A Question of Liability: Who Caused the 2007 News Chopper Crash?

Monday, July 27 marks the second anniversary of the tragic news helicopter crash in Phoenix that resulted in the deaths of four men, two from Channel 3 and two from Channel 15.

Soon after the accident, a representative of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that his agency would issue an accident report within nine months.

That report is yet to be released, perhaps due to the sensitive nature of liability and the lawsuits that will follow. In other words, the NTSB wants to get it right because millions of dollars are riding on the pending lawsuits.

But this Monday at 10 a.m., attorney Pat McGroder plans to hold a news conference to release new details and “dramatic video” of the cause of the crash. Additionally, he will call for “sweeping changes in the requirements for the operation of news helicopters.”

Several local television news helicopters were lined up in close proximity that day to cover a police chase of a hijacked vehicle in downtown Phoenix. The Channel 3 and Channel 15 helicopters collided and both crashed in Indian Steele Park. Each chopper included a pilot and a photographer/reporter.

Two lawsuits were filed in August of 2008, one by the two sons of Rick Krolak, the reporter passenger on board Channel 15, and one by their half-brother. According to a report by Channel 15 last year, the suit by the older Krolak brother blames “one or both” pilots’ negligence for the collision.  It targets U.S. Helicopters, the company that employed ABC15’s pilot, Craig Smith. It also targets KTVK, Inc., and its parent company, the Belo Corporation, that employed Channel 3’s pilot, Scott Bowerbank. The lawsuit states each company is “responsible and liable for the conduct and actions” of their respective pilot.
Channel 15 reported in 2008 that the younger Krolak’s suit blames the actions of his father’s pilot, Smith, and U.S. Helicopters for his father’s death. The lawsuit states Smith, “carelessly, recklessly, and negligently failed and neglected to properly control the Channel 15 News helicopter so as to prevent the death of passenger photojournalist Richard Krolak.”

This suit implicates Channel 15 as being at fault, since it does not target the Channel 3 pilot.  The Channel 3 helicopter was equipped with a SkyWatch traffic advisory system, but the Channel 15 helicopter did not have a traffic advisory and collision avoidance system aboard.

The website “Helicoper Crashes,” operated by the Houston-based Willis Law Firm, reports on interviews by an NTSB official with controllers from the Phoenix air traffic control tower.

At 12:23 p.m. that day, a police helicopter gained permission to enter air space at 1,800 feet over the downtown Phoenix area in response to the car jacking and the ensuing police car chase.

Three minutes later, Channel 15 obtained permission to enter the same air space – at 2,000 feet. Within 30 seconds, Channel 12’s helicopter came in at 2,500 feet.

At 12:34, a new controller came on duty at the Sky Harbor control tower. Less than a minute later, the Channel 5 chopper joined the media frenzy at 2,200 feet. Channel 3 was also en route, just 70 seconds behind.

At 12:44, the Channel 10 helicopter joined the chopper swarm and less than two minutes later reported a mid-air collision.

The police helicopter reported that at first Channel 15 was on the left side of Channel 3 separated by a reasonable difference. Then they moved closer together. After the collision, Channel 3 broke into many pieces, Channel 15 remained in the air for a second, and then dove nose-first into the ground. There were no reports of erratic movements prior to the collision, and no unusual sounds or smoke.

Did the Channel 3 chopper receive a stronger blow from the collision, causing it to break up and crash first? Did the Channel 15 chopper cause that collision?

Perhaps the Monday news conference will shed new light on this question of fault – leading to more lawsuits.

Court Nominee Questions Right of Self Defense

By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News

President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayer, raised some eyebrows with her unusual responses to senators’ queries on Second Amendment issues. Particularly interesting were her views on the use of firearms for self defense.

“The phrase ‘self defense’ doesn’t appear in the Constitution, so I think there is considerable room for interpretation regarding what is and isn’t permissible,” Sotomayer argued. “It is one thing for a person to take up arms in defense of the nation. It is quite another for a person to assert an individual right to use deadly force even in so-called self defense.”

Sotomayer suggested that “a weighing of factors to ascertain what is in the best interest of the social whole might be more appropriate than a simplistic assertion of a person’s supposed right to protect his own life. Who is to say that the community might not enjoy a greater benefit from a gun-free environment? Surely, this counts for more than some notion of a ‘do-it-yourself’ approach to deterring crime.”

The nominee allowed that she was “looking forward to crafting an optimally beneficial policy with my judicial colleagues when my nomination is approved and I can join the Court in its deliberations.”

VP Says Bankruptcy “Not So Bad”

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected that at current rates of spending, the federal government is facing bankruptcy within the next decade or less.

“Federal budgetary outlays have been growing faster than the ability of the economy to support them for some time now,” declared CBO Director Doug Elmendorf. “Government borrowing is crowding out the private sector’s ability to obtain credit. This is further depressing tax receipts, worsening the deficit. Monetization of the deficit by the Federal Reserve is undermining the value of the dollar. Unless the burden of government is reduced bankruptcy is almost certain.”

Vice-President Joe Biden counseled against what he characterized as “gloom and doom.” “We’re going to go bankrupt as a nation, but it isn’t the end of the world,” he contended. “Many of my friends have declared bankruptcy. They got to keep their homes and most of their stuff. Best of all, their debt was wiped out. They didn’t have to pay back a cent. So, would it really be so bad if the government were to do the same? I mean, at least it’d be a fresh start.”

In related news, the CBO debunked the Administration’s claim that its health care proposal would result in cost savings. “Government sponsored health care in every other nation has been followed by increased costs, just like Medicare and Medicaid have here,” said Elmendorf. “How could it be otherwise? When you shift the responsibility away from the individual he loses the incentive to conserve. Waiting rooms will be clogged with malingerers and hypochondriacs and costs will run amok.”

Intimidation Called Legitimate Exercise of Emergency Authority

Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson justified using extortion on the Bank of America last year, calling it “the legitimate exercise of government authority to head off the financial catastrophe threatening the country.” The Bank of America’s CEO, Kenneth Lewis, was told by Paulson that “if he wanted to keep his job he must do as he was told.” Specifically, Lewis was told his company had to “buy” the financially troubled Merrill Lynch brokerage firm.

While Paulson acknowledged the pressure he exerted on Lewis would be illegal if carried out by any private individual, he contended that “since the government is responsible for the well-being of the entire population, it cannot be constrained by norms or laws that apply to lesser entities in society.”

“In fact, it is the duty of all Americans to obey the directives issued by the duly constituted authorities,” Paulson added. “Individuals cannot be permitted to place their own interests ahead of what the government has determined are the interests of the collective whole.”

Paulson said the argument that the government lacked statutory authority for the actions taken was “a formula for governmental paralysis.” “A dynamic situation calls for dynamic measures,” Paulson argued. “A crisis is the wrong time to be worrying about words written down on paper. I had the President’s backing. The President is sovereign. If he does something, or orders something be done, it’s not illegal.”

President Looks at the Bright Side of Unemployment

President Barack Obama conceded that unemployment would continue to “tick up” for the next few years, but this is not “all bad.”

“Those who’ve lost their jobs have gained leisure,” Obama pointed out. “Leisure is a man’s preferred state. It requires compensation for him to sacrifice it. So, shifting a growing portion of the population toward leisure enables a greater share of our nation’s people to enjoy it.”

The President said that a further advantage would be that “it will allow more people to be well-rested for the challenges of transforming our country into the more socially just nation that voters endorsed when they elected me. An army of unemployed persons is a fertile recruitment ground for my proposed American Corps.”

More than 2 million have lost their jobs since Congress passed the President’s $787 billion economic stimulus package. Part of the sales pitch for the stimulus is that it would hold unemployment to a maximum of 8%. Nationwide, unemployment has hit 9.5%. In Michigan, where the auto industry received the Administration’s special attention, unemployment now exceeds 15%.

Governor Threatens to Release 10,000 Prisoners If He Can’t Get a Tax Hike

Illinois, like almost every state that has failed to restrain the growth of government spending, is facing severe financial difficulties. Governor Pat Quinn (D) has proposed cutting the budget by granting early release to 10,000 convicts.

The Governor said that the main focus for the reductions in head count will be at the maximum security facilities. “That’s where the biggest savings can be achieved,” Quinn explained. “That’s where we have more guards per inmate and incur higher expenses trying to control the prisoners.”

“The plain fact is that running this state costs money,” said Quinn. “If voters aren’t willing to pony up what it takes, they’ll have to do without some of the services. If that means learning to live with more crime, so be it.”

The Governor rejected the idea of trimming the bureaucracy as a way of reducing the deficit. “We could lop off 100,000 bureaucrats and nobody would notice,” Quinn lamented. “We’d be no closer to our objective of persuading the public that higher taxes are needed. On the other hand, when more citizens personally experience a rape or a robbery—that may prove very persuasive, indeed.”

Supreme Court Justice Says Abortion Is Essential to “Prune Excess Population”

In an interview with New York Times reporter Emily Bazelon, US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg defended the controversial Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion throughout the United States, calling it “essential for ensuring that society can lawfully control population growth.”

Ginsburg said she was concerned that since the 1973 Court case was decided some states have taken measures aimed at limiting the scope of abortions. “This is a case, I think, where society must preserve its options,” Ginsburg said. “Requiring under-age girls to get parental permission, for example, is a step in precisely the wrong direction. These girls aren’t ready for motherhood. Terminating their pregnancies is the wise choice. We shouldn’t be impeding it.”

The Justice also castigated the congress’ passage of the so-called Hyde Amendment in 1980 forbidding federal funds from being used to perform abortions. “That affected a segment of the population that needed culling,” Ginsburg asserted. “Forcing the birth of these children breeds all manner of social ills driving up other costs that the government must incur to support these children and to arrest and incarcerate them as they grow up. ‘Nipping them in the bud,’ so to speak would’ve been the more efficient course of action.”

In related news, President Obama reiterated his complaint that he is being unfairly criticized by “anti-abortion extremists.” “They talk as if I have blood on my hands,” Obama said. “The truth is, I’ve never personally harmed a single unborn child. I am just a public servant carrying out the wishes of the voters on this difficult issue. My aim has been to balance competing objectives in the best interests of society as a whole. Right now, that society demands that abortion be legal and freely available even to those who can’t afford it.”

Whether Obama’s claim of that a lack of direct participation in the performing of any abortion absolves him of moral responsibility is dubious. Hitler never personally harmed a single Jew either.

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Radical Homosexual Agenda Urging Supporters to Move to East Valley

The extreme radical pressure group Equality Arizona is encouraging people who are homosexual or “confused” about their gender to move to the East Valley suburbs of Maricopa County.

If homosexuals did not make up less than 1 percent of the state’s population, this effort would be viewed strictly as political. This effort has two visible reasons behind it.

It is largely an attempt to undermine the strong family values of the East Valley with its strong conservative and Mormon populations. There is no mathematical possibility of challenging the East Valley’s conservative representation in the Arizona Legislature and Congress.

The political threat is this: even in conservative communities – like Gilbert, for example – city human rights commissions are radical in ideological makeup and out of step with community values. A small movement of homosexuals to the East Valley could result in homosexuals gaining a majority of human rights commission seats and attempting to force city councils to enact radical leftist laws. This happened last year in Scottsdale, where the weak-kneed city council buckled to the pressure of the city human rights commission and passed a law allowing men to use female restrooms in public places.

Specifically, Equality Arizona is urging its members “to see how wonderful the East Valley is and to see that there are great values in investing in homes in the East Valley at this time.  Ollie the Trolley will take interested persons around Mesa to look at homes.  Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Chandler and Apache Junction are vital parts of the Phoenix Metro Area.”

The pressure group is also encouraging its people to meet with supporters from the East Valley, including Mesa councilman Dennis Kavannaugh, Mesa Human Relations Advisory Board chair Terry Bennelli, director of diversity/neighborhood outreach Mary Berumen and a representative of the Mesa Police Department. All of these individuals “will be present to express their support and welcome to Mesa to the LGBTQ community.”


Homosexuals held a “pride weekend” in Bisbee last month.  The debauchery commenced with a “Pub Crawl” and included a grotesque leather and lace street fair, pool party, barbecue, a film fest (no shortage of pornography), a psychic fair, showing of the Vagina Monologues and speed dating (anonymous bath house sex?). 

Are you watching, East Valley? This kind of sleaze may be headed your way.

Treasury Secretary Says ‘Stimulus’ Working as Planned

By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner brushed off charges that the President’s “Stimulus Package” isn’t working.

“All this focus on unemployment misses the point,” Geithner contended. “The important objective is to effect the transfer of society’s resources from ‘weak hands’ to ‘strong hands.’ The stimulus, by allowing more of the country’s resources to be controlled by the government gives these funds over to ‘strong hands.’”

Geithner rebuffed Republican arguments that the private sector would more expeditiously and effectively revive the economy if taxes had been cut instead. “It’s not all about speed,” Geithner explained. “Private businesses can make quicker decisions than the government and create more jobs faster. But their focus would be on meeting the frivolous demands of a consumer culture. What we are building in this country is a more socially-oriented culture. For this to take hold, government must play the key role in channeling resources toward more important uses. That is what the stimulus will eventually do.”

President Obama confirmed Geithner’s assessment, saying “the stimulus is working great. If we had heeded our opponents there’s no telling how much money would’ve been wasted on the ill-considered schemes of a free market economy.”

Current unemployment stands at 9.5%. This is higher than the maximum of 9% that the Obama Administration projected in its campaign to rush the stimulus package through congress.

In related news, the House Ways and Means Chairman, Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY), announced that the Democratic majority will push through a $500 billion tax increase “in order to accelerate the President’s program of transferring more of the nation’s wealth from the ‘haves’ to the ‘have-nots.’”

President Perplexed at Pope’s Rejection of Compromise on Abortion

President Barack Obama’s meeting with Pope Benedict didn’t go as well as he had expected. Despite the President’s offer of a compromise on the abortion issue, “the Pope appeared uninterested in cutting a deal,” Obama complained.

“I agreed to take measures that would reduce the frequency with which abortions had to be performed,” Obama explained. “But he wouldn’t accept the idea that they should remain legal. This kind of inflexibility blocks any chance for brokering a compromise.”

As “sweeteners” for a possible compromise, Obama said he offered to take steps designed to make birth control devices more widely available. “I offered to fund increased distribution of condoms in the schools and churches, but the Pope wouldn’t even consider this idea,” he lamented. “It’s like he thinks he’s on some sort of moral high ground and isn’t willing to meet me half way.”

“I’ve done all I can at considerable political risk to myself,” Obama went on. “My compromise could’ve prevented thousands of abortions each year. If the Pope can’t bend a little we can’t have a deal. This innocent blood will now be on the Pope’s hands. I hope he can live with that.”

Obama Appointee Calls for Crackdown on Internet “Rumor Mongers”

Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s “Czar” of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has authored a new book titled: On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done. The book, slated for a Fall publication date, calls for a stringent crackdown on Internet blogging.

“Freed from the controls that assure a tempered viewpoint in the traditional media, the Internet has become a snake pit of slander against the government and those who support its efforts to transform our society into a more socially conscious and mutually supportive collective,” Sunstein writes. “Rather than continue to let this enemy within to spew their filth free from fear of consequences, the government needs to take decisive steps to rein them in.”

Sunstein’s remedy of choice will be to enlarge the scope of lawsuits to intimidate targeted “abusers of the privileges of the Internet.” “When these infamous scribblers see some of their kind financially ruined by libel suits they’ll think twice before launching their own attacks against the state,” Sunstein said. “I mean, most of these clowns are ‘small fry.’ Even if they wriggle out of the net in court they’ll still have had to spend a ton of money defending themselves.”

To obtain what Sunstein called “maximum chilling effect” new regulations he is working on would hold all websites liable for every comment posted. “The idea that someone can anonymously express scurrilous opinions by posting to someone else’s blog must come to an end,” Sunstein insisted. “By holding the site owner responsible we will force them to silence these free speech vandals.”

Lawsuit Asks California Court to Void “Two-Thirds” Rule for Tax Increases

Former UCLA chancellor Charles Young has filed a suit asking the California court to invalidate that state’s constitutional provision requiring that tax increases must obtain a two-thirds majority in both houses of the legislature in order to be enacted into law. The two-thirds rule passed by voters in a 1978 initiative, is held responsible for thwarting Democrat’s efforts to closed the budget deficit with a tax hike.

Young’s suit argues that “the two-thirds rule is undemocratic because it interferes with the majority’s right to control the state’s resources. It places the rights of the minority to hold onto their property ahead of the rights of the majority to appropriate it for the benefit of the state.”

Asked why he doesn’t attempt to abolish the two-thirds rule by launching his own initiative, Young candidly admitted that he didn’t think voters would sign petitions to get it on the ballot, much less vote for it on election day. In a May special election, California voters rejected five tax increase propositions by a 2-1 margin.

“Given a choice, people will tend to vote against taxes,” Young observed. “Voters are not as well informed about the government’s need for money as members of the legislature are. And as the current fiscal crisis has shown, the two-thirds rule prevents wiser heads in the legislature from acting in the best interests of the state.”

In related news, the California government employees’ union (Service Employees International) promised to “bring this state to its knees” if Governor Schwarzenegger doesn’t back off his plan to cut the state’s budget deficit by furloughing nonessential state workers. “Our members have families to support and bills to pay,” said union president Yvonne Walker. “They can’t afford the reduced pay that comes with the furloughed time off. It’s the government’s responsibility to see that our needs are met, especially in these times of economic recession. If it refuses to fulfill this responsibility we will shut it down.”

Schwarzenegger has implemented three-days-a-month furloughs. This amounts to a 14 percent pay cut for the state’s 235,000 employees.

Obama Defends “Science Czar”

President Barack Obama leapt to the defense of John Holdren, his new “Science Czar,” after critics raised concerns about policies Holdren recommended in a book he co-authored 30 years ago. In the book Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment, Holdren advocated a number of harsh measures he claimed should be undertaken by a “transnational planetary regime” in order to “save the planet.”

Among the measures Holdren said should be implemented were “forced sterilization of persons who contribute to social deterioration,” mandatory abortions of superfluous persons,” and lowering the birth rate by “injecting infertility drugs into the public water supply.”

The President characterized critics of Holdren’s recommendations as “closed minded.” “I think all reasonable people can agree that saving the planet is essential to human life,” Obama argued. “Measures that in calmer times might appear extreme, may be absolutely necessary under crisis conditions.”

The President added that “a rigid opposition based on selfish individualism would lead to social deterioration and, ironically, trigger one of the measures critics say they deplore.”

German Zoo Renames Monkey

After protests, the Dresden Zoo has relented and agreed to change the name of a new born mandrill monkey. The monkey was named Obama. Protestors deemed this to be demeaning to the American President.

“There were too many complaints and too many threats,” said a zoo spokesman who requested anonymity for what she called personal safety reasons. “To prevent harm to our animals and patrons we have consented to a new name for the animal.”

The monkey’s name has since been changed to “George W.”

John Semmens’ Archives

Obama Meddles in Honduras

By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News

After insisting that it is not the United States’ place to meddle in the internal affairs of other nations in the case of Iran, US President Barack Obama demanded that Honduras restore Manuel Zelaya to the presidency of that country. Zelaya was removed from office by order of the country’s supreme court with the concurrence of the legislature when he attempted to illegally implement a proposed amendment to the nation’s constitution.

According to the Honduran constitution, Zelaya was to be barred from reelection by its term-limit provision. Rather than seek to amend the constitution through methods specified in the document, Zelaya called for an emergency referendum to abolish the term-limit clause.

President Obama rejected the Honduran government’s action in ousting Zelaya. “What’s at stake here is the very concept of democracy itself,” Obama argued. “Zelaya is the duly elected leader of Honduras. Removing him for, of all things, attempting to ascertain the will of the people in regard to his continuation in office beyond the current term, contravenes democracy.”

Obama also dismissed the Honduran government’s argument that its action followed constitutional procedures. “A rigid adherence to a piece of paper cannot supplant the will of the people,” Obama asserted. “We must not put form over substance. A true constitution is a living document with the flexibility to adapt to evolving contingencies. Should a president be penalized for appreciating this need for flexibility? Would Americans tolerate their president being removed from office for requesting a similar referendum on our term limits?”

White House Defends Lavish Independence Day Luau

With unemployment at 9.5 percent and a federal budget over a trillion dollars in the hole, many Americans were stunned by the lavishness of the White House July 4th celebration. Not content with traditional burgers and hot dogs, the Obama Administration had several tons of exotic food and flown in from Hawaii. Obama’s favorite chefs accompanied the food on the flight.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended the extravagance as “a morale booster and a stimulus to the economy.” “Sure, the President could’ve made a show of economizing,” Gibbs observed. “But that would send the wrong message. More spending is what it will take to revive the economy. The President is just doing his part.”

“Besides, a spectacular and well-publicized party provides a vicarious sense of enjoyment for every American,” Gibbs continued. “Scrimping would demoralize the country. It is comforting to even the poorest of our citizens to know that the President isn’t being short-changed on America’s birthday.”

In related news, White House senior adviser David Axelrod said despite last year’s campaign promises, the Obama Administration won’t rule out a tax increase on the middle class. “You know, what we call the ‘middle class’ in America is really quite wealthy from a global perspective,” he pointed out. “The average per capita income in the United States is nine times the world average. So, these so-called tea baggers’ claims that Americans can’t afford to pay more just doesn’t jibe with the facts as I see them.”

National Health Care Won’t Be “Rationed” Says Sebelius

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius responded to critics who contend that government-run health care will inevitably entail rationing. Conceding that national health systems in Canada and the United Kingdom have been forced to ration care for critically ill patients via lengthy waiting lists, Sebelius insisted that a similar outcome won’t happen here.

“First, we will do a better job of managing health care resources,” Sebelius boasted. “Careful cost/benefit analysis will ensure that only those individuals with a positive ratio are scheduled for treatment. We won’t allow waiting lists to be clogged with persons whose cost of treatment exceeds their worth to society. I think Senator Daschle has the right idea. Senior citizens should learn to accept their afflictions and exit gracefully when their time comes rather than draining the nation’s resources trying to unnaturally extend their unproductive lives.”

“Second, unlike private insurers, the government has access to unlimited funds,” Sebelius continued. “There is plenty of money in private hands that can be taxed. And if need be, the government has the right to create more money if we run out of things to tax.”

“Finally, doctors, nurses, drug manufacturers, and the like are all, in one way or another, licensed by the government,” Sebelius reminded. “”Permission to practice their trades or manufacture their products is contingent upon their service to society. This permission can be withheld if their personal greed impedes their obligation to serve. The health of the nation is too important to let petty individualism stand in the way.”

In related news, government welfare payments in the United Kingdom exceeded income tax revenues for the last calendar year. Prime Minister Gordon Brown indicated he was “not particularly concerned. A lot of people still have more money than they need. We can always go after that if we have to raise taxes.”

Frank Rejects Using Repaid TARP Funds for Tax Relief

Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass) flatly rejected the idea that funds received from banks repaying government loans be used for tax relief.

Frank characterized the taxpayer role in the TARP program as “at best, passive.” “Sure, we used taxpayers’ money to finance the thing, but we didn’t get much support from them for our efforts,” Frank recalled. “Most of the taxpayers I’ve heard from opposed the TARP program. So, why should they get any benefit from it now?”

The congressman has proposed, instead, what he calls a “TARP for Main Street” bill that would channel repaid loans into “a special fund that members of congress can tap into as needs arise.”

“Congress did the heavy work to get the TARP legislation passed,” Frank bragged. “We deserve to be rewarded. This fund will enable essential members of congress to access these resources for critical needs in their districts and states.”

Charges that the set-aside amounts to little more than a political “slush fund” were rebuffed by Frank. “The critical factor in this endeavor was congress, or rather, key members of congress,” Frank argued. “The special fund is aimed at preserving and enhancing this critical factor. You could call it an investment in America’s future.”

French Move to Outlaw Burka Elicits Threat 

Concerned that the veils, scarves, and head-to-coverings prescribed for women by Islamic law may be undermining both French culture and facilitating the subjugation of females by a Muslim patriarchy, the French government is considering outlawing the garb in public places. The hijab (head scarf for girls) has already been banned in French public schools.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has called the Islamic dress code for women “a tool of repression comparable to the six-pointed star the Nazis forced Jews to wear. It is a step in the wrong direction—away from the freedom and equality our constitution guarantees to all. We cannot idly stand by and allow one half of the population to enslave the other.”

Sarkozy’s bid to outlaw this restrictive clothing drew an immediate threat of retaliation from al-Qaeda. Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, head of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb warned that “if the French government interferes with Sharia law blood will flow.”

Wadud issued his own counter proposal. “If the prescribed attire for our women is outlawed, we will outlaw the appearance in public of any woman who indecently exposes herself in public,” Wadud said. “The penalty for breaking our law will be death. Every Muslim man will be empowered to carry out this sentence without the encumbrance of western so-called ‘due process.’ Then we will see who really rules in France.”

Hamas Calls “War Crimes” Charge Unfair

The Palestinian terrorist group known as Hamas contested an Amnesty International report that charged the organization with committing war crimes during its conflict with Israel. The charged stemmed from Hamas’ unprovoked rocket attacks on clearly civilian targets in Israel.

Israeli forces subsequently invaded Gaza, the site from which the rockets were launched, in an effort to stop the attacks. Amnesty International also charged Israel with war crimes for the collateral damage to Gaza civilians during the invasion.

“I am glad to see that Israel’s criminal regime has been justly cited for their atrocities,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. “But how can we be war criminals? We only killed Jews. According to the Koran, Jews are the equivalent of monkeys or pigs. Why is our freedom to practice our religion not respected?”

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Radical Leftist Kotterman Running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Penny Kotterman formerly served as president of the Arizona Education Association (the Arizona chapter of the liberal teachers’ union, the National Education Association) and established a radical hard-left track record in that role.

In fact, when the NEA failed to enact a K-12 homosexual curriculum agenda, the national office gave Kotterman the task of developing a stealth approach to ramrod it through. Fortunately, she did not succeed, though the NEA is once again making news for its support of the homosexual agenda.

As chief of the AEA, Kotterman and her cohorts accomplished little if anything meaningful for actual education, instead following a political agenda far out of line with mainstream American families.

Kotterman as superintendent would give the homosexual pressure groups control over Arizona’s public schools, which should start focusing on education and leave politics out of the classrooms. She would be nothing short of a disaster for Arizona’s children and the future of the state. We need vast improvement in our K-12 system, but Kotterman is not the answer.

A summer 2009 poll revealed that 3.5 percent of Arizona preps were capable of passing the testrequired of immigrants to gain citizenship. This is the tragic legacy of extreme left politics and their great dumbing down effect on education. Kotterman deserves some of the blame.