Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Why do bloggers blog?

What is blogging?

Is it journalism? Joseph Rago, writing for The WSJ's OpinionJournal, seems to think that no blogger can consider him/herself a part of that exalted group.

Cassandra, at Villainous Company, provided the link (and the snark) to his thoughts.
The blogs are not as significant as their self-endeared curators would like to think. Journalism requires journalists, who are at least fitfully confronting the digital age. The bloggers, for their part, produce minimal reportage. Instead, they ride along with the MSM like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps.
Well, that has SOME merit. Some bloggers merely provide links - though, that's not totally insignificant. It takes time to keep up on other's blogs, find links to other sites, and read, digest, and come up with commentary on that topic. For beginners - which, don't forget, many bloggers are - that takes a lot of time.

Is that journalism? No. It's more akin to writing a thoughtful letter to the editor. The advantage of a blog is that the powers at the editor's desk can't keep you from having your say. For reasons of space, not to mention not agreeing with the writer, newspapers often fail to give their readers that outlet.
We rarely encounter sustained or systematic blog thought--instead, panics and manias; endless rehearsings of arguments put forward elsewhere; and a tendency to substitute ideology for cognition. The participatory Internet, in combination with the hyperlink, which allows sites to interrelate, appears to encourage mobs and mob behavior.
"..rarely encounter sustained or systematic blog thought"? Oh, nonsense!

I challenge anyone who believes that to read:
  • Eject! Eject! Eject! - his blog is hard to define, but he writes long philosophical posts about politics, military, and culture.
  • Eternity Road - blogs on Christianity, culture, and politics, among other things.
  • Gates of Vienna - blogs about War on Terror, immigration, politics, culture, etc.
These are just a few of the many bloggers who write long, thoughtful pieces on a regular basis.
The technology of ink on paper is highly advanced, and has over centuries accumulated a major institutional culture that screens editorially for originality, expertise and seriousness.
Could many of us use an editor? Sure - I'm one of them. I have been known to shoot from the hip, firing off a quick rant without adequately fact-checking, spell-checking, or taking long enough for second, more reasoned thoughts.

But, although I don't have access to an editor, I do have MANY editors - my fellow bloggers, blog readers, and friends, all of whom who given feedback for free. Generally, they gently point out that I have erred. A few times, I have received sharper criticism. I can't complain. I am getting help in getting better, for free.

The above applies to serious bloggers. What's a serious blogger?
  • Posts on a regular basis - at least weekly, preferably several times a week.
  • Posts for a non-family audience. I don't criticize family bloggers, but they are hobbyists, not those dedicated to communication with a wider audience.
  • Limited to those with at least 10 posts. This eliminates the dilettante, who enthusiastically creates a blog, posts once or twice, then drops the blog.
  • Willing to work to improve. Over time, accepts criticism, seeks out suggestions, and makes an effort to become a better writer.
This is just a short list, but I think it would weed out a significant portion of the blogosphere. The ones that are left are more similar to journalists than those excluded, who function more like those "publishing" a family newsletter at Christmas.


No new Guard the Borders Blogburst this week - we're taking the holiday off.

I've been off the net for the last few days, except for a few minutes. Two reasons:

  • It's freakin' Christmas!
  • My wireless connection was down on the laptop, until my WONDERFUL son-in-law fixed it - on Christmas, no less! It was the best Christmas present of all.

Once I get some free time, later today, I'll try to catch up on email and 'stuff. Look to see light posting this week, but none after Thursday - I'll be traveling South. It's intended to be a leisurely trip, followed by extended relaxing.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Personal Update

I'm back in Cleveland for the holidays. I feel relaxes and mellow. I'm just about over that respiratory infection, and I finally bit the bullet and visited a chiropractor about my neck pain. One visit, and I'm pain-free. I really should stop avoiding doctors.

I'll be blogging sporadically this week and the next. My laptop's wireless connection is down - until I visit my wonderful techie son-in-law later this week, it will probably stay down.

I'm using my husband's computer - not as good as mine, but it works.

I'll be spending time shopping, visiting family and friends, and just relaxing this week and the next. I've earned it, I'm taking it. I'll be finding out if there really is life off the net - I've heard that there is, but I don't entirely believe it.

Guard the Borders Blogburst

Today's Blogburst is also available as a Podcast.

By Nancy Matthis at American Daughter

The Price of Lettuce

Federal subsidies do not reduce the COST of food to the taxpayer. They increase it. Likewise, illegal immigration does not reduce the cost of food, or of any other goods and services, to the taxpayer. Illegal immigration also increases those costs.

In fact, illegal immigration increases the citizen's financial burden in exactly the same ways and using the same types of governmental mechanisms as the inefficient and ill-conceived government subsidy programs. Let's just look at the numbers. The available data points come from different years, so our results will not be specific for any single year, but will be representative of the general problem.

Note: This article responds to two comments made by liberals on earlier articles in our Illegal Immigration series.

  1. Joe Budzinski referenced our report on The Crider Case on Nova Townhall Blog. Over there, they play host to a token liberal, Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Stay Puft took it upon himself to publish a response, We Can't Ignore Agriculture, featuring Critique of American Daughter.
    "....farmers work on very tight profit margins. They can't pay more. If they paid higher rates, the cost of producing a crop would exceed its market value.

    The only way to increase wages in these sorts of jobs would be to increase government subsidies even more (make tax payers pay for the wage increases), or let food prices shoot up (make consumers pay)

    both of these options seem untenable. In the later case, the negative economic consequences could be more severe than anything brought on by the recent influx of immigrants....

    We need this stuff, but in today's economy it isn't profitable without being propped up with tax dollars. Last year, we put over 16 billion dollars into these subsidies. "
  2. The Word-Drum took a shot at our friend Doyle, when he cross-posted our article Illegals Deadlier Than War On Terror on his weblog A Cool Change. As you can see, the fellow who left the comment cannot spell any better than he can do math.
    "As a Vegitarian American (Democrat) I resent having to pay the kind of prices for lettuce that would occur if we did something about illegals. It's Bush's fault anyway."
Both of these fellows believe in the incorrect "manna from heaven" theory of government assistance. It is an item of religious faith with liberals that we will deconstruct in the following discussion.

Update -- It is likely that the second comment was meant as a joke. The sad fact is that most liberals are so divorced from reality that it sounded like an authentic liberal response. And we are pretty certain that the first commenter really believes in his logic. As our contributor [Bad Moon Rising] likes to say, "They walk among us. And they vote."

The average expenditure for food per person in the United States in 2005 was $3,452 (source).

The average annual agricultural subsidy in the United States between 1996 and 2002 was $16 billion (source).

The population of the United States recently passed the milestone of 300 million (source).

So, if the value of the agricultural subsidy were applied to reduce the cost of food (it actually is not intended to do that and does not do that, but we'll get to that later) it would amount to a benefit of $53.34 per person.

$16 billion divided by 300 million = $53.34 per person

If the subsidy had the effect of benefiting the citizen, it would represent a savings of:

$53.34 on $3,452 or 1.55%

But wait just one minute! That $16 billion agricultural subsidy budget did not come, as liberals would have us believe, as manna from heaven. IT CAME OUT OF THAT SAME CITIZEN'S POCKET IN THE FIRST PLACE. Does that mean that he just broke even? No. Not even close.

In order to implement an agricultural subsidy program, the government had to maintain pro rata segments of

  • the Internal Revenue Service to extract the tax money from that poor hapless citizen

  • the Department of Agriculture to study the situation and distribute the funds

  • the General Accountability Office to audit everyone's books

  • the General Services Administration to provide all those agencies with buildings, utilities, and services

  • the legislative, executive, and judicial arms of government to create, administer, and judge such a program

Like a bad charity, government provides only fractional benefits in return for the resources it consumes. Our poor taxpayer will be very lucky to pay only a few hundred dollars for his apparent $53.34 benefit. So instead of saving him 1.55% on his food bill, the interference of the government likely costs him an extra three to four percent.

But that is assuming the government intended to help John Q. And that was never the intention. Agricultural subsidies have traditionally been used to pay farmers to let some of their fields lie fallow, so that overall they produce less, and prices remain high. Another use for subsidy funds has been to buy up the surplus of overproduced commodities and store it in government repositories, again so that prices remain high. These subsidies were originally introduced to buy the farm vote. Nowadays they are earmark payoffs for a few big factory farms, another form of big business.

Bottom line: John Q. the food consumer is being taxed to provide the funds that government uses to increase his costs.

The situation with illegal immigration is analogous. As it factors into the price of food, illegal immigration can be viewed as an additional agricultural subsidy administered and financed by government.

The farmer's cost of food production in the United States amounts to about 20% of the consumer's cost (source). The value of his crop land is determined by the real estate sector. The cost of equipment -- tractors, harvesters, whatever -- evokes names like Case, Caterpillar, John Deere, Massey Ferguson. A tractor is a tractor, a fixed capital cost. To make the case for the lower cost of illegal labor, one has to look at the systems in place for delivering food to the consumer, the other 80% -- including pickers, processors, packers, the employees in fast food chains, etc.

So will reducing the cost of labor in the food delivery pipeline save John Q. some percentage of his per capita annual food consumption costs?

80% of $3,452 = $2,762

Dispassionate analyses of the costs of illegal immigration are hard to find. One scholarly study was completed in 1997 by Dr. Donald Huddle, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Rice University. Based on 1996 data, he estimated the NET cost of illegal immigration to the federal budget at $24.44 billion. Extrapolated to 2006, through increases in the number of illegals and inflation, that becomes at least $70 billion this year (source).

Most of the organizations advocating for sensible immigration policy use this figure, which represents the cost to the government's budget, and note that this amounts to

$70 billion / 300 million= $233+ per capita for the US population

But wait just one minute! That $70 billion illegal alien subsidy budget did not come, as liberals would have us believe, as manna from heaven. IT CAME OUT OF THE US TAXPAYER'S POCKET. It was collected and administered and redistributed by the same inefficient charity -- the US government -- as the other agricultural subsidy. So to wind up with $70 billion in the federal budget to lavish on our law-breaking uninvited guests, our government had to extract many times that amount from us. You remember -- to pay for the IRS, the GAO, the GSA, the USDA, the three branches, and oh yes for pro rata segments of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (remember our bankrupted emergency rooms), Justice (recall the illegals' disproportionately high percentage in the federal pens), etc.

Now we see that we are approaching a substantial portion of John Q.'s food budget. In fact, it has been estimated that illegal labor reduces the price of a head of lettuce about two cents. You'd have to eat a very great deal of lettuce to make this worthwhile.

Does anyone make out? Well, if you are the sort who spends a lot on maids to clean your house, gardeners to tend your lawn, perhaps a nanny and a chauffer, maybe yes. For example, if you can save $10 per hour on a maid who works for you one day a week (say $15 per hour instead of $25 per hour), you will save

$80 x 52 = $4,160 per year

And if you can shave a similar amount off the wages of a gardener who fine-tunes your boxwood and manicures your grass one day per week (say $25 per hour instead of $35 per hour), you can double your savings.

These wages are the going rates in the DC suburbs where our lawmakers have their posh dwellings. Throw in the Hispanic nanny who tends the little ones 48 hours per week while you are at work, and this becomes very attractive.

So the "Tijuana express" IS benefiting the folk who are responsible for keeping the underground railroad running. But let's be honest. This is not about the price of lettuce.

For an overview of our government's history of disastrous meddling in the agricultural economy, read Agricultural Subsidies in the HighBeam Encyclopedia here.

Previous articles in our Illegal Immigration series:

The Crider Case
Illegals Deadlier Than War On Terror
Going By The Numbers

This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It was started by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we're going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration facing our country, join our Blogburst! Just send an email with your blog name and url to admin at guardtheborders dot com.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Guard the Borders Blogburst

Going By The Numbers

by Nancy Matthis

Understanding the impact of illegal immigration does not depend on accepting partisan opinions. It is just the result of doing some simple math.

In a previous article, Illegals Deadlier Than War On Terror, we compared the numbers of United States citizens killed by illegal aliens to the tally of our troops killed in the war on terror. In response to that article, one of our readers wrote asking whether we had seen the video produced by NumbersUSA titled Immigration by the Numbers. He asked, “I wonder how accurate it is?”

This widely distributed video uses gumballs in a jar to visually demonstrate the impact of numbers that increase exponentially rather than linearly. These are mathematical concepts that are immediately meaningful to folk with a technical background, but may be harder to understand for others. The answer to our reader’s question is that the video IS accurate. It is not based on partisan opinion. It is just a very graphic illustration of an algebraic equation.

You can view a clip from the video here. Roy Beck of NumbersUSA is not depending on any esoteric data. He’s just doing the math, based on the US Census numbers, which actually grossly UNDERESTIMATE the number of illegals in the United States.


The gumball video is just a reprise of that old high school science experiment in which you have a population of fruit flies — Drosophila — that doubles with every generation. (The reason they used fruit flies is that drosophila require only a week to ten days to reproduce, and you can easily get the experiment done during a thirteen week class term.)

You fill the jar 1/8 full with fruit flies. It looks like there is a lot of room left. Next thing you know, the jar is 1/4 full. Then 1/2 full. But not to worry, because there is still half of the whole jar available for them to fly around in. And then — WHOOPS — the jar is jammed full, and they begin to die.

However, in the video, Roy Beck uses gumballs instead of fruit flies.


For a population to grow in numbers, more children must be born than the number that are needed to replace the older folk who are dying. If every man and woman pair off monogamously, and we don’t allow for a slight variation due to women who die before childbearing years, simple replacement requires that every woman have two children (one to replace herself and one to replace her man). If every woman had four children during her childbearing years, the population would double every generation like the fruit flies, sans devastating war, terrible famine and pandemic lethal disease like the black plague.

Mexican immigrant women (legal and illegal) living in the United States have a fertility rate of 3.51 according to the 2002 US census. So their population will not quite double, but it certainly will increase at a very rapid rate. And whereas the educated American population may defer marriage and childbearing until they are adequately prepared to raise a family, the immigrants will produce “anchor babies” as soon as biologically possible, no later than age 18, because we as taxpayers will support them. So our “jar,” the continental United States, will fill up pretty rapidly.

But mathematically it gets worse, much worse. The parents do not die when the kids are born as the fruit flies do. So now within four years, the 2 parents and their 3.51 kids are all living here. Illegals are coming at the rate of about one million per year from Mexico, according to the latest estimates by border patrol agents. So within four years, each annual increment will have become 2,755,ooo mouths to feed — the original million plus the 1,755,000 children that the 500,000 women in the increment will have produced.

500,000 x 3.51 = 1,755,000 children per annual increment

1,000,000 original illegals + 1,755,000 anchor babies = 2,755,000 new faces

In less than eleven years, that’s 10% of our current population. And please note, this analysis only includes parents who are ILLEGALS. It does not include anchor babies born to parents who are here legally on work visas, and produce offspring for the sole purpose of staying. It also does not include the huge jump in numbers that will occur eighteen years out, when the children of the illegals start reproducing.

What makes these considerations most galling, however, is the fact that this high birth rate of 3.51 for Mexican women living illegally in the US is evoked by the deep pockets of the American taxpayers. It only occurs in the benevolent social welfare context of the United States. Mexican women living in Mexico have a birth rate of 2.4 children.

This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It was started by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we're going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration facing our country, join our Blogburst! Just send an email with your blog name and url to admin at guardtheborders dot com.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

How to Fix Schools?

I just love it when the media - in this case, CNN.com, decide that they're going to tell us what schools need to prepare for the FUTURE! Invariably, the answers are:

  • Too complicated
  • Too expensive
  • Written by people without children
Well, on that last point, I can't say for sure, but it does read like someone who's had no contact with anyone younger than 25 in years.

What is CNN saying?
Competency in reading and math -- the focus of so much No Child Left Behind testing -- is the meager minimum. Scientific and technical skills are, likewise, utterly necessary but insufficient. Today's economy demands not only a high-level competence in the traditional academic disciplines but also what might be called 21st century skills.
Yeah, that's what the current administration has been saying - basic competency is a STARTING POINT. Frankly, I'd have few problems if students had a "high-level competence in the traditional academic disciplines".

  1. Supposedly, CEOs are telling CNN that they need people who are
    global trade literate, sensitive to foreign cultures, conversant in different languagesM
    Well, that'd be nice, no doubt. Those last two things, I think we're getting, thanks to immigration - unfortunately, it's mostly Spanish, or Spanglish. To me, the "global trade literate" part sounds like something a student would learn in college, not high school.

    I do tend to wonder what the CNN staff was smoking, since they believe that US schools are
    where the social-studies curriculum tends to fixate on U.S. history
    Wrong-o, pal! The students are woefully ignorant of their own country's history, thanks to inclusion of all those other cultures. I'm a science teacher, for crying out loud, and I know more US HIstory than they do.

  2. They need to O-O-O-H! THINK OUTSIDE THE - can you guess where, boys and girls?
    less daring in the back-to-basics climate of No Child Left Behind. Kids also must learn to think across disciplines, since that's where most new breakthroughs are made. It's interdisciplinary combinations -- design and technology, mathematics and art -- "that produce YouTube and Google," says Thomas Friedman, the best-selling author of The World Is Flat.
    I don't quite know how to say it any simpler (as Tom Peters always used to say), but they don't freaking understand the math!

    I'm not talking discrete functions or calculus, guys, I'm saying most kids don't understand fractions and decimals - too often in high school.

    I REALLY don't want the art teacher trying to teach them math. We all specialized in stuff in college - that was the point of getting certified in a specific subject. I'll make a promise - I won't teach the art or music, if they won't teach the math.

    The interdisciplinary stuff comes AFTER they gain a basic competency in math and English.

  3. Developing good people skills - this, I have no problem with. Most of them SUCK at getting along with others.

    But, I can only do so much when their parents are telling them to hit anyone who hits them - or disrespects them - or looks at them funny.

    More of them than ever are only children. They have NO CLUE how to share.

I think most of the world has no idea what goes on in schools. We do understand what they need to succeed.

But we're working against a culture that sees no harm in a kid spending 2-3 hours playing video games, watching TV, playing sports for extended periods of time, and almost no time reading, doing homework, or just talking to someone who is not a kid. By high school age, many are working long hours for non-necessities - clothes, cars, media.

It's not hard to educate kids who show up prepared to work, on time, rested, having done homework, and functional in their native language. But, that's not the typical student.

We May Have Found Our Winnie

Via the 910 Group Blog, I found the following:
I understand this is an unpopular war. When I stepped forward to define the enemy as ... fascists, I was ridiculed by the media and others, saying that my words were too harsh, saying that at worst my defining the enemy was incorrect, at best it was inflammatory. But I did so because I believe words matter. If you are going to confront an enemy you have to understand who that enemy is and you have to communicate that to the people...
Ellipses mine.

Now, who does that sound like?

I've been reading The Gathering Storm, by Winston Churchill. Immediately, I saw the resemblance to the old man, ignored by all, ridiculed by many, leaving public life a failure. A failure whose time had passed, they said. Good riddance - he clearly didn't understand the modern world. He was a dinosaur, who yearned for the bad old days of Empire. Too bad.
...what have we seen over the past 6 months? We saw a situation in the central synagogue in Prague where the Islamic fascists intended to carry out, on Rosh Hashanah, a mass kidnapping when large numbers of Jews would be celebrating the new year. When the world’s attention now was focused on Prague, they designed to make impossible demands and then blow up the synagogue and everyone within it. Those people were not marked for death because they supported the war in Iraq. They were not marked for death because they oppressed these Islamic fascists. They were targeted because they were Jews. This is evil.

Islamic terrorists organized an assault on civilian aircraft leaving London, planning to blow up 10 or more planes this summer as they flew over the North Atlantic. You may not know that two of those participants were a husband and a wife, a husband and a wife who were going to board that plane and explode that plane over the North Atlantic while holding in their arms their 6-month-old child.

This is evil.

Islamic terrorists slaughter innocent Iraqis every single day on both sides of the divide within Islam. As we know, in recent days they beheaded an orthodox priest and crucified a 14-year-old boy guilty of nothing but being Christian.

This is evil.

Almost everyone has now heard of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the fact that he denies the existence of the Holocaust and called for Israel to be wiped off the face of the Earth. But he has been remarkably clear about his mission, remarkably clear about his messianic vision of a Shiite religion, his vision to destroy the Western world and impose a caliphate on the world in which the world would submit to Islam or die in the process.

He said:

Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism?

Then he answered himself:

But you had best know this slogan and this goal is attainable and surely can be achieved.

So do we have any questions about the nature of our enemy? Do we have any questions about the capability of this oil-rich country? Yet just this past week President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent an open letter, a conciliatory letter, to the American people, addressed to the “noble” American people. He called on America to withdraw from Iraq and end support for Israel, and, of course, to convert to Islam. This man may be a fanatic, but let me assure you he is not a stupid fanatic. This man understands and studies America. The Islamic fascists respect us enough to get to know us. They respect us enough so they know what buttons to push and how hard to push them. They respect us enough to figure out what it will take to defeat us.
He gets it.

I was beginning to despair. To think that we would NEVER get one person in public life who saw the problem, and cared little enough for his career to name it squarely.
Bernard Lewis tells a familiar opinion that he has. He tells a lot of them. He said that the oddity in particular of the Arab and Middle Eastern Islamic world is that the more we have strong relations with the government in an Arab Muslim country the more the people of that country hate us; and the more that we stand up and confront leadership of those countries the more the people like us. Is it no wonder he recounts on the day of 9/11 when there was but one Middle Eastern Muslim capital there was a candlelight vigil in support of those who died on 9/11, and that was in Tehran, Iran.

It is not hard to understand when you have regimes throughout the Middle East who oppress their people that when you stand up and confront those regimes and call them the evil they are the people understand and respect your honesty, agree with you, and support you.
There's a lot more - it's worth your time to read it.

Me, I'm making a copy of that speech. When my great-grandchildren ask about how we finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel, I'll pull out that copy, and tell them of the day I finally started to take hope.

Because someone finally got it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Death for the Crime of Being Gay

I found this video on Gay Patriot. Don't be afraid to see it - it will bring tears to your eyes, but it isn't gory.

Why is the Democratic Party so beloved by homosexuals, when they support Islamic dominance in the Mideast region. Israel is the ONLY country in the region where gays have full rights.

More to the Gym Story

You know, when the story first broke about the Muslim who was rudely interrupted at prayer, then told by the gym's staff
The manager told me, 'You have to respect her (the patron), but she does not have to respect your God,' " said Wardeh Sultan of Dearborn.
- something about it just didn't ring true to me. I was sure that the staff would have bent over backwards to treat Ms. Sultan with respect, particularly in Detroit, where so many Muslims live. I didn't understand why the staff member would have said "you have to respect her" - the other member.

Now I understand. In Front Page Magazine's story by Janet Levy: (Oy! Her supposed religious/ethnic background will allow the story to be ignored)
According to Jodi Berry, executive director of Fitness USA, Wardeh Sultan was praying in front of another member’s locker when the member wanted access to her belongings inside the locker. The inconvenienced patron tried to interrupt Ms. Sultan, but she remained prostrate in front of the locker and an altercation ensued. A manager was called into the locker room to intervene.

Now it makes sense. The director wasn't making a gratuitous snide comment, but simply stating reasonable expectations about Ms. Sultan's need to respect her fellow gym users' need to have access to their lockers - even if it interrupted her prayers. In other words, she needed to act as though the world didn't have to stop 5 times a day to accommodate her.

This is an example of an unreasonable accommodation. Western society isn't set up for separate prayer rooms in businesses. Nor should businesses and government offices and buildings have to provide them. They never provided a place for me to quietly say the rosary.

Ms. Sultan and her fellow Muslims need to understand. We don't stop for them to say their prayers. We never did. We don't HAVE to now. If a business or person wants to wait, that's fine. But, unlike the countries that have imposed mandatory observance, we don't have to.

Don't like it?

Move to a Muslim country.

Think I'm being unfair? Or rude? Let me explain what happens in those countries.
Residents of a southern Somalia town who do not pray five times a day will be beheaded, an official said Wednesday, adding the edict will be implemented in three days.

Shops, tea houses and other public places in Bulo Burto, about 124 miles northeast of the capital, Mogadishu, should be closed during prayer time and no one should be on the streets, said Sheik Hussein Barre Rage, the chairman of the town's Islamic court. His court is part of a network backed by armed militiamen that has taken control of much of southern Somalia in recent months, bringing a strict interpretation of Islam that is alien to many Somalis.

Those who do not follow the prayer edict after three days have elapsed, "will definitely be beheaded according to Islamic law," Rage told The Associated Press by phone. "As Muslims we should practice Islam fully, not in part, and that is what our religion enjoins us to do."
Granted, this is extreme, but most Muslim countries have rules about not working during prayer time - even for non-Muslims. It's not optional.

It's the law.

Some Christmas Links

I was visiting Yippee-Ki-Yay! and found that he has posted some musical links from YouTube. I decided to check it out, and also found the following:

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Funny, and Yet Not Funny

I found this video about the Flying Imans over at Michelle Malkin's blog. You do have that blog bookmarked, don't you? Frankly, I'm getting hooked on the Hot Air videos she posts.

It's basically 8 Rules for Flying (similar to the Chris Rock How Not to Get Your A$$ Kicked).

Queen Bee Syndrome

Michelle Malkin has a link to the Arianna Huffington take-down of Hillary Clinton.

Michelle asks:
So, what's Arianna's beef with Hillary?
Well, I'm gonna tell you - it [was] the Queen Bee Syndrome.

Joan Crawford, a veritable living example of the syndrome, starred in the movie. She played a woman who had to be the center of attention, even if it meant destroying her own family.

Queen Bees are the ultimate narcissists. The only thing that matters to them is themselves.

Sound like any two women we know?

Turn in a Business that Hires Aliens

This is neat! Their site allows you to direct your dollars to businesses that DON'T hire aliens. And, incidentally, to turn in those rascals that do.

The Difference Between Us and Them

Offer your Salah (Prayer) neither in too loud a voice nor in too low a voice but seek a middle course. Qur'an 17: 110.
Well, I guess the imans didn't read that part.

From Dean's World, the money quote - Christians:
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Any questions?

As part of OUR tradition, we find loud prayers strange - and suspicious. We don't view it as evidence of holiness, quite the contrary. This is a case where the imans and other Muslims must, themselves, practice cultural sensitivity.

As I said before, I'm willing to make accommodations for Islam. I can certainly understand that Muslims may not want to offer prayers in public. I understand that there are rules about washing before prayers. Therefore, a chapel of some kind may be reasonable.

But, it must not be for their exclusive use. Nor will I agree that non-Muslims can't observe. And, it absolutely must be OUTSIDE of the security screening. Period.

What about accommodating prayer in workplaces or schools? Only if they make up the time. Otherwise, it becomes a special privilege that other religions do not have. Perhaps a shorter lunch hour. Or coming in earlier.

Are schools and businesses obligated to provide the washing facilities? No. As I understand it, in the absence of water (as does happen in the desert), Muslims have alternative ways to fulfill the proscription.

The practices of Islam may be coming to a sticking point. Islam isn't amenable to change, but change they must, if they are to function in a modern society. Otherwise, they risk becoming a fringe group, as, for example, the Amish, or the Hare Krishna. Neither group fits seemlessly into American society.

A Quiet Place for Prayer

I started to write that I'm against this:
Airport officials said Friday they will consider setting aside a private area for prayer and meditation at the request of imams concerned about the removal of six Muslim clerics from a US Airways flight last week.

Steve Wareham, director of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, said other airports have "meditation rooms" used for prayers or by passengers who simply need quiet time.

A group of Somali clerics met with airport officials Friday and said they would attract less attention if they had a private area for prayer. Devout Muslims pray five times daily, facing the holy city of Mecca.

"When we pray, we don't want a problem. We don't want what happened last week," said Abdulrehman Hersi, an imam at Darul-Quba mosque in Minneapolis, referring to six clerics who were barred from a US Airways flight in Minneapolis after drawing the concern of some passengers.

Airports in Nashville, Tenn.; Columbus, Ohio; and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., all advertise meditation rooms. Fort Lauderdale's is billed as "For travelers seeking a quiet time." All note they are nonsectarian.
However, after checking with the Minneapolis airport site, I find that, unlike most other airports, they don't have a chapel center. I have no problem with a room that ANY person can use for prayers or meditation. It should NOT be for exclusive use, however. If travelers want that, they'll have to reserve one of the Meeter/Greeter Centers.

One caveat - I want the center to be OUTSIDE of the security checkpoints. No sense making it TOO easy for a potential terrorist. I can easily see the meeting room being used as a staging area for terrorist preparations, particularly with airports across the country giving access to questionable people. It should be possible to install cameras, as well.

Accommodate - yes. Totally trust - NO!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Really Cute and Funny

You HAVE to see what Francis Porretto, of Eternity Road, calls "my favorite chick with big knockers".

Guard the Borders Blogburst

Today's Blogburst is also available as a Podcast.

Illegals Deadlier Than War On Terror

by American Daughter

This past Thanksgiving evening, a United States Marine who was home from Iraq was driving with his date, when another car smashed into theirs and killed them both. The other driver, who was not even injured, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

On the early broadcast news in Washington, DC this morning (Thursday, November 30th), some stations carried the report of this incident, and described the drunk driver as an “illegal immigrant.” By the time the 7 AM news came on, that version of the story had been quashed.

The main-stream media versions of the story do not mention the illegal status of the accused driver:
Driver Accused Of DUI In Crash That Killed Marine Home For Thanksgiving

COLUMBIA, Md. - A local Marine was killed Thanksgiving night in a crash caused by an alleged drunk driver. Brian Matthews, 21, of Columbia, Md., was driving with a date, 24-year-old Jennifer Bower of Montgomery Village, in his car on Thanksgiving night.

A driver hit them in Columbia, killing them both.

Matthews had served in Iraq and was home for Thanksgiving.

Matthews’ mother says her son had just signed up to be an organ donor and his organs helped save six other people.

Eduardo Soriano, 25, the driver of the other vehicle, was charged with driving under the influence.
This additional information comes from a news channel in Baltimore:
Matthews had served in Ramadi, Iraq, as part of the Fox Company 2nd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment.

One of his family members said he was the kind of person who would do whatever he could to help others.

Matthews, who recently trained in the Pacific Ocean, had just celebrated Thanksgiving with his family when he and Bower went out on a date….

Police said the driver of the other car, 25-year-old Eduardo Soriano, failed to stop at a traffic signal and hit Matthews’ car.

Soriano wasn’t injured but was charged with driving under the influence. Court documents showed he had a blood-alcohol level of .32. The legal limit is .08.

Soriano is also charged with two counts of manslaughter while intoxicated and homicide by motor vehicle.

Matthews graduated from Howard High School in 2003. He was an Eagle Scout.
According to statistics compiled by US Congressman Steve King (R-5th CD Iowa),
  • 13 Americans are killed each day by uninsured drunk driving illegals

  • 12 U.S. citizens die a violent death at the hands of murderous illegal aliens each day in crimes

Do the math.
[ (12 + 13) x 365 = 9125 ]

That’s more than nine thousand people killed every year in the United States by illegal aliens.

By contrast, consider the death toll for US servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning of the war on terror, as reported last week by the Department of Defense:
  • Total U.S. troop deaths in Iraq as of last week were reported at 2,863.

  • Total U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan during the five years of the Afghan campaign are currently at 289.

Again, do the math.
[ (2863 + 289) divided by five years of war = 630 ]

So illegal aliens in the United States are more than fourteen times as lethal (14.48 actually) as a full scale armed conflict.

Quod erat demonstrando.

Our mainstream media outlets are strangely silent about this. Do we hear them constantly beating a drum about THIS civil war? No. Their selective reporting amounts to blatant prevarication.

This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It was started by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we're going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration facing our country, join our Blogburst! Just send an email with your blog name and url to admin at guardtheborders dot com.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Equal Opportunity Flashing?

The ever-popular Fausta's Blog brings up a good comparison.

She talks about a blatant pervert of a few year's ago, who exposed himself to passers-by.
Nobody, and I mean nobody, who witnessed Wino's exhibitionism felt anything other than disgust. Intense, visceral disgust.

Fast-forward twenty-some years and now we have women pervs flashing from the front pages of the tabloids, from the TV, and talked about (in a wealth of details) in talk radio.

The only difference is that now the disgust is not universal.
Why isn't this increasingly common practice being treated with the contempt it diserves? I'm very angry.

Actresses worked hard to improve the public standing of their profession. Through their efforts, they raised public perception from treating them as whores, to where decent women were able to mingle in society as equals. They did this by managing their public appearances, and keeping the raunchier parts out of the press.

In a little over a generation, these modern sluts have lowered expectations to where the actress who won't disrobe for a film is the odd one. Think of it - a job where your employer can coerce you into taking off your clothes and simulating sex with someone - for money.

What's next - mandatory full-on sex on camera?

This latest trend of "accidentally" exposing oneself for the photographers is part of that - actresses and entertainers have to flash skin, reveal intimate information, or act outrageously to get some camera time. Someone who relies on being competent at her job doesn't stand a chance.

What's Next - Child Neglect for Parents Who Won't Vaccinate?

Boy, sometimes I really think there are conservatives who have gove over the edge in seeing the heavy hand of Big Brother in every government action.

And then something like this happens.
New Hampshire announced plans Wednesday to become the first state to offer the new cervical-cancer vaccine free to all girls. Beginning in January, the vaccine against the human papilloma virus, or HPV, will be provided to girls ages 11 through 18 as part of a state program that offers various immunizations to children at no cost.

The program is paid for by the federal government and insurance companies.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine in June for girls as young as 9. It prevents infection from some strains of HPV, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer and genital warts. Cervical cancer is the No. 2 cancer killer in women.
I REALLY don't like this. It strikes me as another Nanny State action, the kind that overrules the legal parents of a minor, pooh-poohing any objections, and forcing medical services on the family - but, it's FOR THE CHILDREN!

Yeah, I know it's voluntary now, but, eventually, the pressure will grow to force immunization on everyone.

I also have a quibble with the statistic on cervical cancer being the # 2 cancer killer in women. According to the 2002 cancer report, uterine cancer is 4th, after lung & bronchus, breast, & colon and rectal. And that uterine cancer is both cervical and other uterine cancers.

Women are about twice as likely to die of pancreatic cancer - about 6% of all cancers. But when have you heard the massive outcry to increase research for that type of cancer? You haven't.

Check out the stats yourself.

Frankly, I don't understand the hysteria this whole issue causes. Why go gonzo about the admittedly rare possibility of getting HPV, let alone having it develop into cancer?

I don't believe that the general public understands that one reason the cervical cancer stats have APPARENTLY been rising is that, instead of categorizing only true, late-stage cancers as part of those stats (the situation before the Pap test), now they call ALL the abnormal results "cancer", even those that the doctors themselves consider pre-cancerous, or only potentially, eventually cancerous. A lot of women have been led to surgery to eliminate those abnormal results, with the outcome that they are dropped into the cancer stats hopper.

Friday, December 01, 2006

HPV Vaccinations

I just checked out a link to an article about the new push to vaccinate all pre-adolescent girls against HPV, which has been linked to some cervical cancers.

I'm not on-board with giving young girls this vaccine, for several reasons:

1) It hasn't been studied long enough. Even its promoters acknowledge that long-term effects are still unknown. Is it possible that it will have side-effects affecting fertility, development, or other bodily or mental changes? It does have potential, but why push so hard? We need to take this slow, rather than find ourselves with a bigger problem in the future.

2) Vaccinating all girls strikes me as overkill. Not every woman will be exposed to HPV. Of those, not every women will develop cervical cancer. So, why are we treating this like polio, where even a passer-by could potentially infect you? HPV is not spread that casually.

As I understand it, HPV causes most of its problems when other infections are present. The severity and duration of the warts increases when multiple infections are there - as would be the case with promiscious partners. HIV-infected gay men have shown the cancerous changes associated with HPV infection, for example.

3) HPV vaccinations DON'T PREVENT CANCER - they only work against about 70% of the HPV types.

But backers are promoting it as a total solution. I'll bet that most people don't know it isn't fool-proof.

4) Backers of the vaccine point out that abstinent women can be infected by a promiscious partner.

That's true. So, why haven't we bit the bullet, and promoted, instead, an STD check before sexual activity? Think about it - not, run out and buy a condom, or, make sure you're wearing the patch, but, don't get naked before a total STD check - HIV, HPV, hepatitis, etc.

Will that stop all STDs? No. But neither will the vaccine.

Monthly Update

More or less - I didn't check to see the exact date. The Christmas Chaos is over, and both husband and I are back to school (him to fu...