I'm not quite sure what the implications of this are:
Sorry 2004 by Ruben Studdard
"This is my sorry for 2004.
And I ain't gonna mess up no more, this year."
Your popularity expires on 12/31/04
She's Always In A State About Something: Politics, Religion, Race, Culture ...
I'm not quite sure what the implications of this are:
Sorry 2004 by Ruben Studdard
"This is my sorry for 2004.
And I ain't gonna mess up no more, this year."
Your popularity expires on 12/31/04
Pay attention people:
SCALIA OPPOSES EFFORTS TO DESEGREGATE SCHOOLS: In his concurrence on Freeman v. Pitts, Scalia indicated he would favor stripping the authority of Federal courts to regulate school desegregation, "even for those schools that remain significantly segregated." [Freeman v Pitts 1992]
THOMAS FAVORS STATE-SPONSORED RELIGION: Thomas has "advanced the position" that constitutionally mandated church/state separation applies "to the federal government, but not to individual states – a position that would allow Virginia, for example, to declare a state religion." He would allow individual states to "adopt particular religions and use tax money to proselytize for them." [Elk Grove v. Newdow, 2004]
As the religious right spews ridiculous rhetoric about Christmas somehow being stolen or supressed, lets take a look at Iraq, where after years of practicing their faith in relative peace, our invasion has cost Christians their safety and their ability to celebrate Christmas the way they previously had.
"For Iraqi Christians, it will be a gloomy Christmas.
Saddam Hussein's secular regime did not persecute the Christian community, though his government did give rough treatment to some other religious and ethnic groups. But since the U.S. occupation of Iraq last year, radical militants have regularly attacked churches.
As a result, Iraq's community of 700,000 Christians have called off celebrations this year.
Churches have announced that the traditional Christmas Eve Mass will be canceled and replaced by brief early morning prayers. Churches also have called off receptions for parishioners. "
You Are "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer"
Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
Had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
You would even say it glows.
For you, Christmas is a mix of tradition and fun.
You're not above strapping on a red blinking nose for a laugh.
Here we go again! A couple of weeks ago it was Pat Robertson (of whom I expect very little as far as diversity training), now here's another "brain surgeon" who wants to tell the world that he just discovered the obvious (though apparently this misconception is rather broad based and misunderstood by many whites - and probably a few ill-informed blacks too). No, Virginia, Kwanzaa is not celebrated in Africa.
"Karenga, arguably the father of Kwanzaa, repeatedly uses the word 'African' to describe the holiday and borrows from the continent's languages to describe its foundations. Although I never got through to him, I did get an interesting response about Kwanzaa from the nice lady at the Black History Museum in Alexandria, Va.
'I would say you would find no African nations and one American nation celebrating Kwanzaa,' she said.
Teaching the values Karenga lays out is certainly worthwhile, and he is right to argue that they are essential ingredients to living a healthy, happy, successful life. And if an annual festival helps reinforce them to an African-American audience, well that's fine, too. But can we please do my wife and my kids a favor and dispense with the claim that this festival has its roots anywhere but right here in the USA? "
Where does the word "Kwanzaa" come from?
The word "Kwanzaa" comes from the phrase, "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first-fruits." Kwanzaa's extra "a" evolved as a result of a particular history of the Organization Us. It was clone as an expression of African values in order to inspire the creativity of our children. In the early days of Us, there were seven children who each wanted to represent a letter of Kwanzaa. Since kwanza (first) has only six letters, we added an extra "a" to make it seven, thus creating "Kwanzaa."
Why is Kwanzaa a seven-day holiday?
Kwanzaa is a seven-day holiday for two reasons:
In terms of authenticity, Kwanzaa is modeled on first-fruits celebrations in ancient Africa, especially on Southern African first-fruits celebrations like Umkhost of Zululand which has seven days.
The central reason for Kwanzaa's being seven days is to stress the Nguzo Saba and through this introduce and reaffirm communitarian values and practices which strengthen and celebrate family, community, and culture.
The British military is having a hard time finding
"According to military sources the high media visibility of bereaved parents, such as Rose Gentle, whose 19-year-old son was killed, and the unpopularity of the war have made recruitment and retention a problem, exacerbating an already acute recruitment crisis in areas such as Scotland. The problem is now also spreading to the north of England and Wales, forces officials say.
As well as a shortfall in young men volunteering, army officers have reported a wider reluctance to support a career in the army with parents refusing to sign consent forms for junior soldiers to sign up and, in some cases, local authorities with a strong anti-war sentiment refusing permission for recruitment officers to put up stands at local venues.
According to army sources the problem is also evident in the Territorial Army which has bolstered the regular Army's ranks in Iraq.
'People join the Territorials for a hobby,' said another source. 'They don't expect to end up being sent to Iraq for six months, taking casualties and seeing a lot of killing. There is no end in sight to the war in Iraq. That is what is really putting people off.'
The impact of the anti-war movement has also made itself apparent in the United States, where there has been a sharp decline in volunteers from communities - such as the black community - that have traditionally supplied soldiers. In the US this has been tied to a sharp increase in desertions - a problem so far not seen in the UK. "
Now see, this dude just wasn't thinking.
"A Fort Stewart soldier was arrested after he had his cousin shoot him so he wouldn't have to return to Iraq, police said Thursday.
Army Spc. Marquise J. Roberts, of Hinesville, Ga., suffered a minor wound to his left leg from a .22 caliber pistol on Tuesday, police said. He was treated at a hospital, then arrested after he and his cousin allegedly confessed to having made up a story about the shooting.
'They just broke down and confessed that they concocted the whole story so he didn't have to go back to the war,' said Lt. James Clark of Northwest Detectives.
Police charged Roberts with filing a false report and charged his cousin, Ronald Fuller, with aggravated and simple assault and other charges. "
It might be somewhat tolerable, though totally unpalatable, to accept the fact that Bush is not going to fire Donald Rumsfeld if he just didn't respond to the critics. However, rubbing the faces of the American people, many who are in that 51%, in the feces of that arrogant decision to continue to support him is what makes this President the most insufferable leader this country has ever seen.
"'Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a great job leading our efforts at the Department of Defense to win the war on terrorism and to help bring about a free and peaceful Iraq, and the president is focused on working closely with him on those matters,' said White House spokesman Scott McClellan."
Try land of gluttony and sloth! In a matter of ten years, immigrants fall into the American tradition of becoming lazy, lard asses!
"After 10 years in the U.S., immigrants start to gain weight, according to a new study.
While immigrants are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, little is known about weight gain among them. Immigrants typically come from countries where obesity is not the norm. But what happens after they emigrate to the land of fast food and traffic? Do they get any lifestyle counseling on diet and physical activity?
After all, 'immigrants face more barriers to health care and are less likely to receive preventive health care than persons born in the United States,' writes lead researcher Mita Sanghavi Goel, MD, MPH, a professor of internal medicine with Northwestern University in Chicago."
Can someone from another planet swoop down and tell these people how stupid this is getting?
"Lou Dobbs, host of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, joined up with FOX News anchors and conservative commentators who have alleged that Christmas has been imperiled by Macy's department stores' use of the phrase 'Happy Holidays' in its advertising. On the December 15 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs claimed that Macy's department stores are 'exclud[ing] everyone who is celebrating Christmas' by using the phrase 'Happy Holidays.' Dobbs then questioned the merit of using 'Happy Holidays,' asking CNN business correspondent Christine Romans: '[W]hat other holidays are we celebrating right now?' Finally, Dobbs concluded that Macy's is 'wrong' in assuming 'Happy Holidays' encompasses Christmas."
I can't keep them on my feet but I do love socks!
You Are Socks!
Cozy and warm... but easily lost.
You make a good puppet.
Since Bush just awarded three key fuck-ups with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, it is apparent that he just plain won't admit an error in his choice of staff. So, Rumsfeld is going to have to mask that massive ego of his and resign - at least that is my hope.
"One Republican Senate aide summed up the prevailing feeling about Rumsfeld this way: 'What does it take to get fired around here?'
Kristol, whose magazine has been critical of Rumsfeld's decisions on troop deployment and other matters for nearly two years, said in an interview that Rumsfeld's comments to Specialist Thomas Wilson of the Tennessee National Guard, were 'really the final straw.'
'For me, it's the combination of the arrogance and the buck-passing manifested in that statement, with the fundamental error he's made for a year and a half now,' Kristol said.
'That error, from my point of view, is that his theory about the military is at odds with the president's geopolitical strategy,' Kristol said. 'He wants this light, transformed military, but we've got to win a real war, which involves using a lot of troops and building a nation, and that's at the core of the president's strategy for rebuilding the Middle East.'
He added: 'At some point, his stubborn attachment to his particular military theory had really hurt the nation's ability to carry out its foreign policy.'"
So while our soldiers are trapped in Iraq trying to stay safe by creating improvised amored vehicles, the insurgents are perfecting their means of blowing people and things to smithereens with their improvised explosive devices.
"A bold, innovative insurgency is becoming more effective against U.S. supply lines in Iraq and explosive attacks have slowed military operations there, a senior American general said on Wednesday.
'They have had a growing understanding that where they can affect us is in the logistics flow,' Air Force Lt. Gen. Lance Smith, deputy chief of U.S. Central Command, told reporters.
'They have gotten more effective in using IEDs,' said Smith, referring to improvised explosive devices hidden beside roads by guerrillas fighting American-led forces in Iraq.
'He (the insurgency) is becoming more effective,' the general said. 'They may use doorbells today to blow these things up. They may use remote controls from toys tomorrow. And as we adapt, they adapt.'"
It just cracks me up that people are still so obsessed with Bill Clinton's transgression with a woman who wasn't his wife. Gees! Get Over It!:
"Bill Clinton fought back when he ran into a verbal mugging in Central Park. The former President is said to have been strolling through the park with his Secret Service team recently when a man pushing a stroller taunted, 'You were an embarrassment to the office of commander-in-chief.'
Lakshmi Kumar, writing in Citizen Culture magazine, says she saw Clinton stop and deftly tell his heckler, 'Oh, really? I think I did a helluva job.... I'll admit I misled people about my personal life. And I have even apologized for it, but I never misled the people about policy and I certainly never misled the people about going to war.'
Clinton is said to have spent 45 minutes taking questions from a mostly adoring crowd, then told his detractor: 'I hope your children turn out to be as perfect as you are, sir.' The group applauded and Bill walked to a nearby SUV, where, Kumar says, Sen. Hillary Clinton looked impatient. "
This certainly lowers the bar for this prestigious award. Since when do these things go to people who help start and botch up a bogus war?
"Former CIA director George Tenet, Gen Tommy Franks and Iraq overseer Paul Bremer were given the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House.
'These three men symbolise the nobility of public service, the good character of our country, and the good influence of America on the world,' Mr Bush said.
But critics questioned the awards.
A spokesman for defeated presidential candidate John Kerry suggested that Mr Bush's choices were on a different level to other recipients, who have included civil rights heroine Rosa Parks and former President Jimmy Carter.
'My hunch is that George Bush wasn't using the same standard when honouring Tenet and Bremer that was applied to previous honourees,' David Wade was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency."
Adding another nut to the stash ...
U.S. Sen. Zell Miller will be joining Fox News Channel as a contributor next month, Fox announced Tuesday.
Kevin Magee, vice president for programming at Fox, said in a news release that the Georgia Democrat will begin appearing on the network in January.
"I am excited to be joining FOX News Channel and am eager to contribute to the continuing success of the network," Miller said in the release.
Miller was governor of Georgia for two terms and was appointed to the Senate to fill the unexpired term of Republican Sen. Paul Coverdell in 2000. He has also taught both history and political science as a professor at University of Georgia, Young Harris College and Emory University.
Miller, a strong supporter of President Bush, was the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention earlier this year. He has infuriated many Democrats with his independent stance.
So I have a drama free family that likes to cook, eat, sip and laugh. That makes me a "Brady?"
Your Christmas is Most Like: A Very Brady Christmas
For you, it's all about sharing times with family.
Even if you all get a bit cheesy at times.
Chaos after the invasion, no exit plan, abuse, inadequately armed troops, unarmored equipment, more abuse ... Name one thing this man has done right.
"In an open letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Human Rights Watch revealed two new cases of deaths in custody and demanded an investigation into a third that took place three months ago.
'It's time for the United States to come clean about crimes committed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan,' Brad Adams, Asia Division director for Human Rights Watch, said on Monday.
Chris Grey, spokesman for the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Command in Washington, later told Reuters of another two prisoners who had died in U.S. detention, bringing the total number to eight."
I can see I need to change my angelic ways. Perhaps that will top my list of resolutions for 2005.
You Were Nice This Year!
You're an uber-perfect person who is on the top of Santa's list.
You probably didn't even *think* any naughty thoughts this year.
Unless you're a Mormon, you've probably been a little too good.
Is that extra candy cane worth being a sweetheart for 365 days straight?
Let's enforce "abstinence only" education here. The US is holding aid dollars hostage for countries that teach contraception, female reproductive health and family planning - with no regard for the fact that women are not valued and have no control over what happens to their bodies.
"A 19-year-old Iranian girl with a mental age of eight who was forced into prostitution by her mother has been sentenced to be flogged and executed for 'morality-related' offences, Amnesty International said yesterday.
The human rights pressure group has asked Iran's supreme court to stay the execution. The girl, named only as Leyla M, had suffered a 'litany of abuse', it said.
'Sold into prostitution at the age of eight, she has experienced horrific sexual violence.
'We will not stand by mutely and let Leyla become the fourth child to be executed in Iran this year.' Leyla, who was born in the central Iranian city of Arak, was sold by her family to an Afghan man to become his 'temporary wife', aged 12. The man's mother became her new pimp, according to an Iranian newspaper report.
Two years later, Leyla became pregnant and received 100 lashes before being sold on to a 55-year-old man who continued to force her into prostitution.
The sentence was passed on the basis of a confession from Leyla despite her mental age.
Iran, as a party to the international Convention on Civil and Political Rights, has undertaken not to execute anyone for an offence committed when they were under 18. Iranian girl given death sentence - Amnesty International"
NEW ORLEANS - A judge who wore blackface makeup, handcuffs and a jail jumpsuit at a Halloween party will be suspended for six months, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled Monday.
The justices voted 5-2 to suspend Judge Timothy Ellender for a year without pay for dishonoring his position, but to defer half of that penalty. Ellender will lose more than $50,000 in pay, one judge noted.
Ellender, who is white, testified the costumes worn by him and his wife — she was dressed as a policewoman — were meant only as a joke to show he was her prisoner. The party's host, Ellender's brother-in-law, was dressed as Buckwheat.
The justices agreed Ellender did not mean to insult blacks. Nevertheless, they ordered him to take a sociology course "which will assist him in achieving a greater understanding of racial sensitivity."
Phone messages left with Ellender and his attorney, Bill Bordelon, were not immediately returned.
Jerome Boykin, head of the Terrebonne Parish branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People applauded the ruling.
"The Supreme Court sent a strong message that the court won't tolerate racist acts by judges," he said.
Bordelon argued Ellender should not be punished because the blackface incident occurred only once and was not persistent behavior. But Justice Chet Traylor, writing for the majority, said the incident was damaging.
"The negative shroud cast upon the state's judiciary by Judge Ellender's actions will only be lifted by time," Taylor said.
Are people totally brain dead? Why aren't our elected officials screaming at the top of their lungs that Rumsfeld has to go? It's bad enough that he was signed on for a second term after the disaster he created in Iraq but the fact that he remains on, with more and more of his mistakes becoming glaringly apparent, just defies logic. Even this statement by John McCain is weak and passive because it doesn't demand that Bush take corrective action for his faulty cabinet placements.
"U.S. Sen. John McCain said Monday that he has 'no confidence' in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, citing Rumsfeld's handling of the war in Iraq and the failure to send more troops.
McCain, speaking to The Associated Press in an hourlong interview, said his comments were not a call for Rumsfeld's resignation, explaining that President Bush 'can have the team that he wants around him.'
'I have strenuously argued for larger troop numbers in Iraq, including the right kind of troops - linguists, special forces, civil affairs, etc.,' said McCain, R-Ariz. 'There are very strong differences of opinion between myself and Secretary Rumsfeld on that issue.'"
My skin crawls everytime I read anything about Strom Thurmond and the daughter born of a relationship between he and the family maid's daughter. He lived a full life to age 100, while this woman feels that her life began at 78.
"Thurmond said segregation laws were needed to protect the purity of the races.
'I wasn't sure if this was my father talking or the ghost of Adolf Hitler,' she wrote.
When Thurmond ran for president as the State's Rights Party candidate during the 1948 election, he said: 'All the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the army cannot force the Negro race into our theaters, our swimming pools, our schools, our churches, our homes.'
Nearly a decade later, he set the Senate record for filibustering when he spoke against a bill to end discrimination in housing.
On one visit, Williams asked Thurmond how he could say such things about blacks. She said blacks were treated unfairly, but he defended it as the culture and custom of the South.
Over the decades, Williams tried to reconcile the fiery politician with the man who treated her kindly, providing money for her and her family.
'It's not that Strom Thurmond ever swore me to secrecy. He never swore me to anything. He trusted me, and I respected him, and we loved each other in our deeply repressed ways, and that was our social contract,' she wrote.
Thurmond eventually softened his political stance and renounced racism.
Williams, who taught in public schools for 27 years, said Thurmond's death in 2003 at age 100 left her unsettled. Her own daughter encouraged her to make her story public, and Thurmond's family soon acknowledged her heritage. "In a way, my life began at 78, at least my life as who I really was, without the subterfuges of the previous 65 years," Williams wrote. "I may have called it 'closure,' but it was much more like an opening, a very grand opening."
Michael Moore says we're battered citizens. My question is: where is our shelter?
And then ask anyone who has ever worked in a domestic violence shelter if they have heard this before.
They will tell you: Every single day.
The answer is quite simple. They beat us because they are abusers. We can call it hate. We can call it fear. We can say it is unfair. But we are looped into the cycle of violence, and we need to start calling the dominating side what they are: abusive. And we need to recognize that we are the victims of verbal, mental, and even, in the case of Iraq, physical violence.
As victims we can't stop asking ourselves what we did wrong. We can't seem to grasp that they will keep hitting us and beating us as long as we keep sticking around and asking ourselves what we are doing to deserve the beating.
Listen to George Bush say that the will of God excuses his behavior. Listen, as he refuses to take responsibility, or express remorse, or even once, admit a mistake. Watch him strut, and tell us that he will only work with those who agree with him, and that each of us is only allowed one question (soon, it will be none at all; abusers hit hard when questioned; the press corps can tell you that). See him surround himself with only those who pledge oaths of allegiance. Hear him tell us that if we will only listen and do as he says and agree with his every utterance, all will go well for us (it won't; we will never be worthy).
I was pretty ambivalent about the issue of gay marriage until the religious right nutjobs (and the President of the 51% of America) decided to turn this into a front burner, campaign issue. If indeed, this is a biblical issue, it belongs in the doctrine of each church - not in the government and not in the law. Canada seems to have the right idea.
"Several centuries ago, it would have been understood that marriage be available only to opposite-sex couples," the judges said. "The recognition of same-sex marriage in several Canadian jurisdictions as well as two European countries belies the assertion that the same is true today."
Gay marriage is now legal in Belgium and the Netherlands. In Canada, gay couples can already marry in six provinces and one territory, thanks to lower court rulings that said the traditional definition of marriage violated Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If the federal legislation passes, it will mean that gay couples across the country will have the same right.
The bill will apply to civil, not religious ceremonies. Churches which oppose gay marriage will not be forced to perform them.
In the past, Mr. Martin has expressed misgivings about the state sanctioning gay marriages. It was under his predecessor, former prime minister Jean Chretien, that the Liberals drafted the bill and referred questions about it to the Supreme Court. Prime Minister Martin, a Roman Catholic, was under pressure from the church not to abandon the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
"This was not an easy decision for me," Martin told reporters after the Supreme Court released its non-binding opinion. "It is one that I've struggled with, but fundamentally it comes down to the equality rights under the Charter. "I do not believe you can have two classes of citizen."
Sooner or later Americans are going to have to start facing facts about the toll this war is taking on our troops. I don't like graphic violence but people need to wake up and smell the carnage.
This is comforting:
"Long-term instability in Iraq could give birth to an 'Iraqi Hitler' if citizens continue to feel humiliated and despondent, Iraqi President Ghazi Yawar has said.
Daily bombings and kidnappings have plagued Iraq since last year's U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein and the relentless Sunni-led insurgency has crippled reconstruction and development projects in the country.
'This could in the long term create an environment in which an Iraqi Hitler could emerge like the one created by the defeat of Germany and the humiliation of Germans in World War I,' Yawar told the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper in remarks published on Monday."
They say all is fair in love and war but, dang!:
"This case of poisoning Yushchenko is not an isolated one at all,' says Andrei Piontkovsky, head of the Center for Strategic Studies in Moscow. 'This practice was routine for the KGB in Soviet times, and I don't think their successors have higher moral standards.'
Mr. Yushchenko Sunday checked out of a clinic in Vienna after doctors confirmed that dioxin poisoning was responsible for severe facial scarring and skin discoloration.
Yushchenko has long claimed that the condition was the result of an assassination attempt.
Ukrainian authorities on Saturday reopened a criminal investigation into the poisoning, which had been closed by the former prosecutor Gennady Vasilyev for lack of evidence.
Although dioxins are a common industrial pollutant, doctors said Yushchenko had 1,000 times the normal concentration in his system, leading to conclusions of foul play.
'We suspect involvement of an external party, but we cannot answer as to who cooked what or who was with him when he ate,' Dr. Michael Zimpfer told reporters in Vienna Saturday.
Whether by coincidence or not, Mr. Yushchenko fell ill soon after dining on Sept. 5 with the head of Ukraine's SBU secret service, Gen. Igor Smeshko. Officials and Ukraine's state-run media had scoffed at Yushchenko's claims of poisoning, pointing instead to his love of sushi and high living as the probable cause."
Personally, I'm not sure if what Alberto Gonzales' adult stepson does/did for a living should have any bearing on whether his nomination goes through. It would just seem that a man, who had a relatively high profile job prior to the nomination and who was also a family values proponent, could have influenced his stepson into seeking a different employer. Of course, Inquiring minds will want to know if Alberto had access to any of the perks or benefits from the porn king.
Bush nominee Alberto Gonzales has a stepson who, until recently, worked for Larry Flynt.
Until he abruptly quit last month - around the time that President Bush nominated his stepfather, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, to be U.S. attorney general - Web designer Jared Freeze worked as a consultant for notorious pornographer Larry Flynt.
A knowledgeable source told Lowdown that the twentysomething Freeze - a child from the previous marriage of Gonzales' wife, Rebecca - left Flynt's employ at the urging of Gonzales, who was said to be worried that the Hustler magazine connection might cause political damage during his confirmation hearings.
But Flynt disputed that version yesterday.
"No," he told me through a rep. "He resigned after Alberto Gonzales was nominated, because he felt it would be prudent."
Aides in the White House press office didn't respond to half a dozen phone calls from Lowdown over the past two days.
Flynt - best known for such hard-core magazines as Hustler and Barely Legal, which have featured simulated gang rapes and other graphic material - told Lowdown through a spokeswoman: "Jared Freeze was a consultant with us. He worked in our Web site and broadcasting divisions."
Flynt added that Freeze's employment should have no bearing on Gonzales' confirmation. "There's no relationship," he argued.
Gonzales is extremely close to Bush, but some conservative groups have expressed skepticism about his anti-abortion bonafides.
When he was a Texas Supreme Court justice, he wasn't staunch enough, in the view of some conservatives, in upholding state laws requiring pregnant teenage girls to notify their parents before obtaining an abortion.
Yesterday, Jan LaRue, chief counsel of the conservative group Concerned Women for America, told me Freeze's employment with Flynt is "a legitimate issue" that should be raised next month before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"The Justice Department is responsible for enforcing the obscenity and child pornography laws," LaRue said, "and Larry Flynt's publications include hard-core prosecutable material, in my opinion."
She added that she wants to know if Gonzales had urged his stepson to quit before he knew he was going to be nominated.
"If he didn't, that wouldn't be very helpful," she said.
Lowdown's attempts to reach Freeze yesterday were unsuccessful.
So he's not man enough to apologize for the insensitivity displayed towards a Jewish caller on his radio program last week. Instead, he's mad at Media Matters for reporting his ignorant comments.:
"When the caller on the December 3 Radio Factor objected to 'Christmas going into schools' and explained that he 'grew up with a resentment because I felt that people were trying to convert me to Christianity,' O'Reilly informed him that the United States is 'a predominantly Christian nation' and declared, 'if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel then.' O'Reilly labeled the caller's concerns 'an affront to the majority,' insisting that 'the majority can be insulted too.' In his letter protesting the comments, Foxman wrote, among other things, that O'Reilly's comment 'plays into one of the oldest anti-Semitic canards about Jews, that they are not full citizens of a country and are not entitled to all of the rights afforded to the majority.'
O'Reilly claimed on his December 9 radio show that 'the write-ups about this didn't put any of it in context.' In fact, Media Matters' original item included the full text and audio of the December 3 exchange. O'Reilly added that the 'write-ups' 'didn't say it was about Christmas,' apparently suggesting that if the public knew that O'Reilly was talking about Christmas when he told a caller to 'go to Israel,' the remark would seem less offensive."
We absolutely cannot, cannot allow this to happen again.:
"U.S. veterans from the war in Iraq are beginning to show up at homeless shelters around the country, and advocates fear they are the leading edge of a new generation of homeless vets not seen since the Vietnam era.
'When we already have people from Iraq on the streets, my God,' said Linda Boone, executive director of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. 'I have talked to enough (shelters) to know we are getting them. It is happening and this nation is not prepared for that.'"
Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence
You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.
You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.
"Reverend Pat Robertson called Kwanzaa 'an absolute fraud' during the news segment of Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club December 6. After lamenting that 'left wing educators, left-wing judges are stripping every vestige of our Christian heritage,' Robertson, host and Christian Coalition of America founder, said: 'Kwanzaa is an absolute fraud. You know, there was no festival in Africa called 'Kwanzaa.' I mean, it's made up by a bunch of hippie-types on the West Coast. I mean, it's not something that goes back to Africa. No way.'"
Kwanzaa was not created to give people an alternative to their own religion or religious holiday. And it is not an alternative to people's religion or faith but a common ground of African culture.
One of the most important and meaningful ways to see and approach Kwanzaa is as a self-conscious cultural choice. Some celebrants see Kwanzaa as an alternative to the sentiments and practices of other holidays which stress the commercial or faddish or lack an African character or aspect. But they realize this is not Kwanzaa's true function or meaning. For Kwanzaa is not a reaction or substitute for anything. In fact, it offers a clear and self-conscious option, opportunity and chance to make a proactive choice, a self-affirming and positive choice as distinct from a reactive one.
Likewise, Kwanzaa is a cultural choice as distinct from a religious one. This point is important because when the question arises as to the relation between choosing Kwanzaa or/and Christmas, this distinction is not always made. This failure to make this distinction causes confusion, for it appears to suggest one must give up one's religion to practice one's culture. Whereas this might be true in other cases, it is not so in this case. For here, one can and should make a distinction between one's specific religion and one's general culture in which that religion is practiced. On one hand, Christmas is a religious holiday for Christians, but it is also a cultural holiday for Europeans. Thus, one can accept and revere the religious message and meaning but reject its European cultural accretions of Santa Claus, reindeer, mistletoe, frantic shopping, alienated gift-giving, etc.
Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chair of the Department of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, author and scholar-activist who stresses the indispensable need to preserve, continually revitalize and promote African American culture.
Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community and culture. Celebrated from 26 December thru 1 January, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits" in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language.
The first-fruits celebrations are recorded in African history as far back as ancient Egypt and Nubia and appear in ancient and modern times in other classical African civilizations such as Ashantiland and Yorubaland. These celebrations are also found in ancient and modern times among societies as large as empires (the Zulu or kingdoms (Swaziland) or smaller societies and groups like the Matabele, Thonga and Lovedu, all of southeastern Africa.
Kwanzaa builds on the five fundamental activities of Continental African "first fruit" celebrations: ingathering; reverence; commemoration; recommitment; and celebration.
... but at least you aren't dead:
"For every American soldier killed in Iraq, nine others have been wounded and survived - the highest rate of any war in U.S. history. It isn't that their injuries were less serious, a new report says. In fact, some young soldiers and Marines have had faces, arms and legs blown off and are now returning home badly maimed.
But they have survived thanks, in part, to armor-like vests and fast treatment from doctors on the move with surgical kits in backpacks.
'This is unprecedented. People who lose not just one but two or three extremities are people who just have not survived in the past,' said Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who researched military medicine and wrote about it in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine."
We may as well start the countdown now ...
"The bottom line is that Recruiting Command is in trouble," says another recruiter with almost 30 years of service. "The Army has re-instituted 'stop loss,' which is basically a backdoor draft. They’re stopping people from retiring or completing their enlistment and leaving the Army. They do this fairly often, mostly in August and September, depending upon how far behind they believe they’ll be at the end of September.
"I believe the Army will have to drastically change what they offer to enlistees to overcome what's happening in Iraq. The war is ugly, and not many kids want to enlist to be blown up."
Moms and dads are outraged about desperate Army recruiters on a relentless campaign to sign up their teenagers. High-school kids are actually running away from recruiters like they were George Romero’s living dead.
"Recruiters have called my son a minimum of 20 times in the two years since he finished high school," a dad reports. "The phone calls usually come in clusters. I answered five calls in a two- or three-week span. Each time a recruiter calls, he receives the same polite, respectful response from me or my son ... no interest, and please take the name off the list. When asked why the name hasn’t been removed, excuses are made. While recruiters are brief with me, when my son is on the phone, the sales tactics are clever, prolonged and very high-pressure."
"I took the latest recruiting call. This time I also called the supervisor at the local Army recruiting office, who’s promised to take his name off the list. She made excuses for the repeated calls despite the fact that five calls were on her watch."
Ralph Nader writes President Bush:
December 8, 2004
President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Bush:
On June 30, 2004, I wrote you an open letter urging that your Administration include, in the U.S. casualty toll, in Iraq: (1) injuries in non-combat situations; (2) personnel who have come down with disabling diseases; and (3) cases of mental trauma requiring evacuation from Iraq. You did not respond, nor did Senator John Kerry, who received a copy of the letter.
I should have added three additional categories which are also not part of the official casualty count - - (4) fatalities that occur after U.S. military personnel are brought stateside; (5) soldiers committing suicide in Iraq; and (6) injuries and fatalities incurred by corporate contractors operating in the Iraqi war theatre.
On November 21, 2004, CBS' 60 Minutes led its program with a segment on the subject of uncounted "non-combat" casualties. They interviewed badly injured soldiers who were upset by their being excluded from the official count, even though they were, in one soldier's words, "in hostile territory." The Pentagon declined to be interviewed, instead sending a letter that contained information not included in published casualty reports. "More than 15,000 troops with so-called 'non-battle' injuries and diseases have been evacuated from Iraq," wrote the Department of Defense. John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org told 60 Minutes that this uncounted casualty figure "would have to be somewhere in the ballpark of over 20, maybe 30,000".
What's your problem here? The American people need to know the full casualty toll of U.S. personnel in Iraq and know it regularly and in a timely fashion. Not to do so is disrespectful, especially of the military families, but none more so than of the soldiers themselves. As a severely wounded Chris Schneider told CBS: "Every one of us went over there with the knowledge that we could die. And then they tell you - - you're wounded - - or your sacrifice doesn't deserve to be recognized or we don't deserve to be on their list - - it's not right. It's almost disgraceful."
Soldiers like Chris Schneider, Joel Gomez and Graham Alstrom want to know whether you are going to continue to stonewall their desire for official respect. What shall we tell them and others who seek that simple, decent official recognition? Please do not think that because you are a chronic non-responder to critical questions, you will be able to delay this growing demand indefinitely. Your hit and run photo opportunities with the troops just doesn't cut the mustard. Stand up and face it. It is the right thing to do by them.
This is the true story of a young man who wrote a columnist and asked that we not forget about him. Like thousands of other young people, he joined the military as a means to getting a college education.
"This February column found its way to Iraq and several months later I received a lengthy letter from one of the Guardsmen confirming the comments I had made.
'I hope you don't forget about us because your writing can help people realize the reality of the situation,' he wrote in his first paragraph. Then he went on to explain that he had a dream of going to college and was enticed to join the Guard because of its promise to help finance his education.
When he enlisted, he explained, the major emphasis of the recruiter was on the college education. Nothing was said about the possibility of war, let alone deployment in an optional pre-emptive action halfway around the world.
He was assigned to traveling up and down the highways to locate roadside bombs. It was a dangerous mission and the equipment was inadequate. Instead of an armored vehicle, he was assigned a heavy gravel truck insulated with boxes of sand. Not only was he in constant danger of running over bombs but he was a ready target for snipers along the road.
'I told my family and friends nothing about what I do,' he wrote. 'I don't want to worry them because to me that is the worst part - having loved ones worried about us.'"
As for my July correspondent, he will not be taking advantage of that college education he was promised. Spc. Cody Wentz of Williston, N.D., was killed in Iraq a few weeks ago. This column is being written to honor his request that we not forget the Guard and to help people understand the reality of the situation.
We criticize Vladimir on the Ukraine and Chechnya, he criticizes us on this mess in Iraq.
"'I cannot imagine how elections can be organised under a full occupation of the country by foreign troops,' Putin told Iraq's U.S.-backed interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.
'I also cannot imagine how you on your own will be able to restore the situation in the country and stop it from breaking up.'"
The mea culpa is contained in a shockingly frank "strategic communications" report, written this autumn by the Defence Science Board for Pentagon supremo Donald Rumsfeld.
On "the war of ideas or the struggle for hearts and minds", the report says, "American efforts have not only failed, they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended".
"American direct intervention in the Muslim world has paradoxically elevated the stature of, and support for, radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single digits in some Arab societies."
Referring to the repeated mantra from the White House that those who oppose the US in the Middle East “hate our freedoms", the report says: "Muslims do not 'hate our freedoms', but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favour of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing support, for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states.
"Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy. Moreover, saying that 'freedom is the future of the Middle East' is seen as patronising … in the eyes of Muslims, the American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering. US actions appear in contrast to be motivated by ulterior motives, and deliberately controlled in order to best serve American national interests at the expense of truly Muslim self-determination."
Amen! The Anti-Defamation League called Bill out on that asenine go to Israel comment.
Dear Mr. O'Reilly:
We were deeply offended, as were many of your listeners who have contacted us, at your remark to a Jewish caller on the December 3 Radio Factor that, 'if you are really offended' about attempts to convert Jews to Christianity, then 'you gotta go to Israel then.'
American Jews are Americans. Jews and other religious minorities are part of America's great tradition of religious freedom. The discomfort with proselytizing, or the intrusion of Christian teachings in public schools, is a very legitimate concern.
More dangerously, your remark plays into one of the oldest anti-Semitic canards about Jews, that they are not full citizens of a country and are not entitled to all of the rights afforded to the majority. The notion that religious minorities have no place in a Christian America and should leave may be acceptable for extremists, but it is unacceptable coming from a popular and respected media commentator.
We hope that in future you will be more sensitive to these issues."
I don't even know which way to approach this story as it is absurd at multiple levels and is just making my blood boil. Since it appears that Rumsfeld will be serving a second term as Secretary of Defense, even though he has failed miserably at his job, I'd would have hoped that he'd tone down his stupid, insensitive remarks.
Rumsfeld: "You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have."
Soldier: Spc. Thomas Wilson had asked the defense secretary, "Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?"
Rumsfeld: "You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can (still) be blown up,"
'The time of war is a time of sacrifice, especially for our military families,' Bush said, wearing a tan military jacket with epaulets. 'I urge every American to find some way to thank our military and to help out the military family down the street.'"
This little twit is just having the time of his life playing toy soldier. This must be the hard work he speaks of.
"... the experts I checked with said it is unlikely any president had done that since Teddy Roosevelt, and that was before such images would be broadcast into millions of homes. Even true military figures, such as Eisenhower, avoided wearing uniform as president."
Okay, this article is a little old but I just happened upon it. I know a number of black conservatives who voted for Bush and even a few more who supported Bush soley on his "twin" religious issues: abortion and gays. My constant mantra was that many of the Bush supporters who have deep biases against gays, also have deep biases against blacks so "be careful." To some, there is no difference between interracial relationships and homosexual relationships. Here's one such person who isn't afraid to say it:
"In the minds of those who produced the ad, race is at least as important as the moral and aesthetic norms their ad subverts.
To them, the race as well as the religion, the morality, and the culture of the host society are all equally hostile and oppressive forces that need to be discredited, debunked and destroyed.
If the destruction can't happen at the polls or through the courts, they can always use the long march through the culture that control of the mass media allows.
Breaking down the sexual barriers between the races is a major weapon of cultural destruction because it means the dissolution of the cultural boundaries that define breeding and the family and, ultimately, the transmission and survival of the culture itself.
'We apologize,' smirked the spokesman for those who sponsored the ad, Mark Mandel, the Vice President of ABC Sports.
Mr. Mandel of course ultimately reports to his own boss, Michael Eisner, chief executive of the Walt Disney Company that owns ABC.
And Mr. Eisner's Disney in recent years has become a battering ram against traditional American identity."
I understand that Bill O'Reilly and his ilk are pandering to a rather broad band of idiots but at some point I'd hope that the simplistic "if you don't like it, leave" responses would be a little beneath him. I guess not.
CALLER: The thing is, is when you have -- for example, Christmas carols or gift exchanges being done in school, that kind of sets the kids up to being converted.
O'REILLY: Yeah, but you give gifts on Hanukkah, don't you?
CALLER: No, there's not really a Jewish tradition of giving gifts on --
O'REILLY: Well, the seven candles [sic], you get a gift for every night, don't you?
CALLER: Actually, the Jews give gifts on --
O'REILLY: All right. Well, what I'm tellin' you, [caller], is I think you're takin' it too seriously. You have a predominantly Christian nation. You have a federal holiday based on the philosopher Jesus. And you don't wanna hear about it? Come on, [caller] -- if you are really offended, you gotta go to Israel then. I mean because we live in a country founded on Judeo -- and that's your guys' -- Christian, that's my guys' philosophy. But overwhelmingly, America is Christian. And the holiday is a federal holiday honoring the philosopher Jesus. So, you don't wanna hear about it? Impossible.
And that is an affront to the majority. You know, the majority can be insulted, too. And that's what this anti-Christmas thing is all about."
I'm trying to figure out what triggered this recent barrage of hate mail to Taye Diggs and his wife. It's not like he just got married or like their relationship is recent news. I've yet to tune in for a full episode of Kevin Hill but I did see a bit of it last week where his love interest was a white woman. Was that the impetus? I don't get it. What the heck is wrong with people?
Someone is quite upset that Taye Diggs is married to a white woman. According to the New York Post, a letter was mailed to the actor threatening to "burn" and "castrate" him because of his interracial marriage to Broadway star Idina Menzel.
While further details of the letter were not released, a police source told the Post that the note also threatened Diggs with "bodily harm" and labeled him a "sellout."
The writer also penned at least two letters dissing Menzel specifically, part of which threatened to burn down the Gershwin Theatre where she is currently starring in the musical “Wicked,” according to the paper.
The mailings had postmarks of Ohio, Philadelphia and New York and were received Wednesday by the president of the League of American Theaters and Producers. Each was turned over to the NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force, police sources told the "Post."
Diggs and Menzel met while starring in the original Broadway cast of "Rent" in 1995. They were married in January 2003.
You Are a Dreaming Soul
Your vivid emotions and imagination takes you awy from this world
So much so that you tend to live in your head most of the time
You have great dreams and ambitions that could be the envy of all...
But for you, following through with your dreams is a bit difficult
You are charming, endearing, and people tend to love you.
Forgiving and tolerant, you see the world through rose colored glasses.
Underneath it all, you have a ton of passion that you hide from others.
Always hopeful, you tend to expect positive outcomes in your life.
Souls you are most compatible with: Newborn Soul, Prophet Soul, and Traveler Soul
Now we know this is because of our meddling in their Chechnyan and Ukrainian business but it seems Mr. Putin has had enough of the pretense between Russia and the US.
"Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Friday of pursuing a dictatorial foreign policy and said mounting violence could derail progress toward bringing peace and democracy to Iraq.
Putin also criticized the West for setting double-standards on terrorism, pursuing Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan and Iraq while giving refuge to 'terrorists' demanding Chechnya's independence from Russia.
The Kremlin leader's tough remarks came on a visit to former Cold War ally India, where he and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issued a joint call for greater cooperation in stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq.
Unilateralism increased risks that weapons of mass destruction might fall into the hands of terrorists, and would stoke regional conflicts, Putin said in a hard-hitting speech to an invited audience.
'Even if dictatorship is packaged in beautiful pseudo-democratic phraseology, it will not be able to solve systemic problems,' Putin said. 'It may even make them worse.'
Putin did not name the United States, but clearly had the administration of President Bush in mind when he said policies 'based on the barrack-room principles of a unipolar world appear to be extremely dangerous.'"
I am Progressive Girl
Click on the picture below to read more:
This kind of bizarre rationale from a man who may be the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?
"Antonin Scalia, the man most likely to be our next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, turned history on its head recently when he attended an Orthodox synagogue in New York and claimed that the Founders intended for their Christianity to play a part in government. Scalia then went so far as to suggest that the reason Hitler was able to initiate the Holocaust was because of German separation of church and state.
The Associated Press reported on November 23, 2004, 'In the synagogue that is home to America's oldest Jewish congregation, he [Scalia] noted that in Europe, religion-neutral leaders almost never publicly use the word 'God.''
'Did it turn out that,' Scalia asked rhetorically, 'by reason of the separation of church and state, the Jews were safer in Europe than they were in the United States of America?' He then answered himself, saying, 'I don't think so.'
Scalia has an extraordinary way of not letting facts confound his arguments, but this time he's gone completely over the top by suggesting that a separation of church and state facilitated the Holocaust. If his comments had gotten wider coverage (they were only noted in one small AP article, and one in the Jerusalem Post), they may have brought America's largest religious communities - both Christian and Jewish - into the streets. "
I wondered what all of the outrage and avoidance was about when Alan Keyes was running for Senator in Illinois this past fall. I knew good and well that, even though some evangelicals and conservative Republicans wrote him off as a nut personified, sooner or later someone would be regurgitating some semblance of his words. Enter "The 700 Club's" Pat Robertson who stepped up to beat the drum against the "self-absorbed hedonists" whose entire life revolves around having sex with members of the same sex.
Before we get into the legalities of this whole thing [same-sex marriage] and what the [U.S.] Supreme Court did, I'd like to show you what Jesus said. I think his word, in my opinion, the final word on it. In Matthew, he [Jesus] said this ..."'Haven't you read,' he [Jesus] replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'"-- I want to emphasize that male and female. And he [Jesus] says, "'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' [Matthew 19:1-5, New International Version]."
Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is the basis of marriage. It is male-female, not male and male, not female and female. It is male and female. There is no way that two women can reproduce. There's no way that two men can reproduce. The whole concept of marriage is to bring forth a godly seed, to bring forth children who will grow up to serve the Lord.
That's what marriage is about and it is about nothing else. It has nothing to do with these hedonists, self-absorbed hedonists, if you will, that want to impose their particular sexuality on the rest of America. They don't need marriage because marriage was the protection of men and women, male and female, for the bringing forth of children. That's what it's about, nothing else, bottom line. And if America goes the other way we will be flying directly in the face of the clear word of the Bible.
Perhaps I'm just nit picking but how is it that we are increasing troops? Expanding implies addition, not using what you have. Eighty-five percent of the expanded force is already there. It's not even semantics. If we are adding only 1,500 FRESH troops let's just say that and stop fiddling with people's minds!
"The United States is expanding its military force in Iraq by 12,000 troops, to the highest level since the war began in March 2003, in order to bolster security in advance of national elections, officials said Wednesday.
The expansion will be achieved by sending about 1,500 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, N.C., this month and by extending the combat tours of about 10,400 troops already in Iraq.
One unit, the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division, is being extended for the second time. Its soldiers originally were told they would be going home in November, but in October they got the news that they would remain until the Jan. 30 elections. Now they are being extended until March."
Over the past few years, I've come to label Jesse Jackson a Forrest Gump of sorts ... You know ... the way he magically pops up at every crisis, protest, major event - the way Forrest appeared at everything from a Black Panther Party meeting to a peace rally at the Lincoln Memorial. I've said before that he's had his day and I'm just sick of looking at him. This time, however, he may be on to something with this piece he wrote for Common Dreams:
"Blackwell reversed rules on provisional ballots in place in the spring primaries. These allowed voters to cast provisional ballots anywhere in their county, even if they were in the wrong precinct, reflecting the chief rationale for provisional ballots: to ensure that those who went to the wrong place by mistake could have their votes counted. The result of this decision -- why does this not surprise? -- was to disqualify disproportionately ballots cast in heavily Democratic Cuyahoga County.
Blackwell also permitted the use of electronic machines that provided no paper record. The maker of many of these machines, the head of Diebold Co., promised to deliver Ohio for Bush. In one precinct in Franklin County, an electric voting system gave Bush 3,893 extra votes out of a total of 638 votes cast.
Blackwell also presided over a voting system that resulted in quick, short lines in the dominantly Republican suburbs, and four-hour and longer waiting lines in the inner cities. Wealthy precincts received ample numbers of voting machines and numerous voting places. Democratic precincts received inadequate numbers of machines in too few polling places that were often hard to locate; this caused daylong waits for the very working people who could least afford the time. "
Today is World AIDS Day
I was just watching a marathon of Rick Steves Europe on PBS last Saturday and one episode was in Spain (somplace I have visited). He spoke of the hundreds of years of harmony between Christians, Jews and Muslims before the Christian Crusades when non-Christians were forced to convert or forced to flee. Well, I guess we've opened up a can of a reverse "crusades" in Iraq.
"After decades of living in relative harmony with the country's Muslim majority, Iraq's Christian minority says it is under threat as never before, with increasing violence directed at its places of worship and a building exodus of its 800,000 or so members.
Already an estimated one of every 10 Iraqi Christians has fled the country, most of them to neighboring Syria.
Sister Beninia has been running the white brick Hebtikar School for more than 30 years. These days, she says, are the worst of times, and she's unable to hide her distress over the fate of her country and fellow Christians, most of them Chaldeans, members of the Nestorian sect who converted to Catholicism in the 16th century.
'For years Christians and Muslims lived like brothers and sisters,' she says. 'Today the extremists are trying to separate us.' "