Friday, September 28, 2007

Woman Found; Red Tape Delayed Search

This makes me sick.

A woman fails to return home from work; the husband reports her missing. The cops can't do anything because she's not missing long enough, it's not in their jurisdiction, it is long enough but now hubby is a suspect....Ugh. This unfortunate man went crazy for eight days wondering where his wife was and if she was okay while fending off suspicions from police while the poor wife lay in some ditch too injured and dehydrated to move.

Why do the police need so many hours to pass when it is clear that someone is not following her routine? Time delays such as these could have cost her her life. And the attitude of the police could only have made her husband's nightmare even more surreal and unbearable.

Sometimes "standard procedure" sucks.

Friday, September 21, 2007

DSU Shooting

Poor Delaware State University! After the horrible execution style murders this past summer of three of their promising young students, now this (from delawareonline):

The Delaware State University campus remains closed after two students – one of them reportedly a cheerleader – were shot on campus early today. One suspect is still at large, officials said....

The two students -- one male and one female -- were shot near Memorial Hall about 1 a.m., officials said. Both were taken to hospitals. The male was said to be in stable condition but the female's injuries are considered serious.

So far there don't appear to be any leads as to the identity of the shooter or the motive.

May both these young people make full recoveries.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Carpool Fun

Transporting a carload of kids home today, I noticed that the busload of girls directly in front of us were looking and waving at us--or to be more exact, at my son, Venger Jr., seated beside me in the front of our vehicle. Once the girls had our attention they started holding up their fingers to communicate numbers---seven fingers, then three fingers, etc.

"Oh, look guys, those girls are giving Jr. their phone numbers!"

Laughter all around, and one rather embarassed boy...

On a hunch that one of the girls would know a little sign language since girls are always fascinated by it, I pointed to my son and signed "cute".

Ah, one of the little cherubs did indeed know a little sign. "Yes," she nodded.

Laughter on the bus and one girl pushed the head-nodder.

More teasing in our car.

But all good things must come to an end. We approached the on-ramp to the interstate, and I switched lanes. The mass movement on the bus to the starboard (right) side would surely have capsized a boat, but being in a bus they were safe. Sensing an additional opportunity to pester my son further, I put down my window, slowed down as we passed, and called out, "He's cute, huh?" and the girls all vociferously agreed while the carpool continued to laugh and to tease my poor boy who was actually a very good sport about the whole thing.

Was I ever that young?

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Monday, September 17, 2007

A Pennsylvania man, searching for a cure for cancer utilizing radio waves, found that radio waves can cause the hydrogen in salt water to be released and to ignite. If salt water really can be used for our energy needs, we should pursue this immediately. Oh, to be energy self-sufficient and to kiss oil good-bye! What an amazing serendipitous discovery!

H/T: Paul

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ebola in the Congo

Ebola has struck fear in my heart ever since reading The Hot Zone by Richard Preston. (Demon in the Freezer was excellent also.) Now there's been another ebola outbreak in the Congo. Over 100 people have died since August. The disease kills fairly rapidly which does make it harder to jump from person to person, but apparently it has managed to kill quite a few recently which is worrisome. With travel from continent to continent so easy, ebola could be anywhere in the world within a day. "Bleeding out" from absolutely every conceivable orifice of one's body has got to be a most horrible way to go. (If you haven't read the book, you'll have to use your imagination. Shudder.) Hopefully, terrorists won't decide it's a bright idea to weaponize ebola.

h/t: Reformed Chicks Blabbing


9/11 Remembered

Yesterday was the sixth anniversary of 9/11. My heart goes out to those who lost family and friends and to others whose lives were personally changed forever by the 9/11 murders. In my prayers, I lifted up the victims' families who must still carry so much pain in their hearts. May God bring true healing and also justice in their lives.

On the one hand, we cannot become paralyzed as a nation every 9/11. Yet on the other hand, we cannot ever forget that horrible day when America was attacked as innocent men and women were just going about their day. Three thousand died on 9/11 for being Americans.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lessons from History

I love this one! What have we learned from history? Not much...

I laughed months ago when I first saw it. And I laughed again when I viewed it on Miriam's site, so I thought I should share it here.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Books I've Read: Not Without My Daughter

A friend of mine has been saying for years now that she will not allow her daughter to leave for college without reading Not Without My Daughter. Never having read it or seen the movie myself, I checked it out of the library recently. How I missed this powerful tale of oppression and adventure, I’m not sure, but I think I’ll follow my friend’s lead and have my daughter read it before she leaves home.

For those of you not familiar with the story, in 1977, Betty Mahmoody had married an Iranian doctor practicing medicine in the United States. He was loving and kind during their courtship and even during the early part of their marriage. He was also apparently not a devout Muslim.

Then the revolution overturned the shah’s rule in Iran. Suddenly, Moody, as she called him, became increasingly interested in Iranian-American politics and critical of the United States of which he almost became a citizen. His interest in and practice of Islam increased wildly.

A few years later in 1984, one of Moody’s relations arrived for an extended visit. Shortly after his departure, Moody decided that they needed to go on a two week visit to visit his family in Tehran. Moody swore on the Koran that they would come right back after their trip. The two weeks were miserable for Betty and her little girl, Mahtob. Moody’s family was unfriendly toward Betty and unsanitary. Betty and Mahtob counted down the days; soon it was time to leave. However, at that time, Moody and his family announced that they would not be returning to the United States after all. Thus Betty’s life was reduced to separation from her sons and aging parents in America, beatings, imprisonment, and separation from her daughter for a time as a punishment, all at the hands of her “loving” husband.

Some of Moody’s female relatives eventually felt bad about his treatment of Betty, but there was nothing they could do to intervene. No one would defend her when Moody beat her. No one would help her escape when he imprisoned her for various lengths of time. One relative said she was sorry about what she was going through but not to feel bad because all men were like that.

In addition, Betty met Ellen, another American woman to whom a similar thing had happened, but who had finally accepted her fate. Betty initially felt a kinship with Ellen upon meeting her at a class as they were from the same state in the U.S. Ellen’s husband had been an engineer in the U.S. and was very Americanized when they had met, but he changed drastically when they moved to Iran. He beat her into submission and imprisoned her for a year. Ellen finally converted to Islam and accepted her oppressed role. Betty never did.

Although Moody had beaten Betty at their daughter’s school in front of all the teachers and the principal, they would not go to the police for her. Even if she had gone to the police, there was little they would or could do. The Iranian constitution gave no real rights to her, a woman.

While the extremists argued that hyper-modesty would protect women, it somehow failed to prevent sexual abuses against them. Daily, girls and women were raped in Tehran, sometimes murdered. Not only did women have to completely cover themselves to avoid immodesty and inciting men to lust, but they couldn’t travel alone safely anymore in Tehran even when covered. To be alone was to be at risk. Betty herself was accosted twice but managed to get away both times. Funny but even a chador revealing only a small part of a woman’s face was not enough to quell the lust in some men’s hearts. Could it be that women’s modesty or lack thereof wasn’t the problem?

Betty did manage clandestinely to make contacts with people in the underground, who also wanted out of Iran. She snuck such meetings into her shopping schedule when she was able to move about. The Swiss Embassy and a few other people, both Iranian and American, wanted to assist her out of the country. Her escape could have been accomplished fairly easily if she had been willing to leave without her child, but she refused. Several times Helen of the Swiss Embassy strongly suggested she just forget about her daughter and they could get her out. Those of Iranian background, such as Helen, could not understand her refusal as in their worldview the children belonged to the man.

Under pressure from friends, Moody finally agreed to let Betty go back to visit her dying father but refused to allow their daughter to accompany her. First he told her that she would need to sell off all their assets in the States and send the money to him before she would be allowed to return, then he slipped his master plan to her that she would never see her daughter again. With the situation now more desperate than ever, one of her secret friends pulled all his favors to execute a dangerous cloak and dagger plan to hide Betty and her daughter and shepherd them out of the country.

Most striking to me in reading Not Without My Daughter was the consistent witness of the oppression of women in Islamic societies. Reading Lolita in Tehran and Infidel both corroborate Mahmoody’s tale. Reading Lolita in Tehran obviously focused on oppression in Iran following the revolution thereby confirming Mahmoody’s eyewitness account while Infidel demonstrated the dire circumstances of women’s lives in several countries. In Saudi Arabia in particular, the author related how every night she and her family would hear the cries of women beaten by their husbands in homes close to theirs. Everyone heard, and everyone could recognize the voices, but no one talked about it or did anything. Brutality against women was just a fact of daily life.

Certainly violence against women occurs in the United States as well. I’ve known many women who have shared details of their nightmarish lives before their escapes with me. Yet the law was on their side, and the culture as a whole backed them in their desire to live free from familial harm. Such violence is not brushed off as "just part of life" or "all men are like that". Spousal abuse is deviant behavior.

Therefore, it is a mystery to me how a religion of peace can brush off this kind of oppression against women. It is a mystery to me how Westernized men can so quickly return to brutality against women they supposedly loved, once they return home. It is a mystery to me how people anywhere can witness violence and oppression and not intervene and how “law” can side with the guilty. And it is a mystery to me how anyone claiming a faith in God can justify to himself violence against women and children. But no one seems to have any answers, and I remain mystified.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Spare Me the Tears

In a jail chapel, with two renderings of the Last Supper overhead, the family of a 21-year-old University of South Florida student gathered around him Saturday. His father did most of the talking, as they delivered the bad news.

The accusations that he and a fellow student had a pipe bomb in the trunk of their Toyota Camry as they drove near a Naval weapons station had turned into a federal indictment. Their hopes that state charges, filed by South Carolina authorities, would be dropped after a hearing this month were dashed. Instead, the two now face the likelihood they’ll be held in federal custody without bail, their attorneys said.

Youssef Megahed’s reaction was shock, and then despair, his family said. Sitting in solitary confinement, he’s terrified of the warnings FBI agents have given him and his family – that he’ll be held interminably in a military prison like Guantanamo Bay.

Adding to their anxiety was a quote in the Charleston newspaper Saturday from the local sheriff, predicting Megahed and fellow student Ahmed Mohamed soon will be moved from this jail in Berkeley County to the brig on the nearby Naval complex. The Megaheds know the brig is used to hold prisoners the president has deemed “enemy combatants.”

Worse for Megahed’s father, Samir, was the moment he was leaving and saw Mohamed talking to his own attorney. Mohamed, teary, had also just heard about the indictment.

He hugged and kissed Samir and asked him to deliver a message to his own father in Egypt: “Tell my father I am not going to meet him in this life again.”

Mohamed, 24, fears he will be imprisoned longer than his father will be alive, Samir said.

Source: A Family in Despair


Of course their families are upset--whose wouldn't be--but do we all need to cry with them?

Of course, these guys are innocent until proven guilty in a fair trial, but things don't look good. They were driving around with a pipe bomb on a road that led only to a military installation. Sounds innocent enough. I always drive around with pipe bombs and visit military installations for fun. Doesn't everyone?

So spare me the tears--unless you're crying for the victims of terrorism and for those who die trying to protect our nation.

h/t: Bos'un Locker


Breaking News!

Paul takes advice from Anna V!


Sorry, Paul. I couldn't resist. Surely you of all people can understand that!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Listening to...

...American Ideals: Founding a "Republic of Virtue" by Professor Daniel N. Robinson.

Dr. Robinson's enthusiasm for the Revolutionary era, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution shines through his lectures. His deep respect for the Founders is apparent, yet he never sounds mawkish.

The lectures begin by tracing the colonists' history as loyal Englishmen through their break with England and include the intellectual underpinnings of the Declaration of Independence. From there Professor Robinson discusses the Articles of Confederation and the drafting and ratifying of the Constitution. He ends his lecture series with a comparison of Thomas Paine and Edmund Burke.

When I researched Dr. Robinson a bit further to purchase history books by him, I learned that he, in fact, had earned his Ph.D. in neuropsychology. I've found some of the best historians are not those who earned their degrees in history but who approach history from another viewpoint altogether and simply love a certain topic. (Rodney Stark, for example)

Check your local library to see if it carries this course. Many libraries do stock the Teaching Company courses, and if not, they might order it for you if you request it. I've found that lectures can help fill those otherwise monotonous moments behind the wheel, walking the dog, or doing mindless housework.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

More FGM in Egypt

From Khaleej Times Online

Egyptian man forces his wife to be circumcised(AP)1 September 2007
CAIRO, Egypt -

An Egyptian man forced his 20-year-old wife to be circumcised after a year of marriage, resulting in her hospitalization for acute bleeding, the state-run news agency reported on Saturday.

According to the police commissioner of the Cairo’s gritty northern suburb of Shubra el-Kheima cited by the Middle East News Agency, a dispute erupted between Shaaban el-Menshawi and his wife because she had never been circumcised, a once common operation in Egypt that has since been banned by the government.

When her husband started beating her, Ashgan Riyadh Abdelati fled to her mother’s house. Once there, however, her mother brought in a doctor to conduct the illegal operation on the spot, said the news report.

Abdelati was later admitted to Nasser General Hospital for acute bleeding. Hospital officials declined to comment on her condition.

Egypt has been reeling from two cases of young girls, one 12- and 13-year old, dying from the operation of the summer, prompting the government to renew its largely ineffective ban on the practice.

Female circumcision, which is also known as female genital mutilation, is a widespread traditional procedure in Egypt, practiced by Muslims and Christians alike.

Despite the fact that top clerics insist the practice has nothing to do with Islam, many Egyptians, especially in lower income rural and urban areas, believe the removal of the clitoris lowers a women’s sexual desires and thus helps maintain their honour.

Female circumcision is still practiced in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Egypt, as well as in Yemen and Oman.

A 2003 survey by UNICEF said that 97 percent of married women in Egypt have undergone genital mutilation, though a recent study by the country’s Health Ministry found that only 50.3 percent of girls between the age of 10-18 years have been circumcised.

When will this violence stop?

See Amnesty International for more details on this barbaric, woman-hating custom.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Swiss Deportation Suggestion

Hmmm. I'll have to think about this one.
The nationalist Swiss People's Party is proposing a deportation policy that anti-racism campaigners say evokes Nazi-era practices. Under the plan, entire families would be expelled if their children are convicted of a violent crime, drug offenses or benefits fraud.

Generally, I'm not a big fan of making a whole family pay for the crimes of one of its members. A wife, for example, is not responsible for the actions of her husband, nor he for hers. Though parents have incredible influence over their children, children do have free will, and parents can do everything right and their children still turn out bad.
"We believe that parents are responsible for bringing up their children. If they can't do it properly, they will have to bear the consequences," Ueli Maurer, president of the People's Party, told The Associated Press.

He explained that his party has long campaigned to make deportation compulsory for convicted immigrants rather than an optional and rarely applied punishment.

The party claims foreigners — who make up about 20 percent of the population — are four times more likely to commit crimes than Swiss nationals.
The point is that immigrants are guests in a country and not citizens. As guests, if they don't behave properly, they should be asked to leave, and be forcibly expelled, if necessary. We don't tolerate persons who refuse to respect us in our homes. Bars bounce people who are disruptive. Why shouldn't countries do the same?

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