Sunday, June 29, 2008

Good News!

A Blue State Miracle?
by Gary Bauer
Posted: 06/27/2008

HT: The Tigress

“We worship an awesome God in the blue states.”So said Barack Obama during his famous address to the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

Obama’s speech marked an epiphanic moment for the political Left, one in which liberals began to realize that they could no longer cede the religious vote to the Republican Party.

Four years on and the Left has yet to make significant inroads with religious voters. In fact, according to a new survey, America’s bluest region, the Northeast, is its most secular, while the nation’s reddest region, the South, remains by far the most religious on the electoral map.

This week, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released its second report on the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. The report details Americans’ religious beliefs and behaviors as well as their social and political attitudes. With a robust sample of more than 36,000 Americans, the report is one of the most in-depth and broad surveys of religion and public life ever conducted. And judging by the contents of the 294-page report, the red state-blue state divide that currently dominates politics may not be vanishing anytime soon.

First and foremost, the Pew survey re-confirms that religion is indispensable to most Americans.

Among the findings:

--Ninety-two percent of Americans believe in God or some sort of supreme being.
--Seven in 10 Americans say they are absolutely certain of God’s existence.


-- Three-quarters of Americans pray at least weekly.

--Seventy-four percent of Americans believe in life after death.

--Nearly 7 in 10 Americans believe that angels and demons are active in the world.
--Sixty percent of American parents send their kids to religious education programs.


America’s enduring religiosity may confound European elites, but it’s great news for the American people. A growing body of research shows that on an entire range of outcomes -- from domestic abuse, educational attainment and marital stability to substance abuse, violent crime and even immigrant assimilation -- the practice of religion is a powerful predictor of personal wellbeing and societal stability.

The report found that Americans’ faith has become somewhat more, as a Politico headline put it, “flexible.” For example, 70 percent of Americans felt their faith is not the only way to salvation. But the results belie the notion, put forward in a number of recent best-selling books, that America is experiencing an “atheist revival.” Allison Pond, Pew Research Associate, told this column in an interview after the survey's release, that "some of those who self-identify as atheists will tell us later in the survey that they actually believe in God."

To wit, 21 percent of self-identified atheists said they believe in God or a universal spirit, with eight percent "absolutely certain" of it. Pew made another paradoxical discovery. As Greg Smith, a Research Fellow at Pew, told the Washington Post in an online interview, "slightly less than two percent of the public describes themselves as atheists. But 5 percent say they do not believe in God or a universal spirit.

"These data make clear the challenges of opinion polling, as well as the reality that, as Pond said, "Americans think about their faith in complex ways. It may be that not everybody knows what the word atheist actually means, but it may also be that some people who tell us they are atheists do so because they want to associate themselves with a secular viewpoint, even though they believe in God, or they may be telling us they dislike organized religion."

What’s also clear from the survey is that “religion is highly relevant to understanding politics in the U.S.” That religion shapes Americans’ political beliefs and voting habits is hardly news. But it is interesting to note that despite the Left’s recent efforts to woo people of faith, twice as many religious Americans identify themselves as conservatives than as liberals. And despite recent electoral set-backs, the GOP retains the loyalty of a larger share of weekly or more church-goers than does the Democratic Party. It’s not difficult to understand why considering the Democratic Party standard bearer’s suggestion that some voters cling to religion out of bitterness.

But Pew saw a deeper cause:“The connection between religious engagement and political attitudes appears to be especially strong when it comes to hot button social issues such as abortion and homosexuality.

For instance, about six in ten Americans who attend religious services at least once a week say abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, while only three in ten who attend less often share this view.”These findings contradict the idea that candidates with liberal positions on issues like abortion may be able to generate significant support among regular churchgoers.

The survey’s release is well-timed, coming the same week as a public war of words between Barack Obama and Focus on the Family Chairman James Dobson had each man contending that the other misinterprets the Bible to justify his own political beliefs. But Obama misunderstands how most religious voters think about politics.

To most people of faith, abortion is an intrinsic moral evil and opposition to it is non-negotiable. And while Obama and other liberal politicians cite the Bible to justify their opposition to the Iraq war or support for government-mandated health care, these are issues upon which people of goodwill may disagree. In fact, as John C. Green, an author of the report and a senior fellow at Pew, told the New York Times, the survey “suggests that the efforts of Democrats to peel away Republican and conservative voters based on economic issues face a real limit because of the role these cultural issues play.”I would go further. The Pew survey shows that for all the Left’s “God talk,” it’s policy that matters most to faith-based voters. But the Left can take heart in at least one Pew finding: Nearly 8 in ten Americans believe in miracles. Which is exactly what the Left may need if it hopes to capture the support of significant numbers of religious Americans.

Thanks, Tigress!
The Observer

“The People” Narrowly Prevail - Or, How Fragile Freedom Is

PATRIOT PERSPECTIVE

By Mark Alexander

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” —Second Amendment to the United States Constitution

In a narrow 5-4 vote (Scalia, Alito, Roberts, Thomas and Kennedy), the Supreme Court reaffirmed, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that the people’s inherent right to keep and bear arms is plainly enumerated in our Constitution. The Court ruled that the Second Amendment ensures an individual right, that DC could not ban handguns, and that operable guns may be maintained in the homes of law-abiding DC residents.

However, the ruling still leaves open the question of whether the Bill of Rights has legal precedence over state and municipal firearm restrictions.

As UCLA Law School professor and constitutional scholar Eugene Volokh points out, “The Heller decision only involved the Second Amendment’s effects on federal laws (including laws of federal enclaves, such as DC). Whether the Constitution limits state and local gun bans—which is to say, whether the Second Amendment is ‘incorporated’ against states and their subdivisions by the Fourteenth Amendment—will have to be decided in a future case.”

Thus, 15 minutes after the Heller decision was announced, the Illinois State Rifle Association announced its suit against the city of Chicago, which has gun restrictions similar to those overruled in the District of Columbia, in order to establish that precedent. Similar suits will no doubt follow in other states.

In a masterful feat of doubletalk, Barack Hussein Obama, who erroneously asserts, “The notion that somehow local jurisdictions can’t initiate gun laws isn’t borne out by our Constitution,” claims the Supreme Court agreed with his interpretation.

Mind you, this is the same Barack Obama who recently said, “I have never favored an all-out ban on handguns,” even while denying the plain truth that his signature appears on a questionnaire indicating that he does favor such a ban; the same Barack Obama who recently said during a 16 April debate when asked by Charlie Gibson whether the DC gun ban is consistent with the Constitution, “Well, Charlie, I confess I obviously haven’t listened to the briefs and looked at all the evidence.”

Would Obama make the same argument about local jurisdictions regulating issues like segregation? Does he suggest, by extension then, that our national Constitution can be amended by judicial dictates and local ordinances?

I can’t help but ponder how future 2A cases would fare if the Obama/Clinton ticket wins in November and then stacks the courts with judicial activists who subscribe to their adulterated view of a “Living Constitution.”

There is no more important constitutional issue regarding the liberty of our Republic than that of defending the plain language and original intent of our Second Amendment.

As James Madison, our Constitution’s principal author, wrote in the Federalist Papers (No. 46), “The ultimate authority... resides in the people alone... The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation... forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition.”

More to the point, Justice Joseph Story, appointed to the Supreme Court by Madison, wrote in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (1833), “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of the republic; since it offers a strong moral check against usurpation and arbitrary power of the rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”

The “Living Constitution” Leftists, however, have been whittling away at the people’s powers for more than a century.

In Federalist No. 81 Alexander Hamilton writes, “[T]here is not a syllable in the [Constitution] which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution...”

But, Thomas Jefferson feared, “The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.”

Jefferson clearly understood human nature, and though our Founders never intended the courts to amend our Constitution by judicial diktat, he foresaw what British historian Lord John Acton affirmed in 1887, a hundred years after the adoption of our Constitution: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Fortunately, the Supreme Court can still occasionally produce a simple majority of constitutional constructionists who rule on the basis of that venerable document’s original intent.

That certainly describes Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom the Constitution has long been an unerring compass.

Justice Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, aptly noted in 2005: “As long as judges tinker with the Constitution to ‘do what the people want,’ instead of what the document actually commands, politicians who pick and confirm new federal judges will naturally want only those who agree with them politically.”

In the Heller case, Justice Scalia wrote, “Nowhere else in the Constitution does a ”right“ attributed to ”the people“ refer to anything other than an individual right. What is more, in all six other provisions of the Constitution that mention ”the people,“ the term unambiguously refers to all members of the political community, not an unspecified subset... The Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms... The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it ‘shall not be infringed’.”

Justice Scalia continued in defense of original intent: “We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding ‘interest-balancing’ approach. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government—even the Third Branch of Government—the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon.

A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all. Constitutional rights are enshrined with the scope they were understood to have when the people adopted them, whether or not future legislatures or (yes) even future judges think that scope too broad... Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”

Indeed, the Second Amendment is “the palladium of the liberties of the republic,” and those who fail to support it as such do so at great peril to the liberty of future generations of Americans. However, when the rights of man, as enumerated in our Declaration of Independence and its subordinate exposition, our Constitution, hang in the balance, Patriots do not rely on a court of men for interpretation.

... the FIGHT will continue ...

The Observer

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Wal-Mart of the Death Industry

Apparently it's not enough for Planned Parenthood to be the abortionist of choice for low-income people. They want to reach the affluent as well - and they're doing so with the help of your tax dollars.

A story this week in The Wall Street Journal shares in appalling detail how Planned Parenthood is profitably growing in income, political power and number of abortions performed. If there were any further proof needed that they don't need federal funds, we'd like to see it.

CMC (Center for Moral Clarity) is championing grassroots efforts to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Click here to send an e-mail to those running to represent you in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, asking them to declare where they stand on the issue of life. Click here to sign an electronic petition to your elected representatives in Congress.

Full story. . .
The Observer

Remember?

The Observer

Garner - Washington Times


The Observer

Bush's North Korea - Iran - Syria Debacle

- Or, Since I've Totally Screwed Up, Let's Reward The Bad Guy!
- Or, Let's Package This Bag of Sh*t So It Looks and Smells Nice!


an NRO Editorial

Let’s say you were Kim Jong Il, and your goal were to stay in power. Suppose, further, that you wished to continue clandestine proliferation activities, knowing that possession of atomic weapons shielded you from attack, and that the sale of ballistic missiles and nuclear technologies to your allies Iran and Syria helped undermine the power and leverage of your enemy, the United States.

Imagine that, and you should also imagine yourself a happy man today.

That’s of course not what the U.S. headlines would say. If you bothered to read the translations, you would find accounts of a diplomatic breakthrough for the Bush administration, which on Thursday announced that it was removing your regime from its list of terror sponsors, and lifting some economic sanctions, in return for disclosure of details about your efforts to make weapons-grade plutonium. Come Saturday, you would see all the U.S. networks broadcasting footage of the demolition of the cooling tower at your Yongbyon nuclear reactor. You would note a guarded but general optimism among U.S. commentators that you were gradually keeping your part of the bargain to abandon your nuclear program in exchange for the turning back on of the aid spigot to your regime.

So why would you be happy?

To begin with, you’d still be sitting on top of a small but strategically valuable nuclear arsenal. You would know that the disclosure documents you just turned over say nothing of these; nor would you have committed to destroy them. You would not have disclosed — as required by the six-party agreement — anything about the secret uranium-enrichment activities of which you have long been suspected. Also required, and also dodged, would be any disclosure of the extent to which you have provided nuclear technologies to your client states, particularly Syria, whose efforts to build a nuclear reactor you assisted even after the six-party agreement was concluded — right up until the Israeli air force took notice and destroyed the reactor site. Your cooperation with Iran on missile technologies would be proceeding without a hitch. Your decision to shut down Yongbyon would be entirely symbolic: The reactor had reached the end of its life, and had given you pretty much all the weaponizable plutonium it could. You would know there was no verification mechanism in place even for the limited disclosure you had made — so if you were lying, you’d feel pretty sure to get away with it.

Best of all, in exchange for your minor concession, the U.S. would have just gone a long way toward clearing your name. You would now look forward to the tangible and immediate benefit of fuel and food aid (you must keep your army fed to stay in power, after all, even as your people starve), and the intangible but no-less-important benefit of dissipated international hostility toward your regime. You would expect the U.S. to push for greater disclosure and transparency in coming months. But you’d know that the brief international consensus to punish your regime — which culminated in two rounds of U.N. sanctions — was coming apart at the seams, that the Bush administration’s moment had passed, and that you had survived.

You would then sit back and smile.

Of course, we don’t know the mind of Kim Jong Il. But we know his actions: his history of lies, broken promises, and secret proliferation. And it’s that history which should lead us to view this latest step in the pas de deux between Kim Jong Il and the U.S. State Department with skepticism.

President Bush took great pains, in announcing Kim’s partial rehabilitation, to say that North Korea wasn’t off the hook. It is still one of the most sanctioned countries in the world; it will still be called upon to account for its dealings with Iran and Syria, its work with uranium, its existing arsenal. The U.S. is simply matching “action for action”: the disclosure of North Korean plutonium work for a partial reintegration of North Korea into the world’s diplomatic and financial structures (owing to the lifting of sanctions and the removal of the scarlet “T” for terror-sponsor, Pyongyang may qualify for loans from the World Bank and other international financial institutions).

The plutonium disclosure, if accurate, is not without value. Among other things, it helps give us an idea of how many nuclear weapons Kim might have built. Trouble is, all the important work lies ahead. If a nuclear Kim is something we should feel threatened by — and everything we know about the man suggests it is — then we must face the reality that the threat has not appreciably dissipated. We have no idea how much fissile material Kim may have enriched or may be enriching at sites other than Yongbyon, and no idea how much cooperation he has offered to his Axis of Evil pals. What we do know is that, with each incremental easing of sanctions and penalties, the Hermit King has less reason to give us the concessions that matter most.The deal that emerged from the six-party talks is indeed making for dramatic headlines and good television.

What cannot be said is that it is making us safe.

The Observer

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Federal Judge calls new Florida 'guns-at-work' law 'Stupid'

A new Florida law intended to prohibit public and private employers alike from banning guns locked inside cars in their parking lots is so badly written it's "stupid," a federal judge declared Wednesday.

-Most sensible people think Federal Judges are stupid - so it makes sense! - Tiger

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle declined, however, to rule on a request for a preliminary injunction before the law takes effect next Tuesday.

Hinkle said he needed more time to study the issue and doubted two business groups challenging the law would suffer irreparable harm before he makes a decision, probably in mid-July.

The law bars employers from prohibiting workers, customers and other visitors from keeping a legally possessed firearm locked in their cars parked on the employers' property.

It says an employer is a business or public-sector entity that has "employees," who are defined as people with valid licenses to carry concealed weapons.

The law, thus, doesn't apply to a business that doesn't have any workers with a concealed weapon permit, Hinkle said. He said that means one business may have to comply, while another next door is exempt.

"Stupid isn't it?" he asked while questioning an attorney for the state.

-Is a person exempt from obtaining a consealed carry permit? Does this mean a person who doesn't have one isn't complying with the LAW? Methinks the Judge is STUPID! - Tiger

A lawyer for the National Rifle Association, Christopher Kise, later told Hinkle the Legislature made a rational distinction to protect the gun-carrying rights of workers who have such permits.

-Judge Hinkle doesn't want to protect the good guys! - Just the bad! - Tiger

The argument came hours after a man killed five people and himself at a Kentucky plastics plant with a pistol he apparently kept in his car. (caused by a permit, probably, or a bad law; not a human! - Tiger)

The NRA made passage of the Florida law a priority, contending it's needed to protect the constitutional right to bear arms.

Lawmakers also were heavily lobbied by business interests that opposed it, including the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Retail Federation. They argued the measure puts employees and customers in danger, infringes on the property rights of businesses and violates a federal occupational safety law.

The two organizations teamed up again to file the lawsuit. Their lawyer, Barry Richard, told Hinkle the law is "irrational."

He noted that it includes exceptions for such high-security entities as prisons, nuclear power plants and explosives plants, yet allows people to keep guns in cars parked at day care centers and nursing homes. (... of course!; it's those DANGEROUS kids and old people! They DON'T need protecting. The pedophiles and granny rapists vote Dem anyway and always innocent! - Tiger)

"The Legislature itself recognized the prospect of the possibility of an injury" by making exceptions and giving employers immunity from liability that may result from obeying the law, said Richard.
The Observer

Buy Yours Today!

The Observer

Newspaper Claims Obama Not A Citizen

Is this just another Bash Obama routine to be denied on Snopes? Or does it have validity? - Tiger

Unstamped certificate suggests Obama may not be "natural born" US citizen

By Reuven Koret June 24, 2008

The "birth certificate" claimed by the Barack Obama campaign is not certified as authentic and appears to be a photoshopped fake. The image, purporting to come from the Hawaii Department of Health, has been the subject of intense skepticism in the blogosphere in the past two weeks.

But now the senior spokesman of that Department has confirmed to Israel Insider what are the required features of a certified birth document -- features that Obama's purported "birth certificate" clearly lack.

The image became increasingly suspect with Israel Insider's revelation that variations of the certificate image were posted on the Photobucket image aggregation website -- including one listing the location of Obama's birth as Antarctica, one with the certificate supposedly issued by the government of North Korea, and another including a purported photo of baby Barack -- one of which has a "photo taken" time-stamp just two minutes before the article and accompanying image was posted on the left-wing Daily Kos blog.

That strongly suggests that Daily Kos obtained the image from Photobucket, not the State of Hawaii, the Obama family, or the Obama campaign. Photobucket is not generally known as a credible supplier of official vital records for any of the fifty states, and the liberties that other Photoshoppers took with the certificates confirms this.

Some of these oddities surfaced in Israel Insider's previous article on the subject, but new comparative documentary evidence presented below, and official verification obtained by Israel Insider from a senior Hawaiian official, provides the strongest confirmation yet.

An authentic Hawaiian birth certificate for another Hawaiian individual has since surfaced which, using the same official form as the presumptive Obama certificate, includes an embossed official seal and an authoritative signature, coming through from the back. Obama's alleged certificate lacks those features, and the certificate number referencing the birth year has been blacked out, making it untraceable.

Janice Okubo, Director of Communications of the State of Hawaii Department of Health, told Israel Insider: "At this time there are no circumstances in which the State of Hawaii Department of Health would issue a birth certification or certification of live birth only electronically." And, she added, "In the State of Hawaii all certified copies of certificates of live birth have the embossed seal and registrar signature on the back of the document."

Compare the top image presented by his campaign as evidence of Obama's 1961 birth and the other certifying the birth of one Patricia Decosta. ...

... finish the story
The Observer

Ted Nugent's Entertaining Take On The Supreme's Ruling

As I swab down one of my hundreds of privately owned, individually possessed firearms again this fine morning, I snicker and shake my head in disbelief that there are four "justices" on the "supreme" court that do not believe Americans have individual rights. Sure, I am somewhat pleased that we now have a SCOTUS confirmation of the self-evident truth and God given individual right to keep and bear arms, but the 5-4 ruling is another painful example, like Guantanamo and the decree against the death penalty for child rapist decisions that indicate a divisive culture war raging on, and four supreme justices frighteningly disconnected from the heart and soul of America.

Certain that God gave each of us the individual gift of life, and so very relieved that our founding fathers were prudent enough to write these self-evident truths down on paper for future reference, everybody I know needs no confirmation whatsoever that self defense, individual self defense is not only a God given right, but a moral imperative in the hearts and souls of good people everywhere. Just as we wouldn't need confirmation that our choice of religion is indeed an individual right, or that we could possibly need a government permit to express our individual thoughts in speech, good Americans will continue to fight for the return of our sacred 2nd Amendment rights where someday soon we will not need a government issued license to keep and bear arms. Afterall, from the supreme court of common sense on the not so mean streets of America, everybody I know understands clearly that "keep" means one thing and one thing only: "It's mine and you can't have it". We know without question that "bear" can only mean, "Yes, I have it right here in my hands or within instant grasp", nothing more and nothing less. And dare I explain “shall not be infringed?" I hope not.

That these self evident truths have been bastardized to the point of "gun free zones" is nothing less than heart breaking in America today. Everybody knows that it is in these anti-American, anti-Constitutional "gun free zones" where innocent people are forced into unarmed helplessness and where the highest body count of innocents are stacked up by evil perpetrators celebrating the condition of helpless sheep to slaughter. Since the insane gun ban, Washington, D.C. has been a violent criminal's dream environment where they are assured no resistance. That is a bizarre, immoral condition and a direct result of the cult of feel good liberals who could care less about dead good people as they wring their hands worrying about the rights of the most evil amongst us. For shame.

I am responsible for my personal defense and the defense of my family. Our founding fathers clearly believed this as well. Evidence shows that 9-1-1 is a last-ditch call for a clean up crew to sift through the aftermath of criminal activity. I can’t imagine allowing myself to be unarmed, helpless and reliant upon the heroes of law enforcement, who, though always do the best that they can do, cannot and will not be there when we need them. They represent damage control all too often, when quality control is in the hands of responsible individuals. The same Supreme Court determined long ago that cops have no lawful obligation to protect us from anything. Self defense is our job. Thank God the Supreme Court got it right by striking down the D.C. gun ban, legalizing personal protection in the nation’s capitol and now across America, thereby guaranteeing our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, rights bestowed to us by God, the supreme authority.

D.C. has been a cesspool of crime for years. This ruling confirms the rights of good people the ability to defend themselves against bad people. Who could possibly find fault with that supreme dose of common sense?

Banning guns hasn't worked to deter crime or make communities safer, in fact just the opposite. All gun bans have ever accomplished is the creation of guaranteed victims. This has been supremely sad, wrong-headed and dangerous. Most of us cannot imagine the thought process by which bureaucrats and courts could force laws on good people rendering us disarmed and helpless, then turn around and send us the bill for their armed security. Obama, what say you?

Various thugs, punks, crack heads and other devils who have victimized innocents at will are on a long overdue notice with this ruling. Good ultimately conquers evil as it should be.

With Independence Day right around the corner, the Supreme Court has affirmed that indeed Americans are independent and have the right to the most basic of rights -- the right to defend themselves against tyranny whatever ugly form it may take. Now the good people of America must fight harder and relentlessly to regain all of our lost 2nd Amendment rights in each state where unarmed helplessness continues, Mayor Daley.

... very well said, Ted! - Tiger

The Observer

I Know 4 Scumbags Who Should Be Impeached!

Their "Black" and Dirty Names Are:
Justice John Paul Stevens
Justice Stephen Breyer
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Justice David Souter

Supreme Court Strikes Down D.C. Gun Ban, Upholds Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms


WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Americans have a constitutional right to keep guns in their homes for self-defense, the justices' first major pronouncement on gun control in U.S. history.

The court's 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms restrictions intact.

The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791.

The amendment reads: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Click here to read the full opinion on the Supreme Court Web Site.

Click here for photos.

The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual's right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by "the historical narrative" both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted.

The Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home," Scalia said. The court also struck down Washington's requirement that firearms be equipped with trigger locks or kept disassembled, but left intact the licensing of guns.

Scalia noted that the handgun is Americans' preferred weapon of self-defense in part because "it can be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police."

In a dissent he summarized from the bench, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the majority "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons."

He said such evidence "is nowhere to be found."

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a separate dissent in which he said, "In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas."

Joining Scalia were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. The other dissenters were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter.

Gun rights supporters hailed the decision. "I consider this the opening salvo in a step-by-step process of providing relief for law-abiding Americans everywhere that have been deprived of this freedom," said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association.

The NRA will file lawsuits in San Francisco, Chicago and several of its suburbs challenging handgun restrictions there based on Thursday's outcome.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a leading gun control advocate in Congress, criticized the ruling. "I believe the people of this great country will be less safe because of it," she said.

The capital's gun law was among the nation's strictest.

Dick Anthony Heller, 66, an armed security guard, sued the District after it rejected his application to keep a handgun at his Capitol Hill home a short distance from the Supreme Court.
"I'm thrilled I am now able to defend myself and my household in my home," Heller said shortly after the opinion was announced.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in Heller's favor and struck down Washington's handgun ban, saying the Constitution guarantees Americans the right to own guns and that a total prohibition on handguns is not compatible with that right.

The issue caused a split within the Bush administration. (this indicates yet another Socialist tendency of the Bush Administration - Tiger) Vice President Dick Cheney supported the appeals court ruling, but others in the administration feared it could lead to the undoing of other gun regulations, including a federal law restricting sales of machine guns. Other laws keep felons from buying guns and provide for an instant background check.

White House reaction was restrained. "We're pleased that the Supreme Court affirmed that the Second Amendment protects the right of Americans to keep and bear arms," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said.

Scalia said nothing in Thursday's ruling should "cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings."

In a concluding paragraph to the his 64-page opinion, Scalia said the justices in the majority "are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country" and believe the Constitution "leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns."

The law adopted by Washington's city council in 1976 bars residents from owning handguns unless they had one before the law took effect. Shotguns and rifles may be kept in homes, if they are registered, kept unloaded and either disassembled or equipped with trigger locks.

Opponents of the law have said it prevents residents from defending themselves. The Washington government says no one would be prosecuted for a gun law violation in cases of self-defense.

The last Supreme Court ruling on the topic came in 1939 in U.S. v. Miller, which involved a sawed-off shotgun. Constitutional scholars disagree over what that case means but agree it did not squarely answer the question of individual versus collective rights.

Forty-four state constitutions contain some form of gun rights, which are not affected by the court's consideration of Washington's restrictions.

The case is District of Columbia v. Heller, 07-290.

... the very fact that we had 4 Supreme Court Justices actually vote AGAINST a Constitutional Amendment (One of the Bill of Rights) is astounding! These 4 should be removed from the bench!

The Observer

Is "Mr. Amnesty" McCain Secretly Pushing Amnesty For Illegals? - Of Course He Is!

Tancredo Slams McCain for Secret Latino Meeting

From NEWSMAX.COM

U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo blasts presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain for his secret meeting with Hispanic leaders in Chicago last week and challenges the Senator from Arizona to stand firm on border security, regardless of the audience he's addressing.

In a letter sent to McCain on Tuesday and released by the Associated Press, the congressman from Colorado chastises McCain for reportedly pushing his amnesty agenda, then slams him for promising the group that he plans to pursue comprehensive immigration reform.

McCain, the letter contends, promised Republican lawmakers and activists that he will set aside his push to grant illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship, at least until he can certify that the U.S. borders have been closed to illegal immigration. Yet, at the same time, he is trying to win back support from Hispanic voters who fled the GOP when the party took up the immigration issue in 2005.

Tancredo, who drew attention early in the Republican primaries as a champion of securing the nation's borders against illegal crossing and fighting against amnesty for illegal immigrants, questions McCain on whether he is backpedaling on border security.

"Senator, given your past sponsorship of amnesty legislation, such statements raise troubling questions,” reads Tancredo's letter. “Are you planning to break a promise you made in February to postpone all other immigration reform legislation until we have first secured our borders?"

Tancredo alleges promises for secure borders were dangled as carrots to lead legislators into voting for amnesty measures. He claims they were then yanked away unfulfilled "after amnesty was achieved."

Tancredo's letter serves as a bold challenge to McCain as he prepares to address the National Council of La Raza, the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., next month in San Diego.

"I challenge you to deliver a message to that assembly which does not pander to their amnesty agenda,” Tancredo writes.

“You should speak to the La Raza convention, and to all Hispanic audiences, about America's need for secure borders as a priority above all other immigration reforms,” notes Tancredo.

“Moreover, I hope you take that opportunity to make it clear that it is in the long term interest of Mexico and other Latin American nations to halt the massive out-migration of their citizens."
Tancredo’s letter goes on to say, “Senator, you have said many times in recent months, 'I got the message' on border security. If you go to the La Raza convention in San Diego and deliver a message that surrenders to their amnesty agenda, tens of millions of Americans who heard your earlier message will feel betrayed – and rightly so."

Tancredo warns, "Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives are resolved to never let that happen again. Are you prepared to wage war on conservatives to secure another amnesty for illegal aliens? I hope not.”

The letter concludes with a challenge to McCain to maintain a commitment to border security "whether the audience [is] black or white, Asian or Hispanic."

Rosalanna Pulido, a Hispanic Republican who attended the Chicago meeting with McCain, tells the Associated Press the senator appears one way in front of white Republicans and another in front of Hispanics.

"He's having his private meetings to rally Hispanics and to tell them what they want to hear," she says. "I'm outraged that he would reach out to me as a Hispanic but not as a conservative."
Tancredo's letter is only the most recent fire McCain has drawn for his closed-door meeting last week, and presidential challenger Barack Obama’s campaign is not letting the potential flip-flop go unnoticed.

In a conference call with reporters, Obama’s communications director Robert Gibbs describes the Chicago event as double-talk, referencing McCain's advocacy of immigration reform in 2006 and 2007, his rejection of the reform bills he once promoted, and his new promises of reform once again.

“Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is going after Republican rival Sen. John McCain, questioning whether the Arizona senator is offering contradictory language on the hot-button issue of immigration reform,” Gibbs responds in a statement released by the Obama camp.

“[This is] just one of several examples through out the week of John McCain being in a tortured debate with John McCain,” Gibbs says, terming the event as “the end of pander week aboard the double-talk express of the John McCain campaign.”

The Observer

S.C.O.T.U.S. Expected To Rule On Gun Case Today

The U.S. Supreme Court today (the 25th) did not release its long-awaited ruling on whether the District's handgun ban violates the Second Amendment. That means the potentially landmark decision will almost certainly come tomorrow morning (the 26th) when the court is planning to issue the last of its rulings for the term. The case, District of Columbia v. Heller, which was argued nearly four months ago, could settle the decades-old debate over whether the Second Amendment grants individuals the right to own firearms.

Folks! It's In The Hands of the Tyrants Who "Gives" Rights To Terrorists And Protects Child Rapists - Good Luck - And Make Sure Your Ammo is Ready!
The Observer

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Parts of this Country are Still Very Dangerous! - Not Just Washington D.C.!

Alligator breeding season is in April and May, but it's still the wrong time to swim in dangerous water, especially at night!

Alligator Eats Teen's Arm During Late-Night Swim

A Florida teen has lost his arm, but not his spirit, after an alligator attacked him Sunday during an early morning swim in a Florida canal.

Kasey Edwards, 18, of Okeechobee, Fla., lost his left arm after grappling with the 11-foot long alligator in a canal at 2 a.m. Sunday.

"I felt something lock down and had the sensation of needle nose pliers, just a gigantic set of them, clamping down," Edwards told FOX affiliate WFLX-TV.

Edwards admits he and his friends were drinking before he decided to jump in the 25-foot-deep canal in Nubbin Slough in Okeechobee County.

"I've heard different rumors of what was involved and there were no drugs involved, no dare, nobody pushed me in or something," Edwards told WFLX-TV.

When the alligator grabbed his arm, he remembered that gators spin their prey, so he told WFLX-TV that he grabbed a buoy line and didn't let go.

"I was just like holding on with everything I could for this gator was trying to pull me under," he told the station. "I'd surface, get a gasp of air and he'd just shake again and pull me under.

"He did it about five times," Edwards continued. The teen poked the alligator in the eye to get free.

"I still at this time didn't realize that my arm was gone," he told WFLX-TV. "I just — my adrenalin was pumping, and I swam to the other side of the bank."

The Florida State Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission captured the alligator after the attack, WFLX-TV reported. Edwards was taken to a Melbourne hospital for treatment and he should be released by the end of the week.

Edwards told FOXNews.com that he wants the state to do more to control the alligator population, citing the safety of young children, but he declined to discuss his own encounter further.

"It seems like there's a crossroads," Edwards told WFLX-TV. "Either you have a positive attitude, you know, just make the best of a bad situation, or just sit there and feel sorry for yourself."


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Observer

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fired For Being Christian

Bible citation costs couple jobs, home
Apartment managers evicted, fired for being 'too religious'

... strange isn't it? How many "Americans" simply hate the First Amendment? - Tiger

For eight years Daniel and Sharon Dixon, apartment managers in Lake City, Fla., displayed in the apartment complex's management office a stained glass depiction of flowers with the words "Consider the lilies … Matthew 6:28" written in the lower left corner – an act for which they were suddenly fired from their management jobs and evicted from their apartment.

Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom that is representing the Dixons, told WND that neither before nor after the incident were the Dixons charged with any wrongdoing other than protesting the removal of the artwork and loss of their jobs.

"They were suddenly terminated as a result of the religious bigotry of one supervisor," Staver said in a press release. "The Dixons lost their jobs and were booted out on the street, solely because artwork in their office made reference to the Bible."

The Dixons managed and provided maintenance for the Thornwood Terrace Apartments, a government-subsidized complex owned and operated by the Hallmark Companies and Hallmark Management. The couple was permitted to live in the complex as part of their compensation.

Last September a regional manager for Hallmark, Christina Saunders, visited the complex in anticipation of a government inspection and saw the glass artwork. According to a Liberty Counsel release, Saunders asked Sharon if the words on the artwork referenced the Bible. After Sharon confirmed they did, Saunders instructed her to take it down.

Sharon replied that she needed to consult her husband and co-manager, Daniel, and left the office to find him.

When the couple returned, Saunders had already removed the artwork, entered the Dixons' apartment without their permission and deposited the artwork there. According to the press release, she then said Sharon and Daniel were "too religious," fired them and demanded they vacate their apartment within 72 hours.

"Hallmark could have separated the Dixons' residence from their job, even with the termination," Staver told WND. "They could have stayed in their apartment, but (Hallmark) both fired and evicted them."

WND attempted to reach Hallmark Management for comment, but phone calls were not returned.

The Dixon's story moved to court today, as Liberty Counsel filed a suit in the Jacksonville federal court on the couple's behalf, claiming the Dixons were discriminated against on the basis of their religious beliefs.

According to the lawsuit, the only reasons given for the Dixons' termination were that the couple was "too religious" and that Sharon was insubordinate for not immediately removing the artwork before consulting with her husband.

The Agency for Workforce Innovation, however, which ruled in the Dixons' favor in their request for unemployment compensation, agreed that the termination was not based on job performance, finding that though the Dixons were charged with insubordination, "no information has been submitted which substantiates misconduct" and "the discharge was for reasons other than misconduct connected with the work."

The Dixons originally left their apartment in compliance with the eviction and currently reside in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Observer

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Ugly Reality of Democrats

House Democrats call for nationalization of refineries

House Democrats responded to President's Bush's call for Congress to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling. This was at an on-camera press conference fed back live.

Among other things, the Democrats called for the government to own refineries so it could better control the flow of the oil supply.

They also reasserted that the reason the Appropriations Committee markup (where the vote on the amendment to lift the ban) was cancelled so they could focus on preparing the supplemental Iraq spending bill for tomorrow.

At an off-camera briefing, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said the same. And a senior Republican House Appropriations Committee aide adds that "there were multiple reasons for the postponement" including discussion on the supplemental. But the aide said there was the thought that Democrats may wish to avoid a debate today on energy amendments.

Here are the highlights from briefing :

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), member of the House Appropriations Committee and one of the most-ardent opponents of off-shore drilling

1115

We (the government) should own the refineries. Then we can control how much gets out into the market.

Hinchey on why they postponed the Appropriations markup

1119

I think there aren't enough votes for the Peterson amendment. It wasn't taken up (the Interior spending bill) because of the omnibus Appropriations bill. That's the main focus of the Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL)

1116

They (Republicans) have a one-trick pony approach.

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), Chairman of the Resources Committee

1106

You cannot drill your way out of this. (oh really? - Tiger)

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), chairman of the House Select Committee on Global Warming

1111

The White House has become a ventriloquist for the oil and gas energy. The finger should be directed back at them. They had plenty of opportunity to (arrange an energy policy). But they did not put an energy policy in place.

Markey

1123

The governors of California and the governors of Florida are going to scream this is not the way to go.

Hinchey

1125

There are a lot of arrows in the President's quiver that he decided not use.

Hinchey

1128

What we do has to be in the interest of the American people. Not major corporations.

Emanuel

1131

It's like when I talk to my kids. Before we're going to talk about dessert, we've got to talk about what's on your plate. I hope I'm a little more successful with the oil industry than I am with my kids.

Markey

1132

There are so many red herrings out there they might as well construct an aquarium.

From House Majoirity Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) when I asked him if the markup was cancelled because of potential Democratic defections on the Peterson amendment ...

"No. The reason the markups aren't going through is because we're trying to get the supplemental on the floor tomorrow."

And from a Senior Republican House Appropriations Aide ...

"There were multiple reasons for the postponement including ongoing negotiations on the (supplemental) and a (Democratic) wish to avoid debate and votes on the energy amendments.
The Observer

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Catholic Wind In the U.S. Government

During the Bush years some have argued that G.W. and the U.S. Government itself has become more and more "Catholicized". The "officialese" at the State Department now, for example, refers to the Pope as; "The Holy Father" - an historical first for the U.S. With the Republican Party distancing itself from the "evangelistic" voting block there is much anecdotal evidence to support such a claim. Also, remember Tony Blair and his very public conversion to Catholicism? Here are 3 more items I've discovered:

A Catholic Wind in the White House
By Daniel Burke

Sunday, April 13, 2008; B02
Washington Post

Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI's election in 2005, President Bush met with a small circle of advisers in the Oval Office. As some mentioned their own religious backgrounds, the president remarked that he had read one of the new pontiff's books about faith and culture in Western Europe.

Save for one other soul, Bush was the only non-Catholic in the room. But his interest in the pope's writings was no surprise to those around him. As the White House prepares to welcome Benedict on Tuesday, many in Bush's inner circle expect the pontiff to find a kindred spirit in the president. Because if Bill Clinton can be called America's first black president, some say, then George W. Bush could well be the nation's first Catholic president.

This isn't as strange a notion as it sounds. Yes, there was John F. Kennedy. But where Kennedy sought to divorce his religion from his office, Bush has welcomed Roman Catholic doctrine and teachings into the White House and based many important domestic policy decisions on them.

"I don't think there's any question about it," says Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and a devout Catholic, who was the first to give Bush the "Catholic president" label. "He's certainly much more Catholic than Kennedy." ...

... the rest of the story


CNN Video - Bush Saying We Need Your Message


Bush Becoming a Catholic?
Monday, June 16, 2008 11:05 AM

By: Jim Meyers

President Bush may follow in the footsteps of his brother Jeb and convert to Catholicism, several European papers are reporting.

In the wake of the president’s visit to see Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican, Italian newspapers, citing Vatican sources, said Bush was open to the idea of converting to Catholicism.
The Italian newspaper Il Foglio referred to such talk about Bush’s possible conversion and stated that “anything is possible, especially for someone reborn like Bush.”

Noting that Tony Blair converted to Catholicism after leaving office as Britain’s prime minister last year, the paper also stated that “if anything happens, it will happen after he finishes his period as president, not before. It is similar to Blair’s case, but with different circumstances.”
President Bush welcomed Pope Benedict XVI warmly when he visited the U.S. in April. And Vatican watchers noted that Bush met privately with the pontiff in the private gardens of the Vatican last Friday — an unprecedented place for the Pope to meet a head of state. Typically, the Vatican gardens are used by the Pope for private reflection.

A Vatican spokesman said the Pope used the unusual locale to reciprocate for the “warmth” Bush showed when the two met in Washington.

Though the Catholic Church has criticized the U.S. war in Iraq, Bush has been an ardent supporter of pro-life issues; he has staunchly opposed stem-cell research; and he opposes gay marriage — all issues important for Rome.

Currently Bush belongs to a Methodist church in Texas and attends an Episcopal church in Washington, D.C.

A friend of Bush, Father George William Rutler — who converted to Catholicism in 1979 — told the Catholic News Agency that Bush “is not unaware of how evangelicalism, by comparison with Catholicism, may seem more limited both theologically and historically.”

... none of this may interest you until you understand that Christianity teaches one world church will eventually rise to prominence and the secular authorities will enforce that church's rulings by force. All this is "evidence" is superficial at this point, but it's darn interesting! - Tiger

The Observer

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Empire Uses It's Muscle

A man arrested for preaching on a public sidewalk too close to the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia has been declared guilty of violating federal law.

He was fined over $400, put on probation and told not to go in Independence National Historical Park – or on its surrounding sidewalks – for a year.

On Oct. 7, Michael A. Marcavage, director of the evangelistic organization Repent America, stood on the sidewalk outside the Liberty Bell Center, on the western edge of Independence Historical Park, preaching a message against abortion and declaring "we need to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ" to a crowd waiting to enter the park.

"This is where we have been on a number of other occasions," Marcavage told WND. "This time we were ministering to people waiting in line to see the Liberty Bell, speaking on the message written on the Bell, which reads, 'Proclaim liberty throughout all the land.'"

Marcavage then was confronted by a National Park Service ranger, who demanded he move to a "free speech zone" some distance from the entrance, where he could continue preaching under the permission of a "verbal permit."

Marcavage refused to move and refused to accept a verbal permit, claiming the First Amendment protected his right to speak in public.

He then was arrested, taken away and charged with violating the terms of the permit that he had refused to accept. Video of Marcavage's arrest, posted on YouTube, can be viewed below.






On Friday, in the case of United States of America vs. Michael A Marcavage, U.S. Magistrate Judge Arnold Rapoport found the preacher guilty of violating the terms of a verbal permit and "interfering with agency functions."

After the arrest, Marcavage posted his thoughts on a free speech blog, stating, "If they shut down our ability to speak to the people, they shut down the Gospel; they shut down any message."

The blog, however, noted that the Liberty Bell Center's establishment of a "free speech zone" is routine in cities and college campuses when officials want to maintain a tight control over potentially troublesome events. The blog cited a 2007 study by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which found 259 of 346 colleges studied maintained such free speech restrictions.

In the aftermath of 9/11, government officials established a free speech zone near the Liberty Bell Center, where, according to government statistics, more than 100,000 protesters demonstrate each year.

In United States vs. Michael A. Marcavage, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Goldberg stood behind the practice of government-created speech zones, stating in court that "nowhere does the law say that the government cannot regulate speech on a sidewalk used by the public."

Four years ago, Marcavage made headlines for being arrested as a member of the "Philadelphia 11," a group that preached on sidewalks during a homosexual rally in downtown Philadelphia. The group was charged under Pennsylvania's hate crime laws, though the charges were later dropped.

Marcavage's Repent America responded in a press release it will appeal this latest arrest and court decision and "will be challenging these unconstitutional restrictions by filing for an injunction in federal court."
The Observer

Sunday, June 15, 2008

"Conservative's" G.W.O.T. Problem - They Still Don't Get It!

I have great admiration for Ann Coulter. A woman with a good head on her shoulders is an asset. She is definitely NOT a dumb blond - her hair is dyed blond anyway! : )

Like most conservative public figures, however, she has an awareness problem concerning the GWOT. She doesn't have a clue when we're being attacked and when we're not. Understanding and observing this war through "military eyes" only is a deadly mistake. The ongoing and historical debates and arguments between special ops soldiers and the "regular army" is the best example of what I mean. There were things that Major Robert Rogers and his Rangers (French & Indian Wars) understood, that wig-wearing British generals never understood. The same is true today.

This is a multi-front war. It is being fought (or, I should say; NOT being fought) in church's, schools, government agencies, on tactical and strategic battlefields, within diplomatic circles, in elections; within every aspect of life you can think of. And, we're losing!

The fact (and it is a fact) that no terrorist Al-Qaida attack on American soil has occurred since 9-11-2001 does not preclude the fact that we have been and still are attacked by radical Islam, whether under the official banner of Al-Qaida, or not! This website has presented many such examples. A special ops soldier understands this concept; a regular soldier does not. A thinking political leader understands this concept (it's very rare), but most do not.

It is a great disappointment to realize Ann Coulter falls into the "does not" category. Ann, please re-read Col. Hunt's book. You obviously had comprehension problems the first time you read it.
The Observer

MUSLIM PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS

By Robert Spencer (A Copyrighted article by the famous anti-Jihadist)
Very well done - worth the read!

The Observer

Friday, June 13, 2008

Why They Don't Bungee Jump In Australia (and Florida!)


The Observer

It Was Bound To Happen!

The Observer

5 Supreme Idiots Say Terrorists Have More Rights Than Our Soldiers!

Update! A Heavy Blow Dealt To U.S. National Security!
Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines give up some of their civilian rights and privileges upon entering service. They live under a Uniform Code of Military Justice, not a civilian one.


I've always thought the Pentagon and the Sec. of Defense went after our Soldiers harder than the bad guys! This high court decision supports that view.

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts.

The justices handed the Bush administration its third setback at the high court since 2004 over its treatment of prisoners who are being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. The vote was 5-4, with the court's liberal justices in the majority.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, said, "The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times."

It was not immediately clear whether this ruling, unlike the first two, would lead to prompt hearings for the detainees, some who have been held more than 6 years. Roughly 270 men remain at the island prison, classified as enemy combatants and held on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida and the Taliban.

The administration opened the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to hold enemy combatants, people suspected of ties to al-Qaida or the Taliban.

The Guantanamo prison has been harshly criticized at home and abroad for the detentions themselves and the aggressive interrogations that were conducted there.

The Observer

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Government : Your Enemy and Mine

Quoting Scripture banned in library community room

Quoting from the Bible has been banned in a community room at the public library in Clermont County, Ohio, and now a couple who sought to use the facility for a financial planning seminar has brought a court case.

"What's next? Will the library board attempt to keep patrons from checking out Bibles and reading them on government property?" asked Tim Chandler, a legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, which is working on the case involving George and Cathy Vandergriff.

The couple asked for permission to use a public facility at the library to hold a financial planning seminar with the Institute for Principled Policy.

Under the use policy for the facility, the meetings rooms there "are available to all community groups and non-profit organizations engaged in activities that further the Library's mission to be responsive to community needs and to be an integral part of our community," according to the lawsuit.

"When the Library's meeting rooms are not being used for library-related programs, the rooms are available for non-profit use by community groups. The groups may use meeting rooms for private meetings or to present programs for the general public," it continues.

However, when Cathy Vandergriff asked in person to use a meeting room for a financial planning meeting, the conversation with the library employee took an unwelcome turn.

"When Mrs. Vandergriff indicated that the seminar would be a free ministry to the general public, the employee asked if she would be quoting the Bible in the presentation. Mrs. Vandergriff answered that she would be using the Bible, and the employee informed her that the Library's Policy would therefore not permit her to use the meeting room," the ADF said.
When she followed up with a written request for the use of the facility, an employee again warned about the ban on quoting from the Bible, and the written rejection soon followed. It carried the hand-written notation: "Contact Mr. Vandergriff will be quoting bible versus [sic] explained our meeting room policy."

The ADF's complaint, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Ohio, requests a declaratory judgment, preliminary and permanent injunctions and damages and costs for the action.
"The … Clermont Public Library Board of Trustees … is prohibiting plaintiffs from engaging in expressive activities in a generally available public forum solely due to the religious viewpoint of those activities," the ADF said.

The library did not return a WND message requesting comment.

The complaint cites alleged violations of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution including the right to free exercise of religion, and the 14th Amendment's equal protection and due process clauses.

"The library has no compelling reason that would justify excluding plaintiffs from these generally available public facilities solely on the basis of the religious nature of plaintiffs' speech," the complaint said.

"Refusing to grant this group permission to hold a seminar at a meeting room in a public library because they planned to quote the Bible is about as blatantly un-American and unconstitutional as you can get," Chandler said. "Christian organizations shouldn't be discriminated against for their beliefs."

"The denial sends the message to the Vandergriffs and other Christians that they are not deemed a valuable part of the community. Christians have the same First Amendment rights as anyone else in America," the ADF's Kevin Theriot added.

"Any government policy denying equal access rights to a group simply because it intends on quoting Bible verses does not comport with the Constitution. This is a financial planning seminar, and the library has previously allowed meetings that discuss financial planning. The fact that they may quote Bible verses during the meeting does not legally matter."

The Institute for Principled Policy planned to sponsor the two two-hour seminars for 10 attendees April 18 and 19 at the library using Larry Burkett’s Crown Ministries materials.

The Observer

Paying Too Much For Gas? - Yes ... You Can Officially Blame the Dems Now!

Dems Block Drill Plan

WASHINGTON — A House subcommittee on Wednesday rejected a Republican-led effort to open up more U.S. coastal waters to oil exploration.

Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., spearheaded the effort. His proposal would open up U.S. waters between 50 and 200 miles off shore for drilling. The first 50 miles off shore would be left alone.
But the plan failed Wednesday on a 9-6, party-line vote in a House appropriations subcommittee, which was considering the proposal as part of an Interior Department spending package.

With record oil prices and gas prices projected to hover around the $4 mark for the rest of the summer, Republicans have ratcheted up their efforts to open up oil exploration along U.S. coastline. But the long-sought change has so far been unsuccessful.

Most offshore oil production and exploration has been banned since a federal law passed in 1981.
"We are kidding ourselves if we think we can drill our way out of these problems," House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., said during the bill mark-up session.
For his part, Peterson said: "There is no valid reason for Congress to keep the country from energy resources it needs."

"I'm disappointed. I did not expect a partisan vote today. I felt we had a chance of winning this. A lot of Democrats have been talking favorably about my amendment. They know we have to do something. But today was an absolute show of Pelosi power, it was dealt from the top down," Peterson said later, speaking with FOX News, adding he was open to other energy solutions, including wind and solar power.

According to Peterson's office, the U.S. Minerals Management Service estimates that 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas can be found along the U.S. outer continental shelf, the area affected by the ban.

Peterson is not alone in his desire to open up the shelf. An effort to unlock the resources has been underway in Congress in recent years, and several interest groups are backing the effort, too.

"Tapping America's huge reserve of deep ocean energy helps us fight terrorism and increases our domestic energy supply, which will help put downward pressure on gasoline prices," Greg Schnacke, President of Americans for American Energy, said in a news release, adding: "With Americans suffering at the gas pump and with higher energy bills, it's a no-brainer that the OCS should be developed."

But the proposal has faced staunch opposition from environmental groups from states where the shorelines are under consideration for drilling, like Florida.

Sierra Club lands program director Athan Manuel told a House committee Wednesday that drilling has been unsuccessful in driving costs down.

"The disappointing part about some of the energy policies being promoted (is) that it calls for more drilling when drilling really is the problem. And all we've got to show for pretty aggressive (domestic) drilling for the last 35 years is, again, $4 for a gallon of gas," Manuel said, adding "since the first Arab oil shock in the 1970s, the U.S. has produced almost 90 billion barrels of oil since then, so we've tried drilling our way out of the problem and it just hasn't worked."

Environment Florida spokeswoman Holly Binns told the Media General news group that offshore drilling has no immediate impact on prices.

"It would take anywhere from seven to 10 years to bring those resources to shore — to have any measurable impact on supply,” Binns said, advocating renewable energy sources.

Democrats held their own series of events on Capitol Hill Wednesday to focus attention on global warming and energy independence, but drilling is not on the agenda. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Tuesday ongoing calls for more drilling "is the Johnny One-Note of the Republican Party."

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., dismissed the need for oil explanation, speaking with FOX News Wednesday.

"There are 68 million acres right now that is available for exploration right now that the oil companies have — an area the size of Illinois and Georgia. We ought to be focusing on doing that," Blumenauer said, adding that a legal gap he referred to as the "Enron loophole" exempts energy trading from oversight of the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

And not surprisingly, the issue has spilled into the ream of presidential politics as well.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., criticized Democrats, including fellow Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., over recent comments Obama made regarding gas prices.

The comments that McConnell referred to were given during an interview with CNBC. Discussing rising gasoline prices, Obama said: "I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment. The fact that this is such a shock to American pocketbooks is not a good thing.

Obama also said that "if we take some steps right now to help people make the adjustment, first of all by putting more money into their pockets, but also by encouraging the market to adapt to these new circumstances more quickly, particularly U.S. automakers, then I think ultimately, we can come out of this stronger and have a more efficient energy policy than we do right now.

McConnell, honing in on Obama's referral to "gradual" price increases, said Obama's remarks are evidence that Obama believes "rising gas prices aren't the problem. The problem, he suggested, is that they've gone up too fast. He said he would prefer a gradual adjustment."

He continued: "Whether it's shutting down domestic exploration in large areas both onshore and offshore, instituting a moratorium on oil shale development, increasing the gas tax, or refusing to pursue coal to liquids, Democrats long ago implemented a 'gradual adjustment' on gas prices that's reflected today in the $4.05 Americans are paying for a gallon of gas."

The Observer

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Watch Out! It's Global Cooling Time!

"In the past, they observed that the sun once went 50 years without producing sunspots. That period, from approximately 1650 to 1700, occurred during the middle of a little ice age on Earth that lasted from as early as the mid-15th century to as late as the mid-19th century." ...

The sun has been lying low for the past couple of years, producing no sunspots and giving a break to satellites.

That's good news for people who scramble when space weather interferes with their technology, but it became a point of discussion for the scientists who attended an international solar conference at Montana State University. Approximately 100 scientists from Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and North America gathered June 1-6 to talk about "Solar Variability, Earth's Climate and the Space Environment."

The scientists said periods of inactivity are normal for the sun, but this period has gone on longer than usual.

... article continues

... I wonder if Al and Newt know this? Naw! They're too busy NOT THINKING! - Tiger

The Observer

Renounce your faith!

UPDATE ON CANADIAN PRIEST - GOVERNMENT ORDERS HIM TO RENOUNCE HIS FAITH

The Canadian government has ordered a Christian pastor to renounce his faith and never again express moral opposition to homosexuality, according to a new report.

In a decision handed down just days ago in the penalty phase of the quasi-judicial proceedings run by the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal, evangelical pastor Stephen Boisson was banned from expressing his biblical perspective of homosexuality and ordered to pay $5,000 for "damages for pain and suffering" as well as apologize to the activist who complained of being hurt.

According to a report from Pete Vere at the Catholic Exchange, the penalty could foreshadow the possible fate of Father Alphonse de Valk, who also has cited the biblical perspective on homosexuality in the nation's debate over same-sex "marriage" and now faces HRC charges.

Boisson had written a letter to the editor of his local Red Deer newspaper in 2002 denouncing the advance of homosexual activism as "wicked" and stating: "Children as young as five and six years of age are being subjected to psychologically and physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public school system; all under the fraudulent guise of equal rights."

The activist, local teacher Darren Lund, filed a complaint and the guilty verdict from Lori G. Andreachuk, a lawyer, was handed down some weeks ago. The latest decision involved the penalty phase of the trial.

"While agreeing that Boisson's letter was not a criminal act, the government tribunal nevertheless ordered the Christian pastor to [stop expressing his opinion]," Vere reported.
Andreachuk noted that Lund, who brought the complaint, wasn't, in fact, injured.
"In this case there is no specific individual who can be compensated as there is no direct victim who has come forward…," she wrote.

However, that did not stop her from ordering the payment anyway.

And as for the future, she wrote:

"Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. shall cease publishing in newspapers, by e-mail, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the Internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals. Further, they shall not and are prohibited from making disparaging remarks in the future about … Lund or … Lund's witnesses relating to their involvement in this complaint. Further, all disparaging remarks versus homosexuals are directed to be removed from current Web sites and publications of Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc," the lawyer opined.

Andreachuk also ordered Boissoin to apologize for the original letter in the Red Deer Advocate and told the two "offenders" to pay $5,000.

The apology letter, Vere said, "threatens civil liberties in Canada, according to Ezra Levant, an author and lawyer who himself was targeted by an HRC attack."

"[The] government now believes that if it can't convince a Christian pastor that he's wrong, it will just order him to condemn himself?" Levant wrote on his blog. "Other than tribunals in Stalin's Soviet Union and Mao's China, where is this Orwellian 'order' considered to be justice?"

"This is like a Third World jail-house confession – where accused criminals are forced to sign false statements of guilt," Levant wrote. "We don’t even 'order' murderers to apologize to their victims' families. Because we know that a forced apology is meaningless. But not if your point is to degrade Christian pastors."

"In essence, the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal is ordering to the minister to renounce his Christian faith, since his opposition to homosexuality is based upon the Judeo-Christian Bible," Vere wrote.

WND reported recently about de Valk, the target of a Human Rights Commission case over his biblical references regarding homosexuality.

"Father [de Valk] defended the [Catholic] Church's teaching on marriage during Canada's same-sex 'marriage' debate, quoting extensively from the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Pope John Paul II's encyclicals. Each of these documents contains official Catholic teaching. And like millions of other people throughout the world and the ages – many of whom are non-Catholics and non-Christians — Father believes that marriage is an exclusive union between a man and a woman," Vere wrote.

Vere raised the question that Canada now considers morality a "hate crime."

"If one, because of one's sincerely held moral beliefs, whether it be Jew, Muslim, Christian, Catholic, opposes the idea of same-sex marriage in Canada, is that considered 'hate'?" he asked.
Vere wrote that the response he got from Mark van Dusen, a spokesman for the federal human rights prosecution office, shocked him.

The government agent confirmed the agency investigates complaints but doesn't set public policy or moral standards. He said the agency job is to look at the circumstances and decide whether to advance it or dismiss it.

What is shocking about that, Vere wrote, is the admission that unjustified complaints can be dismissed, yet the case against de Valk has continued now for more than six months.

An extended audio recording between Vere and van Dusen is posted on YouTube:

A second part of the interview also is posted.

The Observer