Archive for May 26th, 2009

The Ark (of the Covenant)

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

“Have them make a chest of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it. Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other. Then make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the chest to carry it. The poles are to remain in the rings of this ark; they are not to be removed. Then put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you.

Ark of the Covenant

“Make an atonement cover of pure gold—two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you. There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.

Exodus 25:10-22 (New International Version)

‘Home Front Drill Scenario Not Fiction’

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

The upcoming home front drill, Turning Point 3, is based a scenario in which “a combined missile and rocket attack on Israel from all sides combined with terror attacks from within,” and is “not a fictional scenario,”, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilan’i told members of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.

Vilna’i briefed the committee on the state-wide drill, scheduled to begin on May 31. The threat of missiles hitting mainland Israel “is not unrealistic,” Vilna’i continued. “If a war breaks out, that is probably what would happen.”

According to Vilna’i, “In conducting this national home front drill we aren’t looking to scare anyone, but rather prepare ourselves for a threat which has its writing on the wall.”

The drill will include all emergency response teams, all government ministries as well as the entire civilian population. According to the military, people will be asked to choose secured rooms or bomb shelters, and ensure that they know what to do in the event of war.

During the exercise, 252 local councils and municipalities will open ‘crisis rooms’ and will respond to various simulated emergency scenarios.

The exercise will be the third home front exercise to be held since the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and since the Defense Ministry’s National Emergency Administration (NEA), which is responsible for setting national emergency standards, was established.

Original Link.

This post is brought to you by:

The Jerusalem Gift Shop 234x60

Christian Gifts from Israel – The Jerusalem Gift Shop

U.S. Communist Party Official: Obama is a ‘Dream Come True’

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

I can hear them now:

“Comrades, the Emperor Obama is a dream come true. We are truly giddy. He is better than anything we could have imagined. Long live the Emperor of Amerika, and the new U.S.S.S.A. (United Soviet Socialist States of Amerika)”

What can I say? Y’all voted the Emperor in, I didn’t.

With Obama as president, health care and the economy can be “reformed,” U.S. troops can be evacuated from the Middle East, a second stimulus bill can be passed, the criminal justice system can be overhauled and union rights can be expanded – in other words, it’s a Christmas list come true – declared the leader of the Communist Party USA.

“All these – and many other things – are within our reach now!” exclaimed Sam Webb in a New York banquet speech for the People’s Weekly World, the official newspaper of the Communist Party USA.

Webb’s speech was entitled, “The impossible becomes possible.”

Webb declared that under Obama, “We can dream again, knowing that the gap between our dreams and reality is bridgeable.”

“I am confident the American people in their millions – reeling under the weight of this terrible economic crisis and yearning for a more decent, equal, peaceful and just world – will follow their example and turn this country into a more perfect union,” stated Webb.

Webb continued:

In this new political climate, we can foresee winning a public option, like Medicare, in the current legislative fight over health care reform.

We can visualize enacting tough regulatory reforms on the financial industry that brought the economy to ruin.

We can imagine bringing the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, while being part of a regional process that brings peace and stability to the entire region.

In this new political climate, the expansion of union rights in this legislative session is not only sensible, it’s doable.

Much the same can be said about winning a second stimulus bill, and we sure need one, given the still rising and likely long term persistence of unemployment with the heaviest burden, as usual, falling on communities of color.

Isn’t it possible in the post-Bush era to launch a vigorous attack on global warming and create millions of green jobs in manufacturing and elsewhere?

Can’t we envision taking new strides in the long journey for racial and gender equality in this new era, marked at its beginning by the election of the first African American to the presidency?

And isn’t the overhaul of the criminal justice and prison system – a system steeped in racism and employing punitive treatment as it organizing principle – no longer pie in the sky, but something that can be done in the foreseeable future?

Webb pointed out that neither Obama nor “progressive congresspeople” can enact these changes by themselves.

“We have to reach, activate, unite and turn millions of Americans into change agents who can make the political difference in these struggles,” he said.

Webb explained how unions and grassroots organizations can help bring about important changes.

Indeed, labor unions were instrumental in electing Obama. A Political Affairs article just after last November’s election titled “Special Interest or Class Consciousness? How Labor Put Obama in the White House” reported on polling data released that revealed the extent of union support for Obama.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, or AFL-CIO, sponsored a poll showing union members supported Obama by a 68-30 margin and strongly influenced their family members.

According to the survey, Obama won among white men who are union members by 18 points. Union gun-owners backed Obama by 12 points, while union veterans voted for Obama by a 25-point margin. In the general population, Obama lost these groups by significant margins.

Reacting to Webb’s speech, Communist researcher Trevour London of the New Zeal blog stated, “Now we know every major item on the Communist Party’s agenda. Socialized healthcare, increased union power, massive controls on the finance sector, ending the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, a heavily regulated ‘green economy’, a second ‘stimulus’ bill, weakening of the ‘racist’ prison system. … Tick the items off as the Obama administration acts on each and every one of them.”

Original Link.

San Diego Shuts Down Home Bible Study

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

This is a direct attack on Christianity, plain and simple.

A San Diego pastor and his wife claim they were interrogated by a county official and warned they will face escalating fines if they continue to hold Bible studies in their home.

The couple, whose names are being withheld until a demand letter can be filed on their behalf, told their attorney a county government employee knocked on their door on Good Friday, asking a litany of questions about their Tuesday night Bible studies, which are attended by approximately 15 people.

“Do you have a regular weekly meeting in your home? Do you sing? Do you say ‘amen’?” the official reportedly asked. “Do you say, ‘Praise the Lord’?”

The pastor’s wife answered yes.

She says she was then told, however, that she must stop holding “religious assemblies” until she and her husband obtain a Major Use Permit from the county, a permit that often involves traffic and environmental studies, compliance with parking and sidewalk regulations and costs that top tens of thousands of dollars.

And if they fail to pay for the MUP, the county official reportedly warned, the couple will be charged escalating fines beginning at $100, then $200, $500, $1000, “and then it will get ugly.”

Remind the world who’s really in charge with the “Worship GOD, not GOV” magnetic bumper sticker from WND.

Dean Broyles of the Western Center for Law & Policy, which has been retained to represent the couple, told WND the county’s action not only violates religious land-use laws but also assaults both the First Amendment’s freedom of assembly and freedom of religion.

“The First Amendment, in part, reads, ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,'” Broyles said. “And that’s the key part: ‘prohibiting the free exercise.’ We believe this is a substantial government burden on the free exercise of religion.”

He continued, “If one’s home is one’s castle, certainly you would the think the free exercise of religion, of all places, could occur in the home.”

Broyles confirmed the county official followed through on his threat. The pastor and his wife received a written warning ordering the couple to “cease/stop religious assembly on parcel or obtain a major use permit.”

“The Western Center for Law and Policy is troubled by this draconian move to suppress home Bible studies,” said the law center in a statement. “If the current trends in our nation continue, churches may be forced underground. If that happens, believers will once again be forced to meet in homes. If homes are already closed by the government to assembly and worship, where then will Christians meet?”

On a personal note, Broyles added, “I’ve been leading Bible studies in my home for 13 years in San Diego County, and I personally believe that home fellowship Bible studies are the past and future of the church. … If you look at China, the church grew from home Bible studies. I’m deeply concerned that if in the U.S. we are not able to meet in our homes and freely practice our religion, then we may be worse off than China.”

Broyles also explained to WND that oppressive governments, such as communist China or Nazi Germany, worked to repress home fellowships, labeling them the “underground church” or “subversive groups,” legally compelling Christians to meet only in sanctioned, government-controlled “official” churches.

“Therein lies my concern,” Broyles said. “If people can’t practice their religious beliefs in the privacy of their own homes with a few of their friends, that’s an egregious First Amendment violation.”

WND contacted a spokeswoman for San Diego County, who acknowledged the description of the incident seemed “bizarre,” but who was unable to locate the details of the account. She simply could not provide comment yet, she said, until she could become familiar with the case.

Broyles said the WCLP is nearly ready to file a demand letter with the county to release the pastor and his wife from the requirement to obtain the expensive permit. If the county refuses, Broyles said, the WCLP will consider a lawsuit in federal court.

Broyles also told WND the pastor and his wife are continuing to hold the Bible study in their home.

Original Link.

Muslims Vandalize Christian Graves – Crosses Smashed

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

JERUSALEM – Palestinian Christians in a normally quiet village are reeling from a series of grave desecrations this week that they say are indicative of intimidation tactics from the town’s growing Muslim population.

“Christians don’t feel free anymore. Our way of life is changing while the Muslim population grows,” a local Christian told WND. The Christian would only give his first name, Anis, for fear of Muslim retaliation if he speaks out. He pointed out there are several other Anis’s in his village, Jisna, which is located near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

This week, 70 Christian grave sites in Jisna were vandalized, with the crosses on top of the graves found smashed off, local Christians told WND.

Jisna is primarily a Christian village, but over the last 6 to 8 years, the town has seen a steady stream of Muslims, mostly due to Jisna’s good quality of life. Two years ago, the first mosque was constructed in the village. If the Islamic influx continues, Jisna might go the way of so many other Palestinian cities, like Ramallah and Bethlehem, which used to be predominantly Christian but now have large Muslim majorities.

Christians living in the Palestinian territories have not faired well under PA or Hamas rule.

In 2006, a YMCA in the northern West Bank was attacked. Gunmen destroyed the locks on the YMCA’s entrance gates, crushed the gates, then entered the building and set it ablaze. Local fire brigades reportedly rushed to the scene and stopped the blaze before it spread to neighboring buildings. The attack occurred just after a PA-linked preacher accused the YMCA of missionary activity.

Following the YMCA attack, one Christian leader, an aide to Jerusalem’s Latin Patriarch Michel Sabah who asked his name be withheld for fear of Muslim retaliation, called the rampage part of a general trend of Christian persecution in Palestinian areas.

“It’s been happening all over the West Bank and Gaza,” said the aide.

There have been rampant reports of abuses and persecution in several West Bank towns taken over by the PA.

Anti-Christian riots have been reported in Ramallah, Nazareth and surrounding villages as well as in towns in Gaza, where Christians have been targeted in scores of attacks, some deadly. In Bethlehem, local Christians have long complained of anti-Christian violence. The city’s Christian population, once 90 percent, declined drastically since the PA took control in December 1995. Christians now make up less than 25 percent of Bethlehem, according to Israeli surveys.

Christian leaders and residents in Bethlehem told WND they face an atmosphere of regular hostility. They said Palestinian armed groups stir tension by holding militant demonstrations and marches in the streets. They spoke of instances in which Christian shopkeepers’ stores were ransacked and Christian homes attacked. One of the most urgent problems involves the unilateral confiscation of Christian property by local Islamists.

“It is a regular phenomenon in Bethlehem,” Samir Qumsiyeh, a Bethlehem Christian leader and owner of the Beit Sahour-based private Al-Mahd (Nativity) TV station, told WND. “They go to a poor Christian person with a forged power of attorney document, then they say we have papers proving you’re living on our land. If you confront them, many times the Christian is beaten. You can’t do anything about it. The Christian loses, and he runs away.”

In the Gaza Strip, Christians fare worse under Hamas rule. The Islamist group took over the territory in 2007. About 3,000 Christians live in the Gaza Strip, which has a population of over 1 million.

In December, Christian leaders in Gaza told WND they held only small, quiet Christmas celebrations after local leaders received warnings from Muslim groups against any public display of Christianity during the holiday season. Hamas claimed the Christian celebrations were muted to protest what it said was an Israeli siege of the coastal Gaza Strip.

Since Hamas’ rise to power, Christian in Gaza repeatedly have been targeted. Jihadia Salafiya, an Islamist outreach group with a so-called military wing, is suspected of many of the Islamist attacks, such as a May 2007 shooting against a United Nations school in Gaza after it allowed boys and girls to participate in the same sporting event. One person was killed in the attack.

In the case of Ayyad, the bible store owner, WND quoted witnesses stating he was publicly tortured a few blocks from his store before he was shot to death. The witnesses said they saw three armed men, two of whom were wearing masks, beat Ayyad repeatedly with clubs and the butts of their guns while they accused him of attempting to spread Christianity in Gaza. The witnesses said that after sustaining the beating, Ayyad was shot by all three men.

Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, told WND in an exclusive interview after Hamas first seized Gaza that Christians could continue living safely in the Gaza Strip only if they accepted Islamic law, including a ban on alcohol and on women roaming publicly without proper head coverings.

“[Now that Hamas is in power,] the situation has changed 180 degrees in Gaza,” said Abu Saqer, speaking from Gaza.

“Jihadia Salafiya and other Islamic movements will ensure Christian schools and institutions show publicly what they are teaching to be sure they are not carrying out missionary activity. No more alcohol on the streets. All women, including non-Muslims, need to understand they must be covered at all times while in public,” he said.

“Also the activities of Internet cafes, pool halls and bars must be stopped,” said Abu Saqer. “If it goes on, we’ll attack these things very harshly.”

Abu Saqer accused the leadership of the Gaza Christian community of “proselytizing and trying to convert Muslims with funding from American evangelicals.”

“This missionary activity is endangering the entire Christian community in Gaza,” he said.

Abu Saqer claimed there was “no need” for the thousands of Christians in Gaza to maintain a large number of institutions in the territory.

He said Hamas “must work to impose an Islamic rule or it will lose the authority it has and the will of the people.”

Read the complete article here.

California Proposition 8 Ruling to Emerge Today

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Continue to pray about this.

A year ago, the California Supreme Court declared that barring homosexual marriage is unconstitutional. Proposition 8, which was approved by 52 percent of California voters last November in a bitter and hotly-contested campaign, defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Homosexual activists immediately filed suit to overturn the majority vote of the people. The cases were consolidated into three, which the court will rule on.

One of the issues is whether the proposition involved one or two issues because the constitution limits constitutional amendments to one. Homosexual activists contend it deals with two because it defines marriage but bars recognition of homosexual or any other kind of marriage, thus making it two subjects.

Original Link.

“Netanyahu’s Peace Plan” by Caroline Glick

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit with US President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday was a baptism of fire for the new premier. What emerged from the meeting is that Obama’s priorities regarding Iran, Israel and the Arab world are diametrically opposed to Israel’s priorities.

During his ad hoc press conference with Netanyahu, Obama made clear that he will not lift a finger to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And acting as Obama’s surrogate, for the past two weeks CIA Director Leon Panetta has made clear that Obama expects Israel to also sit on its thumbs as Iran develops the means to destroy it.

Obama showed his hand on Iran in three ways. First, he set a nonbinding timetable of seven months for his policy of appeasement and engagement of the ayatollahs to work. That policy, he explained, will only be implemented after next month’s Iranian presidential elections. And those direct US-Iranian talks must be given at least six months to show results before they can be assessed as successful or failed.

But Israel’s Military Intelligence has assessed that six months may be too long to wait. By the end of the year, Iran’s nuclear program may be unstoppable. And Iran’s successful test of its solid fuel Sejil-2 missile with a 2,000 kilometer range on Wednesday merely served to show the urgency of the situation. Obviously the mullahs are not waiting for Obama to convince them of the error of their ways.

Beyond the fact that Obama’s nonbinding timeline is too long, there is his “or else.” Obama made clear that in the event that in December or January he concludes that the Iranians are not negotiating in good faith, the most radical step he will be willing to take will be to consider escalating international sanctions against Teheran. In the meantime, at his urging, Congressman Howard Berman, chairman of the House International Affairs Committee, has set aside a bill requiring sanctions against oil companies that export refined fuel into Iran.

Finally there was Obama’s contention that the best way for the US to convince Iran to give up its nuclear program is by convincing Israel to give away more land to the Palestinians. As Obama put it, “To the extent that we can make peace with the Palestinians, between the Palestinians and the Israelis, then I actually think it strengthens our hand in the international community in dealing with a potential Iranian threat.” This statement encapsulates the basic lack of seriousness and fundamental mendacity of Obama’s approach to “dealing with a potential Iranian threat.”

Iran has made clear that it wants Israel destroyed. The mullahs don’t care how big Israel is. Their missiles are pointing at Tel Aviv, not Beit El. As for the international community, the Russians and Chinese have not been assisting Iran’s nuclear and missile programs for the past 15 years because there is no Palestinian state. They have been assisting Iran because they think a strong Iran weakens the US. And they are right.

The Arab states, for their part, are already openly siding with Israel against Iran. The establishment of a Palestinian state will not make their support for action to prevent Iran from acquiring the means to dominate the region any more profound.

On the face of it, Obama’s obsessive push for a Palestinian state makes little sense. The Palestinians are hopelessly divided. It is not simply that Hamas rules the Gaza Strip and Fatah controls Judea and Samaria. Fatah itself is riven by division. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s appointment of the new PA government under Salaam Fayad was overwhelmingly rejected by Fatah leaders. Quite simply, there is no coherent Palestinian leadership that is either willing or capable of reaching an accord with Israel.

As for the prospects for peace itself, given that there is little distinction between the anti-Semitic bilge broadcast daily in Gaza by Hamas-controlled media, and the anti-Semitic bilge broadcast daily in Judea and Samaria by the Fatah/Abbas/Fayad-controlled media, those prospects aren’t looking particularly attractive. That across-the-board anti-Semitic incitement has engendered the current situation where Hamas and Fatah members and supporters are firmly united in their desire to see Israel destroyed. This was made clear on Thursday morning when a Fatah policeman in Kalkilya used his US-provided rifle to open fire on IDF soldiers engaged in a counterterror operation in the city.

Given that the establishment of a Palestinian state will have no impact on Iran’s nuclear program, and in light of the fact that under the present circumstances any Palestinian state will be at war with Israel, and assuming that Obama is not completely ignorant of the situation on the ground, there is only one reasonable explanation for his urgent desire to force Israel to support the creation of a Palestinian state and to work for its establishment by expelling hundreds of thousands of Israelis from their homes. Quite simply, it is a way to divert attention away from Obama’s acquiescence to Iran’s nuclear aspirations.

BY MAKING the achievement of the unachievable goal of making peace between Israel and the Palestinians through the establishment of a Palestinian terror state the centerpiece of his Middle East agenda, Obama is able to cast Israel as the region’s villain. This aim is reflected in the administration’s intensifying pressure on Israel to destroy Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

In portraying Jews who live in mobile homes on barren hilltops in Judea and Samaria – rather than Iranian mullahs who test ballistic missile while enriching uranium and inciting genocide – as the greatest obstacle to peace, the Obama administration not only seeks to deflect attention away from its refusal to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It is also setting Israel up as the fall guy who it will blame after Iran emerges as a nuclear power.

Obama’s intention to unveil his Middle East peace plan in the course of his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo on June 4, like his decision to opt out of visiting Israel in favor of visiting a Nazi death camp, make it clear that he does not perceive Israel as a vital ally, or even as a partner in the peace process he wishes to initiate. Israeli officials were not consulted about his plan. Then, too, from the emerging contours of his plan, it is clear that he will be offering something that no Israeli government can accept.

Read the rest of the article here.

“The Jihadi Virus in Our Jails” By Michelle Malkin

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

President Obama’s speech on homeland security was 6,072 words long. Curiously, he chose not to spare an “a,” “and,” or “uh” on the New York City terror bust that dominated headlines the morning of his Tuesday address. Did the teleprompter run out of room?

After a year-long investigation launched by the Bush administration, the feds cracked down on a ring of murder-minded black Muslim jailhouse converts preparing to bomb two Bronx synagogues and “eager to bring death to Jews.” They also planned to attack a New York National Guard air base in Newburgh, New York, where the suspects lived and worshiped at a local mosque.

Not one word from the president on the jihadists’ intended victims, motives, or means.

No comfort for the reported targets in the Big Apple, still raw from the Scare Force One rattling that so vainly and recklessly simulated 9/11.

No condemnation for the accused plotters.

Why? Because doing so would force Obama to abandon his cottony “extremist ideology” euphemisms and confront the concrete truth. To borrow one of our obtuse president’s favorite clichés, “let me be perfectly clear” about the reality Obama won’t touch: America faces an ongoing Islamic jihad at home and abroad. Not merely “man-caused.” But Koran-inspired. Yet, Obama refuses to spell out the centuries-old roots of the war that he claims he’ll win faster, better, and cleaner than any of his predecessors.

Moreover, his push to transfer violent Muslim warmongers into our civilian prisons – where they have proselytized and plotted with impunity– will only make the problem worse. A brief refresher course for the Left’s amnesiacs about the festering jihadi virus in our jails and overseas:

In 2005, Bush administration officials busted a terrorist plot to attack infidels at military and Jewish sites in the Los Angeles on the fourth anniversary of 9/11 or the Jewish holy days. It was devised by militant Muslim converts of Jam’iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh (Arabic for “Assembly of Authentic Islam”) who had sworn allegiance to violent jihad at California’s New Folsom State Prison.

Jose Padilla, the convicted terror conspirator, converted to Islam during a stint at a Broward County, Fla., jail and reportedly fell in with terrorist recruiters after his release. Convicted Shoe Bomber Richard Reid converted to Islam with the help of an extremist imam in a British prison.

Aqil Collins, a self-confessed jihadist turned FBI informant, converted to Islam while doing time in a California juvenile detention center. At a terrorist camp in Afghanistan, he went on to train with one of the men accused of kidnapping and beheading Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

In East Texas, inmates were recruited with a half-hour videotape featuring the anti-Semitic rants of California-based Imam Muhammad Abdullah, who claims that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were actually carried out by the Israeli and U.S. governments.

Federal corrections officials told congressional investigators during the Bush years “that convicted terrorists from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing were put into their prisons’ general population , where they radicalized inmates and told them that terrorism was part of Islam.”

Despite the insistence of Obama and the Jihadi Welcome Wagon that our civilian prisons are perfectly secure, convicted terror helper Lynne Stewart helped jailed 1993 World Trade Center bombing/NY landmark bombing plot mastermind Omar Abdel-Rahman smuggle coded messages of Islamic violence from the imprisoned sheik to outside followers in violation of an explicit pledge to abide by her client’s court-ordered isolation.

As I’ve reported previously, U.S. Bureau of Prison reports have warned for years that our civilian detention facilities are major breeding grounds for Islamic terrorists. There are still not enough legitimately trained and screened Muslim religious leaders to counsel an estimated 9,000 U.S. prison inmates who demand Islamic services. Under the Bush administration, the federal prison bureaucracy had no policy in place to screen out extremist, violence-advocating Islamic chaplains; failed to properly screen the many contractors and volunteers who help provide religious services to Islamic inmates; and shied away from religious profiling.

What’s Obama’s plan to prevent the jihadi virus from spreading? Washing hands and covering mouths won’t work for this disease.

***

More from the NYPost on the jailhouse conversions of the would-be synagogue bombers:

Richard Williams said that his 32-year-old nephew fell under the sway of dangerously radical Islamo-fascists while serving time on drug charges — and that he became “brainwashed” after his mother died and his ex-wife fought him for custody of their child.

“They played on his weaknesses and what was going on with his family,” Richard said. “He was brainwashed and manipulated in the system.”

Authorities say Onta Williams fell in with his three alleged co-conspirators, James Cromitie, 45, David Williams, 28, and 37-year-old Laguerre Payen, at a Newburgh mosque, where they bonded when they discovered they were all ex-cons.

Relatives and friends of the other three men charged in the horrific plot to blow up two Bronx synagogues and shoot down an Air National Guard plane said the men never expressed any interest in terrorism. But they all quickly developed a deep interest in Islam in jail.

Williams’ uncle — who himself once served 10 years on a drug charge — said he was familiar with prison converts to Islam.

Original Link.

Gay Curriculum Proposal Riles Elementary School Parents

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Parents who do not agree with a curriculum should be able to exclude their children from these particular lessons.

A group of parents in a California school district say they are being bullied by school administrators into accepting a new curriculum that addresses bullying, respect and acceptance — and that includes compulsory lessons about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community that will be taught to children as young as 5 years old.

The parents from the Unified School District in Alameda, a suburb of San Francisco and Oakland, say these issues are best learned at home and most definitely are not age-appropriate for elementary school children.

The parents are also angry that they will not be allowed to keep their children out of the classes.

“I believe these children are far too young to be learning about what these issues mean,” said Alaina Stewart, who has three children who attend elementary school in Alameda. “These are adult issues and they are being thrust upon the children.”

But the school board says otherwise, and its attorneys say that if the curriculum is adopted, the parents will have no legal right to remove their children from class when the lessons are being taught.

“By not allowing kids to opt out,” says David Kirwin, who has two children in the system, “the school district is violating a First Amendment right for those who have a religion that doesn’t support homosexuality.”

The proposed curriculum will include a 45-minute LGBT lesson, once a year from kindergarten through fifth grade. The kindergartners will focus on the harms of teasing, while the fifth graders will study sexual orientation stereotypes.

The move toward the new curriculum began two years ago, when teachers noticed that even kindergarten students were using derogatory words about sexuality, such as “fag.”

“Students reported feeling bullied,” said Kirsten Vital, superintendent of the Alameda Unified School District. “This work is in response to teachers asking for tools to combat name-calling and bullying at school.”

Among the course materials that could be added to the curriculum is “And Tango Makes Three,” a children’s book about gay penguins struggling to create a family. The book has been banned in some areas of the country.

Original Link.

North Korea Conducts Nuclear Test and Test Fires Missiles

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

This is what happens when wars are left unfinished and despot dictators are left in power.

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea launched tests Tuesday of two more short-range missiles a day after detonating a nuclear bomb underground, a news report said, pushing the regime’s confrontation with world powers further despite the threat of U.N. Security Council action.

Two missiles — one ground-to-air, the other ground-to-ship — with a range of about 80 miles (130 kilometers) were test-fired from an east coast launch pad, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, citing an unnamed government official.

South Korean spy chief Won Sei-hoon had informed lawmakers earlier Tuesday that a missile test was likely, according to the office of Park Young-sun, a legislator who attended the closed-door briefing.

Yonhap reported that North Korea was preparing to launch a third missile from a west coast site, again citing an unnamed official.

North Korea appeared to be displaying its might a day after conducting an underground atomic test in the northeast that the U.N. Security Council condemned as a “clear violation” of a 2006 resolution banning the regime from developing its nuclear program.

France called for new sanctions, while the U.S. and Japan pushed for strong action against North Korea for testing a bomb that Russian officials said was comparable in power to those that obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

Original Link.