Islamophobia and My Near-Death Experience

Among all the chatter and opinionating over the last few weeks about the Ground Zero Mosque and the supposed ugly “Islamophobia” that lurks just beneath the civilized veneer of those of us who think it shouldn’t be built there, a couple of worthy gems stand out.

If you don’t read anything else, check out Jonah Goldberg’s piece over at NRO. And for a welcome laugh, read Greg Gutfield (host of FNC’s RedEye) and his blog post about “Islamophobia-phobia,” which, as he explains, is the fear of being accused of having an irrational fear of Muslims.

You know, at some point the Left-wing media and their sophisticated allies in Washington, Academia and Hollywood may want to rethink their strategy of insulting and demonizing us regular Americans every time a poll reveals we are out of step with our “betters.”

It’s just a friendly suggestion.

You see every time some regular independent swing voter who happens to think it’s a good thing that Arizona wants to uphold U.S. immigration law or a bad thing that a large majority of California voters were just nullified by a gay judge on the gay marriage issue hears that he’s being called a racist or bigot or hater or stupid or a sufferer of some sort of mental disorder–his natural response will NOT be to run into the arms of the liberal aristocracy and beg for forgiveness.

The more the Left belittles and smears the vast common-sense middle of America the more alienated and galvanized that middle becomes.

The horrible story of the Muslim taxi driver who was attacked the other day is just one example. The lefty media jumped on the, “Are you a Muslim?” story as a validation of their premise. Then, as usual, the facts began to dribble out and undermine their point. Turns out the attacker was a drunken lefty tied a number of anti-war organizations. To add to the irony, it turns out the Muslim cab driver is opposed to the building of the Park51 Mosque.

The whole incident brought back an unpleasant memory for me . . . one in which I was in a foreign country and asked, “Are you American?” When I answered, “Yes,” I was attacked with a biological weapon.

Allow me to explain.

Several years ago I had a client that took me to the UK about five times per year over several years. Their offices were in the North of England and I routinely stayed at the same seaside Marriott hotel in Sunderland.

Lovely place. Lovely people. Couldn’t understand a word they were saying. (But then neither can anyone else in England.)

On numerous occasions I ate at a quaint little Italian restaurant on the beach across the highway. Like many of the restaurants I’ve visited in the UK, this one was run and staffed by Middle Eastern immigrants.

On one visit in 2004, I was sitting at table with a couple of colleagues from South Africa and had engaged our young Middle Eastern waiter in some friendly conversation. Toward the end of the meal he was obviously feeling that we had enough of a connection to ask me a question:

“Are you an American?”

Now I’ve been all over this big, diverse world of ours and I faithfully follow a couple of hard-and-fast rules when I’m traveling abroad. Rule one: Never, ever provoke someone who will be preparing or bringing you food. (This rule actually applies in all places and at all times.)

The second rule is, when you’re in a foreign country and the person who has just picked up on your accent eyeballs you and asks where you’re from, the correct answer is:


On this occasion, however, our meal was finished. We were getting ready to leave. And after spending a week listening to the hyper-biased news coming from the BBC, I was feeling particularly patriotic. So I violated rule #2 . . .

“Yes, I am,” I said cheerily.

Then came the follow up question. “What do you think about Bush?”

Here is where discretion, being the better part of valor, should have bound and gagged my patriotic impulses and tossed them in closet. The correct answer was, “I don’t really follow politics.”

“I like him,” I heard myself saying with extra chipperness in my voice. “He has a hard job but I think he’s doing pretty well.”

He seemed sorely displeased by my answer, but just walked away. A few minutes later we left the restaurant and that was the end of it . . .

. . . until about a year later when I happened to re-visit the restaurant with a colleague from Scotland. To be honest I had completely forgotten about the exchange with my waiter the previous year.

He hadn’t. And as it turned out, he was our server on this evening. While taking our order he studied me for a minute and then said, “Are you that American fellow?”

“He’s a Texan!” my Scot companion volunteered helpfully. We ordered, ate, and left.

A few hours later, at the manor house in which I was staying that week, I become more violently ill than I have ever been in my life. I alternated between fearing I was going to die and praying that God would just take me home and end my misery.

Coincidence? Perhaps.

Indeed, I have no idea whether my waiter was a Muslim (although, if memory serves, his name was Mohammad). I didn’t ask his religion because I didn’t care. I didn’t have an irrational fear of Muslims. I do however have a very rational fear of hateful waiters.

I also have a very rational, quite well-founded fear that our nation’s foundations, weakened by liberal cultural self-loathing, are crumbling under an avalanche of illegal immigration, creeping Sharia, and multi-culti nonsense.

Nevertheless, if you’re ever in Sunderland and find yourself in a wonderful little Italian place right on the beach, if a waiter named Mohammad asks if you’re American . . .

Just say “Que?”

News From All Over (But Mostly From My Favorite Chair)

Breaking News


The official launch of the Sarah Palin book is not until September 21. But I hear from a friend that he received a message from Amazon today letting him know that his pre-order of the book had shipped.

That means those of you who were kind enough to pre-order the book should be getting yours soon as well.

It also means that I’m hoping the rest of my readers, friends, relatives, neighbors, and creditors will be so kind as to order a copy or two. Other ways to help you ask? Well, you could leave a glowing review on the book’s Amazon page. Or you could sent out an email to your vast network of contacts with a link to one of the scintillating excerpt blog posts I’ll be creating in the weeks to come.

Just remember, I have two kids in college. No pressure.

Speaking of Kids in College . . .


Female Offspring Unit #1 headed back down to Waco more than a week ago to prepare for the start of her final year at Baylor. A few days ago we drove FOU #2 up to Norman and moved her into the dorm at OU. Today FOU #3 started her junior year at Faith Christian School in Grapevine. (Yes, between the three, these annual tuition obligations total up to equal the GDP of a small Central American nation.)

Bottom line: They’re all doing well and I couldn’t be prouder of them.

Border Insecurity


Did you see the news report of the Texas girl who was kidnapped near the Mexican border this weekend? Probably not. The local TV news staffs are loaded with pro-immigration types and only carry stories that fit the preferred narrative. (I hear that Glenn Beck mentioned it at the top of his program.)

A 19-year-old girl was abducted near McAllen, Texas, transported across the border to Mexico, and held for ransom.

Fortunately the lawless idiots failed to check the girl for a cell phone. It seems that when it became clear to the bandits that they had picked a girl whose family didn’t have any money, they dumped her in a field outside of Reynosa, Mexico–right across the river from McAllen.

Then the problem for police on the U.S. side was to locate her and retrieve her when they have no jurisdiction in Mexico. “Why not alert the Mexican police and have them pick her up?” you ask.

Great question. It seems the U.S. authorities didn’t feel they could engage their Mexican counterparts for fear (a well-grounded on born of experience) that they would be corrupt, or might even be complicit in the kidnapping.

But wait! This story becomes an even more bizarre metaphor for all that is wrong-headed about our border and immigration policies.

A news report today reveals that the kidnapped girl is an illegal alien who has been living here with her mother since she was six. The girl’s father lives across the border in Reynosa.

Now some are wondering if perhaps the entire kidnapping was staged by the mother in order to get the girl a “U Visa” which would give her legal resident status. U Visas are issued by the State Department to immigrants who are victims of crime.


Where was this Newfound Passion for Freedom of Religion When We Needed It

It’s been gratifying to witness the liberal punditocracy’s sudden and spectacular embrace of freedom of religion sparked by the plan to build an Islamic mosque near the “Ground Zero” site of the 9/11 attacks.

Historically, their primary use for the First Amendment was to cite the Freedom of Speech clause when defending pornographers or flag burners; or to use the establishment clause and the mythological “separation of church and state” mandate as a billy club for driving Christians and their views from the public square.

Suddenly, progressives are zealots for and champions of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion. Apparently, people of faith ought to be able to build a house of worship pretty much anywhere they jolly well please, no matter what the neighbors think about it.

Here’s the thing about that.  For the last 15 years or so, growing Christian churches all over America have consistently been running into brick walls of opposition when attempting to build new sanctuaries. Cities have thrown up zoning roadblocks, neighborhood groups have pitched fits, and city councils have fought to keep land on the tax rolls.  See here, here, here, and here for example.

Can someone please point me to an instance of any of the lefty pundits and pols that are now sputtering and thundering in high dudgeon about how opposition to the ground zero mosque represents an attack on religious freedom ever uttering a word of alarm about the tens of thousands of instances of churches being thwarted in their plans?

Just one?

You’ll search in vain. But better late than never. I’ll look forward to the support of Maureen Dowd, Keith Olbermann, Peter Beinart and their friends the next time the religious freedoms of a group of evangelical Christians is being impinged by local sensibilities or politics.

Anti-War (on business) Sentiment Grows


I’m referring to growing opposition to the Obama-Reid-Pelosi war on the job creating class. Finally, after being a kid in the late 60s; a pro-Reagan square in the 80s; and a  supporter of many aspects of the global war on terror since 9/11; I finally get to be a peace-nik. “Woo-hoo! Peace now!”

I’m calling for an end to the liberal war on job-creators, a.k.a. business owners. “Hey, hey, ho ho. The health care mandate’s got to go!”

I pointed out in a recent post that entrepreneurs and small business owners are under siege from Washington.

The socialist revolutionaries, the Utopians, the Deweyist social engineers at the elite universities, and the bi-coastal beautiful people of the entertainment industrial complex all have something in common–a robust disdain for the kind of people who start and grow businesses. They are “money-grubbing shop keepers” and “greedy little merchants.”

Hollywood reflexively portrays anyone who runs a business large enough to employ other people as abusive. callous exploiters of humanity. The last decent human being to own a business on television was Arnold, the malt shop owner on Happy Days.

In the last few days there have been other online voices joining this anti-war movement. For example:

A few days ago, the Daily Caller ran a piece by Congressman Joe Pitts headlined–“Burying Small Businesses in Paperwork” Here’s a excerpt:

Every year millions of Americans risk their savings and work hard to start a small business . . . Small businesses all over America have just been told that they will have to pay billions more in taxes to foot the bill for Obamacare.  That’s money that might otherwise go to job creation.  That’s just one reason why America isn’t creating more jobs.

Over at Hot Air, “Doctor Zero” writes:

There’s nothing terribly mysterious about our high unemployment rate.  The primary engine of job creation in the United States is small business, which is generally held to produce about 70% of new jobs. . .

If rising labor costs lead to unemployment, then a helping of pork-fried “stimulus” should make businesses hire people, right?  Of course not.  Employment is a long-term relationship.  Businesses, especially small ones, hire people to meet future needs, not to collect one-time subsidies.  Thin curtains woven from taxpayer dollars cannot hide the predatory government currently in power… or the uncertain future of command economics, driven by irrational ideology, it offers.

With politically connected unions and mismanaged blue states teetering on the edge of collapse, they can anticipate even greater transfers of money from private to public sectors… which will mean even greater burdens for what remains of private industry.  Every small business owner knows that his personal income turns him into a target for this Administration and Congress.  Artillery is already incoming from the expiring Bush tax cuts.  Why take risks, when the rewards will simply be confiscated by a ravenous government?

I recommend reading the whole thing.

All I am saying is give peace a chance. I must go now. I have to organize a sit in. Power to the people!

On Assignment in Santa Fe


After spending a few days with my folks in Oklahoma, I had a good 12 hours at home (seven of which I spent sleeping) before flying out to Santa Fe for four days of work on a new project.

It’s work. But it’s very pleasant work. I’m staying in a guest house on a mountainside overlooking the city of Santa Fe. I’m at about 7600 ft. elevation which means the nights are cool and the days are pleasantly warm. I’m writing while watching hummingbirds zip and buzz between the coral-colored blooms to my left and the lavender ones on my right.

As I said, it is pleasant work, marred only the fact the Mrs. Blather is not here with me to enjoy it and, having been on the road for most of a week, I’m missing her sorely.

A few random items:

  • A couple of months ago I posted about the Obama cabinet’s glaring lack of private sector, a.k.a., real world experience. Yesterday, Investor’s Business Daily picks up the theme with “The Cabinet from Another World.”
  • Here are “The 10 States with the Worst Roads and Bridges” so you’ll know when to pray extra hard while driving.
  • In keeping with the New Mexico theme, here’s a a poignant Depression-era photo of a girl in Bosque, New Mexico. bosque
  • View the stunning full-size image here.

Homeward bound tomorrow.

Ramblin' Man

I rambled back up U.S. 75/69 today to check in on my folks. Church with them tomorrow. A Dr. appointment for dad on Monday. Then home in time to catch a plane to Santa Fe Tuesday morning for a meeting.

I’ll report in sporadically. In the meantime, check out Ed Driscoll’s thoughtful piece on the decline of David Letterman. I’m old enough to remember when Letterman was funny. That was before he made himself the official attack clown of the Democratic party.



Today if your sole sources of news are traditional, “mainstream” outlets like the big television networks (ABC, NBC, CBS), big newspapers (NYT, WaPo, LA Times) or smaller papers dependent on wire services like AP and Reuters (almost all of them) you are almost certainly simultaneously uninformed and misinformed.

“Uninformed” because there are important news stories these dinosaurs refuse to touch while their team is running Congress and the White House because they don’t fit the preferred narrative. Stories like Climate-gate, the Black Panther voter intimidation scandal, the numerous ACORN scandals and numerous others embarrassments for the Obama-Reid-Pelosi juggernaut were simply ignored until it was no longer possible to do so.

Last September readers whose sole source of news is the New York Times must have been utterly bewildered to learn of the resignation of Mr. Obama’s special green jobs “czar” Van Jones. Controversy about Jones past statements and associations had been roiling for weeks, but NYT readers had heard absolutely nothing of it.

“Misinformed” because much of what these entities do report is twisted or just plain wrong. Often outrageously so. Today’s case in point . . .

Numerous news cites are repeating, as fact, an assertion by CBS News that Arizona Republican Senator John Kyl is proposing that we repeal the 14th Amendment. Given that the 14th Amendment was a milestone post-slavery civil rights remedy drafted in the aftermath of the Civil War, it’s an incendiary accusation.

It’s also false.

Specifically, a reporter named Jimmy So at CBS’s “Face the Nation” sub-site declared that Sen. Kyl “supports repeal of the 14th Amendment.” In the last few minutes, the copy has been revised and the following note has been added to the very bottom of the story:

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier edit of this story suggested that Sen. Kyl supported repealing the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship. While the senator has proposed hearings on the Constitution’s guarantees on citizenship and what he terms a “reward” for parents who are in the country illegally, Kyl’s communications director Andrew Wilder said that “he did not call for the ‘repeal’ of the 14th Amendment.”

The truth is, Sen. Kyl and a number of other lawmakers of both parties are considering a proposal to clarify the language of one sentence of Section 1 of the 14th amendment–the fuzzy language that currently makes it possible for illegal aliens to slip into the country to have their babies and thereby gain the privileges of citizenship for an entire family.

Of course this buried retraction comes too late. The lie has already traveled around the world several times before the truth can get its pants on. The lie is an everlasting part of the internet’s searchable history.

Of course, if bloggers like Daniel Foster over at NRO didn’t exist to call CBS on shameless smears like this, So’s story would have never been corrected.

This, by the way, is why the mainstream media despises the blogosphere. Accountability sucks.