Monday, September 7, 2009

Rifqa Bary

You may have heard of Rifqa Bary. She's the young woman who converted from Islam to Christianity and then fled her home in Ohio to find shelter with a Christian family in Florida because her father threatened to kill her for her apostasy. She has petitioned the state of Florida to allow her to remain there.

Now some may have a difficult time believing that a loyal member of the religion of peace, such as her father must be, would want to kill his daughter simply because she became a Christian. After all, it's not as if Muslims actually did this sort of thing, or at least it's not as if they did it very often, or at least did it very often here in the U.S., but the girl's fear is nevertheless palpable (see the opening 20 seconds or so of this video):

Pam Geller has been doing great work advocating on behalf of this girl and bringing her plight to the public's attention (though it's been largely ignored by the traditional media). Go here and scroll down to read about her ordeal.

So far the Florida courts have ruled that Rifqa can remain in Florida while her family is investigated to see if her terror is justified. If you wonder why she's in fear of her life go here and scroll down. Or you can ask Salman Rushdie, Geert Wilders, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or Wafa Sultan, if you can get past their round-the-clock guard. I would've also mentioned Theo Van Gogh, but it's too late to ask him.


School Address

What lesson is there for the President in the massive public outcry over his plans to address the nations school children on Tuesday? Well, first, it should teach the Democrats about sauce and geese. President George H.W. Bush made a similar address to schools in 1991 and was hammered by Democrats who accused the Republican president of making the event into a campaign commercial.

The second lesson is that the President has used up much of the trust and confidence that the American people placed in him last November. There is growing fear among Americans that either Mr. Obama is not who they thought he was when they voted for him or that he is who they thought he was when they didn't vote for him.

For myself, I have no problem in principle with the President addressing school students. My difficulty is with taking students out of class yet again to hear a talk that will have very little impact on their lives. Students miss so much class time as it is for mandated tests, field trips, sports, student council activities and a multitude of other dubious reasons that to take them out of class once more to hear a lecture that is highly unlikely to make any lasting impression on more than a few of them is really a bad idea. Students thinking seriously about quitting school are not going to change their minds because some guy in Washington says they shouldn't do it.

I also had a concern about the lesson plans designed for the event. There was some reason to think that President Obama was going to use this event as an opportunity to solicit support for his political agenda. The lesson plans prepared for the event originally recommended having students "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president," and how the president "inspired them," but because the public objected these questionable assignments have been deleted.

So, the public's protestations were a good thing. The event, as it now seems to be unfolding, is fairly innocuous, but given my druthers I'd prefer that the kids be in class learning the things they won't be learning sitting in an auditorium sleeping through the President's speech.


So Long, Van

Perhaps by now you've heard that Van Jones, the President's very controversial Green Jobs czar, has resigned. If you're wondering who Van Jones is you probably get your news from the traditional media. Byron York explains:

Coverage of the Jones controversy was a case study of some of the deep divisions within the media. Fox News' Glenn Beck devoted program after program to Jones' past, and a number of conservative blogs were responsible for finding some of Jones' most inflammatory statements. Yet even as the controversy grew -- and even after Jones himself apologized for some of his words -- several of the nation's top media outlets failed to report the story. As late as Friday, as the Jones matter began to boil over, it had not been reported at all in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC. Although the Post and CBS went on to report the Jones story on Saturday, the Times did not inform its readers about the Jones matter until after Jones resigned.

The traditional media are either too lethargic or too ideological to have reported prior to his resignation that as the New York Times now tells us:

Mr. Jones did not go through the traditional vetting process for administration officials who must be confirmed by the Senate. So it was not until recently that some of Mr. Jones's past actions received broad airing, including his derogatory statements about Republicans in February and his signature on a 2004 letter suggesting that former President George W. Bush might have knowingly allowed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to occur in order to use them as a "pre-text to war."

Three questions press themselves upon us in the wake of this brouhaha: Why was Jones not vetted? If he was vetted why were his views and statements, including his Leninist sympathies, not considered disqualifying? And why did the traditional media ignore the story while it was raging on Fox and on the internet until after the man resigned?

It's all very puzzling and alarming. Either the Obama administration is displaying a distressing lack of competence or it's displaying a distressing fondness for people on the far left of the ideological spectrum.