One of life’s blessings

I glanced out my office window, looked over the hills and the water, and saw glowing in the sky a perfect rainbow.  What a lovely gift.  Since it's been raining ridiculous amounts in my neck of the woods, one hopes that the rainbow is a sign of a remembered promise:

And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,

And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;

And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.

And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.  (Genesis 9:8-16.)

Landscape with Rainbow, Henley-on-Thames

c. 1690

I see a melting pot, they see a stolen dish

Gail alerted me to the Mexica-Movement's proud photo-montage about the March in L.A. I think it's a great site, since it really gives you an idea about the marchers' goals and belief system. I wonder if, once you get insight into these things, you'll be for or against firmer border controls and enforcement. I know where I stand.

The webpage's photo helps orient you to the principles animating the marchers:

A PHOTO SUMMARY OF
THE GREAT MARCH
March 25, 2006
Los Angeles, California
Occupied Anahuac (Ah-nah-wahc)

I hope you caught that these aren't merely citizens parading through American streets seeking to advance Constitutional rights. Instead, much like abused people everywhere, they're forced to live in occupied territories — in this case "Occupied Anahuac."

The pictures help reinforce this message:

The above picture actually has a great Mexica-Movement caption: "One of the more negative parts of the march was when American flags were passed out to make sure the marchers were looked on as part of "America". (Emphasis mine)" God forbid that people who live in America (whether they came here legally or not) and benefit from American andits healthy economic system should actually look as if they're part of this country. This goes back to my point of a few days ago about the utter irrationality of escaping the economic chaos that is Mexico, and than working hard to turn this country into precisely the same place you left.

But I digress, because the pictures are just as worthy as the words:

You really should check this website out yourself. This movement would be laughable were it not for the fact that, in L.A. alone, 500,000 immigrants to America are deadly serious about reinstating borders that were formally ceded to the U.S. more than a century ago. (And its worth remembering that the Mexicans living in California at the time continued to live here. They simply were overwhelmed by an influx of Anglo-Americans during the Gold Rush, diluting their population density. These protesters, who either came to America themselves, or whose parents came here, are just as much interlopers as the rest of us.

Leadership in action

Patrick alerts me to Ace's take on the new, improved Democratic plan:

An amazing new national security plan has two key provisions:

1) "Responsibly redepolying" US troops from Iraq (i.e., bugging out as soon as we can get the transport ships and planes in);

and

2) "eliminating" Osama bin Ladin.

Eliminating Osama bin Ladin! Why hasn't anyone suggested this before? It's one of those ideas that's so novel and yet compelling you wonder why you never thought of it!

It only gets better from there, but it would be tacky for me steal Ace's thunder, so you're going to have to mosey on over to Ace's yourself to read the whole thing.

The child is the father of the nation

Do you have a strong stomach? If you do not, definitely avoid this website, which collects information and photographs about the atrocities routinely committed against women, children and gays across the Muslim world. Here, you can see what it looks like when a person has been flogged hundreds of times for being gay, or how a little girl's face looks when she is in the process of having her genitals mutilitated. Or perhaps you'd like to see the woman being stoned to death for adultery, or the little boys have their scalps slashed as part of a religious ritual. Given these grotesque punishments and cultural rituals, it's no surprise to see pictures of toddlers in full terrorist regalia, or small boys joyously practicing beheading games.

This website, more than any other thing I've seen since 9/11, makes me doubt that there is any possibility of our living in harmony with Arab cultures. It seems to be, to get back to my alpha-dog idea, that one of these cultures — ours or theirs — has to be in the dominant position, and one in the submissive, and I know where I want to be. The only sad thing is that, to retain our dominant position, we'll have to fight, and fighting inevitably has a certain coarsening, corrosive effect on a democratic culture (and I say that despite being a conservative and a hawk). I only hope that, in the prolonged warfare I see (not just in Iraq but around the world), we somehow manage to win before we become as barbarous as our enemy.

(Thanks, Trace, for the tip.)

African-American political leaders failing African-Americans

I'm generally a Jonah Goldberg fan, but his column today really adds to my respect for the man.  In it, he takes on black leaders in Congress, who pursue far Left policies that are often inconsistent with beliefs held by many black Americans, and that advance social and economic policies that consistently fail black Americans:

There's a lot of Marxist-infused nonsense about how economics are at the root of black America's problems. But this doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Of course poverty makes social pathologies worse, but it's the pathologies that cause poverty in the first place.

Family breakdown in the black community has occurred despite a steady rise in the wages of blacks since World War II, when 80 percent were born to married parents. Racism alone cannot be blamed anymore for causing all black problems. By every measure, racism, particularly official racism, has declined even as these problems have worsened.

Racism is surely still a problem, but it pales in comparison to family breakdown. Nothing perpetuates the cycle of moral and financial poverty more so. If you are raised by two married parents today, black or white, it is unlikely that you will be poor, or, at the very least, poor for long. Blaming slavery and historic white racism for family erosion may be satisfying — and sometimes accurate — but it promises few solutions.

Pat Moynihan predicted all of this chaos more than 40 years ago in his report, "The Negro Family: the Case for National Action," which urged the government to help stop black family breakdown before young men raised without fathers sowed chaos in their own community and the nation. Moynihan was greeted with denial and outrage by black and feminist ideologues, who insisted he was trying to impose white middle-class norms on the benign, even "superior," female-headed black family. The PC mob won, and U.S. social policy was pushed in exactly the wrong direction until the welfare reform of the 1990s.

I'd love to add something witty or thoughtful here, but I can't.  I don't have much factual information at my fingertips on the subject, but Goldberg's column really seems to sum up the problem I seem to see constantly as an outsider looking at the travails of the African-American community in post-Jim Crow America.  You can read the rest of Goldberg's thoughts on the subject here

Toot, toot!

That sound you hear in the title of this post is me blowing my own horn. I've got another article published in American Thinker, which is going to have to take the place of blogging this morning. It's about morality and how we teach it to our children in the modern age.

UPDATE:  To those of you coming over from American Thinker — thank you.  And also a mea culpa for confusing Willoughby, the scoundrel from Sense and Sensibility, with Wickham, the cad in Pride & Prejudice.  My only excuse is the late hour at which I was writing, but that's really not a good enough excuse to justify confusing two of the great heels in English literature.

Teaching immigrants to love America

In a rather stumbling way, I asked why immigrants don't love America, and said that I wished our schools would be required to teach students what's great about America.  Ironically, one day later, the Wall Street Journal published Peggy Noonan's elegant, lyrical reflection on the same point.  She begins by speaking of Medal of Freedom winners, those extraordinary men (and one woman, I think), who without thought were willing to sacrifice themselves to preserve American freedoms.  From there, she transitions to the conundrum of modern American immigrants, who want what we offer but hate what we are:

There are a variety of things driving American anxiety about illegal immigration and we all know them–economic arguments, the danger of porous borders in the age of terrorism, with anyone able to come in.

But there's another thing. And it's not fear about "them." It's anxiety about us.

It's the broad public knowledge, or intuition, in America, that we are not assimilating our immigrants patriotically. And if you don't do that, you'll lose it all.

We used to do it. We loved our country with full-throated love, we had no ambivalence. We had pride and appreciation. We were a free country. We communicated our pride and delight in this in a million ways–in our schools, our movies, our popular songs, our newspapers. It was just there, in the air. Immigrants breathed it in. That's how the last great wave of immigrants, the European wave of 1880-1920, was turned into a great wave of Americans.

We are not assimilating our immigrants patriotically now. We are assimilating them culturally. Within a generation their children speak Valley Girl on cell phones. "So I'm like 'no," and he's all 'yeah,' and I'm like, 'In your dreams.' " Whether their parents are from Trinidad, Bosnia, Lebanon or Chile, their children, once Americans, know the same music, the same references, watch the same shows. And to a degree and in a way it will hold them together. But not forever and not in a crunch.

So far we are assimilating our immigrants economically, too. They come here and work. Good.

But we are not communicating love of country. We are not giving them the great legend of our country. We are losing that great legend.

What is the legend, the myth? That God made this a special place. That they're joining something special. That the streets are paved with more than gold–they're paved with the greatest thoughts man ever had, the greatest decisions he ever made, about how to live. We have free thought, free speech, freedom of worship. Look at the literature of the Republic: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist papers. Look at the great rich history, the courage and sacrifice, the house-raisings, the stubbornness. The Puritans, the Indians, the City on a Hill.

The genius cluster–Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, Madison, Franklin, all the rest–that came along at the exact same moment to lead us. And then Washington, a great man in the greatest way, not in unearned gifts well used (i.e., a high IQ followed by high attainment) but in character, in moral nature effortfully developed. How did that happen? How did we get so lucky? (I once asked a great historian if he had thoughts on this, and he nodded. He said he had come to believe it was "providential.")

We fought a war to free slaves. We sent millions of white men to battle and destroyed a portion of our nation to free millions of black men. What kind of nation does this? We went to Europe, fought, died and won, and then taxed ourselves to save our enemies with the Marshall Plan. What kind of nation does this? Soviet communism stalked the world and we were the ones who steeled ourselves and taxed ourselves to stop it. Again: What kind of nation does this?

Only a very great one. Maybe the greatest of all.

***

Because we do not communicate to our immigrants, legal and illegal, that they have joined something special, some of them, understandably, get the impression they've joined not a great enterprise but a big box store. A big box store on the highway where you can get anything cheap. It's a good place. But it has no legends, no meaning, and it imparts no spirit.

Who is at fault? Those of us who let the myth die, or let it change, or refused to let it be told. The politically correct nitwit teaching the seventh-grade history class who decides the impressionable young minds before him need to be informed, as their first serious history lesson, that the Founders were hypocrites, the Bill of Rights nothing new and imperfect in any case, that the Indians were victims of genocide, that Lincoln was a clinically depressed homosexual who compensated for the storms within by creating storms without . . .

You can turn any history into mud. You can turn great men and women into mud too, if you want to.

What's so sad is that it's no longer fringies dirtying our history.  We've raised a whole generation that has internalized the fringies message and is passing it on to the next generation, both native-born and immigrant. 

Helping a worthy cause

The Western Standard in Canada, as part of its reporting, published copies of the Mohammad cartoons. To my mind, that's good journalism. To the Alberta Human Rights Commission, it's a hate crime, and it initiated a government prosecution against Western Standard. The Western Standard has now put out an SOS for help footing its legal bill against this government prosecution (or, given my distaste for this kind of government witch hunt, "persecution"). If you would like to help out, go here. Here's the Western Standard's statement of its position and its plea for help defraying its costs:

Our magazine has been sued for publishing the Danish cartoons, and I need your help to fight back!

As you know, the Western Standard was the only mainstream media organ in Canada to publish the Danish cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammed.

We did so for a simple reason: the cartoons were the central fact in one of the largest news stories of the year, and we're a news magazine. We publish the facts and we let our readers make up their minds.

Advertisers stood with us. Readers loved the fact that we treated them like grown-ups. And we earned the respect of many other journalists in Canada who envied our independence. In fact, according to a COMPAS poll last month, fully 70% of Canada's working journalists supported our decision to publish the cartoons.

But not Syed Soharwardy, a radical Calgary Muslim imam.

He asked the police to arrest me for publishing the cartoons. They calmly explained to him that's not what police in Canada do.

So then he went to a far less liberal institution than the police: the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Unlike the Calgary Police Service, they didn't have the common sense to show him the door.

Earlier this month, I received a copy of Soharwardy's rambling, hand-scrawled complaint. It is truly an embarrassing document. He briefly complains that we published the Danish cartoons. But the bulk of his complaint is that we dared to try to justify it – that we dared to disagree with him.

Think about that: In Soharwardy's view, not only should the Canadian media be banned from publishing the cartoons, but we should be banned from defending our right to publish them. Perhaps the Charter of Rights that guarantees our freedom of the press should be banned, too.

Soharwardy's complaint goes further than just the cartoons. It refers to news articles we published about Hamas, a group labelled a terrorist organization by the Canadian government. By including those other articles, he shows his real agenda: censoring any criticism of Muslim extremists.

Perhaps the most embarrassing thing about Soharwardy's complaint is that he claims our cartoons caused him to receive hate mail. Indeed, his complaint includes copies of a few e-mails from strangers to him. Some of those e-mails even go so far as to call him "humourless" and tell him to "lighten up". Perhaps that's hateful. But all of those e-mails were sent to him before our magazine even published the cartoons. Soharwardy isn't even pretending that this is a legitimate complaint. He's not even trying to hide that this is a nuisance suit.

Soharwardy's complaint should have been thrown out immediately by the Alberta Human Rights Commission, just like the police did. But it wasn't. Which is why I'm writing to you today.

According to our lawyers, we will win this case. It's an infantile complaint, without basis in facts or law. Frankly, it's an embarrassment to the government of Alberta that their tribunal is open to abuse like this.

Our lawyers tell us we're going to win. But not before we have to spend hundreds of hours and up to $75,000 fighting this thing, at our own expense. Soharwardy doesn't have to spend a dime – now that his complaint has been filed, Alberta tax dollars will pay for the prosecution of his complaint. We have to pay for this on our own.

Look, $75,000 isn't going to bankrupt us. But it will sting. We're a small, independent magazine, not a huge company with deep pockets. All of our money is needed to produce the best possible editorial product, not to fight legal battles. This is clearly an abuse of process designed to punish us and deter other media from daring to cross that angry imam in the future.

One of the leaders in Canadian human rights law, Alan Borovoy, was so disturbed by Soharwardy's abuse of the human rights commission that he wrote a public letter about it in the Calgary Herald on March 16th. "During the years when my colleagues and I were labouring to create such commissions, we never imagined that they might ultimately be used against freedom of speech," wrote Borovoy, who is general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Censorship was "hardly the role we had envisioned for human rights commissions. There should be no question of the right to publish the impugned cartoons," he wrote.

Borovoy went even further – he said that the human rights laws should be changed to avoid this sort of abuse in the future. "It would be best, therefore, to change the provisions of the Human Rights Act to remove any such ambiguities of interpretation," he wrote. That's an amazing statement, coming from one of the fathers of the Canadian human rights movement.

I agree with Borovoy: the law should be changed to stop future abuses. But those changes will come too late for us – we're already under attack. The human rights laws, designed as a shield, are being used against us as a sword.

We will file our legal response to Soharwardy's shakedown this week. And we will fight this battle to the end – not just for our own sake, but to defend freedom of the press for all Canadians.

Do you believe that's important? If so, I'd ask you to help us defray our costs. We're accepting donations through our website. It's fast, easy and secure. Just click on http://www.westernstandard.ca/freedom

You can donate any amount from $10 to $10,000. Please help the Western Standard today – and protect freedom for all Canadians for years to come.

Soylent Green nation

Rumors about organ harvesting surface constantly when it comes to China, and they probably have a good foundation given that, working through China, you can get any organ you need, any time.  Now, Jay Nordlinger comes with a fairly detailed report (with lots of links) that China is using Falun Gong practitioners as their preferred organ providers.  It's a story that deserves reading on its own and in conjunction with the post I did yesterday on the officially sanctioned infant killing spree in Holland. 

The conclusion I draw from both these stories is that the Judeo-Christian doctrine is one of the highest forms of humane thinking.  Neither Communism nor Secular thinking offer something as simple as God's order: "Choose life." 

Some time ago, I wrote a column for American Thinker about how the Democrats are embracing a culture of death in America.  To toot my own horn, it bears re-reading, since I think we stand at the beginning of the slippery slope, and China and Holland remind us of where that slope goes.

Lives that are not worth living

In a recent Weekly Standard article, Wesley Smith takes on the infant euthanasia that is gaining traction in Holland.  His opening paragraphs are models of clear writing:

At last a high government official in Europe got up the nerve to chastise the Dutch government for preparing to legalize infant euthanasia. Italy's Parliamentary Affairs minister, Carlo Giovanardi, said during a radio debate: "Nazi legislation and Hitler's ideas are reemerging in Europe via Dutch euthanasia laws and the debate on how to kill ill children."

Unsurprisingly, the Dutch, ever prickly about international criticism of their peculiar institution, were outraged. Giovanardi's critique cut so deeply that even Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende felt the need to respond, sniffing, "This [Giovanardi's assertion] is scandalous and unacceptable. This is not the way to get along in Europe."

As is often the case in the New Europe, what is said matters more than what is done. Thus, the prime minister of the Netherlands thinks that killing babies because they are born with terminal or seriously disabling conditions is not a scandal, but daring to point out accurately that German doctors did the same during World War II, is.

As he gets deeper into his column, Smith notes that making Nazi comparisons can shut down dialog and allow even those engaged in egregious behavior to deflect criticism.  However, he then goes on to point out the many disturbing parallels between the Nazi program and the Dutch program.  Indeed, it seems as if the only distinct difference between the two is motive:  the Dutch kill from compassionate motives, the Nazis killed to cleanse their society.  But killing is still killing.

The article piqued my interest at two levels.  First, I knew little about the Nazi euthanasia program except for this:  my great uncle on the goyish side of my family, who was bipolar, was one of the first adult victims of this euthanasia.  Second, it occurred to me that perhaps part of the problem with Europe's ability to integrate its Muslim population may be that this isolated new population looks at a Europe that doesn't value itself and, rightly concludes, that Europe is not worthy of being valued.  And since it's not worthy of being valued, it's obviously okay (a) to kill Europeans (they're killing themselves, after all) and (b) to supplant their own, Islamic culture. 

If someone says he’s going to kill you, believe him

Jack, my favorite Retired Preacher, has republished in his blog, with the original publication's permission, a lengthy article about radical Islam's goal of creating a worldwide Caliphate governed by the purest expression of 7th Century Islamic law. Aside from generally being an interesting article, I found especially fascinating the way in which the author juxtaposed, on the one hand, direct quotations from Islamists stating clearly their hatred for America and their desire for a worldwide Caliphate cleansed of Western ideals with, on the other hand, the New York Times' repeated denials that anyone in the Arab world could really want a Caliphate. This pairing made me think of two hoary old expressions, both of which are remarkably apt here: "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt," and (see my post's title) "If someone says he's going to kill you, believe him."

As I noted at Jack's blog, my memory of history (which is pretty damn good) is that Hitler was also remarkably clear about his goals. The elite made excuses for him, rejiggered and reinterpreted his explicit pronouncements, ignored what he said, and allowed him to embark on a war that saw the deaths of more than 20 million people (including the slaughter of 6 million Jews).

As the Duchess in Alice in Wonderland might say (since she was able to find the moral in everything), "The moral of the story is that, jst because a man (or nation) is clearly insane, doesn't mean it doesn't have the ability methodically to carry out the fruits of his (or its) insanity."

Expanding my horizons

I wanted to let you know about a "blog collective"* that I was invited to join.  It's called Webloggin, and it's sort of a clearinghouse for posts that Webloggin community members do on their own blogs.  When I got invited, I checked it out and really jumped at the chance to join.  For one thing, it's a great looking blog, as you will see if you link on over.  It's a clear, uncluttered format, that nevertheless contains a great deal of information.

For another thing, I liked the quality of the posts already highlighted at the site.  They struck me as interesting, a bit provocative, polite (which matters to me), and thoughtful.  You may want to make Webloggin a regular "check it out" site for youself.

*That sounds a bit like "Borg collective," doesn't it?  Maybe I should call it a blog community. 

Why don’t they love America?

I haven't blogged about the immigration protests because, well, because I didn't feel like blogging about them. During a lunchtime conversation, Don Quixote and I decided we were in agreement: We believe the vitality of immigrants is good for the nation's health, and we strongly disapprove of those who break the laws as they currently exist — and who get a free pass for doing so. I'm with the Captain, who objects to those who have

the temerity to demand that we allow them to live here without following our laws governing entry into the US as well as continue to provide government services to them. In the meantime, people who come here legally and wish to stay wind up having to go home and reapply for permanent residency. Joe Gandelman has a guest poster from Britain who cannot avoid leaving the US after coming here legally and showing nothing but loyalty to his new home.

As more information comes out from the demonstrations, though, I'm getting the urge to blog. What really disturbs me about the demonstrations, as I gain more information about them, is the intense hostility they express to the United States. In the "picture is worth a thousand words" category, Michelle Malkin has this image of flags hoisted by students in Southern California:

upsidedown.jpg

03/28 : Student protest

Whittier area students from Pioneer, California and Whittier high schools walked out of classes to protest the proposed federal immigration bill March 27, 2006. The protestors put up the Mexican flag over the American flag flying upside down at Montebello High. (Leo Jarzomb/Staff photo)

Going back to the Captain, he points out that this hostility is part of the growth of a fringe movement, present since the late 1960s (a decade one wishes one could wipe out politically), that envisions a return to 18th Century borders:

The rallies in Southern California only ripped the lid off of a well-known dynamic in the culture that mixes native guilt with radical illegal-immigrant activism to fuel the La Raza dream of Aztlan, the reconquest of the the Southwest and its return to Mexico or existence as a separate nation. This radical notion has been around since 1969 and plays a part in the fringe politics of the Southwest. However, the increasing sense of entitlement for illegals in the area has led this impulse out of the shadows and into the forefront of the amnesty movement by enabling people to argue that the illegals are returning to their own land and that the US lacks the sovereignty to declare otherwise.

I know Aztlan is out there, but I doubt that many of these students are thinking in those specific separatist terms. They're just working off the multiculturalist template, which says that America is a debased culture and that any other culture is better. Under that rubric, there's no doubt that the American flag deserves to be treated with disrespect, especially when that disrespect is explicitly contasted with a heightened respect shown to the Mexican flag.

This kind of thinking, which is less sophisticated than the political goal Aztlan advances, still strikes me as crazy. These kids left Mexico — or their families left Mexico before their births — because America was better. Or at least they perceived it to be so. Had that not been the case, they would have stayed in Mexico. America has a better economy, America has better opportunities, America has a better lifestyle even for the poor (if by better you mean more access to modern technology such as cars, TVs, radios, computers, etc). Given the reality of their lives — leaving worse for better — why are they so bound and determined to bring about changes in America that will make it duplicate the Mexico they left behind? One word: Multiculturalism.

Thus, the irrational thinking these kids display really highlights the poison that is multiculturalism. Previous groups of immigrants sought desperately to embrace what American had to offer. The group with which I'm most familiar — and about which I can speak with most authority — is the Jewish group that flooded into America from the 1880s through the early 1910s or so. They knew what they were escaping: the economic dead-end of the shtetls, a dead-end enlivened periodically by murderous pogroms. When they got to America, they knew what they wanted: they wanted their children to leave the tenements and become true Americans, with myriad economic opportunities. They knew how to achieve it: through education and hard work. Another group that has followed this same escape and success story is, of course, the Asian immigrant group, a group that the multiculturalist poison has pretty much bypassed.

And then there are the Latin American immigrants. Many — most? — are incredibly hardworking people, grateful for the opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their family. However, a disproportionately large minority came here to escape the bad times in Latin America, only to be embraced by a multiculturalism that says you can have it all: American prosperity, without American hard work, without American English, and without abiding by American laws. And the fruit of that terrible mindset has been on display in the streets of L.A.

Truth be told, while I was pretty passive about the whole immigration reform thing before, seeing these demonstrations has very much hardened my view. I want (a) much harsher enforcement of immigration laws and (b) a federal edit requiring schools to teach old-fashioned civics — a civics that was about the benefits of being in American, and the concurrent burdens and responsibilities — if they don't wish to lose federal funds.

UPDATE: For more information about the mechanics behind the rallies, check out this Ben Johnson article.

UPDATE II:  Please, please read Peggy Noonan's lyrically beautifully Wall Street Journal column about teaching immigrants to love our country. 

Can a religion change?

Much ink has been spilled (or should I say, many bytes have been generated) about whether Islam can be modernized so that Muslims can integrate with the modern world.  As many have pointed out, devout Muslims feel themselves absolutely bound to live by Mohammed's principles — principles that involve such anachronisms as polygamy, death by stoning, death for homosexuality, violent anti-Semitism, second-class status for all non-Muslims, death for Muslim apostates, etc.  All of these are ideas that are fundamentally at odds with modern Western notions of freedom and equality.  And all of them are the words of the Prophet.  So, clearly, Muslims are stuck with them.  Right?  Well, maybe not.

Folks, I give you the Church of Latter Day Saints and its followers, the Mormons.  As Jon Krakauer reminds me in his book Under the Banner of Heaven, polygamy was a fundamental tenet of Mormonism, as it was revealed to Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet.  It was also the concept that most dramatically separated Mormons from the rest of mid-19th Century American-Victorian culture.  In the years leading up to the Civil War, polygamy, rather than slavery, was the issue that exercised the large majority of Americans.  It is unsurprising, therefore, that the 1850s ended with the American government actually starting a war against the Mormons (the Utah War), largely in an effort to stamp out polygamy.   The war failed, and the United States turned its attention to the War Between the States.  Still the issue was such a hot button one that Congress took time out from the Civil War to make polygamy in the territories a felony.  Throughout the 1870s and 1880s, Congress acted to beef-up these laws.

Although the federal push initially did nothing to change the strong Mormon allegiance to polygamy, the feds kept pushing, and pushing, enclosing the polygamists into smaller and smaller legal boxes.  And it was always clear that, when it came to polygamy, the federal government was willing to put its money where its mouth was.  That is, these laws weren't simply dead words in untouched books, they were laws that the government relied upon with a vengeance.  Eventually, in the face of this relentless pressure, the Mormon leadership yielded and renounced polygamy

The Mormon Church wasn't just engaging in lip service when it turned its back on one of Smith's prophecies.  Instead, this was a wholehearted renunciation.  The modern Mormon church is vehemently opposed to polygamy, and works hard to distance itself from fringe Fundamentalist organizations that claim the Prophet's mantle and espouse polygamy (a principle that seems to give these Fundamentalists the right to gather around them multiples of really, really young brides).

One could argue that, under the First Amendment, the U.S. had no business forcing a religion to abandon a basic tenet of its belief system, but that's an argument that was lost more than 100 years ago, and I have no intention of fighting it now.  What interests me is that a religion could renounce a belief system and nevertheless continue functioning and, indeed, growing. In fact, the Mormon Church seemed to have learned a lesson from this early battle.  It has also changed its policies over the years regarding women and minorities, and has been rewarded by becoming one of the fastest growing religions in the world (although there are some doubts cast upon that claim).

My point, of course, is that a religion can cast off doctrines that are not in harmony with the world, while retaining core belief systems that keep the religion unique.  Sloughing off ideas that cause revulsion can help make the religion a magnet, and can help the religion focus on those doctrines that are most useful to gain converts or optimize the society in which the faithful live.  Indeed, with regards to converts, I've always had a huge admiration for the early Catholic church's ability to convince those pagans addicted to human sacrifice that they could abandon that disgraceful practice, since Jesus' sacrifice was sufficient for all human-kind.  It's an amazing doctrine, and the Church understood how to use it to invite people into the religion, rather than to force them into it. 

Making sacrifices for freedom

Mike, at The Deep Freeze, lives in Philadelphia.  Doing something called geocaching, he headed out of town and went for a treasure hunt in his neck of the words — the treasure being a moment where one touches history.  Here is what he found:

It was a modest grave site right along the side of the road. If you were in your car you would drive past it without thinking twice. Buried at this site are twenty-two soldiers from the Revolutionary War. There is a church across the street from this site that served as a hospital while the Continental Army was camped at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778. I probably stood there for fifteen minutes reflecting on these brave men. They died hundreds of miles from their homes with nobody to comfort them. Their families probably didn't know they had died for weeks. Yellow fever was rampant throughout the camp, so these men were probably infected and removed from the camp to isolate them from the army. They were probably cold and hungry. They weren't getting paid since the Continental Congress had no money. They were fighting for a belief. A dream that they would not live to see come to a realization. These were great men who should never be forgotten.

Mike writes more about his journey, and promises some pictures, so I urge you to link over and read the whole thing.  I think it's important that we get these reminders about the principles — and the bravery — that marked the beginning of our nation.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

James Taranto (and Co., I guess), writing at Best of the Web Today, has an excellent mini-essay about the tortured relationship between the Left on the one hand, and President Bush and foreign policy (vis-a-vis terrorism) on the other hand:

Al Qaeda and the former regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq are enemies of America. They were enemies of America before George W. Bush became president–Bill Clinton used military force against all of them, albeit desultorily–and they almost certainly would be enemies of America if Al Gore or John Kerry were president. Neither Gore nor Kerry, after all, ran on a promise to make peace with these enemies.

It is the left that, during this administration, has tended to personalize the war, viewing it as a referendum on George W. Bush. The crudest and most striking example of this came from porcine propagandist Michael Moore on Sept. 12, 2001:

Many families have been devastated tonight. This just is not right. They did not deserve to die. If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for him! Boston, New York, DC, and the planes' destination of California–these were places that voted AGAINST Bush!

Why kill them? Why kill anyone?

This was noteworthy at the time mostly for being shocking, but look at it with an analytical eye and you'll see that it's revealing of a certain mindset. Moore's immediate reaction to the attack was to see it in terms of Republicans and Democrats–or, more precisely, of Bush backers and Bush detractors. He's particularly outraged that anyone would kill Bush detractors. He can sort of understand if they would want to kill Bush backers, but a moment's reflection leads even him to conclude that this would be overkill.

What seems never to have occurred to Moore is that this was an attack on America and it had nothing to do with domestic politics. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, almost everyone understood this. Moore was an extreme outlier. But since then, many liberals have moved toward Moore's worldview, as evidenced by the box-office success of his "Fahrenheit 9/11" in 2004.

There is of course plenty of room, even in wartime, for reasoned debate over foreign policy. But to allow one's views of international affairs to be determined almost completely by antagonism toward the man who happens to lead one's own country at the moment is an extreme and potentially dangerous form of parochialism.

That pretty much sums up a lot of the fallout from Bush Derangement Syndrome, doesn't it?

Sharon Stone crosses a line

The Drudge headline is that Sharon Stone advocates oral sex, but that's not really the whole story.  The real story is how this well-intentioned lady goes about carrying out her advocacy:

She [Stone] explains, "I was in the store the other day and I watched a young girl trying on clothes, showing her abdomen. "Her mother was trying to talk to her about not being inappropriately luring. I said, 'Gee that would look much nicer with a camisole under.' "Her mother walked away, and I said to the girl, 'I'd like to give you a two-minute conversation about sex.'"

Call me a troglodyte, but I'd livid if I found out that some lady was filling my child's ears with her views about sex and sexuality — without my permission and behind my back.  If Stone's message is so great, what is she doing sneaking around stuffing it in children's ears?

The Monkeys are in charge of the Western world

You know the monkeys:

The monkeys' message — see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil — may be a useful one in the context of ordinary social relationships, where gossip is poisonous, but it's an utterly insane way to run the world. Nevertheless, that's precisely what the world is doing vis a vis Iran — it's completely ignoring the evil pouring out of that country. Michael Ledeen makes it very clear that Iran continues to amass weapons (nuclear, chemical, traditional), to target American troups, to foment strife in Iran, and generally to make deadly mischief, while the West sits idly by, mouthing nicey-nice platitudes. The result of this wilfull blindness about the reality that is Iran:

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, is dying of cancer. But he is convinced that his legacy will be glorious. He believes that thousands of his Revolutionary Guards intelligence officers effectively control southern Iraq, and that the rest of the country is at his mercy, since we present no challenge to them — even along the Iraq/Iran border, where they operate with impunity. They calmly plan their next major assault without having to worry about American retribution. The mullahs have thousands of intelligence officers all over Iraq, as well as a hard core of Hezbollah terrorists — including the infamous Imadh Mughniyah, arguably the region’s most dangerous killer — and they control the major actors, from Zarqawi to Sadr to the Badr Brigades.

Khamenei and his top cronies believe they have effectively won. They think the U.S. is politically paralyzed, thanks to the relentless attacks of President Bush’s opponents and the five-year long internal debate about Iran policy, and thus there is no chance of an armed attack, even one limited to nuclear sites. They think Israel is similarly paralyzed by Sharon’s sudden departure and the triumph of their surrogate force, Hamas, in the Palestinian elections. They despise the Europeans, and hardly even bother to pretend to negotiate with them any more. They believe they have a strong strategic alliance with the Russians and they think they have the Chinese over a barrel, since the Chinese are so heavily dependent on Iranian oil. Recent statements from Beijing and Moscow regarding the chance of U.N. sanctions will have reinforced the Supreme Leader’s convictions.

I tend to think that, unless there is a sea change, Khamenei's won, because we refuse to recognize that there is a fight. The West is not even engaged in a principled — albeit stupid — effort at passive resistance to claim the moral high ground. Instead, the West (the U.S., the UN, Europe) is monkeying around, pretending that nothing is happening.

The historian Arnold Toynbee believed that all civilizations have lifespans. I always thought that the modern Western world would quietly fade away over centuries, as Rome did. It never occurred to me that we'd short circuit the process by killing ourselves — not in the nuclear Holocaust everyone envisioned during the First Cold War — but simply by exposing ourselves to imminent death by a thousand cuts.

Ordinary decency

This is a nice story about a man who did a decent thing (although he didn't realize, at the time, quite how decent it was):

When Shahla Ghannadian's husband accidentally left her purse on a park bench during a visit to Sausalito, the family didn't have much hope of getting it back. For one thing, it was a Louis Vuitton, a pricey find in itself.For another, the purse contained about $1 million in jewelry.

But against all expectations, the purse and valuables were en route back to their owner Monday after a San Rafael man who found the purse turned it in at the Sausalito Police Department.

"Obviously, people find purses and turn them in, but, from my memory, I can't remember anyone returning that valuable an amount of property," said Sausalito police Sgt. Kurtis Skoog.

The Ghannadians, who live in Toronto, were in San Francisco over the weekend to attend the wedding of a daughter who lives there. Their flight home wasn't until Sunday night, so family members drove to Sausalito on Sunday for some sightseeing and ice cream.

Shahla Ghannadian brought her purse, which contained the jewelry and accessories she wore to the wedding. The valuables included a Cartier watch and various pieces of jewelry made of pearls, emeralds and diamonds, including a 12-carat stone, police said. Also in the purse were $300 in U.S. cash and $200 in Canadian currency.

***

[O]n Monday, John Suhrhoff of San Rafael walked in to the police department holding the bag, all the cash and valuables still inside, and turned it over to a counter clerk. Suhrhoff mentioned to the clerk that he thought the accessories were costume jewelry.

"The finder has no idea it was real jewelry," Skoog said.

Suhrhoff could not be reached for comment Monday. But the Ghannadians are hoping he reads the news about his good deed so he knows their extent of their gratitude.

"You have to be a real man to return that bag," Ali Ghannadian said. "Even the bag is expensive. We're really, really thankful to that guy."

Keep in mind that, while Mr. Suhrhoff didn't know the jewelry was so valuable, he still returned about $500 in cash, plus a purse worth about the same amount. Congratulations, Mr. Suhrhoff, on being a truly decent person!

By the way, please contrast Mr. Suhrhoff's traditional morality with that being taught to Muslim's in Europe. As I quoted from Lowell Ponte in my previous post, young Muslims are being taught that they should steal from Europeans, in lieu of the tax that they would impose on non-Muslims were they living in a true Shari'a state.

UPDATE:  Regarding my last point about the abandonment of basic, get along in society morals (such as not stealing), the temptation amongst extreme religious groups to justifying theft from the dominant culture is apparently not confined to Islam.  I'm reading Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven, and, in the very first chapter, he describes precisely the same phenomenom amongst fringe Fundamentalist Mormons.

The world our children will inherit

Lowell Ponte spells out in sad, scary, excrutiating detail the world our children will inherit — not directly, if they stay in America, but indirectly by having a weirdly Arabized Europe as their planet neighbor. To begin with, the numbers are compelling:

* In Brussels, Belgium, the most popular name for baby boys is now Mohammad. Sustaining the population of a nation requires that on average each couple gives birth to 2.1 children. The average European couple now has fewer than 1.4 babies, compared to 3.6 babies born to the average Muslim immigrant couple in Europe. Across Western Europe 16 to 20 percent of babies are being born into Muslim families.

* In France at least 12 percent of the population is already Muslim, the fruits mostly of immigrants from former French colonies in North Africa. If present birth trends continue, by 2030 a quarter of France’s people will be Muslim, more than enough to determine who controls the national parliament and executive. As this columnist recently noted, the nuclear-armed French military is already 15 percent Muslim. Adjacent Switzerland is now 20 percent Muslim.

* The German newspaper Deutsche Welle days ago reported that Germany’s birth rate in 2005 fell to a level lower than at the end of World War II, to a “historic low,” more than fifty percent lower than those of France and Great Britain. But at a meeting this week in Berlin that brought together the interior ministers of six European nations, Germany’s leftwing Social Democrats continued to oppose the application of any test or standard that would restrict who could migrate into Germany.  [All hyperlinks omitted.]

If this were a rising population embracing or emulating the world they're taking over (as Romans did the Greek world), it might not be so bad. But this is a population with values antithetical to the world it seeks to conquer:

Already the wealth of traditional Europeans is being bled away and transferred to new Muslim immigrants and their children. One mechanism for this is the European welfare state. In Denmark, observed Bawer, only five percent of the population is Muslim, but this minority demands and receives 40 percent of the Danish government’s total welfare payments and other taxpayer-subsidized social benefits. Even the liberal New York Times Magazine in February reported on the social impact of this growing Islamic drain on the resources of European welfare states such as Sweden and Denmark.

Another method used to transfer wealth from Europeans to Eurabian Muslims is theft. Some radical Mullahs have told their European congregations that Islamic Shari’a law justifies shoplifting and other forms of stealing from European merchants and companies as a way to make non-Muslims pay the discriminatory jizya tax that is extracted from non-Muslim citizens in Muslim countries.

And in Europe’s growing Islamic neighborhoods, where police are often afraid to go, European law is being supplanted by Shari’a. European women venturing into or near such enclaves have been assaulted and, in some cases, raped by gangs of macho Islamic males for violating Muslim dress codes and failing to exhibit the subservient status some Islamic subcultures require of females.

Forty percent of Muslims living in Great Britain want Islamic Shari’a law introduced into parts of that country, according to a poll reported last month by the London Sunday Telegraph.

Shari’a differs dramatically from modern Western notions of law and society. Shari’a has no separation of church and state; to the contrary, under Shari’a the Koran is the ultimate law book and constitution, and the Islamic Mullah is the magistrate who punishes violators of this law. Under Shari’a, as practiced in much of the Islamic world, equality exists only among Muslim men; women are inferior to men, and Jews and Christians are inferior to all Muslims. Risk-taking and usury, i.e., money-lending for profit, are forbidden, so we would kiss capitalism goodbye.

Religious freedom is non-existent under Shari’a. A Christian or a Jew is permitted to convert to Islam, but the penalty for any Muslim converting to a different faith is death. In American-liberated Afghanistan a 41-year-old former Muslim, Abdul Rahman, is on trial in Kabul for the crime of converting to Christianity. The prosecutor in the case, Abdul Wasi, has asked for a death penalty, as Shari’a requires. Wasi, reported Associated Press, said that he “had offered to drop the charges if Rahman changed his religion back to Islam, but the defendant refused.” The Muslim judge’s ruling is expected by mid-May.  [All hyperlinks omitted.]

Ponte reminds us that, after the Plague and WWII, Europe quickly replenished its population — but those were disasters to which people responded by seeking life. I'm not so optimistic here, because what we're clearly watching unfolding is nothing more than cultural suicide.

Whose job is it to forgive and forget?

Yesterday, I did a post about how forgiving the judicial system is in Lithuania, where an 85 year old Nazi was given a free pass because of his age and because he no longer posed a risk to society.

After reading my post, Kathryn, of Suitable for Mixed Company, shared a link in the comment section to another post on a psychologist's website. That post concerned a Dr. Phil show in which he urged a family to forgive the young woman who murdered their son in cold blood, admitted to it, made constant snarky cracks about it, and walked away with a slap-on-the-hand 12 year sentence.  Dr. Helen's take on the matter mirrors my sense of things:

Dr.Phil insists that forgiveness is the only solution that will make the pain go away. It's no wonder that people think psychologists are a bunch of self-righteous ninnies who are one brick short of a load when it comes to common sense. It seems to me forgiveness in this case is just another name for a "get this girl out of jail free card." Especially since the conversation from the killer's parents then turned to "how would Brandi serving all this time really help the situation, after all, the victim is already dead." I have heard this over and over from attorneys, social workers and family members in the course of when I am doing an evaluation with a defendant who has been charged with murder. Forget about the victim–he/she is long gone and there is no reason the perpetrator should have to be put out too much by spending all that nasty time in prison.

I think aside from nicely stating the obvious (obvious, at least, to sane, normal people), Dr. Helen's paragraph exposes the problem with a therapeutic society.  Forgiveness is a personal emotion.  It is, in a sense, the antidote to anger.  It is, therefore, the victim's right to forgive, and the victim does so for his or her peace of mind. 

Society has a different responsibility.  Society doesn't have a "peace of mind."  Instead, society's goal is social order, which is achieved through appropriate punishment for actions that injure society.  (And, of course, society has an interest in rehabiliting those who can, in fact, be rehabilitated.)  Judges, being neither victims nor priests, have no business granting forgiveness. And when judges cross the line and do think they get to wave their hands and wipe out sin, it's no wonder the true victims can't get over their own anger.  Indeed, that's precisely what the victim's mother said:

"Let me tell you some things that she said to us,” says Dr. Phil. “She said, ‘There is no way Brandi could not have known that she hit him. She said that he jumped in front of the car, but Daniel would have known better than that. There is no doubt in my mind that this was intentional. There is nothing you could ever say to bring my son back. You don't realize the pain that you have caused our family. And I could never ever forgive her. She got a break in court, a slap on the wrist.'

"'We were told that it was going to be first degree murder with no chance of parole. And then she only got 12 years. Every time we entered the courtroom, we were ridiculed. Brandi said, “He got what he deserved.” I will never have any grandchildren from Daniel. I will never see my son graduate from high school. I will never see him get married. I think her mother is a piss-poor mother. I don't care how much I love my child, I would never lie for him. She has ruined our lives.’ What do you say to that?”

What do I say to that?  I say, Mom, you're absolutely right.  Another overreaching courtroom in a therapeutic society forgot it's own role, and stole away a right unique to one victimized by a crime. 

Silly me. And I thought it was about punishing wrongdoing

What is wrong with this picture?

An 85-year-old Lithuanian was convicted for
cooperating with the Nazis and persecuting Jews but he will not serve
jail time because of his age, according to a BBC report.A court in Vilna ruled that Dailide will not go to jail "because he is very old and does not pose danger to society."

Algimantas Dailide was convicted for the arrest of two polish
nationals and 12 Jews while he served in the police during World War
II. At that time, the local police was controlled the Nazi regime.

I wasn't aware that the purpose of prison was to protect others.  If that's the rationale, the man who stalks his girlfriend and kills her shouldn't go to prison because his monomania was about her.  Now that she's dead, no worries.  Or how about the man who beats his child to death?  No more child, no more risk.  That's simply an obscene rationale for allowing a murderer to go free.  And so what if he's old.  It makes it all the more imperative that he do at least some time for his crime.  Anyway, I think the Simon Wiesenthal Center has it right:

The decision proves that Lithuania is
unwilling to punish Nazi war criminals and is unwilling to face the involvement of its citizens in the mass killing of Jews, the Center said.
 

Noooo…. Say it ain’t so.

As if the world weren't a scary enough place, it turns out that the "mullet" is back. What, you ask, is a mullet? A mullet is what happens when a man lets his hair grow in an undifferentiated block down the back of his neck. It has all the cool of the least cool aspects of 1970s pop culture. Anyway, here's the article, and here's a picture to give you an idea of the threat on our horizon:

Photo from S.F. Chron & Cowboy Pictures.

Yup, it's Ziggy Stardust, and he's not looking so good.

More on what your church might be doing

A few days ago, I posted about the Presbyterian Church USA — or, rather, I linked to an American Thinker article that highlighted major doctrinal changes in the Church that have crossed the line from rather silly anti-Israel posturing into old-fashioned anti-Semitism. That post sparked a lot of comments, and one very interesting email from someone who is actually a member of the PC-USA. My correspondent gave me permission to publish his email:

While the article in the American Thinker on the PCUSA is, on its face, correct, it doesn’t begin to cover the problems we (yes, I am a member) are currently having in the church. A quick summation would be that at the presbytery level (local government made up of congregations in a geographic area), a solid majority would disagree with much of what comes out of the General Assembly (GA). The liberals (through a long-term concerted effort) have managed to hijack the national government over the last couple of decades while the local governments are predominantly conservative. The GA is also constantly trying to force ordination of practicing homosexuals as well, which is the impetus behind the “confessing church movement.”

It would take pages to even begin to describe the intricacies of the PCUSA government and the current problems but we do pay something called “per capita” where for every member in a church, a certain amount of collections is sent to the GA for the national level. Many churches (ours included) within the PCUSA these days withhold these payments due to the serious disagreements between the national and local level—we won’t finance their idiocy. Unfortunately, the GA currently has a large majority of “liberal thinkers” that sound amazingly like the professors in so many colleges and they have stacked the system so that it’s incredibly difficult to remove them. Basically the PCUSA government is a republic where those that pick the top leadership post are liberals so the leadership is often the worst of the bunch. Actually, one of the reasons I began studying law was as a means of understanding the legal procedures and maneuvers necessary to navigate the GA system as I feel the calling to kick some butt!Bottom line is that most of the PCUSA are not anti-Semitic, just the liberal idiots that have hijacked the GA—they mirror the exact same liberal B.S. that you hear on a majority of college campuses these days.

I wonder if either a schism or a coup is brewing in that Church.

UPDATE:  Coincidentally, today American Thinker had an update on the subject with information lending further credence both to American Thinker's original article and to my friend's correspondence.

A school that works

Have you heard of Joanne Jacobs? She's a former San Jose Mercury News editorial writer and Knight Ridder columnist whose beat (at least in recent years) has been education. I've consistently enjoyed her articles whenever I've read them, and you can track what she's writing here, at her website. A few years ago, though, Jacobs stopped her regular editorial and column work to write a book. But why am I telling you? Here's Jacobs in her own words:

I’m trying to engineer a blogburst for my book, Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the School That Beat the Odds (Palgrave Macmillan). The book follows the principal, teachers and students at Downtown College Prep, a San Jose charter high school that prepares students who are “failing but not in jail” to succeed at four-year colleges. The charter school’s educational philosophy is: Work your butt off. Students, typically underachievers from low-income Mexican immigrant families, aren’t told they’re wonderful. Teachers tell them they’re capable of improving, which turns out to be true. On California’s Academic Performance Index, Downtown College Prep is a 7 out of 10 compared to all schools, a perfect 10 compared to similar schools. All graduates go on to college.

While the book discusses the charter school movement as a whole, Our School isn’t written for wonks. I think it's a good read, sort of Tracy Kidder meets Up the Down Staircase. So far, it's received excellent reviews in the Wall Street Journal, Sacramento Bee, Washington Post, New York Post, Rocky Mountain News, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Publishers Weekly and others.

The book is in some, but not all, book stores and is available through Amazon

After 19 years as a San Jose Mercury News editorial writer and Knight Ridder columnist, I quit in 2001 to write Our School and to start an education blog, joannejacobs.com, which averages 1,300 visitors a day.

With all the despair about educating "left behind" kids, I think people need to hear about a school that's making a difference.

Thanks for helping.

– Joanne Jacobs
joanne@joannejacobs.com
joannejacobs.com
ourschoolbook.com

Reviews

“Joanne Jacobs's Our School, a vivid account of the creation and first years of a charter high school in San Jose, Calif., . . . reads like a novel whose characters are both stereotypical and improbable. . . But this isn't fiction. The challenges are real, the stakes high, the lessons important — and the achievements extraordinary.”

Henry Miller, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 17, 2005

“Our School (Palgrave MacMillan, New York, 2005) is eye-opening, chilling and inspiring. Up-close and personal, it follows the lives of the students, parents and faculty who had faith that they could break free and succeed.”

Daniel Weintraub, Sacramento Bee, Nov. 20, 2005

"Our School is wonderfully written and wonderfully informative. I cannot think of another book that provides such a close and honest look at a successful charter school serving immigrant kids in grave danger of striking out in American life. The fascinating story that Joanne Jacobs tells zips along like a good novel, but it also delivers an important and optimistic message to educators who want to rescue kids."

Abigail Thernstrom, co-author of No Excuses and America in Black and White

"Our School at once illustrates the possibilities and the challenges of urban education. But it's the former that makes it an exciting and important book."

Andrew J. Rotherham, New York Post, Jan. 29, 2006

"Joanne Jacobs has written a ground-breaking book about the most interesting, and potentially important, change in American schooling in the last 15 years.”

Jay Mathews, Washington Post education columnist, author of Harvard Schmarvard, Escalante, and Class Struggle

"Our School is today's Up the Down Staircase. It's not often a book about my profession gets it right."

Robert Wright, teacher, Morrill Middle School, San Jose, California

“DCP is enthusiastically experimental. When something's not working (e.g., trying to teach algebra when kids don't know fractions), they try something else. As Jacobs tells the story of DCP's amazingly committed teachers and their (mostly) courageous students, even hardcore opponents of charter schools may soften.”

Publishers Weekly

It sounds like a wonderful book. Check it out, and participate in this blogburst by copying this post to your own site.