Anne Wilson



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Thursday, April 24, 2003

Gone AWOL ... back when school's out...

Thursday, April 17, 2003

The French open Pandora's box - but can they shut it again? Last month I commented on France's new "Muslim Council," which was supposed to be the "official" voice of Islam in France. Well, the French got their Muslim Council, and made a little calculating error. Seems like the majority of Muslims elected were actually highly fundamentalist Islamists.

The French think that suppressing "extremism" is going to salvage their council, which in effect is the first step toward establishing Islamic law in that nation. All it will take is a demographic majority - and within a generation France will have that, if the Muslim birthrate continues to be 5-7 times (an estimate) than the French.
Why we need a Constitutional amendment denying citizenship to those who are born here but whose parents are not citizens.

While this isn't exactly news (Mexicans have been streaming across the border for decades to have their births on US soil, so their children will be US citizens,) the twist here is that *wealthier* women are doing it. Many of these mothers don't intend to live in the US at the present; they just want their children to have that US passport and the opportunity to live there themselves someday - as well as sponsor their relatives for permanent residency at some later date.

Legally, it's apparently a snap:
To have their babies on American soil, Mexican women simply apply for visitors' visas that permit border residents to travel inside a 25-mile zone in the United States for up to three days for shopping and family visits. The "laser" visas are given only to applicants who prove their financial stability and their border residency.

It's legal for women to cross the border to give birth, as long as they have a current visa and can prove they can pay their medical bills, immigration officials said. As a result, women with financial means can cross legally and have their children in the U.S., but women without money and proper documentation may be turned around at the border.
But the mothers themselves aren't the only problem. Hospitals encourage the birth migration because they can sell pre-paid, cash-on-the-stairs birthing services to Mexican mothers. In one hospital, about one fourth of the births were to Mexicans:
At Scripps Memorial Hospital in Chula Vista, Calif., just six miles from the border, 501 of the 2,067 babies delivered in 2002 were born to foreign nationals. Nearly two-thirds of those women either prepaid or paid for medical services on the spot, Assistant Administrator Martin Mansukhani said.

"We want to be the hospital of choice for these patients," Mansukhani said. "They are certainly profitable for us."

Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center also offers a cash package, available to all prospective mothers: $2,400 for a standard delivery and $4,500 for a cesarean birth. Last year, 136 Mexican nationals prepaid for labor and delivery services at the medical center. Chief Financial Officer Rick King estimates that fewer than a dozen who gave birth at the medical center did not pay for their services.
Constitutional Amendment. N-o-w.

An interesting potential candidate for vouchers is the Walt Whitman Community School, a Dallas, TX private school that caters to gay students. Struggling and with only 16 students, nonetheless this school turned to MTV for publicity. The program (scheduled to run tonight) will feature a documentary about the school. Voucher supporters might want to watch it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

"Every Child Left Behind" isn't playing well in Florida: Parents, including previously staunchly Republican supporters like the Miami Cuban community, are becoming increasingly angry over Florida state education standards that threaten to deny diplomas to high schoolers and leave behind a third of the state's third graders.
A group of Pinellas County women -- Republicans whose political activism had previously been limited to voting -- are spending their afternoons collecting signatures outside the Palm Harbor Library. Their petition pleads with Bush to reconsider a system that might affect their third-graders.

Cuban-American lawmakers, who are Republicans and among Bush's biggest supporters, are telling the governor they don't want to see kids in their districts denied diplomas.

What is especially ironic is that students in Florida schools are scoring well enough on their SATs to get admitted to colleges - yet are "failing" the high school Florida test.

If I went out and measured radiation levels with a thermometer, it would be not only meaningless but dangerous. Some of these state exams are equally inept. It's made worse when the push is coming from the federal government as well.

Spider: Just saw David Cronenberg's Spider the other day. If you liked The Usual Suspects or Memento, this one's worth a view. Cronenberg takes a break from his gooey, organic scare flix (like eXisTenZ) and revisits the somber mood piece in the vein of M. Butterfly or Dead Ringers (minus the gore.)

Ralph Fiennes plays "Spider" Cleg, a deinstitutionalized mentally ill man struggling with his fantasies and the horror of both his present and his past in an East End halfway house. In a breathtaking introductory shot, a crowd pours out of a train. The camera films them about knee-height, and they rush past - well-dressed, purposeful, self-confident. They're "us," in other words - we who can afford a movie ticket, can sit through the film and not get thrown out for talking to ourselves or throwing popcorn. Then the crowd evaporates - and Spider emerges from the train. In a masterful "out of body" moment, we're suddenly in Spider's world - shuffling, slow, isolated, alienated.

It amazes me that Cronenberg, one of the best directors of the past three decades, still has to struggle with funding. Even so, what he's done with an eight million dollar budget is phenomenal.

The story is told from inside Spider's head. We live his obsessions as he tries to work them out. Because he's self-immolated in his mental illness, we barely see anyone around him. He wanders London streets that we know should be full of people, yet are empty - because to him they are. He literally barely sees anyone else outside the circle of his obsessions.

Every Cronenberg film is ultimately about the same thing - the boundary between reality and illusion; its demarkations, and how it's often crossed - or transgressed. Viewers looking for organo-shock will be disappointed, but it's definitely for "the rest of us" who want to go beyond that.

Friday, April 11, 2003

For the fallen coalition warriors in Iraq:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands, we throw
The torch - Be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though
poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- Captain John D. McCrae, who himself fell in World War I.
Hannibal Lecter, call your office: Mad cow disease in its human forms of Creutzfeld-Jacob disease and kuru probably resulted from widespread cannibalism among human beings in our primitive days, resulting in genes which protected some from the diseases' effects.
"There is extensive anthropological evidence that cannibalism is not just some rarity that happened in New Guinea," [University College, London researcher John] Collinge said. Other evidence of prehistoric cannibalism includes cuts and burn marks on Neanderthal bones and biochemical analysis of fossilized human feces.
Yuck. So much for a wonderful, peaceful, matriarchal prehistoric past, where everyone loved everyone else, wore beads, and ate nothing but roots and berries. (Also see "More on tasty trayf below.)
The safest place in America... is next door to a mosque, according to one reader:

I happen to live right down the block from a Mosque. Many members park in front of my house, some walk past on their way to the Mosque. I saw the Support Our Troops yard signs online and wanted to get one. But I am afraid if I put that in my front yard with all the Muslims who come by I will be accused of committing a hate crime. Never mind that are troops are saving Muslims lives by freeing them from the Butcher of Baghdad.

By the way living near a Mosque means I am living in one of the safest neighborhoods in America right now. Right after 9/11 we started getting regular drive bys by police cars, keeping an eye out to make sure no one hurt the Mosque members. That went on for a couple of months and has resumed since the Iraq war began. No one has even yelled or made a rude gesture at our Muslim neighbors but still the police drive by every hour just in case.

Archives and links to articles are dysfunctional, for some reason: Be patient. Do paying customers get treated better?
More on tasty trayf from reader Steve Bodio:

As an avid fan of yours who rarely disagrees, and also a paleo "crunchy" and hunter who eats lots of wild game, I think that you might have called this one wrong (re: Thursday April 3, 2003 entry: ."There's a reason they call it treff.)

The report mentions pigeons, ducks and owls, only the last of which isn't a classic food item even in western cultures. But a lot of odd thins are good and good for you. Ask any old trapper or lion hunter about how good bobcat or mountain lion is. (I can attest to that personally).

Many odd birds including songbirds and rails-- eaten in France-- yeah, I know, but also in my ancestral Italy-- and the American tidewater South respectively, are delicious, as are snapping turtle and (properly prepared) alligator.

I understand that the Chesapeake watermen used to eat migrating hawks and called them something like "beach quail"! I myself am fond of jackrabbit (caught by my sighthounds) which is nothing but classical European hare by another name, though my cowboy friends are appalled.

In Zimbabwe, before its self- described "Hitler" cracked down, I had the odd experience of munching in "Mopane worms" roasted caterpillars, served as bar snacks like pretzels in the fanciest western- style bars. They taste just like shrimp.

Trayf and Kosher are better understood as anthropological attempts to promote safe eating for desert peoples (remember, Islam has the same prohibitions) or even to promote a better economic kind of husbandry (see Marvin Harris on why swine are a bad idea in the desert). Many of the other things are either perishable or just plain dirty (dogs, which ARE eaten and even bred for the table in most northeast Asian cultures and vultures).

But a lot of the prohibitions make no sense today. No shellfish? No cheeseburgers (because the meat touches a dairy product)? No bacon? ("Mmmmmm-- BACON!") No cassoulet or bouillabaisse? (OK, they're French, but I like them anyway). A very religious Jewish friend smelling our cassoulet: " Oh-- that's SO trayf! And it smells SOOO good!"

That is not to say you shouldn't be very careful handling any game animal, and know what you are doing. There are nasty zoonoses out there, like Rocky mountain spotted fever (check your rabbit livers, wear gloves when skinning out, etc) and the chronic wasting disease spreading in deer (same as mad cow, apparently). But you should take such care if you butcher your own domestic animals too.

If I were to guess, I would think the Chinese official statement is just another case of that totalitarian government's continuing persecution, both hard and subtle, of its tribal and other minority--ie, non- Han-- people. The Russian communists did the same thing in Central Asia for years, to some of the same ethnic groups. Commies can still be utter racists. As something of an Asia hand, I can tell you plenty of horror stories.

Now, the Chinese medicine trade that endangers many species worldwide is a whole 'nother tale. Damn commie hypocrites...

Reader mail: Alan K. Henderson writes in regard to Education Secretary Paige the Naif: I abhor the idea of federal funding for private schools. We should be introducing the public schools to market forces, not luring private schools away from them.

"Chiraq" still hustling as Brits turn on "The Worm," according to the Sun.
Jacques Chirac was shamed into welcoming the end of Saddam’s regime last night, despite his bitter opposition to the war.

He said: “France, like all democracies, is delighted at the fall of the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and hopes for a quick and effective end to the fighting.

“It is now necessary to create the conditions which will give the Iraqi people its dignity in re-discovered freedom.”

The emergence of archive pictures showing Chirac accompanying Saddam around a French nuclear facility in the Seventies has added to Le Worm’s embarrassment this week.
Didn't "Chiraq's" mama ever tell him that you don't get the party favors unless you go to the party?

Matrix Reloaded trailers are here. Watching them, it seems that the Matrix operation has a challenge: when your new and fresh visuals have been so heavily copied over the past four years, how do you make sequels that are, well, new and fresh?

It will also be interesting to see how the R-rating affects profits. The original movie was released in February of 1999 and was rated R, for no apparent reason I could see, as the swearing was minimal and the sex non-existent. Large amounts of shell casings to my mind do not an R rating make.

The film came out before the April 1999 Columbine high school attacks. After Columbine, of course, movie theaters began cracking down like gangbusters on teenagers seeing R-rated films. As a result, studios adapted by pushing the envelope as far as possible with a PG-13 rating, in order to attract the 12-16 year old market.

We'll see if a film with a large teenage following does well with an R-rating, or whether the profits will have to come later upon the DVD release.
Rod Dreher has left National Review and has joined the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News. Go visit him over there.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Do we all holy rites;
Let there be sung 'Non nobis' and 'Te Deum;'
The dead with charity enclosed in clay:
And then to Calais; and to England then:
Where ne'er from France arrived more happy men.

Henry V, Wm. Shakespeare. (Hut-tippen to Bole.)

All hail the fall of Saddam, says France's "Chiraq:" He sounds like one of the critters from the story of the "Little Red Hen."

After having plowed, sown, harvested, threshed, ground, kneaded, and baked the bread, the Little Red Hen called out, "Who will help me eat this bread?"

Her little chicks who'd faithfully helped her came running, but the Weasels and the Pigs slithered and bellied up too and said, "We will! We will!"

"No, you won't," said the Little Red Hen. "My chicks and I have done all the work, and we will eat it ourselves."

And they did.

What do you call a group of Democratic presidential candidates? The Washington Post uses the term "herd," but that's an insult to cattle. How about an "embarrassment of candidates?"

Al Sharpton didn't get the press coverage he deserves in this article. Time to do some serious pouting.
Education Secretary Paige backtracks on "Christian values in education" comments: First he tried to weasel out and claim his remarks only applied to higher education. That makes him sound foolish, because state higher education is just as worthy of support as religiously-based private university education. Is University of Missouri at Rolla an inferior engineering school because it's not organized around "Christian values?" Is a Buddhist university worthy of the Paige imprimatur, or do only Christian colleges need apply?

It's ridiculous, because Paige *wasn't* addressing his remarks only to colleges. The real thrust of the remarks were the K-12 schools, and the real unspoken topic is vouchers.

Paige is a naif. Were he to get his way, and were we to actually transfer huge amounts of federal tax money to religious K-12 schools, you would see an explosion of jihadi Islamic schools that you wouldn't believe. What he forgets - and unfortunately what many nice conservative Christians forget - is that "religion in public schools" does NOT have to be the Christian religion. It can be whatever the *majority* of public school students profess. Religious aid to private schools *will* mean tax support for "Islamic academies" as well.

If the Secretary of Education is really at a loss for something to do, perhaps he'd like to investigate the possibility of withdrawing federal education and research funds from universities public and private that allow their campuses to become forums for radical anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. That could keep him busy till 2004, at which point President Bush could perhaps even abolish the Department of Education entirely, as Republicans of the past have promised to do - but have never delivered.
The Hunting of the Quagmire: Anti-war Democratic legislators are all too busy to return reporters' calls asking them how they feel about the turn of events in Baghdad.
Senator Rick Santorum: useful idiot for Muslim "charities." The US Senate recently passed a scaled-down version of President Bush's "faith-based initiatives" bill, where religious charities disburse federal tax money that would otherwise be administered by government welfare and relief programs. Santorum called it a "great day for the armies of compassion," but no one seems to want to ask the $64,000 question: what happens when Islamic fundamentalist "charities" come along with *their* hands out, and the money starts getting funnelled to jihad?
It's obvious who *they* were rooting for: Arabs shocked at the quick downfall of Baghdad: "Where was the resistance?" (Hiding and soiling its jammies when it was "weighed in the balance and found wanting" time all over again.)

Now the Arab nations have to deal with the consequences of their very public sympathy and support for Saddam Hussein. A nice start would be to remove *all* military aid (both paid for and donated) from Arab countries that hold anti-American stances and refuse to acknowledge the basic human rights of their citizens, especially women and non-Muslims. Any state that kills people who no longer want to be Muslim shouldn't get one red-white-and-blue American cent, much less high-tech weaponry.
Peter Arnett "kissed all over" by Iraqi men celebrating victory: Wasn't this the guy who got fired for inserting his anti-war views into the news? Now working for the Mirror, Arnett describes being literally carried away by a group of Iraqi men screaming "Freedom! Freedom! Thank you, Bush!"

He has to get his spin in, of course, but he's probably right about the newly-liberated Shi'ites being fundamentalist, traditionalist Muslims. Only time and careful occupation management will tell if the Shi'ites go the way of the Iranians, and establish a religious dictatorship as in Iran, or whether our overthrow of Saddam will encourage Iranians to overthrow their own Islamic fanatics.
Game Over, Man: Iraqi diplomats skulk around NYC, hiding behind police protection, while New Yorkers in Times Square cheer as on the big screen they watch Saddam's statue toppled. Iraqis dragged the statue's severed head through the streets. (Check out the pic of the US soldier being kissed by an Iraqi man.)

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Conservative students are "in the closet" at major universities, claims Penn State student writer. Well, yes. But whose fault is that, especially at a state university? The writer says, "How many conservative programs and events have been advertised in the newspaper, newswire, or on the Penn State Web site? None! Only liberal programs are advertised and thus endorsed by Penn State."

Is this because conservative organizations are flat-out denied advertising opportunities available to other groups, or is it because there either aren't any, or they choose not to advertise?

Further, why do conservative students spend their or their parents' hard-earned money and more important, their time, at schools hostile to their viewpoints?

Living well is the best revenge. If a school is that rampantly liberal, either break the largely self-imposed silence by blogging, networking over the Internet, or more mundane means like campus meetings and putting up posters, or go somewhere else. If you graduate from one of these liberal sinkholes, *don't contribute money to the alumni association,* and tell them in no uncertain terms why.

If you do manage to find a more conservative college to your liking, then *support* it by contributing to their alumni association, and make a big public affair of that as well.

I'm not demeaning the problems at Penn State or anywhere else. But college is too expensive and too time-consuming to get cheated and be made miserable by political correctness. Get a copy of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, a copy of Paul Linebarger's Psychological Warfare, and organize. The tools work whether they are wielded for good or for ill - get the right tools and use them for the good, and especially don't support organizations that undermine conservative principles.

Congrats to Boston Globe for winning the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Boston Catholic archdiocese sexual abuse scandal.

They also should get some kind of "Internet prize" for the excellent job they did organizing their copious archives of their clergy sex abuse coverage.
Why Americans Aren't Seeing Movies: According to the Wall Street Journal, it's the fault of the war. Maybe. Maybe some of it is the rampant liberalism and anti-war hysteria of major stars, although that wouldn't explain why Bruce Willis wouldn't draw them in Tears of the Sun.

Some of it is that Americans seem to want romantic comedies and escapist fare. My view is that a lot of supposedly "escapist" fare is anything but - take the recent teenage fluff release, What a Girl Wants. On the surface it's pure bubblegum, but underneath it speaks to the angst of every kid abandoned by her father, the product of some new "reproductive experiment," or at least disappointed by him for not being there when she needs him. What A Girl Wants, it seems, is a dad - and not having one because your parents had a fit of pique and pride *does* represent life in trenches for far too many American teenagers.

Similarly, the seemingly superficial romance Kate and Leopold (which has been out long enough that I can risk a spoiler) on the surface looks like a typical New York Career Woman meets Man with Manners. But when you consider that this woman ultimately gives up modern life altogether for life in the 19th century - with no birth control "options," horrific childbirth practices, and no antibiotics, all for the love of a chivalrous man, you begin to plumb the depths of modern despair addressed head-on in these romances.
Happy belated birthday, Astro Boy: from yesterday's New York Times. Japan's economic stagnation has been compensated for by a massive export of "cultural cool," and no one is happier than I to see Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy at the top of the list.

Tezuka has had the honor of being an imitator who ended up himself influencing the very medium which molded him. In the ruins of post-war Japan, where devastation, starvation, and despair abounded, Tezuka abandoned his medical career and began drawing manga (Japanese comics.) He borrowed from Disney and created a unique cute, wide-eyed animation style which later came to American television in shows like Astroboy and Kimba the White Lion.

Interestingly, Disney's Lion King has many design and story elements that hearken back to Kimba, so the influences apparently went both ways.

Similarly, Stephen Spielberg's Artificial Intelligence contains story elements and a bittersweet mood (what the Japanese call mono no aware, or the sadness that comes from contemplating the transience of things) reminiscent of Astro Boy. In both a robot boy comes to love his parents, one of whom rejects him and sell him to the "robot circus," and where both robot boys embark on a quest to become "real boys."

Appreciation of Astroboy has been less enthusiastic in the USA than in Japan, of course, but Dark Horse Comics has continued to faithfully release a new Astro Boy translation once per month (now at #14.)

The success of Astro Boy has also led to more Tezuka translations, like Viz Comic's two releases of the twelve-part cosmic-opera epoch Phoenix.

It will be interesting to see how Japanese animation and manga transpose into the American mass market. The recent Academy Award for Best Animated Picture to Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away will probably serve as a major breakthrough to at least some anime getting wider distribution in the US market. One amusing anecdote about the effect of the Spirited Away win: in its first release, the film was billed as a Miramax release. After the awards, in the theaters in my neighborhood, at least, the film was billed as a Walt Disney film! I suppose it wasn't "good enough" for a Disney imprimatur before the Oscar.

The great fear among true-believing fans, of course, is that the "Japanese-ness" of the original artistic work will be diluted and dumbed-down for Americans, especially when features with more adult elements are "simplified" to appeal to a younger American audience.

Some thematic and stylistic elements do stand in the way of American acceptance. For one thing, there is the overall sadness of many "serious" Japanese manga. Japanese artists have no hesitation to (in the words of Babylon 5 creator J.M. Straczynski) "chase their characters up trees and then throw rocks at them." Main characters, even heroes, experience setbacks and horrific hardships, and even die with startling regularity. Lovers often don't wind up together in the end, and indeed, hopeless love is a major Japanese theme. Bad guys aren't always clear-cut, and often aren't "punished" in the end, the way we expect in Western stories. Good guys sometimes have questionable morals or personalities.

Then there is the whole handling of the body. Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro is clearly a "children's story," and the original English-translated version was produced for in-flight movies on transcontinental Asian flights. When the movie was marketed for general US release, questions arose about the family bathing scenes (where father and daughters all soak in the family tub together.) Good sense and the adamant insistence of the studio that the film remain uncut prevailed, and the scenes were retained. Similarly, Japanese films, even those aimed at younger audiences, are more comfortable with showing body functions. In Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service, witch-in-training Kiki gets up in the morning and heads for the outhouse - a few-second scene which simply wouldn't appear in an American cartoon.

One difficulty in general American acceptance of Japanese animation is that we associate the cartoon with children's fare. Serious drama, action-adventure, and lighthearted romantic comedy (all with "adult situations") are not associated at all with animation. Some of this is because of the huge children's animated market here, but some of it is also because the waters were fouled early on by filmmakers like Ralph Bakshi, whose early attempt to bring "adult" cartoon fare to the big screen (the essentially pornographic Fritz the Cat) did more harm than good for acceptance of animated full-length fare.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

There's hope for the younger generation: One diligent student at University of Madison, WI - a veritable viper's nest of liberalism - wants a portion of her tuition refunded for time lost due to professorial malfeasance, i.e. cancelling class for anti-war protests.

One women's studies professor at Amherst whined, "We used to like to offend people ... We loved being bad, in the sense that we were making a statement. Why is there no joy now?"

Because tuition at Amherst costs way too much for some stupid git of a professor to waste people's time, that's why.
The nation rejoices at the rescue of PFC Jessica Lynch, but stories of the severity of her treatment at the hands of Iraqi captors makes me wonder all over again about the advisability of women in combat. Whether we like it or not, we react differently when women fighters are injured, captured, or abused. That's not to minimize the effects of capture on male prisoners of war. But the notion of "acceptable risk" is different for men versus women, whether we like it or not.
Another 108,000 jobs disappeared in March, after a 357,000 position loss for February, says this article.

Don't take comfort in the on-paper unemployment numbers of 6% or so. Just as devastating as unemployment is creeping *under-employment,* as well as the deflation of salaries, but serious inflation of the cost of practically everything else except cheap manufactured junk from China.
Leftist professors get complaints - from students. This article has a faintly incredulous air about it, as if students should be the ones at the forefront of these anti-war campus protests.

But there's one huge significant difference from the Vietnam era not mentioned in the article. Students are paying way more proportionately, beyond the rate of inflation, for a college education these days, compared to 25 or 30 years ago. Not only that, the students from families with "money" (i.e. whose parents are married to each other, have jobs, and who own a house clear) are often not getting a dime of financial aid. They are paying their *own* way.

At $500 a credit hour (or more), it's no longer amusing to listen to some grey-pony-tailed has-been in his late 50s or early 60s rant incoherently on your dime.

Maybe it's time for some widespread boycotts of the most liberal universities. Couple that with a Congressional ban on foreign student visas, and the liberalism will get bled out of universities very quickly.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Stop whining and show you're loyal Americans, Fox News's Mansoor Ijaz says to CAIR and other Muslim groups seeing persecutors under every bush. Good advice.

There's one tiny problem with his article, though. Ijaz says as one of his recommendations to Muslim advocacy groups:
Elucidate our respect for the separation of church and state, because Islam commands us Muslims to respect the traditions of the societies in which we choose to live. It is patently hypocritical for Muslim-Americans to demand civil rights enshrined by the state and then use the excuse of belonging to some abstract global Ummah, or Islamic community without borders, to criticize the state's requirements for being model citizens.
The separation of church and state isn't something you "put up with" as Muslims. If the separation of church and state is fundamentally opposed to Islamic doctrine, and if one is only tolerating it, then Islam understood in that way will *never* be compatible wtih free, pluralistic, and secular societies.

There has to be a fundamental *change in belief* if this is the case. It's not a matter of putting up with separation of church and state until you get a Muslim majority and can vote in Islamic theocracy. We're going to get a ringside seat over the next 20 years as that happens in countries like France, and it's going to be very ugly.

Especially in the armed services and in the holding of public office, one takes an oath to specifically uphold and defend the US Constitution, where the legal establishment of *any* religion is specifically prohibited.
It's about time: An Oklahoma couple made it legal after 77 years of shacking up. They met while teenagers on a "hayrack ride" (whatever that is), and have been together ever since - sans benefit of clergy. Finally he said "I'm making an honest woman of her." Grandchildren were in attendance to wish them well.
There's a *reason* they call it treff: So the SARS virus might have first been picked up by people in China eating wild game, including owls. Apparently they have a taste for "exotic animals." Seems like those Biblical prohibitions against eating deer, pigs, predatory and scavenging birds, etc. were more than pious folklore or sadistic attempts by the Almighty to limit the diet.