December 2008


By Phyllis Schlafy  

When Candidate Barack Obama declared himself a “citizen of the world” before thousands of cheering German socialists, and later pledged to “rejoin the World Community,” those weren’t just his usual platitudes about “change.” Those words sounded the trumpet for his specific and far-reaching globalist agenda.

Obama plans to use his presidential power to get the Democratic-majority Senate to ratify a series of treaties that would take us a long way toward global rule over our money, our laws, our military, our courts, our customs, our trade, and even our use of energy.  Here are the treaties he says he wants.

The UN Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), which Reagan rejected in 1982, is high on Obama’s list.  LOST has already created the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in Jamaica and given it total regulatory jurisdiction over all the world’s oceans and all the riches on the ocean floor.

Corrupt foreign dictators dominate LOST’s global bureaucracy, and the U.S. would have the same vote as Cuba.  Likewise for LOST’s International Tribunal in Hamburg, Germany, which has the power to decide all disputes.

Even worse, LOST gives the ISA the power to levy international taxes.  The real purpose of the taxing power is to compel the United States to spend billions of private-enterprise dollars to mine the ocean floor and then let ISA bureaucrats transfer our wealth to socialist, anti-American nations.

Next on Obama’s list is the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which was signed by Bill Clinton but rejected by the Senate in 1999.  It would prohibit all nuclear explosive testing and thereby allow our nuclear arsenal to deteriorate until the American people are defenseless against rogue regimes such as Iran and North Korea.

A new Global Warming Treaty is starting to be written at the UN Climate Change Conference in Poland in order to replace the Kyoto Agreement which George W. Bush and our Senate refused to ratify.  The new treaty would force dramatic reductions in our use of energy, i.e., our standard of living, and impose the “strong international norms” that Obama seeks.

Obama is toadying to his feminist friends by pushing ratification of the UN Treaty on Women, known as CEDAW.  It was signed by Jimmy Carter in 1980 and persistently promoted by Hillary Clinton, but the Senate has so far had the good judgment to refuse to ratify it. 

This treaty would require us “to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women,” to follow UN dictates about “family education,” to revise our textbooks to conform to feminist ideology in order to ensure “the elimination of any stereotyped concept of the roles of men and women,” and to set up a federal “network of child-care facilities.”

Article 16 would require us to allow women “to decide number and spacing of their children.” Everyone recognizes this as feminist jargon for a UN obligation to allow abortion on demand.

Like all UN treaties, the UN Treaty on Women creates a monitoring commission of so-called “experts” to ensure compliance.  The monitors of the Treaty on Women have already singled out Mother’s Day as a stereotype that must be eliminated.

Another UN Treaty on the list is the UN Treaty on the Rights of the Child, which was signed in 1995 by Bill Clinton but wisely never ratified by our Senate.  This is a pet project of the people who believe that the “village” (i.e., the government or UN “experts") should raise children rather than their parents.

This treaty would give children rights against their parents and society to express their own views “freely in all matters,” to receive information of all kinds through “media of the child’s choice,” to use their “own language,” and to have the right to “rest and leisure.” This treaty even orders our schools to teach respect for “the Charter of the United Nations.”

These Obama-endorsed treaties, every one of which would be a dramatic encroachment on U.S. sovereignty, would be supplemented by trade agreements negotiated by Obama’s Trade Representative, Ron Kirk.  He is an enthusiastic supporter of the ”global economic community“ (which means open borders for “free” trade), of NAFTA, and even of the NAFTA SuperHighway, which he calls the “true river of trade between our communities.”

Kirk’s work to lock us into the global economy will be bolstered by Obama’s Secretary of Commerce, Bill Richardson, another aggressive promoter of “free” trade.

Every UN treaty would interfere with self-government over some aspect of our lives and would transfer significant power to foreign bureaucrats, many of whom hate and envy America.  Obama’s UN treaties are the enemy of U.S. political and social independence, and Kirk’s global economic community is the enemy of good middle-class American jobs.

 

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Communist News Network) — The U.S. Army is investigating allegations that Special Forces troops killed an al Qaeda suspect in cold blood and cut off his finger during an overnight operation near Baghdad earlier this month.

The December 10 raid, on a house in the Salman Pak district, 15 miles south of Baghdad, targeted suspected bomb-maker Hardan al-Jaburi.

In a statement, the U.S. military said al-Jaburi, armed with an AK-47, confronted troops conducting the raid.

"Perceiving hostile intent, the forces engaged the armed man, killing him," the statement said.

But his relatives, assisted by a tribal leader, complained in a meeting with U.S. officials in Baghdad’s Green Zone that al-Jaburi was singled out by troops after he was rounded up along with his brothers.

Soldiers ordered him into the family’s house and then shot him dead, the relatives said.  In addition to the family’s claims, sources told CNN that concern within the U.S. military itself about the way the raid was conducted also triggered the investigation.

Much of what happened during the raid at the farmhouse that night is not in dispute.

According to the U.S. military, the raid began with an airborne assault. Those inside the house were warned by loudspeakers that it was surrounded. Al-Jaburi and his brothers then surrendered to the Americans. According to both the U.S. military and the family’s account, al-Jaburi went back to the house.

And there is where the stories diverge.

In the U.S. version, al-Jaburi burst out of the house wielding an AK-47 and was shot in the farmyard.

But the Iraqi family’s version is that all the brothers were stripped to their underwear and forced to lie on the ground, unable to move without the Americans’ permission.

The family says the Americans then took al-Jaburi back into the house.

"The American soldiers ordered [al-Jaburi] to go back inside the house," said the dead man’s brother, Nurri. "He was told to turn the lights on. And the moment he turned on the lights, the soldiers opened fire, and then dragged him deeper inside the house."

The relatives showed CNN grainy mobile phone video that showed what appeared to be thick pools of blood on the floor and bloody handprints on the wall in one room of the house.

And the video showed something else — al-Jaburi’s corpse with one finger, apparently the index finger of his right hand, missing — with a bloody gaping wound in its place as though the finger was recently severed.

The dead man’s family said soldiers on the raid cut off his finger and said the mutilation was an act of intimidation.

The military declined comment on that aspect of the case. In its statement about the shooting, the U.S. military said, "We take all allegations of impropriety seriously and are reviewing the operation and procedures used during the operation. As such, while such a review is under way, it would be improper to comment any further at this time."

When a CNN crew visited after the raid, the farmhouse was in disarray from the search. Dresser drawers were tossed in a pile, pieces of furniture were stacked on a disheveled bed — and the bloody handprints remained on the wall.

The family told CNN that military investigators came to the house last week, spoke to family members and took photographs. But there’s no word on when the military’s review of the incident will be completed.

—————

Michael Be-Ware is known for his anti-U.S. military propaganda. He abhors the U.S. military. That’s a fact.

I watched the video of son of a whore Michael Be-Ware reporting this anti-U.S. military propaganda a few days ago and anything Be-Ware has to say is absolute bullshit. The story was typical propaganda.  Be-Ware is a Juan Cole boot licker and he’s a lyin’ leftist POS. Nuff said.

By

A Lashkar-e-Taiba leader in Pakistani custody admitted to his role in last month’s terror assault in the Indian city of Mumbai, Pakistani sources told The Wall Street Journal. The confession comes as the US and UK provided recording of another senior Lashkar leader speaking to one of the Mumbai terrorists during the operation.

The November terror assault in Mumbai was carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba. The attack was plotted in Pakistan and lasted for more than 60 hours and resulted in more than 170 people killed.

Zarar Shah, "is singing," a Pakistani official involved with the interrogation told the newspaper. Shah is the Lashkar-e-Taiba communications expert who set up the network that allowed the Mumbai terrorists to speak with Lashkar-e-Taiba commanders in Pakistan during the attack. He also serves as a key liaison between the terror group and Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence agency. Pakistani police detained Shah earlier this month during raids on Lashkar’s offices and train camps.

Shah admitted to being a key planner in the Mumbai assault and "spoke with the attackers during the rampage to give them advice and keep them focused." He also confirmed that the 10 Mumbai terrorists "spent at least a few weeks in Karachi, a crowded Arabian Sea port, training in urban combat to hone skills they would use in their assault."

Shah’s admission matches Indian evidence on Lashkar’s role in the Mumbai assault that was provided to Pakistan. India turned over intercepted communications between Shah and the Mumbai terrorists as well as information from the interrogations of several Lashkar terrorists in custody.

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Sabauddin Ahmed.

Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only Mumbai terrorist captured by Indian police, admitted his 10-man team trained in Lashkar camps in Pakistan with the support of the Inter-Service Intelligence agency and launched their attack from the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

Sabauddin Ahmed and Fahim Ansari, two other Lashkar operatives detained earlier this month, also confirmed elements of Shah and Kasab’s account.

Meanwhile, the United States is pressuring Pakistan to turn over Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, the military commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Dawn reported. The US has provided Pakistan with communications intercepts between Lakhvi and the Mumbai terrorists. Lakhvi was also detained by Pakistani police during the sweeps against Lashkar offices and camps.

Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi.

Immediately after the Mumbai attack, Indian police recovered a satellite phone with a number that was directly traced to Lakhvi in Muzaffarabad. Indian intelligence also intercepted conversations between Yusuf Muzammil, a senior Lashkar operative and the Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan rejects Indian, US, and UK evidence

Pakistan has rejected the evidence of Lashkar’s complicity in Mumbai that was turned over by India, the US, and the UK. Pakistani officials said the information is "inadmissible in court," Dawn reported. "They said that since the confessions had been obtained under severe pressure by the Indians, this could not be admissible in judicial process. They have insisted that the information provided would not stand scrutiny in any court."

But Pakistan has been duplicitous in the investigation of Kasab’s nationality, refusing to admit he is even a Pakistani despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Pakistan’s position on Kasab, which US intelligence views as "incontrovertible," has frustrated US officials.

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Ajmal Amir Kasab, outside the train station in Mumbai during the November terror attack.

Since the Mumbai attack, Pakistan’s president, prime minister, and national security advisor have said evidence on Kasab’s nationality was insufficient. "Have you seen any evidence to that effect," President Asif Ali Zardari said when asked if Kasab was a Pakistan during a BBC interview in mid-December. "I have definitely not seen any real evidence to that effect."

Yesterday, National Security Adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani refused to admit Kasab was a Pakistani citizen. "Could be," Durrani said when asked if Kasab was a Pakistani citizen. "I am not saying more than that because we don’t have, I hate to say this we don’t have proof."

But Pakistan has been given proof of Kasab’s nationality. Kasab himself admitted he is from Pakistan and submitted a request for consular access. The request is "under review" by Pakistan’s foreign office.

Kasab’s father and neighbors were interviewed by Pakistani television and news outlets and confirmed he was indeed from Pakistan. His own father identified him and provided a nearly identical account of his son’s background as Kasab gave to Indian intelligence. "This is the truth," Kasab’s father told a Pakistani news outlet. "I have seen the picture in the newspaper. This is my son Ajmal."

Pakistan’s response was to attempt to bury the information. Security forces cordoned the village, removed Kasab’s family from their home and moved someone else in, and forced the townspeople to retract their statements.

"This is absurd, Pakistan can’t even admit one of their citizens was behind the attack," a senior intelligence official told The Long War Journal. "Pakistan can defuse tensions with India by admitting to some basic facts, but instead they are playing legal games. They know damned well Kasab is a Pakistan, and they also know Mumbai was a LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) operation. Pakistan is rubbing the Mumbai attack in the face of India."

 Via FOX News Politics:

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush said just three weeks ago that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has "no moral basis" to appoint someone to fill Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat — a stark contrast to his endorsement of Blagojevich’s appointment on Tuesday.

Rush joined Blagojevich at his press conference in Chicago to support the pick of Roland Burris, a former state attorney general. Rush said Burris, who is black, would fill the racial void left by Obama as the only black member of the U.S. Senate. 

"This is a good decision. Roland Burris is worthy. He has not, in 40 years of public service, had one iota of taint on his record as a public servant," Rush said. 

But the Democratic congressman from Illinois expressed a different view on Dec. 9, the day Blagojevich was arrested and accused of trying to sell Obama’s seat.

"His goose is cooked," Rush said of the governor. "He has no moral basis for appointing the next senator from the state of Illinois. … That person would be as tainted as they could be." 

Rush said Blagojevich should not make an appointment, and he added that anybody he appoints would be at a "severe disadvantage" when it comes time to run for election in 2010. 

On Tuesday, Rush urged the public not to "hang and lynch" Burris simply because he was appointed by Blagojevich.

State Controller John Chiang, who oversees California’s cash flow, warned state agencies Tuesday that unless Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature agree on a budget, the state will have to begin issuing IOUs to some state employees and contractors as early as Feb. 1.

"Without immediate cash solutions or the ability to borrow billions from the strained financial markets, the state controller’s office has no choice but to pursue the deferral of potentially billions of dollars in payments and/or the issuance of … IOUs," Chiang wrote in a letter to state agencies.

Tuesday, Chiang was still in the hospital where he has been since he experienced chest pains Friday while visiting family in Texas. He was in good spirits while awaiting test results, said his spokeswoman, Hallye Jordan. Chiang is 46.

His letter is the latest chapter in the state’s prolonged fiscal crisis, which is estimated to result in a $40 billion deficit by June 2010. State financial officials including Chiang warned earlier this month that the state could run out of cash by the end of February.

Chiang’s letter alerted state agencies to make necessary changes in their computer systems to be able to process IOU payments.

Those likely to be first to receive IOUs are constitutional officers (the governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, secretary of state and controller), lawmakers, judges, politically appointed staffers and vendors that do business with the state, Jordan said.

But the state’s cash crunch could also hold up income tax refunds. Chiang’s notice also asked the Franchise Tax Board to make necessary changes in that agency’s computers to be able to send IOUs to taxpayers.

Despite the impending meltdown of the state’s finances, Schwarzenegger and the Legislature on Tuesday seemed far from a compromise to fix the budget.

"Negotiations have not really progressed with the Legislature, and until they are willing to compromise, the negotiations will not progress," said Aaron McLear, a spokesman for Schwarzenegger.

For the past two weeks, the governor and Democratic legislative leaders have tried to find middle ground by making changes on an $18 billion package of cuts and taxes that the Legislature approved on Dec. 18 in a controversial simple-majority vote that didn’t require Republican support.

Schwarzenegger has said he would veto the package because it did not cut spending enough or go far enough to ease regulations, including environmental rules on building projects.

But Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Baldwin Vista (Los Angeles County), said she thinks there has been progress in budget talks, adding that she is "hopeful that (the governor) will soon sign the $18 billion package that we passed nearly two weeks ago."

Alicia Trost, a spokeswoman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said insolvency "isn’t an option that any of us should want. The cash crisis we will be faced with in the coming days is our No. 1 motivation for reaching a deal with the governor as soon as possible."

Source

Alfonso De Leon, 34 (El Paso Police Department)

(El Paso Times neglects to mention De Leon is a Mexican illegal alien)

Via El Paso Times

EL PASO – The California man accused of throwing his 2-year-old son out of a moving car on an El Paso road had a record of "habitual" traffic offenses, according to a report in the Marin (Calif.) Independent Journal.

Alfonso Israel De Leon, 34, of San Rafael, Calif., allegedly threw his son out of his car Dec. 20 in the 6600 block of Gateway West just before it crashed into a guardrail.

A police complaint affidavit filed after De Leon’s arrest quotes De Leon as saying the devil "told him to throw out everything he did not need."

The boy suffered minor injuries, police said. A 4-year-old girl was also in the car at the time. Both children are in state custody, police said.

According to the Marin Independent Journal, De Leon has several aliases, including Alfonso Israel De Leon Rodas and Alfonso Israel Rodas.

De Leon was on probation for drunken driving with five prior DUI convictions, and his license is suspended until December 2009, under the name Alfonso Israel Rodas.

When contacted by the newspaper, Marin County Chief Deputy District Attorney Kathryn Mitchell said her office was trying to confirm through a fingerprint comparison that Rodas and De Leon are the same person.

Court documents show Rodas and De Leon have matching Social Security numbers and similar birth dates, according to the newspaper report. Rodas’ birth date in Marin County court records is listed as Aug. 6, 1976. According to El Paso jail records, De Leon’s birth date is Aug. 6, 1974.

According to court documents obtained by the Independent Journal, De Leon was on probation for a 2006 incident in which a San Rafael police officer saw him tailgating a tow truck and honking his horn excessively.

On Dec. 15, 2006, De Leon was sentenced to 14 months in jail after pleading guilty to four DUI counts and three counts involving driving without a valid license or proof of insurance. A three-year prison sentence was stayed pending completion of five years of probation, the newspaper report states.

According to the newspaper, De Leon was also declared a "habitual traffic offender" by the court and his license was suspended for three years. As a condition of his probation, he could not leave Marin County without permission from authorities.

De Leon had asked the probation department in Marin County for a travel permit to take his children on a 35-day trip to Mexico. The department referred the request to a judge, who granted the request during a Dec. 4 hearing.

De Leon was ordered to appear in court on Jan. 12 for a status hearing.

— More than 100,000 California health care professionals – including doctors, dentists and therapists – have not been given criminal background checks by the state boards that license them, according to a report published Tuesday.

The Department of Consumer Affairs identified about 104,000 professionals from various levels of medical care that have not been through fingerprint screening, the Los Angeles Times said.

An investigation in the fall by the newspaper and ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization, determined that about 195,000 of the state’s registered and vocational nurses had not been vetted for criminal backgrounds.

Since that investigation, Department of Consumer Affairs director Carrie Lopez has ordered the 20 health care boards and bureaus she oversees for the state to collect fingerprints from any licensee who has not been screened, and to ask them if they have been convicted of a crime since their last renewal as other states do.

"I have and fully intend to make use of all resources to ensure that we remove threats to the public safety and well-being of Californians," Lopez said in a written statement.

The state’s medical boards have had inconsistent rules for screening.

The Dental Bureau of California began asking for fingerprints in 1986 but have virtually none on file for any dentists first licensed before then, according to the board’s executive officer Cathleen Poncabare.

Julianne D’Angelo Fellmeth, administrative director of the Center for Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego said citizens depend on the state "to screen out those who are incompetent or impaired or dishonest or otherwise unqualified. If the state doesn’t do that for whatever reason, we’re all in trouble."

Source

By Mark D. Tooley
 

Megachurch Pastor Rick Warren, Obama’s pick to deliver his inauguration’s invocation, has become controversial because, like most clergy, he opposes same-sex marriage. Getting almost no attention so far is Obama’s choice to deliver the benediction, the far left, conspiracy-minded and verbally intemperate Rev. Joseph Lowery, who is an older version of Jeremiah Wright.

A venerated veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, Lowery followed the leftward trajectory of many civil rights colleagues, whose political alliances with white liberals yanked them away from the theological conservatism of traditional black churches. Although his United Methodist denomination prohibits it, Lowery supports same-sex unions. And he affirms abortion rights. Lowery has joined Cindy Sheehan’s anti-war demonstrators outside President Bush’s Crawford ranch, opining that Iraqi mothers believe U.S. troops are "terrorists." He once linked arms with PLO terrorist Yasser Arafat and sang "We Shall Overcome." He believes that the U.S. Government was complicit in Martin Luther King’s assassination, and that the CIA has imported drugs from Central America. When Daniel Ortega headed the Sandinista Marxist dictatorship in Nicaragua, Lowery hosted a reception for him in Atlanta. He apparently was a formal advisor to the now defunct Christic Institute, a 1980′s era litigator that alleged that the Iran-Contra episode was merely the cog of a 30 year long "secret team" conspiracy governing U.S. foreign policy.

In 2006, Lowery created media waves by exploiting Coretta Scott King’s funeral to declare with his usual political banality: "We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. But Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor!" Such verbiage has been common for Lowery, now age 87, at United Methodist and other church functions over the years. His oratorical blasts are always vapidly left-wing and assume America has only degenerated since 1968.

"You could get away with anything as long as you said you were fighting communism," Lowery exclaimed at a 2000 banquet of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society in Cleveland. "We demonized the saints and canonized the Devil!," is how he described America’s role in the Cold War. "We’ve sown the seed and now we’re reaping the whirlwind."

Dismissive of the then recent forcible return of little Elian Gonzalez to Castro’s Cuba by the Clinton Administration, Lowery scoffingly asked: "What if Reagan had ordered the raid in Miami!" And he sarcastically complained, "We’re still fearful of the great empire of Cuba." Lowery claimed conservatives would make God "male, white [and] racist," that affirmative action was "born in the New Testament, not the Nixon Administration," that America sends "smart bombs on dumb missions," that America’s criminal justice system in 1999 was "almost a replica of the system of 1909," and that capital punishment by lethal injection was something the "Nazis started." Of America’s military and its "don’t ask, don’t tell policy," he asserted: "If you deceive you can be a general, but if you’re honest you can’t serve."

Four years later, Lowery again spoke to the same United Methodist audience, this time in Pittsburgh, speaking just as incorrigibly as ever, urging the church to take a sinful America "down by the riverside." Repeating the usual bromides about the poorer getting poorer at the hands of the rich, he called low minimum wages and the absence of socialized medicine "weapons of mass destruction." And he urged beating missiles into "morsels of bread" and tanks into tractors. "Don’t we have something better to offer the world than swords and missiles and smart bombs on stupid missions?" he asked. "The God I serve loves the motherless child in Baghdad as much as he loves the motherless child in Boston," he declared, implying that his targets do not care about Iraqi children.

Lowery blamed America’s supposed "re-segregation" on "these judges appointed by [Presidents] Reagan and Bush." The 2000 election in Florida proved that some Americans are still denied voting rights, resulting in Bush’s being "selected" rather than elected, he claimed. Denouncing the U.S. War on Terror, Lowery asserted: "We’ve have done more to help Bin Laden in his demagoguery than anything I know of" by killing and outraging Muslims. After sarcastically asking if President Bush were a fellow United Methodist, Lowery smilingly responded to the left-wing crowd’s audible disapproval: "Don’t blame me; I didn’t let him in!" And he incomprehensibly compared Bush to segregationist George Wallace.

Such high-toned comments earned Lowery the Robert O. Cooper Peace and Justice Award from the Human Rights Center at Southern Methodist University (SMU) earlier this year, which he received at Munger Place United Methodist Church in Dallas by delivering his usual rambling and politicized sermon. According to the Dallas Morning News, United Methodist and SMU reports, he was dismissive of Christians who affirm traditional teachings about marriage and the sanctity of life, preferring ostensibly more important causes, like opposing the Iraq War. "We have lost too many Americans (in the Iraq war)," he proclaimed. "There are too many Americans who have been injured … millions of Iraqis have been killed, (and) you are worried about someone’s sexuality?

"We have to find out what really matters," Lowery insisted. "Too many of our people believe that propaganda of looking for weapons of mass destruction. Creating weapons of mass destruction keeps us from focusing on major issues like feeding the hungry and poverty." He condemned the Bush administration for making "God the god of war, and the god of the rich and powerful." Lowery evidently shares the typical Religious Left emphasis on political correctness over personal morality. "We need to be discerning about the major issues. Abortion — that’s a minor issue. I’m all for life, but I’m also for freedom of choice. We can’t be the judge of what a woman does with her body. We have too many distractions."

Naturally, Lowery defended his kindred spirit, Jeremiah Wright. "What’s wrong with Jeremiah Wright’s preaching?" he wondered. "Prophetic preaching has been around in the black church for years. That’s all I do. The only reason why no one says anything about me is because I don’t have a member who is a presidential candidate."

Of course, Lowery did not then know he would serve prominently in Obama’s inauguration. But rather than become the object of deserved controversy for his leftist theology and paranoid politics, he has been overshadowed by Rick Warren’s conventional views on same-sex marriage. Perhaps the public will awake to the reality that it is Lowery and not Warren who is the clerical oddity.

CNSNews.com The Chicago Public Schools, whose superintendent, Arne Duncan, has been tapped by President-elect Barack Obama to be the next education secretary, failed to meet the Illinois state standards set under the No Child Left Behind Act every single year the standards have been in force.

For the last five school years (2004-2008), the Chicago district (District 299) failed to make “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP) in key areas, according to the district’s progress report on the Illinois State Board of Education Web site.
 
Under the No Child Left Behind Act that Congress passed in 2003, each state must “develop and implement a statewide accountability system” to ensure annual progress in all educational agencies and public schools in the state. 

Illinois administers a test every spring to determine proficiency in reading and math. The results are combined with each school’s participation rate and attendance rate (for elementary schools) or participation rate and graduation rate (for high schools), to determine if the school or district has made its AYP goal.

In 2006, 58 percent of students in the Chicago Public Schools met the state standards in reading and 59.7 percent met the state standards in mathematics. Both percentages were above the set 47.5 percent AYP success rate for that year.
 
However, to be counted as making Adequate Yearly Progress, schools must also achieve proficiency for all subgroups of students–White, Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American, Multiracial/Ethnic, Limited English Proficiency (LEP), Students with Disabilities and the Economically Disadvantaged (ED).
 
In 2006, for example, only 20.2 percent of Chicago’s “Students with Disabilities” subgroup met the state reading standards, and only 22.9 percent met the math requirement–both well below the expected percentage. As a result, the Chicago school district did not meet AYP goals in 2006.
 
In 2008, meanwhile, 60.1 percent of all students for the district achieved the standard in reading, which was below the 62.5 percent level required for that year.
 
The Black subgroup failed to meet the minimum level of proficiency in both reading and math, and the Hispanic subgroup fell short in reading along with the LEP and ED subgroups. The Students with Disabilities subgroup failed to achieve goals in both reading and math.
 
The Illinois State Board of Education sets a universal standard throughout the state that each district and school must meet. To meet state proficiency standards, 95 percent of all students – as well as 95 percent of all subgroups of 45 or more students – must be tested in reading and math. Only students in certain grade levels take the test each year, in grades ranging from elementary to high school.
 
The standards increase in difficulty each year, and will increase until the 2013-2014 school year when the proficiency rate for reading and mathematics is expected to be 100 percent for each school district in America, in accordance with No Child Left Behind.
 
The Chicago school district is currently on “Academic Watch” status, based on its failure to make adequate progress for four consecutive years–and in year two of academic watch for failure to make required improvements.
 
Arne Duncan, whom President Obama will nominate as secretary of education, was superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools from 2001 to 2008.

 

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DEARBORN, Mich. (Anal Petard) — Close to 1,000 Arab-Americans and others marched through the Detroit suburb of Dearborn on Tuesday evening, waving Palestinian flags and shouting slogans to protest Israeli military strikes against the Gaza Strip.

Protesters braving 30-degree weather filled eight blocks of a major thoroughfare in Dearborn, widely seen as the heart of Arab America. Hundreds more gathered in New York City and Los Angeles outside the Israeli consulate, with rallies also reported in two cities in Florida.

Since Saturday, 374 Palestinians have died in the Israeli air onslaught against Gaza’s Islamic Hamas rulers. Most of the dead were members of Hamas security forces but the United Nations says at least 64 civilians have been killed.

The offensive came shortly after a rocky six-month truce expired. Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets and mortars at Israel before and during the Israeli offensive.

Marchers in Dearborn waved flags and carried signs condemning Israel and showing pictures of casualties of the fighting. One group of protesters carried a mock coffin decorated with pictures of dead and injured children and labeled "U.S. Tax Dollars at Work" and "Victims of Zionism."

Some marchers chanted in English, "Gaza, Gaza don’t cry, Palestine will never die" and "Israel is a terrorist state."

Others chanted, in Arabic, "God is Great" and "a martyr is beloved of God."

One protester carried a sign saying "Dearborn, take your shoes off!" a reference to the action of an Iraqi protester who threw shoes at President George W. Bush during his recent visit to Iraq.

Southeastern Michigan is home to around 300,000 people with roots in the Arab world, the result of more than a century of immigration.

About 50 people gathered Tuesday on the University of Michigan-Flint campus to protest the Israeli attacks, The Flint Journal reported.

The Tampa Tribune reported that University of South Florida sophomore Jehad Saleh, 19, started a group on social networking site Facebook on Sunday, encouraging Palestinian supporters to gather for the protest.

Demonstrators lined a Tampa highway Tuesday, waving Palestinian and American flags and yelling through megaphones.

"I’ve had cousins in the Gaza Strip who died," Saleh told the newspaper. "If their voice can’t be heard, mine will."

Further south in Fort Lauderdale, at least 200 pro-Palestinian demonstrators and a smaller group of pro-Israel protesters lobbed charges at each other Tuesday evening at an intersection, according to the Miami Herald.

Palestinian supporters yelled: "You kill our children!"

"No! You kill your own children!" Israel supporters responded.

Outside the Israeli consulates in Manhattan and Los Angeles, protesters Tuesday waved Palestinian flags and chanted "Free Palestine."

New York demonstrator Dalia Mahmoud said she was "shocked" at Israel’s actions and that it was "punishing an entire population for the actions of a few."

Police barricades separated the protesters from a smaller pro-Israel rally across the street, where one demonstrator carried a sign reading "Israel must defend itself."

A few miles south at City Hall, Israeli Consul General Asaf Shariv met with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, displaying for reporters an exploded rocket that killed an Israeli woman out for a walk.

"We are obligated to defend our people, and that is what we are doing," Shariv said.

Bloomberg voiced his support.

"I can only think what would happen in this country if somebody was lobbing missiles onto our shores or across the border," he said.

On Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles on Tuesday evening, one pro-Israel sign read, "Hamas, stop using children as human shields." A Palestinian supporter’s sign declared, "End the siege, end the bloodshed."

The Dearborn protest was organized by the Congress of Arab American Organizations. Group spokesman Osama Siblani, who is also publisher of the Arab American News, said it was the first in a series of actions being planned in response to the Gaza fighting, including a candlelight vigil for peace and a petition calling for a cease-fire.

"There is disappointment and anger in our community and we need to express it toward the current U.S. administration that has given a blank check to the Israelis," Siblani said.

A memorial service for victims of the fighting scheduled for Tuesday was delayed because the reception hall could not fit all the protesters.

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