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Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
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Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
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The Iconoclast

Thursday, 16 August 2007
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"We are fortunate that radicalization seems to have less appeal in the U.S. than in other parts of the world," he said, "but we do not believe that America is immune to homegrown terrorism."-- from this news article on the Rand report linked below

This statement, variants of which are made so often with such self-assurance, needs to be examined. We are often told that "Muslims in America are different" or "the situation in America is different from that in Western Europe." [At least this concedes that there is a "problem" with Muslims in Western Europe]. Why? Oh, because Muslims in America are so very "different" because they are so well-off, so many engineers, so many computer programmers, that sort of thing. In other words, something about the American Dream, defined entirely in terms of economic wellbeing, but having nothing to do with the legal and political institutions of the United States that help to explain not only that economic wellbeing, but all the other things, far more important than mere bank accounts, that make America America.

Implicit in this view -- "radicalization has less appeal in America "" -- is the by-now thoroughly discredited notion, which keeps coming in by the rhetorical back door, that "poverty" causes what is demurely called "radicalization." But that is not so. "Mike" Hawash was an Intel engineer, with an American wife, and Little-League playing children, and a salary of $360,000 a year, yet he was prepared, having rediscovered and deepened his faith in Islam, to go off -- after 9/11 -- to Afghanistan to kill Americans.

The word "radicalization" does not tell us anything, but attempts rather to hide the truth from us. What is "radicalization"? It is the state in which an individual Muslim, or a group of Muslims, decide to be very good Muslims indeed, and to do all that is demanded of Muslims, including the duty of participating in Jihad to remove all obstacles, everywhere, to the final triumph of Islam. Some Muslims choose not to participate directly. Some choose to avert their minds from that duty, to pretend that it does not exist. Some out of filial piety, and the apparent need to have an "identity," to continue to call themselves "cultural Muslims," meaning that they are no longer believers at all, but don't really want to make that leap into the dangerous unknown, the leap made by Ali Sina, Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and no doubt tens or hundreds of thousands of others around the world, who do so not quite so openly and noisily, out of fear.

But those who are "radicalized" -- and these are a great many -- have not embraced a doctrine that has nothing to do with, but rather has every thing to do with, Islam. The texts they read are the same. But they read the full texts. They know the duty of Muslims. They choose, however, as their instrument of Jihad not only such things as campaigns of Da'wa, and the careful Tu-Quoque-and-Taqiyya efforts designed to prevent Infidels from finding out just a little too much about Islam, mainly by keeping those tiny Infidel minds busy with "the three abrahamic faiths" and "we revere Jesus and Moses" and of course the five canonical prayers, and the giving of zakat -- for fellow Muslims -- and the observance of Ramadan and the inspirational delights of the hajj, but also violence. And that is what "radicalization" means --not some different, weird, unrelated set of beliefs, but merely the set of beliefs that arise naturally out of, indeed are inculcated by, Islamic texts read and understood as Muslims have read and understood those immutable texts for 1300 --or possibly 1200 -- years (for it is unclear when the Qur'anic text was fixed in amber).

But the texts are the same, the same ones read by Muslims in France as in the United States, and the same texts as are read by Muslims in Iran, or the Sudan, or Libya, or Saudi Arabia, or Pakistan. The refusal of American authorities, or writers on the subject of Islam in America, to recognize that there is no great difference, that the only difference that for now inhibits Muslim demands and behavior is the fact that Muslims constitute 1% of the total population, that that population is far less likely, for a number of reasons, to appease or acquiesce as so many in Western Europe have done, and that they cannot act quite as openly, quite as aggressively (though many Muslim groups are doing, in fact, their blatant damnedest) as they do in Western Europe.

"Radicalization" simply means an intensification of Islamic faith, and a willingness to participate oneself directly in Jihad, rather than simply support the effort as part of a community obligation, and finally, the willingness to use violence ("terrorism") as an instrument of Jihad. And that is all.

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Posted on 08/16/2007 8:42 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 16 August 2007
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New Duranty: MALELA, Kenya — CARE, one of the world’s biggest charities, is walking away from some $45 million a year in federal financing, saying American food aid is not only plagued with inefficiencies, but also may hurt some of the very poor people it aims to help.

CARE’s decision is focused on the practice of selling tons of often heavily subsidized American farm products in African countries that in some cases, it says, compete with the crops of struggling local farmers.

The charity says it will phase out its use of the practice by 2009. But it has already deeply divided the world of food aid and has spurred growing criticism of the practice as Congress considers a new farm bill.

“If someone wants to help you, they shouldn’t do it by destroying the very thing that they’re trying to promote,” said George Odo, a CARE official who grew disillusioned with the practice while supervising the sale of American wheat and vegetable oil in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital...

Our feelings aren't hurt, Mr. Odo, in fact, having more corn available to make ethanol might be a good thing for the U.S.

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Posted on 08/16/2007 8:27 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 16 August 2007
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THE CAMPAIGN sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to combat bigotry and celebrate diversity ("No Place for Hate") has sparked bitter resentment in Watertown, Mass., a Boston suburb whose 8,000 Armenian-Americans make up nearly 25 percent of the population. Local Armenians do not object to the initiative, rather to the group behind it, the ADL and its director, Abraham Foxman - whom they charge, correctly, with denying the ugly established legacy of the World War I era Armenian genocide.

Under the authoritarian Young Turk (Ittihadist) regime, the bulk of the Armenian population from the territories of the Ottoman Empire - some 1 million to 1.5 million Armenians - were purged by violent and lethal means, which reproduced the historic conditions of a classic Islamic jihad: deportation, enslavement, forced conversion and massacre.

Mr. Foxman maintains that dismantling a program designed to fight hatred simply because the ADL does not share what he refers to as the "Armenians' viewpoint" would be "bigoted." Moreover, Foxman and the ADL, who have spoken out in recent times against ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the Balkans and the genocide against the syncretist black African Animist-Muslims in Darfur, are, in effect, oddly "neutral" on the Armenian genocide: "We're not party to this, and I don't understand why we need to be made party."

But even this morally challenged "neutrality" is disingenuous. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency ("Turks want genocide commission," April 23), Mr. Foxman and the ADL are lobbying against legislation recognizing the Armenian genocide in the U.S. House (HR 106) and the Senate (SR 106), including the presentation of letters from the Jewish community of Turkey complemented by, "their own [i.e., the ADL's] statement opposing the bill."

Interviewed for a Nov. 19, 2003, story in The Christian Science Monitor, following the bombing of Istanbul's two main synagogues by indigenous Turkish jihadist groups, Rifat Bali, a scholar, and Turkish Jew, acknowledged the chronic plight of Turkey's small, dwindling Jewish community, whose social condition remains little removed from the formal "dhimmi" status of their ancestors.

The rest is here.

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Posted on 08/16/2007 8:17 AM by Andy Bostom
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Thursday, 16 August 2007
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The Bush administration has looked over the abyss to see what a populist Islamic Pakistan would look like and is doing what it can to try to forestall the inevitable. General Musharraf is likely to be unseated by either an assassination or general uprising. When he goes, they hope to have someone in place who is relatively friendly to the U.S., like Benazir Bhutto, to replace him. This move will probably only feed the fire of the Islamic opposition.

New Duranty: WASHINGTON, Aug. 15 — The Bush administration, struggling to find a way to keep Gen. Pervez Musharraf in power amid a deepening political crisis in Pakistan, is quietly prodding him to share authority with a longtime rival as a way of broadening his base, according to American and Pakistani officials.

General Musharraf, an important ally since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, has lost so much domestic support in recent months that American officials have gotten behind the idea that an alliance with Benazir Bhutto, a former prime minister, would be his best chance of remaining president.

The two met in an unannounced session in Abu Dhabi on July 27, but neither has publicly admitted to the meeting. Since then, many in Pakistan have heard the rumors and voiced their doubts about the workability and political wisdom of such a deal, and American officials concede that the proposed power-sharing could come with problems as well as benefits.

But after weeks of unrest in Pakistan, the American officials say a power-sharing agreement that might install Ms. Bhutto as prime minister could help defuse a confrontation in which General Musharraf has already flirted with invoking emergency powers. Administration officials have said they fear that General Musharraf could eventually be toppled and replaced by a leader who might be less reliable as a guardian of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and as an ally against terrorism.

Even if General Musharraf were to insist on remaining as the country’s military leader, American officials say that sharing power could bring a more democratic spirit to Pakistan, which has been a quasi-military dictatorship since 1999, when General Musharraf seized power and ousted Ms. Bhutto’s successor, Nawaz Sharif.

Even in supporting a power-sharing agreement, the American officials say they worried that any diminution of General Musharraf’s power could only complicate American counterterrorism efforts at a time when Al Qaeda is believed to be rebuilding in Pakistan’s tribal areas. They also say that Ms. Bhutto’s return could fuel Pakistani nationalism and kindle new calls for Pakistan to distance itself from Washington.

Ms. Bhutto has been holding talks in recent weeks with senior Bush administration officials, including Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, with whom she met privately late last week. Administration officials have taken pains not to endorse a power-sharing agreement publicly, so as not to seem as if the United States is trying to influence Pakistani politics...

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Posted on 08/16/2007 7:52 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 16 August 2007
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Speaking of terror funding Muslim charities, New Duranty has this:

Two prominent Muslim American organizations took steps yesterday to reverse what they called a Justice Department effort to smear the entire Muslim community by naming some of its largest organizations as unindicted co-conspirators in a Texas terrorism trial.

The National Association of Muslim Lawyers, which is not named, sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales objecting to the list, which it said breached the department’s own guidelines against releasing the names of unindicted co-conspirators and did not serve any clear law enforcement purpose.

The letter, also signed by the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, said the “overreaching list” of more than 300 organizations and individuals would further cripple charitable donations to Muslim organizations and could ratchet up the discrimination faced by American Muslims since the Sept. 11 attacks.

In addition, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, which is on the list, announced that it would file a brief today asking Judge A. Joe Fish of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas to remove its name and all others from the list.

The brief, a copy of which was released yesterday, says the list furthers a pattern of the “demonization of all things Muslim” that has unrolled in the United States since 2001.

“Most people don’t understand what an unindicted co-conspirator is,” said Parvez Ahmed, CAIR’s board chairman, adding that the release of the list prompted death threats and hate mail against the council. “They think that being related to a terrorism case means we are terrorists.”...

Once upon a time, during a brief period of moral clarity after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush said, "you're either with us, or with the terrorists."  The funding of terrorist organizations like Hamas gives a pretty good indication of which side CAIR and other Muslim organizations are on.

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Posted on 08/16/2007 7:06 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 16 August 2007
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American justice upholds free speech in a suit similar to the many suits that Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Marfouz has filed against writers in England. (h/t: JW) Josh Gerstein reports in The New York Sun: 

A children's charity that funnels money to Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon, Kinder USA, has dropped a libel suit it brought against a prominent terrorism analyst who suggested that the group was funding a terrorist organization, Hamas.

In April, Kinder USA, formally known as Kids in Need of Development, Education, and Relief, Inc., sued Matthew Levitt over a brief passage about the group in his book, "Hamas: Politics, Charity and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad."

The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, also named the book's publisher, Yale University Press, and Mr. Levitt's employer from 2001 to 2005, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

On Tuesday, Kinder USA moved to withdraw the case with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled.

"I conducted three years of careful research for Hamas, and the book was the subject of academic peer review," Mr. Levitt said in a statement issued yesterday by the Washington Institute, which he returned to this year after a stint as a top Treasury Department official. "I am pleased that this suit has been dismissed with prejudice, vindicating my free speech rights."

In the passage that led to the suit, Mr. Levitt wrote: "Even after the closure of the Holy Land Foundation in 2001, other America-based charities continue to fund Hamas. One organization that has appeared to rise out of the ashes of the HLFRD is Kinder USA."...

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Posted on 08/16/2007 6:51 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 16 August 2007
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1) “Lafayette, we are here,” as Vattemare the Ventriloquist, standing by himself and pounding at an ungodly hour on the gate of La Grange Bleneau, announced when the sleepy Count appeared at an open window to see what all the noise was about

 

2) “Vaste programme, monsieur,” as De Gaulle replied when Don Hewitt told him he planned to devote an entire hour of “60 Minutes” to an interview with the French leader

 

3) “Une femme est une femme, mais un caporal…” as Josephine, who was having self-esteem problems, wistfully told  her psychiatrist .

 

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Posted on 08/16/2007 6:48 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 16 August 2007
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One more pair for “The Doubles” Game which, after its recent introduction, should by now be sweeping the world:
 
Matt Dillon and Mat Dillon.
 
The first evokes that dusty town, and the swinging doors of the saloon, and Doc, and Miss Kitty, and of course loyal limping Chester, for those Americans who remember the glorious 1950s.
 
The second is a character – or rather, a name – mentioned in “Ulysses.” Leopold Bloom first meets Molly in May 1887 (28 years, 11 months before the date of the action and passion of “Ulysses” take place), she in a green dress, at the house of one Matthew “Mat” Dillon. And it is on the same occasion that Leopold may have met – so he thinks – little Stephen Dedalus, then aged four or possibly five,  dressed in “linseywoolsey.” That last may be a proleptic allusion by farseeing Joyce to Judge John M. Woolsey, of New York, who would later deliver himself of a famous verdict in a censorship case involving “Ulysses.”
 
Mat Dillon makes an appearance, as do some other characters in “Ulysses,” much later on, in Raymond – there is something about Raymond, isn’t there? -- Queneau’s “On est toujours trop bons avec les femmes.
 
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Posted on 08/16/2007 6:34 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 16 August 2007
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I found this at a website supposedly devoted to sport: www.pakpassion.net. The list is an inspiring  blend of mass-murders and mass-media sports stars. The arithmetic needs work.

 

top 5 famous muslims of alltime


     1)     Mohamed Ali- the greatest boxer of all time [float like a butterfly sting like a bee]

2) Osama Bin Laden - not none for the best of reasons but is suposed to be a terrorist mastermind. Fights for Al-Quaida

3) Zinedine Zidane- one of the greatest footballers ever comes from an algerian backgroung great footballer

4) Tupac Shakur- best rapper of all time not sure if he is muslim or not but it did say he is on a website

4) Sadam Hussain- Once again not known for the best of reasons but use to be presindent i think of iraq.

5) Imran khan- great cricketing allrounder great captain lead pakistan to world cup glory

i no there are other famous muslims who invented thing but these are mine
what do you guys think it will be good to see your top 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

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Posted on 08/16/2007 6:06 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
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WND: A single vote by a San Francisco Board of Supervisors member whose grandfather emigrated from China seven decades ago has halted in its tracks a proposal to condemn as "hate speech" radio personality Michael Savage's criticism of illegal aliens in the United States.

The vote tonight was 9-1, with third generation San Franciscan Ed Jew turning in the veto vote, after getting up and affirming Savage's First Amendment right to express his opinion...

"This is a dry run against free speech in America by the Islamists and the illegal aliens who are now becoming one and the same," [Michael Savage] said. "It's the same organizational structure. … I am the target of this dry run. They want to see how far they can get in silencing a voice of freedom in the United States of America. They want to see which, if any, governmental agencies will stop them."

"Guess what they learned so far?" he continued. "That not only will no governmental agency stop them in their attempts to kill free speech, they will aid them in their attempts to kill free speech. We have lost our freedoms already...

Earlier, one of the nation's top civil rights attorneys offered his assistance to Savage in suing Sandoval.

Daniel A. Horowitz of Oakland, Calif., wrote to Savage after Sandoval introduced his resolution.

"You have a strong federal civil rights action that you can file against Supervisor Sandoval and the city of San Francisco," he advised. "You have a constitutional right to state your political opinions and no city official has the right to lie about what you said or to call for a mob to come to your door to threaten you and to try to have you fired."

Horowitz said the Civil Rights Act of 1871, designed to tame the terror of the Ku Klux Klan, can be used as the basis for a federal civil rights action against the official and the city.

"You are protected by this civil rights act because you are the victim of the same type of mob terror that (the) Klan used to inflict," wrote Horowitz. "This terror is being organized against you simply because people do not like what you say. Translated into legal language, you are being attacked by a type of terrorist because you have exercised your First Amendment rights." ...

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Posted on 08/15/2007 7:29 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
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BAGHDAD (AP) - The top American commander in Iraq said Wednesday he was preparing recommendations on troop cuts before he returns to Washington next month for a report to Congress, and believes the U.S. footprint in Iraq will have to be "a good bit smaller" by next summer.

But he cautioned against a quick or significant U.S. withdrawal that could surrender "the gains we have fought so hard to achieve."

Gen. David Petraeus said the "horrific and indiscriminate attacks" that killed at least 250 Yazidis, an ancient religious sect, in northwestern Iraq Tuesday night were the work of al-Qaida in Iraq. That would bolster his argument, he said, against too quickly drawing down the 30,000 additional U.S. troops deployed in the first half of the year.

The general issued his comments to a small group of reporters who accompanied him to the headquarters of a group of former Sunni insurgents who are now working with American and Iraqi forces against al-Qaida in western Baghdad's Amariyah neighborhood.

Petraeus listened intently as the so-called Freedom Fighters' 40-year- old leader, who uses the nom-de-guerre Abu Abed, explained his transformation and said he switched sides because al-Qaida was ravaging the neighborhood and trying to impose its austere version of Islam.

Members of the neighborhood volunteer army milled about, U.S.-supplied pistols strapped to their hips and AK-47 automatic rifles at the ready. Petraeus reviewed a short line of the auxiliary force and shook hands with each man.

Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh, who unexpectedly accompanied Petraeus, promised Abed that the neighborhood—now that it was calmer—would receive priority government attention for its crumbling infrastructure...

"We know that the surge has to come to an end, there's no question about that. I think everyone understands that by about a year or so from now we've got to be a good bit smaller than we are right now.

"The question is how do you do that ... so that you can retain the gains we have fought so hard to achieve and so you can keep going. Again we are not at all satisfied where we are right now. We have made some progress but again there's still a lot of hard work to be done against the different extremist elements that do threaten the new Iraq."

Petraeus said the shift in loyalty among many Sunni insurgents in Iraq's western Anbar province, Baghdad's Amariyah district and a similar hotspot in the city called Ghazaliyah was "a pretty big deal."

"You have to pinch yourself a little to make sure that is real because that is a very significant development in this kind of operation in counterinsurgency," he said. "It's all about the local people. When all the sudden the local people are on the side of the new Iraq instead of on the side of the insurgents or even al-Qaida, that's a very significant change."

The "new" Iraq looks a lot like the old Iraq to me...

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Posted on 08/15/2007 3:36 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
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Andy McCarthy says that "the president went dark on the war from the time he was re-elected until about seven months later, and then failed even after that to use the bully pulpit to defend our cause"

Could it be because that cause itself has been ill-defined, always something not quite clear, but having something to do with bringing "democracy" (in its crudest, head-counting version, with none of the attendant solicitousness for individual rights, and for that matter restraints on power, that characterize modern democracies -- or should) and "freedom" to those sentimental types, the "ordinary moms and dads" (a phrase to make one's flesh creep) of the Middle East. Is it possible that Bush "fell silent" and ever since has been dyslexically tongue-tied, given merely to a parrot's chatter, in which phrases are repeated by him, and then the same or other phrases repeated by his loyalists, who cannot apparently analyze the situation for themselves, cannot discover for themselves the scope of the menace, the instruments of the menace, the ways in which the pre-existing fissures within Iraq could so easily be exploited for what should be the American goal: not that goddam "freedom" for "ordinary moms and dads" but rather, a source of continuous conflict and unrest, sectarian and ethnic, between Shia and Sunni, Arab and non-Arab, that will have consequences among Iraq's neighbors that will occupy and preoccupy them, and use up their men, their money, their matériel, and free us up for re-connecting with the historic heart of the West, Western Europe, and working, as happened after World War II, to promote in a thousand ways those indigenous forces of resistance -- to Soviet Communism then, to Islam -- not "Islamists" -- now. And finally, with his phrase, which you apparently find unremarkable, perhaps even useful, that phrase about a "war on terror," Bush helps to obscure the fact that the most menacing instruments of Jihad are not terror, nor even at this point qitaal, or combat, but rather campaigns of Da'wa, the deployment of the Money Weapon (paying for mosques, madrasas, propaganda, and small armies of Western hirelings, beavering away in the corridors and coulisses of power), and of course, what can no longer be denied, demographic conquest.

Bush has failed completely. He has failed to understand Islam and the nature of Jihad. He has failed to understand Iraq, and the history of Iraq, and the forces at play in Iraq. He has failed to understand that the Shi'a will never give up their new-found power, and the Sunni Arabs will never acquiesce -- not the Sunnis inside Iraq, not the Sunnis outside Iraq -- in Shi'a control of the Land of the Two Rivers and of Baghdad, the fabled Baghdad of the perfervid Arab imagination, setting up permanent camp in a past of exaggerated glories to compensate for the last nearly one thousand years of failure upon failure -- political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral -- a failure made all the more disturbing because if one were to think clearly about it, one would realize that those failures are owed entirely to Islam, the nature of this Total System, itself -- and that is the one thing that Muslim Arabs will never be able to recognize, or to themselves, much less say aloud.

Bush gets none of this. And just because so many of those who hate him are so vicious and so nonsensical is not sufficient reason to rewrite the history of this continuing, quite unnecessary folly in Iraq.

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Posted on 08/15/2007 3:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
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From The Blotter: U.S. law enforcement officials say they have identified more than two dozen "clusters" of young Muslim men in the northeast United States who are on a path that could lead to homegrown terror, ABC News has learned.

"Any one of those clusters may be capable of carrying out a terrorist action that will result in fatalities," Rand Corporation terrorism expert Brian Jenkins tells ABC News.

In a report to be made public today, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly concludes the 9/ll attacks were an "anomaly" and the most serious terror threat to the country comes from clusters of "unremarkable" individuals who are on a path that could lead to homegrown terror...

"The threat is real; this is not some bogey man we are creating here. There are individuals who are proselytizing, inciting angry young men to go down this path," said Jenkins, who reviewed and contributed to the NYPD report.

The report identifies mosques, bookstores, cafes, prisons and flop houses as what it calls "radicalization incubators" that provide "extremist fodder or fuel for radicalization."...

"We assess that this internal Muslim terrorist threat is not likely to be as severe as it is in Europe, however," is the paragraph's close.

It is unlikely the report would tell us why they came to that conclusion. Of course the answer is that we have fewer Muslims in proportion to Infidels in America than has Europe, at least for the time being. The problem is that even with a population that is only 1% Muslim we still face the terrorist threat outlined above.

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Posted on 08/15/2007 2:23 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
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I hope this post is tongue-in-cheek, but somehow I doubt it:

Talking Points for the Madrassa
by Baron Bodissey


Supporters of the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA) in Brooklyn organized a community meeting on Monday night at the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge to discuss the school and coordinate their efforts.

The original contents of this post have had to be removed due to legal concerns for the parties involved.

Sorry.

Meanwhile, Daniel Pipes here and Alicia Colon here weigh in today on the Khalil Gibran madrassa. From Colon's piece:

The question is, where is the ACLU? If a cross is anywhere to be found on public property, the ACLU will file a case to have it removed. Yet, clearly, this zeal is nonexistent when it involves Islam.

The University of Michigan-Dearborn is spending $25,000 to build footbaths for Muslim students. In San Diego, an experimental school, Carver Elementary, has morphed into one with accommodations for Muslim prayers and dietary needs not previously made for Christian and Jewish students. In San Francisco, the Bryon Union School District held a three week "How to be a Muslim" program wherein students prayed to Allah and took Islamic names. When the case was taken to court, the liberal Ninth Circuit ruled for the school.

Perhaps the ACLU requires someone to initiate the complaint and atheists only seem interested in targeting Christian artifacts. Exactly what is it about the religion of peace that makes it immune from litigious nonbelievers?

Update: The Baron's post clearly was serious. Here's his statement replying to a comment:

It's not my liability that I'm worried about, but somebody else's.

They had to take down their post, so I removed my quotes & links.

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Posted on 08/15/2007 2:14 PM by Robert Bove
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
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"Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn't we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? ... What does God care what we call him? It is our problem." --from the article linked by Robert here and commented on by Hugh here

Yes, this is a brilliant solution. After all, what's in a name? Didn't Shakespeare already say a rose any any other name would smell as sweet? True, but the corollary doesn't work.

A pile of sh-t called a rose would not smell as sweet. Calling the Eastern European Communist puppet states of the USSR "People's democracies" didn't make them that. Bishop Muskens will no doubt go down in Dutch history as how not to solve problems and face the real world as much as another Dutch - pseudo-hero, - "The Hero of Haarlem", the legendary Hans Brinker, the boy who supposedly put his finger in the dyke to prevent a flood. 

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Posted on 08/15/2007 1:42 PM by Norman Berdichevsky
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
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Most Democratic critiques of Rove are ill-conceived and many wildly exaggerated, but so, I think, is the suggestion that he is some kind of political genius.  I am surprised, in particular, by the lack of commentary on the politics of Iraq.

I don’t know how much of a role Rove may have had in making democracy promotion the ne plus ultra of U.S. foreign and counterterrorism policy, but the most colossal blunder of the administration—even worse than immigration—is that the president went dark on the war from the time he was re-elected until about seven months later, and then failed even after that to use the bully pulpit to defend our cause.  Day-after-day, Democrats and the hard Left hammered away at Iraq, and the president did not engage or come close to matching their intensity:  no defense rooted in the ties between Saddam’s regime and jihadists (to the point that a counterfactual version of history has become common wisdom); no accurate dissemination of information about weaponry that has been found in Iraq; and the disastrous decision to apologize for a statement in the 2003 state of the union address (about intel on Saddam trying to obtain nuclear components in Africa) that was true.  All this and more contributed mightily to discrediting the war—feeding the false impression that Bush lied us into Iraq and that what we are doing there is not part of the “real” war on terror (indeed, is counter-productive to it).  And when the president did speak about Iraq, he emphasized the progress of “democracy”—essentially, popular elections which installed a pro-Iranian Shiite majority, the adoption of a constitution that installs Sharia as a core element of Iraqi law. 

This is much more about tactics than ideology.  The administration calculated that it was a political loser to re-hash the run-up to the war.  (How many times have we heard, “We’re looking ahead, not backward”?)  This defaulted to the Left the formulation of the war’s legacy, and they capitalized to a fare thee well—to the point that even as we are making real progress on the ground in Iraq, opposition to the war at home remains very strong.  And even if the democracy experiment were going better, Americans don’t much care what form of government Iraq has.  They care about American national security:  al Qaeda and the increasing threat posed by Iran; they want to know that whatever we leave behind in Iraq is going to be a future help to us rather than an enemy satellite.  By the time the president got around to talking regularly and forcefully about al Qaeda again, the damage had been done … and we’re still trying to overcome it.

I doubt Karl Rove had much to do with the way the war was conducted.  I suspect, however, that he had lots to do with how it has been presented to the American people.  To say that has not been well handled is an understatement.

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Posted on 08/15/2007 1:26 PM by Andy McCarthy
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
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Anyone waiting with bated breath for a BBC retraction or correction of announcer Lyse Ducett's horrendous hundredfold magnification of Lebanese dead in last summer's conflcit between Hizbollah and Israel ("100,000 ,  mostly civilians" as she astutely emphasized) in yesterday's (Aug. 14) 8:00 EST transmission of BBC-America would be dead by now. No retraction, No correction, No apology  from the news gathering agency that continues to boast it is the most accurate in the world.
 
Anyone who still has a warm glowing positive recollection of the BBC from World War II's memories of the blitz and the noble RAF should remain locked in their time machine with the dial permanently set at 1939-45.
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Posted on 08/15/2007 1:04 PM by Norman Berdichevsky
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
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From the AP report:

NEW YORK  —  People in the U.S. who quietly band together and adopt radical ways — not just established overseas terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda — pose a serious threat to America's security, a new police analysis has concluded.

The New York Police Department report released Wednesday describes a process in which young men — often legal immigrants from the Middle East who are frustrated with their lives in their adopted country — adopt a philosophy that puts them on the path to violence and attacking civilians that Muslim extremists say is acceptable under jihad, or holy war.

At a briefing, NYPD officials argued that local law enforcement is best-suited to deal with the homegrown terror threat.

"Hopefully, the better we're informed about this process, the more likely we'll be to detect and disrupt it," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said during the meeting with private security executives at police headquarters.

Meanwhile, NYC still still plans to open the taxpayer-funded Khalil Gibran madrassa, and Mayor Bloomberg wants the city to adopt more "Middle Eastern" and other young men, whether here legally or illegally—and his "don't ask, don't tell, don't deport" policy regarding crimes committed by these folk indicates he thinks it's just peachy to let them stay here no matter how long a rap sheet they amass. Do mayor and police commissioner share the same planet?

There will come a time—there better come a time—when such willful blindness in public officials is recognized as dereliction of duty in war time.

(This politically correct lingo—"Middle Eastern" when we know it means Muslim—will make New York's  non-Muslim Middle Easterners as happy as non-Muslim "Asians" in the UK are made to feel by being lumped with the bad guys.)

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Posted on 08/15/2007 1:02 PM by Robert Bove
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
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"WASHINGTON (AFP) - Republican 2008 White House front-runner Rudolph Giuliani warned Tuesday it was not in the interest of the United States to help create a Palestinian state that would "support terrorism."
In an article in the journal Foreign Affairs, the former New York mayor also said too much emphasis had been placed on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks which he said just brought up the same issues "again and again."
[...]

He argued that the problem for Palestinians since the Islamist movement Hamas won parliamentary elections last year, was not a "lack of statehood" but good governance."

                                               ---- from this news article 

A start, but not strong enough. The main point he should have made is this: not only a so-called "Palestinian" state, but any further surrender by Israel of territory to which it has legal, historic, and moral title (which is to say, every square inch or dunam it currently possesses or controls) will merely whet, not sate, Arab Muslim appetites.

He should go further. The whetting of those appetites by any further Israeli concessions will also feed into Muslim triumphalism. "We are winning against Israel" is not a sentiment one wishes the Arabs to feel, for it will feed into their pressure on other areas, not just the obvious places akin to Israel in the Muslim view because they were once part of Dar al-Islam, once ruled by Muslims, such as Spain, Sicily, Greece, the Balkans, Bulgaria, Rumania, much of Hungary, much of Russia, almost all of India, but also hearten Muslims in Western Europe as they attempt, through the steady and well-financed campaigns of Da'wa, through the deployment of the Money Weapon (funding those mosques, those madrasas, those Western hirelings from ex-diplomats and public relations agents to lawyers determined to silence all criticism of Islam), and of course demographic conquest (the continued immigration, and the huge families which, even if they become a little less huge, remain larger, by several times, the average non-Muslim family -- the statistics over the past three decades for the Muslim population grimly reveal what, if nothing is done, will inevitably result).

The Arab Muslim siege on Israel is without end. The Slow Jihadists of Fatah (who like pocketing money from the Infidels, and need, therefore, to present a less menacing front) and the Fast Jihadists of Hamas share the exact same goal; they differ only on matters of tactics and timing. It being a matter of Islam, they have successfully enrolled the world's Muslims in the Lesser Jihad against Israel. But if, as part of its strategy to divide the Camp of the Infidels (still unaware that it is a camp, a camp defined by the non-Islamness of its members) heightens the awareness, among non-Arab Muslims, of Islam as a vehicle of Arab supremacy, it may find that some of those unhappy non-Arab Muslims, recognizing the truth of that assertion, will lessen or even drop their opposition to Israel, just as the less-Muslim Kemalists, and the less-Muslim regime of the Shah, prompted no doubt by anti-Arab sentiments, managed to have good relations with, and did as little as it could to further, the Jihad against Israel.

Giuliani has some good advisers. Martin Kramer is one. Giuliani also has some, however, such as Norman Podhoretz, who are Bush loyalists and enthusiasts for the folly of Tarbaby Iraq, people given to extreme remarks about "World War IV," people who have been incapable of analyzing why the goals in Iraq not only do not make sense, but if they were to be achieved, would do nothing to weaken, to divide and demoralize, the larger Camp of Islam, while a prompt American withdrawal will lead, inevitably, to the pre-existing sectarian and ethnic fissures widening, and bringing in support (men, money, matériel) from co-religionists outside, which can only, from the point of view of Infidels, be a good thing.

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Posted on 08/15/2007 10:31 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
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"A criminal investigations report says several U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees are accused of aiding Islamic extremists with identification fraud and of exploiting the visa system for personal gain.

The confidential 2006 USCIS report said that despite the severity of the potential security breaches, most are not investigated "due to lack of resources" in the agency's internal affairs department.

"Two District Adjudications Officers are allegedly involved with known (redacted) Islam terrorist members," said the internal document obtained by The Washington Times.

The group "was responsible for numerous robberies and used the heist money to fund terrorist activities. The District Adjudications Officers made numerous DHS database queries to track (Alien)-File movement and check on the applicants' status for (redacted) members and associates."-- from this Washington Times article

The penalties for supplying secret government information, or selling visas, to foreigners, by INS officials, should be unusually severe. In the case of those who have been aided, and whom it would be reasonable to assume share the world-view of Muslim terrorists, very long prison terms and giant fines will do part of the trick. Revamping the INS, and scattering through it agents who are keenly aware of, may even have a personal interest in, preventing or checking those supporting Jihad on the path of Allah, here or abroad, would be welcome. More former Israelis, Maronites, Copts in the INS, possibly some Iraqi Christians, better capable of sniffing out things, seeing tell-tale signs where others would see nothing at all -- that is all to be encouraged.

Whole classes of people should not be here in the first place, as representing the most obvious risks. The entire class of "Palestinian" and Jordanian Arabs should be prevented from entry; both observed behavior, and the monitoring of public opinion, suggests that 95% will be hostile to America. In such circumstances, why take a chance? Why risk the wellbeing of Americans? On what theory? Instead, simply cut off all immigration of Muslims from those two populations.

There is another problem. I was told recently about a case that is hardly unique, of an immigrant from India who presented himself as a Hindu, then decided to outwardly convert to Christianity in order to marry an American. Once she gave birth to a child, and apparently his remaining in the country was assured, he divorced her, and at that point revealed that he had not really converted to Christianity, and was not really a Hindu, but had remained a Muslim all along. But by then it was too late.

Change the laws, so that the "too late" never arrives, and mistakes in allowing in those who should not be allowed in can be reversed.

It takes Congressional hearings. It takes Presidential candidates making an issue of it. It takes a complete change of many minds.

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Posted on 08/15/2007 10:26 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
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Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen will face criminal charges in India after being accused of stirring up religious enmity.

The charges come after Nasreen was attacked at a publication party because of opposition to a translation of her latest book, Shodh, in Hyderabad last week. Several lawmakers and members of a conservative Muslim political party threw flowers and other items at her and called for her death.

They threw a leather case at her and threatened her with a chair. And flowers.

Nasreen, author of Wild Wind and Shame, is an exile from her native Bangladesh because of a fatwa against her and a threat by the government to lay charges stemming from her writing.

She lived in Sweden and France for several years, but moved to India in 2002.

In articles and books, she writes about the poor treatment of Hindus in mostly Muslim Bangladesh, and rape and mistreatment of women in Muslim societies. A police official in Hyderabad said Nasreen had been charged with "hurting Muslim feelings," according to Agence France Presse."  --- from this news article

_______________________________________

The nuclear deal made between the United States and India is contingent, or should be, on the government of India showing in thought, word, and deed that it will not be infiltrated by, influenced by, cowed by, Muslims inside or outside India. If Taslima Nasreen is charged by the government of India with any offense, not the non-existent offense, but the charge itself, will be rank. And all deals involving nuclear technology, should be looked at much more keenly, critically, and possibly ended altogether. Those deals are predicated, or should be, on the idea of India's government being safely in non-Muslim hands, Hindu and Jain and Buddhist and Christian and even, as with General Jacobs, Jewish hands, or in the hands as well of Muslims-for-identification-purposes-only Muslims, such as the current President.

But the Indian ambassador in Washington should communicate, if he has not already, that even the appearance of going after Taslima Nasreen will go down very hard in Washington, and endanger now, and certainly in the future, all kinds of possible sharing of knowhow and equipment between the United States and India.

Instead, the government of India ought to be moving heaven and earth to be publicly defending the right of Taslima Nasreen to speak her peace and not be intimidated, attacked, or threatened with death. If it does so, it will help itself, and all Infidels. If it does not do so, it will harm itself, and all Infidels.

The choice is up to the current rulers of India. But this business of showing such great solicitude for the sensibilities of thinnnest-of-skinned Muslims, desperately determined to silence criticism, simply will not do.

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Posted on 08/15/2007 10:20 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
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Phil Rizzuto (left) lights cigars with fellow Hall of Famer Yogi Berra to celebrate the birth of Berra's son in 1951. AP photo

Phil Rizzuto: Hey Yogi, I think we're lost... 
Berra: Yeah, but we're making great time!

More such shenanigans here.

Phil Rizzuto, R.I.P.

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Posted on 08/15/2007 8:27 AM by Robert Bove
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
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Chinese spa treatment features fish that eat dead skin.  (h/t: John Hawkins)
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Posted on 08/15/2007 5:46 AM by Robert Bove
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Tuesday, 14 August 2007
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From Jeffrey Imm at Counterterrorism Blog:

As the terror-support trial of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) continued today, FBI agent Lara Burns testified that a phonebook found at the home of Ismail Elbarrasse - un-indicted co-conspirator and former assistant to HAMAS leader Musa Abu Marzook - listed the names and numbers of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership in the United States. On the first page of the phonebook under the title “Members of the Board of Directors” were fifteen names. Among those names are Ahmad Elkadi, Jamal Badawi, and Omar Soubani: the founding incorporators of the Muslim American Society (MAS).

This evidence confirms Counterterrorism Blog contributor Matthew Levitt’s expert testimony that MAS is the representative of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States, and is substantiated by a 2003 Chicago Tribune article that outlined the history of MAS.

Ahmad Elkadi, who told the Chicago Tribune that he was the leader of the Brotherhood in the U.S. from 1984-1994, worked with Mohammed Mahdi Akef, head of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood since 2003, to advocate for the founding of MAS. According to the Tribune report, Akef and Elkadi pushed for more openness for the Muslim Brotherhood through MAS. Akef himself “says he helped found MAS by lobbying for the change during trips to the U.S.”

In fact, MAS does not deny its Muslim Brotherhood foundations. In 2004, then-Secretary General of MAS Shaker Elsayed stated to the Tribune that “Ikhwan [Brotherhood] members founded MAS…” Elsayed even went so far as to admit that about 45 percent of MAS’s active members belong to the Brotherhood. Federal officials have confirmed this, noting continued ties between MAS and the Muslim Brotherhood.

A senior Muslim Brotherhood official in Cairo, Mohamed Habib, seems to explain MAS’ motivations for espousing Brotherhood ideology while simultaneously distancing itself from the movement that birthed it: “I don’t want to say MAS is a [Brotherhood] entity. This causes some security inconveniences for them in a post-Sept. 11 world.”

Also on Tuesday, Joshua Dratel, attorney for Defendant Muhammad El Mezain, asked Burns about a donation sent to the Holy Land Foundation from a man who called himself “Sultan Mahmoud” from New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1996. In a letter addressed to the New Jersey HLF branch office, “Sultan Mahmoud,” offered

“… a modest contribution for our people suffering from Jewish/ Christian (Western) crimes. In’s’Allah [God-willing] both will be defeated/slaughtered and kicked out of Islamic lands. This is for relief supplies and weapons to crush the hated enemy.”

Dratel tried to make light of the letter during his cross examination by asking Agent Burns if she thought that “Sultan Mahmoud” sounded like a nut.

During redirect by the Government, Assistant U. S. Attorney James Jacks asked Burns what happened with the donation. Agent Burns testified that HLF not only accepted the “modest contribution” but that “Sultan Mahmoud” was added to HLF’s mailing list and was later solicited for more donations.

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Posted on 08/14/2007 7:05 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 14 August 2007
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... and/or Scotland:


North Sea Cove from Tantallon Castle Battlement. June 2006 by Robert Bove

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Posted on 08/14/2007 5:35 PM by Robert Bove
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