In May of this year, a Danish tugboat operator named Colin Darch was piloting his craft out of the Red Sea when heavily armed pirates approached in two small boats and began screaming and firing weapons. Though he made a gallant attempt to resist, the thugs boarded the tugboat and took the crew hostage for six weeks until a ransom was paid by the company’s owners, reportedly at $700,000. Interviewed later, Darch said his “heart sank” when the assault began.

In April, the French luxury yacht, Le Ponant, was seized off the coast of Somalia where thirty people were taken hostage. A reported two million dollars in ransom money was paid for their release.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, seventy-one vessels have been boarded in the first six months of 2008, 190 crew members were taken hostage, seven were killed and another seven are missing, and presumed dead. Over 2,463 acts of piracy were committed around the world between 2000 and 2006. Their goal: food and supplies targeted as foreign aid, cash, personal belongings of passengers, and ransom money. The most hazardous routes are along the Nigerian and Somali coastlines of Africa, Indonesia and the Gulf of Aden …

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There’s an old saying that warns, “Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.”

Warren Harding rose to the presidency in the wake of WWI, when an electorate was dismayed at the Democratic reign of Woodrow Wilson. America wanted change. We got it. It backfired. Historians generally consider Harding as one of the worst presidents ever.

In 1968, the nation was tired of the five-year quagmire in Viet Nam, plus many years of civil unrest and too much federal spending. Lyndon Baines Johnson would surely be a loser if he ran again, so he bowed out. Hubert Humphrey was seen as an extension of Johnson. He didn’t have a chance. The country wanted change! America got what America wanted.

We got Richard Nixon.

Six years later, it was all over. Nixon disgraced the presidency and became the first to resign from the Oval Office. Gerald Ford made a gallant effort, but his pardon of Nixon was too much to bear for a jaded electorate. The opposing party portrayed him as an extension of Nixon. America wanted change! And, it changed indeed.

We got Jimmy Carter.

The peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia, who had served only one term …

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If you enjoy musicals and pure entertainment without a heavy plot, be sure to see “Mama Mia,” the movie version of the hit Broadway play. Twas refreshing, for once, to sit through a picture with seeing cars smashing, bullets flying, buildings destroyed, blood gushing and sex oozing.

The story line is simple enough. Raised on a Greek island by a formerly rebellious mom who never disclosed the identity of her father, a bride-to-be locates three men who might be her father and invites them to her wedding.

The draw, of course, is the versatile talents of singing, dancing, acting Meryl Streep who seemingly is incapable of a poor performance. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her with another Golden Globe, or even an Oscar for this one.

Twenty-two year-old Amanda Seyfried is delightful as the young bride-to-be, full of life, fun, energy and a voice to go with it. She’s bound to go far in the movie world.

Next best, were the lady buddies of Streep’s character (Mama), played by Julie Walters and Christine Baranski…you’ll recognize them when you see them.

Two of the three possible dads were funny, believable and engaging in their roles, though they are …

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Folks who cannot present a legitimate argument to counter an issue, or enter into dialogue over differing points of view, have a way of dismissing what they don’t agree with by using one-line labels. That’s the quickie, no-brainer response.

When I write about the threat of a Radical Islamic threat in the United States, I’m accused of DEMONIZING all Muslims.

When I cite specific reasons why Senator Obama may not be a fit candidate for the presidency, the best some folks can do is accuse me of SWIFT BOATING the man.

Then there’s the all-encompassing, wrap-it-up-with-one-word, McCARTHYISM, whenever I express concerns over the surreptitious infiltration of Radical Islam and their quest to destroy our country from within.

I appreciate all the responses from people, whether we agree or not, but it’s very disappointing when the best anyone can do is call names and assign labels. It sure tells me they haven’t done their homework.

Let’s talk more about each one of these inane metaphors.

Demonizing all Muslims: First, people should read, and not assume…because we all know what happens when one assumes? It makes an ass of u and me. If the metaphorians would actually read, and see what’s written, …

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One more notch.

Not surprisingly, England’s legal eagles are capitulating in the face of fear and intimidation. Rather than following the lead of Australia, where that nation’s leaders told the radicals if they didn’t like their laws, they could leave.

Not the United Kingdom. Weak-kneed top judge, Lord Philips, has stated that he supports the notion of having Islamic Law (Sharia) intervene in matters of marital and financial disputes. So much for English Law. And, this man is in line to head up the British Supreme Court.

It’s creeping everywhere, like cancer. The British Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, also argued earlier this year, that capitulating to Sharia Law was unavoidable, and that it would “improve social cohesion.” Fact is, it’s social erosion. Where will this lead to in another twenty years? Fifty? Where is the foresight of our world’s leaders?Click here: Another Big Endorsement of Shari’a in the UK

It’s not just England. Last year, a German judge capitulated to Sharia Law when she denied a divorce to a Muslim woman on the grounds that Islamic laws permit wife beating. After all, it’s part of the culture. Hey girl, marry a strict Muslim, and that’s the risk. Tough. …

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On a summer afternoon in Portland, Oregon, 68 year-old Margaret Sutherland kissed her five grown children one by one, listened to her son read the 23rd Psalm, gazed out the window toward the Williamette River a final time then hoisted a glass of water laced with nine milligrams of Seconal and drank it all. Within five minutes, she was unconscious. In fifteen minutes, she was dead…just as she wished.

Cancer had already claimed one of her lungs and eaten her ribs. She had lost control of her bowels and coughed blood constantly. The pain was so intense, she could hardly walk.

Doomed to two, three or four more months of suffering before arriving at death, she also considered the hardships being imposed upon her loved ones. Sutherland decided to take advantage of Oregon’s Death With Dignity law, received confirmation of her doom from two doctors and asked for the needed prescription to end her life. When the day arrived, she put on a dress, a little make-up and said her last goodbyes to friends and family. Love abounded, suffering ended. Everyone was at peace, including Mrs. Sutherland.

How can anyone argue with that?

Early in the Bush II term, …

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I don’t generally answer responses to my blogs, but I can’t pass this one up.

Readers come from all sides of the spectrum with varied points of view, which is the way I like it. Some are supportive, some come up with new ideas, others castigate. That’s okay. It stimulates thought and sometimes we can even learn something we didn’t know before.

A Mr. Herbert Herman wrote about my article on Islamic Intimidation and had this to say:


“…the virus of Islamophobia. Your message caters to xenophobic demagoguery and serves the extreme right. It is reminiscent of Hitler’s ranting against Jews.”


Digest that one for a moment. 

First, I want to thank Mr. Herman for his comments and for weighing in with his viewpoint.

Mr. Herman accuses me of Islamophobia. I have news: Mr. Herman is right on. I am definitely Islamophobic. And, he should be too.

Perhaps Mr. Herman and folks like him, should do a little more homework. If he did, and opened his eyes, he would also fear the rise of radical Islam like most Americans who live in a conscious state. (Note the adjective: Radical) I was once one of those glowing, tolerant people who …

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