bold emphasis mine) Civil disobedience? What they are doing is trying to make our present system of security unworkable, and to create a climate where the actions of Muslims cannot be questioned. For what purpose?

Related Links:

Marshals decry imams' charges
[...] The imams say they were removed from the Phoenix-bound flight because they were praying quietly in the concourse. They had been in Minnesota for a conference sponsored by the North American Imams Federation.

But other passengers told police and aviation security officials a different version of the incident. They said suspicious behavior of the imams led to their eviction from the flight. The imams, they said, tested the forbearance of the passengers and flight crew in what the air marshal called a "[political correctness] probe."

"The political correctness needs to be left at the boarding gate," the marshal said. "Instilling politically correct fears into the minds of airline passengers is nothing less than psychological terrorism." [...]

Read the details of the imam,s behavior. Tammy is right. It's classic leftist manipulation. This little game needs to have a stop put to it NOW.

Why we should care about C.A.I.R.
They need political correctness to silence their critics, because their actions do not hold up well under scrutiny. Connect the dots... it ain't pretty.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Helen Mirren as QE2 in "The Queen"

I haven't seen this movie yet, as we usually wait till movies come out on DVD. Not too long ago, we saw Helen Mirren play the part of QE1, and I thought she looked just a bit like QE2. Now we get to see her play the part. I think she will be very good in this film, everything I have seen and read about it looks promising.

Maynard at the Tammy Bruce blog recently saw the movie and posted about it. He offers some great comments without revealing too many details for those of us who haven't seen it yet. Here is a short excerpt of one of his comments:

[...] I come away from "The Queen" contemplating the tension between head and heart, and tilting towards the head in reaction to a touchy-feely era where it seems the heart has run wild. It's a question of balance. Without the head, we become merely animals; creatures of feelings and appetite and nothing more. This is the road to hedonism and eventually nihilism. But without the heart, the head is irrelevant, because then it matters not whether we live or die. [...]

(bold emphasis mine) That question of balance is something I agree with strongly. Like Maynard, I also think the touchy-feely element get's too much emphasis these days. We have both a reasoning, rational mind AND an emotional, impulsive heart; I believe we are meant to use both. When we rely too much on just one, we always end up in trouble.

He has other interesting comments about the film (like Tony Blair's wife being a potential Moonbat!), it's not a long post, you can give the whole thing a read here:

"The Queen"

Just last week we saw Helen Mirren in the last sequel of "Prime Suspect". Excellent as always, if you haven't seen the "Prime Suspect" series, treat yourself.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Just say "no"...

Hat tip to Cox and Forkum for the cartoon, titled "Snow Gray". You can read their related commentary and links HERE.

It's not hard to understand why people keep wanting to negotiate with Iran. People don't like war, and want to believe there are other options. People really want to BELIEVE that there is ALWAYS another option to war. That belief too often blinds them to anything that would contradict that belief.

WWII could have been nipped in the bud. But those who could have stopped it did not act, because millions of people worldwide "believed" in peace. So we had a tremendous war, for which we were unprepared, and which we nearly lost.

This time, there are nuclear weapons involved, and a global Jihadist movement that has no fear of M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction). Iran's president Amadinejad has talked many times about the return of the Mahdi. The Mahdi can't return until there has been global mass destruction and death. Amadinejad has said he believes the Mahdi will return in 2 or 3 years time. His country is trying to build nuclear weapons.

Is it that hard to understand?

Ahmadinejad and the 12th Imam

From Joel C. Rosenberg:
Mesmerized Media - When will Ahmadinejad’s radical religious beliefs get covered?
[...] When he addressed the United Nations General Assembly last year, he concluded his speech by praying for Allah to hasten the coming of “the Promised One,” the Islamic Messiah also known as the “Twelfth Imam” or the “Mahdi.” When he got back to Tehran, the Iranian leader told colleagues that during his speech he was surrounded by a halo of light, and that for 27 or 28 minutes as he spoke, delegates were so mesmerized by the words Allah was speaking through him that no one blinked. Not once.

In the months that followed, Ahmadinejad made his Islamic eschatology even more clear. He told followers that he believed the end of the world was rapidly approaching, and that the way to hasten the coming of the Messiah was to launch a global jihad to annihilate Israel and the United States. He also told followers that the “Mahdi” is already on the planet, but has not yet chosen to reveal himself. What’s more, Ahmadinejad has said that he has personally been in contact with the “Mahdi” and received instructions from him, instructions that are apparently leading Iran to prepare for an apocalyptic war to annihilate Judeo-Christian civilization as we know it. [...]

From Kenneth R. Timmerman:
Iranian President Sees End of World Order
[...] In a Nov. 16 speech in Tehran, Ahmadinejad said that the main mission of his government was to "pave the path for the glorious reappearance of Imam Mahdi (May God Hasten His Reappearance)."

Reports in government media outlets in Tehran have quoted Ahmadinejad as having told regime officials that the 12th imam will reappear in two years. That was too much for Iranian legislator Akbar Alami, who publicly questioned Ahmadinejad's judgment, saying that even Islam's holiest figures have never made such claims.

At the same time he has made such statements, the new president has repeatedly vowed to pursue Iran's nuclear programs, in open defiance of the International Atomic Energy Agency and European Union negotiators.

While many Shiite Muslims worship the 12th imam, a previously secret society of powerful clerics, now openly advising the new president, are transforming these messianic beliefs into government policies.

Led by Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, who frequently appears with Ahmadinejad, the Hojatieh society is considered by many Shiite Muslims as their own bona fide lunatic fringe. During the early years of the Islamic Revolution, even Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini found their beliefs too extreme for public commerce and sent them scurrying underground.

Since taking the reins of government in August, Ahmadinejad has placed Hojatieh devotees in his Cabinet and through the bureaucracy, where they are leading a crackdown on students, women, Western music and religious minorities. [...]

By Patrick Poole:
Ahmadinejad’s Apocalyptic Faith
[...] But rooted in the Shiite ideology of martyrdom and violence, the Hojjatieh sect adds messianic and apocalyptic elements to an already volatile theology. They believe that chaos and bloodshed must precede the return of the 12th Imam, called the Mahdi. But unlike the biblical apocalypse, where the return of Jesus is preceded by waves of divinely decreed natural disasters, the summoning of the Mahdi through chaos and violence is wholly in the realm of human action. The Hojjatieh faith puts inordinate stress on the human ability to direct divinely appointed events. By creating the apocalyptic chaos, the Hojjatiehs believe it is entirely in the power of believers to affect the Mahdi’s reappearance, the institution of Islamic government worldwide, and the destruction of all competing faiths.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has clearly indicated that he is a true believer in this faith. [...]

By Amil Imani:
Ahmadinejad is not unhinged
[...] To understand Ahmadinejad’s mindset and behavior accurately requires a close scrutiny of the elaborate and intricate theology of his faith in the most fundamentalist of numerous Shiite sects. For our purposes, however, it is sufficient to document the fact that Ahmadinejad is not unhinged. “Unhinged” is a derogatory term for a mentally disturbed individual. A prominent feature of such a person is the display of contradictory thoughts and behavior. By contrast, Ahmadinejad’s words, deeds, and beliefs show a fully rational person. His reasoning may be dangerous and faulty, but he is rational nevertheless.

Consider the following examples of Ahmadinejad’s sayings, beliefs and actions. Whether one agrees or disagrees with them, they all fit into a consistent pattern. [...]

By Amy Hess:
Ahmadinejad and the 12th Imam
[...] The 12th Imam is supposed to bring justice and peace by establishing Islam as the world religion. How does that factor into Ahmadinejad's vision for Iran and for his own purpose in the future of the Middle East and of the world? Does he truly see his religion as the path to justice and peace? Or does he seek to convert the world to Islam amidst flame and fire? [...]

(bold emphasis mine) Given his beliefs, does anyone really believe Amadinejad can be trusted in any "peace" process? He's made many of these statments publiclly, to the point where he has angered many in the Iranian government, for being too "frank". Our MSM does not focus on his beliefs, because it does not support their own agenda. Thus, the hopeless "peace process" continues to be presented as a viable option, as clear and present dangers are ignored.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sunday Story 11-26-06

This is one of those stories you get in your email or come across on the net. I get tired of just commenting on news, and I've been too busy lately to write much of anything myself. So here is a little story I've come across:


It was a busy morning, approximately 8:30 am, when an elderly gentleman in his 80's, arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am. I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound.

On exam it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound. While taking care of his wound, we began to engage in conversation. I asked him if he had a doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I then inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for awhile and that she was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease.

As we talked, and I finished dressing his wound, I asked if she would be worried if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now. I was surprised, and asked him. "And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?" He smiled as he patted my hand and said. "She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is."

I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought, "That is the kind of love I want in my life." True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.

"The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything that comes along their way."

- Author unknown

(bold emphasis mine) I thought it was a nice thought for winding down a Sunday, heading into Monday.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Brussel's controversial Beauty Queen

Halima Chehaïma, the 18 year old half-Moroccan half-flemish Beauty Queen, last September won the title of "Miss Brussels".

She is now a candidate for the title of "Miss Belgium", and is considered by many to be the perfect symbol of the new multicultural Belgium.

But there are a few issues that are causing some controversy. An excerpt from the Brussels Journal shows us a few of the things that are raising some questions about her suitability as a candidate for the title of "Miss Belgium":

[...] Halima Chehaïma was a controversial candidate. Last October she stood for the Marxist-Leninist Labour Party in the local elections in Molenbeek, the predominantly Muslim Brussels borough where she lives. The party is so marginal that she did not get elected, but her declaration that Israel must be wiped off the map raised the eyebrows of the organizers of the Miss Belgium pageant. What really seems to have ruined her chances, however, is her connection with Bilal Ould Haj, a Belgian criminal of Moroccan origin.

Ould Haj, who has been convicted three times so far for armed robberies, is soon to stand trial for torturing the 84-year old Maria Reyntjes. When he broke into the latter’s home in November 2003 and found only 500 euros (650 dollars) he flew into a rage, broke the old lady’s legs with a hammer and set her hair on fire. At the time he was Chehaïma’s sweetheart, though she claims they were just friends. [...]

She got a new boyfriend, an Albanian criminal. But the old boy friend escaped from jail, and the new boyfriend met up with the old boy friend and... well, you can read all the sordid details here:

Miss Brussels in Dire Straits

I remember when Vannessa Williams was a scandal in the USA. To Vanessa's credit, she wasn't involved with criminals, supporting communism or threating to wipe entire countries off the map. Sheesh.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Iraq: our last mistake?

It's been said that the victor in a war is the one who makes the next-to-last mistake. Could leaving Iraq now be our last mistake? This article by Tony Blankley asks that very question:

Making the Last Mistake in Iraq
[...] We have the most profound obligation to attempt to calculate the consequences of the impending American decision to wash our hands of the Iraq unpleasantness. In that regard, the words of President Kennedy come to mind: "There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction."

If we, the most powerful force on the planet, in a fit of disappointment and anger at our bungling policies to date, decide to shrug off our responsibilities to the future -- we will soon receive, and deserve, the furious contempt of a terrified world. In fact, even those Americans who today can't wait to end our involvement in the "hopeless" war in Iraq will -- when the consequences of our irresponsibility becomes manifest -- join the chorus of outrage. [...]

I have no doubt that the people in the West who have fought the hardest against this war will be the first to scream the loudest when the result of abandoning Iraq does us grave harm. And of course, they will accept no responsiblity for the sabatage they actively supported to bring it about.
[...] I have heard it said (by conservatives and Republicans, as well as others) that "if the Iraqis just want to murder each other, we should let them. We offered them freedom, and they didn't want it." If our decision on Iraq was only about Iraq, that argument might be persuasive.

But if, as it is hard to imagine otherwise, our departure from Iraq yields civil war, chaos, warlordism and terrorist safe havens -- it is very likely that Iran will lurch in to harvest their advantages, Turkey will send in its army to stop an independent Kurdistan, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the other Sunni states will be sucked in to fend off Shi'a Iran's hegemony. In that nightmare maelstrom the 20 million barrels a day of oil shipped from the Persian Gulf -- and the world economy with it -- will be in daily risk of being cut off.

Nor is that all. Al Qaeda and other terrorists are already gloating that they have whipped the "cowardly Americans" in Iraq. We will be seen (in fact, we are already beginning to be seen) as a weak reed for moderate Muslims to rely on in their hearts and mind struggle against the radical Islamists. Bin Laden was right in one regard: People fear and follow the strong horse; even more so in Middle Eastern culture, where restraint is seen as weakness and murder is seen as strength. [...]

We had a chance to crush and destroy murdering thugs like Muqtada al-Sadr, but we "restrained" ourselves. This caused them to lose all fear and respect for us, and has lead us to where we are now.

When Japan and Germany were defeated in WWII, they were occupied and CRUSHED. There was resistance, and it took years to reform them into self-sustaining democracies that were friendly with Western civilization.

In the times we live in, this has been made virtually impossible. Multiculturalism, political correctness and the large leftist/socialist movement in the West that perpetuates them has kept us with one hand tied behind our backs.

It's easy to be an arm-chair general. Things always look clearer with hindsight, but you don't get that until after mistakes are made. This was never going to be an easy task, and the outcome was always far from certain. Creating a viable Democracy in Iraq had many obstacles built into the situation. The goal was admirable, and still is, but where is the will to carry it through? Where is the RESOLVE? The resolve of the West? The Jihadists seem to have no problem with theirs.

Islam has not changed for centuries. This battle is not new. What is new, what has changed, is our perceived weakness, and the alliance of the Western politcal left in support of Jihadist movements.

From Ralph Peters article in the NY Post, "ARABIAN NIGHTMARES", is this very sobering assesment of our current position in Iraq:

[...] With the situation in Iraq deteriorating daily, sending more troops would simply offer our enemies more targets - unless we decided to use our soldiers and Marines for the primary purpose for which they exist: To fight.

Of course, we've made a decisive shift in our behavior difficult. After empowering a sectarian regime before imposing order in the streets, we would have to defy an elected government. Leading voices in the Baghdad regime - starting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki - would demand that we halt any serious effort to defeat Shia militias and eliminate their death squads.

Killing Sunni Arabs would be fine, of course. The Maliki government's reason for being is to promote Shia power.

Reportedly, our CentCom commander, Gen. George Abizaid, just had a "come to Jesus meeting" (metaphor fully intended) with Maliki, warning him that our continued support is contingent on the government moving to impose public order and protect all of Iraq's people. The result is predictable: A few law-enforcement gestures by daylight, some reshuffled government appointments - and more sectarian killing.

From the Iraqi perspective, we're of less and less relevance. They're sure we'll leave. And every faction is determined to do as much damage as possible to the other before we go. Our troops have become human shields for our enemies.

To master Iraq now - if it could be done - we'd have to fight every faction except the Kurds. Are we willing to do that? Are we willing to kill mass murderers and cold-blooded executioners on the spot?

If not, we can't win, no matter what else we do. [...]

We had a chance to kill the enemy, but instead, we allowed ourselves to be pressured, to be "nice" and include them in the government. We were also pressured into giving authority to the Shia dominated Iraqi government too soon, before law and order and civil institutions were firmly re-established. I believe this pressure came from the Western political left with it's sabatage, constant political attacks and lack of support for our presence there and our mission. All of that encouraged the enemy and undermined our efforts.

If we leave now, what will we leave behind? The Democrat leadership now seems hell-bent on an exit strategy, with little regard to the consequences. I hope there are some Blue-Dog Democrats who understand what is at stake here. If you just cut and run, the danger will follow us. If Republicans and Democrats can work together in a bi-partisan manner (as they should have been all along), there may still be hope. Tony Blankley summed up the choice thus:

[...] We have only two choices: Get out and let the ensuing Middle East firestorm enflame the wider world; or, stay and with shrewder policies and growing material strength manage and contain the danger. [...]

(bold emphasis mine) If we leave now, we may have to do it all over again from scratch later, at much greater costs in every way. IF we even have the opportunity to do so; this may be the only window of opportunity. A nuclear Iran in the near future could change everything.

Of Tony Blankley's options, the later seems the more sensible, but will we, can we, muster the bi-partisan resolve to do it?

Will we heed JFK's warning about not doing anything?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Author Nonie Darwish Renounces Jihad

Here is a book published by the daughter of a Muslim Shahid. The following is a recommendation for the book, from the comments section for the book at, which gives a nice synopsis of the book and Darwish's background:

Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror
[Five Stars] Call Her Courageous, November 17, 2006
Reviewer: P. Cooke "trying to learn something every day" (Oceanside, CA USA) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME)


Nonie Darwish's entrancing and frightening account of her childhood and upbringing in the 50's, 60's and 70's Middle East gives the reader an opportunity to see the build up of jihad and the perpetuation of hatred towards Israel and America at a very personal level.

Her status as a Shahid's (Martyr's) daughter and being of the upper class in Egyptian Society allowed her access to the media and therefore information from the outside world that most did not share. Her early years were spent in Gaza where her father was a high ranking member of Nasser's Egyptian Army.

She was taught hatred and prejudice towards the Jews and Israel and the passion for jihad as early as elementary school. She was told not to accept candy from strangers on the street because it could be a Jew who wants to poison Arab children. She was told that Jews love to kill Arab children and use their blood in their cookies. Nonie did not buy in to the hate speech and ugliness of the propaganda that is spread throughout Muslim countries.

After her father was killed by a package bomb from Israel, her mother, Nonie and four siblings moved to Egypt. She couldn't understand, even at a young age, why President Nasser asked of her and her siblings, "Which of you will kill Jews in retaliation of your father's death?" She did not want to kill Jews.

She speaks of Egypt, her country of origin, as being more westernized than other countries in the Middle East. When she was growing up, most women did not wear the veil. There was still polygamy and she had heard tales of female circumcision. But, her mother sent them to private, Christian schools to get the best education and she was able to purchase a car and obtain a driver's license to get them to school.

Ms. Darwish's education at the American University of Cairo introduced her to diversity and open discussion. She was amazed that the average Egyptian thought that Egypt had always been Muslim, even when the pyramids were built. They never knew that Israel was inhabited by Jews for centuries before Muhammad was born. The Arab media and Dictators had been lying to their people for generations now.

She was able to "escape" to the U.S. where her personality finally found a home. She took several years to raise a family and settle in Los Angeles. Nonie tells of a time she took a visiting family friend to a mosque in her neighborhood. She was embarrassed by the hate speech in the mosques even then. According to Ms. Darwish many Muslims in America do not attend mosques because the local Imams are spreading anti-American propaganda and encourage jihad.

She felt the Jihad was coming to America. Most of the Mosques in America are built and supported by Saudi Arabia. When the Jihadists flew into the World Trade Center and into the Pentagon and that field in Pennsylvania Nonie called her family and friends in Egypt. All of them denied it was Islamic Terrorists. They said it was an Israeli plot. She was even admonished for not being a good Muslim and blaming the attacks on Muslim Terrorists. She pointed out to them that Mohammed Atta was Egyptian and they responded with anger that Nonie would not defend her culture of origin.

After 9/11 Nonie felt compelled to speak out against the Jihadist movement. Now she speaks around the world and on college campuses to refute the hate coming out of the Muslim world towards Israel and the West. She has organized a group, Arabs for Israel, to open a venue for Arabs who do support Israel's democracy in the Middle East.

This book is one brave woman's story of life in a repressed society and her escape to the freedom loving United States. Her insight into Arab culture is invaluable. There needs to be more voices, women's voices coming from these cultures so we can shine a light on the injustice and persecution still being applied to people in these countries today.

Her writing style is not aggressive or combative. Her love of the Egyptian people and the beauty that the diverse Arab culture has given the world is evident in her chapters. She simply deplores the hateful rhetoric and violent methods Islamists are endorsing. She hopes for peace for everyone in this life. Ms. Darwish was able to write her life story because she has been living in the United States for over 25 years now. She is a U.S. citizen; she has the courage of her convictions and the freedom of speech behind her now.

(bold emphasis mine. I've also added some paragraph breaks) People is the U.S. often ask "why don't more Muslims speak out against terrorism?" Could it be it's because other Muslims won't let them speak?

Nonie Darwish was invited to speak at Brown University, until she was dis-invited when Muslim students objected.

From Michelle Malkin:
Spineless at Brown University
A part of an excerpt from the NY Post:

[...] Muslims are often accused of not speaking out sufficiently against terrorism. Nonie Darwish knows one reason why: Their fellow Muslims won't let them.

Darwish, who comes from Egypt and was born and raised a Muslim, was set to tell students at Brown University about the twisted hatred and radicalism she grew to despise in her own culture. A campus Jewish group, Hillel, had contacted her to speak there Thursday.

But the event was just called off.

Muslim students had complained that Darwish was "too controversial." They insisted she be denied a platform at Brown, and after contentious debate Hillel agreed.

Weird: No one had said boo about such Brown events as a patently anti-Israel "Palestinian Solidarity Week." But Hillel said her "offensive" statements about Islam "alarmed" the Muslim Student Association, and Hillel didn't want to upset its "beautiful relationship" with the Muslim community. [...]

Brown's Muslim student's rather proved her point, by not allowing her to be heard. When the facts don't support you, you are forced to reform your views or silence your critics. Totalitarians like Jihadist supporters and Western Leftists naturally resort to the latter.

Political correctness and Multicutluralism rule the day at our universities, allowing academic elites to decide what we may and may not discuss and debate. This is yet another example the alliance of the Western Political Left and Jihadists at work. Their stagnating grip on our academic institutions, and the resultant stiffling of free debate and discussion, needs to be broken.

UPDATE 11-22-06:
Brown U. update: Darwish re-invited
Her invitation to speak has been re-issued. That sounds good, but it remains to be seen wether or not she will actually be allowed to speak. Lets hope she can.

Related Link:

Arabs for Isreal
This site has several links to interviews with Nonie Darwish.

Monday, November 20, 2006

We must keep John Bolton at the U.N.

"The problem of anti-Israel bias is not unique to the Human Rights Council. It is endemic to the culture of the United Nations. It is a decades-old, systematic problem that transcends the whole panoply of the UN organizations and agencies," - John Bolton

From Tammy Bruce:
Why John Bolton is Important
It is imperative John Bolton remain as our Ambassador to the UN, as I noted in this post. His willingness to speak truth to power (as the Left likes to term it) is imperative when it comes to shining a big light on that entity's moral vacuity. Publicly naming and shaming depraved acts is an important step reform and change. It's something Bolton does beautifully, and boy, do we have another example for you (HT LGF). [...]

(bold emphasis mine) See Tammy's post for more Bolton quotes.

From Michelle Malkin:

Blogging for Bolton
The Democrats want John Bolton's scalp. This is a moment for conservatives to stand up to the Left's empty, vindictive obstructionism and support a strong voice for America's interests at the corrupted, soft-on-jihad offices of Turtle Bay.

We're videoblogging for Bolton over at Hot Air.

Call Congress and make your voice heard here.

Visit Michelle's post for more links and editorial excerpts.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

My gall bladder surgery

Last October, I posted about my gall bladder dilemma, where I explained my reasons for hesitating to have my gall bladder removed, and my request for information from people who faced the same decision.

There were many interesting answers to that post. I decided to have the surgery, partly based on the replies I got, and partly based on my intuition. I just had a hunch that no matter what I did to help my gall bladder, it would remain a chronic problem, and that I was risking having emergency surgery one day. So on November 15th, I had the surgery. They kept me over night, released me the next day, and now I am at home, recuperating.

The doctor told me that my gall bladder had lots of scar tissue. I think it had been sick for a very long time. I can feel where the organ used to be. When I was a kid, I used to have pain in my side there if I ran very far. As I grew older, it would still hurt there if I ran more than a city block or so. Perhaps it was related.

Below is me, post-op. They shaved my stomach, and made five incisions.

I seem to have one extra hole poked in me. I'm supposed to see the surgeon on a follow up vist at the end of the month, I suppose I'll find out what that was for. I know that one of the instruments is supposed to suck the bile out of the gall bladder and collapse it, making it easier to pull out.

I've been instructed that I can shower with the bandages on, but not to soak in a bathtub or hot tub. I can remove bandaids, but I am to leave the "steri-strips" on until they fall off, or the doctor removes them.

I am sleepy a lot, so I take naps when I can. I do some light housework like washing dishes and such, but I'm avoiding heavy lifting for now. I think it's important to get up and move around, to keep from getting stiff; if I lie around too much, it hurts more.

I was perscribed pain pills, Hydrocodone, but I only took one when I got home. They are rather strong and can cause constipation, so I started taking Advil instead, and it seems to do the job of managing pain just fine. I was taking an Advil every four hours, but now I am taking them less frequently, as needed. Every day the soreness is less.

It's four days after the surgery now, and I haven't had any problems with foods. Other people in my family have had this surgery, and they also were problem free, so I continue to hope that will be the case for me also.

It would seem that the majority of people don't have side effects, or not many if they do. Some side effects are temporary. If you are considering the surgery, it helps to read about people's different experiences, so that you are aware of potential side effects that could happen, so you won't be taken completely by suprise if they do occur. After surgery, I think it's important to eat a good diet that is healthy for the liver, to keep the bile healthy and avoid any complications in the future. Without a gall bladder, stones can form in the liver itself if the bile is unhealthy, so why risk that?

I've been looking at some of the searches people have done that pulled up my first gall bladder post, and I've found some interesting links to other people's experiences. One of the most detailed and informative ones was this one:

2001: A Gall Bladder Removal

It shows some of the side effects that can occur as a result of the surgery.

Everyone is different. Some people have side effects, like Mr. Griggs in the above link, and yet many have none at all. Some of the side effects people experince can lessen or disappear over time.

Some people seem to develop problems months or years later. That is one reason I am sticking to a healthy diet, one that is good for my liver. I believe gall stones form because the bile the liver produces is out of balance, too thick, which causes the formation of sludge and stones. Just because I now don't have the gall bladder to form stones, doesn't mean it's ok to ignore the quality of bile the liver produces. I've been drinking lots of organic apple juice, because the malic acid is supposed to be good for thinning the bile. It helped reduce the inflamation my gall bladder had, and it cleared out the sludge. It quieted the gall bladder, making the surgery a bit easier.

Some people claim that over time, drinking organic apple juice might have dissolved the stones too, but I didn't want to wait that long and take that chance. It took years to get as bad as it did, and I wasn't sure I had years to wait to dissolve stones. The worst attack I had was due to acute inflammation, and that was not something I wanted to risk again. But I have always liked apple juice, and our local supermarket keeps two reasonabley priced organic brands in stock, so I will keep it as part of my diet.

I've also eliminated hydroginated oils from my diet. For example, I've switched to eating natural peanut butter (the kind that needs to be stirred up and kept in the fridge). I've cut back on confections made with white flour and sugar, like commercial cookies and cakes and such, as they were always the things that triggered my attacks. I've always cut fat off of steaks and meats, and I continue to do so.

Some people complain about problems with spicey foods, but I've been able to eat them without any issues. Some people complain that they are not able to drink as much alcohol as they did. I usually have a glass of wine with dinner, and I continue to do so, without problems.

All things considered, I would say it was the right decision to make in my case. I may do some updates on this topic as time goes on, as it does seem to be one that many people are interested in.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Tony Blair wimps out; history flashback?

Hat tip to Cox and Forkum for the cartoon. You can read their related commentary and disturbing links HERE. Tony Blair caves in... as a result of American elections? This cartoon is called "Flashback", as we seem to be repeating events of the 1930's very closely. It's worth checking out Cox & Forkums links. The following was not among their links, but is related.

From Amir Teheri:
Islamists Dream Big after U.S. Elex

[...] Tehran decision-makers believe that the Democrats' victory will lift the pressure off the Islamic Republic with regard to its nuclear program. "It is possible that the United States will behave in a wiser manner and will not pit itself against Iran," says Ali Larijani, Tehran's chief negotiator on the nuclear issue.

His view is echoed by academics with ties to "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei. "The Democrats will do their best to resolve Iran's nuclear issue through negotiations, rather than resorting to threats," says Yadallah Islami, who teaches politics at Tehran University. "Bush will be forced to behave the way all U.S. presidents have behaved since Richard Nixon - that is to say, get out of wars that the American people do not want to fight."

Nasser Hadian, another academic with ties to Khamenei, goes further. "With the return of a more realistic view of the world, the United States will acknowledge the leading role that the Islamic Republic must play," he says. "There is no reason for our government to make any concessions on the nuclear issue."

Arab radical circles are even more hopeful that Bush's defeat will mark the start of an historic U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East. They draw parallels between the American election and Spain's 2004 vote, days after the Madrid terrorist attacks, which led to an unexpected change of government.

The radicals expect U.S. policies to change on three issues: [...]

(bold emphasis mine) There were many issues affecting the U.S. elections, but the Jihadists and the Middle Eastern Media focus on those aspects which support their contention that we are too weak to resist their rising onslaught, and our actions are unfortunately only seen in that light.

The three issues the radicals now expect we will weaken on are: Iraq, Iran and Israel. Teheri offers chilling details on how radicals hope these issues will be affected, but he also affers some alternative variations and power shift ploys that could also come into play. There are competing forces at work in each situation, and it's not easy to know which ones will dominate, and much depends on the actions of other involved parties.

Related Links:

From James McConalogue at the Brussels Journal:
Iraq: The Lemmings Want to Get Out
[...] Following the dishonourable politics plighting the Democratic agenda in the US, it should remain clear that no counterpart critique or inquiry should arise in Britain. The reason why the US Democrats do not need to think twice about the Iraq turnaround is that they have no intrinsic sense of honour – for them, transparency and accountability is enough. Turncoats! They offer, as the basis of their agenda and goldfish-minded approach, a very different history on the origins of the Iraq war – openly swearing that the US and Britain went to war precisely and only because of the presence of WMD. [...]

(bold emphasis mine) McConalogue had serious doubts about our ability to establish a Democratic government in Iraq right from the start, but was always for removing Saddam. He resents the way the media keeps trying to make the war only about the issue of WMDs, when there were clearly so many other factors involved.

From Ralph Peters at the NY Post:
Iraq's Butchers Exploit Our Morality

[...] With Iraqi society decomposing - or, at best, reverting to a medieval state with cell phones - the debate in Washington over whether to try to save the day by deploying more troops or withdrawing some is of secondary relevance.

What really matters is what our forces are ordered - and permitted - to do. With political correctness permeating our government and even the upper echelons of the military, we never tried the one technique that has a solid track record of defeating insurgents if applied consistently: the rigorous imposition of public order.

That means killing the bad guys. Not winning their hearts and minds, placating them or bringing them into the government. Killing them. [...]

(bold emphasis mine) I fear that this is what has been wrong all along. We went into this with one arm tied behind our backs. What good is our military force, if we can't USE it?

From Charles Krauthammer at Real Clear Politics:
Can the Iraqis Keep Their Republic?
[...] Are the Arabs intrinsically incapable of democracy, as the "realists'' imply? True, there are political, historical, even religious reasons why Arabs are less prepared for democracy than, say, East Asians and Latin Americans who successfully democratized over the last several decades. But the problem here is Iraq's particular political culture, raped and ruined by 30 years of Saddam's totalitarianism.

What was left in its wake was a social desert, a dearth of the trust and good will and sheer human capital required for democratic governance. All that was left for the individual Iraqi to attach himself to was the mosque or clan or militia. At this earliest stage of democratic development, Iraqi national consciousness is as yet too weak and the culture of compromise too undeveloped to produce an effective government enjoying broad allegiance. [...]

If we can't use our military force to maintain law and order, then there is no hope for a democratic government.

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Duck and Dog Drama

Here is our beautiful Drake. He is very protective of his mate, which gets him into trouble sometimes. He and one of our chihuahua's hate each other, and we are always sure to keep them separate. But last week, we went into town to do some errands. The dogs and the ducks were separated by a wire fence.

Well our dear drake apparently stuck his head through the wire fence, and we think the chihuahua bit his beak. It was bleeding - a ducks bill has a layer of skin over it, and is filled with nerves. In the above picture you can see the cracks or breaks on the right side of his bill. He couldn't eat for a day or so, but now he is able to eat mashed bananas, and seems to be recovering and returning to his normal self.

Above is a photo of our prime suspect, here seen guarding a severed Rooster foot we fed to him after slaughtering one of our roosters for dinner.

We have covered the wire fence separating the dog and duck areas with an extra layer of smaller mesh wire, to keept the ducks from poking their heads through. Hopefully that will be sufficient. Most injuries caused to ducks are by dogs. I've read that even dogs and ducks that have seemed to get along for years, should never be left alone together, because an attack can occur all too easily.

I've seen the dynamic in action; the duck tries to keep the dogs at a distance, and lunges at them to chase them back. The dog interprets this as an attack, and snaps back at the duck. The duck isn't trying to provoke an attack, he is just trying to keep the dogs from getting too close, but it too easily escalates into an attack.

I can't be certain it was the Chihuahua who did the damage, but our male chihuahua and the drake have a special animosity for each other; the chihuahua will stand outside the fence for hours barking, if we let him. Based on his behaviour, I would bet it was him that did the deed. Perhaps we shall have to get a pair of Geese to straighen him out.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Christmas Lights Already at Rooster Ranch

Putting up Christmas lights can be such a fuss, then you have to take them down so soon. So this year, we decided to start earlier, so we could enjoy them longer. We put them up shortly after the Daylight Savings time change.

At night out here, there are no streetlights; when it gets dark, it's DARK. Which makes the lights all the more enjoyable.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Pelosi moves to sandbag Jane Harman

Photo: Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA)

From Tammy Bruce:

Rep. Harman "Too moderate, too centrist" for Pelosi
As a precursor of the ugliness yet to come within a divided Dem Party, presumed House Speaker-elect Pelosi is shunning fellow California Rep. Jane Harman for the chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Harman is the ranking Dem on that committee and would normally be the automatic choice for the Chairship. She is considered hawkish, but fair, and a loyal Democrat. If current Dem Party leadership actually cared about representing this country and regenerating the party, Harman would be a perfect face for the new Dem beginning--that moderate individual who is progressive but believes this nation deserves to be defended. But that, apparently, is not on Pelosi's mind.

According to NBC's Andrea Mitchell, however, Pelosi considers Harman "too moderate" and will not let her advance. So much for the Dems hearing the "voice of the people" demanding less partisanship and a more moderate approach on the issues. [...]

(bold emphasis mine) Harman has EARNED her way, to become the House intelligence committee's ranking Democrat, deserving of a leadership position. Yet to the left elites that dominate the Democratic party, it counts for nothing.

If you read further, you will find Tammy's scathing commentary about how leftist women like Pelosi wield their power against women who don't conform enough to the status quo of the leftist elites. Tammy, a conservative Democrat, has been on the receiving end of this kind of treatment many a time, and knows all too well of what she speaks.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Partisan Politics and Idealogues

Hat tip to Cox and Forkum for the cartoon. You can read their related commentary and links HERE.

I don't expect members of opposing political parties to act like best friends. Partisan politics is inherently contentious, and that's only natural. Yet one would hope that on issues of bi-partisan interest, like national security, they could find some common ground. Given the current players, is that realistic?

Yesterday, in my post: Nancy Pelosi, Democrats and Flexibility, I speculated that perhaps Pelosi had stretched herself as House Minority Whip, and might now become more flexible, and that the Democrats might actually try working with President Bush. I now doubt the former, but still hope for the latter, mostly because of the Blue Dog Democrats (I've updated yesterday's post accordingly).

The San Francisco Democrats I've known tend to be leftist idealogues, more interested in advancing their idealogy at any cost, than they are in working on compromises with people with opposing views.

In this past election, many Blue Dog Democrats were elected. It will be interesting to see who will be able to exert the most influence, the Leftist Idealogues, or the Blue Dogs. I fear that the party leadership is dominated by the Leftist Idealogues, who only wish to harness the Blue Dogs to use to their own ends. Yet I think the Blue Dogs may turn out to be a force to be reckoned with. I hope so, we shall see.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Nancy Pelosi, Democrats and Flexibility

Having lived in San Francisco for 23 years (we moved away 3 years ago), it would be easy to say a lot of negative things about Nancy Pelosi as she assumes the role of Speaker of the House.

She has quite a history of left wing politics, and San Francisco leftists are FAR to the left. As a result, one could easily make statements like:

"Nancy Pelosi is an unreconstructed Hippy Chick, and no matter how many strings of pearls she wears now, she is still a hippy leftist. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and you can't take the hippy leftist out of Pelosi."

That would sound dramatic, and perhaps it would even be true. It's just that, I'm not 100 percent sure it would be fair to be that... absolute.

It would be EASY to say that about Barbara Boxer. Moo. But Nancy MIGHT be a bit more... complicated.

I remember when she became the house minority party whip, she suddenly found herself representing and speaking for more than just her nutty San Francisco constituents back home. She had to speak for some Democrats whose views she didn't completely agree with. She had to learn to play the Washington D.C. game.

She modified her speech somewhat. When our troops went into Iraq, she was urged by her San Francisco constituents to condemn the President in the strongest possible terms. Instead, she said something about it not being appropriate to criticize the Commander in Chief in a time of war. It made her constituents furious.

Of course as the war wore on, she started shooting her mouth off; she just didn't want to do it in the beginning, till she saw how things unfolded, and what she could get away with. Some would call that wrong, some would call it shrewd. I think it's safe to say she didn't get where she is today by being a total fool.

As she has been given a greater position in the party, it would seem she has had to adapt herself to the role she's filling. There is some debate about how sucessful she has been at that.

I have never been a hard core leftist. But in my youth, I embraced a lot of leftist ideas that I hadn't thought out, ideas I now look back on and consider to be utter rubbish. I've grown, I've changed, I've matured and learned. As a result, I can only wonder about Nancy.

If I plant an apple seed, I don't expect an orange tree to grow from it. I also don't expect leftist Democrats to act like conservative Republicans. My expectations for what we can expect from her are not really high.

And yet, she is more complex than a fruit tree, and at least potentially, more flexible.

George Bush has said for years that he wants to work with the Democrats. He had a history of reaching out and forming coalitions as Governor of Texas. But for years, the MSM has insisted that Bush is divisive and has divided the country. Bush even reached out to Democrats like Ted Kennedy on issues like education, and Kennedy stabbed him in the back at the first opportunity. The Democrats have not exactly been flexible, or reaching out.

The irony of that is, George Bush is in so many ways like a Democrat. It's one of his qualities that has raised the ire of more conservative Republicans.

Now that the Democrats have won some influence and power, what will they do with it? Nancy Pelosi said before the election that impeachment of Bush is not on their agenda. I have read that the Dems have done polls, that show the idea would be unpopular with the majority of Americans. If the polls shifted, I expected the Dems position on that might shift too. But for now, it seems like they are being ... careful. They have also gotten many "Blue Dog" Democrats elected, and that will have consequences in the party, too.

Has Nancy Pelosi been "stretched" by her position in the party, to the point where she can work on issues in a bi-partisan manner?

Will Pelosi, Harry Reid and the Democrats generally, work with the Bush Administration on accomplishing ANYTHING? It might be easy to be pessimistic, yet I'd like to be optimistic. There are quite a number of issues that really should be dealt with in a bi-partisan manner. The Democrats claim that Bush is divisive. Now they have more power. Are they going to use it to help create bi-partisan unity, on the many fronts it is needed, or will they just continue to make inflexible demands for what they want, and call any resistance "divisive"?

I hope it's the former, not the latter. It takes two to tango. I think Bush really has been doing his part. The Dems have some more moderate members elected now, and it's my hope they might be able to do their part. I don't expect them to agree; in fact I expect them to disagree on many things. But if both sides try, they may find some common ground for bi-partisan cooperation.

While I could easily be the biggest critic of Nancy and her party, I am instead going to pause, and see what they actually do. They have a window of opportunity here, to unite the country. Will they use it? I'm sure I will continue to disagree with them on many things, but if they could start acting like Americans on at least some issues, it would help. I live in hope.

Related Links:

Blue Dog Democrats
It's more than just a figure of speech. Who are they, and what do they want? Here is the Wikipedia entry about the Blue Dogs, with lots of information and links about this important and increasingly influential coalition.

Is Europe Nancy Pelosi’s America?
The Democrat's desire for America to be like Europe, and the dangers therin.

UPDATE: 11-12-06 10:30pm

Nancy is supporting John Murtha (D-Pa.) for majority leader. That sure sends a message, doesn't it? She didn't waste any time, can't say I'm suprised.

UPDATE II: 11-13-06

Nancy Pelosi, adaptable? What WAS I thinking? Ordinary people might adapt their views as they mature, and learn to compromise. But Nancy is an idealogue, and they usually hold hard and fast to their visions, no matter how fantasy based they are.

Pelosi may change her image externally, but she's as much a hard core lefty as ever. The socialists and communists in Europe wear nice clothes, too. It's called P.R.

Neal Boortz gives us the latest scoop on Pelosi's shenanigans:

And Pelosi is leading the charge. And it isn't just that she's pushing Murtha and his agenda forward. An excerpt:

[...] Sure....Nancy Pelosi is doing everything she can to change her image from San Francisco Moonbat to one of a middle-of-the road moderate Democrat. But people who really know Nancy Pelosi know better. The good news for Republicans over the next two years is that she can't hide who she is. And why are all of these supposedly new moderate members of Congress going to vote for Pelosi as Speaker of the House? Who knows.

So now she's saying she supports Murtha for Majority Leader. This suddenly makes Steny Hoyer look like a conservative. So Pelosi is for Murtha....the same John Murtha that is calling for unconditional surrender to Al-Qaeda in Iraq. This is the same John Murtha that jumped to conclusions, all but accusing our troops of war crimes in Iraq. Yup...that John Murtha.

So don't let the conservative hairdo and attire fool you...Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi is a huge far to the Left as they come in the United States Congress.

Nancy Pelosi will also pass over Jane Harman for the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee. Harman, a California Democrat, is accepted as the Democrat's most knowledgeable member of the House on Security and Intelligence issues. There's a problem though. Harman supports the war on Islamic Fascism. Pelosi wants the House Intelligence Committee to be chaired by someone who doesn't support that war. Make sense to you? [...]

Will the Blue Dog Democrats push for Jane Harman? It will be interesting to see.

The hard left in the Democratic Party wants to cut and run in Iraq. I think many of the Blue Dogs also don't want us to be there. Will they be as quick to cut and run? Who knows. But whatever the Democrats cause to happen with the situation in Iraq now, it will follow them for years to come. And the consequences, unfortunately, will follow us all.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thank You, Veterans

This picture always moves me. Here are some details I found out about it:

The occasion of this photograph was a Veterans Day Commemoration at Dallas City Hall on 11 November 2004. The veteran pictured is Houston James, a survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, and the Marine is Staff Sgt. Mark Graunke Jr., a member of an ordnance-disposal team who lost his left hand, one leg, and an eye while defusing a bomb in Iraq in July 2003.

Honor our veterans today, for all their efforts, large and small.

(souce: deskmerc) We can never thank them enough.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rainbows and Clouds with Silver Linings

Yesterday morning, when I went outside to feed the chickens and ducks, I saw this rainbow. We've been having steady rains, there was a break in the clouds. Here are the photos I took.

Rainbows make me think of silver-lined clouds. With the election results in, and things looking so dismal, I had to wonder if some good things might come out of it.

The following are some excerpts from a few of the commentators I read daily (I wanted to publish these yesterday, but blogger was acting up and I couldn't).

From Tammy Bruce:
Ballot Initiative Results by Issue and State
When we look at the initiatives that passed, moderate and conservative America was out in force last night, evidenced primarily by the passing of a ban on gay marriage by almost every state that had the initiative. Even Charlie Rangel admitted that people didn't vote for Dems because they're liked, but as a protest against the current situation.

McCain noted several times last night that the Repubs "lost their way" and compromised their "principles." I think that would include maniacal spending and increasing the size and involvement of government in our lives. All of those things occur when religious politics trump authen conservative political values. Let the religious values be permeated through society via community, church and synagogue.

From Neal Boortz:
[...] When I got up at 4:00 this morning and started to look at results, I can honestly say that I was neither surprised nor disappointed.  I've been saying this for weeks ... and I'll say it again right now ... this may be the best possible outcome for the future of our Republic.

This is good news .. and bad news.  Good news because of the message it sends to Republicans.  Bad news because of the message it sends to Islamic jihadists who are dedicated to the destruction of our culture.

One thing is certain.  The Republicans worked very hard for this defeat.  They've earned every lost seat.  The Republican majority that was sent packing yesterday bore little resemblance to the Republican majority that rode to power 12 years ago.  In 1994 we were promised less government.  Over the next 12 years the Republicans more than doubled the size of the government.  We were promised control over runaway spending.  In the last six years discretionary spending has doubled

We were promised fiscal responsibility.  We got a bridge to nowhere in Alaska.  We were promised the elimination of the Department of Education.  After all, educational achievement had been on a steady decline since education was federalized under this Department.  In no time at all the Republicans doubled funding for the Department of Education.  In the meanwhile America continues to slip on the international scorecard of educational achievement.

The Republicans, in full control of the government, couldn't even manage to stop the Mexican invasion.  How many Hispanics invaded our country across the Mexican / American border in the last 12 years?  Twelve million?  Twenty?  Funny, but I don't remember pressing 1 for English in 1994.  [...]

(bold emphasis his) Will the Republican's learn anything from this?

From Michelle Malkin:
Conservatism did not lose
[...] The GOP lost. Conservatism prevailed. "San Francisco values" may control the gavels in Congress, but they do not control America. Property rights initiatives limiting eminent domain won big. MCRI, the anti-racial preference measure, passed resoundingly. Congressman Tom Tancredo, the GOP's leading warrior against illegal immigration--opposed by both the open-borders Left and the open-borders White House--won a fifth term handily. Gay marriage bans won approval in 3 states. And as of this writing, the oil tax initiative, Prop. 87--backed by deep-pocketed Hollywood libs, is trailing badly in California. [...]

I'm shocked this morning to see that the Republicans have now lost the senate, too. With that news, the push for impeachment begins:

From Michelle Malkin:
The impeachment drumbeat begins
I'm not suprised. And wether they succeed or not, I'm sure we are going to here this in the media non-stop for the next two years.

As for Bush's speech yesterday, it had it's low points:

From Tammy Bruce:
And President Bush Wonders Why They Lost
[...] when asked how Republican losses would affect his "immigration reform" plans (i.e. "guest workers," amnesty and an open border), President Bush says this:
"Yes, I think we have a better chance of getting immigration reform now with a Democrat-controlled Congress."
Republicans did not vote for Democrats dressed up as Republicans because they want an open border and amnesty. They did it because the Repubs in office refused to secure the border. Further, Republicans in the Senate voted with the Dems on this issue, making a mockery of supposedly representing the interest of the citizens and homeland security as opposed to the short-term interests of business. The president refused to listen to the people, smeared the Minutemen, and was more worried about what Vicente Fox was thinking than what we were thinking.

Well, now he knows what we think. Despite this, how dramatically revealing it is that he's actually excited that the Dems are in control, and how dare he so aggressively embrace them right out of the gate. Republican leadership should now be taking stock of why they lost, not getting excited about being able to continue failed policies with the help of the Dems.
(bold emphasis mine) In Europe, polls have shown that more than half of native born citizens in all European countries have consistantly said they think their governments are letting in too many immigrants too quickly. Yet their governments to not respond to this at all; the elitists who run Europe do as they wish. Are we facing the same thing here? Neither party seems willing to secure our border or to inforce our immigration laws.

Republican's may have wanted to punish Republican leaders for not securing the border, but by allowing Democrats to assume control, I think we are likely to now see a worse outcome regarding amnesty and open borders, because it is what the Democrats WANT. And they will push very hard for everything they want now:

Neal Boortz maintains that Bush and Pelosi have a lot in common, and could work together to bring to pass some things the Democrats have been pushing for.

I think this is why we are seeing the impeachment drive starting already; it will be a sword over Bush's head. The Dems can simply say, "Do as we say, or else". They will have his head on the chopping block. The Republicans have always been too friendly with the Democrats, because that friendliness is NOT reciprocated. There used to be a tradition of the "loyal opposition", but Democrats stopped being that a long, long time ago. The Republicans have yet to wake up to that fact, and once again, they are going to pay the price for it.

It would be nice if I was wrong about this, but I'm not holding my breath.

With Rainbows come rain, and often storms. It looks like we are going to have our share of both, literally and politically. We are supposed to have a break in our storms here in Oregon today, but it will start again tonight. We have roof repairs to do, so I'd better get going here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Were Republicans Too Accomodating?

Too accomodating to the other side of the aisle, that is. Were the Republicans too weak? Did they play too "nice"? Did they ignore their base too much? Or was it more than that? Thomas Sowell has some ideas on the subject. Some excerpts from his column yesterday:

The new voter fraud
There is no real question that Democrats are more skilled at politics than the Republicans are. Democrats are more articulate, not to say glib, and they know how to stick together. [...]

I don't know that they are really more articulate... unless emotional posturing counts as "articulation". Some of them can speak well, and many of them can speak fast and LOUD, but WHAT are they articulating?
[...] Democrats know better than to betray their base of supporters -- welfare state beneficiaries, the teachers' unions, environmental zealots, the ACLU and tort lawyers -- the way the elder President Bush betrayed his supporters who relied on his "no new taxes" pledge and the way the current President Bush betrayed them by attempting to create amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants.

Republicans have too often forgotten the old-time admonition to the girl going to a party, to always remember to "dance with the one who brung you." [...]

The interesting thing is, the Democrats "base of supporters" ain't what it used to be. The party has turned HARD left, leaving behind it's more moderate supporters, who became independents or stayed Democrat but vote Republican. Thus, the Republican Party's base has been changing too, trying to absorb disenfranchised Democrats. As a result, I believe the entire political center in America has been dragged further left, and perhaps made the Republicans too accommodating to their opponents on too many issues.
[...] Republicans have too eclectic a collection of beliefs to beat the Democrats on a purely ideological basis. Moreover, the liberal vision is a more attractive vision because it assumes away many of the painful and even brutal aspects of human life, especially the fatal dangers of relying on words when dealing with people who only respect force that is backed up by a willingness to use it.

Facts are the only real antidote to a seductive vision. But facts do not "speak for themselves." Somebody has to articulate those facts and explain their implications. The liberal media will certainly not do it and too often the Republicans do it badly or not at all. [...]

Yes, the facts. Facts that are so painfully obvious to many of us, but that are seldom (or more often, never) spoken about. The Democrat's strident emotionalism too often dominates, drowning out common sense and annoying things like facts. By keeping "debate" on an emotional level, it gives them a lot more manuvering room, and they have learned how to use this playing field to their full advantage. They also work hard at the art of disguise:
[...] Democrats have learned to avoid admitting to being liberals and this year are running a number of moderate candidates.

If these new moderate candidates are elected and give the Democrats control of Congress, that control will be exercised by senior Democrats who will hold leadership positions -- and all of them are liberal extremists, whether people like Nancy Pelosi in the House or Ted Kennedy and John Kerry in the Senate.

Getting people to vote for moderates, in order to put extremists in power, may be the newest and biggest voter fraud.

(bold emphasis mine) But what can you expect from the Party that registers dead people as voters? The ends justifies the means. Holding the power is what is most important.

The "extremists in power" is the saddest part of the election outcome.

Could there be a silver lining in any of this? Perhaps. The Republicans have been too complacent, and the Democrats will now attack them. Perhaps that will force some changes for the better in the Republican Party. I know many Republicans are hoping that will happen.

But it may come at a very dear price. I lived in San Francisco for 23 years, where Nancy Pelosi was my Representative. I think the Democrats can do a lot of damage to many things Republican's care deeply about.

Are too many people making too much of the election results? After all, historically, a case can be made that there is nothing unusual about this result:

A Duel, but Not Decisive
[...] Since the end of World War II, the average loss for a second-term presidency in its sixth year has been 29 House seats and six Senate seats. If you go back to Franklin Roosevelt's second term, the House loss average jumps to 35. Thus a 25/6 House and Senate loss would be about (and slightly below) the historical average. [...]

It may not be unusual historically, but I'm sure that isn't the way the media will spin it. But I have to admit, even I have mixed feelings about the election outcome. The Republicans needed a good kick, and some good may come out of this.