Sunday, December 31, 2006
A citizens' group in Berlin turned out this week for a candlelight vigil to protest plans for a new mosque in their neighborhood. It will be the first to be built in the former East Berlin, where almost no Muslims live -- but no one can quite explain why it shouldn't be there.
"The mosque is supposed to go up right here," says Günter Bronner, a blustery white-haired man with glasses pushed up on his forehead who's lived in the neighborhood for 42 years. He points to a drab piece of land at the end of the street where a defunct sauerkraut factory stands. "They want to have a minaret with a muezzin who gives the call to prayer five times a day. Can you imagine? Five times a day over our rooftops."
Jihad Watch ^ | December 31, 2006 | Jihad Watch (Robert Spencer)
1,500 in Minneapolis protest ouster of Sharia government in Somalia
What are 1,500 supporters of Islamic jihad and Sharia law doing in Minneapolis? What are the implications of this for our own national security? Why is no one with any power or influence even asking these questions?
"Area Somalis want peace for homeland: Many of the 1,500 protesters in Minneapolis were angered that the U.S. gave tacit support for ousting of Islamists," by Liz Fedor in the Star Tribune, with thanks to CGW:
More than a thousand Somalis gathered in Minneapolis on Saturday to call for Ethiopian troops to withdraw immediately from Somalia.
Their protest capped a week in which transitional government troops retook Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, with the backing of Ethiopian infantrymen.
The U.S. government "gave the green light" to Ethiopia to work in concert with the transitional federal government in Somalia, and that action was "totally wrong," said Hassan Mohamud.
He is the president of the Somali Institute for Peace and Justice in Minneapolis, which organized Saturday's rally.
"We ask the president of the United States, Mr. Bush, and his administration to stop supporting the terrorists. Ethiopian troops are terrorists," Mohamud said to a cheering crowd.
Somali men, women and children gathered Saturday morning in Peavey Park in Minneapolis, and they carried an array of signs. Some said "No more war" and "Islam is the solution."
Lt. Rick Thomas of the Minneapolis Police Department estimated the crowd at about 1,500 people for a rally that ran for more than two hours.
Mohamud said he and other Somalis want the United States to support talks that can yield "peace and reconciliation."
Somalia has not had a stable government in 15 years, but many attendees at the rally said that the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) had brought some peace to the country during the past six months.
When that Islamic group took over the capital in June, many people were optimistic about the future, said Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in Minneapolis.
"They brought back security," Jamal said in a telephone interview. "We were all hoping that the moderates would be able to take the lead in the organization of the UIC. But unfortunately, the radicals hijacked the process."
Don't they always.
Jamal said the large Somali community in Minnesota "is divided," adding that many local Somalis supported the overthrow of the Islamists over the past few days.
Jamal said he attended the rally as an observer....
Sadia Egal, 23, said she had been planning to visit her parents in Somalia in January. But the recent military actions prompted her to postpone the trip. She is fearful that her teenage brothers in Somalia could be killed in revenge slayings. "My dad asked them to stop going to school," she said, so they could stay home and avoid being targets for violence.
Egal, who lives in north Minneapolis, has not returned to Somalia since she left the country with her aunt when she was 12 years old. She works as a parking attendant and interpreter and has been saving her money for six months to pay for her plane ticket.
Abdullahi Hassan, a small-business owner from Eden Prairie, said, "What brought me here [to the rally] is our country is under occupation by foreign forces." He said the United States should support a process that would allow highly educated Somalis to find solutions to stabilize the country and build hospitals and schools that will serve the people.
Tacit U.S. approval
A member of the Somali Institute for Peace and Justice, Abdul Mohamed of Minneapolis, said the military advances last week by Ethiopian troops created "one of the worst moments in Somali history."
Mohamed disagrees with U.S. policy in Somalia, which he said is driven by "Islamophobia."If anyone in the American government had any courage, they would tackle this head-on, explaining that they opposed the Somali jihadists not only because they had ties to Al-Qaeda, but because Sharia government institutionalizes discrimination against women and religious minorities and denies freedom of conscience, and is in general an outrage to the dignity of the human person. In other words, they would engage the ideological challenge posed by the global jihad by asserting the superiority of the values of the modern West, and of the civilization built on Judeo-Christian values. But they don't dare.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
I don't normally spend much time any longer flogging any WND articles, but this anti-journo rant of Farah's is delicious:
By Joseph Farah
----------------------------- © 2006 WorldNetDaily.com
When it comes to the politicization of the Christmas story, I thought I had seen it all.
But the London Independent's shameless mischaracterization of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as "a Palestinian refugee" takes the proverbial cake.
The story by Johann Hari published Dec. 23 begins: "In two days, a third of humanity will gather to celebrate the birth pains of a Palestinian refugee in Bethlehem – but two millennia later, another mother in another glorified stable in this rubble-strewn, locked down town is trying not to howl."
(Column continues below)
It goes on to describe a 5-year-old tale of an Arab woman who claims she was stopped from entering Israel to deliver her twins and forced to go 20 minutes in another direction to an Arab hospital.
It's amazing. It's bizarre. It's breathtaking at what passes for Western journalism in the Middle East today.
First of all, was Mary "a Palestinian refugee"? No, Mary was a Jew, living in the occupied territory of Israel. She wasn't trying to get to a Roman hospital to have her child. She was traveling with her husband from her home in Nazareth to Bethlehem, where the Roman authorities decreed those from the House of David would pay their taxes.
By the way, neither the area of Bethlehem nor Nazareth had ever been considered Palestine or, more appropriately, Philistia, up through the time of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. In fact, it was not for another 100 years that the Romans would think about renaming Israel as Palestine in an effort to make the world forget about the Jews who had been slaughtered and dispersed.
There were no Philistines or Palestinians around. They hadn't been heard from for over 500 years.
It's beyond silliness.
Who are these anti-Israel activists the Western press dispatches to cover the Middle East? Where do they come from? Where are they trained? Where are they educated? How is it possible that such drivel is actually published?
What is it exactly that the so-called Palestinians want? Do they want their own homeland or not? It seems to me they've got it. But now they want to be able to travel into Israel for medical care? What's wrong with their own hospitals? Why is it that they don't decide to buy more medicine and fewer guns?
Don't get me wrong. I don't blame "the modern-day Mary" in this fable for wanting first-class medical care in Israel. And had Bethlehem remained under Israeli governance, that's exactly what the people of Bethlehem would have received. But the so-called Palestinians demanded their own country. Unfortunately for them, that means Palestinian hospitals, too.
The Palestinian authorities are also demanding that no Jews be permitted to live in their territories. Yet, there is shock that Arab Palestinians should not be able to cross into Israel at all hours of the day and night without facing checkpoints and security.
Is this a tragedy?
Yes, it is. I would much prefer to see these poor Arabs live freely, as they did under Israeli governance. But, for heaven's sake, they rejected that option with extreme violence and terrorism.
Is that context not important for people unfamiliar with the region to understand? Is it not important for reporters covering the region to understand?
Let's call this what it is: Deliberate deception. It is the worst form of propaganda. In another time, we labeled it agit-prop. What is the purpose? Is it to stir up more hate and violence? Is the purpose of such lies to immunize those serving them up from terrorist attacks?
One can only speculate. But one thing is certain: This is not journalism.
On a side note, as one of those Christians referred to in the reporter's lead paragraph, I wasn't aware that one-third of humanity celebrated Mary's birth pains on Christmas. Silly me. I was under the impression we celebrated the birth of the Savior.
Here, my fave line (but do click and read all...):
The news hit the airwaves just after 10 p.m. eastern time on Friday night, after several hours of analysis of what was happening and why. CNN even dissected what happens to ones body during a hanging (doi!), using skeletal models and “experts,” in a lengthy manner that was more painful than actually being hung. Some of them seemed to think that hanging is inhumane, sick and wrong, but they didn’t seem to care a lick about the dead horse they were beating.
When the Western world’s Ajlouni Left reprimand the Americans for sticking Saddam on TV with a tongue depressor, they’re worried it will make the Arabs feel humiliated. “I feel extremely humiliated,” agreed the Egyptian writer Sayyid Nassar. “By shaving his beard, a symbol of virility in Iraq and in the Arab world, the Americans committed an act that symbolises humiliation in our region.”
You should feel humiliated. It is humiliating when you invest your pride in a total loser. For the Palestinians, who never met a loser they weren’t dumb enough to fall for (the Mufti, Nasser, Yasser), Saddam still has an honoured place in the Pantheon of Glorious Has-Beens. But for millions of Iraqis a monster has shrivelled away into a smelly bum too pathetic even to use his pistol to enjoy the martyrdom he urged on others.
That’s easy for me to say. The reality is that, as long as he was alive, there was always the possibility that he would return. When a dictator has exercised the total control over his subjects that Saddam did, his hold on them can only end with his death. (Exactly what I've been saying. I think things in Iraq may change a little now. 'Cept for the damn Iranians, of course.) A day after his capture, I wrote in the Telegraph:
Saddam, of course, attempted to reclaim his stature, but, in his current position, opportunities are few and far between. In his first interrogation at Baghdad Airport, he was asked if he’d like a glass of water, and replied: “If I drink water I will have to urinate and how can I urinate when my people are in bondage?” If there’s a statue left of him in Iraq, they should chisel that on the plinth.
That’s still a good idea. My old newspaper in London headlined its editorial “Justice For A Mass Murderer”. There can never be “justice” for murderous dictators – there’s simply too much blood. But there can be retribution, and a final line drawn under a dark chapter of history as he’s shovelled into his grave.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
There is so much wrong here, I know not where to begin.
I hate the media, one day they may employ actual journalists, so, please, wake me up when they do.
For actual truth on this one, click the FR thread -- as usual, folks in their jammies are more educated and diligent than those paid for the task:
Cordoba, 28 Dec. (AKI) - The Bishop of the southern city of Cordoba, Juan Jose Asenjo, has turned down a request from its Muslim community to be allowed to pray with Christians in its cathedral - a former mosque. Asenjo was quoted as saying the joint use of consecrated places of worship would "generate confusion" and lead to "religious indifference". Asenjo also said that the Bishopric had valid legal documents entitling the Catholic Church to sole use of the building. Moreover, while Catholics are able to live in peace with other faiths, and the Cordoba Diocese wants to maintain its good relations with local Muslims, Cordoba's Christian roots should be respected, Asenjo argued.
Spain's Islamic Board, which represents a community of some 800,000 in a traditional Catholic country of 44 million, argued in a letter to Pope Benedict XVI that such a move in Cordoba could serve to "awaken the conscience" of followers of both faiths and help bury past confrontations.
The organisation stated that they were not aiming at re-establishing the Cordoba Mosque - now a Unesco world heritage site - nor reviving Andalusia, the pre-Christian Muslim civilisation of Spain, of which Cordoba was the capital. Rather, the demand should be seen as a move to encourage tolerance and reconciliation, the Islamic Board argued.
"What we wanted was not to take over that holy place, but to create in it, together with you and other faiths, an ecumenical space unique in the world which would have been of great significance in bringing peace to humanity," said its letter to the pontiff.The Cordoba mosque was turned into a Catholic cathedral in the 13th Century after the city was conquered by King Ferdinand III in the war to drive the North African Moors from the Iberian peninsula.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
My first statement this morning, echoed here by a FReeper:
It's interesting to see that President Ford was a park ranger, naval officer during the war, skier, golfer, and of course was a nationally known college football star. Clearly a man with extraordinary physical and athletic skills and yet the left lampooned him as a stumbling, bumbling fool.7 posted on 12/27/2006 8:39:39 AM CST by pepsi_junkie
The left always demonizes republican presidents as either (a) stupid (b) evil or (c) evil and stupid. With Ford, they couldnt make evil stick, so they went with stupid. But he wasnt inarticulate, so they decided to portray him as so clumsy and unaware that he was barely able to walk. A goofball who cared only about football and would knock everything around him down as he plowed through a room. Even the kid movie "Gus" about a field goal kicking mule took such unwarranted shots at him. He deserved better.
President Ford will have as his legacy that he replaced Richard Nixon and began a healing process in the wake of Watergate and Vietnam, a process which was completed by Ronald Reagan. For that, he deserves our respect and gratitude.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
A picture tells a 1000 words.....
A friend of mine serving in Iraq sent me this photo and note. I received it before Christmas, but was out of the office. Priceless story it tells....
"This is a true story.....Check out this photo from our mess hall at the US Embassy yesterday
morning. Sen. Kerry found himself all alone while he was over here. He
cancelled his press conference because no one came, he worked out alone
in the gym w/o any soldiers even going up to say hi or ask for an
autograph (I was one of those who was in the gym at the same time), and
he found himself eating breakfast with only a couple of folks who are
obviously not troops.
What is amazing is Bill O'Reilly came to visit with us and the troops at
the CSH the same day and the line for autographs extended through the
palace and people waited for two hours to shake his hand. You decide who
is more respected and loved by us servicemen and women!"
Again I say..."GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS!!"
Friday, December 22, 2006
The Over Reliance on Spellcheck gaffe o'the day:
A day after the Kern High School District board of directors voted to rename winter and spring break as Christmas and Easter break, a man set himself on fire in front of the Liberty Bell on Truxtun Avenue in apparent protest.
He carried a sign saying, "(explicative) KHSD," according to a Kern County Sheriff's Deputy at the scene.
Oh, and whaddamaroon:
The man, who was not immediately identified, used flammable liquid to set himself, a Christmas tree and an American flag on fire just before 3:30 p.m. today. He was quickly extinguished by deputies working in the court, according to Bakersfield Fire Department Captain Garth Milam.
The man was transported to a hospital with minor burns to his shoulders and arms. In route to the hospital, he made some sort of reference to religion and its destructive effects, Milam said.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
(IsraelNN.com) The outgoing American ambassador to the United Nations has backed calls to charge Iran for inciting genocide by calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map." John Bolton is to appear Wednesday at a meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, which is calling for legal action against Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Iran also has hosted a conference this week featuring Holocaust deniers. He told visitors, "Just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and today does not exist, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out."Among those launching legal action against Iran is Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and Dore Gold, former Israeli ambassador to the U.N. They plan to file a suit in the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Iran is a signatory to the 1948 U.N. genocide convention.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
NRO ^ | December 12, 2006, 0:00 a.m. | Rich Lowry
The book marks Carter’s further disgraceful descent from ineffectual president and international do-gooder to apologist for the worst Arab tendencies. “It is imperative,” Carter writes, “that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel.” In the meantime, presumably, the slaughter of Jews can continue.
Israel can’t be so blithe about the murder of its citizens, which is why it built the security fence. Carter calls it an “imprisonment wall,” but it has been effective in preventing Palestinian terrorists from blowing people to bits — the kind of attacks Carter characterizes as “(unfortunate) for the peace process.” Twice recently, Israel has vacated occupied land, in Southern Lebanon and Gaza, only to see attacks against it launched from those same territories. But Carter always finds a way to point a finger at Israel.
In doing so, Carter thinks he is providing an extraordinary public service. In an interview with Newsweek, Carter said he wants “to provoke discussion, which is very rarely heard in this country.” Carter must not have followed the news during Israel’s war with Lebanon this summer, when media outlets were replete with criticisms of the Jewish state. Carter-like calls for a rejuvenated peace process, meanwhile, are so common that they are a cliché.
Carter argues that more people would see the Middle East his way if it weren’t for the nefarious influence of the pro-Israel American-Israel Political Action Committee. He apparently believes that if only the Palestinian Authority had better lobbyists, then members of Congress would flock to the cause of this chaotic, corrupt, terrorist-supporting excuse for a governmental entity.
Incredibly, given his media presence, Carter thinks that he is being silenced by shadowy forces. He makes this bizarre claim: “My most troubling experience has been the rejection of my offers to speak, for free, about the book on university campuses with high Jewish enrollment.” Does Carter keep track of which schools have lots of Jews? And who does he think is keeping him from speaking at them?
Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, flew out of Washington yesterday after informing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and his staff that he would be leaving the post after only 15 months on the job, according to U.S. officials and foreign envoys. There has been no formal announcement from the kingdom.
The abrupt departure is particularly striking because his predecessor, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, spent 22 years on the job. The Saudi ambassador is one of the most influential diplomatic positions in Washington and is arguably the most important overseas post for the oil-rich desert kingdom.
Turki, a long-serving former intelligence chief, told his staff yesterday afternoon that he wanted to spend more time with his family, according to Arab diplomats. Colleagues said they were shocked at the decision.
The exit -- without the fanfare, parties and tributes that normally accompany a leading envoy's departure, much less a public statement -- comes as his brother, Prince Saud al-Faisal, the highly influential Saudi foreign minister, is ailing.
Saud, who was appointed in 1975, has held the position of foreign minister longer than any of his counterparts anywhere in the world -- dating back to Henry Kissinger's tenure as secretary of state.
SEATAC, Wash. — The Christmas trees are going back up at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Port of Seattle officials had ordered the trees taken down over the weekend after a local rabbi threatened a lawsuit if a menorah wasn't also displayed at the airport.
Airport officials say they took that action out of concern that if they allowed the addition of a menorah, they would also have to display symbols of other religions and cultures, which was not something airport workers had time for during the busiest travel season of the year.
Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky says he never asked that the trees be taken down, and the threat of a lawsuit was withdrawn.With the threat of the lawsuit gone, airport spokesman Bob Parker says all 14 trees will go back up -- hopefully by tomorrow morning.
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and keep on FReepin' on.
Monday, December 11, 2006
My fave snippet from an excellent (whether I agree with it or not) rant:
It is surely fair to say that Hilton is not sticking her own finger down anyone's throat, or blowing drugs up their nasal passages, or pouring drinks down their gullets. She's certainly not the word-wizard behind the offensive and troubling -- but oddly poetic -- "firecrotch" epithet. But her proximity to the scene of every misfortune is enough to send frissons of exquisite terror down a spine.
The other almost-supernatural aspect of Hilton's reign of harebrained horror is the way that she herself remains intact while those around her wither. Hilton is like some kind of Dorian Gray cockroach. While her buddies waste away and collapse and see their careers flushed down the celebrity toilet after having been in her presence, she grows stronger: appearing on more magazine covers, getting bigger record contracts, attracting more attention, sleeping with more of her fading friends' boyfriends. Even her Plasticine exterior seems unravaged by her excessive behaviors.
She is, frustratingly, indestructible. Hilton has been caught on tape referring to two black friends as "dumb niggers." She has been arrested for drunk driving. She has peed herself in a taxicab in Hawaii. She has vomited onstage while singing her own songs. She has laughed like a retarded hyena as boyfriends like Davis and Niarchos have embarrassed themselves and ruined their own reputations. And yet, she has never had to go on Letterman to apologize; she has never had to meet with leaders of a community to make amends; she never even had to clean the taxi that she befouled. As a completely non-achieving celebrity, there are no higher moral, spiritual or intellectual expectations burdening the heiress. So she's a moronic, racist, boyfriend-stealing, talentless twit? Surprise. We never thought her anything better.
Jimmy Carter's Middle East© National Post 2006
National Post: Editorial
Monday, December 11, 2006
Does Jimmy Carter have a mute button? And if so, can someone please press it?
The former U.S. president has made headlines with Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, a new, one-sided book that rewrites history to cast Israel as the Middle East's main villain. As Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz wrote on these pages earlier this month, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid "is so biased that it raises the question of what would motivate a decent man like Jimmy Carter to write such an indecent book."
Last week, Mr. Carter went further. He declared that the decision of Western nations to withhold aid from the Palestinian Authority's Hamas-led government is criminal. "It's a crime against the people of Palestine," Mr. Carter told CBC News. "For Canada and others to punish the Palestinian people because they voted for their candidates of choice, I think is literally a crime."
In the same interview, Mr. Carter upped the ante on the offensive premise embedded in his book's title: "There is in many ways a much more serious deprivation of human rights among the Palestinians ... than even there was in South Africa" (our emphasis).
It is outrageous to compare Israel's anti-terrorism policies to those of Apartheid-era South Africa. In the case of South Africa, the abominable treatment of blacks was motivated by a fundamentally racist, white supremacist mindset. In Israel, by contrast, such overt racism is confined to the militant fringe of national politics. As for the security fence, the checkpoints, the Gaza incursions and all the other tactics Mr. Carter deplores -- they are motivated by one thing only: a desire to stop Palestinian terrorism.
Mr. Carter's slur on Canada and other Western nations is equally unwarranted. What "crime" is there in Ottawa's decision to withhold foreign aid from a Palestinian government publicly committed to the destruction of a neighbouring state?
Until recently, the Palestinians received more foreign aid, per capita, than any people on the face of the Earth. When Hamas definitively renounces terrorism and accepts Israel's existence, perhaps that aid can be restored.
We are not the only ones outraged by Mr. Carter's accusations. In response to his new book, Kenneth Stein, a Middle East expert and longtime Carter advisor, quit his fellowship at the Atlanta-based Carter Center (motto: "Waging peace. Fighting disease. Building hope") in protest. By his account, his former boss's book is not only biased, it distorts the historical events to which Mr. Carter bore personal witness.
"President Carter's book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analysis," Mr. Stein wrote in a letter to Mr. Carter. "It is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions and simply invented segments ... Aside from the one-sided nature of the book, meant to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book."
We salute Mr. Stein for his principled act. As for Mr. Carter, his proper punishment should be a loss of credibility on the world stage. As Mr. Dershowitz concluded, his "ahistorical, one-sided brief against Israel forever disqualifies him from playing any positive role in fairly resolving the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians."
Remember that the next time Mr. Carter accuses Israel -- or Canada -- of perpetrating "crimes" against the Palestinians.
A group of Muslim imams is seeking an out-of-court settlement with US Airways, saying they should not have been removed from a Minnesota-to-Phoenix flight last month and were not behaving suspiciously.
Five of the six Islamic religious leaders have retained the Council on American-Islamic Relations for legal representation and are seeking a "mutually agreeable" resolution, said Nihad Awad, CAIR executive director. US Airways scheduled a meeting with the imams on Dec. 4 to discuss the incident, but the men canceled it and hired the activist group to act as legal counsel...
Mahmoud Sulaiman of New Mexico is the only imam not included as a plaintiff. Mr. Sulaiman is the passenger who asked another passenger to switch seats with him to accommodate a blind imam and was one of three imams who asked for a seat-belt extension even though the police report cites his weight at 170 pounds.
The Washington Times first reported on Nov. 28 that the imams were not in their assigned seats, but seated in a formation similar to the September 11 hijackers and controlled the exits to the plane. The imams and CAIR officials maintain that press reports as well as Internet sites and blogs have circulated charges they say misrepresent the facts of the Nov. 20 incident...
CAIR says the men were handcuffed for several hours and is also demanding hearings on religious and ethnic profiling at airports. Mr. Shahin told The Washington Times he was only handcuffed for "10 or 15 minutes" and that the imams were not led off the plane in handcuffs.
Federal air marshals and pilots called the imams' actions a probe of airport security as well as a probe of the politically correct mentality of air passengers...
Saturday, December 09, 2006
The pettiness and peevishness are mind-numbing:
City council in United Kingdom says hats aren't 'professional' and create a health threat for the refuse collectors.
BINMEN have been banned from wearing Santa hats — on health grounds.
The refuse collectors in Kingston upon Hull have worn the traditional red hats for years.
Now city council scrooges say “it does not create a professional impression of the council”.But one angry binman told The Sun: “It doesn’t look like anyone can escape the PC brigade this year."
Friday, December 08, 2006
...the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.3 posted on 12/08/2006 1:04:35 PM CST by Lunatic Fringe
So easy, even a lawyer can read it.
Sudden Jihad Syndrome? Or, I guess, Lone Wolf Jihad Syndrome?
One source does say "al Qaeda" related...
A Muslim woman in Dearborn, Mich., lodged a complaint Tuesday against Fitness USA for an alleged civil rights violation involving a fellow gym patron. According to Jodi Berry, executive director of Fitness USA, Wardeh Sultan was praying in front of another member’s locker when the member wanted access to her belongings inside the locker. The inconvenienced patron tried to interrupt Ms. Sultan, but she remained prostrate in front of the locker and an altercation ensued. A manager was called into the locker room to intervene.
Ms. Sultan later complained that the Fitness USA management was unconcerned about the humiliation she suffered when her prayers were interrupted. She stated that the gym personnel were insensitive, rejected her complaints and did not satisfactorily intervene on her behalf. Ms. Sultan further reported that the manager told her, “You have to respect her (the other patron), but she does not have to respect your god.”
The incident is yet another example of special treatment Muslims are increasingly demanding nationwide. Last April, at the Lincoln Park, Mich. Fitness USA location, 200 Muslim women signed a petition demanding separate workout times for men and women, or, at minimum, installation of a divider between the men’s and women’s gym sections. A screen was eventually erected to obstruct the view of the women’s facilities. Another Fitness USA facility recently revised a dress code to allow Muslim women to wear more modest dress while exercising.
Other examples abound. Last week, six imams demonstrated against U.S. Airways for alleged discrimination against Muslims and their religious practices after they were detained and questioned because they had been praying in the Minneapolis airport, loudly invoking Allah’s name and uttering anti-American statements. Recently, Muslim cabdrivers refused to carry passengers possessing alcoholic beverages or accompanied by seeing-eye dogs. Last year, city public swimming pools in Seattle, responding to pressure from Muslims, instituted regularly scheduled hours for exclusive use by Muslims, including a “Muslim Sister Swim.” In June in a Chicago suburb, a Muslim girls basketball team, whose players compete wearing long, blue gowns and hijabs, requested that in competitions with non-Muslims schools, no men or boys be allowed to watch the games.
There are even more examples -- the attempt to be allowed to be burqa'd for a driver's licence photo comes to mind, for one. It's ridiculous. Read more at link.
Reason #2018 why I love the NYPost:
Thursday, December 07, 2006
(New London-WTNH, Dec. 6, 2006 6:00PM)_ Holiday music is everywhere this time of year - on the radio, television, and filling busy stores. But in the Jewett City borough of Griswold, holiday music fills the air outside a local church, and for some people that's a problem.
Up until this holiday season there has never been a complaint about this hourly music which goes from 8 AM to 8 PM, but now it is causing concern.
For more than a decade, bells and music have played from this Jewett City bell tower on the hour.
Kevin Curtis of Jewett City said, "I think it adds to the character. It makes it a little charming."
One group's quest to silence the sounds also makes for lively conversation on the sidewalk below.
"If the bells happen to toll I have to roll the windows up in my car and then turn the music up as loud as it will go to not hear them. I'm an atheist," said Bill Russell of Norwich.
But is it really the volume or the type of music?
Bill said, "I don't want to hear Christian music."
The town actually owns the sound system in the bell tower. Russell and his group American Atheists filed a complaint saying it is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of church and state.
"Government is not supposed to respect an establishment of religion and that's what we have here," said Rusell.
Okay, Bill, ya half-wit, let's review the Constitution, shall we? Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...*sigh*
www.scrappleface.com ^ | December 7, 2006 | by Scott Ott
(2006-12-07) — Just a day after the Iraq Study Group released its report and dozens of recommendations to help the United States escape what it termed a “grave and deteriorating” situation, an unnamed al Qaeda spokesman announced the appointment of a similar panel by terror leader Usama bin Laden.
“Mr. bin Laden, peace be upon him, favors a transparent process of laying all of our military and diplomatic options on the table before the world,” said the source. “The civil war in Iraq hinders our efforts to establish Baghdad as the capital of our global Islamic Caliphate. Mr. bin Laden believes it’s not going well enough or fast enough, and he’s open to any good suggestions for finding a way out of Iraq,”
Unconfirmed reports suggest that Mr. bin Laden may terminate his stalwart second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and appoint a less controversial man who could garner broader support from the Muslim media and in public opinion polls.
However, an anonymous official at the White Cavern, Mr. bin Laden’s headquarters, provided The New York Times with a classified top-secret memo that indicates the al Qaeda leader is considering a “graceful exit” from Iraq, in order to avoid the political consequences of having the conflict drag on.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
By Audrey Hudson
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Published December 6, 2006
Three parallel investigations into the removal of six imams from a US Airways flight last month have so far concluded that the airline acted properly, that the imams' claims they were merely praying and their eviction was racially inspired are without foundation.
An internal investigation by the airline found that air and ground crews "acted correctly" when they requested that the Muslim men be removed from a Minneapolis-to-Phoenix flight on Nov. 20.
"We believe the ground crew and employees acted correctly and did what they are supposed to do," US Airways spokeswoman Andrea Rader said.
Omar Shahin -- one of the imams and the group's spokesman -- said the men did not behave out of the ordinary while on the plane, and that passengers overreacted because some of the imams conducted prayers in the concourse before boarding.
US Airways' investigation is "substantially complete" but Miss Rader said airline officials still want to meet with the imams to review the situation. "We're looking at it as a security issue and as a customer-service issue and where we might need to do outreach," she said.
Airline officials have had several discussions with Mr. Shahin, but a meeting scheduled for Monday with all six men was canceled at the imams' request.
"We talked with crew members and passengers and those on the ground. We've done what we typically do in a situation where there is a removal or some kind of customer service at issue," Miss Rader said. "We found out the facts are substantially the same, and the imams were detained because of the concerns crew members had based on the behavior they observed, and from reports by the customers."
The Minneapolis airport police department's report on the incident said the imams' behavior warranted their removal. The imams were not accused of breaking any laws.
The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is reviewing the actions of department members who were involved in the incident.
Secret Service agents questioned the imams, who are accused of making negative comments about President Bush and the Iraq war. Officials of the Transportation Security Administration were involved in screening the imams and their baggage.
"There is no indication there is any inappropriate activity, at least no indication at this time," DHS spokesman Russ Knocke said. "To my knowledge, we are only doing a review, and that is a fairly routine practice with incidents like this."
The Air Carrier Security Committee of the Air Line Pilots Association investigated the incident and said, "The crew's actions were strictly in compliance with procedures and demonstrated overall good judgment in the care and concern for their passengers, fellow crew members, and the company."
"The decisions made by all the parties were made as a result of the behavior of the passengers and not as a result of their ethnicity," the report concluded.
The suspicious behavior cited in the report included "changing seats, stating anti-war, anti U.S.-Iraq involvement, negative comments concerning the president of the United States." The report noted that "two of the passengers requesting seat-belt extensions when their body size did not appear to warrant their use."
Mr. Shahin told television reporters that he needed the seat-belt extension because he weighs 280 pounds. However, the police report lists his weight as 201 pounds. Weights listed for the other imams ranged from 170 pounds to 250 pounds.
The imams have retained the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as their legal counsel. CAIR officials said yesterday that initial claims by the airline contradict the official police report.
"The imams are obviously concerned about a number of false and distorted representation of the facts and events, and one example is initial reports that all suggested they refused to get off the plane when personnel asked them to, and the police report said they all got off and cooperated," a CAIR spokesman said.
I can't believe I forgot to go and see this. Better pix at link.
An unusual Nativity scene is drawing some curious looks from passers by on the UT campus.
The scene features a gay couple, Gary and Joseph, instead of Mary and Joseph, a terrorist as an angel and Lenin, Stalin and Marx as the three wise men.
The scene is built by the Young Conservatives of Texas, who say what they're calling an "ACLU nativity scene" includes positions taken by the American Civil Liberties Union.
"The idea is to bring attention to the ACLU and also to bring attention to the issue of taking down nativity scenes during the christmas season or trying to silence you know, the word Christ and the word Christmas," says Tony McDonald of the Young Conservatives of Texas.
The ACLU disputes the accuracy of the display, but says the conservatives have a First Amendment right to express their opinions any way they chose.
"I think it's fairly festive,'' says ACLU executive director Will Harrell. "We want to make sure they have a right to freely exercise their First Amendment right. But keep inmind, nothing in the First Amendment requires that you be accurate about the information. The First Amendment protects parody as well."
The display will be up at the West Mall from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Monday, December 04, 2006
It is with deep regret that I accept John Bolton's decision to end his service in the Administration as Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations when his commission expires.
Over a year ago, I appointed Ambassador Bolton because I knew he would represent America's values and effectively confront difficult problems at the United Nations. He served his country with extraordinary dedication and skill, assembling coalitions that addressed some of the most consequential issues facing the international community. During his tenure, he articulately advocated the positions and values of the United States and advanced the expansion of democracy and liberty.
Ambassador Bolton led the successful negotiations that resulted in unanimous Security Council resolutions regarding North Korea's military and nuclear activities. He built consensus among our allies on the need for Iran to suspend the enrichment and reprocessing of uranium. His efforts to promote the cause of peace in Darfur resulted in a peacekeeping commitment by the United Nations. He made the case for United Nations reform because he cares about the institution, and wants it to become more credible and effective.
I am deeply disappointed that a handful of United States Senators prevented Ambassador Bolton from receiving the up or down vote he deserved in the Senate. They chose to obstruct his confirmation, even though he enjoys majority support in the Senate, and even though their tactics will disrupt our diplomatic work at a sensitive and important time. This stubborn obstructionism ill serves our country, and discourages men and women of talent from serving their Nation.I thank John Bolton for the dedication and skill with which he performed his duties, and his wife Gretchen and daughter Jennifer Sarah for their support as Ambassador Bolton served his country. All Americans owe John Bolton their gratitude for a job well done.
Truly a sad day.
CAIRO, Egypt - Police have arrested an American, 11 Europeans and several others from Arab countries for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks in Middle Eastern countries including Iraq, the Interior Ministry said Monday.
The group was part of an Islamic militant terror cell that had adopted extremist ideas and were living in Egypt under the guise of studying Arabic and Islamic studies, the ministry said in a statement.
Along with the American, police arrested two Belgians, nine French and several others from Egypt and other Arab countries including Tunisia and Syria, the statement said.
The ministry did provide names or say how many Egyptians and Arabs were arrested.
"Investigations have confirmed that those elements are related to some terrorist organizations abroad," the ministry said. "They were seeking to recruit others, teach them destructive beliefs, urging them for jihad, traveling to Iraq to carry out operations via other countries in the region."
They were arrested about a week ago, police officials said, speaking on condition on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. It was not immediately clear if all the arrests took place in Cairo or elsewhere in Egypt.
All of the arrested were in jail pending further investigation
Friday, December 01, 2006
Here's my holiday wish list:
Dear Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton,
Please accept my apology for launching into a racist tirade against two black hecklers at my comedy show. Because I attacked two blacks in particular, I know this means I harbor deep-seated racist feelings about all blacks. While, in return, I heard words like "f---ing white boy" and "cracker-ass motherf---er," I know those epithets were directed toward me, as an individual, and not at the entire white race.
Again, please accept my deepest apologies.
Michael Richards, aka "Kramer" of "Seinfeld"
Dear Anti-Defamation League,
Once again, please accept my apology for calling Jews "Hymies" and referring to New York City as "Hymie-town." As I said at the time, "Charge it to my head . . . not to my heart."
Sincerely, Rev. Jesse Jackson
Dear NAACP, Urban League and Congress of Racial Equality,
Please accept my apology for, during concerts in which I sang my song "Gold Digger," giving whites permission to sing along and use the "n-word." Perhaps Michael Richards attended one of my concerts and left not realizing his license had expired.
Kanye West, hip-hop artist/rapper
Dear Jewish Defense League, Korean-American Grocer Association and Council on American-Islamic Relations,
Please accept my apology for, while serving as a Wal-Mart spokesperson, condemning Jewish, Korean and Arab inner-city merchants for "overcharging" blacks. I also inexcusably said that these merchants sell "stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables." Charge that to my head, not my heart.
Sincerely yours, Andrew Young, former U.N. ambassador for the United States, former mayor of Atlanta and former colleague of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dear Democratic National Committee,
During the recent election cycle, the Republican Party ran a number of blacks -- among them Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele for Senate, Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell for governor, and Lynn Swann for governor in Pennsylvania. So please accept my apology for saying Republicans have a "white-boy attitude," which means "I must exclude, denigrate and leave behind."
Sincerely yours, Donna Brazile, former Al Gore 2000 campaign manager
Dear White Community,
Please accept my apology for my statement during the 2002 "Millions for Reparations" rally: "I just might walk up to the nearest white man and say, 'You don't understand this, this is a black thing,' and slap 'em, just for my mental health. If they don't pay us reparations now, we're talking about scorched earth." There goes my head!
Sincerely yours, Charles Barron, New York City councilman
Dear Anti-Defamation League,
Please accept my apology. I lost my temper during my husband's unsuccessful 1974 congressional campaign. Bill's campaign adviser, Paul Fray, and his wife publicly claim that I called Fray a "f---ing Jew bastard." I don't recall this, but assuming I did, what was I thinking? It wasn't my heart.
Sincerely yours, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
Dear Jesse Jackson and local Little Rock, Ark., black activist Robert "Say" McIntosh,
Former Arkansas State Trooper Larry Patterson publicly claimed I referred to the two of you as "n--gers." Ditto what Hillary just said.
Sincerely, Former President of the United States Bill Clinton
Dear Ward Connerly and anyone in an interracial relationship,
When you led the successful campaign in California to end race-based preferences, I criticized you, a black man, saying, "He's married a white woman. He wants to be white. He wants a colorless society. He has no ethnic pride. He doesn't want to be black." My bad.
Sincerely, Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif.
Dear Republican National Committee,
Please accept my apology for saying, after the Republicans took over Congress in 1994, "It's not 'spic' or 'n--ger' anymore. They say 'let's cut taxes.'" Also, I apologize for, following Katrina, publicly saying, "George Bush is our Bull Connor" -- referring to the former Birmingham, Ala., police commissioner, who turned water hoses and dogs on civil rights workers. My head and heart were clashing.
Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., incoming House Ways and Means Committee chairman
Dear Anti-Defamation League and White Community,
Please accept my apologies for calling whites "interlopers" and referring to Jews as "diamond merchants," and, during a conflict between Jews and blacks, saying, "If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house." They were mistakes of the head, not the heart.
Rev. Al Sharpton, civil rights activist and former host of "Saturday Night Live"
Dear Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and other minority members of the Bush administration,
Please accept my apology for, while co-hosting a radio show in 2001, calling Bush's minority appointees "Uncle Tom types." I made a mistake of the head, not of the heart.
Sincerely yours, Gloria Allred, attorney at law, currently representing the black "victims" of Michael Richards' racist rant
Now, don't we all feel better?
Larry Elder is host of the Larry Elder Show on talk radio and author of Showdown : Confronting Bias, Lies, and the Special Interests That Divide America .
Thursday, November 30, 2006
And now one for the YCMTSU files:
A race relations officer narrowly escaped a prison term today for failing to provide a specimen for analysis and calling a police officer a "white pig".
Muzaffar Hussain Chowdhury, who works for the Bridgend Community Cohesion Group of south Wales, was instead sentenced to a 12-month community supervision order and banned from driving for five years.
Chowdhury, 63, of Suffolk Place, Porthcawl, south Wales, was charged with failing to provide a specimen and a racially aggravated offence contrary to Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 following an incident outside a pub on September 1.
Bridgend Magistrates' Court heard that when police officers arrived at the Swan Inn, Nottage, in Porthcawl, over a dispute between Chowdhury and a father and daughter following a car prang, they were met with abusive language.
Pc Scott Howe of South Wales Police was told to "F*** off, you white b****** pig" by Chowdhury when he asked him to take a breathalyser test.
The court heard that despite warning Chowdhury about his language, Pc Howe was repeatedly called a "white b******".
Following his arrest, Chowdhury told the officers: "You don't know who you are dealing with." He added: "One phone call and I will be out."
Prosecuting solicitor David Roberts said: "There is an aggravating feature to this matter. The reason being is that Mr Chowdhury is a race relations officer for Bridgend Community Cohesion Group.
"Clearly he is a spokesman for racial issues in this area.
"The Crown would say that Mr Chowdhury is using and abusing racial language towards fellow members of the cohesion group, namely the police.
"Quite frankly the behaviour is disgusting and language like that shouldn't be used."
I do so love NYPost headlines.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Fully provided at post 5.
Also, a great "botched drug raid" map here, provided by The Cato Institute.
Monday, November 27, 2006
A little more info on this lovely story:
A Jewish fan of the HaPoel Tel Aviv soccer team was attacked by French fans in Paris Thursday, resulting in a police shooting that left one dead and one injured.
The incident took place at 11 PM at a McDonald’s restaurant near Paris’s Parc des Princes stadium following Tel Aviv’s 4-2 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in a UEFA Cup match.
Paris fans attacked four French Jewish fans after members of the mob identified them as “Jews”. The Jews fled in different directions and a mob formed chasing after one of them, Yaniv Hazout.
A plain-clothes policeman tossed tear gas grenades in an attempt to disperse the mob and eventual fired two live bullets into the crowd, “after being driven into the corner,” according to the French police.
Two French rioters were injured by the shooting. One, 24-year-old Julien Quemener, later died of his wounds.
Initial reports indicated that the attacked fans were Israelis who came to France to support the Israeli team. It turned out, though, that the attacked fans were local French Jews who came out in support of the Israeli team. Israeli fans were actually kept in the stadium for more than an hour after the game to prevent them from becoming targets of the angry mob, after they insisted on coming onto the field to celebrate the victory.
The spokesman for Hapoel Tel Aviv, Amir Lubin, told Army Radio that French fans were extremely hostile toward the Israelis who came to support their team. "We could hear the chants of the French crowd, which were in no way connected to soccer," he said. "It was obvious that the Paris supporters were enraged by the result of the game, but we didn't imagine it would come to this," he said.
French prosecutors have opened an inquiry into the incident, and placed the officer who fired the shots, Antoine Granomort, in police custody.
Witnesses told police that the Paris fans were shouting “filthy Jews” and other anti-Semitic slogans at the Jewish fans and would have truly killed them had Granomort, an immigrant from the Caribbean, not fired into the crowd.French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said many of the Paris fans were chanting “Death to the Jews” during the attack. Five fans are in police custody and may face charges of racism and anti-Semitism.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
A supporter of the French football club Paris Saint Germanin was shot and killed by police Thursday night after a UEFA-cup game against the Israeli team Hapoel Tel Aviv.
The tradgedy occurred outside the stadium Parc de Princes in Paris after PSG had lost against Hapoel with 2-4.
According to police sources a lonely Hapoel fan was surrounded by 150 fans from the Parisian club on a street outside the areana. A policeman hurried tthere and fired tear gas to disperse the crowd.
He then fired two live rounds. Two PSG suporters were hit and one of them was killed. The policeman was forced to flee from the rest of the suporters and took refuge in a hamburger resturant. The police put in reinforcements to quench the unrest, and an internal investigation regarding the shooting was immediately initiated.(Translated from Swedish)
Of course the mob was screaming "death to the Jew".
Associated Press ^ | Nov 24 - 2006 |
I would like to thank many people. My doctors, nurses and hospital staff who are doing all they can for me; the British police who are pursuing my case with vigor and professionalism and are watching over me and my family. I would like to thank the British government for taking me under their care. I am honored to be a British citizen.
I would like to thank the British public for their messages of support and for the interest they have shown in my plight.
I thank my wife, Marina, who has stood by me. My love for her and our son knows no bounds.
But as I lie here, I can distinctly hear the beating of wings of the angel of death. I may be able to give him the slip but I have to say my legs do not run as fast as I would like. I think, therefore, that this may be the time to say one or two things to the person responsible for my present condition.
You may succeed in silencing me but that silence comes at a price. You have shown yourself to be as barbaric and ruthless as your most hostile critics have claimed.
You have shown yourself to have no respect for life, liberty or any civilized value.
You have shown yourself to be unworthy of your office, to be unworthy of the trust of civilized men and women.You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr. Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life. May God forgive you for what you have done, not only to me but to beloved Russia and its people.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
A Palestinian grandmother blew herself up in the Gaza Strip, lightly wounding three Israeli soldiers, in the first suicide attack claimed by Hamas in almost two years.
The mother of nine and grandmother of 41 became the oldest Palestinian suicide bomber at the age of 57, approaching troops operating to curb daily rocket attacks, the army said.
Another Steyn masterpiece. Totally non-political. Absolutely heart-rending.
ONE FOR THE ROAD - Bill Miller, 1915–2006
Frank Sinatra called himself a “saloon singer”, because that’s where he used to sing, way back when in Jersey juke joints and road houses. Not for long. He was too good, even then. But for a while, if you headed up to the Rustic Cabin on Route 9W in the Garden State, they had this pianist pushing a little half-piano from table to table and the waiter would sing with him and they had a tip jar on the lid and you couldn’t help noticing the kid sang awful good for a waiter, and pretty soon the singing was earning him, as he figured it, “about 15 clams a week”. Thirty, forty, fifty years later, week in, week out, the same singing waiter with full supporting orchestra was barreling through some grim rock stadium on the edge of a strip mall in some nondescript suburb. And, midway through the set, the lights would dim and Frank Sinatra would announce that he would now sing a “saloon song” and proceed to shrink whichever sterile aircraft hangar he’d been booked into down to the size of those poky smoky New Jersey saloons of his youth. There were the old props – the tumbler, the cigarette – and the scene-setting grew ever more ornate over the years, expanding into an almighty pile-up of retro hipsterisms as Frank prepared us for the tale of some emblematic long-lost loser whose “chick split, flew the coop, cleaned out his stash and left him cryin’ into a gallon of Muscatel”. And underneath a tinkly tipsy barroom piano intro would begin, and Sinatra would invite us to “assume the position of the bartender” and listen to the old, old story:
“It’s quarter to three There’s no-one in the place Except you and me So set ‘em up, Joe I got a little story You oughtta know…”
We all knew the story. But the strange thing is, through the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties and into the Nineties, no matter how flip the speaking part got, by the time Frank started to sing that first line the semi-parodic grooviness was all gone, and you were in for the most intense four minutes in the show, intimate and universal, bleak but weirdly exhilarating. The man playing the piano was Bill Miller, and that intro to “One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)” is his invention. It’s a marvelous thing that works at so many levels: it evokes the tinny sound of a saloon piano, and it meanders a little woozily like a fellow who’s drunk a skinful heading back to the bar for one more, and it also has a kind of bleak weary acceptance about it, as if both storyteller and barman know that in the end the one buttonholing the other will change nothing; it’s self-aware about its self-pity, it understands that, in everything that matters, it’s already past closing time. And it’s also an acting performance, in that Miller is playing not just the piano accompaniment to the song but also the role of the barroom pianist in the story the singer’s telling. Miller matches the paradox of the vocal performance with one of his own: just as Sinatra gives what Robert Cushman called “a perfectly controlled performance of a man who’s falling apart”, so the pianist under the cover of a rinky-dink saloon piano provides an amazing harmonic intensity.
That’s a hell of a lot to cram into a few bars. I once tried to say all the above to Bill Miller, and he said:
Oh, well. That’s what he said back in 1951 when he was playing at the Desert Inn in Vegas and Sinatra came by to ask if he’d like to work with him:
He stayed for the best part of half a century, and played Sinatra songs to the very end, dying in Montreal, after a hip operation and a heart attack while in town for a month of shows with Frank Sinatra Jr. He was 91, and had to be helped from his wheelchair to the piano stool. But the fingers still worked. A few months after Sinatra’s death in 1998, Miller returned to the stage for a concert by Frank Jr. The lights were dimmed, the pianist took his seat in the dark, unannounced, and began to play “One For My Baby”. “The audience let out a gasp,” remembered Junior. “They were all Sinatra fans and they recognized Bill immediately.”
Miller wasn’t exactly unsung. Au contraire, on stage, seven-eighths into “Mack The Knife”, Frank liked to take a chorus to introduce the musicians:
“We got Bill Miller playin’ the piano And this great big band bringin’ up the rear All these bad cats in this band now Make the greatest sounds you ever gonna hear…”
But that was pretty much it in the way of public acclaim, aside from on-stage references to his ghostly pallor (“Our pianist is a man we call Suntan Charlie…”). Yet Miller and a handful of other guys who comprised the Sinatra rhythm section up there with him night after night in Vegas and Atlantic City and London and Rome and Rio and Tokyo belong to a very exclusive club. Bill outlasted Ava and Marilyn and Mia and the other dames, and Dino and Sammy and most of the pallies, too. And the musicians got the best snaps for the scrapbook – not the tuxedoed bonhomie and Friars’ Club kibitzing you see in the pics of Frank and Bob Hope and John Wayne, not the pasta joint mug shots of Frank and lesser buddies, but Frank at work, with you! There’s a great photo of Miller half a century ago, doodling at the keyboard, tie loosened, bleary eyed, cigarette hanging from his lower lip, and Frank leaning on the piano, tanned and open shirted, hand in pocket, looking over the sheet music - and beaming with delight. Miller’s running through a number for him, and Sinatra’s liking what he hears, and maybe it’s going to be the next “I Get A Kick Out Of You” or “You Make Me Feel So Young”. In other words, Miller is in the act of helping make Sinatra Sinatra – which is the only reason we’re remotely interested in what broads he’s nailing.
He was born across the river from Frank, in Brooklyn a few months earlier. At 16, he was billing himself as “Bill Miller, The Ace Of Jazz”. At 18, he was pianist for Larry Funk And His Band Of A Thousand Melodies, and then came Red Norvo and Charlie Barnet. Heading home from a gig at the 1940 World’s Fair, he and the gal he was dating had the car radio on. “Hey, listen,” she said. “Doesn’t that sound good? That’s Dick Haymes.” Miller said, “No, it’s not Dick Haymes. Dick Haymes doesn’t sing that good.” He had to wait till the end, and the disc-jockey’s announcement: “All Or Nothing At All” by Harry James and his orchestra, vocal refrain by Frank Sinatra.
A decade later, Frank had had it all and was on his way back down to nothing. Miller was the man at the keyboard as Sinatra rebuilt his career. He became celebrated for the saloon piano on “One For My Baby”, “Drinking Again”, “Empty Tables”, a trio of Johnny Mercer three-in-the-morning numbers. But Miller was also indispensable to the other side of the singer – the swingin’ Sinatra you hear on his up-tempo “Way You Look Tonight”. The bassist Chuck Berghoffer once asked him, “How do you swing so hard? What do you think about?” “I just get a cuckoo rhythm section,” said Frank, “and stay out of the way.” Not exactly. He rode on top of it, like a surfer coming in on the perfect wave. Miller was always the heart of that side of Frank, the rhythmic piano intros that kick-start “The Lady Is A Tramp”, or “Lonesome Road”, or even “Old MacDonald”. Yes, that “Old MacDonald”:
“Old MacDonald had a farm Ee-i-ee-i-o And on that farm he had a chick…”
You can pretty much guess how things develop from there. Plenty of Sinatra scholars loathe that record: Why would a guy who can sing Rodgers and Hart record “Old MacDonald”? As the detractors see it, because he can; it’s a power trip, a way of saying “Screw you” to the world. Say what you like about gangsta rap, but even Snoop Dogg isn’t arrogant enough to give us “Old MacDonald had a farm/And on that farm he had a ho…” But I love that “Old MacDonald”. It builds wonderfully, and Alan and Marilyn Bergman’s lyrics, despite boxing themselves into the nursery rhyme’s with-a-little-this-here-and-a-little-this-there structure manage to top each verse with the next:
“…with a promenade here and a promenade there At a square dance, boy, this chick was no square…”
That said, with the best will in the world, “Old MacDonald” isn’t exactly an interesting tune, and that’s where Miller comes in. His piano helps make it such a wild ride. He’s like the mechanical hare at the greyhound track, if a mechanical hare could swing: he sets off, and Sinatra takes off, too.
In 1964, the pianist’s home in Burbank was washed away in a mudslide. The Millers were swept along with it: their teenage daughter Meredith made it to the top of a hill, and Bill was rescued hanging from a car, but his wife Aimee was only found the following night. Sinatra identified the body and then went to see Miller in hospital. “If it’s any consolation,” said Frank, “there wasn’t a mark on her.”
As the laconic Miller liked to tell friends, “It wasn’t any consolation.” But Frank paid the medical expenses and got Bill a new place. And, when they inevitably bust up in the late Seventies, Sinatra hired other pianists but stayed away from “One For My Baby” altogether. Anyone can conduct “My Way” (as Miller did on the hit recording) but Sinatra understood that the truly definitive Sinatra song depended on the presence of another man. In 1985 Miller returned for “One For My Baby” and one more decade for the road.
There was one last classic recording, too. The final cut on Sinatra’s 1993 Duets isn’t really a duet at all – or at least not a celebrity duet. Take a chisel to the CD and remove Kenny G’s syrupy drooling of “All The Way” on the front of the track and then sit back as the strings recede, and Bill Miller begins his bar-room piano noodling. It’s the best duet on the album – just Frank and Bill – and the latter doesn’t even get a credit on the sleeve, just a tiny namecheck deep in the interior of the small print as “Mr Sinatra’s pianist”. The voice is rough, its vulnerability deliberately exposed, especially on the last line’s long goodbye. But, raw and harrowing as it is, it’s a final Sinatra masterpiece. The piano dies away and the last saloon singer lays down his burden: one for us and one for that long, long road.
“Well, that’s how it goes And, Joe, I know you’re getting anxious to close So thanks for the cheer I hope you didn’t mind my bending your ear…”
Five years later, Miller played it at Sinatra’s funeral. The familiar introduction, but no voice came in, no “It’s quarter to three…” In all the years Bill Miller had accompanied the familiar words, for the first time ever, there was no-one in the place except him.The Atlantic Monthly, October 2006
Lord have mercy, he died.
The poisoned Russian spy breathed defiance at the Kremlin as the effects of a mystery cocktail pushed him to the brink of death.
“I want to survive, just to show them,” Alexander Litvinenko said in an exclusive interview just hours before he slipped into unconsciousness.
Too weak to move his limbs and visibly in great pain, the former Russian intelligence officer suggested that he knew that he may not win his struggle against the lethal chemicals destroying his vital organs. But he said the campaign for truth would go on with or without him.
“The bastards got me,” he whispered. “But they won’t get everybody.”
Sudden jihad syndrome:
Nabil Ahmad Issa al-Jaaoura, 38, is on trial for the murder of Christopher Stokes, a 30-year-old chartered accountant who was shot dead in September during a visit to a Roman amphitheatre popular with tourists in the capital Amman.
Five visitors from the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, and a Jordanian tourist policeman were also wounded in the shooting spree, during which witnesses said the gunman shouted, "God is great" before being overpowered.
At a military court yesterday, the defendant said he was "a soldier of Allah" and that killing a "despicable crusader" was "the closest to winning Allah's acceptance".
Jaaoura, a Jordanian citizen of Palestinian origin, said he had been "blessed" by Allah before setting off on his mission to kill westerners.
"Allah blessed me when I killed a British man and hurt others, because they are fighting the Prophet and his soldiers since the Balfour Declaration," he said, referring to the 1917 document in which the Britain promised support for the creation of Israel.
"The British people … insulted the honorable Quran and women who wear the head cover."
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
A snippet of an absolutely horrendous story:
The victims - along with throngs of other people - had gone to the 3800 block of Linden Avenue around 9:30 p.m. for a popular Halloween block party. As they walked up to an elaborate haunted house, they said, a group of about a dozen males began taunting them.
"They asked us, `Are you down with it?,' we had no idea what that meant so we didn't say anything and just walked by them up to the haunted house," said Laura, "They were grabbing their crotches - we didn't know if it was a gang thing or what."
After making their way through a maze at the house, the three girls said they were back in the same spot where they were confronted and next to the same guys, who again taunted them. Still saying nothing, the three victims tried to walk away but were pelted with lemons and small pumpkins that split the seams on their costumes and left lumps and bruises on their bodies.
The taunts and jeers grew more aggressive, the victims recalled, as did the size of the crowd. Now females joined in, and everyone began saying "We hate white people, f--- whites!"
At this point, the girls began to run, but the pack of assailants ran ahead of them and kept them surrounded.
"It was like animals, like a pack of hyenas," Michelle said.
She was trying to call 911 on her cell phone when the taunts began, but kept getting busy signals. She tried three times to call, she said, but never got through to an operator.
The suspects also began to gradually separate the girls, first by grabbing Laura by her long hair and yanking her backward.
She said she tried to fight off a group of girls who surrounded her and were clawing and hitting her, but then a man came up and slammed her in the head with a skateboard, knocking her unconscious.
"One of the witnesses told the police that he saw my legs go straight up in the air and I hit the ground face first," she said, accounting for the bumps and bruises on her forehead and around her nose and eyes.
Her friends watched, horrified as the man raised the skateboard over his head and slammed her again as she lay on the ground. Others in the pack also began to hit and kick her motionless body.
Fearing their friend would be killed, the other two girls rushed to her aid.
Saved by a Samaritan
Lauren was the first at Laura's side, and a group of people immediately jumped on her and began punching her in the face and back of the head simultaneously. Some kicked her in the back of knees, causing her legs to buckle. At one point, when they got her cell phone away from her, Lauren said she knelt down to try and retrieve the phone.
"Once I knelt down, there was too much of a force on top of me to get back up," she said. "They were pounding on my back, on my head. ... They were kicking at the ball that was me."
Lauren suffered 12 fractures in her face, including four to her eye socket, three to her nose and three to her cheek.
Doctors don't yet know if she will regain all of her eyesight. Until the swelling goes down, they won't know if she'll require surgery to repair the many broken bones.
Forced to drop her college photography classes this semester because she cannot see well enough to use the camera, Lauren also can't blow her nose or sleep lying down. The pressure, doctors told her, could cause any of the fractured bones to shift, which could lead to her eye becoming detached from the shattered socket.
Michelle said she saw the group drag Lauren down as she rushed up and knocked the man with the skateboard off Laura. But then he then turned on her, punching her in both sides of her face and in the ribs.
Her face, like Lauren's and Laura's, is bruised and swollen. The lining that surrounds her lungs is also bruised.
As the man beat on Michelle, Laura regained consciousness and tried to pull him off her friend. But others in the pack immediately began to hammer at her again, she said.
She, like Lauren, suffered a concussion as well as multiple contusions. The lumps and marks on the back of her head and her back show where she was stomped, kicked and punched as she lay on the ground.
In all, the attack lasted about 10 minutes, and it ended only when a Good Samaritan driving by the melee stopped and physically blocked the battered girls bodies while yanking the assailants off the victims.
Maybe because he was also black, or because he was so tall and strong, the group broke up and scattered to several cars and fled, the victims said.
"If it wasn't for that guy, honestly, I don't think these two would be here today," Michelle said.
After introducing the world to new soda flavors like fish taco and salmon, Seattle specialty beverage maker Jones Soda Co. is offering a new flavor: Green pea.
Green pea, along with other unusual sodas such as turkey and gravy, dinner roll, sweet potato and antacid flavor, will be part of the company's $10 to $15 "holiday pack" of bottled drinks available nationwide.
Peter van Stolk, chief executive of Jones Soda, said on Monday the collection of strange-flavored sodas usually sells out quickly, even though he can not stomach the drinks. Past flavors included broccoli casserole, corn on the cob and Brussel sprout.
"Why people buy it is beyond me. I can't drink a bottle of this stuff," said van Stolk.
Jones Soda, which sells traditional sodas alongside more exotic flavors like fufu berry and green apple, first introduced the holiday soda pack in 2003, gaining notoriety for its turkey and gravy flavor soda.
"We have the market share leader in turkey-flavored beverages," said van Stolk. "We know we can't compete with Coke or Pepsi by playing their game, but we know they're not going to come out with a turkey flavor or antacid flavor."
Asked if there were any flavors that were off limits, van Stolk said he put his foot down when it came to curried chicken flavor."Fish taco was just nasty and we tried curried chicken. That was just wrong," he said.
By Dan Rattiner
In July of 2004, Paul Klebnikov of Sagaponack [Long Island, NY] was on his way home from a long day at the office in Moscow where he worked as editor of Forbes Magazine (Moscow) when a car pulled up, the window rolled down and somebody fired a gun that shot him dead.
The news of this event was received particularly hard here in the Hamptons because Paul was a member of a well-respected family living in this community, where they had been summering for nearly half a century. Paul, a journalist, left behind his wife, Musa, and three children, two brothers and a sister and his father and stepmother, and many, many friends. He was a marathon runner, ocean swimmer, with interests that varied, from philosophy and politics, to architecture and urban design. He was 41.
Paul’s death seems to have been caused because of his fearlessness and determination in reporting the news at his job in Russia. These were family traits. Members of his family exhibited this behavior in almost everything that they did.
Paul had recently taken the job at Forbes Magazine after writing numerous investigative articles about business corruption in post-Soviet Union Russia. There were high hopes about what he could accomplish at the magazine. He also had written a powerful book about one of the Chechen strongmen in that country — Khozh-Akmed Nukhayev. Many believed that Mr. Nukhayev arranged for the murder of Paul Klebnikov for prying into his business interests and that three of his henchmen had carried it out. Russia was then and still is a dangerous place for anyone to speak up.
And this is bad news?
Anyway, lots of info here:
Six imams were removed from a US Airways flight at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Monday and questioned by police for several hours before being released, a leader of the group said.
One of the Muslim scholars removed from a US Airways flight on Monday today called for imams around the country to boycott the airline after employees refused to sell him new tickets for his flight home.
On Monday, Omar Shahin and five other imams had gone to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to fly home to Phoenix after attending a conference in Minneapolis of the North American Imams Federation. Shahin is president of the group.
But after passengers raised concerns about the imams — three of whom said their normal evening prayers in the airport terminal before boarding the Phoenix-bound plane — the imams were removed from the flight and questioned by authorities.
This morning Shahin returned to the Twin Cities International Airport to buy six more tickets for the flight to Phoenix, but a US Airways ticket agent and supervisor refused to sell him the tickets.
In an exchange witnessed by a Star Tribune reporter, the unnamed supervisor said Shahin's tickets had been refunded and that he needed to get tickets on another airline.
The supervisor then offered Shahin a customer service phone number.
"I want to go home. I don't want phone numbers," Shahin said. "I want to buy six tickets."
"They have no reason to refuse service to us just because of the way we look," he said "It's terrible. We want America to stay the way it is because we love this country."
The supervisor asked Shahin to leave the ticket counter.
"This is prejudice," he replied. "This is obvious discrimination. No one can argue with this."
"I am calling for a boycott of US Airways because I'm not going to stay silent," said Shahin, who is Jordanian. "I came to this country to enjoy justice and freedom."
US Airways said in a statement that it was aware of the situation and is conducting its own investigation. "We are always concerned when passengers are inconvenienced and especially concerned when a situation occurs that causes customers to feel their dignity was compromised," the statement said. "We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind and will continue to exhaust our internal investigation until we know the facts of this case and can provide answers for the employees and customers involved in this incident."
Later this morning the scholars were able fly standby on an 11:15 a.m. Northwest Airlines flight.
Pat Hogan, spokesman for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, said that witnesses to Monday's events told police that before the flight that besides praying, the imams were spouting anti-American rhetoric, talking about the war in Iraq and Saddam Hussein.
One of the imams was heard saying that he would do whatever is necessary to fulfill his commitment to the Qur'an, witnesses told police, Hogan said. Other witnesses said some of the imams were repeating "Allah, Allah," he said.
And a couple of the imams asked for seat-belt extensions, even though it did not appear they needed them, Hogan said.
All of this made passengers, the attendants and the pilot uncomfortable, Hogan said. As a result, the pilot called police to have the imams escorted from plane.
Airlines have the right not to allow passengers on a plane, Hogan said.
"It's up to the airline," he said. "From an airport standpoint we're out of it, once it was determined no crime occurred."
The imams were questioned by U.S. Marshals, the FBI and Secret Service and they were handcuffed, which is standard procedure, Hogan said.
"There are different interpretations about what was going on," he said.
Shahin said the imams asked for two seat-belt extensions because "a couple of us have big fat bellies."
Marwan Sadeddin, another of the imams said, "What bothers me the most is these false statements and lies that we refused to leave when we were asked. That we were shouting 'Allah, Allah.' This never happened."
Shahin said Tuesday that three members of the group prayed in the terminal before the six boarded the plane on Monday. They entered individually, except for one member who is blind and needed to be guided, Shahin said. Once on the plane, the six did not sit together, he said.
"We did nothing" on the plane, Shahin said.
The six were among passengers who boarded Flight 300, bound for Phoenix, around 6:30 p.m. Monday, airport spokesman Pat Hogan said.
Police were called after the captain and airport security workers asked the men to leave the plane and the men refused, Rader said.
Shahin said no one asked the six to leave, but when police arrived, the group complied.
Of the six Muslim scholars, five of them were from the Phoenix-Tempe area, while one was from Bakersfield, Calif., Shahin said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations planned to file a complaint, said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.
"Because, unfortunately, this is a growing problem of singling out Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims at airports, and it's one that we've been addressing for some time," Hooper said.
Hooper said the meeting drew about 150 imams from all over the country, and that those attending included U.S. Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, D-Minneapolis, who just became the first Muslim elected to Congress. Shahin said they went as far as notifying police and the FBI about their meeting in advance.
Shahin expressed frustration that — despite extensive efforts by him and other Muslim leaders since even before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — so many Americans know so little about Islam.
"If up to now they don't know about prayers, this is a real problem," he said.
Shahin said the group spent the night at the Minneapolis area home of a local imam and was waiting for a phone call Tuesday from US Airways. Hooper said US Airways refused to put the men on another flight.
The other passengers on the flight, which was carrying 141 passengers and five crew members, were re-screened for boarding, Rader said. The plane took off about three hours after the men were removed from the flight.