A big thanks to Abe at Don't Let Me Stop You

Thanks to Abe at Don't Let Me Stop You. He corrected some problems I had with my template settings.

Egyptian playwright not allowed to go to Israel

From the Jerusalem Post

Ali Salem, an activist and playwright, was not permitted to leave for Israel by the Egyptians. The Egyptians say Salem did not have the proper travel documents. He had visited Israel more than ten times previously. He was going to receive an honorary degree from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev at the 35th annual Board of Governors meeting.

Salem plays are well known for attacking aspects of Egyptian society. He also wrote My Journey to Israel.

The following excerpt from his book was read aloud at the conference while his chair remained empty:

"I have no illusions as to what awaits me in Cairo; I know what I will confront. There is no limit to the pain felt by most people when you suddenly raise their curtain of illusions and lies. However, after the storm subsides, younger generations may think of my trip calmly and discover what I want them to discover – that the condition of mental war is defective and it obscures from us the sun of freedom and development. Between us and Israel there are no minefields, only the paved roads that I traveled."

Reform is desperately needed in the Middle East. I sincerely hope that his words and plays will lift the "curtain of illusions" and confront the younger generation and prompt them to call for reform. If his plays and his book can make them begin to think, truly think about what is going around them, maybe they will learn not to be afraid of the open exchange of ideas and beliefs. That with open exchange of ideas and respect of others, development will come: economic development, human rights, freedom of religion, individual rights.

Not PC zingers from Common Sense & Wonder

Common Sense & Wonder has some politically incorrect zingers.

A little taste:
What's the difference between a southern zoo and a northern zoo?
A southern zoo has a description of the animal on the front of the cage along with... "a recipe".

How do you get a sweet little 80-year-old lady to say the F word?
Get another sweet little 80-year-old lady to yell *BINGO*!

What's the difference between a northern fairytale and a southern fairytale?
A northern fairytale begins "Once upon a time... - A southern fairytale begins "Y'all ain't gonna believe this shit...

Iran- Ballistic missiles breakthrough

From the Jerusalem Post

Iran announced Tuesday it had successfully tested a new solid fuel missile motor for its arsenal of medium-range ballistic missiles, a technological breakthrough that sparked fresh alarm in Israel.

"It was a test of a motor and not a test of a missile," a defence ministry official told AFP, clarifying earlier reports in the Iranian press that a missile itself was tested on Sunday.

Gee, I wonder why Israel should be alarmed. If they are able at some future point to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles, I guess the rest of us will alarmed by then. Iran wants us to trust them about the nuclear program they are following.

Religion of Peace?

In Pakistan, six workers at a Kentucky Fried Chicken were burned to death when Shite rioters burned the outlet. The Shites also attacked a hospital, two gas stations and more than a dozen vehicles were burned. This was in response to the mosque bombings that were carried out by Sunni Muslims.

Shites in Pakistan usually target American symbols as a reaction of what they consider to be the Pakistani governments lack of response to secterian violence.

Read more at Swiss Info

Why do some Muslims find it necessary to destroy, kill, and maim when they perceive an insult? There are so many incidents of this type of thing. It's hard to reconcile the notion that Islam is the "Religion of Peace". Muslims fight each other, Muslims kill Christians and others, Muslims use their own mosques to stash weapons and to fire rockets at targets, Muslims use hospitals for cover.

While it is true that most Muslims practice their religion peacefully, it is still hard to reconcile Islam as the "Religion of Peace" when the vast majority of terror attacks are committed by Muslims.


In honor of my Dad who served our country

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My father loved his country very much. He served in the Army for 16 years and in the Seabees for four. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam while a Seabee. He died June 4, 2004. Even though he went through a long illness and was bed-ridden when the attacks on 9-11 occurred, his first thought was to re-enlist and kill those bastards. He believed in America so much and willingly served for 20 years, knowing full well that he might not make it back.

The picture is of him when he was stationed at Guantanomo Bay Cuba in the 1970's. He was so proud of the uniform he wore and after he retired spent many years with the VFW and the DAV assisting those veterans and active duty personal who needed help.

He felt deeply the words of General MacArthur, "duty, honor, country".

Words cannot express the pride I feel toward him and all those who served and are serving now.

Thanks to all the brave men and women who have also took to heart the words, "duty, honor, country".

And in remembrance for all those who have died serving our country from 1776 through Operation Iraqi Freedom, President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address:
It is rather for us the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain

Two Americans arrested in US on terrorism charges

Rafiq Abdus Sabir, a physician, and Tarik Shah a martial arts instructor were arrested and charged with conspiring to offer material support to al-Qaeda. Both men had pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda. Sabir was set to leave for Saudi Arabia on June 2. He had also promised to treat any al-Qaeda terrorists who had been wounded. Sabir was arrested on May 29 and is being held at the Palm Beach County jail. No details were given about Shah.

To read more the Jerusalem Post

Update from the Palm Beach Post
Shah is reported as stating during the sting operation that lasted from 2003-2005:
"During these conversations, Shah repeatedly indicated his desire to train Muslim 'brothers' in the martial arts in order to wage 'jihad' and also regularly discussed his desire to find people who were willing to press the fight,"

It seems like Florida is a haven for jihadists.

Start of new era for Lebanon?

Today, after 30 years of Syrian interference, the Lebanese held their first elections for parliament seats. The turn out was very low with only 28% turnout in Beirut. Elections will continue each Sunday through June 19. Why was the turnout so low in this first? Many speculate that it is because Saad al-Hariri's anti-Syrian bloc had already won 9 unopposed seats and that the bloc was sure to win the other 10, which they did. Michael Aoun had also called on a boycott to the elections. The coalition is expected to do well in other sections of the country. In an interview al-Hariri stated that there was a 50-50 chance of him becoming prime minister.

Saad al-Hariri is a Saudi business man (he says where he was "born and bred") whose family still lives in Saudi Arabia. He graduated from Georgetown University.

My hope is that al-Hariri's "born and bred" background from Saudi Arabia does not include Wahabbism in Lebanon's future.

Read more at the Washington Post


This is terrified of
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Palestinian mother speaks out against Aksa Martyrs Brigades

Mohammed al-Nadi (15) was arrested by the Israeli Defense Forces at a checkpoint. His mission, to become a martyr. He was carrying pipe bombs and a lighter.

He mother Dalal, had this to say:
His wife, Dalal, was far more critical of the dispatchers. "They are criminals," she complained. "They are not human beings. This is a crime - they have no feeling, no religion. They don't fear God. He's just a child. If he was a child from a rich family they would not have sent him there. But because he is poor and he's from the refugee camp they play with his head. I hope that God will avenge this."

The whole family from granny to daddy denounces the men who tried to send this young child to his death. Dalal goes on to state that she told her son to tell all and to give up the name(s) of those who persuaded him to do this. She also appealed to Chairman Abbas to make an effort to the terrorists groups to stop exploiting children. I hope more Palestinian mothers and fathers have the courage to denounce.

Read the full story at the Jerusalem Post


In Honor of Memorial Day

I could find no better words then these. They are still true today as men and women serve our great country and hallow the very ground they die upon in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The eternal words of President Abraham Lincoln:
The Gettysburg Address
Nov. 19, 1863
Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who died here that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have hallowed it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

Interesting reads

Dr. Sanity has a very good post about American business women helping the women of Afghanistan and a very good question for feminist groups: Why aren't you helping?

Clarity & Resolve has a good essay thanking the brave men and women who serve our great country.
Hat tip: Little Green Footballs
National Review essay on the commanders of the US Armed Forces.

Orson Scott Card essay on the Puritans of the 21st century.

Update May 28
From Michelle Malkin is this link to All Things Conservative "A Fatwa We Can Live With" This is one fatwa so visitors to Afghanistan can literally live.


The Washington Post chastises Amnesty International

While at The American Thinker I learned that a Washington Post editorial blasts Amnesty International for using the term "American Gulag" to describe Guantanomo Bay. Irene Khan, the secretary general for Amnesty International, was also criticized for only mentioning two countries at length in the organizations annual report, Sudan and the United States.

Finally, a MSM publication drawing the line at the absurdness that some go to in bashing the US.

All charges against 2nd Lt. Pantano dropped!!!

At Defend the Defenders good news!!! All charges against 2nd Lt. Pantano have been dropped!!!
Autopsies conducted on the Iraqis' exhumed bodies backed 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano's assertion that he shot them in self-defense after the men disobeyed his instructions and made a menacing move toward him, Marine officials said.

The hearing officer recommended Pantano face nonjudicial punishment for allegedly desecrating the bodies by reloading and repeatedly shooting them. But the commanding general decided Pantano should face no punishment for any of his actions

AUT overturns boycott!!!

Accoring to the Jerusalem Post, Britain's Association of University Teachers overturned the boycott of two Israeli universities by a vote of 2/3. That is great news. Bar-Ilan University had been accused of being linked to College of Judea and Samaria in Ariel, which is in the West Bank. Haifa University had been accused of threatening to fire Ilan Pappe a political science professor.
In a previous post on this issue, Professor Pappe had stated that the allegations against Haifa University were false and the true aim was to end the "occupation".


Endless Merry - go - round

has reported on yet another "confirmation" on Koran Flushgate. Apparently, the ACLU(American Civil Liberties Union) obtained memos from the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act.

An FBI agent had interviewed a detainee. The detainee stated that a guard had flushed a copy of the Koran. The memo, dated August 1, 2002, only states what the detainee said. It does not confirm that the allegations are true.

Lawrence Di Rita, Chief Pentagon spokesman, stated that the detainee in question was interviewed on May 14 and was very cooperative and did not corroborate the allegation recorded on August 1, 2002.

Common sense tells me that you cannot flush a book down a toilet and that prisoners are apt to exaggerate or tell outright lies about their treatment. These detainees are members of Al-Qaeda who are trained to make allegations of this nature. The The US Justice Department has a copy of the Al- Qaeda training manual on-line. In the first section on page 13:
5. Spreading rumors and writing statements that instigate people against the enemy
The enemy being any non-muslim, such as Jews and polytheists(read Christians). I bet most Christians do not realize they are considered polytheists by Muslims. A polytheist is a person who believes in more than one god. Muslims have a distorted view of the Holy Trinity. Christians believe the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Muslims believe that the Holy Trinity consists of Allah, Jesus, and Mary! From Faith Freedom.org, Quran 5:116
And when Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Didst thou say unto mankind: Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah ?

So remember, when you hear an imam or other muslim leader ranting about Jews and polytheists, he is really ranting about Jews and Christians.

My beloved Braves

Watching the Braves play against the Mets tonight, I felt that old magic appearing. That same magic that I felt during 1995 when they won the World Series. The Braves have a new pitcher, Kyle Davies, a 21 year old who pitches like a seasoned veteran. After shutting the Mets out for 5 innings, he had to be taken out of the game in the 5th inning after he was hit in the chest by a line drive hit by Miguel Cairo. He appears to be okay.

Remember 1995, Smoltz, Glavin, and Maddox. With Kyle Davies and the continuing improvement of Smoltz this season, who will the third pitcher to match the magic trio of 1995? My guess would be Hudson.

PS: The Braves won tonights game 3-0

Al-Libbi giving up names

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that Al Qaeda leader Abu Faraq al-Libbi, caputered on May 2, is giving up names left and right to Pakistan authorities. So far, almost a dozen Al Qaeda men have been arrested. More arrests are expected. There had been some speculation that the man arrested was not the person on the US most wanted list. So maybe it wasn't a case of mistaken identity after all. He apparently knows enough to lead authorities to others. No word was given on whether or not Al-Libbi had any clues as to Osama Bin Laden whereabouts.


Homespun Blogger Symposium XXI

This weeks Homespun Bloggers Symposium is on Saddam Hussein in his underwear and what if any reverberations it will have. I think people will welcome a chance to see a disposed tyrant in his skivvies. He has been stripped of all the power that he once wielded on a helpless people. Iraq the Model has an interesting take on it.
Anyway, I guess these pictures will have a greater impact outside Iraq rather than inside and whether showing them was with or against the law I believe it delivered another strong message to the small tyrants of the neighborhood and shook their image in the eyes of their people. I won't be surprised to hear that someone from Egypt or Syria used photoshop to edit these photos and fit Mubarak's or Asad's face on Saddam's body

It will be good if someone in Egypt or Syria is doing that. It will lessen the almost demigod status of Mubarak and Asad. You can't take someone too seriously when they are in their underwear.

Update on Al-Zarqawi

On May 14, I posted that Al-Zarqawi may have been wounded during operations in Iraq along the Syrian border. Today, BBC News is reporting that new reports have arisen that Al-Zarqawi may be very seriously injured and possibly close to death. A web-site associated with Al-Zarqawi's terrorist group posted the news.

While these reports are unconfirmed, I hope that they are true. It would mean one less terrorist that thinks nothing of killing innocent civilians. One less terrorist to hide behind women and children.

Reuters reports:
Faris bin Houzam, a Saudi al Qaeda analyst, said there were other militants ready to take over from Zarqawi.
"In Saudi Arabia al Qaeda have had several successors when leaders have been killed. They may not have the same experience or power as Zarqawi but they would continue, perhaps with less zeal," he said.

Less zeal is good.


Sharia law in Geneva - Hani Ramadan

Hani Ramadan was a French teacher in Switzerland until he made the following comments in Le Monde newspaper in 2003:
In the article, the imam defended death by stoning for adultery as set out in Islamic Sharia law. Ramadan also said that believers were protected from being infected with Aids.

At SwissInfo it was reported on May 21, 2005 that he won a second round in court and that he should be paid his salary. The cantonese officials said that Ramadan would not be reinstated as a teacher and further stated that his role as a religious representative was incompatible with being a teacher.

I found out about this at Jihad Watch. Jihad Watch's president Hugh Fitzgerald had an informative and well conceived essay and formulated 20 questions he would ask the Geneva courts if he could. He had this to say at question 10 which is about Ayatollah Khomeini's statement on jihad:
But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world….Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war.

I am trying to learn more about the "Religion of Peace" and the more I learn, the more I realize that I can no longer be so complacent about some things. I have learned that dhimmi is a rabid form of discrimination against non-muslims. Dhimmi means that all non-muslims must acknowledge that Islam is superior to all other religions and in Islamic countries (Iran, ie) must pay tribute or be killed. Sharia law is outrageously unfair to women and if practiced as set forth, is very barbaric and unmerciful.

I try to be fair and balanced in my views. But the more I learn, the notion of Islam being the "Religion of Peace" is outlandish. I mean just this pass Sunday in London Islamists were holding signs that stated that Islam is superior to all religions and that Islam will dominate the world and chanting bomb, bomb, New York. Little Green Footballs has more.

I wonder where all the moderate voices of Islam are? Why do they not speak up?


Bill Whittle 's new essay

Yesterday I finished reading Bill Whittle's essay Sanctuary. It was quite an experience. I had goosebumps, tears, and laughter. Below is an excerpt.
I am trying my level best to understand how and why someone who professes to be for freedom for artists, homosexuals and women – not to mention unlimited personal expression of every stripe -- can take the side of 8th Century religious fanatics who brag about murdering writers, stoning women, beheading homosexuals and instituting moral policemen at every street corner with unquestioned authority to beat, jail or execute anyone suspected of being insufficiently pious.

Go and read it. It will take about an hour but is well worth it.


Israel to aid Qatar in bid for UN Security Council Seat

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that Israel will aid Qatar in its bid for temporary membership on the 2006 UN Security Council. This is very good news. First, an Arab country is seeking aid from Israel! Secondly, if Qatar is selected, it could lessen some of the vitriol directed at Israel by the UN. Qatar is a moderate Middle East country and would be a better choice than Cambodia , which is the other country up for the Asian rotating seat. Pakistan currently holds the seat.
"It's a very hopeful sign that they've even reached out to Israel," observed Amy Goldstein, director of UN affairs for B'nai B'rith International. "It says a lot about how Qatar is trying to position itself, not just as a moderate Arab country, but a country that on the one hand is open to the West and on the other hand will not use its position in the Security Council to politicize the Security Council against Israel."

Qatar is also the headquarters of Al-Jazeera, which of course is very inflammatory, to say the lest, but also has the distinction of the only Arab news that is not controlled by the government.


America gets blamed for everything

In Reuters Oddly Enough, America has been blamed by at least one villager for the disappearance of a lake in Russia. The village of Bolotnikovo was baffled when its lake disappeared overnight. Officials speculate that the lake may have been sucked into an underground water course or cave.

"I am thinking, well, America has finally got to us," said one old woman, as she sat on the ground outside her house.


British Scientists clones human embryo

The London Times is reporting that a team British scientists from Newcastle University have become the second group to clone a human embryo though they failed to extract any stem cells. The avowed purpose is to find cures for diseases and injuries. Human cloning has been banned throughout much of the world. I think that is as it should be. As one of the critics in the article pointed out, any kind of cloning insults human dignity. The unused embryos are destroyed. I find this type of research to be repugnant. One of the supporters of this type of research had this to say:
Other ethicists, however, said it would be immoral not to proceed. Professor Julian Savulescu, of Oxford University, said: “To fail to develop therapies that would save 100,000 people is morally equivalent to killing 100,000 people.”

It seems to me that the very thought of human cloning is immoral. Embryos are the beginning of human life and should not be tampered with.


According to Reuters, President Bush is set to veto a bill that would loosen restrictions on government funding for stem cell research. If he does, this will the first time in his presidency to veto a bill.
"I've made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money, to promote science which destroys life in order to save life -- I'm against that. And therefore if the bill does that, I will veto it," Bush told reporters during a picture-taking session with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

(R) Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware and (D) Rep. Diane DeGette of Colorado are co-sponsors of the bill. Representative Castle states that the bill would lift the cutoff date on federally funded research and that it would not lead to the creation or destruction human embryos.

President Bush supports an alternate bill that would encourage stem cell research through the use of blood from umbilical cords. After learning about another breakthrough in the Korean research, President Bush had this to say:
"I'm very concerned about cloning," Bush said. "I worry about a world in which cloning would be acceptable."

I too am very worried about human cloning becoming acceptable.

Upcoming Protest Warrior Operation

On June 4, the South Mississippi Protest Warriors will be holding Operation Thank You Guard on Washington Ave. This is our third thank you operation and it is to thank the National Guard and Air National Guard service personnel for serving our country. I enjoy these operations so much. I thought I would be sooooooo embrassed standing on a busy street corner holding my signs. But it turned out to be just the opposite. I found myself enjoying it. In the two previous operations, the reactions of the military men and women were very similar. At first they ignored the signs and you could see them eyeing the signs from the corner of their eyes. Once they realized what the message was one of Thank You and not screw you, the smiles came out, the thumbs came up, and the horn blowing began.

It is such a simple thing to do but it also so important, especially now with all the news of the terrorists attacks in Iraq and more so now because of the Newsweek fiasco and the MSM media in general. If anyone the coastal Mississippi area would like to participate, just email me and I will send further details.



Received my first press release today:GAO on BRAC

Imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail from Brian Martin in Representative Gene Taylor's office.

From : Martin, Brian
Sent : Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:48 AM
To : navarone1978@hotmail.com
Subject : BRAC & Keesler

I noticed your blog and your comments about the DOD proposal to end inpatient services at Keesler.
Here is Congressman Taylor's full statement, from which the Sun Herald used one quote:
Brian Martin
Office of Rep. Gene Taylor

Imagine my greater surprise when I received a press release later!!

Here goes, my first quasi-journalistic posting!!

Representative Gene Taylor, who is the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Projection Forces Subcommittee, proposed an amendment to the FY2006 National Defense Authorization Act that would require an evaluation of the full costs and effects of the changes to the military health care system recommended by the Department of Defense.

The amendment would instruct the Government Accountability Office to calculate the out-pocket expenses that would be incurred by active duty service members, military retirees, and their dependents if forced to rely on civilian facilities for health care.

It further instructs the GAO to assess and itemize the total costs that would be shifted to Tricare, and other agencies of federal, state and local governments.

It also asks the GAO to consider the effects of BRAC proposals on retention and recruitment of military medical personnel.

The GAO is further required to separate and estimate the savings or costs from reducing the number of personnel from the savings or costs that will come from infrastructure, facilities, and any other aspects of closure or realignment.

representative Taylor states:
"Now, I'm looking at numbers for the 2005 BRAC that just don't add up. There are no cuts in end strength or force numbers, but there are billions of dollars slated for new construction when troops are forced to relocate. It's my responsibility to demand honest answers from an impartial source, without the smoke and mirrors I get from the Pentagon"

This amendment received the support of House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA)and was passed in Committee by a voice vote. It will now be included in the FY2006 National Defense Authorization Act, which the full House will consider next week.

Full Press Release

Putting cellphone technology to good use

In Reuters Technology Today, there was an article about using cellphone technology in a creative manner. Researchers in South Africa have developed tracking devices that use cell phone sim cards. With coastal cell phone towers have an approximate 1.5 mile range out to sea, the researchers plan on using the new tracking devices on murky dolphins which tend to stay close to the shore.

If it pans out, the researchers plan to use it on other dolphins and possibly whales! Over the past four years this technology has been used to track over 200 land based animals including elephants, zebras, and baboons. Utilizing GPS, you can receive a text message about the location of a particular animal.


Thanks to the New Blog Showcase

The Alliance has a New Blog Carnival Showcase every week. This weeks most gracious host was My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. Some of the new blogs featured were, ArmyWifeToddlerMom, Carnal Reason, and your truly, Thoughts By Seawitch. What a great idea to give us new bloggers a chance to be showcased!

Star Wars III - Lost Hope

Check out this spoof of the new Star Wars movie.


More bad news for AUT boycott/Sue Blackwell

In the Jerusalem Post today there was more bad news for the AUT boycott that was proposed by Sue Blackwell and approved on April 20. The president of Bar-Ilan University, Professor Moshe Kaveh said he expected the boycott to be overturned at the emergency AUT meeting to be held on May 26, 2005. He also stated that more than a thousand professors from across the world have signed on to their website and declared that "we want to boycotted along with Bar-Ilan".

The most telling hypocrisy of this anti-Israel fest is this:
The University of Haifa was boycotted for purportedly restricting the academic freedom of Ilan Pappe, a senior lecturer in the department of political science. However, the Post reported this week that Pappe admits AUT's claims against Haifa are baseless and that the boycotts real aim is to stop Israeli "occupation."

Just another example of self-righteous bigots using baseless claims to try to harm Israel. Thankfully it appears to have backfired on them.

I found this at the Bar-Ilan website. It is an exchange of emails on April 19. Bar-Ilan emailed the AUT and requested that a representative be allowed to speak for Bar-Ilan. This is part of the response that was received from the AUT:

It is worth noting that AUT's national executive is recommending to Council that the motion relating to Bar-Ilan University is not passed.

As with all such debates on motions at AUT Council, we would fully expect there to be a number of speeches made both for and against the motion.

As such, we are entirely confident that the debate will be both balanced and restrained.

"Balanced and restrained" my ass.

To share your views with the Association of University Teachers:

E-mail: hq@aut.org.uk

Telephone: 020 7670 9700 | Fax: 020 7670 9799

Association of University Teachers
Egmont House
25-31 Tavistock Place

sally.hunt@aut.org.uk Sally Hunt General Secretary

president@aut.org.uk Angela Roger President

Women get the right to vote in Kuwait

The London Times is reporting that women have been given the right to vote and to run for political office in Kuwait. There was one caveat inserted by the fundamentalists that women voters or candidates must follow Islamic law. No one is sure what limits, if any will placed on women who vote or run for office. This leaves Saudia Arabia the only country in the Middle East that does not allow women to vote.

One of the women activists who had been fighting for this basic right had this to say:
"I am overexcited. I can’t believe this," said activist Rola Dashti, who said she would run in the next parliamentary election, in 2007. "I’m starting my campaign as of today." Ms Dashti said she was not concerned by the vague reference to Islamic law, saying it probably just meant separate polling stations and not an Islamic dress code. "They can’t impose veils on voters," she said.

The earliest that women will be able to vote or run for office will 2007. The law was passed to late to allow them to able to vote in the upcoming June elections.

Now if Saudia Arabia can only see the light. But of course Saudia Arabia does not allow too many elections for men to vote. I wish the women of Kuwait the best and am glad that their struggle for their rights is paying off.


London Times May 15 Al-Zarqawi seriously wounded

An article dated May 15, 2005 (London time) in the London Times is reporting that Al-Zarqawi sought medical treatment Wednesday at a hospital in Ramadi. The doctor, who asked not to be named, said Al-Zarqawi was seriously wounded and bleeding very heavily and he had urged him to stay. The doctor further stated that Al-Zarqawi became agitated after he was told he would have to register and left. The well-dressed men who accompanied Al-Zarqawi threatened the doctor and told him he would be killed if he told anyone. According to the article, the doctor was detained by Americans on Friday.

So far, I have not seen any other news sources with this story. The article did mention the US forces operation near al-Qaim where many insurgents have been reported killed. The article did say the doctor had spoken to an Iraqi reporter and the story was supported by an Iraqi resistance commander who was in Ramadi to investigate the report. The journalists who are reporting this story from Baghdad are Hala Jaber and Ali Rifat.

BRAC - Keesler Medical to become clinic

In an update to my post BRAC Recommendations for Coastal MS most of the jobs slated to be lost at Keesler are in the medical center. I don't see how they can do this. It had been announced recently that the VA hospital in Gulfport would be closing because of the proximity to Keesler Medical Center. There are a lot of retirees in the community that use Keesler Medical Center. How many people will be impacted if this alignment goes through? The following is from the Keesler Air Force Base website:

Host to the second largest Air Force medical treatment facility in the U.S., the Keesler Medical Center contains a 235-bed multi-specialty facility, 62 outpatient clinics, a clinical research laboratory and aero medical facilities. The Keesler Medical Center serves Air Force, Army and Navy bases in the southeastern region of the United States, as well as 56,000 beneficiaries locally. The Keesler Medical Center also brokers healthcare to nearly 600,000 beneficiaries in the Department of Defense Service Region IV, covering all of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and parts of Louisiana and Florida.

Also from the same webite, there are currently 4,500 active duty at Keesler and from Military.com, the CB base in Gulfport has approxiamately 4200 active duty service men.

These totals do not include family members of active duty personnel. Representative Gene Taylor who is on the House Armed Forces Committee, sharply criticized the proposed realignment of Keesler Medical Center. He stated in the Sun Herald:

"If these changes to the mission at Keesler are implemented, it will be a major blow to military personnel, dependents and retirees in South Mississippi," Taylor said. "Rather than receiving the free health care that our airmen and veterans were promised, they would have the additional expense of paying for a portion of their care at nearby civilian hospitals."

From Senator Trent Lott:

Pascagoula is a new, unique, magnificent facility which unfortunately is not multi-missioned. I’m optimistic that as we go through this process, its huge value will be recognized, and other missions ultimately will be added to Pascagoula. The 186th Air Refueling Wing at Key Field, Meridian, is one of the highest ranked tanker facilities in the country, and I’m optimistic that the value of its mission will permit it to continue in Meridian.

Let the battles begin.



This is an update from my post April 28, AUT/Sue Blackwell-Rejoicing Too Soon?. In today's Jerusalem Post there are very strong indications that Britain's Association of University Teachers boycott of two Israeli universities, Haifa University and Bar-Ilan University, will be overturned in an emergency meeting to be held May 26. The 25 signatures required for the meeting were quickly found. Faculty members at Oxford, Warwick, and Sussex universities have rejected the boycott.

Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi, who is affiliated with St. Anthony's College Middle Eastern Center at Oxford University sums it up succinctly with the following statement:

Oaths of political loyalty do not belong to academia. They belong to illiberal minds and repressive regimes," wrote Ottolenghi.

"Based on this, the AUT's definition of academic freedom is the freedom to agree with its views only. Given the circumstances, I wish to express in no uncertain terms my unconditional and undivided solidarity with both universities and their faculties."

Very well spoken Dr. Ottolenghi!!

This is what the New York Academy of Sciences had to say:

"by selecting individuals and universities for boycott, is a very clear reminder of 'McCarthy-like' tactics of accusation."

It so refreshing to see so many people and organizations coming to the defense of these two universities. Maybe, just maybe people are beginning to see that some of the condemnations of Israel serve no purpose other than to fuel injustice and to stroke the egos of those of Sue Blackwell's ilk. You know, the ones who don't think about who or what they are really supporting. If the Palestinians put down their suicide belts, the Assam rockets, the AK-47's etc., they would soon have a state. It's time for the Palestinians to grow up and realize that they have to act like adults to solve conflicts, not like two year olds who throw and hit when they do not get their way.

Pantano-Recommendations-charges should be dismissed

At Defend the Defenders there was good news for 2nd Lt. Pantano who had been accused of unjustly killing two Iraqis. A cache of weapons had been found in their home. They had attempted to flee in an SUV. The tires where shot out and they ran. They were caught and handcuffed. Fearing the SUV may have been bobby trapped, they were ordered to search it. It was during this period they were shot. They had been ordered, in Arabic, to stop talking but did not comply. They made a sudden joint movement toward Pantano and then were shot.

The investigative officer in charge has recommended that all charges against Pantano be dismissed.

The key findings of the Investigating Officer included:

*That the Government offered no credible evidence to contradict Lt Pantano's statement that he acted in self defense in response to a hostile act;
*That Lt Pantano's shooting of the two Iraqis was justified in accordance with the then-prevailing Rules of Engagement;
*That there was no credible evidence that Lt Pantano acted with premeditation;
*That Lt Pantano was not derelict in his duties in the handling of Iraqi prisoners;
*That Lt Pantano's use of the "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy was poor judgment but not criminal and not conduct unbecoming an officer; and,
*That Lt Pantano did not act in a manner unbecoming an officer in his handling of the Iraqi prisoners.

It was recommended that he receive the Commanding General's Non-judicial Punishment for conduct unbecoming an officer. This was based on the excessive rounds that were fired at the two Iraqis. I am glad the ruling went this way.

This has been updated. I had previously stated that all charges had been dismissed when in fact it had been recommended that the charges be dismissed. However, from the investigating officers recommendations, all charges will likely be dismissed.

BRAC recommendations for Coastal Mississippi

The Pentagon has recommended that Naval Station Pascagoula be closed. This will result in 844 military jobs, 112 civilian jobs, and 8 mission contractor positions lost. That is a total of 963 positions that may be lost.

Keesler Air Force Base been has recommended for realignment. This will result in 181 military jobs, 31 civilian jobs, and 190 contractor jobs lost.The total number jobs in jeopardy is 402.

This are not set in stone. Now begins the fun part with Senators Thad Cochran and Trent Lott lobbying to keep Naval Station Pascagoula open and the lose of jobs at Keesler to a minimum.

I showed my boss the BRAC recommendations and he bet me a hamburger that we will not lose anything. I hope he is correct.

Of course Senator Trent Lott may be in trouble with the Republican party. In an article in today's Sun Herald, Senator Lott has been accused of naming the constitutional option to change filibuster rules the "nuclear option" in order to get back for losing the Senate Majority Leadership over he comments made two years ago. Senator Lott is the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee.

He denies those charges and his office states he working with the current Senate Majority Leader Frist, Democrats, and Republicans to negotiate a solution for the filibusters. The Democrats have been using the filibuster to delay judicial appointments and the Republicans want to change the rules so that filibusters can no longer be used in judicial nominations.

The one thing I am most worried about is the fact that there is a lot of developers who want to build condos along the beach. Some of the proposed buildings would need height variances and could directly affect flight paths at Keesler.

We have never been impacted by BRAC recommendations in the past. I hope the trend continues.

Senator Lott had this to say:

No state is more familiar with the BRAC process than Mississippi. Three times in the 1990s we saw Mississippi bases targeted by BRAC lists, and yet our state has never lost a base to BRAC.

You go Senator!!! We love a good knockout fight and Senator Lott usually comes out ahead for Mississippi.


More about Khaleel Mohammed

I wanted to learn more about Professor Mohammed whose e-mail from Arabs for Israel is under my post "Germans sing Happy Birthday to Israel", from May 11, 2005.

I found this article, The Dissenting Muslim, about Dr. Mohammed at Campus Watch which is an organization within the Anti-Defamation League. He is a Islamic scholar that is accepted by both Shi'a and Sunni Muslims. In the article he states:

As Dr. Mohammed leans back in a chair in his SDSU office, where the walls are lined with religious texts and posters of Bob Marley and Muhammad Ali, he explains that, contrary to popular opinion, history backs him up. "If you're going to take it from a secular point of view," he says, "you must involve history, which states very clearly that in 70 A.D. the Temple burned, and in the year 135 the Jews were exiled. And in 638 the Muslims full well knew whom the land rightly belonged to…. Muslims left the borders of Arabia to enter a land that according to their own scriptures, belongs to the people of Moses." He likens Muslim occupation of the land – and failure to help Jews reacquire the land – to complacency in the face of a crime.

In April, Dr. Mohammed, Robert Spencer, & Bat Ye'or discussed in a symposium at Front Page Magazine the Qu'ran. It was a very interesting read and at times very contentious. Dr. Mohammed appears to be one of a very Islamic scholars who uses exegesis to discuss the Qu'ran. He's views are controversial to say the least.

In one comment he stated:
that there are several approaches, and that over the last century, the once normative traditional position has shifted to acknowledgement about time and place context. This, I may point out, is the same with the Bible.

I am an academic first, activist second. The mosques have largely prevented me from doing that which I love, so unfortunately, I am in a bind. Yet, I persist in my method, because the Muslim youth respond more to my approach than what is slowly, but surely, becoming recognized as largely traditionalist, ossified nonsense.

There is a need for reform within Islam, and this pressing need is not being responded to from within the Muslim community with the required commitment.

He also stated that punishments such as stoning for adulterers was gleaned from the Bible, though Bat Ye'or states that at the time of the Prophet Mohammed was alive, Jews had stopped many of the practices.

However you may view some of Professor Mohammed statements, he is trying to place the Qu'ran in a contextual basis and to point out that what many Muslims are learning is not the truth.


Germans to sing Happy Birthday to Israel

On Thursday, a group called "I Like Israel" is planning to hold mass celebrations in honor of the birth of Israel in 20 cities in Germany and 10 abroad. Fifty thousand Germans are expected to attend and will use Stevie Wonders' rendition of "Happy Birthday". There will also be speeches about Israel and Israeli songs.

In an encouraging sign, "I Like Israel", has also been in contact with Turkish and Kurdish groups in Germany. Another group contacted is "Muslims and Arabs for Israel".

For the complete article, The Jerusalem Post

I went to the Arabs for Israel website. Below are two of the e-mails received from Arabs/Muslims. A lot of the e-mails were heart wrenching, especially the Libyan who wanted to move to Israel so he could be free.

From: Khaleel Mohammed

June 1, 2004

As a Muslim, when I read Q5:21 and 17:104, I can only say that I support that there must be an israel. The Quran adumbrates the fight against tyranny and oppression, using the Children of Israel as an example, indeed the prime example. While I may therefore disagree with some policies of Israel, as I disagree with the policies of many countries, cannot find any reason why, as a Muslim, I must oppose the existence of such a state. And I will ask fellow Muslims to remember that the classical non-Quranic literature of Islam drew upon importations that were patently judeophobic in nature. And that we should be more careful and not imbibe these traditions. Only when we can come to grips with reality will there be hope for peace.

Prof. Khaleel Mohammed is Assistant Professor at the Department of Religious Studies at San Diego State University

Posted Dec 31 2004

Dear Nonie,

I came across your wonderful website "Arabs for Israel." As an Arab myself living in Jerusalem, let me say that I fully support your view and efforts. I, too, was raised to hate Jews only because they happened to be Jews. Recently, I started studying Hebrew in an institute at Jafa Street in Jerusalem, and I met the most wonderful Israelis. They treated me with respect. I felt complete as a woman, unlike the way I have been made to feel living in my own culture. It's like I've been born again. I even now watch Israeli TV. I want to learn the Hebrew language as quickly as possibile so as to enteract with more Israeli friend.

When I saw your website, it was as if I found exactly what I was looking for. You can't imagine how happy I felt. I totally agree with you that Israel is the greatest thing that has happened to this troubled region. We, Arabs in Jerusalem, are enjoying all the benefits and services provided by this country. My parents tell me how poor and miserable they were under the Jordanian rule before 1967, and everyone knows the suffering of the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank because of the corrupt dictatorship they are living under.

Please carry on your great effort, and I'm willing to help in any way I can.

Let's pray for peace.


Very good economic news

The New York Times is reporting some very good economic news. The trade deficit decreased $55 billion dollars in March. This was because of greater demands for American goods and less Chinese imports. Coupled with the low unemployment rates, the economy is looking much better.

The stock markets took a dip today and then recovered on the news that the Capitol buildings were being evacuated due to a small airplane entering restricted airspace. From Reuters

In my opinion, the news about the trade deficit decreasing and the lower unemployment rates may be intrepeted as the economy is getting stronger and hopefully we'll be experiencing a higher GDP than previously thought.

Graduation getting closer

My son brought home his graduation cap and gown yesterday. I asked him to put in on. When he did, I started crying. It's just so hard to believe that he has grown up so much. High school graduation, just two weeks away. I am so proud of him!!!


Revisiting an old friend

I like to read and read a lot. When I was in high school, I could never get enough of Charles Dickens. This past week I reread David Copperfield. I was astonished at how differently I understood it this time around. How perceptive Dr. Strong's wife's words are when she speaks of "the first mistaken impulse of an undisciplined heart" and when "there can be no disparity in marriage like unsuitability of mind and purpose" when seen through the eyes of a failed marriage.

Like most, I listened to my "undisciplined heart" and did not acknowledge the "unsuitability of mind and purpose". I did not heed the intuition that the person I loved with all my heart had very different views than I on important matters, such as religion and child rearing.

So we parted our ways a long time ago. I have learned to "discipline my heart" and have raised my child. I have suffered and have grown through that suffering.

David Copperfield grew through his suffering also. When I first read it, I didn't really comprehend how much he had suffered and how much he had grown in that suffering.

Perceptions change with age and it did me good to reread this favorite of mine.

NY Times to address problems

Reuters News is reporting that the New York Times is to address problems it has with falling readership and credibility. Some of the recommendations made were to post complete documents and interviews used in stories on the internet. It also recommended that a clearer line must exist between news stories and opinion pieces. The article pointed out that the New York Times had 3,200 corrections last year. It aslo said that reporters need to verify their stories with sources.



A song to serenade Kofi on his way out

Alpha Patriot has a link to a very funny song saying goodbye to Kofi. Dr. Sanity sets his tune to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road .

Update on sex education curriculum

The Washington Post is reporting that Montgomery School Superintendent Jerry D. Weast said he was suspending the proposed curriculum. Two groups that were opposed to the curriculum, Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, applauded the decision. A parent in the district had this to say:

All we hear is how liberal Montgomery County is. There's actually quite a few conservatives in the county," said Laura Quigley, who has children at middle and high schools in Gaithersburg. "And all along, we've thought this was more than a liberal-conservative issue. It's a parent issue."

I agree with Ms. Quigley. Sex education is a parent issue.

Update on hospital alert

In reading an article from the May 4, 2005 issue of the New York Sun, the alert issued to hospitals seems to be more alarming.

Although the department said it knows of no specific terrorist plot, the bulletin said: "These most recent nationwide impersonations are more noteworthy when seen in the broader context with similar incidents which have occurred from October 2004 to February 2005." The letter went on to detail a series of incidents in that period in which people were caught taking unauthorized pictures of hospitals, asking for hospital blueprints, requesting information about the whereabouts of medicines that would be used in biological attacks, and inquiring about the institutions' capacity for cardiac care, trauma care, helicopter access, and private rooms.

One can only speculate as to why hospitals are being cased in this manner. But it calls to mind the realization that similar actions were performed on banks, Wall Street, and other financial institutions prior to the alert level being elevated higher.

Also, the article noted that similar actions were reported at a Los Angeles hospital.

Check out Australian blogger

I have been reading It's A Matter of Opinion from down under. Check it out and see the post on the Qu'ran. Very informative.

Scary -Hospitals being targeted?

In a post from , Little Green Footballs I found out about an alarming developement. It seems hospitals in Boston, Detriot, Indiana, and two in New Jersey have recently been cased by people of "Middle Eastern descent". They wanted tours and patient information. The Homeland Security has issued warnings to hospitals about people posing as doctors or hospital inspectors. An ABC news station has further details.

I can only sepculate what this could mean. Are hospitals being targeted for attack or being assessed for their their ability to handle large casualities? One of the commentors at Little Green Footballs said that the terrorist who blew herself up at a Haifa pizza parlor had first cased a hospital. I will try find out more about that to see how accurate it is.


Should schools show 8th graders how to put on a condom?

The Montgomery County School District in Maryland wants to start a new curriculum for sex education. Part of the curriculum would include a video that shows how to put on a condom and would also allow teachers to initiate discussions on homosexuality. This curriculum would start in 8th grade classes.

In a Washington Post article, U.S. District Court Judge Alexander Williams Jr, issued a temporary restraining on the curriculum stating that the course was biased in a number of ways.

"The government has no business putting its stamp of approval on one religion,'' he said, nothing that materials used to teach the courses highlight denominations that are more supportive of homosexuality. He also argued that the curriculum did not include counter points of view on the issue, noting that experience of ex-gays was omitted from the curriculum.

Contradictions of Iran

In a BBC News article, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi was very critical of Iranian police for extracting confessions. He stated that the way the police conducted interrogations was against the Iranian constitution, Islam, and international legal principles. He stated further that extracting confessions was the job of judges. He also stated that the police should not to be too harsh on those who fail to meet the country's strict dress code, i.e., women wearing veils incorrectly.

I am perplexed by Iran. Women have greater freedom there than in Saudi Arabia. They are even being trained as police officers, can run for office and lead prayers for groups of women.

The Iranians seem to be very progressive toward women and yet they are still required to wear a veil for modesty. I realize that this is a matter of religion but modesty can be achieved without such an archaic thing as a veil. It seems to me to be the ultimate symbol for the subjugation of women.


Al Qaeda # 3 caught

Abu Faraj Farj al-Libbi, allegedly number three in the Al-Qaeda network and a close associate of Osama bin Laden, has been captured in Pakistan.

Other news services report that other Al Qaeda members were caught and killed. Reuters

NBC News reports:

When asked whether Pakistan was close to capturing bin Laden,
Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that "this arrest
gives us a lot of tips, and I can only say that our security agencies are on the right track."

Osama you're next

al-libbi has been very, very busy. In the London Times it has been reported that he had two Al-Qaeda operatives in Britain travel to Pakistan for a crisis meeting. The British agency MI5 wants to know what happened to these men and with good reason. Al-Libbi has been linked to planning the 9-11 attacks.


Hattiesburg MS - Rick James - Daily Show????

What do the above have in common? A Hattiesburg MS resident who is running for a council seat is named Rick James. He has been having problems with his campaign signs having I'm B'tch spray painted on them. So now they appear to say I'm Rick James B'tch. The Daily Show had a Colbert interview with Mr. James on its May 3 show.

Mr. James attributed the spray painting to college students who may watch the Dave Chaplle Show. Hattiesburg is home to the University of Southern Mississippi.

The Daily Show will have the video on it's website later.

AmericanSoldier needs our prayers

A military blogger AmericanSoldier posted on his blog that he needs surgery for an injury that happened last month. He is currently serving in Iraq. Please go to his site and post your support.

AUT boycott to be overturned?

In the Jerusalem Post today there are great indications that the AUT boycott of two Israeli universities will be overturned later this month. There are more than enough signatures to call for an emergency meeting of the AUT and more than enough support to have this ridiculous and bigoted decision overturned.


Laura makes Dubya blush

At the White House Correspondents Dinner First Lady Laura Bush's quip causes President to blush. She quipped that he didn't know much about ranching when they first bought Crawford Ranch. All in good fun, she talked about his misadventure. He tried to milk a horse, a male horse. The above link will take you to a video. It's hilarious.