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New video from Boko Haram, via the BBC, shows about 120 of the kidnapped Christian girls dressed in Islamic garb -- chadors -- and reciting verses from the Qur'an. In the 2nd video, the Boko Haram leader says that the girls have been "liberated" by becoming Muslim.  “These girls, these girls you occupy yourselves with… we have indeed liberated them. We have indeed liberated them. Do you know we have liberated them? These girls have become Muslims."

https://www.youtube.com/...

https://www.youtube.com/...

He also says, “We will never release them (the girls) until after you release our brethren. Here I mean those girls who have not submitted (converted to Islam).” The implication is that some of the Christian girls are refusing to convert, and so those are the ones that will be held indefinitely -- but there's no offer to let the converted girls go, either.

Boko Haram is making it clear what they had in mind when they named themselves the Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad* -- their official name; Boko Haram is a nickname. One thing we can say for them is that they're pretty open about their agenda.

*Jamā'at ahl as-sunnah li-da'wa wa-l-jihād (جماعة أهل السنة للدعوة والجهاد)

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A number of people on this site have, in recent months, expressed glowing approval of European "hate speech" legislation and have vehemently denied that it will be misused to shut down legitimate debate. Some have suggested that European-style laws controlling speech would be more civilized than our current First Amendment rights. I and many others believe that we Americans need to zealously guard our freedom of speech, because it takes no time at all before legitimate commentary on social and political issues is labeled offensive and hateful. Here's the latest in a long line of legal assaults on free speech in Europe: an Iranian woman, from a Muslim background, has been convicted of a racist crime for criticizing Islam and saying that Muslim men use Islamic ideology to justify abuse of women.  

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John Kerry is making a major speech at Georgetown in about 20 minutes. CSPAN is supposed to be taping it; no word yet on when/if it will air. And it is indeed major. The text of remarks as prepared is below. The short version is, for those who've been waiting for Kerry to say he wouldn't have given President Bush the power to do what he did if he'd known Bush was selling a pack of lies, waiting for Kerry to call for a timetable, or waiting for Kerry to call for beginning the withdrawal of troops -- wait no longer. But he has a lot more to say than that. Text below the cut.
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I've been puzzled for a long time, and after a diary up in the Recommended box left me scratching my head yet again, it finally occurred to me that the simple solution is to ask. And this is surely the place where I could get an education. Could pro-Dean, anti-Kerry people please take a moment to give me examples of issues on which Dean has a more progressive position than Kerry -- and tell me exactly what that progressive position is? I'll admit I'm not an expert on Dean, but I just haven't seen it so far. Both are against gay marriage and for civil unions. Neither one would've invaded Iraq. So what's the deal? Mea culpa, I'm ignorant; please clue me in. If it helps, feel free to call Kerry names while you 'splain it to me.
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Senator Kerry gave a speech on the floor of the Senate today about the future of U.S. efforts in Iraq, amplifying points made in his New York Times Op Ed "The Speech the President Should Give" and in an e-mail sent to supporters this morning. Text of his remarks as prepared is posted at http://www.lightupthedarkness.org/blog/default.asp?view=plink&id=1174 and at http://www.rawstory.org

Reiterating a point he made during the presidential campaign, Kerry called on President Bush to commit to not installing permanent U.S. bases in Iraq. He laid out additional recommendations, similar to the familiar 4-point plan he pushed for repeatedly during the presidential campaign:



  • Make the necessary policy changes to get more help from our allies.
  • Get serious about training Iraqi security forces, which will require changes in policy and approach.
  • Focus reconstruction efforts on bringing tangible benefits to the Iraqi people.
  • Do everything possible to ensure that elections are held on the promised timetable (in December) and that the writing of the Iraqi Constitution is completed.

 (more on the flip)

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John Kerry has taken the lead in calling for the Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate the questions raised by the Downing Street Memo. LightUpTheDarkness.org has received the complete text of Senator Kerry's letter (reproduced below the cut) from his office.

This is a good first step in getting the Senate to look into the DSM, and it's good to see that nine other Democratic senators signed on, but where are the others? Kerry has been circulating the letter for two weeks now. In response to a Call to Action posted at http://www.downingstreetmemo.com, many people called their senators last week to urge them to sign the letter. So why were Senators Kerry, Johnson, Corzine, Reed, Lautenberg, Boxer, Kennedy, Harkin, Bingaman and Durbin the only ones to sign? Salon has some choice comments on this question, excerpted below the cut.
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John Kerry tore into Karl Rove from the floor of the Senate today. You can see the video at Dembloggers: Kerry's floor speech

Here is the text (I've corrected it from the original remarks-as-written text posted elsewhere; this transcript is what Senator Kerry actually said):

Transcript of John Kerry's Floor Speech on Karl Rove's 9/11 remarks:

Last night in New York City, Karl Rove made some comments to the Conservative Party of New York that need to be discussed on this floor and that need to be apologized for.

None of us here will ever forget the hours after September 11th, the frantic calls to our families after we evacuated the capital, the evacuations themselves, the images on television -- and then the remarkable response of the American people as we came together as one to answer the attack on our homeland.

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