Friday Digest


Nov. 6, 2009

The Foundation

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” –Samuel Adams

Government & Politics

Tuesday’s Elections Bring Hope, Change

There is a groundswell of conservative activism rising up across our great nation, as citizens are awakening to this ominous threat of constitutional adulteration and tyranny. Citizens are speaking out at public forums, attending grassroots “Tea Parties,” making a stand for Liberty.

The first real political results of that uprising were manifest in the elections of Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie to the executive branches of the states of Virginia and New Jersey, respectively. Each of these Republicans vanquished a Democrat opponent for whom Barack Obama had campaigned extensively, and both victories came in states that went for Obama in 2008. McDonnell’s 18-point victory in Virginia represented a 25-point turnabout from Obama’s 7-point margin a year ago, though Clintonista Paul Begala claimed that Creigh Deeds lost because he didn’t campaign closer to Obama. If you say so, Paul. As for Corzine, he lost in a deep-blue state despite positioning himself as Obama’s main man, and despite spending nearly $30 million of his own fortune to savage Chris Christie.

Make no mistake, however. These victories are as much a rejection of Obama’s arrogance and ineptitude by people who aren’t “conservative” as they are a call for the restoration of constitutional authority. But it’s a place to start.

Democrats wasted no time in downplaying the results of these two elections, saying even last week that whatever happened was not a reflection on Obama or his agenda. “We don’t look at either of these gubernatorial races or the congressional race as something that portends a lot for our legislative efforts going forward or political prospects in 2010,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs argued Tuesday. Obama sure spent a lot of time campaigning for Corzine and Deeds to turn around and say that the results didn’t matter.

Of course, on the eve of the same New Jersey and Virginia elections in 2005, then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel said, “Whatever the outcome of those elections, it will have an impact on people’s interpretations of the upcoming election.” Democrats love to have it both ways.

The one bittersweet defeat for conservatives Tuesday was the loss in New York’s 23rd Congressional District, which pitted Doug Hoffman against Democrat Bill Owens. The silver lining is that Hoffman, who ran as the Conservative Party candidate, almost won despite misguided Republican “leadership” and Democrats spending over $2 million against him, plus fighting a virtual primary battle with Leftist Republican Dede Scozzafava (the title “RINO” would be a major step up for her) who withdrew and endorsed the Democrat. Owens took 48 percent to Hoffman’s 46 percent, while Scozzafava, whose name was sadly still on the ballot, received 6 percent.

In fact, 49 House Democrats will be defending seats in districts John McCain won in 2008. They are now sweating 2010 substantially more. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) claimed, “From our perspective, we won last night.” Indeed, Democrats now have one more seat in the House, but it’s telling that Owens distanced himself from government-run health care. Apparently, he knew embracing it would cost him the election. Still, he is a Democrat, so his position is subject to change without prior notice.

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News From the Swamp: House Health Care Vote

Saturday evening, when most of the country will be otherwise distracted, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is prepared to call a vote on the now 2,000-page House version of the health care bill. Naturally, Pelosi has also broken her promise to post the bill online 72 hours prior to voting.

With the sting of Tuesday’s gubernatorial defeats still fresh, the bill’s pouting bully-leftist authors have stopped pretending that there is any bipartisan support. As The Wall Street Journal so eloquently put it, Democrats have “moved into the realm of pure power politics as they race against the unpopularity of their own agenda.” Five Republicans introduced an amendment that would automatically enroll members of Congress in the public option, but it’s not likely Democrats will take the bait.

It’s all about counting votes now, and it could be a squeaker for Pelosi. It is likely that not a single Republican will lend support, and not a few Democrats have announced their opposition – and for good reason.

The 10-year trillion-dollar price tag, which is more than Barack Obama “wants” to spend, is still a low-ball estimate, and independent analysts believe the cost could be double what the government currently predicts. Pelosi’s bill would essentially begin the slow but sure process of putting the entire country on Medicaid. For $425 billion, it would expand “free” coverage to everyone at or below 150 percent of the poverty level, which is $22,050 for a family of four. The government would also subsidize coverage for people making between 150 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level, covering almost three-fourths of the cost for a family of four earning up to $78,000 per year.

Democrats plan to pay for this entitlement scheme with typical eat-the-rich liberal tax hikes that effectively drive the top federal income tax rate as high as 45 percent. Corporations will also get slammed with Euro-style tax rates and fees that will drive companies and jobs out of the country.

According to a press release from Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), “What is even more alarming is that a monthly abortion premium will be charged of all enrollees in the government-run plan. It’s right there on line 16, page 96, section 213, under ‘Insurance Rating Rules.’ The premium will be paid into a U.S. Treasury account – and these federal funds will be used to pay for the abortion services.”

The bureaucracy created by the Pelosi bill is also staggering. The House Republican Conference counted 111 new agencies, boards and committees that will be created by this legislation. And you thought there was already too much bureaucracy in your health care. Now we will have grant programs, review boards for specific types of care, review boards for gender and ethnic-specific groups, and technological implementation boards that would intimidate the most die-hard Soviet apparatchik.

The Pelosi bill seeks to create what would be the most expensive bureaucratic boondoggle in American history. It puts state-centralized European health care plans to shame, and it eclipses any previous liberal attempt to tear freedom of choice and responsibility away from the American people. There’s no mincing words here. Should this bill pass, the bells will ring loudly for the “irate, tireless minority” to set a brushfire that will consume the nation.

This Week’s ‘Braying Jenny’ Award

“I view my work in politics and government as an extension of my role as a mom.” –Nanny Pelosi in a rare moment of honesty

Also, Pelosi views tax increases as just putting taxes back at their natural level. See the incriminating video.

From the ‘Non Compos Mentis’ File

Where is the constitutional authority for a federal mandate that individuals must buy health insurance?

Roland Burris, the temporary Democrat senator from Illinois, says that’s an easy one: “Well, that’s under certainly the laws of the – protect the health, welfare of the country. That’s under the Constitution. We’re not even dealing with any constitutionality here. Should we move in that direction? What does the Constitution say? To provide for the health, welfare and the defense of the country.”

Obviously, he’s working from the Leftist Revised Version of the Constitution. His communications director later attempted to clarify, saying that Burris’s claim “indicates his belief that the term ‘general welfare’ can be interpreted to include the health and well-being of American citizens, and health care in general.” He can believe whatever he wants, but that doesn’t make it so.

New & Notable Legislation

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the cap-n-tax bill Thursday as Republicans boycotted the vote until the Environmental Protection Agency can fully review the legislation. The boycott prevented Democrats from addressing scores of amendments because, according to Senate rules, at least two Republicans must be present to change a bill in committee. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) was the lone “no” vote. Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) co-authored the bill, which is a major plank of Barack Obama’s agenda to regulate and spend our economy into permanent depression. Democrats are eager to accomplish something before the meaningless climate summit in Copenhagen in December.

The Senate voted 98-0 Wednesday to extend the February “stimulus” package tax credit for first-time homebuyers. About 1.4 million tax credits of $8,000 have been available for those buying their first home between January and August; the program was set to expire this month. The National Association of Realtors claims that 350,000 of the lucky grantees would not have bought homes without the credit. Now, $6,500 will be doled out to “qualified” buyers – even some who already own homes – between now and April 30, 2010.

Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) questioned the credit’s efficiency, saying, “For the vast majority of cases, the homebuyer tax credit amounted to a free gift since it did not affect their decision to purchase a home. And for the small minority of buyers whose decision was directly caused by the credit, this raises the question of whether we are subsidizing buyers who may not have been able to afford buying a home in the first place.” Bond – drum roll, please – voted for the bill anyway. ‘Atta boy, Kit! Show 'em that GOP spine.

From the Left: Culture of Corruption

The House Ethics Committee likes to keep its investigations away from the prying eyes of the media, particularly when Democrats are being investigated in a Democrat-controlled Congress. But an enterprising computer expert made sure that information on the latest investigations were made public recently, so we now have a window into what’s going on in the House’s “battle” against corruption.

Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters of California is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee on charges of influence peddling. She is alleged to have arranged to put regulators and bank officials of OneUnited Bank together last year to work out a deal to bail out the bank. Her husband is a stockholder and former board member of OneUnited. The big question now is whether she or her husband financially benefited from the deal. Waters, never one to shy away from playing the race card, maintains that she was merely helping a minority-owned bank and its minority customers.

Democrat Rep. Laura Richardson, also of California, is being investigated for receiving preferential treatment from a lender in the extreme – she defaulted on home loans six times. Most banks won’t touch most people with a 10-foot pole if they default even once. Richardson has also failed to file federal financial disclosure forms properly. Maybe the forms are in the same drawer as the mortgage bills.

Keep in mind that these are just the most recent corruption cases being ignored by the Leftmedia. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) is still facing a heap of trouble for ducking income taxes. And there is an inquiry into the dealings of Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) along with a growing list of Appropriations Committee colleagues who may have steered money to a lobbying firm in exchange for campaign funds.

When the House investigates its own members, particularly when they’re all from the same political party, it’s hard to believe that anything will come of it. The best way to ensure that justice is served is to vote the corrupt party out of office.

National Security

At Least 13 Killed in Fort Hood Attack

U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, M.D., opened fire on his fellow soldiers Thursday at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 and wounding 30. Given the severity of some of the injuries, the number of dead could, sadly, rise. Hasan stopped only when he was shot by a female civilian police officer, who was also wounded in the firefight. Both he and the officer have been hospitalized and are reportedly in stable condition.

Hasan, a lifelong Muslim, is a psychiatrist who joined the Army after high school, going to college and medical school while serving. According to The Wall Street Journal, “His professional specialties include post-traumatic stress disorder, combat stress and other emotional issues common to the troops implicated in earlier incidents of military fratricide.”

Allegedly, Hasan was deeply upset about his impending first tour in Iraq and even tried to get out of it. However, in a recent online post, Hassan compared a suicide bomber to a soldier who jumps on a grenade to save his comrades. Perhaps he thought he was saving Muslim lives by killing U.S. soldiers. Hasan also reportedly made similar “outlandish” comments to his colleagues. The Leftmedia continue to report that there was no sign that this was a “terrorist act” – as if he had to have an al-Qa'ida badge for that to be the case. Early indicators certainly point to the Religion of Peace™ as the motivator. Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, the base commander at Fort Hood, said that witnesses heard Hasan shout “Allahu Akbar!” before opening fire.

Above all else, please keep the wounded soldiers and the families of all involved in your prayers.

Immigration Front: Around the Horn

The Department of Homeland Security, now under the control of Janet Napolitano, has issued revised 287(g) agreements between DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division and state and local law enforcement. Under the new guidelines, ICE must pre-approve any information released regarding the efforts of local police to enforce federal immigration law. In essence, it’s a gag order, which DHS says is to protect the privacy of illegal aliens. “The Privacy Act [of 1974] and the privacy policy provide protections for U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents and, in the case of the privacy policy, illegal aliens,” said Kelly Nantel, press secretary for ICE. The administration says local law enforcement should focus on illegals arrested for crimes, though not for simply being in the U.S. illegally. We thought that was a crime, too.

In other news, the Supreme Court has asked the Obama administration to submit a brief outlining the administration’s views in a case considering an Arizona law – signed by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano – that penalizes companies for hiring illegal aliens. The question is whether state legislatures or municipal governments can place greater restrictions on business than federal law can. Carter Phillips, representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is challenging the Arizona law, says that “in the first three months of 2009 alone, over 1,000 immigration-related bills and resolutions were introduced, in all 50 states” and “at least 150 of these bills related specifically to employment.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the Arizona law, saying it “reflects rising frustration with the United States Congress’ failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform.” The justices have yet to decide whether to hear the case.

Daytime TV Continues in Honduras

Who knows what will happen in the sad soap opera playing out between ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, the Honduran congress, and the voters in Honduras’s upcoming presidential election? Patriot readers may recall the sordid details of this drama: Zelaya, facing the end of a term-limited stint as president, attempted the usual maneuver of scoundrels by seeking to re-write the Honduran Constitution (see also Chavez, Hugo; Putin, Vladimir; Bloomberg, Michael). The Honduran Supreme Court said, “No tan rápido, amigo,” declaring such an effort illegal. After Zelaya’s peace-loving supporters engaged in the usual street violence and noisy protests, the Honduran military arrested Zelaya and expelled him from the country.

The Obama State Department, United Nations and countless other abusers of freedom and the Rule of Law came to Zelaya’s defense, taking it upon themselves to tell Honduras how to rule itself. Never mind that Honduras’s election is still on track to choose Zelaya’s successor, as required by law. Never mind that Zelaya was fomenting violence against his own country by spurring on the rioters. Never mind the numerous arrest warrants issued for Zelaya and his supporters, including at least three murder warrants. After months of wrangling, the State Department managed to strong-arm Honduras into accepting a plan that would allow Zelaya to return to the country, where he will presumably resume his efforts to stay in power, laws and courts be darned. While the Honduran courts and congress may stand firm for the Rule of Law and prevent Zelaya from attaining his goal, the whole affair has been a large and wholly avoidable international black eye for the United States.

Our Friends, the Iranians

“Thousands of Iranians took to the streets Wednesday to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran,” reports The Washington Post. The demonstrators chanted the usual “Death to America!” outside the former U.S. Embassy, though counter protesters angry over the recent election debacle shouted “Death to the dictator!”

Rather than stand up for the democratic protesters, Barack Obama issued a statement saying that Iran must “decide whether it wants to focus on the past” or the future and saying that the U.S. “seeks a relationship with” Iran. (Does he think this is a dating service, or foreign policy?) He proceeded to list the administration’s attempts at appeasement.

Meanwhile, the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9 will be celebrated in Germany without the U.S. president. After John F. Kennedy declared, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” and Ronald Reagan thundered, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” Barack Obama can’t squeeze in a trip to Berlin between tee times to commemorate this victory for liberty when, thanks to Reagan, the “evil empire” was thrown on the ash heap of history. Could it be that he’s sulking because the Germans didn’t let him make his brilliant campaign speech to the German masses at the Brandenburg Gate, where Presidents Kennedy and Reagan made theirs?

Business & Economy

Fun With Numbers, Obama Style

The Department of Labor released its jobs numbers this morning and the news is not good: 10.2 percent unemployment, up 0.4 percent from last month. For some reason, we’re reminded of Vice President Joe Biden’s Sept. 24 statement: “In my wildest dreams, I never thought [the stimulus] would work this well.”

Of course, Barack Obama has promised to “save or create” 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year, so he had better start showing some progress. The White House reports that so far this year, 640,000 jobs were “saved or created,” but the Associated Press, of all places, didn’t buy it. The normally reliable Obama news organ actually reviewed the report and found it to be a little bit off. “An Associated Press review of the latest stimulus reports – which the White House promised would undergo extensive reviews to ensure accuracy – found that more than two-thirds of 14,506 jobs credited to the recovery act under spending by just one federal office were overstated because they counted pay increases for existing workers as jobs saved,” the AP reports. “The inflated job count is at least partly the product of the administration instructing local community agencies that received money to count the raises as jobs saved.”

The AP says that White House claims were overstated by more than 9,300 jobs just counting the $323 million in “stimulus” cash passed out by the Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. Furthermore, 250 other community agencies also reported “saved” jobs that in reality were pay raises, training expenses, extended work hours or equipment purchases. HHS spokesman Luis Rosero defended the fuzzy math, saying, “If I give you a raise, it is going to save a portion of your job.”

Speaking of fuzzy math, Southwest Georgia Community Action in Moultrie, Georgia, which accepts Head Start money, claimed all its existing employees’ jobs were saved. Strangely, though, 935 jobs were saved in an agency that employs only 508, though they say they were only following administration guidelines. Coming from the community organizer in the White House this is no surprise – it’s the same way they count Democrat votes in Chicago.

Government Motors

One thing the Obama administration has done very well since its inception is to provide object lessons in market economics. This week’s lesson arrives courtesy of the General Accounting Office, whose report on what used to be General Motors and Chrysler – now collectively known as “Government Motors” – states that the “Treasury is unlikely to recover the entirety of its investment in Chrysler or GM.” We’re shocked – shocked.

This revelation lands on the heels of $80 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program money having been pumped hand-over-fist into the two failing companies. Result: Chrysler’s sales have tanked 30 percent from last year’s levels, while GM has eked out a meager 4.7 percent gain, but even this was only after offering deep discounts to lure sales.

Meanwhile, competitor Ford – which, unlike GM or Chrysler, accepted no bailout money and still avoided Chapter 11 bankruptcy – has increased its market share in 12 of the past 13 months, boosting its net earnings to almost $1 billion in the third quarter alone. Although not out of the financial woods yet, Ford is much farther down the road to recovery than its government-sponsored counterparts and expects to be “solidly profitable” by 2011.

Borrowing an analogy from Dickens, we don’t see the outcome in this “Tale of Two Companies” as a fluke. GM and Chrysler are both in serious trouble, with no end in sight. Having accepted government bailout money – money originally set aside to bail out financial institutions, not automakers – the companies looked on in shell-shocked amazement as the Obama administration installed new CEOs and dictated terms of operation to both. The outcome of this government meddling was swift and predictable, just as the outcome of Ford’s reliance on sound business practices and conservative corporate positioning was, as well.

Still, the most important issue in Obama’s scheming must not be overlooked amid the blur of greenbacks being thrown away. Namely, we would like to know specifically which enumerated power in the U.S. Constitution permits the federal government to exercise such intervention in the first place. The statist’s answer – that the so-called “Commerce Clause” (Article I, Section 8) permits Congress to do pretty much anything it wants – is patently false, as any plain-language reading of the clause demonstrates.

Worse, in the wake of FDR’s court-packing threat, the Supreme Court has applied only the most tortuous interpretation of this clause to circumvent any attempt at federalism. Rest assured, however, that no such federal authority truly exists in that text, as originally written and understood. Rather than asking how the government could have better implemented this or that bailout program, then, a better question would be, “Is the government constitutionally authorized to enact such a program?” Here in our humble shop, that answer is obvious.

An Interview with Bernard Madoff

Convicted swindler Bernard Madoff recently granted an interview with SEC Inspector General David Kotz, explaining how he was able to conceal for so long his multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme. “It never entered the SEC’s mind that it was a Ponzi scheme,” Madoff said, because of “the reputation I had.” However, Paul Atkins, a former SEC Commissioner, said, “With one phone call they could have brought the whole thing down.” Too bad it’s not that easy with a certain federal government Ponzi scheme.

Madoff added, “I worried [all the] time. I wish they caught me six years ago, eight years ago.” With that comment, it occurred to us that Madoff’s lament is similar to our lament about the current president: We wish they had caught him six or eight years ago.

Culture & Policy

Around the Nation: Same-Sex Marriage Defeated in Maine

On Tuesday, Maine voters considered a state law that would have allowed same-sex couples to marry. The law was passed by the state legislature last spring, but it was tabled after conservatives launched a successful petition drive. Voters rejected the law, with 53 percent of the vote in favor of preserving traditional marriage. It was the first time voters had so repudiated the legislature. When a similar vote occurred in California last year, it was in response to a court ruling. Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Iowa currently allow same-sex marriage, though none by popular vote. Thirty states now have constitutional amendments preserving traditional marriage.

Naturally, the Leftmedia lamented Tuesday’s defeat for the homosexual agenda. “Gay marriage has now lost in every single state – 31 in all – in which it has been put to a popular vote,” the Associated Press complained. But here’s the howler: “Gay-rights activists had hoped to buck that trend in Maine – known for its moderate, independent-minded electorate [emphasis added] – and mounted an energetic, well-financed campaign.” So now if you’re “moderate and independent-minded” you should support same-sex marriage. That’s like painting the centerline on the left side of the road.

Change of Heart Leads to Change of Mind

Last month, Abby Johnson left her job in Bryan, Texas, and now her former employer is seeking a temporary restraining order against her. You might wonder then: what heinous threat is Johnson posing?

Johnson resigned as director of the local Planned Parenthood office after watching an ultrasound of an abortion procedure and thinking, “I can’t do this anymore.” She realized that what she was watching wasn’t a “choice” but a child. And sometimes peace of mind and a clear conscience is worth far more than a paycheck. She now volunteers at the Coalition for Life office conveniently located down the street from her former employer.

Planned Parenthood is seeking the court order against Johnson and the Coalition for Life because the “disclosure of certain information” would “irreparably harm” Planned Parenthood. However, the requested restraining order does not prohibit Johnson or the Coalition for Life from the premises of Planned Parenthood; it only covers disclosure of information.

On the other hand, Johnson contends that Planned Parenthood was pushing to have more abortions done at the office – as opposed to other methods of planning parenthood or pregnancy prevention – because, as Johnson points out, for Planned Parenthood, “the money was in abortion.”

Achieving Youth by Exploiting It

In today’s society that so highly values a youthful appearance for women, it’s no surprise that cosmetics that promote their anti-aging qualities are big sellers. But one cosmetic maker is lending a new meaning to the term “baby-faced” and arousing controversy because of it.

The California-based cosmetic maker Neocutis trademarked an ingredient called Processed Skin Cell Proteins, or PSP. The secret behind PSP is the use of proteins derived from skin cells from a 14-week-old aborted male baby plus components from a postage-stamp sized skin sample from the same baby from Switzerland. This part of the formula for several Neocutis products is apparently designed to do everything from repairing burned and scarred skin to reversing the effects of aging.

While Neocutis defends their usage of fetal cells by comparing it to the development of polio vaccine from fetal kidney cells, critics charge that other cosmetic companies use proteins from postnatal placentas to create similar products, making fetal cell use unnecessary.

Regardless of the willingness of the donor’s parents to allow the usage of the baby for research purposes, the exploitation of the unborn for such a trivial purpose reflects poorly on the priorities of our society and culture.

Village Academic Curriculum: No Parental Consent

Parents expect to hear from their children’s school about grades, school events, etc. When Naomi Troy’s daughter’s school called, though, the message was quite different: Six-year-old Nikiyah Torres-Pierre had been given the swine flu vaccine without parental permission – and had suffered a possible allergic reaction that landed her in the hospital. Because little Nikiyah has epilepsy, Troy was awaiting her doctor’s advice before consenting to the school’s vaccination program. But such details proved too much for officials at Public School 335 in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights.

A teacher mistakenly sent Nikiyah to the nurse, who didn’t bother to confirm her identity or if she had parental consent before vaccinating her. Then, the nurse tried to cover her tracks by attempting to have Troy sign her consent after the fact.

Ironically, as tensions rise over the approximately 114 children who have died from H1N1 since April, little attention is given to the nearly 700,000 babies killed by legal abortion during this same period – more than 3,300 every day.

Brian Clowes of Human Life International notes, “Ignoring the by-far-largest killer of children in favor of the latest fashionable panic goes beyond mere irony; it speaks of a deep societal sickness that we can hardly comprehend because it is so pervasive.” We couldn’t agree more.

Video of the Week

More sycophantic “education” in public schools – 11 Uncovered Videos Show School Children Performing Praises to Obama.

Faith and Family: Honor Killings

Rifqa Bary, the 17-year-old Muslim who fled her family after converting to Christianity, has now been returned to Ohio. Bary was being harbored by a Christian family in Florida because she feared her parents were going to kill her for becoming an Islamic apostate.

Bary’s parents agree that Rifqa was victimized, but not by them. They contend that Rifqa was brainwashed and lured to Florida by Christians using the networking site Facebook.

But according to Rifqa, she converted to Christianity of her own volition and that her father is bound by Shariah Law to kill her in order to preserve the honor of both Islam and his family.

In her interview by police, Rifqa said that her father regularly beat her, once for speaking too loudly. She also claimed to have heard several other stories in which fathers killed their daughters for disobeying Islamic law; one shipped his daughter back to his native country, where, as Rifqa said, “they could do whatever they wanted” to her.

Rifqa may have good reason to be frightened. Several such “honor killings” have taken place even here in the U.S., including the Muslim man who beheaded his wife in Buffalo and the wife in Staten Island who tried to slit her husband’s throat because he “drank alcohol and ate pork.” Just a week ago, Noor Almaleki was killed when her Iraqi father, angered that his daughter was becoming too “Westernized,” ran her over with his vehicle, then fled the country. Almaleki has since been extradited from England.

To Keep and Bear Arms

According to Houston police, August Peters was simply exiting his vehicle in late July when he was approached by an 18-year-old carjacker. Fortunately, the 74-year-old victim was not unprepared. The Houston Chronicle reports that after the alleged carjacker put a knife to Peters’ throat and demanded, “Give me your car or I’ll kill you,” Peters then reached for a pistol he kept in his car and began firing. After being hit at least once, the suspect made a run for it through a nearby home. However, it wasn’t long before police caught up to the criminal, who apparently had a tough time running in his baggy pants, which finally fell off in the kitchen as he attempted to run through the back door. Talk about being caught with your pants down.

And Last…

If you’re a fan of sci-fi, ABC’s “V,” which premiered Tuesday, may be right up your alley. And if you have a nose for insightful political commentary conveyed through art, ABC’s “V” may be even farther up your alley. The setting is all too familiar: A time of political turmoil during which a charismatic, inspiring new leader arrives seemingly out of the blue. The message of hope and reconciliation is simple and it catches on, particularly with an adoring media. The newcomer promises to deliver wonderful things like universal health care but acknowledges, “Embracing change is never easy.” Some skeptics don’t buy the hype, however, and they begin to question the leader’s origins and intentions, despite being attacked by a sycophantic media. “We’re all so quick to jump on the bandwagon,” says one of the skeptics, a priest, in a sermon. “A ride on the bandwagon, it sounds like fun. But before we get on, let us at least make sure it is sturdy.”

Yet that’s where the ugly similarities with real life end – at least we think so. The “visitors” (called “V’s”) are actually alien space lizards in human disguise, and they’re here to eat the humans and take over the world.

It’s remarkable that Hollywood could produce something as politically pointed and accurate as “V” appears to be. Indeed, the whole lizard thing makes us want to keep an even closer eye on Rahm Emanuel.

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