Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hargitay, Meloni signed for `Law & Order: SVU'

i had no doubt. it would not have been 'svu' without them!


NEW YORK — Rest easy, fans of "Law & Order: SVU." Stars Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni have signed contracts for another season.

That was in some doubt, with fans of the show wondering whether the actors might be replaced after their two-year contracts expired. NBC renewed the drama, its most popular scripted series, without knowing for sure whether they would be back.

Pam Golum , a spokeswoman for producer Dick Wolf, says the two stars will be back at work next week, when the show begins filming its new season.

Christine Lahti will also be joining the show for the first four episodes of next season.

'I Drove All Night'



Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

R.I.P.



Meryl Sings

before 'mamma mia' meryl did sing a bit in 'death becomes her' and 'postcards from the edge'.



Wednesday, June 24, 2009

'Where You Are' with Chita Rivera



chita won her second tony award for 'kiss of the spider woman'.

one version from the tony awards and one from the kennedy center.




Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Frances Ruffelle: Les Miserables' 'On My Own'

one of the best performances on broadway was ms. ruffelle in 'lez miserables'.
since i can't find a clip from the show this is the next beat thing though not as impressive or powerful.



Monday, June 22, 2009

For My Protesting Brothers in Iran

'You've Got to Be Taught/Children Will Listen'


Two great songs put to good use.
Vocal by Mandy Patinkin.

150 Days And Counting: Obama's Silence on AIDS is Deafening

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I Love Bebe and 'All that Jazz' 'Nowadays' and Everyday.





at the 51st tony awards and bebe won beat actress in a musical:


someone got this in the theatre. i'd guess a rehearsal.


and what's better than a rousing end to a rousing show? bebe and karen ziemba doing the finale of 'chicago' at 'my favorite broadway: the leading ladies'. 'nowadays' and ' hot honey rag':

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Pastor's Ass

The pastor entered his donkey in a race and
it won.

The pastor was so pleased with the donkey
that he entered it in the
race again,

and it won again.

The local paper read:

PASTOR'S
ASS OUT FRONT.

The Bishop was so upset with this kind of
publicity that he ordered the pastor
not to enter the donkey in another race.

The next day, the local paper headline
read:


BISHOP
SCRATCHES
PASTOR'S
ASS.

This was too much for the bishop, so he
ordered the pastor to get rid of the donkey.

The pastor decided to give it to a nun in a
nearby convent.

The local paper, hearing of the news, posted
the following headline the next day:

NUN HAS BEST ASS IN TOWN.

The bishop fainted.

He informed the nun that she would have to
get rid of the donkey, she sold it to a farmer for $10.
The next day the paper read:

NUN SELLS ASS FOR $10.

This was too much for the bishop, so he
ordered the nun to buy back the donkey and
lead it to the plains where it could run wild.

The next day the headlines read:

NUN ANNOUNCES HER ASS IS WILD AND FREE...

The bishop was buried the next day.

The moral of the story is . .. .
Being concerned about public opinion can bring
you much grief and misery . . Even shorten your life.

So be yourself and enjoy life.

Stop worrying about everyone else's ass and
You'll be a lot happier and live longer!

Selling a Home

video

Gwen Stefani with No Doubt: 'It's My Life'

two concert versions of a favorite song:


Sunday, June 14, 2009

'I Have Something to Tell You'

video

'True Blood' Will Be Drawn Again Tonight!!!
























Saturday, June 13, 2009

Music Is the Life Force of the Soul

i love music. it is the first thing i truly remember. as a kid all i wanted was music...records. hey, remember when we called them that?
i have spent a lot of time on film here because i love film and movies....but music is in me. in my head, my heart and in my soul.

so starting here, starting now...josh's summer music fest .
prior to today was a preview.
i love a lot of music.
a lot of genres of music.
i shall share many...(if i like 'em) Ha!
be not too hard....

haha...speaking of which...the first is joan baez from a concert ...
this video has the audio only.
i absolutely love this song and it's message.
so again i need to ask you to 'be not too hard'.
dear friends...Miss Joan Baez..."BE NOT TOO HARD"

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thank You Keith for Taking Down This Moron

The Worst Person in the World

THE BIG HATE


Back in April, there was a huge fuss over an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security warning that current conditions resemble those in the early 1990s — a time marked by an upsurge of right-wing extremism that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing.

Conservatives were outraged. The chairman of the Republican National Committee denounced the report as an attempt to “segment out conservatives in this country who have a different philosophy or view from this administration” and label them as terrorists.

But with the murder of Dr. George Tiller by an anti-abortion fanatic, closely followed by a shooting by a white supremacist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the analysis looks prescient.

There is, however, one important thing that the D.H.S. report didn’t say: Today, as in the early years of the Clinton administration but to an even greater extent, right-wing extremism is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment.

Now, for the most part, the likes of Fox News and the R.N.C. haven’t directly incited violence, despite Bill O’Reilly’s declarations that “some” called Dr. Tiller “Tiller the Baby Killer,” that he had “blood on his hands,” and that he was a “guy operating a death mill.” But they have gone out of their way to provide a platform for conspiracy theories and apocalyptic rhetoric, just as they did the last time a Democrat held the White House.

And at this point, whatever dividing line there was between mainstream conservatism and the black-helicopter crowd seems to have been virtually erased.

Exhibit A for the mainstreaming of right-wing extremism is Fox News’s new star, Glenn Beck. Here we have a network where, like it or not, millions of Americans get their news — and it gives daily airtime to a commentator who, among other things, warned viewers that the Federal Emergency Management Agency might be building concentration camps as part of the Obama administration’s “totalitarian” agenda (although he eventually conceded that nothing of the kind was happening).

But let’s not neglect the print news media. In the Bush years, The Washington Times became an important media player because it was widely regarded as the Bush administration’s house organ. Earlier this week, the newspaper saw fit to run an opinion piece declaring that President Obama “not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself,” and that in any case he has “aligned himself” with the radical Muslim Brotherhood.

And then there’s Rush Limbaugh. His rants today aren’t very different from his rants in 1993. But he occupies a different position in the scheme of things. Remember, during the Bush years Mr. Limbaugh became very much a political insider. Indeed, according to a recent Gallup survey, 10 percent of Republicans now consider him the “main person who speaks for the Republican Party today,” putting him in a three-way tie with Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich. So when Mr. Limbaugh peddles conspiracy theories — suggesting, for example, that fears over swine flu were being hyped “to get people to respond to government orders” — that’s a case of the conservative media establishment joining hands with the lunatic fringe.

It’s not surprising, then, that politicians are doing the same thing. The R.N.C. says that “the Democratic Party is dedicated to restructuring American society along socialist ideals.” And when Jon Voight, the actor, told the audience at a Republican fund-raiser this week that the president is a “false prophet” and that “we and we alone are the right frame of mind to free this nation from this Obama oppression,” Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, thanked him, saying that he “really enjoyed” the remarks.

Credit where credit is due. Some figures in the conservative media have refused to go along with the big hate — people like Fox’s Shepard Smith and Catherine Herridge, who debunked the attacks on that Homeland Security report two months ago. But this doesn’t change the broad picture, which is that supposedly respectable news organizations and political figures are giving aid and comfort to dangerous extremism.

What will the consequences be? Nobody knows, of course, although the analysts at Homeland Security fretted that things may turn out even worse than in the 1990s — that thanks, in part, to the election of an African-American president, “the threat posed by lone wolves and small terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years.”

And that’s a threat to take seriously. Yes, the worst terrorist attack in our history was perpetrated by a foreign conspiracy. But the second worst, the Oklahoma City bombing, was perpetrated by an all-American lunatic. Politicians and media organizations wind up such people at their, and our, peril.


Paul Krugman
The New York Times

Shout Her the F**F Up!!!

Also an Idiot

Vanessa Williams: 'Betcha Never'

Why? Because I like it!

Baba Wawa



The Politics of Hate Abounds on the Right!!!


thank you fox news. thanks to all your pig anchors...hannity, o'reilly, van sustren, shepard smith etc.

thanks for inciting the most malicious attacks on humanity with your hate speech and and venomous attacks on our president.
thanks for making hate a virtue the right can be proud of.

thanks for calling for the death to those you oppose.

thank you oxi man limbaugh for your lies and moving your radical right hateward.

oh yes and thank you sara lipstick for never calling a halt at your campaign rallies to those chanting kill Obama.

you are all equally guilty for the deaths of dr. tiller and for the shooting and death at the Holocaust museum.

oh but your are the real americans. in truth you are the real scum of the earth.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

i bet this asshole voted for mccain/palin


WASHINGTON — An 88-year-old white supremacist was charged with murder Thursday, a day after he left a signed anti-Semitic screed in his car outside the U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum, then gunned down a security guard who opened the door to let him in, officials said.

Guard Stephen T. Johns was shot to death Wednesday by Holocaust denier James von Brunn, who left his car outside an entrance to the museum and walked in holding a rifle at his side, District Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at a news conference.

Von Brunn started shooting immediately, exchanging fire with two other guards who shot and critically injured him, Lanier said.

In his car, officers found a notebook with a handwritten note that read, "You want my weapons _ this is how you'll get them. The Holocaust is a lie. Obama was created by Jews," according to a court affidavit.

Von Brunn's .22-caliber rifle held 10 more bullets and investigators found more in his car and at an apartment in Annapolis, Md., that he shared with son and his son's fiancee. Security guards fired at von Brunn at least eight times, hitting him in the face.

The museum remained closed Thursday and flags flew at half-staff in honor of Johns, 39, who had worked at the museum for six years. Bouquets of roses, lilies and other flowers were left outside the museum walls. The entrance where the shooting occurred was still cordoned off by police tape.

Von Brunn, who tried to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve decades ago, remained in critical condition Thursday at a Washington hospital. A self-described artist, advertising man and author, he wrote an anti-Semitic treatise, "Kill the Best Gentiles," decried "the browning of America" and claimed to expose a Jewish conspiracy "to destroy the White gene-pool." He also wrote of a lifetime of seething anger.

"It's better to be strong than right," he said in one of his dark online postings, "unless you like dying. Crowds hate good guys."

'Designing Women' Season One on DVD Finally!!!

Just some funny moments from a funny series finally available on DVD.


Julia is feed up with jury duty:



Julia is pissed!:



The night the lights went out in Georgia:



Crazy people in the south:



Julia's Runway debut:



Suzanne drinks Charlene's expressed milk:


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Holocaust Museum Shooting In Washington D.C.

He hated jews, catholics and blacks.
he's a kkk member.

10 to 1 he's a reborn christian.
20 to 1 he's a registered republican.

prove me wrong!


More with Emily Latella



Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In Memorium: The Tony Awards 2009

Tony Award Recap 2009




First things first: Congratulations to Neil Patrick Harris for being a grand and grandly brilliant openly gay emcee!!!

A grand opening with the exception of the god awful 'Rock of Ages'.

A brilliant finale by the afore mentioned Neil Patrick Harris.

A finale that needed to be written and/or refined as the awards were announced. I can't believe the envelopes were opened prior to the announcements. Therefore the updates were remarkable!

But:

Is anyone in the world able to get Liza off a stage. Damn bring back the hook.

When did Anne Hathaway become her own personal STD spreading herself around? Someone must find a cure to get rid of her once and for all. She's is the biggest reason to bring back the hook! Is there no award show that is free of this woman's presence? Damn but she's everywhere How does this horror knows when the camera is on her? Who the hell is she 'doing'?

Does Dolly Parton have to hog EVERYTHING? Could she not find it in her still amble bosom to let her cast do their own thing?

And yes the Shrek thing and James Gandolfini could be twins separated at birth.


And there were highlights in the awards ceremony:
1. The three 'Billy Elliot's' sharing the Tony for Best Actor in a Musical
2. The brilliant Alice Ripley for the Best Female Performance in a musical. FINALLY!!!
3. The ever wonderful Angela Lansbury winning her 5th Tony.
4. The gifted and always amazing Marcia Gay Harden winning Best Actress in a Drama.
5. Best Director Stephen Daltry who also directed Kate Winslet to her Oscar win this year. He certainly has had a very great year.
6. Kristen, Audra and Bebe just being there is always something to cheer about!!
7. Who is Aaron Tviet in 'Next to Normal' and when is he coming for a visit? I believe I am now officially dubbed a dirty old man.
8. Matt Cavenaugh in 'West Side Story' may finally be the Tony worth fighting a racial turf war over. When is he coming to visit. And when did he steal Mandy Patinkin's Jewish accent as well as mine? No problem as he is just bringing it closer to the original concept.
9. Does everyone who plays Anita (Karen Olivio) in 'West Side Story' have to win an award?
10. Haven't producers learned that unless 'America' is the selling point the best revival will not be be 'West Side Story'.
11. Has 'Hair' proven it is the most innovative musical of ALL time?

and lastly:
How much of Jane Fonda is still human and how much is bionic?

the opening:




the finale:



'next to normal'



'billy elliot' winners. do they 'get it" that they were given the award by the brilliantly divine audra mcdonald? one day maybe.




'hair'



(i beg you forgive the intrusion of the horrific hathaway)


(click speaker for music):


so all being said and done i bought the cast albums of 'next to normal' and the cast recording of the revival of 'west side story' today. Tony you have done your job well.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My New Guilty Pleasure


i can't believe i'm admitting this. or can i?
i've heard about this show a lot! it finally got to me. so i ordered 'gossip girls' season 1 from netflix. damn if it didn't get to me in the first 10 minutes. i wound up watching all of season 1 in a week. i am hooked and can't wait until season 2 is available in august.


upper east side new yorkers and their kids. rich and generally selfish teens but with the touch of vulnerability that keeps them from being totally despicable. class and position have more pitfalls than meets the eyes. the flash and cash may be their facade. true, some of these girls and guys are real bitches and jerks. some, most, of their parents are no better. maybe even worse. apples seldom fall far from the proverbial tree.

but there is a heartbeat within the seemingly emotionally rotten walking corpses.
the heartbeat is provided by the pairing of serena van der woodsen (blake lively) and dan humphrey (penn badgley). dan is not from the elite upper crust. he is from the wrong side of the tracks or in this case the wrong side of the williamsburg bridge that joins manhattan and brooklyn. they are romeo and juliet, maria and tony. i hope their fate is better. they are a charming, delightful and loving pair. good apples among rotting fruit. their character names alone set them miles apart. i'm totally rooting for them. as well as for a long career for the actors portraying them. in this they are casting perfection. it bodes well for their future.




there is also the wonderful kelly rutherford (melrose place) as serena's mom.


there is mathew steele(brothers and sisters) as dan's father.
there is a past shared between them. is there a future between them if serena doesn't stand in their way? serena is not selfish about this. she has a finely tuned point.

there is the ever wonderful margaret colin as eleanor waldorf mother of blair waldorf (leighton meester) the biggest bitch snob of all. or is she the most damaged child of the upper crust?


the rest of the cast, adults and teens alike, are cast well and give it all they've got. they've got a lot and deliver.
special credit is reserved for serena's brother eric portrayed by connor paolo. the kid's got the making of a star. hollywood please make him a star.
make blake and penn stars too. they have "it". they are both charming and delightful. both a welcome change from the usual teenagers tv generally offers.
keep giving kelley rutherford work. she's is one of television's marvelous delights.

smart crisp writing.
brilliant direction and editing.
great acting.
what else is there???
hell it's one of the best tv has to offer!!!

they sucked me in and i'm gladly going for the ride they offer. when the hell does season 3 start?









blake and penn on 'the view'



bloopers:




YES I AM OFFICIALLY OBSESSED WITH 'GOSSIP GIRLS' XOXO

and by the way: new york magazine obviously agrees with me!!!

'The Closer' Season 5 Tonight

One of TV's best returns tonight on TNT.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

2008 Tony Award Revisited



patti lupone best actress in a musical for 'gypsy'l.
laura benati and boyd gaines best suppoting wins in the same musical.
everything else about last year's tony awards are a blur and therefore negligible and unimportant!









sorry folks if you missed it it closed.

A Guilty Pleasure

Season Three begins Tonight
Catch Up with 'Army Wives'


























Saturday, June 6, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

Obama At Buchenwald: 'No Patience' For Holocaust Denial





The Bible Tells Us So...

...and leviticus says:

I Miss Emily Litella

i miss emily.
i miss roseanne rosannadanna.
i miss baba wawa.
i miss gilda rader.

but starting today i will begin to share some of the memories that cracked me up.



And Just a Regular Guy Too

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mr. President in Cairo





'I Have Come Here to Seek a New Beginning'



Below, the full text of President Obama's speech in Cairo, Egypt, titled "A New Beginning." Video coming soon...

* * * *
I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt's advancement. Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I am grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum.

We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world - tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.

Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. This has bred more fear and mistrust.

So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. This cycle of suspicion and discord must end.

Story continues below

I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles - principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us, "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth." That is what I will try to do - to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.

Part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.

As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam - at places like Al-Azhar University - that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.

I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America's story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims." And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil rights, started businesses, taught at our Universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers - Thomas Jefferson - kept in his personal library.

So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn't. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.

But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words - within our borders, and around the world. We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum: "Out of many, one."

Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President. But my personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores - that includes nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today who enjoy incomes and education that are higher than average.

Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state of our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That is why the U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it.

So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations - to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity.

Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.

For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial system weakens in one country, prosperity is hurt everywhere. When a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations. When violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across an ocean. And when innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience. That is what it means to share this world in the 21st century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings.

This is a difficult responsibility to embrace. For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes subjugating one another to serve their own interests. Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners of it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; progress must be shared.

That does not mean we should ignore sources of tension. Indeed, it suggests the opposite: we must face these tensions squarely. And so in that spirit, let me speak as clearly and plainly as I can about some specific issues that I believe we must finally confront together.

The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all of its forms.

In Ankara, I made clear that America is not - and never will be - at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as President to protect the American people.

The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America's goals, and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support. We did not go by choice, we went because of necessity. I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet Al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.

Make no mistake: we do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.

That's why we're partnering with a coalition of forty-six countries. And despite the costs involved, America's commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths - more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism - it is an important part of promoting peace.

We also know that military power alone is not going to solve the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is why we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and hundreds of millions to help those who have been displaced. And that is why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend upon.

Let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible. Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said: "I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be."

Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a better future - and to leave Iraq to Iraqis. I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources. Iraq's sovereignty is its own. That is why I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August. That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraq's democratically-elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all our troops from Iraq by 2012. We will help Iraq train its Security Forces and develop its economy. But we will support a secure and united Iraq as a partner, and never as a patron.

And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter our principles. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.

So America will defend itself respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law. And we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities which are also threatened. The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer.

The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.

America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.

Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed - more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction - or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews - is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people - Muslims and Christians - have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations - large and small - that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It is easy to point fingers - for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel's founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.

That is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest. That is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires. The obligations that the parties have agreed to under the Road Map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them - and all of us - to live up to our responsibilities.

Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It's a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered.

Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist.

At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.

Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.

Finally, the Arab States must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities. The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize Israel's legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.

America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.

Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.

The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.

This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is indeed a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear to Iran's leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question, now, is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.

It will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America's interests. It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.

I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation - including Iran - should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the Treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I am hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.

The fourth issue that I will address is democracy.

I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.

That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.

There is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments - provided they govern with respect for all their people.

This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.

The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom.

Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we need today. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind, heart, and soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it is being challenged in many different ways.

Among some Muslims, there is a disturbing tendency to measure one's own faith by the rejection of another's. The richness of religious diversity must be upheld - whether it is for Maronites in Lebanon or the Copts in Egypt. And fault lines must be closed among Muslims as well, as the divisions between Sunni and Shia have led to tragic violence, particularly in Iraq.

Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. We must always examine the ways in which we protect it. For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.

Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit - for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.

Indeed, faith should bring us together. That is why we are forging service projects in America that bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews. That is why we welcome efforts like Saudi Arabian King Abdullah's Interfaith dialogue and Turkey's leadership in the Alliance of Civilizations. Around the world, we can turn dialogue into Interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action - whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief after a natural disaster.

The sixth issue that I want to address is women's rights.

I know there is debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be prosperous.

Now let me be clear: issues of women's equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, we have seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women's equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.

Our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons, and our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity - men and women - to reach their full potential. I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice. That is why the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams.

Finally, I want to discuss economic development and opportunity.

I know that for many, the face of globalization is contradictory. The Internet and television can bring knowledge and information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence. Trade can bring new wealth and opportunities, but also huge disruptions and changing communities. In all nations - including my own - this change can bring fear. Fear that because of modernity we will lose of control over our economic choices, our politics, and most importantly our identities - those things we most cherish about our communities, our families, our traditions, and our faith.

But I also know that human progress cannot be denied. There need not be contradiction between development and tradition. Countries like Japan and South Korea grew their economies while maintaining distinct cultures. The same is true for the astonishing progress within Muslim-majority countries from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai. In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education.

This is important because no development strategy can be based only upon what comes out of the ground, nor can it be sustained while young people are out of work. Many Gulf States have enjoyed great wealth as a consequence of oil, and some are beginning to focus it on broader development. But all of us must recognize that education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century, and in too many Muslim communities there remains underinvestment in these areas. I am emphasizing such investments within my country. And while America in the past has focused on oil and gas in this part of the world, we now seek a broader engagement.

On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America, while encouraging more Americans to study in Muslim communities. And we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America; invest in on-line learning for teachers and children around the world; and create a new online network, so a teenager in Kansas can communicate instantly with a teenager in Cairo.

On economic development, we will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries. And I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.

On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create jobs. We will open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and appoint new Science Envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, and grow new crops. And today I am announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio. And we will also expand partnerships with Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health.

All these things must be done in partnership. Americans are ready to join with citizens and governments; community organizations, religious leaders, and businesses in Muslim communities around the world to help our people pursue a better life.

The issues that I have described will not be easy to address. But we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of the world we seek - a world where extremists no longer threaten our people, and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments serve their citizens, and the rights of all God's children are respected. Those are mutual interests. That is the world we seek. But we can only achieve it together.

I know there are many - Muslim and non-Muslim - who question whether we can forge this new beginning. Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress. Some suggest that it isn't worth the effort - that we are fated to disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash. Many more are simply skeptical that real change can occur. There is so much fear, so much mistrust. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country - you, more than anyone, have the ability to remake this world.

All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort - a sustained effort - to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.

It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples - a belief that isn't new; that isn't black or white or brown; that isn't Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It's a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions. It's a faith in other people, and it's what brought me here today.

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.

The Holy Koran tells us, "O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another."

The Talmud tells us: "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace."

The Holy Bible tells us, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God's vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth. Thank you. And may God's peace be upon you.