Sunday, October 3, 2010

Political Digest for October 3, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Nor that I disagree with them, of course.

Must Watch: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: Inside a school for suicide bombers
Here is a brief video made by a Moslem woman in Pakistan, who has been studying the Taliban and their methods. Her courage is incredible, since what she then shows to the world is guaranteed to make her a target for death. What the video shows is how a system of recruiting, controlling, and brainwashing young boys can make them actually eager to become suicide bombers. This is the kind of radicalism (and incidentally, perversion of Islamic principles) that makes the rise of fanatic fundamentalism so dangerous, first to other Moslems, but then to everyone else they hate, Western infidels in particular. –Del. This is what we are fighting—at least until next summer when our CIC has promised them we will quit and come home. ~Bob.

A GOP unknown is in striking range of Barney Frank
Excerpt: Sean Bielat, the Republican candidate for Congress in Massachusetts' 4th District, has had just one conversation with his Democratic opponent, Rep. Barney Frank. It was in August, at a parade in New Bedford. "I went up to introduce myself and said, 'Nice to meet you,'" Bielat recalls. "He said, 'I wish I could say the same, but you've made this personal. You've been attacking me.' Then he turned and walked away." Bielat remembers thinking that was a little odd, since at that very moment Frank's Web site featured plenty of attacks on Bielat. But the brief encounter set the tone for what has become an increasingly contentious campaign. The nervousness plaguing Democrats nationwide has touched even Frank, a 14-term incumbent who hasn't faced a serious challenger in years. Bielat is 35 years old, a Marine who spent four years on active duty and is now a major in the Reserve. He's a graduate of Georgetown University with a master's from Harvard and an MBA from Wharton. He's devoted a good portion of his professional life to manufacturing the high-tech robots that defuse improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan. In other words, he's a serious man. In the spring and summer of 2009, Bielat watched in dismay as Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress pursued one big-government initiative after another. He began to think about running but didn't make a final decision until Jan. 19, when a certain Republican won election to the Senate from Massachusetts -- and did it by winning in Frank's district. "When Scott Brown won the 4th Congressional District, it became clear that not only could a Republican win here," says Bielat, "but there was a case to be made nationally to donors and supporters that this is winnable." National support is key, Bielat believes, given that his opponent is chairman of one of the most powerful committees on Capitol Hill and can raise virtually all the money he wants. But Frank is also one of those liberal Democrats who conservative Republicans love to hate. If GOP donors across the country think there's a chance to beat him, they'll start giving. So far, support has been steady but not overwhelming. Bielat has raised about $600,000; Frank has pulled in many times that. Bielat is a relative newcomer to the 4th District. He grew up around Rochester, N.Y., and in addition to his military service has worked or gone to school in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia before settling in the district in 2007. Given that, it's not a surprise that a poll taken by his campaign in mid-September found that 43 percent of voters have never heard of Bielat. Everyone -- literally everyone -- knows Frank. But Bielat is still heartened by the poll's main finding, which shows him trailing Frank by just 10 points. Frank's supporters say the lead is bigger, but Bielat believes he's within striking distance. (I was in the Massachusetts’ legislature with Barney. He’s a formidable campaigner, funny speaker and terrific fundraiser. In my view, it would take a couple of million dollars and an overwhelming Republican tide to beat him. In 1980, when the Pope forced Congressman Drinan not to run, Barney was a State Rep from the eastern part of the district. I was a popular state senator from the western end. I gave about five minutes thought to running against him for Congress and decided not to. I had just bought a house and if I lost would suddenly have no income [I was a full time senator, pulling in about $26k a year then, plus another $1200 from the Marine Reserves]. I hated fund raising, and knew that I’d have to raise at least $200k to be competitive, with little national help. Massachusetts was due to lose a Congressional seat in 1982, and if I won, they’d have put me in with Silvio Conte, a popular Republican Congressman from Western Mass, who would have cleaned my clock in the GOP primary. So for my trouble, if I won, I’d have been in Washington for one term, hardly time to find the head [men’s room to you civilians]. I no longer had the “fire in the belly,” and was thinking about life after politics. Two years later, I choose not to seek re-election to what had become a safe seat for me, and in fact elected a Republican I endorsed, Mary Padula, despite the 4-1 Dem registration of the district. Add all these up and the decision wasn’t hard. Barney spent about $500k and went on to defeat Dick Jones, a retired Army dentist who spent about $70k total, by about 52% to 40%, if I remember rightly after all these years. Two years later, the redistricting put him in the same district with Peg Heckler, a popular GOP Congresswoman, and Barney beat her easily. But who knows what would have happened. I think in a match up then, you’d have to give Barney 2-1 against me. Maybe more. We will never know. ~Bob.)

Leave your name or leave the conversation,0,4003538.story
Good column calling on people to have the courage to sign their opinions. I sign my pieces and wish some of the folks spewing venom on my blog in comments would have the courage to sign their names. So I agree to a point. After all, we have Freedom of Speech—except on the Universities where whatever the prevailing orthodoxy disagrees with is called “hate speech” and outlawed. That is, we have Freedom of Speech about everything except the right to criticize Islam. No, I’m not talking about the chilling effect of the President speaking out against Qur’an burning, though the pastor must have wondered why he was interviewed by the FBI, when the President hasn’t criticized Bible burning, publicly-funded art like “Piss Jesus” or the frequent discretion of our flag by Mexican immigrants and Muslims. Some forms of speech he has to crack down on, but not others, regardless of how sacred we veterans hold the flag. No, I’m talking about being put to death for what you say, if it offends some Muslims. Theo Van Gogh was murdered on a Dutch Street and his co-produced Ayaan Hirsi Ali has lived with fear, bodyguards and mostly in hiding ever since, for making a film about the oppression of woman in Islam. The Danish cartoonists have lived under death threat, in fortified homes or in hiding for drawing cartoons some Muslims found offensive. The threat was so great that few editors in the US and only one in Canada, Oscar Levant, had the courage to publish the cartoons as part of a news story about the threats and riots. For exercising Free Speech in Canada, Levant was hounded by charges of hate speech and other legal troubles for almost two years. Salmon Rushdie had a price put on his head of several million dollars and was forced to live in hiding for years. The Fatwa calling for his death remains in effect. And most recently, Molly Norris disappeared. After calling for “Everyone Draw Mohammad” day, the threats were so great that she quit her job, changed her name and erased her identity. Few journalists took much note. All these people had their real names on their work. No one has the right to criticize Islam or offend Muslims and live. Your country can’t or won’t protect you, the president won’t speak out, except to try to stop your political speech in advance. Join that conversation, leave your name—and die. ~Robert A. Hall.

Denmark Releases Cartoon Book On 5th Anniversary
Tiny Denmark stands up for Freedom of Speech, while most American editors and “journalists” hide in closets and make excuses about not offending anyone—though they feel free, in fact overjoyed—at offending all sorts of other people. ~Bob. Excerpt: Marking the fifth anniversary of the original publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, Denmark on Thursday released a new book, containing other controversial cartoons, for sale. Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper initially published the 12 cartoons in September 2005, which sparked an outrage among Muslim communities across the world. Jyllands-Posten Culture Editor Flemming Rose, who authored the book, said that this release was broadly aimed at discussing the freedom of speech. "For me, the book ends the Mohammed cartoon phase," he added. The Danish government feared protests on the eve of publication of the controversial book. In order to avert another clash, Danish Foreign Minister Mogens Lykketoft on Thursday held a meeting with envoys from 17 Muslim countries, but also stressed on his government's wish to protect freedom of speech in his country.

Obama's view from Olympus
The Washington Post piles on! ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama's latest interview with Rolling Stone magazine is revealing precisely because it is so typical. Everyone -- really just about everyone in American politics -- is chided, challenged, instructed, judged or admonished in one way or another. The president's condescension is universal. He is "disappointed" in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Republican leaders haven't provided "the kind of cooperation we anticipated." Instead, they are "sitting on the sidelines, trying to gum up the works." The machinery of the Senate is "breaking down." The American people, after "feeling hopeful right after my election" are now "deflated." Elements of the Tea Party are "rejecting me." Fox News is "ultimately destructive." Policy arguments have descended into "the kind of rhetoric we've been seeing: where I'm anti-business, I'm socialist, our administration is trying to destroy capitalism." It is all "over-the-top." And Democrats do not escape the lecture. They often have a "turn of mind" that sees "the glass as half-empty." The "self-criticism" of progressives can be "debilitating." Progressives who "can’t take pleasure" in practical gains for the working class "shouldn’t be in the business of politics." Some of these criticisms may be legitimate. Piled atop each other in a long interview, they indicate a president disappointed with a nation that can't manage to live up to his own high standard of public service. The professor issues his grade: all of us need improvement. A critic who is angry can be confronted as an equal. A critic who is disappointed is asserting his superiority. The method is inseparable from smugness. The view from Olympus may be broad, but it makes a leader distant from the ants below. Obama's approach is particularly self-defeating when it comes to the left. He desperately needs to inspire Democratic intensity in a midterm election where most of the energy seems on the other side. The method he has chosen is to accuse progressives of "lethargy." "People need to buck up," he says, in his most disappointed tone. Their lack of energy is "inexcusable" and "irresponsible." "If people now want to take their ball and go home," he snaps, "that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place."

NY Robbery Suspect Fleeing Police Gets Struck by Train
Excerpt: A knife-wielding robbery suspect tried to flee police in a lower Manhattan subway station by leaping onto a moving train – but ended up falling under its wheels, officials said. Bryan Feeley, 20, was trying to escape cops after he committed a knifepoint robbery on Reade St. at 1:40 a.m. Thursday, according to cops and transit officials….. Feeley died at New York Downtown Hospital a short time later, officials said…. The incident caused E train service to be suspended in both directions for three hours and 40 minutes, according to MTA spokesman Charlie Seaton. (Makes me feel bad. Imaging those poor people trying to get home at one in the morning, held up for three hours. Too bad. ~Bob)

The Real Churchill
Satire. Biting because so close to true.

This Time We Win (or Do We?)
Excerpt: No serious person takes analogies as accurate. Politicians and journalists are often not serious people, seeking self-serving soundbites and sensationalism over careful knowledge of the facts. This lure is attractive for those who trot out the US experience in Vietnam, particularly the 1968 Tet Offensive, to advocate hopelessness for our and target countries’ battles against insurgents. US misreporting of the wholesale defeat of communist forces – losing 45,000 of the 84,000 attackers – and feckless US policymakers failing to carry-through, serves as the template current foes rely upon. Among many examples provided by Robbins: Osama bin Laden wrote to Taliban leader Mullah Omar, “It is obvious that the media war in this century is one of the strongest methods; in fact, its share may reach 90 percent of the total preparation for battles.” So author James Robbins, in This Time We Win: Revisiting The Tet Offensive, takes 301 pages plus copious footnotes to “unlink the power of analogy from the terrorist arsenal,” by detailing every aspect of Tet ’68 and its aftermath. This ground has been well-plowed before. It’s not new news that the US media was grossly biased and inept in its reporting of Tet ’68. The Washington Post’s Saigon Bureau chief during Tet, Peter Braestrup, blew the whistle, citing column-and-verse, in his 1977 Big Story. His analysis was based on decades of journalism experience. Aside from media bias, Baestrup concluded that the structural, staffing and experiential limitations of the mainstream press “persist to this day.” Lewis Sorley’s 1999 A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy Of America’s Last Years In Vietnam picks up the analysis at 1968 through 1975. Under General Creighton Abrams’ inspired leadership and President Nixon’s willingness to shuck many of President Johnson’s limitations and illusions, the remaining North Vietnamese invaders were brought to their knees, only to have the supplies promised to South Vietnam to survive withheld by the heavily Democrat Congress post-Watergate. Sorley concludes: “While demonstrating that more effective options were available at many stages of the war, such calculations also remind us that time after time those chances were missed, ignored, rejected, or proscribed on the basis of one rationale or another.” (The truth has been out there for decades, yet still so many people in our own country and in others persist in the perception of a great loss for the US and the ARVN in that year. Yet the exact opposite was true, and in fact things were so bad in Hanoi's own eyes that General Giap, the hero of Dien Ben Phu, was politely moved out of his top commandership afterwards. Not that any of the war's critics ever noticed that, or any of the other aspects of the lost campaign of the communists. --Del)

'Things Could Get Pretty Messy'
Excerpt: 'Look, we know we screwed up when we were in the majority. We fell in love with power. We spent way too much money—especially on earmarks. There was too much corruption when we ran this place. We were guilty. And that's why we lost." That's the confession of Eric Cantor, the 47-year old congressman from Richmond, Va. If Republicans win back the House in November's elections, Mr. Cantor would be the next majority leader—the second most powerful post in that chamber behind the speaker. And he could be Barack Obama's worst nightmare. His mea culpa for Republican sins when they ran Congress pre-2007 is part of his unorthodox pitch for why voters should give the GOP another chance at power. They appreciate Mr. Cantor's honesty. And he assures them that the changing of the guard—evident by his own rise since his first election in 2000, and the ascent of others like Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Jeb Hensarling of Texas—signifies a new direction for the party.

Immigration Advocates Target GOP In DREAM Act Ads
Excerpt: To mobilize Hispanic voters in November, big labor and advocates of liberal efforts at overhauling immigration laws have announced a $300,000 ad campaign attacking Republican Senators for blocking passage of the so-called DREAM Act. The ad will air on Spanish-language radio stations in Arizona, Florida, Nevada and other states with large Latino populations. The effort was conceived and funded by the Service Employees International Union, Mi Familia Vota and America's Voice, which say the $300,000 is the most ever spent on a Spanish-language radio campaign by groups such as theirs to make their case on immigration. Arizona's controversial immigration law sparked protests in other places earlier this year, as at this rally in New York City on May 1. Now, some groups are protesting the Senate's failure to pass the DREAM Act. A solid Hispanic turnout could tip a number of close races, but Latinos, like many other voters who traditionally lean toward Democratic candidates, have yet to strongly engage in this election season. Because Latinos overwhelmingly support efforts to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, organizers hope the ad campaign can shake them from their malaise. The DREAM Act became ready fodder when it died in the Senate on Sept. 22 after Democrats failed to get a single Republican to vote in support, including among from Republicans who had favored the measure in the past.

Immigration may be Key Issue in New York Gov Race
Excerpt: In the race to become New York’s next governor, Republican Carl Paladino is calling his Democratic rival Andrew Cuomo part of Albany’s dysfunction, and Cuomo is framing Paladino as a one-dimensional candidate running on anger alone. But behind the bickering looms an issue that has the potential to define this year’s race — immigration. At the state Democratic convention in May, Andrew Cuomo offered this message to New York’s diverse population. “We are New York. We are the laboratory for the American experiment of democracy. The Statue of Liberty stands in our harbor. We are the welcome mat for the nation. We are founded on the premise that we can say to the people all across this globe: Come here, we invite you.” Carl Paladino’s talking points are the polar opposite. While meeting with Hispanic ministers in August, he was firm in his opposition to immigration reform. “We’re not going to allow undocumented aliens, okay, or illegal immigrants to take part in our social welfare and our Medicaid system in the State of New York. Our taxpayers didn’t buy into that.” (“Elect Cuomo—Keep NY the Doormat of the World.” I like that slogan. ~Bob.)

Today’s Obama-Backed Leftist “One Nation” Rally a Bust?…Update: Further Proof….
Interesting pictures.

Boston schools violated rights
Being a sanctuary city or state can get expensive. Did Gaelic speakers from Ireland or Scotland, or Italian, French, Russian or Yiddish speakers ever sue the schools? ~Bob. Excerpt: federal investigation has determined that Boston schools violated the civil rights of thousands of students who speak limited English by failing to provide specialized instruction, leading to a settlement agreement that calls for the school district to overhaul programs and bolster teacher training, officials announced yesterday. Slightly more than half the 8,300 students affected were not receiving appropriate instruction because ineffective testing failed to detect a lack of English fluency, the investigation found. The other students had been properly identified but not placed in classes geared for those with a language barrier. Some violations date to 2003. Superintendent Carol R. Johnson and officials of the US Department of Education and the Department of Justice signed the agreement Thursday. Boston schools did not admit to any wrongdoing in signing the agreement, which aims to remedy the problems without going to court.

Immigrants to vote in Brazil’s election Sunday in Framingham
Excerpt: Brazilians living in New England will be coming to Framingham High School Sunday to vote in their country’s presidential election. According to the Brazilian Workers Party, which organizes voting throughout the country, the polling place at the high school should be collecting nearly 12,000 votes from people registered to vote in Brazil living in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. In total there are about 60,000 registered Brazilian voters living in the U.S., said a press release.

Gov. Schwarzenegger Vetoes Bill That Would Provide In-State Tuition Rates to Illegal Aliens
Excerpt: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed two bills last night that would have offered in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens. SB1460, the California Dream act, and AB1413 would have allowed any student, regardless of immigration status, who attended a California high school for at least three years to receive the in-state tuition benefit provided to legal California residents.

Illegals' victims Suffering ignored by smug liberals
Excerpt: Democrats invited liberal comedian Stephen Colbert to drape himself in the more-compassionate-than-thou mantle last week on behalf of illegal-alien migrant workers. But not all "people of color" are equal. Minority Americans who have suffered the bloody consequences of open borders are out of luck. No Hollywood celeb wants to walk in their shoes. After picking veggies for a day at an upstate New York farm, Colbert descended on Washington to lament the suffering of illegal agricultural workers. While "in character" as a conservative talk-show host, he mocked those who oppose a blanket "ag jobs" amnesty program by sneering, "USA Number One!" Althea Rae Shaw of Los Angeles wrote an outraged open letter to Colbert after the Capitol Hill circus. She's the aunt of 17-year-old Jamiel Andre' Shaw II, a young black high-school student gunned down by an illegal-alien gang member in 2008. The Shaw family has spearheaded efforts to repeal dangerous sanctuary policies in Los Angeles that protect criminal illegals and handcuff local law enforcement. "It truly breaks my heart that so many people in positions of power and authority continue to make light of illegal immigration," Shaw wrote to Colbert. "Are you aware of, and/or concerned with, the fact that American citizens and legal immigrants are murdered every day by illegal aliens?" "What if your mother was shot in the head by an illegal alien? Do you think you could make that funny? What about your children? Would it be comical if your daughter or your son or your niece or nephew was lying in the street dead, shot in the head by someone living in this country illegally?" Shaw's letter recounted the horrific case of Cheryl Green -- a 14-year-old L.A. girl murdered by illegal-alien gang members in 2006, along with another young resident who had witnessed the gang's violence. Cheryl's crime? Being black. Her killers -- Latino gangbangers Jonathan Fajardo and Daniel Aguilar -- were convicted last month of first-degree murder in a hate-crime trial where one gang member testified bluntly: "Basically, we're against all black people." No, not all illegal aliens are murderers. But neither are all harmless workers. Lax immigration enforcement might mean cheaper arugula in Manhattan -- but it also can cost untold lives across the heartland. In Houston, Texas, 14-year-old Shatavia Anderson was gunned down last month by a twice-deported illegal alien from El Salvador who simply waltzed back into the country. Shatavia's grieving uncle, Joe Lambert, lambasted open-borders policies that send a signal that illegals "can do whatever they want." Lambert is lobbying for tougher immigration enforcement. "I would like to see what they're doing in Arizona done here."

Bill Maher Calls Republicans 'A Deadly Enemy'
He wouldn’t say that about jihadists who blow up people—too dangerous. ~Bob. Excerpt: After telling his audience that his job isn't to "carry water for this or any administration," Bill Maher on Friday closed his show with a campaign speech begging viewers to support Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections. "When it comes to voting, when we only have two choices, you got to grow up and realize there's a big difference between a disappointing friend and a deadly enemy," said the "Real Time" host during his "New Rules" segment. Maher continued the campaign speech saying Democrats "are all that stands between you and darkest night." "You know why the Republican symbol is R?" he asked his audience. "Because it's the noise a pirate makes when he robs you and feeds you to a shark" (video follows with transcript and commentary, vulgarity warning): (Well, here is a leading Liberal really laying out his feelings in no uncertain terms. Remember when the word "liberal" directly implied tolerance and at least basic courtesy? –Del)

Pentagon burns book and makes it a best-seller
The predictable results. In short order, bloggers—or the NYT—will published he redacted sections. ~Bob. Excerpt: Publishers know that controversy fuels book sales. Apparently, so does burning them. The Pentagon has only helped build buzz around "Operation Dark Heart," a firsthand account of special operations in Afghanistan, by burning 9,500 copies -- nearly all the first run. (Some review copies, released before publication, have filtered out and sold for more than $2,000 on eBay, according to Time magazine.) Destroying books isn't an everyday occurrence. In fact, the Pentagon says it has never destroyed copies of a book before. But in this case, the Pentagon contends that Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer's work includes classified information that shouldn't have been published and therefore it was the only option. On Sept. 24, four days after the burning, publisher St. Martin's Press printed 50,000 copies of the book with supposedly classified information now blacked out. Even with redactions, the second run -- five times larger than the first -- is selling well. Time magazine noted that "Operation Dark Heart" hit No. 1 on Amazon's biography list and No. 2 on Barnes & Noble's political list.

Obama’s Top 10 Broken Promises (So Far)
Excerpt: There’s some bad news… and then there’s some good news. First the bad news: President Barack Obama made so many campaign promises it was hard to choose just ten. Not that we wanted most of these promises to be kept, of course. Now for the good news: No matter what he promised, Obama has been confronted with the reality that he can’t just wave a magic wand and “change” whatever he wants. It is also satisfying to see how pitiful of a job Obama has done with the “Yes We Can” agenda in his first 20 months in office. Here are the Top 10 Obama Broken Promises… so far.

A Supreme fetish: Libs leaving too much to court
Excerpt: Imagine the Supreme Court was wiped out in an asteroid strike, or maybe ate some re ally bad clams. Whatever. With the court temporarily out of the picture, could Congress and the White House ignore the Constitution, locking up Tea Partiers or ACLU members? Apparently. "I have been fascinated by [Delaware Senate candidate] Christine O'Donnell's constitutional worldview," Slate magazine's Dahlia Lithwick confessed. O'Donnell had said, "When I go to Washington, DC, the litmus test by which I cast my vote for every piece of legislation that comes across my desk will be whether or not it is constitutional." To which Lithwick, a widely cited expert on the Supreme Court, responded, "How weird is that, I thought. Isn't it a court's job to determine whether or not something is, in fact, constitutional? And isn't that sort of provided for in, well, the Constitution?" Newsweek's Ben Adler was aghast at the clause in the GOP's Pledge to America that Republicans will provide a "citation of constitutional authority" for every proposed law. "We have a mechanism for assessing the constitutionality of legislation, which is the independent judiciary," Adler wrote. "An extraconstitutional attempt to limit the powers of Congress is dangerous even as a mere suggestion, and it constitutes an encroachment on the judiciary." And a progressive blogger writes in U.S. News & World Report that such talk of requiring constitutionality is "just plain wacky." Does anyone, anywhere, think legislators should vote for legislation they think is unconstitutional? Should presidents sign such legislation into law?

San Franciscans Try to Take Back Their Streets
The barbarians are inside the gates. ~Bob. Excerpt: Stroll down Haight Street these days, and chances are you'll be accosted by aggressive young vagrants. "Can you spare some change?" asks Cory, a slender dark-haired young man from Ventura, Calif. "Dude, do you have any food?" His two female companions, Zombie and Eeyore, swig from a bottle of pricey Tejava tea and pass a smoke while lying on a blanket surrounded by a fortress of backpacks, bedrolls and scrawled signs asking for money. Vincent, a fourth "traveler," as the Haight Street gutter punks call themselves, stares dully into space. Asked why people should give them money, Cory replies: "They got a dollar and I don't." Why don't you work? "We do work," retorts Eeyore. "I carry around this heavy backpack. We wake up at 7 a.m. and work all day. It's hard work." She's referring to begging and boozing. Asked if they're embarrassed to be begging, Cory says: "I'm not begging, I'm just asking for money." Such strapping young hobos see themselves as on a "mission," though they're hard-pressed to define it. In fact, they are defined by an oversized sense of entitlement. Of all the destinations on the West Coast "traveler" circuit, the Haight carries a particular attraction to these panhandlers, thanks to the 1960s Summer of Love. Over the last several years, however, the vagrant population has grown more territorial and violent. "I don't care if they ask for change," says Arthur Evans, a self-described former hippie who has lived in the neighborhood for 35 years. "It's okay if they loiter and make a bit of noise. But I don't feel safe walking down the Haight at night any more." In July, two pit bulls bred by the residents of an encampment in nearby Golden Gate Park tore into pedestrians, biting a 71-year-old woman to the bone and wounding her two companions. Last October, one of three punks sitting on a blanket with dogs spat on a 14-month-old baby when its mother rejected their demand for change. These days vagrants carry knives and Mace; people who ask them to move risk getting jumped. Merchants trying to clean up feces and urine left by drunken youth are sometimes harassed and attacked.

Indonesian women caned for selling food during Muslim festival of Ramadan
Don’t go all “women’s rights” on me now. It was only a couple of lashes. Remember all cultures are equally valid. ~Bob. Excerpt: The two women were found guilty of selling food during the fasting hours of Ramadan, thereby violating Islamic sharia law. Hundreds of people gathered to watch as Murni Amris, 27, received three lashes and Rukiah Abdullah, 22, received two at a mosque in the city of Jantho, southeast of the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, Indonesia. “The two women were found selling rice in a stall at noon during Ramadan. The sharia forbids selling food during fasting hours at Ramadan,” said Marzuki Abdullah, Aceh’s sharia police head. Ms Amris owned the food stall where Ms Abdullah was selling the rice. Muslims are supposed to fast from dawn to dusk during the holy month of Ramadan, which took place during August and September this year, but there are exceptions in cases such as illness or pregnancy. Aceh, on the northern tip of Sumatra island, is one of several areas of Muslim-majority Indonesia where Islamic sharia laws have been adopted. The conservative province passed a law last year that imposes death by stoning on Muslim adulterers and a law under which homosexuality is punishable by long prison terms.


  1. I don't post anonymously, but neither do I put my real name out there. It isn't because I am personally afraid; anyone accosting me is literally taking their life in greasy hands. But I have a family, and I intend to do what I can to shield them. Anyone who REALLY wants to find me – can. The question is: do they really WANT to find me?

  2. I agree with what GunRights4US said. I use my everyday user name on blogs and it's fairly easy to find me also. And I will also agree that I don't think that they would feel very comfortable after finding me.