Philadelphia Inquirer reported Senators Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) and Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) today will announce the introduction of a bill that would provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research that does not involve destroying a human embryo.
The bill would provide "funds as necessary" to the National Institutes of Health for research into ways to get powerful stem cells from sources that "do not require the creation of human embryos for research purposes or discarding" human embryos, a Santorum spokesman said.
This is good news, not just the fact that there is a way to pursue embryonic stem cells without killing an embryo, but that people like Specter and Santorum can agree on it.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Independent reported Human rights groups have condemned the "barbaric" murder of a 14-year-old boy, who, according to witnesses, was shot on his doorstep by Iraqi police for the apparent crime of being gay....
I don't support this, of course, but don't the same liberals who are upset at this, always telling us we are supposed to be tolerant of other cultures?Grand Ayatollah Sistani recently issued a fatwa on his website calling for the execution of gays in the "worst, most severe way".
Is a gunshot not the "worst, most severe way"?The powerful Badr militia acts as the military wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which counts Ayatollah Sistani as its spiritual leader. Another fatwa from the late and much revered Ayatollah Abul Qassim Khoei allows followers to kill gays "with a sword, or burn him alive, or tie his hands and feet and hurl him down from a high place".
But that does not include gunshot.
Nathalie Szerman wrote in MEMRI In his Manifesto for an Enlightened Islam (Manifeste pour un islam des lumières), Chebel puts forth 27 proposals for extensively reforming Islam. He turns to the values of the 18th-century European Enlightenment for guidance, when rationalism and secularism guided the drive towards cultural, social and political progress. Chebel's first two propositions set the principles of reform: a new interpretation of the Koran, and the preeminence of reason over creed. However, he dismisses atheism, noting that "nothing very important is achieved outside the framework of religion."
Chebel calls for putting an end to violence in the name of Islam;
I agreefor renouncing Jihad, which is, in his eyes, immoral;
I agreefor abolishing all fatwas calling for death;
I agreeand for abolishing Islamic corporal punishment. Chebel stands against female genital mutilation and for banning slavery and trafficking in human beings in the Arab world; for strict punishment of the perpetrators of honor crimes and for promoting the status of women.
Most of Chebel's propositions deal with politics: He advocates an independent judiciary, the preeminence of the individual over the Islamic nation, and the struggle against political assassinations in an effort to promote democracy in the Arab world. He also advocates fundamental cultural changes, such as turning freedom of thought into a Muslim value, renouncing the cult of personality, respecting the other, and fighting corruption.
His other propositions address technology, bioethics, ecology, and the media. The last one reaffirms the preeminence of human beings over religion. Chebel's propositions aim at providing keys to a modern, reformed, enlightened Islam.
Read the whole thing
Robert Spencer blogged Chebel's other recommendations are excellent. I hope they are adopted. But will a return to the original Islam really result in an intellectual flowering and enable the idea of violent jihad to be discarded? The Qur'an considers death "not a noble thing"? Yet it instructs Muslims to "kill the unbelievers wherever you find them" (9:5), promises Paradise to those who "kill and are killed" for Allah (9:111), and taunts the Jews that if they are really chosen of Allah, they will love death: "Say (O Muhammad): O ye who are Jews! If ye claim that ye are favoured of Allah apart from (all) mankind, then long for death if ye are truthful" (62:6).
Friday, May 05, 2006
In a message about another subject Allah Pundit blogged on Hot Air Construction on the Freedom Tower and a 9/11 memorial is finally under way in New York City, too. They’ve already proposed a, ahem, spending cap. At 1,776 feet, the Tower will be the tallest building in the world — for a few years, until a skyscraper being planned for Bahrain blows past it with a height of 3,000 feet.
The Bahraini tower will be part of a complex of five buildings,
The next highest is also higher at1800 feet.each of which represents one of the five pillars of Islam. And the firm that’s set to design it … is Danish.
World’s tallest building. In a Muslim country. Built by a company from the same country that produced the Mohammed cartoons, whose embassies in the Middle East have been burned as a result. What could go wrong?
I wonder what efforts they are taking to make sure someone does not fly a plane into it.
Guardian's diplomatic editor Ewen MacAskill wrote in Comment is free The key to the demotion of Jack Straw from foreign secretary is Iran. Mr Straw for more than a year, in his favourite outlet the BBC Today programme or at various press conferences, said repeatedly a military strike on Iran was inconceivable. Politicians always try to avoid boxing themselves in, but Straw did on this issue: if a military strike had become a serious option, he would have been forced to resign.
If you are going to make absolute statements, you need to be sure the boss agrees.He was reflecting the reality of British domestic politics. Against the background of the Iraq debacle, Mr Straw knew it would be difficult to win support for the military option in cabinet and that it would create even more upheaval among the membership of the already weakened Labour party.
The problem for Mr Straw is that Tony Blair does not view Iran the same way. He regards the threat posed by Iran as the most serious in the world today, and is even more messianic on the issue than George Bush. That does not mean that a military strike will happen but Mr Blair, like Mr Bush, thinks it is a good idea to keep the option on the table, if only to keep Iran guessing.
Downing Street phoned the Foreign Office several times to ask Mr Straw to stop being so categoric in ruling out a military strike. And the White House also phoned Downing Street to ask why Mr Straw kept saying these things. And that was before Mr Straw dismissed as "nuts" the prospect of a tactical nuclear strike on Iran, an option that Mr Bush subsequently refused to remove from the table.
SPACE.com reported A storm is brewing half a billion miles away and in a rare event, astronomers get to watch it closely. Jupiter is growing a new red spot and the Hubble Space Telescope is photographing the scene. Backyard astronomers have been following the action, too. "Red Spot Jr." as it is being called, formed after three white oval-shaped storms—two of which were at least 90 years old—merged between 1998 and 2000.
A similar merger took place centuries ago and formed the bigger and legendary Great Red Spot, a storm twice as big as Earth and almost 300 years old. The latest images could provide evidence that Jupiter is in the midst of a global change that can modify temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit on different parts of the globe.
Will the Bush Administration be blamed for this, or will the residents of Jupiter join Kyoto?
If you have a broadband internet connection, but no satellite TV or Cable TV, you may be interested in this item from TechBlog ChannelChooser: 70 channels of free cable-style television.
And let's get the obvious question out of the way first: Yes, there's porn . . . eight channels of it. But you won't click on that, right?
The other 62 are channels you know -- Sci-Fi, Comedy Channel, Bloomberg TV, NASA TV, MTV Overdrive -- and plenty you probably don't. Ever heard of the Patient Channel, Poker TV, the Police Channel, the EMS & Fire Channel and Psychic Interactive? Yeah, me either, but then I don't have digital cable or satellite TV, so I'm deprived. But hey, no longer! I tried clicking on a couple of the more popular ones -- including the Comedy and Sci-Fi channels -- and they just timed out. The Church Channel came right up, though.
Update: Not so obscure: CBS streams some of its shows on Innertube.
I had the same problem with Comedy and SciFi, but a lot of the others worked fine. The 70 channels are: 01-C-Span 1, 02-C-Span 2, 03-C-Span 3, 04-Pentagon Channel, 05-Roo TV, 06-CCTV, 07-European Affairs, 08-BBC News, 09-Reuters News, 10-Real Estate TV, 11-Bloomberg TV, 12-3BTV, 13-Chatshow Network, 14-Channel XL, 15-Channel 125, 16-Game Network, 17-Psychic Interactive, 18-TV Cartoons, 19-Western Channel, 20-Horror Channel, 21-Comedy Channel, 22-Sci-Fi Channel, 23-Tiscali TV, 24-Fashion Party, 25-Mania TV, 26-Drama Channel, 27-SCC TV, 28-Research Channel, 29-LNN, 30-Patient Channel, 31-Ministry Of Sound, 32-Deluxe Music, 33-TMF, 34-E-Music, 35-Deejay TV, 36-On Top TV, 37-Tunespoon, 38-RTV Channel, 39-MTV Overdrive, 40-Airside TV, 41-Lifestyle Network, 42-IVnet TV, 43-Police Channel, 44-Ems & Fire Channel, 45-NASA TV, 46-Shopping Channel, 47-Baby Channel, 48-Fashion Channel, 49-Holiday TV, 50-Fashion TV, 51-Weatherplus, 52-Hope Channel, 53-Church Channel, 54-Racing Live, 55-Wheelz TV, 56-Bandsports, 57-Cycling TV, 58-Sail TV, 59-High TV, 60-Fieldhockey TV, 61-Poker TV, 62-Star Games, 63-Adult TV Channel 1, 64-Adult TV Channel 2, 65-Adult TV Channel 3, 66-Adult TV Channel 4, 67-Lingerie Channel, 68-Midnight Hot Plus, 69-Midnight Hot, 70-Men Lingerie TV
NYT In the video released last week by the terrorist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, he is seen firing long bursts from a heavy automatic rifle, his forearms sprouting from beneath black fatigues as he exudes the very picture of a strong jihadist leader.
If you can control the editing, you can make the video show whatever you want.In out-takes from the same video, Mr. Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, cuts an altogether different figure: As the camera rolls, Mr. Zarqawi is flummoxed by how to fire the machine gun until an aide walks over and fiddles with the weapon so it discharges.
Oh, so that's how it works.Another scene shows Mr. Zarqawi hand the weapon off to several other insurgents, who absent-mindedly grab it by its scalding hot barrel.
Ouch!!!And after his shooting scene, Mr. Zarqawi walks away from the camera to reveal decidedly non-jihadist footwear: Comfortable white New Balance sneakers.
Is he a paid endorser for New Balance footwear?Turning the tables of propaganda on the most hunted man in Iraq, the American military released the video out-takes today, which they said troops had discovered amongst a trove of information about Mr. Zarqawi last month in the dangerous town of Yusifiyah, just south of Baghdad.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Stop The ACLU blogged Video thanks to Wizbang
In blooper-type footage from a Zarqawi video released last week, the al Qaeda in Iraq leader is seen fumbling with a machine gun…. Lynch said Zarqawi decided not to publicize the piece, which shows him decked out in New Balance sneakers. In it, he said, Zarqawi had trouble firing his automatic weapon and needed assistance from an aide, and his associates “do things like grab the hot barrel of the machine gun and burn themselves.”Kim Priestap at Wizbang says:
Hot Air has the video via FOX, and reports we may be closing in on the idiot. Its quite hillarious, almost like a bad skit for Al Qaeda’s funniest home videos. I’m wondering if it should bother me that Zarqawi and I have similar taste in tennis shoes.
This is hysterical. He was wearing New Balance sneakers. Sorry, but fearsome warriors don’t wear sneakers. Maybe he didn’t get the memo from OBL. Watch Zarqawi fumble with his machine gun here. In case Zarqawi wasn’t aware, fearsome warriors don’t fumble with machine guns, either.Also see: Counterterrorism Blog
FOX has a 4 minute clip.
This is hillarious. First he is fired because he is giving insurgents a bad name, then he runs out of people stupid enough to blow themselves up, so he decides to form a force big enough to attack the Coalition and Iraqi forces, then he ends up losing 100 men, with 2 Iraqi losses, and none from the Coalition. Then he proves he does not even know how to shoot a gun. There is nothing left but to pretend to be French, and wave the white flag.
Captain's Quarters blogged The French have apparently not let the ink dry on the jury submission from yesterday's sentencing recommendation in the Zacarias Moussaoui trial before starting to interfere with its implementation. Le Monde reports today that French officials have contacted the US in hopes of transferring Moussaoui to France in order to serve his sentence (h/t: CQ reader Leo T):
My high-school French is rather poor these days (thank heaven for BabelFish!), but the gist of this report is that France wants to rely on two bilateral conventions to extradite Moussaoui when sentencing is complete. They wish to explore the transfer of the al-Qaeda terrorist to French custody to serve out his sentence, supposedly under American law, but with an eye towards their own brand of justice. The conventions mentioned in the article date to 1983 and 1985, and give specific processes for the transfer of French citizens convicted in American courts, as well as the reverse.
This would be a terrible idea. The French are such cowards that all Al Qaeda would have to do is threaten to blow something up, and they would turn him over to them. They would not even have to waste the explosives (although knowing Al Qaeda, I suspect they would blow something up anyway).The French show the minimum respect for American sensibilities by announcing they will wait until after the formal sentencing today to request this extradition. Moussaoui's mother has publicly pressed the Chirac government to allow the erstwhile terrorist to serve his sentence nearby, and to do so as soon as possible.
This is a small taste of what would have occurred if the jury had given Moussaoui the death penalty. The French government would have given this much more visibility even today had that occurred, and it would have continued for years until we executed the supposedly mentally ill terrorist. As it is, if the French want to confirm American opinion of their nation, then they should by all means pursue this diplomatic effort. It will give us plenty of opportunity to remind the Chirac government of its lack of fidelity in its pledge to support us if we went back to the Security Council just once more on Iraq. We can also talk about all of the bilateral efforts between Paris and Baghdad that undermined the sanctions regime, sent military arms to Saddam Hussein, and paid bribes and kickbacks to the Ba'athist regime that Oil-For-Food specifically sought to sideline.
If the French get their hands on Moussaoui, we will only wake up a few years later to French pronouncements of miracle cures and rehabilitation, and watch the video of the AQ terrorist gleefully leaving the French prison over the protests of the American government. We do not wish to rely on French tenacity in the war on terror; we learned that lesson a long time ago. Let the French try to invoke whatever treaties they want to request Moussaoui's extradition, and let them stomp their feet when we tell them to pound sand.
I just hope we do. I am not worried about Bush turrning him over, but what about a future President?
Yahoo! News reported U.S. Judge Leonie Brinkema sent Zacarias Moussaoui to prison for life Thursday, to "die with a whimper," for his role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks:
Brinkema firmly refused to be interrupted by the 37-year-old defendant as she disputed his declaration from a day earlier: "America, you lost. ... I won." "Mr. Moussaoui, when this proceeding is over, everyone else in this room will leave to see the sun ... hear the birds ... and they can associate with whomever they want," she said. She went on: "You will spend the rest of your life in a supermax prison. It's absolutely clear who won."
Way to go Judge.And she said it was proper he will be kept away from outsiders, unable to speak publicly again. "Mr. Moussaoui, you came here to be a martyr in a great big bang of glory," she said, "but to paraphrase the poet T.S. Eliot, instead you will die with a whimper." At that point, Moussaoui tried again to interrupt her, but she raised her voice and spoke over him. "You will never get a chance to speak again and that's an appropriate ending." Brinkema sentenced Moussaoui to six life terms without the chance of parole, with two terms to be served consecutively.
Warren Bell wrote on The Corner on National Review Online Greg Pollowitz from NRO's Sixers blog sends this:
I got called a chickenhawk the other day. I think one of the greatest missed opportunities since 9/11 is that the govt. didn't create a way for 30+ year old guys who want to help, but really can't, to serve. My idea is that the govt. should create a sort of "Minuteman"/volunteer paramedic corps. Thousands of guys our age would train to be EMTs to be prepared for the next 9/11. After participants get the required classroom certification, you'd have to dedicate 4 shifts a month on an ambulance crew or in an ER to maintain current. Also, after classroom certification, you'd spend two weeks at a military base getting advanced training for dirty bombs, chem attacks, etc. with a annual one week commitment for more training. These volunteer EMTs would have their medical kits with them at all times (or as much as possible). When the next 9/11 happens (or Katrina), the EMTs would have a set plan in place. From around the country, the volunteers would group up to be ordered where to go. You could have thousands of trained volunteers ready to go anywhere in the country in under 24 hrs.Me: I would do it. I would like to have that kind of training for any number of situations, including when I sometimes worry I might have to give myself a "MacGyver"-style tracheotomy. I assume EMT training is no small thing, but even if the training were a scaled-down version, it seems like it could come in handy in a real disaster.
As I see it, this is the only way to really have the number of first responders available for a major crisis in such a way that it is affordable. Plus, it gives guys our age the chance to do something. What do you think?
This sounds like a really good idea. My health does not permit me to do it, but if I was mobile, and if this option existed, I certainly would do it. And I think he is wrong when he says that there would be thousands who would do it. I suspect the number is in thearea of a hundred thousand.
ABC News reported She's a former first lady, a United States senator, and a potential 2008 presidential candidate. But to hear Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton tell it, all of that pales in comparison to her real childhood dreams. "I wanted desperately to be an Olympic athlete,... I tried everything. I ran every race, and if I was really lucky I finished second to last…I couldn't jump, I couldn't run, I couldn't swim."
Don't let that stop you. Maybe they will make lieing an Olympic event.After determining she'd never be an athlete, she set her sights on becoming an astronaut.
I always thought she was spacy."So I wrote to NASA and said, 'How do I sign up to be an astronaut?"' she said. "And they wrote back very politely and said, 'We don't take girls."'
Next went the dream of a career in medicine. "I volunteered at the hospital but kept getting lightheaded and woozy when I saw anyone in any kind of distress," she said.
So much for a medical career.She also abandoned hopes of becoming a scientist or mathematician because she didn't have the best grades in those subjects.
So you'll be a bad scientise or a bad mathematician.That, she said, left her current career choice — one that was shaped at the family dinner table.
What's that? Being a cook???
Yahoo! News reported One-quarter of consumers abandoned a news source over the past year because they lost trust in its reporting, according to a new survey that also found the BBC, Fox News and Al Jazeera the most trusted brands in their respective home regions.
One out of three ain't bad."The jury is still out on blogs," he added. "Just as many people distrust them as trust them."
I agree with the jury; I trust some, and distrust others.
BBC News reported Morocco has appointed 50 women as state preachers for the first time as part of the government's drive to promote a more tolerant version of Islam.
I am definitely in favor of promoting a tolerant version of Islam over the more violent version. Will Briton deport some of its radical clerics that promote violence, and bring some of these women in to run the Mosques?The Islamic guides, called Mourchidats, will be able to give basic religious instruction in mosques. But they will not be able to lead Friday prayers, which will remain a male preserve.
One step at a time.Since suicide bombers struck Casablanca in 2003, there has been a crackdown on suspected Islamic militants. The country has also been attempting to modernise its human rights, especially for women, while not alienating conservative Muslims.
NYT But despite some sympathy for the nation's illegal immigrants, many black professionals, academics and blue-collar workers feel increasingly uneasy as they watch Hispanics flex their political muscle while assuming the mantle of a seminal black struggle for justice. Some blacks bristle at the comparison between the civil rights movement and the immigrant demonstrations, pointing out that black protesters in the 1960's were American citizens and had endured centuries of enslavement, rapes, lynchings and discrimination before they started marching.
They are right there, but the most important reason for them to be concerned is that black teenagers have the highest unemployment, and employeers are not willing to pay much for employees with no experience, and if they can fill those low end jobs with illegals that they can pay cash for, they will do that rather than pay young blacks and have to pay social security taxes for them.Others worry about the plight of low-skilled black workers, who sometimes compete with immigrants for entry-level jobs.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Moussaoui avoids the death penalty and gets life in the SuperMax prison. It is probably just as good. He wanted death, so that he could be a martyr. He still may get it, if there are security lapses at the Super Max prison, otherwise he can just rot in prison.
Virginia Postrel wrote It's the political economy, stupid. (Nasty phrase, that.) Texas has no income tax, which means public services are funded by sales and property taxes. Everyone, regardless of income or legal status, pays sales and property taxes, either directly or indirectly through rent. California, by contrast, relies heavily on a very progressive income tax that doesn't fall on people who are paid off the books or who don't earn much money in the first place. Liberals who support immigration should rethink their love of progressive income taxes.
Secondhand Smoke reports I have just heard from Jerri Ward: St. Luke's has agreed to continue to provide Andrea Clark life sustaining treatment under the auspices of the new doctor. Here is her letter:
"I want to let you know that St. Luke's is doing the right thing in this case now.
I am happy that they are going to allow a new doctor to take over that does not think her case is futile, which was they excuse they were going to use to kill her, but I think it is giving them too much credit to say they are doing the right thing. They would not have done so if it had not been for the many bloggers picking up on this an blogging about it.The physician team met with the new attending and it went well. The team is on board and the medical futility procedure has been stopped. For the time being, Andrea will continue to receive life-sustaining and appropriate treatment at St. Luke's.
St. Luke's, and the involved physicians, are to be commended for reconsidering and deciding to continue Andrea's care."Hat's off to Jerri and Andrea's family for their indomitable defense of the intrinsic worthiness of the life of Andrea Clark. And to those people who cared enough to let the world know that futile care theory is not going to be swallowed without a fight.
Hoystory has a clip of Hannity & Colmes which catches Colmes in a lie: Last Friday, National Review Senior Editor Ramesh Ponnuru went on “Hannity & Colmes” to promote his book “Party of Death.” As expected, Ponnuru and Alan Colmes got into it. What is interesting, though, is that Colmes is caught in a lie about whether or not he actually read Ponnuru’s book.
He first says he read the book, then he read the best parts of the book. How would he know what the best parts were if he did not read the book? Did someone read it for him, and then mark the pages he was to read?
WaPo Prince George's County won't have "Commander in Chief" to be kicked around by anymore. Just days after county bigwigs went thermonuclear over an episode in which faux POTUS Geena Davis sends in the troops to quell crime in the county (she was also seen in front of a restaurant advertising sweet potato pie, pork chops and chitlins), ABC quietly pulled the plug on the White House drama for the rest of the season.
Earlier I read that if her numbers did not pick up she was going to be impeached; last week it appeared from the previews that she was going to get sick and the Speaker of the House was going to take over, but now it sounds like even that that episode may not air.While county big cheeses no doubt wish they could claim embarrassment caused ABC's decision, honestly, the series was done in by ABC's very tight race with Fox to finish the season in first place among young viewers.
Mark Krikorian wrote on The Corner on National Review Online On the heels of yesterday's wipe-out of pro-illegal-immigration candidates in town elections in the D.C. suburb of Herndon, Va., comes a new Zogby poll (which I paid for) on the immigration proposals in Congress which I think provides a better look at public views than the push-polls conducted by the mainstream media (and was conducted before the illegal-alien anthem and the May Day general strike). We offered respondents a choice between the various approaches (and even avoided perfectly legitimate, but hotton-button, terms like "amnesty" and "illegal aliens"), and found overwhelming support for the House approach of attrition through enforcement over the Senate approach of legalization and increases in legal immigration.
This is very good news, because I much prefer the House version
Glenn Reynolds wrote in TCS Daily It seems like a lot of people are trying to shut up bloggers all of a sudden. It also doesn't seem to be working very well.
It is difficult to launch a denial of service attack for long, without people being able to track back where the attack is coming from, and hacked sites can quickly be restored from backups. And bloggers dont like to see other bloggers attacked, so many are going to highlight the hacked or temporarilly downed site, thus making it even more popular, and enabling even more people to see what ever people were trying to suppress.One example from last week was a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack against a blog, Aaron's CC, that seems to have irritated some cyber-jihadis. (We don't know for sure where the actual attackers are from, but the attacks originated in Saudi Arabia, and it seems pretty clear what they don't like about Aaron's blog.)
Aaron does post some pretty inflamatory cartoons, but they are no worse than cartoons about Jews that appear daily in the Saudi press. If they want us to respect their religion, why can't they show an equal respect for other religions.
Wizbang blogged One of the more popular arguments against a crackdown on illegal aliens has been the "do you know how hard it would be to deport 12 million people?" My standard reply has been "then we better start soon."
ROF, LMAOYesterday, I heard an interesting idea on a talk show. A caller suggested that we couple deporting illegal aliens with increased legal immigration. This was not a new idea, but his iteration of it was: a simple one-for-one exchange: for every illegal sent back, one legal is allowed in.
This is a very good idea. And on the legal one you allow in, provide them with an unforgable id card with photo and other biometrics.I think this is a good idea, but it could stand improving. Instead of a simple one-for-one exchange, I propose that for every illegal alien deported to their home country, one applicant currently going through the legal process is chosen at random for expedited processing. We, at once, punish the law-breakers and reward those obeying the laws.
I agree it sounds like a good idea, but I am not sure I see the distinction between your version and his.(I have no idea how this will also get twisted into some form of racism/bigotry/xenophobia, but I have absolute faith in the illegal-alien advocates to find a way to do so.)
This could also have the benefit of fully splitting off the legal immigrants from the pro-illegal side, as suddenly they have an incentive to turn in illegals. If sending Sven down the street back to Norway means that Cousin Lars will have a chance to jump to the head of the legal line, then that just might do the trick the next time Sven annoys Lars' cousin.
Good point.I am loath to use such a cliche' as "thinking outside the box," but this notion is a perfect example of that. It's making the statement I believe we need to make -- we welcome and value immigrants, but ONLY if they obey the rules and respect the law from the outset. It punishes lawbreakers and rewards those following the rules. It's incredibly simple, self-explanatory, and could work wonders for the problem.
Naturally, I expect it to go exactly nowhere.
Which unfortunately is what happens to all good ideas.
NYT reported Building on a winter campaign of suicide bombings and assassinations and the knowledge that American troops are leaving, the Taliban appear to be moving their insurgency into a new phase, flooding the rural areas of southern Afghanistan with weapons and men.
This is exactly why we can't signal when we will withdraw from Iraq.Each spring with the arrival of warmer weather, the fighting season here starts up, but the scale of the militants' presence and their sheer brazenness have alarmed Afghans and foreign officials far more than in previous years.
I hope they were alarmed enough to do something about it."The Taliban and Al Qaeda are everywhere," a shopkeeper, Haji Saifullah, told the commander of American forces in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, as the general strolled through the bazaar of this town to talk to people. "It is all right in the city, but if you go outside the city, they are everywhere, and the people have to support them. They have no choice."
Why do they have no choice? Why can't they report them to the government?The fact that American troops are pulling out of southern Afghanistan in the coming months, and handing matters over to NATO peacekeepers, who have repeatedly stated that they are not going to fight terrorists, has given a lift to the insurgents, and increased the fears of Afghans.
If they are not going to fight terrorists, they should go home, and not fight the terrorists that want to take over their country.
WaPo While a series of marches focused much of the nation's attention on the plight of illegal immigrants, scores of other Americans quietly seethed. Now, with the same full-throated cry expressed by those in the country illegally, they are shouting back.
One day of marches, and now the backlash starts.Congressional leaders in Washington have gotten bricks in the mail from a group that advocates building a border fence, states in the West and South have drawn up tough anti-immigrant laws, and ordinary citizens, such as Janis McDonald of Pennsylvania, who considers herself a liberal, are not mincing words in expressing their displeasure. "Send them back," McDonald said. "Build a damn wall and be done with it."
I second the motion. Particularly building the wall. I dont think it is feasible to round everyone that is here up and deport them, but I favor creation of an unforgable card with biometric data, making them available at low cost to a certain number of people wanting to come in from outside the US, and at a much higher cost to those already here (as a fine for their illegal entry), and requiring employeers to report the numbers from the cards for all employees.The anger evoked a word that immigrant organizers who opposed Monday's boycott feared: backlash. McDonald and other Americans were particularly disturbed by Monday's boycott and civil action, attended in large part by people who entered the country illegally and are now demanding rights enjoyed by U.S.-born citizens and immigrants who entered the country legally.
WaPo Herndon voters yesterday unseated the mayor and two Town Council members who supported a bitterly debated day-labor center for immigrant workers in a contest that emerged as a mini-referendum on the turbulent national issue of illegal immigration.
Illegal immigrants may march in the streets trying to pressure people to give them additional rights, but here we see the first example of where the voters indicated they dont want special accomodations for illegals.Residents replaced the incumbents with challengers who immediately called for significant changes at the center. Some want to bar public funds from being spent on the facility or restrict it to workers living in the country legally. Others want it moved to an industrial site away from the residential neighborhood where it is located.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
BK blogged As most of you may know, RN, HS and I were verbally attacked this past Saturday by an elderly white couple. When news of the incident reached CAIR National, and furthermore that I, as a CAIR employee was one of the victims, I was told to issue a press release. So here it is. I have issued many press releases in the past, but it definitely felt weird writing one about myself :)
Also, I wanted to hear Don's comments about the incident. As someone who works for CAIR, my job and my efforts solely focus on promoting a positive image of Islam, condemning any violence wrongfully associated with it, and building bridges between mainstream society and Islam.
I have mixed emotions about CAIR. I have seen them doing some very good work, and then I have seen them stand up for some pretty extreme people. It is my assumption that they stand up for Muslims regardless of what they do. If I was a Muslim myself, I would find that good, since I would have someone to protect my rights. As a non Muslim, I would wish they would focus on protecting those that follow true Islam, and that they would speak out against the very small group that have hijacked that honorable faith, and misrepresent what is said in its Holy Book, the Qu'ran.What happened to us was very, very wrong. And if I get the chance to send a message to those who used such harsh and unnecessary words with us, it would simply be this: Shame on you.
Betsy Newmark A British think tank has come up with a truly stupid idea, one so dumb that I expect that some liberals will soon be endorsing it here in the U.S. They propose that Britain make mandatory for people to vote and thus stop the decline in voter participation.
What is the penalty if you do not vote? Do they take you off the voter rolls?I suspect that the Institute for Public Policy Research, which bills itself as the "UK's leading progressive think tank" and is proud of how past research they've done has formed the foundation for the Labour Party's positions on issues, is more interested in increasing voter turnout for that party than voter turnout overall. And, if the UK is anything like the U.S., lower voter turnout is more prevalent in low income and less educated folk, those who are more likely to vote for the more liberal candidate who promises them more government largesse.
I would rather have voters have to pass a test in order to vote. Perhaps ask them 5 questions that someone must answer to become a citizen, and you must answer 2 or 3 right in order to vote.In the United States, we have so many ways that people can participate in politics other than voting. They can sign petitions, participate in demonstrations, write letters to politicians, donate money, or helping campaigns.
Or become blogers.
WaPo reported The centuries-old mawlid, a mainstay of the more spiritual and often mystic Sufi Islam, was until recently viewed as heretical and banned by Saudi Arabia's official religious establishment, the ultraconservative Wahhabis. But a new atmosphere of increased religious tolerance has spurred a resurgence of Sufism and brought the once-underground Sufis and their rituals out in the open.
I don't know that much about Islam, but I would think that it is a good sign Saudia Arabia is becoming more tolerant of different interpretations of Islam.Analysts and some Sufis partly credit reaction to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States for the atmosphere that has made the changes possible. When it was discovered that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi, the kingdom's strict Wahhabi doctrine -- which had banned all other sects and schools of thought -- came under intense scrutiny from inside and outside the country. The newfound tolerance Sufis have come to enjoy is perhaps one of the most concrete outcomes of that shift.
I hope that the Sufis are not as violent."This is one of the blessings of September 11. It put the brakes on the [Wahhabi] practice of takfir , excommunicating everyone who didn't exactly follow their creed," said Sayed Habib Adnan, a 33-year-old Sufi teacher. The government "realized that maybe enforcing one religious belief over all others was not such a good idea."
Will they take the next step and accept all People of the Book (Qur'an 3:64)When Adnan moved to Saudi Arabia from his native Yemen four years ago, Sufi gatherings were often clandestine, sometimes held in orchards outside the city, or in basements and without microphones, for fear of drawing attention. "I couldn't wear this," he said, pointing to his turban. "Or this," he said, pulling at his white cotton overcoat. "Or I would be branded a Sufi. You couldn't even say the word 'Sufi.' It was something underground, dangerous, like talking about drugs."
Sufis here say they are not a separate sect or followers of a separate religion, but adherents to a way of life based on the Muslim concept of ihsan . Muhammad explained ihsan to the angel Gabriel as "worshiping God as if you see Him. Because if you don't see Him, He sees you." Another Sufi characteristic is a strong belief in the power of blessings from the prophet, his close relatives and his companions.
CNN U.S. and Iraqi troops killed more than 100 insurgents last week in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, a U.S. Army officer said Monday. Two Iraqis also died in the fighting, said Col. John Gronski, commander of the U.S. Army's 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 28th Infantry Division. No Americans were killed.
100 insurgents, 2 Iraqis, 0 Americans killed. I wonder what this does to Zarqawi's plan to change to an army confronting the American and Iraqi armies, rather than killing innocent civilians (which made him unpopular). He has a choice: unpopular or dead.Meanwhile, in an attempt to reach out to insurgents, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said he has been meeting with seven armed groups in hopes of agreeing a deal to include them in Iraq's political process.
Ballots are better than bulletsNone of these groups include people loyal to al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, according to a statement issued Sunday from Talabani's office.
I think the Grand Ayatollah Sistani is going to have to take care of that little popinjay"These groups who are holding talks with the president are those who believe in a prosperous Iraq. Their will to fight America has waned," said a spokesman in the president's office.
If they are going to fight, they want someone easier to fight.A source close to Talabani said the meetings have been under way for some time. The groups are realizing that Americans are not their true enemy, the source said, and that they have been "fighting the wrong enemy." "[These groups] are coming to the realization that one day the Americans will leave -- and that the most important thing is an Iraq that is free from Iranian influence," the source added.
Monday, May 01, 2006
CNN. Three years after President Bush declared major combat over in Iraq, Americans have strong doubts that the United States will fulfill the promise of his "Mission Accomplished" backdrop, a poll released Monday found.
The Mission Accomplished banner was on a ship, returning home, and it referred to the Navy's Mission, which involved the use of several air craft carriers flying a number of bombing missions every day. That mission was accomplished. Those carriers are no longer where they were, and very few, if any, bombing missions are flown today.The CNN poll, conducted April 21-23 by Opinion Research Corporation, found that only 9 percent thought the U.S. mission in Iraq had been accomplished, while 40 percent believed it would be complete someday.
The rest must believe the Dems and the MSM will have their way, and pull us out before the mission is accomplished, so that Iraq can become a failed state. Which is totally stupid, since those same Dems and MSM think the Democrats will take over the government, and the Dems are totally unprepared to fight the sort of battle that they would then be faced with,
Fareed Zakaria wrote in Newsweek Global Islamic terrorism is the product of scattered groups. It has much less support in the Muslim world than people think.
Then why must Hirsi Ali leave her home.Imagine if a few months after September 11 someone had said to you, "Five years from now, in the space of a single week, Osama bin Laden will issue a new call for worldwide jihad, the head of Al Qaeda in Iraq will threaten a brutal, endless war, and there will be two terror attacks in Egypt." Chances are you would have been quite unnerved. Yet the most striking aspect of last week's news was the reaction to it—very little. Radical Islamic terror made big, violent and scary moves and—whether you judge it by media coverage, stock-market movements or international responses—the world yawned.
European countries are making some concessions in response to the violence they are seeing in their countries, and not throwing the violent people, ant those that encourage the violence, our of their countries.Al Qaeda Central, by which I mean the dwindling band of brothers on the Afghan-Pakistani border, appears to have turned into a communications company. It's capable of producing the occasional jihadist cassette, but not actual jihad. I know it's risky to say this, as Qaeda leaders may be quietly planning some brilliant, large-scale attack. But the fact that they have not been able to do one of their trademark blasts for five years is significant in itself.
Just as when you are up to your ass in aligators it is hard to think about draining the swamp, it is hard to plan major acts of terrorism when your protectors, the Taliban, have been driven from power, and when there are troops from several countries trying to find what mud hut or cave you are hiding in.Moreover, bin Laden's latest appeals have a very changed character. His messages used to be lyrical, sharp and highly intelligent. They operated at a high plane, rarely revealing anything about Al Qaeda's operations. In fact, intelligence agencies looked for small signs—an offhand reference, an item of apparel—to reveal where Al Qaeda would strike next. Bin Laden's most recent appeal is a mishmash of argument and detail, and seems slightly crazed. He has broadened his verbal attacks against the "Zionist-Crusaders" to include the United Nations and China. The latter he condemns because it "represents the Buddhists and Pagans of the world."
He has not been able to intimidate the US, maybe he thinks the Chineese will be frightened of him, and let him set up shop there.Like Hitler crazily declaring war on the United States after Pearl Harbor, bin Laden is adding to his slew of formidable enemies: China was the only major world power that was unconcerned about him. (And his reference to the United Nations as a "Zionist-Crusader tool" would surely surprise most Israelis.)
That is certainly true. The UN has certainly not been a friend to Israel.Bin Laden also makes some plaintive appeals to Muslims to rise up and attack the "crusaders" in the west of Sudan. This shows desperation because there are no "crusaders" in Sudan. The troops there are African Union peacekeepers. But more interestingly, the victims in Darfur are Muslim.
He does not care. Zarqawi learned that the Iraqis don't appreciate him killing other Muslims, but Osama has not learned that yet.Bin Laden's real objective appears to be to support the government in Sudan—which once housed him—as it brutally exterminates tribes that oppose it. What does this have to do with Islam?
What does anything he says have to do with true Islam? He is looking for a country to house and protect him.Most revealingly, bin Laden makes a parochial appeal for foreign aid, to help those Qaeda supporters in Waziristan who have been rendered homeless by Pakistani Army attacks. That suggests he and his friends are having a rough time. Strip away the usual hot air, and bin Laden's audiotape is the sign of a seriously weakened man.
Betsy Newmark blogged As Zakaria sees it, here we have the leader of the worldwide terrorist movement doing a telethon pitch for money for more mudhuts.
Add to that, a story that Captain Ed discusses about how Zarqawi is making a move away from terrorist attacks to forming an army to fighting more of a guerrilla war against the American and Iraq forces in Iraq. It's dawning on the guy that the terrorist attacks on civilians are not winning friends for him in the country.
Remember that he went to terrorist attacks on people going to work or buying dinner because they were stymied in their abilities to attack the military forces. Now he's returning to the first tactics that weren't working for him previously. This is not a sign of strength.
In an earlier post I asked "Why don't moderate Muslims speak out about things the radicals do." BK from My Rubix Cube replied Moderate Muslims are speaking out, all the time, but the problem is that mainstream media doesn't care to listen to us.
My response was I would recommend you get a blog and speak out there. Let some of us know about it, and we can link to your blog when something comes up.
I would like to go one step further. If you are a Moderate Muslim with a blog, and
- if you frequently blog about your faith, and how consistent it is and is not, with what the Jihadists are saying
- if you believe that Jihad refers to the struggle within the soul, to do what Allah would have you do,
- if you defend the faith from critics with words, not violence,
- if you believe that Christians, Jews, and Muslims are all "People of the Book" (or ahl al Kitâb) as Surat Al 'Imran, 64 (Qur'an 3:64) says "O People of the Book! Let us rally to a common formula to be binding on both us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God."
- if you can accept Christians and Jews as Surat al-Baqara, 136 (Qur'an 2:136) says Say ye: "We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them:" and Surat aal-E-Imran, 3 (Qur'an 3:3) says It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong)."
I am a Christian, and I take great pleasure in having Jesus Christ as my personal saviour, and I have absolutely no intention of changing my faith, nor do I proseletize and attempt to persuade others who are comfortable in their faiths to reject them and embrace mine. However I deeply respece Jews and moderate Muslims who worship the one true God, but who do not use violence to oppose those whose faith differs from theirs.
I expect to see both Jews, who follow the laws set down in the Torah, and Muslims, who follow the Five Pillars of Islam, in Heaven when I get there. I do not expect to see suicide bombers who kill innocents, because as their own Holy Book proclaims Surat an-Nisa,093 (Quran 4.93) says "If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him."
NYT With a $10 billion advertising market at stake, Google, the fast-rising Internet star, is raising objections to the way that it says Microsoft, the incumbent powerhouse of computing, is wielding control over Internet searching in its new Web browser.
Don't tel me they default to the MSN search instead of Google search. Isn't that surprising. NOT!!!Google, which only recently began beefing up its lobbying efforts in Washington, says it expressed concerns about competition in the Web search business in recent talks with the Justice Department and the European Commission, both of which have brought previous antitrust actions against Microsoft.
The good old American way. Sue the bastards.The new browser includes a search box in the upper-right corner that is typically set up to send users to Microsoft's MSN search service. Google contends that this puts Microsoft in a position to unfairly grab Web traffic and advertising dollars from its competitors.
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Why don't moderate Muslims speak out about things the radicals do. Could it be because of this item in Pakistan's Daily Times Anyone reporting an honour killing case to the police or filing a case with the court will be killed by the jirga (tribal court) since the publicising of such cases has brought a bad name to the area, Malik Faiz Muhammad, a member of the Nihag-Wari jirga in Upper Dir, said on Friday.
So the jurga (tribal court) authorized an honour killing, and promises to kill anyone that notifies the police, because it might bring a bad name to the area? If the person reporting it was a good Muslim, would the jurga still kill him? Surat an-Nisa,093 (Quran 4.93) says "If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him."
BBC NEWS Anti-terrorist experts are floundering about trying to understand Islamic suicide bombers in the UK and the rest of Europe.... The conference sought to assemble "the puzzle that will help us better understand what determines and motivates the actions of individual jihadists." The puzzle however remained frustratingly in pieces.
They are illiterate people who are not able to read and think for themselves. Some cleric read them Surah 9:111 which says "Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph." and tells them that if they kill in the name of Allah, they will go directly to Paradise, but let us read that Surah more closely. Note it says they shall fight in the way of Allah. What is Allah's way? If he wants someone killed, can't he do it himself? Let us read further. binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. So it is something in the Torah (the first five books of the old testament) and in the Gospel of his Son Jesus. Well let us set aside the Torah and the Quran, I can guarantee you that nothing in the Gospel of Jesus justifies Suicide Bombers. And the clerics that pull the wool over the eyes of the people they are trying to get to become Suicide Bombers, to blow themselves up, killing innocent people, in the hopes of killing someone the cleric does not like, certainly does not tell them about Surah 4.93 which says "If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him."
Macleans.ca Over in Sweden, they've been investigating the Grand Mosque of Stockholm. Apparently, it's the one-stop shop for all your jihad needs: you can buy audio cassettes at the mosque encouraging you to become a martyr and sally forth to kill "the brothers of pigs and apes" -- i.e. Jews.
That is nice. And in a major house of worship for the "Religion of Peace".So somebody filed a racial-incitement complaint and the coppers started looking into it, and then Sweden's chancellor of justice, Goran Lambertz, stepped in. And Mr. Lambertz decided to close down the investigation on the grounds that, even though the porcine-sibling stuff is "highly degrading," this kind of chit-chat "should be judged differently -- and therefore be regarded as permissible -- because they were used by one side in an ongoing and far-reaching conflict where calls to arms and insults are part of the everyday climate in the rhetoric that surrounds this conflict."
And are you stupid enough to think that they will solve the conflict that way?In other words, if you threaten to kill people often enough, it will be seen as part of your vibrant cultural tradition -- and, by definition, we're all cool with that. Celebrate diversity, etc. Our tolerant multicultural society is so tolerant and multicultural we'll tolerate your intolerant uniculturalism. Your antipathy to diversity is just another form of diversity for us to celebrate.
This is a lot of what piles up at the south end of a horse facing north. They are just to frightened of Muslims to let them get by with this sort of stuff. They need to understand that if they dont get people like that out of their country, they will no longer have a country.
Reuters reported Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles' first Latino mayor in the modern era, will skip huge pro-immigration rallies planned for Monday to meet with pro football officials in Dallas, leaving organizers feeling like "a ship without a captain."
He is smart. He knows that he could not be re-elected with just the Latino vote, and for him to look like he was responsible for something the organizers have said is a desire to cause severe disruptions to the city, would have been STUPID.Oscar Sanchez, an organizer of the Great American Boycott in Los Angeles, said the mayor's office previously told the group he would speak at a downtown Los Angeles rally on Monday -- then backed out. Instead, the mayor will be in Dallas speaking with National Football League officials about the possibility of bringing a team back to Los Angeles.
The White Male vote must be bigger than the Latino vote
Sunday Times The leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is attempting to set up his own mini-army and move away from individual suicide attacks to a more organised resistance movement, according to US intelligence sources.
The suicide attacks are just ticking off the Iraqi citizens, who then turn in the terrorists, and they are running out of people willing to commit suicide. Apparently someone read Quran 4.93Faced with a shortage of foreign fighters willing to undertake suicide missions, Zarqawi wants to turn his group into a more traditional force mounting co-ordinated guerrilla raids on coalition targets.
This is fantastic news. If we meet his army in the battleground, we will destroy him. His army can't even compete with the Iraqi army.Al-Qaeda is sending training and planning experts to help to set up the force and infiltrate members into Iraq with the assistance of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the sources said.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard did not do that well against the Iraqi army when Saddam was in charge. Do they think they can do better against our army?Jihad Watch blogged Al-Zarqawi planning to set up an Al-Qaeda army in Iraq with help from Iran's Revolutionary Guards. What's that? A Sunni group getting help from Shi'ites? Don't they realize that the learned Western analysts have told us that Sunnis don't work with Shi'ites? Al-Zarqawi must be some kind of simplistic Islamophobic propagandist with a magpie's knowledge of Islam garnered from armchair reading.
He certainly does not know that much about Islam. He has been killing innocent Iraqis (Muslims) and Surat an-Nisa,093 (Quran 4.93) says "If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him."Marc blogged Faced with a shortage of foreign fighters willing to undertake suicide missions, Zarqawi wants to turn his group into a more traditional force mounting co-ordinated guerrilla raids on coalition targets. So, how's that working out? Not good, not good at all. The attacks raged for "hours", an Iraqi police official said, estimating that between 400 and 500 rebels took part. The result? At least 21 Iraqi insurgents and seven soldiers have been killed in fighting in the city of Baquba during which at least 43 insurgents were captured. It would seem Zarqawi's army is no match for Iraq's army. Meanwhile, Zarqawi's commanders are being killed or captured in droves. There are 4 major elements that are accelerating the defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq. The Iraqi army is now able to fight on its own and is taking the lead, citizens are increasingly turning in al Qaeda terrorists, local terrorists have delcared war on Zarqawi and the new Iraqi government will be seated in the next two weeks.