Saturday, April 28, 2007

Carl Bernstein takes apart Hillary’s career story.

Media: He doesn't call her a liar but...

Drawing on a trove of private papers from Hillary Clinton’s best friend, the legendary Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein is to publish a hard-hitting and intimate portrait of the 2008 presidential candidate, which will reveal a number of “discrepancies” in her official story.

Bernstein, who was played by Dustin Hoffman in the film All the President’s Men, has spent eight years researching the unauthorised 640-page biography, A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“Bernstein reaches conclusions that stand in opposition to what Senator Clinton has said in the past and has written in the past,” said Paul Bogaards, a spokesman for Knopf, which publishes the book on June 19.

With the thoroughness for which he is famous, Bernstein spoke to more than 200 of Clinton’s friends, colleagues and adversaries. He stops short of accusing the New York senator of blatantly lying about her past, but has unearthed examples of where she has played fast and loose with the facts about her “personal and political life”, according to Knopf.

The book could revive the explosive charge, made earlier this year by David Geffen, a former Clinton donor and Hollywood mogul, that “the Clintons lie with such ease, it’s troubling”.

Reuters piece on honor killings ignored by Europe.

Crime: Impressed that Reuters even touched the subject.

"....But Fidan is alone in Berlin, looking for a job and understanding little of what goes on around her. She says she has no friends and, with a cover name to prevent her husband finding her, she has even lost her identity.

Worst of all, she fears becoming an 'honor-killing' victim.

Condemned by many Islamic leaders, honor crimes are motivated by a desire to defend narrow traditionalist ideas of family reputation. They are a blight on Muslim communities in Europe -- in Britain, Germany and Sweden -- as well as in Islamic countries.

United Nations' bodies have said about 5,000 women die in honor killings globally every year. Many more commit suicide. But little is done to discourage the practice, which in Europe is hardly discussed.

"The family's honor depends on the woman and if it is damaged, the woman is destroyed," said Evrim Baba, who represents the far-left Linke party in Berlin's city parliament. She is a Kurd who came to Germany when she was 11.

"Many girls in immigrant communities are trapped in rigid patriarchal structures and live in fear of their families."

Kansas City Airport catering to Muslim cab drivers?

Culture: Another Minneapolis Airport fiasco in the making once the pub gets going?

The Kansas City International Airport has added several foot-washing basins in restrooms to accommodate a growing number of Muslim taxicab drivers who requested the facilities to prepare for daily Islamic prayer, WND has learned.

The move concerns airport police who worry about Middle Eastern men loitering inside the building. After 9/11, the airport beefed up its police force to help prevent terrorist attacks.

"Why are we constructing places of worship for them inside our airports?" said an airport official who requested anonymity. "Why are we catering to their rituals? We don't do it for any other religion."

....There are approximately 250 taxicab drivers operating at KCI Airport in Missouri, one of the largest airports in the U.S., linking some 10 million passengers between mid-America and other U.S. cities. Approximately 70 percent of the drivers are of Middle Eastern heritage and practice the Islamic faith, sources say.

KCI Airport Police are responsible for the cab drivers, including the holding areas of the building. The KCI Aviation Department, which oversees the police, recently expanded the taxicab facility restroom area to include the construction of four individual foot-washing benches.

The cost of the project is not immediately known. A spokeswoman for the engineering department said she could not break out the figures.

KCI Airport Police Capt. Jim Harmon declined comment, explaining, "This is a touchy subject."

The Danes are the happiest people on Earth.

World: Via Newsbusters.

On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," ABC reporter Lama Hasan asserted that, according to a new study, generous welfare and low expectations make the people of Denmark the happiest in the world.

In addition to paying "astronomical taxes," Hasan noted that "psychologists say Denmark’s secret lies in a culture of low expectations." Hasan also compared the Danes to status seeking Americans:

Hasan: "So, any pleasure on any day seems like a kind of gift, a sweet surprise. Unlike Americans, Danes are not always comparing themselves to others and asking for more. It seems that everywhere you go in Copenhagen, you stumble on the satisfied. Having a generous welfare system that provides security and comfort doesn’t hurt."

Unidentified Danish man: "I broke my leg and I can, I can’t go to work, but I can walk up tomorrow and get a bundle of cash in my hand from the state to help me out. I’m pretty spoiled."

Hasan also talked to a Danish woman and seemed to approve of her theory that joy comes from not trying very hard, rather then setting rigorous goals for oneself:

Hasan: "Add to that a natural modesty amongst the Danish people, 32 year-old single mom Steina (sp?) tells us its one reason that makes the country great."

Steina (No last name given): "I don't put dreams totally up there so I can't reach them."

It should be noted that on the same day that GMA was extolling the values of the welfare paradise known as Denmark, the ABC program touted the value of universal health care.

I guess being a low expectation leech on the rest of society where nothing is expected of you more than breathing as the government funnels the money made by those who actually do produce would make those people happy. A good value to teach the kiddies.

French hate the French. Self hate is an ugly thing.

EU: This explains a lot.

PARIS (Reuters) - The French dislike themselves even more than the Americans dislike them, according to an opinion poll published on Friday.

The survey of six nations, carried out for the International Herald Tribune daily and France 24 TV station, said 44 percent of French people thought badly of themselves against 38 percent of U.S. respondents who had a negative view of the French.

Only 14 percent of Germans, 25 percent of Italians, 29 percent of Spaniards and 33 percent of Britons had a negative view of the French, according to the Harris/Novatris poll, which questioned more than 1,000 people in each country.

Brits demand a recount and vow to try harder next time.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Those guys with Hyenas and Baboons.

Entertainment: I wondered what was the real story behind this other than the Nigerian money collectors legend, it was a lot less than that and kinda sad.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

A South African photographer Pieter Hugo spent 10 days in Nigeria with 10 men, four baboons, three hyenas, and two rock pythons. He was responsible for taking this photograph of the Baboons and Hyenas during this visit.

Apparently the men catch the hyenas in their burrows when they’re puppies, then drug them over a period of time in order to sedate them. It takes away a bit of the hyena’s edge apparently, which is unfortunate but understandable.

They use muzzles more for effect than for actual protection, and as long as the animals have eaten, they’re apparently stay quite calm.

The men are very much like travelling minstrels. They go into the ghettos outside cities and march down the street with their hyenas until crowds start gathering. They have baboons that do tricks and beg until people put money in their hands.

The men take the muzzles off and wrestle with the hyenas, and afterward they’ll scare the crowd with rock pythons.

People pay money for all of this, and they also pay the hyena guys for fetish charms they believe will guard them against wild animals.

People assume the fact that these men can walk down the street with such beasts must mean that the charms offer some kind of protection. The long association between witchcraft and hyenas will also probably help here.

Unlike the selfish people who trap and keep these wild animals, Pieter Hugo is a very talented bloke. If your interested in viewing some more of his work, check out his web site here.

Obama's wimpy answer to a terrorist attack scenario.

Politics: From the debates last night on MSNBC.

Williams: Time has expired.

Thank you, Congressman.

Senator Obama, if, God forbid a thousand times, while we were gathered here tonight, we learned that two American cities have been hit simultaneously by terrorists and we further learned, beyond the shadow of a doubt it had been the work of Al Qaida, how would you change the U.S. military stance overseas as a result?

Obama: Well, the first thing we'd have to do is make sure that we've got an effective emergency response, something that this administration failed to do when we had a hurricane in New Orleans.

And I think that we have to review how we operate in the event of not only a natural disaster, but also a terrorist attack.

The second thing is to make sure that we've got good intelligence, a., to find out that we don't have other threats and attacks potentially out there, and b., to find out, do we have any intelligence on who might have carried it out so that we can take potentially some action to dismantle that network.

But what we can't do is then alienate the world community based on faulty intelligence, based on bluster and bombast. Instead, the next thing we would have to do, in addition to talking to the American people, is making sure that we are talking to the international community.

Because as already been stated, we're not going to defeat terrorists on our own. We've got to strengthen our intelligence relationships with them, and they've got to feel a stake in our security by recognizing that we have mutual security interests at stake.

If its Al Qaeda, how would you respond to the Muslim community and interests? How would you stand up to terrorist supporters? What would be your response? This is bluster answer where he shows he has no idea what he would do except a lot of yapping. Given the financial interests of various players in the world today would be him sitting there taking advice which is done to lessen any strong action.

Now take Hillary.

Senator Clinton, same question.

Clinton: Well, again, having been a senator during 9/11, I understand very well the extraordinary horror of that kind of an attack and the impact that it has, far beyond those that are directly affected.

I think a president must move as swiftly as is prudent to retaliate.

If we are attacked, and we can determine who is behind that attack, and if there are nations that supported or gave material aid to those who attacked us, I believe we should quickly respond.

Now, that doesn't mean we go looking for other fights. You know, I supported President Bush when he went after Al Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

And then when he decided to divert attention to Iraq, it was not a decision that I would have made, had I been president, because we still haven't found bin Laden. So let's focus on those who have attacked us and do everything we can to destroy them.

A strong answer that responded directly to Brian's question, not that mealy mouth Woody Allen type hand wringing Obama gave out.

Update# Hillary's camp noticed what a wimpy answer Obama gave and Obama realized he didn't put out a strong answer.

White people moving out of Amsterdam districts

EU: Which causes the housing prices to fall and less mix of people in certain areas.

House prices in 12 Amsterdam districts with many Islamic residents have declined compared with the rest of Amsterdam since the terrorist murder of Theo van Gogh. Before the murder, prices there had actually risen faster than elsewhere in the capital.

Theo van Gogh was murdered on 2 November 2004 by terrorist Mohammed Bouyeri, who is of Moroccan origin. Three economists at Amsterdam's Free University studied the development of housing prices in districts with a large number of Moroccan and Turkish residents (Transvaalbuurt, Indische Buurt West, Indische Buurt Oost, Landlust, Erasmuspark, Kolenkit, Van Galenbuurt, Slotermeer-Noordoost, Slotermeer-Zuidwest, Geuzenveld, Osdorp-Midden and Overtoomse Veld).

House prices in these 12 districts were gradually catching up with those in the rest of Amsterdam in the 10 months before the murder. But after the murder, this trend was reversed. On average, houses became 3 percent cheaper. The concentration of immigrants in the districts increased further and white residents moved out.

Did the Dutch take a bunch of stupid pills?

EU: or just given up trying to be a lawful society?

THE HAGUE, 28/04/07 - Asylum-seekers who lied about their identity or background in their asylum application will be admitted to the general amnesty anyway. The cabinet has agreed on this, insiders in The Hague reported Friday.

In their coalition accord, the Christian democrats (CDA), Labour (PvdA) and small Christian party ChristenUnie agreed earlier that there would be a one-time amnesty for rejected asylum-seekers who applied for asylum before 1 April 2001 and have since remained in the Netherlands. Last month, insiders already reported that they would be allowed to have a criminal record providing it showed no unconditional jail sentence of 30 days or more.

It has now also been decided to open the scheme to aliens who lied about their identity, land of origin or flight account. The cabinet, say the sources, will not admit those who lied repeatedly. Those who 'only' lied once must admit they did this. War criminals are excluded.

Or this accusation.

THE HAGUE, 28/04/07 - The Anti-terrorism National Coordinator (NCTb) denies that it tried to pressurise Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Geert Wilders to adopt a milder tone about Islam. The Lower House is unconvinced and wants clarification by Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin.

Wilders said on TV programme RTL Nieuws Thursday evening he had a three-hour meeting at the NCTb office two weeks ago. NCTb chief Tjibbe Joustra showed him "hundreds" of newspaper articles and TV pictures from the Arabic world with angry reactions to statements made by Wilders in February about the Koran and the Prophet Mohammed. The message was that the Netherlands could as a result of the PVV land up in a situation like that of Denmark after a Danish newspaper printed cartoons about Mohammed, Wilders averred.

Wilders stated that he did not at first feel intimidated by NCTb. "But when I requested the material after the interview, I was only sent untranslated documents in Persian and Arabic. Then I began to think that there was perhaps a double agenda."

or this bit of socialist insanity.

GRONINGEN, 28/04/07 - Long-term unemployed people in Groningen whose TV sets, washing machines or refrigerators break down can get a new one from the municipality free of charge.

The settlement applies to people who have been living on a minimum income for five years or longer. From September on, they will receive an allowance for the cost - with no repayment settlement - if replacement is needed, the city council executive has decided.

The settlement not only applies to people on social welfare but also to elderly people without supplementary pensions. As Alderman Peter Verschuren explained, "all your reserves are exhausted once you have to get by on the minimum for a while". People are permitted to make use of the settlement once every year.

"...he should be hanged himself."

Culture: Am I reading this wrong? It involves Al Sharpton, an Armada Township official and two of his Action Network people.

On the show, Sharpton discussed a controversy in which an Armada Township official accused Eison of making racially and sexually insensitive remarks in March about residents who were appealing their taxes.

"There has to be a penalty (for the alleged remarks)," Sharpton said. "We're talking about a public official."

Board of Review Chairman James Cuneo called for Eison's resignation at the township's April 11 board meeting, claiming he overheard Eison call women "b-----s." Cuneo also told the board that Eison used the "n" word.

Eison admitted to making the sexist remarks, but denied making the racial epithet. A third official who was present at the time, Richard Weinand, said he heard Eison use the sexist term, but did not hear him say the "n" word.

"This whole thing is politically motivated," Eison said Tuesday.

The Rev. Charles Williams, Detroit president of Sharpton's group, the National Action Network, met with Eison Monday and determined that Cuneo's charges were political in nature. Williams told The News he dropped his initial demand that Eison resign after speaking with him, and after Eison apologized publicly for the sexist remarks, and agreed to take anger management courses.

But Williams' forgiveness of Eison angered Sharpton and local civil rights leader Horace Sheffield, the Michigan President of the National Action Network who appeared on the radio with Sharpton

"He was not acting on behalf of the National Action Network," Sheffield said. "It was embarrassing, seeing (Williams) on television with Eison. For someone to let this man off the hook, he should be hanged himself."

Sharpton agreed. "If you just let someone off the hook, or give them amnesty, they're likely to repeat the behavior," Sharpton said.

Did Sheffield just advocate lynching Rev. Williams because they didn't get their local pound of Imus like flesh off the offending official? Unreal. I have to believe the second quote is Sharpton at a different time. No way is he stupid enough to agree with this offensive suggestion.

Gun-control lawmaker has to carry gun more often.

Nation: The story speaks for itself.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Philadelphia lawmaker who supports tougher gun-control laws said Thursday he will likely start wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying his gun more often after receiving a threatening e-mail.

Rep. Jewell Williams said during a news conference on gun control that he would ask police to investigate an e-mail he received Thursday morning from an Allentown resident saying Williams should be shot for supporting Rep. Angel Cruz, also a Democrat from Philadelphia.

Williams, a former police officer who has a gun permit, said he also felt threatened by a gun-rights rally Tuesday during which two participants held up a banner calling for Cruz to be "hung from the tree of liberty." The message was protesting legislation sponsored by Cruz to require gun registration and a $10-a-gun annual fee.

"Now that I hear this attitude of people recommending lynching, I'll probably be wearing my gun more and possibly wearing my bulletproof vest, because we now think we're being threatened," Williams said.

A spokesman for the Capitol Police, Edward Myslewicz, said no formal complaint had been filed Thursday about either the banner or the e-mail Williams said he received.

Gun grabbers were keen to use this incident and got slapped down.

Diane Edbril, executive director of CeaseFirePA, an organization that supports "one-gun-a.m.onth" legislation, referred to the banner in her testimony before the committee.

"We are all being held hostage by a small gang of thugs who have hoodwinked the General Assembly into thinking that we cannot and should not do more to prevent handgun violence from ruining our lives and our commonwealth," Edbril said.

One of the committee's members, Rep. Will Gabig, took issue with Edbril's statement, calling the two protesters "a couple of derelicts who have been condemned by the entire House."

"To try to broad-brush the people on the other side is a little bit of rhetorical flair that I find a little hard to take," said Gabig, R-Cumberland.

Ray Nagin says sorry for clean crack at Philadelphia.

Nation: A fight between Nagin and Street. Classic one wins, everyone loses.

PHILADELPHIA — New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin criticized the cleanliness of Philadelphia after a visit to the city last week.

On Sunday, he apologized for his remarks.

“Let me tell you something. You ought to go to Philly, and you will appreciate how clean New Orleans is,” Nagin said Saturday to a crowd of New Orleans residents concerned about the city’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina. “Just go and walk around Philly a little bit and you will appreciate,” Nagin said. “ … We still have some work to do, but we definitely beat them by a long shot.”

Nagin struck a different tone Thursday, when he was in Philadelphia, thanking the city for providing shelter to displaced New Orleans residents after the storm.

The mayor and officials of his administration came to Philadelphia to learn about the city’s efforts to demolish blighted buildings and replace them with new developments.

Philly should have gone with our murder rate is still less than yours crackback. Okay, maybe not.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Universal health care comes with some concessions.

UK: As they say in the UK about NHS. The concessions will have to come from the taxpayer who is not acting in a collective kumbaya way. Poor Polly Toynbee is beside herself.

"...More serious problems lie ahead. All but abolishing waiting lists has taken the brakes off NHS rationing. Everyone thinks they have a right to everything they have read about on the internet, right here, right now. Howard Stoate, Labour MP, member of the health select committee and a GP, tells of a woman at his constituency surgery the other day demanding compensation from the NHS. Told she had to wait three months for a new hip, she went to Germany to have it done. Now she expects the NHS to pay her bill. He sent her away with a reminder that he used to have patients waiting two years back before '97.

That kind of impatience is growing. They want it all and they want it now, and that is exactly what Tony Blair encouraged with his "choice" ideology. When he said he wanted to make booking a hospital appointment like booking an airline ticket, that's the unbridled consumerism he endorsed.

The truth is the NHS is nothing like a market. It is a collective agreement to spend a set amount of money as efficiently and as fairly as possible. It is not open-ended - no health system ever is: private insurers strictly limit treatments according to the policy paid. The NHS has always been a better system, but it relies on a measure of understanding by citizens of the nature of the compact. As Stoate says: "Now they want an MRI scanner in every street, and a policeman on every corner, but they don't want to pay the taxes to buy them."

Excuse the poor taxpayers who are already paying stiff taxes to fund the thing to demand you have updated equipment and faster service. To blame it on consumerism is cop-out from socialists like Polly who dread the fact no one wants to wait on getting healthy. The promise of universal health care is that everyone pays taxes into a system and get proper care. When you start to talka about rationing and three month wait time for hip surgery(that can't be painfree or comfortable) you are going to get a ticked off society. This is not the system they want and paid for from the beginning.

Job prospects undone by girlfriend's blog

Bidness: Poor guy, but its not like it was a vicious post by his girlfriend, just a common "don't wanna" gripe.

After four a half years of intensive studies, civil engineer Jonas Pihlström thought he had found a job for which he was perfectly suited - but his girlfriend's blog may have put paid to his ambitions as the company instead opted for a candidate with fewer qualifications.

Pihlström and his girlfriend recently moved to a new apartment in Gothenburg.

She was keen to stay in their new home and displayed little enthusiasm when he put in an application for a job with Noss, a company specializing in fibre development systems for the paper industry. The company is located in Norrköping, over three hundred kilometres from Gothenburg.

At first, Pihlström did not think too much about the rejection when it arrived in the post. But then he took a closer look at the enclosed documents.

Inside the envelope he found a print-out from his girlfriend's anonymous blog. He read the relevant excerpt: "This week he is going to find out about the job in Norrköping. Hope he doesn't get it. As I've said before, I don't want to move".

On the printed sheet was a post-it note with the question: "What to do?"

Even now Pihlström does not know how the company found his girlfriend's blog. He also questions the significance of such investigations for a prospective employer.

"It could be friends writing or whatever. This is completely irrelevant information for the employer," he told news agency TT.

He added that most of the print-out focused on his girlfriend's guinea pig.

Despite his girlfriend's preference for Gothenburg, the couple are currently in the process of moving. Since being turned down by Noss, Pihlström has been offered work at a paper mill in Vänersborg, 100 kilometres from Gothenburg.

Noss has conceded that it was a mistake to send Pihlström the print-out. But the company does not think it did anything wrong when searching online for information about the applicant.

Personnel manager Tommy Jersenius would not say whether the blog entry was a deciding factor.

"When you hire somebody, there are a number of circumstances you evaluate. Other than that I have no further comment," Jersenius told The Local.

The least the company could have done is ask in a roundabout way if there would be a problem moving, but you always got to be careful about what you post on blogs these days.

I am in so much trouble.

Ségolène Royal pulls the Bush card!!!

Politics: This is all she has left considering Sarkozy official position mirrors Chirac on Iraq.

"PARIS, April 26 — Ségolène Royal, the Socialist candidate in the French presidential election on May 6, accused Nicolas Sarkozy, her conservative opponent, on Wednesday of having “apologized” to President Bush for France’s decision not to back the United States militarily in Iraq.

Mr. Sarkozy’s campaign team called her words “lies.”

“I am not for a Europe that aligns with the U.S.,” Ms. Royal said on France 2 television. “I have never been, and will never, go apologize to President Bush for the position of France on the issue of refusing to send our troops to Iraq.”

The interviewer noted that Mr. Sarkozy’s official position was that he had supported President Jacques Chirac’s opposition to the war and to French participation in military operations in Iraq.

“Yes, well, listen,” Ms. Royal responded. “He still did this.”

Mr. Sarkozy’s team issued a strongly worded statement on Thursday morning, repeating his position that the war in Iraq was a mistake and that he backed Mr. Chirac’s decision to refuse to send French troops.

The statement called for Ms. Royal to “stop using lies and personal attacks to preserve the dignity and qualities of the presidential debate.”

Ms. Royal repeated her criticism on Thursday evening, telling TF1 television, “He may have changed his posture, but I think all the French were shocked by his move when he visited George Bush, denouncing French arrogance and apologizing for the French position.”

While in the United States in September, Mr. Sarkozy, then the interior minister, sought to distance himself from what he considered France’s clumsy method of diplomacy, but he repeated his opposition to the war. He met with President Bush at the White House and they posed for a photo, which prompted much commentary in the French news media."

There is a part of me that would be highly amused if she wins because she is hilariously ditzy on foreign affair issues and would bankrupt France with her social projects.

School Scraps Nature Course As Pigs Enrage Muslim Pupils

EU: Speaking of ham.

AMSTERDAM, 27/04/07 - A school in Amsterdam has halted lessons on rural life because the Islamic children refused to talk about pigs. Reporting this, Alderman Lodewijk Asscher said he wants to take "tough measures." Subsidies for all kinds of dubious groups must stop and parents of unruly children penalised financially.

Asscher told newspaper De Volkskrant: "A primary school in Amsterdam-Noord has decided no longer to teach about living on a farm. Various pupils began to demolish the classroom when the pig came up for discussion. Apparently it has gone that far. These children, 9, 10 years old, have not been given even the most elementary rules at home about why they must go to school."

Asscher, who is also the Labour (PvdA) leader in Amsterdam, wants to subject the parents to an 'upbringing requirement,' enforced with negative financial spurs. He is thinking of cuts in the children's allowance or lower welfare payments. In the Lower House, Youth and Family Minister Rouvoet recently rejected a plea for this from Party for Freedom (PVV).

I don't remember a passage in the Quran that said you can't even talk about pigs...

Oregon's governor food stamp stunt.

Nation: He is feeling their pain so to speak, problem is it seems many are not going to anytime soon. But the MSM is happy about this chance to afflict the comfortable.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski's decision to spend a week eating on a food-stamp budget has made him a national media star overnight.

CNN cameras followed him and his wife around Wednesday, capturing the governor eating a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and first lady Mary Oberst preparing a low cost meal at Mahonia Hall.

Requests have poured in from other news outlets, including ABC Morning News and CBS. The New York Times is sending someone to do a story on the governor's weeklong diet, according to Kulongoski's press aide, Anna Richter Taylor.

"The phones have been ringing off the hook," Taylor said. "It's pretty insane."

Calls and e-mails also poured into The Oregonian after Tuesday's front-page story on Kulongoski's pledge to eat on $3 a day. Several were complimentary of him making the effort to educate himself and others about the correlation between food stamps and hunger.

But many were scathing. Some said he bought all the wrong food, and sent in shopping lists of their own. Others were critical of food stamps in general, saying recipients use them to buy junk food, such as candy, soda and chips.

The governor's office has scheduled a "round table" discussion of food stamps on Friday.

Problem is the gov is doing this as a one time stunt, people who shop everyday point out food stamps is taxpayer money run amok. If the goal to expand and increase the amount of food stamps/amount, he is going to get a rude awakening.

There are two main reasons for the drop, said Janet Bauer, a policy analyst for the Oregon Center for Public Policy, a Silverton group that studies issues affecting low income residents. One is stepped up efforts to let people know that they can get food stamps. Another has been a loosening of the qualifications, such as allowing some families to own a car worth $2,000 and still get food stamps.

"More working families are eligible for food stamps" and they're getting them, Bauer said. "The working poor have been a growing share of the hungry in Oregon."

The result has been a steep increase in food stamp use. In five years between 2001 and 2006, the number of recipients went from 285,348 to 435,501, according to state statistics, a 52 percent increase. Spending during that same period nearly doubled, from $20.5 million a month to about $40 million a month in federal money.

.....Kulongoski said food stamps not only keep families from going hungry, it also plows money into the state economy, keeping farmers, grocers and others in business. He said he has respect and sympathy for those who use food stamps.

So federal/state tax dollars are being used in a round-about way to subsidize Oregon's economy? I don't think that was one of the main ideas for food stamps. Plus this cry that its hard for people getting food stamps. That is the point. You are not supposed to feel comfortable with food stamps, if people did that, they would never want to get off the dole. That is why its called a safety net, not safety bed.

Snoop Dogg banned from Australia.

Entertainment: He couldn't pass the test.

SYDNEY (AFP) - Snoop Dogg has been barred from Australia because he is not "the sort of bloke we want in this country", the immigration minister said Thursday.

The 35-year-old rapper and hip-hop icon -- real name Calvin Broadus -- had been due to attend the MTV Australian Video Music Awards this weekend.

But Snoop failed the character test required to enter Australia and his visa was cancelled, Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said.

"He has a whole string of convictions and just two weeks ago he was convicted of a number of charges again, sentenced to three years jail, two on another, with five years probation and a suspended sentence," Andrews said.

"He has been denied entry into the United Kingdom because he was caught with others causing affray at Heathrow Airport," the minister told Australian radio.

"He doesn't seem the sort of bloke we want in this country."

Embryos screened to beat breast cancer.

Culture: The era of designer babies is upon us, though this is a lot more serious than the stories of people wanting a boy/girl and only with specific eye color that people fear(and it will) come true.

Two couples whose families have been ravaged by breast cancer are to become the first to screen embryos to prevent them having children at risk of the disease, The Times has learnt.

Tests will allow the couples to take the unprecedented step of selecting embryos free from a gene that carries a heightened risk of the cancer but does not always cause it. The move will reignite controversy over the ethics of embryo screening.

An application to test for the BRCA1 gene was submitted yesterday by Paul Serhal, of University College Hospital, London. It is expected to be approved within months as the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has already agreed in principle.

Opponents say that the test is unethical because it involves destroying some embryos that would never contract these conditions if allowed to develop into children. Even those that did become ill could expect many years of healthy life first.

Some critics fear that the tests move society farther down a slope that will lead ultimately to the creation of “designer babies” chosen for looks or intelligence.

However, the first patients say that the technology will allow them to spare their children a devastating genetic inheritance. One couple in their twenties, who would only be named as Matthew and Helen, have lost three generations to breast cancer.

Oakland reaffirms its an illegal sanctuary

Immigration: So the two bay area cities are now for illegals.

"...The chief of police, the mayor and city council members gathered at City Hall to declare that Oakland is now a "city of refuge," which means illegal immigrants will find sanctuary in the city.

The city leaders vowed they will no longer cooperate with any investigation, detention or arrests of illegal residents.

"This will give us an opportunity to stand in front of our community with absolute unity that in this Oakland, in this place, in this vision, there is no room for intimidation, abuse, manipulation or exploitation," said Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums.

The move follows a series of raids in the city by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents."

Watch the video report especially the part about the illegal who raped a nine year old girl because San Jose sanctuary policy allowed him to stay in the country.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

NBC cutting Heroes budget?

Entertainment: From Greg Beeman blog on the last Heroes episode.

"....Adam also had to deal with a bit of last minute budget cut compromises, and he dealt with these gracefully. Dealing with the budget on HEROES is a bit like playing a fish on a hook. We’re always letting out line and then reeling it back in. We look at the needs of the script, where we are in the season, whether it’s a sweeps show or a bookend show or not. Sometimes we’re just looking at whether we’ve recently been good or bad and whether we have to make up for it. Unfortunately for Adam and episode 19, we’d just come off a spending spree and needed to cut back. Like a suburban couple, looking over the credit card debt from last month’s drunken weekend in Vegas, we realized there’d be no eating out this month, and that the 60’ flat screen would have to wait.

Several significant cuts were made, literally a day before shooting. First, we had a really great location for, what we called, “the bowels of Prima-Tech”, HRG’s company. It was a place where they’d built and tested jets with a lot of cool rooms for cells and corridors. We brought those scenes back to the existing cell that we’d built on stage for Sylar, and to the halls and corridors that surrounded our sets. Also, originally, HRG, Matt and Ted were going to have their dialogue scene (“wait a second, your middle management”) on the run, while stealing a car. We moved that back to the diner set we owned. There were also more beats of action in the Sylar/Peter fight, including that Sylar was pushed out a window by Suresh and fell several stories to the pavement.

At the end of the day I think most of these compromises have no negative impact on the show. Adam and the art department dealt with all the changes quite well. The only one that continues to perturb me is how Sylar is taken out. The world’s most fearsome villain, immediately after taking care of Peter, who has about 14 powers, gets knocked out by a chalkboard?!? Oh well."

Come on NBC, this is your top rated show and you cut its budget? Weak

The great Ham hate crime of Lewiston, Maine.

Culture: Here is how the whole mess got started.

"....The incident, which happened in the school cafeteria on April 11, was considered by school staff to be a hate incident. School resource officer Bill Brochu, according to Principal Maureen Lachapelle, followed police procedure by filing a report "because the ham incident was perceived as a hate/bias crime" by the students.

"The Somali boys said they were offended by it because of their religion," which considers pork unclean, and Brochu "did an investigation and forwarded his report to his supervisor, Adam Higgins," Lachappelle said. From there, the report was sent to the Attorney General's Office for review and to the Androscoggin County District Attorney's Office for review for possible harassment charges.

According to Lachapelle, a student brought a honey-baked ham to school to share with his friends. While they were in the cafeteria, one or more students dared another student (not the one who brought the ham to school) to put the ham on a table in front of five Somali boys. That student took up the dare, and followed through even though his friends immediately tried to talk him out of it. The student "knew it was wrong," Levesque said, while he was doing it.

Lachappelle said the student regrets the incident and his parents have supported the punishment meted by the school district."

When people think of a hate/bias "CRIME" they usually picture assault, murder, crosses being burned on lawns, lynching..etc..etc. Serious stuff that reaches the concept of a crime. A boy putting a ham on a table and having a report reach the attorney general's office for review is downright stupid. At best this should be kept in house. Instead a bunch of politically correct do-gooders take this incident up levels it should have never gone too. As for the Somali boys, shame on them as well for overreacting to a middle school prank. So all of this leads to a prank story by the Associated Content which leads into more chaos which I blame on the school.

"LEWISTON - An obscure online parody of the recent hate incident at the Lewiston Middle School - a parody reported as news on a national Fox broadcast Tuesday - launched an immediate avalanche of angry phone calls and ugly e-mails to the school system.

....Levesque said he was bothered not only that the parody took aim at a sensitive issue in Lewiston, but also that Fox and others reported the information as fact without checking. The national media, Levesque said, sees information posted online and "uses it as gospel."

In this case, reporting false information is getting in the way of the city and the school's continued work to build community understanding and tolerance for immigrants, said Phil Nadeau, Lewiston's assistant city administrator. The parodied news account cast a false impression of an overwhelmingly tolerant city and its population, Nadeau said, and of the Somali population in particular.

"The last thing they want is to be above the fold" of a front page or featured on the evening news, Nadeau said.

Watching the parody and news reports unfold Tuesday, Levesque said is proof media "is interested in entertaining and playing on people's emotions," which gets in the way of building community relations."

The obvious point is the obscure website got a hold of this story in the first place because the AP ran with it after it made front page news locally.

Read the original story and then the parody story. Not hard to see why people took the fake one to heart because it fits the pattern of politically correct responses which makes mountains out of mole hills. Finally I dislike this bit from the article "Somalis, others reflect on high-tension week in community relations."

The group talked about what they've gained by meeting with each other for four weeks.

John Glaus, 57, said he's learned that Somalis want to be accepted, not assimilated. People don't need to change themselves, but people need to understand others.

That is the type of attitude that worked wonders in the UK. This is America where you should assimilate as you contribute parts of your norms, culture, ways to the American melting pot. You don't lose yourself at all. But demanding that people just let you be and understand you is not good enough. That is a major contribution to tensions.

Reporters finally coming out of their "objective" shell.

Media: I like this trend, wear your activism and bias on your sleeves.

Ten years ago the treaty to ban landmines was signed in Ottawa, Canada. As journalists who have seen the devastating impact of conflict first-hand, we applauded the agreement.

Today a more ambitious treaty is being developed at the United Nations: a global arms trade treaty to regulate sales of all conventional arms. The challenge is to build a strong treaty to stop arms transfers that are likely to fuel serious human rights violations, conflict and poverty.

It is time that all governments took responsibility for the individual tragedies perpetrated with the weapons they supply: the woman raped at gunpoint, the young man crushed under the tracks of a battle tank, the child forced to become a soldier.
Currently, the UN secretary general is asking governments what they want the arms trade treaty to cover. We call on all governments to listen to the millions of people around the world who live in daily fear of armed violence, and build a treaty tough enough to protect them.

Christiane Amanpour CNN
Martin Bell ex-BBC correspondent
Sebastian Junger Vanity Fair
Jon Lee Anderson The New Yorker
Don McCullin freelance photographer
Paul Moreira Canal Plus
Jon Snow Channel 4 News
Charles Wheeler ex-BBC correspondent
and 12 others

Who are the 12 others?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Russell Simmons rap cleanup... Smary.

Entertainment: Does Simmons think people are this stupid that they would fall for this?

NEW YORK — Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons said Monday that the recording and broadcast industries should consistently ban three racial and sexist epithets from all so-called clean versions of rap songs and the airwaves.

Currently such epithets are banned from most clean versions, but record companies sometimes "arbitrarily" decide which offensive words to exclude and there's no uniform standard for deleting such words, Simmons said.

The problem is not the clean version of rap songs, but the overall racial and sexist tone of the industry as it stands now. Putting pure clean versions on radio doesn't address anything.

I am not for censoring anyone or anything as the artist intends it to be 99% of the time. But this goes beyond just a couple of words.

Writer Joan Morgan said the announcement amounted to "absolutely nothing." She called the recommendations "short-sighted at best and disingenuous at worst." It was, she said, an "anemic, insufficient response" that failed to address homophobia and other issues in certain strains of hip-hop culture and rap music.

Morgan, author of "When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down," said calling for the removal of the three epithets assumes "all of the violence, misogyny and sexism in hip-hop is only expressed in" those words.

"It's says let's take the responsibility away from people creating the content and put it back on the corporations," said Morgan.

Oh Lord... Obama likes comparable worth.

Politics: I hope he just stuck his name to these bills just for riding the coattails because comparable worth is one of the worst economic theories ever. The most insulting as well come to think of it.

Dealbreaker: Obama has apparently just endorsed one of the worst ideas of Carter era liberalism, "comparable worth," which would have lawyers and judges deciding what every job is "worth" according to some bureaucratic, non-market criteria that would inevitably punish "unskilled" manual work--i.e, the very workers who are screwed the most by globalization. Are truckdrivers really paid too much? ... [You are just refighting the battles of the '80s--ed Hard to avoid when the '80s keep coming back.] ... Too bad neoliberalism is dead, or else there might be some Democrats pointing out what a dreadful, recycled idea this is. Even Hillary doesn't endorse it, as Ben Smith points out. .... 2:29 P.M. link

Politico: And with today's moves, Obama seems also to have put a rare bit of policy daylight between himself and the rest of the field, with him distinctly to the left on a substantive piece of economic policy.

While the Clinton bill is a package that strengthens the existing framework of pay equity lawsuits, the Harkin bill -- of which Obama is now a sponsor -- expands it dramatically, allowing employees to sue not only if they're not getting the same pay for the same work, but if they're not getting the same pay for "equivalent work" -- say, a secretary and a truck-driver. That's a much broader category that women's groups and the trial bar have long pushed, and which business hates.

"For too many years, not only have women across America been undercompensated for their hard work, they have been undervalued. Women only earn 77 cents to every dollar that a man makes. Equal work deserves the guarantee of equal pay. We must eliminate the legacy of discrimination that continues to face women in the workplace, by ending penalties for women that choose to have both a career and raise a family and by making it easier for women to organize. Setting that standard will strengthen our workforce, raise our productivity, and benefit our economy as a whole."

comparable worth

A theory holding that compensation for job classifications filled chiefly by women should be the same as for those classifications filled chiefly by men if the jobs, albeit dissimilar, are regarded as having equal value. According to this theory, workers' salaries should be calculated on a scale of socioeconomic value that transcends traditional supply and demand.

This is insane. Same work = same pay is a female truck driver and male truck driver who are doing the same routes/deliveries. That is a no-brainer. Comparable worth is blasted nonsense from Obama who is showing himself more to be a nanny state politician as his poll numbers improve.

Cory Booker’s Battle for Newark

Politics: As the young new mayor tries to fix and build up one of the most corrupt, crime-ridden cities in America. By the end of the article I was thinking this is a hopeless cause and someone with his enthusiasm and willingness to try different approaches would be better off somewhere else. The school system is a wreck.

"What may be Booker’s greatest challenge is waiting in the wings: reviving Newark’s atrocious school system. Right now, Booker doesn’t have control of the schools; the state took over the Newark system after a damning 1994 investigation found widespread mismanagement and corruption in the elected board of education. Since then, the state, under a court order, has poured billions of dollars into the city’s schools, so that Newark now spends nearly $17,000 per pupil a year—about 75 percent more than the national average.

Yet the money has done little good, since the state has pursued few educational innovations and hasn’t taken on entrenched educational interests (above all, the teachers’ union), which still control much of the system. Student performance has continued to plummet. “High school achievement rates have virtually flipped, from almost 70 percent of graduating Newark kids passing the state’s high school proficiency exam when the state took over, to only about 30 percent passing it now,” says Richard Cammarieri, a member of the Newark schools advisory board. E3 executive director Dan Gaby bluntly describes the system as “in crisis,” estimating that it spends an astonishing $1.3 million for every qualified student it manages to graduate from high school.

Booker’s first order of business if he gets control of the system, which remains an open question, will be to appoint a strong chancellor, along the lines of the Chicago schools chief or New York City schools chancellor. He wants to bring to Newark many of the promising education reforms he sees around the country: closing and replacing chronically failing schools (Newark has some 30 of them), letting parents choose which schools within the system to send their kids to, and inviting more operators of successful private schools into the city to run charter schools. “I have stopped going to lotteries for admission to charter schools because I was so saddened to see parents who have run out of options for their children,” Booker says.

Booker has thrown his weight behind a state bill, sponsored by Democratic legislators, that gives tax credits to companies that contribute to a scholarship fund for Newark students who want to attend private schools or jump to public schools in better-performing districts. Critics, especially the state’s powerful teachers’ union, have branded the scholarship money a surreptitious voucher program that will eventually harm public schools, and the state’s governor, Jon Corzine, has yet to endorse the legislation. But Booker responds: “Who can object to a pool of money that will give poor children the same opportunities as middle-class kids?”

Booker could have even tougher education battles to come, especially in ending seniority rules that allow veteran teachers to pick where they want to work, regardless of performance, and rewriting bureaucratic regulations that make it tough to fire bad educators. “If you can’t change those things, you will fail in any effort to fix this system,” says Gaby."

Did any MSM report on Ayaan Hirsi Ali death threat?

Media: Not even the Pittsburgh paper that reported the threat against Ali from Imam Fouad ElBayly do a followup as of this posting. Hot Air has a report on a Jihad watch reader who called up the Imam.

Monday, April 23, 2007

GOP ready to sell out for illegals.

Immigration: Depressing but not surprising news.

Searching for a bipartisan deal on immigration, Republicans are backing off from strict conditions they floated earlier this year for allowing illegal immigrants a crack at citizenship.

Deep rifts are keeping the two parties from agreeing on a broad overhaul, however, with only a couple of weeks left to reach a compromise under a self-imposed Senate deadline.

An intense round of closed-door talks among Cabinet officials and Senate Republicans and Democrats has reached a critical bargaining stage, congressional officials and lobbyists said. Senior lawmakers from opposite sides of the spectrum — led by liberal Sen. Edward Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass., and conservative Sen. Jon Kyl (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz. — hope to draft a bipartisan measure as early as this week that could come to a Senate vote in May.

The White House and some GOP allies now say they are willing to lower the steep fines and shorten the waits the nation's roughly 12 million illegal immigrants would face if they sought legal status, said sources close to the talks, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to outline the negotiations.

Penalties as high as $10,000 and extended waiting periods for undocumented immigrants seeking legal status were part of a draft the White House circulated last month in hopes of capturing the support of conservatives who shunned President Bush's more permissive plan last year.

By easing both, Republicans would be moving toward a measure passed by the Senate last year — over the objections of most in their party — that would have allowed illegal immigrants who had been in the country five years or more to remain, continue working and eventually have a chance at citizenship after paying at least $3,250 in fines and fees and meeting other conditions.

Many conservative Republicans are still wary of the softer approach, making its prospects uncertain.

"The notion that they're willing to concede something that the public overwhelmingly supports is an encouraging sign," said Cecilia Munoz of the National Council of La Raza, an advocacy group for Hispanic Americans.

Still, the proposal remains tougher on both illegal immigrants and temporary workers than last year's Senate measure.

Democrats have backed off their opposition to requiring immigrants to return to their home countries before applying for citizenship, and are discussing so-called triggers that would have to be met before a new plan could take effect. Both are provisions they rejected last year.

But key sticking points remain. Democrats oppose Republican proposals to make it harder for temporary workers to stay in the country, bar them from bringing family members to the U.S. and end visa preferences for citizens' relatives.

In the end the Democrats will get what they want and the GOP will just fold as usual.

Elect Sarkozy; Muslims and Blacks will riot.

France: Well this is going to pump up Sarkozy supporters and Royal haters. The threat of violence is not going to go over well with the French.... I hope.

CLICHY-SOUS-BOIS, France - Many blacks and Muslims in the troubled neighborhoods ringing French cities voted for the first time, saying they were motivated by one desire: to stop law-and-order, tough-on-immigrants Nicolas Sarkozy from becoming president.

Sarkozy, the front-runner after Sunday’s first round of voting, is deeply unpopular in housing projects populated largely by second- and third-generation immigrants, many of them Muslims from former colonies in North Africa who live mired in poverty and joblessness.

Voters in several poor districts favored Segolene Royal, the Socialist campaigning to be France’s first woman president. She was second in the overall vote, finishing ahead of 10 other candidates and earning a spot in a May 6 runoff election against the conservative Sarkozy.

Sarkozy’s campaign has been haunted by his use of the word "scum" to describe young delinquents days before widespread riots erupted in 2005 in the bleak suburbs on the outskirts of the country’s cities. Some youths took Sarkozy’s comment as a declaration of war.

"If Sarkozy wins, there will certainly be riots here in Clichy and all over France," said Mohammed Saidi, a first-time voter who was born in Morocco. The 43-year-old electrician and father of four voted in Clichy-sous-Bois, where the riots broke out and spread nationwide.

Another first-time voter, 20-year-old Fatma Celik, said that if Sarkozy wins the runoff May 6, "people are going to go crazy here."

Sarkozy has reached out to minorities by promoting a policy akin to affirmative action. But many in France’s housing projects _ and beyond _ despise the tough police tactics he instituted as interior minister, his uncompromising language and his sometimes roughly executed drive to send illegal immigrants home.

Akon dirty dancing update. Prime Minister involved.

Entertainment: Previous post dealing with Akon dry-humping a 14 year old here. Now the Prime Minister gets his view in on this and foreign artists better be wary.

"The public should forgive the dirty dancing daughter of pastor Dave Alleyne and instead call on the owner of Club Zen to take responsibility for what happened at his business place, Prime Minister Patrick Manning said yesterday.

Manning said the performance of hip-hop superstar Akon should never be allowed to happen in this country, and "again, some foreign artiste comes and is allowed to do as they please".

He also said the police should investigate the matter. "

Eco-Living: Good for you, but not for me.

Enviro: Typical rah rah fight Global Warming get-together by the well to do who balk at the fact they may have to sacrifice too. People like this will do just enough to be "admired" at the cocktail party, but never enough to make a difference.

"....These days Ms. Barnett, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan whom Women’s Wear Daily once profiled under the headline “Sloan Ranger,” is today a consumer reporter for KNTV, the NBC television affiliate in San Jose, Calif. She recycles and has tossed away her children’s plastic sippy cups. Concerned with carbon emissions, she is about to replace the Barnetts’ two family cars with hybrids. “I turn the water off when I’m brushing my teeth,” she said. “I’m always learning, I’m always trying to improve.”

Still, she has no plans to reduce the family’s significant carbon footprint by, say, selling the Manhattan second home. “I’m not a perfect person,” she said. “I’m not the greenest woman in America.” And there was scant indication that other guests, most of whom, presumably, knew their way up the steps of a private jet, were contemplating major lifestyle cutbacks. Glancing about the room, Ms. Barnett said, “We aren’t all going to move to one-bedroom apartments.”

More from Malkin.

Then you have intellects like Sheryl Crow who come up with her one square of TP a visit. These are the type of people who make global warmers livid because it undermines the message.

Pro-gun lobby strengthened after shooting

Nation: Much to the surprise of foreign observers I guess, but Americans are not gun fanatics or maniacs. Just the idea of banning guns from law-abiding citizens is a terrible idea. This is not a nanny state society.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The powerful US gun lobby, far from being weakened by last week's tragic college campus shooting, actually has emerged stronger, gun advocates said, stepping up calls Sunday for a better-armed US citizenry to prevent future attacks.

Gun rights advocates said that following last week's massacre, in which 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui fatally shot 32 victims at Virginia Tech University, gun control forces will be hard pressed to make the case for tighter restrictions.

"This is a huge nail in the coffin of gun control," said Philip Van Cleave, president of the gun rights group Virginia Citizens Defense League.

"They had gun control on campus and it got all those people killed, because nobody could defend themselves," he told AFP.

"You want people to be able to defend themselves -- always," he said.

"....Many had expected that the Virginia Tech rampage would be a rallying cry for gun control activists, but that has not turned out to be the case.

Even the mass killings at Colorado's Columbine High School in 1999 failed to result in gun-control legislation, despite the emotional outcry over those shootings.

The reaction has been even more muted following last week's tragedy, the deadliest school shooting in US history.

US politicians have shown little inclination to introduce new gun control legislation in a country where an estimated 40 percent of US households own a gun and where for many the constitutional right to bear arms is seen as sacred."

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Pittsburgh Imam says Ayaan Hirsi Ali must die.

Crime: Sorry, why is this fool still walking around without every security branch in America coming down on his ass? Where is the condemnation by CAIR and other Islamic groups?

"....A community debate over religious freedom surfaced in Western Pennsylvania last week when Dutch feminist author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee who has lived under the threat of death for denouncing her Muslim upbringing, made an appearance at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

Islamic leaders tried to block the lecture, which was sponsored through an endowment from the Frank J. and Sylvia T. Pasquerilla Lecture Series. They argued that Hirsi Ali's attacks against the Muslim faith in her book, "Infidel," and movie, "Submission," are "poisonous and unjustified" and create dissension in their community.

Although university officials listened to Islamic leaders' concerns, the lecture planned last year took place Tuesday evening under tight security, with no incidents.

Imam Fouad ElBayly, president of the Johnstown Islamic Center, was among those who objected to Hirsi Ali's appearance.

"She has been identified as one who has defamed the faith. If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death," said ElBayly, who came to the U.S. from Egypt in 1976.

Hirsi Ali, an atheist, has been critical of many Muslim beliefs, particularly on subjects of sexual morality, the treatment of women and female genital mutilation. In her essay "The Caged Virgin," she also wrote of punishment, noting that "a Muslim's relationship with God is one of fear."

"Our God demands total submission. He rewards you if you follow His rules meticulously. He punishes you cruelly if you break His rules, both on earth, with illness and natural disasters, and in the hereafter, with hellfire," she wrote.

In some Muslim countries, such as Iran, apostasy -- abandoning one's religious belief -- and blasphemy are considered punishable by death under sharia, a system of laws and customs that treats both public and private life as governable by God's law.

Sharia is based largely on an interpretation of the Quran, the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed, a consensus of Islamic scholars and reasoning, according to the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. In some countries, sharia has been associated with stoning to death those who are accused of adultery, flogging for drinking wine and amputation of a hand for theft.

One of the most noted cases of apostasy in recent years involved author Salman Rushdie, whose novel "The Satanic Verses" offered an unflattering portrayal of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. The book prompted Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa -- a religious decree -- in 1989 calling for Rushdie's assassination.

Although ElBayly believes a death sentence is warranted for Hirsi Ali, he stressed that America is not the jurisdiction where such a crime should be punished. Instead, Hirsi Ali should be judged in a Muslim country after being given a trial, he added.

"If it is found that a person is mentally unstable, or a child or disabled, there should be no punishment," he said. "It's a very merciful religion if you try to understand it."