Articles of Interest, March 28, 2008

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Hillary Clinton’s wealthy pals warn Nancy Pelosi on superdelegates

WASHINGTONHillary Clinton‘s megabucks donors picked a fight with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday, pitting the most famous woman in politics against the most powerful.

Angered that Pelosi wants Democratic insiders to follow the will of voters when they cast their own “superdelegate” votes in the nomination race, 20 of Clinton’s top fund-raisers issued a veiled threat to Pelosi and warned her to change her tune.

“We have been strong supporters of the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee],” they wrote, referring to the House fund-raising arm overseen by Pelosi. “We therefore urge you to clarify your position on superdelegates and reflect in your comments a more open view.”

Sources said Pelosi was infuriated by the implied threat the donors would quit giving cash to the committee.

Clinton’s supporters pounced on Pelosi for telling ABC this month that the party would be damaged if “superdelegates overturn what happened in the elections.”

  • Way to go Hillary! Keep reminding us how you will do anything to win. Having your surrogates to threaten the Speaker is a great way to show how you are not trying to influence superdelegates to overturn the fact that you have lost. You will not beat Senator Obama in delegates or the popular vote, but you will threaten, call names, and do whatever you can to overturn that!

Dean: Bickering Democrats May Hurt Party

WASHINGTON (AP) – Democratic Party chief Howard Dean says Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and their supporters should beware of tearing each other down, demoralizing the base and damaging the party’s chances of winning the White House in November.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Dean also said he hopes the Democratic nominee will be determined shortly after the voting ends in June and that he will encourage the superdelegates who will play a role to make up their minds before the August convention in Denver.

Dean said the charges and countercharges between Clinton and Obama have gotten too personal at times. He declined to say how they have crossed the line, but he said he’s made it clear privately when it has happened.

“You do not want to demoralize the base of the Democratic Party by having the Democrats attack each other,” he said Thursday during the interview in his office at Democratic National Committee headquarters. “Let the media and the Republicans and the talking heads on cable television attack and carry on, fulminate at the mouth. The supporters should keep their mouths shut about this stuff on both sides because that is harmful to the potential victory of a Democrat.”

  • Well, do something about it!!!!!

 

 

Leahy says Clinton should drop out of race

Senator Patrick Leahy, who’s a super delegate supporting Obama, is clearly worried about this situation:

(Leahy) “I am very concerned. John McCain, who has been making one gaffe after another, is getting a free ride on it because Senator Obama and Senator Clinton have to fight with each other. I think that her criticism is hurting him more than anything John McCain has said. I think that’s unfortunate.”

(Kinzel) Leahy says it’s virtually impossible for Clinton to win more elected delegates than Obama, and as a result, he thinks it’s time for her to accept defeat:

(Leahy) “There is no way that Senator Clinton is going to win enough delegates to get the nomination. She ought to withdraw and she ought to be backing Senator Obama. Now, obviously that’s a decision that only she can make. Frankly I feel that she would have a tremendous career in the Senate.”

  • Of course she should. Why stay in if you can’t win? It’s obvious she wants to make insiders select her rather than the people who voted.

Poll: Obama leads Clinton nationally

THE NUMBERS

Barack Obama, 49 percent

Hillary Rodham Clinton, 39 percent

___

OF INTEREST:

The two rivals’ standings in the Pew Research Center poll have changed little from late February, the latest indication that so far Obama has weathered the controversy over provocative sermons by his longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. While Obama has a mostly favorable image among white Democrats, those with unfavorable views about him are likelier to say equal rights for minorities have gone too far and to oppose interracial dating. Almost one in four white Democrats who view Obama unfavorably also think he is Muslim, when in fact he is Christian. Obama and Clinton both continue to hold slender leads nationally in matchups against the all-but-certain Republican candidate, John McCain.

___

The Pew poll was conducted March 19-22. It involved telephone interviews with 1,503 adults, including 618 Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points for all adults and 4.5 percentage points for Democratic voters.

Rice hits U.S. ‘birth defect’

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that the United States still has trouble dealing with race because of a national “birth defect” that denied black Americans the opportunities given to whites at the country’s very founding.

“Black Americans were a founding population,” she said. “Africans and Europeans came here and founded this country together — Europeans by choice and Africans in chains. That’s not a very pretty reality of our founding.”

As a result, Miss Rice told editors and reporters at The Washington Times, “descendants of slaves did not get much of a head start, and I think you continue to see some of the effects of that.”

“That particular birth defect makes it hard for us to confront it, hard for us to talk about it, and hard for us to realize that it has continuing relevance for who we are today,” she said.

  • Who knew? I told many of you in the past that Dr. Rice is no fool or tool. However, why is Condi now talking about race?……Possible VP spot, mark my words…..

Anti-Koran film goes live on Web

AMSTERDAM — Holland’s prime minister roundly condemned the anti-Muslim film “Fitna” on Thursday within hours of its appearance on a Web site in the Netherlands.

The country’s cabinet went into a crisis meeting directly after the “debut” of the controversial film by right wing politician Geert Wilders as police formed a security cordon around the Dutch Parliament building in the Hague.

“Fitna” links verses of the Quran to a background of violent images from terrorist attacks.

Wilders had been unable to get his film posted on the Web or broadcast, but at 7 p.m. Dutch time Thursday his political party PVV put a link to the 15-minute short on its Web site. English- and Dutch-language versions were posted at http://www.pvv.nl via a link to LiveLeak.com. No TV channels aired the film.

Local media immediately swarmed over the story with widespread speculation about the possible impact of the film’s release. The Dutch government had warned Wilders that a film offensive to Muslims could spark protests in Islamic countries as violent as those two years ago after European newspapers published cartoons of Mohammed.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said Thursday night that the Department of Justice will investigate whether Wilders has broken Dutch law with his attack on the Quran. Balkenende condemned the film as “out to hurt” the Dutch people.

The immediate reaction from the Muslim community in Holland appeared constrained regarding the bow of “Fitna,” which combines images of Sept. 11, the London and Madrid attacks and the murder of Dutch director Theo van Gogh with quotes from the Quran. Many local Muslim organizations reacted with moderation, saying it did not put forward any new views that could insult Muslims in the Netherlands.

  • So much for that attempt. 🙂 The mouth bears testimony to the heart. 3:7 He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: “We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:” and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.

Obama: Had Wright not retired, I’d have left church

Story Highlights

  • Sen. Barack Obama says Rev. Jeremiah Wright “saddened” by controversy
  • Obama says he’d have left church if Wright hadn’t conceded he’d offended people
  • Obama discusses his former pastor on ABC’s “The View” airing Friday
  • New controversy brewing: Church bulletin reprinted articles seen as anti-Israel

(CNN) — Sen. Barack Obama says in an interview scheduled to air on TV Friday that he would have left his church if his pastor had not retired and had not acknowledged making comments that “deeply offended people.”

Obama talked about the dispute as it continued to brew over some of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s sermons and comments, which many viewed as anti-American and racist toward whites.

Bulletins from Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ in 2007 include comments — reprinted from other sources — that maintain South Africa and Israel worked on “an ethnic bomb that kills blacks and Arabs.” They also quote a historian who said that “what the Zionist Jews did to the Palestinians is worse than what the Nazis did to the Jews.”

The articles appeared in a church bulletin section called the “Pastor’s Page,” and include one that originally ran in The Los Angeles Times. That article was written by a senior official with Hamas, which the U.S. government considers a terrorist organization.

Obama denounced the articles this week, telling the Jerusalem Post that the church was “outrageously wrong” in reprinting the pieces.

  • Obama and others need to leave this alone. First off, Rev. Wright is not running for President. Secondly, not one person has attempted to debate the validity of his comments or accusations, all they do is claim offense. If it’s so offensive, why not let us know what offended you so much and why? Obama you should not play into the game that states that others get to dictate what can be said and by whom. If a black minister condemns or talks about the Govt, Israel, White people, or Jews, all of a sudden he’s teaching hate. But I have yet to hear why! The said the same thing about Dr. King, before they killed him, because he had the nerve to imply that our actions in Vietnam were morally and Biblically wrong and those who didn’t stand up would be in the lowest levels of hell.

UN Slams Islam Defamation in Media

IslamOnline.net & News Agencies

 
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The resolution was adopted by 21 of the council’s 47 member states, while 14 abstained and 10 states objected. (Photo Through Google)

GENEVA — The UN Human Rights Council passed late on Thursday, March 27, a resolution deploring the use of the media to blemish the image of Islam, hinting at a string of recent incidents that targeted the divine faith.The council’s resolution denounced using the media to “incite acts of violence, xenophobia or related intolerance and discrimination towards Islam,” reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The document, which was put forward by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, “expresses deep concern at attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations.

The resolution was adopted by 21 of the council’s 47 member states, while 14 abstained and 10 states objected.

A recent British study accused the media and film industry of perpetuating Islamophobia and prejudice by demonizing Muslims and Arabs as violent, dangerous and threatening people.

Famed US academic Stephen Schwartz had also criticized the Western media for failing to meet the challenge of reporting on Islam after 9/11.

And Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the president of the US largest Jewish movement, has accused US media and politicians of demonizing Islam and portraying Muslims as “satanic figures.”

A Counter Movie Against Wilders’

Interviewed By Gulsen Devre

 
 
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the film attacks Wilders with his own weapons (mtnl.nl)

While the world is anticipating Greet Wilders’s film fitna at short notice, two young Dutchmen have already released a counter film on Youtube and MTNL.nl (official website of the Multicultural Television in the Netherlands). The film, by its Dutch name tegenfilm, was produced for the MTNL. The producers of the film are Ersin Kiris and Vincent van der Lem. The former is a Dutch Muslim of Turkish origin, and the latter is a Dutch atheist. According to the producers’ website, “the film seeks the borders of freedom of expression and attacks Wilders with his own weapons.”

 

With this film, the makers try to understand Wilders’ behavior. For example, they try to obtain an image of young Wilders in Venlo, the place where the Dutch politician grew up. According to the producers, “something” must have had occurred in Wilders’s early life that turned him into an Islamophobic person. The website MTNL.nl additionally argues that “the counteractive film is a report of the point of view of Wilders concerning freedom of expression, democracy, and Muslims.”

 

Click hereto watch the counteractive film tegenfilm in Dutch.

Unfortunately, no Arabic or English subtitles are available, but the producers of the film are working on this issue. The page of European Muslims at IslamOnline.net (IOL) had the following interview with Van der Lem, one of the film’s producers.

 

IOL: What has motivated you to produce this counteractive film?

 

Van der Lem: Well, I was brainstorming with Ersin Kiris about new projects and this idea to make a film arose. The polls of December 2007 showed that if there were elections, Rita Verdonk [also a right-wing politician] would receive 20 percent of the Dutch votes and Wilders 15 percent. Meanwhile, there was also an “Islam debate” in the Dutch House of Commons, where Wilders presented his critique on Islam in the Netherlands. And again, polls showed that his critique on Islam was also shared by large groups of other party voters.

 

Those factors led to a strong belief from our side that we can no longer stay silent, and we had to react because we feared future changes in democracy, which we both care so much about. Consequently, we thought that if Wilders can make a film, then we can also make one with our points of view about the threat of Wilders, which changes our democracy. Actually, I think, by being that radical, Wilders puts himself in the same place as radical Islamists.

Bob Casey to endorse Obama, join bus tour

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey plans to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president today in Pittsburgh, sending a message both to the state’s primary voters and to undecided superdelegates who might decide the close race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Dan Pfeiffer, deputy communications director for the Obama campaign, confirmed that Casey would announce his support during a rally at the Soldiers and Sailors Military Museum and Memorial and that he would then set out with the Illinois senator on part of a six-day bus trip across the state.

The endorsement comes as something of a surprise. Casey, a deliberative and cautious politician, had been adamant about remaining neutral until after the April 22 primary. He had said he wanted to help unify the party after the intensifying fight between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“There are few stronger advocates for working families in Pennsylvania than Sen. Casey,” Pfeiffer said.

By coming out for Obama, Casey puts himself at odds with many top state Democrats – including Gov. Rendell, Rep. John P. Murtha and Mayor Nutter – who are campaigning for Clinton.

The endorsement also comes at a crucial time for Obama, who has been trailing Clinton in Pennsylvania polls by double-digit margins but who also has bought at least $1.6 million worth of television advertising statewide in the last week, more than double Clinton’s expenditure.

Obama strategists hope that Casey can help their candidate make inroads with the white working-class men who are often referred to as “Casey Democrats.” This group identifies with the brand of politics Casey and his late father, a former governor, practiced – liberal on economic issues but supportive of gun rights and opposed to abortion. (Obama favors some gun-control measures and backs abortion rights.)

Obama badly lost the white working-class vote to Clinton in Ohio and Texas on March 4, keeping the outcome of the fight in doubt amid questions about whether he could appeal to a group of voters that has often strayed from the party in presidential elections.

The Fierce Urgency of Now: Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence

delivered 4 April 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City

Audio mp3 of Address

 

 

*Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I need not pause to say how very delighted I am to be here tonight, and how very delighted I am to see you expressing your concern about the issues that will be discussed tonight by turning out in such large numbers. I also want to say that I consider it a great honor to share this program with Dr. Bennett, Dr. Commager, and Rabbi Heschel, some of the distinguished leaders and personalities of our nation. And of course it’s always good to come back to Riverside Church. Over the last eight years, I have had the privilege of preaching here almost every year in that period, and it is always a rich and rewarding experience to come to this great church and this great pulpit. I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statements of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart, and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” And that time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

And some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: “Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?” “Why are you joining the voices of dissent?” “Peace and civil rights don’t mix,” they say. “Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people,” they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.

In the light of such tragic misunderstanding, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church — the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate — leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia. Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they must play in the successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reasons to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.

Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the National Liberation Front, but rather to my fellowed [sic] Americans, *who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.

Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision.* There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor — both black and white — through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated, as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. And so we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. And so we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

For those who ask the question, “Aren’t you a civil rights leader?” and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: “To save the soul of America.” We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself until the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath —
America will be!

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1954** [sic]; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission — a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for “the brotherhood of man.” This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I’m speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men — for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the One who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this One? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

And finally, as I try to explain for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls “enemy,” for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the ideologies of the Liberation Front, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence *in 1954* — in 1945 *rather* — after a combined French and Japanese occupation and before the communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony. Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not ready for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination and a government that had been established not by China — for whom the Vietnamese have no great love — but by clearly indigenous forces that included some communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.

For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam. Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of their reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.

After the French were defeated, it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva Agreement. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators, our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords, and refused even to discuss reunification with the North. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by United States’ influence and then by increasing numbers of United States troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictators seemed to offer no real change, especially in terms of their need for land and peace.

The only change came from America, as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received the regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move on or be destroyed by our bombs.

So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?

We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation’s only noncommunist revolutionary political force, the unified Buddhist Church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men.

Now there is little left to build on, save bitterness. *Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call “fortified hamlets.” The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these. Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These, too, are our brothers.

Perhaps a more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies.* What of the National Liberation Front, that strangely anonymous group we call “VC” or “communists”? What must they think of the United States of America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem, which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the South? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of “aggression from the North” as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings, even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent communist, and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam, and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will not have a part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them, the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again, and then shore it up upon the power of new violence?

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

So, too, with Hanoi. In the North, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French Commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which could have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again. When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered.

Also, it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva Agreement concerning foreign troops. They remind us that they did not begin to send troops in large numbers and even supplies into the South until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.

Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the North. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor, weak nation more than *eight hundred, or rather,* eight thousand miles away from its shores.

At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called “enemy,” I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote:

Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism (unquote).

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.

*I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:

Number one: End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.

Number two: Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.

Three: Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.

Four: Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and any future Vietnam government.

Five: *Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement.

Part of our ongoing…part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We must provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country, if necessary. Meanwhile… meanwhile, we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices and our lives if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative method of protest possible.

*As we counsel young men concerning military service, we must clarify for them our nation’s role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is a path now chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover, I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors.* These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.

Now there is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter that struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing.

The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality…and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing “clergy and laymen concerned” committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.

And so, such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957, a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years, we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which has now justified the presence of U.S. military advisors in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counterrevolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Cambodia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru.

It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin…we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

*This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations.* These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. *We must not engage in a negative anticommunism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity, and injustice, which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.*

These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wounds of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. We in the West must support these revolutions.

It is a sad fact that because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch antirevolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has a revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions that we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores, and thereby speed the day when “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misunderstood, this oft misinterpreted concept, so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: “Let us love one another, for love is God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.” “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.” Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day.

We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. And history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says: “Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word” (unquote).

We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood — it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. Omar Khayyam is right: “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on.”

We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world, a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message — of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

Once to every man and nation comes a moment to decide,

In the strife of Truth and Falsehood, for the good or evil side;

Some great cause, God’s new Messiah offering each the bloom or blight,

And the choice goes by forever ‘twixt that darkness and that light.

Though the cause of evil prosper, yet ’tis truth alone is strong

Though her portions be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong

Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown

Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.

And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace.

If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

Could Condolezza Rice be our next vice President?

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Some of you may think I’m off my rocker at this point! Certainly, I’m an Obama supporter, however given the madness and ineptitude that has befallen a spineless Democratic Party and it’s leadership, one must consider their options and what to do with their vote.

I know I am not the only person that is either an Obama or Clinton supporter who is a little more than angry with the Democratic Party and I’m certain I’m not the only black person (listen to black talk radio these days?), so I’m beginning to ponder whether or not we should give the Republican party another look.

Contrary to popular belief and a problem for the Democrats, Senator John McCain is not the devil. It’s hard to demonize a candidate with his resume. Not to mention his ability to be flexible in his stances that move him toward the center and left of the Republican Party. He surely poses a threat as he is well liked by Independents and Moderate Democrats. However, against a Barack Obama or even a Hillary Clinton, he lacks the “appearance” of Change. So what could the GOP do to take away the “change” monopoly the Democrats have currently? They could throw a wrench in the election coverage by putting forward a Vice President that encompasses change. One such candidate and possible Trojan Horse, would be a McCain Rice ticket.

Secretary Rice, embodies both of what the Democratic Party is toting as “historic”. Not only is she obviously an African American, but she of course, is a she. Therefore, what argument could the Democratic Party make against the Republican Party as it relates to change? Not only that, but Secretary Rice wouldn’t be just a token candidate. Combined with Senator McCain, they would definitely have the foreign policy experience. They would also have National Security experience. They both could make the argument that they are ready on day one.

Condoleezza Rice has an extensive resume, has been the face of American Policy, National Security, and have dealt with many difficult and emerging issues the world over. As far as the black vote, let’s not kid ourselves, there is a contingent of black people who are voting along racial lines just as many are voting along gender lines. Secretary Rice addresses both and while she doesn’t have a strong following in either group that are now locked in the Obama and Clinton camps, she can make a strong argument for their support. She has zero of their weaknesses and when it comes to experience and competence she also has that. For blacks, she represents the most powerful black women in American politics, and is a great source of pride. For women, she represents strong leadership and the ability to face the world with honor and dignity.

Considering the foolishness in the Democratic Party now many people who may feel disenfranchised when the smoke clears could find a home in the Republican Party with a candidate like Dr. Rice.

It’s no secret the Republican Party has wanted to increase their minority membership, now would be the time to strike and change the dynamic.

The lack of party leadership and the increasing frustration of voters in the Democratic Party is making the situation ripe for the Republicans to ensure they win the general election. The Clinton’s insistence that they can win, even though that’s mathematically impossible, openly declaring between the lines that they plan to convince super delegates to hand them the nomination, the increasing nastiness and scorched earth tactics, is making the Democratic Party less and less attractive. Where they once could easily have one the election, now the margin is statistically even. The GOP could tip the balance with this type of nomination.

It’s been rumored that Dr. Rice has been showing up at Party events that politicians only go to stake a claim at future appointments. What appointment could she be after if it is true? I would think she would only go higher, and outside of a Congressional run, it seems like the natural progression would be the Vice Presidency….

Maybe I’m crazy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Republican think tanks weren’t already thinking this scenario out. Rice could energize the base, increase their membership, and create such a problem for the Democrats, that they would almost be assured a victory in November, especially if the Clinton camp continues with their assault on Obama which is tearing the Party into two, and with no real leadership stepping up to the plate no Howard Dean, no Al Gore, no John Edwards, no Donna Brazil the Democratic Party is providing no real opposition.  Super Delegates are so scared of the Clintons and the media is too scared to report what is actually happening, that we may be witnessing a historic shift of party support. Blacks may very well leave the party and go Republican or third party. The Clintons are banking on women and latino’s at the expense of one of the most loyal constiuency’s that the Republicans are trying to court.

Now is the time for a Condi bomb GOP.

Articles of Interest, March 27th, 2008

Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence

We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. And so we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. And so we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?

Perhaps a more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies.* What of the National Liberation Front, that strangely anonymous group we call “VC” or “communists”? What must they think of the United States of America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem, which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the South? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of “aggression from the North” as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings, even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent communist, and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam, and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will not have a part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them, the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again, and then shore it up upon the power of new violence?

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. And history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate.

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

  • What would they say today to Dr. King? Sounds eerily familiar to those who say the Rev. Wright was blaming America for 9/11. I guess Dr. King by the same standard was blaming America for Vietnam too? Hypocrites….
  • Please go to the link and read and listen to the speech in it’s entirety. Here’s an excerpt….

Weather Engineering in China

How the Chinese plan to modify the weather in Beijing during the Olympics, using supercomputers and artillery.

To prevent rain over the roofless 91,000-seat Olympic stadium that Beijing natives have nicknamed the Bird’s Nest, the city’s branch of the national Weather Modification Office–itself a department of the larger China Meteorological Administration–has prepared a three-stage program for the 2008 Olympics this August.

First, Beijing’s Weather Modification Office will track the region’s weather via satellites, planes, radar, and an IBM p575 supercomputer, purchased from Big Blue last year, that executes 9.8 trillion floating point operations per second. It models an area of 44,000 square kilometers (17,000 square miles) accurately enough to generate hourly forecasts for each kilometer.

Then, using their two aircraft and an array of twenty artillery and rocket-launch sites around Beijing, the city’s weather engineers will shoot and spray silver iodide and dry ice into incoming clouds that are still far enough away that their rain can be flushed out before they reach the stadium.

Gameworld: ‘Modder’ turns hobby into freelance career

“Our readers are always excited to see whatever his newest project is,” Frucci said. “He’s clearly head and shoulders above anybody else.”

Heckendorn keeps busy with a couple dozen projects each year, many updated on his Web site, http://www.benheck.com. Fees range from a few hundred dollars to convert a clunky old console into a handheld, to more than $4,000 to make a laptop computer out of an Xbox 360.

There are plenty of bizarre requests, too.

“Often someone will ask me to combine five different video game systems in one box, which is of course ridiculous. One guy wanted me to build an Xbox 360 controller attached to his rowing machine at home so he could row and play ‘Uno’ with his friends online. It sounded so weird I did it.”

Heckendorn’s growing reputation is inching him closer to his dream of working on major retail products.

A couple years ago a soldier injured in Iraq asked him to make a game controller that could be operated with one hand. Heckendorn did it and is now working with a peripheral maker to sell a packaged product.

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Thinner, better, already sold out–the new new thing in solar?

Now Global Solar Energy is a major producer of thin-film photovoltaic Copper Indium Gallium DiSelenide (CIGS) solar cells, an alternative to the older solar panel technology. Among solar converter units CIGS has the lightest weight per kilowatt, says Global Solar’s CTO, Dr. Jeff Britt. I spoke with him recently, and he explained that Global’s just beginning to produce their thin film strings at a new, expanded plant in Tucson. And they’re already sold out for all they can produce this year. Most of the expected product for 2009 has been spoken for. Remind you of when the iPod launched?

Dr. Britt said the basic materials needed for their thin solar film is more expensive per pound than the material in traditional solar panels. Those traditilonal panels are 100-200 micrometers thick while Global produces more efficient conversion materials with 1-2 micrometers. That nmeans much less material is needed, less weight, and …get this: the ability to attach the thin film to metallic foil that is flexible. Dr. Britt said the key to expansion of use and application for their CIGS solar cells is: the coating. That’s right: the polymers that protect the CIGS from water and other potentially destructive elements. Global is right now working with polymer pros and building materials makers to creat solar roofing that lasts twenty years. We could never trap all the hot air, but imagine if we could at least put the U.S. Capital and White House to work producing electricity?

Turn Your Car Into A Traveling Wi-Fi Hotspot

Internet addicts rejoice. You can now surf to your heart’s content in your moving car, a veritable Wi-Fi hotspot, thanks to a partnership, announced Thursday between Novatel Wireless and AutoNet Mobile.The two companies said they will use nationwide CDMA EV-DO Rev. A wireless infrastructure to connect autos, moving or stationary, to the Internet. The technology could even allow people near cars outfitted with the technology to surf the Web.

“It’s a traveling Wi-Fi hotspot,” said a spokeswoman for the firms. AutoNet, which pioneered the technology with its TRU mobile IP platform, developed an in-vehicle module for the service that is priced at $595. The monthly charge for the service begins at $39.

Is Apple good or evil?

There has been a lot of talk lately about how is Apple becoming more like Microsoft and turning evil, but is it really the case? Personally I’ve known that Apple was evil since they tried to litigate me out of business and subpoena three years worth of my email, but I digress.

Recent examples of Apple’s evilness include pushing their Safari Web browser down the throat of iTunes users on Windows as a “software update” but other examples exist and bricking modified iPhones with a firmware update.

Leander Kahney points to several examples of Apple’s dark side in his cover story in this month’s Wired magazine, including: their walled-garden approach to software and hardware, secrecy, paranoia and managements sometimes poor treatment of employees.

On the other hand, lots of good can be found in Apple. Their technical support and build quality usually yields pretty high marks and their hardware continues to improve at an almost breakneck pace. Witness their successes with iMac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, etc.

Happily ever after for Comcast and BitTorrent?

Are Comcast and BitTorrent secretly an old married couple, prone to bickering over their peccadilloes and never quite comfortable together in public, but still joined tightly by an abiding sense of union and shared purpose?

So it would seem. The Wall Street Journal on Thursday reports a deal in the works between the cable provider and the file-sharing company that would have the pair collaborating on ways to make their technologies more compatible. Comcast, of course, has been on the hot seat in recent weeks over its practice of stymieing the peer-to-peer traffic of BitTorrent users.

Top executives at the two companies told the newspaper that Comcast will look for better ways to manage peak traffic on its network, slowing things down for those users who consume the most bandwidth, rather than by types of applications, such as BitTorrent. The new policy, which would also factor in additional data capacity, could take effect by the end of the year–if lab tests show it to be feasible.

The talks are also aimed at helping Comcast shore up video traffic on its network.

Analyst: Apple Has Ordered 10 Million 3G iPhones

Rumors and reports about a 3G version of the iPhone appear to be kicking into high gear the last week or so. On top of Kevin Rose’s prediction earlier this week that we’ll see 3G iPhones with video-calling capability, Gartner has weighed in and says Apple already has placed orders for 10 million 3G-enabled iPhones. Hoo-ahh!

Ken Dulaney, an analyst with Gartner, says that reports coming from Asia indicate that the 3G iPhone is on its way to the market soon. Speaking to iPod Observer, he said that Apple followed up its initial iPhone order of 10 million (Apple’s original sales goal for 2008) with a second round. The second order also was for 10 million, and he believes that it is more likely that this order is for 3G iPhones than for the current 2G version.

Mr. Dulaney adds some other juicy tidbits to the pot. He suggests that Apple has sped up plans to introduce the 3G iPhone. This is due to its lack of becoming a major hit in the European market, where its EDGE data radio simply doesn’t compare with phones fitted with HSDPA radios. In fact, many European markets skipped EDGE technology altogether and went straight from the even-slower GPRS systems directly to HSDPA. This means the iPhone has to fall back on the pokey GPRS networks. Trust me when I say that using the iPhone via GPRS packet connections is absolutely miserable.

Weak Dollar Making US a Business Bargain

NEW YORK –

Thanks to the weakened dollar, the U.S. has leapfrogged France, Britain and other European countries as a cheaper place to do business.

A new study released Thursday by the auditing and consulting firm KPMG shows that the U.S. moved up on the list of most cost-efficient places around the world. Researchers compared 136 cities in 10 countries in North America, Europe and Asia, but did not include fast-growing China.

Mark MacDonald, the global director of KPMG Competitive Alternatives, said the survey authors found the U.S. to be more cost competitive than they’d ever seen because of the plunging dollar.

In 2006, the U.S. ranked seventh, and lagged behind several other G7 countries. This year, though, only Mexico and Canada were cheaper. The U.S. is now cheaper than Britain, the Netherlands, Italy and France.

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks in the Great Hall of New York's Cooper Union, Thursday, March 27, 2008.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Obama offers plan for economic woes

NEW YORK – Democrat Barack Obama said Thursday tougher government regulations that reflect the realities of modern finance are needed to get a grip on the economy before it gets even worse.

“We do American business — and the American people — no favors when we turn a blind eye to excessive leverage and dangerous risks,” Obama said.

The presidential candidate spoke not far from Wall Street, hard hit by the mortgage meltdown and credit problems.

To fix the economy, Obama proposed relief for homeowners and an additional $30 billion stimulus package to address the nation’s economic woes.

“If we can extend a hand to banks on Wall Street, we can extend a hand to Americans who are struggling,” he said.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the almost candidate, warmly introduced Obama but stopped short of an endorsement.

Bemoaning the nation’s economic woes, Obama dismissed Republican rival John McCain‘s approach as pure hands-off. On Tuesday, McCain derided government intervention to save and reward banks or small borrowers who behave irresponsibly though he offered few immediate alternatives for fixing the country’s growing housing crisis. Obama said McCain’s plan “amounts to little more than watching this crisis happen.”

Instead, Obama said, the next president should:

_Expand oversight to any institution that borrows from the government.

_Toughen capital requirements for complex financial instruments like mortgage securities.

_Streamline regulatory agencies to end overlap and competition among regulators.

While he laid out a half-dozen principles for closer scrutiny of the financial markets, he offered no specifics, such as which agencies should be reorganized or exactly how the government should go about peering over the shoulders of bank executives.

Bloomberg, Obama Meeting Fuels Endorsement Rumors

NEW YORK (CBS) ― Mayor Michael Bloomberg will stand side by side with Democratic presidential hopeful Sen Barack Obama for the second time in four months Thursday. Bloomberg will introduce the Illinois senator at a speech on the economy at Cooper Union College.

They have spent time with each other in the past, but Bloomberg’s latest appearance with Obama is fueling speculation about whether the mayor will officially endorse the presidential candidate.

The billionaire mayor had considered his own independent presidential campaign, but said last month that he had decided not to run. He said his focus would be on getting the candidates to embrace a bipartisan approach.

Lasting harm feared in Democrats’ battle

Some say GOP will get advantage in fall

Some Democratic Party leaders are growing more concerned that the protracted, caustic fight for the presidential nomination will cripple the eventual nominee, and there are new signs they have reason to worry.

More party leaders are saying that the increasingly personal crossfire between the Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama campaigns serves only to write the script for Republican ads in the fall and to give John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, a head start in framing his candidacy.

While the Democrats have been arguing almost daily the past two weeks about each other’s electability and integrity, McCain has visited Iraq and other countries in the Middle East and Europe, received the blessing Tuesday of Nancy Reagan, and yesterday delivered a sweeping address on foreign policy.

“There’s nothing like a two-way Democrat suicide pact to make it easy for McCain to go off on a grand statesman tour,” Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist who once worked for McCain, said yesterday.

A Gallup poll released yesterday indicated that 28 percent of Democrats supporting Clinton said they would vote for McCain over Obama in November, while 19 percent of Obama’s backers said they would vote for McCain over Clinton.

Polls suggest that McCain is even or has a narrow lead over both Democrats, and CNN polls also indicate increasing unrest in the Democratic Party. The percentage of Clinton voters who say they would be upset if Obama received the nomination has jumped from 35 percent in January to 51 percent this month, while the percentage of Obama supporters who say they would be upset if Clinton got the nod has risen from 26 percent to 41 percent.

Ultimate Fights Expand to Include Kids

CARTHAGE, Mo. (AP) – Ultimate fighting was once the sole domain of burly men who beat each other bloody in anything-goes brawls on pay-per-view TV.

But the sport often derided as “human cockfighting” is branching out.

The bare-knuckle fights are now attracting competitors as young as 6 whose parents treat the sport as casually as wrestling, Little League or soccer.

The changes were evident on a recent evening in southwest Missouri, where a team of several young boys and one girl grappled on gym mats in a converted garage.

Two members of the group called the “Garage Boys Fight Crew” touched their thin martial-arts gloves in a flash of sportsmanship before beginning a relentless exchange of sucker punches, body blows and swift kicks.

No blood was shed. And both competitors wore protective gear. But the bout reflected the decidedly younger face of ultimate fighting. The trend alarms medical experts and sports officials who worry that young bodies can’t withstand the pounding.

Tommy Bloomer, father of two of the “Garage Boys,” doesn’t understand the fuss.

“We’re not training them for dog fighting,” said Bloomer, a 34-year- old construction contractor. “As a parent, I’d much rather have my kids here learning how to defend themselves and getting positive reinforcement than out on the streets.”

Tupac

The Times apologizes over article on rapper

A Los Angeles Times story about a brutal 1994 attack on rap superstar Tupac Shakur was partially based on documents that appear to have been fabricated, the reporter and editor responsible for the story said Wednesday.

Reporter Chuck Philips and his supervisor, Deputy Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin, issued statements of apology Wednesday afternoon. The statements came after The Times took withering criticism for the Shakur article, which appeared on latimes.com last week and two days later in the paper’s Calendar section.

The criticism came first from The Smoking Gun website, which said the newspaper had been the victim of a hoax, and then from subjects of the story, who said they had been defamed.

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Clinton backers warn Pelosi on superdelegate rift

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of prominent Hillary Clinton donors sent a letter to House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday asking her to retract her comments on superdelegates and stay out of the Democratic fight over their role in the presidential race.

The 20 prominent Clinton supporters told Pelosi she should “clarify” recent statements to make it clear superdelegates — nearly 800 party insiders and elected officials who are free to back any candidate — could support the candidate they think would be the best nominee.

Pelosi has not publicly endorsed either Clinton or Barack Obama in their hotly contested White House battle, but she recently said superdelegates should support whoever emerges from the nomination contests with the most pledged delegates — which appears almost certain to be Obama.

Islamophobia: It Can’t Get Any Worse

By Ibrahim El-Houdaiby

Freelance Writer

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(Reuters Photo)

Is it a new wave of Islamophobia? This is the first question that popped up to my mind when I received the news of Hesham Islam’s resignation from the Pentagon a couple of weeks ago. Islam was pressured to resign after a quarrel he had with Maj. Stephen Coughlin, where Islam asked Coughlin to soften his views on Islamists.Islam is not an Islamist; he’s not even close to mainstream Islamists in terms of political views or ideological orientation. Yet, he had to face extreme pressure from the right wing because he disagreed with Coughlin’s argument that there are close connections between the religion of Islam and terrorism. But even President Bush’s public statements praise Islam as a religion of peace!

The new wave of Islamophobia is not limited to the Egyptian-born Pentagon advisor. Tariq Ramadan, prominent Swiss Islamic philosophy professor was denied access to the US. The UK government refused to give an entry visa to Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, chairman of the International Union for Muslim Scholars. It also refused to give an entry visa to Lawyer Montasser Al-Zayyat, lawyer of Al-Jama’a Al-Islameyya in Egypt, but not a member of the group himself.

Negative Signals

In fact, denying access to a prominent figure like Al-Qaradawi sends negative signals to the Muslim world and to Muslims in Europe alike.

Most of these figures have previously been to countries they have been denied access to. Ramadan has been to the US several times before and lectured in different nationwide universities, and both he and Al-Qaradawi were on the UK government list of moderate Muslim scholars. Al-Qaradawi was one of the first Muslim scholars to denounce terrorist attacks in US and UK. His book “Islam and Violence” is regarded as one of the best Islamist arguments against terrorism, and he is currently working on an extensive research on the concept of Jihad in Islam. He was not going to London to lecture or attend a conference; rather, he was going to carryout medical checkups, which apparently seemed dangerous for some government officials.

Turkey seeks a more modern Islam

By Fazile Zahir

“We are not here as Turkish Muslims to put ourselves in the service of Islam, but to put Islam in the service of life.”
Fethullah Gulen, Turkish Islamic scholar and writer

FETHIYE, Turkey – The level of surprise with which the world’s media greeted the news that Turkey’s highest religious authority, the Diyanet, has instructed a commission of scholars to re-evaluate the Hadith (oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of the Prophet Mohammad) with respect to modern society, seems all out of proportion to the actual exercise the Ankara school is conducting.

The Western media are of course keen to promote moderate versions of Islam, but the tradition of ijtihad (legal interpretation) is nothing new to Turkish religious thinkers. In 2006, the Diyanet had already started a process to filter the Hadith to delete misogynistic statements.

This new project is an even more ambitious attempt to carry out a fundamental revision of the Hadith and has taken the theologically radical step of ignoring later conservative texts in favor of earlier more liberal ones and by being prepared to evaluate the sayings of the Prophet within a historical framework.

Muslims in U.S. turn to home schooling

LODI, California: Like dozens of other Pakistani-American girls here, Hajra Bibi stopped attending the local public school when she reached puberty and began studying at home.

Her family wanted her to clean and cook for her male relatives and had also worried that other American children would mock both her Muslim religion and her traditional clothes.

“Some men don’t like it when you wear American clothes – they don’t think it is a good thing for girls,” said Bibi, 17, now studying at the 12th-grade level in this agricultural center some 70 miles, or about 110 kilometers, east of San Francisco. “You have to be respectable.”

Across the United States, Muslims who find that a public school education clashes with their religious or cultural traditions have turned to home schooling. That choice is intended partly as a way to build a solid Muslim identity away from the prejudices that their children, boys and girls alike, can face in schoolyards. But in some cases, as in Bibi’s, the intent is also to isolate their adolescent and teenage daughters from the corrupting influences that they see in much of American life.

 Clinton and Obama are tied in the latest poll.

Poll: Clinton’s negatives reach new high

(CNN) – The increasingly charged Democratic race for the White House appears to be hurting Hillary Clinton significantly more than Barack Obama, a just-released poll suggests.

According to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, the New York senator’s personal approval rating has dropped markedly, and those that hold a negative view of her have reached 48 percent — the highest in that poll since March 2001. Just 37 percent now have a positive view of Clinton — down from 45 percent two weeks ago.

The new poll comes at the end of one of the most hostile months in the Democratic presidential primary race, during which surrogates for both campaigns resigned after uttering controversial statements, and controversy swirled around Obama over past statements by his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

But despite fears by some of Obama’s backers that the Wright controversy would take a toll on the Illinois senator and his presidential hopes, the new poll shows his approval rating has remained virtually unchanged at 49 percent. Only 32 percent of Americans give him a negative approval rating.

Meanwhile, in head-to-head matchups Clinton and Obama remain deadlocked for the nomination, each drawing 45 percent among Democratic voters. Both are also statistically tied with John McCain in matchups: Clinton is two points behind the Arizona senator while Obama is two points ahead — both within the poll’s margin of error of 4 percentage points.

NOT IN OUR NAME: UNITED AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

I would like to promote and announce an event that is occurring locally in the DC area Friday, March 28th. It is the first annual Interfaith Domestic Violence Awareness Event hosted by The Progressive Muslim Network.

Please come out and support this great work and effort. If you cannot, at least offer your support at the groups page on Facebook. It’s a grassroots effort by concerned Muslims to step-up and speak out.

Below is the official info sheet with a link to the flyer. Please share with all those who may be interested.

NOT IN OUR NAME: UNITED AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

First Annual Interfaith Domestic Violence Awareness Event

EVENT INFORMATION

Date: Friday, March 28, 2008

Time: 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Registration – networking/social hour/booths

7:30pm – 9:00 pm Event / Program (3 speakers – followed by Performances)

Venue: American University – Ward Circle Building – Ward 1 4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW.

· Driving/Metro directions to American University: http://www.american.edu/maps/index.html

· Parking: Free in Katzen parking structure- adjacent to Ward Circle Building

Speakers

Muslim Representative: IMAM JOHARI

Christian Representative: Reverend ROSE ROBINSON

Jewish Representative: TBA

Speakers will share different faith and cultural perspectives in a united denunciation of Domestic Violence, acknowledging its existence in their communities, but reiterating the problem is NOT specific to a group or community.

Organization Booths (10-15 booths)

Booths: Peaceful Families Project; Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP); American Islamic Congress, Project Nur, Progressive Muslim Network (PMN), Jewish Coalition, Domestic Violence Interfaith Coalition of Maryland, Christian Ministries, more booths TBA.

Booths will familiarize attendees with various organizations and DV groups; Booths will disseminate flyers and printed materials about DV, prevention, and available resources; Provides an opportunity for organizations to reach out to community.

Attendance

Representatives of religious communities, interfaith groups, domestic abuse organizations, humanitarian orgs., resource centers, social service agencies, academic departments, and student groups/organizations.

EVENT GOALS

Event angles/perspectives

To address Domestic Violence as a humanitarian issue and denounces it from a humanitarian standpoint, not specific to any religion or cultural group, rather collectively as people of faith in collaboration with humanitarian and DV organizations.

Event Goals

· To emphasize that people of all faiths unconditionally condemn abuse and violence of all kinds.

· Aims to highlight intercultural and interfaith efforts to bring an end to this social problem that transcends racial, ethnic, class, and gender boundaries. There is NO “Universal” victim or “abuser.”

· Aims to address the severity of domestic violence, to initiate partnerships and to network between various organizations and faith-based communities, as well as to highlight resources available to those in need.

· Aims to call all communities and organizations to action– confronting and defeating DV is a collective and complex problem.

· Through efforts and cooperation across communities, cultures and geographic regions, we hope to create a network for partnerships in the Greater DC vicinity.

CONTACT INFORMATION

For information about event, booths or sponsorship, please contact: DVevent@gmail.com

Media Contact: Hazami Barmada, Director, Progressive Muslim Network- DVevent@gmail.com or 901.219.2041.

Event Flyer

Articles of Interest, March 21st, 2008

AP: Gov. Richardson Endorsing Obama

By BARRY MASSEY

(AP) Democratic presidential hopeful, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, right, speaks during the Brown &…
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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the nation’s only Hispanic governor, is endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for president, calling him a “once-in-a-lifetime leader” who can unite the nation and restore America’s international leadership.Richardson, who dropped out of the Democratic race in January, is to appear with Obama on Friday at a campaign event in Portland, Ore., The Associated Press has learned.

The governor’s endorsement comes as Obama leads among delegates selected at primaries and caucuses but with national public opinion polling showing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton pulling ahead of him amid controversy over statements by his former pastor.

Richardson has been relentlessly wooed by Obama and Clinton for his endorsement. As a Democratic superdelegate, the governor plays a part in the tight race for nominating votes and could bring other superdelegates to Obama’s side. He also has been mentioned as a potential running mate for either candidate.

(AP) Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., reaches to shake hands at Murads’ Sports…
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No primaries are scheduled until Pennsylvania’s on April 22, a gap in time Obama hopes to use for such announcements to assert that he is the front-runner for the nomination.

“I believe he is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime leader that can bring our nation together and restore America’s moral leadership in the world,” Richardson said in a statement obtained by the AP. “As a presidential candidate, I know full well Sen. Obama’s unique moral ability to inspire the American people to confront our urgent challenges at home and abroad in a spirit of bipartisanship and reconciliation.”

Richardson’s endorsement also could help Obama pick up support among Hispanics, who are the nation’s largest and fastest-growing minority.

Photograph of Bill Clinton and Rev. Wright Surfaces

The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. and President Bill Clinton at a prayer breakfast at the White House in September 1998.

During one of the most difficult periods in the presidency of Bill Clinton, he addressed a group of clerics at an annual prayer breakfast in September 1998 just as the Starr report outlining his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky was about to be published.

Among those in attendance, was the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., who is seen shaking hands with Mr. Clinton in a photograph provided today by the Obama campaign. Mr. Wright’s relationship with Senator Barack Obama, as his longtime pastor, has been the subject of considerable controversy in recent days because of incendiary excerpts of sermons Mr. Wright gave at their church, Trinity United Church of Christ, in Chicago.

The Pastor the Clinton’s Do Not Want America to Know About: Harlem’s Pastor Manning Gone Wild!

I was driving home from work last night and I wanted to see how talk radio was responding to Senator Obama’s speech on race. It was about 6:45PM or so and I tuned in to Conservative Talk Show Host Mark Levin on 630WMAL. Well. . .much to my shock and awe, Mark was in the midst of a rant about a racist Pastor. I, of course, assumed that he was speaking of the Rev. Wright. Boy was I WRONG! He was talking about an apparent rabid Hillary Clinton supporter, Pastor James David Manning of Harlem, New York.

All I want to say about this is that I have NEVER been to a church where black, or white preachers curse so freely in their sermons, and who attack their flock. NEVER. And I have been black all of my life and have attended large, all black congregations in college as I do presently in Washington, D.C. I am not sure what is up with these Pastors, but they are angry for sure.

Woe be unto me to defend the indefensible, but Rev. Jeremiah Wright was speaking truthfully (albeit angrily and passionately) about his American experience in the segregated south and in the Midwest (Chicago) and I am certain it has deeply colored his world-view in a way that I will never understand, that no white American will ever understand, but that my late maternal grandfather (who was from Mobile Alabama and grew up in Segregation & served in a segregated U.S. Military in WWII) could relate to. I think that what this Pastor Manning has said, however, is simply horrific.

Gay Ex-Gov Wins Round in Divorce Court

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) – Former Gov. Jim McGreevey didn’t plan to torment his wife while they were married, a judge in their divorce case ruled Thursday, while allowing her to continue with a claim of marriage fraud.

The judge dismissed Dina Matos McGreevey’s claim of emotional distress against her estranged gay husband.

“Mr. McGreevey was not out to destroy her emotionally,” Superior Court Judge Karen Cassidy said.

Cassidy said she would permit the fraud claim to continue for now, but warned, “That does not guarantee the defendant will be successful in trying her claim.”

Matos McGreevey claims she was duped into marrying a gay man who sought the cover of a wife to hide his homosexuality and further his political ambitions. He claims he provided companionship and a child, thus fulfilling his part of the marriage contract.

The pretrial hearing came less than a week after McGreevey, 50, said claims that he and his wife engaged in threesomes with a male aide were true; Matos McGreevey, 41, denied they happened.

Giant sea creatures found in Antarctic search

Story Highlights

  • 12-foot tentacled Jellyfish and 2-foot-wide starfish surprise Antarctic scientists
  • 2,000-mile journey through the Ross Sea also turns up potential new species
  • 30,000 specimens collected, on 50-day trip

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Scientists who conducted the most comprehensive survey to date of New Zealand’s Antarctic waters were surprised by the size of some specimens found, including jellyfish with 12-foot tentacles and 2-foot-wide starfish.

art.starfish.jpg

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research hold giant Macroptychaster sea stars.

A 2,000-mile journey through the Ross Sea that ended Thursday has also potentially turned up several new species, including as many as eight new molluscs.

It’s “exciting when you come across a new species,” said Chris Jones, a fisheries scientist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “All the fish people go nuts about that — but you have to take it with a grain of salt.”

The finds must still be reviewed by experts to determine if they are in fact new, said Stu Hanchet, a fisheries scientist at New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

But beyond the discovery of new species, scientists said the survey, the most comprehensive to date in the Ross Sea, turned up other surprises.

Hanchet singled out the discovery of “fields” of sea lilies that stretched for hundreds of yards across the ocean floor.

“Some of these big meadows of sea lilies I don’t think anybody has seen before,” Hanchet said.

Wrongly accused man free after 25 years

Story Highlights

  • Willie Green had been serving 33 years to life for woman’s killing, burglary, robbery
  • “Good Friday arrived early for my husband,” Mary Green says
  • Key witness recently recanted his story
  • Green says he doesn’t hold a grudge against anybody

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) — Willie Earl Green walked out of a California courtroom as a free man Thursday after serving nearly 25 years in prison for the execution-style murder of a Los Angeles woman, which he insists he never committed.

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Willie Green said he “would never ponder harming anyone” after working for civil rights in Mississippi.

A Los Angeles judge set the graying 56-year-old free after ruling that the prosecution’s star witness, Willie Finley, lied to a jury during key portions of his original testimony. Finley recently recanted his story.

Green, who earned a college degree while at California’s San Quentin State Prison, said he was “humbled” by his release.

“Today is a glorious day,” he said. “It’s a great day. I never gave up on this day. I knew one day this day would come.

“I never asked for mercy. I only asked for justice to be served, and it was served today.”

“Good Friday arrived early for my husband,” said Green’s wife, Mary.

Apple considering free access to iTunes

Story Highlights

  • Newspaper cited unnamed sources in that Apple is talking with record labels
  • Talks surround users paying more for iPhone, iPod to get free iTunes access
  • Critics: Deal wouldn’t work because artists don’t want to give away their music
  • Nokia has deal that gives buyers unlimited free downloads of catalog songs

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) — Apple Inc. is mulling a plan to upend its iTunes business by giving people unlimited free access to the music library if they’re willing to pay more for the iPod and iPhone devices they use for playing and storing the digital media, according to a report published Wednesday.

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A report said Apple is considering free access to iTunes for those who pay more for iPods and iPhones.

Some analysts threw cold water on the plan outlined in the Financial Times, however, saying Cupertino-based Apple would risk creating an “accounting nightmare” and alienating some artists if it started giving away songs on its iTunes online store.

Rumors have buzzed through the industry for a couple of years that Apple might open iTunes for free downloads.

Meanwhile, Apple’s rivals are experimenting with new ways to distribute music online — including giving it away.

The newspaper cited unnamed music industry sources in reporting that Apple is negotiating with record labels over a deal to offer a monthly music subscription for the iPhone, as well as an unlimited music bundle for both the iPod and iPhone.

Muhammad is Allah’s Last Messenger, not the ‘founder’ of Islam

THE Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) name has yet again been in the media as of late due to the republication of the offense Danish cartoon caricatures that continue to be used to taunt Muslims and tarnish the good name of the final messenger (pbuh).

As I watched the recent protests unfold on live television from Muslims around the world in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other nations, I became increasingly irritated with the broadcaster’s commentary. She kept referring to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as the ‘founder’ of Islam. And even her interviewees responded in a similar fashion by also referring to him as the ‘founder’ of Islam.

To imply that Muhammad (pbuh) founded Islam or created it is a gross and reprehensible lie that quite often is used by the enemies of Islam to water-down the impact that Muhammad’s (pbuh) prophethood had on the entire world. This world has never seen a greater man, prophet, father, statesman, politician, orator, warrior, commander, friend, teacher or confidant than Muhammad (pbuh).

The simple fact remains that centuries after Muhammad’s (pbuh) death, Islam runs strong with people converting every single day because the message of Allah in the Holy Quran rings true and is enticing to the seekers of all that is good in this world. The founder of Islam is actually Allah Almighty. Allah chose Muhammad (pbuh) to be the final Prophet sent to this world to give both a warning and glad tidings.

Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran:

“Allah knows best with whom to place His Message.” (6:124)

What Victory? Iraqis Ask Bush

IslamOnline.net & News Agencies

 
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Rampant violence and daily bombings are one of the main characthers of today’s Iraq. (Reuters)

BAGHDAD — Sitting in his tobacco shop in the once-bustling Saadun Street of downtown Baghdad, Abu Fares al-Daraji was trying to make sense of the successes and strategic victory US President George Bush was talking about.“Bush speaks of victory but I say he has only achieved one thing for this country, destruction,” a disgruntled Daraji told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Thursday, March 20.

“There is no victory. The Americans brought our way things we never knew like terrorism and the killings we see on the streets.”

On the eve of the fifth war anniversary, Bush defended the “undeniable” successes made in Iraq, vowing no retreat and pledging victory.

Iraq’s Lost Children

New Iraq.. Sex for Life

Is Iraq Better Off?

Iraq Invasion.. 5 Years on

Bush had invaded Iraq armed with inaccurate intelligence, mistaken assumptions and extravagant hopes that have cost Iraq and the US dearly in blood and treasure.Tens of thousands of civilians — between 104,000 and 223,000 — died between March 2003 and June 2006 alone, according to the World Health Organization.

Some independent bodies take the death toll to one million since the start of the war.

Nearly 4,000 US have also been killed, mostly after Bush announced the end of “major combat” on May 1, 2003.