The Eclectic Diatribe
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
  ABDUL RAHMAN Christian Martyr?
Here, via the Middle East Times, is the "evidence" against Rahman that may lead to his execution:

Despite the overthrow of the fundamentalist Taliban government and the presence of 22,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, a man who converted to Christianity is being prosecuted in Kabul, and a judge said Sunday that if convicted, he faces the death penalty.

Abdul Rahman, who is in his 40s, says he converted to Christianity 16 years ago while working as an aid worker helping Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Relatives denounced him as a convert during a custody battle over his children, and he was arrested last month. The prosecutor says Rahman was found with a Bible.

Human rights workers have described the case as an unsettling reminder that the country's post-Taliban judiciary remains deeply conservative, and they have called on President Hamid Karzai to intervene. During Taliban times, men were forced to kneel in prayer five times a day, and couples faced the death penalty for sex outside marriage, for example. Reform efforts have been slow, say experts, since there are so few judges and lawyers with experience.

The U.S. State Department is watching the case closely and considers it a barometer of how well democracy is developing in Afghanistan. "Our view … is that tolerance, freedom of worship is an important element of any democracy," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. "And these are issues as Afghan democracy matures that they are going to have to deal with increasingly."

A number of Christian nonprofit groups do humanitarian work in Afghanistan. Dominic Nutt of Christian Aid calls the Rahman case a step backward for the country, especially if Rahman is executed. Nutt, who has spent time in Afghanistan, tells ABC News "few practitioners are used to the concept of democracy and toleration … [many] are educated only in Islamic law."

Presiding judge Ansarullah Mawlazezadah tells ABC News a medical team was checking the defendant, since the team suspects insanity caused Rahman to reject Islam.

Mr. Rahman’s plight deserves attention. He deserves religious freedom. Afghans deserve freedom to woship as they please and should not be subject to the laws of a religion they don’t serve. Writing Islam into Afghanistan’s constitution—and Iraq’s—may yet undo all the good work our troops have done in both.

Write the embassy of Afghanistan:

Ambassador Said T. Jawad
Embassy of Afghanistan
2341 Wyoming Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Contact the State Department:

U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Main Switchboard:

International Christian Concern calls on Afghan President Hamid Karzai to pardon Rahman:

The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) is calling on Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai to defend religious freedom and freedom of conscience in his country by pardoning Abdul Rahman. Rahman is facing the death penalty for apostasy (rejecting Islam).

Rahman, who is about 41 years old, converted from Islam to Christianity over 16 years ago. He was turned in to authorities last month by his own family for rejecting Islam. Afghanistan’s new constitution declares that no law can be contrary to the religion of Islam, which radical Muslims say demands the death penalty for any Muslim who abandons their faith. However, Afghanistan’s constitution also demands that the state protect the liberty and dignity of all people, and affirms the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states in Article 18:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

As we do not believe the people of Afghanistan would have ratified a constitution that contradicts itself, ICC urges the government of Afghanistan to consider that Islam is not in conflict with this portion of the UN’s Declaration on Human Rights. In fact, the Qur’an itself supports freedom of conscience in view of Allah’s absolute authority as judge:

Surah 2:256 – “There is no compulsion in religion…”
Surah 16:82 – “Then, if they turn away, your duty (O Muhammad) is only to convey (the Message) in a clear way.”
Surah 42:48 – “But if they turn away (from Islam). We have not sent you as a Hafiz (watcher, protector) over them (to take care of their deeds and to recompense them). Your duty is to convey (the Message)…”
Surah 88:21-22 – “And so, (O Prophet!) exhort them, your task is only to exhort; you cannot compel them to believe.”

If even Muhammad was commanded not to carry out punishments on those who turned away from Islam, how much less should Afghanistan’s courts prosecute anyone who decides freely to convert to a different religion?

The Afghani authorities should drop this case immediately. Afghanistan has already had enough of religious extremism under the Taliban. The world is watching to see if Afghanistan has entered the 21st century. We urge Afghanistan not to return to the days of the Taliban.

More on the Afghan constitution.

Brian Mattson wrote a letter published in the Kabul Times:

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my extreme displeasure and that of many other Americans regarding the trial of Abdul Rahman, taking place presently in Kabul. As I understand it, Mr. Rahman faces possible execution for the simple "crime" of converting to Christianity. Fundamental to any free and democratic society - for which, I might note, brave Americans have spilled blood on Afghani soil - is the freedom of individual conscience. It is intolerable that a state that wishes friendly terms with the United States of America should maintain standards of ideological totalitarianism that warrant death for merely claiming the name of Jesus Christ.

This is an injustice. Abdul Rahman must be exonerated immediately, and Afghanistan must end this barbaric practice of murdering converts to Christianity. Whatever appropriateness or popularity the practice may have seemed to possess in the 7th century is decidedly outdated.

Brian G. Mattson
Proud Citizen, U.S.A.

Sign a petition supporting Rahman.
  Teacher's Chair Has Gas
A teacher, a chair and a lawsuit. Nuts knows no bounds.
Read about it here.
Monday, March 13, 2006
  Mokins Smot Causes Dain Bramage-No Kidding.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who regularly smoke marijuana may find their memories growing hazy over time, a study published Monday suggests.

I would have never guessed.............
  This Time He is Right

Robertson Finds Radical Muslims 'Satanic'

Click to enlarge


NORFOLK, Va. - Television evangelist Pat Robertson said Monday on his live news-and-talk program "The 700 Club" that Islam is not a religion of peace, and that radical Muslims are "satanic."

Robertson's comments came after he watched a news story on his Christian Broadcasting Network about Muslim protests in Europe over the cartoon drawings of the Prophet Muhammad.

He remarked that the outpouring of rage elicited by cartoons "just shows the kind of people we're dealing with. These people are crazed fanatics, and I want to say it now: I believe it's motivated by demonic power. It is satanic and it's time we recognize what we're dealing with."

Robertson also said that "the goal of Islam, ladies and gentlemen, whether you like it or not, is world domination."

In a statement later Monday, Robertson said he was referring specifically to terrorists who want to bomb innocent people as being motivated by Satan. In the news story, he noted, radical Muslims were shown screaming: "May Allah bomb you! May Osama Bin Laden bomb you!"

Angell Watts, a Robertson spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview that the news segment also included comments from a moderate Muslim in the United Kingdom saying radicals don't represent most Muslims in that country.

Robertson's Virginia Beach-based network did not include his remarks when it posted the program on its Web site, however. That decision was made out of concern Robertson's remarks could be misinterpreted if viewed out of context, Watts said.

Monday's comments were similar to remarks he made on his program in 2002, when he said Islam "is not a peaceful religion that wants to coexist. They want to coexist until they can control, dominate and then, if need be, destroy."

Robertson has come under intense criticism in recent months for comments suggesting that American agents should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine retribution for Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip.

Robertson recently told ABC's "Good Morning America" that he comments off the cuff after watching news segments. He later told the Christian magazine World that he's being more careful and reviewing news stories before going on the air.

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, called Robertson's new comments "grossly irresponsible."

"At a time when inter-religious tensions around the world are at an all-time high, Robertson seems determined to throw gasoline on the fire," Lynn said in a statement.
  US Military 8 Lawyers 0
CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS'S UNANIMOUS opinion for the Supreme Court in Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Individual Rights, upholding the constitutionality of the Solomon Amendment against challenge by a coalition of law schools and law faculties, decisively resolved the essential legal issues presented by the case. The 8-0 decision (Justice Alito did not participate) made matters crystal clear: Congress, without infringing law schools' and law professors' First Amendment rights of speech and association, may condition federal funding to universities on law schools' granting access to military recruiters equal to that provided other employers. The Solomon Amendment leaves law schools perfectly free to keep the military off campus and away from their students--if they can persuade the universities of which they are a part to decline the millions, sometimes hundreds of millions, the universities receive in federal funds.

Read about it here.
  One Way Cartoon Jihad
An Iranian newspaper's contest for Holocaust-related cartoons has drawn some 700 entries from 200 people, with some drawings mocking the Second World War slaughter: One entry shows Jews going into a gas pipeline.

Most contest entrants are Iranian, but six are Americans and a few cartoons have been submitted from as far away as Indonesia and Brazil, according to the Hamshahri newspaper. A few of the drawings have been posted online.

One submission reflects the opinion of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who drew international outrage last year when he said the Holocaust was a myth.

The cartoon, by Iranian Firouzeh Mozafari, shows a circle of nine Jewish men entering and leaving a gas chamber that shows a counter reading "5,999,999," implying that Jews have inflated the number of Holocaust victims.

American cartoonist Mike Flugennock's cartoon asks: "What has Ariel Sharon learned from the Holocaust?" It shows bulldozers razing Palestinian homes and an Israeli soldier pointing a gun at a Palestinian protester's head, above Flugennock's answer to his own question: "Humiliation, tyranny, brutality and murder."

Farid Mortazavi, who is managing the contest for Hamshahri, said he has received about 700 cartoons from some 200 artists. A website run by contest organizers says entries have come in from 35 countries. The newspaper is offering prizes of up to $14,000 Cdn.

"We still expect more American cartoonists to send their caricatures to the contest," Mortazavi said.

Another American cartoonist depicted the Statue of Liberty with its torch extinguished and its eyes and mouth sealed with metal plates and a sign reading, "Closed until further notice. Bushco Demolitions."

It's interesting to see how many entries there were. Apparently the world's cartoonists don't much fear that rabbis will issue a fatwa, or that rampaging mobs of Jews will burn down their houses. And here in America, of course, over-the-top attacks on the Bush administration are practically required. One suspects that any editorial cartoonist who didn't engage in such attacks would be expelled from the fraternity.

So the Iranians' contest proves what? I guess it proves that there is only one religion that cartoonists are afraid to offend.

By the way, I couldn't find the web site where these cartoons are being posted with a quick search. The newspaper is Hamshahri. Probably one of our enterprising readers can track down the web site where the cartoons are.

Via Power Line News.

UPDATE: On a related subject--Iran, not cartoons--Joshua Sharf has some pungent comments on a rather bizarre ecumenical initiative in, of all places, Denver.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Frank Simmons of San Francisco emails us to say that the Iranians have a point:

I was sad to see that you just regurgitate the Zionist viewpoint. You are more like the powerlessline. Think for yourselves and maybe you could have something here.

(the 6million # is inflated, why else would there be laws in Europe to forbid to even question it?) Are you afraid of the truth, or the jewish political machine, or both?

One thing about that "Jewish political machine," they hardly ever behead anyone.
  Welcome to New Jersey
When Gregg Revell packed his bags for a trip to Pennsylvania last April, he had no idea how far he`d be traveling. Before the week was out, the real estate agent and grandfather would be arrested, thrown into one of the country`s most notorious jails, strip searched and inoculated against his will. The soft-spoken Utah native would be on his way to becoming a poster child for the NRA in a $3 million lawsuit.

Read about it here.
  Lib Brain Map
Thursday, March 09, 2006
  Education's Problem-Teachers Union
The New York Sun reports that ABC "20/20" co-anchor John Stossel was confronted by protestors outside the studio who were enraged by a report he did on public schools. Organized by the United Federation of Teachers, hundreds of teachers waved signs and shouted at him to apologize for a January segment called "Stupid in America," which the teachers said called them "lazy."

"This sums up, without using obscenities, what I think of John Stossel," said a Brooklyn health teacher who held a donkey picture with Stossel's face taped to the rear end.

The kids'll love that one.

John Stossel went out, with a camera crew, to meet the protestors. One teacher invited the "20/20" anchor to come visit her classroom.
  Its Because Your Movies are Gutter Trash, Stupid.
In further evidence of just how out of touch Hollywood is, the AFP is reporting (hat tip to Drudge) that total worldwide movie ticket sales declined by 7.9 percent in 2005. In North America, the decline was 6 percent.

Potentially more telling from this survey done by the Motion Picture Association of America was what kinds of films moviegoers are interested in: “Most movie-goers in 2005 went out to catch family films, with movies rated PG-13, meaning that children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult, accounting for 85 percent of the most watched films in 2005.”
  What Yer Keds lern is skool part dos
By Ben Johnson | March 9, 2006

The academic freedom campaign could not have paid for a better publicity stunt than the one three leftist professors at Duke University gave it for free Tuesday night. In this case, a cross-dressing feminist professor and her cohorts tried to talk 20 students – male and female – into stripping during the middle of David Horowitz’s speech. With one move, they stripped away any pretense that certain academic departments are anything other than political parties – complete with street theater aimed at undermining their critics. Read the entire unbelievable story here.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
  Its In A Poll, So It Must Be True
If you've already seen Brent Baker and Rich Noyes summarize how ABC downplayed their own Bush approval rating number after reporting CBS's lower number the week before, there's one more angle. How did ABC's partner, the Washington Post, play the poll? Pretty much the same. Tuesday's paper featured a front-page graphic showing 80 percent of poll respondents think a civil war is likely in Iraq. Then on A3, Post pollster Richard Morin highlighted the civil war finding. The headline: "Majority in U.S. Fears Iraq Civil War: Poll Also Finds Growing Doubt About Bush."

But "growing doubt" isn't found in the approval number. In paragraph six, we finally read: "Recent U.S. reversals in Iraq have not dramatically reduced overall support for President Bush, in contrast to some other national polls. His overall job approval rating stood at 41 percent, essentially unchanged from January. Nearly six in 10 disapproved of his job performance, the 11th consecutive survey since last April in which at least half the country has been critical of Bush's leadership." How are these polls slanted? Let us count the ways.
  Today Show Muddles On
In Today

You’d think Katie Couric would aspire to be an anchorwoman for all the American people, now that CBS appears to be wooing her for the Throne of Rather. So why did she have to be so rough on Thomas Monaghan, the founder of Domino’s Pizza, for being a Catholic?

Monaghan has an extraordinary American story. After struggling badly with his brother in a failing pizza business, he bought his brother out in 1960 and by the 1980s had accumulated amazing riches. He was enjoying them, too, all the gaudy trappings of success, and then he read the book “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. Reading about the great sin of pride, his life changed dramatically. He stopped concentrating on material things, instead focusing his energies, and his wealth, in pursuit of spiritual good. He poured millions upon millions of dollars into pro-life and Catholic philanthropy. Among other ventures, he founded Ave Maria University. After facing zoning problems with his first location in Michigan, Monaghan struck a deal in southern Florida, not to merely build a Catholic college, but a truly Catholic town, open to anyone aspiring to live in communion with traditional values.
  Civil War In Iraq
In New York Times

Ralph Peters is in Iraq reporting from the Forward Operating Base Loyalty. He says he's tried hard to find the Iraqi civil war he keeps hearing about, and is still unsuccessful.

I'm trying. I've been trying all week. The other day, I drove another 30 miles or so on the streets and alleys of Baghdad. I'm looking for the civil war that The New York Times declared. And I just can't find it.

Maybe actually being on the ground in Iraq prevents me from seeing it. Perhaps the view's clearer from Manhattan. It could be that my background as an intelligence officer didn't give me the right skills....

In place of the civil war that elements in our media declared, I saw full streets, open shops, traffic jams, donkey carts, Muslim holiday flags - and children everywhere, waving as our Humvees passed. Even the clouds of dust we stirred up didn't deter them. And the presence of children in the streets is the best possible indicator of a low threat level.
  Yale The Big Important College Rights the Wrongs
Here is a letter Yale grad Debbie Bookstaber (Yale '00 BA/MA) sent to Yale president Richard Levin that hits the nail on the head (hat tip: John Fund):

Dear Mr. Levin,

My name is Debbie Bookstaber (Yale `00 BA/MA). I've volunteered as an ASC Interviewer every year since graduation.

Over the years, I've seen so many qualified students denied admission to Yale. While I was saddened to see these heartbroken students rejected, I understood that Yale just didn't have enough spots for all the amazing valedictorians with excellent SATs, impressive extracurriculars and an admirable history of community service.

You can imagine my shock when I read in the Wall Street Journal that Rahmatullah Hashemi, former ambassador-at-large for the Taliban, is now studying at Yale on a U.S. student visa. He has a "fourth-grade education and a high-school equivalency degree," but Yale was impressed that he "pulled down a 3.33 grade-point average" in a special students program. Judging from all the students I've seen rejected by Yale, a perfect 4.0 average isn't impressive enough to guarantee admission or even a wait-list spot, yet Yale was convinced that a 3.33 (a B+) was an adequate demonstration of academic talent? Since when has a B+ been considered impressive according to Yale's admissions standards?

My husband (David Bookstaber, Yale `99 and Captain, USAF) went to Yale on a ROTC scholarship. As an ROTC cadet, he had to commute over an hour to UCONN because Yale would not allow ROTC on campus. This was reportedly due to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy the military uses to exclude homosexuals from serving openly. Even efforts to allow the military to recruit on campus in order to comply with the Solomon Amendment were met by fevered protests by many Yale students/professors as being inconsistent with Yale's standards of tolerance.

The last time I checked, the US military doesn't kill anyone for being a homosexual. Nor would any soldier-on-soldier hate crime ever be tolerated. On the other hand, the Taliban advocated murdering any homosexual and anyone else they felt violated their version of Islam. So ROTC isn't acceptable because it offends Yale's standards, but a Taliban leader who condones the Taliban's policy of brutally killing homosexuals and stoning women for not wearing a burka should be recruited lest Harvard win his matriculation?

Apparently when you combine a sub-par 4th grade education, a B+ college average in a special program, and a job history as a spokesperson for a regime that hates America, destroys priceless Buddhas, oppresses women, stones homosexuals, and enforces brutal sharia law in violation of UN Human Rights agreements, you have the magic formula for admission to Yale. Next time I get a phone call from a high school senior in tears over Yale's rejection, I'll tell them to visit a local museum and blow up some sacred Buddhas, stone a homosexual or threaten to beat his/her mother to death if she refuses to wear a burka.

Thank you very much for helping me understand Yale Admissions.

Yours sincerely,
Debbie Bookstaber (Yale `00)

Jim Hoft documents confusion at Yale.


By malkin

The Sheaf, a student newspaper at the University of Saskatchewan, refuses to run the Mohammed Cartoons, but doesn't think twice about running a cartoon depicting Jesus doing this (warning - it's vile):

Needless to say: No reports of Christians rioting, burning down buildings, or issuing death threats over the vulgar cartoon.

And there's a new blog protesting the student newspaper: Boycott the Sheaf
Monday, March 06, 2006
  Smoking was First. Whats Next?????
ASSEMBLY, No. 1327




(Republicans should know better:
Sponsored by:

Assemblyman PETER J. BIONDI

District 16 (Morris and Somerset)


Makes certain operators of interactive computer services and Internet service providers liable to persons injured by false or defamatory messages posted on public forum websites.

Read the whole mess here.
  A Good Man Dies Young

Kirby Puckett was a classy guy. Kirby passed away from a massive stroke today.
Godspeed and God Bless Kirby Puckett. Thanks from a fan.
  Another Reason to Arm Yourself Well
Police in Palm Bay, Fla., arrested seven teens in the last several days wanted in connection with a series of home break-ins that were apparently committed because the group wanted an "adrenaline rush," according to a police report.

Read About it here.
  The Civil War That Wasn't
U.S. Commander Says Iraqi Violence 'Exaggerated'

The Washington Times reports on Army Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, who says the reports of Iraqi sectarian violence during a ten-day period have been "exaggerated."

"The overall levels of violence did not increase substantially as a result of the bombing" of the Golden Mosque, he said, which is in stark contrast to media propaganda portraying the opposite. "It took us a few days to sort our way through what we considered in a lot of cases to be exaggerated reports."

The media tried to hype violence on Iraqi Mosques, but "Gen. Casey said that in a reported 30 attacks on mosques, only two were severely damaged. Of eight mosques that were reported damaged, inspections showed only one had damage -- a broken window."
  What Yer Keds lern is skool
MSM Sorry They Didn't Cover For NEA

Orlando Sentinel ombudsman Manning Pynn apologizes for unknowingly exposing incompetence in the Florida school system. In a story that ran last week about how middle-income kids aren't getting what they should from schools, the Sentinel ran a picture of a teacher standing in front of a whiteboard with the word "government' written on it. Except the "r" was missing.

Wouldn't you want to know if your children were in a classroom with a teacher who can't spell 'government'? Not if you're a left-bent journalist covering for the education status quo.

Although that photo had been in the newsroom since it was taken Dec. 14 and had been seen by numerous editors, no one noticed the misspelling until early the morning of publication, well into the press run -- too late to redesign the front page. "We should have caught it," Photo Editor Ken Lyons lamented. He's right, of course. But if editors had caught the misspelling before the presses rolled, should they have substituted another picture? Would that act of seeming compassion have distorted reality and shielded readers from the truth? Yes and definitely not.

The real story here is that public education is a broken system, and journalists deliberately try to frame this story in a way that fuels more money being poured into the broken system rather than in a way to promote vouchers. Why? The short answer is control. When you have a voucher, you choose where you child goes and what they learn to a much larger extent. That is antithetical to journalists who would much rather your child be indoctrinated in a system that rejects God, promotes sex, "alternative lifestyles", and embraces tranny teachers.
  What Yer Keds lern is skool
MSM Sorry They Didn't Cover For NEA

Orlando Sentinel ombudsman Manning Pynn apologizes for unknowingly exposing incompetence in the Florida school system. In a story that ran last week about how middle-income kids aren't getting what they should from schools, the Sentinel ran a picture of a teacher standing in front of a whiteboard with the word "government' written on it. Except the "r" was missing.

Wouldn't you want to know if your children were in a classroom with a teacher who can't spell 'government'? Not if you're a left-bent journalist covering for the education status quo.

Although that photo had been in the newsroom since it was taken Dec. 14 and had been seen by numerous editors, no one noticed the misspelling until early the morning of publication, well into the press run -- too late to redesign the front page. "We should have caught it," Photo Editor Ken Lyons lamented. He's right, of course. But if editors had caught the misspelling before the presses rolled, should they have substituted another picture? Would that act of seeming compassion have distorted reality and shielded readers from the truth? Yes and definitely not.

The real story here is that public education is a broken system, and journalists deliberately try to frame this story in a way that fuels more money being poured into the broken system rather than in a way to promote vouchers. Why? The short answer is control. When you have a voucher, you choose where you child goes and what they learn to a much larger extent. That is antithetical to journalists who would much rather your child be indoctrinated in a system that rejects God, promotes sex, "alternative lifestyles", and embraces tranny teachers.
  When Sharks Eat Their Young
Chris Matthews on Hillary: "Dukakis in a Dress"

Don't expect to see Chris Matthews and Hillary Clinton dining tête à tête any time soon. On this evening's Hardball, he described her as "Dukakis in a dress."

The comment arose in the course of his interview of House Majority Leader John Boehner. The topic was McCain. Boehner, perhaps with a grain of reluctance, labelled McCain a "good guy." But Boehner cut Matthews short when he floated a scenario in which the GOP would turn to McCain as its candidate "if you see Hillary coming, if it looks like she's got up a head of steam."

Boehner: "Wait a minute. You know, if ifs and buts and were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas. I don't think she can win."
  Another Employer Welcome on Campus

By malkin

Good news just in via Breitbart/Reuters:

A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that universities that get federal funds must allow military recruiters on campus, even if their law schools oppose the Pentagon's policy prohibiting openly gays and lesbians from serving.

The high court upheld as constitutional a federal law dating back to 1994 that allows the government to withhold money from universities that deny military recruiters the same access to campuses given to other employers.

Via How Appealing: "Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. delivered the opinion of the Court. You can access the syllabus here; the Chief Justice's opinion here; and the oral argument transcript here."

Reader Paula D. writes:

The Chief Justice shows some brilliant and biting wit, shredding the argument of the law schools in this excerpt from the opinion:

"…Nothing about recruiting suggests that law schools agree with any speech by recruiters, and nothing in the Solomon Amendment restricts what the law schools may say about the military’s policies. We have held that high school students can appreciate the difference between speech a school sponsors and speech the school permits because legally required to do so, pursuant to an equal access policy… …Surely students have not lost that ability by the time they get to law school."



Justices rejected a free-speech challenge from law school professors who claimed they should not be forced to associate with military recruiters or promote their campus appearances. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the decision, which was unanimous.

Law schools had become the latest battleground over the "don't ask, don't tell" policy allowing gay men and women to serve in the military only if they keep their sexual orientation to themselves. Many universities forbid the participation of recruiters from public agencies and private companies that have discriminatory policies.

Roberts, writing his third decision since joining the court, said there are other less drastic options to protest the policy. "A military recruiter's mere presence on campus does not violate a law school's right to associate, regardless of how repugnant the law school considers the recruiter's message," he wrote.

The federal law, known as the Solomon Amendment after its first congressional sponsor, mandates that universities give the military the same access as other recruiters or forfeit federal money.

College leaders have said they could not afford to lose federal help, some $35 billion a year.

Let's see if they'll put their money where their mouths are now.

Reader John B. writes:

Regardless of what the schools NOW decide to do in the future, they should have to forfeit all federal funds they have received since they instituted the anti-militray recruiting policy.

ABP is reminded of an old story...

John Fund's follow-up on the Taliban mouthpiece now studying at Yale is especially timely:

Are there no limits to how arrogant and out-of-touch America's Ivy League schools can get? Last week it emerged that Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former deputy foreign secretary of the Taliban, is now a student at Yale while at the same time the school continues to block ROTC training from its campus and argues for the right of its law school to exclude military recruiters. King George's troops played the music to "The World Turned Upside Down" as they surrendered at Yorktown. Perhaps the Ivy League should adopt that tune as they surrender all vestiges of common sense.

Clinton W. Taylor, Yale grad, spoofs.

Power Line weighs in, with reax from George Mason University Law School Dean Polsby, who filed an amicus brief supporting the government's position.



SCOTUS Watch: Rumsfeld vs. FAIR
The campus war on military recruiters
Military recruiters under fire
  Welfare Japanese Style
YAKUZA gangsters who have supposedly left the criminal fold or grown too old to beat money out of debtors are being helped by the Government to claim benefits from Japan’s creaking welfare system.

In a bizarre twist of bureaucratic logic, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has drafted what amounts to an ex-Yakuza welfare charter in an effort to stamp out mafia benefit cheats.

The revelation that perhaps hundreds of ex-Yakuza have exploited this and are now living on benefits comes at a sensitive time. Earlier this week, it emerged that the number of households living on welfare in 2005 hit the million mark for the first time.

The Yakuza is Japan’s mafia, with tens of thousands of members and protection, gambling and loan-sharking rackets across the country.

Under the new guidelines, all a gangster has to do is provide the state with a letter from his old gang to prove that he is out of the game and demonstrate that he is unfit to work and the welfare cash is his.

Dozens of apparently ex-Yakuza are now living on state handouts. Some have left their gangs as penniless dropouts. Others, either through injury or old age, have proved that they can no longer earn a living. Ministry insiders say, however that there are likely to be many Yakuza claiming benefits without a genuine “letters of excommunication”.

A spokesperson for the Health Ministry said that it was “extremely difficult” to tell whether a letter was fake.

The guidelines were drawn up in an effort to help local governments deal with welfare claimants who appeared with the tell-tale signs of a Yakuza past — usually tattoos and a minor criminal record.

In many cases, their destitution backed their benefit claims, but authorities were unsure whether to allow ex-crooks to collect welfare payments. The ministry solved this by stipulating the need for a letter from a crime boss.

“The welfare benefits supplied to the organised crime gang members might have been the source of financing for the gang itself. It’s taxpayers’ money, so we cannot just ignore such a thing. So we think it’s very important to specifically lay down these guidelines and stop the unjustified supply of welfare benefits to people who are still gang members,” said Mika Sakurai, a Health Ministry official.

The revelation that one million Japanese are on welfare provided ammunition for critics of economic reforms by the Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi. The evidence suggests that under his stewardship, Japan has lost its relative social equality and split into a society of haves and have-nots.

“In any country, in any given era, there are always income gaps. But they’re not always a bad thing; what’s important is not to only look at the gaps, but to take social competition as an opportunity for citizens to learn from one another and bring out the best in everybody,” Mr Koizumi said this week.

Gangs of the rising sun

  • Organised criminal gangs thought to number 110,000 active members divided into 2,500 families
  • Comprise tekiya (street peddlers), bakuto (gamblers) and gurentai (gangsters)
  • The gurentai have become more prevalent and successful since the second world war when the black market made criminal activity profitable
  • They consider themselves outcasts and take their name from a the worst possible hand in the hana-fuda (flower cards) game
  • They are often heavily tattooed, with popular designs including dragons. Tattooing is considered a test of endurance
  • A common punishment for failure is to remove the tip of the little finger
    Sunday, March 05, 2006
      See what the Chinese Are Doing

    Chinese Government officials have begun to blog.
      Where Have We Heard This Before?

    It wasn't hard

    In today's Telegraph, Iran's nuclear negotiator is revealed bragging to Iranian clerics how he duped the West: "How we duped the West, by Iran's nuclear negotiator." Philip Sherwell reports from Washington:

    The man who for two years led Iran's nuclear negotiations has laid out in unprecedented detail how the regime took advantage of talks with Britain, France and Germany to forge ahead with its secret atomic programme.

    In a speech to a closed meeting of leading Islamic clerics and academics, Hassan Rowhani, who headed talks with the so-called EU3 until last year, revealed how Teheran played for time and tried to dupe the West after its secret nuclear programme was uncovered by the Iranian opposition in 2002.

    Iran has completed uranium enrichment equipment at Isfahan
    He boasted that while talks were taking place in Teheran, Iran was able to complete the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake - a key stage in the nuclear fuel process - at its Isfahan plant but at the same time convince European diplomats that nothing was afoot.

    "From the outset, the Americans kept telling the Europeans, 'The Iranians are lying and deceiving you and they have not told you everything.' The Europeans used to respond, 'We trust them'," he said.

    Sherwell notes that the contents of the speech were published in a journal (unidentified in the article) that circulates among the Iranian elite. I should add that Baroness Alexandra von Maltzen beat the Telegraph to this story at All Things Beautiful in "MSM ignores Iran's admission of guilt." One beautiful thing would be for the MSM to pick up on the Telegraph's story.
      To the Gaol With Them.

    Top secret

    One of the deepest secrets in the exposure of the National Security Agency surveillance of al Qaeda-related conversations by the New York Times is that the publication of the story is itself a crime. Publication of the story violates, for example, one highly specific provision (18 U.S.C. section 798) of the Espionage Act that prohibits the disclosure of communications intelligence. Violation of the statute is a felony punishable by imprisonment up to ten years.

    The "nearly a dozen" current and former government officials who leaked information regarding the NSA surveillance program to the Times violated the statute. So did the Times itself. Yet the Times has barely mentioned its own legal jeopardy in its continued reporting and commenatary on the story.

    The Bush administration of course asked the Times not to disclose the existence of the surveillance program, but the Times proceeded to publish the story when it satisfied itself that it "could write about this program -- withholding a number of technical details -- in a way that would not expose any intelligence-gathering methods or capabilities that are not already on the public record." Thus Times executive editor Bill Keller spake in his statement on the story. (We noted General Hayden's disagreement with Keller in "Crimes of the Times.")

    We wrote about the legal issues regarding the publication of the original December 16 Times story repeatedly here, but the issues received essentially no attention elsewhere. In January, the Boston Phoenix published the excellent analysis of the legal issues regarding the Times's publication of the story in "The gray lady in shadow" by civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate. The Daily Standard followed with my column "Exposure." Then this month Commentary published Gabriel Schoenfeld's "Has the New York Times violated the Espionage Act?"

    Today's Washington Post covers the current investigation of the NSA and other leaks in "White House trains efforts on media leaks." The story presents the issues in a manner so blinkered that it is impossible to understand them. There is no mention, for example, of the statute prohibiting the publication of communications intelligence, though we do get Bill Keller's disgusting bloviation:

    "There's a tone of gleeful relish in the way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries, their appetite for withholding information, and the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public's business risk being branded traitors," said New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, in a statement responding to questions from The Washington Post. "I don't know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values it professes to be promoting abroad."
    In Keller's book, talking about enforcement of the rule of law is equivalent to "declaring war" on the promotion of democracy. I guess it this kind of subtlety that has earned the Times its place of distinction among the mainstream media.

    The problem with the pending investigation of the NSA leaks is that the administration appears only to be talking about enforcement of the rule of law insofar as the New York Times is concerned. The Post reports that not a single reporter or editor has been interviewed in connection with the pending investigations. In the last paragraph of this long story, Eggen quotes "the Justice Department":

    The Justice Department said "there plainly is no exemption" for the media under the Espionage Act, but added, "a prosecution under the espionage laws of an actual member of the press for publishing classified information leaked to it by a government source would raise legitimate and serious issues and would not be undertaken lightly, indeed, the fact that there has never been such a prosecution speaks for itself."
    This Justice Department statement distinguishes the administration's kid-glove treatment of the Times with its prosecution (under a much vaguer provision of the Espionage Act than the one Silverglate and I address) of AIPAC staff members Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman for receiving classified information about Iran. There's a story here alright, but the Post never quite gets around to it.

    It is indicative of the "through a glass darkly" quality of Eggen's story that the first expert he quotes is Professor David Greenberg, last seen in the Post defaming Charles Colson in the guise of a review of Jonathan Aitken's new biography of Colson. In Eggen's story he serves the utterly predictable and entirely unilluminating purpose of introducing the ghost of Richard Nixon into the story. I devoted a Standard column to Greenberg in "Wielding the hatchet" and took another whack at him here when the Post published Greenberg's pitiful respone to Mark Earley's letter on Greenberg's review in "Professor Greenberg regrets."

      Media Bias? Whooda Thunkit

    AP Again Creates News Where None Exists

    In Media Bias

    The AP is breaking another non-story. The headline: "Many Defendants' Cases Kept Secret"
    Despite the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of public trials, nearly all records are being kept secret for more than 5,000 defendants who completed their journey through the federal courts over the last three years.
    And right on cue, they blame Bush.
    The data show a sharp increase in secret case files over time as the Bush administration's well-documented reliance on secrecy in the executive branch has crept into the federal courts through the war on drugs, anti-terrorism efforts and other criminal matters."This follows the pattern of this administration," said John Wesley Hall, an Arkansas defense attorney and second vice president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
    The second most popular anti-Bush meme, behind the "Bush lied" screed, is the "secret government" line. So this story sounds like a big deal, right? The evil Bush administration is secretly locking people up and the Sixth Amendment is getting shredded all to hell.

    Of course not. In fact, the story itself shows that this isn't newsworthy information. Here are these two highly relevant items from the article:

    On top of that, look at the statistics they used to build this case of a "widespread pattern of secrecy in the Bush administration":

      A Note to the Quality of Life Judges


    By malkin


    The latest on little Haleigh from the Boston Globe (hat tip: Pundit Review):

    A nurse told the mother of Haleigh Poutre during a hospital visit on Tuesday that the severely beaten Westfield girl, whom officials once wanted to let die, has been able to eat scrambled eggs and cream of wheat, and has tapped out drum rhythms during physical therapy, according to the mother's lawyer.

    But it is unclear when Poutre began eating solid food, and how often she does so. A Department of Social Services worker, who was monitoring the 15-minute visit, has told the nurse to stop talking to the mother about the girl's condition, said Wendy Murphy, a Boston lawyer who represents Allison Avrett, who is Poutre's biological mother.

    ''Silence and secrecy has been the most frustrating component of this case," Murphy said yesterday. ''It just seems inhumane that information about this child can be forbidden on the theory that it's somehow protecting her privacy, when you consider that this child almost died under the state's care."

    The Department of Social Services gave Poutre's mother and grandmother permission to visit the hospital every two weeks starting last fall, after they signed a confidentiality agreement that bars them from asking about the girl's condition and making public statements on the subject.

    Murphy said she plans to file a motion on Tuesday asking the Hampden Juvenile Court to allow Avrett to participate in the judicial proceedings about the girl's future, including getting access to the girl's medical information and having a voice in future decisions, and to lengthen and expand her visits.

    DSS and hospital officials said they are not allowed to release public updates on the girl's progress.

    Poutre, who remains on a feeding tube, has been receiving physical, speech, and occupational therapy since Jan. 26 at the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Brighton, where she turned 12 on Feb. 24. State officials had sought to remove the girl's life support about a week after she was admitted to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield after allegedly being beaten by her adoptive mother and stepfather.

    Murphy and Susan Molina, who is the executive director of The Yellow Ribbon Kids Club, a nonprofit group based in Whitman that advocates for foster children, said the girl has been able to use her hands to signal her wishes.

    Earlier in February, Poutre held up two fingers to signal that she wanted to see her younger sister, her grandmother's second grandchild.

    Poutre cannot talk, but she rubs the faces of her mother and grandmother and plays with their hair when they visit. The girl clings to their hands when the 15 minutes are up, and they have to pry her fingers off to leave, Molina said.

    A piece of paper with the girl's name scrawled in pink and other markings hung near her hospital bed. Murphy said Avrett wants to know the significance of the work, and whether the girl can hold a pen, draw, or spell.

    Friday, March 03, 2006
      Thank Heavens for South Dakota
    KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - U.S. abortion-rights defenders and opponents (notice the wording here) are preparing for battle as South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds considers whether to sign a state abortion ban that advocates hope will lead to a national Supreme Court showdown.

    The Republican governor has until March 15 to sign or veto a bill passed by the state legislature on February 24 which would ban abortions in all circumstances. Amid wide expectations he will sign it, abortion-rights supporters are preparing lawsuits and warning legislators of repercussions come mid-term elections in November.

    "There are consequences to this type of absolutely outrageous legislation," said NARAL Pro-Choice America president Nancy Keenan.

    Abortion opponents agreed that the South Dakota bill could have a broad impact, but said it would favor their effort.

    "We think it is very significant," said American Life League vice president Jim Sedlak. "We celebrate the fact that a state has put forth legislation that has no exception. We believe when it gets to the Supreme Court... the court could use (the law) to declare personhood for the unborn baby in the womb."

    The U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision established a woman's right to abortion, but activists on both sides of the issue believe the court may restrict abortion rights following President George W. Bush's two appointments.

    The South Dakota legislation would ban abortion in all cases and at all stages of pregnancy, even within the first few weeks(as if that should make any difference) . Doctors who perform an abortion could be punished with a $5,000 fine and five years in prison. (much less than an aborted babys sentence)

    In cases where a woman's life is in jeopardy, doctors who take medical action to try to save the pregnant woman must also "make reasonable medical effort" to save the life of the fetus under the law. If the fetus suffers "accidental or unintentional injury or death" the law states it will not be considered a violation.

    The bill's passage follows a report by the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion that concluded that "life begins at the time of conception...including the fact that each human being is totally unique immediately at fertilization."

    It is that language, coupled with the abortion ban, that abortion opponents say could help overturn the Roe vs. Wade decision.

    Planned Parenthood, NARAL and other groups pledged to fight the law in the courts and at the ballot box. "You are going to see a backlash to keep them from overstepping both freedom and privacy in this country," Keenan said. (The baby's or mothers freedom?)

    Other states are also moving to pass sweeping anti-abortion laws, including Mississippi, which on Thursday passed a bill that would ban all abortions except when the life of the mother is in jeopardy or in cases of rape and incest. Republican Gov. Haley Barbour has indicated he probably will sign the bill.
      More Dangerous to a Baby than Second Hand Smoke
    CHICAGO (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said on Friday that all of its pharmacies would carry morning-after contraceptive pills, bowing to pressure from states seeking to force the world's biggest retailer to do so.

    In a statement posted on its Web site, Wal-Mart said all of its pharmacies would begin carrying "Plan B" contraceptives as of March 20, but added that workers who did not feel comfortable dispensing a prescription could refer customers to another pharmacist or pharmacy.

    A Wal-Mart spokeswoman said the company would not comment beyond the contents of the statement.

    "We expect more states to require us to sell emergency contraceptives in the months ahead," Ron Chomiuk, vice president of pharmacy for Wal-Mart, said.

    "Because of this, and the fact that this is an FDA-approved product, we feel it is difficult to justify being the country's only major pharmacy chain not selling it," he said.

    Illinois and Massachusetts already require Wal-Mart to sell the morning-after pill, which must be taken with 72 hours after sex to prevent (you mean terminate) pregnancy. Pressure to introduce similar mandates is building in Connecticut and New York.

    "Wal-Mart's decision to stock (emergency contraception) will help women across the country prevent unintended pregnancy and that's a positive step for the health of women and families,"(but not real good for the baby) Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards said in a separate statement.

    "The sooner emergency contraception is taken, the better it works (faster it kills the baby). In many communities, Wal-Mart is the only pharmacy, so timely access is critical," she said.
      We're From the Government and We're Here to Help

    Fla. Legislator Throws in Towel Over Pie

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Suwanee county legislator who was locked in fierce battle this week has thrown in his kitchen towel.

    Rep. Dwight Stansel, a pecan farmer, waged a war of sorts earlier this week when he challenged a fellow legislator's plan to make key lime pie Florida's official pie, The Miami Herald reported in Thursday's editions.

    But Stansel, D-Live Oak, met his match Wednesday when 30 people in Broward County signed a petition to defend the dessert. People railed against pecan pie on two morning shows, and bloggers logged in to join the key-lime ranks.

    "Make it chicken pot pie," Stansel. "We got too many things to worry about besides pie."

      The future of the Nation: The Public School

    AP Article on this Geography Teacher, Mr. Bennish:

    Colorado Teacher on Leave for Bush Comment

    AURORA, Colo. - About 150 high school students walked out of class to protest a decision to put a teacher on leave while they investigate remarks he made about President Bush in class, including that some people compare Bush to Adolf Hitler.

    The protest came Thursday as administrators began investigating whether Overland High School teacher Jay Bennish violated a policy requiring balancing viewpoints in the classroom, Cherry Creek School District spokeswoman Tustin Amole said.


    "It was peaceful. The students yelled, but there was no fighting," Amole said. "Most of them did return to class."

    A telephone number listed for Bennish, who has been teaching social studies and American history at Overland since 2000, had been disconnected.

    Sophomore Sean Allen recorded about 20 minutes of Bennish's class during a Feb. 1 discussion about Bush's State of the Union speech and gave the recording to his father, who complained to the principal, Amole said.

    "After listening to the tape, it's evident the comments in the class were inappropriate. There were not adequate opportunities for opposing points of view," she said.

    Deborah Fallin, spokeswoman for the Colorado Education Association, which represents about 37,000 union teachers, said it will not represent Bennish because he is not a member, but said that Bennish has hired an attorney.

    Appears that a popular teacher was wronged. Listen to the audio of his rant or read the transcript below and see if you want your kids learning "geography" from this guy.

    Teacher Jay Bennish: If you were Palestinians, who are the real terrorists? The Israelis, who fire missiles that they purchased from the United States government into Palestinian neighborhoods and refugees and maybe kill a terrorist, but also kill innocent women and children. And when you shoot a missile into Pakistan to quote-unquote kill a known terrorist, and we just killed 75 people that have nothing to do with al Qaeda, as far as they're concerned, we're the terrorists. We've attacked them on their soil with the intention of killing their innocent people.


    Student Sean Allen: But we did not have the intention of killing innocent people. We had the intention of killing an al Qaeda terrorist.

    Bennish: Do you know that?

    Allen: So, you're saying the United States has intentions to kill innocent people?

    Bennish: I don't know the answer to that question.

    Allen: But what gain do we get from killing innocent people in the Middle East? What gain does that pose to us?

    Bennish: Let me ask you this. During the 1980s, Iran and Iraq were involved in an 8-year-long war. The United States sold missiles, tanks, guns, planes, to which side?

    Unidentified student: Iraq?

    Bennish: Both. The answer is both. Why would we send armaments to two sides that are fighting each other. That seems to be self-defeating. Don't we want one side to win? Not always! Sometimes you just want there to be conflict!

    The British -- this is one of the grand strategies of the British imperial

    system--was to play local animosities off each other. To prevent them is to divide and conquer.

    Do we really want the Middle East to unite as one cohesive political and cultural body?

    No! Because then they could what? Threaten our supremacy.

    We want to keep the world divided. Do we really want to kill innocent people? I don't know. I don't know the answer to that.

    I know there are some Americans who do. People who work in the CIA. People who have to think like that. Those kind of dirty minds, dirty tricks. That's how the intelligence world works. Sometimes you do want to kill

    people just for the sake of killing them. Right?

    The kid who shined the light on the cockroach, 16 year old Sean Allen:

      The Devil Prepares to Eat A Little Girl

    You probably wont hear about anything except the protesters, but the President has completed a very sucessful trip to India. To read some of the Indian press about the trip is refreshing.Accurate articles reporting about Mr. Bush, in this country, are few and far between.
      Jimmy Carter-unhinged meglomania
    From Powerline:

    We've been following the proposed United Nations Human Rights Council to take the place of the disgraced and disgraceful United Nations Human Rights Commission. Last week Ambassador Bolton took a leaf from the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" and pronounced the proposed new Council the same as the old Commission. This week Secretary Rice confirmed that the United States opposed the new Council.

    Just one problem. The New York Sun reports that Jimmy Carter had personaly promised the ambassadors from Egypt, Pakistan, and Cuba that the Council was a done deal:

    The story, as Mr. Carter recalled, began with a recent dinner for 17 he attended in New York, where the guests included the president of the U.N. General Assembly, Jan Eliasson; an unidentified American representative, and other U.N. ambassadors from "powerful" countries at Turtle Bay, of which he mentioned only three: Cuba, Egypt, and Pakistan. The topic was the ongoing negotiations on an attempt to replace the widely discredited Geneva-based Human Rights Commission with a more accountable Human Rights Council.

    "One of the things I assured them of was that the United States was not going to dominate all the other nations of the world in the Human Rights Council," Mr. Carter said. However, on the next day, Mr. Carter said, Mr. Bolton publicly "demanded" that the five permanent members of the Security Council will have permanent seats on the new council as well, "which subverted exactly what I have promised them," Mr. Carter said.

    "So I called Condoleezza Rice and told her about the problem, and she said that that statement by our representative was not going to be honored," he said. But despite Mr. Carter's assessment that there are "a lot of people" in Washington who oppose Mr. Bolton on the Human Rights Council, Mr. Bolton's opposition to the proposed new structure became American policy.

    Jimmy Carter seems under the illusion that Ambassador Bolton is acting as a free agent when he speaks in public on questions related to the United Nations. The Sun helpfully adds:

    Mr. Bolton's spokesman, Richard Grenell, told The New York Sun yesterday that it is "naive" to think that Mr. Bolton has "a different position than the rest of the United States government on this issue."

    Jimmy Carter seems to be confusing the Bush administration with his own, in which United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young defied Carter administration policy and got himself fired. Next thing you know, Carter will "fire" Ambassador Bolton.
      They just cant stand it.
    Check out the yahoo post on some belated positive news on the war in Iraq. Check out the photo and caption to its left. Notice the tone. The troops "say" they captured 61 al Qaeda members. As if the troops might not be credible. No bias here. Move along, nothing to see.
    A collection of news, thoughts, trivia, and general stuff originating a little North West of Murray, Kentucky, USA, and the rest of the world. Authored by one who really doesnt have the time.

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