Sorry for my disappearance from the blogosphere for a week, but I have been in the hospital.
I have a LOT of things to get caught up with, but I should be back full force tomorrow or at least by Monday. I hope
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Monday, October 31, 2005
This Day In History
- 1517 Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Palace church, marking the start of the Protestant Reformation in Germany.
- 1795 English poet John Keats was born in London.
- 1864 Nevada became the 36th state.
- 1926 Magician Harry Houdini died of complications from a ruptured appendix.
- 1938 The day after his ''War of the Worlds'' broadcast had panicked radio listeners, Orson Welles expressed ''deep regret'' but also bewilderment that anyone had thought the simulated Martian invasion was real.
- 1956 Rear Admiral G.J. Dufek became the first person to land an airplane at the South Pole.
- 1968 President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a halt to all U.S. bombing of North Vietnam, saying he hoped for fruitful peace negotiations.
- 1991 Theatrical producer Joseph Papp died in New York at age 70.
- 1992 It was announced that five American nuns in Liberia had been shot to death near the capital Monrovia; the killings were blamed on rebels loyal to Charles Taylor.
- 1993 Movie director Federico Fellini died in Rome at age 73.
- 1999 EgyptAir Flight 990 crashed off the Massachusetts coast, killing all 217 people aboard.
- 2001 A 61-year-old New York hospital worker became the fourth person to die from inhalation anthrax.
- 2001 Microsoft and the Justice Department reached a tentative agreement to settle the historic antitrust case against the software giant.
- 2002 The Securities and Exchange Commission ordered an investigation into allegations that Chairman Harvey Pitt had concealed information on the corporate ties of William Webster, his choice to head a new accounting oversight board.
- 1795 John Keats (poet: On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer, Endymion: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”, On a Grecian Urn, To a Nightingale, On Melancholy, To Autumn; died Feb 23, 1821)
- 1860 Juliette Low (youth group founder: Girl Scouts; died Jan 17, 1927)
- 1887 Chiang Kai-shek (1st constitutional President of the Republic of China; Chinese army general; died Apr 5, 1975)
- 1912 Dale Evans (Frances Butts) (singer, songwriter: Happy Trails to You; actress: The Roy Rogers Show, Roy Rogers movies; wife of ‘King of the Cowboys’ Roy Rogers; died Feb 7, 2001)
- 1927 Lee Grant (Lyova Rosenthal) (Academy Award-winning actress)
- 1931 Michael Collins (NASA astronaut: Apollo 11 command module pilot on first moon landing mission [he remained in lunar orbit while Armstrong and Aldrin walked on lunar surface]; author: Apollo 11 First Moon Landing [Countdown to Space])
- 1936 Michael Landon (Eugene Orowitz) (actor: Bonanza, actor, writer, producer, director: Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven; died July 1, 1991)
- 1943 Brian Piccolo (football: Chicago Bears RB; subject of movie: Brian’s Song; died of cancer at age 26 [June 16, 1970])
- 1950 John (Franklin) Candy (comedian, actor)
- 1950 Jane Pauley (TV host: news anchor; married to cartoonist, Gary Trudeau)
- 1963 Rob Schneider (actor)
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Ben Shapiro wrote in Townhall In 1866, when members of the 39th Congress of the United States submitted the Constitution's 14th Amendment to state legislatures for ratification, they would have been stunned to learn that they had just written a provision mandating that homosexual sex be treated on the same moral plane as heterosexual sex. On Friday, Oct. 21, the Kansas Supreme Court, ruling under the Supreme Court precedent of Lawrence v. Texas (2003), decided that the 39th Congress meant just that. A Kansas law penalizing statutory homosexual rape more severely than statutory heterosexual rape was struck down under the 14th Amendment's "equal protection" clause.
This is not the only clause that activist courts, both at the state and federal level, have used to create laws.The 14th Amendment states, "No State shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The amendment was specifically designed to protect freed slaves in the aftermath of the Civil War. In particular, the amendment was designed to prevent states from refusing to enforce criminal and civil laws when the victim was black. The 14th Amendment did not abolish segregation in any way, shape or form: Many Northern states, after ratifying the amendment, continued to segregate their public schools.
Over time, the Supreme Court broadened the scope of the "equal protection" clause of the 14th Amendment. The original meaning of the clause was discarded in favor of more expansive interpretations, most notably in Brown v. Board of Education. In ruling state-sponsored segregation unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment, the Supreme Court disconnected the "equal protection" clause from its history and context. In Brown, the outcome (desegregation) was morally unassailable. But by moving above and beyond the Constitution in favor of a higher moral goal, the Supreme Court allotted itself ultimate power: final lawmaking authority. In doing so, the Supreme Court stomped on the most important right for all Americans: their right to vote for duly elected representatives, and the right of those representatives to legislate under the Constitution.... "Equal protection" is no longer a simple bar against racist law enforcement; it is no longer even restricted to race itself. "Equal protection" now means that any law classifying groups differently must meet the Supreme Court's moral standards. Of course, all laws inherently classify groups differently. Murder laws will classify murderers differently than law-abiding citizens. Such laws have always been constitutional. But members of the Supreme Court must now personally agree that legal classifications meet their own moral standards.
If they want to create laws, they should resign from the bench, and run for the legislature, because that is the body the Constitution says should make laws.Nothing gives the Supreme Court power to overrule popular legislation wherever it pleases. The Constitution does not grant unlimited power to the Supreme Court. We live in a republic, not an oligarchy. No matter whether the Court considers the law in Kansas abhorrent or praiseworthy, it is none of its business under the Constitution. We must trust the people more than we trust tyrants. Anything less is tyranny.
Forbes.com reported From Oct. 24, 2005 to Nov. 30, 2005, Forbes.com will collect thousands of letters that our readers have written to themselves. And we'll deliver them up to 20 years later.
Specifically you can ask for the message in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years.Preserving a physical time capsule is simple: just shove it in the dirt and forget about it. But the process gets a lot more complicated when you're trying to store something digitally. Simply scheduling an e-mail for future delivery is pretty easy--just a matter of writing it and setting a send date in the future. Some e-mail clients will do it for you, and small Web sites like futureme.org will take over the task as well. But once your message is written and waiting to be sent, all kinds of things can happen to prevent delivery, particularly if you're going to be waiting for decades. Obviously we can’t 100% guarantee that our program will work, but we vastly increased the odds by using the same strategy that helps keep the Internet up and running--lots of redundancy.
Even though Forbes Magazine has been around for 85 years, and Forbes.com for a decade, we can't just assume that the company will be around in another 20 years--or that a database and application will be safe sitting on our servers for that long. But we can be fairly certain that if several different entities are charged with storing and potentially sending our e-mails, at least one of them will come through. So we decided to recruit two very different kinds of partners to help with this effort.
The first, Codefix Consulting, is a small technology consultancy based in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. Its president, Garrison Hoffman, wrote the e-mail time capsule application and designed the database that will store the messages, so we know he has the expertise to keep it running. He can also adapt the software to work on any new networks and computers that might come online in the future. By asking him to contribute, we're vesting our hopes in the entrepreneurial model of getting things done--by making the time capsule one individual's personal project, they'll be less likely to forget about it or abandon it.
For our second partner, we decided to go in the opposite direction, and choose a multi-billion dollar international corporation. The hope here is that a huge business can provide the support and expertise needed to keep our project going, and that it will survive in institutional memory--even if the employee in charge of it today drops the ball, someone else will pick it up.
That is a big gambleWe chose Internet giant Yahoo! (nasdaq: YHOO - news - people ) to take over the responsibility. Yahoo! has the savvy to shepherd our time capsule through whatever technological changes occur over the next 20 years. And their business is big enough and strong enough that we feel they're probably going to be around for a long time to come.
I suspect Yahoo, or some company that purchases Yahoo, will be around, but whether there will be email in 20 years is a questions.On Nov. 30, 2005 we seal the time capsule, and copies of the application and data will be saved here at Forbes.com, at Yahoo! and at Codefix Consulting.
But the job's not over then. We don't want you to get three copies of your e-mail if all three applications stay up and running. So we've designed the software to keep the partners in touch with each other over the Internet. Once a year, a few days before that year's messages are set to go out, the application running on Forbes' servers will send a message to Yahoo! and Codefix, letting them know it's up and running, and that it's ready to send the e-mails. Once they get that message, Yahoo! and Codefix will stand down, and won't send duplicates.
But if something happens to the Forbes' server and that message doesn't get sent, the other two partners know something is wrong. Codefix Consulting's will then take over the year's mailings--and will send a message to Yahoo! to let it know the job is underway. In turn, if both Forbes and Codefix are down, Yahoo! won't get any messages at all, and that server will know it has to take over the mailings. All this happens automatically, so human intervention isn't needed.
There's still one weak link in the equation: What if you're using a different e-mail address in five, ten, or 20 years? Well, if that happens, you're not getting your message. But you can help improve the chances of delivery success by e-mailing yourself at a personal account, one operated by a major Internet company, or a job you expect to hold for a while. Don't send the message to your work address if you're planning to leave in a few months.
Will the entrepreneur, the media company, and the Internet giant be able to pull this project off? Send yourself an e-mail, and you'll find out the answer…in 20 years.
AP reported A Roman Catholic high school has ordered its students to remove their online diaries from the Internet, citing a threat from cyberpredators.
I believe the real threat is that students may criticized the school administration.Students at Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta appear to be heeding a directive from the principal, the Rev. Kieran McHugh. McHugh told them in an assembly earlier this month to remove any personal journals they might have or risk suspension. Web sites popular with teens include myspace.com and xanga.com.
Officials with the Diocese of Paterson say the directive is a matter of safety, not censorship. No one has been disciplined yet, said Marianna Thompson, a diocesan spokeswoman. She said the ban has been on the books for five years but is only now being strictly enforced.
I don't think there were blogs five years ago. Websites, yes, but not blogs. Are they also outlawing websites? Can the students comment on a blog run by someone else?Thompson said students aren't being silenced but rather told that they cannot post online writings about school or their personal lives.
Aha. They admit it. They don't want the students posting about the school and possibly criticizing their teachers or the school administration.That could dilute the students' free speech claims somewhat, acknowledged Ed Barocas, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.
I can't believe it but I think I agree with the ACLU on this point."The rights of students at private schools are far different than those of public schools because administrators at public schools are agents of government," he said. "That's not the case here."
Dwight blogged Sounds like what the students really need is protection from clueless school administrators.
Owlish Mutterings blogged Maybe they should protect the students from priests, instead. Ok, cheap shot. But eventually we need to understand the concept that we are much more likely to be killed or raped by someone we know than by a random stranger. The whole trust no adult message aimed at kids and parents has got to be doing untold harm, while not making the kid much safer.
Ross Mackenzie wrote in Townhall Where are we on energy? In a hole of our own digging. Think about it. For most of his five years in office, President Bush has been begging Congress to move on energy - and he long was stymied by the congressional left. Out of one side of its mouth the left acknowledges our need for energy independence. Out of the other side it gives an endless litany of "reasons" we cannot do precisely the things we must to move us along the independence road.
The Left has no idea where to go, they just know it is whereever the Republicans don't want to go.Finally, in August, the president signed an energy bill full of congressional compromise. For instance, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 provides neither for oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge nor for setting higher fuel-efficiency standards in cars and trucks - two provisions the administration vigorously has sought. Yet the energy act does sanction (a) expanded federal risk insurance for new nuclear plants, (b) funds to encourage the development of hydrogen-fuel-cell technology, (c) tax incentives for clean-coal technology, (d) $15 billion in federal funds for new, alternative and renewable resources, and (e) a new inventory of oil and gas resources on the Outer Continental Shelf. Nice - sort of.
I really think it was foolish to give up on ANWAR. I dont see a need for governmental intervention in fuel-efficiency; the free market should take care of that.Then came Katrina and Rita to remind us that the energy bill crucially did not address the nation's limited refining and pipeline capacity. The hurricanes shut down dozens of refineries, disrupted one-fifth of the country's gasoline supply (resulting in correspondingly higher prices at the pump), and helped double natural gas prices from year-ago levels - a datum that come winter could devastate the bank accounts of the 70 million U.S. households heated with gas (or about 57 percent of all U.S. households).
Federal policy has assisted in multiple ways the developing crises in refined petroleum and natural gas. Regarding natural gas, easy-to-reach gas is tapping out, while federal policy long has discouraged - and still does - incentives for accessing the hard-to-reach. Regarding refining capacity, federal policy has hugely contributed - through environmental demands and requirements for boutique fuels - to a plunge from 324 refineries in 1981 (daily processing 18.6 million barrels of crude), to 149 in 2004 (daily processing 16.8 million barrels), and all while domestic demand for refined petroleum goes up.
I believe we should do additional work on natural gas, but it is absolutely vital to build a number of new refineries, and to build them somewhere other than the gulf coast, so that all of our eggs are not in the same basket.What about Big Oil's rip-off prices and obscene profits, such fashionable topics for bashing over on the left? In the 10 years beginning in 1994, the refining industry spent $47 billion not on new refineries, but on revamping existing ones to comply with federal environmental requirements.
To hear the left tell it, in the words of, e.g., Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, "Major oil companies haven't even tried to build one single new refinery in this country in 30 years . . . .(They) do not really want to expand refinery capacity because it would cut into their record-setting profits."
Then force them to build some. Or let the Federal Government build some.The nation's newest refinery - in Garyville, La. - opened in 1976. Licensing of a new refinery today would require (please sit down for this) 800 permits, most of them federal.
Remove 90% of the required permits.But there's hope in this bleak picture, hope deriving from ever-improving technology. Investor's Business Daily writes of a Rand Corp. report about extraction of oil from shale. Per-barrel oil prices currently are in the low $60s. At prices between $70 and $95, available technology renders shale-oil extraction profitable; developing technology would make it profitable at about $25 per barrel of crude (in today's dollars).
Then while the prices are high, get started extracting oil from shale, and use the profits from that to improve technology.The U.S. is the Saudi Arabia of coal, and at higher per-barrel oil prices we profitably can extract oil from coal. But do we have any oil-extractable shale? Again, please take a seat. In Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming alone the U.S. has perhaps 1 trillion barrels of oil in extractable shale - an amount capable of meeting the nation's anticipated oil needs for about 400 years. (For comparison, untapped Saudi oil reserves are estimated at 261 billion barrels.)
So: We're not running out of oil, as Cassandras relentlessly insist. At slightly higher per-barrel oil prices, existing technology can give us abundant oil from shale, and experimental technology could extract it far more economically. And then there's the oil in coal. Yet the nation still needs expanded refining capacity; it still needs to find more natural gas. And the feds and the congressional left - ever standing there, ready to help? Let them greatly maximize incentives and tax credits for new technologies and alternative fuels, and greatly minimize crippling regulation. Oh - and then they should throw down their shovels and get out of the way.
NYT reported Pakistan and India agreed early on Sunday to open the disputed frontier in earthquake-stricken Kashmir for the first time in their embittered 58-year history, officials said. Starting on Nov. 7, Kashmiris from divided families will be allowed to cross on foot at five points on the Line of Control, the military line that divides parts of the Himalayan region that is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan. Officials from both countries met in the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Saturday in an effort to reach an agreement, and the talks ran well past midnight.
This is very good news, and may lead to a solution to the dispute between these two nuclear-armed countries.
WaPo reported New Orleans is building a mountain, a heap of broken concrete and soiled mattresses and shredded curtains plopped out on the edge of a swampy road that routinely draws comparisons to a hellish scene from Dante's "Inferno." This place is called the Old Gentilly Landfill, an ancient dump that was shut down after being identified by federal regulators as a possible hazardous waste site nearly a quarter-century ago and that taxpayers have spent millions to clean up. The rebirth after Hurricane Katrina of Old Gentilly -- designated as a disposal site for "clean waste" from construction and demolition operations -- is the starkest example of how Louisiana is relaxing environmental laws to deal with the immensity of the storm's residue. Debris, such as soggy carpeting and plastic furniture that before the storm could never have gone into this kind of landfill, has been cleared by state environmental regulators to be dumped here in the open air. The state is allowing dumping at unlined Old Gentilly, even though more-modern landfills are nearby.
Why dump this stuff in any landfill? They should turn the land that is 7 to 15 feet below sea level into one huge landfill.
Telegraph reported An Islamic terror cell has smuggled two surface-to-air missiles into Europe in a plot to shoot down planes at one of France's main airports, it was claimed yesterday.
Wakeup Europe. The Islamofascists are out to get you. France does not have any troops in Iraq, and in fact they were bought and paid for by Saddam, and yet that does not protect them from these Islamofascists.French and Algerian extremists with links to al-Qa'eda bought the Russian SA-18 Grouse missiles from Chechens in 2002 and smuggled them via Georgia and Turkey, according to French anti-terror sources quoted in Le Figaro. Both missiles and several of the extremists are reportedly still at large.... According to Abu Atiya, one such group, the so-called "Chechen network", returned to France with the missiles and chemical and biological agents such as botulin, ricin and cyanide.
I wonder of Prince Charles was aware of this when he said he was going to lecture George Bush on how nice the Muslims are.
CQ blogged One has to wonder, when seeing Sadik's list of chemical and biological materiel he admits to sending into Europe, where al-Qaeda managed to get it. He told the Jordanians that he sent ricin, botulin, and cyanide with the SAMs. All three will kill with great efficiency, but ricin is especially deadly and not exactly difficult to produce. However, it seems unlikely that AQ has a stable enough shelter system to have its own production facilities. If it doesn't, the WMD had to come from somewhere -- either the Russians, who deny having any, or one of the countries which AQ has infiltrated, perhaps even Iraq.
California Yankee blogged It's not just America the evildoers hate, they seek to conquer all freedom loving people. Appeasement is perceived as the weakness it is and only encourages the terrorists.
Bluto blogged My opinion is that an attack on French soil will goad the Gauls into action. Too many of them view Islamic terrorism in merely academic terms right now, but a plane shot down over Orly, or some ricin in le Métro will expose the bankruptcy of appeasement. They shouldn't need such a ghastly event to nudge them in the right direction, but...the French are the French.
blogged If true, both these stories could have some amazing geopolitical implications...
Telegraph reported The Prince of Wales will try to persuade George W Bush and Americans of the merits of Islam this week because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since September 11.
Exactly the opposite is true; President Bush has gone overboard saying Islam is a Religion of Peace, and cowtowing to CAIR. Both the US and Britain need to clamp down on Islamoterrorists.The Prince, who leaves on Tuesday for an eight-day tour of the US, has voiced private concerns over America's "confrontational" approach to Muslim countries and its failure to appreciate Islam's strengths. The Prince raised his concerns when he met senior Muslims in London in November 2001. The gathering took place just two months after the attacks on New York and Washington. "I find the language and rhetoric coming from America too confrontational,"
Thank God the Queen recognizes what a fool her son is, and I hope she is working on a way for the succession to pass over this wimp and go instead to Prince William.the Prince said, according to one leader at the meeting.
CQ blogged May I suggest that if the Prince wants to kiss the rear ends of imams that he continue to do so in his own country. We're not beating Muslims in the streets here. We understand that moderate, law-abiding Muslims don't represent any problem; we have many here who contribute to our society when they assimilate and accept religious tolerance. If Charles wants to debate traditions of religious freedom, perhaps he would like to bone up on a little bit of British history -- including the debacle the British created in Northern Ireland, which continues to this day.
Our problem lies with Muslims who don't accept Western values of religious tolerance -- those Islamists who demand that infidels have no rights except for those of servants of Islamist masters, who consider the stoning of women to be justice for exercising some sexual and cultural freedom, who behead teenagers for going to Catholic school -- that's where the problem lies. Instead of coming to the one nation that has traditionally led the world in promoting the peaceful practice of all religions within a single culture, perhaps Charles should travel to places like Saudi Arabia and Iran to defend Christianity. Better yet, travel to any Arabic nation and defend Judaism. After all, Charles says he wants to be the Defender of All Faiths. Why not start in places where those who practice their faiths get murdered for it with their government's blessings?
Anchoress blogged Being as how the man has never had to take a subway in his life, I guess the bombings in the London tubes didn’t quite register on his chukka-damaged brain, either. I wonder if he realizes that those bombings, and the ones in Indonesia, and in Bali, and in Turkey, and all the rest, were not being carried out by “other religions, even Christians”…I wonder if he has any problem at all with Christian Girls being Beheaded in Indonesia. Carried out by…Methodists? Hmmm? Church of England? Hmmm? Jews????.... In any case, I think before he dares lecture the American President or the American People he should perhaps spend a little time with some people who have lost limbs or loved ones because of those “19 hijackers,” (no, they were TERRORISTS) - and find out what it’s like to live under a threat he will never, himself, face. Putz. What a putz!
Doug blogged Here's where the unemployed gentlement from Windsor gets it wrong from the beginning. We are not at war against Islam, we are at war against Islamofacsism, an ideology that is as much political as it is religious and which is dedicated to violent confrontation with the Western world. Talk all you want about Western Civilization's debt to Islam, we are not dealing with the Islam that preserved the works of Aristotle, we are dealing with people who would prefer to burn the works of Aristotle, and any other infidel philosopher they can get their hands on. Making peace with people such as this is impossible.
Marc blogged Would he feel that way had Muslim terrorists been successful in crashing a plane into Parliament on that same day? Would he still feel that way had Muslim terrorists been successful in their planned Sarin gas attack on Parliament. If Charles thinks we're the ones that are "intolerant" how does he explain all these Muslim crimes against Christians?
This Day In History
- 1735 John Adams, the second president of the United States, was born in Braintree, Mass.
- 1885 Poet Ezra Pound was born in Hailey, Idaho.
- 1938 The radio play ''The War of the Worlds,'' starring Orson Welles, aired on CBS. The live drama, which employed fake news reports, panicked some listeners who thought its portrayal of a Martian invasion was true.
- 1952 Dr. Albert Schweitzer, missionary surgeon and founder of Lambaréné leper Hospital in République du Gabon, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work. Schweitzer donated his prize to the hospital.
- 1953 Gen. George C. Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
- 1961 The Soviet Union tested a hydrogen bomb.
- 1961 The Soviet Party Congress unanimously approved a resolution ordering the removal of Josef Stalin's body from Lenin's tomb.
- 1975 The New York Daily News ran the headline ''Ford to City: Drop Dead'' a day after President Gerald R. Ford said he would veto any proposed federal bailout of New York City.
- 1989 Mitsubishi Estate Co., a major Japanese real estate concern, announced it was buying 51 percent of Rockefeller Group Inc. of New York.
- 1997 A jury in Cambridge, Mass., convicted British au pair Louise Woodward of second-degree murder in the death of 8-month-old Matthew Eappen. The judge later reduced the verdict to manslaughter and set Woodward free.
- 1998 In Nicaragua, a mudslide caused by Hurricane Mitch killed at least 2,000 people.
- 2000 Comedian, TV host, author and composer Steve Allen died at age 78.
- 2002 Walter Mondale returned to politics as Minnesota Democrats tapped the former vice president to run for the seat of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone less than a week before the election.
- 2002 Rapper Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC was killed in a shooting in New York; he was 37.
- 1735 John Adams (2nd U.S. President [1797-1801], 1st Vice President; married to Abigail Smith [two sons, three daughters]; nickname: Atlas of Independence; father of John Quincy Adams [6th U.S. President]; died July 4, 1826)
- 1882 William ‘Bull’ (Frederick) Halsey Jr. (U.S. Naval Commander and Admiral: WWII: South Pacific arena; his flagship: USS Missouri; died Aug 16, 1959)
- 1893 Charles Atlas (Angelo Siciliano) (bodybuilder: 97-lb. weakling who had sand kicked in his face advertisement; died Dec 24, 1972)
- 1896 Ruth Gordon (Jones) (Academy Award-winning actress)
- 1915 Fred Friendly (broadcast journalist; TV producer: CBS, PBS; died Mar 3, 1998)
- 1945 Henry Winkler (actor: Happy Days)