2011 - The Year We Take Back Congress and Make Obama's Life Hell!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Nice Going, Mayor Street!!

Philadelphia mayor John F. Street waited patiently along Ranstead St. at 16th St. in Center City to be third in line to purchase an iPhone from the AT&T on Friday, June 29, 2007. It was raining much of the day and the mayor stayed dry in his Gore-tex rainsuit.

Just after 6 p.m., Street achieved his goal: He bought the third iPhone the store sold. He sloooowly unwrapped the iPhone, taking his time over the cellophane and the box inside, before getting to the phone itself. Then he compared the phone to his current cell phone -- though he couldn't try out the Web access. That has to be activated from home, store workers said.

Gadgetophile Street's presence in line had become a media scrum (though he did who took a few breaks from the line for events today, filling in with two representatives that Street said was his security detail.) He took some criticism for his priority-setting -- including from one woman who actually yelled at him.

But Street defended his love of technology as important to the city. He could use his new iPhone, for example, on the city’s Wireless Philadelphia network, which he backed as mayor. “I think the city has benefited mightily from my interest in technology,” he said.

But he also defended his wait as an illustration of how much work has changed, saying he was getting as much done in line – thanks to his Blackberry, but also to a number of staffers fluttering back and forth – as he does in City Hall.

“There’s a fundamental misunderstanding on how work is done these days,” said Street. “I am on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some people in the normal workforce don’t understand that. …

“People should be educated. To suggest that the mayor, or other people, are not working because they aren’t in City Hall is ludicrous.”

-- Kate Mays and Christine Olley

The TrekMedic seethes:

Nice going! Buy a f**king iPhone! Don't spend some time trying to decrease the murder rate! Don't spend some time eliminating the City Wage Tax! Don't spend some time up in North Philly, just lying around on a lounge chair! Just sit on your ass and buy another useless toy!

F**king DUMBASS!!!


A Meme That Proves It!

How smart are you?


Justice Served,....Liberals, Served!

WASHINGTON - A historically diverse field of Democratic presidential candidates , a woman, a black, an Hispanic and five whites , denounced an hours-old Supreme Court affirmative action ruling Thursday night and said the nation's slow march to racial unity is far from over.

"We have made enormous progress, but the progress we have made is not good enough," said Sen. Barack Obama, the son of a man from Kenya and a woman from Kansas.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first female candidate with a serious shot at the presidency, drew the night's largest cheer when she suggested there was a hint of racism in the way AIDS is addressed in this country.

"Let me just put this in perspective: If HIV-AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34 there would be an outraged, outcry in this country," said the New York senator.

In their third primary debate, the two leading candidates and their fellow Democrats played to the emotions of a predominantly black audience, fighting for a voting bloc that is crucial in the party's nomination process.

One issue not raised by questioners, the war in Iraq, dominated the past two debates. Queries about AIDS, criminal justice, education, taxes, outsourcing jobs, poverty and the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina all led to the same point: The racial divide still exists.

"There is so much left to be done," Clinton said, "and for anyone to assert that race is not a problem in America is to deny the reality in front of our very eyes."

While the first two debates focused on their narrow differences on Iraq, moderator Tavis Smiley promised to steer the candidates to other issues that matter to black America. In turn, the candidates said those issues mattered to them.

"This issue of poverty in America is the cause of my life," said John Edwards, the 2004 vice presidential nominee.

Said Obama: "It starts from birth."

Obama criticized President Bush's No Child Left Behind program. "You can't leave money behind ... and unfortunately that's what's been done," he said.

Clinton spoke of her efforts in Arkansas to raise school standards, "most especially for minority children."

Delaware Sen. Joe Biden urged people to be tested for the AIDS virus, noting that he and Obama had done so. Cracked the Illinois senator: "I just want to make clear I got tested with Michelle," his wife, Obama said drawing laughter from the predominantly black audience.

The debate was held at Howard University, a historically black college in the nation's capital.

Black voters are a large and critical part of the Democratic primary electorate, making the debate a must-attend for candidates seeking the party's presidential nomination.

A half century of desegregation law , and racial tension , was laid bare for the Democrats hours before they met. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court clamped historic new limits on school desegregation plans.

Clinton said the decision "turned the clock back" on history, and her competitors agreed.

The conservative majority cited the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case to bolster its precedent-shattering decision, an act termed a "cruel irony" by Justice John Paul Stevens in his dissent. The 1954 ruling led to the end of state-sponsored school segregation in the United States.

Obama, the only black candidate in the eight-person field, spoke of civil rights leaders who fought for Brown v. Board of Education and other precedents curbed by the high court. "If it were not for them," he said, "I would not be standing here."

Biden noted that he voted against confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion. He said he was tough on Roberts. "The problem is the rest of us were not tough enough," he said, seeming to take a jab at fellow Democrats. "They have turned the court upside down."

All the Democratic candidates in the Senate opposed the confirmation of conservative Justice Samuel Alito, another of President Bush's nominees. Clinton, Biden and Obama voted against Roberts; Sen. Chris Dodd voted for his nomination.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the first major Hispanic candidate, said race is about more than passing new laws and appointing new justices. "The next president is going to have to lead," he said, vowing to do so.

Dodd said "the shame of resegregation in our country has been occurring for years."

The nomination fight begins in Iowa and New Hampshire, two states with relatively few minorities. But blacks and other minority voters become critical in Nevada, South Carolina and Florida before the campaign turns to a multi-state primary on Feb. 5.

About one in 10 voters in the 2004 election were black, according to exit polls, and they voted 9-to-1 for Democrat John Kerry. In some states, blacks make up a bigger share of the voters. In South Carolina, for example, blacks made up about 30 percent of the electorate in 2004, but were more than half of the voters in the state's Democratic primary.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the country's only black governor, introduced the candidates with a warning that a dispirited GOP "is not enough to elect a Democratic president nor should it be. We need to offer a more positive and hopeful vision ... to run on what we are for and not just what we are against."

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel also debated.

The Trekmedic adds:

In our country, where capitalism still rules, and capitalism is driven by competition, not everyone gets a free pass. You get ahead by empowering yourself, not being empowered by the government! Its the free fish vs fishing lesson axiom, folks!

And didn't Martin Luther King, Jr. the idol of all black Democrats, once espouse that our countrymen should be judged by the content of there character and not the color of their skin?

Sounds like more Dumb-o-cratic doublespeak to me!!!

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Bald Eagle Returns - An Allegory for Right America in '08?

By Sandy Bauers
Inquirer Staff Writer

Thirty-five years ago, a visitor to John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum would have been hard-pressed to see a bald eagle.

Today, acting refuge manager Gary Stolz regularly spots them fishing in tidal pools. He has even seen courtship displays, where the eagles lock talons and tumble through the sky.

"It's awesome," he said.

Yesterday, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced that the national symbol had rebounded so thoroughly that it will come off the endangered-species list in a month.

In the Delaware Valley, signs of that recovery are everywhere.

In southern New Jersey around Salem County, several dozen eagles now make their nests.

Eagles also nest in Montgomery County and near Phoenixville, within six miles of the King of Prussia Mall.

Last winter, birders discovered a nest at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. It was the first nest within city limits in two centuries. The birds later abandoned it, but wildlife officials expect them to try again next year.

Many heralded the eagle's delisting as a sign that the Endangered Species Act works and as proof of what a healthier environment can revive.

"Simply put, it says if we provide birds with clean air, clean water, clean food, and a place to nest, they will do well," said Keith Bildstein, director of conservation science at Hawk Mountain, north of Reading.

The mountainous area has a natural gap that funnels migrating eagles and other raptors. Photos from long ago show hunters gunning them down as they winged by.

Starting in midcentury, eagle numbers declined further because the pesticide DDT accumulated in their tissues and caused the birds' eggshells to thin and break.

But now, so many eagles fly past Hawk Mountain that birders with binoculars line the ridgetops every fall.

In the 1970s, they might have seen only 18 bald eagles in a fall migration. The annual average over the last decade is 162 of the majestic birds.

Pennsylvania now has at least 120 nesting pairs, up from a low of only three in 1983. That year, the state Game Commission began capturing eaglets from wilderness nests in Canada and releasing them in the state.

New Jersey has 59 nesting pairs, up from a low of one throughout the 1970s.

Despite the national gains, eagles remain listed as "threatened" in Pennsylvania and "endangered" in New Jersey. Officials in both states said they might reconsider.

"But we have ongoing concerns for our population," said Darlene Yuhas, a spokeswoman with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Wildlife officials are worried about human disturbance and habitat destruction, especially in populous areas such as Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Federal wildlife officials had set a "recovery goal" of 3,900 nesting pairs.

That has long since been exceeded. Today, about 10,000 eagles nest in the lower 48 states, compared with 417 in 1963. (They have continued to thrive in Alaska.)

The eagle was first proposed for delisting in 1999, when President Bill Clinton stood on the lawn of the White House with a captive eagle named Challenger to declare success.

But it took eight more years to sort out whether the protections remaining under two other federal acts - the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act - were adequate.

Still to be ironed out are the specifics of an ongoing monitoring system and a permitting process to allow landowners to develop their properties.

Kieran Suckling, policy director of the Center for Biological Diversity, which has sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service more than 200 times, trying to force it to list species, called the eagle's comeback a "bittersweet victory."

Suckling said the Endangered Species Act mostly helped only charismatic species - such as the eagle, the peregrine falcon, the American alligator, and the brown pelican - leaving others to slide toward extinction.

"In this bias toward the charismatic species, we're really missing the fundamental biological role of the small things that actually run the world," he said. "It's not bald eagles that run the world. It's plants and insects."

Eagle updates for Pennsylvania and New Jersey are posted at http://go.philly.com/earth


Thursday, June 28, 2007

And People Want This Loser for President??

Elizabeth Edwards denied criticisms that her highly publicized on-air confrontation with conservative firebrand Ann Coulter was a calculated move designed to raise money for her husband’s presidential campaign.

“I hope I was provoking people across the country to speak out when they hear this kind of hate language,” Edwards told TODAY’s David Gregory. “It made a difference in the South when racist language used to be the way that everyone spoke.

“But then when decent people spoke out and said, ‘We don’t want to hear that anymore,’ it changed. And now racist language is not a part of civil dialogue in the South,” she went on. “We can accomplish the same thing, but only if people across the country speak out. I hope I was giving them a permission slip to do that.”

On Monday, Coulter had said on ABC’s Good Morning America that she wished John Edwards were killed in a terrorist attack. According to ABC News’ Web site, she said, “If I'm going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.” Coulter added that she was just mimicking a comment Bill Maher had made on his HBO show about Vice President Dick Cheney.

During a discussion on the Iraq war, Maher had said that if Cheney were killed by terrorists, “More people would live. That’s a fact.” After those remarks, he later explained in his blog on The Huffington Post: “I believe that were he not in power, our troops would likely come home sooner. But I don't wish him dead.”

On Tuesday, Coulter was making an appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews to promote the paperback release of her book “Godless: The Church of Liberalism.” Elizabeth Edwards called in and for the next four minutes, while Coulter brushed aside her objections, the candidate’s wife appealed to Coulter to stop engaging in what Edwards calls "hate speech."

“I think we heard all we need to hear. The wife of a presidential candidate is asking me to stop speaking,” Coulter said.

Just ‘inflammatory rhetoric’?
In her telephone confrontation with Coulter, Edwards also implored her to stop the personal attacks and hate speech and engage in legitimate political dialogue. Later, the Edwards campaign used the row between the two women on its Web site to push for campaign contributions, leading some to conclude that Edwards’ call was a calculated move.

“I suppose if I had booked Ann Coulter on ABC or on Hardball on MSNBC at the end of the fundraising quarter, that complaint would be legitimate,” Edwards said. “I had no idea when she was going to roll out her book or when she was going to be on the air again.”

Edwards agreed that it’s not just commentators on the political right who are to blame.

“It’s not just Ann Coulter on the right,” she said. “Michael Savage [host of the radio talk show ‘Savage Nation’] is another example of someone who uses awful inflammatory language that degrades the political process, and the same is true on the left.” (TM - Oddly enough, she didn't name anyone from the left. Was the list too big for her to enumerate them all in her allotted time?)

But the Edwards family and Coulter have a particularly long and bitter history. Coulter has accused the Edwards of using the 1996 death of their son, Wade, in a car accident for political advantage. She has also directed homosexual slurs at Edwards.


Edwards, who is battling cancer, said she’s feeling well. “One of the reasons I’m out there speaking is so people can see it’s possible to live with cancer and to live vital, full lives,” she said.

The TrekMedic muses:

How sad is it that the candidate with the $400 haircut has to hide behind the skirt of his cancer-ridden wife instead of confronting Coulter himself.

Sad,....just sad.

And yet, people continue to contribute to his campaign! Well,..you know what they say about throwing good money after bad,....

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Run, Fred! Run!


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tales of Secular Misdeeds from Around the World

A teenage girl who was banned by her school from wearing a "purity ring" is taking her case to the High Court.

Lydia Playfoot, 16, is a member of a Christian group called the Silver Ring Thing and one of a number of students at the Millais School in Horsham, West Sussex, who wears a silver ring engraved with a Biblical reference — "1 Thes 434," a reference to St. Paul's Letter to the Thessalonians — as a sign of their belief in abstinence from sex until marriage.

She claims that her secondary school is breaching her human rights by preventing her from wearing the ring, while allowing Muslim and Sikh students to wear headscarfs and religious bangles.

The school denies her claims, arguing that the purity ring is not an integral part of the Christian faith, and contravenes its uniform policy.

Playfoot will argue that her right to express her religious beliefs under Article Nine of the Human Rights Act has been breached by the ban.

"At my school Muslims are allowed to wear headscarves and other faiths can wear bangles and other types of jewellery and it feels like Christians are being discriminated against," Playfoot told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.

The Silver Ring Thing was set up in America in 1996 as a response to the escalating numbers of teen pregnancies in Yuma, Ariz. Teenagers pay a few dollars for a silver ring and a Bible, and pledge not to have sex before marriage. The movement arrived in Britain several years ago.

The U.K. branch of the Silver Ring Thing is based at the Kings Church in Horsham where Playfoot's father, Phil, is pastor. Her mother, Heather, is the company secretary of its business arm. It runs a training program called "The Silver Ring Thing 434."

Playfoot denied that wearing her silver chastity ring was a fad. "The idea is a bit American, but it's something I think is just really important. It's not just a fad sweeping across England, it is something unique, important to every single person," she told BBC Breakfast.

"It says that I’m not going to have sex until I’m married and I’m going to stay sexually pure until I’m married. In the Bible it says you should remain sexually pure and I think this is a way I want to express my faith.

"I think in the society we live in today with lots of pregnancies and STDs, something like this is quite important and should be taken hold of."

In a statement placed before the court, she said: “We are involved with SRT (Silver Ring Thing) as a movement to promote and educate young people on the issues of sexual purity."

Her father, Phil Playfoot, said that his daughter was pursuing the case, even though she was leaving the Millais school, because it embodied an important principle.

Rings had been worn by Christians for many hundreds of years and Lydia wore hers as a symbol of her commitment to her faith, he said. Many thousands of young people had made the same commitment.

He claimed that Christianity was under attack from the forces of secularism: "I think what is happening in our culture more generally is that what I would describe as secular fundamentalism is coming to the fore, which really wants to silence certain beliefs and Christian views in particular. I think an important principle is at stake here, I think Christians should be respected for their views and beliefs.

"As other faiths are allowed to express their views through the wearing of headscarfs or the Kara bracelet of a Sikh, I think Lydia should be able to wear a ring as an expression of her faith," he told the BBC.

Playfoot said that he had not put any pressure on his daughter to bring the court case. He claimed that his involvement with the Silver Ring Thing had happened after Lydia was banned from wearing the ring at school.

"Lydia is a free thinker, she is a young person in her own right," he told the BBC. "She’s not living out our beliefs or wishes, it’s something she wants to do for herself."

Stacey Wilkinson, administrator of the Silver Ring Thing U.K., said: "We are supporting Lydia but can't comment on the case itself.

"The Silver Ring Thing is mainly in youth groups. We are trying to get into schools but it's a lot harder because of the Christian background that the course includes. We don't talk about contraception at all because it's about abstinence. In some cases we are going against what the government has said, but we want to give people a second option.

"Some people take the course but don't make the pledge, but it's a good thing that they've heard the options. It gives them the option to say no."

It is not the first time students have faced school bans over Christian symbols. Earlier this year Samantha Devine, a 13-year-old Catholic schoolgirl, was told not to wear a crucifix on a chain because it breached health and safety rules at The Robert Napier School, a non-denominational mixed school in Gillingham, Kent.

The school said the only exception it would make to its uniform rule would be if the jewellery was an essential part of a particular religion, which they did not feel was the case for Miss Devine. She was free to wear a crucifix as a small lapel badge, but not on a chain, the school ruled.

In 2005, 16-year-old Sam Morris was excluded from Sinfin Community School in Derby for a day after refusing to remove her cross and chain to comply with the school’s jewellery ban.

In November Nadia Eweida lost her legal battle to wear a crucifix while working as an air stewardess, but publicity over the case forced British Airways to review its uniform policy and allow religious symbols to be worn, although only in the form of small lapel badges.

This next story is courtesy of Duane at Pennsylvanian in Exile:

Sydney, Jun. 18, 2007 (CWNews.com) - Leaders of the Greens Party in Australia have begun a drive to cite Cardinal George Pell for contempt of parliament-- an effort that the cardinal described as carrying "a whiff of Stalinism."

Lee Rhiannon, a Greens lawmaker, won approval for a parliamentary hearing at which Cardinal Pell will be questioned about his statement that politicians who vote in favor of cloning should realize that their votes will have "consequences for their place in the life of the Church."

Rhiannon complained that the cardinal's remarks were intended to intimidate lawmakers. "Cardinal Pell has shown no remorse for his comments," she added.

The Sydney prelate responded by saying that he "would be privileged to appear before the committee if necessary, to resist this clumsy attempt to curb religious freedom and freedom of speech."

During a radio interview on June 17, Cardinal Pell added that he "never threatened anybody with a public excommunication." He continued to say that politicians who support cloning should recognize the moral consequences of their actions. And he declined to offer a direct answer to the question of whether he would refuse Communion to a politician who voted for the pending legislation.

Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth, who had also been accused of threatening lawmakers by his public statements on the cloning proposal, took a different posture in his latest comments. In a letter to the Catholic newspaper The Record, he observed that his published statements might have inadvertently put pressure on Catholic politicians who were already planning to cast their votes in accordance with Church teaching. "They may feel compromised and be accused of voting at the bidding of the Church. If this is so, I owe them an apology because I have always admired their courage," Archbishop Hickey said.

The TrekMedic seethes once more:

Gentle readers, make no mistake: Judeo-Christian morals are coming under increasing (and increasingly global) attack for the moral compass they provide. Last week's US legislation to circumnavigate the First Amendment was but the first shot in what will clearly become not just a Global War on Terror, but a Global War against these New World Order Secularists!

PS - If there's any further proof needed that our media is slanted to the left, ask yourself these questions: Why don't we hear more about the injustices made against the likes of Cardinal Pell, and why don't we hear more from Australia's PM, John Howard, a staunch supporter of the United States and one of our strongest allies in the GWOT?


Friday, June 22, 2007

Another Victory in the GWOT!

Lebanon Army Pursuing Remaining Fatah Islam Militants
Friday, June 22, 2007

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The Lebanese military said Friday it had largely defeated Al Qaeda-inspired Islamic militants, overrunning their positions inside a Palestinian refugee camp, but gunfire and artillery blasts continued as troops pursued remaining fighters.

The two top leaders of the Fatah Islam militant group, Shaker al-Absi and his deputy, Abu Hureira, were still at large, along with an unknown number of fighters. They are believed to be holed up among the several thousand Palestinian civilians still inside sections of the Nahr el-Bared camp not under army control.

In a statement, the army said it had "completed its control over main (Fatah Islam) positions and was tightening the noose around the group's remaining fugitive members" holed up inside the camp near Lebanon's northern port city of Tripoli.

Nahr el-Bared's monthlong battle has been Lebanon's worst internal violence since the 1975-90 civil war, killing 76 soldiers, at least 60 militants and more than 20 civilians. It came amid a fierce political power struggle between the Western-backed government and the militant Hezbollah-led opposition.

The army statement Friday did not give details, but cited major achievements and said it will "not allow the hands of the clock to be turned back."


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Phillyiana Quiz!

Got to thinking about those PBS Philly-related specials "The Things That Aren't There Anymore;" like Republicans and middle-class white people, but I digress.

This quiz is for Philadelphians of a certain age and for former Philadelphians who may remember:

  • Finish this phrase: "Got a problem?...." If you can sing it, more power to you!
  • Before Philadelphia police cars were white, they were blue. What color were they before that? Bonus answer - can you tell us why they changed to blue?
  • What was the pre-9-1-1 number for the police?
  • What was the slogan used to promote the new 9-1-1 number?
  • What were the original names of Kelly and Martin Luther King Jr Drives?
  • What was special about one of those drives during rush hour?
  • Can you name at least THREE Philadelphia-based retail chains that aren't around anymore?
  • What color were the Phillies old, 70s -era away uniforms?
  • What is the air speed velocity of a coconut-laden swallow?
What do you get for getting these right? About the same thing you got if you voted for John Street in 2000 and 2004, OK!


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Semper Fi! Do or Die! Gung-Ho! Gung-Ho!

A member of the extended TrekFamily makes the news!

Lt. Strieby (L) and Cpl Toms (R)

Stephen Strieby and David Toms used to play "fort" every sunny afternoon in Tabernacle when they were in middle school 11 years ago. Now, their childhood fantasies have become a reality: The two are serving in the United States Marine Corps.

Toms, a corporal, has been deployed to Iraq twice. Strieby, who graduated from Florida State University in April, was commissioned as a second lieutenant and will soon head to Quantico, Va., for further training.

And it's not a big surprise, because Toms and Strieby always took their playtime pretty seriously.

"They kept our neighborhood safe from all the bad guys," said Terry Nichols, who lived next door to the Striebys before they moved to Atlanta when the boys were in high school. "They were always out there patrolling."

The boys set up log forts around Strieby's backyard on Sherring Way and found rug fragments and other adornments by searching through trash that neighbors left for the garbagemen on the sidewalk every Wednesday, Strieby said.

Their "luxury fort" was called Fort Freedom. It featured a radio and was bigger than the outpost forts closer to the road on the edge of Strieby's property, he said.

On a typical summer day, the boys would dress in full camouflage gear and steel combat helmets for their mock battles.

"We'd fight the Germans in the afternoon, then we'd fight the Vietnamese in the evenings," Toms said.

The gear had been handed down from their fathers. Toms' father had served in the Army, Strieby's had been a Marine.

"Now that I'm older and actually using this [gear], it's kind of miserable carrying it all around, but as kids, we loved it," Strieby said. "The helmets were hot, but we loved it."

Strieby and Toms had real weapons to carry during their play patrols, including an antique bazooka and hand grenades, all nonworking, of course. But the boys did carry real ammunition in their BB guns.

One afternoon, a family gathering by Nichols' pool was interrupted when her mother-in-law felt a stinging pain in her ankle.

Toms had hit her with a BB, Nichols said, but she recovered immediately and forgave him.

"The boys were very apologetic," she said, adding that she likes to tease Toms now by asking if his aim has improved since then.

Strieby moved to Atlanta right before Toms went to Shawnee High School in Medford, but the two kept in touch, said Toms' mother, Barbara.

"The love of the military and the love of the Marines just continued on with the boys as they grew," she said.

Although the thought of her son and Strieby joining the military crossed her mind, she said she never really expected them to do it.

Toms enlisted after graduating from high school in 2003, while Strieby went to Florida State University, where he was part of the Marine Corps ROTC.

Strieby was there to see Toms graduate from boot camp and become a Marine in 2003, and Toms was there to give Strieby his first salute upon receiving a commission in April.

Both Marines said the military had been their passion growing up, and enlisting was simply a natural progression from the days of their childhood role-playing.

Toms looks back on his military experience positively.

"It was quite a trip," he said. "I was honored to served my country. . . . I definitely felt some progress was made while I was over there" in Iraq.

He said he hopes to go to college and become a high school history teacher after he leaves the Marines in September.

Although they didn't see each other often during their high school years, their friendship has been strengthened by the bond they share as Marines, Strieby said.

"It's like nothing has changed," he said. "When we're laughing about things, it's like we're 12 years old again, laughing about something that happened in a video game."

Strieby calls Toms his "brother" and hopes they will live close to each other when they get older. That way, he said, his children would be able to get to know their "Uncle David."

Until then, Toms and Strieby will get to keep patrolling and protecting as they did when they were childhood friends, except that now their guns have real bullets instead of BBs, and their field of battle is a little larger than Strieby's Tabernacle backyard.

"I'm living the dream," Toms said. "Even since I was little, I've wanted to serve my country."

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Monday, June 18, 2007

"Radical Secularists" Strike Again!

Proving once again that no place is sacred to these losers, the TrekMedic received word that two bills (HR 1592, sponsored by John Conyers, D-MI and S 1105, sponsored by Ted Kennedy, D-MA) would, in essence, "make it a crime for pastors and churches to speak against homosexuality. Message to pastors and other Christians: Just keep your mouth shut!"

According to the American Family Alliance, "The proposed law would make it a crime to preach on Romans Chapter 1 or I Corinthians Chapter 6. Or even to discuss them in a Sunday School class. If churches and individuals want to keep the government from telling them what they can and cannot preach and teach about homosexuality, they better get involved now!"

House bill H.R. 1592 and Senate bill S. 1105 would make negative statements concerning homosexuality, such as calling the practice of homosexuality a sin from the pulpit, a “hate crime” punishable by law. This dangerous legislation would take away your freedom of speech and your freedom of religion. Consider what has already happened:

  • A California lawsuit which is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court would make the use of the words “natural family,” “marriage” and “union of a man and a woman” a “hate speech” crime in government workplaces. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has already ruled in favor of the plaintiffs!
  • CNN and The Washington Post both reported that General Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was fired because he publicly expressed moral opposition to homosexual behavior.

The TrekMedic seethes:

Gentle readers, make no mistake about it. The leftists in our national legislature are showing their true colors (yellow and blue) by trying to stifle any opposition to making the US a "radically secular" country!

Write to your Congressman today to halt this bill before its too late!!

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Special Delivery For Wyatt!

Happy Father's Day!

The TrekMedic is sure he'll get lots of comments on how this post is objectifying women, but,...DAMN! She's HOT!

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Florida Democrats: Swallow Your Pride or Let Your People Die?

Anthony at Opinionnation Times brings this story of Demo-stupidity:

Rush Limbaugh has long been a thorn in the side of liberals, but now, because of him, some Democratic politicians don't even want to join with a local radio station to broadcast hurricane information.

Radio station WIOD, AM 610, has been the official channel for emergency information from Broward County government for the past year. The County Commission, all Democrats, balked at renewing the deal Tuesday, unable to stomach the station also being home to Limbaugh's talk show.

Commissioner Stacy Ritter said she did not want to support a station that's out of step with area politics. Ritter, a Democratic stalwart in the state Legislature before being elected to county office, cited talk shows hosted by Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and WIOD's partnership with Fox News.

"They have every right to speak, but we don't have to do business with them," she said.

Limbaugh responded to the commissioners Wednesday on his radio show. He said the county's qualms about WIOD are a sign of out-of-control partisanship in the nation. He quipped that if the county wanted him off the air, all that officials would need to do is schedule emergency press conferences during his broadcast from noon to 3 p.m.

"They are politicizing the delivery of emergency news, which is non-partisan," said Limbaugh, who lives in Palm Beach. "They are making weather a partisan issue."

Limbaugh has long been a fixture on WIOD, but no county official raised an issue about him or the other shows when the deal was approved for the first time a year ago.

The deal with WIOD would ensure that news conferences are broadcast start to finish live from the county Emergency Operations Center in Plantation. Emergency managers became concerned during hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 that radio and television stations preempted their announcements in favor of news out of Miami.

Ken Charles, WIOD's director of AM programming, said Tuesday the station's talk show lineup has no relationship with its news coverage and that the county should focus on the benefits of teaming with the station.

"It's a shame that people would let politics get in the way of saving lives in a hurricane," Charles said.

The contract with WIOD was on the verge of being rejected when commissioners instead delayed a decision until next week. They told their communications staff they want more information on why WIOD was recommended and what their options are.

Ritter's concerns were echoed by Commissioners Ken Keechl, a former president of the Dolphins gay Democratic club, and Suzanne Gunzburger, who served on the vote-tallying board that recounted the 2000 presidential election. (TM - Now there's a rogues gallery!)

But Commissioner John Rodstrom, a one-time young Republican leader who later became a Democrat, said the county should not politicize emergency management.

"If we are going to start censoring what people write in the paper or speak on the radio or television, that's a slippery slope," Rodstrom said. "This is necessary. It's something we need to do for emergency response."

A county task force that looked into the response to Hurricane Wilma listed finding a radio partner among its recommendations last year.

Judy Sarver, the county's public communications director, said WFTL and WLRN also offered to take on the role, but that she and other emergency planners preferred WIOD because of its signal strength, numerous FM sister stations and willingness to give Broward top play.

Scott Wyman can be reached at swyman@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4511.


What Took You So Long, Mikey?

Choking back tears on the witness stand, Durham, N.C., District Attorney Mike Nifong announced his resignation Friday after testifying about missteps he made in the Duke lacrosse rape case.

The embattled prosecutor, testifying at his own ethics trial in Raleigh, N.C., said he made mistakes in the prosecution of three Duke lacrosse players — Reade Seligmann, Dave Evans and Collin Finnerty — after an exotic dancer claimed they raped her at an off-campus party on March 13, 2006. However, he maintained he never lied to the state bar association over any facts of the case.

"To the extent my actions have caused pain to the Finnertys and the Seligmanns and the Evanses, I apologize. To the extent that my actions have brought disrespect or disrepute to the bar, to my community, I apologize," Nifong said. (TM - Michael Smerconish would call this a "crayon apology." Be a man - why not enumerate those actions while you're on the stand?)

"But I cannot admit to telling a lie I didn’t tell, and I’ll continue to defend myself against those allegations."

Seligmann, Evans and Finnerty were declared innocent of the charges earlier this year by the state attorney general, who said they had been prosecuted by a "rogue" DA.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hey! Hanoi Harry - Have You Looked in a Mirror Lately?

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed Thursday that he told liberal bloggers last week that he thinks outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace is "incompetent."

Reid also disparaged Army Gen. David Petraeus, head of Multinational Forces in Iraq.

But Reid, whose comments to bloggers first appeared in The Politico, also told reporters: "I think we should just drop it."

Reid's admission came as reporters peppered him with questions about Pace and Petraeus, overshadowing a Capitol Hill press conference designed to highlight Democratic attempts to improve fuel economy and energy efficiency.

Reid said he told Pace face-to-face recently that he had performed poorly as an adviser on the conduct of the Iraq war.

"I believe that General Pace would not be if he had come forward to be reappointed the chairman of the Joints Chiefs. It wouldn't have happened and I'm not going to get into what I said or didn't say. There is a long list of people including Senators (Carl) Levin and (Jack) Reed and others who have talked about General Pace long before I did. I think we should just drop it. The fact is, he's not going to be the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, for which I'm happy," Reid said.


June 14th is Flag Day,...

Just a reminder,....

That is all!


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Owww-w-w-w! That's Gonna Leave a Mark!

Major HT to Douglas V. Gibbs at Political Pistachio:


Paging Al Sharpton,...!

There are race-baiting issues for you,....

OCALA, Fla. — Actor Wesley Snipes is a victim of "unscrupulous tax advice" and is being selectively targeted for prosecution on federal tax evasion charges because he is black, his attorneys argue in a motion to dismiss the indictment.

That's what Snipes has said all along about the charges.

In a June 4 motion to dismiss the indictment, Snipes' attorneys argue that prosecutors filed additional tax evasion charges against him and not against two co-defendants because they are "Caucasian, while Mr. Snipes is African-American."

A federal judge is still considering the motion.

The Oct. 17 indictment charges Snipes with fraudulently claiming refunds totaling nearly $12 million in 1996 and 1997 for income taxes already paid. The star of the "Blade" trilogy and other films also was charged with failure to file returns from 1999 through 2004.

The indictment said Snipes conspired with American Rights Litigators' founder Eddie Ray Kahn and tax preparer Douglas P. Rosile Sr. to file false refund claims based on a bogus argument that only income from foreign sources was subject to taxation.

Snipes' motion says he should be counted among 2,000 people who relied on Kahn and Rosile for tax advice, not as one of their co-defendants.

Charlie on the Turnpike has this under-the-radar story to offer as well:

Imus fans, unite.

Al Roker, NBC personality, was a harsh critic of Don Imus in April, as is his right.

Apparently, Mr. Roker is a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ kind of guy.

As this link will show, he made a tasteless comment about epileptics, and has since apologized.

Perhaps Mr. Roker should be subject to the same criticism as Mr. Imus:

What he said was vile and disgusting. It denigrated {everyone afflicted by epilepsy} and by extension, a community and its pride in a group that had {dealt with this illness}.

Sound familiar Al?

Let’s let NBC know where we stand on Mr. Roker’s attempt at humor. If he stays on-air, so should Mr. Imus.

And finally, this gem (nothing linked to Al Sharpton, but funny as hell anyway):

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Monday, June 11, 2007

History Repeating?

20 years ago, President Ronald Reagan, standing before the Berlin Wall, famously challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in a speech that signaled the end of the Iron Curtain.

There are some real parallels to that episode in history and this story:

Bush Receives Hero's Welcome in Albania

(AP) U.S. President George Bush greets Albanians in Fushe Kruje, Albania, Sunday, June 10, 2007. (AP...
Full Image

TIRANA, Albania (AP) - President Bush, enthusiastically welcomed as the first U.S. president in this former communist nation, served notice Sunday he is running out of patience with Russia's objections to independence for neighboring Kosovo.

"Sooner rather than later you've got to say 'Enough's enough - Kosovo is independent,'" Bush said, telling Albanians what they wanted to hear. He said independence was a certainty.

Nearing the end of an eight-day trip, Bush got a hero's reception in this desperately poor country, still struggling to recover from being cut off from the rest of the world for four decades under the harsh rule of dictator Enver Hoxha. Hoxha died in 1985, and Albania emerged from isolation in 1990 but still is one of Europe's most impoverished lands.

Cannons boomed salutes from mountains overlooking the capital. Huge banners proclaimed "Proud to be Partners," and billboards read "President Bush in Albania Making History."

At home, Bush's job approval rating stands at its all-time low. But here, Prime Minister Sali Berisha said Bush was Albania's "greatest and most distinguished guest we have ever had in all times."


While the United States supports Albania's bid for membership in NATO, Bush said this country still has to make more political and military reforms and crack down on corruption and organized crime.

"We are determined to take any decision, pass any law and undertake any reform to make Albania appropriate to receive the invitation" to join the western military alliance, Berisha said at a news conference with Bush.

Albania has eagerly embraced democracy and idolizes the United States. Three stamps have been issued featuring Bush's picture and the Statue of Liberty, and the street in front of parliament has been renamed in his honor.


Kosovo has been run by the United Nations and NATO since 1999, when Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic's forces were ousted after a NATO air war ended his crackdown on independence-seeking ethnic Albanians, who make up 90 percent of Kosovo's population.

The U.N. Security Council has been divided over Kosovo's independence. The United States and key European countries support Kosovo's statehood while Russia, traditionally a Serbian ally, opposes it. Moscow says it would set a dangerous precedent for other breakaway regions.

Bush said diplomats from the United States, Russia and European Union will try to find common ground on a formula for independence.

"But if it's apparent that that's not going to happen in a relatively quick period of time, in my judgment, we need to put forward the (U.N.) resolution," Bush said. "Hence, deadline." He did not specify a date.

Negotiations must result in "certain independence," Bush said. "That's what's important to know."

Bush said the summit in Heiligendamm had tried to determine whether there was a way to make Kosovo independence acceptable to Russia. French President Nicolas Sarkozy unexpectedly called for a delay on the issue, and the summit failed to reach agreement.

Bush urged Albania to help maintain peace and calm in Kosovo as the independence talks move forward.

Predominantly Muslim, Albania has 140 troops in Afghanistan and about 120 troops in Iraq - a presence that President Alfred Moisiu says will not end as long as the Americans are engaged there. Bush met here with some of the troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Albanians know the horror of tyranny," the president said. "And so they're working to bring the hope of freedom to people who haven't known it. And that's a noble effort and a sacrifice."

In saluting Albania's democracy, Bush praised it as a country that has "cast off the shackles of a very oppressive society and is now showing the world what's possible."

The TrekMedic ponders:

One has to ask, "Why Kosovo and not Kurdistan (here) and (here)?" Is it OK to stick it to Russia, but not to Turkey,who opposes an independent Kurdish homeland?

Both are predominently Muslim countries casting a strong gaze towards the West as their future.

The Trekmedic has, in the past, called for a partition of modern Iraq, citing the parallels between it and the former Yugoslavia.

Is there something the TrekMedic is missing here??

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Fade to Black,....

So, at the conclusion of last night's Sopranos, the final scene had the TrekMedic thinking two things:

  1. Why did my cable die now??? (a thunderstorm was rolling through)

OK,..like most people, the TrekMedic got over it. The Earth is still spinning on its axis. People got sick and had to go to the hospital, just like any day. The murder rate in Philly climbed again. Just remember folks, before you go canceling your HBO subscriptions: ITS JUST A SHOW!! David Chase doesn't answer to to us. Leaving the ending as he did will make it go down in history as the "Rosebud" moment of all television!


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Why City Hall Can't Get Harrisburg to Defeat the 2nd Amendment!

HT to Wyatt at Support Your Local Gunfighter:

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Carol Towarnicky STILL Doesn't Get It,...

As many Is This Life readers remember, in her last column, Ms. Towarnicky equated "radical secularism" with a strict following of the First Amendment, and the TrekMedic took her to task for her misguided view. In yesterday's column, it appears she still doesn't get it!


HOW CAN we face a threat from "radical secularism" in a country where 96 percent of the citizenry believes in God?

TM - What about the MSM's refusal to acknowledge any religious aspect of holidays, such as Easter, Hanukkah and Christmas, while pushing the mass consumerism associated with the same seasons? Or the ACLU's constant fight to remove all vestiges of their mention in our schools, public places, and society as a whole?

After all, polls say that more than half of Americans (53 percent) would refuse to vote for an otherwise qualified presidential candidate who is an atheist. In its recent hunt for a "non-theist" member of Congress, the Secular Coalition for America could find only one, Pete Stark of California, and he turned out to belong to a Unitarian Church.

Yet there was ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich last month at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University challenging the graduates to confront "the radical secularists" who "insist that religious belief is inherently divisive and that public debate can only proceed on secular terms."

Excuse me, but how would you have a public debate in religious terms? A Scripture-quoting competition?

TM - You don't need a debate. Radical secularists want to circumnavigate the First Amendment's caveat that our government, while secular, cannot prohibit a citizen's freedom to express a religious inclination (or a lack thereof). "Scripture-quoting" shows your narrow-minded bias that defenders of the First Amendment are inherently Christian!

Then I saw a study by the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters for America and something clicked. Helped yet again by a clueless news media, the religious right not only has cleverly framed the discussion about religion in America, it has managed to get many people to equate secular government with secularism.

TM - Its not the religious right who are distorting the line between and secular government and a secular society. But you're right,...the clueless media is showing its own bias against freedom of speech and expression of beliefs.

Media Matters is the group that first attacked the comment by Don Imus about the Rutgers women's basketball team that set off a firestorm that led to his firing. In studying the content of major U.S. newspapers and TV outlets since the 2004 presidential election, Media Matters found that, on TV, conservative religious leaders were almost four times more likely to be interviewed, quoted or mentioned than so-called progressive religious leaders. And that was after separating out religious "celebrities" like Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. (In all media studied, attention paid to conservatives outnumbered that paid to progressives 2.8 to 1.)

TM - No! Media Matters didn't drive Imus away from radio for his remarks! Media Matters is a Fifth Column Group supported by "radical secularists" who want any and all dissent from their point-of-view silenced!

Outside of the celebrities, the No. 1 "go-to guy" on religious matters for all media is Tony Perkins, president of the ultra-conservative Family Research Council. Many of the other conservatives, like Franklin Graham and Chuck Colson, simply swamp the progressives. The result, according to Media Matters, is a picture of religious people in America as overwhelmingly conservative and obsessed with their opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage.

TM - And thus, Media Matter demonizes the right and adds fuel to their own paranoia-driven crusade against conservative media outlets.

In fact, polls show that most religious people are centrist or progressive politically and much more concerned about moral issues like the Iraq war, materialism, poverty and economic justice than abortion or gay marriage.

TM - Oddly enough, these "polls" seem to never air on CNN, MSNBC or the Big 3. How come?

The distortion likely is even worse than Media Matters portrays it. In the first place, 18 out of the 20 "go-to guys" are just that - guys. And, as noted by the Religious Institute of Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing, only two out of 10 of the so-called progressive religious leaders are "unambiguous and outspoken" about their support for gay rights and reproductive choice.

The most media-popular liberal religious leader is the Rev. Jim Wallis of the evangelical group, Call to Action. Wallis is progressive on issues of poverty. On abortion and gay rights, not so much.

WHEN I READ the study, it occurred to me that conservative religious leaders are quite clever to attack "secularism" instead of challenging progressive people of faith who differ with them just as profoundly.

Ignoring religious progressives makes it easier to equate religion with conservatism. And, with the media's help, that makes it easier to question the spiritual bona fides of people who believe in secular government as outlined in the Constitution, as most religious progressives do.

Note: By pointing out the difference between religious progressives and secularists, I'm not suggesting there's anything wrong with the latter - although I am getting rather tired of the "new atheist" movement that also lumps together all religious people to dismiss them as superstitious theocrats. That's another column for another day.

In the meantime, I can't help but fantasize about an actual Bible-quoting competition between religious conservatives and progressives, comparing, say, the Scriptural mentions of abortion with the words about helping the poor. (Bet on the poor.)

Praying With the News: President Bush has nominated James Holsinger, a man who believes that homosexuality is a lifestyle from which a person can recover, as surgeon general. Let us pray for a day in which ideology will not trump medical knowledge in federal appointments. *

Carol Towarnicky is a freelance writer who was a longtime member of the Daily News editorial board. E-mail her at


The TrekMedic concludes with:

Obviously, Ms. Towarnicky took on several topics at once here. The main complaint the Trekmedic has is her continued belief that "radical secularism" is merely the upholding of the First Amendment and a counterbalance to some shadowy conservative threat from the right to impose a Christian "sharia" law upon the Untied States.

If you want to understand the true nature of the First Amendment, try reading the Federalist Papers before making commentary on the basis of our Constitution!

And for what its worth, many of our Founding Fathers were not members of any organized religions themselves, but were, in fact, deists - believers that based solely on reason, in a God who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Why Fred Thompson Will Be the 44th President,...

His inaugural speech will contain the following passage:

"This is a battle between the forces of civilization and the forces of evil and we've got to choose sides," Thompson said. Fred has it right. That is what the war comes down to and civilization, as we here in America know it, is on the line. The future of our children and grandchildren hangs in the balance, threatened by the barbarians who literally are at our gates.

Quote and commentary from BobG at Sweet Spirits of Ammonia!

Jonah Goldberg really hits it on the head with today's column:

Here are a few little-known facts about Fred Thompson:

  • Every night before going to sleep, Osama bin Laden checks under his bed for Fred Thompson. (TM-True)

  • Fred Thompson once ended a filibuster by ripping out a senator's heart and showing it to him before he died. (TM-Probably false,...Democrats don't have hearts!)

  • Only two things can kill Superman: Kryptonite and Fred Thompson. (TM-True)

  • Fred Thompson once stood on our southern border and glared at Mexico. There was no illegal immigration for a month. (TM-BobG thinks so,..it must be true!)

  • Fred Thompson vows not only to win in Iraq but also to forcefully free Vietnam from communism, thus giving America a perfect win/loss record for wars again. (TM-True)

  • Fred Thompson can open clamshell packaging without the slightest trouble. (TM-False!)

These are just a few of the "Fred Thompson Facts" posted on the conservative humor site IMAO (www.imao.us) in March.

As the proverb goes, there's truth in jest. Obviously, I don't mean to say that it's possible for anyone to open clamshell packaging easily. I nearly lost a thumb recently while trying to extricate a cowgirl doll for my daughter from its plastic cocoon.

But there's no denying that Thompson has one of the most profound personality cults we've seen in politics for a long time. While traveling around the country in recent months, I've been amazed at how many rank-and-file Republicans see Thompson as a secular savior, as if Thompson were designed by GOP-friendly alien scientists as some sort of Super Candidate.


"Fred Thompson is to the Republicans in '08 as Wes Clark was to the Democrats in '04," Jason Zengerle of The New Republic wrote. "In other words, the high point of his campaign will be the day he gets in the race, because once he's a serious candidate - and not just the fevered daydream of a dissatisfied base - voters will realize he's not all that."

On the surface, there's merit to the comparison. Wes Clark, as I wrote in '04, was the "Johnny Bravo" candidate. That's a reference to the Brady Bunch episode where Greg Brady is picked to be a rock star, not because of his musical talent but because he fit into the glitzy costume that rock promoters had already created. Clark, with his admirable military record and perceived "toughness" in foreign policy, seemed like the ideal candidate to beat Bush in '04.

Similarly, Thompson seems to be what Republicans are yearning for. But there's a key distinction. Clark was a candidate for Democrats who wanted to beat Bush. Thompson's appeal is based partly on a desire for victory, but there's also a desire to get beyond Bush.

First and foremost, Thompson's articulateness can't be underestimated. He shares with Ronald Reagan - another actor-politician - an ability to communicate ideas in folksy, almost conversational ways without losing important nuance or meaning.

Most Republicans won't admit it, but Bush's trouble articulating his views - compounded by a terrible communications operation (save for standout press secretary Tony Snow) - is a major irritation on the right. There's a reason that IMAO's No. 1 "Fred Thompson Fact" is "Fred Thompson has on multiple occasions pronounced nuclear correctly."

Bush's sloppy speaking style only serves to bolster the perception of his incompetence. That's why the least discussed but most important theme in the Republican primaries is competence. John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney are all running as the competence candidates.

And Thompson just seems so darn competent. Whether he's the ideal president or just plays one on TV remains to be seen. He's certainly typecast himself as the cocksure, wise, hands-on type in almost every movie role he's had and as the district attorney on Law & Order.

There are other important differences between Clark and Thompson. As a candidate, Clark was a dud. He couldn't explain the necessary contortions required to fit his record with the demands of the Democratic Party's base, and the more he talked, the less likable and presidential he seemed. Thompson's record isn't a perfect fit for the GOP base, either, but Thompson, unlike Clark, is a very capable politician who won his Senate seat by the largest margin in Tennessee history. And the more he talks, the more presidential he appears.

Thompson's approval ratings may never be higher than on the day before he announces. We don't know the man very well, but we know the character. And as long as he stays in character, it's unlikely his ratings will drop anytime soon.

Fred Thompson's website is I'm With Fred!

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Bitch, Slapped (Again)

In this episode, Mitt Romney finally finds his gonads and takes on the competition:

"Her view is the old, classic, European caricature that we describe of big government, big taxation, welfare state," said the former Massachusetts governor.

"She gave a speech a couple of days ago and laid out her vision for America. And as I listened to her I figured her platform wouldn't even get her elected in France," Romney, who was a missionary in France, said to chuckles and applause.

In recent French elections, conservative Nicolas Sarkozy captured the presidency, defeating Segolene Royal in her bid to become France's first female president.

Romney criticized Clinton's effort as first lady to enact universal health care and touted his success in passing a plan in Massachusetts. Although Romney won bipartisan praise for his state effort, he hasn't mentioned it much in his bid for president.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

What is The Face of Islam?

The Wordsmith from Nantucket has an excellent piece on this subject.

The Wordsmith helps redefine some of the players in the Global War on Terror here:

Language has the power to define and to shape perception. It is a weapon in itself. While visiting Amy Proctor's blog, she wrote about the value in distinguishing the difference between "jihad" and "hirabah", and to help make that distinction mainstream.

  • we do a disservice [to] the war on terrorism when we refer to acts of terrorism as Jihad. It is not and in order to isolate the terrorists, we need to refer to what it is: Hirabah.

Amy defines the two terms this way:

  • Jihad means to make an effort to overcome difficulty or to struggle. It includes an internal or personal, social and institutional struggle for justice and against oppression and sin. Jihad can not be used to force people to convert or kill non-Muslims. This is contrary to Islamic law.

  • Hirabah on the other hand is rebellion and terrorism, considered heresy within Islam. Acts of hirabah are capital crimes in Islam. It contains the principle of Jihad but carries out acts of “persuasion” to meet its objective.

The American Interest has several takes on this same question:

Amir Taheri asks "What do Muslims Think?:

What do Muslims think? Do most Muslims reject the radical fundamentalist interpretation of their faith peddled by Osama bin Laden and his associates, or do they increasingly embrace it? As simple and even empirical as the question is, Western observers do not agree on the answer. Several efforts by Western polling organizations to answer this and related questions have clarified little and raised serious arguments over the reliability of their methodologies.

Most do agree, however, that the question is important, for the answer ought to tell us how to fashion the political aspects of the global War on Terror—the struggle for “hearts and minds”, as it is commonly and more softly called. If most of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims oppose radical views, then U.S. (and Western) policy could usefully help organize, mobilize and in other ways support majority moderate Muslim views against minority radical ones. There would be a robust future for public diplomacy and little worry about a clash of civilizations. The short-term risks of destabilizing authoritarian Arab allies in an effort to open up political spaces within their borders, too, could be borne confidently. On the other hand, to the extent that Muslim societies have become radicalized in recent years and if still further radicalization is to be expected, then public diplomacy will not be able to accomplish much, a civilizational clash looms, and cooperation with less-than-democratic regional allies becomes a more attractive tactic.

Just a dozen years ago, virtually no one debated this question. Despite the radicalizing influence of the Iranian Revolution and the Wahhabi proselytizing of an inexhaustibly wealthy Saudi Arabia, virtually all knowledgeable observers would have dismissed the possibility that radicals would ever make up a majority, or anything near it, within the Muslim world. Now there is a plausible argument otherwise. Radicalization has advanced rapidly, runs the argument, through a combination of factors: the frustrations of living under corrupt and dysfunctional governments that have failed to congeal a focus of loyalty other than that of tribe and sect; greater literacy and urbanization, which privilege higher, formalized standards of piety over the traditional folk Islam of the countryside; reaction against the alien indignities of Western materialism, accelerated by the growing scope of post-Cold War globalization; the integration of Muslim political consciousness (and grievances) worldwide thanks to the information revolution; and an aggressive post-9/11 U.S. foreign policy that has fueled nativist reactions against Westernization on a massive scale.

Meanwhile, Philip E. Auerswald believes the Middle East is becoming obsolete:

The Middle East, as virtually everyone knows, is the repository of half of the world’s proven oil reserves, the locus of vital shipping lanes and the heartland of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. Events there directly affect the U.S. economy and its national security, which is why we almost universally view this region as one of paramount importance. That the U.S. military presence has declined since the end of the Cold War in every part of the world except this one is a natural reflection of the region’s strategic centrality. This line of argument is so familiar that it is almost impossible to conceive of its being mistaken. Yet it is.

As the 21st century unfolds, the Middle East (leaving Israel aside for the moment) will matter less and less to the United States and to most of the rest of the world. Only when we recognize this fact will we be able to forge a coherent and effective foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere. As a consequence, we have much more to fear from a U.S. posture that strives to accomplish too much in the region than we do from one that strives to accomplish too little.

So, gentle readers, in the end we, as Westerners and predominantly Christian, are faced with several questions as we proceed in the GWOT:
  • Is Islam an inherently-violent religion that seeks global domination at all costs?
  • Is Islam a naturally peaceful religion being held hostage by a minority of zealots, using Western ideologies to foment anger against non-Muslims?
  • Can democracy trump thousands of years of subjugation in the name of one religion?
The phone lines are open,...the Trekmedic is listening,....

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Bomb Iran,..Bomb-Bomb-Iran,...

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday said the world would witness the destruction of Israel soon, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Ahmadinejad said last summer's war between Israel and Hezbollah showed for the first time that the "hegemony of the occupier regime [Israel] had collapsed, and the Lebanese nation pushed the button to begin counting the days until the destruction of the Zionist regime," IRNA quoted him as saying.

"God willing, in the near future we will witness the destruction of the corrupt occupier regime," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying during a speech to foreign guests who attended ceremonies marking the 18th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who is known as the father of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has lost public support after Israel failed to achieve its goals during last summer's 34-day war with Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon — freeing two captured soldiers and crushing the militant group.

he war was sparked after two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah militants in a cross-border raid. The fighting ended with a U.N.-brokered cease-fire that called for deployment of U.N. peacekeepers and Lebanese troops in southern Lebanon along the border with Israel.

Ahmadinejad has made anti-Israel comments in the past.

In October 2005, he caused outrage in the West when he said in a speech that Israel's "Zionist regime should be wiped off the map."

His supporters have argued Ahmadinejad's words were mistranslated and should have been better translated as "vanish from the pages of time" — implying Israel would vanish on its own rather be destroyed.

The TrekMedic seethes:

Y'know,...we talk,..and talk,..and talk,...! We threaten to bore these third-world dictators with repeated visits by Hans Blix. We sanction them by the Useless Nations. We twiddle our thumbs until - BLAM! - Israel is nothing more than a glowing cinder along the Mediterranean coast. Then we react with justifiable might and get s**t on by the world community! Just stop it now. This loser needs to go - NOW!! How he goes is no care of mine,...just get rid of him with extreme prejudice!

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The GWOT Continues Apace,....

Because our allies are actually making headway, the MSM would rather talk about Paris Hilton, here's a few stories in W's favor:

TRIPOLI, Lebanon — Lebanese army — backed by a missile firing helicopter — stepped up the offensive against Al Qaeda-inspired militants Saturday, on the second day of a push against Islamic fighters who have vowed to fight to death inside a Palestinian refugee camp.

Army tanks shelled militant hideouts in the Nahr el-Bared camp by this northern port city, blasting upper floors of buildings where the militants had placed snipers. Plumes of smoke rose sky high.

For the first time since the military's confrontation with the Fatah Islam group began May 20, a Lebanese airforce helicopter fired two missiles and strafed militant positions.

Four more soldiers were killed and 10 wounded Saturday, bringing the army's casualties to six dead and 20 wounded since the Friday's start of the offensive.

The casualties raised the army's deaths to 38 in the last two weeks. At least 20 civilians and about 60 militants had also been killed by Friday, but casualties in the camp in the last two days were unknown, as relief organizations were banned from entering.

The push by hundreds of elite Lebanese troops and tanks underscored the pro-Western government's determination to wipe out the fighters barricaded inside the camp's residential neighborhoods.

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Eight foreign Islamic militants were killed during fighting with Somali government forces at a remote, mountainous northeastern Somali village, the vice president of the region said Saturday.

At least one U.S. warship late Friday pounded the village after the government forces clashed with the militants. Government forces in the semiautonomous northeastern region of Puntland are pursuing another five foreign Islamic militants, Vice President Hassan Dahir Mohamoud told The Associated Press.

At least one U.S. warship bombarded a remote, mountainous village in Somalia where Islamic militants had set up a base, officials said in the northern region of Puntland.

The attack from a U.S. destroyer took place late Friday, said Muse Gelle, the regional governor. The extremists had arrived Wednesday by speedboat at the port town of Bargal.

Gelle said the area is a dense thicket, making it difficult for security forces from the semiautonomous republic of Puntland to intervene on its own.

A local radio station quoted Puntland's leader, Ade Muse, as saying that his forces had battled with the extremists for hours before the U.S. ships arrived and used their cannons. Muse said five of his troops were wounded, but that he had no information about casualties among the extremists.


Local fishermen, contacted by telephone, said about a dozen fighters arrived Wednesday, but Puntland officials said the number could be as high as 35.

The United States has repeatedly accused Somalia's Council of Islamic Courts of harboring international terrorists linked to Al Qaeda and allegedly responsible for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The U.S. sent a small number of special operations troops with the Ethiopian forces that drove the Islamic forces into hiding. U.S. warplanes have carried out at least two airstrikes in an attempt to kill suspected Al Qaeda members, Pentagon officials have said.

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