“Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.”

Fox is currently running this story, Families of Fallen Utah Highway Patrol Troopers Fight Atheist Group Over Roadside Cross Memorials

If a national atheist organization has its way, a series of 12-foot-tall memorial crosses that adorn Utah’s highways will be taken down.

But not if the families of the people those crosses honor — state Highway Patrol troopers killed in the line of duty — have anything to say about it.

American Atheists Inc. has filed a federal lawsuit, arguing that the 13 white, steel crosses represent the death of Jesus Christ and therefore violate the First Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits government establishment of religion

Twelve foot tall crosses, claimed to be a “memorial” and later in the article “the highway association downplays the significance of the cross, claiming it is a secular symbol.” The cross has in fact not always been a symbol of Christianity. Many historians think the symbol originated in pagan Druid worship and was later adopted by the Christian church. It is also known that the first official use of the cross as a symbol didn’t occur until around the middle of the 5th century and had been officially condemned by the Catholic church just two centuries earlier. As one of the spokesman for the atheists stated the issue is not about honoring fallen troopers, but the symbols being used to honor them. Though they were paid for with private funds and state law allows commemoratives to troopers that have died in the line of duty, the crosses are on state property. If the crosses are just memorials without religious meaning then why not replace them with something of a more secular nature. Constitution of the State of Utah, Sec. 4. [Religious liberty.]

No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction, or for the support of any ecclesiastical establishment.

Again, the memorials were privately paid for, but the crosses are generally thought of in modern times as religious symbols and the sides of highways are easements, part of state property. These sought of clashes between the well meaning on both sides gets very emotional very quickly. It’s important to not lose sight of the principles involved. There is a wall between church and state in both the U.S. Constitution and reiniterated in Utah’s own Constitution. Surely the State Troopers of the state of Utah as law enforcement officers can see that honoring their fellow officers should also be respectful of the rule of law. In the mean time I hope that some zealot doesn’t get carried away and act like this clown, Bush Supporter Runs Over Crosses

There were shrill claims by the usual crowd of keyboard warriors that leaving Iraq would cause an increase in violence. Basra attacks down 90% since British troops left

The British army says violence in Basra has fallen by 90% since it withdrew from the southern Iraqi city earlier this year.

If Basra is an indication leaving the Iraqis to sort things out for themselves actually decreases the level of violence and al-Qaeda hasn’t poured in and taken over. Even the conservative Economist agrees that its political reconciliation that is the big road block and which the surge has not improved, The surge in Iraq -The fiscal one, that is

The Iraqi cabinet has passed an expansionary budget for 2008, based on the expectation that the recent improvements in security have created conditions for a big increase in investment in reconstruction and development. However, the reduction in violence in Iraq over the past few months has come about mainly as a result of local initiatives buttressed by extra US troops and cash, while the political divisions at the national level have if anything widened. The lack of progress towards national reconciliation raises questions as to how the plans for forging ahead with major infrastructure development and reconstruction projects will be implemented.

Corruption remains the rule of the day in Iraq, IRAQ: Corruption Adds to Baquba’s Problems

The infrastructure is clearly worse on all measurable levels than it was pre- invasion.

Under the Coalition Provisional Authority, more than 7 billion dollars went “missing” in the first year of occupation alone. Now Iraqi authorities are blamed for adding to the corruption.

Contractors in Baquba told IPS they believe the governor’s office is directly involved in the corruption.

“I’m not quite sure about the governor (Ra’ad Hameed al-Mula Jowad al- Tamimi) himself,” the owner of a security contracts company, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS. “What is certain is that his protection group plays a big role in taking the money using his name.”

“In contrast to all the contractors, a large number of projects go to the governor’s nephew,” contractor Abu Ahmed told IPS. “This contractor often tries to influence the monitoring committee to sign his invoice even if it is inconsistent with the specifications of the job.”

Funny how we haven’t had the bloggers at the right-wing Powerline, Michelle Malkin, or Rush “phony soldiers” Limbaugh borrow a private jet from a like minded buddy to get a handle on all this wasted tax payer money. Well you know how it is, much easier to stay here and stalk children then hop over to Bush’s hand crafted Middle-East paradise.

“Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.” ~ Abraham Lincoln