Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum that focuses on Middle East studies. I was a political columnist for SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, The Jewish Policy Center, J-The Jewish News Weekly of N. CA, Intellectual Conservative and many others. More info at CinnamonStillwell.com.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fear and Trembling at the Annual MESA Meeting

My latest at the Campus Watch blog:
At the annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) in Montreal earlier this month, fear and trembling were the order of the day.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education article, "Mideast Scholars, Meeting in Montreal, Worry About a Splinter Group and Academic Freedom," the leading lights of Middle East studies are feeling both "besieged" and "blessed" by the post-9/11 increase in attention to their field. Being forced to contend with the twin horrors of outside criticism and competition from groups such as the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) must indeed be taking their toll on the delicate sensibilities of these poor, beleaguered academics.
Continue reading "Fear and Trembling at the Annual MESA Meeting"

Guest on Blog Talk Radio's "The Gathering Storm" Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Friday, November 30, I'll be a guest on Blog Talk Radio show, "The Gathering Storm" from 12:30-1pm (PST). Along with co-hosts WC (an ode to Winston Churchill) of The Gathering Storm blog and Always on Watch, we'll be discussing Campus Watch, the state of Middle East studies, and the ideological battlefield of the global war on terrorism.

Listen online here or catch the show afterwards in the archives.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

San Francisco ID Program: Legitimizing Illegal Immigration

I have a new column at SFGate that examines the implications of San Francisco's program to bestow municipal ID cards upon illegal immigrants. Read on:

During the Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia last month, Sen. Hillary Clinton found out firsthand just how contentious a subject illegal immigration is likely to be in the 2008 election.

Expressing support, however equivocal, for New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's proposal to provide drivers licenses for illegal immigrants put Clinton in her most perilous position to date. It also shed light on her propensity for pandering, considering that in 2004 she fashioned herself a hard-liner on illegal immigration.

Clinton soon backed off from her debate stance and, not long after, Spitzer did the same, dispensing with the driver's license plan in the face of mounting bipartisan criticism. Clearly, this was not a popular position with a majority of Americans, regardless of political party.

Yet even as this drama unfolded on the national stage, San Francisco city officials were preparing to implement a similarly misguided policy. Supervisor Tom Ammiano introduced a measure earlier this month to provide municipal identification cards to illegal immigrants, transgender people, senior citizens no longer capable of driving, and other city residents, who either cannot or will not obtain a state-issued driver's license. To be eligible, residents will need to provide a passport, foreign driver's license or other photo ID, in addition to a recent utility bill or bank statement. The Board of Supervisors approved the measure 10-1 and Mayor Gavin Newsom has pledged to do sign it into law. The proposal will go into effect in August, 2008, making San Francisco the largest city to offer such a program.

Continue reading "San Francisco ID Program: Legitimizing Illegal Immigration"

Monday, November 26, 2007

San Francisco Board of Education Drops the JROTC Ball

Following San Francisco's Veteran's Day Parade earlier this month, I wondered aloud whether the JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps) would continue participating due to the anti-military Board of Education's dictatorial decision to phase out the popular program.

There was a brief moment of hope when it was announced that the board would consider a proposed resolution approving a one-year extension of the program through the 2008-09 school year. But even then, it was clear that the decks were stacked against the JROTC. The resolution, as described by the San Francisco Chronicle, consisted of the following:
The measure before the board Tuesday night would eliminate two of the district's seven JROTC programs by next fall, replacing them with a yet-to-be-determined alternative.

It would also prohibit enrollment of ninth-graders at the remaining five JROTC sites. In addition, district officials have decided that the high schools will no longer grant physical education credit for JROTC courses next year.
Hardly a reprieve for the beleaguered JROTC.

Board President and resolution co-author Mark Sanchez has had it out for the JROTC from the beginning, something he made clear when, in discussing the prospective measure, he stated:
"We were just very resolute that we need to move forward, and this is a good way of doing it...Basically, no shenanigans - just move forward and do it."
But the board ended up doing, well, nothing when the time came. The measure was shelved due to disagreements between Sanchez and fellow board member and co-author Kim-Shree Maufas. Both claim they will discuss the matter further, but, as the Chronicle points out:
...unless the board takes further action in the future, the 90-year-old JROTC program will be eliminated at the end of this school year - fulfilling a decision the board made last November.
The presence of a number of JROTC supporters at the meeting apparently had little effect on the Board of Education ideologues:
More than 100 students and community members attended the meeting, the vast majority supporting the JROTC programs.

Sanchez allowed 15 minutes of public comment at the beginning of the meeting, even though the measure was officially withdrawn.

Lowell High School senior Connie Chen had hoped to address the board, but didn't make it to the front of a very long line. Later, she said the board has left the students in limbo - with no extension and no replacement program - with about seven months until the end of the school year.

"They were elected to do what's best for the students," said Chen, who is the senior JROTC officer at her school. "They're the ones who should take JROTC leadership courses."
I couldn't agree more. Sadly, it doesn't look like anyone's going to be taking JROTC courses in San Francisco anytime soon.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Mideast "Peace Process" Charade Continues

The next round of Middle East "peace talks" are coming up on Tuesday. But for those of us who insist on engaging with reality, the Annapolis Peace Conference is just the latest episode in a neverending series of pointless, diplomatic posturing.

It is an international charade that pretends that a society mired in civil war, hatred, and violence, and led by the likes of Hamas and Fatah (not to mention their cohorts across the Arab world) will suddenly dispense with their goal of annihilating Israel and make nice. But it's based more on wishful thinking than anything else.

As Daniel Pipes (for whom I work) has pointed out on many occasions, peace cannot be achieved until one side defeats the other, either militarily or ideologically. In this case, the latter would entail the Palestinians being forced to accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. And let's just say, it's highly doubtful that will be the outcome of next week's talks, no matter the company line being spouted by Bush, Condi, Abbas, Olmert, and the ever-delusional mainstream American Jewish community (with the notable exception of the Zionist Organization of America). Instead, it's more than likely that the entire process, replete as it's sure to be with further concessions on Israel's part, will simply embolden those bent on her destruction.

R. E. Smith, Jr., writing for the American Thinker, sums up this sad state of affairs in " No More Middle East Peace Charades, Please." As he puts it:

After sixty years of hope where are we? We’ve had resolutions, summits, opportunities, windows, roadmaps and paths to peace. Yet an Arab and a Jewish state cannot harmoniously exist side by side.

...Please, spare the world more of these charades. An Arab negotiator made it painfully plain: "Palestinians will never acknowledge Israel’s Jewish identity." What don’t Jews and our politicians understand about the meaning of "never"—at no time, under no circumstances, not ever, not on your life, no way, when pigs fly.

...Pathetically, many Americans and other westerners continue to stare, transfixed, at that vision. They step back to the future on a treadmill-like path with endless, in vain hope that talks, negotiations, and compromise will bring peace. The self-deluded cannot bring themselves to face reality. Arabs or Jews must dominate and control the region, not both.
I've written much the same thing myself a number of times, particularly when it comes to the follies of pushing for a Palestinian state as it's now comprised. But I finally got tired of repeating the obvious.

So, for now, I'll simply sit back, watch, and wait for the farce to commence, yet again.