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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Stella Awards - The Escapist Mentality

As some of you may know I am a great proponent of tort reform. Frivolous lawsuits just irritate me beyond belief. So I subscribed to the Stella Awards News letter, and occasionally I like to publish some of the better ones (I would just provide a link, but these stories do not appear online). This one is great because it involves two of my favorite subjects, stupid criminals, and an idiotic lawsuit. Well, I’ll let Randy Casdsingham tell the rest of the story.

by Randy Cassingham

Scott Bolton had bad luck in cell mates. Accused of stealing several all-terrain vehicles, Bolton was awaiting trial at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania in October 2003. His cell mate, Hugo Selenski, was awaiting trial on homicide charges -- the sort of charge any inmate would want to escape from.

And Selenski did just that, climbing down a rope fashioned of sheets tied together. Selenski, Bolton claims, beat him to near unconsciousness in order to stuff his body through the cell block window. That, Bolton says, caused him to fall several storeys to the ground, leaving him comatose for several weeks, confined to a wheelchair for life, and with damage to his brain, spinal cord, nerves and internal organs.

Bolton was found and rushed to the hospital by air ambulance, and he survived.
Selenski escaped, but turned himself in three days later.

Bolton filed suit over the escape attempt in U.S. District Court -- for "civil rights" violations. His suit names Selenski as the primary defendant, but murder suspects aren't exactly typically flush with cash. So the suit also names Warden Gene Fischi and Deputy Warden Rowland Roberts, eight guards, two County Prison Board members, and three County Commissioners.

"You've got to be kidding me," says Warden Fischi. "I guess it's like the old saying: If someone robs your house and slips on a roller skate going out, they're going to sue you."

Fischi paints a very different portrait of what happened. He says Bolton was a willing participant in the escape, and was climbing down the makeshift rope when he lost his grip and fell. And why did he lose his grip? Apparently Bolton wasn't moving fast enough for his co-conspirator, so Selenski pushed him, another inmate says. (Tip: always let the alleged murderer go first!)

The county commissioners are particularly perplexed at being named in the suit, which Bolton filed without the aid of an attorney.

"It's very hard to be responsible for something that occurred three months before we took office," says Commissioner Todd Vonderheid. "Somebody is incarcerated because they broke the law, then agrees to be a party to an escape, then is dumb enough to act as a human mattress for
[Selenski], and they're not responsible for their actions? It's repulsive. Is no one responsible for themselves in this society?" Call it escapism from reality.

The amusing part of the whole case is the basis for Bolton's lawsuit: he says his injuries are due
to the prison guards' failure to patrol the cell block, and therefore to discover that the window to the cell Bolton and Selenski shared had been pried open, and only that allowed Selenski to "viciously assault" him to "near unconsciousness" and then push him from their cell window, as if
anyone trying to escape a murder rap would take the time to do that on his way out.

And, of course, those would be the same "failures" the escapees had relied on to escape in the first place. So he counts on these guards not to do their jobs to the letter, then blames them when they behave as he expected and things turn sour.

His suit seeks a minimum of $1,000 for attorney fees (even though he doesn't have an attorney), plus payment of all past and future medical bills, plus $10,000 in compensatory damages,
plus $25,000 in punitive damages, all court costs, plus "any and all other relief" that the jury
sees "fit, necessary or required."

Commissioner Vonderheid has something to say about Bolton not using an attorney for his suit: "Maybe if he hired a lawyer he would know who to sue." Maybe, but it's not likely Bolton wants to sue the person who is actually responsible for the injuries he sustained during his commission
of a crime: himself.

Bolton, who has now been moved to a state prison, has since initiated a second lawsuit against the Luzerne County Correctional Facility in Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, the details
of which are sketchy. It's also not clear whether he was charged in connection with the botched escape. If not, perhaps we can expect yet another lawsuit for that failure. As an inmate, he has all the time in the world to create problems for other people; just because he's in prison -- or a wheelchair -- doesn't mean he can't continue to find victims to taunt.

1) "Man Hurt in Escape Sues Selenski", Times Leader, 29 September 2005

2) Lawsuit Filing, Scott Allen Bolton v. Hugo Selensky, et al., U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (3:CV 05-1947), 27 September 2005 (PDF scan, 460K)

That Reminds me of a saying... A man who acts as his own attorney has a fool for a client.

Check out Randy’s Website for more details and to sign up for the newsletter yourself.

Ask the Soldiers

Great blog! Ask your questions about the military to some military guys. Of course, here at Liberty Just in Case, you can just ask Matt. Great site nonetheless.

And thanks Timmer, for leading me to AubreyJ.org. An excellent blog, one I'll return to again and again.

The Strategy for Victory

This isn't really any different from what the President has been saying for months now. But, now its on paper, in an unclassified document for all to see. I'll spend some time on it over the coming days. But one thing I will say now; if you oppose the Iraqi front of this war, you need to read this document before making another comment. To do anything else is simply acting out of ignorance.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Another Democrat Speaks Out on Iraq

I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood--unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.
It's a Democrat. Really. Why, this Democrat was Algore's running mate in 2000! And, there's more from Joe Lieberman:
It is a war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists, Iraqi Islamic extremists or al Qaeda foreign fighters who know their wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern. The terrorists are intent on stopping this by instigating a civil war to produce the chaos that will allow Iraq to replace Afghanistan as the base for their fanatical war-making. We are fighting on the side of the 27 million because the outcome of this war is critically important to the security and freedom of America. If the terrorists win, they will be emboldened to strike us directly again and to further undermine the growing stability and progress in the Middle East, which has long been a major American national and economic security priority.
If you are on the left, please read this editorial from Senator Joseph Lieberman. He's bucking his Party in saying these things. He's making himself a target for the Mainstream Media. He's telling the truth.

Changes, and a Need For Feedback

Okay, the new template is up and running, thanks to a yeoman effort by Matt. Tell us what you think of the new design, what would you like to see changed, etc.

My wish was for three columns, which I just love!

Give us your feedback, if you would be so kind...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Mother Sheehan Without an Audience

Okay, I admit it. I love this photograph!
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan waits for people to show up at her book signing near President Bush's ranch on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2005 in Crawford, Texas. Sheehan, whose 24-year-old Casey died in Iraq, called for anti-war activists to return to Crawford this week as Bush celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
She held a book signing...in Crawford?!? After the mess she made of that town of 700 in August? She lucky she wasn't run out of town...by sheepdogs. (Scroll down to get the joke.)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Urban Legends of the Iraq War

A great list of Urban Legends, and downright lies, about Iraq. Of course, your favorite Liberal won't believe it because it doesn't "feel" like the truth.

It's Not 1969 Anymore: Glen Reynolds

This is an important post from Instapundit. I'll be honest. I don't post alot of Glenn Reynold's stuff. He's just too, well, big, and certainly needs no linking from me. But this post makes a strong case, which he calls a Reverse Vietnam. He's right on the money with his analysis. Each of his links is worth a separate post all on its own.

The Third Temple: Plans in the Making

In preparing my Sunday School lesson for tomorrow, I came across this remarkable site from Israel. There are plans to build a new temple in Jerusalem. This site not only reveals those plans, but also is a fascinating and beautiful chronicle of Jewish history, and the history of both the first and second temples.

The eerie photo shopped image of what could be if these people have their way is worth considering. In place of the Muslim Dome of the Rock stands the Third Temple, with the modern skyline of Jerusalem in the background. It is prepared for the Messiah, and the sacrifice of the tenth Red Heifer.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A Look Back, and a Look Ahead

Liberty Just in Case began as an email list at a former job of mine. I'd send around links to Peggy Noonan, Walter Williams, or a great editorial I'd just read at National Review. September 11th changed us all, and changed the email list too. It grew from 4 or 5 employees to several dozen, some of whom were my boss's boss's boss's boss, and requested to be blind copied for anonymity.

I moved to the blogosphere because the list got bigger and bigger, including alot of people outside the company, and corporate policies were changing regarding employee use of the internet. My first real post for what was then called The Gang was May 31st, 2002. It was, of course, a Peggy Noonan piece.

I continued to blog on my own for over a year. A co-worker and friend named Jon read The Gang, and commented frequently. Jon is the polar opposite of me in most every way, and when he became my blog partner in 2003, he brought a fresh, liberal perspective to The Gang. It was Jon that sent me a list of names for the site, which included Liberty Just in Case. Jon was a big part of keeping LJiC running for over a year.

In early August of 2004, I developed a severe breathing disorder. This forced me to the basement, the only part of the house I could breathe in, and to the computer for full-time blogging. After much conversation, Jon and I decided to part ways in the blogosphere, though he remains a good friend, and a semi-frequent commenter here at LJiC. I took LJiC in a decidedly conservative, pro-war, pro-military direction. It will remain so in the future.

My health problems have begun to resolve, which means I can soon resume full-time employment. This will limit my blogging time, and the frequency of posting. About the time I began to realize this, Matt wrote to ask if we could form a partnership. His email couldn't have come at a better time.

I've known Matt as Zaphriel (surely you've guessed that by now) for a long time , and have been deeply impressed with his blogs since he started them. He quickly moved Birth of a Neocon from zero to highly influential in a few short weeks. And his work as a founder of Balance of Power has few equals. His abilities as a blogger are only matched by his artistry at designing new blog templates. You will see that artistry very soon here at LJiC, with ongoing changes coming fast and furious in the future.

One thing that won't change is our committment to the war. Rather you call it the Global War on Terrorism, or the more accurate World War IV, Matt and I are firmly committed to doing whatever needs to be done to win it, period. Matt's military experience will shine as we continue to stay true to our mission statement:

An ongoing dialogue about Politics, Culture, Religion and the Universe in general in the September 12th World.

We continue to live in a September 12th, 2001 world. The shock, and the resolve of that time will remain our primary focus, the backdrop upon which all other dialogue is penned. The phrase "Never Forget" will remain the motto for Matt and myself.

Liberty. Just in case another attack comes. Just in case you need a reminder. Just in case you need courage. Just in case you forget.

Let's Roll.

Friday, November 25, 2005

What Should Pajamas Media Be? Good Discussion

This is worth reading. I think they are on the right track, but I'm frankly feeling left out of the discussion. It seems to me PajamasMedia needs to involve more than just the big fish of the blogosphere. But then, LJiC is certainly a small fish in the pond...for now.

Things Are "Looking Up" in Canada

We were up at four and at Wal-Mart by five this morning. Then hit Target and Best Buy. Then came home and watched the Lord of the Rings Trilogy from start to finish. We bought all three in wide-screen additions as Target for five bucks. Can't beat that! We're taking a break before watching Cheaper By the Dozen and White Christmas.

Meanwhile, in the land of the frozen tushies, they've discovered one more thing to blame on the Bush Administration...interplanetary war. I'm hoping Senate Democrats here in the US will at least wait till after the holidays to demand hearings on why Bush lied about getting us in to war with the Aldeberans...sigh.

Matthew: An Introdution Post

Over the past few days I am sure you noticed that there are a few changes that have occurred here at Liberty Just in Case. Mark has taken on a partner. All or at least most of you here who have been regular readers, are probably very familiar with me, you just don’t know it yet.

First of all, I would like to thank Mark for allowing me to muscle in a little on his space. I know that he has had the house to himself for a while and I appreciate him allowing me this opportunity. Thank You Mark.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I am a thirteen year veteran of the United States Air Force. I have during my career participated in the final blows of the Cold War, participated in operations in support of the larger War on Drugs, as well as serving extensively in the current Global War on Terror. I have served alongside Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and Airmen both within the United States and Abroad. I bring to this blog an insiders view of the military and its inner workings as well as a common military man’s perspective of the world.

I am a Christian, Catholic by upbringing, but Unity by choice. I have a deep relationship with God, and have felt his presence my entire life. Churches however, being run by humans, are imperfect, so I have become very picky about the ones I attend. Rather than be Jaded, I simply found deeper meaning in the bible, and endeavored to learn as much as I could about the religions of the world. That is a journey I am still on.

As Mark mentioned I am politically Conservative, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. I often feel that the stalwart conservatives are out of control and have no foundation in reality. I am what is being called a New Independent Conservative. What does that mean, well it means I don’t subscribe to the GOP party line, even if I do often agree with them. I don’t believe that people are either Democrat OR Republican, and it irritates me that we don’t have more viable options within our political system. I also believe that the most effective change happens from within the system. The highest of political art forms is to use the system that is established to effect the change that you need. It can and will be done. But don’t worry, I won’t rock the boat here too much, after all I am still a conservative.

Why did I join LJiC? Oh man, that ones simple. LJiC is the only blog during my entire history of blogging and blog reading that I have read nearly every day. Mark, I have found, is thorough, and I often find him making my case better than I can on several issues, and yes, occasionally we do disagree. Also my other projects and endeavors have turned a corner, so consequently I have much less time to blog than I did before. Having known Mark for a while I knew he was having some similar circumstances, and we both though it would be beneficial to partner up, and make one blog really good rather than have both of our blogs suffer due to neglect.

What will I bring to LJiC? I will bring a slightly different perspective (I hope), a slightly different writing style, and some additional technical expertise. You will also see a few format changes around here as I mark my territory (just kidding Mark), hopefully all for the better.

Have you figured out who I am yet?


Thursday, November 24, 2005

I'm Still Not a McCain Fan But...

His recent strong and steady stand on staying the course in Iraq has to count for something. So I've removed the blogroll for McCain's Opponents from the sidebar. I've kept a copy of the html code handy though, for when McCain decides to leave the Republican reservation again. Here's hoping Matt and I can keep the McCain Opponents blogroll off the sidebar for at least a week or two.

Happy Thanksgiving: Getting Your Turkey Just Right

Daddy doing the Thanksgiving Turkey is a tradition at our house. We got Tom yesterday, all 20 lbs of him, and he's defrosting now. I'll get him in the oven around nine this morning, and then start the pies baking about two hours after that. If all goes well, we'll sit down to dinner around two thirty or three, with a round of left overs just before bed.

Part of the tradition used to be a very dry Turkey, looking nothing like the golden brown bird you see Katie Couric pull out of the oven on The Today Show. But, since Daddy learned to follow the directions from Butterball.com each year, I'm now the toast of the dinner,even when it's only me, my lovely bride, and the little ones, like it will be this year. Which reminds me, I forgot to get the Cranberry Sauce. Wonder if Jewel is open yet....?

The First Thanksgiving Proclamation

And what do we suppose the ACLU would say about this today? On second thought, who cares? I plan on reading parts of this at our Thanksgiving feast today. It's an important part of our National legacy, and worth repeating this day.

General Thanksgiving

By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America


WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Republican Straw Poll

Go ahead and vote, even if you are on the left side of the aisle. It's incredibly silly, and doesn't mean a thing, kinda like the Senate vote on Iraq last week...

Happy Thanksgiving

The Pilgrim's Landing

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Uniting the Republicans: Murtha Couldn't Have Done a Better Job

Great article from Brendan Miniter at OpinionJournal:
It turns out, however, that the politics of national security favor staying the course. Both the president and vice president have hit back hard in this debate, noting the importance of winning in Iraq. Vice President Dick Cheney yesterday called for an open and clear debate, but he forcefully argued that the war was and remains in this nation's interests because it allows the U.S. to combat terrorists in the heart of the Middle East. He also took on the idea that by invading Iraq the U.S. has made itself more of a target for terrorists. "We were not in Iraq on Sept. 11 and the terrorists hit us anyway," he told the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

And in Congress, fighting the war remains the one issue that continues to rally the GOP. Before Mr. Murtha's resolution, the Republican Party seemed hopelessly split and unable either to cut spending or to make the president's tax cuts permanent. After the Murtha resolution, Republicans quashed the earmark for the "Bridge to Nowhere" in Alaska (though the state still gets to keep the money for it), passed $50 billion in spending cut, and, of course, soundly rejected the idea of withdrawing from Iraq. Suddenly Republicans seem to understand why they are in the majority.
Let's hope so. Now, if only this understanding can begin to rub off the Senate...

Two Vets and a Very Disturbed Shooter

A wonderful happy ending, thanks to a couple of veterans:
A U.S. soldier stationed locally and a veteran of the Iraq war were the two hostages who disarmed a 20-year-old shooter at a mall in Tacoma, Wash., ending a four-hour standoff in which six people were shot, one critically.

After being held with two other hostages, Joseph Hudson and Jon Black escorted a weeping Dominick Sergio Maldonado outside where he was arrested by police.
Funny, I never saw this part of the story on the MSM. Too busy carrying Murtha's latest pronouncements, I guess.

PajamasMedia: A Great New Old Name

I've been involved with PajamasMedia from the minute they started last year. I became a little worried when they took on the somewhat pretentious title OpenSource Media. But the site was nice when it started last week, and has become one of my home tabs for Firefox. Glad to see they have stopped listening to Madison Avenue, and have quickly returned to their blogging roots. So, soon PajamasMedia will be up and running again. This stands to become one of the central hubs of the blogosphere, and I'm delighted to be on the initial blogroll.

The Library of the Future

Who would have thought that we would live to see this day:

The Library of Congress is launching a campaign today to create the World Digital Library, an online collection of rare books, manuscripts, maps, posters, stamps and other materials from its holdings and those of other national libraries that would be freely accessible for viewing by anyone, anywhere with Internet access.

This is the most ambitious international effort ever undertaken to put precious items of artistic, historical, and literary significance on the Internet so that people can learn about other cultures without traveling further than the nearest computer, according to James H. Billington, head of the Library of Congress.

Just one more thing to be thankful for during this Thanksgiving week.

Monday, November 21, 2005

This Is Definitely Me as a Christian

So, where do you come out as a Christian. Worth taking, even if you don't hold to the teachings of Christianity. For me, this is pretty accurate. I don't know what TULIP is,though. Anybody have an answer to that?

You scored as Reformed Evangelical. You are a Reformed Evangelical. You take the Bible very seriously because it is God's Word. You most likely hold to TULIP and are sceptical about the possibilities of universal atonement or resistible grace. The most important thing the Church can do is make sure people hear how they can go to heaven when they die.

Reformed Evangelical




Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Neo orthodox




Roman Catholic




Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal


What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Defeated by Defeatism: Required Reading

What a wonderful analysis of the Democrat plan of defeatism in Iraq! Required reading before commenting.

An Episcopal Diocese Kills One of It's Own

Don't go thinking the furor over within the Episcopal Church has died down. Like the Iraqi Front, most of the battles of this war are simply being ignored by the MSM:
With the bishop who helped sanction the church sitting quietly in a rear pew, members of All Saints Episcopal Church held services Sunday, a day after the local diocese dissolved the Irondequoit parish.

"This has been a terrible but rewarding time, for we learned how to stand up for our Lord Jesus Christ," said All Saints' rector, the Rev. David Harnish.

On Saturday, leaders of the Episcopal Diocese in Rochester voted to declare the church "extinct" for failing to pay about $16,000 in fees and to seize its assets.

The Irondequoit church withheld the money in protest of a 2003 decision by national church leaders to allow same-sex marriages and ordain a gay priest in New Hampshire.

The Rochester diocese has supported that 2003 decision, though a considerable number of other Episcopalians have not — and the dissolution of All Saints has attracted widespread attention in the international church.

"There are those throughout the world who are praying for us this day," Harnish said at the beginning of Sunday morning's service.

That service proceeded in seemingly normal fashion, with about 50 people in the pews of a small sanctuary with whitewashed walls and a dark wooden roof.

Harnish, wearing a white robe with a multicolored vestment, preached a short sermon whose overall theme was the redeeming power of the Holy Spirit, though his talk was larded with references to extinction.

This may well begin happening all over the country as Conservative parishes are forced to decide between their belief in the message of the Bible and keeping their churches.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hints of Things to Come

Change is a great thing. And changes are coming to Liberty Just in Case.
Those of you who have been reading LJiC for a while know that this used to be partner blog, with one liberal voice, and one conservative voice. With Jon moving on, I've moved Liberty further to the right. The addition of a new conservative voice will cement that move. Stay tuned for an exciting announcement later this week!

The Disconnect: Boots on the Ground and Journalists

What a great essay. And speaking as a blogger who actually watches Congress on C-Span, and then watches what the MSM says Congress is saying, I can relate to our soldiers in Iraq:
November 20, 2005: American troops are developing a hate-hate relation with journalists. The basic problem is that soldiers and marines in Iraq have access, usually via the Internet, to what the mass media is saying about what they think is happening in Iraq. These news reports, all too often, do not reflect what the troops experience. It gets uglier when the troops realize that reporters are spending most of their time in the Green Zone or some well guarded hotel, leaving it to local Iraqi stringers to collect information and photos for the reporters stories. Relations are a bit better with the few embedded journalists who still travel with the troops out in field. But even the embeds are often mistrusted and disliked, because some of them are blatantly out for dirt, not an accurate story.
Read the whole thing.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

200,000 Protest in Amman

And they weren't shouting "Death to America!" either. But wait, the Democrats, led by Reprentative Murtha (he served in Vietnam, ya know) said last night that the Iraq policy was failing. Yet the policy in Iraq was designed to take away a major base for terrorists, Iraq, and begin the domino effect for liberalizing the rest of the Arab world. I'm thinking that 200, 000 demonstrators, all chanting "Zarqawi, from Amman, we say to you: 'You are a coward," is a good thing, even for Democrats. Unless the motivation for the Democrats is simply to hurt Republicans...but that couldn't be the case, could it?

Calling the Democrat's Bluff: It's About Time

Great debate tonight. Thank God for C-Span.

No End But Victory

A great site, with a great cause. Here's the manifesto:

The calls for a cut-and-run from Iraq are growing stronger. On this very day, the Democrats and Republicans in the United States Senate have duelling amendments before that body which each, in their own way, fuel the political impulse to abandon Iraq to the murderous elements that would destroy it.

Within living memory, we have seen what happens when America abandons its national commitments, and deserts the brave people who stood tall and believed its promises. The faint-hearted and the wavering painted our commitment to the people of Indochina as a cause in itself of the bloodshed and grief there — and then stood mute when they achieved their objective, forced America’s retreat, and years of genocide followed in its wake.

A generation later, they’re trying to do the same in Iraq. For the sake of an Iraqi people only now grasping the responsibilities, perils, and blessings of liberty, we cannot let them force America to shrink from the awesome responsibility it has shouldered. For the sake of American honor — and those who have died in this cause — we cannot repeat the mistakes of 1991, when the cost of our reluctance was counted in Kurdish and Shi’a dead.

This is not a partisan issue. This is not a left- or right-wing issue. This is an American and Iraqi issue, and all men of good faith must now come together to remind our leadership that whatever our politics, and whatever we thought of the decision to go to war, there can be only one end:


The anti-war, cut-and-run crowd, which fears not defeat, nor dishonor, nor an Iraq under the terrorist heel, is well-organized. Its online haunts are well-known enough: Daily Kos, Atrios, and the rest have a massive readership, and they present the appearance of representing a substantial segement of public opinion in the United States.

But we know that this is not so. We know that Americans don’t want to retreat: they want to win. And their support for the war varies in direct proportion to their perception that the American political leadership is willing to achieve that. History shows this clearly: the United States Congress turned against the war in Vietnam long before the American people did; support for the 1983 Lebanon intervention collapsed only after the Reagan Administration decided to withdraw; and support for the Somalia intervention was strong until the moment the Clinton Administration elected to retreat.

The President has done an admirable job in holding the line. But both American political parties show signs of capitulation. It’s time for us to raise our voices and remind them that all of us, Americans and Iraqis, demand one thing of this war:


I strongly, and whole-heartedly support this ideal, and this site.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Science and Theology: A Nifty Site

I found this site while waiting for a job interview this morning. A very nifty look at blending science and faith. Very much worth exploring.

Yes, I've Been Had: A Major Retraction

Back on Wednesday, I posted this. The post sounds good, but it is NOT from Major General Vernon Chong. Snopes. com has identified it as just one more forwarded email from an anonymous source. A huge thank you to Jjimmy and Jason for finding this. It's only the second time in five years that this has happened. That's not an excuse for bad blogging though. Jjimmy is right.

Jason also makes a well reasoned argument about the peice, who ever wrote it. Here is his comment:
Fascinating that you would focus on that rather than his main arguments though.

I focused on that one fact because it struck me as a bit high and I have neither the time nor the inclination to check all of General Chong’s facts. A quick Google search for the words "France," "Muslim," "population," and "percent" quickly yielded a source that contradicted General Chong’s assertion. If General Chong was so sloppy with facts that one of them could be debunked by such a cursory search, it calls into question his other factual assertions, ne c’est pas?

Here’s another bad fact that General Chong asserts:

These are the type of prisoners, who just a few months ago, were throwing their own people off buildings, cutting off their hands, cutting out their tongues, and otherwise murdering their own people, just for disagreeing with Saddam Hussein.

Maybe in General Chong’s world. However, in reality, the majority of Iraqi detainees were innocent. According to a Red Cross report, coalition intelligence officers estimated that 70 to 90% of Iraqi detainees were arrested mistakenly. (source: MSNBC) So, maybe 10 to 30% of the prisoners were the type who committed such atrocities a few months ago.

The consequences of losing the war certainly hold up, don't you think?

General Chong presents Spain as an example of defeat, and then goes on to state that defeat would mean that "our production, income, exports, and way of life will all vanish, as we know it." If Spain was defeated, as General Chong asserts, then it would follow that Spain would be experiencing the economic doom and gloom that General Chong asserts to be the consequences of defeat

Let’s look at the facts. According to the economic indicators on the back pages of this week’s edition of The Economist, Spain’s GDP is up 3.4% over a year ago. Industrial production is up. Unemployment, while still higher than the rest of the Euro area, is down one and a half percentage points over a year ago. The Madrid Stock Exchange is up 17.6% so far this calendar year.

So, no, General Chong's statement of the consequences of losing don't hold up. Either he is wrong in asserting that "Spain is finished" or he is wrong that defeat in Iraq leads to economic collapse.

Or are you one of those who want to pull out the troops immediately?

I'm really not sure what to do in Iraq. Going in appears to have been a mistake. However, I tend to subscribe to Colin Powell's "Pottery Barn" rule. Whether or not Iraq was our problem pre-invasion, it is our problem now. Leaving Iraq to its own devices now doesn't seem quite right to me. On the other hand, I'm not sure that staying the course in Iraq would improve the situation there.

As for General Chong's, and your, assertion that we need to give up some freedom, damaging freedom in order to save it makes absolutely no sense to me. General Chong cites envy of our freedom as one of the reasons we are at war. If we make ourselves less free, we just help the terrorists accomplish their goal. Those who would surrender freedom are at best capitulating to the terrorists and at worst collaborating with them.
His reply has caused me to do some deep thinking, which is always worthwhile, but always gives me a headache. Sigh.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Sunshine Senators: National Review

If Republicans lose the Senate in 2006 or 2008, they can look back on their vote against the war as the watershed moment:

It is the spirit of the thing that is so damaging. It says that Democrats hold the whip hand on Iraq, and the insurgents' most important strategic center of gravity, Washington, is in danger of being lost. After 30 years straight of warning of another Vietnam, liberals might finally have the repeat of that war they have so often warned about. “American attitudes on Iraq similar to those in Vietnam,” reads a front-page headline in Wednesday's edition of USA Today. Although the administration has finally begun to fight back against the charge that Bush lied the U.S. into the war, it is still not on the crisis political and communications footing that the moment demands. Iraq is a little like a Katrina every day, undermining the public's confidence in the administration's competence and stewardship of the country. There is no substitute for actual progress in Iraq — and we still aren't convinced that the U.S. government has the sense of urgency about achieving it that it should — but the argument for the war must be made constantly, with intelligence and rigor.

Here the administration continues to fall down. And it is here — in the political fight over Iraq — that the administration truly needs allies. Instead, like the “Sunshine Patriots” of yore, it has “Sunshine Senators” on its side. Only 13 Republicans — an honor roll including John McCain and Jon Kyl, and notably missing George Allen — voted against the GOP alternative. Most Republicans figure they are helping themselves when they, as so much of the media put it, “rebuke” Bush on the war. They are really undermining a president and a war that they are, like it or not, tremendously invested in, and hastening their own exit strategy as a majority.
Democrats hold the whip hand on Iraq. Our hope is that the Democrats will continue to do what they have done constantly throughout the Bush presidency, overplay their hand.

Meanwhile, one positive development is the Vice President following the President's lead in fighting back:
THE VICE PRESIDENT: "As most of you know, I have spent a lot of years in public service, and first came to work in Washington, D.C. back in the late 1960s. I know what it’s like to operate in a highly charged political environment, in which the players on all sides of an issue feel passionately and speak forcefully.

In such an environment people sometimes lose their cool, and yet in Washington you can ordinarily rely on some basic measure of truthfulness and good faith in the conduct of political debate. But in the last several weeks we have seen a wild departure from that tradition.

And the suggestion that’s been made by some U. S. senators that the President of the United States or any member of this Administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city...

Some of the most irresponsible comments have, of course, come from politicians who actually voted in favor of authorizing force against Saddam Hussein. These are elected officials who had access to the intelligence, and were free to draw their own conclusions.

They arrived at the same judgment about Iraq’s capabilities and intentions that was made by this Administration and by the previous Administration. There was broad-based, bipartisan agreement that Saddam Hussein was a threat … that he had violated U.N. Security Council Resolutions … and that, in a post-9/11 world, we couldn’t afford to take the word of a dictator who had a history of WMD programs, who had excluded weapons inspectors, who had defied the demands of the international community, who had been designated an official state sponsor of terror, and who had committed mass murder.

Those are facts.

What we’re hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war. The saddest part is that our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out. American soldiers and Marines are out there every day in dangerous conditions and desert temperatures – conducting raids, training Iraqi forces, countering attacks, seizing weapons, and capturing killers – and back home a few opportunists are suggesting they were sent into battle for a lie.

The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone – but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history.

We’re going to continue throwing their own words back at them. And far more important, we’re going to continue sending a consistent message to the men and women who are fighting the war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other fronts.

We can never say enough how much we appreciate them, and how proud they make us. They and their families can be certain: That this cause is right … and the performance of our military has been brave and honorable … and this nation will stand behind our fighting forces with pride and without wavering until the day of victory.
I just love this line:
The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone – but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history.
Yes! Let's repeat this line again and again!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Required Reading: This War is For Real

Here, without further comment, Major General Vernon Chong:

This war is for real

By Major General Vernon Chong, USAF, ret.

October 1, 2005

To get out of a difficulty, one usually must go through it. Our country is now facing the most serious threat to its existence, as we know it, that we have faced in your lifetime and mine (which includes WWII).

The deadly seriousness is greatly compounded by the fact that there are very few of us who think we can possibly lose this war, and even fewer who realize what losing really means.

First, let's examine a few basics:

1. When did the threat to us start?

    Many will say September 11, 2001. The answer, as far as the United States is concerned, is 1979 – 22 years prior to September 2001 – with the following attacks on us:

    Iran Embassy Hostages, 1979;
    Beirut, Lebanon, Embassy, 1983;
    Beirut, Lebanon, Marine Barracks, 1983;
    Lockerbie, Scotland, Pan-Am flight to New York, 1988;
    First New York World Trade Center attack, 1993;
    Oklahoma City – Murrah Federal Building, 1995;
    Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, Khobar Towers Military complex, 1996;
    Nairobi, Kenya, U.S. Embassy, 1998;
    Dares Salaam, Tanzania, U.S. Embassy, 1998;
    Aden, Yemen, USS Cole, 2000;
    New York, World Trade Center, 2001;
    Pentagon, 2001;
    Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Plane Crash, 2001

    (Note that during the period from 1981 to 2001 there were 7,581 terrorist attacks worldwide).

2. Why were we attacked?

    Envy of our position, our success, and our freedoms.

    1. The attacks happened during the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush
    2. We cannot fault either the Republicans or Democrats, as there were no provocations by any of the Presidents or their immediate predecessors, Presidents Ford or Carter.
    3. Who were the attackers?
      • In each case, the attacks on the U.S. were carried out by Muslims.

    4. What is the Muslim population of the World? 25 percent.
    5. Isn't the Muslim Religion peaceful?
    6. Hopefully, but that is really not material. There is no doubt that the predominently Christian population of Germany was peaceful, but under the dictatorial leadership of Hitler (who was also Christian), that made no difference. You either went along with the administration, or you were eliminated. There were 5 to 6 million Christians killed by the Nazis for political reasons (including 7,000 Polish priests).

      Thus, almost the same number of Christians were killed by the Nazis, as the six million holocaust Jews who were killed by them, and we seldom heard of anything other than the Jewish atrocities.

      Although Hitler kept the world focused on the Jews, he had no hesitancy about killing anyone who got in his way of exterminating the Jews, or of taking over the world – German, Christian, or any others.

      Same with the Muslim terrorists. They focus the attention of the world on the U.S., but kill all in the way – their own people, or the Spanish, French, or anyone else. The point here, is that just like the peaceful Germans were of no protection to anyone from the Nazis, no matter how many peaceful Muslims there may be, they are no protection for us from the terrorist Muslim leaders, and what they are fanatically bent on doing – by their own pronouncements – killing all of us "infidels." I don't blame the peaceful Muslims. What would you do – if the choice was shut up, or die?

    7. So who are we at war with?
      • There is no way we can honestly respond that it is anyone other than the Muslim terrorists. Trying to be politically correct, and avoid verbalizing this conclusion can well be fatal. There is no way to win, if you don't clearly recognize, and articulate who you are fighting.

So with that background, now to the two major questions:

  1. Can we lose this war?
  2. What does losing really mean?

If we are to win, we must clearly answer these two pivotal questions.

We can definitely lose this war, and as anomalous as it may sound, the major reason we can lose is that so many of us simply do not fathom the answer to the second question – "What does losing mean?"

It would appear that a great many of us think that losing the war means hanging our heads, bringing the troops home, and going on about our business, like post-Vietnam. This is as far from the truth as one can get. What losing really means is:

We would no longer be the premier country in the world. The attacks will not subside, but rather will steadily increase. Remember, they want us dead, not just quiet. If they had just wanted us quiet, they would not have produced an increasing series of attacks against us, over the past 18 years. The plan was clearly, for terrorists to attack us, until we were neutered, and submissive to them.

We would, of course, have no future support from other nations, for fear of reprisals, and for the reason that they would see that we are impotent, and cannot help them.

They will pick off the other non-Muslim nations, one at a time. It will be increasingly easier for them. They already hold Spain hostage. It doesn't matter whether it was right or wrong for Spain to withdraw its troops from Iraq. Spain did it because the Muslim terrorists bombed their train, and told them to withdraw the troops. Anything else they want Spain to do, will be done. Spain is finished.

The next will probably be France. Our one hope on France is that they might see the light and realize that if we don't win, they are finished too, in that they can't resist the Muslim terrorists without us. However, it may already be too late for France. France is already 20 percent Muslim, and fading fast!

If we lose the war, our production, income, exports, and way of life will all vanish, as we know it. After losing, who would trade or deal with us, if they were threatened by the Muslims?

If we can't stop the Muslims, how could anyone else?

The Muslims fully know what is riding on this war, and therefore, are completely committed to winning, at any cost. We better know it too, and be likewise committed to winning at any cost.

Why do I go on at such lengths about the results of losing? Simple. Until we recognize the costs of losing, we cannot unite, and really put 100 percent of our thoughts and efforts into winning. And, it is going to take that 100 percent effort to win.

So, how can we lose the war?

Again, the answer is simple. We can lose the war by "imploding." That is, defeating ourselves, by refusing to recognize the enemy and their purpose, and really digging in and lending full support to the war effort. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. If we continue to be divided, there is no way that we can win!

Let me give you a few examples of how we simply don't comprehend the life-and-death seriousness of this situation.

President Bush selects Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation. Although all of the terrorist attacks were committed by Muslim men between 17 and 40 years of age, Secretary Mineta refuses to allow profiling. Does that sound like we are taking this thing seriously?

This is war! For the duration, we are going to have to give up some of the civil rights we have become accustomed to. We had better be prepared to lose some of our civil rights temporarily, or we will most certainly lose all of them, permanently.

And, don't worry that it is a slippery slope. We gave up plenty of civil rights during WWII, and immediately restored them after the victory, and in fact, added many more since then.

Do I blame President Bush or President Clinton before him?

No, I blame us for blithely assuming we can maintain all of our Political Correctness, and all of our civil rights during this conflict, and have a clean, lawful, honorable war. None of those words apply to war. Get them out of your head.

Some have gone so far in their criticism of the war and/or the Administration that it almost seems they would literally like to see us lose. I hasten to add that this isn't because they are disloyal. It is because they just don't recognize what losing means. Nevertheless, that conduct gives the impression to the enemy that we are divided and weakening. It concerns our friends, and it does great damage to our cause.

Of more recent vintage, the uproar fueled by the politicians and media regarding the treatment of some prisoners of war, perhaps exemplifies best what I am saying.

We have recently had an issue, involving the treatment of a few Muslim prisoners of war, by a small group of our military police.

These are the type of prisoners, who just a few months ago, were throwing their own people off buildings, cutting off their hands, cutting out their tongues, and otherwise murdering their own people, just for disagreeing with Saddam Hussein.

And just a few years ago, these same types of prisoners chemically killed 400,000 of their own people for the same reason. They are also the same type of enemy fighters who recently were burning Americans, and dragging their charred corpses through the streets of Iraq.

And still more recently, the same type of enemy that was, and is, providing videos to all news sources internationally, of the beheading of American prisoners they held.

Compare this with some of our press and politicians, who, for several days, have thought and talked about nothing else but the "humiliating" of some Muslim prisoners – not burning them, not dragging their charred corpses through the streets, not beheading them, but "humiliating" them.

Can this be for real?

The politicians and pundits have even talked of impeachment of the Secretary of Defense.

If this doesn't show the complete lack of comprehension and understanding of the seriousness of the enemy we are fighting, the life and death struggle we are in, and the disastrous results of losing this war, nothing can.

To bring our country to a virtual political standstill over this prisoner issue makes us look like Nero playing his fiddle, as Rome burned – totally oblivious to what is going on in the real world. Neither we, nor any other country, can survive this internal strife.

Again I say, this does not mean that some of our politicians or media people are disloyal. It simply means that they are absolutely oblivious to the magnitude of the situation we are in, and into which the Muslim terrorists have been pushing us, for many years.

Remember, the Muslim terrorists' stated goal is to kill all infidels! That translates into all non-Muslims – not just in the United States, but throughout the world.

We are the last bastion of defense.

We have been criticized, for many years, as being "arrogant." That charge is valid, in at least one respect. We are arrogant in that we believe that we are so good, powerful, and smart; that we can win the hearts and minds of all those who attack us; and that with both hands tied behind our back, we can defeat anything bad in the world!

We can't!

If we don't recognize this, our nation as we know it, will not survive, and no other free country in the World will survive, if we are defeated.

And finally, name any Muslim countries throughout the world that allow freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, equal rights for anyone – let alone everyone, equal status, or any status for women, or that have been productive in one single way that contributes to the good of the world.

This has been a long way of saying that we must be united on this war, or we will be equated in the history books to the self-inflicted fall of the Roman Empire. If, that is, the Muslim leaders will allow history books to be written, or read.

If we don't win this war right now, keep a close eye on how the Muslims take over France in the next 5 years or less. They will continue to increase the Muslim population of France, and continue to encroach little by little, on the established French traditions. The French will be fighting among themselves, over what should or should not be done, which will continue to weaken them, and keep them from any united resolve. Doesn't that sound eerily familiar?

Democracies don't have their freedoms taken away from them by some external military force. Instead, they give their freedoms away, politically correct piece by politically-correct piece.

And, they are giving those freedoms away to those who have shown, worldwide, that they abhor freedom, and will not apply it to you, or even to themselves, once they are in power.

They have universally shown that when they have taken over, they then start brutally killing each other, over who will be the few who control the masses. Will we ever stop hearing from the politically correct, about the "peaceful Muslims"?

I close on a hopeful note, by repeating what I said above. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. I hope, now after the election, the factions in our country will begin to focus on the critical situation we are in, and will unite to save our country. It is your future we are talking about! Do whatever you can to preserve it.

After reading the above, we all must do this not only for ourselves, but our children, our grandchildren, our country, and the World.

Whether Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, and that includes the Politicians and media of our country, and the free World!

Please forward this to any you feel may want, or need to read it. Our "leaders" in Congress ought to read it, too.

There are those who find fault with our country, but it is obvious to anyone who truly thinks through this, that we must unite!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Christ the Lord: Ann Rice

Christ the Lord : Out of EgyptChrist the Lord : Out of Egypt

I don't read Prefaces, Forwards, Editor's Notes, or Afterwards. I find them boring. So, it was with a great deal of trepidation that I turned to the Author's Note at the end of Ann Rice's new book, Christ the Lord.

If all there was to the book was her Author's Note, I would have paid full price, and considered it a bargain. It says many of the things I have wanted to say to a dear friend for a long time, yet could not find the words. Mrs. Rice speaks to the truth of who Jesus Christ was and is in a clear, succinct manner. She fairly presents the arguments of the Skeptics, then tears them apart She presents her personal search for Christ in words both moving and inspiring. And all this before I even begin the book.

Her scholarship is impeccable. And her portrait of a young Jesus, both God and Man, represents the spirit of the Council of Chalcedon well. She draws from the Gospel of Thomas history, while never stepping over the line of calling this extra-biblical text Doctrine. She presents the Savior in ways I've never before encountered, and I'm thankful for the experience.

Monday, November 14, 2005

One More Time: Who's Lying Here?

Norman Podheretz makes one more attempt at getting the truth out. It's a shame the Left is more interested in promoting their own lies. If you are on the left, I would strongly recommend reading this peice, and then telling me what part isn't true. I'm not interested in your emotions, just the facts.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Growing Sense of Divide in the ECUSA

Great article on the coming split in the Anglican Communion. Rather you are Episcopalian or not, the issues being grappled with in the Anglican Communion are worth looking at.

The President Fights Back..And Its About Time

This is more like it!

And our debate at home must also be fair-minded. One of the hallmarks of a free society and what makes our country strong is that our political leaders can discuss their differences openly even in times of war.

When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support.

I also recognize that some of our fellow citizens and elected officials didn't support the liberation of Iraq. And that is their right, and I respect it.

As president and commander in chief, I accept the responsibilities and the criticisms and the consequences that come with such a solemn decision.

While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began.

And this:

BUSH: Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war.

These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.

They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein.

They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions, citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction.

Many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: "When I vote to give the president of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat and a grave threat to our security."

That's why more than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.

And, the money quote:

The stakes in the global war on terror are too high and the national interest is too important for politicians to throw out false charges.

These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will.

As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them.

Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough.

BUSH: And our troops deserve to know that, whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united and we will settle for nothing less than victory.

Our enemy needs to know that too. The latest attacks of the Left send exactly the opposite message. Bravo, Mr. President! Keep it up!

Friday, November 11, 2005

One More Reason to Be Furious at the ACLU

(Hat tip to RSP for this one)
A sickening story, and a sickening organization defending them:

Would you get P.O.’d if . . .

1. Your ten-year old son was kidnapped out of your front yard by two pedophiles and then taken to a taxpayer funded public library and shown, via the internet, a website that displays men having sex with boys?

2. Or, after your son had been force-fed this sick crap, the two kidnappers tried to sexually assault your boy? Would that make your blood boil?

3. Or how about after your son warded off the initial attempted assault, these sick SOBs killed your child by choking him with a gasoline saturated rag, then molested his corpse and discarded his carcass in a cement filled container? I’m guessing that would push most parents straight over the anger edge.

4. And what if after these human pieces of feces are thrown into prison for life (a light sentence in my book), some organization actually defended NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association), the host of the website, and their first amendment right to advocate adult men having sex with underage boys and in no ways sees NAMBLA as culpable in aiding or abetting this crime against your kid?

Is that wrong in your eyes? It is in mine.

This scenario from hell is exactly what Mr. and Mrs. Curley, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, went through a few years ago in the kidnapping and murder of their son Jeffery and the subsequent civil suit they filled against nefarious NAMBLA, which the ACLU defended.

Read the whole thing, if you have the stomach.

'Tis the Season...For the War on Christmas

I know, I know. This has all the makings of one of those Urban Legend emails you get all the time. But my sources have confirmed it every which way, up to and including an interview by Mike Gallagher with Bill Donohue himself. If you think you can knock it down, let me know. The Wal-Mart website does indeed pull up the results from the article below. And Donohue swears up and down he recieved just the reply he describes:



A woman who recently complained to Wal-Mart that the store was replacing “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” received an e-mail response from Customer Service. It appears below in its exact form:

“Walmart is a world wide organization and must remain conscious of this. The majority of the world still has different practices other than ‘christmas’ which is an ancient tradition that has its roots in Siberian shamanism. The colors associated with ‘christmas’ red and white are actually a representation of of the aminita mascera mushroom. Santa is also borrowed from the Caucuses, mistletoe from the Celts, yule log from the Goths, the time from the Visigoth and the tree from the worship of Baal. It is a wide wide world.”

To which Catholic League president Bill Donohue says: “This statement was signed by someone called Kirby. When I read it, I thought he might be drunk. But I was wrong. We sent Kirby’s response to Wal-Mart’s headquarters only to find that Dan Fogleman, Senior Manager, Public Relations, agrees. After acknowledging that he read Kirby’s response, Fogleman said, in part, the following”:

“As a retailer, we recognize some of our customers may be shopping for Chanukah or Kwanza gifts during this time of year and we certainly want these customers in our stores and to feel welcome, just as we do those buying for Christmas. As an employer, we recognize the significance of the Christmas holiday among our family of associates…and close our stores in observance, the only day during the year that we are closed.”

Bill Donohue says: “It’s nice to know that Wal-Mart is closed on a federal holiday. Now here is why I am asking the leaders of 126 religious organizations that span seven religious communities to boycott Wal-Mart. Go to its website and search for Hanukkah and up come 200 items. Click on Kwanzaa and up come 77. Click on Christmas, and here’s what you get: ‘We’ve brought you to our ‘Holiday’ page based on your search.’ In other words, Wal-Mart is practicing discrimination.” Contact Fogleman at dan.fogleman@wal-mart.com.

Now, I'm not a member of the "bash Wal-Mart" crowd. But this really is ridiculous.

Update: 11:15 AM CST
Thanks to Nariel, who plugged in the word Christmas today, and found it brought up 7967 results. Looks like Wal-Mart has changed its search engine results. Looks like pressure works, and Wal-Mart responds quickly to negative press. Yippee!

Update 2: 2:15 PM CST
Snopes.com has replied to my query about the story.
You can read their response here.

The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month

We cannot begin to understand the horrors of The Great War. That long ago time continues to haunt, and influence, our world. World War I dot com is an old site, but still one of the best on the net for getting some idea of what those brave men went through. Veterans Day began in memory of these brave men. We honor their sacrifice, and the continued sacrifice of the men and women fighting World War IV today.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Adventures of Action Item: Professional SuperHero

If you find you relate too well to this, then get away from your computer immediately. You desperately need to take a walk, outside, without your blackberry. And, yes, you have to leave your headphones inside too.

The "Nation" Declares War...On the War

Howard Kurtz writes his media roundup. Great job. At the beginning is this:
Are we seeing a gradual shift in the way liberals talk about the war? I have obtained -- from sources I cannot identify, although none of them are former Hill staffers -- an advance copy of an editorial to be published in the Nation. The liberal magazine is serving notice on politicians, and while it doesn't move many votes, this could amount to a leading cultural indicator.

"The war has also become the single greatest threat to our national security. Its human and economic costs are running out of control, with no end in sight. It has driven America's reputation in the world to a historic low point. . . .

"The Nation therefore takes the following stand: We will not support any candidate for national office who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq a major issue of his or her campaign. We urge all voters to join us in adopting this position. Many worry that the aftermath of withdrawal will be ugly, and there is good reason to think they are right. But we can now see that the consequences of staying will be uglier still. Fear of facing the consequences of prolonging the war will be worse.

"We firmly believe that antiwar candidates, with the other requisite credentials, can win the 2006 Congressional elections, the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries and subsequent national election. But this fight, and our stand, must begin now."

Can't you just hear the helicopters leaving the U.S. Embassy, as desperate Iraqis seek to leave before Al Qaeda comes marching triumphantly into Baghdad? If the Left wants to conjure up Vietnam images, they've succeeded.

Meanwhile, Jordan is burning:
AL-QA'IDA has struck at the heart of the West's closest Arab ally, with suicide bombers killing 60 people and wounding almost 200 at three US-run hotels in the Jordanian capital.

The bombers detonated three bombs in three locations - the Grand Hyatt, the Radisson and Days Inn hotels, in Amman's affluent commercial area - within seven minutes.

Jordanian authorities quickly blamed terror chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qa'ida in Iraq, and the alleged mastermind of a raging insurgency involving almost daily terrorist attacks that have claimed several thousand lives since early 2004.

His al-Qa'ida offshoot claimed responsibility for the attacks in an internet posting.

"A group of our best lions launched a new attack on some dens ... After casing the targets, some hotels were chosen which the Jordanian despot turned into a backyard for the enemies of the faith, the Jews and crusaders," the statement says, promising more details. The statement, which could not be immediately verified, was signed by al-Qa'ida's spokesman in Iraq and posted on an Islamist site normally used by the group.

And who were Zarqawi's victims? Here's the wedding couple, just before the murders. Ashraf Mohamed al-Akhras and his bride Nadia al-Alami. Take a close look at their faces, just before they both lost their fathers.

From the Australian newspaper, The Herald Sun:
At the Radisson, the bride and groom had just made their grand entrance to the ballroom surrounded by 250 elegant guests.

No one noticed a man who managed to elude the parked police car outside, making his way into the ballroom wearing an explosives belt under his clothes.Within seconds the festive wedding turned into a nightmare.

"I lost my father and my father-in-law on my wedding night," groom Ashraf Mohammed al-Akhras said.

A young man said he was in the lobby when the bomb exploded. "There was panic all around me, people were running, screaming," he said.
Last Sunday, I taught a fourth grade Sunday school lesson about sheep, shepherds, and the 23rd Psalm. The Bible often compares humans to sheep. The comparison is apt.

Sheep are helpless against the wolves that prowl just outside the sheepfold. And, until they are attacked, the sheep live in denial, assuming the world is safe. They also have short memories. While they panic when one of the herd is attacked, they quickly forget, and go back to their lives of denial, unaware of the dangers kept at bay by the shepherd, and his sheepdog. Few have said it better than Lt. Colonel David Grossman, as quoted from Eject!Eject!Eject!:

I excerpt a small portion of it here, without permission, in the hope that those of you who are serious about surviving things like Katrina will go here and buy it.

Lt. Colonel Grossman, a far better man than me, a man who does things I only talk about, writes in his introduction to The Bulletproof Mind:

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: "Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident."

This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another.

Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million total Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf." Or, as a sign in one California law enforcement agency put it, "We intimidate those who intimidate others."

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath--a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

He continues:

Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial; that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools. But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are dozens of times more likely to be killed, and thousands of times more likely to be seriously injured, by school violence than by school fires, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their children is just too hard, so they choose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog that intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa." Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog. As Kipling said in his poem about "Tommy" the British soldier:

While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that,
an' "Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir,"
when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys,
there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir,"
when there's trouble in the wind.

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.

While there is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, he does have one real advantage -- only one. He is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population.

Remember at the beginning of this long post the desperate editorial from The Nation, saying they demand a pull out from Iraq? They are warm and comfortable in the sheepfold, and have forgotten the wolves, even when they see the wedding pictures from Jordan. Worse, the Left has mistaken the sheepdogs for wolves, and believe those who protect them are the enemy.

As one of my fourth graders said, "Mister Mark, sheep sure are stupid!"

Yep, they sure are.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Election Day After

John McIntyre of Real Clear Politics analyzed the election results, without the MSM template.
Here's a sample:

The MSM is trying to spin yesterday's election as a disaster for President Bush. But a simple exercise of just checking the election results from four years ago shows this to be partisan spin.

2001 Virginia: Warner (D) 52%, Earley (R) 47%
2005 Virginia: Kaine (D) 52%, Kilgore (R) 46%

2001 New Jersey: McGreevey (D) 56%, Schundler (R) 42%
2005 New Jersey: Corzine (D) 53%, Forrester (R) 44%

2001 New York City: Bloomberg (R) 50%, Green (D) 47%
2005 New York City: Bloomberg (R) 59%, Ferrer (D) 39%

The Democratic sweep of New Jersey and Virginia foreshadowed absolutely nothing for 2002. So the idea that the election results are proof of Democratic strength or Republican weakness is partisan blather, parroted by a sympathetic media.

One place I was watching was Ohio, and the Democrat orchestrated initiatives to change the way elections are handled in that state. All four initiatives failed, by wider margins than the losses in California. Interesting, considering Ohio was one of the Dems best hopes for 2006 and 2008.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Dam is Starting to Give Way

The CIA has been at war. Not with terrorists, but with the Bush Administration. Now, it appears this clandestine war is coming to light. With the request for an investigation in to the leak of Secret Prisons for high level terrorists, to the ongoing questions of just how Joseph Wilson got his Niger assignment in the first place, and who in the CIA approved this mission for someone untrained, and unqualified for such a mission, the war within the war may be coming to an end.

Has France Surrendered Yet?

France has now held out longer against the current Islamo-Fascist assault than they held out against the Nazis in WWII. But that's only because the terrorists coordinating the attacks have not accepted France's surrender terms.

France has tried desperately to offer concessions to the rioters. They don't want them. They want a Gaza strip along the Seine. Unlike the West, the Islamo-Fascists have long memories. The terrorists want to avenge the loss of France centuries ago. And, they know that the French won't fight back unless they have to, unless surrender is not an option.

Election Day

It's not looking good for Arnold in California. The propositions look to be going down in flames. But you never know. Remember, at 2:30 pm a little over a year ago, Kerry was already writing his inaugural address.

Jon Corzine will likely be New Jersey's next Governor. A corrupt politician for an equally corrupt state. They deserve each other. Maybe he'll appoint Bob Torrecelli to finish out his Senate term. It would make sense in New Jersey.

Virginia will come right down to the wire. I have a hunch the Democrat, Kaine, will win in a squeaker. We'll see.

The absolute best place anywhere for info on elections is Real Clear Politics. They will have the election results before anyone else, and with accuracy. Unlike the MSM...

Monday, November 07, 2005

An Ancient Church

An amazing find:

"A discovery of this kind will make Israel more interesting to all Christians, for the church all over the world," said Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Vatican envoy to Jerusalem. "If it's true that the church and the beautiful mosaics are from the third century, it would be one of the most ancient churches in the Middle East."

Razilo, who is serving a two-year sentence for traffic violations, was one of about 50 prisoners brought into the high-security Megiddo Prison to help excavate the area before the construction of new wards for 1,200 Palestinian prisoners.

Razilo was shocked to uncover the edge of the mosaic. The inmates worked for months to uncover all the parts of the mosaic — the floor of the church, he said.

"We continued to look and slowly we found this whole beautiful thing," said Razilo, who used a sponge and a bucket of water to clean dirt off the uncovered mosaics Sunday.

Two mosaics inside the church — one covered with fish, an ancient Christian symbol that predates the cross — tell the story of a Roman officer and a woman named Aketous who donated money to build the church in the memory "of the god, Jesus Christ."

Pottery remnants from the third century, the style of Greek writing used in the inscriptions, ancient geometric patterns in the mosaics and the depiction of fish rather than the cross indicate that the church was no longer used by the fourth century, Tepper said.

I'm thinking this church would not have Frank Griswold as their bishop...

The Shame of the Episcopal Church in the United States

This is not a story about gays in the Church. It's a story, written as praise, of the errors of the Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and North Korea:

I will urge my own government to reject the policy of preemption that heightens tensions and threatens the well being of peoples both in the north and south. As the two Koreas move forward towards the goal of reunification, I will urge the United States to take the following further steps:

  • support and promote a nonaggression pact that will move all parties toward a comprehensive peace formally ending the "state of war" that has existed since 1953 by following through in the current negotiations to pledge not to preemptively attack the DPRK in exchange for the DPRK's abandonment of its nuclear weapons program
  • refrain from demonization of the DPRK in favor of supporting the building of relations between the north and south which hold the promise of peace and reunification
  • make every effort to invite the DPRK into the international community as a full member so that the country can develop and pursue internationally recognized norms and standards for its people to enjoy, specifically to provide humanitarian relief and development assistance to the DPRK including poverty alleviation, food aid, energy development and transportation
  • assure access to all mechanisms for redress of grievances between U.S. military personnel and Korean civilians in the ROK.
Thanks for the advice, Frank. I'm sure you've made the North Koreans very happy. There's a reason the Communists used to call folks like this "Useful Idiots."

And here is some excellent commentary on Reverend Frank, from Christopher Johnson. (hat tip to RSP)