Sunday, May 27, 2007

From the Hague: Muslims don't have to shake hands with Christians.

For real. (h/t Religion of Peace)

Appease, accommodate, bend over backwards... all 'respectful ways' in which the dhimmi should greet his new Muslim master.

The Equal Treatment Commission (CGB) has ruled that a Christian school may not require Muslim pupils to shake the teacher's hand. Pupils can however be required to attend school camp, newspaper Nederlands Dagblad reports.

De Rank primary school in Schoonhoven wanted to specify in its code of behaviour that pupils and their parents were required to shake hands with the teacher on arrival at and departure from information evenings. This cannot however be required of Muslims, even by a school like De Rank which is statutorily recognised as Protestant.

The CGB advises the school to specify in its code of behaviour that "mutual respect will be indicated with a handshake on arrival and departure or - if a handshake is objectionable for religious reasons - in another respectful way."

Around 25 percent of the pupils at the Christian school are reportedly of Muslim origin.
The school can require pupils to participate in school camp. The CGB could not discover religious objections to travel. The school already allows pupils to bring their own halal food to camps.


Additionally, they do not have to stay overnight, providing their parents collect them and bring them back, according to CGB. Its rulings are non binding but most survive if tested in real courts.

Muslim soldier survives catering incident

Call the waaaa-mbulance! Muslim soldier was fed pork sandwich!!!!!

Colchester’s Military Corrective Training Centre has been accused of trying to feed a Muslim with a pork sandwich. Saeed Akhtar is claiming that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) breached his rights under legislation covering discrimination because of religious beliefs while serving as a soldier.

On April 30, employment tribunal Chairman at Bury St Edmunds permitted Akhtar to take his case to a full tribunal hearing. Akhtar is claiming the MoD had failed to provide him on a regular basis with suitable meat. He told tribunal Chairman, Brian Mitchell, that officials had not provided Halal meat. That had forced him to adopt a largely vegetarian diet, said Akhtar. On one occasion he was given a pork sandwich.

He is, of course, crying discrimination all the way to the sharia bank.

Nancy goes to the experts on Global Warming

Pelosi asks Yahoo users how to solve climate change.
(my head hurts just typing that)

So far, more than 27,000 people have posted responses to Pelosi’s query on what they would like to see included in global warming legislation. Among the recommendations on how Congress should stop global warming:

Impose a national greenhouse gas emissions cap;
Mandate increased vehicle fuel efficiency;
Promote mass transit and bicycling to discourage suburban sprawl.


Yahoo Answers features the usual Digg-style user voting on every response, subject to the vagaries of the mob. Thus warnings to reject “eco-Marxism” received top ratings and contributions by environmental experts Lester Brown and Simran Sethi were so low-rated that Yahoo hid them from display. (tee-hee)

Pakistan: "Millitants" threaten music shops

No ring tones or hash for you!

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- Pro-Taliban militants have warned music and video shops as well as clandestine hashish and alcohol outlets in a northwest Pakistan town to close down, local residents said Saturday.

The threat came in pamphlets distributed in Darra Adam Khel town, some 25 kilometers (15 miles) from Peshawar, the main town in North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan.

At least 10 music shops in the region have suffered grenade attacks by militants over the past eight months. The latest threats also warned shopkeepers to stop downloading songs as mobile telephone ringtones.

"The Taliban have set July 1 as a deadline to abandon all un-Islamic business in the area," local resident Murtza Khan said. "All the music shops in this area are closing now," shopkeeper Jan Alam said.

File this one under Bwa-ha-ha...

From the Middle East Times (and CBS) US tries to sabotage Iran

US intelligence agents are trying to sabotage Iran's nuclear program with faulty parts, a report by CBS News said. CBS News reported that a covert operation involving Iranian exiles and Russian scientists has been selling defective nuclear components or technical drawings to Iran.

Tehran is forced to buy its nuclear parts on the black market because of a ban on selling nuclear components to Iran on the open market, Kommersant reported. Diplomats in the Iranian Embassy in Frankfurt ship the acquired parts in diplomatic bags, according to the CBS report.

In 2006, black market parts exploded in a nuclear facility in Natanz and destroyed 50 centrifuges of uranium, Kommersant reported.

Despite the covert sabotage, the progress in Iran's nuclear program has continued.

(Not for long, binky.)

The CBS article is here. Read it if you've got a minute. They sound so pleased with themselves - spilling the details of a secret strategy to the Iranians. You'd almost think they were rooting for Iran, not the US. Oh wait, what am I thinking? It is CBS - they ARE probably rooting for Iran.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Hillary Clinton refused to divorce Bill when he wanted out

Hah-hah! That last one was from WaPo.
We report, you decide.

Update: Is this the real reason Hillary is standing by her man?

The most expensive ex-president ever!

How Keith Ellison will spend his Memorial Day...


(h/t LGF) By the grace and mercy of Allah, the Muslim American Society announces the 4th Annual MAS Minnesota Convention to be held on May 25-27, 2007 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The theme of the convention is "Living our Values: Celebrating Similarities and Welcoming Differences"

House Spkr Pelosi departs on Global Warming Mission

Jumping Nan Flash, she's a gas, gas, gas!

It's official - Madam Speaker is now winging her way halfway around the world vowing to work with the administration, not provoke it on Global Warming. Now there's some hot air for you.

Pelosi, a California Democrat, and seven other House members left Saturday for meetings with scientists and politicians in Greenland, Germany and Belgium on ways to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The band of merry cranksters joining Madam Speaker on this issue of utmost importance is:
Democratic Reps. Edmund Markey, Earl Blumenauer, Emanuel Cleaver, and Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, and Hilda Solis; and Republicans David Hobson and John Larson.

A stop on their itinerary: Swiss Camp.
Konrad Steffen is so excited about Saturday's planned Greenland visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a delegation of as many as 16 congressional colleagues, he's going to take a shower. Or at least use the bucket that serves as a shower at Swiss Camp in Greenland.

Two helicopters will bring as many as eight legislators each, the first arriving at 8:30 p.m. Saturday carrying Pelosi, Markey and others, and the second 90 minutes later. For some period, all 16 will overlap at Swiss Camp, which normally tops out at 14 residents.

By 10:30 p.m., the lawmakers will be gone again. The delegation will spend the night in Ilulissat, have Sunday lunch with the president of the home-rule government of Greenland, tour the fjords, and fly back to Washington, D.C., Steffen said.

Steffen said he plans to discuss sea-level rise with Pelosi, Markey and their colleagues. His continuous measurements since 1990 have shown the Greenland ice sheet to be responding faster to global warming than estimated.

(Hey Konrad, you ever think your estimates might be wrong there, bud?)

A little background info for you to read, as you ponder Global Warming advocate Madam Speaker firing up the choppers, the limos, the press busses and the security vehicles to go tour the fjords.... all offset of course.

Pelosi set up a new House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and appointed Rep. Edward Markey as its chairman. The committee cannot write legislation, but was created to study and offer recommendations on how to deal with global warming.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee recently approved a bill to obligate the administration to send senior diplomats to international meetings on climate change "with instructions to secure binding commitments for reform," according to a committee statement.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is pushing a nonbinding resolution that would press the administration to work on several diplomatic fronts to combat global warming.

The new head of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. Barbara Boxer, is a strong advocate of battling climate change. She replaced Republican Sen. James Inhofe, who has called global warming a hoax.


Just about as big a hoax as the carbon offsets Madam Speaker purchased out of her own pocket:

Because of the significance of this trip, the air travel will be carbon offset through the Pacific Forest Trust - a forest conservation and stewardship project that will permanently reduce approximately 500,000 tons of CO2 emissions over a 100-year period. The Speaker will personally pay for this effort.

Big whoop. Who is Pacific Forest Trust? Good question. Looks like one big eco-circle jerk to me. Whoever they are, they are right there telling Madam Speaker what to do!

PFT President Laurie Wayburn was invited to participate in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Climate Change and Energy Independence Roundtable panel discussion in San Francisco February 21. The panel was comprised of a select group of distinguished Bay Area political, business, scientific and environmental leaders including, among others, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, PG&E CEO Peter King, SF Public Utilities Commission General Manager Susan Leal, Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope and representatives from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Wayburn informed the Speaker that forests are both part of the climate change problem and part of the solution. She explained that forest loss accounts for roughly 25% of worldwide CO2 emissions today and has contributed as much as 40% in the past. To help mitigate global warming, Wayburn told Pelosi the U.S. could reduce net CO2 emissions by up to 25 billion tons in the next 50 years by decreasing forest loss, restoring converted forests and increasing carbon stocks in existing forests. She urged Pelosi and Congress to include forest conservation and sustainable forest management in any future federal climate change legislation.

And they seem mighty chummy with the Speaker.
A redwood grove was planted in San Francisco's Presidio in recognition of the life's work of Dr. Edgar Wayburn and his late wife Peggy, Representative Nancy Pelosi spoke at the dedication and is seen here giving Edgar a hug. Ed is wearing a Joe Fedora that Stefan and Sally presented him at his hundredth birthday. Looking on is Ed's daughter and Stefan's friend Laurie Wayburn. Laurie is president and co-founder of the Pacific Forest Trust.
10-11-06


Imagine this - I just read in the Pacific Trust Annual report that they have moved their offices to the Presidio (one of the most beautiful spots in SF) all to "enhance accessibility" for their "partners and supporters". No doubt on the gov't dime, too. You had to know that there was a government grant in the woodpile and their biggest line item on their financials is their foundation$. Read a very lame-o annual report here. And join me in wondering why the accounting notes weren't provided.

Confused about this latest Y2K-like fiddle faddle? For the best breakdown I've ever read on the Carbon Offset game, read this.

You wonder why everyone is so quick to pony up for the carbon offsets on their way to the Gulfstream? Tax benefits vary - 40% in England - where Al Gore has conveniently set up his little deal. And 20% here in the States -BUT! Dinah says check with your financial consultant before undertaking any type of flim-flam investment for the proper accounting treatment.

Iran claims discovery of "Spy Networks"

According to the Iranian Intelligence Ministry that is. I wonder if these so called "agent provocateurs" have had any contact with the following: Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, Parnaz Azima, Kian Tajbakhsh, Individual X, or Mr. Ali Shakiri - the most recent Iranian Americans to go missing while visiting relatives in Iran.

Several spy networks serving the “occupiers of Iraq” have been discovered in Iran, the Public Relations Office of the Intelligence Ministry said in a statement released on Saturday.

According to the statement, these networks consisting of agents provocateurs serving the occupiers in Iraq, were active in the western, southwestern and central areas of the country.

The intelligence services of the occupiers were directing these networks, and certain Iraqi groups were supporting them.

The Intelligence Ministry stated that it will soon release more information about the case.

More Trouble in Iranian paradise

Remember the Iranian gas rationing scheme? Well, now there's this:
Iran interest rate cut sparks panic selling

Methinks, the littlest theocrat is in over his wee head. I smell panic.

Iran's financial system suffered a fresh jolt yesterday with panic selling on the stock market after the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, abruptly ordered banks to cut interest rates sharply, despite surging inflation.

The order, which Mr Ahmadinejad issued by telephone during a visit to Belarus and which flew in the face of expert advice - has triggered warnings of a financial crisis and spiralling corruption amid fears of a capital flight from the country's lending institutions.

Mr Ahmadinejad's decree forced all state-owned and private banks to slash borrowing rates to 12%. Inflation is officially 15% but is generally believed to be much higher. State banks had been offering rates of 14%, while those in the private sector ranged from 17% to 28%.

The decision caused panic in the Tehran stock exchange, with private banks losing much of their share value overnight. Shareholders in one bank, Karafarin, queued on Wednesday to sell their stock when previously there had been 1.2 million applicants to buy its shares.

And about that gas rationing scheme? The one that resulted in lines at the Iranian petrol station? Timing is everything, Mahmoud....

The rate cut was imposed at the same time as Mr Ahmadinejad raised the price of petrol by 1p to 5p a litre. That caused anger among motorists, who expected a new rationing system to be introduced on Tuesday. The government has postponed rationing until next month, citing difficulties in introducing the necessary technology to filling stations.

Update: Ahmadinejad rebuked over incomprehensible rate cut.

Video of brutality smuggled out of Iran

Iran Focus has been able to get a hold of video of some poor soul getting a serious beatdown (and really bad case of road rash) by the Iranian Fashion Police. His crime? As far as I can tell, he was wearing a t-shirt. Given the fact that the Iranian media have been instructed to not publish these pictures, I am going to put up every one I find.

About this vid:
The clip which was aired on Simaye Azadi was captured by a bystander using a mobile phone and smuggled out of Iran. Simaye Azadi said it obtained the video from supporters of the People’s Mojahedin (MeK).

They go on to add:
So far neither the European Union nor the United States have expressed condemnation of the government-orchestrated crackdown.

Click here to see the video.

Russians and Iranians bicker over Bushehr



Whoo boy, and wouldn't I love to see the Russians get stiffed on this one.

Moscow, 25 May (AKI) - Russia is concerned that upcoming talks with Iran over a delay in payments for the construction of its Bushehr nuclear power plant could not take place, reports said Friday, after US president George W. Bush called for the introduction of fresh sanctions against Tehran. Bush's statements followed a UN report which said the country could have the atomic bomb in three to eight years and sparked Moscow's fears that the project could be halted. The construction of the nuclear reactor with Russian technology, which has been repeatedly delayed, should have originally been completed by September this year.

Moscow and Tehran have been bickering publicly over what Russia says are tens of millions of dollars in delayed payments for its work on Bushehr, a claim rejected by Tehran.

The plant is key for Tehran which is facing a second wave of UN sanctions after repeatedly refusing to halt sensitive nuclear work that the international community fears is aimed at building nuclear weapons.

Without Russian uranium, the plant cannot begin generating electricity by September as originally scheduled. Iran had planned a fully operational Bushehr to boost its position in negotiations over its nuclear programme which it claims is solely for civilian use.

You can find a more in-depth look at the Iranian nuclear facilities here if you wish. See a gallery of great Bushehr images here.

The poppy and Memorial Day observance


"In Flanders Fields"
John MacCrae - 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

About Flanders Fields and Lt. Col John MacCrae:


In May, 1915, on the day following the death of fellow soldier Lt Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, John McCrae wrote his now famous work, an expression of his anguish over the loss of his friend and a reflection of his surroundings, wild poppies growing amid simple wooden crosses marking makeshift graves. These 15 lines, written in 20 minutes, captured an exact description of the sights and sounds of the area around him.


That same year, fellow poet Moina Michael was so moved by this verse she replied with her own poem and the tradition of wearing poppies to honor our veterans was begun. From Memorial Day History :

"...She (Moina)then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children's League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it ."

Hope you've enjoyed this little bit of Memorial Day trivia and are having a good Memorial Day weekend.

May God bless our troops.

Iran: Media told not to criticize Fashion Police



As controversial pictures and video clips of the police’s treatment of "inappropriately dressed" women are circulating on the worldwide web, the National Security Office forwarded a letter to newspapers asking them to refrain from criticizing any aspects of the so-called plan to increase public security.
From now on, newspapers and publications will be unable to criticize the various aspects of a plan that has already generated much controversy by pitting police officers against women in crowded streets of Tehran.
In the past few days, several video clips taken by mobile phones have been circulating around the web: one is depicting a women being dragged on the ground by the police, another is of a woman getting kicked by officers, and a third shows a woman with a bloody face, following clashes with police officers at Haft Tir Square in Tehran.
Such pictures and videos have been circulating widely on the web, and are available at popular website such as YouTube and highly-visited personal blogs. The BBC reporter in Tehran, Francess Harisson, began one of his latest reports by showing one such clip.


More detail on the attacks at the Rooz link.

Muslims who quit over prayers - return to work

70 Muslims at the Swift meatpacking plant in Nebraska who quit because they were not given enough time for prayer have returned to their jobs. (Although a union official says the issue may resurface during the longer days of summer - CAIR to place your bets on this one happening?)

Accommodate, appease and bend over backwards...We have this account of the meeting from - get this ... Mr. Mohamed Rage, the chairman of the Omaha chapter of the Somali-American Community Organization.

"Management was cordial and understanding," Rage said. Somali workers left their jobs at the Swift plant last week because they were unable to complete an evening prayer -- one of the five prayers required each day of the Islamic faith, Rage said. The company agreed to allow a normal bathroom break to be used for prayer time. Workers agreed to limit their prayer time to the time available. Workers were pleased with the meeting's results, Rage said."It was a gentlemen's agreement," he said. Swift spokesman Sean McHugh said it was a productive meeting." All parties gained a better understanding of the others' concerns," McHugh said. "We've reached a mutually acceptable agreement that adheres to the provision of the existing labor contract."McHugh said about 120 Somali workers resigned last week. By Wednesday afternoon, he said, about 70 had returned to work.

Similar requests for workplace accommodations of Muslim religious obligations have become common around the country, says Muslim advocates.


Who are these nameless faceless "Muslim advocates"? Look for the union label and CAIR, of course.

“We live in a country where religious beliefs are important to us, and I don’t care what religion it is and we should try to do our best to support those things,” Dan Hoppes, president of Local 22 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union said. “But we’ve got a contract with Swift.”

CAIR speaks - although they aren't making much sense. As usual.

A spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Rabiah Ahmed, said “there is some flexibility when it comes to prayer if it’s conflicting with something as serious as your job and your work environment. But (prayer) doesn’t take very long — really it only takes five minutes,” she said. The council, which describes itself as a civil rights and advocacy group, has been able to mediate between companies and workers on the issue in most cases.

Here are some of those cases:
Some Muslim cashiers at Target stores in Minnesota were shifted to other positions in March because they objected to handling pork products.

An ongoing dispute also exists among cab drivers who serve Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport — many of whom are Muslim — who refuse to take passengers who are carrying alcohol.
In 2005, 30 workers walked off the job at a Dell, Inc. plant in Nashville, Tenn., after alleging the company refused to let them pray at sunset.

A federal lawsuit brought by nine Somalis against Gold’n Plump Poultry Inc. in October made similar allegations.

Friday, May 25, 2007

In hiding since Feb, sissy pants boy Mookie al Sadr shows his face

Sadr appears in public after long absence

KUFA, Iraq, May 25 (Reuters) - Anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has not been seen since the start of a major U.S.-backed crackdown in Iraq in February, appeared at Friday prayers in the holy Shi'ite city of Kufa.

The U.S. military has said he went into hiding in Iran in January to escape the crackdown, but aides to the young cleric, who led two uprisings against U.S. forces in 2004, say he never left Kufa. A Reuters witness saw him enter Kufa mosque, surrounded by bodyguards and close aides.

Update: I'm watching tape of Mookie in the mosque making a speech. His devotees are throwing up an arm salute, ala the Third Reich. Alas, Mookie's outing was spoiled by the fact that his top Mahdi Army guy, the guys brothers and two of his aides were taken out by the Brits in Basra. Top Shiite Army Militant Killed.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Oh, Iowahawk, you do make me laugh.

Mr. Iowahawk takes on the Pew Poll...and wins.

Midwest Lutherans Largely Reject Violence

Chicago - By an almost two-to-one margin, Midwest Lutherans voiced solid opposition to decapitation, suicide bombing, and chemical warfare in a new comprehensive survey of their social attitudes.

The Pew Research survey, conducted May 13-19, queried nearly 2,500 randomly selected Lutherans at flea markets and convenience stores across the Midwest. Interviews were conducted in High Plains Twang, Great Lakes Nasal and Flat Ohio Valley Bland.

"If there is one headline here, it's how remarkably moderate the Lutheran community is," said Pew director Andrew Kohut of the survey, which was co-sponsored by the Council on American-Yooper Relations. "It really paints a picture of a dynamic culture in or somewhere near the American mainstream."

Kohut pointed to one of the study's key findings that only 29% of all respondents agreed that "bloody, random violence against infidels" was "always" or "frequently" justified, versus 56% who said such violence was "seldom" or "never" justified. The approval of violence rose slightly among younger Lutherans and when the hypothetical violence was targeted against Presbyterians, but still fell well short of a majority.

"The only demographic cohort we saw where murderous random violence had a majority support was among 18-35 year old male followers of the Wisconsin Synod," said Kohut. "And that was barely above the margin of error. Even then, fewer than half (41% to 46%) said they would personally volunteer to carry out the violence themselves."

Further bolstering the findings, Kohut noted that fewer than 6% of respondents physically attacked field interviewers during the survey.

Although a majority 87% of respondents agreed that "The world should be brought to submission under global Lutheran conquest and eternal perfect rule," there was a great deal of disagreement on the means to accomplish it. More than 95% supported "pancake breakfasts" and "popcorn fundraisers," but support dropped to less than 80% for "cow tipping" and "T-P'ing infidel houses." Support dropped even more dramatically for more violent means of conquest, such as "suicide bombing" (28%), "decapitation" (24%), and "running over Presbyterians with my Ski-Doo" (23%).

"Taken as a whole, the results show that Midwest Lutherans emphatically support a moderate, mainstream path to world domination," said Kohut. "These folks are well-assimilated into the broad fabric of American society, and unless you are Presbyterian, there is probably very little here to cause concern."

Kohut said that optimism about the results should be tempered by the grim economic realities faced by many in the Lutheran community. Nearly 65% of female survey respondents said they lived more than 30 minutes from the nearest outlet mall, while a strong majority of males said they were "often" or "sometimes" worried about having enough money for green fees and Leinenkugel.

Equally disturbing, many respondents reported experiencing discrimination at the hands of non-Lutherans. Frequently cited examples of non-Lutheran bigotry included "Got all nose-in-the-air like" (48%), "Made personal remarks about my hot dish" (37%), "Wouldn't let me borrow their combine head" (36%), and "Wouldn't stand still so I could kill them" (22%).

"I think it's important for all of us to remain vigilant against this kind of virulent anti-Lutheran backlash, and make sure they feel a welcome part of our society," said Kohut.

Ted Jarvenpaa, spokesman for CAYR, agreed.

"Ya, we're done doin' dat assimilatin' eh?" said Jarvenpaa. "Now it's your turn."

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Volcano action

Live from Kilauea. Kilauea means "spewing" or "much spreading", evidently referring to the lava flows.

Learn more about Kilauea.

Mahalo.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sunnis and Sadrist unite to fight al-Qaeda

Blogging on the way out the door to the WW2 Memorial....but hot damn - this is good news.


IRAQ: SUNNI TRIBES SEEK SADRIST ALLIES

Baghdad, 23 May (AKI) - A delegation of Sahwa al-Anbar, (Anbar Awakening) the tribal alliance in the restive Sunni province of Al Anbar, has made an unprecedented visit to Sadr City, the Baghdad stronghold of radical Shiite imam Moqtada al-Sadr, according to pan Arab daily al-Sharq al-Awsat.

"We have taken this step to place national interest ahead of any differences" said the head of the US-endorsed Sunni alliance Hamid al-Hayas. "This is an effort to bring closer together the Sunni and Shiite Iraqi points of view.

We want to deliver a message to all the political groups to put aside their differences and act for the common good" he said.

The whereabouts of Moqtada al-Sadr remain undisclosed, but he was represented in the meeting by three MPs from the 30-strong bloc in Parliament loyal to him and prominent individuals from the Sadr City area.

At the end of the meeting the two sides signs a joint document in which they vowed to fight the terrorism of al-Qaeda.

The group has become increasingly isolated within the Sunni insurgency because of its indiscriminate targeting of civilians. Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been seeking to impose its fierce Salafite philosophies and strategies and consolidate its power over the many resistance groups in the Sunni Arab galaxy, some of whom view foreign fighters and Wahhabis with suspicion.

In recent months the heads of the powerful al-Anbar tribes have coalesced in a big to counteract al-Qaeda in Iraq and have begun a tentative dialogue with some elements in the al-Maliki government about entering the political process.As well as coming under increasing pressure from US and Iraqi forces in Baquba and elsewhere, the al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters have been increasingly in clashes with other insurgent formations.

The latest dispatch from Michael Yon...

Searing and powerful as always. In a SMALL BATTLE IN THE MEDIA WAR, Michael Yon writes about the Brits 4/18 hand over of the Maysan Province to Iraqi control. An event that was lost in the mediasphere coming as it did during the Virginia Tech massacre.

"Some of the biggest battles in Iraq today are being fought not with bombs and bullets, but with cameras and keyboards. For whatever reasons—and there are many—today, when Western media is most needed here, it’s nearly gone."

Read it all, my friends.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dinah does DC

Speaking truth to powah.
This afternoon I took the train down to our nation's capitol for a brief visit. (The Lord and Master has business in town.) We're staying right across from the Reagan Building and down from the White House. My trip came up so fast I haven't been able to come up with a game plan of things to see and do yet. I like just walking around and staring at places, people and things. But you know what? I just remembered I have never been to the WW2 Memorial. That should be on the list. And there's always the Smithsonian. I'm always up for some art and history. Surely, I can find something to do there. Tomorrow night is a cocktail party for hubby's bidness and I'm thinking some political types will be showing up. Unfortunately Sam Brownback has already sent his regrets.

More later. Off for a refreshing adult beverage.


The latest on Dr. Haleh Esfandiari


The Iranian's start naming names and I fear for her friends, relatives and professional colleagues:
Iran's Soros spot.

Iran charged yesterday that a Washington-based academic arrested in Tehran this month was working for a George Soros-backed organization trying to undermine the Islamic state's ruling system. An Intelligence Ministry statement, published by Iran's ISNA news agency, said the program had financial backing from "the famous American Soros center."

It was referring to the Open Society Institute, founded by Soros, a Hungarian-born businessman and philanthropist and major left-wing Democratic donor in the United States. Soros, a fierce critic of President Bush, has given millions of dollars to the liberal Web site MoveOn.org and strongly opposes the Iraq war. Many of his views are controversial, including legalization of some drugs.

The Open Society organization has spent upward of $400 million a year on projects ranging from anti-poverty efforts in Africa to pro-democracy efforts in the former Soviet Union. The institute says it is dedicated to "fostering intellectual exchange between Iran and the outside world," and sponsors discussions in culture, education and public health.

But Tehran said Esfandiari admitted to a different role in Iran.

"In the preliminary interrogations, she said the Soros center in Iran had an unofficial communication network and was trying to develop and expand it to follow up its 'soft revolution' aims," the ministry statement said.

Iranian officials use the terms "soft" or "velvet revolution" to refer to a perceived U.S. plot to use intellectuals and others inside Iran to undermine the Islamic state. Officials say the intellectuals are often invited abroad for "training."
"The long-term and final goal of such centers is to try to enable this network . . . to confront the ruling powers. This model designed by the Americans . . . is following the 'soft revolution' in the country," the statement added.

Wilson Center director Lee Hamilton, a former Democratic Indiana congressman, told The Washington Post, "It's very disturbing. We deny all the charges. There is not one scintilla of evidence to support these allegations."

Iran said Esfandiari was cooperating with authorities to track down those working in the Soros center network.

Judiciary officials previously said the Intelligence Ministry was investigating Esfandiari for suspected "crimes against national security."

The Wilson Center acknowledged receiving some support from the Open Society Institute, but noted that the Soros Foundation, another philanthropy, had donated money to the Iranian government after an earthquake in 2003.

Honor killing: It's not just for Muslims anymore.

From Arabisto: Her stoning took place over 30 minutes, police authorities were present and did nothing to stop it. Before her burial in an unmarked grave, her post-mortem examination revealed that she was a virgin. The Sunni response to her murder? 23 Yezidi workers were killed. Now that's what I call a peaceful religion.

Du'a Khalil Aswad, a 17-year old Kurdish girl from the Yezidi religion, was stoned to death on 7 April 2007 in an honor killing in the northern city of Mosul, Iraq. Her murder was carried out by Du’a’s relatives and men from the Yezidi faith, Amnesty International reported in late April.

In response to Du'a’s murder, 23 Yezidi workers were killed by men from the Sunni Muslim faith.

Her stoning continued for 30 minutes and was captured on several cell phones. The video was then posted on the Internet, receiving widespread viewership from one video sharing website, YouTube.com. However, recently, YouTube.com took down the video. A 10-minute clip can be seen on
Jebar.info. I must warn the viewer that this video clip is very graphic and contains disturbing images. (Sorry team, I couldn't bring myself to watch it.)

In this troubling video, one can see a large crowd of men, reported to be from the Yezidi sect, participating in the stoning and capturing it on video. Amnesty International also reported that, “The film reportedly shows that members of local security forces were present but failed to intervene to prevent the stoning or arrest those responsible.”

Kurdish women's rights campaigner Diana Nammi, according to The Daily Mail in the UK, explained that Du'a's body thereafter had been dispatched to the Medico-legal Institute in Mosul, Iraq for an assessment of her virginity prior to revisiting her “unmarked grave” in the Sheikh Shams cemetery. The test revealed she was still a virgin and innocent of her alleged crime.

Her crime? Forbidden love. Although there have been conflicting reports, it had been reported that Du’a had converted to Islam after having married a Sunni Muslim boy, which is prohibited by the Yezidi faith. While other news outlets have stated that she had been away from home one night, raising suspicion from her relatives.

The Yezidi religion forbids one from marrying outside of the religion and do not allow any converts. It is pre-Islamic and is dated before the Abrahamic faiths of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The estimated population is 500,000 although the exact amount is not known as the Yezidis practice a religious tradition of privacy. They believe to be descendants of Adam, not Eve. (I guess Adam was getting busy on the side.)

Oh, really? Honor killing should not be attributed solely to any faith? Well then, the Yezidi religion must be the exception that proves the rule: Muslims invented the honor killing.

One must note that the murder of women in the name of honor in Kurdistan, Iraq, and elsewhere is not unique and should not be attributed solely to any faith. Amnesty International stated, “While the Kurdish authorities introduced legal reforms to address “honour killings” they have, however, failed to investigate and prosecute those responsible for such crimes.”

Four men, two of whom are relatives, have been arrested for her murder and the chief of police will be substituted, CNN reported on 21 May 2007.

The Mullahs speak about the female condition

Iranian Mullah Hot-to-trot Hassani: If his wife's a donkey, I guess that makes him an ass.
From Gateway Pundit: What do women and mass transit have in common?

Quite a lot, according to Iranian Mullah Hojatolislam Hassani. In last Friday's sermon about the crackdown on Iranian Fashion Victims, the Islamic hardliner divided women into three groups--

The first group... he said are the women who are badly veiled who are like buses who everyone and anyone can ride.

The second group... are women who are wearing scarves without the Islamic overcoats; they are like taxis who only pick up certain passengers.

And finally, in the third group... there are women like my wife who are like donkeys who let only one person ride them!


Bonus fatwa: Breast feeding among adult co-workers okay.

Ezzat Attiya had issued a fatwa, or religious edict, saying adult men could breast-feed from female work colleagues as a way to avoid breaking Islamic rules that forbid men and women from being alone together.

In Islamic tradition, breast-feeding establishes a degree of maternal relation, even if a woman nurses a child who is not biologically hers. It means the child could not marry the nursing woman’s biological children.

Attiya - the head of Al-Azhar’s Department of Hadith, or teachings of the Prophet Muhammad - insisted the same would apply with adults. He argued that if a man nursed from a co-worker, it would establish a family bond between them and allow the two to work side-by-side without raising suspicion of an illicit sexual relation.


Sorry, boys. Before you go rushing off to the break room - he has since recanted.




Monday, May 21, 2007

US official aims to bridge gap with Muslims in Europe

In keeping with the Dinah Lord philosophy of giving the megaphone to moderate Muslims whenever they are speaking out, I'd like to introduce you to:

Farah Pandith, who in February was appointed to the freshly created position of senior advisor for Muslim Engagement in the State Department's European and Eurasian Affairs Bureau. Ms. Pandith points to her own life experience as an American Muslim woman of Indian origin to illustrate how it is possible for Muslim immigrants to successfully integrate into United States society.

"I understood from very early on that whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim, education put me in the game," Pandith told a conference in Rome on Monday on the topic of Literature and International Dialogue.

"I also learned - and this is something that Americans work assiduously at - to balance pride in my cultural heritage with a deep attachment to the values of America,"

Pandith, emigrated as a baby with her parents to the United States from Srinagar in 1969, and was awarded a Master's degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She has held senior posts in the US Agency for International Development and describes herself as "extremely fortunate", but also "walking proof that although there are no guarantees, the American dream is also not a myth".

For her, America has since its foundation as an independent republic nurtured a tradition based on indivudual choice. "But we have found that it is possible not to make an exclusive choice, that being American, being a good American or even a great American, that highest of accolades - does not require turning your back on your background or religion".

The "Muslim experience in America does prove that Muslims who live their religion can be unqualified democratic Americans," she told the gathering held at Rome's American Studies Centre.

Turning to Washington's foreign policies, Pandith described the notion that America is at war with Islam as a "myth".She said that in the two conflicts currently involving the United States in majority Muslim nations - Afghanistan and Iraq - Washington was supporting "fledgling democracies," after helping to respectively topple the Taliban, which she described as "an obscurantist regime that targeted and banned centuries-old Afghan culture" and Saddam Hussein, "one of the worst dictators ever to tyrannise Muslims".

She also said the US had given billion of dollars in humanitarian and economic aid around the world in Muslim communities, citing as examples Indonesia in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami, in Pakistan following the October 2005 earthquake and reconstruction in Lebanon after the July-August 2006 conflict with Israel.

Go get 'em, Pandith. We need all the help we can get.

Iran's secret plan for summer offensive to force US out of Iraq

A sneak summer preview from al-Guardian: Read it all at the link.

Iran is secretly forging ties with al-Qaida elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq in preparation for a summer showdown with coalition forces intended to tip a wavering US Congress into voting for full military withdrawal, US officials say.

"Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq and it's a very dangerous course for them to be following. They are already committing daily acts of war against US and British forces," a senior US official in Baghdad warned. "They [Iran] are behind a lot of high-profile attacks meant to undermine US will and British will, such as the rocket attacks on Basra palace and the Green Zone [in Baghdad]. The attacks are directed by the Revolutionary Guard who are connected right to the top [of the Iranian government]."

The official said US commanders were bracing for a nationwide, Iranian-orchestrated summer offensive, linking al-Qaida and Sunni insurgents to Tehran's Shia militia allies, that Iran hoped would trigger a political mutiny in Washington and a US retreat.

Afghanistan: Iran expels 70,000 Afghan refugees.

Since April 21 a total of 70,000 have been expelled. Tehran says it wants to repatriate 1,000,000 by next March. Can you imagine the US trying to do something like this and getting away with it? Ay Caramba! I don't think so! Remember the hue and cry that accompanied Little Elian!

More than 70 000 Afghans who were in Iran illegally have been returned in the past month, the United Nations said on Monday, as talks were under way between the neighbours over the controversial deportations. The number of unregistered Afghans being expelled had eased off over the past week, the UN said. (because of increased pressure from civilized nations)

The talks in Iran were to focus on how the deportations were carried out and also the treatment of deportees, it said. There have been reports of returnees being separated from their families in the drive to get them out.

Tehran has said it wanted one million Afghans repatriated by next March. The 70 000 who have been sent back started returning from April 21.

Afghanistan has asked its neighbour to halt the returns, saying it does not have the capacity to accommodate a large number of people at once. "We are concerned about the way the deportations are taking place," said Nader Farhad, a UN refugee agency information officer in Kabul. "It is important with such a large number of people, it should take place in a gradual and orderly manner."

Anger in Afghanistan about the returns has already cost the refugees minister his job. Parliament also wants Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta sacked.

The World Food Programme had provided a month's worth of food to more than 250 returning families in Farah province, one of the main collecting points for the returnees, the UN said. There are about 920 000 registered Afghan refugees in Iran, which took in hundreds of thousands of Afghans during the country's years of war.

Edwards charges $55,000 to speak to UC Davis students about poverty

This is like candy to me...
Edwards charges $55,000 to speak to UC Davis students about poverty

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, who as a Democratic presidential candidate recently proposed an educational policy that urged "every financial barrier" be removed for American kids who want to go to college, has been going to college himself -- as a high paid speaker, his financial records show.

The candidate charged a whopping $55,000 to speak at to a crowd of 1,787 the taxpayer-funded University of California at Davis on Jan. 9, 2006 last year, Joe Martin, the public relations officer for the campus' Mondavi Center confirmed Monday.

That amount -- which comes to about $31 a person in the audience -- included Edwards' travel and airfare, and was the highest speaking fee in the nine appearances he made before colleges and universities last year, according to his financial records.

The earnings -- though made before Edwards was a declared Democratic presidential candidate -- could hand ammunition to his competition for the Democratic presidential nomination. The candidate -- who was then the head of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina -- chose to speak on "Poverty, the great moral issue facing America," as his $55,000 topic at UC Davis.

That could cause both parents and students to note some irony here: UC Davis -- like the rest of the public University of California system -- will get hit this year by a 7 percent tuition increase that likely hits many of the kids his speeches are aimed at helping.

We wondered if this is Edwards' going speaking rate, and how come he didn't offer to do it gratis for a college, particularly a public institution.

Read More »

Suicide Sisters With the Managing Misters...

(title h/t: Steely Dan)
"We will turn our bodies into living bombs..."
(Correction: "Make that The Homicide sisters ready to kill innocents for their cult.")

Clad head to toe in black and clutching sub-machine guns and automatic rifles, they vowed to die killing Israelis. The women, at once sinister and yet awkward in their long dresses and munitions belts, say they will blow themselves up in attacks on Israeli soldiers if the Gaza Strip is invaded.
They gathered as Israel pounded the Strip with airstrikes yesterday - in response to weeks of rocket attacks from Palestinian fanatics. "If the Israelis try to invade northern Gaza Strip, we will defend our land and our homes," one of the women declared as the group gathered at the Jabalya refugee camp north of Gaza City.

"We will turn our bodies into living bombs against the Israeli army," she added and demanded revenge against Israeli "crimes" carried out against the Palestinians. The women belong to the military wing of Palestine's ruling Hamas party.

A day earlier rival militants of Islamic Jihad released a video in which dozens of women said they were "eagerly awaiting" the chance to become suicide bombers.

So sad. What is wrong with these people?
Where is the rest of the Muslim world?
Why aren't they speaking out about this blatant act of aggression?
More at the link here.

Iran charges Iranian-American academic of seeking to topple regime

From the IHT:



"Soft toppling of the country-by soft hostage."


Iran on Monday charged detained Iranian-American academic Haleh Esfandiari of seeking to topple the ruling Islamic establishment, state-run television reported.

Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, has been held at Tehran's notorious Evin Prison since early May. State TV said she and the Wilson Center were conspiring together to topple the government by setting up a network "against the sovereignty of the country.



This is an American designed model with an attractive appearance that seeks the soft-toppling of the country."

The announcement was the first time Iran said it had officially charged Esfandiari of seeking to overthrow the ruling establishment, a severe security crime. It was not immediately clear when Esfandiari will stand trial or if the trial will be public.

The "crimes" she has purportedly "confessed to"...

The broadcast said Esfandiari confirmed during interrogations that her center "invited Iranians to attend conferences, offered them research projects, scholarships ... and tried to lure influential elements and link them to decision-making centers in America."

She has been denied legal representation, perhaps you can help by sending a letter on her behalf.

Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner and the lead attorney for imprisoned American scholar Haleh Esfandiari, charged yesterday that the Iranian government has turned down her request to represent the Potomac resident, refused information on the charges against Esfandiari and denied a legal team access to its client.



Payvand weighs in with an analysis of "root causes" of Dr. Esfandiari's arrest, the context of repression and what the regime could possibly be thinking here. Here's a sample:


The Iranian president has been creating crises - local and international - on a routine basis since he was elected to office in June 2005. Haleh Esfandiari, in the regime's twisted logic, may have seemed an appropriate target for its punishment: in her capacity as director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, she had offered fellowships to young scholars from Iran (who are naturally inclined toward reform and democracy). This may have been enough for Tehran's hardliners to have plotted Esfandiari's arrest, enabling them to accuse her (bizarrely) of espionage and undermine their rivals in Iran by associating the latter with her.

Little Mermaid gets hijabbed


Denmark: The Little Mermaid Statue covered with the hijab.

Police found the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen covered with a Muslim dress and head scarf after they were alerted by a telephone call. The bronze statue was sculpted in honour to Hans Christian Andersen by Edvard Eriksen in 1913 and has sat on the Danish harbour ever since attracting around 1 million tourists a year.

This is not the first time the statue has been vandalised; it was painted over on one side and in 2004 it was found with a burga (head-to-toe Islamic robe) and a sign questioning Turkey joining the European Union.

Nice. Real nice. You can read more about the hijab wars in Denmark here.

(When Dinah visited Copenhagen last year the Little Mermaid had been painted hot pink and someone had placed a vibrator in her hand. I believe that had something to do with the Vagina Monologues or National Woman's Day or some such nonsense.)

Baghdad tribes close to fighting al Qaeda?

Now THIS is good news....Following the lead of tribes in Anbar and Diyala, the Baghdad tribes are coming together against the evil doers. Yee-haw!

Baghdad tribes close to fighting al-Qaida

TAJI, Iraq — Mirroring a nationwide trend, tribes near Baghdad are on the verge of banding together against al-Qaida and have met with U.S. military officials seeking aid and guidance in fighting the terrorist network.

Acceptance of — if not outright support for — al-Qaida among the tribes eroded after the strict Islamic law imposed by insurgents clashed with the authority of the sheikhs, according to U.S. military officials.

On Saturday, a group of local chieftains met with military commanders and a representative of the State Department at Camp Taji, about 20 miles northwest of Baghdad, and tentatively agreed to form a council that would oversee the creation of a provincial security force similar to the tribal militia created in western Iraq.

“I think we all agree that our common enemy are extremists and that’s who we must defeat,” Col. Paul E. Funk II said to the roughly dozen sheikhs at the gathering. Funk, commander of the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Tam, 1st Cavalry Division, presided over the meeting.

With the fledgling alliance still in its early stages, the gathering at times resembled a negotiation. Several sheikhs asked for improvements in water treatment and electricity service as well as for inquiries into the detention by Iraqi security forces of relatives and tribal members.
“Are you going to support us, or do we have to go knock on someone else’s door,” one sheikh asked.

But even while U.S. commanders courted tribal support, they were wary of creating a new, separate fighting force and potentially further complicating the crowded battlefield around Baghdad that includes not only al-Qaida, but also Shiite militias.

“We are not here to build another militia,” Funk said. Volunteers from the tribes must cooperate with the Iraqi government’s security forces, he said.

The fragile, emerging alliance is being handled carefully by the military. No photographs were allowed at Saturday’s meeting, a nod toward security concerns and possible retaliation against the sheikhs.

Lt. Col. Kurt Pinkerton, who commands the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment in Abu Ghraib, has been on the forefront of the military’s outreach to the tribes in the area. He said that the turning point in the struggle for the sympathies of the region came last September when al-Qaida in Iraq declared the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq.

The shadow government clashed with the centuries old tribal system, establishing Islamic sharia courts and often punishing dissention with kidnappings and death sentences.

“Throughout history the tribes have been seen as a challenge and have been targeted. At one point Saddam tried to put them down, al-Qaeda tried, and now we need to keep the coalition from making the same mistakes,” Pinkerton said. “If you understand the [tribal] culture, you can understand the country better. Why not use tribal influence to meet your goals and objectives?”

Sunday, May 20, 2007

AU: Woman reporter's dress offensive to Muslims.

There they go again. Members of the Australian chapter of the He-Man-Woman-Hater's Club getting all up in a girl's face and telling her what to wear... You know how Dinah feels about that nonsense.

"You need to cover up, you mutt."


THIS is the outfit that has been labelled "offensive" and "disrespectful" to the Muslim community. Twenty-three-year-old journalist Latika Bourke was verbally attacked bya group of Muslim men outside a Sydney mosque because of her dress.

"This young man approached me and said: 'You should be wearing more clothes. You need to cover up, you mutt','' Ms Bourke, who works for 2UE Radio, recounted. Ms Bourke, who was wearing a black trenchcoat, knee-high boots and gloves, said she was shocked and humiliated.
"I'm just incredulous as to why they would say that ... what else is there to cover up? They are doing themselves no favours by behaving like this.''

Ms Bourke was waiting to interview controversial mufti Sheik Taj Eldeen Alhilaly at Lakemba mosque when a man aged about 20 confronted her. His friends stood nearby, supporting him, as he verbally attacked her. "He said: Are you aware that this is our Friday prayers? Do you know you're disrespecting our religion.''

Ms Bourke said she replied: "I'm sorry, how?'' He then advised her to cover up and called her "a mutt''. Ms Bourke, a Christian, said she was very conscious of the need to respect other people's religions. "I knew it was important to cover up when you go to a mosque and that's why I wore a long coat and gloves.

"As soon as it happened I looked at myself and thought, 'What am I wearing that is offensive?'''

The incident sparked a flurry of calls to talkback radio on Friday _ mostly criticising the Muslim man and his friends for what they described as being "offensive behaviour''.

Goodness Gracious - great balls of fire!

Diamonds tell tale of comet that killed off the cavemen.

Fireballs set half the planet ablaze, wiping out the mammoth and America's Stone Age hunters.

A group of US scientists ... will report that they have found a layer of microscopic diamonds at 26 different sites in Europe, Canada and America. These are the remains of a giant carbon-rich comet that crashed in pieces on our planet 12,900 years ago, they say. The huge pressures and heat triggered by the fragments crashing to Earth turned the comet's carbon into diamond dust.

'The shock waves and the heat would have been tremendous,' said West. 'It would have set fire to animals' fur and to the clothing worn by men and women. The searing heat would have also set fire to the grasslands of the northern hemisphere. Great grazing animals like the mammoth that had survived the original blast would later have died in their thousands from starvation. Only animals, including humans, that had a wide range of food would have survived the aftermath.'

The scientists point out that archaeological evidence shows that early Stone Age cultures clearly suffered serious setbacks at this time. In particular, American Stone Age hunters, descendants of the hunter-gatherers who had migrated to the continent from Asia, vanished around this time.

These people were some of the fiercest hunters on Earth, men and women who made magnificent stone spearheads which they used to hunt animals including the mammoth. Their disappearance at this time has been a cause of intense debate, with climate change being put forward as a key explanation. Now there is a new idea: the first Americans were killed by a comet.

I read this and thought how similar it sounded to nuclear fallout and then thought about the possibility of a nuclear Iran. These were not happy thoughts.

Just when you thought you heard it all v.2...Game show edition

I'd like old fools for 200, Alex!

Meet Democrat Dennis Kucinich's wife: She's a New Age, Tongue-Pierced Brit.

A British girl from Essex, in southern England, may be the first lady with a tongue stud to have set her sights on the White House.

The wife of Dennis Kucinich, a left-wing Democratic congressman and 2008 presidential candidate, is a 29-year-old hippie chick from Upminster at the end of the London Underground’s District line.

Elizabeth Kucinich, née Harper, has been on the stump with her husband, a 60-year-old anti-war campaigner from Cleveland, mingling with the likes of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama backstage at the Democratic presidential debates.

A 6-foot-tall willowy redhead who has been compared to Arwen Evenstar, the "Lord of the Rings" character played in the films by Liv Tyler, she towers over her diminutive husband.

“Who cares?” she said in an interview. “I like wearing high heels so I’m used to being taller than most men I stand next to.”


More at the
link, possums!

Just when you thought you heard it all...


CONVICTED terrorist David Hicks winged it home in style yesterday – then thanked taxpayers for picking up the $500,000 bill for his luxury jet. Even joked about it. Watched a movie. (The Departed) Wants to get on with his life and his taxpayer funded education.

Great. Just rub our noses in it while you're at it...

The confessed terrorist supporter touched down at Adelaide's Edinburgh RAAF base at 9.47am after spending 5½ years in a US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. While his lawyer gushed over the elation Hicks felt to be back on Australian soil, debate quickly turned to the plush mode of transport chosen for him by the Federal Government. The $25 million Gulfstream G550 – with leather seats, inflight entertainment and twin Rolls-Royce engines – is more suited to movie stars and executives than convicted criminals.

The same jet, chartered from Sydney-based firm Adagold Aviation, has been used to ferry tennis ace Lleyton Hewitt – like Hicks, an Adelaide native – to tournaments around the world. Hicks' lawyer David McLeod said his client thoroughly enjoyed the trip, watching a movie, sampling the menu and chatting to Australian Federal Police and South Australian Correctional Services officers assigned to him. "David is well, and he enjoyed the trip," Mr McLeod said. "He was very glad just to be back on Australian soil, he was visibly overjoyed when we touched down.

"He is very grateful to the Australian taxpayer for bringing him home."Mr McLeod said his client – convicted of training alongside the Taliban and al-Qaeda – joked on the flight that he was the only prisoner to "get a world trip between stretches".


Read it all at the linky.

NJ: On the trail of the Ft. Dix 6

"So they had time to drink and swim and plan a massacre," Herman mused. "It's crazy."

GOULDSBORO, Pa. -- Cassy Herman booked two unforgettable renters last winter for her Pocono Mountain vacation property. First came Eljvir Duka, a 23-year-old Cherry Hill resident, who wanted the Gouldsboro, Pa., house on Feb. 1. Duka offered Her man a $900 cash deposit in early December; she took it.

Six weeks later, a second man asked to lease the property for the end of January. He promised to leave hours before Herman's next renter arrived. Again, she agreed. But something gnawed at Her man as she hung up the phone. So she picked it up, redialed the last number on her caller ID and listened in stunned silence at what came next.

"FBI," a voice answered.


I couldn't believe it when I read how boneheaded the FBI was with that one! Until I read about this BIG boneheaded move. Talk about Keystone Cops!

One of the odder moments outlined in the FBI affidavit occurred at a local convenience store early the next day. As Eljvir and Dritan Duka wandered into the store, they recognized another customer -- the undercover agent who had been at the firing range -- and began chatting with him about guns. They allegedly asked their new acquaintance if he knew where they could buy assault rifles. Dritan Duka told the agent they wanted Russian AK-47s, not the cheaper Chinese version, be cause the Russian model was sturdier and easier to bury in the dirt or sand, according to the complaint. It's not clear how the agent responded.

About that week:
At least 14 people crowded into Herman's house that week, a band of chatty, vodka-swilling young men who included roofers, a baker and a cab driver. Agents recorded a key defendant claiming that all of them -- "less one or two" -- planned to participate in the at tack. In the end, prosecutors charged only four on the trip -- Duka; his brothers, Shain and Dritan; and another man from Cherry Hill, Muhamad Ibrahim Shnewer. Those four and a fifth, Serdar Tatar of Philadelphia, were charged with terror conspiracy. A sixth defendant, Agron Abdullahu of Atlantic County, is accused of supplying guns to the plotters.

About Gouldsboro and the house they rented from Herman:
North of Allentown and south of Scranton, Gouldsboro straddles two townships that claim about 3,000 residents, a total that ebbs and flows depending on the season. Its biggest commodities might be the same ones all hamlets seek: peace, quiet, isolation.


Small lakes dot the landscape, as does a 2,800-acre state park. An Army tank sits outside the local American Legion post, where veterans share drinks along a dark, smoky bar. There's a gas station, a convenience store and a shooting range. The Stars and Stripes fly from every other telephone pole on Main Street. Flags honoring U.S. prisoners of war hang on the rest.

On a Web site, Herman advertises her house as the only one of its kind in the gated development called Big Bass Lake. Filling 5,000 square feet, the house sports a hot tub and sauna, a 62-inch television in the master suite and an outdoor fireplace "for roasting marshmallows."

Sounds lovely, doesn't it? My question: Where did the money come from to fund this little outing...there's lots more good Sunday morning reading at the link. I especially liked reading how the attorneys are calling this terror confab "a vacation" and an "open house." Yeah, right.