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Sunday, 25 July 2004
Berger and the Missing Documents - by ?
Topic: Current Affairs
It sounds like a murder mystery. What was murdered was our credulity. How can even the most credulous person who passionately wants to believe in Kerry, the Clintons and the whole Democrat party, really believe that Berger accidently put high security documents in his pants and then, once he had them at home, misplaced them. Ooooh! You know Republicans have gone to jail for much, much less than this. If this was Condolezza Rice she would be sitting in jail right now because the uproar from every major media would have been overwhelmingly against her and would have believed the worst.

Too many other blogs have covered this so much better than I ever could since I'm not even sure how the whole classified doc system works. Here are just a very few of them.

James Lileks
Commonsense and Wonder
Instapundit and again Instapundit
Peeve Farm

Posted by rachela at 9:44 AM MDT
Updated: Sunday, 25 July 2004 9:51 AM MDT
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Take the beam out of your eye, . . . .
Topic: Current Affairs
Well this is so tacky! The Mainstream Coalition is sending out people to conservative churches to make sure they are not advocating political positions in church.

A recent Sunday found Tina Kolm changing her morning routine. Instead of attending a Unitarian Universalist service, she was at the Lenexa Christian Center, paying close attention to a conservative minister's sermon about the importance of amending the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage.

Kolm is one of about 100 volunteers for the Mainstream Coalition, a group monitoring the political activities of local pastors and churches. The coalition, based in suburban Kansas City, says it wants to make sure clergy adhere to federal tax guidelines restricting political activity by nonprofit groups, and it's taking such efforts to a new level.

The 47-year-old Kolm, from Prairie Village, said keeping church and state separate is important to her. She doesn't want a few religious denominations defining marriage - or setting other social policy - for everyone.

"What it's all about to me is denying some people's rights," she said.

But some local clergy think the Mainstream Coalition is using scare tactics designed to unfairly keep them out the political process.

"Somebody is trying to act like Big Brother when there's no need for Big Brother," said the Rev. James Conard, assistant pastor at the First Baptist Church of Shawnee. "It's obviously an intent to intimidate."

Kansas isn't the only place in this election year where church-state separation has become a hot issue, but the Mainstream Coalition's efforts are more intense than most.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a complaint this month with the Internal Revenue Service against the Rev. Jerry Falwell over a column endorsing President Bush on his ministries' Web site. Falwell said the group was waging a "scare-the-churches campaign."

Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United, said local chapters have sent volunteers to church services the Sunday before an election, but he said the Mainstream Coalition's efforts are more sustained.

"To my knowledge, there's no other state organization doing what the Mainstream Coalition is doing," said Lynn, himself a United Church of Christ minister.

Some conservatives are upset.

"These people will stop at nothing to silence churches," said Andrea Lafferty, executive values of the Washington-based Traditional Values Coalition, which says it represents 43,000 churches.

The catalyst for the Mainstream Coalition's campaign in Kansas was the debate over gay marriage.

So, who is checking up on the sermons at the Unitarian church where Ms. Kolm attends? I attended a UU church for years and know that they are strongly political. The difference is the liberal churches call it "careing for people" but when a conservative church does it it's called hateful. Right! The Unitarians are very strongly political and have advocated political positions in every service and program they have. How about the Mainstream Coalition getting conservative christians to check up on UU churches. Gee, I don't know. Maybe that's too hateful. How dare anyone suggest that a liberal church can't advocate whatever they want.

I do see that the Mainstream Coalition is using the usual tactic of saying Oh, they aren't political. All the political stuff is done by their political action committee, Main PAC. Sure! I believe that . . not.

Well, I'm off to my liberal Episcopal church and I can't really say that I've heard them advocate who to vote for but I have heard sermons that advocate positions that aren't held by President Bush. So, if the conservative churches advocate positions not held by Kerry, it's illegal, but if liberal churches advocate positions not held by Bush, it's ok?

Posted by rachela at 9:03 AM MDT
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The 911 Commission Report
Topic: Current Affairs
I am going to read the report. Thanks to my brother, Tim, who gave me the link to the Washington Post where I could download the report and put on my PDA. This may take a while but I do think it's important.

The preface is truly sobering. We didn't know what was going on and certainly didn't realize how serious it was. We have such a great country that we could not comprehend that people hate us. Not as many as the liberals think, but enough. The europeans don't so much hate us as feel superior and put us down at the same time. According to them us Johnny-come-lately's don't have the right to not be like them.

The terrorists, who do hate us, also hate Europe and Europe refuses to believe this. They think if they can just be understanding enough and nice enough the terrorists will leave them alone and, if they don't, it's the fault of the United States, which is crap. They hate a social structure that isn't fascist and think they can stay socially back a couple milleniums while enjoying all the benefits of modern life and science. Ain't going to happen.

But I digress. The paragraph that I think best defines terrorism is as follows:

We learned about an enemy who is sophisticated, patient, disciplined, and lethal. The enemy rallies broad support in the Arab and Muslim world by demanding redress of political grievances, but its hostility toward us and our values is limitless. Its purpose is to rid the world of religious and political pluralism, the plebiscite, and equal rights for women. It makes no distinction between military and civilian targets. Collateral damage is not in it's lexicon.

I read that paragraph and thought "This is against everything that the liberals say they believe in. Why are they supporting the terrorists? Why are they trying so hard to stop us from protecting ourselves from terrorism?". I look at Afghanistan and Iraq and see the administration working to help women with schools, hospitals and fighting for as many rights as they can get. I see the religious right in the fore front of the fight against slavery in Africa, which is mainly operated and run by muslims, very often black muslims, which I suppose is one reason the African American activist groups in this country don't want to acknowledge how wide spread it is. After all how can they say that slavery is racist when black africans are enslaving black africans.

Ok, we have an enemy who intends to kill us or convert us and even if they convert us they'll probably kill us anyway because they hate everything that we are. Next is Chapter 1. I looked at it quickly but it's about the hijacking of the planes on September 11, 2001 and I know it will bring back the fear when I couldn't get hold of my daughter and the horror that people could actually do this and the terror that our world has changed because of the hatred of people without a conscience and with no value but hate. I listened to Hugh Hewitt read some of it on Friday and I cried again but I think we do need to remember and repeat and read and never forget September 11, 2001.

Posted by rachela at 7:57 AM MDT
Updated: Sunday, 25 July 2004 7:58 AM MDT
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Sunday, 18 July 2004
Young Conservatives
Topic: Current Affairs
The New York Times had a story about young conservatives (thanks to Andrew Sullivan). It's very interesting. I've always thought that there was much more diversity in the conservative movement than in the liberal movement and this confirms that it's continuing.

Posted by rachela at 7:39 PM MDT
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Saturday, 17 July 2004
DHMO! Oh No!
Topic: Current Affairs
The horror of it! The horror of it! The next time you read something that is designed to scare you go to the DHMO site and read it carefully comparing the statements on the new scare site with the statements on this. What a great website.

Posted by rachela at 10:25 AM MDT
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Sunday, 4 July 2004
Independence Day
Topic: Current Affairs
Happy 4th of July! Happy Independence Day!. I really do get misty eyed on Independence Day even though I'm not really celebrating it in any way. I got a bit of a lump watching them put the cornerstone in place at the World Trade Center and I'm rather ambivalent about the design. I'll watch fireworks tonight and sniff a little at all the patriotic music. I think we are such a great country. Not perfect, but then neither are we, but damn good. Better than any other country I can think of. For the rest of the day, I'll clean house and maybe go for a walk.

Posted by rachela at 9:13 AM MDT
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Saturday, 3 July 2004
Farenheit 1941
Topic: Current Affairs
A priceless satire (thanks to Common Sense and Wonder from the Valley Road Runner.

"Less well-known is the fact that a maverick film-maker, 4-F but drafted anyway, was forced by the Army to produce a propaganda film to improve the morale of the troops. The resentful draftee fooled his wartime bosses and filmed a subversive little documentary known as Fahrenheit 1941. It labors to show that the Japanese and the Germans couldn't possibly be allies because the Germans didn't take part in the Dec. 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor sneak attack.
The film then mocks the U.S. high command for committing troops to North Africa "when the real enemy, Hitler, is obviously in Germany."
It also offers "proof" that the U.S. deliberately invited the attack by cutting off Japan's oil supplies in the summer of 1941, all, it asserts, to help Franklin Delano Roosevelt's friends in the oil industry make a killing.
The director includes interviews of sources who claim that FDR knew ahead of time about Pearl Harbor, but that he allowed it to happen because his friends held shares in the Krupps arms factories in Germany.
Most devastating is a privately filmed home movie with an apparently unparalyzed FDR rolling around on the White House floor with his grandchildren, aiming a good natured kick at Eleanor and doing somersaults on board the "floating White House" the USS Potomac, before resuming his seat in a wheelchair just in time to greet a delegation of reporters.
The director introduced some revolutionary (for the times) documentary techniques that many have mistakenly attributed to Orson Welles or Leni Riefenstahl. It often shows the smirking director interrogating life size cardboard figures of Dwight Eisenhower, George Marshal and FDR, leaning over with his ear cupped and snickering, "What? No answer? I thought so!"
Why the film was never released is obvious. The government discovered that it was clutching a viper to its bosom shortly before Fahrenheit 1941 was due to open. Mickey's studio was shut down, and the ancestor of the current hit director escaped to the Third Reich where he was employed for awhile making short propaganda films hailing the positive steps that Germany was making in providing housing for Jewish settlers being relocated to Poland.
He was later shot on orders of Heinrich Himmler."

Posted by rachela at 8:58 AM MDT
Updated: Saturday, 3 July 2004 9:28 AM MDT
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The Women's President
Topic: Current Affairs
Great interview of Elinor Burkett in Front Page.

"No matter where I went, it was impossible for me to escape the reality that ALL of my experiences were being shaped more thoroughly by my gender than by my nationality. Sure, people reacted to me as an American - mostly to ask if I could help them get visas or to ask if some silly nonsense they'd read in the press (U.S. troops being required to pray daily to a pamphlet filled with photos of Bush and his Cabinet, or the U.S. plotting to deprive the Russians of gold medals at the Winter Olympics.) But I was suddenly operating in a part of the world in which my gender was foremost in almost every encounter.

In Afghanistan, I found it difficult to walk down the street because I didn't understand that women always scurried around in their burqas because they were always expected to get out of the way of any man on the sidewalk. I met a woman who'd been crippled by a beating from the Vice and Virtue Police because - unaccustomed to seeing out of a burqa - she's tripped on the street and exposed a little ankle. I interviewed extraordinary women who'd been active professionals before the rise of the Taliban who'd endured their confinement by addicting themselves to sedatives or by abusing their husbands and kids.

In Iran, I got on a bus one afternoon and was directed to the back of the bus, which is where women are expected to ride. In Turkmenistan, I heard about arranged marriages to uncles, about women who refused to agree to such marriages being driven out by their families. In Kyrgyzstan, I learned about hymen replacement surgery - surely an amazing symbol of the plight of young women caught between modernization and tradition. If these women couldn't produce bloody sheets on the night of their weddings, they would, as a minimum, be shunned, at a maximu, be killed. In Iraq, urban women had watched as Saddam became more religious, and as short-sleeve dresses disappeared from the stores and women were pushed out of public life.

So when I came home, I fully expected the feminist movement to be up in arms, demanding that the U.S. government do more to defend these women, marching on the United Nations in defense of their sisters.

Instead, I found NOW working on its annual Love Your Body Day. And if I didn't hit a wall earlier, I hit it several weeks ago during the March for Women's Lives. Whoopi Goldberg declared that "there's a war going on, a war against women." I agreed. Unfortunately, we were talking about different wars.

The marchers insisted that George W. Bush is the world's greatest threat to women. What I'd seen and heard during a year's travels was that Muslim fundamentalists were the world's greatest threat to women. That's certainly what the women I met - on the street, in the market, in the classroom, on buses and during interviews - told me. They weren't worried about access to abortion. They were worried about access to jobs, about the right to work, about the right to run to the store without having to cover themselves, about the right to select their own husband, the right to educate themselves and their daughters."

The rest of the interview is great also. Read and learn. The left talks like Bush is ready to force women into barefoot and pregnant status again but the last fundamentalist church I went to had some of the women there is shorts. Well, this is Tucson in the summer but still . . . Come on people!

Another great quote from the interview "FP: Why do you think radical feminists in the West are so silent regarding the fate of women in this part of the world?

Burkett: There are only three possible explanations for this shameful silence. First, that they really don't care about women at all, at least not about any women who aren't like them. Second, that they care but that they care less about these millions of women in peril than they do about their broader political agenda, which is booting the Republicans out of the White House. Third, that they do care but they can't bear to agree with George Bush on anything."

Posted by rachela at 8:48 AM MDT
Updated: Saturday, 3 July 2004 9:30 AM MDT
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Wednesday, 9 June 2004
Reagan's Funeral
Topic: Current Affairs
I've been watching the funeral at it is so heartbreaking to see Nancy Reagan's loss and the loss of all of us. At the same time it's wonderful to see the tribute everyone is giving him. Margaret Thatcher is very sick and yet she came and gave a curtsey and it was so sweet. She also gave a tender pat to the casket.

Thousands of people waiting to just walk by the casket. So touching and it really shows what an impact President Reagan had on people and the love people have for him.

Posted by rachela at 7:05 PM MDT
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Saturday, 5 June 2004
Rest is Peace, President Reagan
Topic: Current Affairs
How sad to get home this afternoon and hear that Ronald Reagan has died. I understand he didn't know his wife or family anymore and but I know they will still miss him as the rest of us will.

His two terms as president were the first time I was really interested in politics or current affairs. Before then it usually all at a distance but he made it real to me. One of the exceptions was a great history teacher I had in highschool, Mr McGaffey. I wrote a paper on D-Day. That was also the year President Kennedy was shot but I remember researching the paper more than I remember about Kennedy. Most of what I remember of Kennedy is remembered from the many retrospectives on his life and death.

How appropriate that Reagan died when we are remembering the 60th anniversary of D-Day. On the 40th anniversary it was President Reagan in France honoring the soldier that died on June 6th, 1944. I can see Reagan in heaven being welcomed by the soldiers that fell 60 years ago and all of them looking down and wishing us the best during our current war and hoping we rise to the occasion as they did.

Posted by rachela at 7:28 PM MDT
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