Monday, 12 January 2009
GLOBAL WARMING UPDATE
This update on our newly tropical country comes to us from www.thenorthwestern.com:
Doug Zellmer column: Record snow steals spotlight
from frigid temperatures
Record snow during December in Oshkosh spawned a
lot of conversation thats kept the hot stove weather league going this
Lets push aside the 39 inches
of the white stuff from last month and talk about the cold weather. Just in case
you didnt notice the temperature while shoveling, December was much colder than
normal in Oshkosh.
The average temperature in December was 15.8 degrees,
which makes it the 10th coldest December in the city since weather records were
kept starting in the 1880s, said officials from the National Weather Service in
Green Bay. For about the first three weeks of December it was cold enough for
the month to flirt with the top five coldest Decembers recorded in Oshkosh.
By the way, calculating the average temperature is pretty simple. The
NWS adds the high and the low for each day and then divides by two.
15.8 degree average was a whopping 6.3 degrees below normal for December.
Oshkosh had nine days with below zero temperatures last month, according to the
NWS and Northwestern weather observations.
Our December weather reminded
me of some of the harsh winters on the farm while growing up in the 1950s and
1960s. I knew it was really cold outside when frost built up on the inside walls
of our dairy barn. I didnt need a thermometer to remind me of the cold.
One bitter cold winter day I recall like it was yesterday. It was Dec.
31, 1967 when the Packers played the Dallas Cowboys in Green Bay for the
National Football League title in the Ice Bowl game. The temperature was
something like minus 15 with a biting wind, so we did chores early. Frost was
maybe an inch thick on some of the inside barn walls. Our dairy cows only stayed
outside about 15 minutes that day. The cows breath seemed to cling to the
What was really a bummer during cold weather is when the
manure spreader broke. That happened to us a few times during the winter and it
was no fun standing out in the cold trying to fix it. My dad could take a lot of
cold, but when it was below zero he didnt appreciate a break
Somehow, I have a feeling this winter has a lot roar left in it.
Hang on tight.
Maybe the good folks of Oshkosh, Wisconsin would do well to hold off
on the speedo and thong bikini Al Gore led us to believe they'd be ok
with. Instead, keep the overcoat and get warm by burning a few carbon
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR CHILDREN ARE BEING TAUGHT?
The article below appears to be very well researched and well
referenced. It is the kind of article any mainstream media venue could
have issued - if that venue cared to do so. But it comes to
us from CBN News, not from a mainstream news venue.
See how you feel about this -- and don't hesitate to look at the links it
provides as well:
Public Schools Teach the ABCs of
By Erick Stakelbeck
CBN News Terror Analyst
CBNNews.com - Several recent
studies have shown that American students are alarmingly ignorant about U.S.
history and world events.
Experts have attributed the problem to
everything from failing schools to substandard teachers.
But what about
For instance, did you know that Muslims discovered America?
Or that Jerusalem is an Arab city? That's just some of the "history" that
students in America's K-12 classrooms have been taught in recent years--with the
help of taxpayer money.
A new report by the non-profit Institute for
Jewish and Community Research finds that American high school and elementary
textbooks contain countless inaccuracies about Christianity, Judaism, Israel and
the Middle East.
The Institute examined 28 of the most widely-used
history, geography and social studies textbooks in America. It found at least
One book ignored the Jewish roots of Christianity,
saying the faith was founded by a "young Palestinian" named Jesus.
Another stated as fact that the Koran was revealed
to Mohammed from God.
Yet another said ancient Jewish civilization
contributed "very little" to to the arts and sciences.
Textbooks like these are used by millions of
schoolchildren in all 50 states. Sandra Stotsky--now an endowed chair at the
University of Arkansas--has seen some of them firsthand.
Stotsky was a commissioner at the Massachusetts
Department of Education from 1999 until 2003. In that role, she helped set
standards for students and teachers on the K thru 12 level. Stotsky wrote a book
about her experience developing standards and professional development for
history teachers called The Stealth Curriculum.
"We heard from a number of groups who were
outraged because they didn't want what they called a 'Euro-centric' version of
history," said Stotsky. "They literally wanted an Islamo-centric version of
history. Which means you look at the world from the perspective of Islam and you
don't talk about any negative aspects of Islam."
After the 9/11 attacks, the Massachusetts Board of
Education funded a special seminar for K-12 teachers to learn about Islamic
history and the Middle East.
The outreach coordinator at Harvard University's
Center for Middle Eastern Studies helped organize the seminar. Stotsky said she
was shocked by the teachers' lesson plans that came out of the week-long
"They ranged from having students make prayer
rugs; describe what it would be like to go on a hajj--a pilgrimage; learn and
memorize the five pillars of Islam; listen to and learn how to recite passages
from the Koran; dress like a Muslim from a particular country.it was, to me, a
clear violation of ethics involved in how one would expect children to learn
about another culture. That they would literally go through the memorization and
the learning of religious beliefs."
"These are unacceptable practices in a
public school," she added. "In fact, they would be unacceptable academic
practices in any school."
Harvard is one of 18 universities that receives
government funding under Title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965. To
qualify for that funding, the universities are required to conduct outreach to
K-12 teachers, helping them to shape lessons for schoolchildren. Elementary and
secondary teachers have taken full advantage of the arrangement: after all, they
believe they're getting expert insight on Islam and the Middle East from
distinguished university scholars.
"You have a lot of politically naive
teachers--well intentioned teachers who do want their students to learn more
about Islamic history," says Stotsky. "It has not been well covered in most
history courses they've ever taken, so they do genuinely want to learn more for
themselves and teach their students more."
In some cases they may be getting more than they
bargained for: the Saudi government has donated millions of dollars to Middle
East Centers at universities that receive Title VI funding.
The Harvard Middle Eastern Studies Center--whose
proposed lesson plans for K-12 history teachers originally drew Stosky's
concern--is one of them. As CBN News reported earlier this year, the Harvard
Center received a $20 million donation from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in
2005. Georgetown University--another title VI recipient--also received $ 20
million from the Prince that same year.
It's through these Title VI university
centers--all of them government-sanctioned and taxpayer supported--that
Saudi-funded materials find their way into K-12
Education or Islamic
"Saudi donations to American universities should
be seen in a much larger picture of Saudi promotion of a Saudi point of view,"
said Daniel Pipes, Director of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia. "Whether
it be Islamic or political, the Saudis have a point of view. And they have been
very clever and very generous over the decades to promote that point of
Among the textbooks the Saudi-funded Harvard
Center recommends for schoolchildren is the Arab World Studies Notebook. The
book is published by a New Mexico-based group called Arab World and Islamic
Resources , which was founded in 1990 with funding from organizations that
include Saudi Aramco, a Saudi government-owned oil company.
The Notebook has come under fire
for negatively portraying America and Israel while whitewashing Islam. It's been
banned by some school districts.
"It's very difficult to find any discussion of
ancient Israel--that it actually existed in time as a country,' Stotsky said of
the Notebook. "That it had a king, that it had kings. That King Solomon
existed, that Jerusalem was established as their capital city. It would
discredit even the founding of the state of Israel by claiming that it was
imposed by European or Western powers."
One of the Notebook's most controversial
claims was that Muslim explorers beat Columbus to the New World. Older versions
state that some Native American chiefs even had Muslim names, like Abdul-Rahim.
These passages were eventually removed after widespread criticism from scholars
and Native American groups. The Notebook's editor, Audrey Shabbas, did
not respond to our requests for an interview.
The Middle East Policy Council--a pro-Arab
advocacy group in Washington, D.C.--also conducts teacher training programs for
K-12 teachers and has promoted the Arab World Studies Notebook as an ideal
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal donated $1
million towards the Council's teacher training programs last year. The group did
not respond to repeated requests for an interview.
Curriculum Standards Needed
Stosky says there needs to be stronger standards
for K-12 curriculums to help offset the influence of outside pressure groups.
That's traditionally been a job for local governments.
"State governments have not been given the power
to set curriculum," she said. "No, this is a local responsibility. It was
devised this way by our framers. You know, the local governments, local
communities, would develop their own curricula, decide what they would want to
teach their children. State governments could assess, as they now do, but they
can't prescribe curriculum for local communities. And the federal government
certainly can't prescribe a curriculum. That's why we're having a battle over
where national standards are going to come from."
The standards Stotsky helped craft for
Massachusetts schools include what she calls "politically incorrect but
historically accurate" objectives about the Islamic slave trade, Islamic
expansionism and treatment of women in Islam.
"What state governments can do--which to me,
is the path we were taking in Massachusetts--is to make sure that the standards
you create for a subject have been thoroughly vetted by first rate scholars--and
a range of first rate scholars," said Stotsky.
Title VI Battle
Hits Capitol Hill
The battle over Title VI has also reached Capitol
Hill. In August, Congress approved revisions to the Higher Education Act of
1965--which includes Title VI. Universities must now explain how their Title VI
funds will be used--and K-12 schools are now required to reflect a wide range of
views on global issues in their lesson plans. Whether the Saudi point of view is
still among them remains to be seen.
If you think your children are learning more or less
updated versions of what you learned in school, this should a) educate you
to the likelihood they are not, b) scare you to think this is what they are
learning instead and c) outrage you because of it.
Maybe a call or visit to your local high school wouldn't be such a bad idea. Be pleasant, be courteous, be open
(it is certainly possible students there are not among those being
injected with this kind of misinformation). Ask the principal or someone in the history department
- preferably the teacher who heads it -
what, if anything, students are being taught about Islam and whether you can
borrow one or more of the books they learn from.
The reaction to your requests will probably tell you
whether there is anything to be concerned
And, while you're at it, please take a moment or two to wonder why our
wonderful "neutral" media do not report what our children are "learning" about
THE FUNNIEST HEADLINE OF THE YEAR (so far)
You have to hand it to the New York Times. It has no comic section, but
sometimes, without even trying, it is the funniest newspaper
Here is the headline and first paragraph of a
front-page article in this morning's edition (you can click on the link to
read the entire article if you care to):
"Crisis Imperils 2-State
CAIRO With every image of the dead in Gaza inflaming people
across the Arab world, Egyptian and Jordanian officials are worried that they
see a fundamental tenet of the Middle East peace process slipping away: the
so-called two-state solution, an independent Palestinian state
coexisting with Israel.
Got that? Israel's action against hamas is imperiling the "2-state
To read this headline and the beginning of the article, you would swear that
a two-state solution has either been achieved or is just about there, but
Israel's action has put it in jeopardy.
Ok, a simple question: how long have you been reading about the
"2-state plan" of Israel and a new country of Palestine peacefully coexisting
side by side?
The answer depends on how old you are. I'm 62 and don't remember when
I wasn't reading about it. Since Israel came into existence
in 1948, the "plan" was for there to be two states, one Jewish and one
Now the big question: what has prevented
it? Israel's unwillingness to live in peaceful coexistence with an Arab state,
or Palestinian Arabs' unwillingness to live in peaceful coexistence with a Jewish
Before you answer, keep in mind that Palestinian Arabs were
offered a state of Palestine in 1947, exactly the same time Jews were
offered a state of Israel. The Jews said yes
and Israel was born. The Arabs said no.
It should also be kept in mind that this was 25 years after the British
created Transjordan from almost 80% of Palestine's land area -- and a year
after it was made into the Palestinian Arab state of Jordan.
That's right, Jordan is a Palestinian Arab state. It's entire land area
is within Palestine and a majority of its citizens are Palestinian Arabs.
What would you call it?
But none of this counts, you see. The New York Times figures that the
"2-state plan" was juu-u-u-u-u-ssst about a done deal, when
those dastardly Israelis blew it by attacking Gaza.
And over what? A piddling little trifle like the fact that Gaza is run by
hamas, a terrorist organization committed in writing to Israel's obliteration
and the death of its Jews, which fires mortars and artillery
into civilian areas of Israel every day.
Then these geniuses wonder why people call them
biased. At least they're occasionally good for a belly laugh.
WHY WE FIGHT
How do you think life might be if you were in an Arab Muslim Emirate?
Here's your answer, courtesy of the Australian Daily Telegraph:
Sydney mother jailed after 'insulting' Kuwait's
SYDNEY mother is in a Kuwait prison cell after a bizarre incident at the
country's international airport.
Nasrah Alshamery, 43, is facing the archaic charge
of insulting the nation's ruling Emir after rowing with airport security
officers over Saddam Hussein versus John Howard and George W. Bush.
"My mother didn't even name the Emir. She doesn't
know who he is," her distraught daughter Wasa Alshamery, 21, said yesterday.
"One of the police said something like, 'Saddam Hussein, he made you (look)
human'. My mother said 'Thanks to George Bush and John Howard, they gave you the
Under Kuwaiti law, the Emir - Sheik Sabah
IV Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah - does not have to be mentioned by name and under
Article 25 of Kuwait's constitution, the offence carries a five-year jail
The Department of Foreign Affairs last night
confirmed an Australian woman had been denied bail while being investigated for
insulting the Emir. She will reapply for bail on January 21.
Her sons, Abdulaziz, 22, and Abdulrahman, 18, have
been freed on bail but cannot leave Kuwait after being charged with assaulting
government officials on December 23.
The row occurred when Mrs Alshamery, her husband
Solomon, 43, six sons and daughter flew into Kuwait from Syria as part of their
return to their homeland, which they left 10 years ago.
At the family's Winston Hills home, medical
science student Ms Alshamery told how an airport security officer was rude to
her youngest brother, Mohammed, when the family asked about getting
She said her father told the officer to be polite
but he was then hit by the security officer - at which point the two brothers
They were soon surrounded by 35 police and
"My mother was screaming at them 'Give me my
sons'," said Ms Alshamery, adding the security officers made fun of her mother's
Arabic, saying she was speaking with a funny accent and accusing her of being a
"slut" because she was Australian, even though she was wearing a hijab that
covered everything but her eyes.
Her mum and brothers were arrested. The rest of
the family spent three days in a police station before being allowed to leave
Their lawyer Mohammed Masri said he would be
lodging a complaint with the Department of Foreign Affairs on their
A DFAT spokesman said she was being helped by
Do you like that part I put in bold print? You can insult the Emir even
if you don't mention him, and the penalty is 5 years in jail. But your
people can be as insulting and thuggish as they care to be and that's just fine.
And if you think this is uncommon in these types of countries, forget
it. It's all too common. And it isn't even the bad
The bad news is what happens if someone dares to decide that Islam is not
their religion. www.wikipedia.com,
which usually is far from my favorite source for accurate information, appears
to have a genuinely
illuminating piece on this. It includes the following:
Most countries of the Middle East and North Africa
maintain a dual system of secular courts and religious courts, in which the
religious courts mainly regulate marriage and inheritance. Saudi
Arabia and Iran maintain religious courts for all aspects of jurisprudence, and
police assert social compliance.
Sharia is also used in Sudan, Libya and Afghanistan. Some states in northern Nigeria have reintroduced Sharia courts. In practice the
new Sharia courts in Nigeria have most often meant the reintroduction of
relatively harsh punishments without respecting the much tougher rules of
evidence and testimony. The punishments include amputation of one/both hand(s) for theft, stoning for adultery, and execution for
apostasy. In 1980, Pakistan, under the leadership of
President Zia-ul-Haq, the Federal Shariat Court was created and given
jurisdiction to examine any existing law to ensure it was not repugnant to
Islam and in its early
acts it passed ordinances that included five that explicitly targeted religious
minorities: a law against blasphemy; a law punishing the defiling of the Qur'an;
a prohibition against insulting the wives, family, or companions of the Prophet
of Islam; and two laws specifically restricting the activities of Ahmadis, who were declared
Under traditional Islamic law an apostate may be
given up to three days while in incarceration to repent and accept Islam again
and if not the apostate is to be killed without any reservations. There are
difference between the four schools in the various details on how to deal with
the various aspects of imposing the penalties with respect to the material
property and holdings of the apostate and in the status and rights of the family
of the apostate. A distinction is also made between "Murtad Fitri", an apostate
who was born of Muslim parents, and "Murtad Milli", an apostate who had
converted into Islam initially. Some additional penalties and considerations
that are mentioned are that a divorce is automatic if either spouse apostatize,
an under age apostate is imprisoned till he reaches maturity and then he is
killed, and the recommended execution is beheading with a sword. The examples of
Apostasy given below show that these punishments are rarely carried out in toto
at present, and also underline the problem in harmonizing the constitutional law
and Islamic law in the various countries.
In the period of the early Islamic Caliphate, apostasy was considered
treason, and was accordingly
treated as a capital offense; death penalties were carried out under the
authority of the Caliph, the most famous such
incidents being the Martyrs of
Cordoba. Today apostasy is punishable by
death in the countries of Saudi
Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan and Mauritania. In Pakistan blasphemy is also
punishable by death. Other punishments prescribed by Islamic law include the
annulment of marriage with a Muslim spouse, the removal of children and the loss
of all property and inheritance rights
Which do you prefer? This culture or Western culture? If the
answer is Western culture, this is a good explanation of why we fight the
taliban, al qaeda and other kindred groups that want us all to live this
A NEW MADOFF OUTRAGE
Want to see a judge's ruling that probably creates more anti-Semites than
david duke ever could in his lifetime?
Try this one on for size:
JANUARY 12, 2009, 4:56 P.M.
And as it turns out, Dianefan is also one of the
two other internet users Fey mentioned. Apparently she sometimes also goes under
the name Cougar-letter.
Here are the angry comments Cougar-letter posted about Fey in the
Tina Fey would be a dreadful host. That Sarah
Palin bit is getting very old. Tina Fey was simply like the pimple on my face - just there . I think that the key issue
here is the fact that when Tina is at her best, shes just not that great.
I just hope they give the win to anyone but Tina Fey. Boy I cant wait until
Edie Falco comes back on the scene just to wipe that smug look off Tinas
So what does dianefan/cougar-letter think of Feys
mention of her on the nationally broadcast award
show? Dianefan (yes, she changed her name back yet again)
ungratefully commented on the boards:
Im famous. She mentioned BabsonLacrosse too.
Sorry Tina Fey but I still dont think you deserved to
Somewhat baffling, the third user Fey attacked,
BabsonLacrosse, actually appears to be a fan of Fey. She once
commented that Fey and Christina Applegate are the 2 best comedic actresses on
right now. And this
is one of the many reasons we love Tina Fey.