Archive for October 17th, 2007

As Violence Falls in Iraq, Cemetery Workers Feel the Pinch

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Something you won’t hear about in the mainstream media are the little indicators that things are getting better in Iraq. If you have successfully ignored the articles about people being given electricity, indoor pluming and phone service for the first time in their lives and not having to pay a dime for it, maybe this story will catch your eyes.

NAJAF, Iraq — At what’s believed to be the world’s largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and millions already have been, business isn’t good.

A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that’s cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.

Few people have a better sense of the death rate in Iraq .

“I always think of the increasing and decreasing of the dead,” said Sameer Shaaban, 23, one of more than 100 workers who specialize in ceremonially washing the corpses. “People want more and more money, and I am one of them, but most of the workers in this field don’t talk frankly, because they wish for more coffins, to earn more and more.”

Dhurgham Majed al Malik, 48, whose family has arranged burial services for generations, said that this spring, private cars and taxis with caskets lashed to their roofs arrived at a rate of 6,500 a month. Now it’s 4,000 or less, he said.

Malik said that the daily tide of cars bearing coffins has been a barometer of Iraq’s violence for years. The number of burials rose and fell several times during Saddam Hussein’s persecution of Shiites, and it soared again during the eight years of the Iran – Iraq war in the 1980s.

Then in the 1990s, the daily average fell to 150 or less, Malik said. With the current war, the burials again reached 300 daily.

Original Link.

Moroccan-Dutch Youth Riot in Amsterdam Following Fatal Incident

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

OK, where to start on this one…
In a nut-shell, a Dutch born youth, with a criminal record, went into a police station and stabbed several officers. As a result, he was shot dead by one of the wounded officers. Although not a common event, it’s not unheard of here in the States. One would think “what terrible thing to happen” and then that would be the end of it. Not so here…why? Introducing “Muslim Rage”.

Moroccan-Dutch youths rioted in Amsterdam overnight Tuesday.

A group of dozens of youths in the Slotervaart neighbourhood in western Amsterdam set cars on fire, damaged several other cars and threw stones through the windows of a police station.

The riots followed the death of 22-year old Dutch-born Bilal Bajaka, of Moroccan descent.

On Sunday, Bajaka entered the police station of Slotervaart, stabbing two police officers with a knife.

Although having sustained serious injuries, one of the officers, a policewoman, shot and killed her alleged attacker on the spot.

The two police officers were later brought to the hospital where their condition was described as “serious but stable.”

The police and Amsterdam municipality officials announced at a press conference Monday that a national investigation had been launched into the incident.

The police also added that Bajaka had a criminal record.

From the age of 13 up to his death on Sunday, the police said, Bajaka had been involved in several major criminal incidents, including armed robberies and a series of violent incidents. He was allegedly part of a criminal gang.

In addition, police said he was personally acquainted with Mohammed Bouyeri, the convicted killer of the late film director Theo van Gogh, as well as with other Moroccan-Dutch terrorist suspects.

Mohammed Bouyeri and the others allegedly involved in terrorist activities also came from the Slotervaart neighbourhood.

The atmosphere in Slotervaart was grim following the police press conference on Monday.

Moroccan-Dutch residents of Slotervaart complained to reporters they were “sick and tired” of continuous “negative news reports” about fellow Moroccan-Dutch, adding they felt increasingly stigmatized. (as Charles Johnson pointed out on Little Green Footballs, “And what better way to counter those negative news reports than to riot and burn stuff?” -ed.)

Several television reporters who came to report on the fatal incident at the police station were threatened by Moroccan-Dutch youths.

Responding to the riots, Ahmed Marcouch, Moroccan-born chairman of the Slotervaart city council, said “it is always the same horrible people spoiling things for everyone.”

Original Link.

“Question for Grown-Ups: Who Deserves Government-Subsidized Health Insurance?” by Michelle Malkin

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Michelle Malkin continues to provide in depth coverage of the Democrat move to overturn the presidents veto of the S-CHIPS expansion of benefits.

Update 12:15am Eastern 10/13: The Wall Street Journal editorial board, last seen attacking conservatives who opposed shamnesty, now sneers at “conservative bloggers” and “the Internet mob” for questioning the Democrats’ S-CHIP poster family’s financial status:

After the Schip veto, Democrats chose a 12-year-old boy named Graeme Frost to deliver a two-minute rebuttal. While that was a political stunt, the Washington habit of employing “poster children” is hardly new. But the Internet mob leapt to some dubious conclusions and claimed the Frost kids shouldn’t have been on Schip in the first place. As it turns out, they belonged to just the sort of family that a modest Schip is supposed to help.

“Just the sort of family,” eh? Yes, the WSJ’s animosity towards the blogosphere runs so deep it would rather recycle Harry Reid’s and Nancy Pelosi’s talking points than concede anything to the “Internet mob.”

To review quickly: We are now “meanies,” “hypocrites,” “slimers,” and “mobsters” for challenging the wisdom of taking money away from taxpayers of lesser means who are responsible enough to buy insurance before a catastrophic event in order to subsidize two-property, three-car families with four children in private schools and two parents who work “intermittently” and “part-time” who didn’t have the foresight or priorities to purchase insurance before a tragic auto accident.

And they call our conclusions “dubious?”

I’d like to know how in the wide wide world of sports they’re managing to pay for all of this on $45k of income. There are only three possible answers: They’re not paying it on that income because they’re getting a good deal of unreported income which allows them to support this lifestyle…. else/and they are hyper-extended, credit-wise, and thereby essentially unprepared for ANY emergency. In any of these cases, there is very serious question about using these people as a poster for government takeover of health care.

If in fact the Frosts are emblematic of the type of family the Democrats think are deserving of healthcare paid for with MY money, we as a nation have bigger problems than we’re going to be able to solve by throwing your money and mine at it. We have a problem centering on honesty and responsibility.

This question is for grown-ups only: Who deserves government-subsidized health insurance?

What if I told you I drove these three cars (photos are showroom models):

A Volvo SUV…

volvosuv2.jpg

A GMC Suburban…

suburban.jpg

And a nice, big Ford F250 Pickup work truck…

fordtruck.jpg

And what if I told you, further, that I owned a large home and commercial property worth at least $400,000 in total–property for which I paid a total of $215,000?

And what if I told you, in addition, that I was resourceful enough to cobble together financing (through scholarships and other means) for private school education for four children?

And what if I told you that neither I nor my spouse were employed full-time–one of us working “intermittently” and the other “part-time”?

Would you consider my family “exactly the kind” and “precisely the type” of family that should benefit from S-CHIP, the government-subsidized health insurance program intended for the “working poor?”

I received an unsolicited e-mail this week from a neighbor of the Frost family, the family held up by Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the entitlement expansionist Democrats. He wrote:

They’re good people. Terribly misguided, pathetically leftist buffoons, but still good people. It was a terrible accident and Bonnie is quite beat up with guilt over the events. Lots of neighbors pitched in to cook meals and help out… Bonnie works half time doing freelance editorial work and Halsey, an incredibly disorganized lovable goofball, just can’t seem to hold down a proper job or, when he’s tried, to run a proper company. He’s a millwork carpenter and does great work installing custom interior and exterior trimwork and cabinetry. He should be making great money but can’t get out of his way…

…Still, we make choices, right? They have three vehicles – a nice new volvo SUV, a Suburban, and his F250 Ford Pickup work truck, a nice house, and all four kids go to private school. Not sure where the money comes from, but they don’t make all that much. Should they be the poster child for S-CHIP? Heck no….

Original Link.

“A WHITE CHRISTMAS IN MECCA? SOMEHOW I DOUBT IT – PART ONE” by Dr. Phyllis Chesler

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Towards the end of Ramadan, (October 11th, 2007), a group of 138 Muslim clerics released a Letter which called for peace between Muslims and Christians. Jews, (my people), Hindus, Buddhists, other non-Christian denominations, secularists, and atheists were not included in this theologically-based appeal.

Already, I’m worrying. Why are they only talking to Christians? Although Jews represent less than 1% (.003%) of the world’s population, (there are perhaps 14 million of us), why not talk to Jews—since Jewish scripture is cited in the Letter; and because we are also viewed as so very powerful?

But, what’s wrong with approaching Buddhists and Hindus who number 360 million and 900 million, respectively? What about Chinese traditionalists who number 225 million, or primal-indigenous worshippers who number 190 million? Secularists and atheists number 850 million; that’s a lot of people. (Yoruba, Juche, and Sikhs number 20 million, 19 million, and 18 million, respectively.)

The reason for excluding these other groups is quite obvious—and chilling. Historically, Muslims have been taught to sue for (a temporary or a false) “peace” only when they are in the weaker, not stronger position, as a way of buying time to better prepare for a military-religious triumph.

Demographically, the only group that outmatches the Muslims is Christians. Therefore, although all the other denominations add up to one billion, thirty three million, their combined number is still smaller than the number of Muslims in the world, who number 1.2 billion. Christians number 2 billion. (I am also counting secularism and atheism as religious denominations – they often have fundamentalists among them too.)

As someone who has gone on record calling for Judao-Christian alliances with dissident, moderate, secular, and “peace” oriented Muslims and ex-Muslims, I do not think that this Letter or its signatories are serious about finding “common” ground.

I fear that the Letter’s purpose was to dis-inform and disarm uninformed Westerners who have been led to believe that their own concepts of “peace” are the same as Muslim concepts.

Indeed, The Letter has already been received very positively in the western mainstream media: the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, International Herald Tribune, the Times of London, the London Guardian, Ecumenical News International, and the BBC did not challenge the Letter’s motives or signatories or place the Letter in historical or theological context.

However, both the Times of London and the Washington Post quote Anglican bishop Michael Nazir-Ali who noted that “the two faiths’ understanding of the oneness of God is not the same. One partner cannot dictate the terms on which dialogue must be conducted.”

Last year, I debated a number of people on Al-Hurrah about the Islamic Veil. Yvonne Ridley, a British convert to Islam, was one of the debaters. She characterized the plight of Muslims in the West as being oppressed and attacked; she said that her people’s blood was flowing in the streets of London and on the West Bank. She threatened a lawsuit in The Hague on behalf of Muslim religious freedom in the West. Knowing that people were watching this debate all over the Arab Middle East and Muslim world I politely and diplomatically appealed to those living in Saudi Arabia and on the West Bank.

I did not call for an international lawsuit on behalf of the rights of all those non-Muslim religions that are savagely persecuted in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, and in Gaza and on the West Bank. But I pointed out that religious intolerance did not exist in the West but in the Muslim world. Rather than bring such a lawsuit, I called upon Saudi Arabia to start practicing some version of Western Judao-Christian religious tolerance.

Ridley went ballistic.

One more personal example: When I was interviewed in the London Guardian and in the Chicago Tribune (in 2006), both interviewers were very respectful and even friendly. However, when the interviews appeared, the questions suddenly contained negative critiques that were never presented to me. In one instance, a Muslim religious feminist rebutted what I was about to—but had not yet said. In another instance, the interviewer told me that “the new material had been imposed” from on high.

I doubt that Jewish, Christian, non-Christian, and secular and atheist views are this carefully preserved and protected in the Arab Muslim world.

In my view, the West is not at war with Islam: Count up the number of Muslim immigrants and mosques in the West. But Islam is certainly at war with the West. Count how few churches, temples, shrines and synagogues exist in the Arab and Muslim world and how endangered infidels are in the Islamic world.

I will have more to say about this Letter.

But for now, please read two articles to which I have linked here and here.

And send me your comments—even your votes—as to whether you believe this Letter is a genuine bid for peace or is part of a massive dis-information campaign.

My statistics about religious and atheist demographics were obtained from Buddha Net HERE.

Original Link.

Prescribe ‘The Pill’ at Middle School?

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

And we wonder why there is a rash of illegal teacher/student tryst? What kind of message is this sending to everyone involved?
This statement says a lot about the condition of our sex addicted country:

Although students must have written parental permission to be treated at Portland’s school-based health centers, state law allows them to seek confidential health care and to decide whether to inform their parents about the services they receive, Belanger said.

How on earth can anyone advocate and support not informing parents about medical care? It defies logic.

Students who have parental permission to be treated at King Middle School’s health center would be able to get birth control prescriptions under a proposal that the Portland School Committee will consider Wednesday.

The proposal would build on the King Student Health Center’s practice of providing condoms as part of its reproductive health program since it opened in 2000, said Lisa Belanger, a nurse practitioner who oversees the city’s student health centers.

If the committee approves the King proposal, it would be the first middle school in Maine to make a full range of contraception available to some students in grades 6 to 8, said Nancy Birkhimer, director of teen health programs for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Most middle schoolers are ages 11-13.

Although students must have written parental permission to be treated at Portland’s school-based health centers, state law allows them to seek confidential health care and to decide whether to inform their parents about the services they receive, Belanger said.

Proponents say a small number of King students are sexually active, but those who are need better access to birth control.

Of 134 students who visited King’s health center during the 2006-07 school year, five students, or 4 percent, reported having sexual intercourse, said Amanda Rowe, lead nurse in Portland’s school health centers.

Original Link.

Producer Claims ‘God’ Censored from Disney Ad

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

I’m going to jump straight to the crux of this story:

The producer of an upcoming animated Hollywood feature starring the creator of the universe, “The Ten Commandments,” claims Radio Disney censored the words “chosen by God” from a radio ad for the film.

Radio Disney spokeswoman Patti McTeague insists the script change had nothing to do with censoring God. She told WND it was done to make the text understandable and because corporate policy requires including the name of the production company in any ad.

Promenade Productions president and COO Cindy Bond said she was told by her contact with the media buyer – Tori Davis of New and Improved Media – that Disney would not play the spot unless the changes were made.

Cindy Bond

Disney gave no explanation, and Davis, according to Bond, insisted the decision was “set in stone,” and there was nothing Promenade could do but accept the changes.

Bond forwarded to WND an e-mail from Davis that said:

Cindy,

Disney Radio has asked that the following changes be made to the radio spot before they will run it:

1) Remove the line “Chosen by God”
2) Include Promenade Pictures in the radio spot.

How quickly can you make these changes?

Tori

After learning of Disney’s revision, Bond asked Davis the status of the ad buy. Davis replied in an e-mail, “The radio schedule is booked and non-cancellable.”

Bond and Yablans agreed the revised version would be better than no ad at all.

Staver, in a statement from Liberty Counsel, pointed out Radio Disney promotes movies with “references to mythical gods, Tiki gods, Navaho gods and animal gods.”

Original Link.

Please Pray for Will

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

I received an email from a gentleman, named Will, who is experiencing some health problems and spiritual challenges right now. Please lift Will up to God in prayer and ask that his needs will tended to. Pray for peace of mind and spirit for him.