Friday, March 31, 2006

Giant Prisons Of The World

Almost 100 years after the British arrogantly carved up the map of the world and 200 years since America provoked wars to justify its territorial expansion, the effects of the racial arrogance are starting to be felt at home. The most destructive and nearly impossible to correct product of the imperial domination by both powers is the modern concept of the nation-state. Here in America, the current debate over immigration "reform" highlights the contradictions that have been born of hundreds of years of imperialism.

Before there were nations, people had freedom to move. There was no such thing as a passport, border patrol or customs. Christopher Colon did not have to get visas from India and make sure his passport was current before setting sail to unknown lands. Jews on the run did not have to get permission to go to Palestine when fleeing from Christian European persecution in the late 1800's and early 1900's. After the inquisition, Jews and Muslims alike fled Spain and settled throughout North Africa.

There were, of course, cities, civilizations, tribalism and empire, but the person who wanted to move to a new place in search of opportunity only had himself to worry about. Would he have enough food, would he be able to defend himself against the bandits along the route, could he survive the weather changes throughout the seasons? My family, for example, racially comes from Eastern Europe, Turkey and North Africa, but made it to Egypt via the spice trade. Some merchants a few hundred years ago, left Albania, Turkey and parts of Tunisia, survived the bandits along the way and were in Egypt when the borders were drawn.

People moved to places that made sense; places where food could be cultivated; centers of civilization.

But at some point, the imperial powers decided it would be easier to control resources by drawing arbitrary lines on maps, naming the countries, giving them out as gifts to their friends and restricting movement across artifical borders. Take the Semitic World as a case in point. There was no such thing as Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, etc. The British made pacts with local warriors (the Al-Saud family who got Saudi Arabia were the bandits who used to rob the pilgrims on their way to Mecca - now they're robbing the oil) and handed out lands to people who agreed to betray the Ottoman sultans. There was no concern that the borders made sense.

The suffix "-stan" means "the land of". Kurdistan, thus, was what everyone in the Semitic World knew as the land of the Kurds. When the British drew the arbitrary lines, Kurdistan did not retain territorial continuity but, rather, Kurds arbitrarily became citizens of Iraq, Turkey and Syria. A people who had once ruled themselves were now divided by arbitrary borders, could not travel among Kurdish villages that were in different countries without first obtaining a passport and they became subject to the laws of people with whom they had little in common. The end result, of course, is the uprising and independence movement among the Kurds and the brutal repression of them by Iraq and Turkey.

The same is true of Africa. The Hutus and Tutsis were separate tribes, living independently, until the British created a country out of thin air and forced people of different tribes to live together and form a government that represented the cultures, history, etc. of the various tribes. And no one was allowed to leave without a passport and permission. So, if one day you were a Tutsi who traveled among your villages, the next day you were a Rwandan who was legally prohibited from crossing the border without a passport and permission. You were trapped in prison with a bunch of people you don't like or, at best, with whom you share little in common. Is there any wonder why there is seemingly no end to the conflicts that plague humanity?

While I could go on with endless examples of the tragedy that has been borne of Britain's arrogance around the world, it is time to return home. California and much of the American southwest used to be part of what is now called Mexico. That is not a disputable point.

In 1846, President Polk provoked a war with Mexico as part of his expansionist dream of America having only oceans on her eastern and western edges. The border with Texas was pushed south to the Rio Grande and New Mexico, Arizona and California ultimately became part of America. Spaniards, Mexicans and Native Americans were either forced southward, killed or found themselves resident of a foreign nation. A border was drawn and free movement between Mexico and America restricted.

As agribusiness expanded, the Mexican nation that imprisoned its people claimed the right to all land, declared it "private" property and sold it to big American agribusiness. Farmers who had survived off the land for centuries with a quiet dignity were forced to the cities in search of work. There, they found more big corporations paying pennies for wages, offering no better chances for survival. So here is the Mexican immigrant. He wants to support his family, put food on the table and enjoy life, but he is trapped in a nation-size prison. Torn by the desire to remain close to family, culture and all that is safe to him, he must decide whether the risks of the journey north is worth the possibility of making $1 per day. He decides that the possibility of working is worth it and sets off.

He and 11 million others just like him are now at the center of a debate over what to do with them. Because of the arbitrary notion of nation, citizenship and patriotism, they committed a crime by crossing an invisible line in the sand. 11 Million people, the majority of whom are willing to take any job America has to offer, are being criminalized for escaping from their destitute prisons. People who stand ready to work and to take the most unattractive, dangerous, back-breaking, low-paying thankless work are called criminals. With the multitudes of lazy, good-for-nothing losers with whom we share a prison, we are propagandized to criminalize those who want nothing more than to work and earn a decent wage. With that heinous, unhuman proposition, I can never agree.

Before America was a nation, those people were called pilgrims. They were called adventurers when they boarded ships in Ireland, Scotland, Italy, England, etc. and left to a new land in search of something better. There were no invisible lines. No customs agents. No b.s. about following the rules. We laud them in our history books as heroes with endless courage, but the descendants of those who escaped now want to close the gates on those who would follow in their footsteps.

The nation is an artificial notion. It demands that I share an affinity with another human being simply because we hold a passport from the same nation and see all others as enemies. Patriotism demands that I revere the flag that symbolizes my prison and see all other flags as unworthy. My nation demands that I view people who want to work as enemies of the state while some illiterate redneck who goes to Iraq for the thrill of killing brown people is supposed to get my undying support. Sorry, but this does not work for me.

I will always have immensely more respect for those who have the guts to risk life and limb to feed their families than for the lazy ass down the street who collects unemployment. The gardener who mows my lawn wakes up every Monday morning without fail while some yuppie shit is too hung over to get out of bed. My cleaning lady shows up with two of her sisters to earn relatively little, while some whiney chick is on disability because she has carpal tunnel syndrome. And that same whiney bitch, from the luxury of her welfare-subsidized couch, proclaims the criminality of the illegals.

We, in America, are fortunate to live in a minimum security prison. Travel to anywhere in the world is available to anyone with the means to do it. But could you imagine what it would be like if that were not the case? What happens if the world powers change tomorrow and someone decides to carve up America into nation-states the way the British and Americans did with the rest of the world? Although your family is across the border in Alabama, you are now a citizen of Georgia and cannot go visit them without a passport. The gaming industry in Nevada slows down and you need work, but you can't get a work visa for California.

How long would it be before you would flout the rules and find your way out of prison? Would that make you a criminal?

The right to travel is a part of the 'liberty' of which the citizen cannot
be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment.
In Freedom of movement across frontiers in either direction,
and inside frontiers as well, was a part of our heritage.
Travel abroad, like travel within the country, may be necessary for a livelihood.
It may be as close to the heart of the individual
as the choice of what he eats, or wears, or reads.
Freedom of movement is basic in our scheme of values.

Kent v. Dulles (1958)

A quote from a MSN article today sums up my point exactly -
"Illegal immigrants in the community know their presence causes tension, but say they have little choice. 'I know the white people are thinking it’s wrong because there are too many people and it looks bad,' said Miguel Angel Vasquez, a 32-year-old illegal immigrant who has been in the country for 11 years. 'But we need a job.'

Friday, March 24, 2006

Well Said...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Third Sect

As waves upon my head the circling curl,
So in the sacred dance weave ye and whirl.
Dance then, O heart, a whirling circle be.
Burn in this flame - is not the candle He?

Whirling Dervishes

Perhaps you have heard of the Whirling Dervishes, but maybe you have not heard of the sect of Islam that gave birth to their traditions - Sufi Islam. Sufism, also referred to as Islamic mysticism, is a branch of Islam that focuses on the direct perception of truth or god through mystic practices based on divine love. It is the Kabballist aspect of Islam, so to speak.

One commentator has explained,
The Sufi phenomenon is not easy to sum up or define. The Sufis never set out to found a new religion, a mazhab or denomination. They were content to live and work within the framework of the Moslem religion, using texts from the Quran much as Christian mystics have used the Bible to illustrate their tenets. Their aim was to purify and spiritualize Islam from within, to give it a deeper, mystical interpretation, and infuse into it a spirit of love and liberty. In the broader sense, therefore, in which the word religion is used in our time, their movement could well be called a religious one, one which did not aim at tying men down with a new set of rules but rather at setting them free from external rules and open to the movement of the spirit.

This religion was disseminated mainly by poetry, it breathed in an atmosphere of poetry and song. Its one dogma, and interpretation of the Moslem witness: 'There is no god by God', is that the human heart must turn always, unreservedly, to the one, divine Beloved.

Who was the first Sufi? Who started this astonishing flowering of spiritual love in Lyrical poetry and dedicated lives? No one knows. Early in the history of Islam, Moslem ascetics appeared who from their habit of wearing coarse garments of wool(suf), became known as Sufis. But what we now know as Sufism dawned unheralded, mysteriously, in the ninth century of our year and already in the tenth and eleventh had reached maturity. Among all its exponents there is no single one who could be claimed as the initiator or founder. Sufism is like that great oak-tree, standing in the middle of the meadow - no one witnessed its planting, no one beheld its beginning, but now the flourishing tree speaks for itself, is true to origins which it has forgotten, has taken for granted.

One of the greatest masters of Sufi Islam is Mowlana Jalal El-Din Rumi. Rumi was born in Wakhsh (Tajikistan) under the administration of Balkh in 30 September 1207 to a family of learned theologians. Escaping the Mongol invasion and destruction, Rumi and his family traveled extensively in the Muslim lands, performed pilgrimage to Mecca and finally settled in Konya, Anatolia, then part of Seljuk Empire (now part of Turkey). When his father Bahaduddin Valad passed away, Rumi succeeded his father in 1231 as professor in religious sciences. At 24 years old, Rumi was an already accomplished scholar in religious and positive sciences.

If there is any general idea underlying Rumi's poetry, it is the absolute love of God.

The lover's food is the love of the bread; no bread need be at hand:
no one who is sincere in his love is a slave to existence.
Lovers have nothing to do with existence;
lovers have the interest without the capital.
Without wings they fly around the world;
without hands they carry the polo ball off the field.
That dervish who caught the scent of Reality
used to weave basket even though his hand had been cut off.
Lover have pitched their tents in nonexistence:
they are of one quality and one essence, as nonexistence is.


Praise to the emptiness that blanks out existence.
Existence: This place made from our love for that emptiness!
Yet somehow comes emptiness, this existence goes.
Praise to that happening, over and over!
For years I pulled my own existence out of emptiness.
Then one swoop, one swing of the arm, that work is over.
Free of who I was, free of presence, free of dangerous fear, hope, free of mountainous wanting.
The here-and-now mountain is a tiny piece of a piece of straw blown off into emptiness.
These words I'm saying so much begin to lose meaning:
Existence, emptiness, mountain, straw:
Words and what they try to say swept out the window, down the slant of the roof.


My heart, sit only with those who know and understand you.
Sit only under a tree that is full of blossoms.
In the bazaar of herbs and potions don't wander aimlessly
find the shop with a potion that is sweet
If you don't have a measure people will rob you in no time.
You will take counterfeit coins thinking they are real.
Don't fill your bowl with food from every boiling pot you see.
Not every joke is humorous, so don't search for meaning where there isn't one.
Not every eye can see, not every sea is full of pearls.
My heart, sing the song of longing like nightingale.
The sound of your voice casts a spell on every stone, on every thorn.
First, lay down your head then one by one let go of all distractions.
Embrace the light and let it guide you beyond the winds of desire.
There you will find a spring and nourished by its waters
like a tree you will bear fruit forever.

For more on Sufis and Rumi -

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Muslim Comedy

Yes, it's true. There is such thing as Muslim comedy and it's happening right here in the good ol' US of A. A community that, to date, has been painfully insular is producing comics who poke fun at themselves, their traditions, their community and life in post-9/11 America. (make sure you've got the audio turned up for this one)

And there is nothing like comedy to bring people together.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Beautiful Weekend In San Francisco

The City and County of San Francisco (2004 estimated population 744,230) is the fourth-largest city in the U.S. state of California and the fourteenth largest in the United States. San Francisco has many unique characteristics when compared to other major cities in the U.S., including its steep rolling hills, an eclectic mix of architecture including both Victorian style houses and modern skyscrapers, and natural beauty, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay.

Alcatraz was a military installation established in 1850 and later became a military prison until 1933. The United States Disciplinary Barracks on Alcatraz were acquired by the United States Department of Justice on October 12, 1933. The island became a federal prison on August, 1934. During the 29 years it was in use, the jail held such notable criminals as Al Capone; Robert Franklin Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz; and Alvin Karpis, who served more time at Alcatraz than any other inmate.

The penitentiary was closed for good on March 21, 1963. The prison closed because it was far more expensive to operate than other prisons, and the bay was being polluted by the sewage from the approximately 250 inmates and 60 Bureau of Prison families on the island. It was easier to build a new, traditional land-bound prison than to pay for all the upkeep and support the Alcatraz prison required.

In 1969, a group of American Indians from many different tribes, calling themselves Indians of All Tribes (many were relocated to the Bay Area under the federal Termination program), occupied the island, and proposed an education center, ecology center, and cultural center. During the occupation, several buildings got damaged or destroyed, including the recreation hall, Coast Guard quarters, and the Warden's home. A number of other buildings (mostly apartments) were destroyed by the U.S. Government after the occupation had ended. After 18 months of occupation, the government forced them off. But the end of Termination and the new policy of self-determination were established in 1970 as a direct result of the occupation. Today American Indian groups, for example the International Indian Treaty Council, hold ceremonies on the island. Most notable is Columbus Day and Thanksgiving Day when they hold a "Sunrise Gathering".

Can you imagine being caged in here?

One of the peep holes in Alcatraz so the inmates would know exactly what they were missing.

San Francisco must be the world's most liberal and politically-conscious city. There were protests around town on Saturday, which remarkably got coverage in the local media.

The Golden Gate Bridge, completed after more than four years of construction at a cost of $35 million, opened to vehicular traffic on May 28, 1937 at twelve o'clock noon, ahead of schedule and under budget, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a telegraph key in the White House announcing the event.

The architecture in San Francisco gives the city a charm of its own.

Lombard Street in San Francisco, California is an east-west street that runs from The Presidio, through the Cow Hollow neighborhood (through which Lombard Street - at that point a principal arterial road - is at its busiest and widest and is co-signed as U.S. Route 101 for the 12 blocks between Broderick Street and Van Ness Avenue), and through the Russian Hill and Telegraph Hill neighborhoods, before terminating at The Embarcadero as a collector road.
Lombard Street is best known for one block on Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets, in which the roadway has eight sharp turns (or switchbacks) that have earned the street the distinction of being "the crookedest [most winding] street in the United States." (Vermont St. between 20th St and 22nd St near the San Francisco General Hospital disputes that claim) The Powell-Hyde cable car line stops at the top of this block.
The switchback design, first suggested by property owner Carl Henry and instituted in 1922, was born out of necessity in order to reduce the hill's natural 27° slope which was too steep for most vehicles to climb and a serious hazard to pedestrians used to a more reasonable sixteen-degree incline.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Grim Anniversary

Today is the three year anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie, an American peace activist who was killed by Israeli troops who crushed her with a bulldozer.

According to eyewitnesses, a routine IDF demolition operation was underway in the area, with two D-9 bulldozers and a tank as protection. They destroyed three buildings that were already partially destroyed and a number of walls. The ISM
activists then deployed in the area and used bullhorns to call on the drivers to
stop. According to ISM activists, at one stage the IDF forces left the area and took up positions near the border, a few hundred meters away.But around 5 P.M., the force returned, and the activists assumed the bulldozers were on their way to other houses. "They began demolishing one house," said an ISM activist, who said his name was Richard. "We gathered around and called out to them and went into the house, so they backed out. During the entire time they knew who we were and what we were doing, because they didn't shoot at us. We stood in their way and shouted. There were about eight of us in an area about 70 square meters.

Suddenly, we saw they turned to a house they had started to demolish before, and I saw Rachel standing in the way of the front bulldozer."According to the ISM activist, Corrie was wearing a bright jacket and climbed onto the bulldozer shovel-plow and began shouting at the driver. "There's no way he didn't see her, since she was practically looking into the cabin. At one stage, he turned around toward the building. The bulldozer kept moving, and she slipped and fell off the plow. But the bulldozer kept moving, the shovel above her. I guess it was about 10 or 15 meters that it dragged her and for some reason didn't stop. We shouted like crazy to the driver through loudspeakers that he should stop, but he just kept going and didn't lift the shovel. Then it stopped and backed up.

We ran to Rachel. She was still breathing."According to the activists, the tank arrived on the scene and was only 20 meters away, but the soldiers did not offer any assistance. A little while later, the heavy equipment pulled away, and a Red Crescent ambulance took the badly injured woman to Abu Yusef Najar Hospital in Rafah, where she was declared dead on arrival. A second activist was slightly injured. The destroyed house belonged to Dr. Samir Nasrallah.

The deafening silence of the media on this story is yet another example of the lack of real news in this country.

Democracy Now reported this morning that, two weeks ago, a New York theater company backed out of an agreement to stage the new play "My Name is Rachel Corrie", based on Rachel"s writings. It premiered in London in April 2005 and was supposed to open soon at The New York Theater Workshop. But now the theater says it has been "postponed indefinitely." The play's producers are accusing the theater of censorship but James Nicola, artistic director of the New York Theatre Workshop has defended the decision saying it was made following Ariel Sharon's recent stoke and the election of Hamas. Nicola said, "We had a very edgy situation. We found that our plan to present a work of art would be seen as us taking a stand in a political conflict, that we didn't want to take." So instead they took a stand by suppressing art and free speech. Welcome to the New America.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Marital Strife

Putting marital strife on display for the world to see is not my style, but a disagreement between hubby and I this weekend merits some public discourse. Indeed, it's of such a serious nature that hubby has vowed to comment on the blog if I discuss it (a highly irregular, unprecedented threat from him).

A little about the Insurgent household.

I am a lawyer, hubby's an engineer. I work in the entertainment industry and he works in aerospace (the picture above is from his company's website). Politics is my passion, but he could care less unless it relates to science and technology. Our one television is in a constant tug-of-war between Court TV and the Daily Show, on the one hand, and the NASA Gallery, Science Channel and the Discovery Channel, on the other hand. I am a big-mouth, opinionated pain in the arse and he's the quiet, patient, pensive one.

Hubby and I were talking about space exploration on Saturday and the recent discovery of water on one of Saturn's moons. He began marveling about the possibilities and predicted that humans will walk on the face of Mars within our lifetime. With all seriousness, although I did not mean to be flippant, my response was "So what?" He shot me the death stare and asked "you aren't serious"? Uh oh. "Well, yes, I am serious."

How else could I answer? I just stepped in poop, the look on his face and tone in his voice let me know I was in trouble, so I might as well go in with guns blazing. "Man has gone to the moon and it has done nothing to make civilization more civilized. People still kill each other, wars continue. Perhaps if a country has more money than it knows what to do with, the space program would make sense from a financial perspective, but if the US is already maxing the federal credit card, how can we justify such a frivolous luxury?" I continued on my righteous soapbox. "Another thing that bothers me is that the push to get to space is militarily driven. If the government did not believe there was a way to blow people to smithereens with greater effectiveness by controlling space, it would not be funded. My tax dollars are going to yet another program that is making the world a more dangerous place."

Incredulous, hubby asked "do you know how many technologies were developed as engineers figured out how to get to the moon?" No, but does it matter? That's a lot of money to spend to discover the properties of lightweight aluminum or whatever.

I am waiting for hubby to comment and put the smackdown on my lack of appreciation for the value of space exploration and I am curious what everyone else thinks.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Why Is It Compulsory?

Why is K-12 education compulsory? No matter how self-evident the answer may seem, I still have not come up with a good enough justification to criminalize parents who choose to raise illiterate imbeciles.

Being a Big Sister in a mentoring program has completely changed my outlook on education and now has me questioning the unquestionable. My mentee, a wonderful, 15-year-old from a very broken home, goes to a heartbreakingly bad charter high school in the Watts area of Los Angeles. Her school isn't bad because of teachers, lack of funds or whatever, although it could certainly use some help in those departments. It's bad because she shares her classrooms with 15-year-old boys who already have babies; 15-year-old boys who are more concerned with making her the next conquest than with doing homework; with a 17-year-old boy (who, by the way, is still in basic math) who brags that he has slept with over 30 girls. The list goes on.

The situation was not much different when she was in junior high school. There were 13 and 14-year-olds in her school who were sexually active. Little girls wore outfits emulating the video whores from a Nelly video and carried themselves in the same way. At her graduation, a little boy in the stand with a foul mouth and an attitude to match defiantly ranted that he "didn't want to graduate anyways."

Why are these kids forced to be in school? They are taking valuable space in otherwise overcrowded schools and they are distracting the kids who actually can learn and want to learn from accomplishing their goals. Teachers waste more time on bad kids who distract the class than on good kids who ask questions. Most of the losers do not want to be there and their parents probably do not care either way. If the parents do not care, why should we? Why should the government?

Instead of the incessant complaints about underfunded schools, how about we cut costs by making K-12 voluntary. Parents who care to raise productive, educated citizens can send their kids to school. The parents who do not care can keep their kids at home to be the criminals they already are. School isn't doing anything to improve them. It's just giving these criminals-in-the-making a pool of vicitims for their destruction.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Debate In The Islamic World

Since corporate media do not expose Americans to efforts in the Islamic world to change the state of rot enveloping the religion, it is important to share the information that comes my way. Although our Emperor and the junta despise Al-Jazeera, it is leading the critique of Islam in a way that even the Western media do not dare.

The following video aired on Al-Jazeera a few weeks ago and is a must see for those who think no one in the Islamic world is asking the same questions Westerners are:


Michael Levenson, Boston Globe

It was an urgent chore that brought together people of different faiths -- brushes and spray bottles in hand.Standing shoulder to shoulder at the Striar Jewish Community Center, Dr. Saeed Shahzad, a local Muslim leader, spritzed a cleaner on the wall, while the Rev. John E. Kelly, pastor of a local Roman Catholic church, and Zack Lappen, 14, a member of the center, scrubbed with brushes. Less than 24 hours after someone had painted 11 large swastikas on the side of the center, leaders from several religions came together yesterday to scrub away the hate. As they worked, 60 people cheered, sang in Hebrew and English, held signs proclaiming "No Place for Hate," and clapped as the acting police chief, Chris Ciampa, vowed to catch the culprits. The people declared that a crime intended to divide the community had ended up uniting it, in a sun-baked show of solidarity.

Rhoda Amon, Newsday

Their discussions ranged from polygamy to women's lib, but, through it all, Muslims and Jews found they had much in common. The dialogue on "Women and Islam" at Temple B'nai Sholom in Rockville Centre was the first in a recent Sunday night series that runs through April 2 and is designed by Rabbi Barry Dov Schwartz to build understanding between the faiths.The idea, he said, came from King Abdullah II of Jordan who invited 20 American rabbis to lunch in Washington in September and urged them "to bring Muslims and Jews together." The first guest a week ago Sunday, Dr. Kausar Zaman of Woodbury, a pediatrician at Winthrop-University Hospital and Mercy Medical Center and trustee of the Islamic Center of Long Island, sought to dispel the view that Islam subjugates women. (MORE)

On Democracy

Democracy, the Emperor and his junta insist, is the cure-all panacea for the world's ills. The basis of this belief remains a mystery, however, given the Emperor's deficient understanding of history and admonitions from the founding fathers to the contrary.

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"
~ Benjamin Franklin

"We are a Republican Government. Real liberty is never found in despotism or in the extremes of Democracy... It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity."
~ Alexander Hamilton

"Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
~ John Adams, 2nd President of the United States

"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."
~ Thomas Jefferson

"Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death.
~ James Madison

"The experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived."
~ John Quincy Adams

"Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos."
~ John Marshall, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, 1801-1835

If there never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide, what exactly is the goal for Iraq?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Quotable: The News Media

"This is an industry, it's a business. We exist to make money. We exist to put commercials on the air. The programming that is put on between those commercials is simply the bait we put in the mousetrap."

Ted Koppel

Friday, March 03, 2006

Positive Stories For A Change

Arizona Daily Star, 3/3/06

The third annual Muslim-Jewish PeaceWalk will take place this weekend. The three-mile walk will begin at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Islamic Center of Tucson, 901 E. First St., and end at Temple Emanu-El, 225 N. Country Club Road, between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m., when a prayer, a meal and music are scheduled. A midpoint break is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. at Himmel Park, North Tucson Boulevard and East First Street. The walk's purpose is to show that peace among people of all religions is possible.

SHERYL KAY, St. Petersburg Times, 3/3/06

During his seminary days, Pastor Warren Clark earned the nickname "el hippie." An avowed pacifist, he also believed the ministry should promote nonviolence and social justice. He worked in shanty towns in Argentina during the time of the "disappearances," when thousands vanished at the hands of the military. When he resumed the pulpit seven years ago, he chose First United Church of Tampa, whose core missions closely matched his own convictions - to be open and affirming to individuals of any sexual orientation, and to actively promote peace with justice. Today Clark, 58, has taken on a cause that some perceive to be outside the Christian mainstream: He is an outspoken supporter of Sami Al-Arian.


JANE HOLLEMAN, Dallas Morning News, 3/3/06

It could be a profile of cooperation; Muslims and Christians joined to save the woebegone.Sheikh Hasan Hajmohammad is co-founder and senior consultant of Baitulmaal (pronounced BAY-too-mall), an Irving-based group that helped victims of Hurricane Katrina, the Asian tsunami and the October earthquake in Pakistan.He will be joined by Eric Williams of DeSoto, head of a company that produces a religious talk show, on a trip to help those suffering drought in Africa and devastation in Pakistan.