Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Give 'Em Enough
Rope ...

Hopefully you've all read Mark Steyn's terrific book, America Alone. Here is kind of a follow-up article to the book. It's a little long but well worth reading. If militant Islam is successful in toppling Western democracy, it will be due, at least in part, to wounds which were self-inflicted.
The Right Not To Be Offended

Steyn on Canada and the Commonwealth

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Do you remember a cover story Maclean’s ran on Oct. 23, 2006?

No? Me neither, and I wrote it. Such is life in the weekly mag biz. But it was an excerpt on various geopolitical and demographic trends from my then brand new tome, America Alone: The End of the World as we Know It. I don’t know whether my bestselling book is still available in Canadian bookstores, but it’s coming soon to a Canadian “courtroom” near you! The Canadian Islamic Congress and a handful of Osgoode Hall law students have complained about the article in Maclean’s to (at last count) three of Canada’s many “human rights” commissions, two of which have agreed to hear the “case.” It would be nice to report that the third sent the plaintiffs away with a flea in their ears saying that in a free society it’s no business of the state to regulate the content of privately owned magazines. Alas, I gather it’s only bureaucratic torpor that has temporarily delayed the province of Ontario’s enthusiastic leap upon the bandwagon. These students are not cited in the offending article. Canadian Muslims are not the subject of the piece. Indeed, Canada is not mentioned at all, except en passant. Yet Canada’s “human rights” commissions have accepted the premise of the Canadian Islamic Congress - that the article potentially breaches these students’ “human rights.”

Since the CIC launched its complaint, I’ve been asked by various correspondents what my defence is. My defence is I shouldn’t have to have a defence. The “plaintiffs” are not complaining that the article is false, or libellous, or seditious, for all of which there would be appropriate legal remedy. Their complaint is essentially emotional: it “offended” them. And as offensiveness is in the eye of the offended, there’s not a lot I can do about that.

But, given that the most fundamental “human right” in modern Canada is apparently the right not to be offended, perhaps I could be permitted to say what offends me. I’m offended by the federal and British Columbia human rights commissions’ presumption that the editing decisions of Maclean’s fall within their jurisdiction. Or to put it another way, I don’t accept that free-born Canadian citizens require the permission of the Canadian state to read my columns. The eminent Q.C. who heads the Canadian Human Rights Commission may well be a shrewd and insightful person but I don’t believe her view of Maclean’s cover stories should carry any more weight than that of Mrs. Mabel Scroggins of 47 Strathcona Gardens. And it is slightly unnerving to me that large numbers of Canadians apparently think there’s nothing wrong in subjecting the contents of political magazines to “judicial review.”

Let’s take it as read that I am, as claimed, “offensive.” That’s the point. It’s offensive speech that requires legal protection. As a general rule, Barney the Dinosaur singing “Sharing is Caring” can rub along just fine. Take, for example, two prominent figures from Scandinavia. Extremely prominent, as it happens. In his Christmas address to the Swedish people, King Carl Gustaf hailed the dawn of “one new Sweden. Young people with roots in other cultures put Sweden on the map in musical styles, in the field of sports, with business ideas that were not there when I was younger... To welcome changes and to let the mix of cultures and experiences enrich our lives and our society is the only road ahead.” Blah blah blah. Usual multiculti bromides. Could have been our own Queen’s Christmas message or her vicereine on Canada Day. Stick it in the Globe and Mail and no one would bat an eyelid.

By contrast, here’s another Scandinavian head of state. Two years ago, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, musing on Islamic radicalism in her own country, said that people need occasionally to “show their opposition to Islam... It is a challenge we have to take seriously. We have let this issue float about for too long because we are tolerant and very lazy. And when we are tolerant, we must know whether it is because of convenience or conviction.”

Can you still print the Queen of Denmark’s remarks in a Canadian publication? To be honest, I’m not sure. If you examine Dr. Mohamed Elmasry’s formal complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission about my article, Grievance #16 objects to the following assertion:

“The number of Muslims in Europe is expanding like ‘mosquitoes.’ ”

That claim certainly appears in my piece. But they’re the words not of a notorious right-wing Islamophobic columnist but of a bigshot Scandinavian Muslim:

“ ‘We’re the ones who will change you,’ the Norwegian imam Mullah Krekar told the Oslo newspaper Dagbladet in 2006. ‘Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every Western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries is producing 3.5 children.’ ”

Given that the “mosquitoes” line is part of the basis on which the HRC accepted Dr. Elmasry’s complaint of “Islamophobia,” I’m interested to know what precisely is the offence? Are Mullah Krekar’s words themselves Islamophobic? Or do they only become so when I quote them? The complainants want a world in which a Norwegian imam can make statements in a Norwegian newspaper but if a Canadian columnist reprints them in a Canadian publication it’s a “hate crime.” It’s striking to examine the Canadian Islamic Congress’s complaints and see how many of their objections are to facts, statistics, quotations - not to their accuracy but merely to the quoting thereof. But, of course, they’ve picked the correct forum: before the human rights commissions, truth is no defence.

Just for the record, my book is not about Islam, not really. Rather, it posits Islam as an opportunist beneficiary of Western self-enfeeblement. The most important quotation in the entire text is nothing to do with Muslims or mosquitoes but a bald statement by the late historian Arnold Toynbee:

“Civilizations die from suicide, not murder.”

One manifestation of that suicidal urge is the human rights commission. It is an illiberal notion harnessed in the cause, supposedly, of liberalism: gays don’t like uptight Christians flaunting the more robust passages of Leviticus? Don’t worry about it. We’ll set up a body that’ll hunt down Bible-quoting losers in basements and ensure they’ll trouble you no further. Just a few recalcitrant knuckle-draggers who decline to get with the beat. Don’t give ‘em a thought. Nothing to see here, folks.

The Canadian Islamic Congress is now using this pseudo-judicial shortcut to circumscribe debate on one of the great central questions of the age: the demographic transformation of much of the Western world. The Islamification of Europe is a fact. It’s happening. It’s under way right now. Are Canadian magazines allowed to acknowledge that? And, if they do, are they allowed to posit various scenarios as to how it might all shake out? The CIC objects to articles that suggest all Muslims are jihadists and radicals. Very well. Are we permitted to try and calibrate what proportion is radical? For example, a recent poll found that 36 per cent of Muslims between the ages of 16 and 24 believe that those who convert to another religion should be punished by death. That’s not 36 per cent of young Muslims in Waziristan or Yemen or Sudan, but 36 per cent in the United Kingdom. Forty per cent of British Muslims would like to live under sharia, in Britain. Twenty per cent have sympathy for the July 7 Tube bombers. And, given that Islam is the principal source of population growth in every city down the spine of England from Manchester to Sheffield to Birmingham to London, these statistics are not without significance for Britain’s future. Can we talk about it?

Not if the CIC and their enablers at the human rights commissions get their way. I note, too, that the Ontario Federation of Labour is supporting the Canadian Islamic Congress’s case. As Terry Downey, executive supremo of the OFL, primly explains, “There is proper conduct that everyone has to follow”- and his union clearly feels my article is way beyond the bounds of that “proper conduct.” Don’t ask me why. I don’t pretend to understand the peculiar psychological impulses that would lead the OFL to throw its lot in with Dr. Mohamed Elmasry and the CIC. Except that there seems to be some kinky kind of competition on the Western left to be, metaphorically speaking, Islam’s lead prison bitch.

Oh, dear. Is that “offensive” to the executive committee of the OFL? Very probably so. I may well have another “human rights” suit on my hands. Heigh-ho. Might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.

Or we could all grow up and recognize the dangers in forcing more and more public discourse into the shadows. As David Warren put it, the punishment is not the verdict, but the process - the months of time-consuming distractions and legal bills that make it easier for editors to shrug, “You know, maybe we don’t need a report on creeping sharia, after all. How about we do The Lindsay Lohan Guide To Celebrity Carjacking one more time?”

Canada is not unique in the urge of its bien pensants to pre-emptive surrender: Australian publishers decline books on certain, ah, sensitive subjects; a French novelist was dragged into court to answer for the “Islamophobia” of one of his fictional characters; British editors insist books are vacuumed of anything likely to attract the eye of wealthy Saudis adept at using the English legal system to silence their critics.

Nonetheless, even in this craven environment, Canada’s “human rights commissions” are uniquely inimical to the marketplace of ideas. In its 30 years of existence, no complaint brought to the federal HRC under Section XIII has been settled in favour of the defendant. A court where the rulings only go one way is the very definition of a show trial. These institutions should be a source of shame to Canadians.

So I’m not interested in the verdict - except insofar as an acquittal would be more likely to legitimize the human rights commissions’ attempt to regulate political speech, and thus contribute to the shrivelling of liberty in Canada. I’m interested only in getting the HRCs out of this business entirely. When it comes to free speech on one of the critical issues of the age, to reprise Sir Edward Grey on the eve of the Great War, the lamps are going out all over the world - one distributor, one publisher, one novelist, one cartoonist, one TV host at a time.

Maclean’s, January 2008

Ann Coulter Takes McCain to the Woodshed

While I'm not a huge Ann Coulter fan, one thing I do like about her is that she doesn't wear 'rose coloted glasses, and she sure does not drink any candidate's kool-aid. Now that she's knocked Mike Huckabee out of the race, she's set her sights on psuedo-conservative McCain -- and boy does she give him a whipping!


By Ann Coulter

Thu Jan 24, 6:07 PM ET

John McCain is Bob Dole minus the charm, conservatism and youth. Like McCain, pollsters assured us that Dole was the most “electable” Republican. Unlike McCain, Dole didn’t lie all the time while claiming to engage in Straight Talk.

Of course, I might lie constantly too, if I were seeking the Republican presidential nomination after enthusiastically promoting amnesty for illegal aliens, Social Security credit for illegal aliens, criminal trials for terrorists, stem-cell research on human embryos, crackpot global warming legislation and free speech-crushing campaign-finance laws.

I might lie too, if I had opposed the Bush tax cuts, a marriage amendment to the Constitution, waterboarding terrorists and drilling in Alaska.

And I might lie if I had called the ads of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth “dishonest and dishonorable.”

McCain angrily denounces the suggestion that his “comprehensive immigration reform” constituted “amnesty” -- on the ludicrous grounds that it included a small fine. Even the guy who graduated fifth from the bottom of his class at the U.S. Naval Academy didn’t fall for this a few years ago.

In 2003, McCain told The Tucson Citizen that “amnesty has to be an important part” of any immigration reform. He also rolled out the old chestnut about America’s need for illegals, who do “jobs that American workers simply won’t do.”

McCain’s amnesty bill would have immediately granted millions of newly legalized immigrants Social Security benefits. He even supported allowing work performed as an illegal to count toward Social Security benefits as recently as a vote in 2006 -- now adamantly denied by Mr. Straight Talk.

McCain keeps boasting that he was “the only one” of the Republican presidential candidates who supported the surge in Iraq.

What is he talking about? All Republicans supported the surge -- including Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. The only ones who didn’t support it were McCain pals like Sen. Chuck Hagel. Indeed, the surge is the first part of the war on terrorism that caused McCain to break from Hagel in order to support the president.

True, McCain voted for the war. So did Hillary Clinton. Like her, he then immediately started attacking every other aspect of the war on terrorism. (The only difference was, he threw in frequent references to his experience as a POW, which currently outnumber John Kerry’s references to being a Vietnam vet.)

Thus, McCain joined with the Democrats in demanding O.J. trials for terrorists at Guantanamo, including his demand that the terrorists have full access to the intelligence files being used to prosecute them.

These days, McCain gives swashbuckling speeches about the terrorists who “will follow us home.” But he still opposes dripping water down their noses. He was a POW, you know. Also a member of the Keating 5 scandal, which you probably don’t know, and won’t -- until he becomes the Republican nominee.

Though McCain was far from the only Republican to support the surge, he does have the distinction of being the only Republican who voted against the Bush tax cuts. (Also the little lamented Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who later left the Republican Party.) Now McCain claims he opposed the tax cuts because they didn’t include enough spending cuts. But that wasn’t what he said at the time.

To the contrary, in 2001, McCain said he was voting against Bush’s tax cuts based on the idiotic talking point of the Democrats. “I cannot in good conscience,” McCain said, “support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief.”

McCain started and fanned the vicious anti-Bush myth that, before the 2000 South Carolina primary, the Bush campaign made phone calls to voters calling McCain a “liar, cheat and a fraud” and accusing him of having an illegitimate black child.

On the thin reed of a hearsay account, McCain immediately blamed the calls on Bush. “I’m calling on my good friend George Bush,” McCain said, “to stop this now. He comes from a better family. He knows better than this.”

Bush denied that his campaign had anything to do with the alleged calls and, in a stunningly magnanimous act, ordered his campaign to release the script of the calls being made in South Carolina.

Bush asked McCain to do the same for his calls implying that Bush was an anti-Catholic bigot, but McCain refused. Instead, McCain responded with a campaign commercial calling Bush a liar on the order of Bill Clinton:

MCCAIN: His ad twists the truth like Clinton. We’re all pretty tired of that.

ANNOUNCER: Do we really want another politician in the White House America can’t trust?

After massive investigations by the Los Angeles Times and investigative reporter Byron York, among others, it turned out that neither of the alleged calls had ever been made by the Bush campaign -- nor, it appeared, by anyone else. There was no evidence that any such calls had ever been made, which is unheard of when hundreds of thousands of “robo-calls” are being left on answering machines across the state.

And yet, to this day, the media weep with McCain over Bush’s underhanded tactics in the 2000 South Carolina primary.

In fact, the most vicious attack in the 2000 South Carolina primary came from McCain -- and not against his opponent.

Seeking even more favorable press from The New York Times, McCain launched an unprovoked attack against the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, calling them “agents of intolerance.” Unlike the phantom “black love child” calls, there’s documentary evidence of this smear campaign.

To ensure he would get full media coverage for that little gem, McCain alerted the networks in advance that he planned to attack their favorite whipping boys. Newspaper editors across the country stood in awe of McCain’s raw bravery. The New York Times praised him in an editorial that said the Republican Party “has for too long been tied to the cramped ideology of the Falwells and the Robertsons.”

Though McCain generally votes pro-life -- as his Arizona constituency requires -- he embraces the loony lingo of the pro-abortion set, repeatedly assuring his pals in the media that he opposes the repeal of Roe v. Wade because it would force women to undergo “illegal and dangerous operations.”

Come to think of it, Dole is a million times better than McCain. Why not run him again?

The Breck Girl Bails

It's being reported that the Breck Girl, John Edwards, is calling it quits today and pulling out of the race for the Democrat nomination.

Check this out:
Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voters' sympathies but never diverted his campaign ... .

... The decision came after Edwards lost the four states to hold nominating contests so far to rivals who stole the spotlight from the beginning—Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

The former North Carolina senator will not immediately endorse either candidate in what is now a two-person race for the Democratic nomination ... .

Edwards waged a spirited top-tier campaign against the two better- funded rivals, even as he dealt with the stunning blow of his wife's recurring cancer diagnosis. In a dramatic news conference last March, the couple announced that the breast cancer that she thought she had beaten had returned, but they would continue the campaign.

Their decision sparked a debate about family duty and public service. But Elizabeth Edwards remained a forceful advocate for her husband, and she was often surrounded at campaign events by well-wishers and emotional survivors cheering her on.

Edwards planned to announce his campaign was ending with his wife and three children at his side. Then he planned to work with Habitat for Humanity at the volunteer-fueled rebuilding project Musicians' Village ... .

Wow, such fawning and adulatory prose could only come from Edwards' campaign HQ -- right? No, this was the work of fair and objective mainstream media outlet the Associated Press.

Bias? What liberal bias?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Be Careful What You Ask For

Here's a classic via Overlawyered:

"IBM responds to overtime lawsuits with 15% salary cuts"

The fastest-growing area of employment litigation in recent years has been wage-and-hour class actions, perhaps the biggest subset of which are lawsuits charging that white-collar employees have been misclassified as exempt from hourly wage and overtime calculations. Like many big employers, IBM has been hit with such suits from lawyers seeking to represent thousands of its employees. Information Week:

The good news for those workers is that IBM now plans to grant them so-called "non-exempt" status so they can collect overtime pay. The bad news: IBM will cut their base salaries by 15% to make up the difference, InformationWeek has learned.

The plan has been greeted with howls of protest from affected workers.

The payroll restructuring goes into effect Feb. 16 and applies to about 8,000 IBM employees classified as technical services and IT specialists, according to internal IBM documents reviewed by InformationWeek and sources at the computer maker.

The plan calls for a "15% base salary adjustment down across all units with eligibility for overtime," the documents state. The move is a direct response to the employee lawsuits -- at least one of which has apparently been settled.

"To avoid protracted litigation in an area of law widely seen as ambiguous, IBM chose to settle the case -- and to conduct a detailed review of the jobs in question," the documents state.

The giant tech company also intends to lobby for modernization of New Deal era wage-and-hour laws which might allow it to restore the previous compensation methods. Good luck with that -- even if it can show that most of the workers involved would themselves favor salaried rather than hourly status, the political clout of unions and trial lawyers has stymied efforts at legislative reform in the past. (Paul McDougall, Information Week/, Jan. 23).

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Be a "Can't Do" Catholic

I know a woman who is beautiful, talented, and is willing to undertake just about any challenge. She rarely admits that something can't be done*. She is a "can do" woman. This however, is not about her, but about how, with Lent coming early this year, we should use the opportunity to be "can't do" Catholics -- we can't do it without our Savior.

Here's how.

Lent and Reality

by Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P.

Here's what to give up this Lent: the doubt that goes, "I can never get closer to God because I'm too sinful, too flawed, too weak." This is a lethal attitude, for it is based on the false presumption that we can possess something of our own — that does not come from God — by which we can please God. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Only what is from God can please God. But as long as such error persists, we estrange ourselves from God. Lent is not about lamenting our inadequacy. Rather, it is a graced moment to receive from God what he is eager to give us so that we can live the friendship with him that he desires.

How do we approach reality?

As one contemporary theologian has explained it, God does not judge us on the level of our ethical blamelessness, but on the way we approach reality . . . starting with the reality of our deficiencies and imperfection. There's a reason why Lent begins with the command,

"Remember that you are dust!" Self-confident self-knowledge of our nothingness and misery stands as the indispensable starting point for salvation simply because that is the reality which we are forced to face every day. For salvation by definition is an escape from our own inability.

The trouble is that, on account of our fallen state, we try to compensate for the lack we find in ourselves by attempting to be self-sufficient. Seized by a strange contradiction, we strive to please God by proving that we can get along without him. When delusion such as this infests our life, God acts. In his mercy, God permits our soul to be covered with a kind of darkness in which we feel separated from him — we may even wonder if God hates us.

There's a reason for the darkness. God knows how tempted we are to withdraw from him whenever we experience the defects in ourselves that displease him. The truth is, however, that instead of withdrawing, the most reasonable thing we can do when that feeling strikes is to renew our act of love and confidence in God's love for us. The Lord allows the darkness precisely to move us to unite ourselves all the more closely to him who alone is the Truth. For the only logical thing to do when enshrouded in darkness is to reach for the Light.

Doing the impossible

Still — we panic! We feel as if we are obliged to do for God what we know we are unable to do. But the point of this pressure is to convince us to receive everything from God. We can be sure that God himself is the one who, in his mercy, moves us to do what is not within our own power. This is the Father's way of opening us a little more to himself by making us a little more in the likeness of his crucified Son.

For nothing glorifies God like the confidence in his mercy that we display when we feel indicted by our frailty and inability. The experience of our hopelessness is a heaven-sent chance to exercise supremely confident trust. God delights in giving us the grace to trust him.

Sadly, for those who refuse God's gift of confidence, the darkness can turn to despair. Yet even in despair the miracle of mercy is at work. Father Jean-Baptiste Henri Lacordaire, the 19th century Dominican priest who was responsible for the revival of the Order of Preachers in France after the French Revolution, makes this astonishing remark: "There is in despair a remnant of human greatness, because it includes a contempt for all created things, and consequently an indication of the incomparable capacity of our being." In our darkness, the incomparable capacity of our being will settle for nothing less than the embrace of the Infinite. Like nothing else, our helplessness moves us to cry out for that embrace in confidence and trust. The cry of forsakenness that Jesus emits from the cross is just this.

The grace of being forsaken

Saint Paul wrote, "We were left to feel like men condemned to death so that we might trust, not in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead" (2 Cor 1:9). That's the point. That's the challenge of Lent. God wants us to have the strength to believe in his love so much that we confidently beg for his mercy no matter how much we may feel the horror of death in ourselves.

We become like little children fit for heaven when we no longer look for peace and security in our own strength, in our own goodness. This grace lies at the root of the famous serene assurance of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: "Ah! Lord, I know you don't command the impossible. You know better than I do my weakness and imperfection . . . Now I am astonished at nothing. I am not disturbed at seeing myself weakness itself. On the contrary, it is in my weakness that I glory, and I expect each day to discover new imperfections in myself." God is not interested in our prowess or prestige; he came to call sinners; he loves the lost sheep; he promises the good thief paradise.

Let us this Lent, in the face of all our sins, our limitations, and our weakness cry out with Jesus, "My God, why have you forsaken me?" And let us do so with certainty — not doubt or desperation — because our union with Christ crucified has given us The Way to approach reality. In our asking we hold the Answer.

Father Peter John Cameron, O.P., is the Editor-in-Chief of Magnificat and the author of "The Classics of Catholic Spirituality" and "To Praise, To Bless, To Preach: Spiritual Reflections of the Sunday Gospels".

© Magnificat USA, LLC

* Oh, here's the "can do" woman working on one of her projects.

Skewering Liberal Hypocrisy

The New York Times recently added conservative writer Bill Kristol to its op-ed page, likely to try to at least produce some semblance of balance to their hard left liberal stance on everything. Apparently, their readers aren't interested in appearances and have been expressing their displeasure. The Times' "public editor" chimed in with an article criticizing the paper's move as well. Here is a comment posted on Powerline that masterfully skewers their hypocrisy:
Concerning your article about William Kristol, and the howling mob who would string him up from a lamppost, while doubtless murmuring pieties about freedom of speech -- they're just ideas, folks, relax. We know you're not used to hearing ideas that don't comport with yours -- after all you went to college where rarely is heard a conservative word -- but take a deep breath. And, after all, part of the definition of liberal is to be "open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others" (American Heritage Dictionary). Just as freedom of speech isn't enshrined in our Bill of Rights to protect only popular speech -- surely it is unpopular speech that needs protecting -- the liberal mind shouldn't be open only to those ideas it is in agreement with.

Oh, and by the way, if Scooter Libby can be prosecuted for outing an arguably covert agent, which, as I recall, the Times was so zealous in pursuing, why shouldn't the Times be liable for prosecution for revealing a classified program? You feel you can conduct yourself any way you please, and then claim "intimidation" if called to account? Go carefully, and remember the story about the boy and the wolf.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

What the ?

What an odd story. While I don't condone toe licking without a license, I think I would have been a little suspicious when the assistant covered my eyes for the "strip test". Hmm.

Suit alleges patient's toes were licked during eye exam in Skokie

By Jason Meisner

Tribune reporter

12:31 AM CST, January 17, 2008

A woman filed suit Wednesday against a Skokie eye doctor and the doctor's former assistant, alleging the assistant licked her toes during an eye-exam visit last year.

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court by Roman Tesfaye, names the assistant, Joseph Vernell Jr., and the doctor, Tamara Wyse, and seeks in excess of $50,000 in damages for battery and emotional distress.

According to the suit, the incident occurred July 13 when Tesfaye went to the Myers-Wyse Center for the Eye, 4700 Golf Rd. in Skokie, for an exam. After she was escorted into an examination room, Vernell, dressed in surgical scrubs, entered and dimmed the lights.

The suit alleges Vernell then told her he was going to perform a "strip test," and placed a strip over her eyes and told her she must keep her eyes closed for 5 to 7 minutes. He then reclined the examination chair and raised her legs onto another chair, at which point Tesfaye "felt her right shoe fall off," the suit states.

"Ms. Tesfaye felt something touching her toes," according to the suit. "After feeling the toe-touching several times, she opened her eyes and witnessed Mr. Vernell stand up and pull his shirt down."

When she accused him of licking her toes, Vernell allegedly replied, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, but I was checking your sugar level," the suit states.

Tesfaye reported the incident to an administrator, but Wyse refused to discuss what had happened, the suit says. Vernell was eventually fired, the suit says.

Court records show Vernell, of Forest Park, pleaded guilty in August to misdemeanor battery in the incident and was sentenced to 1 year of probation by Circuit Judge Earl Hoffenberg.

No one answered calls to Vernell's home Wednesday night and attempts to reach Wyse were unsuccessful.

"Watching your husband is not experience."

Great editorial from IBD yesterday.
An Empty Pantsuit

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Election '08: If Hillary Clinton is proud of her experience and record of change, why are 2 million pages of her White House files locked up? Watching your husband is not experience.

The last time Sen. Clinton was a genuine agent of change was when she led the secretive Health Care Task Force in 1993-94 that labored mightily to propose a Godzilla-size bureaucracy that would have nationalized one-seventh of the nation's economy. To receive medical care you would have gone to the equivalent of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

That proposal was one of the key factors in the GOP tsunami of 1994. She helped Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years. The universal health care she proposes now is virtually unchanged from her original dream of turning the U.S. into Canada.

After the health care debacle, Hillary slipped, or was pushed, below the radar. We don't know much about her "experience" as "co-president," largely because reams of calendars, memos and other records remain under seal until after this year's election.

We do know she has spent much of the past 35 years watching her husband. She watched him be attorney general of Arkansas, then governor, then president of the United States. She was in charge of putting down "bimbo eruptions" during her husband's 1992 presidential campaign. But again, that counts as watching her husband.

She would lead the war on terror, but her experience in that area lies in watching Bill fail to pull the trigger when he repeatedly had Osama bin Laden in his sights. On their watch, the U.S. did virtually nothing — except shamelessly withdraw from Somalia — while terrorists killed Americans on three continents.

Hillary did urge her husband to appoint Janet Reno as the first female attorney general, a move he'd later describe as "my worst mistake." While the Clinton Justice Department treated the first attack on the World Trade Center as a law enforcement matter, Reno kept busy incinerating religious zealots in Waco.

Hillary has been in the Senate for seven years, during which time she has accomplished nothing of note except for voting for the Iraq War before she was against it. No major piece of legislation bears her name.

Her public record and career is even spottier and shorter than that of her opponent, Sen. Barack Obama. He's been in public service for 11 years, including eight in the Illinois Senate before becoming the state's junior U.S. senator. She's made a lot of speeches, but has governed nowhere at any level and has led no major organizations.

Her possible GOP opponents have experienced and accomplished much more than the author of "It Takes a Village."

Mitt Romney has run an Olympic Games, been a successful businessman and served as governor of the blue state of Massachusetts. Sen. John McCain once led the largest squadron in the U.S. Navy and has actually gotten legislation passed in a long and distinguished Senate career. He speaks with moral authority on both terror and torture. Rudy Giuliani was mayor of New York City during a time of crisis in our nation's history.

But, hey, Hillary did manage to turn $1,000 into a $100,000 windfall in the cattle futures market, didn't she? What other candidate has done that?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Nanny State Update

I got a "nice" letter from the State of Illinois the other day and I'm still fuming about it.

You see, I have (another) new teenage driver in my family. Apparently, in the interests of keeping the streets safe, the State has a special program that allows parents access to their teenager's driving record. I'm sure our state officials thought this was a progressive idea when they rolled it out. However, being the curmudgeon that I am, I disagree.

This program is based on the assumption that parents and teens are so disconnected that either the parents have no clue as to what their kids are up to and/or that the teens will reflexively lie to them if they have an accident or get a ticket. So, in order to ensure that the parents are in the 'know', the state insists that the teens waive their right to privacy when they get their license so that their parents can go on-line and snoop on their kid's driving record.

Sorry, I guess I'm old fashioned, but I have a lot more faith and trust in my children.

What's even more galling about this is that the State thinks it's so important for parents to be able to check on what their teens are doing behind the wheel. But, when it comes to sex, the state if firmly in the privacy corner. A pregnant teen could seek and get an abortion and, as far as the State's concerned, the parents have no right to know about that. In fact, the State will help facilitate that teen getting an abortion behind the parent's back.

Just another example of how screwed up our society and culture is.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Blood-stained brow,
He wasn't broken for nothing.
Arms nailed down,
He didn't die for nothing.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Fringe-Left Pin-Up
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, October 05, 2007 4:20 PM PT

Election: There's something a little off about a presidential candidate who disdains wearing the flag of the nation he seeks to lead. But maybe it's because the voters he's seeking see a defeated America as a good thing.

Barack Obama made a big deal last week of not wearing an American flag in his lapel as other presidential candidates do, saying he didn't need it to prove his patriotism. "I probably haven't worn a flag pin in a very long time," he told a TV interviewer in Iowa.

Now, there's nothing wrong with not wearing a flag pin, and if it were just a personal preference, it would be a nonissue. But Obama had to politicize this, first by sneering at those who wear flags as hypocrites and then using it to woo the fringe left, a key Democratic voting bloc in the primary season.

"My attitude is that I'm less concerned about what you're wearing on your lapel than what's in your heart," he lectured. "You show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those who serve. You show your patriotism by being true to our values and ideals."

His sanctimony turned to meanness when he denounced flag-pin wearers. "After a while, you start noticing people wearing a lapel pin, but not acting very patriotic," he said.

His definition of patriotism is peculiar: "Shortly after 9/11 . . . that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security. I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest; instead I'm gonna try to tell the American people what I believe . . . will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism."

So there you have it — "speaking out" is patriotic, and patriotic acts are hypocritical. If Republicans wear flag pins, he won't. But don't dare question his patriotism.

This defensive radicalism cloaked in patriotic words coincides with a Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll showing that one of five of Democrats think the world "would be better off if the U.S. lost the war" in Iraq.

This 19% is the angry crowd, the prime group Democrats seek to win over. It's undecided but ideological; when it's not burning a flag, it will do anything to undermine U.S. strength. It sees itself as nobler than America, and therefore doesn't favor the U.S. over others.

This defeatist bloc is Obama's big prize. Little wonder Obama won't wear the stars and stripes. With in the saddle, there's no pinning a flag on the party of the donkey.
Don't Vote for Osama Obama

This story is a couple of months old, but still important -- especially in light of the fact that Obama also refuses to salute the flag. (I guess saluting the flag must also be "a substitute for 'true patriotism' ".)

Obama Stops Wearing Flag Pin
Oct 4 03:06 PM US/Eastern

(AP) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said he doesn't wear the American flag lapel pin because it has become a substitute for "true patriotism" since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Asked about the decision Wednesday in an interview with KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Illinois senator said he stopped doing so shortly after the attacks and instead hoped to show his patriotism by explaining his ideas to citizens.

"The truth is that right after 9-11 I had a pin," Obama said. "Shortly after 9-11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security.

"I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest," he said in the interview. "Instead, I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testament to my patriotism."

Obama was campaigning in Iowa Thursday, the second day of a four-day trip to the early voting state.


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