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Whole Lot of Shaking Going On

Not all Federalists are Masons. A pre-Durbin dialogue. Lord Ahmed. Union overtime. Plus much more.

7.29.05

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RISE AND SHRINE
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s No Secret Handshakes:

Although I did enjoy reading your thoughts about the Federalist Society, I feel compelled to make note of some errors in your writings.

I am both an Elk and a Shriner. Elks do not have any form of headwear, be it funny hats, antlers, or otherwise. Nor do Elks have a secret handshake. Shriners do wear funny headwear, though they are fezzes and do not qualify as hats, due to the lack of a brim. Shriners do have secret handshakes, as do Masons (of course all Shriners are Masons, but not all Masons are Shriners), as well as a plethora of other secret things, none of which I may divulge.

Frankly, I'd recommend that you guys over at the Federalist Society give thought to something secret; maybe a secret wink or nod, or even a special grimace, such as that which Durbin will undoubtedly have once John Roberts is confirmed.
-- L. Bryan Williams

The liberal mindset never ceases to amaze me. Membership in the relatively benign Federalist Society is a serious "threat" to our freedoms, but somehow membership in the very activist, anti-Christian ACLU is a plus! Recall we were told by the mainstream media that the "Promise Keepers," a male organization formed to give men mutual support and encouragement in meeting their responsibilities to society, were a "threat" at the same time that Hillary and the whole rest of the world's radical feminists met in Red China to devise ways to extract more OUT of society. Give me a break!
-- Gordon Paravano
Sedona, Arizona

Present day Heaven

"Mr. Washington! Mr. Washington!"

"What is it now, Alex?"

"You won't believe what they are doing down there now!"

"Alex, ever since you were my Treasury Secretary, it seems I spend half my time trying to calm you down. You need to enjoy the simple pleasures, like the looks on the faces of those 9-11 hijackers when they found out those 72 virgins were the spawn of Satan and it was only their appearance that was keeping them virgins."

"No sir, this time I really mean it! They have just gone too far!"

"All right, who are 'they,' Alex, and what are they doing that has gotten you into such a snit?"

"Well, this Senator Durbin person, for one. He is claiming that belonging to a group called the Federalist Society makes you unfit for the Supreme Court. I was a Federalist! My writings were called the Federalist Papers! Federalists founded our nation! How can a United States Senator say such a thing?"

"Calm down Alex, we did put the Freedom of Speech in too, you know."

"You mean to say that you are not outraged by this travesty? Why, if I was alive, I'd challenge this man to a duel!"

"And look how well that worked out for you last time, Alex. No, when one party runs things for a long time and then finds itself on the outside looking in, they get a little testy. Remember what our friend Abe said, 'You can't fool all the people all of the time.' Well if these Durbin, Schumer, and Biden people keep it up, they soon won't be fooling anyone any of the time. "

"Just the same, sir, I'm going to keep a close eye on this."

"You do that Alex. Remember, little evil can be done under a watchful eye."

"Yes sir. I just hope they are watching down there as well."

"Oh they are Alex, they certainly are."
-- Scotty Uhrich
Glyndon, Minnesota

No wonder the Liberals tried to ruin your Life. I thank GOD that they did not succeed.
-- unsigned

TERROR ENTHUSIASTS
Re: Christopher Orlet's Dark Angels:

I have to disagree with Lord Ahmed's comment that "there are many disenfranchised young people...but this doesn't mean the whole community should be blamed and given this label that they are all involved in Jihad and holy wars."

Ah, but they are involved.

When government is restricted from intervening, an insular community is solely responsible, and solely culpable, for the acts of its members. By not finding a way to "communicate the true message of Islam in a language these people can understand," by not stopping those who are "extraordinarily successful in communicating the message of the mass slaughter of innocent civilians," the community is guilty by association. It condones those acts, and lets the ideas of conquest and violence grow wild.

One would think a society capable of advancing militant thought and inspiring violent acts through nuance and suggestion could surely find a way to stop it through clear condemnation. But a clear message of peace from the imam is desperately insufficient; his congregation must reinforce that message and act to stop the misguided, not ignore them and permit them to continue their plotting. And there is the rub: a community is unlikely to prevent crimes against a society it intends to usurp.

Lord Ahmed is wrong: the mosques have found a way to communicate the true message of Islam. That some of their followers have taken to that message with such enthusiasm is mere accident. That the majority of their followers do not act to stop those few is not.
-- Erik Litvinchuk
Sacramento, California

I too heard Lord Nazir Ahmed's interview on NPR. If he words were not so frightening coming from a public official, I would have been quite amused at the inability of Robert Siegel to control his incredulity as Ahmed declared that terrorism "depends on the circumstances."

When even a left-leaning and generally unflappable reporter seems nonplussed by a comment, you know you're dealing with something dangerous.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who found it terrifying to hear these statements from one of the West's most influential Muslims.
-- Jesse Janowiak
Lafayette, Indiana

ON BORROWED OVERTIME
Re: Ivan G. Osorio's Twenty-first Century Unionism?:

Unions are living on borrowed time. Within the past generation, their membership has sunk precipitously to about 12% of the overall workforce and just around 8% in the non-government sector. And as bad as these numbers are, they are inflated. For realize that most union membership is concentrated in non-right to work states. This means that maybe up to a third of union membership are unwilling captives of organized labor. These are the workers who are in a union not by an wish of their own but rather state law. If right-to-work legislation were to pass at the federal level, organized labor would all but disappear. Too bad the GOP doesn't have the political sense to go for the Democrats' jugular this way.
-- Peter Skurkiss
Stow, Ohio

Perhaps the worst affliction that the unions suffer from today is pure and simple, color blindness. I am of course assuming that the membership has looked at the 2004 red state, blue state election map. Union support for the Democratic Party is comparable to feeding hay to a dead horse. Feed the horse all you want if it makes you feel better, but folks, dead horses just ain't eaten and in the end all that's left is just a pile of hay and of course, the dead horse.
-- Jim L.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The unions are the reason we are losing jobs overseas. All the union bosses care about is money in THEIR pockets. We need right to work laws in every state.
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

TEMPORARY STOP GAPS
Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder's Searches Make Sense and the "Profile, Don't Search" letters in Reader Mail's Suddenly Lost Schumer:

I read with interest the article by Messrs. Mason and Felder and the subsequent responses regarding New York City subway searches and profiling. Please allow me to weigh in here.

First of all, this country is involved in an armed conflict with an enemy composed of irregular forces whose main weapon is terror attacks against civilian targets. As they do not do this for monetary gain, but rather to destroy a society in an effort to clear the way for the imposition of their own ideas of culture, we are not dealing with criminals. We are dealing with combatants similar to saboteurs during WWII.

To make it more difficult for these people to harm civilian populations through attacks upon mass transit facilities using explosive devices, the City of New York instituted random searches of parcels and bags prior to boarding a train. The searches are random (probably with selection to be based on a number system) and voluntary (no search, no ride) so as not to offend the sensibilities of civil libertarians. This means that not only will security personnel search the young Middle Eastern man, but also the old black woman with the grocery bag. This does not mean that a person who is sweating , fidgeting and appears nervous will not be singled out for a search. He will fit a profile that every police officer knows well. The profile of a person who is afraid of discovery. Whether he is afraid that the police will search him and find explosives or a kilo of cocaine is irrelevant. His attorney can argue that the search and seizure of his cocaine was improper or illegal at his trial. Nor will every Middle Eastern man be subject to search. If he does not have a large valise or extremely baggy clothes, he may not be stopped. Likewise, regular commuters will become familiar to the security personnel and, while they may still be subject to a random search (if a number system is being used to select random searchees), the searches will probably become quick and cursory.

While this method is not the most efficient, it does have one overwhelming advantage. It allows the authorities to discourage terrorist attacks on the transit system while allowing riders to utilize the system with a minimum of inconvenience. The alternative is an airport style screening process. If such a process was put into place, virtually no one could get to work in the morning in the City.

To sum up, the security measures in use are a compromise. Some profiling will occur, but it will be profiling based upon the experience of the police and security personnel and not as the result of a blanket policy targeting certain ethic, gender or age groupings. And, most importantly, these measures are most probably temporary.
-- Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

AT LEAST ENJOY THE PORK
Re: The Prowler's Democratic Self-Strangulation:

The Prowler writes, "He (a Democratic House member) points to the energy bill wending its way out of both the Senate and House, as well as the USA PATRIOT Act renewal, and the highway bill as evidence that his party is losing sight of good political fights they should be waging, and instead are focusing on what amounts to minor scandals."

Finally, an admission that Democrats only want to fight political battles and do not want to serve the interest of their constituents and all American people. Given all the usual pork spending in all three of these bills going through Congress on their way to presidential approval I'm surprised he and his colleagues aren't jumping on the bandwagon as they did for decades when they were the majority party.

Man, talk about bitterness.
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

HEAPS OF DUNG
Re: Jay M. Molyneaux's letter (under "Keeping Her Friends Close") in Reader Mail's Suddenly Lost Schumer:

Your reader Jay W. Molyneaux asks if he is the "only person in our great land" to be turned off by Hillary Clinton's ruthlessness.

I can't answer that, but I do think Mr. Molyneaux is the only Spectator reader to use the phrase "dung heap" twice in one letter.
-- Glen Hoffing

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