Having just returned from London, I was struck by the video below of tourists who cross the line with the famed Queen’s guard and force confrontations with these soldiers. For the most part, tourists were well mannered and respectful during my observation of the guards at Buckingham and the Tower. However, these videos show how some are incredibly rude and thoughtless.
Conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe has reported that he was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents Monday when attempting to reenter the country. The reason appears his widely published video showing him crossing the border repeatedly from United States and Mexico while dressed as Osama bin Laden. The video succeeded in capturing what critics have complained about for years: that the border remain wide open and that the Administration is misleading the public on the ease with which potential terrorists could cross into the United States illegally. Whatever the merits of that video, it does seem to me to be either a form of journalism or political speech. It was also very embarrassing for Customs and the Administration. That makes the action troubling if O’Keefe was told, as he states, that he will be detained from now on whenever he tries to reenter the United States.
I have written columns and blogs through the years about the disturbing trend on U.S. campuses toward free regulation and controls. In the name of diversities and tolerance, college administrators and professors are enforcing greater and greater controls on speech –declaring certain views or terms to be forms of racism or more commonly “microaggressions.” The latter term is gaining support to expand the range of controls over speech and conduct to include things that are indirect or minor forms of perceived intolerance. The crackdown seems most prevalent in California where lists of “micro aggressions” seems to be mounting as a macroaggression on free speech. The new list of verboten terms out of University of California (Berkeley), headed by Janet Napolitano, captures the insatiable appetite for speech regulation. The school has asked faculty to stop using terms like “melting pot” or statements like “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.” They are now all microaggressions. Not only are school buying into the concept of microaggressions and speech regulation, but they are shaping a generation of students who seem to look for any possible interpretation of terms to take offensive at.
The Islamic State terror group (ISIS) appears to be preparing to destroy one of humanity’s greatest treasures: the ancient city of Palmyra. The Islamic extremists want to destroy any Western or non-Islamic forms of architecture or art or culture in their total devotion to the Koran. We have written about the past destruction of cities like Nimrod and Hatra that have left the civilized world in shock. Now, the group appears to have it sights on Palmyra, one of the most extensive and beautiful of the ancient cities left in Syria.
In 1991, President Bush announced the start of military operations to free Kuwait from the ravages of dictatorship after the invasion of Iraqi forces. He promised to restore Kuwait and its people to freedom. In the years following the liberation however Kuwait’s government has repeatedly shown that real freedom was confined to its ruling family and not average Kuwaitis. The sentencing in absentia of Rana Jassem al-Saadun is only the latest example. The female rights activist was given three years in jail for simply repeating parts of a speech by an opposition leader that was critical of Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, Kuwait’s authoritarian leader.
Despite heroic efforts of Chinese animal rights activists, the controversial Yulin Festival in China’s southern Guangxi province occurred on Sunday with the slaughter of up to 40,000 dogs and 10,000 cats — a practice widely condemned for its cruelty. Thousands of cats and dogs have been slaughtered at the Yulin Festival despite government promises to end the practice which has been condemned internationally on grounds of animal cruelty.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
The vacuum brought forth by the absence of a strong state has led to increasing numbers of young women cast into forced marriages as compensation for perceived grievances between tribes. These marriages, called Fasliya Marriage for an Arabic word meaning marriages arranged for compensation, pose a serious threat to the civil rights of women in these tribes as they become pawns to be bartered between warring factions.
The increasing tribal tensions in areas of Iraq, and the absence of government law enforcement upholding federal laws banning the practice, has led to increases in frequency of these marriages through the resurrection of traditional tribal forms of conflict resolution.