Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Saturday, May 14, 2011

No "Common" Sense at White House Event

The White House billed their “Evening of Poetry” event as a celebration of poetry and the power of spoken word. By inviting rapper Common, what they celebrated instead was violence, misogyny, and cop killings.

Part of Michelle Obama's White House Music Series, Common recited some lines from his poetry amidst piano accompaniment in front of the audience of children and adults. According to ABC News, he’s fairly tame as rappers go and was on his best behavior at the White House. “He opened his performance with cuts of words from Martin Luther King Jr. and spoke of walking into the White House with ‘love on my sleeve.’ His performance gave nods to the challenges of crime and violence that face children, to gangsters and beacons of light for those in dark alleys, and celebrated the rise of Barack Obama. It ended with "one King's dream, he was able to Barack us."

He gave a nod to gangsters? He considers them “beacons of light?”

Common's lyrics and recent White House invitation have also enraged members of the police force, particularly the New Jersey State Police. On the track "A Song for Assata" from 11 years ago Common praised a fugitive convicted of brutally murdering a state trooper in 1973: “Shot twice wit her hands up/Police questioned but shot before she answered/One Panther lost his life, the other ran for his/Scandalous the police were as they kicked and beat her.”

That’s Common’s version of it, anyway. From time to time, I’ve written about cops. Some have spent time in their communities educating teenage drivers on the dangers of driving while distracted or drunk. Some have volunteered their time at bike rodeos and Child ID events. Yet others have taught parents about safety seats.

There was also the Pittsburgh police officer who was shot by a man laying in ambush for him, wearing a bullet proof vest amidst an arsenal of weapons. The story went national, not just within my company, but “national” as in national news. After writing Officer Mayhle’s story (several times), I am completely offended that a street hood known for elegy for a cop-killer would be invited to the White House, a mansion my taxpayer dollars support. I’m offended at the message his appearance, casually “laughed off”, sends to young people. During Police Week, no less.

David Jones, the president of the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association was one to speak out against Common's inclusion at the event. Noting that the event falls during “Police Week” in Washington, D.C., Jones objected to Common's inclusion at the White House on Fox News' “The O'Reilly Factor.”

So this is the White House’s idea of poetry? Music? Culture? This is what has happened to the White House since Jackie Kennedy’s elegant and historically-themed overhaul of the Executive Mansion? We’ve descended, it seems, into a second Dark Age of Ignorance.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hail, Obama?!

"L’etat, c’est moi”  King Louis XIV

[Post meant for May 12]

 I mean, I’m really grateful to SEAL Team Six, the CIA, and yes, even Pres. Obama, for taking Osama Bin Laden out quickly and efficiently.  But crown Obama with laurel leaves?   Blindly grant him the powers of a dictator?  Are they serious?

We got this news announcement from the North N.J. Tea Party Group.  Checking it out now on Google, just to make sure.  Okay, so Sean Hannity has it on his site and it’s on

The Senate Homeland Committee has submitted bill S.679:  The Presidential Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011, which would reduce the number of executive positions (presidential appointments) subject to Senate confirmation.  The bill’s main sponsor is New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, who introduced the proposed legislation on March 30, 2011.  Fifteen other senators, including seven (!) Republicans, co-sponsored it:

Lamar Alexander [R-TN]
Jeff Bingaman [D-NM]
Richard Blumenthal [D-CT]
Scott Brown [R-MA]
Thomas Carper [D-DE]
Susan Collins [R-ME]
Richard Durbin [D-IL]
Mike Johanns [R-NE]
Jon Kyl [R-AZ]
Joseph Lieberman [I-CT]
Richard Lugar [R-IN]
Mitch McConnell [R-KY]     
John Reed [D-RI]
Harry Reid [D-NV]
Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI]

S. 679 would reduce the number of Presidential appointees that require Senate confirmation and establish a working group to consider ways to streamline the Presidential appointment process.
The bill would reduce the number of Presidential appointees requiring Senate confirmation from about 1,200 (excluding judges) to around 1,000. The legislation also would eliminate the statutory requirement that the Senate confirm several thousand commissioned officers of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

CBO expects that enacting the bill could reduce the workloads of certain federal employees; however, because those employees would probably be retained and assigned other tasks, we estimate that implementing the legislation would lead to a negligible reduction in spending subject to appropriation.
The legislation also would establish a working group to examine the process for conducting background investigations of Presidential appointees and study ways to streamline paperwork associated with the appointment process. Because the working group would be staffed by existing government employees and unpaid experts, CBO estimates that implementing this provision would have no significant cost.

Since the Senate is already governed by the Democrats, who would give a Democrat president a pass on his nominees anyway, it certainly would be most convenient to just to dispense with all those formalities.  If the Republicans should gain the Senate, it would just do away with all that nasty bickering.  No need for checks and balances.  The president would simply have carte blanche to appoint czars to his most critical interests:  health care (the Public Health Service) and the environment (NOAA).

No accountability, no transparency, no background checks, no security clearance, no credentials, no responsibility.  No one will be able to question them, criticize them, and certainly no one will dare to defy them or the president.  It’s eerily similar to FDR when he tried to stuff the Supreme Court.  This will dwarf Roosevelt’s usurpation of power.  Obama is creating his own bureaucratic army.

Why did these seven Republicans sign on, though?  I certainly get Scott Brown and Susan Collins.  We know them to be RINOs.  What about the other five?  The committee signed on the dotted line on April 13; two weeks later, they were feeding Bin Laden to the fish.  Is this the price we had to pay to get Bin Laden?  Is this the deal – Obama would deliver Osama’s head, but then we would have to crown Obama’s head with the laurel leaves of Julius Caesar?

The pundits were right when they said Obama’s Osama Bump would be short-lived.  The only bump Obama is going to have is the one on his head from patting his own crown too often.  We must oppose this bill at all costs.  It’s time for the Tea Parties to do what they do best – get on the phone, the fax, the e-mail and tell Congress:

You can show your opposition to this bill on the new website
S. 679: Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011 (

Bunker Mentality

Today is Friday the 13th and in case you live under a rock, one Harold Camping has declared that, by his calculations, the world will end on May 21st.   Talk about an unlucky day!  Camping is a Christian radio broadcaster and president of Family Radio, a California-based religious broadcasting network that spans more than 150 outlets in the United States as well as a website.

Camping uses mathematical predictions applied to the Bible to predict dates for the end of the world.   His current end-times prediction is that the Rapture will be on May 21, 2011 and that God will completely destroy the Earth and the universe five months later on October 21. He had previously predicted that the Rapture would occur in September 1994.

He has sponsored highway billboards announcing his prediction all over the country.  Camping had the good sense to plant his billboard relatively close to a billboard for a life insurance agency (one of ours, actually).  So there’s still time to pop into the office and get your life insurance up to date if you live in this particularly area.

According to Bloomberg News, an enterprising Soviet businessman, Danila Andreyev, has gone into the bunker business, supplying fortified bunkers to nervous, affluent Russians worried about a great earthquake, flood, and 2012 predictions.  If Camping is right, they needn’t worry about 2012.

The news of the impending end of the world can be quite comforting.  If you’re about to be sacked, you won’t need to worry about updating your resume.  Mortgage underwater.  No worries – you won’t have a house to pay off anyway.  Tired of that boss, supervisor, teacher, bully, band director or other megalomaniac authority figure yelling at you, humiliating you in front of others, and just giving you a hard time in general?  Relax.  After May 21st, they won’t have anything more to say.

Of course, if you plan on sticking around, you’ll to buy a survival bunker, which costs about $400,000.  Only megalomaniac millionaires will be able to save their worthless hides after the fallout.  The rest of us – those who actually survive – will just have to scramble about to find whatever food and shelter is still available.  Those who own boats had best remember the lesson of the Japanese tidal wave – get your boat out to sea and ride out the wave.

So, what’s all this end-of-the-world business about, anyway?  How does this guy know it’s lights-out on May 21st?  For those of you who haven’t “done the Math” and looked at a Bible in years, much less memorized it or analyzed to the nth detail, according to


The child of God has learned from the Bible that the language of Genesis 7 has a twofold meaning: 
Genesis 7:4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
Historically, as God spoke these words, there were seven days remaining for Noah, his family, and the animals to get into the safety of the ark; but spiritually (and the Bible is a spiritual book), God was speaking to all of the people of the world and was declaring that sinful mankind would have 7000 years to find refuge in the salvation provided by Jesus Christ.  How can we know that?  We know this is so based on what we read in 2 Peter, chapter 3:
2 Peter 3:6-8 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The context of 2 Peter 3 is extremely important!  In the first few verses, God refers us to the destruction of the world by the flood during Noah’s day.  Then we find an interesting admonition that we ought not to be “ignorant” of one thing,  which is, 1 day is as 1000 years, and 1000 years is as 1 day.  Immediately following this bit of information is a very vivid description of the end of the present world by fire. 
What could God be telling us by identifying 1 day along with 1000 years? 
Since we recently have discovered the Biblical calendar of history on the pages of the Bible, we find that the flood of Noah’s day occurred in the year 4990 BC.  This date is completely accurate (for further information on the Biblical timeline of history, please go to:  It was in the year 4990 BC that God revealed to Noah that there would be yet 7 days until the flood of waters would be upon the earth.  Now, if we substitute 1000 years for each one of those 7 days, we get 7000 years.  And when we project 7000 years into the future from 4990 BC, we find that it falls on the year 2011 AD. 
   4990 + 2011 = 7001   
Note: When counting from an Old Testament date to a New Testament date, always subtract one year because there is no year zero, resulting in:
   4990 + 2011 – 1 = 7000 years exactly.
The year 2011 AD will be the 7000th year from the flood of Noah’s day.  It will be the end of the length of time given to mankind to find grace in God’s sight.  This means that the time to find refuge in Christ has grown extremely short. We are only a little ways off from the year 2011 AD! 
It is not unusual that God’s people have been given insight into the timing of the end of the world. Actually, the Bible tells us this is normally the case.  In times past, God has warned His people of approaching periods of judgment:
Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

JUDGMENT DAY: MAY 21st, 2011

We know that the year 2011 is the 7000th year from the flood. We also know that God will destroy this world in that year.  But when in 2011 will this occur?
The answer is amazing.  Let’s take another look at the flood account in the book of Genesis:
Genesis 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
Faithful to His Word, God did bring the flood 7 days later in the 600th year, on the 17th day of the 2nd month of the calendar aligned with Noah’s lifespan.  It was on this 17th day of the 2nd month that God shut the door on the ark,  securing the safety of its occupants and also sealing the fate of everyone else in the world outside of the ark.  They would all now certainly perish in that worldwide catastrophe.  
Genesis 7:16,17 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in. And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.
Earlier it was mentioned that the church age came to an end in the year 1988 AD.  It so happens that the church age began on the day of Pentecost (May 22nd) in the year 33 AD. Then 1955 years later, the church age came to its conclusion on May 21st, which was the day before Pentecost in 1988. 
The Bible teaches that the end of the church age would occur simultaneously with the beginning of the great tribulation: 
Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
On May 21st, 1988, God finished using the churches and congregations of the world.  The Spirit of God left all churches and Satan, the man of sin, entered into the churches to rule at that point in time.  The Bible teaches us that this awful period of judgment upon the churches would last for 23 years.  A full 23 years (8400 days exactly) would be from May 21 st, 1988 until May 21st, 2011.  This information was discovered in the Bible completely apart from the information regarding the 7000 years from the flood. 
Therefore, we see that the full 23-year tribulation period concludes on May 21st, 2011.  This date is the exact day that the great tribulation comes to its end, and this is also the most likely landing spot for the 7000 years from the flood of Noah’s day. 
Keep in mind that God shut the door on the ark on the 17th day of the 2nd month of Noah’s calendar.  We also find that May 21 st, 2011 is the end of the great tribulation period.  There is a strong relationship between the 2nd month and 17th day of Noah’s calendar and May 21st, 2011 of our Gregorian calendar.  This relationship cannot be readily seen until we discover that there is another calendar to consider, which is the Hebrew (or Biblical) calendar.  May 21 st, 2011 happens to be the 17th day of the 2nd month of the Hebrew calendar.  By this, God is confirming to us that we have a very correct understanding regarding the 7000-year timeline from the flood.  May 21 st, 2011 is the equivalent date to the date when God shut the door on Noah’s ark. Through this and much other Biblical information, we find that May 21 st, 2011 will be the day when God takes up into heaven His elect people. May 21st, 2011 will be Judgment Day! This is the day God shuts the door of salvation on the world. 
In other words, in having the great tribulation period conclude on a day that identifies with the 17th day of the 2nd month of Noah’s calendar, God is without question confirming to us that this is the day He intends to shut forever the door of entry into heaven:
John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

Andreyev told Bloomburg News that he “started building started building ‘panic rooms’ three years ago, when fears of terrorist attacks and commercial disputes turning violent created demand in Russia.  Now he’s selling ‘survival bunkers’ for as much as $400,000 each to capitalize on angst over theories the world will end next year.

 “’I myself am not a believer in doomsday scenarios,’” Andreyev, 31, whose Spetsgeoproekt company is completing 15 bunkers at hidden locations across Russia, said at his office in central Moscow.  “But when you start hearing clients talking about the end of the world, it gets you thinking.’”

Yes.  You can think on the dark side.  Or you can think on the bright side.  At least we lived long enough to see Osama Bin Laden get what was coming to him.  We won’t have to worry about Obamacare.  We won’t have to hear anymore about Lindsay Lohan or Charlie “the Torpedo” Sheen.  Now that we know the end is near, we can eat any kind of food we want.  Load up on those cheeseburgers, Glenn Beck!  Kids, you can load up again on the peanut butter sandwiches.  That kid who drew the American flag can now paper his classroom with them.

We won’t get to see the final Harry Potter movie, though.  Those who haven’t read the books or at least the last one, won’t know how it ends.  To think, they’ll end their days never knowing whether Prof. Snape was a villain or a hero, or who wins the final showdown, Voldemort or Harry Potter. 

I’m so glad I read all the books.  Maybe God could put off the end of the world until the end of summer.  I’m almost finished with Glenn Beck’s “Broke” (excellent text on how the government has been cheating us).  I was hoping to get to a couple of more before it’s all over.  The 12th Imam.  Shakespeare’s As You Like It.  The Life and Times of Paul Revere.  The Culture of Corruption.  War and Peace.

So many books; so little time!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Granting Osama's Last Wish

Osama Bin Laden’s son, Omar, purportedly released a statement denouncing his father’s killing as -"criminal" and said his burial at sea had humiliated the family, an online monitoring service said.

The statement said the al Qaeda chief's children reserved the right to take legal action in the United States and internationally to "determine the true fate of our vanished father," the SITE Intelligence Group said.  There was no independent confirmation of the authenticity of the letter, published on the website of Islamist ideologue Abu Walid al-Masri, although several specialists on militant propaganda said the text appeared genuine.

Omar bin Laden did not immediately respond to emailed and telephoned requests for comment.

The letter said, in part: "We hold the American President (Barack) Obama legally responsible to clarify the fate of our father, Osama bin Laden, for it is unacceptable, humanely and religiously, to dispose of a person with such importance and status among his people, by throwing his body into the sea in that way, which demeans and humiliates his family and his supporters and which challenges religious provisions and feelings of hundreds of millions of Muslims."

The letter also accused the U.S. administration of failing to offer proof to back up its account of the mission. It alleged the goal of raid had been to kill and not arrest, adding that afterwards the American commandos had “rushed to dispose of the body.”  Some Muslims have misgivings about how U.S. forces killed bin Laden in a raid in Pakistan on May 2 and disposed of his body in the ocean.

Questions have multiplied since the White House said the al Qaeda leader was unarmed when U.S. helicopter-borne commandos raided the villa where he was hiding in the city of Abbottabad.
Bin Laden's swift burial at sea, in what many Muslims say was a violation of Islamic custom, has also stirred anger.
Detainees at Gitmo allege that Bin Laden was the mastermind of the attacks, and gave their own where-were-you-on-9/11 account of Bin Laden’s reaction to the attacks, as he sat by a short-wave radio waiting for the news.  They said he prayed and wept and each time one of the planes accomplished its “mission” and would hold up an additional fingering, indicating there was yet another attack on the way.  Then he shouted “Allah Akbar!”
"They were overjoyed when the first plane hit the building so I said to them: 'Be patient,’” the terrorist was quoted as saying.  He then moved to an adjacent room with a satellite TV and they began to record coverage of the events.
Yet in 2002, in an interview with the Daily Ummat of Karachi, which was published on the website Just Reason, Bin Laden disavowed any connection with 9/11:
Daily Ummat: You have been accused of involvement in the attacks on New York and Washington. What do you want to say about this?

Bin Laden  I am thankful to Ummat Publications for giving me the opportunity to convey my viewpoint to the people, particularly the valiant and Momin [true Muslim] people of Pakistan who refused to believe the lies of the demon [Pakistani military dictator General Pervez Musharraf].
I have already said that I am not involved in the September 11 attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children and other human beings as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children and other people. Such a practice is forbidden even in the course of battle. It is the United States which is perpetrating every sort of maltreatment on women, children and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam. All that has been going on in Palestine for the last 11 months is sufficient to invoke the wrath of God upon the United States and Israel. There is also a warning for those Muslim countries that witnessed all of this as silent spectators. What had earlier been done to the innocent people of Iraq, Chechnya and Bosnia? Only one conclusion could be derived from the indifference of the United States and the West to these acts of terror and the patronage of the tyrants by these powers, namely that America is an anti-Islamic power and is patronising anti-Islamic forces. Its friendship with the Muslim countries is just show, or rather deceit. By enticing or intimidating these countries, the United States is forcing them to play a role of its choice. Cast a glance around and you will see that the slaves of the United States are either rulers or enemies of Muslims.

Daily Ummat: The losses caused in the attacks in New York and Washington have proved that giving an economic blow to the US is not too difficult. US experts admit that a few more such attacks could bring down the American economy. Why is Al-Qaeda not targeting their economic pillars?

Bin Laden: I have already said that we are not hostile to the United States. We are against the [US Government] system, which makes other nations slaves of the United States, or forces them to mortgage their political and economic freedom. This system is totally under the control of American-Jews, whose first priority is Israel, not the United States. It is clear that the American people are themselves the slaves of the Jews and are forced to live according to the principles and laws laid down by them. So, the punishment should reach Israel. In fact, it is Israel, which is giving a blood bath to innocent Muslims and the US is not uttering a single word.

Daily Ummat: Are there any safe areas other than Afghanistan, where you can continue jihad?

Bin Laden: There are areas in all parts of the world where strong jihadi forces are present, from Indonesia to Algeria, from Kabul to Chechnya, from Bosnia to Sudan, and from Burma to Kashmir. Then it is not the problem of my person. I am a helpless fellowman of God, constantly in the fear of my accountability before God.  It is not the question of Osama but of Islam and, in Islam too, of jihad. Thanks to God, those waging a jihad can walk today with their heads raised.  Jihad existed when there was no Osama and it will continue to exist even when Osama is no longer here.  Allah opens up ways and creates love in the hearts of people for those who walk on the path of Allah with their lives, property and children.  Believe it, through jihad, a man gets everything he desires. And the biggest desire of a Muslim is the life after death. Martyrdom is the shortest way of attaining an eternal life.

What a liar he was.  This is what his family and followers base his alleged innocence on - that the U.S. can’t prove he was involved in 9/11.  Yet by the account of his own followers, he knew exactly what was going to happen that day.  They would tie America’s Constitution around her neck and hang her with it.  There’s supposedly a whole paper trail on his guilt, not to mention the “college library” of information from his last abode that the CIA is even now culling.

It’s too bad there are such blabbermouths in the White House, giving conflicting reports of the raid at Abottobad.  The White House should have produced the photos and kept quiet on the details of his killing.  Not that the majority of Americans care about that.  They’ve taken a grim satisfaction in knowing that Osama was shown as much mercy as his victims in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the planes, much better than if he’d been dragged back to America to stand trial, with the possibility of walking or receiving less than he deserved on account of some arcane technicality.

Rest assured, America, OBL got just what he deserved.  He wanted to play the jihadist warrior and leader.  He was the one who famously declared war on America and he met his fate as any other enemy leader would, such as Yamamoto.

He always said he wanted to die a martyr’s death, that he didn’t want to be taken alive.  SEAL Team Six merely granted Osama Bin Laden his final wish.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Give Cops a Free Ride

On May 8, a Yemeni with a California ID pounded on the cockpit door of American Airlines Flight 1561 as it prepared to land in San Francisco. As yelled “Allahu Akbar,” two flight attendants, a retired Secret Service agent and a retired cop helped subdue him.

Resisting, he was shackled to a seat until the plane landed at San Francisco International Airport, and resisted some more as he was taken away.

Then today, on a Delta Airlines flight from Orlando to Boston, another man was detained by fellow passengers, including an off-duty police officer, when he tried to open an emergency exit door in mid-flight. Little is known about who he is or whether he said anything.

The authorities tried to downplay the American Airlines incident until a passenger provided photographs or video and reported that the man had shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great).

The airlines can’t afford to put undercover law enforcement on every flight. But wouldn’t it be great if they gave a free ride to off-duty and retired police officers and other law enforcement authorities? Islamicist moles within the industry need never know and potential hijackers would never know who was on the flight with them.

With the new technology, it’s not going to be so easy to hide the truth from the public anymore, either. If the new generation of Ipads and Androids don’t have video capability yet, eventually a new generation will and there will be no more opportunity for the PC crowd to deny the truth. When flying imams start causing trouble, we’ll know it.

Meanwhile, Americans are proving every day that they’re no longer “sheeple”. Since 9/11, they’ve become keener, more aware of the dangers, and are prepared to act, not sit with their hands folded, like sheep to the slaughter.

You’ll notice, too, that not many Americans are concerned that Osama Bin Laden appeared to be unarmed when the SEALs shot him. Nor are they losing any sleep over the fact that he wasn’t brought to trial, that he didn’t have his day in court (he would have walked). Only a few looney Liberals are bemoaning the lack of justice or the fact that he probably didn’t stand a chance to even say, “I give up!”

As a co-worker in our cafeteria noted this morning, “The 9/11 victims didn’t stand a chance, either.”

Monday, May 09, 2011

Not In Our Backyard, If You Please

Police in two predominantly Muslim neighborhoods of Birmingham, England, were removed after local residents complained that their civil rights were being violated.

According to The Independent (UK) News, the 218 cameras, some of which were hidden, angered civil liberties campaigners and residents in Sparkbrook and Washwood Heath in Birmingham. The number plate recognition and CCTV cameras were financed under a counter-terrorism initiative but were initially marketed to locals as a general crime-prevention measure.

In October 2010, West Midlands Police Authority Chief Constable Chris Sims said the cameras should be pulled down in a bid to “regain the trust of residents.” The recommendation followed an independent report's criticism of the scheme, dubbed Project Champion.

Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe bent over backwards assuring the residents that they have listened to what their communities wanted and acted upon those wishes. That they have liaised closely with their communities to keep them informed of developments and when they can expect cameras to be removed from actual streets.

“I would like to stress,” she added, “that the cameras have never been operational. We accept that mistakes were made and we are keen to learn the lessons that emerged from the review into Project Champion. The removal of the cameras is part of that learning process. Our neighborhood teams will now focus on forging closer links with local communities across the affected areas.”

Ayoub Khan, Birmingham City Council's Cabinet member for local services and community safety was pleased that the recommendations of the review committee and the voice of the community had been heard.

Speaking in October, Mr. Sims said the “support and the confidence of local communities in West Midlands Police" was the most important thing for the force in the fight against crime and terrorism. We can fight crime and the threat posed by terrorism far more effectively by working hand in hand with local people, rather than alienating them through a technological solution which does not have broad community support," he told West Midlands Police Authority.

The previous month, an independent report by Thames Valley Police criticized the scheme for lack of transparency and insufficient consultation. Daniel Hamilton, director of Big Brother Watch, said, “While we are delighted these cameras are being removed, this expensive and oppressive waste of time should never have been given the go-ahead. These cameras were totally unnecessary for anti-terror or anti-crime purposes and only served to alienate Muslim residents. Public trust in the police has been significantly undermined and will take years to rebuild.”

Uh-huh. So another section of England – the Midlands – has been made safe for Islamic theocracy. Terrorists – I mean, jihadist warriors – need fear no longer that the English authorities will interfere with them on their mission to transform England into a part of the Umma, the Islamic caliphate.

What would any of us have given if surveillance cameras had been installed around the World Trade Center at the time Mohammed Atta had visited it, just prior to his flight to Hell? New York City had a large Muslim community at the time, particularly in Brooklyn, and across the river along the waterfront cities in New Jersey. I’ve never heard that any residents “cooperated” with law enforcement authorities to catch him. Nor in Paterson, where he was apparently staying.

I’m sure we all felt so much more secure in our civil liberties on Sept. 12, 2001, knowing that, while the Towers fell, our civil liberties were intact. Such a comfort during such a terrible time. We know just how much we can count on the Muslim community now that Bin Laden is dead and his “flock” has scattered, authorities scrambling to find them before they crawl into the cracks of Muslim society until it’s safe to come out again.

Instead of letting mechanical cameras do the job of recording their activities, law enforcement must rely on a terrified public to finger what amounts to Islamic gangsters whose code is just as bad as the Mafia’s. If they can dial 911 before the terrorist dials the code to detonate the bomb, that is.

The Queen Mother's Day, 2011

Giving my mother gifts at any time of the year is an art and a science. Going out to dinner is a thing of the past, as she’s 87, and not inclined to go out on the town. Jewelry is useless since she doesn’t go anywhere. Clothing – it’s always been a nightmare. Flowers would be great, except she has a garden full already. Chocolates have been ruled out by the doctor.

Big Brother’s idea was to do yard work for her. He needs the exercise; I don’t. Younger Brother, who lives with her, decided the best thing he could do for her was disappear for the day. Since I wasn’t up to the yard work, I had to figure out what to get her, which meant picking something I knew she’d like and that I’d like because she’d insist on giving it back to me (one year, I gave her Band of Brothers – that I never got back and never insisted since she enjoys it so much).

So I gave her the King’s Speech. She’s about the same age as Queen Elizabeth II and remembers King George the VI. His speech was well-known in those days and very much pitied. His brother, Edward VIII, was considered the scoundrel of the times for throwing over his duty as monarch for a twice-divorced American woman. In those days, it was a scandal.

King George VI (“Bertie”) was forced to take his brother’s place, a title the shy, stuttering monarch never wanted. He reigned for only 12 years, dying in 1952 at the age of 56. His daughter, Elizabeth II, succeeded him. She makes an appearance in the movie as a young girl, but this is definitely Bertie’s and Elizabeth’s (the Queen Mother) movie.

And Lionel’s. Lionel, played by Geoffrey Rush, is an Australian commoner who has a way with people who have problems speaking words. He had no degree, but he was a teacher of elocution. After World War I, he developed speech methods for shell-shocked soldiers. He moved to London in 1924 with his wife and three sons and established a speech defect practice.

In the film, it is Bertie’s wife, Queen Elizabeth who seeks out Logue’s help for her husband. Helena Bonham Carter plays the sometimes haughty queen and devoted wife with delicious snobbery and tender understanding. Logue tells her that the treatments will be on his terms and turf. At first, she waves him off but as Bertie’s stammering and anxiety increases with his brother’s abdication, she comes around and brings the Duke of York with her.

This is a performance of a lifetime for Colin Firth, whom we girls remember with relish and adoration as Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice. Firth is a natural in the role of men who must struggle with a challenge. His shy and quiet future King of England bursts forth in frustrated anger and terror at both his lessons and what lies ahead. You can’t help but feel pity for him.

He’s neither above temper tantrums nor snobbery, insulting his commoner (and an Australian at that) tutor several times. Rush is patient and kindly as Logue, never really taking offense at his pupils high-handed demeanor; only analyzing it rationally, trying to get at the root of the royal problem. Although Bertie is reserved at first, insisting on only being treated for the physical problem, eventually he and Logue develop a trust in which Bertie reveals a miserable childhood filled with abuse and loneliness.

In a bit of irony, Jennifer Ehle plays Mrs. Logue. Previously, she played opposite Firth in Pride & Prejudice as the spirited Elizabeth Bennett (bet you won’t recognize her, but the smile is a giveaway). Yet another P&P veteran joins the cast in a minor role, David Bamber. Then there’s the Harry Potter contingent starting with Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon as King George V, and Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill.

Mom grew up during the Great Depression and World War II. It was a time of new technologies, particularly. As King George V observes, the days when a king can just show up are over. Still Bertie’s first speech is a disaster for the Duke and his audience and that’s when he seeks out Logue’s treatment.

Rush is fresh and funny as the commoner teacher. He gives the Duke/Prince/King no partial royal treatment. He’s constantly prying at the royal reserve, making jokes, though never teasing, and always pressing that aristocratic envelope.

Although Mom is a fierce and loyal American, she’s just got this thing for royalty and she loved the movie, much better than she liked The Queen, for some reason. I’m happy to report that her Royal Majesty, our “Queen Mother” gave this DVD her royal stamp of approval for Mother’s Day.

I will not be getting it back anytime soon.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Location, Location, Location

After searching for Osama Bin Laden since the late 1980s, they finally located him, about 1,000 yards from Pakistan’s version of West Point. They say he bought the property in 2005 and once he moved in, he never left. Ever.

First news accounts described it as a “mansion.” Perhaps by Pakistani standards, it was. To Americans, it looked like a dive you’d use a rental for undesirables. The kind of place you’d rent to someone you knew was going to tear it apart anyway, so why bother.

Bin Laden was nothing if not an ascetic. One story has it that he and his families were on the run in the desert, and one of the infants needed water. He wouldn’t give it to them. That’s how he treated his family. His current and youngest wife shared his enthusiasm for the “simple life”. Far from a mansion, their dwelling was run-down with only an old television set and a valuable computer chock full of terrorist names.

SEAL Team Six promptly dispatched him. Despite the conflicting accounts, it took the SEALs about 30 seconds to thrown off the ol’ as-Sirat. Recovered home videos show a very gray, old-looking Osama huddled in his favorite chair, wrapped in a blanket, watching recordings of himself in better days. My grandfather in his last days looked better than Bin Laden. Was his shooting justice, murder, or a mercy killing?

While he may have been a has-been, he still had enough marbles left to choose a great location for his hideout – a green, upscale town in Pakistan called Abbotobad, a retirement village for retired Pakistani military and a very short ride to the front door of Pakistan’s premier military academy.

The location must have put the U.S. Military in a quandary. Miss by a few feet and we’d be at war with Pakistan. Obama took 16 hours to decide Bin Laden’s – and his own – fate. Send a bombing mission and miss, and the U.S. would be in big, big trouble. Having missed, Osama would have fled and we’d be ‘splaining things to the Pakistanis with empty hands.

A surgical insert would have to be very fast and precise. The Pakistanis could hardly miss the sound of four helicopters hovering a quarter of a mile away. One of the residents noticed it. Our SEALs would have that long to get in and get out again. One story has it that the SEALs wouldn’t know whether Osama was wearing a suicide belt under his pajamas. Of course, it was the middle of the night, and if, wearing this contraption, he turned over….

The report is he acted scared and confused. That he was scared would hardly be surprising. That he was confused is interesting. What was going through his mind as he saw the SEALs coming? How in the world did the weak-minded, morally corrupt Americans find him?