Friday, August 30, 2013

Cory Booker's Talent for Fiction...

Cory Booker, currently a mayor, is running against Steve Lonegan for a U.S. Senate seat. Lloyd Marcus summarizes that race:

"National conservative and Republican leaders are lining up to help propel Conservative Republican Steve Lonegan to victory in the upcoming Special Election for U.S. Senate.
If we win this race it will be extremely difficult for Harry Reid and the Democrats to maintain their majority in the U.S. Senate.
The key issue in this race is money.  The liberal Democrat candidate, Cory Booker, has been endorsed by Barack Obama and is raising millions of dollars for his campaign.
We must pool together the contributions of thousands of patriots such as yourself to level the playing field.  To pitch in, simply make a contribution of any amount from as little as $5 up to the maximum allowed contribution of $5,000 - CONTRIBUTE HERE.

And what are Mayor Booker's qualifications? I've not been in New Jersey for many years and don't know either of these gentlemen, although Lloyd Marcus has been campaigning on Steve Lonegan's behalf, and as Marcus readers know, Rand Paul has also expressed support for the Lonegan campaign. However, Becket Adams has some details about Booker's potential talent for writing fiction:

Composite characters, especially the ones that differ by only 1 to 2% from a stereotype every reader could draw, are the stuff of which commercially successful fiction is made...but New Jersey voters may want to ask one another whether that's the talent they want in the U.S. Senate.

Least Competent Criminals in Britain

These oicks don't qualify for Darwin Awards since they did not completely remove their DNA from the gene pool (by killing or sterilizing themselves), but they certainly qualify for recognition as News of the Weird "Least Competent Criminals":

Still Praying in Jesus' Name?

A few regular readers may remember how, years ago, a student spontaneously uttered a prayer over a microphone before a football game between Gate City and Sullivan South High Schools. Somebody squawked. An A.C.L.U. attorney told Gate City students that a more appropriate way to display their faith in public, without using school property to support any suggestion that anyone else might believe in God, would be to wear Christian messages on T-shirts. Possibly the idea was to associate displays of faith with sloppy, tacky dressing--that's how I first read the message, and so I'm sure did several parents--but someone else promptly designed a sharp-looking T-shirt with the message "Gate City High School: I Still Pray in Jesus' Name." Then someone else displayed on the billboard that welcomes tourists to our town, "Keep Praying, Gate City, in Jesus' Name."

Since then I've seen similar messages beside roads into other towns. I saw "Keep Praying, Lee County, in Jesus' Name," within the last year. However, several billboard rentals have expired, new messages are on display, and smart-alecks out there may be wondering how many of us "Still Pray in Jesus' Name" now that the fad has passed.

The answer is: plenty.

Patricia Evans shares this message from Gretna:

The ACLU also has a court injunction for the commissioners of Rowan County, NC to not pray in the name of Jesus.   Rowan County Commission Chairman Jim Sides, adhering to the Federal District Court order, opened the commission meeting with a brief history lesson / Christian sermon followed by an "alternative non-sectarian prayer"  - The Lords Prayer.  Don't miss the video here:
Update from Pastor Mathew Speck on the Pittsylvania County Praying in Jesus Name Defense Fund:
Dear Friends of Praying In Jesus Name,
We continue to wait patiently on our Non-Profit (501 c 3) status. We have and will continue to contact our state and federal representatives and ask for their help.  It has not been easy to be patient during this time, but I believe that God’s timing and plan in all of this, is perfect!
We have received numerous phone calls, e-mails and face to face encounters with people that not only agree with the Board of Supervisors stand in this prayer case, but also desire to give financially. This is not only in our area or county, but nation-wide! Please do not hesitate to give people my cell phone number and/or email address if they would like to contact us concerning donations. REMEMBER, we will not be accepting donations until we receive our Non-Profit status.

I believe without God in our country, our country will no longer see the blessings that we have experienced. I wonder without God if our country would even be able to exist!   I, Matt Speck, do this not for the glory of man, but for the greater GLORY OF GOD.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

Keep praying in Jesus Name,

Pastor Matt
Piney Grove Baptist Church
2261 Piney Grove Rd.
Gretna, VA. 24557 
"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."  - Thomas Jefferson   "

Where's the Humanity?

Warning: reading this article may trigger extreme emotional reactions. If you have a mood disorder, please go to the right side of the page now and click on a different story:

A comment I'm posting here, because it's long, has to do with animal behavior. Dogs and cats react to the loss of puppies and kittens in a variety of ways. Sometimes their reactions have something to do with the cause of death. A malnourished mother animal whose babies are close to starvation may indeed eat a baby (yes, this has been documented in humans). A mother animal who's about to die from starvation may no longer have the strength to digest a meal, and may refuse to eat a starving baby animal for that reason. A kitten or puppy who's died from one of the infectious conditions animals can smell (humans can learn to recognize most of the odors too) may be buried in order to improve the atmosphere. Kittens are prone to bacterial enteritis, which usually causes painful death; mother cats recognizing this disease will stop feeding or grooming sick kittens, but will check on them from time to time and resume caring for them if the kittens do fight off the disease. And when a tame animal mother doesn't know what to do for her babies, she's likely to bring them to her humans and see whether the humans can help.

Father dogs and cats have a poorer record than mothers. Father cats have been known to kill and eat healthy kittens, apparently in the hope that the mother will be interested in starting a new litter. On the other hand some dogs and social cats can be described as good fathers who help the mothers feed and protect their babies...but they're a minority. Most father dogs and cats just ignore their mates and offspring.

Do animals ever choose abortion? I've seen cats mate, appear to be pregnant, then mate again and appear to have terminated the pregnancy. I'm not sure whether the spontaneous abortions trigger the renewed interest in sex or vice versa, but I've seen otherwise healthy cats do this and stay sexually active and baby-free all through the year.

Now, about the alleged humans in this story. Why would someone choose to starve a dog instead of selling it, putting it in a shelter, or shooting it? Probably because he's a sociopath, although I've heard of other possibilities. According to local legend a Scott County man once inherited a few acres of flat, arable land on the condition that he keep a few cows on the land as long as the cows lived. The will specified that he keep the cows, but did not specifically mention feeding them. So he let the cows eat all the grass in their pasture in autumn, and then instead of leading them to a fresh pasture or buying hay in winter, he let them starve, and then according to the terms of the bequest he was free to plough the land in spring. But people knew what he'd done, and despised him.

I'm more concerned about the Humane Society...not to mention the emotional reaction about how "he shouldn't be allowed to keep another animal." How, apart from confining him to an institution (which is probably a better idea since he's probably a sociopath), can he be prevented from keeping another animal? More background checks, more difficulties for those who want to keep pets, perhaps more restrictions on people interacting with wild or feral animals outdoors? Don't fall for it, Gentle Readers...

But why did the Humane Society ignore a case that's right up what's still believed to be their alley? One likely explanation: because today's Humane Society has been taken over by those who want to destroy domestic animals, "humanely," as distinct from those who want to help animals find loving homes. I suppose some sort of bureaucratic glitch might supply an excuse, and the glitch might actually exist, but the Humane Society's failure to intervene in a clear case of animal abuse fits into a pattern that's more ominous than basic bureaucratic inefficiency.

Norb Leahy Sums Up Local Plans

Recommended reading:

Hmm. I could've just "plussed" it since I have nothing to add, but I wanted to explain a new feature of Blogspot to readers who don't know about it yet. Blogspot is hosted by Google; therefore Blogspot pages are accessible to Google +, which is more of a networking site rather than a blog site.

Blogspot made sure bloggers would discover Google + by introducing a glitch that, for a few months, demanded that we "plus" our blog posts. So last winter I "plussed" a lot of pages here. Blogspot then introduced a way to turn off this feature, and Blogspot runs more smoothly when it's turned off. So now I seldom "plus" my own posts, but try to "plus" other people's pages if they have the Google + software.

The result is that you should be seeing some + signs in the top part of this screen. There should be one you can use to recommend your favorite posts here to other people, which of course you're welcome to do; it may show "Google +" or "G +" or "+ Share." There should also be one you can use to see what I've plussed lately; on computers I've used it shows "+ Priscilla." And I'd like to encourage readers to click that button every week or two, because now that the system is working I'm "plussing" a lot of cool links that I would, formerly, have had to take the time to embed in short posts here, and now the Google + page is the place where you'll find those.

Serious Fun at Duffield Daze

In efforts to encourage the right sort of tourism, the towns in the western tip of Virginia are investing increasing amounts of ingenuity in Town Festivals.

Our U.S. readers--who aren't even a solid majority this week, according to the computer, but I trust that means that a lot of you are enjoying vacations from the Internet--seem awfully concerned about politics. About 75% of the e-mail we get consists of political alerts, petitions, and an occasional outburst of "Throw'em all out" from someone who's just too disgruntled to come up with a positive plan of his own. All this passionate political intensity is valuable during actual campaigns, but I have to wonder whether some correspondents ever rest. Constant agitating may be harmful to your health. Some correspondents sound downright hypertensive.

So for these correspondents, may I remind you that politics has its lighter side. Community activity does not always involve marching or demonstrating or writing fervent letters. It also involves doing some sort of useful work, however profitable it may or may not be, that keeps you and any children you may have off welfare. And it also involves using your influence on the community, however large or small that may be, by supporting your neighbors when you agree that what they are doing is good and public-spirited. It does, seriously, involve shopping at local businesses when you're ready to buy something. And it does involve enjoying Town Festivals. Wave and smile at acquaintances, buy T-shirts, cheer at parades...these things are part of the civic duties of citizens as well as politicians.

Gate City has had a major annual Town Festival since at least the 1970s, although the official name, the timing, and the focus of celebration are in a process of transition. (My parents used to support the Tobacco Festival, halfheartedly; I wouldn't mind supporting a celebration of football games and tailgate parties, which is what we're trying to shift toward, but I can't imagine celebrating anything that involves beer.) Kingsport's Fun Fest started in the 1980s. Duffield Daze started one year later; Nickelsville's festival is a new thing.

This year, Nickelsville's festival fell on a weekend when I wasn't feeling festive, and Kingsport's Fun Fest caught so much rain that it was hard to imagine anybody feeling it's pleasant to report clear signals for Duffield Daze.

Duffield, Virginia, was originally a rural neighborhood a little too far away to be part of Clinchport. In the late twentieth century Duffield built up an "Industrial Park" with a few factories and office buildings. After the 1977 flood, Clinchport shrank down to a riverfront park lined with a few houses and bait shops, and the post office moved to Duffield, but most of the people who get mail through the Duffield post office don't live in the town itself. Although the "Industrial Park" is still growing and still offers day jobs to a few hundred people who do and don't live in Duffield, the town claims only 91 full-time residents. This population count increases by over 1000% during Duffield Daze, when students' groups, veterans' groups, social clubs, and relatives of members of these, along with people who work in Duffield and people who used to live or work there, converge on the town.

There is plenty of room for all these visitors. Duffield has always had a lot of green space. During Duffield Daze a few acres of green space are covered with amusement park rides, open-air vendors, and street dances, but this leaves plenty of space for people to stroll around. People need to stroll around, to shift between listening to well-amplified outdoor concerts and conversing with old acquaintances.

Duffield used to have quite a nice indoor flea market, where I used to work. An effort to liven up the market by piping in commercial radio may have made the market more entertaining for a few retirees who weren't concerned about paying their rent so much as just hanging out together, but it demonstrably reduced the number of actual shoppers, so those of us who needed to pay our rent from actual sales found it necessary to move on. A few years later, when the retirees really retired, the building closed. Oh, was fun, and it's fun to go back and reminisce during Duffield Daze. There is still some chance that some of those retirees will be able to come out for the occasion.

So this year I will definitely be at Duffield Daze; the question is, at which events, with which sponsors of this web site. I mention this partly because Duffield is such a small town...yes, my Significant Other has been a sponsor, and may be one of the sponsors with whom I'll be seen this weekend, but this web site is not just a personal blog and my attendance of events won't be just personal dates. I may go to some things with other men (yes, they're relatives); I may go to some things with women. Either way, business and politics will be involved, even though the primary purpose of Duffield Daze is good clean wholesome fun.

T-shirts? Meh...this year's official Duffield Daze T-shirt is not my color, but if somebody buys me one I'll wear it. That is, after all, sort of the point. Kenny Fannon wouldn't like for me to describe supporting "his" festival as charity--that would be the Salvation Army, for which he's raised funds too--but it is about boosting the community's local economy. There's not a lot of room for chicanery in really small Town Festivals. You know which legitimate businesses are involved; you buy souvenirs in aid of the ones you respect.

"Businesses in a town with 91 permanent residents? That would be the convenience store, the bank, and...?" No, that's the funny thing about Duffield. What's based in the Industrial Park has changed from year to year but some nationally marketed products are made in Duffield, alongside the more local industries like the lumberyard (and a selection of convenience stores and fast-food outlets, 'cos all those laborers go out for lunch). Carhartt coveralls aren't, any more. Computers aren't, yet, although that's been planned and discussed for years. Tempur-Pedic mattresses are made in Duffield.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Energy Citizens: The Warning

Last week I agreed to participate in a conference call with a group called Energy Citizens, theoretically in support of drilling for oil off the coast of Virginia. I should mention that this group was endorsed by Bob Livingston, who's not a Virginian and probably met them as supporters of something reasonable, somewhere else.

I should also mention that my agreement to participate in the conference call contained a message to the group's web site administrator, to the effect that I support offshore drilling but not fracking. I don't really support fracking anywhere, ever, but I especially oppose it in Virginia or any contiguous state (including Pennsylvania--that little strip of land between the Virginia and Pennsylvania borders does not, geologically, count for anything). I think both Virginia and Pennsylvania are too valuable to the nation to risk fracturing the Marcellus Shale Formation.

Anyway, the conference call went through, but sometimes conference calls sound weird, and this one did. I spent three full prepaid Tracfone minutes listening to static interference with what seemed to have been "hold music." I did not hear or speak to a live human being, and after three minutes I decided I'd used up enough prepaid minutes hearing static.

So, what came in the e-mail? Nothing so mindful as "You were never connected to the actual conversation." Nothing so reasonable as "As we discussed in the conference call, about offshore drilling..." It was "Now that you've heard [our version of] the facts, please edit and sign your letter to your Senators in support of fracking the George Washington National Forest."

And they actually had composed a smarmy letter to that effect, and had plugged my name into it.

Well...I edited it, all right. I would never edit anything submitted to this web site the way I edited the letter that had been presumptuously connected with my name. I changed phrases like "allow hydraulic fracturing in the National Forest" to phrases like "ban hydraulic fracturing in any part of Virginia."

And the system says the letter went through! Hurrah! I hope masses of other people edited the Energy Citizens letter as heavily as I did. I hope all their letters went through. The position of this web site is and will always be No Freaking Fracking Around Our Homes.

If you want to try subverting this smarmy and presumptuous campaign, here's the Energy Citizens web site:

If you merely want to remind your Senators that if people in the Appalachian Mountain states had wanted to live in an earthquake zone we would be in California now, here are the e-mail addresses for Senators in the states most affected by this issue:

West Virginia:



New York:

North Carolina:

Points to mention include that we don't want Washington, D.C., or New York City, or any or all of New Jersey or the Outer Banks or Chincoteague Island, to fall into the sea as the result of an earthquake. Likewise, we don't want family farms to sink into pits or mountain springs to become unusable as the result of fracking, and we don't want the rare and endangered creatures found in the high Blue Ridge Mountains to go extinct as the result of habitat loss caused by fracking.

Energy Citizens? Well...they asked for this...they can sink in a pit. Just as long as the pit's not in Virginia.

Don't Fund Obamacare

Here (courtesy of Lloyd Marcus, and possibly other correspondents but I saw Marcus's e-mail first) is Senator Cruz's official web site where you can sign the petition to withhold funding from Obamacare. Ready, set, go...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Choice for All Patients: Kill Obamacare

For those who care passionately, one way or the other, about abortion, a bit of perspective: If Obamacare goes into effect, all medical decisions will ultimately be made by the federal bureaucracy. And young women won't be the only ones whose morality, and whose lives, will be on the line. You will...whatever your age or gender...every time you consult any kind of health care provider. Both your opinion and your doctor's opinion will be subject to the federal government's approval.

Carly Hill reminds us of another kind of patient choice scenario:

One of dozens, Gentle Readers. Some of you may remember a Top Ten List of stories like this I published on Associated Content back in, what was it, 2009? Stories where patients' judgment calls on medical opinions saved their lives. I think eight of the ten stories came from close relatives of mine. And if an insurance agency, private or federal, had been making the decisions, very likely all ten of those patients would have been disabled or dead.

Your U.S. Senator needs to read this story. (If you are not a U.S. citizen, you don't have a U.S. Senator, and may be more interested in scrolling down to another post.) Please remind your U.S. Senator that we don't want to deny medical benefits to poor people; we want the system that provides them realistic and sustainable.

(And so far we haven't even mentioned the effects Obamacare would have on the here for a PDF report on that topic.)

Mark Fitzgibbons Supports Ken Cuccinelli

I received the full text of a campaign document Mark Fitzgibbons wrote on Ken Cuccinelli's behalf in the e-mail. Here's the document:

One quote's especially worth sharing with those who've expressed concern about the "Italian = Catholic = anti-abortion" thing. I agree that it's presumptuous for a man to have much of an opinion on this topic, unless it might be "I like babies and would like to be the generous adoptive uncle of a baby who's at risk for an unnecessary abortion," and the more men who say that, the better. However, the system's not set up in such a way that a governor could impose his or her religious beliefs on the state without the consent of a majority, in any case. Thank God...and James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. And consider this thought:

"Who among us could run for governor--and win?"

Just Say the Word (USO Donation Link)

Hmmm...have we posted a link to a 501(c)(3) donation page lately? Here's one with a graphic U.S. readers will probably like:

"The USO asked people from across the country to send in whatever words come to mind when they think about our troops. With thousands of heartfelt responses, they made this stunning "word art" graphic. The more people who sent in a given word, the larger it appears.

You have to check this out: http://ac st-say-the-word

The USO is putting this up in USO Centers worldwide so troops will get to see it no matter where they're serving, and get a reminder that the folks back home are thinking of them.

So pass it along to any service members you know!"

Common Core: the Global Ramifications

Forwarded by Patricia Evans:

"SENTINEL INTELLIGENCE SERVICES, LLC                                
Protective Intelligence and Assessment Specialist
Consultant at Behavioral Analysis and Threat Assessment
Private-Sector Intelligence Analyst 
                                                                                                                                                                                                            FOR YOUR ANALYSIS AND CONSIDERATION:
Much like Obamacare, Common Core Curriculum appears to be a new, exciting, innovative way to deliver better quality education, just like Obamacare promises to deliver better quality healthcare to all.  Both of these programs are about control; about invasion into local and private matters; about realigning the masses creating a herding mentality removing individual responsibility.  Common Core Curriculum is even more nefarious because this program is directed specifically to grade-school children, has never been tested in any form prior to being implemented in the school systems, and deliberately removes all critical thinking processes by replacement with argumentation by rationalization; i.e., 2+2= 5, and I can argue my point until I win you over (or wear you down) to my point of view.
Mentioned below are still further concerns about this New-World Order program.  Please become acquainted with Common Core Curriculum in all dimensions – not just that which is presented in a glossy folder by the Department of Education.  Similar to Obamacare, Common Core is not what it appears from all the hype…you really do need to read it to find out what’s in it, and I believe you will be sad and alarmed to learn this wolf in sheep’s clothing is really about indoctrination of children into the New-World Order and away from family values, Christian values, American values, and even historical educational values which contributed to America becoming exceptional.  Common Core also replaces local home rule, removing from parents, school administrators, and school boards the right of governance as to what children are learning; replacing this fundamental right with a series of programs administered by a faceless, nameless councils and non-governmental organizations accountable to no one.    
Maggie has shined light on this deviously deceptive agenda to bring schools across America, and the children in those schools, into alignment with a system that is diabolical at its core. 
        Lyle –

Common Core – The Qatar Connection: A Wahhabi State Skypes With Your Children – Connect All Schools                                                                                                                                                                                                

Learn more about Wahhabi Islam from Free Republic here:  Wahhabi Islamists are taught from a very young age that all “non-believers” are worthless and subject to persecution and death. Wahhabists are permitted by their doctrine to “rob, murder, and sexually violate” Jahili.  This extremist Wahhabist view of “infidels” has led the terrorists to use gruesome and hateful methods including the beheading of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, with a willingness to use television and the internet to display their gruesome acts of barbarism. Wahhabi Islam counts among its adherents such names as Osama Bin Laden and various groups such as Al-Qaeda and al-Jihad.  Wahhabists and the Saudi government continue to fund Wahhabi madrassas worldwide. A recent figure estimates that the Saudi government alone has spent over 70 billion dollars funding such extremist schools.

The acronyms for America's New World Order education are mind-numbing - all the better to keep you from connecting who is connected to who/whom/which. First, I have found one source that connects Common Core Initiative Standards (CCIS) to "Connect All Schools," and that is on the "Connect All Schools" website page titled One World Education (OWE). Second, our Department of Defense (DOD) has partnered with the Connect All Schools program. Connect All Schools is connected to Vartan Gregorian. Gregorian is connected to Barack Obama in numerous ways, including as a member of the White House Fellowship Commission. Gregorian was born in Tabriz, Iran to Armenian parents. He came to the U.S. in 1956 to study at Stanford. He became a naturalized American citizen in about 1979. He graduated Stanford University, is currently the president of Carnegie Corporation and is a former president of Brown University in Rhode Island. Pertinent to this article is his seat on the board of The Qatar Foundation International (QFI).
Doha, Qatar
Doha, Qatar
About one year ago, Qatar dedicated a new mosque. The event was widely seen as the initial steps to reviving their Wahhabi heritage. You should be concerned about Qatar's influence in American education. Wahhabi-ists have one goal and that is the spread of radical Wahhabi Islam worldwide.
The Qatar Foundation International, or QFI, in 2011 partnered with the Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to facilitate matchmaking between classrooms in the U.S. and international schools through something called the “Connect All Schools” project.
QFI, funded by the Qatari government, explains on its website the initiative was founded in response to Obama’s call in his June 2009 speech to the Arab world in Cairo, Egypt, to “create a new online network, so a young person in Kansas can communicate instantly with a young person in Cairo.”
The stated goal of the initiative is to “connect every school in the U.S. with the world by 2016.”...
WND reported last May the Qatar-based foundation awarded “Curriculum Grants” to seven U.S. schools and language organizations to “develop comprehensive and innovative curricula and teaching materials to be used in any Arabic language classroom.”
QFI, based in Washington, D.C., is the U.S. branch of the Qatar Foundation, founded in 1995 by Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
Thani is still the group’s vice-chairman, while one of his three wives, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairs the organization’s board.
Thani also launched Al Jazeera in 1996 and served as the television network’s chairman. Source: Counter-Jihad Report
Qatar is skyping with your children across the U.S.
In January 2012, it [QFI] launched the Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics under the guidance of Tariq Ramadan, who serves as the center’s director.
Ramadan is the grandson of the notorious founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al Banna. Ramadan was banned from the U.S. until 2010 when the Obama administration issued him a visa to give a lecture at a New York school.
QFI, meanwhile, named several institutions after Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the top leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Many regard Qaradawi as the de facto spiritual leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
The foundation instituted the Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi Scholarships and in 2009 established a research center named the Qaradawi Center for Islamic Moderation and Renewal...
The Investigative Project on Terrorism documents Qardawi openly permitted the killing of American troops in Iraq and praised the “heroic deeds” of “Hamas, Jihad, Al-Aqsa Brigades and others.” Source: Counter-Jihad Report (more here on the Gregorian-Ayers-Obama connection)
Vartan Gregorian
Vartan Gregorian
Gregorian also serves on the board of Human Rights Watch which issued the appalling Goldstone Report accusing Israel of war crimes.
Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood is mentioned above and as a reminder is the head of the fairly new QFI Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics (Islamic "legislation" where?) The following is a profile from one of my previous posts (as you'll see below, Arizona should pay attention):
Tariq Ramadan
Tariq Ramadan
Tariq Ramadan: Bush administration bans him, Obama administration throws down the welcome mat. April 2010 Tariq Ramadan is the son of Said Ramadan (see above) and the grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. In 2004, Tariq Ramadan received a tenured position of Henry R. Luce Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. Two months later the Bush State Department revoked the visa on grounds of terrorist ties under the “ideological exclusion provision” of the Patriot Act. The university attempted to help Ramadan regain his visa with no success. Ramadan resigned the position in December 2004...
In January 2010 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lifted the ban on Tariq Ramadan’s presence on American soil. By 2010, America was no longer under the threat of “terrorism.” Tariq Ramadan came to the U.S.
Atlas Shrugs provides a transcript of Tariq Ramadan speaking in Dallas at a fundraiser for the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), asking young Muslims to “colonize” the U.S.
It should be us, with our understanding of Islam, our principles, colonizing positively the United States of America.
We don’t want the West to be destructed. What we want is the West to be reformed. Source
Arizona receives $465,000 grant from the Qatar Foundation International (QFI)?
According to Tucson News Now, the governing board of the Tucson Unified School District asked the school board to accept a $465,000 curriculum grant from the Qatar Foundation International, a global philanthropic organization with strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of the terrorist group Hamas, and behind much of the unrest in the Middle East.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been associated with Islam-biased K-12 textbooks identified by Citizens for National Security(CFNS) and Act for America. The textbooks in the CFNS study contained pro-Islamic misinformation, and material that provided negative misinformation about Israel, Judaism, and Christianity. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), also connected to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood has targeted American schools and other public institutions for indoctrination...
The grant money is intended to implement “innovative curricula and teaching materials to be used in any Arabic language classroom,” reports the Arizona Daily Independent.Two Tucson schools, Safford K-8 Magnet School and Cholla High Magnet School, will be the recipients of the terror-infested cash, according to Tucson News Now.
About 100 students at Cholla High Magnet School are learning Arabic. At Safford K-8 Magnet School, 125 students are learning the language.
Last year’s grant for Arabic language from the Qatar Foundation was $55,000.
A handful of similar programs funded by the Qatar charity exist in other American cities. In 2012, for example, the nonprofit provided $250,000 for a three-year pilot project for Arabic language at P.S. 368 in Harlem, reports DNA info New York. Source
If you click the link 'reports' in the line above you'll see the following:
The  classes are voluntary this year, but next year, all second through fifth grade students will be required to take Arabic as part of the curriculum.
The program is the first of its kind in New York City to integrate Arabic into an elementary school curriculum, organizers said.
The classes are a joint program between the Language Project and the Washington, D.C.-based, non-profit Qatar Foundation International.
"This is important because in the near future, Arabic is going to be a global language," Mamdouh added.
"These kids are like sponges the way they learn the pronunciation and the words."
Vartan Gregorian's connections to Barack Obama goes back to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC). Gregorian picked Bill Ayers for the project, and Ayers selected Barack Obama to direct the funding of Ayers' Small Schools Workshop via Chicago Annenberg Challenge.
William "Bill" Ayers
William "Bill" Ayers
Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) has partnered with the University of Chicago...for Data Science Social Good (DSSG) summer fellowship program.
The fellowship programme is organized by former Obama for America 2012 Chief Data Scientist Rayid Ghani, funded by Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google, and led by a team from the Computation Institute and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.
Qatar Computing Research Institute is working on several key humanitarian and development projects in the region and around the globe in partnership with the United Nations, Red Cross, World Bank and others, balancing its commitment to positive social change with a vision to become a world-class institute for advanced computing research. These projects support the endeavours of Qatar Foundation's Research and Development enterprise to build Qatar into a leading center for research and development excellence and innovation. Source
The following are bits and pieces of information about Connect All Schools, partnered with the Department of Defense and the Department of Education:
Connect All Schools
Learning Arabic in the US with Teachers in Egypt
The classes are held online, using Skype or VSee, after school, and during this time my kids got to interact and speak Arabic with native speakers in Egypt!! Sabah and Muhammad, the two instructors, played learning games with us, and got the kids up and out of their seats.
In my state of Oklahoma a school is "discovering" Korea, doesn't say whether north or south, and another school  is connected to "NAIS's Challenge 20/20 Project on Global Warming and Poverty - Hunger."
Texas: Two of the six programs include an "exchange visit to Jordan," and NAIS's Challenge 20/20 Project on Digital Divide, Maritime Safety and Pollution, Global Warming and Global Poverty.
If you change the map to to "connected with Qatar" you find "
"Summer of Science and Service between schools in Doha, Washington, DC and Boston!" and "Global TelePresence Student Debates"
Throughout the states you find the Summer of Science and Service between schools in Doha, Washington, DC and Boston.
Saudi Arabia has four programs.
Afghanistan's program in Maine? Skyping about politics.
Azerbaijan - Measuring Carbon Footprints with Students Around the World
Egypt - About 20 programs, including Identifying Who Our Heroes Are, and Measuring Carbon Footprints with Students Around the World
The above are just a few examples of many.

"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."  - Thomas Jefferson  "

Oklahoma: Fruit Baskets, Anyone?

Oklahoma readers, here's what your new neighbor is telling the world about you:

Would anyone like to send this family a belated fruit basket? An Amazon link should be showing somewhere on the right side of the screen. Did you know you can use Amazon to e-purchase (some) prezzies from suppliers who are close to the person you'd like to send them to?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Only One Baby Panda

Michael Ruane shares the official report on the birth of panda twins at the National Zoo: one alive (photo on page one), one born with fatal defects (video, apparently black and white, on page two).

Morgan Griffith on the Use of Congressmen

Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9) is definitely not "hiding." Here is his formal invitation to constituents to avail themselves of his services:

Serving You
I came to Congress to represent the Ninth District’s beliefs, values, and interests in our nation’s capital, an honor that I do not take lightly.  Being your Congressman requires me to travel to Washington, D.C. and other places for legislative purposes, but no matter where I might be, serving you remains one of my top priorities.

The role of my office is to serve as a liaison between you and the federal government.  You may be surprised to learn of the different ways my team can help.   Whether assistance is needed in communicating with a federal agency, scheduling a Capitol tour, or applying for a Service Academy nomination, we are here to help. 

One of the most important things I do as a Congressman in serving you is to assist with issues concerning federal agencies.  We receive requests dealing with the Internal Revenue Service, Medicare, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Labor (Black Lung Issues), the Department of Veterans Affairs, and many other agencies.  We can also assist you to request a passport, renew your passport, request expedited processing of those documents and deal with Visa issues.  Although we are generally prohibited from involvement in legal matters or overriding decisions made by a federal agency, we work to intervene on your behalf to cut through red tape, seek answers to your questions, and assist in pursuing solutions to your concerns.

Before we can obtain information about your situation from a federal agency, we must provide them with your written authorization.  Our privacy consent form can be found on my website,, or you may contact the Abingdon or Christiansburg office to obtain the form.  Completing this form is one of the first steps you must take in order for me to assist you.  When returning the privacy consent form to my team, please also be sure to include any pertinent information and claim numbers that we might need.  Included with the privacy consent form, you are asked to submit a short statement to summarize your issue with the federal agency, so we can make certain we understand exactly what assistance you need.

Constituent services such as these are typically handled by members of my team based out of our Abingdon and Christiansburg offices. You may call or visit at either location to discuss your issues.  In addition, you can visit during our staff traveling office hours where you can meet with members of my team in person to ask for assistance or just to share comments.  Our schedule for office hours in your locality can be found on my website,  My team is ready and willing to assist you.  Please do not hesitate to contact us should you need help with a federal agency.
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671.  To reach my office by email, please visit my website at"

Birthday Parties Mean Strip Clubs?

From Mark Fitzgibbons (forwarded by Patricia Evans), an explanation of how an elected official can become confused enough to confuse what has hitherto been described as a birthday party for a farmer's middle-school child with a strip club. The answer, in a word, is greed...but read the details!

"From Mark Fitzgibbons:

Virginia is now ground zero in the debate on farm and property rights

This past week has exposed a lot.  Rockingham Supervisor Kyger put on a show at VACo claiming the Boneta Bill would turn farms into "strip clubs"  and his daughter Katie Frazier along with Trey Davis told Martha Boneta to name names of victim-farmers, Soviet style.  Fauquier Supervisor Lee Sherbeyn was on DC Channel 9  (along with Martha), and one commenter at Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services ( VDACS ) shared Sherbeyn's view that farmers are not free to have birthday parties at farms. Fauquier County Still Wants Permits for Birthday Parties:   Madge and I will be meeting someone in Fauquier who was told he needs to put 11 acres into easement for the county as a condition to get a permit, right on the heels of the Koontz decision calling such tactics extortive and unconstitutional conditions.
One commenter at Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services ( VDACS ) charges that supporters of the Boneta Bill are motivated by "greed."

Meanwhile, the abuse of conservation easements is just getting exposed.  This piece below at the Daily Caller shows that the issue has gone from think tank white papers to the main news.
The Boneta Bill has exposed a well-placed strain of opposition to rights of small farmers and farm culture, but the opposition has also exposed that right here in Virginia, there is an under-publicized movement against property rights.  So, we may as well make Virginia the center of that debate.  From Virginia Association of Counties (VACo), Piedmont Environmental Council ( PEC ), the League of Conservation Voters, etc., even Farm Bureau and Agribusiness, these organizations have met little exposure to their agendas, which use both Richmond and local government to advance them.  We don't want Richmond control, but local governments are being used to displace property rights in favor of well-heeled activist groups and private interests. 
Farmers and other property owners need protection, and since the proponents of such restrictions are showing that they can be less-than-polite and quite extremist when they are finally challenged, resorting to name calling and avoiding the merits, then Virginia will become the center of debate.  The fact that VACo pulled the farm legislation off its agenda last week when it was discovered that Martha was at the meeting shows that they believe they need to operate in darkness, and do not want this debate.  That's all the more reason why the debate must take place.

Green greed in the open spaces movement
Between overtures to the “ninety-nine percent,” elements of the limousine left have long managed to maintain their opulent one-percent lifestyle under the veil of green advocacy — usually at the expense of private property rights, and oftentimes, the less-privileged objects of their populist affections as well.

Terms like “open spaces” and “conservation easing” are what certain circles of progressive elites use to safeguard their progressive reputations while preserving their status as elite.
 This past week, City Council members of the southern California town of Escondido unanimously voted (Preview) to “conserve” former golf course property belonging to developer Michael Schlesinger as an “open space.” Schlesinger, unable to afford the annual $1 million in operational fees to sustain the golf course given its mere 125 members, decided to discontinue the business and instead use the land to develop 283 new homes.

This decision was blocked by the Council, who took it upon themselves to decide what the best purpose was for Schlesinger’s privately owned land. Though the Council’s move satisfied local residents who fancy the exclusive nature of their previously golf club-adjacent community, Schlesinger, being the rightful proprietor of the land, filed suit, finding the designation of his own land as an “open space” to be of no incidental use to him.

The Council-approved measure was titled, ironically, the “Citizens Property Rights Initiative.” San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Kirk Effinger noted the head-scratcher of a name: “Then there’s the measure’s title – ‘Citizens Property Rights Initiative.’ If I understand the premise correctly, they want the citizens of Escondido to affirm their property rights by taking away the property rights of someone else. Perfect.”

Lest there be any mistake, the Escondido Country Club & Community Homeowners Organization (ECCHO) explains that their mission is to “preserve the existing green belt” at the expense of private property is rights, because it is the “individual ‘good’ neighbor’s property rights” that “should be protected,” and “wealthy, out-of-town speculator” Schlesinger, you see, is a “’bad’ neighbor” whose rights are “not guaranteed or exclusive” (emphases mine).

ECCHO’s bizarrely illustrated standard of whose property rights are more equal than whose was apparently enough to convince a city government that it held the power to play favorites between the “good neighbors” and the “bad neighbors” and thus, whose basic rights ought to “guaranteed.”

While this game is mostly played on local turf, its players often descend from high places, with federal taxpayer funds to throw into the fight. In 2001, Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry pushed a land deal in Harvard, Massachusetts, setting aside $3 million of earmarked taxpayer money to buy “open space” in a plan that raised significant taxes on new homebuyers.

Tom Cotton (not the Arkansas congressman of the same name), a long-time member of the Watt Farm Committee and trustee of the Harvard Conservation Trust, helped steer a “permanent protection” of Watt Farm in Harvard as an annex of the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge, raising $2.2 million from the Trust for Public Land to purchase 112 acres of the Cape Cod property.

As Cotton solicited funds from Harvard, Kerry and Kennedy led a delegation to acquire an additional $3 million in federal earmarks needed for the purchase. A perhaps overly excited Kerry crowed: “Much has been written about the ‘greatest generation’ that won World War II, but recently I’ve been asking people to think about what they’re going to say about this generation. That legacy will be defined by actions such as the preservation of open space.”

This sort of high-minded activism can have devastating effects on housing markets. In tandem with the efforts of Kennedy and the Cotton Club, the Massachusetts House of Representatives pushed a bill to finance the Cape land bank with transfer taxes passed on exclusively to prospective homebuyers and sellers.

In what the Boston Globe defended as a “fair and comparatively modest assessment,” a one percent “fee” was levied on real estate transactions with the first $100,000 exempt. That means the surcharge on a $500,000 transaction would be $4,000. This format was a counter-alternative to Gov. Paul Cellucci’s solution of using $30 million from the Massachusetts open space fund to purchase the land.

Though he would boast of his “ongoing effort to protect open spaces … and preserve the environment” as “a major success,” Kennedy apparently discounted how its implications risked derailing a vulnerable housing market. (Not unlike derailing an Oldsmobile into a tidal channel.)

“I’m not sure of [the Globe’s] definition of modest,” decried President Jerome Rappaport, Jr. of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, “[B]ut to me, a $4,000 tax placed on me, the home buyer, is not modest, especially if I’m the only one being asked to fund a program that will benefit everyone who is already in the community I’m seeking to enter.”

Calling it a “discriminatory, elitist approach” by land bank proponents “to tax others for a program they want,” Association of Realtors President Richard Dils added, “While the wealthy might agree … that an additional $4,000 sales tax on a $500,000 home at closing time might not seem like much, a 1 or 2 percent tax imposed on young low- and middle-income buyers or on elderly, fixed-income sellers could severely limit their ability to enter the housing market.”

As economist Thomas Sowell wrote of the “disparate impact” of similar government-mandated “open spaces” on housing prices in post-1970s Northern California:
“Behind much of the lofty and pretty talk are some ugly and selfish realities. People who already own their homes in an upscale community pay no price for making it hard for others to move into their community. On the contrary, the value of the homes they already own shoots up when they restrict the supply of new homes…In other words, they can keep out the less affluent people — or, as they put it, ‘preserve the character of the community’ — while benefiting themselves economically in the name of green idealism.”

These local cases of private property rights being quietly stampeded in the name of “green preservation” may seem to have limited consequences, combined they pose great risks to rights all Americans deserve to have protected, and the precedent they set is troubling.

"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."  - Thomas Jefferson "

If You Really...

This shouldn’t be news to most adults; what surprised me into writing about it was the comments on the Ozarque blog in December 2004, which show that quite a few literate adults have never thought about it..

(Recap: Ozarque is the author of the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense series of books, which begin with an analysis of exactly why “If you really wanted...” is such an annoying verbal attack. If you’ve not already read these books, please read one of them now.)

The peculiarity of English grammar that makes “If you really wanted [whatever], you would...” or “A person who really wanted [whatever] would...”  obnoxious is known as contrastive stress. By emphasizing “really” in an “If...” sentence, we’re saying “You (or whoever) may have said or even thought you/she/he wanted this, but we know it’s not true.”

What an “If you/he/she really wanted” statement really communicates is, therefore, more than the actual words in the sentence.

“If you really wanted full marks for your term paper, you would have found a way to get it typed.” Not spoken, but heard: “You don’t deserve full marks for the work you did. The reason why you didn’t get the paper professonally typed has nothing to do with circumstances beyond your control, such as that you don’t own a typewriter or computer or printer and can’t afford to rent one or to hire someone who has one of these gadgets; the reason is that you weren’t doing your best work—which is not a reasonable decision about how to use your time and energy and other resources, but a moral failing on your part. If you said you wanted full marks, you were lying. Ultimately the reason why you didn’t try harder to impress me is that you don’t respect me as a person; I’m entitled to hold that against you, and I will.”

“If Piers Morgan really had due respect for the United States and for our Constitution, he wouldn’t presume to spout opinions about it in public, especially opinions that favor efforts to subvert the U.S. Constitution.” True, but not the way of saying it that’s most likely to help Piers Morgan, since when this sentence is spoken what’s heard will also include: “Piers Morgan lacks due respect for the United States and for our Constitution. When he said he had such respect, he was either lying, or reading from a script without thinking about what it meant. Piers Morgan is a public enemy who should be deported.” Right...a lot of people might agree with that statement. But one could understand why Mr. Morgan is likely to tune them out and not correct his mistakes.

“If you really loved me, you wouldn’t even want to stay out so late.” Not spoken, but heard: “You don’t really love me. When you said you did, you were lying. You are a heartless, selfish person who wants to give your family heart attacks from anxiety as they sit at home wondering about your safety. There’s no need to discuss the possibility that your spouse or parent worries too much; even if s/he does, that’s her/his right. You are at fault.”

On the other hand, there’s a similar-looking type of sentence that’s harmless, e.g.:“If you really want to go out for pizza, let’s go.”

Two things about this sentence: (1) it’s in the indicative (present reality) mode rather than the subjunctive (hypothetical) mode, and (2) contrastive stress here suggests, “I don’t care much either way, so if you have a strong preference I don’t mind accommodating you.”

There’s even a variant form of this type of sentence where some emphasis can be put on “really” without doing any harm: “If you really want to go out for pizza, let’s go.”

In this sentence, the contrastive stress suggests, “My preference would be something else, but if you insist I’ll go out for pizza with you.”

This is the type of sentence teachers are likely to use in speeches like “Those who really want top marks for this project will...”

In which case, the implication of the contrastive stress is likely to be spelled out clearly: “...and those who just want a passing grade need only...”

Generally the combination of words like “really” and the subjunctive mode, which is used to describe situations different from present reality, indirectly says “Whatever that ‘if’ clause described is not what really happened.” This statement doesn’t absolutely always imply that someone is at fault. This general category of sentences includes things like “This is only a test. If it had been a real emergency, you would have received further instructions.” However, “If (some person) really wanted, meant, intended, etc.,” nearly always implies “The person said s/he did. The person’s word is not to be relied on,” and this is more likely to lead to entrenched opposition than to accord.