Archive for October, 2007

Father Sues Westboro Baptist “Church” for Cheering at Son’s Funeral

Friday, October 26th, 2007

I am not usually an advocate of settling things in court, but in this case it may be the only way to stop the madness at Westboro Baptist “Chuch” (I use the term church loosely). Maybe if a judge makes them pay for their actions, they will quit the senseless, Godless way they are protesting at our soldier’s funerals.

The father of a Marine killed in Iraq took the stand in his invasion of privacy suit against a fundamentalist church that pickets soldiers’ funerals, saying protesters carrying signs at his son’s burial made him sick to his stomach.

Albert Snyder said Wednesday he had hoped for a private funeral for his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder.

“They turned this funeral into a media circus and they wanted to hurt my family,” Snyder testified. “They wanted their message heard and they didn’t care who they stepped over. My son should have been buried with dignity, not with a bunch of clowns outside.”

Snyder is suing the Westboro Baptist church, whose members have picketed the funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming the deaths are punishment for the country’s tolerance of homosexuality. The York resident is seeking unspecified monetary damages in the case for invasion of privacy and intent to inflect emotional distress as a result of the Topeka, Kan., church’s protest at his son’s funeral in Westminster in March 2006.

The church’s protests have inspired several state laws and a federal law about funeral protests, but the Maryland suit is believed to be the first filed by the family of a fallen serviceman.

Original Link

Flag-Folding Recitations for Vets Banned Because of Religious Content

Friday, October 26th, 2007

More attempts by the government to quash religious freedom. Guess where the problem started? If you guessed California, you were absolutely right.

RIVERSIDE,California – Complaints about religious content have led to a ban on flag-folding recitations by Veterans Administration employees and volunteers at all 125 national cemeteries. It all started because of one complaint about the ceremony at Riverside National Cemetery in California.

Veterans and honor detail volunteers, including Bobby Castillo, 85, and Rees Lloyd, 59, are furious. “That the actions of one disgruntled, whining, narcissistic and intolerant individual is preventing veterans from getting the honors they deserve is truly an outrage,” Lloyd said. “This is another attempt by secularist fanatics to cleanse any reference to God.”

Charlie Waters, parliamentarian for the American Legion of California, said he’s advising memorial honor details to ignore the edict. “This is nuts,” Waters told the Riverside Press-Enterprise by telephone from Fresno. “There are 26 million veterans in this country, and they’re not going to take us all to prison.”

Original Link.

Israel holding talks with Hamas: Abbas

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Pray for Israel. Pray that Olmert doesn’t give away everything to the pali terrorist like he says he’s going to.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday that meetings have taken place between Israel and the Islamist movement Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip.

But both Israel and Hamas quickly denied that such talks had taken place.

“We have information that some Hamas men are meeting with the Israelis at Erez (on the Israel-Gaza border). This information is almost confirmed,” Abbas said after meeting Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

“I don’t know if the meeting was for normalisation or to calm things down,” Abbas said, according to the royal palace.

Israel, which boycotts Hamas as a terrorist organisation, categorically denied any such meetings. “This is utter nonsense,” said Miri Eisin, spokeswoman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

A spokesman for Hamas, which does not recognise Israel’s right to exist, also issued a denial.

“These are baseless allegations. He wants to justify the meetings he himself is holding with the Israeli occupier despite continued Israeli aggression against our people,” Samir Abu Zuhri told AFP.

Abbas is due to hold talks with Olmert on Friday as part of preparations for a Middle East conference in the United States this year despite mutual recriminations over poor progress to date.

Original Link.

“Hollywood’s War on the War on Terror” by Michael Fumento

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Read this excellent article, by Michael Fumento, detailing Hollywood’s latest endeavors to paint terrorist as “good guys” and Americans as “bad guys”.

Critics have labeled the new movie “Rendition” a “political thriller.” Whether it thrills or not is subjective. But “political”? Absolutely. It’s merely the latest in an unbroken series of major films about the war on terror that range from those seeking to assure us that Islamist terrorism isn’t the threat we might think, to those depicting the terrorists as no worse than those who fight them — and by implication the American people as a whole.

In 1942, Hollywood went to war. It began pumping out countless movies designed both to entertain the public and bolster its will to fight. A lot of them were cheap, hokey, or both. But even in a nation that seemingly needed little reminder of the dastardly attack on Pearl Harbor or the evils of the Nazis, they kept drilling home the message that we must persevere no matter the costs or the duration.

Well that they did. President Franklin Roosevelt lived in constant fear that the public would turn against the war. Indeed a Gallup Poll taken just five months before Germany’s collapse and long after the American public began learning of the horrors of the Holocaust, showed about one-fourth did not want to drive on to unconditional surrender.

Fast forward that reel to the post-9/11 era. Just how many Hollywood movies (not documentaries) have been made in which the bad guys are Islamist terrorists that do not specifically concern the Sept. 11 attacks? If you have to guess, guess “none.”

Consider, too, the odyssey of the conversion of Tom Clancy’s massive best-selling 1991 book, “The Sum of All Fears,” in which a nuclear bomb destroys an American city, into the 2002 film of the same name. In the book and the original script, the bad guys were Islamist terrorists. Little did Mr. Clancy know how realistic his choices of villains were: Federal court hearings in February 2001 revealed that as early as 1993, Osama bin Laden offered $1.5 million to buy uranium for a nuclear weapon.

But ultimately the Paramount movie depicted the bomber as yet another comic book character villain, an Austrian neo-Nazi. (Though at least he never says, “Vee haff vays uf making you talk!”)

Mr. Clancy, who unfortunately had no control over the process, took a swipe at director Phil Alden Robinson on the special features section of the DVD. Mr. Robinson, for his part, made the incredible claim on the DVD extra that the change was in the name of realism.

In reality, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had lobbied to change the villains and won. “I hope you will be reassured that I have no intention of promoting negative images of Muslims or Arabs,” Mr. Robinson wrote to them, “and I wish you the best in your continuing efforts to combat discrimination.” Paramount’s CEO at the time, Sherry Lansing, also suggested that she would steer clear of movies with Muslim villains.

Indeed, one of the few competent characters in “Live Free or Die Hard,” the Deputy FBI Director, looks Arab. In reality, he’s a New Zealander of Maori descent but indeed played an Arab in the film “Three Kings.”

As for CAIR, former FBI assistant director and chief of the FBI’s counterterrorism section, Steven Pomerantz, has charged that the organization has “effectively given aid to international terrorist groups.” In June federal prosecutors named CAIR an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a plot to fund the designated terrorist organization Hamas. CAIR’s 1996 publication, “The Price of Ignorance,” listed “incidents of anti-Muslim bias and violence” that included the trial of Omar Abdel Rahman. Rahman was convicted of conspiring to blow up the Lincoln Tunnel and other New York City landmarks.

By cooperating with organizations like CAIR, Hollywood kowtows to groups that aid and abet terrorists.

Moreover, it’s hardly the case that Islamists don’t make believable villains, much less more believable and captivating than evil cyber-geniuses and neo-Nazis. Islamists have killed about three thousand American civilians on 9/11, killed almost 200 people in the Madrid Train Bombings, and 52 more in the London subway bombings.

Islamic terrorists routinely explode bombs in markets and launch chlorine gas attacks. They build torture chambers and make and display videos of beheadings in which the victim screams in agony as his head is sawed off with a dull knife.

Even their foiled plots are often bizarre, such as Richard Reid’s “shoe bomber” attempt. These guys are a scriptwriter’s dream. Quentin Tarantino couldn’t think this stuff up.

As to not wanting to stereotype either Arabs or Muslims, the vast majority of whom want nothing to do with violence done in Mohammed’s name, has it occurred to the Tinseltown terror apologists that nobody suffers more from Islamic terror than Muslims themselves?

Islamist terrorists everyday kill and maim Iraqis and Afghans. Afghans were forced to suffer for years under the Taliban terror regime. Now the terrorists have blown up at least 136 Pakistanis and injured 400 more for the “sin” of greeting former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Was there what the Islamists call an “infidel,” such as a Christian or Jew, among them?

Whether CAIR cares about them, we should. So should the moguls in La La Land. Instead, they’re giving us the equivalent of 1943 movies equating FDR with Hitler.

Hollywood truly has declared war on the global war on terror.

Original Link.

Forest Thinning Helps Spare Some Homes

Friday, October 26th, 2007

I’m going to get in trouble for saying this, but I’m going to say it anyway…
California’s excessive environmental laws and attitudes are directly responsible for the losses from this week’s wildfires.
Forest thinning does help.

LAKE ARROWHEAD — As flames ravage surrounding communities, this resort town high in the San Bernardino Mountains emerged largely unscathed, an island in a sea of destruction.

The credit for that isolated victory, federal officials say, should go to firefighting tactics, shifting winds and favorable terrain — and a sometimes controversial U.S. Forest Service effort to eliminate the tinder that fuels forest fires.

Since 2002, the Forest Service has removed millions of trees, thinned brush and cut low-hanging branches, creating fuel breaks around almost 80% of the community. Fires don’t spread quickly or easily through such areas, instead burning lower to the ground and with less intensity.

“The fuel breaks saved Lake Arrowhead,” said Randall Clauson, the Forest Service’s division chief for the San Bernardino National Forest and incident commander earlier this week on the two biggest wildfires still burning in the mountains.

He said he believes that, without the breaks, “the fire would have run right through Lake Arrowhead and gone to Highway 18, cutting off the evacuation route and probably resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives.”

But not everyone was convinced that forest-thinning itself played such a pivotal role.

“Thinning and cleanup of surface fuels really does help,” said Ken Larson, a fire behavior analyst with the Forest Service, stationed at the fire command post in the San Bernardino Mountains. “But there are many variables at play. Even that may not save structures in the face of extreme winds and extreme conditions.”

Still, evidence was dramatic in the thinned forest areas. In one cluster of Lake Arrowhead neighborhoods protected by fuel breaks, only a few stumps were burning and no trees were lost. Hundreds of surrounding homes were untouched.

Some of the worst-hit areas like Running Springs don’t have fuel breaks. Just 20% of Big Bear is protected by breaks, fire officials said.

The Forest Service decided that Lake Arrowhead would be first in line for the fuel breaks because it had suffered worst from the bark beetle infestation and drought that killed 90% of its pine trees, turning them into enormous fire hazards.

“We have been doing it like triage,” Clauson said. “We started here so we got the most done here.”

The work is painstaking, expensive and controversial. Clauson has a budget of $17 million a year to create fuel breaks in the forest and has so far completed 25,000 acres. The goal is 100,000 acres. He still runs into people who object to cutting trees, suspecting it of being clandestine logging.

To gain public acceptance, Clauson spent a year holding meetings, sometimes attending three a week, where he pushed the idea and urged private landowners to thin their trees.

“This has been the first test of this magnitude and I think it has proven its effectiveness,” he said.

And yet there is only so much the Forest Service can do. Lake Arrowhead didn’t escape unscathed. In Grass Valley, an upscale part of the town about a mile from Lake Arrowhead, more than 100 homes were destroyed. Many had been surrounded by tall trees and lush vegetation left uncleared by the homeowners.

There were scenes of total devastation — lakeside homes reduced to their foundations, torched cars and, in one house, only a pair of smudged lawn jockeys survived. Power lines littered the ground or hung perilously overhead.

“We can spend $100 million to put fuel breaks around every town up here but if individuals don’t take responsibility for their land I can’t save them,” Clauson said.

Original Link.

“AND THEN THERE WERE THREE…” by Fern Sidman

Friday, October 26th, 2007

The voices of truth can never be diminished or drowned out, be it by the rain that fell in New York City or by the zealousness of truth’s adversaries. On Wednesday evening, October 24th, the electricity in the air was palpable on the campus of Columbia University. In a packed classroom in the mathematics building, a panel discussion was held as part of an ongoing series of lectures in a weeklong event being held on over 100 university and college campuses. This nationwide event is entitled Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week and is the brainchild of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

David Horowitz is a former left-wing academic whose politics have now taken a giant step to the right. As one of the founders of the New Left in the 1960s, he was also the editor of its most influential magazine, Ramparts. He is the author, with Peter Collier, of a number of best-selling dynastic biographies on the Rockefellers, the Kennedys, the Fords, and the Roosevelts. With Collier he also wrote Destructive Generation (1989), a chronicle of their break with the 1960s Left, that has been compared to Whittaker Chambers’ Witness and other classic works documenting a break from totalitarianism. On his web site, www.frontpagemag.com, Mr. Horowitz champions an array of causes including the defense of the principles of individual freedom as well as defending free societies in the war against their enemies, and the reestablishment of academic freedom in American schools.

Because of the controversy that swirls around an event of this nature and magnitude, threats of protests and possible disruptions were made by a number of quintessential left-wing and pro-Muslim organizations including the Revolutionary Communist Party, United for Peace and Justice, Jewish Progressives and the Muslim Student Association, among others. Several security guards, (provided by the David Horowitz Freedom Center) who looked strikingly similar to stoic FBI agents or undercover cops ushered in the panelists and stood guard around the room. While the audience was quite diverse in nature, outside the building stood a lone demonstrator, who held a sign reviling the event as racist. Inside, the story was a bit different. A contingent from the Revolutionary Communist Party along with left wing representatives of the Women’s Studies and Middle Eastern Studies departments got their printing presses rolling at top speed, churning out libelous propaganda aimed at discrediting the objectives of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week and took aim at the panelists, namely Phyllis Chesler. They even resorted to passing out a sheet of pre-prepared questions for audience members to ask that reeked of bellicosity, and surely did not promote open mindedness. So much for academic freedom and freedom of speech.

The student representative who helped organize this event asked the audience to curtail their predilection to disrupt the speakers and announced the rules for the Q&A, which followed.

Judging by the persons impaneled for the event at Columbia University, it would appear that Mr. Horowitz is not the only one whose political voice has made some major modifications. Dr. Phyllis Chesler, an Emerita Professor of Psychology at the College of Staten Island was a prominent voice and vanguard of the Second Wave feminist movement and a former political progressive. When she began to challenge the feminist and left-wing camps for propounding a “multi-cultural relativism” which essentially exonerates the Muslim world for its pervasive and barbaric abuse of women, she was labeled as a “dangerous traitor” by her former colleagues and relegated to a persona non-grata status. Her groundbreaking views on Islamic gender and religious apartheid have caused near riots on the many campuses that she has lectured at. She is a self-described “culture warrior” and is passionately committed to exposing the “Big Lies” of the left leaning, liberal Western academy. She is the author hundreds of articles and of 13 books, including, “The New Anti-Semitism – The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It”, (2003) which graphically illustrates the anti-Semitic agenda of intellectuals on the left, under the guise of anti-Zionism.

Ibn Warraq is a best-selling author, ex-Muslim intellectual, a dogmatic secularist, scholar and founder of the Institute for the Secularization of Islamic Society and a senior research fellow at the Center for Inquiry, specializing in Koranic criticism. Warraq gathered world notice through his controversial historiographies of the early centuries of the Islamic timeline and has published works which tend to challenge traditional conceptions of the period. He is the author of seven books, including Why I Am Not a Muslim (1995), The Origins of the Koran (1998),Quest for the Historical Muhammad, (2000), What the Koran Really Says (2002),Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out(2003), the just released – Defending the West: a Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism (2006) and Which Koran? (2007). He has also spoken at the “Victims of Jihad” conference at the United Nations that was organized by the International Humanist and Ethical Union alongside speakers such as Bat Ye’or, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Simon Deng. The name “Ibn Warraq” is a pseudonym, to protect the true identity of a man who is “most wanted” in Muslim circles. Having been highly critical of Islam he is now considered an apostate, a marked man for his “heretical” views and for “betraying” the faith he was born into. His detractors claim he engages in anti-Islamic polemics while others such as atheist author Richard Dawkins describe him as a “deeply knowledgeable scholar of Islam.”

Christina Hoff-Sommers is a former professor of philosophy and ethics at Clark University in Worcester, MA and a resident scholar at a conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI). She is an author of several books including her seminal work, Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women (1994), and The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men (2001). In her books and articles, Hoff-Sommers applies Paulo Freire’s principle of transition to supremacy movements in successful political struggles to the mainstream feminist movement. She speaks of the distinction between equity feminism and gender feminism, the latter being the action of accenting the differences of genders for the purposes of creating privilege for women in academia, government, industry, or advancing personal agendas. She suggests that feminist leaders are not only placing their political goals above academic honesty, but they are also indoctrinating impressionable university students not with grounded science, but rather with disingenuous, emotionally-charged pseudo information. Like her co-panelist, Phyllis Chesler, Hoff-Sommers accuses the Western feminist movement of losing its moral clarity and of abandoning the cause of spotlighting and protesting against the horrific abuse of women in the Muslim world.

The evening began with Ibn Warraq offering an absolutely brilliant refutation of the late Columbia University English and Comparative Literature professor, Edward Said’s 1978 book entitled “Orientalism”, which marked the beginnings of postcolonial studies. According to the impeccable scholarly research done by Warraq, he asserts that the roots of late 20th century Islamo-Fascism began with Said’s premise that “all of the woes of the Arabs in the Islamic world can be blamed on America and Israel”. He points to the intellectual dishonesty of Said’s claims that all Europeans are racists, thereby creating “a western style for dominating the Orient.” He also reminds us that there are gross historic inaccuracies in Said’s manifesto and that Said was not a Muslim and was not a scholar of Islamic though, yet did everything in his power to foster the spread of Islamic fundamentalism. Warraq tells us that through his writings, Said created a climate in which self-pity infected the vast precincts of the Islamic world, in which the West also appeared as the colonialist aggressor while the East remained the passive victim.

Dr. Phyllis Chesler, despite an injury to her leg, literally rose to the occasion and delivered her stirring remarks with the aplomb of a veteran academic and professor. She addressed a number of important issues including the growing concern in the Western world of the rampant spread of Islamo-Fascism which threatens to bring with it to our shores its own inimitable version of gender and racial apartheid. That translates into forced veilings of women, honor killings, female genital mutilation, stonings, wife-beating, forced marriages and purdah, not to mention executions of women, intellectuals, dissidents, homosexuals and other infidels.

She took issue with her former feminist colleagues when she said, “Western feminists and academics must end their unnatural obsession with the so-called “occupation” of Palestine and focus of the occupation of women’s bodies throughout the Muslim world. If they care about women, they must confront the issues that characterize Islamic gender apartheid and affect at least half a billion women in the Islamic world.” She also attempted to debunk the myth that former colonialist powers and imperialist forces were to blame for Islamic barbarism. Said Dr. Chesler, “The Christian Crusades did not “cause” Arab or Muslim slavery, racism, polygamy, arranged child marriage, female genital mutilation, honor murders, forced face-veiling, capital punishment for apostates (Muslims who leave Islam), or the segregation of women. It did not cause Islamic jihad or Islamic imperialism which preceded the Crusades by centuries.” She also put forth the notion of a “new McCarthyism” being spearheaded by the left that imposes fear on academics who dare speak about Muslim on Muslim violence by pigeon-holing them as “racists” and “colonialists”.

The last speaker of the evening was Christina Hoff-Sommers who also addressed the issue of Islamic misogyny and said that Osama bin Laden’s worst nightmare would be the liberation of Islamic women. According to Hoff-Sommers the Islamic revolution set women back for at least a century, outlining the subjugation of Iranian women under a hideous male hegemony. She spoke of a book entitled, “The Girls of Riyadh” which was described as “chic literature”, an Eastern version of “Sex In The City”, which caused Imams in Saudi Arabia to whip men into a violent frenzy against women. She called this, “a compelling indictment of Islamic incitement.” She praised heroic dissidents who are on a civilizing mission in Islamic countries, attempting to battle the forces of misogyny and patriarchal oppression of women. Hoff-Sommers posits that Islamic women are following the example of conservative women’s rights activists such as Frances Willard, the second president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and are embracing a creative interpretation of the Koran. She chided the major Western feminist movements and women’s studies departments on college campuses for focusing on such issues as the shape of women’s bodies, sexual repression and the philosophy of the “Vagina Monologues”, rather than championing the cause of basic human rights for women in the Islamic world.

Roberts Rules of Order seemed to prevail during the question and answer segment of the program, as the audience was again advised to keep to the question only format and not engage in diatribes or lengthy speeches. Most of the questions focused on American military involvement in Iraq and several questioners (mostly from the Revolutionary Communist Party) intimated that this event was just a clever subterfuge for promoting the Bush administration’s “war on terror” strategy, which seeks to create a groundswell of support for the war in Iraq. The questioners made little reference to the obvious threat of Islamo-Fascism that was so eloquently spoken about by the panelists, but rather they focused on their own anti-American agenda as they questioned the perceived hypocrisy of the Iraqi constitution that enshrined Islam as the state religion. The panelists remained nonplussed during the Q&A and answered the questions with alacrity, armed with a voluminous amount of facts and a plethora of knowledge. The adversaries of truth and the purveyors of the Big Lies were outdone by the valiant truth tellers and protectors of the future of western civilization as we know it.

While history may or may not record this event at Columbia University, our kudos and accolades go to Ibn Warraq, Phyllis Chesler and Christina Hoff-Sommers for summoning the moral strength and courage to bear the slings and arrows of the totalitarian left, for exercising their right of freedom of speech in the name of truth and for their shining collective consciences. May they continue to lead us to a more peaceful, secure world, unfettered by fascism of any kind.

———————————————-

Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are delighted to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

Original Link.

Amnesty Criticises Hamas, Fatah Over Rights Abuses

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Amnesty International has suddenly realized that Pali terrorist actually engage in human rights abuses.
One might wonder why it took them so long to realize this, but when one sees how busy they’ve been condemning Israel for everything under the sun, it’s clear how they missed this elephant standing in their living room.
But not all is lost for them. You see, the human rights violations were only Pali on Pali violence. They have yet to mention the thousands of innocent Israelis killed and maimed by Pali terrorist. And if their track record is any indication, don’t look for them to change this policy any time soon.

LONDON, Oct 24 (Reuters) – Human rights violations in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank have become widespread since fighting in June between the Palestinian factions saw Hamas seize control of Gaza, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

Islamist Hamas and its secular rival Fatah each claims to represent the Palestinian national struggle, but their violent schism was widely seen as an unprecedented setback to hopes for a state in lands occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

In a 57-page report, Amnesty International noted that the June civil war in Gaza in which some 160 people were killed had led to the creation, effectively, of separate Palestinian administrations in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank where political opponents have routinely been subject to abuse.

“Arbitrary detentions and torture or other ill treatment of detainees by Hamas forces are now widespread and the initial improvements in the security situation which followed Hamas’ takeover are fast being eroded,” the London-based group said.

Amnesty further criticised Hamas for entrusting its gunmen, who were trained to fight Israel and led the bloody rout of Fatah forces from Gaza, with law-enforcement duties.

“It appears clear that perpetrators of human rights abuses continue to enjoy impunity,” the group said.

Amnesty also accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah of abuses in the larger West Bank, where it retains control and has conducted round-ups of Hamas sympathisers.

“Arbitrary detention of suspected Hamas supporters by Palestinian Authority security forces has become routine,” it said.

According to Amnesty, Hamas and Fatah have each detained around 1,000 people since the June fighting, sometimes for periods of up to two weeks. Torture of detainees has been commonplace, the rights group said citing victim testimony.

Hamas called the report unfair, saying its forces had acted to rein in lawlessness in Gaza while Fatah was conducting punitive actions in the West Bank.

“There has been a constant improvement in the security of citizens in Gaza,” Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said, adding that any of the faction’s fighters who acted unlawfully were “subject to constant monitoring and accountability”. Abbas’s administration similarly shifted blame to Hamas while vowing a crackdown on abuses by Fatah fighters.

“There is a huge difference between an outlawed force committing human rights violations and legitimate security forces empowered by law,” said Mahmoud al-Habbash, Palestinian minister for social affairs.

“Mistakes may happen but we are doing our best.” (Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Mohammed Assadi in Ramallah)

Original Link.

Blog and Website Unavailable Friday Night (CDT)

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Out webhost is going to be upgrading their servers Friday night into early Saturday morning. This could cause the blog and website not to be available for awhile as they are doing the upgrade. Everything should be back to normal by early Saturday.

Our plan is for the upgrade to be all at once on Friday night, October 26th starting at 11:00pm Eastern time. We will be completed by 9:00 am the next morning of October 27th. In order to do this with the least amount of problems, we will be doing everything during this 10 hour time frame.

Most servers will be inaccessible for only 4 to 6 hours. Some, however, may be inaccessible during the length of the upgrade. We will know more as the upgrade begins. We will have http://christianwebhost.info up and running to keep you updated as we go.

We will update this page through out the night.

Obama Strongly Disagrees With Gospel Singer on Issue of Homosexuality

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

The homosexual communtiy is asking Obama to cut all ties with gospel singer Donnie McClurkin. McClurkin has been freed from the sin of homosexuality and believes that others can be delivered from it as well. McClurkin said of homosexuality, “I don’t believe that it is the intention of God.” Obama disagrees with McClurkin.
I find it interesting that Obama has tried so hard to ‘fit in’ with the conservative Christians and he wants their votes, but he is aligning himself with a group whose core beliefs are contrary to those of conservatives. Where I come from we call that trying to ‘have your cake and eat it too’. He is already behind with the Values Voters so he may as well go ahead and pick a side and quit trying to play both ends against the middle.

A conservative black pastor says now that Illinois Senator Barack Obama’s campaign has become desperate, he’s pandering to black churches in the Bible Belt.

Homosexual activists are calling on Obama to cut ties with a Grammy Award-winning singer who says God delivered him from the homosexual lifestyle and can do the same for others. Donnie McClurkin, an ordained minister, is among several gospel singers scheduled to raise money for Obama at a concert in South Carolina this weekend.

McClurkin, who is also a pastor, says of homosexuality, “I don’t believe that it is the intention of God.” But he says the issue is what people do rather than what they are. But in a statement, Senator Obama (D-Illinois) said he “strongly disagrees” with McClurkin’s views and “strongly believe[s] that African Americans and the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] community must stand together in the fight for equal rights.”

Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., of the High Impact Leadership Coalition says Obama is probably “not really as aware as he should be” that the black gospel industry is riddled with homosexuality.

Original Link

Officials: Major California Wildfire Declared Arson

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

That’s all the poor people affected by this disaster needed to hear. This is so awful.

SAN DIEGO — A major wildfire that has scorched thousands of acres and destroyed hundreds of homes in Southern California has been declared an arson, according to Orange County law enforcement and FBI officials.

A total of $125,000 in reward money – $70,000 from the Orange County Fire Authority and $50,000 from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger – is being offered for information leading to an arrest for those responsible for the Santiago fire in the rugged eastern part of the county.

The FBI has become involved in the investigation because part of the fire was on federal land in National Forest.

Original Link.

Court Rules Social Workers Must Follow Law

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Too many times social services abuses it’s “power”. There needs to be a reasonable distinction between parental rights (which I believe are being threatened more and more each day) and safety for children in real danger.

A federal court has ruled that social workers have to respect the U.S. Constitution regarding privacy and parental rights, and if they don’t they may be held liable.

The ruling comes in an Arizona case in which social workers, accompanied by Maricopa County deputy sheriffs, made unsupported threats to place a family’s children in custody and arrest the parents if they were not allowed to make what ended up being an allegedly illegal search of the family’s home.

U.S. District Judge Earl H. Carroll ordered that a lawsuit by the family against the social workers and sheriff will be allowed to continue, because the social workers’ concerns were based on “an anonymous tip that the … Loudermilk children were being neglected and that plaintiffs’ home was uninhabitable.”

However, the judge said that under federal law, an anonymous tip, “without more, does not constitute probable cause.”

The case is being publicized by the Home School Legal Defense Association because of the involvement of the organization’s members, the family of John and Tiffany Loudermilk.

“Social workers and sheriff’s deputies had come to the home … demanding entry based on a six-week-old anonymous tip that the newly constructed home was unsafe for children,” the organization said.

“The Loudermilks declined consent, as was their right under the Fourth Amendment. After an escalating confrontation at the front door that lasted 40 minutes, the social workers, backed by no fewer than four deputies, threatened to take the Loudermilks’ children into custody and place them in foster care if the Loudermilks continued to deny them entry… An assistant attorney general repeated this threat to HSLDA attorney Thomas Schmidt, who was assisting the Loudermilks during the confrontation,” the HSLDA report said.

Under duress, the family allowed the social workers and deputies inside, who found nothing wrong, the report said.

But as a result of the search, the family sued the social workers and others citing the violation of their Fourth Amendment rights in the search, and violations of their 14th Amendment rights to privacy and family integrity because of the threats.

The judge, acting on motions submitted by the defendants to escape liability, agreed with the family.

“Defendants persisted in their threats to remove the children if Plaintiff Parents did not consent to the search, stating that [they] could arrest or handcuff the Parents in front of the children,” the judge said.

“Based on the allegations set forth in the Amended Complaint, viewed in Plaintiff’s favor, no reasonable official would have believed that his or her conduct was authorized by state or constitutional law.”

Even the assistant attorney general was cited for exerting “coercive pressure” through threats.

“The ruling in this case makes it clear that threatening to remove children to gain a parent’s cooperation is unconstitutional,” said James Mason, senior counsel for the HSLDA. “We hope that this ruling will change this common tactic used by investigative caseworkers all over the country.”

“There you have it, [social agencies and workers] cannot threaten parents with court orders or the removal of children because parents assert their Fourth and 14th Amendment rights and refuse to cooperate,” added Thomas Dutkiewicz, of the Connecticut DCF Watch organization.

“Parents do not have to cooperate with DCF whatsoever and DCF employees have to go away when parents deny them access to their home and children,” he said. “DCF workers here in Connecticut are trained and instructed in this unconstitutional practice in order to conduct an unreasonable search and seizure of the home and child. They are to lie and threaten any way they can. All parents who were threatened should file a federal lawsuit against DCF, their workers, their supervisors and the police.”

Original Link.

Amnesty Agenda in Senate ‘Not Working’

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Even though the American people have told the legislature in no uncertain terms, the dems continue to push for rewards for illegal aliens. It’s good to know that the American are smart enough to realize what he dems are trying to do.

Yesterday the Senate fell eight votes shy of the 60 votes needed to move forward with the DREAM Act, a bill sponsored by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) that awards citizenship to children of illegal aliens who claim to have entered the U.S. before age 16. Former INS agent Mike Cutler, a senior fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, says he is relieved the legislation failed.

“Goodness gracious, I mean how many times do the American people have to say no before the politicians get it? If a young lady had to say it that many times to a date, the word no, I think they would accuse the date of attempted date rape. I mean, this is remarkable,” he exclaims.

Cutler contends the 52 senators who wanted to advance the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act are not listening to their constituents. “We made our voices very clear on this. If you look at what happened when they tried passing comprehensive immigration reform — a bill that I came to refer to as the ‘Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act’ — the telephone lines melted,” he says. “Now that should have served clear notice to the members of the United States Senate that the American people did not want this to happen.”

Original Link.

Activist Judges Stymie Local Immigration Enforcement, Critics Charge

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

No great surprise here…

(CNSNews.com) – The so-called “comprehensive approach” to immigration reform that co-joins stepped-up border security with legal and financial benefits for illegal aliens is untenable, some policy analysts suspect, because federal judges are likely to strike down enforcement measures while leaving “amnesty” provisions intact.

With public opinion heavily weighted against the distribution of social services and government benefits to illegal aliens, the proponents of lax immigration policies have made adept use of the judicial branch to advance their agenda, Steve Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), told Cybercast News Service.

The lobbying effort pushing “comprehensive reform” is in many respects a ruse set up to entice law enforcement advocates with reforms that would ultimately be short circuited, he said. This unsettling reality was demonstrated most recently when a work-site enforcement rule fell prey to U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer in California, said Camarota.

A directive from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requiring employers to follow up on Social Security discrepancies was discontinued as a result of the preliminary injunction by the judge. ( )

Camarota views Breyer’s ruling as part of a larger judicial juggernaut that has derailed attempts to rein in illegal immigration on the local, state and federal level.

Citizen activists like Marianne Davies of Pennsylvania are equally mindful of the judiciary’s apparently permissive posture toward illegal immigration.

Although the public strongly supports local ordinances, such as Hazelton, Pa.’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act, well-financed ethnic lobbying groups and legal defense funds still have a leg up thanks to the courts, said Davies. The law inspired similar moves across the country in places like Riverside, N.J., and Farmers Branch, Texas.

Without exception, the ordinances ran into legal obstruction.

In September, U.S. District Judge James Munley ruled against Hazelton, while township officials in Riverside reluctantly concluded they could no longer absorb the legal costs connected with further defense of their own ordinance. The voter-approved ordinance in Dallas was also voided by a federal judge in May.

In the Hazleton decision, the judge interpreted the U.S. Constitution to include rights for illegal aliens, a position that is consistent with thinking of ethnic lobbying groups and legal defense funds, Davies said.

In anticipation of losing out to public opinion, powerful special interests, such as the National Council on La Raza (NCLR), have successfully interjected themselves into the judicial confirmation process where they lobby for activist judges, she added.

Original Link.

Hamas Would Take Over Divided Jerusalem, Netanyahu Warns

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Any territory given to the pali terrorist will be used as a staging ground for their terrorist activities.

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) – Israeli opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu — a past and maybe future prime minister — pledged that he would never divide Jerusalem. He also warned that the consequences of such a move would put Islamic radicals on the doorstep of Jewish neighborhoods.

“Jerusalem has been the pulsating heart of the Jewish people. Now there are those who come and say, let’s divide this heart,” Netanyahu said on Tuesday. “The prime minister wants to come and divide this city. If we leave any part of Jerusalem, militant Islam walks in. That is the reality of the Middle East.”

Original Link.

Officials All but Concede Defeat to Wildfires as Estimated 1 Million Evacuate

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

Please continue to pray for the people affected by this terrible situation.

SAN DIEGO – Faced with unrelenting winds whipping wildfires into a frenzy across Southern California, firefighters conceded defeat on many fronts Tuesday to an unstoppable force that has chased an estimated 1 million people away.

Unless the shrieking Santa Ana winds subside, and that’s not expected for at least another day, fire crews say they can do little more than try to wait it out and react — tamping out spot fires and chasing ribbons of airborne embers to keep new fires from flaring.

“If it’s this big and blowing with as much wind as it’s got, it’ll go all the way to the ocean before it stops,” said San Diego Fire Capt. Kirk Humphries. “We can save some stuff but we can’t stop it.”

Tentacles of unpredictable, shifting flame have burned across nearly 600 square miles — an area larger than New York City — killing one person, destroying more than 1,300 homes and prompting the biggest evacuation in California history, from north of Los Angeles through San Diego to the Mexican border.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the flames were threatening 68,000 more homes.

“We have had an unfortunate situation that we’ve had three things come together: very dry areas, very hot weather and then a lot of wind,” Schwarzenegger said. “And so this makes the perfect storm for a fire.”

In Rancho Santa Fe, a suburb north of San Diego, houses burned just yards from where fire crews fought to contain flames engulfing other properties. In the mountain community of Lake Arrowhead, cabins and vacation homes went up in flames with no fire crews in sight.

“These winds are so strong, we’re not trying to fight this fire,” said firefighter Jim Gelrud, an engineer from Vista, Calif. “We’re just trying to save the buildings.”

Original Link.

Dems Prepared to Ram DREAM Act Through Senate

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

They won’t give it up. Time to contact your Senator again.

In anticipation of today’s cloture vote, DREAM Act supporters have been telling people that the measure would give amnesty to only 60,000 illegal aliens a year; see this, for instance, from the Daily Kos. But even their own think tank disagrees — the Migration Policy Institute has estimated that 360,000 illegals would get amnesty right away, with another 715,000 benefiting in the future, for a total of over 1 million amnestied. Using a different data source, we looked at the same question and estimated that the total number of potential beneficiaries of the amnesty is 2.1 million. What’s more, there are another 1.4 million parents and young siblings of the under-18 amnesty recipients who do not themselves qualify for the amnesty, but whom the government is likely to let stay once their family members get legalized. See our analysis here. All this assumes no fraud, which is likely to be rampant, both with people lying about how old they were when they came here and with people lying about their own age, to meet the bill’s cutoff of 30.

Original Link.
Michelle Malkin has Senate Contact Numbers here.

Over 100 Criminal Counts Filed Against Planned Parenthood in Kansas

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

Wow!! Now this is good news to wake up to this morning.

Johnson County, Kan., District Attorney Phill Kline (R) on Wednesday filed more than 100 felony and misdemeanor counts against Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri’s Overland Park, Kan., clinic Comprehensive Health for allegedly providing illegal late-term abortions, among other crimes, the New York Times reports. According to the Times, the charges include 29 felony counts of providing false information and 84 misdemeanor counts of failing to determine viability for a late-term abortion, unlawful late-term abortion and failure to maintain records (Saulny, New York Times, 10/18).

Kline on his Web site said he would not comment on the filing. PPKM CEO Peter Brownlie said that the clinic did not perform any abortions past 22 weeks of gestation. He added, “We always provide high-quality care in full accord with state and federal law” (New York Times, 10/18). Irigonegaray, who is a listed witness, declined to comment about the charges but said, “We will carefully review the documents … and simply wait and see what this is all about.” Ashley Anstaett, spokesperson for Morrison’s office, said that Morrison will not be doing any further investigation of the clinic. She added, “We are skeptical that these charges have any merit,” and “[w]e continue to wonder how much politics influenced Mr. Kline’s decision to file these charges.”

Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, said, “I’m really thankful that we have someone with the courage to enforce” laws that “protect not only unborn children but their young mothers” (Kansas City Star, 10/17). According to Troy Newman — president of Operation Rescue, which is leading a coalition seeking signatures for a petition to convene a grand jury to investigate whether the clinic adhered to state abortion laws — said Kline’s filing “vindicates what the pro-life movement has been saying for years — that Planned Parenthood has been guilty of illegal abortions, illegal misrepresentation, falsifying records and skirting every possible law for their own benefit.”

Original Link.
Michelle Malkin has more here.

Thompson’s Plan to Fight Illegal Immigration

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

A voice of reason? Can it actually be?? Dare I hope…???

Senator Fred Thompson today unveiled a comprehensive border security and immigration enforcement proposal that would make America safer by increasing security at our nation’s borders, enforcing our country’s existing laws to reduce the incentive for illegal immigration and streamlining the legal immigration process.

“A country that cannot secure its borders will not remain a sovereign nation and you cannot have national security without border security,” said Thompson. “It’s not only necessary for any meaningful immigration reform, but border security plays a key role in both the interdiction of illegal drugs and in defending America against terrorist threats. Weak borders allow terrorists and smugglers, as well as millions of illegal aliens, easy entrance to the United States.”

Thompson’s two-pronged plan, which can be found in its entirety at www.fred08.com, is based on two principles: Securing the Border and Enforcing the Law, and Improving the Legal Immigration Process.

Highlights of the proposal include:

• No Amnesty: Amnesty undermines U.S. law and policy, rewards bad behavior, and is unfair to the millions of immigrants who follow the law and are awaiting legal entry into the United States.

• Enforce Existing Federal Laws: Enforce the laws Congress has already enacted to prevent illegal aliens from unlawfully benefiting from their presence in the country including:

A. End Sanctuary Cities by cutting off discretionary federal grant funds as appropriate to any community that, by law, ordinance, executive order, or other formal policy directs its public officials not to comply with the provisions of 8 USC 1373 and 8 USC 1644, which prohibit any state or local government from restricting in any way communications with the Department of Homeland Security “regarding the immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of an alien in the United States.”

B. Deny discretionary Federal education grants as appropriate to public universities that violate federal law by offering in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens without also offering identical benefits to United States citizens, regardless of whether or not they live in the state, as required by 8 USC 1623.

C. Deny discretionary Federal grants as appropriate to states and local governments that violate federal law by offering public benefits to illegal aliens, as prohibited by 8 USC 1621(a).

• Increased Border Security: Doubling Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents handling interior enforcement, increasing the Border Patrol to at least 25,000 agents, and increasing detention space to incarcerate illegal aliens we arrest rather than letting them go with a promise to show up later for legal proceedings against them.

• Attrition through Enforcement: Reduce the number of illegal aliens through increased enforcement against unauthorized alien workers and their employers. Without illegal employment opportunities available, fewer illegal aliens will attempt to enter the country, and many of those illegally in the country now likely will return home. This course of action offers a reasonable alternative to the false choices currently proposed to deal with the 12 million or more aliens already in the U.S. illegally: either arrest and deport them all, or give them all amnesty.

• Maximize Legal Immigration Program Efficiency: Reduce the backlogs and streamline the process for immigrants and employers who seek to follow the law. Also, simplify and expedite the application processes for temporary visas. Caps for any category of temporary work visa would be increased as appropriate, if it could be demonstrated that there are no Americans capable and willing to do the jobs.

• Modernize Immigration Law/Policy: Change the nature of our legal immigration system to welcome immigrants who can be economic contributors to our country and are willing to learn the English language and reduce the scope of chain migration by giving family preference in the allocation of lawful permanent resident status only to spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens, and no one else (no siblings, no parents, no adult children, etc.).

• English as Official Language: Make English the official language of the U.S. to promote assimilation and legal immigrants’ success, and require English proficiency in order for any foreign person to be granted lawful permanent resident status.

• Preference for American Military Service: Place those foreign persons who are lawfully present in the country and who serve honorably in the Armed Forces of the United States on a faster, surer track to U.S. citizenship.

Original Link.
Fred Thompson on the Issues.

“Did the Muslim Chaplain at Wellesley Commit These Questionable Acts, or Are These Accusations Baseless? Calling All Sleuths…” by Dr. Phyllis Chesler

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

I am working on my remarks for tomorrow night at Columbia University as part of Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week on the American campus.

I will speak in solidarity with Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents in the Islamic world and in the West. I am especially mindful today of the student activists in Iran who were tortured and who have now just been given prison sentences. Iranian Muslim and perhaps ex-Muslim students are protesting this.

Incredibly, in America, some campus “activists” are not protesting these harsh sentences but are, instead, protesting our right to hassle-free “free speech” on campus if we dare expose such obvious facts about Islam.

“Free speech” on campus is only hassle-free for those who view the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the Bush Presidency as the only High Crimes that count. Anyone who does not demonize western imperialism, colonialism, racism, and capitalism requires a bodyguard on campus. As does anyone who dares mention Islamic imperialism, colonialism, racism, misogyny and capitalism on campus.

As Orwell knew: Not all pigs are equal.

Please read the following Comment that we have published at my blogsite. I have not had the time today to research this down to the ground but surely, someone should. I am not saying that the Comment is true, only that it deserves some investigation.

The Commentator is referring to my blog of yesterday about the hostile “mean girl” reception that Nonie Darwish received at Wellesley. At issue is whether Nancy Khalil, who is listed as the Muslim Chaplain at Wellesley, actually did any of these things or not.

I will give Nancy Khalil space to rebut these charges here if she so chooses.

THE COMMENT POSTED reads as follows:

“If this can happen at Wellesley then the intimidation level at other schools may be outside the scale.

How is that possible?

Here are some research questions for students. They should find the answers and many of their concerns will be proven legitimate.

Q1. How did Nancy Khalil (The Muslim Chaplain? An impersonator of Nancy Khalil?) project herself into Wellesley? Trace her whole history, the agitation about the former Muslim Student Adviser, etc.

Q2. Why is it that the name of the Muslim Student Association was changed?

Q3. Is the role of an adviser to be that of a link to outside organizations (that do not reveal their denomination) and to coerce students to join retreats (weekend jaunts, away from campus, with holy men who also do not reveal their denomination? (Do the parents know, this is happening? Wellesley may be in for a big lawsuit…)

Q4. How many times (has) Nancy Khalil take(n) Wellesley students to the Islamic Society of Boston in Cambridge to be lectured to by Mr. Basyouny Nehela during the overnight Tarbiya sessions? Does Wellesley have a complete biography of Mr. B. Nehela or at least his “denomination”? (Then parents can intelligently discuss the MSA scene at Wellesley with students.)

Q5. Has Nancy Khalil revealed to Wellesley Administration the money flow through her hands to the Wellesley students? Where she gets it? Why it is given as “scholarships” to certain students and secretly? Is it not against the honor code to keep financial help secret and against the financial aid office rules to keep financial awards hidden?

Would Wellesley allow an adviser to continue who has built a secret financial kingdom unknown to the Scholarship Committees? (It exists. Have her deposed under oath and the truth will come out.)”

———————————————-

Dr. Phyllis Chesler is the well known author of classic works, including the bestseller Women and Madness (1972) and The New Anti-Semitism (2003). She has just published The Death of Feminism: What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom (Palgrave Macmillan), as well as an updated and revised edition of Women and Madness. She is an Emerita Professor of psychology and women’s studies, the co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology (1969) and the National Women’s Health Network (1974). She is currently on the Board of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and lives in New York City. Her website is www.phyllis-chesler.com.
We are delighted to have Dr. Chesler as a contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

Original Link.

“Wildfires and Environmental Obstructionism” by Michelle Malkin

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Nearly 300,000 Southern California residents have now been evacuated as wildfires spread across the region:

Thousands more residents were ordered to evacuate their homes Tuesday, bringing the number of people chased away by the wind-whipped flames that have engulfed Southern California to at least 270,000.

The dozen wildfires have burned more than 700 homes and set 245,957 acres — 384 square miles — ablaze, and the destruction may only be the start for the region. Tuesday’s forecast called for hotter temperatures and more explosive Santa Ana gusts.

The blazes bedeviled firefighters as walls of flame whipped from mountain passes to the edges of the state’s celebrated coastline, spreading so quickly that even hotels serving as temporary shelters for evacuees had to be evacuated.

Wanda Tomkinson, 79, fled the Doubletree hotel in Del Mar with her husband and their Boston Terrier after employees called each room to tell customers they had to leave. The couple, carrying medication, clothes, tax records and a dog bowl, said they were relying on a family friend to take them in.

If not, Tomkinson added, “the Lord’ll take care of us.”

As the fires spread, most out of control, smaller blazes were merging into larger, more fearsome ones. Evacuations were being announced in one community after another as firefighters found themselves overwhelmed by gale-force Santa Ana winds, some gusting to 70 mph.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is calling up the National Guard and asking for military support. President Bush has declared a state of emergency.

We’ve been here before and we’ve been warned that these disasters will continue. Just last month, experts were calling on Congress to expedite forest thinning and other forest managment alternatives:

Wildfires thrive in hot, dry weather. But the conditions also contribute to the die-off of trees, which must compete for water in forests that have become unnaturally dense because of a century of misguided fire suppression. Once dead and brittle, the trees become more fuel for catastrophic fires.

The panelists testified that more resources are needed to keep up with necessary tree thinning and removal campaigns. One witness, University of Arizona Professor Thomas Swetnam, said even that won’t be enough to reverse the trend.

“I don’t think we can thin our way out of this,” Swetnam said.

He said more prominent use of intentionally set fires to mimic naturally occurring blazes has certain risks, but is less costly than mechanical thinning with hand crews and chainsaws.

Environmentalists blame global warming for the problem, but guess who’s standing in the way of a solution?

Litigious environmentalists:

The GAO examined 762 U.S. Forest Service (USFS) proposals to thin forests and prevent fires during the past two years. According to the study, slightly more than half the proposals were not subject to third-party appeal. Of those proposals subject to appeal, third parties challenged 59 percent.

Appeals were filed most often by anti-logging groups, including the Sierra Club, Alliance for Wild Rockies, and Forest Conservation Council. According to the GAO, 84 interest groups filed more than 400 appeals of Forest Service proposals. The appeals delayed efforts to treat 900,000 acres of forests and cost the federal government millions of dollars to address.

Forest Service officials estimate they spend nearly half their time, and $250 million each year, preparing for the appeals and procedural challenges launched by activists.

“The report demonstrates that the appeals needlessly delay federal efforts to prevent wildfires, and if the process is not streamlined, millions of acres will be lost this summer,” said Senate Energy Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico).

“The American people will no longer tolerate management by wildfire,” Domenici added.

“This finding is nothing short of appalling, especially when you think of the catastrophic losses suffered in last year’s [2002] horrific fire season alone,” said House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-California).

“These were not only losses of forest, endangered species, and wildlife habitat, they were losses of human life and family property,” Pombo said.

Same old, same old. Lawsuits have tied up the president’s Healthy Forests Initiative passed in 2003.

Prediction: Look to the Bush-bashing Left and the nutroots Democrats to mimic the Kossacks and blame the wildfires on the Iraq war–even as the environuts continue to litigate while the West burns.

Original Link.