Friday, September 23, 2005
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Chirac immortalizedWhen a known terrorist organization decides that you should be featured on their postage stamp and, worse yet, while shaking hands with the father of the modern terrorist movement, you have truly acheived greatness.... and those who elected you must pause to scratch their collective head.
TSA employees skip workToday the two Houston airports found themselves short on security folks because they bugged out early. This resulted in multi-hour wait times to get through security for thousands of Americans fleeing Houston. Am I surprised that federal unionized employees decided to bug out when the going got tough? NOT! Am I surprised by this statement in the Houston Chronicle:
Asked if those who didn't report to work today will be paid for the day anyway, or would be forced to take a vacation or leave day, McCauley said, "That has not been determined."
The only positive way to read this statement is that they have not determined whether these people still have jobs or that they have not determined whether to prosecute for deriliction of duty. Call me a cynic, but I don't think that is what McCauley meant. This is one of the many reasons that baggage inspectors should not have been federalised.
Cindy Sheehan arrives in DCAccording to Powerline, who get their data from the Washington Post, along with 29 of her closest friends. Now this is a movement. When is the MSM going to figure out that this woman is a moonbat and the rest of the country has figured that out?
Funny, but not so funny post of the dayFrom Powerline, we have a picture of the right way to use school busses during a city evacuation.
A very sad storyLes Kinsolving, who I think writes very well and is clearly well researched, has this sad story on a little girl getting caught in the never-never-land of the current state of marriage/civil unions in the US. He is trying to (and maybe does, you decide) make the point that we should leave the traditional marriage alone and civil unions don't do that! I read his story and come to a different conclusion. We must find a reasonable way to deal with the children affected before we worry about the rights or non-rights of the adults.
I have selectively pulled the segments of the piece that lay out the facts but I encourage you to read his article for his take. Compare it to mine and let me know what you think.
Those members of the Vermont state Legislature who voted to approve same-sex civil unions are now faced with a consequence ...(my cut here)...
Judges in Vermont and Virginia have different ideas about what is best for Isabella Miller-Jenkins, 3, born to a woman who had a civil union with another woman in Vermont. The relationship ended two years ago. Now each woman says Isabella is her daughter, with one asserting exclusive motherhood.
The judge in Vermont ruled that the women should "be treated no differently than a husband and wife."
This Vermont judge established a visiting schedule and held the biological mother, Lisa Miller, in contempt of court when she failed to comply with it.
The judge in Virginia ruled that Ms. Miller had the sole right to decide who could see the child. He ruled that the former partner, Janet Miller-Jenkins, had no "parentage or visitation rights."
Ms. Miller moved back to Virginia, where Isabella was born, in September 2003. The couple had visited Vermont briefly for the civil-union ceremony in 2000 and lived there for more than a year after Isabella was born in 2002.
And speaking of "conflicts around the nation," Ms. Miller-Jenkins told the Times of a new and equally serious development; aside from the fact that her former, but now apparently divorced, lesbian civilly-unioned lover is no longer so united to her: "When I left Janet, I left the homosexual lifestyle and drew closer to God."
There is a short novel in here. I will just hit the high points.
1. State laws are not in synch on this issue. In my opinion this is not the kind of issue that courts should decide. The questions that pop from that assumption are... should the federal legislature intervene? If not, which state law should we follow.
2. This case is complicated by the fact that it appears that these two women did not move to Vermont with the intention of living there and get hitched. The child was also not born there. They got hitched in a state they did not intend to live in because the state they did live in would not allow it. In my mind that plays into the answer to point 1 above for this case. That would not be the case for two people who lived in Vermont and one fled to Virginia for a favorable ruling.
3. This case points out the similarities and the differences between civil unions and marriage. Forget that, a lot of states now have laws or constitutional amendments that force state courts not to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. (There is a point in there for the cerebral among you).
4. Maybe this isn't about same-sex anything. If I married a woman who got pregnant by some other man/method and we divorced would I have any say in that child's future if I did not formally adopt the child? In some states I would and in others I would not. Likewise with responsibility (assuming I can prove I didn't father the child), just in case you were wondering. I have no clue what Vermont law would be in that case. One can assume from the quote from the Vermont court above that I would have parental rights but that assumption might be wrong. The judge could well be asserting that if I lived there my wife's child would be my child until proven otherwise.
5. Should the religious beliefs of the ex-lesbian biological mother matter in this case? I would be happy to debate either side of that issue against someone who thinks the answer is simple.
6. I have opinions on marriage. I have very strong opinions on not dragging kids through multiple courts and hearings and examinations to let a bunch of unelected black robes decide what the law ought to be on each and every case. We should find a national consensus on this (for both the straight and gay) and make it "common law". The kids shouldn't have to suffer because we can't get our act together.
US says Pope Immune from Abuse SuitsAgain, well duh! This story in the UK Guardian is typical of the silliness we see from the left these days.
Daniel Shea, attorney for one of the three plaintiffs, has said that if the pope is granted immunity, he would challenge the constitutionality of the U.S. diplomatic recognition of the Holy See on grounds that it goes against the First Amendment's ``establishment clause'' barring any laws respecting the establishment of religion.
This implies that we cannot grant the same immunity to heads of state that have a formally declared religion that we do to those that don't. Wouldn't that be a violation of the establishment clause? We don't recognize the heads of Isreal, England, any of the Arab states, some South American states, etc. because they have an official religion. Brilliant!
We do not grant the Pope immunity because he heads a church but because he also happens to be a head of state. Why are these people allowed to waste our tax dollars?
Pope bans homosexuals from ordination as priestsWell duh! As the article points out:
The "Instruction" does not represent a change in church teaching or policy, according to the Vatican.
Catholic leaders have consistently taught that homosexual men should not be ordained to the priesthood. Pope John XXIII approved a formal policy to that effect, which still remains in effect. However, during the 1970s and 1980s, that policy was widely ignored, particularly in North America.
So basically this is the new Pope saying "I really mean it this time." Except it goes on to say:
Priests who have already been ordained, if they suffer from homosexual impulses, are strongly urged to renew their dedication to chastity and a manner of life appropriate to the priesthood.
I guess the Catholic church is finding getting sued weekly pleasurable in some wierd, Freudian, "we are all guilty in front of God" way.
Don't get me wrong. I think individual churches have a right to do their own thing. I am no longer a member of the Roman Catholic church. If you want your church to ordain gay men and let them live openly with their partners, go for it. In fact, from a human behaviour point of view these cases lean heavily towards getting rid of the celibacy requirement. But, IMHO, the fact that the church ignored violating its own doctrine on this for decades and did absolutely nothing to ensure that the kids were safe led to the problems and the lawsuits. Either admit that you are ordaining and sustaining people whose sexual predilictions are outside the norm so the parents know that, or get serious about it.
Before I get the standard "you bigotted blankety blank" let me point out that the molested children in the dozens of cases involving priests were mostly if not completely (all the cases I read were and statistics published by researchers were that 90%+ were) boys. This can be explained two ways. Homosexual men in chastity pledges may be more likely to molest boys than girls. Also, parents are more likely to not question little Johny spending private time with Father Whatever than little Janey. I spent a lot of time with more than one of our Parish Priests when I was a boy. Much of it was just the two of us, particularly with Father Day. My parents were not only aware of it but totally supportive of it. Father Day was a wonderful man and I assume still is. I do not believe he would hurt anyone, much less a child. I don't think my parents would have been supportive or even would have tolerated this if I were of the fairer sex.
There is no guaranteed "safe" when dealing with the myraid of human proclivities and chilren but most parents are more trusting of their boys spending time with community men alone (priests/pastors, teachers, coaches) than their girls. Period.
These may be stereotypes but they make a hell of a lot of sense and they are stereotypes that most people (including juries) accept. From a purely legal point of view this is stupid.
I happily offer my servicesThis story is not for the weak stomached among you. If you know me or read this blog regularly you know I have a real problem with people who hurt kids. You can imagine what I might do if I found out that one of my little cousins or nieces/nephews was raped by some cretan. For someone to rape their 8-year-old stepdaughter is to me a capital crime. To do so 3 times knowing that you were HIV positive is indescribably sub-human. I happily volunteer to throw the switch, push the plunger, pull the trigger, smack the horse or whatever mechanism the good people of San Mateo CA deem is befitting this slimebag.
He admitted it so the whole trial/jury/appeal thing should be short and sweet. I travel out in that direction regularly so just let me know which day to show up and what the proper attire is.
More cultural differences from IndiaIn this BBC article "India's rent-a-guest wedding agents", I learned that there is some sort of personal stature assigned to both the number and "quality" of guests that attend a wedding in India. At least one company, the Best Guests Centre, has popped up to fill this void.
The amount charged per guest is varied according to what Mr Syed described as the "level" required, and how smartly it is wished that they dress.
Three categories are offered, with the highest - at around 600 rupees - being be-suited guests who are tall, well-built, light-skinned and who can converse well.
My currency converter says 600 rupees is $13.69 US today. I don't know if that is a lot of money in Rajastan, India or not. Most of my friends getting married are having the problem of trimming the guest list to reduce the cost of the hall, dinner, etc. This is why the article was interesting to me.
According to the article the number of attendees at a typical Indian wedding is dropping largely due to a phenomenon we have been seeing in the US for a long time. People move away from where they grew up. Given the costs of travel many relatives do not come to the weddings that would have when people basically lived and died in the same 50 mile diameter. India is also a very large country and the relative cost of travel and lodging across the country is probably (total guess here on my part) at least as high if not higher than ours. I often forget how unusual it is for the average American to go to the airport given that I do it all the time.
Just interesting, no point to be made here, move along.
Myopia in JournalismI am sure the BBC thinks this story, headline "Al-Jazeera reporter held in Spain" is news because the man is a reporter. I think it might be news because he works for Al-Jazeera. The fact that he is a reporter is mentioned twice in the article but the fact that he works for a terrorist propaganda arm is not mentioned outside of the headline (which presumably the article author did not pen).
Politics aside it is news for all Americans because it is part of the aftermath of 9/11.
The prosecution says the reporter, who holds dual Syrian and Spanish citizenship, had an "intense and continuous" relationship with Immad Yarkas, known as Abu Dahdah, who is also on trial.
Mr Yarkas was arrested by Spanish authorities in November 2001 on suspicion of heading an al-Qaeda cell that allegedly provided funding and logistics for the people who planned the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
And we think our border is a problem?From the IsrealInsider (no doubt a little biased but the numbers are if anything low):
Palestinian Authority security officials disclosed Saturday that at least 100,000 people had crossed the Gaza-Egypt border in both directions since the IDF left the Philadeplhi Corridor last Monday, the Jerusalem Post reported. The officials admitted that, in addition to large amounts of weapons, the infiltrators smuggled into the Gaza Strip tons of drugs, including hashish, cocaine and marijuana. On Friday, the PA announced that it had seized two tons of drugs near Rafah.
Explosion hits Lebanese capitalI guess the Syrians still aren't too happy about getting thrown out? Full story here.
Protesters with a death wish?As I began to read this story I was only skimming through the top. Protesters are going to Washington. Yawn. There might be 100,000 of them. Yawn. The cops are preparing. Yawn. And then I hit this little tidbit:
It will be the first protest in more than a decade seeking to completely encircle the White House – with plans to contract the circle, forcing mass arrests. It will also be the first major rally since a Washington law was enacted that requires police to give clear warnings before arresting demonstrators took effect.
Can you spell Darwinism? This could be interesting in a very-not-good way before it is over.