Friday, December 15, 2006


Even though I sometimes use an identity which links back to this blog, this site has now moved to Always On Watch Two, where Haloscan provides for the banning of trolls.

See you there, friends!

Note: Feel free to continue commenting here to the threads which are presently active and operating under comment moderation.


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Addition To Sidebar

Turn on your speakers.

[Hat-tip to Brooke]

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December 15: Bill Of Rights Day

According to this source,
This day was signed into practice by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on December 15, 1941, one hundred and fifty years after the actual signing of the Bill of Rights by our forefathers. Ironically, he proclaimed the holiday just one week after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor initiating the United States' involvement in World War II where freedom issues were at the core of wartime dogma....

While the U.S. Constitution was written in 1787, it wasn't until two years later that the ten Bill of Rights were incorporated into the governing document.
George Mason of Virginia, with the Virginia Declaration of Rights, helped to contribute to our Declaration of Independence and to the Bill of Rights, an essential portion of our Constitution:

A call for American independence from Britain, the Virginia Declaration of Rights was drafted by George Mason in May 1776 and amended by Thomas Ludwell Lee and the Virginia Convention. Thomas Jefferson drew heavily from this document when he drafted the Declaration of Independence one month later.

Mason wrote that "all men are born equally free and independant [sic], and have certain inherent natural rights,...among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursueing [sic] and obtaining Happiness and Safety." This uniquely influential document was also used by James Madison in drawing up the Bill of Rights (1789)...
The following is the complete text of our Bill of Rights, with summarizing headers:
First Amendment – Freedom of speech, press, religion, peaceable assembly, and to petition the government.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Second Amendment
– Right for the people to keep and bear arms, as well as to maintain a militia.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

Third Amendment – Protection from quartering of troops.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Fourth Amendment – Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Fifth Amendment
– Due process, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, private property.
No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Sixth Amendment – Trial by jury and other rights of the accused.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Seventh Amendment – Civil trial by jury.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Eighth Amendment – Prohibition of excessive bail, as well as cruel and unusual punishment.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Ninth Amendment – Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Tenth Amendment – Powers of states and people
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
Now is also a fitting time to review some quotations from George Mason. A few samples:
June 12, 1788
Live in a frugal Style, without parade or Ostentation, avoid all unnecessary Expence, & do as much of your Business your selves, as you can...

April 17-26, 1775
We came equals into this world, and equals shall we go out of it. All men are by nature born equally free and independent. To protect the weaker from the injuries and insults of the stronger were societies first formed; … Every society, all government, and every kind of civil compact therefore, is or ought to be, calculated for the general good and safety of the community. Every power, every authority vested in particular men is, or ought to be, ultimately directed to this sole end; and whenever any power or authority whatever extends further, or is of longer duration than is in its nature necessary for these purposes, it may be called government, but it is in fact oppression.

May 20, 1787
It is easy to foresee that there will be much Difficulty in organizing a Government upon this great Scale, & at the same time reserving to the State Legislatures a sufficient Portion of Power for promoting & securing the Prosperity & Happiness of their respective Citizens.

July 5, 1792
… for at my time of Life, my only Satisfaction and Pleasure is in my Children; and all my Views are centered in their Wellfare and Happiness.

Aug. 22, 1787
...Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of heaven on a Country. As nations can not be rewarded or punished in the next world they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of caused & effects providence punishes national sins, by national calamities.
From this article about George Mason:

Mason...[called slavery] "that slow poison, which is daily contaminating the minds and morals of our people." At the Constitutional Convention, he spoke against allowing any mention of slavery to appear in the text of the Constitution. He also pressed to include a bill of rights — and when none was put in (this was before the first ten amendments were passed), he urged his home state of Virginia not to ratify our country's key founding documents.

That move cost Mason his long friendship with George Washington, and also knocked him out of the pantheon of Founding Fathers. Had he supported the Constitution, his name would be spoken in the same breath as Washington, Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton. Instead, he went into history as a leading Anti-Federalist.

Mason...supported freedom of religion and freedom of the press long before these ideas became institutionalized in American life. He was a lifelong champion of liberty whose influence improved the United States in its earliest days.
A Republic, If You Can Keep It is maintaining an updated list of Bill-of-Rights Day commemorations. Please notify David if you learn of a commemoration in your area:

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Wreaths Across America

(This posting stuck toward the top through December 15. Please scroll down for the latest postings)

[All emphases by Always On Watch]

From "' Rest easy, sleep well my brothers. Know the line has held, your job is done,'" which appeared in the December 3, 2006 edition of the Washington Post:
Every year for more than a decade, at the height of the season, Morrill Worcester would pack up a truckload of his Christmas wreaths and head down from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery. Without fanfare, he and a dozen or so volunteers would lay red-bowed wreaths on a few thousand headstones of fallen Americans.

There was no publicity. No crowds gathered. The gesture was one man's private duty, born of a trip to Washington he won as a 12-year-old paperboy. Of all the monuments and memorials he saw, it was the visit to Arlington that stuck with him -- the majesty and mystery, the sadness and the pride, the sight of all those neat rows of government-issue white headstones....

A week from today, Worcester will leave Columbia Falls, Maine, to lead the trailer full of wreaths down the coast. This time, it won't be just the trucker, Worcester and his wife, Karen. This time, there'll be an escort of a couple hundred Patriot Guard Riders, a national group of motorcyclists who take it upon themselves to display their respect for fallen service members.

This time, Worcester and friends won't barrel down the interstate; they're taking the slow road, Route 1, so that more motorcyclists -- perhaps thousands more -- might join the caravan.

This time, the wreath-laying won't be a private affair. Instead of the 10 or 12 volunteers who had been rounded up in past years by Wayne Hanson, a retired federal law enforcement officer who lives in Springfield, at least 500 people will be ready to help lay the wreaths Dec. 14 -- and maybe many more.

There will be a busload of school kids from Skowhegan, Maine, a Civil Air Patrol unit from up that way and all manner of Washington-area volunteers, too.

Worcester has always returned the checks that people send him. The wreath-laying is his personal statement: "This is the least we can do."

Everyone connected with the wreath project takes pains to note that it has nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with anyone's opinion about Iraq or terrorism....
This year, the project is expanding:
...The interest in Worcester's project has exploded to the point that he had to find some way to extend the tribute, so he has launched Wreaths Across America, a Web site that coordinates similar rituals at more than 200 military cemeteries around the country.
From the Wreaths Across America web site:
Spurred by the tremendous outpouring of letters and interest, and to celebrate the 15 years of giving, Worcester Wreath Company solicited Civil Air Patrol and its members to help expand the reaches of the Arlington Wreath Project with Wreaths Across America – the placing of memorial wreaths during a special ceremony at each of the over 230 State and National Cemeteries, and Veterans Monuments across the country.

Morrill Worcester - President of Worcester Wreath Company explains his desire to develop the Wreaths Across America project:
"Our goal is to expand the recognition of those who serve our country, both past, present, and future, as well as their families who deserve our support. Without the sacrifices of our veterans, there would be no opportunity to enjoy the freedoms, the life we live today."
Worcester Wreath invites you to attend the annual wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery, or in your local area.

Thursday, December 14th, 2006 - More details coming soon!

The list of locations is growing each day and our goal with Civil Air Patrol is to involve every State and National cemetery, Veterans Monument and Memorial across the country.

Note: If you are not able to attend, please participate by taking a moment of silence at the noon hour on December 14th, to reflect on the sacrifices made and freely given, by those who will not be home for the holidays.
I have two family members buried at Arlington National Cemetery. No matter what I'm busy doing, I will pause at noon on December 14th to remember my two uncles: one served on the front lines during World War I and came home permanently disabled, and the other served at Omaha Beach on D-Day and came home safely. How grateful I am to have the reassurance that each of their markers will have a wreath placed!

Please take 7-8 minutes of your time to watch the following video:

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Flying While Muslim

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

Just in time for the Hajj, which begins on December 29, CAIR, now the legal representative of five of the six praying imams and pursuing an out-of-court settlement, is stirring the pot:
American Muslims making a religious pilgrimage to Mecca are being encouraged to file civil rights complaints if they feel discriminated against by airlines.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), citing what it called the "airport profiling" of six imams removed from a recent flight, yesterday said Muslims traveling this month to the holy site in Saudi Arabia need to be aware of their rights.

"Given the increase in the number of complaints CAIR has received alleging airport profiling of American Muslims, we believe it is important that all those taking part in this year's hajj be aware of their legal and civil rights," said Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR spokesman.
Apparently CAIR has distributed materials specifically delineating how to promote this flying-while-Muslim agenda:
A guide issued by CAIR advises Muslims that "as an airline passenger, you are entitled to courteous, respectful and non-stigmatizing treatment by airline and security personnel."

"You have the right to complain about treatment that you believe is discriminatory," the guide says.

Those treated in a discriminatory manner are advised by CAIR to "ask for the names and ID numbers of all persons involved in the incident. Be sure to write this information down."
CAIR recently held this day-long conference:
On December 9, the Maryland and Virginia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MD/VA), in cooperation with the D.C. Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations (DC-CCMO) and the Fairfax Institute, will hold its first annual Imams' media relations conference in Herndon, Va.

The one-day conference is designed to teach Imams, community leaders and activists how to interact effectively with media professionals. Sessions will cover basic media relations skills.
"Basic media relations skills"? And something else, too, including the distribution of materials as to how to intimidate the airlines from following proper security-procedures? According to one airline official,
"You do wonder what the ultimate aim is here [with regard to the six praying imams and CAIR's involvement]; to eliminate a discriminatory practice that does not exist, or is there some other agenda afoot."
The above-cited article in the Washington Times also contains the following with regard to CAIR's possible agenda:
Pilots and air marshals called the incident a "PC probe" to intimidate passengers and crew from reporting suspicious behavior by Muslim passengers and are fearful the incident will set off a domino effect of lawsuits.

Debra Burlingame, whose brother was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, thinks this is a ploy to extort money from the airlines.

"I think CAIR is soliciting complaints, and if they don't get it, they will make it up," said Miss Burlingame, who is also a director for the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation.
Although CAIR likes to promote itself as representative of all or of the majority of American Muslims, such is not the case:
M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Phoenix physician and chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), said the announcement by CAIR "continues the tired stoking of the flames of victimization."

"They are unfortunately exploiting, for purely political reasons, what should be a sacred and purely spiritual story of our faith's annual holy pilgrimage to Mecca," Dr. Jasser said.

"We need new leadership and organizations which use their passions and the bandwidth of the media to lead the ideological fight against radical and political Islam rather than this tired pre-emption of supposed discrimination."

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Catching Up

I know that I haven't been commenting much, here or elsewhere. But I'm trying to catch up on a six-month backlog of balancing bank accounts, cleaning out my office, and averaging grades for the semester. Nevertheless, I do read all comments here in between my catching-up frenzies.

Thanks in advance for your understanding.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

"The Dawn of the Real Islam"

So says Abu Ayman, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad in the northern West Bank town of Jenin, as he gloated about details in the report from the Iraq Study Group. Islamic Jihad is the group which has been responsible for suicide bombings within Israel over the past two years. More from Abu Ayman:
"The report proves that this is the era of Islam and of jihad..."(With the Iraq Study Group report), the Americans came to the conclusion that Islam is the new giant of the world and it would be clever to reduce hostilities with this giant. In the Koran the principle of the rotation is clear and according to this principle the end of the Americans and of all non-believers is getting closer."
And this from Abu Abdullah, leader of Hamas's military wing:
"It is not just a simple victory. It is a great one. The big superpower of the world is defeated by a small group of mujahedeen (fighters)....

"It is no doubt that Allah and his angels were fighting with them (insurgents) against the Americans. It is a sign to all those who keep saying that America, Israel and the West in general cannot be defeated on the ground so let us negotiate with them."
According to Abu Abdullah, after the United States withdraws from Iraq,
"America must understand that with anti-American governments in Latin America and with Islam growing and reinforcing, including in the US itself, the next step would be a total defeat on their (American) land, not a relative one like they are facing in Iraq."
Bluff and bluster? Before 9/11, we thought that Osama bin Laden's threats were bluff and bluster.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Personal Update

This gastorenteritis, which hit me on Wednesday, is one nasty virus. What a way to start my Christmas vacation! I'll try to make limited rounds as I can.

Tomorrow evening, my husband and I have tickets for "Mount Vernon by Candlelight." As a lifelong resident of Northern Virginia, I've yet to take this tour, about which I've heard such praise. From the Mount Vernon web site:
During this holiday program, visitors learn about the Washingtons' Christmas traditions, tour the candlelit Mansion including the rarely-seen third floor, and meet historical characters 'Martha Washington' and 'Tobias Lear', who served as Washington’s secretary during his presidency.

On the grounds, guests enjoy caroling and free cookies and hot cider around a roaring campfire. This is the only time of the year that Mount Vernon is open exclusively for public evening tours.
My husband and I will be resting up so as to enjoy the event tomorrow. A bit of snow would make the tour even better.

Virtual tour of Mount Vernon HERE.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

"Don't Play Us For Chumps"

Dennis Miller's take on the six praying imams:

[Hat-tip to CatHouse Chat]

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Exposed: The Extremist Agenda

[This posting stuck at the top for a while. Scroll down for the lastest postings from Always On Watch]

From The Glenn Beck Show, approximately 40 minutes:

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Gastroenteritis. It started last night. I won't be blogging for a few days.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Dennis Prager And CAIR

From The United American Committee, in response to this announcement at CAIR's web site:


(LOS ANGELES, 12/04/2006) - A prominent national education and action group today called for the support of a presidential appointee to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council after accusations of intolerance by a radical Islamist organization.

The United American Committee (UAC) urged that talk show host and columnist Dennis Prager be supported by all Americans for his recent appointment to the museum's council.

Controversy arose when the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), viewed as a radical Islamic organization by many, objected to a recent syndicated column by Prager in which he wrote that Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, should be prevented from taking his oath of office using the Koran.

"This goes beyond politics, regardless of one's political views and opinions of Dennis Prager we must support him as he endures a relentless smear campaign by this radical Islamist group. We must make a stand for freedom of speech in the face of the Islamists who would attempt to destroy our freedoms and who try to silence those who oppose them.” remarks UAC Chairman Jesse Petrilla.

In a letter to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council Chairman Fred S. Zeidman, the United American Committee wrote:

"We support Mr. Prager for courageously standing up to the threat of radical Islam that America is facing today. We can not allow radical groups to work to silence American journalists and commentators, and must continue to uphold the 1st Amendment and protect the freedoms that this nation holds dear. We thank you for having him on your council."

The United American Committee is a leading educational group dedicated to awakening the nation to the threats of radical Islam and works to educate Americans on the nature of Islamic extremism. Its mission is to fight the ideological aspects of the War on Terror to counter elements of radical Islam in America.

Contacts for the U.S. Holocaust Museum are as follows:

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW
Washington, DC 20024-2126
Main telephone: (202) 488-0400
TTY: (202) 488-0406

Letters of support may also be emailed to Dennis Prager at


The United American Committee
P.O. Box 3301
Burbank, CA 91508
Fax: (202) 478-0325
Mr. Prager's column about Keith Ellison and the Koran is HERE.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Jerry Klein's "Spoof"

What did Jerry Klein of WMAL Radio have in mind when he did this? (Print synopsis here)

Was Klein's purpose to expose growing hatred for Muslims? Or did he have in mind provoking his listeners to make concurring comments so as to bring in CAIR?

After all, CAIR is no stranger to WMAL Radio. According to this July 28, 2005 press release from Anti-CAIR:

Conservative talk-show host Michael Graham was suspended without pay today by ABC Disney after threats from the Council for American-Islamic Relations over his on-air comments regarding terrorism and Islam.

Despite repeated statements of support for Graham's free-speech rights by management at 630 WMAL in Washington, D.C. ----- the ABC-owned radio station where Graham works as mid-morning host ---- he was summarily suspended pending an "investigation."

"I honestly don't know what Disney is investigating me for, unless it's for doing a compelling talk show that gets people's attention," Graham said. "I thought that was my job."

Graham has been harshly criticized by CAIR for public comments linking the current theology and structure of Islam to the repeated acts of terror in its name. CAIR sent mass e-mails to its members urging them to contact ABC and demand the company to punish Graham for his remarks.

The statements at the heart of the controversy reflect Graham's opinion that, as he puts it, "Because of the mix of Islamic theology that --- rightly or wrongly --- is interpreted to promote violence, added to an organizational structure that allows violent radicals to operate openly in Islam's name with impunity, Islam has, sadly, become a terrorist organization. It pains me to say it. But the good news is it doesn't have to stay this way, if the vast majority of Muslims who don't support terror will step forward and re-claim their religion."

Ironically, CAIR announced today that a group of US Muslim scholars were issuing a fatwa against terrorism. According to Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR, the fatwa was issued in part due to criticism from talk radio hosts like Michael Graham.

"Nearly four years after the World Trade Center fell, CAIR is participating in a blanket denunciation of terrorism, and my attitude is "better late than never." If our conversation on 630 WMAL helped CAIR finally take this long-needed step, then we've done something good for the future of Islam," Graham said....
In contrast to CAIR's reaction to Michael Graham's comments and to his explanation thereof, CAIR is pleased with the results of Jerry Klein's spoof:

CAIR says callers' reaction is a 'wake-up call' on Anti-Muslim bigotry

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/27/06) - A parody of anti-Muslim bigotry on a Washington, D.C., radio station drew support for treating American Muslims in a manner similar to how the Jewish community was targeted in Nazi Germany.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said today that the reaction to the parody is a "wake-up call" for religious and political leaders who remain silent on the issue of growing Islamophobia in America....
The story about Jerry Klein's spoof has elicited a lot of attention, according to Klein's own statement on November 28:
I've been overwhelmed by the response to Sunday's show (click ... if you'd like to hear a recording). Besides being interviewed by the Reuters news service, and having both NBC4 and WUSA TV9 here in Washington feature this story prominently on Monday night's newscasts, I've heard that other talk show hosts and bloggers have now joined the conversation. By early Tuesday, I've stopped counting the emails you've sent me from all over the world in response to my contention that as Americans, we need to be careful that we don't allow our concerns over terrorism to push us over the line towards discrimination against all Muslims, and in fact all Arabs, whether Muslim, Christian, or any other faith. Thank you for your words of support. I'll try to respond to everyone -- but it's going to take a little time.
FYI...Jerry Klein is sort of odd-man-out at WMAL Radio, which also presents programs from Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. The WMAL Radio web site refers to Jerry Klein as "WMAL's Favorite (Pet) Liberal?" The following is his biographical sketch from the station's web site:
Jerry Klein is 630 WMAL’s Senior Producer, and Producer for The Chris Core Show. He was born in Philadelphia, but grew up and spent most of his life in Charlotte, NC, where he was an award-winning talk-radio host, concert producer, weekly columnist, record store owner, the program director for a non-profit center for community and culture, and a psychological counselor. (Jerry says, "That’s code for I’ve led a very full and colorful life.")

He moved to the Washington area a little more than five years ago to finally marry the love of his life. Jerry has two sons, Josh and Ben, and relies on his cat, Yogi, for spiritual guidance - though, he says, "All assistance in these matters is gratefully accepted!"
Any bets as to whether Jerry Klein will be present at this meeting in Herndon, Virginia, on Saturday, December 9? Excerpt from CAIR's web site:
...The one-day conference is designed to teach Imams, community leaders and activists how to interact effectively with media professionals. Sessions will cover basic media relations skills....

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Homemade Meals Approved

Fairfax County does something right:
Fire up those ovens! The casserole is back.

The chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors yesterday nixed plans to bar residents from cooking food in home and church kitchens and donating it to homeless shelters. He blamed overzealous county employees for a policy that made Fairfax the subject of nationwide ridicule....

In dozens of comments on the Washington Post's Web site, readers vented indignation over the ban on home-cooked food, calling it "idiocy," the product of a "bungling bureaucracy" and accusing the county of trying to block the faith community's efforts to help the poor....
For as long as I can remember, local churches in Fairfax County have provided delicious homemade meals for those less-advantaged. In fact, during the Thanksgiving/Christmas seasons, such service has traditionally been a large part of local custom, also involving the serving of the food by schoolchildren.

Fairfax County deserved national ridicule on this one. But if objections had not been voiced, those homemade meals would've been scrapped. For my own part, I'd rather eat a meal prepared by the Church of the Brethren than my own cooking!

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Greenhouse Gases

Too funny!

[Hat-tip to Reliapundit at THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS]

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Stupid Is As Stupid Does. Or Is The Problem Something Else?

( When I put together the first part of this, I played the story for laughs. Perhaps that angle is inappropriate now? You decide.)

Nineteen-year-old Devin K. Hoerauf just keeps getting into trouble. According to this article in the Washington Post,
...Hoerauf first appeared before [Judge] Boynton years ago on juvenile charges. He pleaded guilty this summer to second-degree assault after an incident in Silver Spring. He was charged with robbery in June after he and some friends were suspected of stealing bikes from a group of younger teenagers near the MARC train station in Germantown....

[Possible spew alert! Protect your keyboard and monitor before scrolling down!]

Hoerauf's situation worsened in his last court appearance:
...As Devin K. Hoerauf's robbery trial in Rockville was wrapping up Tuesday afternoon [November 21], the 19-year-old accidentally dropped a bag of marijuana on the floor when he stood up at the defense table.

The judge's assistant noticed a plastic bag containing "a green, leafy substance" and pointed it out to a Montgomery County deputy sheriff, who picked it up and added two misdemeanor charges...

[Don't pick up that beverage yet!]

Hoerauf's defense attorney was certainly placed in a tough position:
To make matters worse, his mother, a defense lawyer, was by his side at the time -- representing him.
What did his mother have to say about her son's recent flub? First, she stated that jail would not help him. And she went on:
"I'm going to say it in a very crass way, and I hope he forgives me," she said.

"He is brain-damaged, your honor. I don't mean he's just a defendant who does dumb stuff. This is a boy with an IQ in triple digits. His brain is glued together with Silly Putty. He can't think his way out of a paper bag, but he can do physics."
I suppose that most of us know somebody like David K. Hoerauf. I'm not referring necessarily to a pothead, but rather to somebody who just doesn't have any sense despite a high IQ. Nominations for others in the stupid-is-as-stupid-does category?


After I wrote the above, a week later I found the following letter to the editor:
What The Post Didn't Say About My Son

In a Nov. 25 Metro article, "Marijuana Multiplies Suspect's Problems," I was quoted as telling a judge that my son, Devin Hoerauf, is "brain-damaged" and has a brain "glued together with Silly Putty." The context of those comments was omitted: My son has autism.

The story may be fitting for "America's Dumbest Criminals," but the newsworthy aspect to the story is that prosecutors in the Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office are aggressively seeking the imprisonment of a boy who they know suffers from autism. Devin has never physically hurt or threatened anyone. Coincidentally, I, his mother, am a criminal defense attorney.

In the most recent trial, my son was charged with six counts of robbery and one count of conspiracy. The trial revealed that he never touched, threatened or stole from anyone. I did not speak to the jury or examine witnesses during the trial. I was there to help Devin communicate with his actual attorney, Andrew Jezic.

It is unfortunate that The Post is more interested in reporting snippets about a "brain-damaged" defendant than in reporting on a major educational and health crisis. The failure of our society to provide services for autistic people is newsworthy, not dropping pot in a courtroom.

If Devin Hoerauf does have autism, documentation regarding his disability should have been presented to the court. And if such documentation is produced, should autism be recognized as an excuse for escaping incarceration?

The following portion of Ms. Hoerauf's letter appears to contradict facts presented in the above-cited article in the Washington Post:
The jury, which was not in the courtroom for the marijuana bust, convicted Hoerauf on four counts of robbery and acquitted him on two counts of robbery and one charge of conspiracy.
So what's the truth here? If the Washington Post published a correction to the article about Hoerauf, I missed it.

Before finalizing this blog article, I did a tiny bit of research on autism. According to this interview which appeared on Newsweek's web site, diagnosing certain forms of autism is not easy:
Los Angeles, CA: What is the difference between Autism, High-Functioning Autism, Asperger Syndrome and Pervasive Development Disorder? Or is it just in the eye of the diagnoser?

Barbara Kantrowitz [biography]: These are all different disorders on the autism spectrum. All are characterized by three basic issues: language problems, repetitive behaviors and difficulty with social interaction. People on the high-functioning end of the spectrum, particularly those with Asperger syndrome, have the best chance of establishing an independent life. I understand why you would question diagnosis, but you should understand that these definitions are relatively new and it takes a while for the latest information to filter down to doctors around the country.
Ms. Kantrowitz recently co-wrote a lengthy article on autism, but I don't recall any discussion of a link between autism and crime. I have to wonder if such a connection exists, beyond this, from the Autism Society of America:
Unfortunately, individuals with autism are too often victims of crimes....
Also, when I was doing my bit of research, I found the following, from a UK blog:
The National Autistic Society has said there is no link between autism, including Asperger Syndrome, and crime - and there was no evidence to suggest people with autism were more likely to break the law than any member of the public.

In a statement, the society said: "In fact, in many cases individuals are unusually concerned to keep to the letter of the law. A person with autism will have individual personality traits and facets to their character, just like any other person, that make up who they are and determine their actions."...
As advocates for care and recognition of autism attempt to improve the situation of those who manifest signs along the spectrum of autism, these advocates should be careful that they don't sink to "the Twinkie defense."

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