Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mohammed's Believe It or Else!

Image hosting by Photobucket
Note: If PhotoBucket decides to remove the above image, you can view it here.

To read the introduction to the comic book, go here, and scroll to the bottom of the page.

The author of the above comic book had to go into hiding. From Infidel Bloggers Alliance:

"It is with great regret that I must go into hiding.

"This is a result of the multiple death threats I have received for my comic book, which depicts the truth about the teachings of the prophet Mohammed. I am earnestly confused about this matter. I have spoken honestly and truthfully about Islam and its teachings. All quotes in the comic book are directly from the Qu'ran and the agreed Hadiths.

"Why does a religion of peace seek to kill me for being honest? What do they have to hide?

"I hope to return when I am free to speak once again.

"Abdullah Aziz (Author or the World Renowned Comic Book, 'Mohammed's Believe It or Else!'"
Three things I've learned from Mohammed's Believe It or Else, according to the author's citations from the Hadith:

1. Once a tribe of Israelites became lost. The Jews were transformed into rats.
Proof: rats drink milk from sheep but not from camels.
(Burkhari, vol. IV, no 524)

2. The majority of the population of hell is female. Also, nobody is more deficient in intelligence and religion than a woman.
(Burkhari, vol. I, no. 28; Burkhari, vol. I, no. 301; Burkahari, vol. I, no. 161)

3. Muslims have one intestine, but those who are not Muslims have seven intestines.
(Muslim, Vol. III, nos. 5113, Chapter DCCCLXII)

Does this comic book mock Islam? Before you condemn the author of this book, read the following words by Ali Sina, apostate:
"Why Mock Islam? Because it is therapeutic! Mocking is a very powerful way to convince those who are unwilling to think to do it. Shame is a great motivator....

"Do not underestimate the power of ridicule. This is not a laughing matter. Mock Muhammad and Islam as this will eventually help the Muslims get rid of their cult. They must feel embarrassed for calling themselves Muslim.

"This therapy works. I have seen it work many times....

"Today Muslims become angry if you ridicule their faith, but once they are free from this bondage of the mind they will thank you for it.... "
Mohammed's Believe It or Else is beautifully illustrated and printed on glossy paper. Get your own copy, digital download or hard copy, and feel free to read it while eating a ham sandwich.

Continue reading....

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

D.C. Sniper Makes A Request

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

When the D.C. Snipers were arrested, mention was made of a "personal jihad." The media hushed that one up pretty quickly.

But in this article from Gates of Vienna, we have the following information:
"During the Beltway Sniper crisis, back in the fall of 2002, a series of articles in The Washington Times described John Allen Muhammad’s conversion to Islam, and his later break with the Nation of Islam (the articles are no longer available, but extracts have been preserved here). Apparently the NOI was not militant enough for Mr. Muhammad, and he left it to become involved with a group called Jamaat ul-Fuqra (Arabic for 'community of the impoverished'), a terrorist organization founded by a notorious Pakistani cleric, Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani."
From today's Washington Post, here is an excerpt from an article entitled "Muhammad Asks to Defend Himself":
"Sniper John Allen Muhammad has written a letter to a Maryland judge saying he wishes to represent himself during his first-degree murder trial because he has "no confidence or trust" in the two public defenders assigned to the case.

"'I'm very patience, now I have no more patience with Paul and/or Brian,' Muhammad wrote in a three-page letter, referring to Montgomery County public defender Paul DeWolfe and Brian Shefferman, two well-respected lawyers. 'All they have done is "lied" to me over and over Can you help me, I knew that I would need to fight in the court room but I didn't know that I would need to do that out side of the court room.'

"Montgomery Circuit Court Judge James L. Ryan filed Muhammad's handwritten letter as a motion and scheduled a hearing for tomorrow to discuss its merits.

"'We expect to fully address the issues Mr. Muhammad addressed in his letter before Judge Ryan,' DeWolfe said yesterday. He declined to respond in greater detail to the letter.

"Muhammad wrote that he would appreciate 'stand-by' attorneys 'to assistance me in mine defence. Not to defend me in mine defence.'

"Muhammad said he has tried unsuccessfully to get his attorneys to tell the court that he wants to represent himself because 'I don't want what happened in Va. on the first day of the trial.'

"Muhammad, 45, fired and re-retained his attorneys during his Virginia murder trial in the fall of 2003. He was sentenced to death in March 2004 after being convicted of killing one of 10 people slain during the sniper shootings that terrified the Washington area in October 2002.

"He is scheduled to go on trial May 1 on charges that he randomly killed six people in Maryland with a high-powered rifle in the 2002 slayings. Lee Boyd Malvo, 20, who is alleged to be his accomplice and who also has been convicted of murder in Virginia, is scheduled to be tried in October...."
Perhaps Muhammad wants to live after all. Or perhaps he's looking for a forum in which to explain his commitment to Islam. Perhaps Moussaoui's model in court has inspired Muhammad:
"Moussaoui Says He Was to Hijack 5th Plane"

"ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui testified Monday that he and would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid were supposed to hijack a fifth airplane and fly it into the White House as part of the attack that unfolded Sept. 11, 2001.

"Moussaoui's testimony on his own behalf stunned the courtroom....

"Before Moussaoui took the stand, his lawyers made a last attempt to stop him from testifying, but failed. Defense attorney Gerald Zerkin argued that his client would not be a competent witness because he has contempt for the court, only recognizes Islamic law and therefore 'the affirmation he undertakes would be meaningless.'..."
Does a Muslim's taking the oath in a courtroom now mean that his testimony is automatically subject to suspicion? That idea certainly opens a new can of worms!

Continue reading....

Monday, March 27, 2006

Guest Workers

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

Over the past several days, we have seen on our television screens the masses of demonstrators objecting to the Congressional bill making illegal immigration a felony. Of those marching in our streets and demanding their rights—and waving the Mexican flag, no less—how many were themselves illegal immigrants?

On Saturday evening, I heard an immigration advocate say something like this:
"We don't use the term illegal aliens any more."
The talk-show host was duly chastened and changed his terminology to the more acceptable illegal immigrants.

Illegal alien—another term to add to the list of offensive and politically incorrect terms, never mind the definition of alien (Illegal is self-explanatory):
"1. An unnaturalized foreign resident of a country. Also called noncitizen."
Of late, the various talk shows and President Bush frequently mention the immigration solution called "the guest-worker program." When I was logging into my Yahoo email the other day, I happened across an article on the topic of such programs; the following is an excerpt:
"'[The] historic role [of the guest-worker program] has been as a national emergency program,' Cornell University economist Vernon Briggs wrote in a 2004 paper. 'They are extraordinary policies to be used as a last resort — and then only as temporary measures.'

"In 1917, during World War I, an agreement was reached with Mexico to let in unskilled workers. During the program's five-year life span, 77,000 Mexicans were admitted but fewer than half returned to Mexico. 'The program spawned illegal immigration,' Briggs said.

"A much larger exchange, the Bracero program, began in 1942, during World War II, and continued in varying forms through 1964. Some 4.6 million Mexicans came to the United States, with a peak of 439,000 in 1959.

"The program stipulated that guest workers were to get free housing, medical treatment, transportation and prevailing wages. The reality was often different.

"Avendano of the AFL-CIO said workers were underpaid or cheated out of wages, exposed to unsafe conditions, faced racial discrimination and were saddled with debt from recruiters and employers. Workers were unable to exercise their rights because the employer could have them deported. Under such conditions, she said, 'Workers would rather be undocumented because they have full mobility.'

"Others argue that guest worker programs create an underclass of foreign workers and stigmatize some jobs associated with foreign labor....

"In 1995, the U.S. Commission on Immigration, headed by the late Rep. Barbara Jordan, D-Texas, reported to Congress its unanimous conclusion that an agriculture guest worker program 'is not in the national interest and...would be a grievous mistake.'

"Sen. Dianne Feinstein (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., at recent Senate hearings on the immigration bill, said the recent tide of illegal immigrants raises 'the question of whether guest worker programs become magnets for more undocumented populations.'..."
Senator Edward Kennedy says that such problems will be avoided this time:
"'[This latest proposal] will avoid those problems by streamlining the application process for employers and strengthening key protections for the workers.'"
Certainly allowing for guest workers to have job portability might help to prevent the potential for abuse caused by a guest worker's having to be attached to one specific employer, a serious problem under Bracero. Nevertheless, such mobility can have its own problems, particularly if a guest worker would rather not work or if he desires to disappear within our borders.

According to the above-cited article, the 1986 amnesty for many illegal aliens produced the result that almost one million applications were accepted and, in effect, rewarded those who had illegally entered the United States. In addition, experts in immigration matters now concede that fraudulent documents were accepted in that 1986 process.

One argument we consistetly hear from those opposing certain restrictions on immigration is that we need immigrants for cheap labor. But cheap labor has costs: the overburdening of our school and health-care systems, to name just two of areas affected. And I must also mention this article, which I found at Woman Honor Thyself; the article speaks to offenses and untoward events on our roads.

Furthermore, by allowing unbridled and especially illegal immigration, we are tacitly reinforcing the backward policies of many of those nations from which immigrants are fleeing so that those nations have no incentive to fix their own problems which spur their population to crossing our borders. It seems to me that a wall along our southern border might well be a good idea. From what I can observe, the majority of illegal aliens present today in the United States are from Mexico and Latin America.

America is the land of opportunity. Is it any wonder that people want to come here? But illegal immigration is, well, ILLEGAL.

In this blog article, I have barely touched on the ramifications of illegal immigration. Readers, how do you see the issue of immigration and the bills before our Congress?

Continue reading....

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Thank You, Warren!

Image hosting by Photobucket

My friend Warren of Long Range has done me the unsolicited favor of designing a unique avatar for me. For weeks, I've been yearning for a "fun" avatar, and now I have one! Mr. Beamish seems to have had the idea that Rosie would represent me, and Warren and I went from there. Thanks to Mr. Beamish as well!

Continue reading....

"Life Changes In The Instant"

In her book The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion examines the changes which she underwent in the year following the loss of her husband. She writes of losing cognition and of being unable to perform daily tasks. She also relates episodes of flashbacks—some expected, some not—as she works her way through the vortex of grief.

On December 30, 2003, an ordinary day in some respects and extraordinary in others, Joan Didion and her husband John Gregory Dunne prepared to eat dinner. They had just returned from the ICU, where their adult daughter Quintana was fighting for her life as she battled septicemia. As was their custom, the Dunnes prepared to eat in front of the fireplace. The candles glowed, and the couple looked forward to as normal and relaxing an evening as possible:
“We sat down. My attention was on mixing the salad.

“John was talking, then he wasn’t.”
(page 10)
The shock of losing her husband of forty years to a massive coronary leaves Didion unprepared for how that loss would impact her thought processes. She chides herself for being unable to remember Dunne’s last words. She obsesses over the moments of that evening and, at the same time, has to deal with her daughter’s illness and, five months later, her daughter’s second life-and-death battle—this time with a brain hemorrhage. Didion pours over her husband’s autopsy report, searches medical reference books to see if his death could have been prevented, and relives events of the past when she travels through familiar places. She struggles not to forget a single detail of the life she and her husband shared.

But after a year, Didion realizes that forgetting certain details is not a betrayal of her husband’s life, but rather an affirmation that a survivor’s life needs to go on. She begins to enjoy life again, although on different terms.

In her book, Didion points out that imagined grief differs from the actual experience of mourning a sudden and important loss. In her words,
“Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it.”
(page 188)
The vortex of grief is something with which we all have to contend on some level. The healing begins when we are ready, with our hearts, to realize the following:
“…[W]e try to keep the dead alive: we try to keep them alive in order to keep them with us.”
(page 225)
We can never truly prepare for a terrible loss, but we can learn from Joan Didion that the vortex of grief is both universal and personal. In reading this memoir, we who have deeply mourned a loss will understand that we are not alone, and that understanding will help us to know ourselves better.

Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking and Sherwin B. Nuland's How We Die belong in every home and, if possible, should be read before the losses which one day come to almost all of us.

(The Year of Magical Thinking deservedly received the 2005 National Book Award for Nonfiction)

Continue reading....

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Putin The Plagiarizer?

Image hosting by Photobucket
AP Photo from the March 25, 2006 Washington Times

Not only did Moscow have spies inside U.S. Central Command and alert Saddam as to U.S. troop movements in Iraq, but Putin also may have a little history as a plagiarizer.

According to the March 25, 2006 Washington Times,

"Vladimir Putin -- KGB spy, politician, Russian Federation president, 2006 host of the Group of Eight international summit -- can add a new line to his resume: plagiarist.

"Large chunks of Mr. Putin's mid-1990s economics dissertation on planning in the natural resources sector were lifted straight out of a management text published by two University of Pittsburgh academics nearly 20 years earlier, Washington researchers insisted yesterday...."
A little cheating in college—that sounds familiar. Any other famous names come to mind? See this.

Continue reading....

Thursday, March 23, 2006

CAIR Didn't Win This One

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

Exciting news! CAIR's lawsuit against Anti-CAIR has been dismissed. Below is the announcement by Andrew Whitehead:

Statement By Anti-CAIR’s Andrew Whitehead Regarding Dismissal of CAIR Libel Suit

As you know, the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a $1.35 million libel suit against me because I made the following statements:

• “Let there be no doubt that CAIR is a terrorist supporting front organization that is partially funded by terrorists, and that CAIR wishes nothing more than the implementation of Sharia law in America.”

• CAIR is an “organization founded by Hamas supporters which seeks to overthrow Constitutional government in the United States and replace it with an Islamist theocracy using our own Constitution as protection.”

• “ACAIR reminds our readers that CAIR was started by Hamas members and is supported by terrorist supporting individuals, groups and countries.”

• “Why oppose CAIR? CAIR has proven links to, and was founded by, Islamic terrorists. CAIR is not in the United States to promote the civil rights of Muslims. CAIR is here to make radical Islam the dominant religion in the United States and convert our country into an Islamic theocracy along the lines of Iran. In addition, CAIR has managed, through the adroit manipulation of the popular media, to present itself as the ‘moderate' face of Islam in the United States. CAIR succeeded to the point that the majority of its members are not aware that CAIR actively supports terrorists and terrorist supporting groups and nations. In addition, CAIR receives direct funding from Islamic terrorists supporting countries.”

• “CAIR is a fundamentalist organization dedicated to the overthrow of the United States Constitution and the installation of an Islamic theocracy in America.”...
The parties in CAIR's lawsuit have settled. And check this out:
"The policies and procedures of Anti-CAIR (ACAIR) have not changed in any way as a result of the CAIR lawsuit settlement. ACAIR, and ACAIR’s founder, Andrew Whitehead, will continue to work to expose and present to interested parties any information regarding CAIR that they feel is of importance."
I have previously written about CAIR, here and here.

Continue reading....

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Symposium: April 29, 2006

The Underlying Roots Of Terrorism: Terrorism's Threat to World Peace and National Security, A Symposium Sponsored by America's Truth Forum, is scheduled to be held in the greater Washington, D.C., area.

Partial list of speakers: Dr. Andrew Bostom, Brigitte Gabriel, David Horowitz, Joe Kaufman, Harvey Kushner, Laura Mansfield, Walid Phares, Daniel Pipes, Whalid Shoebat, Robert Spencer, Kenneth R. Timmerman. Updated here, with list of discussion topics!

Go to this web page (People's Truth Forum) for registration forms.

New deadline information: Payment and registration are due by April 15!

Continue reading....

A Little Housekeeping

See additions to the right sidebar. Let me know if any of the links don't work. You may also request a link.

Continue reading....

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Shari'ah Law As Civil Law

Image hosting by Photobucket
Photo from

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

At various web sites, I have been reading about Abdul Rahman's plight.

The followng article is reproduced in its entirety:

'An Attack On Islam'
Updated: 15:18, Sunday March 19, 2006

"An Afghan man is facing the death penalty for becoming a Christian.

"Abdul Rahman was arrested last month after his family went to the police and accused him of converting from Islam.

"He has gone on trial for rejecting Islam - an offence punishable by death under Shariah law.

"During the hearing, the defendant allegedly confessed that he converted from Islam to Christianity 16-years-ago.

"He had been working as a medical aid worker for Afghan refugees in neighbouring Pakistan.

"The judge said: 'We are not against any particular religion in the world.

"'But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law.

"'It is an attack on Islam. The prosecutor is asking for the death penalty.'"
Another news source provides this information:
"Afghanistan's constitution is based on Shariah law, which states that any Muslim who rejects their religion should be sentenced to death ....

"The prosecutor, Abdul Wasi, said the case was the first of its kind in Afghanistan.

"He said that he had offered to drop the charges if Rahman changed his religion back to Islam, but the defendant refused...."
In two months, the court in Kabul is scheduled to rule on the above matter. Abdul Rahman is believed to be forty-one years old.

So there it is: being a Christian is an attack on Islam.

Update from the Washington Post:
"...After being an aid worker for four years in Pakistan, Rahman moved to Germany for nine years, his father, Abdul Manan, said outside his Kabul home.

"Rahman returned to Afghanistan in 2002 and tried to gain custody of his two daughters, now aged 13 and 14, who had been living with their grandparents their whole lives, the father said. A custody battle ensued and the matter was taken to the police.

"During questioning, it emerged that Rahman was a Christian and was carrying a Bible. He was immediately arrested and charged, the father said.

"Afghanistan is a conservative Islamic country. Some 99 percent of its 28 million people are Muslim, and the remainder are mainly Hindu.

"A Christian aid worker in Kabul, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said there was no reliable figure for the number of Christians, though it was believed to be only in the dozens or low hundreds. He said few admit their faith because of fear of retribution and there are no known Afghan churches.

"An old house in a war-wrecked suburb of Kabul serves as a Christian place of worship for expatriates. From the muddy street, the building looks like any other. Its guard, Abdul Wahid, said no Afghans go there.

"The only other churches are believed to be inside foreign embassies or on bases belonging to the U.S.-led coalition or a NATO peacekeeping force.

"Hakim, the human rights advocate, said the case would attract widespread attention in Afghanistan and could be exploited by Muslim conservatives to rally opposition to reformists who are trying to moderate how the religion is practiced here.

"'The reformists are trying to bring about positive changes,' he said. 'This case could be fertile ground for extremists to manipulate things.'

"Muslim clerics still hold considerable power in Afghanistan, especially in rural areas where most women wear all-encompassing burqas and are dominated by men.

"Hakim said that if Rahman was acquitted, it would be a propaganda win for the Taliban rebels, who have stepped up their insurgency in the past year.

"In the months before U.S.-led troops ousted the Taliban in 2001, it claimed Western aid groups were trying to convert Afghan Muslims. They arrested eight foreign aid workers for allegedly preaching Christianity, but later released them unharmed."
Another update, March 21: American Family Association petition to sign here.

Continue reading....

New “Subject” In School?

We’ve all seen them—obese young children and teenagers without any muscular tone. The Maryland State Senate has under consideration legislative measures which would bring the schools into the battle against child and teen obesity. From a March 19, 2006 article in the Washington Post:
“Two bills being studied in the state Senate would require public schools to evaluate students using the body mass index, a formula that estimates body fat based on height and weight. One of the proposals even calls for sending home the results with report cards -- essentially, a fat grade.”
The opposing factions to these new proposals have lined up—eating-disorder specialists and snack-food marketers against doctors and school board members. One of the legislative bills introduced would add both body-mass measurements and diabetes testing during the usual scoliosis screenings already in place for middle schoolers. The other bill proposes a “health report card” for first, third, fifth, and eighth graders.

The bills are unlikely to pass the Maryland state legislature. This year, similar measures in the Virginia legislature died in committee when the state board of education objected on the basis of cost. Pennsylvania and Arkansas, however, do have height-weight screenings in place; the initial objections have tapered off.

How do so many children get so fat? There are lots of reasons, but here’s another clue from the above-cited article:
“[A]nother bill…would gradually increase the time devoted to physical education in elementary schools to 150 minutes a week, or 30 minutes a day.

“Squeezed by increasing academic demands and reluctant to lengthen the instructional day, Maryland schools have compressed gym instruction to as little as 20 minutes a week…”
A mere twenty minutes a week for physical education? And to make matters worse, Maryland schools often perform dismally on standardized testing, so the extra instructional time must not be working very well.

Back when I was in school, the overweight students were mostly those who spent lots of time studying. As an overachiever, I was one of them. Even so, I was not obese. In addition, I had plenty of muscle tone in spite of my school’s not having a P.E. department. We had recess, however, and at home I did muscle-building work: housework, yard work, gardening, and plenty of bike-riding and tree-climbing. But today—at least, in my neighborhood—one rarely sees children playing outside and certainly not doing chores.

As long-term readers here know, I work with groups of homeschoolers. None of them have a weight problem. Hmmm….

Is it the schools’ responsibility to be the fat police? Most schools today are having a difficult enough time accomplishing the academic instruction.

Continue reading....

Friday, March 17, 2006

SAT Troubles

What does "SAT" stand for? As of 1997, the acronym no longer has any meaning. But in 1926, when the test first appeared, those three letters meant "Scholastic Aptitude Test." In 1994, the new definition for the acronym became "Scholastic Assessment Tests," but accusations of eugenics—or something—arose. Therefore, College Board's official position now is that "SAT" doesn't stand for anything.

Achievement on SAT-testing has become an important part of the college-admissions process. Some students begin preparations for the test as early as sixth grade. I'm not kidding! I've worked with some of those driven young people and their parents. Most students, however, wait until their high-school years to begin formal preparation. They purchase one or more of the many study guides available. Taking sample tests and studying various techniques to "beat the test," including discriminatory skipping of questions, students seeking admission to prestigious universities, work through thick volumes of material. In addition, students enroll in special preparatory classes so as to fill in gaps and to boost their scores. Gone are the days when students seeking college admission rely on what they learned in the classroom to get them into college.

Since last year's revamping of the the SAT's, taking the test has become even more stressful for college applicants. The verbal section no longer contains analogies—which used to be the bane of many test-takers, and now students wade through more reading passages, both short and long, as well as sentence-completion items with advanced vocabulary. A new multiple-choice portion, "Writing," tests style and grammar elements and also includes editing a provided composition. Verbal items are no longer limited to multiple-choice, and students have twenty-five minutes to handwrite an original essay in answer to a prompt. In the mathematics section, the level of material has been raised to reflect the new emphasis on the earlier introduction of algebra and the addition of pre-calculus, and students are allowed to use a calculator. Because of the change in the test-format and a lack in statistics as to what the scores mean, many colleges admit uncertainty about proper interpretation of the scores.

As of last week, an unexpected element appeared with regard to the New SAT's—the validity of recent scoring. According to an article in the March 20, 2006 edition of Newsweek, thousands of students who took their SAT's have received incorrect scores, scores which have been raised or lowered according to the whim of the scanners used to read the answer sheets:

"...Last Wednesday, five months after he took the exam, [high-school senior Robert] Smith received an e-mail from the College Board, which administers the tests, telling him that his SAT had been scored inaccurately. He had actually earned a 1780 (out of 2400 on the three-part test), 50 points higher than what had been reported to his family—and his first-choice school, Hofstra University. 'I would've never imagined something like this could happen,' Smith says. 'This is the SAT—not the math quiz you take on Friday.'...

"[A] handful of students who got low numbers last fall might have lowered their sights accordingly. That's what happened to Robert Smith. Last December, a rep from Boston University—the school he'd really wanted to go to—told him his SAT wasn't high enough, so I got discouraged and didn't apply. Now, with the change, my math score is at the top end. I missed the early-admissions deadline. By the time I apply for admission in March, they could be full.'

"How was the whole mess ever detected in the first place? The College Board says that late last year, two students asked for their tests to be rescored. When the results showed that they had been improperly scanned, the board asked for a larger sample of tests to be checked."
Apparently, the students' bubble sheets, on which answers are marked during the testing process, were stored for just a few hours in a damp warehouse in Austin, Texas. The paper expanded enough to affect alignment, and, therefore, the scanners used to score these tests inaccurately read the students' answers.

According to a March 10, 2006 article in the Washington Post, SAT scores are but one of the criteria used for admission to college:
"Ted O'Neill, admissions dean at the University of Chicago, said the mistakes in the SAT scores made no difference to any of his institution's 35 affected applicants because 'scores don't really matter very much, and in most cases, not at all.'

"'We have a lot of information about the kids that we think is more important,' he said."
Such is the official position of the colleges. But the truth is that, for colleges requiring the test, SAT scores have assumed greater importance, especially as the reliability of high-school grades has deteriorated. Part of the reason for changing the format of the SAT's last year is inflated grading on the part of high schools. Another reason for changing the test is the proliferation of cheating on college applications; for a fee, students can hire someone to write the application-essay for them. As a result of the tainted materials submitted to admissions offices, many colleges have been forced to deal with incompetence in freshmen's writing skills, and that incompetence has resulted in the proliferation of remedial courses, the cost of which is a sizeable burden on the finances of American colleges of all types. Even the non-remedial English courses have been, of necessity, dumbed down.

Insofar as is yet known, only a very small percentage of SAT scores seems to have been affected by the recent scanning errors. Most are small errors in the points' totals. But in a few cases, the scores were off by 100-130 points—a significant difference in today's competitive atmosphere for college admission. In addition, another question has now arisen: Are even more SAT scores skewed? That question remains to be answered; indeed, it may be unanswerable.

Talk of litigation has appeared, of course. But the impact of errors in SAT-scoring goes beyond anything which a court can solve.

Continue reading....

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

[Note to readers: I'm converting to broadband late this evening, so I may be offline until I get the switch straightened out. Every time I try to so something new with my computer system Murphy's Law applies: "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong!"]

I am neither Catholic nor Irish, but green is in my color palette. I've been wearing green and my shamrock pendant all this week—not just on March 17.

Image hosting by Photobucket
Photo from

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

Below are a few interesting details about St. Patrick:
"The St. Patrick You Never Knew"

"He didn't chase the snakes out of Ireland and he may never have plucked a shamrock to teach the mystery of the Trinity. Yet St. Patrick well deserves to be honored by the people of Ireland—and by downtrodden and excluded people everywhere.

"Some 1,500 years ago a teenage boy from what is now Great Britain was kidnapped and enslaved by marauders from a neighboring country. Not since Paris absconded with Helen of Troy has a kidnapping so changed the course of history.

"The invading marauders came from fifth-century Ireland. The teenager they captured eventually escaped, but returned voluntarily some years later. In the meantime, he had become convinced that he was handpicked by God to convert the entire country to Christianity....

"Patrick is literally the only individual we know from fifth-century Ireland or England. Not only do no other written records from Britain or Ireland exist from that century, but there are simply no written records at all from Ireland prior to Patrick's....

"...His own experience in captivity left Patrick with a virulent hatred of the institution of slavery, and he would later become the first human being in the history of the world to speak out unequivocally against it....

"Women find a great advocate in Patrick. Unlike his contemporary, St. Augustine, to whom actual women seemed more like personifications of the temptations of the flesh than persons, Patrick's Confession speaks of women as individuals....

"There is no question that Patrick taught us by his example that all life is, indeed, precious.

"Placing St. Patrick in Context"

"...The British Church of Patrick's time was also intimately connected with the Roman Empire. Missionaries from the continent followed the development of Roman towns, travelling over the system of good Roman roads. This was an urban Church with bishops establishing their centers in these Roman towns...."

"As Ireland had not come under the Roman Empire, it was for the most part unnoticed and untended by the developing Church. There were some Irish Christians, mostly on the eastern and southeastern coast. Many of these were probably British slaves who had been taken into captivity by the Irish. There is a record of a Bishop Palladius being sent to Ireland before Patrick. But the mission of Patrick was unique. There had been, up to this time, no other organized or concerted missionary effort to convert any pagan peoples beyond the confines of the Roman Empire. Patrick's efforts to do this, in fact, were criticized as being a useless project.... The more we see Patrick in the setting of his time, the more we must admire his courage, vision and faith. But we also see that his path brought him pain and suffering. Acclaimed as a great hero in ensuing centuries, he himself felt nothing of the sort in his own time.

"Patrick, then, is an intensely human person and not a plaster saint to admire from afar. He offers us a Christian vision of life honed out of his own experience and trials. He offers us a challenge to live our own Christian life today in changing and turbulent times. He comforts us when we are criticized and ridiculed. He gives to us the Celtic vision of the intimate presence of God in creation, in the Church, in people and in Scripture. He is a model for us, giving us an example to follow as we struggle to live authentically our own Christian lives in our own difficult times."
The above are essays of serious tone. But St. Patrick's Day is a time for great fun as well. Enjoy!

In truth, however, my family doesn't celebrate St. Paddy's very much. The only memory I have of this holiday comes from some thirty years ago, when I bowled sixteen gutter-balls in a row. Sixteen! I wonder if that dismal performance is some kind of record. The spectators, so to speak, were guzzling green beer and cheering me on. My seventeenth turn yielded a strike! To this day, every time St. Patrick's Day rolls around, I get teased about that evening at the bowling alley.

Find additional information about St. Patrick's Day here.

Continue reading....

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Does Democracy Have A Shelf Life?

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

I received the following in an email being circulated by a family member:

"About the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior:

"'A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.'

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
3. From courage to liberty;
4. From liberty to abundance;
5. From abundance to complacency;
6. From complacency to apathy;
7. From apathy to dependence;
8. From dependence back into bondage."
Does democracy indeed have a shelf life? If so, where is the United States on the above scale from 1-8?

The above email brings to mind Benjamin Franklin's words, spoken in response to being asked about the form of government establised by the Constitutional Convention:
"A republic, if you can keep it."

Continue reading....

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Saddam Tapes

Image hosting by Photobucket
AP photo from the March 13, 1006 Washington Times

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

From the March 13, 2006 article, "Tapes reveal WMD plans by Saddam," which appeared in the Washington Times:
"Audiotapes of Saddam Hussein and his aides underscore the Bush administration's argument that Baghdad was determined to rebuild its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction once the international community had tired of inspections and left the Iraqi dictator alone.

"In addition to the captured tapes, U.S. officials are analyzing thousands of pages of newly translated Iraqi documents that tell of Saddam seeking uranium from Africa in the mid-1990s.

"The documents also speak of burying prohibited missiles, according to a government official familiar with the declassification process.

"But it is not clear whether Baghdad did what the documents indicate, said the U.S. official...

"'Terrorism is coming ... with the Americans,' Saddam said. 'With the Americans, two years ago, not a long while ago, with the English I believe, there was a campaign ... with one of them, that in the future there would be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction....'

"There also exists a quote from the dictator himself, who ordered the tapings to keep a record of his inner-sanctum discussions, that Mr. Tierney thinks shows Saddam planned to use a proxy to attack the United States...."
Bill Tierney, who is fluent in Arabic, has so far has been working on the translation of twelve hours of audiotapes and contends that Saddam was determined to rebuild his weapons program:
"'The tapes show that Saddam rebuilt his program and successfully prevented the U.N. from finding out about it,' he said.
But a lot more material needs to be sorted through:
"House intelligence committee Chairman Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Michigan Republican, told The Washington Times that about 500 hours of additional Saddam tapings are still being translated and analyzed by the U.S. In addition, in Qatar, U.S. Central Command's forward headquarters in the Persian Gulf, sit 48,000 boxes of Iraqi documents, of which the military has delivered 68 pages to the committee...."
Five hundred hours? Tens of thousands of boxes? Why do heads of state accumulate such vast amounts of incriminating material?

In the 2004 book The Bomb in My Garden: The Secrets of Saddam's Nuclear Mastermind, Mahdi Obeidi, head of Saddam's nuclear-development program, tells the story of what he buried in his backyard, on Saddam's orders.

In March 2005, I attended one of Dr. Obeidi's presentations here in the D.C. area. When asked about how he managed to hide forbidden materials from U.N. inspectors, he emphasized how easy it was to fool the inspectors. In his lecture and the question-and-answer period which followed, he also made these unforgettable points:

(1) Dr. Obeidi had three choices as to what to do with the materials in his backyard—abandon the materials for someone to dig up, sell the materials to those in the market for them, or turn them over to the Coalition Forces. He did the last.

(2) Approximately 100 centrifuges and the brain trust of nuclear scientists are on the loose, likely having fled to Syria and Iran.

(3) At the snap of Saddam's fingers, Iraqi scientists would have recommenced the program of WMD's. The immorality of doing so would not have entered into the scientists' consideration because of Saddam's power and the economic realities of making a living.

(4) While developing nuclear weapons, Saddam's public statement was that such development was for peaceful purposes. Dr. Obeidi further cautioned that such a public statement is not to be trusted.

Does that last point sound familiar today as we read the news about Iran's pursuit of nuclear capabilities? Recently discovered preparations by Iran seem to belie peaceful pursuits.

Continue reading....

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Sonnet: "A Soldier's Farewell"

The following poem was written by tenth-grade homeschool student "A.M." The photo of soldiers in the United States Army was taken in Afghanistan about a year ago. These four soldiers are home now!

Image hosting by Photobucket

A Soldier’s Farewell

Belovéd, do not weep for me today,
Nor sigh on the morrow when I depart.
For though I am from thine eyes far away,
My thoughts dwell on thee as the battles start.
Death’s cold embrace might appear a relief
From this hellish battlefield’s roiling sand,
Yet then I dream my death writ on a leaf
And with renewed spirit protect my land.
I shirk not my duty to my country
And will strive to bring liberty to all;
When peace and hope shine through the night ‘round me,
Homeward shall my steps delightedly fall.
For one’s heartstrings in his own country lie
And calls him with more force than battle’s cry.
--Contributed by A.M.

Continue reading....

Friday, March 10, 2006

Machetes And Other Matters

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

In the last ten years, problems with gang activity have become serious, particularly in Northern Virginia. A short time back, American Crusader posted a blog article about the relationship between the gang MS-13 and inadequate border control:
"...MS-13 appears to be in control of much of the Mexican border. To sustain themselves financially, they smuggle people, drugs and guns across borders. They collect money from illegals. Where MS-13 goes, violence goes. They stop at nothing.

"Recently there have been numerous news reports of connections between al-Queda and MS-13. Intelligence officials in Washington DC have warned law enforcement agencies that al-Qaeda terrorists have been spotted with members of the MS-13 gang in El Salvador.

"Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, a key al Qaeda cell leader for whom the U.S. government has offered a $5 million reward, was spotted in July in Honduras meeting with leaders of El Salvador's notorious Mara Salvatrucha gang...."
As reported in the March 2, 2006 Washington Post article "Assembly Weighing an Array of Measures on Gangs," the Virginia legislature may take some decisive action:
"RICHMOND -- The General Assembly is considering legislation that proponents say would help authorities to crack down on gang activity in Northern Virginia.

"Most of the bills making their way through the legislature would increase punishments for convicted gang members and grant police more power to manage gang activities and curb the weapons many members use.

"A bill from Del. Vivian A. Watts (D-Fairfax) would generally make brandishing a machete a misdemeanor, though in some cases the act would be a felony."
Brandishing a machete isn't already a crime? Yes, in times past, farmers here occasionally used machetes to take down overgrowth of brush although my father preferred a scythe. But brandishing a machete in a parking lot should always have been a crime, I think.

Continuing now with the aforementioned Washington Post article for the explanation as to why machetes have recently raised some concerns:
"That bill was introduced in response to several high-profile crimes. In May 2004, a member of the South Side Locos lost four fingers when he was attacked with a machete by rival gang members in Fairfax County. Eight months later, a 25-year-old man lost three fingers when he was assaulted by machete-wielding MS-13 gang members outside a Merrifield movie theater.

"'The machete is a symbol of a lot of these gangs,' Watts said. The bill 'is a way of trying to arrest [gang members] before they actually commit a crime with the machete.'...

"In the last decade, gangs such as MS-13, a Latino group also known as Mara Salvatrucha, have penetrated Northern Virginia's suburbs and rural areas and have been blamed for many homicides, rapes and beatings. Police have found a gang presence in every high school, and some members are as young as 8....

"...In 2004, the state enacted nearly a dozen laws related to gangs.

"That effort mirrors work done by the state's congressional delegation. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) has helped secure nearly $15 million in federal money over several years for fighting gangs in the region....

"Meanwhile, a bill sponsored by freshman Del. David W. Marsden (D-Fairfax) would require probation officers to check the immigration status of convicted gang members....

"Although many anti-gang bills have passed overwhelmingly, lawmakers and activists have raised concerns. Some researchers and observers doubt that state policies can reduce gang violence...."
In his book Leadership, Rudy Giuliani explains the broken-windows theory, which basically posits that enforcing laws to control the little crimes also leads to reducing big crime. Maybe the members of the Virginia Assembly should have a look at Mr. Giuliani's book. As long as gang activity here was limited to petty crimes, our state legislature was not too worried. That attitude has now changed. But the recognition is coming very late.

Gang activity today is no longer restricted to the inner city, nor does it resemble the gang wars of West Side Story. In fact, over ten years ago gang activity in my neighborhood made the local news when, at the local high school here, a student who tried to leave the gang he had joined was shot dead at the school's entrance. My neighbor's son, the primary witness against the murderer, had to go into hiding for his own protection, and for months our entire neighborhood was provided with round-the-clock police patrols. The police cannot be everywhere, of course, and I had to dig out a small-caliber bullet from from the body of my car; I also had to patch a bullet hole in my front window.

Many suburbanites are now adjusting to the new reality by avoiding certain convenience stores after nightfall, but these steps for personal protection do not address the problem. In the meantime, gang activity moves closer and closer to the more affluent neighborhoods. Furthermore, Fairfax County Public Schools acknowledges gang presence in every high school, and in several middle and elementary schools as well. Specific incidents are not publicized, but the neighborhood grapevine keeps parents and citizens informed.

For the most part, gangs are not constantly roaming the subdivision streets--yet. But random attacks such the aforementioned machete attack at a local movie theater do occur and probably with more frequency than many people are aware of, largely because many incidents go unreported to the general public. For example, last year, while walking home from the grocery store less than two blocks from home, an elderly couple near where we live was set upon and severely beaten by members of MS-13. The incident went unreported except by the local grapevine, in part because the couple feared reprisals. And, of course, news of gang activity in a particular neighborhood depreciates the value of the nearby McMansions. Residents in the D.C. suburbs see little depreciating effect on the soaring real-estate assessments, however:
"When Linda T. Nevitte opened her 2006 property assessment notice a few days ago, she knew enough about the Northern Virginia real estate market to expect a higher assessment on her 22-year-old colonial in Sterling.

"But nothing could have prepared her for what she saw -- that her 2,800-square-foot home, valued at $431,300 in January 2005, was worth $603,200. That's a 40 percent increase from one year to the next, and it is likely to lead to a whopping new tax bill for Nevitte this spring.

"'The whole neighborhood got a 40 percent increase," Nevitte said. 'We have a neighborhood e-mail system, and it's on fire. I'm expecting them to storm the courthouse with pitchforks and knives.'

"Thousands of property owners across the region know how Nevitte feels. It's sticker shock season -- the time of year when property assessments jolt homeowners with the good news (more equity) and bad (higher tax bills) of rising property values....

"...Laurie F. Neff, 34, owns a home in the Sumner Lake neighborhood of Manassas. Her 3,500 square-foot home's value rose from $535,500 to $749,600 -- a 40 percent increase. Neff said she believes that the assessment is wrong because her house has been on the market for two months -- for $689,000. All Neff said she could think when she read her notice was: 'Are they on crack?'

"Assessments rose briskly in the inner suburbs, too -- 20.6 percent in Fairfax County, 19.5 percent in Alexandria, to name two...."
Today's problems with gangs go far beyond territorial feuds or "kids just having fun." What was not being said when the Virginia Senate recently turned aside a bill which would have nullified businesses' ban on guns in locked cars in their parking lots: many law-abiding Virginians want to carry firearms in parking lots precisely because of gang activity, which creeps closer and closer to impacting our daily lives, no matter the economic status of the area. I predict an upsurge in Virginia's provision for "license-to-carry-concealed," relatively easy to obtain in the Old Dominion. After all, a .38 beats a machete every time.

Update from a March 11, 2006 Washington Post article, "28-Year Term for Fairfax Gang Attack: MS-13 Member Unrepentant for 2005 Ambush With Machete":
"A 19-year-old Latino gang member, convicted of chopping off another man's fingers with a machete outside a Fairfax County movie theater last year, was sentenced yesterday to 28 years in prison...."

Continue reading....

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Big Funeral In Richmond, Virginia

According to the Washington Post, a big funeral was held this past Saturday, March 4, 2006, in Richmond, Virginia. The scene was touching:
"In a sign of the city's emotion, about 500 attended the funeral, many sobbing and clutching flowers and stuffed bears. A Boy Scout troop escorted a color guard and lowered bronze urns containing the ashes [of the deceased] into a hole dug in the soft mud. An Episcopal priest offered a prayer. [City Mayor] Wilder gave the eulogy."
But the police won't have to comb the countryside for those responsible for the deaths, and the court system will be spared a murder trial. The killers have been identified and violated no law:
"RICHMOND, March 4 -- This city said goodbye to two of its most prominent citizens Saturday, 350-pound black bears Buster and Baby, whose deaths at the hands of their human captors have plunged residents into mourning so deep that hundreds called the police to report their distress, thousands posted to online bulletin boards and the city's famed mayor ordered an investigation.

"Two weeks ago, one of the bears was accused of biting a 4-year-old boy who had stuck his hand through the 10-foot-high, chain-link fence that encloses their habitat at Richmond's Maymont Park.

"The child was not badly hurt -- no stitches were needed. But with his mother unable to peg which bear did the biting, park and health officials decided five days later to euthanize both animals and send their brains to a state laboratory for rabies testing. The episode became public Feb. 23 only after both bears were dead and their headless, chemical-laced carcasses had been dumped at a local landfill."
Sounds awful, especially that part about "headless." The fact is, however, that the only way to test bears for rabies is to kill them and examine the brain. The concern about rabies was a valid one because of the bears' possible exposure to rabies if they had been in contact with a rabid bad or a rabid raccoon, both of those latter species having recently shown evidence of rabies in the past few years in the Richmond area. In order to spare the little boy the experience of and possible adverse reaction to a series of rabies shots, the bears had to be tested for rabies, which is fatal to humans. The tests came back negative--good news for the little boy. No word, however, on whether the boy's mother is being tested for anything.

Richmond is in a real tizzy over this bears tragedy. Continuing now with the article,
"[After news of what happened to Buster and Baby], [t]he outrage was immediate and extreme. Dozens called 911 upon seeing the first news report. City Hall was flooded with calls. So was the park."
I accept that animal lovers become outraged over this sort of thing. But my personal take on this story is that the child's mother should receive her fair share of the blame. And I'm wondering if perhaps the mother was involving her child in feeding these bears. Is feeding the bears legal at Maymont?

The article continues with this information:
"According to a preliminary report the mayor released Friday, the child's mother, who has not been identified, first told city officials that she helped the small boy over the lower fence to get closer. The report also indicates that she might have told a nurse at the hospital where the child's hand was examined that she had been visiting Maymont for years to feed the bears.

"However, in an anonymous interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the child's mother insisted that she glanced away from her son for a moment and that when she looked back, he was over the short fence and trying to pet a bear....

"How, exactly, the 4-year-old was bitten is not clear. This much is known: The park separates bears from people with both the chain-link fence and a shorter, four-foot-high wooden fence. Neither was broken...."
From the above description of Maymont's facility for these beloved bears--visited by nearly a half-million every year--I find it unlikely that the little boy got to that bear without a bit of help.

Former Governor Wilder waxed eloquent in both his eulogy at Buster and Baby's funeral and in an interview:
"'These bears are making a contribution even in their death, because they remind us that they lived, but they were put to death not by their own kind....Let us continue to be certain that nature provides us with lessons for how to live....

"'Our job is to protect them....It's the same horror you have if someone says to an urchin on the street, "Let me take you home, adopt you, keep you -- and then beat you, abuse you and kill you."'"
From his words, I guess that Mayor Wilder is himself a real animal lover. I am as well, though I'm not crazy about up-close and personal contact with bears. But comparing what happened with the bears to child abuse seems an extreme way of viewing what happened at Maymont.

Some years ago, I had two close calls with bears, and I don't care to repeat those episodes. Moreover, I count myself lucky to have twice escaped without a scratch. Both times, my run-ins were inadvertent: once in my parents' backyard, where a rogue bear was on the prowl, and the other in a national park. I ran like the wind to get away! When one grows up in the country, one learns to have respect for the wildlife, particularly if one doesn't have the proper firearm.

I am sorry for Buster and Babe. They were not at fault in this episode. I am also sorry for the little boy, who may have thought he was reaching for a giant tedy bear. But the mother? Any adult should know better than to stick his hand into a bear cage. And certainly any adult should know better than to let a four-year-old put his hand into the cage. Bears have teeth and claws! Stay away!

The article concludes with the news that replacement bears will be obtained. If so, the mother of that little boy should not be allowed to visit Maymont. She doesn't have enough good sense.

Continue reading....

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Defining “Islamism”—And A Book Review

Before posting the book review at the end of this blog article, I visited the author's web site to see his latest posting and found the following, which is quoted in full:
Islamism’: A Concept invented by the infidel for the infidel!

The mantra, ‘Islamism’, is repeated time and time again, over and over, ad nauseum, ad infinitum, especially by those who are in denial: ‘Islamism’, they say, not Islam, is the source of our problems. It is what feeds the perpetrators of Islamic terror.

The liberal media, in particular, love this word, since it allows them to talk about the problems we face with Islam, without causing offence to Muslims throughout the world. It creates a distinction between good, practising Muslims and their extremist co-religionists. Alas, it is a false distinction!

Our politicians love the term, because it allows them to duck the obvious need to come to terms with the fact that a major world religion – Islam – is out to destroy our way of life, out to destroy our social structure, out to destroy our civilization! In short, ‘Islamism’ is a concept dreamt up by the infidel for the infidel. It lets him off the hook!

The fact of the matter, however, is that the use of the term ‘Islamism’ obfuscates the true problem we face, namely the growth of Islam in the West, and therefore the increasing Islamization of our societies and our civilization. It also obfuscates the causes of the jihad itself – the tool of the Muslim to bring Islam to the rest of the world, the tool to turn Dar ul Harb, the House of War, into Dar ul Islam, the House of Islam, the tool to Islamize the regions of the world which have yet to be Islamized, to Islamize the regions of the world still living, in their opinion, in a state of moral chaos, in a state of pre-Islamic disorder, otherwise known among Muslims as a state of Jahiliyyah.

Our real problem is Islam, the real thing. Muslims do not use the term ‘Islamism’. The concept is unknown to them, other than as a term used by the infidel to try and make sense of the aggressive nature of their faith.

Let us, for goodness' sake, think clearly, for without clear-thinking, we shall never overcome this grave threat to our civilization. To talk of 'Islamism', and make a false distinction between that and Islam, is like making a false distinction between Christianity and 'Christianism'! We don't do this with Christianity, so why should we do it with Islam?

The jihad is fed by nothing other than Islam itself! That means to say that it is fed by the Qur'an, the teachings and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (Ahadith), and the life of the Prophet (As Sirah). These are the sources of the problem - die Quelle des Übels, la source du mal! It is what so-called 'Islamism' is based on! ‘Islamism', if it is anything at all, is not a source, but the result of taking the religion of Islam literally; and that's what all true Muslims do anyway.

The Jihad is a duty resting on the shoulders of all Muslims. It is a must, or wajib. It is an integral part of the faith of Islam. One cannot be a true, practising Muslim and reject the call to Jihad, or holy war.

To accept this term ‘Islamism’ is tantamount to playing with the meaning of words; to use the term is tantamount to engaging in semantics! One is engaging in verbal acrobatics; one is contorting the brain!

Our problem is Islam. Islam, based as it is on al Qur’an, Ahadith, and as Sirah, is the source of the Jihad, and inspiration for it. Nothing else!

We must come to terms with this fact if we ever wish to get a handle on the problems facing us. To talk in riddles helps not a soul, and it certainly doesn’t help the war effort!

©Mark Alexander

by Always On Watch

A book of reader-friendly and short essays, Mark Alexander’s The Dawning of a New Dark Age examines the tenets of Islam and clearly delineates what those tenets mean for Western civilization. Concentrating on the present danger, the signs of which continue to proliferate since the book’s publication in 2003, the author passionately spells out and proves the bottom line: Islam is not just another religion. Mr. Alexander writes from the Christian perspective, but his book will also appeal to those who are not Christians because he uses excellent sources as well as his personal observations. Read this book!

Mr. Alexander's web site is here. And a sample page from his book is here.

Continue reading....

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Another Divisive Issue

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee will try to draft an answer to the House's immigration bill, which passed the House with no guest-worker provision. Chairman Arlen Specter may face controversy with his H-2C visa for hotel and restaurant workers as well as for other occupations not easily filled by U.S. workers.

From a March 2, 2006 Washington Post article entitled "Immigration Bills May Split Republicans: Bipartisan Call for Guest Worker Program at Odds With Push to Secure Borders":
"The Senate will begin work today on legislation to overhaul the nation's immigration laws and plug its porous borders, but a bipartisan push to create a new guest worker program has put Senate Republicans on a collision course with their counterparts in the House.

"The immigration question -- one of the volatile issues in this election year -- has split Republicans as no other issue before Congress. Vociferous opponents of illegal immigration are at odds with business interests and their allies, including President Bush, who are keen on establishing new, legal avenues to bolster the labor force.

"Many Republicans, especially those from the West, have said passage of legislation to enforce border security is vital to their reelection, and do not want this merged with other measures that would open up work options for immigrants.

"On the other side, supporters yesterday talked up efforts to open new opportunities for migrant workers. 'I smell victory in the air,' thundered Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), at a rally of immigrant hotel workers in Union Station....

"'This is going to be very, very difficult,' said Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who supports a guest worker program and says immigration is one of the top two or three topics roiling the country. 'You've got a lot of emotions on both sides.'

"'The gap is huge,' agreed Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), who has been leading the charge for a bill that deals only with border security. 'I don't think you can square this circle.'...

"But to Tancredo and his allies, who are facing mounting constituent anger over what they see as a border crisis, such threats ring hollow. Business groups, organized labor and religious organizations may have united to back a broad guest worker program, but opponents say the interest groups are no match for the anger of ordinary voters. Even Specter conceded yesterday that the term 'amnesty' has become a political pejorative that will be difficult to escape.

"'This issue has now achieved a level of preeminence in the minds of America that it will be a factor in the election -- it has to be,' Tancredo said. 'The political consequences of failure will be dire.'"
Estimates place the number of illegal immigrants within our borders at 11 million. Multiple factors have gotten us to this point. Is the problem fixable?

Continue reading....