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GUN FREE ZONES: AN INVITATION FOR MASS MURDER

Matthew Murray, 24, entered the New Life church in Colorado Springs as services were getting out Dec. 9, and opened fire, killing Stephanie Works, 18, her sister, Rachael, 16, and wounding two others. There were shootings earlier this year at shopping malls in Omaha and Salt Lake City, where the body count was higher. Murray attacked a church because if you want to kill Christians, that's a good place to find them.  Why the other would-be mass murderers choose shopping malls for their murder sprees? An obvious reason is because shopping malls are a target rich environment.  If you want to kill a lot of people, go to where there are a lot of people to kill.  The other reason is that these shopping malls proudly advertised themselves as "gun free zones."

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DANGER IN THE HORN OF AFRICA, INDIFFERENCE IN FOGGY BOTTOM

As you are reading this, 300,000 Ethiopian fighters are pitched astride the border from 200,000 Eritrean soldiers, separated by less than 4,000 UN peacekeepers (a mission that incidentally costs taxpayers almost $200 million per year). Half a million heavily armed men facing each other with hate-filled eyes and itchy trigger fingers. Even a minor incident could spark all-out war. And a number of State Department bureaucrats seem determined to do nothing to prevent it.

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Whatever Happened to Never Again?

It wasn’t that long ago that a good many European Jews swore an oath: Never Again. Never Again will Nazi-like anti-Semitism be tolerated. Never Again will Jews be meekly herded down a path that leads to Zyklon-B showers. So in response to the explosion of anti-Semitism in France, what is the advice of France’s chief rabbi, Joseph Sitruk? Replace yarmulkes with baseball caps. "I ask young Jews to be alert, to avoid walking alone, to avoid wearing the yarmulke in the street or in the subway and consequently becoming targets for potential assailants," Rabbi Sitruk cautions. "I ask them to replace the yarmulke with the baseball cap.” This is the best way, he warns, “to protect our young people." Au contraire, Monsieur Rabbi. The best way for your young people to protect themselves would be for them to learn how to beat the crap out of those who attack them. Someone needs to make Rabbi Sitruk write 500 times on a blackboard the French translation of: The Best defense Is A Good Offense…

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THE IRONY OF INTEL INCOMPETENCE

"Blowback" is an intelligence term for adverse, unintended consequences of secret operations. The CIA first used it in a report on the 1953 operation that overthrew the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran. Some in the intelligence community (IC) have been working with liberal journalists and Democrats on Capitol Hill to embarrass President Bush and to stymie his foreign policy initiatives. The most successful of these covert operations was the Valerie Plame affair, in which White House officials were falsely blamed for "outing" a CIA undercover officer who was not in fact undercover. (It was then Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage who inadvertently disclosed Ms. Plame's identity.) The most recent is the new National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and hasn't resumed it. Michael Ledeen, a former consultant to the National Security Council, described the NIE as "policy advocacy masquerading as serious intelligence." The apparent purpose of the NIE is to make it politically impossible for President Bush to take military action against Iran. But the effort has been so bald that it is blowing back on its authors.

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TONY AND TOYNBEE

Tony Blankley, the erudite editorial editor of The Washington Times, certainly knows his Toynbee. I can attest to this, with all 12 volumes of Arnold Toynbee’s masterwork, A Study of History, residing on my bookshelf. Toynbee studied the rise and fall of entire civilizations rather than individual countries or ethnic groups. His model for the success and failure of civilizations was challenge-and-response. Those that rose to a challenge flourished, while those that didn’t failed. Tony, however - who is both my neighbor and friend of long standing - focuses on one of the most fascinating yet little understood insights of Toynbee’s model: that without challenges, a successful civilization will stagnate and culturally implode. In other words, Western Civilization will die unless there is a challenge to it. Islam, the whole civilization or culture of Islam with Jihadism as its most extreme manifestation, has become that challenge. “In the strangest possible irony,” writes Tony in his new book, Jihadism is giving the West a “chance to regain its faith in itself.”

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THE TWENTY DEFECTS OF THE ARAB MIND

[Tarek Heggy, a native Arab Egyptian, is one of Egypt’s most prominent intellectuals and most successful business managers. He is the author of innumerable articles and several books, and is a frequent guest lecturer at Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England.]I have written many books and articles over the last ten years about the defects in the Arab mind-set, all of which are cultural defects stemming from three main sources. The first is the repressive climate that prevails throughout Arab societies, the second a backward educational system that lags far behind modern educational systems and the third a mass-media apparatus operated by those responsible for the climate of political repression to serve their interests. The following are the most obvious defects from which the contemporary Arab mind-set suffers:

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FRED THOMPSON AND THE IOWA CUCKOO’S NEST

Those who watched the Republican presidential "debate" in Iowa yesterday (12/12) now understand why the Des Moines Register is such a lousy newspaper. "That was not just the worst debate of 2007, that was the worst debate in Western history, and that includes the ancient Greeks," said columnist Charles Krauthammer.  "There is no record in any major European record of a debate this transcendingly and crushingly dull." This wasn't the fault of the candidates, all of whom turned in credible performances.  The blame for this flop belongs to the debate's moderator, Des Moines Register editor Carolyn Washburn.  While most commentators compared her to an overbearing elementary school teacher, Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard likened her to Nurse Ratched, the villain in Ken Kesey's 1962 novel "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." There was a ray of hope.  The highlight of the debate, such as it was, came when Fred Thompson, like Kesey's hero Randle McMurphy, defied Nurse Ratched.  His putdown was quickly put up on YouTube:

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PRICE-GOUGING POLITICIANS

If you bought a home 10 years ago for $100,000 and just sold it for $300,000, have you engaged in price gouging? Most people would say "no," provided there were willing buyers and sellers of both sides of the transaction merely responding to the market at the time. As a result of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, some politicians have demanded prosecution of "price gougers." In many states, like Florida, "price gouging" is illegal. The Florida statutes say, "It is illegal to charge unconscionable prices for goods or services following a declared state of emergency." Hmmm, I know what the law means when says burglary or murder are illegal, but an "unconscionable price"?

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2006: YEAR OF THE BLACK REPUBLICAN

The thunderous boos of New England Patriots fans in Boston Stadium during the performance of black racist singer Kanye West during the NFL Kickoff Show September 8th are only the start of a massive backlash. West’s earlier claim - at a fundraising telethon for Katrina victims - that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” was appropriately condemned by First Lady Laura Bush as “disgusting.” That’s going to be the view of more and more Americans towards the left’s deranged politicalization of Katrina. The Left Stream Media’s warnings of how Bush’s alleged “failures” regarding Katrina are going to hurt Republican candidates in 2006 is just wishful thinking. One reason is that 2006 is shaping up to be The Year of the Black Republican. This coming revolution in US politics will take place in a huge swath of America, from Chesapeake Bay to Lake Superior, and it has the potential to gut the Democrat Party.

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THE SWAG NIE

Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003, and probably won't be able to build a bomb before 2015 if it does restart it, a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) has concluded.  That's very good news...if it's true. But that's a BIG if.  The NIE is a SWAG (Scientific Wild-Assed Guess), not a statement of proven fact.  It's a SWAG from an Intelligence Community (IC) whose predictive record about the Middle East has been poor.  It's a SWAG that's challenged by Israeli intelligence, whose predictive history is much better.  And it's a SWAG that is diametrically opposed to the last SWAG the IC issued on Iran's nuclear program. An IC that had "high confidence" in a 2005 NIE that Iran was building a bomb and was resistant to international pressure now has "high confidence" that Iran stopped building it two years before that NIE was issued! 

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