Saturday, May 27, 2006

Hastert: Oh, you meant that constitution
Official details FBI-Congress standoff

WASHINGTON - The constitutional showdown that followed the
FBI's search of a congressman's office came down to this: The House threatened budgetary retaliation against the Justice Department. Justice officials raised the prospect of resigning.

That scenario, as described Saturday by a senior administration official, set the stage for President Bush's intervention into the fight over the FBI's search of the office of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., an eight-term lawmaker being investigated on bribery allegations.

During contentious conversations between the Department of Justice and the House, top law enforcement officials indicated that they'd rather quit than return documents FBI agents, armed with a warrant, seized in an overnight search of Jefferson's office, the administration official said.

Until last Saturday night, no such warrant had ever been used to search a lawmaker's office in the 219-year history of the Congress. FBI agents carted away records in their pursuit of evidence that Jefferson accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for helping set up business deals in Africa…

House leaders acknowledged Friday that FBI agents with a court-issued warrant can legally search a congressman's office, but they said they want procedures established…

In an editorial page article in USA Today on Friday, Hastert said he and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have directed House lawyers "to develop reasonable protocols and procedures that will make it possible for the FBI to go into congressional offices to constitutionally execute a search warrant."…

First item on the Republican Caucus agenda for the 110th Congress (if they retain the majority, and that’s a big IF) should be: Elect a new Speaker and banish Hastert to the Council of Elders.

CBS News: We uncovered yet another corrupt Republican
AG, FBI Chief Made A Stand Over Raid
Gonzales And Mueller Hinted At Resignation In Battle With Congress

May 27, 2006

(CBS/AP) Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI director Robert Mueller signaled they would resign this week rather than give in to Congress in a dispute over an FBI raid on Rep. William Jefferson's Capitol Hill office, an administration official tells CBS News.

Top law enforcement officials at the Justice Department and the FBI indicated to their counterparts at the White House that they could not, and were unwilling to, return documents to the Louisiana Republican which were seized as part of a bribery investigation
Just one problem, Jefferson is a Democrat.

Once CBS has a story the facts are lost forever to bias.

Hamas: Lessening the turmoil… What were we thinking?!!
Hamas Militia Returns to Streets of Gaza

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- The Hamas-led government sent its private militia back into the streets of Gaza on Saturday, a day after withdrawing the force to help calm an increasingly bloody standoff with forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas officials said the move wasn't meant as a provocation. But Abbas' Fatah movement said the deployment raised the chances of new fighting. Fatah officials also said the move threatened negotiations on the president's ultimatum to the militants to accept a plan that would implicitly recognize Israel.

The 3,000-strong Hamas militia has been at the center of the Palestinian infighting, and Hamas' decision to withdraw the black-clad force on Friday was widely seen as a conciliatory gesture.

Youssef Zahar, spokesman for the militia, said Saturday's deployment did not contradict the previous day's decision. At the time, Hamas said the force would remain on standby at fixed locations and resume limited patrols in the future.

"The police stations are closed to us, so we're making use of some streets," Zahar said.

The presence of the Hamas gunmen was much smaller than earlier this week, with forces stationed at several major intersections and near the homes of senior Hamas government officials. The situation appeared to be calm, and in some instances, Hamas gunmen chatted freely with regular policemen.

Fatah spokesman Tawfiq Abu Khoussa, however, said the return of the Hamas force, even in small numbers, was "unacceptable and illegal."…

McCain: We don’t need no stinkin sovereignty
Sensenbrenner: You’re a disgrace

Amnesty' jams compromise bill

By Jerry Seper and Stephen Dinan
May 27, 2006

One of the top House negotiators on immigration said yesterday the only way a final compromise bill can pass is if the Senate drops its path to citizenship for current illegal aliens, even as Sen. John McCain announced plans to try to broker a deal.

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he is willing to accept a temporary-worker program for future workers, but citizenship for illegal aliens -- which he said definitely constitutes "amnesty" -- is out.

"A guest-worker program I think can be on the table if it does not contain an amnesty, but only if the employer sanctions and the increased border patrols are effective," the Wisconsin Republican said.

It's not just Mr. Sensenbrenner. House Republicans are lining up behind him in their opposition to the Senate bill, including Rep. Charlie Norwood, Georgia Republican, who said it "constitutes treachery against U.S. sovereignty" and called it "dead on arrival in the House."

"The U.S. Senate voted to sell out the American people to vested and foreign interests with passage of a bill granting not only amnesty, but preferential treatment of illegal aliens over American citizens," Mr. Norwood said.

Meanwhile, two members of the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group of moderate to liberal Republicans, said they will try to broker a deal on their own.

Mr. McCain, the Arizona Republican who was a driving force behind the Senate's bill, and Rep. Michael N. Castle, Delaware Republican, announced they already have begun meeting to try to reach an agreement.

The Senate on Thursday passed its broad immigration bill, which offers a chance for citizenship to millions of illegal aliens, increases legal immigration, creates a separate program for future foreign workers, builds 370 miles of fencing on the border, and approves hiring thousands of new border and interior law-enforcement personnel.

The House in December passed an immigration bill that focuses on enforcement including 698 miles of fencing, thousands of new enforcement officers, a system to check for employers to verify that both current and future employees are legally able to work, and a provision extending criminal penalties to cover all illegal aliens and raising the crime to a felony...

Friday, May 26, 2006

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck… It’s a duck.
Sensenbrenner: Senate bill amounts to amnesty

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A top House opponent to a Senate plan to offer illegal immigrants an eventual "path to U.S. citizenship" said Friday that senators who passed the bill were not being honest.

"What's going on now, in calling it a pathway to citizenship or earned legalization, is not honest because it is amnesty," said Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee…

Hamas blinks
Hamas Pulls Private Militia Off Streets

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- The Hamas-led government withdrew a controversial 3,000-member private militia from the streets of Gaza on Friday, saying it wanted to reduce friction with the rival Fatah movement.

The move came on the second day of Hamas' talks with Fatah aimed at halting violence and resolving a deadlock that has paralyzed the Palestinian government and frozen relations with most of the world...

For those who will be taking their SATs soon,
Undocumented immigrant is to illegal alien as private militia is to:
a) neighborhood watch
b) marching band
c) gang of government-armed street thugs

Rather to Ross: Careful, Boy, hangin your hat on some document is like trying to French kiss a West Texas bobcat
Hastert, Justice Dept. Dispute Inquiry Story

By Howard Kurtz

ABC News says federal investigators have put House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) "in the mix" of their corruption probe centering on convicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty says the ABC report involving Hastert -- even the "in the mix" language -- is "untrue."

And Hastert, calling the story "absolutely" wrong, is demanding a retraction.

Who's right?

It is highly unusual for the Justice Department to confirm or deny that someone is under investigation. Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said that federal guidelines allow such statements in cases receiving "substantial publicity" and that the decision was based on the guidelines "combined with the inaccuracy of the information."

On "World News Tonight" Wednesday, Brian Ross, ABC's chief investigative correspondent, said the bribery probe "now includes" Hastert but cautioned that the investigation is "clearly at the very beginning. The allegations could well prove unfounded." George Stephanopoulos, the network's chief Washington correspondent, called the implications "potentially seismic."

Ross said in an interview: "I think our story is accurate. We've gone back to our sources, and they believe what we reported was accurate as they knew it. There seems to be some disconnect between what the congressman thinks, what the Justice Department thinks and what the FBI thinks. . . . There may be a semantics issue here as to what constitutes being under investigation."

Reporters for NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox News and other news organizations checked out ABC's report but were waved off by law enforcement officials. "Within 15 minutes, we had three or four basic denials saying in effect this was a complete overreach, and we chose not to run it," said John Reiss, executive producer of "NBC Nightly News."

The dispute with ABC comes as the news business has been beset by declining public confidence, several high-profile media mistakes and leak investigations by the Bush administration aimed at pressuring journalists into revealing confidential sources. Ross recently reported -- again based on unidentified sources -- that federal leak investigators are tracking his calls and those of other journalists…

As was reported last year, Hastert was among four House Republican leaders who signed a 2003 letter to then-Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton in an effort to block an Indian casino opposed by tribes represented by Abramoff. Shortly before the letter was sent, Abramoff hosted a fundraiser for Hastert's political action committee. In January, the speaker said he would give to charity the donations, estimated at $69,000, that he received from Abramoff and Abramoff's clients…

Hey Jude
Cate Blanchett to Play Bob Dylan in Biopic

NEW YORK (AP) -- Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, who has portrayed Queen Elizabeth and Katharine Hepburn, will add another legend to her resume: Bob Dylan.

The 37-year-old Australian actress is one of seven actors to play Dylan at various stages of his career in the biopic, "I'm Not There," tentatively scheduled for release next year. She'll portray a specific aspect of Dylan's personality, embodied by an androgynous singer-songwriter character named Jude, according to Killer Films, the movie's production company...

Hey jude, dont make it bad.
Take a sad song and make it better.
Remember to let her into your heart,
Then you can start to make it better.

Hey jude, dont be afraid.
You were made to go out and get her.
The minute you let her under your skin,
Then you begin to make it better.

And anytime you feel the pain, hey jude, refrain,
Dont carry the world upon your shoulders.
For well you know that its a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder.

Hey jude, dont let me down.
You have found her, now go and get her.
Remember to let her into your heart,
Then you can start to make it better.

So let it out and let it in, hey jude, begin,
Youre waiting for someone to perform with.
And dont you know that its just you, hey jude, you'll do,
The movement you need is on your shoulder.

Hey jude, dont make it bad.
Take a sad song and make it better.
Remember to let her under your skin,
Then youll begin to make it
Better better better better better better, oh.

Da da da da da da, da da da, hey jude...

Judge Kristine Cecava ferrets out a height requirement in Nebraska’s penal law
Sentence for Short Sex Offender Draws Fire

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A judge's decision to sentence a 5-foot-1 man to probation instead of prison for sexually assaulting a child has angered crime victim advocates who say the punishment sends the wrong message.

But supporters of short people say it's about time someone recognizes the unique challenges they face.

Cheyenne County District Judge Kristine Cecava issued the sentence Tuesday. She told Richard W. Thompson that his crimes deserved a long prison sentence but that he was too small to survive in a state prison.

Though he could have been sentenced to 10 years behind bars, he ended up with 10 years of probation instead. On Thursday, the state's attorney general, Jon Bruning, promised to appeal within two weeks, calling the sentence far too lenient…

Thompson, 50, had sexual contact over a couple of months last year with a 12-year-old girl, said Sidney Police Chief Larry Cox. He was sentenced on two felony sexual assault charges…

"Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped."
Elbert Hubbard

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Note to kids: Kicking, screaming, and holding your breath till you turn blue works… sorta.

You get a 45-day reprieve while the grownups figure out to which boarding school you’ll be sent.
Bush orders documents seized in Capitol Hill search sealed
Hastert, Pelosi demand return of document from the FBI

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush stepped into the Justice Department's constitutional confrontation with Congress on Thursday and ordered that documents seized in an FBI raid on a congressman's office be sealed for 45 days.

The president directed that no one involved in the investigation have access to the documents taken last weekend from the office of Rep. William Jefferson, D-Louisiana, and that they remain in the custody of the solicitor general.

Bush's move was described as an attempt to cool off a heated confrontation between his administration and leaders of the House and Senate.

"This period will provide both parties more time to resolve the issues in a way that ensures that materials relevant to the ongoing criminal investigation are made available to prosecutors in a manner that respects the interests of a coequal branch of government," Bush said...

Everyone rises to their level of incompetence*

Perhaps Speaker Hastert should return to high school coaching.

There’s several openings at Mt. Hope High School in Providence, RI
Mt. Hope High School
COACHING VACANCIES: The following coaching positions are available at Mt. Hope High School in Bristol, RI: Fall Season: Asst. Boys Soccer, Head and Asst. Girls Tennis, Head and Asst. Girls Volleyball. Spring Season: Head Boys Tennis. Requirements: RI Certificate for Athletic Coach and current Red Cross certification(s) in CPR and First Aid. Positions avail. for the 2006-2007 school year. Completed applications are due by 4 p.m. on Mon., 6/5/06 in the HR Office, Bristol Warren Regional School District, 151 State St., Bristol, RI 02809. Applications may be obtained by calling 253-4000, Ext. 5113. EOE.
* - Laurence J. Peter, "The Peter Principle,” US educator & writer (1919 - 1988)

A nation of laws and equals? Well, sorta.
Seems certain laws and people are more equal than others.

(click on image to enlarge)

Shoot down an attacker!!

Here’s the first paragraph of States Signing on to Deadly Force Law by one Robert Tanner (a ‘National Writer’ for the Associated Press):
A campaign by gun rights advocates to make it easier to use deadly force in self-defense is rapidly winning support across the country, as state after state makes it legal for people who feel their lives are in danger to shoot down an attacker - whether in a car-jacking or just on the street.
Have any idea where Mr. Tanner’s fair, balanced and objective article on the topic may be headed?

Let me give you a little more help, further into the article we get:
Supporters have dubbed the new measures "stand your ground" laws, while critics offered nicknames like the "shoot first," "shoot the Avon lady" or "right to commit murder" laws.

At its core, they broaden self-defense by removing the requirement in most states that a person who is attacked has a "duty to retreat" before turning to deadly force. Many of the laws specify that people can use deadly force if they believe they are in danger in any place they have a legal right to be - a parking lot, a street, a bar, a church. They also give immunity from criminal charges and civil liability.
Actually, I’m told by a source, who requested anonymity because “everybody’s doing it,” that Tanner’s editor stepped in to moderate the National Writer’s reporting. One example cited was this:

Copy after edit
as state after state makes it legal for people who feel their lives are in danger to shoot down an attacker
Copy before edit
as state after state makes it legal for paranoid knuckle-dragging wild-eyed rednecks to shoot down an attacker and kick the quivering bullet-riddled body as a life ebbs away in a crimson trickle coursing to the curb

Speaker Hastert, San Fran Nan, and their staffs aka a box of rocks
House Leaders Demand Return of Seized Files

WASHINGTON, May 24 — The constitutional clash pitting Congress against the executive branch escalated Wednesday as the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House demanded the immediate return of materials seized by federal agents when they searched the office of a House member who is under investigation in a corruption case.

The demand, by Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Republican of Illinois, and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, underscored the degree of the anger generated among members of both parties on Capitol Hill by the search on Saturday night at the office of Representative William J. Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana, who has been accused of accepting bribes.

"The Justice Department was wrong to seize records from Congressman Jefferson's office in violation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers, the speech or debate clause of the Constitution, and the practice of the last 219 years," Mr. Hastert and Ms. Pelosi said in a rare joint statement…
Don’t either of these House ‘leaders’ have one intelligent, level-headed staff member between them? A 20 second search of the FindLaw website (see my prior post) shows the folly of their position to all but the mind-numbingly obtuse.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Lynne Duke: Hearsay proves Whitey is at it again
The Duke Case's Cruel Truth
Hateful Stereotypes of Black Women Resurface

By Lynne Duke
Washington Post Staff Writer

She was black, they were white, and race and sex were in the air.

But whatever actually happened that March 13 night at Duke University -- both the reported rape and its surrounding details are hotly disputed -- it appears at least that the disturbing historic script of the sexual abuse of black women was playing out inside that lacrosse team house party.

Two black women performed an exotic dance. The white men in their audience shouted racial epithets, one of the women has said. Things got rough. Someone in the crowd held a broomstick aloft and shouted "I'm gonna shove this up you," the other woman told police when she reported being raped. As the women fled the house, a neighbor reportedly heard one of the men shout: "Hey bitch, thank your grandpa for my nice cotton shirt."

In the sordid but contested details of the case, African American women have heard echoes of a history of some white men sexually abusing black women -- and a stereotype of black women as hypersexual beings and thus fair game. The mainstream media have largely tiptoed around the brutal truth that has been discussed among black women in private conversations, in the blogosphere and on college campuses. It is that the Duke case is in some ways reminiscent of a black woman's vulnerability to a white man during the days of slavery, reconstruction and Jim Crow, when sex was used as a tool of racial domination…
Without being privy to a shred of evidence in the ‘Duke lacrosse team’ rape case, Ms. Duke spews out 1,500 words of racial animus disguised as a newspaper article about the case. Duke castigates anyone who will not acknowledge that since the accuser is a black woman she is summarily: (a) a victim, and (b) a person whose lifestyle, motives, and accusations are beyond reproach. Furthermore, the lawyers hired to defend the three men who the sainted stripper has accused of rape are racists for questioning her veracity.

Seems both Jefferson’s loot and Hastert’s brain require thawing
Angry lawmakers demand FBI return seized documents
Search of congressman's office unconstitutional, they say

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Speaker Dennis Hastert demanded Wednesday that the FBI surrender documents and other items agents seized on Capitol Hill in what lawmakers said was an unconstitutional raid.

"I think those materials ought to be returned," said Hastert, adding that the FBI agents involved "ought to be frozen out of that (case) for the sake of the Constitution."

The Saturday night search of Rep. William Jefferson's office on Capitol Hill brought Democrats and Republicans together in rare election-year accord, with both parties protesting agency conduct they said violated the Constitution's separation of powers doctrine.

"Not anyone here is above the law," Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said Tuesday. But, she added, "I think you've seen abuse of power of the executive branch over this weekend."…

FBI agents searched Jefferson's office in pursuit of evidence in a bribery investigation. The search warrant, signed by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan, was based on an affidavit that said agents found $90,000 in cash wrapped and stashed in the freezer of Jefferson's home…
Hastert and the ever-braying Pelosi might want to actually read the constitution
Article I, Section 6.

The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.
They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
Guess what, Mr. Speaker, bribery is a felony!

The FindLaw website also provides an annotated analysis citing case law concerning this section, for those in congress who don’t want to showcase their ignorance:
Privilege From Arrest

This clause is practically obsolete. It applies only to arrests in civil suits, which were still common in this country at the time the Constitution was adopted. 376 It does not apply to service of process in either civil 377 or criminal cases. 378 Nor does it apply to arrest in any criminal case. The phrase ''treason, felony or breach of the peace'' is interpreted to withdraw all criminal offenses from the operation of the privilege. 379

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

For that unanticipated backseat quickie in the mall parking lot
Planned Parenthood Opens Quick-Service Clinic

By MARTIGA LOHN Associated Press Writer

WOODBURY, Minn. — Shoppers come to this upscale brick strip mall to pick up bouquets of cookies decorated like soccer players, or $39.99 bottles of Chateauneuf du Pape. Soon, they'll be able to get emergency contraception, too.

Planned Parenthood wants to expand its services to more areas, and the organization's leaders hope a plush fast-service clinic coming to this well-heeled St. Paul suburb next month will attract a new group of women who value convenience and can afford to pay full price…

Sister affiliates in states including California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Alabama have opened 87 express clinics in the last two years, and more are in the works. But Sarah Stoesz, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, said this one will take the focus on the customer to a new level.

"Ours will have a very different look and feel," Stoesz said. "We're going to the women where they spend their lives, to help them solve some of the problems in their lives."...

The bold and italics above are mine.

(Hat tip: Best of the Web Today)

What a splendid head, yet no brain. *

Busters reports that Couric Concludes Coupons and Cuts Key to Crunch

* - Aesop

Next time perhaps

Unlike his minions, Ibrahim Hamed was not prepared to die for the cause.
Israelis Capture Top Palestinian Militant

RAMALLAH, West Bank – The West Bank commander of the Hamas military wing surrendered to Israeli troops Tuesday after they surrounded his hideout and threatened to demolish it with him inside.

Ibrahim Hamed emerged from the building before dawn and troops told him over a loudspeaker to strip to his underwear, witnesses said. Hamed complied, was cuffed and taken to a nearby building. Army officials said Hamed was armed and alone at the time of his capture.

The army said Hamed, 41, masterminded attacks that killed 78 Israelis and wounded hundreds.

Hamed has been on Israel's wanted list since 1998, frequently evading capture. Hamed, a university graduate and influential leader, became the West Bank's commander of Izzedine al Qassam, the Hamas military wing, in December 2003…

Palestinian militants surrendering to troops are routinely asked to strip to ensure they don't carry explosives.

The Israeli army said Hamed "masterminded some of the most deadly terror attacks against Israel in recent years," including suicide bombings at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an outdoor cafe in Jerusalem and a pool hall in central Israel. Hamas has observed an informal truce with Israel since February 2005...

Kim Propeack should look up the word 'disingenuous'

Who is Kim Propeack? Read on.
More aliens seek driver's licenses in Maryland

Since March, the average weekly number of driver's license applications by immigrants and illegal aliens has nearly doubled in Maryland, where legal residency is not required of applicants, according to the state Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).

The number of out-of-country license applications, or those for noncitizens, has surged from an average of 946 a week to 1,800 a week since March, MVA spokesman Buel Young said.

MVA officials initially attributed the increase to multiple appointment bookings by foreign-born applicants, Mr. Young said. But the average number of out-of-country applications remained high even after the MVA last month stopped taking appointments and began processing twice as many applications through a walk-in process, he said.

"I don't really have an answer" for the increase, Mr. Young said...
Let me help you, Mr. Young. Here’s a page from the website of an organization called CASA of Maryland for which Kim Propeack is a spokeswoman (see the remaining article excerpts below). The heading on the webpage reads: Schedules of Orientations about How to Obtain a Driver's License in Maryland. The heading is written first in Spanish then English. Mr. Young might want to ask Ms. Propeack or another CASA of Maryland representative what exactly is the service they provide “every Wednesday from 3:00pm to 6:00pm at CASA's University Boulevard/Silver Spring offices” that they characterize as “revision of documents for the community to present to MVA.”
Kim Propeack, a spokeswoman for immigrant advocacy group CASA of Maryland, said the out-of-country application increase is more likely because MVA agents often dispense inaccurate information about what documents are required for licenses. Foreign-born applicants thus have to make several trips to provide the correct documentation, she said.

A suit filed last year by CASA against the MVA claims the agency, among other things, makes it more difficult for immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.

"The MVA has for a long time been known for putting up extensive barriers for anyone not born in the United States," Miss Propeack said. "Instead of looking at the totality of what people are submitting and telling them what to do, they're doing it piecemeal, pointing out another problem each time people come back."…

Couch potatoes get a pass
School District to Monitor Student Blogs

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. (AP) -- High school students are going to be held accountable for what they post on blogs and on social-networking Web sites such as

The board of Community High School District 128 voted unanimously on Monday to require that all students participating in extracurricular activities sign a pledge agreeing that evidence of "illegal or inappropriate" behavior posted on the Internet could be grounds for disciplinary action.

The rule will take effect at the start of the next school year, officials said.

District officials won't regularly search students' sites, but will monitor them if they get a worrisome tip from another student, a parent or a community member…

District 128, in Lake County north of Chicago, has some 3,200 students, about 80 percent of whom participate in extracurricular activities, according to school officials.
This is just speculation, but I’ll bet the 20 percent (minus the students with after-school jobs) who don’t participate in extracurricular activities spend a whole lot more time on the Internet than do the students who play football or field hockey or who are members of the drama club or debate team or write for the school newspaper.

“Those who wish to appear wise among fools, among the wise seem foolish.”

Feinstein: Olley, olley oxen free!
Sen. Feinstein plan expands illegals pool

By Charles Hurt

A Senate Democrat yesterday introduced a proposal to expand the pool of illegal aliens eligible for citizenship to include anyone who sneaked across the border before Jan. 1.

Under the amendment filed yesterday afternoon by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, all illegals who can prove they arrived before the start of this year would be issued an "orange card," which would provide a path to U.S. citizenship.

"This amendment would streamline the process for earned legalization," Mrs. Feinstein said, referring to the process by which an estimated 10 million to 12 million illegals could become citizens. "It would create a more workable and practical program and dedicate the necessary dollars to cover its costs of administration."

Under the bill being debated in the Senate, illegal aliens who came into the country within the past two years would still be subject to deportation. Illegals who had been here two years or longer could apply for citizenship.

"This means approximately 4.8 million people would be required to leave voluntarily or be deported," Mrs. Feinstein said yesterday in reference to the Senate bill. "I don't believe many of these people would go home. Even President Bush acknowledged that such a large-scale deportation program is unworkable when he said, 'It is neither wise, nor realistic to round up millions of people ... and send them across the border.' "...
The AP is reporting that the Senate voted down Feinstein’s plan.
Senate Vote Saves Immigration Bill Chances

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate rejected a California Democrat's plan to allow the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the country to remain, work and eventually become Americans, preserving a fragile bipartisan coalition needed to pass the bill…

Feinstein's amendment, defeated 61 to 37, would have supplanted the compromise that allows illegal immigrants here five years or more to stay and work six years and seek legal residency after paying back taxes and fines and showing they were learning English…

"I have come to believe that the three-tiered system is unworkable, that it would create a bureaucratic nightmare and it would lead to substantial fraud," Feinstein said Tuesday…
One can understand Feinstein’s apprehension in looking to the deadheads manning the counters and cubicles at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to implement any program; but suddenly she’s concerned about inhibiting fraud?

Come on, an illegal alien’s middle name is Fraude. Their whole life in the United States is the perpetuation of a fraud and its concomitant crimes. They are willing participants in a vast criminal enterprise the undercuts American’s law-abiding workforce, sabotages our being a nation of laws, and subverts our sovereignty.

And, unbelievably, the Senate Democrats and several unprincipled Republicans are trying their damnedest not to eliminate the blight but rather to protect it.

This is the Oath of Office for the United States Senate
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
If Feinstein is worried about weeding out frauds, she should turn her attention to the well of the Senate.

Monday, May 22, 2006

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you*

Remember Nancy Pelosi’s November 28, 2005 press release berating “[T]he culture of corruption that pervades the Republican-controlled Congress.”

Do you suppose she had gotten wind of this:
FBI accuses congressman of taking thousands of dollars in bribes

By Philip Shenon The New York Times

MONDAY, MAY 22, 2006

WASHINGTON The FBI has accused a member of the House of Representatives of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from a Kentucky businessman and stashing $90,000 from the scheme in his home freezer in Washington.

The accusations against Representative William Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana, were made public only hours after a team of 15 agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation completed an all-night search of Jefferson's congressional offices.

FBI officials said the raid, which began about 7:15 p.m. Saturday and ended early Sunday afternoon, was the first the agency had ever conducted at a lawmaker's office on Capitol Hill.

The search warrant and other documents, which were unsealed Sunday in a U.S. District Court in Washington, accused Jefferson, an eight-term lawmaker, of accepting bribes to help a small technology company win contracts with federal agencies and with businesses and governments in West Africa…

According to the court papers, many of Jefferson's contacts with people involved in the bribery scheme were secretly taped, including a meeting last July at which the lawmaker allegedly received a briefcase containing $100,000 in $100 bills.

The FBI said that $90,000 of that money was found in a raid on Jefferson's Washington home last August, divided into $10,000 increments and placed in "various frozen food containers and wrapped in aluminum foil."…

In the court documents, which were designed to persuade a judge to approve the search of Jefferson's congressional office, the FBI said its investigation of Jefferson began in March of 2005 and had turned up evidence of various crimes by the lawmaker, including bribery, wire fraud, conspiracy and attempted bribery of officials of governments in Nigeria and Ghana…
* - Eric Hoffer

Here's another take on the matter:

(click on image to enlarge)

I guess there’s no chance he’ll stay in France
Al Gore Takes Global Warming to Cannes

CANNES, France (AP) -- Michael Moore has been the American on a mission at the Cannes Film Festival the last few years. This time it's Al Gore, with the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."

The former U.S. vice president climbed Cannes' famous red carpet in black tie over the weekend for a screening of the film about his efforts to educate people about global warming. Gore usually takes his message to more modest locales, such as school auditoriums and hotel conference rooms.

"As for my personal reactions to all the cameras, the red carpet and all that, I'm old enough now to put this in a different perspective," Gore told The Associated Press on Monday. "I am able to enjoy it without allowing it to get out of proportion." [Ed. – This from a man who just six years ago was Vice President and ran for President of the United States of America]

Incarcerating Criminals Reduces Crime

That’s my headline, here’s the AP’s: Number of U.S. Inmates Rises 2 Percent

Interestingly, Associated Press writer Elizabeth White doesn’t mention anywhere in her article (excerpted below) that there has been a concurrent reduction in the nation’s crime rate, see here and here.

Whether Ms. White is too dim to see the inverse relationship between the incarceration rate and the crime rate or that its existence is a fact best ignored so as not to deflate her story, is unknown.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Prisons and jails added more than 1,000 inmates each week for a year, putting almost 2.2 million people, or one in every 136 U.S. residents, behind bars by last summer.

The total on June 30, 2005, was 56,428 more than at the same time in 2004, the government reported Sunday. That 2.6 percent increase from mid-2004 to mid-2005 translates into a weekly rise of 1,085 inmates.

Of particular note was the gain of 33,539 inmates in jails, the largest increase since 1997, researcher Allen J. Beck said. That was a 4.7 percent growth rate, compared with a 1.6 percent increase in people held in state and federal prisons.

Prisons accounted for about two-thirds of all inmates, or 1.4 million, while the other third, nearly 750,000, were in local jails, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Beck, the bureau's chief of corrections statistics, said the increase in the number of people in the 3,365 local jails is due partly to their changing role. Jails often hold inmates for state or federal systems, as well as people who have yet to begin serving a sentence.

"The jail population is increasingly unconvicted [sic]," Beck said. "Judges are perhaps more reluctant to release people pretrial."

The report by the Justice Department agency found that 62 percent of people in jails have not been convicted, meaning many of them are awaiting trial… [Ed. - In other words, people who are denied bail or those who a bail bondsman won’t risk bailing out]

Men were 10 times to 11 times more likely than women to be in prison or jail, but the number of women behind bars was growing at a faster rate, said Paige M. Harrison, the report's other author.

The racial makeup of inmates changed little in recent years, Beck said. In the 25-29 age group, an estimated 11.9 percent of black men were in prison or jails, compared with 3.9 percent of Hispanic males and 1.7 percent of white males.

Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, which supports alternatives to prison, said the incarceration rates for blacks were troubling.

"It's not a sign of a healthy community when we've come to use incarceration at such rates," he said. [Ed. – Whose health are we talking about, the preyed upon or the predators’?]

Mauer also criticized sentencing guidelines, which he said remove judges' discretion, and said arrests for drug and parole violations swell prisons.

"If we want to see the prison population reduced, we need a much more comprehensive approach to sentencing and drug policy," he said. [Ed. – Given the resultant reduction in crime, I doubt most Americans “want to see the prison population reduced”]

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Ravi lost me after his first paragraph
2nd Abbas Ally Is Targeted in 2 Days

By RAVI NESSMAN, Associated Press Writer

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Palestinian police thwarted an attack Sunday on a security commander — the second ally of President Mahmoud Abbas targeted in two days — as the rivalry between his moderate Fatah Party and the Hamas militant group threatened to explode…
Calling Fatah moderate is akin to labeling Genghis Khan an intrepid adventurer.

I wonder if Ravi is any relation to Les?

In Morons We Trust
Coin image omits 'In God We Trust'

A Keller school district parent said political correctness has run amok at her daughter's elementary school, where the principal chose to omit the words "In God We Trust" from an oversize coin depicted on the yearbook cover.

Janet Travis, principal of Liberty Elementary School in Colleyville, wanted to avoid offending students of different religions, a district spokesman said. [Ed. – In other words, students whose religion doesn’t believe in God. Perhaps the learned principal could explain which of the world’s religions are godless] Students were given stickers with the words that could be affixed to the book if they so chose…

Officials chose an image of an enlarged nickel for the yearbook cover because this is Liberty Elementary's first year and because the nickel has a new design this year.

The nickel design features President Jefferson and the word Liberty in cursive, with the words "In God We Trust" along the right edge.

Keller administrators agreed with the decision, which Travis made in conjunction with a school parents group, district spokesman Jason Meyer said. District policy states, in part: "The District shall take no action respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech."…

"It's not always easy to make everybody happy when we are making decisions," he said. He said Travis was unavailable for comment Friday.

Michael Linz, a Dallas attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the district's move was appropriate, sensitive and constitutional… [Ed. – There’s a surprise]

NOLA: We can’t stop

There’s a joke (that I’ve recounted before on this blog) that goes like this:
Fred, standing in his front yard, hits himself on the head with a hammer, again and again. His neighbor Sam happens by and, aghast at what Fred is doing, runs up and grabs the hammer from Fred’s hand saying, “My god, man, why are you doing that?”

Fred, a little unsteady on his feet, say dreamily “Because it feels so good when I stop.”
New Orleans needs a good neighbor Sam, as it appears its residents, on their own, will not stop hitting themselves on the head.
Mayor Nagin Re-Elected in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Voters re-elected Mayor Ray Nagin, whose blunt style endeared him to some but outraged others after Hurricane Katrina, giving him four more years to oversee one of the largest rebuilding projects in U.S. history.

"This is a great day for the city of New Orleans. This election is over, and it's time for this community to start the healing process," Nagin said Saturday in a joyful victory speech.

"It's time for us to stop the bickering," he said. "It's time for us to stop measuring things in black and white and yellow and Asian. It's time for us to be one New Orleans."...

Careful what you wish for
Bush Gets No Respect From Chicks' Maines

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines apologized for disrespecting President Bush during a London concert in 2003. But now, she's taking it back. "I don't feel that way anymore," she told Time magazine for its issue hitting newsstands Monday. "I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever."

As war in Iraq loomed, Maines told the London audience: "Just so you know, we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas."

The remarks led to death threats and a backlash from other country stars, including a high-profile spat with Toby Keith. It also stalled what until then had been the group's smashingly successful career.

Bandmate Emily Robinson said she knew right away the remark wouldn't be taken lightly and got "hot from my head to my toes."

"It wasn't that I didn't agree with her 100 percent; it was just, 'Oh, this is going to stir something up,'" she told Time.

For band member Martie Maguire, the controversy was a blessing in disguise.

"I'd rather have a small following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith," Maguire said. "We don't want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do."
I’m not sure how to gauge how ‘really cool’ the Dixie Chicks' fans are or if they’ll ever ‘get it’, but it’s likely that Ms. Maguire will get her wish as to the size of the Dixie Chicks’ following. [Ed - Link has their records sales since Maines' 2003 remark]

Palestinian ‘intelligence service’ earns an ‘F’
Spy chief in Gaza survives bomb hit

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- An apparent attempt to assassinate Gaza's intelligence chief with a bomb planted at his headquarters yesterday heightened tensions between President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction and the Islamic militant group Hamas…

The bomb that blew up the intelligence headquarters in Gaza City was packed with metal pellets and planted under the elevator's floor, Mr. Tirawi said.

Mr. Abu Rajab and six aides and bodyguards got into the elevator and were close to the second floor when the blast occurred just before noon. A bodyguard was killed immediately. Mr. Abu Rajab and five others in the elevator were wounded seriously…

Mexico: We don’t want no stinkin immigrants
Mexico Works to Bar Non-Natives From Jobs

MEXICO CITY – If Arnold Schwarzenegger had migrated to Mexico instead of the United States, he couldn't be a governor. If Argentina native Sergio Villanueva, firefighter hero of the Sept. 11 attacks, had moved to Tecate instead of New York, he wouldn't have been allowed on the force.

Even as Mexico presses the United States to grant unrestricted citizenship to millions of undocumented Mexican migrants, its officials at times calling U.S. policies "xenophobic," Mexico places daunting limitations on anyone born outside its territory.

In the United States, only two posts — the presidency and vice presidency — are reserved for the native born.

In Mexico, non-natives are banned from those and thousands of other jobs, even if they are legal, naturalized citizens.

Foreign-born Mexicans can't hold seats in either house of the congress. They're also banned from state legislatures, the Supreme Court and all governorships. Many states ban foreign-born Mexicans from spots on town councils. And Mexico's Constitution reserves almost all federal posts, and any position in the military and merchant marine, for "native-born Mexicans."

Recently the Mexican government has gone even further. Since at least 2003, it has encouraged cities to ban non-natives from such local jobs as firefighters, police and judges…

The foreign-born make up just 0.5 percent of Mexico's 105 million people, compared with about 13 percent in the United States, which has a total population of 299 million. Mexico grants citizenship to about 3,000 people a year, compared to the U.S. average of almost a half million…