Saturday, April 02, 2005


Power Line said the NYT had its criticisms of John Paul's papacy ready to go, but apparently went looking for something good to say about the Pope at the last minute

He said this article originally read

Even as his own voice faded away, his views on the sanctity of all human life echoed unambiguously among Catholics and Christian evangelicals in the United States on issues from abortion to the end of life.

need some quote from supporter

John Paul II's admirers were as passionate as his detractors, for whom his long illness served as a symbol for what they said was a decrepit, tradition-bound papacy in need of rejuvenation and a bolder connection with modern life.
He said he got a screen capture of that outrageous post just before they changed it.

CQ also has this item, and he has the actual screen capture


On The Other Side

I have a mailing list and send 3 inspirational messages and 1 Christian message each week to people asking to be on the list. If you would like to be added, just leave a request together with your email address in a comment.

The Christian message for this week is particularly appropriate, since at 2:37 Central Time Pope John Paul II, also known as the Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Successor of St. Peter, Prince of Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, and Sovereign of Vatican City went Home to be with Christ.

On The Other Side

A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side."

Very quietly, the doctor said, "I don't know."

"You don't know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?"

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; from the other side of which came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.

I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing...

I know my Master is there and that is enough."
Pope John Paul II did not know what was waiting for him, but he knew that Christ suffered for us, and the Pope knew that through his own suffering we could learn from him how to be closer to God.

The Gates of Heaven are now open wide, waiting for the rider on the pale horse to bring the Pope Home.

See TheAnchoress, CQ, OTB, RedState, PunditGuy, Professor Bainbridge, MugWump, Trey Jackson, and Michelle Malkin for further information on the Pope's passing.


Saturday, April 2

This Day In History

  • 1513   Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed in Florida.
  • 1792   Congress passed the Coinage Act, which authorized establishment of the first U.S. mint, in Philadelphia.
  • 1805   Storyteller Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark.
  • 1860   The first Italian Parliament met at Turin.
  • 1865   Confederate President Jefferson Davis and most of his Cabinet fled the Confederate capital of Richmond, Va.
  • 1872   Samuel F.B. Morse, developer of the electric telegraph, died in New York.
  • 1917   President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war against Germany.
  • 1932   Aviator Charles Lindbergh paid $50,000 ransom in a New York cemetery to a man who promised to return his kidnapped son. The child was found dead the following month.
  • 1974   French President Georges Pompidou died in Paris.
  • 1982   Argentina seized the disputed Falkland Islands from Britain.
  • 1985   The NCAA Rules Committee adopted the 45-second shot clock for men’s basketball, to begin in the 1986 season. It was an effort to thwart the end-of-game stalls that kept opposing teams from scoring in close contests.
  • 1992   Mob boss John Gotti was convicted in New York of murder and racketeering.
  • 1995   Baseball owners accepted the players' union offer to play without a contract, ending the longest and costliest strike in professional sports history.
  • 2000   Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi suffered a debilitating stroke.
  • 2002   Israel seized control of Bethlehem; Palestinian gunmen forced their way into the Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, beginning a 39-day standoff.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1725   Giovanni Casanova (writer: History of My Life; philanderer: his name became synonymous for philanderer, rogue in the English language even though he was Italian; died June 4, 1798)
  • 1805   Hans Christian Andersen (author of fairy tales: The Tinder Box, The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes; died Aug 4, 1875)
  • 1875   Walter Chrysler (auto manufacturer: Chrysler Corporation; died Aug 18, 1940)
  • 1908   Buddy Ebsen (Christian Rudolph Ebsen) (actor: The Beverly Hillbillies, Barnaby Jones, The President’s Plane is Missing, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Red Garters, Stone Fox, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; died July 6, 2003)
  • 1914   Sir Alec Guinness (Alec Guinness de Cuffe) (Academy Award-winning actor: The Bridge on the River Kwai [1957]; The Empire Strikes Back, The Lavender Hill Mob, Star Wars, A Passage to India, The Quiller Memorandum; died Aug 5, 2000)
  • 1920   Jack (John Randolph) Webb (director, actor: Dragnet, Pete Kelly’s Blues; actor: Sunset Boulevard, The Halls of Montezuma; died Dec 23, 1982)
  • 1945   Reggie (Carl Reginald) Smith (baseball: Boston Red Sox [World Series: 1967/all-star: 1969, 1972], SL Cardinals [all-star: 1974, 1975], LA Dodgers [World Series: 1977, 1978, 1981/all-star: 1977, 1978, 1980], SF Giants)


Friday, April 01, 2005

Pope is dead

Pope John Paul II, also known as the Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Successor of St. Peter, Prince of Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, and Sovereign of Vatican City has now gone Home to be with Christ.

A boy from small-town Poland grew up to become pope and, in the opinion of some, "the man of the century, and together with Ronald Reagan was responsible for the fall of the Soviet Union without firing a shot.
The Pope died at 9:37 p.m. Rome Time (1:37 p.m. Central Time).

Karol Josef Wojtyla (pronounced Voy-tee-wah) was born in Wadowice (a small city 50 kilometres from Cracow), Poland, on May 18, 1920, the second of two sons born to Karol Wojtyla (a retired non-commissioned army officer) and Emilia Kaczorowska (a school teacher). His eldest brother Edmund, a doctor, died in 1932 and his father died in 1941.

He made his First Holy Communion at age 9 and was confirmed at 18. Upon graduation from Marcin Wadowita high school in Wadowice, he enrolled in Cracow's Jagiellonian University in 1938 and in a school for drama. He studied literature and philosophy and later was a playwright and poet. The Nazi occupation forces closed the university in 1939 and young Karol had to work in a quarry (1940-1944) and then in the Solvay chemical factory to earn his living and to avoid being deported to Germany.

In 1942, aware of his call to the priesthood, he began courses in the clandestine seminary of Cracow, run by Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, archbishop of Cracow. At the same time, Karol Wojty?a was one of the pioneers of the "Rhapsodic Theatre," also clandestine. After the Second World War, he continued his studies in the major seminary of Cracow, once it had re-opened, and in the faculty of theology of the Jagiellonian University, until his priestly ordination in Krakow on November 1, 1946.

He spent much of the next few years studying -- he earned two masters degrees and a doctorate -- before taking up priestly duties as an assistant pastor in Krakow in 1949. In 1956, Wojtyla was appointed to the Chair of Ethics at Catholic University and his ascent through the church hierarchy got a boost in 1958 when he was named the auxiliary bishop of Krakow.

On July 4, 1958, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Cracow by Pope Pius XII, and was consecrated September 28, 1958, in Wawel Cathedral, Cracow, by Archbishop Baziak. When the Vatican Council II began the deliberations in 1962 that would revolutionize the church, Wojtyla was one of its intellectual leaders and took special interest in religious freedom. The same year, he was named the acting archbishop of Krakow when the incumbent died. On January 13, 1964, he was nominated Archbishop of Krakow by Pope Paul VI, who made him a cardinal June 26, 1967.

Wojtyla was shrewd enough not to let his distaste for communism show, so his appointment as cardinal in 1967 was welcomed by the government, considered "tough but flexible" and a moderate reformer, but an improvement on old-school hard-liners who were unalterably opposed to communism and communists.

Although he had established himself as a formidable intellectual presence -- as well as an able administrator and fund-raiser -- few suspected that the Sacred College of Cardinals would choose Wojtyla as the next pope after the death of John Paul I in September of 1978. But when the cardinals were unable to agree on a candidate after seven rounds of balloting, Wojtyla was chosen on the eighth round late in the afternoon of October 16. He reportedly formally accepted his election before the cardinals with tears in his eyes. (Associates say the pope is an emotional man, and is often moved to tears by children.)

Wojtyla chose the same name as his predecessor -- whose reign lasted just 34 days before he died of a heart attack -- and added another Roman numeral in becoming the first Slavic pope. He was also the first non-Italian pope in 455 years (the last was Adrian VI in 1523) and, at 58, the youngest pope in 132 years.

When Wojtyla's election was announced, Yuri Andropov, leader of the Soviet Union's KGB intelligence agency, warned the Politburo that there could be trouble ahead. He was right. Less than eight months after his 1978 inauguration, Karol Wojtyla returned to Poland as Pope John Paul II for nine cathartic days.

There was a crowd of one million people, and he told them 'You are men. You have dignity. Don't crawl on your bellies.' It was the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union. His support for the Solidarity movement in Poland -- priests concealed messages from John Paul to imprisoned union leaders in their robes -- was a key to the downfall of communism in Poland.

When a Turk named Mehmet Ali Agca shot the pope twice in an assassination attempt in 1981, Agca first told the authorities that he was acting for the Bulgarian intelligence service. The Bulgarians were known to do the bidding of the KGB, but Agca later recanted that part of his confession. It didn't matter to the pope who was responsible, and later he visited Agca in his cell and forgave him. The astonished Agca said, "How is it that I could not kill you?"

Incidently Tom Clancy wrote a fictional story Red Rabbit about this assassination attempt. It was written long after the real attempt, so it is not as amazing as Executive Orders which was written in 1994, long before 9/11.

By the 1980s, Pope John Paul II had reaffirmed the church's position on controversial issues such as abortion, birth control and the ordination of women. He could communicate his message in eight languages, and traveled widely throughout his papacy.

The pope wished a Happy Easter to the world in 58 languages as part of his "urbi et orbi" (to the city and the world) during Easter Mass at the Vatican in April 1998. Deteriorating health and age forced the most traveled pope ever to cut back on his visits.

His principal documents include 14 encyclicals , 15 apostolic exhortations , 11 apostolic constitutions and 45 apostolic letters. The Pope has also published five books : "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" (October 1994); "Gift and Mystery: On the 50th Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination" [Italian, Spanish] (November 1996); "Roman Triptych - Meditations", a book of poems (March 2003); "Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way" [Italian, Spanish] (May 2004) and "Memory and Identity" (pubblication spring 2005).

Since the start of his Pontificate on October 16, 1978, Pope John Paul II completed 104 pastoral visits outside of Italy, and 146 within Italy. As Bishop of Rome he visited 317 of the 333 parishes. John Paul II presided at 147 beatification ceremonies (1,338 Blesseds proclaimed ) and 51 canonization ceremonies (482 Saints) during his pontificate. He held 9 consistories in which he created 231 (+ 1 in pectore) cardinals. He also convened six plenary meetings of the College of Cardinals.

From 1978 to today the Holy Father has presided at 15 Synods of Bishops : six ordinary (1980, 1983, 1987, 1990, 1994, 2001), one extraordinary (1985) and eight special (1980, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998[2] and 1999).

No other Pope has encountered so many individuals like John Paul II: to date, more than 17,600,000 pilgrims have participated in the General Audiences held on Wednesdays (more than 1,160). Such figure is without counting all other special audiences and religious ceremonies held [more than 8 million pilgrims during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 alone] and the millions of faithful met during pastoral visits made in Italy and throughout the world. It must also be remembered the numerous government personalities encountered during 38 official visits and in the 738 audiences and meetings held with Heads of State , and even the 246 audiences and meetings with Prime Ministers.

For more information on Pope John Paul II see the sources I used to gather the information for this post:,, and

What happens now
  • When the pope dies, the dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals notifies the cardinals and calls a meeting -- always held in the morning -- that must begin no more than 20 days after the pope's death.
  • The cardinals draw lots to select three members to collect ballots from the infirm, three "tellers" to count the votes and three others to review the results.
  • Blank ballots are then prepared and distributed.
  • After writing the name of one man on his ballot, each of the approximately 120 active cardinals -- those under 80 years of age -- walks to an altar and pledges to perform his duty with integrity. He then places his ballot in a container which is covered by a plate.
  • After all votes are cast, the tellers tally the ballots and the result is read to the cardinals.
  • If there is no winner, another vote is taken. If there is still no winner, two more votes are scheduled for the afternoon.
  • After the votes are counted each time, the ballots are burned. If there has been no winner, a chemical is mixed with the ballots to produce black smoke when they are burned. Sight of the black smoke emerging from the roof of the Vatican Palace tells those waiting in St. Peter's Square that a pope has not yet been selected. When a winner has been selected, the ballots are burned alone, and the white smoke indicates there is a new pope.
  • Traditionally, the winner had to garner two-thirds of the vote plus one, but John Paul II changed that in 1996. He ruled that if, after 12 or 13 days there is still no winner, the conclave could invoke a rule -- by majority vote -- that would permit the selection of the pope by an absolute majority.
  • Once there is a winner, the pope-elect is asked if he accepts the decision. (Pope John Paul II reportedly accepted his election with tears in his eyes.) If he does, the dean asks what name he chooses and announces it to the cardinals, who then come forward to offer congratulations.
  • The oldest cardinal then steps out on a balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square and says to the crowd, "Habemus papam" -- "We have a pope." He then introduces the pope, who steps out on the balcony to bless Rome and the world.
  • Many popes have been formally installed with a coronation, but Pope John Paul II refused a coronation and was installed as the pope during a Mass in St. Peter's Square.
For more information see Electing a Pope, How Are Popes Elected? Two Complimentary Lectures, A Concise Overview Of Papal Funeral Rights And Transition, , Who will be the next pope?, Ritual governs choice of successor, Why The Next Pope May Be A Surprise, Cardinals Differ on Who Will Succeed Pope, A search for the new Pope, and Cardinals differ on who will succeed Pope.

Candidates cited as front-runners: Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, O.P., the Cardinal-Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, Cardinal Ivan Dias of India, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a German who is the Vatican's doctrinal watchdog; Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes; Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, and Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Italy. (HatTip to MM)

Other interesting references are The Pope Blog, MSNBC Vatican Watch, Citizen Journalists Report, The Pope Page, John Paul II
and the Crisis of Humanism
, Faithful Pray for the Pope, and ewtn.

Blog posts honoring Pope John Paul II include Professor Stephen Bainbridge, Josh Marshall, Michelle Malkin, The Pope’s Beautiful Life, The Pope's Final Hours, OC Chronicle, BogusGold, baldilocks, A Certain Slant of Life, and Pundit Guy.


Catching Big Phishers

Enterprise Windows reported Microsoft is filing 117 lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle against John Doe defendents alleged to run large-scale phishing operations.

The targets are people suspected of using MSN and Hotmail in ruses to trick consumers into handing over financial information....

“Phishing is more than a dirty trick played on unsuspecting consumers -- it's a serious identity theft problem," said Lydia Parnes, acting director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "In little over a year, it's become one of the top scams reported to our National Fraud Information Center and Internet Fraud Watch program."

On a related subject Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) has introduced a federal anti-phishing bill that would result in considerable fines and jail terms for any individuals who create fraudulent Web sites and send misleading e-mail with the intention to gain financial information from unsuspecting users.

The Anti-Phishing Act of 2005 [S. 472] "targets a serious threat to the security of the Internet," Leahy says in a statement. [A similar bill is in the House H. R. 1099]

The legislation also includes penalties for "pharming," which uses browsers and the Internet's addressing system to direct people to phony sites.

The introduction of the bill comes the same week that the Anti-Phishing Working Group issued a major -- and alarming -- report about current phishing activity.


2GB Gmail Inbox

Digital Lifestyles reported A year after its launch, Google has doubled the capacity of its Gmail service and added new features.

Those lucky souls invited to have an account now get a whopping great 2GB of storage, with the ability to send up to 10MB of attachments in a single message with free POP access - with Google promising further increases in the pipeline.

"Since we introduced Gmail, people have had a lot of places to store e-mail, but some of our heavier users have been approaching their limits, and have been wondering what is going to happen," says Georges Harik, Gmail's product management director. "So, starting today, we are going to give people more and more space continuously and indefinitely."

"Our plan is to continue growing your storage beyond 2GB by giving more space as we are able to do so. We know that email will only become more important in people's lives, and we want Gmail to keep up with our users and their needs."

The move comes hot on the heels of last week's decision by Yahoo to increase the size of its free account to 1GB. Both Yahoo and Hotmail can offer up to 2GB of storage as well, but users must fork out for the privilege.

The company has announced no immediate plans to increase Gmail's 10MB limit on attachment sizes, and there's no prospect of subscribers being able to turn their in-box storage into a full-featured virtual external hard disk....

Google is also testing phishing protection on the accounts, serving up a warning when it detects a dodgy looking email.


Berger Will Plead Guilty

WaPo reported Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, a former White House national security adviser, plans to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, and will acknowledge intentionally removing and destroying copies of a classified document about the Clinton administration's record on terrorism.

Berger's plea agreement, which was described yesterday by his advisers and was confirmed by Justice Department officials, will have one of former president Bill Clinton's most influential advisers and one of the Democratic Party's leading foreign policy advisers in a federal court this afternoon....

The terms of Berger's agreement required him to acknowledge to the Justice Department the circumstances of the episode. Rather than misplacing or unintentionally throwing away three of the five copies he took from the archives, as the former national security adviser earlier maintained, he shredded them with a pair of scissors late one evening at the downtown offices of his international consulting business.

The document, written by former National Security Council terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke, was an "after-action review" prepared in early 2000 detailing the administration's actions to thwart terrorist attacks during the millennium celebration. It contained considerable discussion about the administration's awareness of the rising threat of attacks on U.S. soil.

Archives officials have said previously that Berger had copies only, and that no original documents were lost. It remains unclear whether Berger knew that, or why he destroyed three versions of a document but left two other versions intact. Officials have said the five versions were largely similar, but contained slight variations as the after-action report moved around different agencies of the executive branch.

Why let him plea bargain? He should be in prison.

CQ blogged He should face obstruction of justice and contempt of Congress just for this action alone, both felonies. The Post, meanwhile, insists on calling these "copies". They were not exact copies; each memo started off as a copy of an original draft by Richard Clarke, but the memos had handwritten notes from each recipient as comments, requests for revision, and suggestions for possible action. Each document was unique, and their destruction by Mr. Scissors means that we will never know what some did with Clarke's information. All we know is that it must have reflected badly on Berger, Clinton, or both. Otherwise, why would Berger destroy them?

This is a travesty. If a lower-level cleared worker had done a fraction of what Berger did in this case, he would face years in prison. Berger gets off with a fine that any of his well-connected friends will wind up underwriting, a gracious gesture of gratitude for pulling their chestnuts out of the fire.

Michelle Malkin blogged Why would Berger destroy documents if they were merely copies of originals retained by Archives?

Expert blogged Not surprised, but very disappointed. Berger should be behind bars, and should never receive national security clearance ever again. I don't see why the Justice Department accepted a plea to begin with. Berger was obviously guilty, and they were never going to see those missing documents again. So what did the government get out of this?

Soliloquy blogged It was not inadvertent

mhking blogged I fully expect Berger to get away without spending a single day in jail. Plus some of the pilfered docs that Berger swiped are still missing. Mission accomplished.

La Shawn blogged As I wrote back in July 2004, Samuel “Sandy” Berger Won’t Go To Jail…

Duffy blogged This scandal -- described in the Times as an "embarrassing episode" -- is clearly a case of CYA. Berger absconded with documents that must have proved embarrassing to the Clinton administration; no other explanation makes sense.

Richie Rich blogged Good luck in your new career, Mr. Berger - it ain't going to be security...

OTB blogged I was willing to give Berger the benefit of the doubt on this given his long record of public service when it appeared to be an impulsive grab. Now, it's rather clear that he purposefully stole the documents and deliberately destroyed them. Had this been a young staff sergeant or GS-7, he would be doing hard time in prison. This is a shameful episode.

One of Glenn Reynolds' readers wants to know why Martha Stewart went to jail and Berger isn't.


Mozilla Bug Bounty

CRM reported A German computer researcher has been paid $2,500 by Mozilla as a thank you for pointing out five flaws in its browser. Michael Krax was paid $500 per bug and got a free Mozilla T-shirt.

The payments were made as part of Mozilla's "bug bounty" program which offers incentives for users to identify flaws in the software.

"We developed the bug bounty program to encourage and award community members who identify unknown bugs in the software," said Chris Hofmann, director of engineering at the Mozilla Foundation.

"This program is one of the many ways in which the Mozilla Foundation produces safe and secure software for its users."

The system was set up last year and Krax is the fifth person to receive an award. Mozilla released a new version of its Firefox browser last week which fixed an animated GIF flaw.

Information Week reported Michael Krax, who lives in Germany, received five bug bounties for a total of $2,500, Thursday. The bugs identified by Krax, said Mozilla, related to chrome privileges. Chrome is developer-speak for the parts of the user interface outside of a window's content area, such as toolbars and menus.

Mozilla's Bug Bounty program began in 2004, and was seeded with money contributed by Linspire (formerly known as Lindows) and venture capitalist Mark Shuttleworth.


Friday, April 1

This Day In History

  • 1789   The U.S. House of Representatives held its first full meeting in New York City; Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania was elected the first speaker.
  • 1853   Cincinnati, Ohio, became the first U.S. city to pay its firefighters a regular salary.
  • 1873   Composer Sergei Rachmaninoff was born in Russia.
  • 1918   The Royal Air Force was established in Britain.
  • 1933   The Nazi persecution of Jews began in Germany with a boycott of Jewish businesses.
  • 1939   The United States recognized the Franco government in Spain following the end of the Spanish Civil War.
  • 1945   American forces landed on Okinawa during World War II.
  • 1946   Tidal waves struck the Hawaiian Islands, killing more than 170 people.
  • 1947   Greece's King George II died.
  • 1960   The first U.S. weather satellite, TIROS-1, was launched from Cape Canaveral.
  • 1970   President Richard Nixon signed a measure banning cigarette advertising on radio and television.
  • 1984   Singer Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his father in Los Angeles.
  • 1987   In his first major speech on the epidemic, President Reagan told doctors in Philadelphia, ''We've declared AIDS public health enemy No. 1.''
  • 1996   Baseball umpire John McSherry died after collapsing during a game between the Cincinnati Reds and Montreal Expos.
  • 1998   U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright dismissed Paula Jones' lawsuit against President Clinton, saying her claims of sexual harassment fell ''far short'' of being worthy of trial.
  • 1999   A New Jersey man was arrested and charged with originating the ''Melissa'' e-mail virus.
  • 2001   Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was arrested on corruption charges after a 26-hour armed standoff with the police at his Belgrade villa.
  • 2003   American troops entered a hospital in Nasiriyah, Iraq, and rescued Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who had been held prisoner since her unit was ambushed on March 23.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1928   Jane Powell (Suzanne Burce) (actress: Deep in My Heart, Hit the Deck, Small Town Girl, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)
  • 1932   Debbie Reynolds (Mary Frances Reynolds) (actress: Singin’ in the Rain, Tammy and the Bachelor, The Tender Trap, The Unsinkable Molly Brown; singer: Tammy, A Very Special Love; mother of actress, Carrie Fisher)


Thursday, March 31, 2005

Terri Schiavo has died

CNN reported Terri Schiavo, the 41-year-old brain-damaged woman who became the centerpiece of a national right-to-die battle, died Thursday morning, nearly two weeks after doctors removed the feeding tube that had sustained her for more than a decade.

Terri is with God now, and regardless of what you thought about her passing, I hope you will agree that she is in a much better place now. I think the lesson we should all learn from Terri is that people should never depend on verbal end-of-life wishes, but that everyone should have a Living Will, such as that available here or here or here or here or here or here.

Michelle Malkin blogged May Terri Schindler-Schiavo rest in peace and God have mercy on us all.

La Shawn Barber blogged Terri Schiavo, 1963-2005. It's all over.

St Wendeler blogged Theresa Marie Schiavo (nee Schindler), R.I.P.

The Political Teen has a video

Bill Hennessy blogged Eternal rest grant unto Terri, o Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon her. May Terri’s soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Resurrection Song blogged As the argument over the subject in the blogosphere has grown increasingly passionate, I’ve stood by and watched. I watched quietly because the arguments have grown increasingly acrimonious and I have no wish to start name calling and picking fights. It also became increasingly clear that no appeals court was going to overturn the original ruling; sadly I watched as the inevitable played out to its obvious conclusion. So, Terri has died and her family mourns. I mourn with them.

Richard blogged Godspeed Terri. If there is anything happy about today's news, it's the fact that Terri Schiavo's suffering is finally over.

Asteroid blogged After over a decade of being kept alive with technology — possibly against her will — Terri Schiavo is dead. I’d like to be able to say that she died with dignity but, unfortunately, the legalistic, religious and hypocritical furor surrounding her death left very little room for anything dignified.

CQ blogged Out of respect for the family and all concerned, I plan on offering no further comment on this issue today, other than to implore CQ readers to please pray for Terri, her family, and all who mourn her passing.

WizBang blogged "Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen."

OTB blogged May she rest in peace

Ex-Donkey Blog blogged It is over and now she is with God. Pray for the Schindler family.


Spending Time at White House Required

WaPo reported President Bush is requiring Cabinet members to spend several hours a week at the White House compound, a move top aides say eases coordination with government agencies but one seen by some analysts as fresh evidence of the White House's tightening grip over administration policy.

Under a directive instituted by Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. at the start of Bush's second term, Cabinet secretaries spend as many as four hours a week working out of an office suite set up for them at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House. There, they meet with presidential policy and communications aides in an effort to better coordinate the administration's initiatives and messages....

Paul C. Light, a professor of public service at New York University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, sees its purpose differently.... "I find it absolutely shocking that they would have regular office hours at the White House. It confirms how little the domestic Cabinet secretaries have to do with making policy."

If the President refused to ever speak to his Cabinet Secretaries one might make that statement, but if they are required to have regular office hours at the White House they certainly have an opportuinty to make their thoughts known, both to the President and to his staff.

Some scholars said the new office-hours requirement continues a trend in which Cabinet secretaries have become less architects of policy than purveyors of initiatives hatched by the political and policy officials in the White House. During the Eisenhower administration, for example, officials hashed out national policy during weekly Cabinet meetings. Now, the Cabinet meets irregularly -- maybe once every 45 days, Healy said -- and those sessions are mostly ceremonial.

And now, rather than meeting in a large room with other Cabinet Secretaries they interface weekly with presidential policy and communications aides

"Power has gravitated to the White House over the past 50 years, and it keeps going," said Bradley H. Patterson Jr., who served in three administrations and has written two books on the subject. "I would say development of all major issues important to the president are centered in the White House."

Gee, the man who was elected oversees development of all major issues important to him. And the surprise is where?

U.S. Constitution, Article II, section 1: The executive power shall be vested in the President of the United States of America.

The Big Trunk blogged The Washington Post article of the day is further to Deacon's point last night about the new media image of President Bush as an executive asserting too much control over the officials charged with implementing administration policy: "Bush is keeping cabinet secretaries close to home." What ever happened to Bush the pawn?

Orrin Judd blogged He's been president for 4+ years and they still haven't figured out that he runs the administration on a business model?


Judge Condems Intervention

NYT reported A federal appeals court in Atlanta refused Wednesday to reconsider the case of Terri Schiavo, with one of the judges rebuking President Bush and Congress for acting "in a manner demonstrably at odds with our founding fathers' blueprint for the governance of a free people."...

The 11th Circuit court's decision, signed by Chief Judge J. L. Edmondson, was only a sentence long. But in a concurring opinion, Judge Stanley F. Birch Jr., appointed by the first President Bush in 1990, wrote that federal courts had no jurisdiction in the case and that the law enacted by Congress and President Bush allowing the Schindlers to seek a federal court review was unconstitutional.

"When the fervor of political passions moves the executive and legislative branches to act in ways inimical to basic constitutional principles, it is the duty of the judiciary to intervene," wrote Judge Birch, who has a reputation as consistently conservative. "If sacrifices to the independence of the judiciary are permitted today, precedent is established for the constitutional transgressions of tomorrow."

I disagreed with Congress intervening, but I also disagree with Judge Birch. The federal courts did have jurisdiction, because

  • the unwise law (Public Law 109-3 PDF file) gave them that jurisdiction
  • The law is not unconstitutional, because no court has declared it unconstitutional. We only have one judge, writing a concuring opinion, which states "I conclude that Pub. L.109-3 (“the Act”) is unconstitutional and, therefore, this court and the district court are without jurisdiction in this case under that special Act and should refuse to exercise any jurisdiction that we may otherwise have in this case
  • how could it sacrifice the independence of the judiciary for Congress to expand their jurisdiction.
The decision is available here (PDF file)


Clerics agree

NYT reported International gay leaders are planning a 10-day WorldPride festival and parade in Jerusalem in August, saying they want to make a statement about tolerance and diversity in the Holy City, home to three great religious traditions.

Now major leaders of the three faiths - Christianity, Judaism and Islam - are making a rare show of unity to try to stop the festival. They say the event would desecrate the city and convey the erroneous impression that homosexuality is acceptable.

"They are creating a deep and terrible sorrow that is unbearable," Shlomo Amar, Israel's Sephardic chief rabbi, said yesterday at a news conference in Jerusalem attended by Israel's two chief rabbis, the patriarchs of the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches, and three senior Muslim prayer leaders. "It hurts all of the religions. We are all against it."

Religious leaders from the three major faiths, all with significant interest in the area, gree on something. Praise God.

Jan Haugland of Secular Blasphemy blogged It really takes something special to bring Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders together. Unfortunately, what brings them together is opposition to the planned gay WorldPride festival in Jerusalem in August. It's touching how common bigotry can bring old enemies together. Not.

Taegan Goddard blogged Quote of the Day - "This is not the homo land, this is the Holy Land." -- Yehuda Levin, of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, quoted by the New York Times in an article about Jerusalem WorldPride 2005, a gay festival to be held in Israel. He also called the event "the spiritual rape of the Holy City."

Orrin Judd blogged Odd that the three great Abrahamic faiths would unite around morality.

Jeff Jarvis blogged Giving God a bad name - The front page of The New York Times today reports that religious leaders from Islam, Judaism, and Christianity came together in a rare meeting and rarer agreement in Jerusalem to unite in a single cause. What cause could that be? Peace in the Middle East? Regaining God-given freedom in the Middle East? An end to economic despair in some parts of the Middle East? A call to condemn terrorism as murder? No. Gay bashing. Bigotry. Hatred. That's what brought them together. They oppose a gay pride event in Jerusalem

Pudentilla blogged old guys in drag peeved at pride event in jerusalem

I repeat. Religious leaders from the three major faiths, all with significant interest in the area, gree on something. Praise God.


Thursday, March 31

This Day In History

  • 1492   King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain issued an edict expelling those Jews unwilling to convert to Christianity.
  • 1880   The first electric street lights ever installed by a municipality were turned on in beautiful Wabash, IN.
  • 1889   French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel unfurled the French tricolor from atop the Eiffel Tower to mark its completion.
  • 1918   Daylight saving time went into effect throughout the United States for the first time. Folks would spring ahead an hour allowing for longer early evenings. The time change left enough light for many activities, especially in farming areas. Planting and such could best be done with the sun up an extra hour. And, of course, folks would fall back an hour to standard time in the fall.
  • 1917   The United States took possession of the Virgin Islands from Denmark.
  • 1923   The first U.S. dance marathon, held in New York City, ended with Alma Cummings setting a world record of 27 hours on her feet.
  • 1933   Congress authorized the Civilian Conservation Corps.
  • 1943   The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical ''Oklahoma!'' opened on Broadway.
  • 1945   ''The Glass Menagerie'' by Tennessee Williams opened on Broadway.
  • 1949   Newfoundland entered the confederation as Canada's 10th province.
  • 1959   The Dalai Lama, fleeing Chinese repression of an uprising in Tibet, arrived at the Indian border and was granted political asylum.
  • 1968   President Lyndon Johnson announced that he would not run for re-election.
  • 1976   The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that coma patient Karen Anne Quinlan could be disconnected from her respirator. (Quinlan remained comatose and died in 1985.)
  • 1992   The U.N. Security Council voted to ban flights and arms sales to Libya, branding it a terrorist state for shielding six men accused of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 and a French airliner.
  • 1995   Major League Baseball players agreed to end the sport’s longest strike in history after a judge ordered a preliminary injunction against team owners.
  • 1995   Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, 23, is shot by the president of her fan club in Corpus Christi, Texas.
  • 1995   Baseball players agreed to end a 232-day strike after a judge granted a preliminary injunction against club owners.
  • 1998   Former New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug died at age 77.
  • 1999   Three U.S. Army soldiers were captured by Serb forces near the Yugoslav-Macedonia border.
  • 1999   Four New York City police officers were charged with murder for killing Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant, in a hail of bullets. (The officers were acquited in 2000.)
Happy Birthday To
  • 1596   Rene Descartes (‘Father of modern philosophy’: “I think, therefore I am.”; died Feb 11, 1650)
  • 1915   Henry Morgan (Henry Lerner Von Ost, Jr.) (comedian: TV panel shows: I’ve Got a Secret; died May 19, 1994)
  • 1927   Cesar Chavez (labor leader: started the National Farm Workers Association, organizing migrant farm workers; died Apr 23, 1993)
  • 1931   Miller Barber (golf champion: holds record for most wins in the Senior PGA Tour [24] from 1981 to 1992)
  • 1934   Shirley Jones (singer, actress: Carousel, The Music Man, Oklahoma!, Elmer Gantry, The Partridge Family)
  • 1935   Herb Alpert (bandleader: Tijuana Brass: The Lonely Bull, Taste of Honey, The Work Song, This Guy’s in Love with You, Rise; record company executive: the "A" of A&M Records)
  • 1935   Richard Chamberlain (actor: Dr. Kildare, The Thorn Birds; Centennial, Shogun, The Towering Inferno, Julius Caesar, The Madwoman of Chaillot, The Bourne Identity, King Solomon’s Mines; environmentalist in Hawaii)
  • 1945   Gabe (Gabriel) Kaplan (actor, comedian: Welcome Back Kotter, The Hoboken Chicken Emergency, Nobody’s Perfekt)
  • 1948   Al Gore (Albert Arnold Gore Jr.) (U.S. Senator from Tennessee [1985-1993]; 45th U.S. Vice President [under Bill Clinton 1993-2000])


Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Newsweek reported Does the blogosphere have a diversity problem? Viewed one way, the issue seems a bit absurd. These self-generated personal Web sites are supposed to be the ultimate grass-roots phenomenon. The perks of alpha bloggers—voluminous traffic, links from other bigfeet, conference invitations, White House press passes—are, in theory, bequeathed by a market-driven merit system. The idea is that the smartest, the wittiest and the most industrious in finding good stuff will simply rise to the top, by virtue of a self-organizing selection process.

So why, when millions of blogs are written by all sorts of people, does the top rung look so homogeneous? It appears that some clubbiness is involved. Suitt puts it more bluntly: "It's white people linking to other white people!" (A link from a popular blog is this medium's equivalent to a Super Bowl ad.) Suitt attributes her own high status in the blogging world to her conscious decision to "promote myself among those on the A list...."

But is there a way to promote diversity online, given the built-in decentralization of the blog world? Jenkins, whose comment started the discussion, says that any approach is fine—except inaction. "You can't wait for it to just happen," he says. Appropriately enough, the best ideas rely on individual choices. MacKinnon is involved in a project called Global Voices, to highlight bloggers from around the world. And at the Harvard conference, Suitt challenged people to each find 10 bloggers who weren't male, white or English-speaking—and link to them. "Don't you think," she says, "that out of 8 million blogs, there could be 50 new voices worth hearing?" Definitely. Now let's see if the blogosphere can self-organize itself to find them.

Heather Mac Donald wrote Bad move, guys. The "diversity" mongers have just brought up the one thing that they should have stayed far far away from: the web. Newsweek's technology columnist Steven Levy has declared that the lack of "diversity" among the web's most popular blogs requires corrective action. The goal? A blogosphere whose elite tier "reflects the actual population" — i.e., where female- and minority-written blogs are found among the top 100 blogs in the same proportion as females and minorities are found in the general population.

Levy's complaint comes on the heels of Susan Estrich's campaign against the Los Angeles Times for allegedly refusing to publish female op-ed writers, a campaign that has caused widespread wringing of editorial hands about male-dominated op-ed pages. For Levy to have mentioned the web at this moment is about as smart as inviting Stephen Hawking to an astrologers' convention: The web demolishes the assumptions behind any possible quota crusade....

These diversity grievances follow the usual logic: Victim-group X is not proportionally represented in some field; therefore the field's gatekeepers are discriminating against X's members. The argument presumes that there are large numbers of qualified Xs out there who, absent discrimination, would be proportionally represented in the challenged field.

If the quota mongers really believed these claims, they should welcome the web enthusiastically, since it is a world without gatekeepers and with no other significant barriers to entry.

PoliPundit blogged is one of the top-25 trafficked blogs on the web. During the election season, we were in the top 10, with over 300,000 unique visitors on election day.

But readers don't know my race or gender! Since I started this blog two years ago, I've made very little mention of my background. Yet, virtually every prominent blogger has linked to this blog, from Power Line in its earliest days, to Slate's Mickey Kaus yesterday. The "diversity" agitators are out of luck.

This entry was also printed at Right Wing News

Captain Platypus commented Expect a lawsuit soon for not allowing equal opportunity since your links do not include enough minorities. Just what the blogosphere needs - Link Quotas!

Captain Platypus commented The only people who make race and gender an issue are the people who want race and gender to be an issue.

Lurking Observer commented Any chance white female bloggers assumed Polipundit is a white female blogger? Or that black bloggers assumed Polipundit was a black blogger?

The point is that Polipundit may be a Hispanic transsexual paraplegic, but his/her ideas are being read.

jtc commented Will sombody please just go ahead and sue Harvard for discrimination on the basis of political affiliation?

Yancey Ward commented The solution to this evil discrimination against female bloggers is this: Sue, in Federal Court, Microsoft. Win the case and get a settlement in which Microsoft provides a version of IE that only allows alternate visiting of male blogger sites with female blogger sites. Also, the software could also be written to prevent one from spending less time at a female blogging site. On the other hand, the female bloggers could start providing nude photos of themselves. That would also increase the numbers of visitors.

I link to bloggers that say something I want to comment on. Usually it is something I agree with, but I also link to blogs that say something I want to criticize. Race and gender are not a factor.


CAIR's War on National Review

FrontPage magazine reported The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has this week waged a campaign against National Review, seeking an apology and the removal of a book called The Life and Religion of Mohammed from sale by the NR Book Service. This was a bit out of focus, since National Review did not publish the book and is not the sole source for it. In fact, I wrote this ad, although I receive absolutely no remuneration from the sales of the book by NR or anyone else. CAIR’s campaign was revealing of what CAIR wants Americans to know — and not to know — about Islam and Muhammad. And CAIR did succeed in intimidating NR into withdrawing the book, along with Serge Trifkovic’s Sword of the Prophet.

In a press release, CAIR called the book “virulently Islamophobic,” and quoted sections from advertising copy for book that called it a “guide into the dark mind of (the Prophet) Mohammed.” It took issue with the ad copy’s description of the book as explaining “why Mohammed couldn’t possibly be a true prophet, and reveal[ing] the true sources of his ‘revelations.” Above all, CAIR was angered by the ad copy’s assertions that “Mohammed posed as the apostle of God...while his life is marked by innumerable marriages; and great licentiousness, deeds of rapine, warfare, conquests, unmerciful butcheries, all the time invoking God’s holy name to sanction his evil deeds,” and that “Mohammed again and again justified his rapine and licentiousness with new ‘divine revelations.’”

Charles Johnson blogged According to Robert Spencer, National Review decided to cave in to pressure from the Council on American Islamic Relations because they were “choosing their battles.”

While it’s definitely true that National Review has done a great deal to expose the agenda of radical Islam, and I’m not going to stop reading them, I disagree strongly with their decision to remove advertisements for books critical of Islam and I’m very disappointed at their lack of resolve. This is anything but an insignificant battle; it’s a pivotal part of CAIR’s anti-democratic jihad to have all criticism of Mohammed or of Islam declared “hate speech,” and National Review has now set a dangerous precedent that will certainly embolden CAIR to intensify their efforts.

And as Spencer points out in this article, the books that CAIR labeled as “anti-Muslim hate” (and National Review implicitly agreed with them) are indeed highly critical—but they make their case with historical facts and quotations from the Koran

I regret that National Review caved in, but the book is listed (Out of Print--Limited Availability) on Amazon

Nancy commented This is extremely troubling. Islam is NOT just a religion but a political and social ideology --a fact which they stress time and time again. Yet, it continues to be treated as though it were just a religion because organizations like CAIR are willing to use the "religious discrimination" argument when it suits them. My thinking is: we STOP refering to it as a religion and start emphasizing it is a political-social ideology. Within that framework --it deserves no special rights as far as not being criticized.

Spiny Norman commented What CAIR really told NR: If you don't stop telling filthy lies about how Islam is a dangerous, violent ideology, we'll blow up your building and everyone in it!

Michelle Malkin blogged The Council for Arab Islamic Relations (CAIR) successfully pressured National Review to pull ads for two books criticizing Islam. And Google is trying to curb expression of something or other over at the Jawa Report.

CAIR is well within its rights to call for a boycott of National Review rather than critique the books it doesn't like. And Google is well within its rights to drop Jawa Report from its list of news sites without providing even a single example of objectionable speech. And I am well within my rights to tell CAIR and Google to shove it.

Update: Robert Spencer has a whole article about CAIR's war on National Review. Jack Lewis reminds readers that the sensitive souls at Google accepted advertising from Hamas.


Living Wills

NYT reported Laura Bush said on Tuesday that she and her husband have living wills that would guide medical decisions if either of them became incapacitated like the Florida woman whose case has dominated public debate for weeks.

Mrs. Bush, speaking to reporters on a flight to Afghanistan, called it a "very, very difficult time" for the family of the woman, Terri Schiavo, but said she was "encouraged" to hear that the case had spurred others to create living wills.

"I hear the numbers of people inquiring about living wills or writing living wills increased dramatically, and I think that is really good," Mrs. Bush said. "The president and I have living wills, and of course our parents do, and they wanted us always to be aware of it. I think that is important for families to have an opportunity to talk about these issues."

Susan Whitson, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Bush, declined to elaborate on what directives are in the Bushes' living wills. Many include "do not resuscitate" orders in cases where the patient has no hope of recovery or requires extensive medical assistance to stay alive.

Everyone should have a living will.


Medal of Honor

NYT reported Sgt. First Class Paul R. Smith, killed nearly two years ago defending his vastly outnumbered Army unit in a fierce battle with elite Iraqi troops for control of Baghdad's airport, will receive the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award, administration officials said Tuesday.

No soldier who served in Afghanistan or Iraq after the Sept. 11 attacks has yet received the medal. The last conflict to produce a Medal of Honor recipient was in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993; two soldiers were awarded the medal posthumously for actions there, later depicted in the movie "Black Hawk Down."

Sergeant Smith led a defense of a compound next to the airport against a much larger force of Special Republican Guard troops, manning a heavy machine gun, repeatedly firing and reloading three times before he was mortally wounded. Fellow soldiers said his actions killed 20 to 50 Iraqis, allowed wounded American soldiers to be evacuated, and saved an aid station and perhaps 100 lives.

Sergeant Smith's "extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor without regard to his own life in order to save others are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service," a draft of the medal citation says.

President Bush will present the award to Sergeant Smith's widow and children at a White House ceremony on Monday, the second anniversary of the airport battle and the soldier's death.

The story of Paul Ray Smith is that of an ordinary recruit from Tampa, Fla., who fresh out of high school joined the Army not out of patriotism but for a steady paying job, and who 15 years later, as a battle-hardened platoon sergeant, was hurled into an extraordinary test, for which he paid the ultimate price.

See St Petersburg Times

Phillip Carter blogged You can read more about SFC Smith at the St. Petersburg Times' site. Official information, including the citation for SFC Smith, is available at the Army's MOH website. Also see this post

James Joyner blogged The Medal is so revered in the service that anyone wearing it, regardless of rank, is entitled to a salute from any non-recipient, regardless of their rank. The Army has a compilation of the citations for all Medal recipients. It's a chilling read. The Times has a special interactive section on SFC Smith, also linked from the photo above. It's appropriately entitled, "The last full measure of devotion."

Paul blogged In an unsent letter found on his laptop following his death, Sgt. Smith comments on how old the pictures of his kids in his wallet are and how hard it is to picture his kids now that they are older. This prompted me to establish a program at our photography studio called "Operation: Memories From Home" . We offered to photograph the families of service men and women and send a copy of their family portrait to their service member to help them remember their loved ones, all at no charge. It has been a rewarding success.

Saheli Datta blogged Regardless of your opinions on the war, I think it behooves all citizens of the Republic to give a little time and attention to stories like these. Respectful time and attention.

Tom Maguire blogged This honor has been wending its way through the system for a while. Here is a Winds of Change post providing background on the incident; an old NY Times story provides personal and family background.

Joe Katzman blogged Trent Telenko emails me with a heads-up concerning Sgt. First Class Paul Ray Smith, a soldier in Operation Iraqi Freedom 2003. He's about to become the first serviceman to receive the Medal of Honor since MSG Gary Gordon and SFC Randall Shughart's "Blackhawk Down" heroics in 1993. SFC Smith was the key player in a firefight at the Baghdad Airport that saw 15 to 20 engineers, mortarmen and medics defeat 50-100 soldiers of Iraq's Special Republican Guard.

In an act that brings to mind Private Audie Murphy's heroics in WWII, Smith's determined defense held off the Iraqi assault almost singlehandedly. Unlike Audie Murphy, however, Paul Smith did not survive. His posthumous medal will be left in the keeping of his wife, son and daughter.

I salute Sgt. First Class Paul R. Smith, and I thank him for what he did.


RINO complains

John C. Danforth says in the NYT By a series of recent initiatives, Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians. The elements of this transformation have included advocacy of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, opposition to stem cell research involving both frozen embryos and human cells in petri dishes, and the extraordinary effort to keep Terri Schiavo hooked up to a feeding tube.

Standing alone, each of these initiatives has its advocates, within the Republican Party and beyond. But the distinct elements do not stand alone. Rather they are parts of a larger package, an agenda of positions common to conservative Christians and the dominant wing of the Republican Party.

Christian activists, eager to take credit for recent electoral successes, would not be likely to concede that Republican adoption of their political agenda is merely the natural convergence of conservative religious and political values. Correctly, they would see a causal relationship between the activism of the churches and the responsiveness of Republican politicians. In turn, pragmatic Republicans would agree that motivating Christian conservatives has contributed to their successes.

High-profile Republican efforts to prolong the life of Ms. Schiavo, including departures from Republican principles like approving Congressional involvement in private decisions and empowering a federal court to overrule a state court, can rightfully be interpreted as yielding to the pressure of religious power blocs.

In my state, Missouri, Republicans in the General Assembly have advanced legislation to criminalize even stem cell research in which the cells are artificially produced in petri dishes and will never be transplanted into the human uterus. They argue that such cells are human life that must be protected, by threat of criminal prosecution, from promising research on diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and juvenile diabetes.

It is not evident to many of us that cells in a petri dish are equivalent to identifiable people suffering from terrible diseases. I am and have always been pro-life. But the only explanation for legislators comparing cells in a petri dish to babies in the womb is the extension of religious doctrine into statutory law.

Barbara O'Brien blogs there is an enormous difference between allowing your religious beliefs to inform your judgments -- that slavery is wrong, for example -- and enacting purely sectarian religious doctrine into legislation, like banning stem cell research. The only reason to ban stem cell research is that it violates the religious dogmas of some Christians. If you don't happen to believe that human DNA is, literally, sacred, then the stem cell ban makes absolutely no sense. Slavery, on the other hand, is wrong on a humanist basis as well as a religious basis. And, the fact is, in the antebellum South a lot of slave owners defended the peculiar institution by citing their religious beliefs.

I don't know what the Missouri legislature is working on, but as far as I know, the only thing the Republican party has advocated is not having the government fund research on stem lines other than the ones that existed when Bush was the first President to allow government funding of any stem cell research. There is NO federal restriction on privately funded research on stem cells.

Since you recognize that stem cell research violates the religious beliefs of some Christians, I would hope that you would agree that they should not be forced to pay for such research.

Hugh Hewitt blogs He (Senator Danforth) decries a "fixation on a religious agenda," and declares grandly that "as a senator, I worried every day about the size of the federal deficit. I did not spend a single minute worrying about the effect of gays on the institution of marriage. Today it seems to be the other way around."

Perhaps that is why super-majoritarian opinion on marriage got rolled, Senator, because you and your colleagues were asleep at the wheel. Perhaps parts of today's agenda seems to you so "religious," because courts in California, New York and Massachusetts have unilaterally decreed a massive rewrite of the country's shared tradition on marriage, obliging those who want to defend marriage as it has existed for all of the country's history to advocate for a Constitutional amendment.

I agree completely. It would be one thing if the legislatures in California, New York, or Massachusetts had acted, but to have a small handful of judges seek to change the law is WRONG

Hugh also says Perhaps people of faith see in the Schiavo case a move towards euthanasia --the article in today's Times on Vermont's new bid to allow "doctors to prescribe suicide drugs for terminally ill patients who request them" certainly underscores what is sure to be the next act in the end-of-life drama.

At least the effort in Vermont is being made in the legislature, not in the Judicial branch. If a majority of the Vermont legislature sees fit to pass legislation like Oregon did, and if the Governor signs it, that is fine with me. But I would not want the Vermont Supreme Court to try to change the law.

Steve Clemons blogs John Bolton is just a symptom of a larger problem which Danforth highlights -- but progressives and moderates need to know that they can win these battles. But one has to start somewhere -- and John Bolton's candidacy is the right issue on which to push back.

You are wrong. The UN needs to make some drastic changes, and John Bolton is the man we need there to see those changes are made. If the UN does not change, then we need to get out of the UN, and we need to get the UN out of the USA.

Dale Franks blogs Danforth makes a valid point. The republicans have morphed into large-government conservatives. They've accepted, at least tacitly, the Democratic idea that the purpose of government is to Do Something about things that concern them. And the things that concern Republican politicians today tend to be the issues that the religious Right is concerned about. Hence, the push for a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage, or state efforts to ban all stem-cell research.

In doing so, they have abandoned much of what made the republican party attractive to the electorate in the first place: The idea that government wasn't the solution, it was the problem; that you are better qualified to make the rules for your own life than a politician or bureaucrat thousands of miles away in Washington DC; that you deserve to keep more of your own money, rather than sending it in to the government.

Republicans may come to find out that, no matter how powerful the Religious Right may be as a party caucus, it isn't enough to comprise an electoral majority.

I agree the Republican Party needs to return to supporting smaller government, and I would like to see them return to supporting states rights. I like the idea of constitutional ammendments to prevent Activist Judges from changing the law when there is not enough demand for the law change to get the legislature to pass it.

Pejman Yousefzadeh: blogs Of course, the latter editorial is precisely what one would expect from the New York Times. But as a larger point, these dueling editorials reveal how to get ahead in American politics: Portray yourself as a curmudgeon loyal to your party, but somehow outside of the party system. Then let people praise you for speaking truth to power. Danforth does that with policy. Bradley does it with process.

The NYT is so far to the left that the only way to get printed in their pages is to attack the Republican Party


Wednesday, March 30

This Day In History

  • 1822   Florida became a U.S. territory.
  • 1842   Dr. Crawford W. Long performed the first operation while his patient was anesthetized by ether on this day.
  • 1856   The Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Crimean War.
  • 1858   Hyman L. Lipman of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania patented the writing device we call the pencil.
  • 1867   Secretary of State William H. Seward reached agreement with Russia to purchase the territory of Alaska for $7.2 million (approximately two cents an acre), a deal roundly ridiculed as ''Seward's Folly.''
  • 1870   The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect, guaranteeing the right to vote regardless of race.
  • 1870   Texas was readmitted to the Union.
  • 1909   The Queensboro Bridge, linking the New York boroughs of Manhattan and Queens, opened.
  • 1945   The Soviet Union invaded Austria during World War II.
  • 1964   The game show Jeopardy debuted on television.

  • 1981
      U.S. President Ronald Reagan was shot in the chest by a would-be assassin as the President walked to his limousine in Washington DC. Press Secretary James Brady and two police officers were also wounded in the attack. John W. Hinkley, Jr. was convicted of the crime.
  • 1986   Actor James Cagney died at age 86.
  • 1995   Pope John Paul II issued the 11th encyclical of his papacy in which he condemned abortion and euthanasia as crimes that no human laws could legitimize.
  • 1998   German automaker BMW bought Rolls-Royce for $570 million.
  • 1999   A jury in Portland, Ore., ordered Philip Morris to pay $81 million to the family of a man who died of lung cancer after smoking Marlboros for four decades.
  • 2002   The Queen Mother Elizabeth of England died at the age of 101.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1853   Vincent van Gogh (post-impressionist artist: The Potato Eaters, Sunflowers, The Night Cafe; died July 29, 1890)
  • 1929   Richard Dysart (actor: L.A. Law, Wall Street, Back to the Future 3, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, The Day of the Locust, Pale Rider, The Terminal Man, Wall Street)
  • 1930   John Astin (actor: The Addams Family, The Pruitts of Southampton, Operation Petticoat, Night Court, I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., National Lampoon’s European Vacation)
  • 1930   Peter Marshall (Pierre LaCock) (TV host: Hollywood Squares)
  • 1937   Warren Beatty (Henry Warren Beaty) (actor: Splendor in the Grass, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, Bonnie and Clyde, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Parallax View, Shampoo, Heaven Can Wait, Reds, Dick Tracy, Bulworth, Town and Country; Academy Award-winning director: Reds [1981]; Heaven Can Wait, Dick Tracy, Bulworth; Irving G. Thalberg Memorial [Academy] Award [2000])
  • 1945   Eric Clapton (Eric Patrick Clapp) (rock guitarist: group: Yardbirds: For Your Love; song writer: Layla, score for The Hit; Grammy Award- winning singer: Bad Love [1990], LPs: Tears from Heaven and Unplugged [1993], I Shot the Sheriff, Lay Down Sally, Promises, I Can’t Stand It, Wonderful Tonight)


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Google News Drops Jawa Report

LGF reports Rusty Shackleford’s excellent blog The Jawa Report has been dropped from Google News because according to Google, it contains “hate speech.”

Amazing. So because they were forced to remove National Vanguard, for Pete’s sake, a white supremacist site that everyone agrees is a racist sewer, Google News apparently will now sanitize everything—including sites that try to tell the truth about radical Islam. And all without ever disclosing how they are reaching these judgments.

Private Radio has a list generated by a script, of Google News sources for the United States. Since they’ve now dropped Jawa Report, can we assume they will also be dropping Electronic Intifada, Jihad Unspun,,,,, and many other hard-core Islamist and anti-American sites that feature prominently in their news search results?

They just added news sources for other countries.

Who comments Shouldn't get dropped, since their leadership is a self-proclaimed hater of the right?

OnlyInIsrael comments If you think including the National Vanguard was bad, you should know that until a few months ago GoogleNews included the HAMAS OFFICIAL WEBSITE, Palestine-info as a news source until they got complaints about it. The hamas official website was used as a newssource there for a couple of months. It's not a one time error. It's their regular behaviour.

Luigi comments The megacapitalists who own Google used to have a wonderful news service. It wasn't much more than a year ago. They had a page chock full of every media outlet you can think of, from all over the world. You just go down the list and click on whichever one you wanted. Now that was a news service. Everything you wanted was right there. If you wanted the news of the moment you could just click on AP or CNN or FOX or whatever you wished to get your news from. Then they had to go screw it up with their liberal politcally correct editorial policy. Maybe they liked the technical challenge. Maybe they're control freaks. Personally, I see two reasons why the megacapitalists who own Google need to show how liberal they are. Either they want to open the China market, or they want to show themselves as media moguls because they think they'll get laid more often.

mojoey comments I saw an a google easter egg link off of lifehacker that shows how google indexes web pages. Maybe they use the same logic to pick news sites?



Redmond Mag reports Microsoft is working on a technology for Windows Longhorn called "Info-cards" that is designed to return control of personal data, such as credit cards and Social Security numbers, to users, according to a report published this week.

If the technology works and consumers, merchants and other partners adopt it, Info-cards could reduce the need for big merchant-side databases of personal information that are the juiciest targets for hackers, such as in the recent ChoicePoint data breach. Elements of the technology could also deter "phishing" attacks, in which users are lured to bogus bank or other Web sites to enter their personal financial information.

As laid out in an article in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, Info-cards would store personal information locally on a personal computer in an encrypted file. Computer users could then selectively disclose information about themselves to businesses or others online.

Only trusted Web sites would be able to decode the encrypted messages, and the sites would not need to store, and therefore secure, the information in a database. As a side benefit, the encrypted communication between users and back-end merchant software could reduce the need for insecure username/password combinations.

According to the Journal, Info-cards would use standard protocols that will be open to any Web site and could run on Unix or Linux as well as Windows. The details of such protocols are key to understanding how open they would actually be, but Microsoft executives did not provide extensive product plans for the article. reported The technology proposed by Microsoft is reminiscent of two software tools detailed by the Redmond, Washington-based company in 2001 called Passport and Hailstorm.

Hailstorm was quietly shelved after privacy advocates said it put too much sensitive information into the hands of a single company and partners expressed similar reservations.

Passport, used to provide a single log-in for multiple Web sites and store basic personal information, did not gain the wide audience that Microsoft hoped for. Online marketplace eBay Inc., an early Passport adopter, stopped using the service for its users in January.


The Perils Of P2P

Michelle Malkin warns about the perils of file sharing software (P2P): A guy who used a peer-to-peer file-sharing system inadvertently publicized a lot more on his hard drive than music files, WTOC 11 reports

Don't believe it? Download LimeWire and type in "federal return" or "1040" and see what pops up. I did it, and within a few minutes, I had access to scores of tax returns that included names, addresses, social security numbers, and bank account numbers.

Among hundreds of tax returns I saw, here are three I downloaded (note: sensitive information has been redacted): 1, 2, 3.

It's not just tax returns. During the past nine months, Rick Wallace, editor of the See What You Share blog, has used P2P to obtain all kinds of confidential government reports, including more than 25 classified military documents.

Don Bodiker's experience is a much-needed reminder for ordinary citizens and military personnel alike who use P2P: Be careful what you share. You never know who's snooping around.

BigSurf blogged Keith rightly points out in a comment: "Ironic that when stealing something you must becareful that you too are not being stolen from."

BizzyBlog blogged Taking all sensitive files off of your hard drive is nice but IMHO impractical advice, simply because if you take it off your hard drive, you have to back it up TWICE in case one of the backup media fail. In the case of taxes, the current year return relies on info from the previous year’s return, and depending on how you do backup, this year’s program may not be able to read in last year’s info.

Two better ideas:

  • Purge ALL P2P from all of your computers (Kazaa, Limewire, Bit Torrent, etc.).
  • If you must do P2P, turn off all sharing from your computers to the outside world. Purists might say you’re being “selfish,” but I say you’re practicing self-defense.
Also, be aware that anyone who uses P2P, especially on a Windows-based machine, opens themselves up to any virus, spyware, or malware that a mischievous file-sharer might incorporate into an innocent-looking music or other file.

Dave Lucas blogged check out Dvorak's post "Phishing Morphs into Pharming." Funny thing is, P2P software usage in US is decreasing. According to the information from the Pew Internet and American Life Project the usage has dropped by 10 per cent within the past year. For over two years, Canadians have enjoyed a freedom that US residents do not - the ability to download p2p media files legally...that's about to change. (Read MORE).

CLICK HERE if you'd like to learn more about to learn about Internet safety awareness. CLICK HERE to learn more about Phishing. Curious about P2P? Read "Decembrists Release Video Via Bit Torrent" and CLICK HERE for a link to read an article on Bram Cohen, the creator of BitTorrent. If you are a "TechnoBloggie" click on THIS LINK.

Peter blogged Just remember when you see the internet the internet sees you. If you are putting key files on your computer make sure they are NOT in a shared folder. You never know who might be watching.

Tim blogged Take this as yet another lesson in the internet is not a toy category.

Banana Oil! blogged The trouble here is not P2P file sharing, it’s the damn fools who do it without a care for their own security. This Bodiker fool not only kept his personal and financial information on the same hard drive (and partition) as his shared files — unencrypted! — he didn’t even check to see where the data was being stored. That’s not a P2P problem. That’s not even a computer problem. That’s an ignorant jackass problem. Of course, when selling such a story to other ignorant jackasses, it pays to make it seem like a software or hardware problem. But it isn’t. You play with fire before learning what fire does, you’re probably going to get burned.

I disagree with Banana Oil. One would have to be very greedy to download everything they can regardless of copyright restrictions to devote an entire hard drive to it, and to encrypt all personal data is a lot of extra work.

Rob Dejournett blogged P2P isn't all that great anymore. With the record companies now getting smart and spamming P2P networks with song spoofs (files that look like popular songs but just contain white noise), and the huge amount of bogus, junk, and virus containing files, P2P hasn't been worth it for years now. Smart people go elsewhere for their needs.

Update: See What You Share - a blog dedicated to P2P woes, drives home the point of how easy it is to get child porn from P2P. And yet these stories never make news, until an Amber Alert appears. So, let me get this straight. Download a song and you'll get fined or get a lawsuit. Download kiddie porn, or release kiddie porn, and there's no recrimation? I've been saying this for a while. The hypocracy of RIAA and it's ilk is astounding, and the public should be chastized for believing that song downloaders are the next Hitler. Clearly we need more public attention to these horrid matters.

The Unknown Professor blogged On file sharing software (like Limewire), you define a folder or folders on your hard drive as shareable. Unfortunately, the default sharable folder has the same name that a popular personal tax preparation software uses to store your tax returns. As a result, many people end up inadvertantly making their tax returns (which contain their social security numbers). The morals to this story:
  1. Be careful about what's in your shared folder
  2. Think twice before you use the default option on software installations.
  3. Make sure you know what's on your computer - it's possible that another family member has installed software that you're not aware of (particularly important if you have younger children).