Truth is the beginning of wisdom…

Archive for August, 2008


Posted by straight shooter on August 14, 2008 under Political, Religion, Terrorism

Random House paid $100,000 for The Jewel of Medina, Sherry Jones’ racy historical novel about Muhammad and his nine-year-old wife, Aisha, only to withdraw the book just days before its scheduled August 12 publication date. Random House deputy publisher Thomas Perry explained that they decided to drop the book after receiving, “from credible and unrelated sources, cautionary advice not only that the publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community, but also that it could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.” They decided “to postpone publication for the safety of the author, employees of Random House, booksellers and anyone else who would be involved in distribution and sale of the novel.”

This craven capitulation to violent intimidation came without any actual violent intimidation at all. Random House was smart enough to figure out, in these post-Salman Rushdie, post-Muhammad cartoons, post-Pope Rage days that publishing a book that Muslims find offensive could be hazardous to the health of a good many people.

It is curious that they let Jones work on The Jewel of Medina for six years only to remember Rushdie when her book was about to be published. That may be due to pressure from Denise A. Spellberg, an Associate Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. When Spellberg received an advance copy of the book, she became “frantic” and contacted Shahed Amanullah, editor of the popular website “She was upset,” said Amanullah, because the book “made fun of Muslims and their history.” She later declared that The Jewel of Medina was a “very ugly, stupid piece of work…. You can’t play with a sacred history and turn it into soft core pornography.”

Spellberg denies charges that she was the “instigator” of Random House’s decision to deep-six Jones’ book. She says, “I felt it my duty to warn the press of the novel’s potential to provoke anger among some Muslims.” Yet Spellberg also maintains: “I do not espouse censorship of any kind, but I do value my right to critique those who abuse the past without regard for its richness or resonance in the present.”

Spellberg does seem to be right about The Jewel of Medina. The book rather improbably depicts the nine-year-old Aisha, at the moment of the consummation of her marriage to Muhammad, as finding “the bliss I had longed for all my life.” As evidenced by trash like this, the actual “richness and resonance in the present” of Muhammad’s marriage to the child Aisha is probably lost on both Spellberg and Jones. But due to Muhammad’s status in Islamic tradition as the supreme example of human conduct, child marriage is quite prevalent in some areas of the Islamic world today.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports that over half of the girls in Afghanistan and Bangladesh are married before they reach the age of eighteen. In early 2002, researchers in refugee camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan found half the girls married by age thirteen. In an Afghan refugee camp, more than two out of three second-grade girls were either married or engaged, and virtually all the girls who were beyond second grade were already married. One ten-year-old was engaged to a man of sixty. In early 2005 a Saudi man in his sixties drew international attention for marrying fifty-eight times; his most recent bride was a 14-year-old he married in the spring of 2004.

If Jones really wanted to offend Muslims, she could have made her novel a negative portrayal of Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha and a denunciation of the devastating effects child marriage has had upon untold numbers of girls in the Islamic world ever since. That would certainly have brought her opprobrium and threats, but she would have had the satisfaction of knowing that she was standing up for the dignity of the human person. As it is, her book does indeed seem to be as Spellberg describes it: a “very ugly, stupid piece of work.”

That being the case, however, since when has Random House or any American publisher refrained from publishing a book because it was ugly and stupid? When has any American publisher passed up a book because they thought it cheapened Jewish or Christian sacred history? Put down your copy of The Da Vinci Code and ponder that one for a minute.

It is becoming increasingly common for Americans to bow to pressure from Muslims to accommodate Islamic practices and mores.  It is also becoming common for the specter of violence to inhibit discussion of the elements of Islam that jihadists use to justify terrorism. Where will all this accommodation end? It will not end until America is a Sharia state, unless enough Americans begin to resist. Or, even if America never becomes anything remotely approximating a Sharia state, how much of our freedoms and rights will we allow to be eroded away before we stand up and call a halt to this?

If Random House had axed Jones’ book because it is silly and stupid, that would be no problem. But to explain that they did so because of the possibility of violence is only to reinforce the lesson that threats and violence work. And with that lesson re-taught, our freedoms will continue to erode.

What Would Jesus Do?  Well, it depends on who you ask.

According to Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Jesus, the Son of God and Author of life would be in favor of suctioning viable babies from their mothers’ wombs and killing them.

On last night’s interview with Bill O’Reilly, the Obama supporter claimed that God’s Son would be “even more radical” than Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on partial-birth abortion.

Hill tried to rationalize his wildly implausible claim to a skeptical Bill O’Reilly, who ended the interview with a challenge for Obama to explain this position.  Hill, an Associate Professor of Urban Education and American Studies at Temple University, who should never be teaching anybody, made this pronouncement when O’Reilly asked him to reconcile Obama’s faith with his distinction as America’s most pro-abortion politician.

Like many in the political arena, Hill has it backwards.  Instead of bringing his political views under the authority of Scripture … as God calls us to do … Hill is seeking to make Christianity conform to his liberalism.

As such, the interview speaks to a much broader problem in modern politics.  Leaders like Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) have tried for years to redefine Christianity so that it is compatible with their anti-life, anti-family agenda.  Many, like Obama, have turned the Bible into a theological smorgasbord where people are free to pick and choose their convictions.

When you untether Jesus from His Word, as Hill has done here, and Obama and other socialists have done, you can turn Jesus into an advocate of almost anything.  What matters, however, is not what Hill or anyone else says, but what the Bible says.  In Jeremiah 1:5, we read, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” Psalm 22:10 says, “… from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” And perhaps most importantly, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)


Posted by straight shooter on August 14, 2008 under General

1.  It is better to be alone than in the wrong company.  (The proof is everyday we see people miserable as heck because they are hanging with the wrong people.

2.  Tell who your best friends are and you can be told who you are.

3.  If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl whereas if you associate with eagles you will learn how to soar to great heights.

4.  A mirror reflects a person’s face but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends they choose.

5.  The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate in the good and the bad.

6.  The less you associate with some people the more your life will improve.

7.  Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others it increases your mediocrity.

8.  An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with people whose thoughts, words and actions are negative.

9.  As you grow your associates will change.

10.  Some of your friends will not want you to go on … they want you to stay where they are.

11.  Those that don’t help you climb want you to crawl.

12.  People will stretch your vision or choke your dream.

13.  Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you.

14.  Never receive counsel from unproductive people.  (We do it all the time, but WHY??  We listen to someone who isn’t succeeding tell us why we won’t succeed.  Does THAT make any sense?)

15.  Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how.

16.  Not everyone has a right to speak into your life.  (You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person.)

17.  Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere.

18.  With some people you spend an evening; with others you invest it.

19.  Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life.

20.  Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships.

In another attempt to lay a guilt trip on the United States for not signing Kyoto, a UN report will soon tell us that developing nations such as China and India are reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than Kyoto Protocol standards. The implication of course is that if China can do it, then why not the USA and Western Europe? Once again, it’s America’s fault!

The UN report is an outright fabrication, even preposterous! But even more shocking is how the UN and China say they’ve accomplished this great feat.

The fact is China is awash in unregulated pollution. The respected journal, Geophysical Research Letters, recently reported that air pollution is out of control in China. “Antiquated factories billow smoke, many residents still use coal to heat their centuries-old houses, and a sharp increase in car ownership has bathed the motorways in exhaust fumes,” the report concluded. USA Today wrote in April 2007 that outside of Beijing, local chemical factories dump wastewater directly into the Feng Chan River, which is now black as ink. Nearby canals are so discolored, locals call it xiao hong he, or “little red river.”

Do you want to see if for yourself? NASA images trace the Asian plume as it propagates out over the Pacific Ocean all the way to the West coast of the United States! See it with your own eyes:

What makes the UN draft report even more outrageous is the manner in which China claims to have reduced emissions. Hu Tao of China’s State Environmental Protection Administration proclaimed at a conference in Oslo last month that China “is doing a lot” to control emissions by enforcing it’s one-child policy. The less kids … the less pollution. Is this what’s next for Kyoto? Save the earth: Kill babies!

Human rights organizations, including the left-leaning Amnesty International, say that China enforces its one-child policy through bribery, infanticide, selective-sex abortions, and even forced abortions. Gao Xian Duan, former Chinese population control administrator, testified before a US House subcommittee in 1998 regarding her participation in nationwide forced sterilizations and abortions.

This is one more reason the United States should not only abandon any attempt to sign on to Kyoto, and keep the control of emissions in the hands of America, but to abandon the UN altogether. What is a cooler earth worth when babies are slaughtered anyway? Indeed the polar bears will not only live long and prosper … they will have the earth to their own.

Obama’s Trip: Non essentials, No Flags, No Wounded Soldiers … but shopping!

Sen. Barack Obama’s international globe-hopping to the Mideast and Europe was meant to shine his credentials as a foreign policy and potential military leader (of which he has none and isn’t one) – the strong suit of his Republican rival Sen. John McCain.

Despite the media love fest following him around like groupies, Obama has yet to pull away from McCain in the polls.  Both the most recent Real Clear Politics rolling average and the Rasmussen tracking poll that coincided with the end of Obama’s trip this weekend show Obama with just a five-point lead over McCain – consistent with his numbers for the past two months.  (Press reports this weekend have almost completely ignored the Rasmussen poll to only report on a Gallup poll, which showed Obama with a nine-point lead.  Not even as good as the Newsweek poll from June, which had Obama 15 points ahead of McCain.)

With the economy, gas prices, and growing resentment about the unending war in Iraq, Obama should be pulling away in the polls … but he isn’t.

As crowds cheered Obama globally, Americans here on the homefront were left wondering if the Illinois senator wants to be their president – or the president of some other country.  (And whether the major U.S. media would at least offer the pretense of objectivity. An MSNBC poll from last week found that 47% of the public thought the coverage of Obama’s trip was “excessive.”)  Campaigning in Europe?

After Obama’s speech to an estimated 200,000 Germans in Berlin, a columnist for Britain’s Guardian newspaper began his review this way: “Barack Obama has found his people.  But, unfortunately for his election prospects, they’re German, not American.”  Who cares if Germany wants change!

Obama’s speech to the Germans left much to be desired, from an American’s perspective.

For starters, the crowd’s size was beefed up by the fact that the event was billed as a free rock concert for German citizens, with popular musical performers helping to draw the big crowd.  Scant U.S. media even noted the warm-up rock draws of reggae artist Patrice and rock band Reamonn.

Then there was the simple stage, with the podium surrounded by three potted plants.  Missing (of course) was the American flag – nowhere to be seen.  Perhaps Obama’s staff might consider the U.S. flag offensive.

And then there was his speech, in which he proudly proclaimed he was in Germany as “a fellow citizen of the world.”

And there was the spectacle of the presidential wannabe going to a foreign land to apologize about the United States?  Obama told his German audience he was sorry about his country because “I know my country has not perfected itself.”  (This comment was made in the former seat of Nazi power.  A letter to editor published in Obama’s hometown Chicago Tribune noted the irony: “While America may not be perfect, there is no reason to apologize to the Germans, architects of the Holocaust.”)

As for America’s role in saving Germany from the onslaught of Stalinist communism and the subsequent Cold War, there was nothing.

There was a rhetorical talk about the Berlin Wall coming down, but nothing about the great American sacrifice, not to mention how our military might made President Reagan’s call – “Tear down this wall, Mr. Gorbachev” – a reality.

There was a fleeting mention of the famous Berlin airlift of 1948 that President Truman ordered to thwart the Soviet blockade that sought to starve West Berlin.

As Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby wrote, “Obama seemed to go out of his way not to say plainly that what saved Berlin in that dark time was America’s military might.

“Save for a solitary reference to ‘the first American plane,’ he never described one of the greatest American operations of the postwar period as an American operation at all.  He spoke only of ‘the airlift,’ ‘the planes,’ ‘those pilots.’  Perhaps their American identity wasn’t something he cared to stress amid all his ‘people of the world’ salutations and talk of ‘global citizenship.'”

The Hollywood-staged Obama event for a man who has yet to ascend to the presidency didn’t sit well with all the Germans.  Germany’s Stern magazine carried the headline “Barack Kant Saves the World.”  One of their columnists, Florian Güssgen, wrote: “The man is perfect, impeccable, slick.  Almost too slick … Obama’s speech was often vague, sometimes banal and more reminiscent of John Lennon’s feel good song ‘Imagine’ than of a foreign policy agenda.”

Slickness without substance seemed to be the enduring theme of his trip.  Among the little hiccups covered up by the major media, there were several gaffes on the global coronation trip.

Perhaps the most notable – and reprehensible – was Obama’s decision to cancel a visit to wounded American soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in southern Germany.  Apparently, the Pentagon informed Obama that since his visit was a political one, the hospital visit would be only open to him and his official Senate staff.  This excluded the press and campaign officials.

The Pentagon did offer to allow Obama’s campaign plane to land at the nearby U.S. air base at Ramstein.  The media also was to be accommodated there.  Without the photo opportunity and his press entourage, Obama declined to meet the wounded soldiers.  At first, Obama’s campaign claimed to the press he decided to cancel the trip to visit the troops because it was “a trip funded by the campaign,” and therefore somehow inappropriate.  (What is inappropriate about a presidential candidate visiting wounded troops?)

But the Obama story belies the fact it was only after the Pentagon closed the event to his traveling press, that Obama’s campaign nixed the event.  Rightfully, McCain noted that it is never inappropriate for a candidate or official to visit U.S. troops.

“If I had been told by the Pentagon that I couldn’t visit those troops, and I was there and wanted to be there, I guarantee you, there would have been a seismic event,” McCain said.

McCain continued the attack on ABC News Sunday show “This Week”: “Those troops would have loved to see him, and I know of no Pentagon regulation that would’ve prevented him from going there” without the news media.

The McCain campaign has been quick to pounce on Obama’s obvious slight to the troops and double-talk, airing a new commercial this weekend.  “And now, he made time to go to the gym, but canceled a visit with wounded troops,” the ad says. “Seems the Pentagon wouldn’t allow him to bring cameras.  John McCain is always there for our troops.”

McCain added that Obama “certainly found time to do other things.”  One of those other things Obama did was visit Paris and hold a joint press conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, typical of an American president visiting the French capital.

Interestingly, The New York Times quoted Elysee officials that “Obama aides insisted that an American flag not be displayed alongside the French flag because Mr. Obama is only a visiting senator and not the president.”  There is no protocol preventing an American official from having the flag displayed when abroad.  (If anyone … government officials should know flag protocol.)  But, then again, I doubt if Obama and his cronies even care?

America is snubbed once again by lame excuses and lame people!